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Guests at the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association?s (NFRA) 2014 convention in Orlando, Fla., next month can spend some time with companies one on one as well as at the Taste of Excellence Reception to learn about how manufacturers are providing shoppers with foods and beverages that satisfy their tastes and lifestyles. The lion?s share of the products are new, underscoring the forward-thinking strategies of many industry leaders.
According to Jeff Rumachik, SVP and COO of Harrisburg, Pa.-based NFRA, new product introductions are key to unlocking more interest in, and sales of, frozen and refrigerated foods and beverages, especially at a time when ?fresh? has become such a buzzword and preference. ?The frozen department in a supermarket is comprised of over 3,700 items,? he says. ?New items are the lifeblood of any category, and manufacturers realize how important it is to address the needs of today?s consumers.?
To that point, many new products reflect the evolving tastes and backgrounds of shoppers. Rumachik cites some examples: ?You are seeing more vegetarian, organic and gluten-free products. You?ll also notice more culturally inspired foods, as consumers are looking for variety and have a desire to try new flavors. And there continues to be innovation in packaging, such as steam-in-bag vegetables.?
Several new frozen and refrigerated products have been unveiled this year and are in stores now or getting ready to hit shelves soon. In addition to those that have been chosen as Editors? Picks in this issue, along with those featured in the What?s Next new products section this month, PG has observed the following new releases:
Blount fine foods Organic Soups
Blount Fine Foods has introduced 16-ounce organic soups under the Blount brand name. Varieties include Organic Vegetable Chili, Minestrone Soup, Tomato Bisque, and Lentil and Chick Pea; the soups have a 50-day shelf life and are shipped refrigerated in cases of six. In addition, Blount is also unveiling 4-cub bulk packs for the club store channel.
Ehrmann?s Mixim Greek Yogurt
Things are looking sweet for Ehrmann?s line of Mixim nonfat Greek yogurt, sold in signature heart-shaped containers. The brand has added two new flavors: Maple Syrup with Waffle Pieces and Blueberry with Chocolate Chip Cookie Pieces. Like the line?s other flavors, the new yogurts are made from natural ingredients, with no artificial colors or flavorings, and are available in select stores in the western United States.
Philadelphia Cream Cheese Spreads
Philadelphia Cream Cheese brand has added more real fruits and vegetables to its sweet and savory spreads, including Strawberry, Garden Vegetable, Blueberry, and Chive & Onion. In addition to the product enhancements, all 8-ounce containers of Philadelphia Cream Cheese Spread have a new look and stackable shape that prevents the product from shifting on store shelves, making it easier for consumers to find their favorite varieties.
The top-selling imported butter in France is coming Stateside. Made from 100 percent cream with no added oils, Président Butter is available in Salted and Unsalted varieties in a 7-ounce bar, Light in a 7-ounce bar, Sea Salt in a 8.8-ounce bar, and also in spreadable form.
Weight Watchers Fresh Meals
Complementing the brand?s line of frozen meals, Weight Watchers has introduced a line of Fresh Meals. The chilled, portion-controlled prepared meals are made in partnership with fresh prepared food manufacturer Greencore USA, which allows Weight Watchers to leverage its brand recognition in the fresh sector while using an already existing fresh food supply chain. Weight Watchers Fresh Meals are available at grocery stores in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest.
Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream and Bars
The Baskin-Robbins brand is now available to retail grocers, thanks to a partnership between the venerable ice cream brand and Boardwalk Frozen Treats. The launch includes 16 flavors of ice cream in 14-ounce containers and several varieties of chocolate-covered ice cream bars.
Breyers Gluten-Free Ice Cream
Those following gluten-free diets can indulge their ice cream cravings with new gluten-free ice cream from Breyers. The brand?s gluten-free line features 36 varieties of ice cream in flavors like Natural Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry, Mint Chocolate Chip, and some Breyers Blasts! flavors such as Cherry Vanilla, Butter Pecan, and Fat-Free Chocolate and Strawberry. Following FDA guidelines, packages feature a gluten-free logo for quick and easy identification.
Dannon oikos Greek Frozen Yogurt
The Greek yogurt trend has moved from the refrigerated yogurt section to the freezer case with Dannon?s new Oikos Greek Frozen Yogurt available in Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry, Café Latte, Black Cherry and Key Lime flavors. Offering the thick, creamy texture of Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt, the product is available in pint containers.
Front Porch Carolina Churned Ice Cream
Reflecting consumer interest in indulgent flavors, Front Porch Carolina Churned Ice Cream has added two new varieties to its Southern-inspired ice cream line. Pint-sized Charleston Sea Salt Caramel and Caroline?s Coffee & Caramel are made with milk from a local dairy and sold in select grocers? freezers.
Jimmy Dean Pancakes & Sausage on a Stick
Jimmy Dean has added two new flavors to its line of Pancakes & Sausage on a Stick products: Apple Cinnamon Pancakes & Sausage on a Stick and Very Berry Pancakes & Sausage on a Stick. Sold in 5-count packages, the items contain 230 calories and 6 grams of protein per serving.
Red Baron Deep Dish Minis
Schwan Food Co. has introduced an innovative type of pizza: Red Baron Deep Dish Minis. Available in cheese and pepperoni flavors in a package featuring eight 2.5-inch pizzas, the items are sold in an easy-to-share option, with full-size flavor.
Tony?s Little Italy Pizzeria
What?s old is new: Schwan Food Co. has rolled out a pizza claiming to offer original, authentic pizzeria taste. Featuring real cheese, a signature old-school sauce and a crunchy crust, the 10-inch pizzas are available in several varieties, including pepperoni, sausage, cheese, sausage and pepperoni, supreme, half pepperoni and half cheese, bacon cheeseburger, and Meat-Trio. The launch will be supported by in-store product samplings and other promotions.