Product Spotlight
Sara Lee Foodservice Twister Croissant Rolls

All hail the sandwich. Chicago foodservice market tracker Technomic shows this versatile hand-held entrée as the channel’s fastest growing menu item. And that’s a fact not lost on researchers at Sara Lee Foods’ foodservice organization in Downers Grove, Ill.

“Sandwiches made with premium breads and proteins are commanding menu prices of $5.49 and higher,” says Alicia Staker, senior brand manager. “Croissants command 6 percent more above average sandwich pricing.”
For that reason, Sara Lee recently launched Twister Croissant Rolls, a thaw-and-serve line with three distinct flavors: Original, Maple & Brown Sugar and Cheese Twister.

“Sara Lee Twister Croissant Rolls are a unique solution for operators to upscale sandwiches and give consumers the variety they’re demanding,” says Staker.
While sandwich servings have grown more than 12 percent since last year according to NPD CREST, breakfast is an especially popular time for take-away portables. Sandwiches and wraps are the second most consumed food category away from the home in the morning, according to the NPD/CREST Morning Meal Needs Survey and servings of breakfast sandwiches grew 7 percent between March 2006 and March 2007, according to the foodservice marketing researcher.

The sweet flavor of the Maple & Brown Sugar Twister croissant roll is well suited to breakfast sandwiches, according to Sara Lee Foodservice’s Web site, but the rolls can be served at any meal.

"This unique format is ideal for creating signature, premium sandwiches throughout the day,” Staker says.
All roll varieties are made from swirled, laminated croissant dough and feature a round shape. Each roll is 2.3 oz., pre-sliced and trans-fat free.

Aluminum refrigeration fin treated by EcoArmor (on top), while half remains exposed or uncoated.

Equipment Spotlight: Baltimore Aircoil Co.'s EcoArmor Protection System

Today, food processors can take in-plant food safety protection to a new level. Baltimore Aircoil now offers aluminum Aircoil evaporators coated with EcoArmor, a microbial solution that not only inhibits debris accumulation but also microbial corrosion on refrigeration system fins and coils.

“Employee safety and food safety are big concerns in the refrigeration industry,” notes John Miranda Jr., director of marketing and sales-Refrigeration. “Any corrosion of the coil creates the risk of ammonia leaks which could be harmful to health, or contaminate the product or cause property damage.”

Miranda notes that competitive coating treatments often impact thermal performance and do not provide an anti-microbial solution. And while others provide only a one-year warranty, Baltimore Aircoil’s EcoArmor comes with a five-year coating guarantee.

Speaking of time, Baltimore Aircoil, Jessup, Md., says it spent two years developing EcoArmor. The coating was tested: to withstand 10,000 hours of salt spray per ASTM B117, to withstand 3,000 hours of acidic salt spray per ASTM G85, at PH resistance range of 0-14, and to withstand an equivalent of 10 years exposure to sulfur dioxide per ASTM G87. EcoArmor also passed abrasion testing per ASTM D 4060 and was reviewed in an independent lab for the coating’s impact (none) on thermal performance.

Bottom line: Miranda says aluminum Aircoil evaporators with the EcoArmor Protection System exceed the corrosion resistance of stainless steel-aluminum construction at a lower first cost.

He adds, “This also speaks to processor interest in reducing their ‘carbon footprint.’ Because we prevent corrosion, we minimize the degradation of the heat transfer surfaces over the life of the product. This sustains nominal performance and, thus, reduces energy loss.”

Processors predict new product, flavor trends

A survey of more than 300 food and beverage product developers revealed that consumer “convenience” is the price of entry requirement for processors hoping to compete in 2008 for new product space.
“At the start of 2007, a majority of processors reported that organic, energy-boosting, natural, ethnic and whole grain were trends to pay attention to,” notes Sarah Corp., Food & Packaging division executive director at Clear Seas Research, Troy, Mich. “Trends receiving the highest sustained attention in our 2008 New Product Development Outlook survey include those in the ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ spaces. New in 2008, processors are mindful that consumers - more than ever before -desire ‘healthy’ products. Products that have healthy, natural and organic characteristics have the greatest potential for staying power in the coming year.”

Clear Seas said it surveyed product developers at 318 food and beverage processing companies, across six categories. For more information about the firm’s 2008 New Product Development Outlook study, call (248) 362-3700 or

Introducing a new product? Consider a coupon.

CMS, a leading grocery coupon processing agent, says consumers bucked a 16-year trend by redeeming 2.6 billion manufacturers’ coupons last year, approximately the same number as the previous year. Officials said that prior to 2007, coupon response consistently declined year-over-year from a high of 7.9 billion in 1992.

“Coupon response tends to run counter to economic indicators,” says Matthew Tilley, CMS director of marketing. “When numbers indicate a secure economic future, consumers tend to pay less attention to coupons. But when numbers indicate an economic downturn, consumers turn to economizing behaviors such as using coupons.”

CMS, Winston-Salem, N.C., says marketers issued 302 billion coupons in 2007, a 6 percent increase over the previous year. Interestingly, however, it says manufacturers reduced the number of promotional offers by more than 8 percent while increasing the circulation of those offers by nearly 5 percent.

“Last year, brands saw coupons as more of a mass advertising media,” Tilley says. “Instead of issuing a lot of finely tuned, targeted marketing efforts, brands tended to use coupons to support competitive messaging or new product launches.”

Mind consumer packaging concerns

According to a Nielsen global food packaging survey, nearly one in two global consumers would give up all forms of packaging provided for convenience purposes if it would benefit the environment, including: packaging designed for easy stacking/storing at home (49 percent), packaging that can be used for cooking, or doubling as a re-sealable container (48 percent); and packaging designed for easy transport (47 percent).
At the other end of the scale, Nielsen found consumers were least willing to give up packaging designed to keep products clean and untouched by others (27 percent); packaging designed to keep products in good condition (30 percent); packaging information in the form of food labeling, cooking and usage instructions (33 percent); and packaging that preserves products to make them last longer or stay fresher (34 percent).

“As global concern and awareness for the environment continues to grow, consumers around the world are demanding more action from retailers and fast moving consumer goods manufacturers to protect the environment,” said Patrick Dodd, president of The Nielsen Company, Europe, Haarlem, the Netherlands.

New refrigerated and frozen products: Where to go to be in the know

Retailers, consumers and experts alike will address key new product trends when the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) convenes its 16th Annual Retail Executive Conference April 14-16 at the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel & Conference Center in Tempe, Ariz.
Agenda highlights include (1) a keynote address by Dave Bornmann, Publix Supermarkets’ vice president of product business development-Grocery and Non-Foods, (2) a Hartman Group look at how health and wellness trends can influence product development, branding and marketing, and (3) a presentation by Iconoculture (a research firm) at how different generations of consumers regard “convenience.” Willard Bishop Consulting’s Carl Henninger also will moderate a live Baby Boomer Consumer Panel to examine those shoppers’ needs and attitudes in the refrigerated and frozen food aisles.

Conference registration is limited to the first 150 participants. Contact NFRA for more information by calling (717) 657-8601 or e-mailing

Just the facts

Almost by definition, college students often are risk takers - but not always in the way you think. According to a Rutgers University study, college students admit to frequently taking food safety risks. Fifty-three percent said they ate raw homemade cookie dough (containing uncooked eggs),33 percent said they atefried eggs with runny yokes, 29 percent ate sushi and 28 percent consumed raw sprouts - all of which are considered high-risk foods.
Source: Journal of the American Dietetic Association

Do you suffer from a mid-day slump? According to researchers at the University of Wales, you can fight tired and blue feelings with meals and snacks. Among the findings? Addingfour ounces of proteinto lunch can help combat drowsiness and a breakfast that is low in calories, carbs and fat and high in fiber helps promote feelings of happiness and - as an added bonus - can help improve memory.
Source: The Brantford Expositor

As consumers frequent restaurants less frequently, they are preparing more meals at home - and they want inexpensive ingredients to do it with. Searches for recipes using inexpensive ingredientsincreased by 91 percenton, a Web site that says it receives more than 35 million visitors per year. According to the site’s Monthly Measuring Cup report, the most popular inexpensive ingredients are ground beef pasta and rice.
Source: Supermarket News