Taco Bell launches dessert menu

IRVINE, CALIF. — Taco Bell Corp., a division of Louisville, Ky.-based Yum! Brands, Inc., is expanding with the launch of a dessert menu featuring three items: caramel apple empanadas, churros, and cookie sandwiches, each for under $1.

The caramel apple empanada consists of a pastry pocket filled with chunks of warm apples in caramel sauce, while churros are Taco Bell’s version of the Mexican donut, dusted in cinnamon sugar and served warm. The cookie sandwich is made with two golden, triangle-shaped chocolate chip cookies with vanilla cream filling.

In addition to the launch of the desserts menu, Taco Bell is introducing nationally XXL Steak Nachos. The nachos feature a triple portion of steak, melted cheese, guacamole and pico de gallo on top of tortilla chips. The nachos have a suggested retail price of $5.99 for steak and $4.99 for beef or chicken.

The quick-service restaurant chain also has two products in test markets: Cantina Bell Double Steak Quesadilla and the Smothered Burrito. The quesadilla contains a double portion of Chef Lorena Garcia’s marinated braised steak and pepper jack cheese, while the burrito contains beef, chicken or steak, along with cilantro, rice, red sauce and melted shredded cheese.

Earlier this year, Taco Bell began testing a breakfast menu in select markets. Taco Bell said the breakfast menu — which it refers to as “FirstMeal” — could go national by 2014.

Novamex debuts aloe vera beverage

EL PASO, TEXAS — Novamex has launched Alova, the first natural, sparkling, aloe vera beverage. Novamex, a producer and marketer of soft drinks, foods, and authentic Mexican brands in the United States, has entered into a partnership with The Fresh Market to be the exclusive retailer for the Alova line of beverages featured in 127 stores in 25 states.

Alova will be available in three flavors: cucumber/mint, mandarin orange and grapefruit. Alova has 70 to 80 calories per 11.16-oz bottle, and contains natural ingredients, sugar, no preservatives and no artificial flavors.

“Alova is a new direction for Novamex,” said Ramon Carrasco, chief operating officer. “We have developed an expertise in manufacturing great tasting, naturally-flavored sodas. Alova expands our product portfolio, enabling us to reach new consumers via new retail channels. Alova targets consumers who want unique, natural and organic based products.”

Alova contains 15% organic aloe vera juice extracted from aloe vera plants grown on a company-owned farm in Campeche, Mexico.

The product has a suggested retail price of $1.79 to $1.99 for a 11.16-oz bottle.

7-Eleven to offer new Red Bull Editions

DALLAS — 7-Eleven, Inc. has partnered with Red Bull to become the only retailer to offer three new Red Bull Editions flavors through the end of 2012. The drinks are available in The Red Edition (cranberry), The Silver Edition (lime) and The Blue Edition (blueberry).

“Red Bull is one of 7-Eleven’s top-sellers and we are the largest U.S. retailer of Red Bull,” said Jesus Delgado-Jenkins, executive vice-president of merchandising, marketing and logistics at 7-Eleven. “The Editions from Red Bull will launch nationally in March, so we know Red Bull lovers will be eager to get their hands on them early.”

7-Eleven will price the Red Bull Editions in line with Red Bull Energy Drink, Red Bull Sugarfree and Red Bull Total Zero.

Campbell debuts sun-ripened yellow tomato soup

CAMDEN, N.J. — Campbell Soup Co. has expanded its condensed tomato soup line with the launch of sun-ripened yellow tomato soup.

The new soup combines yellow tomatoes, parsley, cilantro and thyme.

Tyson Foods targeting carnitas consumers

DAKOTA DUNES, S.D. — Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc., a business unit of Tyson Foods, Inc., has introduced a marinated pork product for retailers called Pork Shoulder for Carnitas. The meat is pre-seasoned and packaged in a cook-in bag with easy-to-follow instructions, according to the company.

“Tyson Pork Carnitas delivers many benefits in one handy package: perfectly-seasoned, ready-to-cook pork that is
convenient, versatile, easy to shred and very affordable,” said Paul Connor, director of business development for Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc. “The cook in bag delivers mess-free preparation and clean up so consumers can cook the carnitas in either the slow cooker or the oven, and families can enjoy savory, fork-tender, authentic flavored pork carnitas with their favorite side dishes at a tremendous value.”

Heinz offering new ketchup through Facebook offer

PITTSBURGH — H.J. Heinz Co. is giving more than 1 million Facebook users a chance to purchase its newest limited edition flavor: Heinz Tomato Ketchup Blended with Real Jalapeño.

To celebrate “12 Days of Jalapeño Ketchup,” consumers may purchase the product exclusively through Heinz’ Facebook page from Nov. 26 to Dec. 7. Beginning in January 2013, the limited-edition flavor will be available at select retailers, including select Wal-Mart Stores and Target locations for a suggested retail price of $2.49.

Heinz Tomato Ketchup Blended with Real Jalapeño will be sold in a 14-oz glass bottle with a dark green label on Facebook for $4.99, including shipping, and orders of two to five bottles will receive a free bottle with purchase.