In China there’s the bao. In Italy there is ravioli. In Slavic countries there are pierogi. Cultures from around the world incorporate stuffed rolls or dumplings into their native cuisines.

Product Spotlight

Kraft GO>WICH Stuffed Rolls

In China there’s the bao. In Italy there is ravioli. In Slavic countries there are pierogi. Worldwide, it’s clear that many cultures incorporate stuffed rolls or dumplings into their everyday cuisine.

It’s hard to overestimate the convenience - not to mention flavor combinations - made possible by these tasty treats. Just ask foodservice operators who serve their customers a new stuffed roll incarnation - Kraft Foodservice’s GO>WICH Stuffed Rolls.

“GO>WICH Stuffed Rolls come in a unique, all-in-one form allowing for a no-mess snack or meal that can be eaten with one hand,” explains Rob Ramsey, Kraft Foodservice business manager for new products.

These soft bread rolls are filled with meat, sauce and other ingredients for a fast, hot grab-and-go meal or snack. The rolls, which feature a “soft texture and buttery flavor,” come in two varieties: BBQ Pulled Pork, which has smoked, pulled pork and Bull’s Eye Barbecue Sauce; and Chicken Club, which has real white meat chicken, bacon and a cheese sauce made with Ranch dressing.

Both varieties, Ramsey says, are ideal for an afternoon snack. He adds that Go>WICH Stuffed Rolls appeal to “the traditional hot foods core consumer in c-store, which is generally comprised of males aged 18 to 44.”

The rolls, which Kraft launched in July, only are available for foodservice and are shipped frozen in individually wrapped sleeves. They maybe heated in a 1,000-watt microwave for 35 seconds, sold in a refrigerated vending machine or kept in a warming cabinet for up to four hours.

Priced at $1.59 for one or $3 for two, the rolls were rated “good overall quality for the price” and “easy to eat, especially in the car” by consumers in a Kraft Foodservice taste test, the company says.

And don’t be surprised to see more convenient, mess-free offerings from Kraft in the future.

Says Ramsey, “Certainly we're looking to offer more handheld options for today's on-the-go consumers, such as GO>WICH and [Kraft] Bagel-fuls, which were introduced earlier this year.”

Supplier Spotlight

Burke Corporation’s NaturaSelect pizza toppings

Let’s face it. Some consumer trends are so big and important that responding to them just comes naturally.

That’s why Burke Corporation, Nevada, Iowa, developed NaturaSelect, a line of fully-cooked natural and organic pizza toppings.

“This came in response to the recent trend of rapid growth in the organic and natural foods segment and multiple requests from customers,” says Doug Cooprider, vice president of sales and marketing. “As consumer interest in natural and organic foods has grown, the obvious next step was the addition of new alternatives to foodservice menus and the supermarket frozen food section. The availability of the convenience of fully-cooked pizza toppings and meat ingredients has made it easier for the food industry to respond to consumer demand.”

Although it’s primarily targeted to the pizza industry (refrigerated and frozen processors as well as foodservice operators), Burke’s NaturaSelect offerings fit other prepared food applications such as pasta, soups and appetizers. The product line includes organic and natural fully-cooked pizza toppings, Italian sausage and seasoned ground beef. Also available are natural Canadian-style bacon and pepperoni.

“Although very similar, natural and organic have different requirements and slightly different hurdles,” notes Marketing Director Liz Hertz. “For natural products, a key issue is the somewhat subjective nature of the definition of and guidelines for the product. Within the regulations there is a fair amount of latitude for interpretation. The challenge for product development is to identify which attributes are meaningful to the consumer and then to source the ingredients at a price that creates value for the customer.

“Similarly, the biggest challenge for organic foods is the limited supply of organic ingredients. . . . In either case, we believe NaturaSelect products offer food professionals a consistent, convenient and safe alternative to starting with raw meat.”

NFRA convention showcases new entrees, snacks and sides

New products took the opening night spotlight at the National Frozen and Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA)’s national convention in San Diego on Sunday, Oct. 12. The annual convention’s 2008 “Taste of Excellence” reception featured a wide range of new products that retailer officials could sample. Among new entrée and snack offerings were those from:

Birds Eye Foods: Steamfresh Meals for Two (Shrimp Alfredo, Sweet and Spicy Chicken)

Contessa Premium Foods: Orange Shrimp, Spaghetti Bolognese, Paella with Chicken and Seafood, Vodka Penne with Chicken

Great American Appetizers: Breaded Onion Petals with Aussie Sauce

Heinz Consumer Products: Ore-Ida Steam N’ Mash potatoes (Garlic Seasoned, Cut Russets); TGI Friday’s Skillet Meals (Firecracker Sesame Chicken, Cream Chicken Pasta Carbonara)

InnovAsian Cuisine Enterprises: Shrimp Purses, Fire Grilled Teriyaki Chicken Skewers

Kahiki Foods: Kahiki Potsticker Meals, Sesame Chicken entree, Beijing Chicken entree, EasyCrisp vegetable egg rolls

Kellogg: Kashi Thin Crust Roasted Vegetable Pizza

Michael Angelo’s Gourmet Foods: Grilled Chicken Scampi multi-serve entrees

Nestlé Prepared Foods: Stouffer’s Corner Bistro Italian Supreme Stromboli, Lean Cuisine Beef Chow Fun

Rich Products Consumer Brands: SeaPak Shrimp Scampi, Farm Rich Stuffed Chicken Panini

Ruiz Foods: El Monterey Burrito Casserole, El Monterey Chicken Enchiladas

Schwan’s Consumer Brands North America: Red Baron Singles (Chicken Parmesan Flatbread Melts), Wolfgang Puck All-Natural Four Cheese Tomato & Pesto pizza, Red Baron Pizzeria Style Butter Flavored Crust (4-Cheese)

Tyson Foods: Anytizers BBQ Pork Mini Ribs

Unilever: Bertolli Frozen Stuffed Shells in Scampi Sauce, Bertolli Frozen Meat Lasagna Rustica

Nestlé Professional Americas to open new R&D center

Nestlé S.A.’s global foodservice business, Nestlé Professional Americas will host an invitation-only opening celebration next month for its four-story “Customer Innovation Campus” in Solon, Ohio.

Designed to serve customers throughout the Americas region, the 67,000-sf. building features an “ideation room” for concept development, culinary operations kitchens, product development kitchens and an area to develop and test processing models.In an exclusive interviewwithRefrigerated & Frozen Foods, Jorge Sadurni, president and chief executive officer for Nestlé Professional Americas, noted, “The Nestlé Professional Customer Innovation Campus will operate as a regional hub for foodservice collaboration, creativity and innovation. We’ll bring our foodservice customers here to work side-by-side with our culinary and beverage teams to develop ideas, concepts, products and solutions that are right for their segment and business.”

Speaking of teamwork, Sadurni says Nestlé Professional Americas has refocused its culinary marketing experts by menu orientation, instead of brand orientation. Specialists now fall under the following areas: “Saucier” (bases, flavors, sauces, gravies, soups), “Center of the Plate” (entrees, sides, dips) and “Perimeter Menu” (appetizers, snacks, desserts).

Sadurni says the new facility will house several functional areas ranging from marketing and product development specialists to chefs and food science technologists.

Ad Age: Starbucks' new oatmeal already a hit

Although it’s only available been a few weeks, Starbucks Corp.’s “Perfect Oatmeal” already appears to be tracking as the coffee chain’s best-selling food item. Chicago-basedAdvertising Age cited Michelle Gass, Starbucks’ senior vice president of marketing and category, who said that the new offering already is popular and has knocked out reduced-fat coffee cake as a top seller.

Starbucks’ Perfect Oatmeal retails for $2.45 and comes in a “to-go” cup with a special vented lid for microwaving. It comes with three individually bagged mix-ins (labeled for caloric content) including mixed nuts (walnuts, almonds and pecans), dried fruit (cranberries, raisins) and brown sugar. Milk or water may be added to the product for desired consistency.

Targeting women for new healthy products? Try "centuality"

Developing a new better-for-you product for women? Hartman Group Inc., a Bellevue, Wash., consumer demographics firm, recommends that marketers aim for a certain “centuality.” The term is a play on words summarizing the three key criteria women use when choosing products and services: fiscal responsibility (dollars and cents), the five senses and common sense or logic.

Hartman recommends that marketers: (1) communicate the value of personal health benefits, especially when prices are a bit high; (2) deliver more than words can say to reach the female consumer; and (3) keep solutions and messaging simple and logical.“Wellness must make sense to women and simplicity is key,” say Hartman Group officials. “Solutions or retail experiences that are too complicated will create frustration and stress rather than calm and satisfaction. Overly scientific formulations, long ingredient lists, busy packaging, crowded aisles, obtrusive shelf danglers and incongruent merchandising (such as hair bands next to produce) all serve to perplex the consumer.

“Simplicity cues quality and women will pay more for high-quality wellness products that intuitively work will their holistic wellness perspective.”

Just the Facts

It’s clear that the deli counter isn’t just for sliced lunch meats anymore. A recent survey indicates that64 percentof consumers said they purchased a prepared food from the deli case in the last 30 days - an increase over 51 percent who said the same in 2005. As for deli items seeing the biggest increase, the survey shows sales of rotisserie turkey sales up by 150 percent, pasta up by 125 percent and pizza up by100 percent.
Source: Counter Intelligence Deli Consumer Study

How sweet it is! Sweeteners - including sugar substitutes made from the Stevia or sweetleaf plant - grew to a $3.1 billion market in 2007 and are expected to generate sales of$3.2 billionby 2012. Organic and less-refined sugar substitutes are anticipated to lead market growth.
Source: Packaged Facts’ Trends in the U.S. Market for Sugar, Sugar Substitutes and Sweeteners

Has snacking become the fourth meal of the day? According to a recent report, consumption of snacks is on the rise. Snacking is forecast to increase14 percent by 2017with the biggest snackers being children under nine and adults aged 30 to 39 and 50 to 59.
Source: NPD Group’s Snacking in America 2008