New products getting a health makeover

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 2nd September 2008

Manufacturers are continuing to embrace the health trend, with healthy ingredients such as omega-3 and probiotics featuring in an array of foodstuffs. This month, Productscan, the world’s largest database of new consumer packaged goods, has recorded a probiotic ketchup and salsa, as well as omega-3 cooking oil and peanut butter, showing that no stone has been left unturned in the quest for consumer business in the health sphere.

Zukay Live Foods has introduced a line of unusual probiotic foods in the US, including a ketchup called Zukay Live Foods Probiotic Ketchup. The company claims that each product in the Zukay line-up contains a symbiosis of live cultures with fresh raw ingredients in a non-dairy base. The entire Zukay line claims to be 100% natural with no chemicals or preservatives.

Zukay Live Foods has also introduced a probiotic salsa in the US, called Zukay Live Foods Probiotic Salsa Viva, in both mild and hot varieties. The mild variety is said to be a mellow, fresh tomato blend with a more American flavour profile, while the hot variety is “a spicy, lively Mexican style blend with Serrano chilies, cilantro and lime juice”. Salsa is not a product that most consumers would associate with live cultures, so this is a novel addition to the brand.

Meanwhile, omega-3 continues to be added to an increasing array of foodstuffs, including Crisco Puritan Canola Oil. Introduced to the US market by J.M. Smucker Co., this cooking oil is promoted as the first canola oil with omega-3 DHA, which the company describes as being the most complete form of omega-3. With manufacturers battling to launch the healthiest cooking oil, this one could gain attention through its omega-3 positioning.

Another new omega-3 fortified product has been launched in the US by Hearts&Minds. Hearts&Minds Peanut Butter is described as the first on the market to contain omega-3 and olive oil, which appears to be a unique combination in a peanut butter product. The product is positioned as better-for-you, combining healthy ingredients in a well-loved spread.

Omega-3 has become particularly popular with manufacturers in recent years and the array of products fortified with the fatty acids now range from ice-cream to bread. Despite the popularity amongst some manufacturers, many products with omega-3 fortification have yet to take off and have remained niche with low market shares. One notable exception in Australia has been the Tip-Top omega-3 bread, which has made its mark in the white bread market with over 10 per cent share.

Despite this, the omega-3 functional foods market is anticipated to grow at a compound annual rate of about 20 per cent until 2014, according to market analysts Frost & Sullivan.

Also tagged as better-for-you is Enjoy Life Natural Brands’ Enjoy Life Boom Choco Boom Bar. Touted as the first allergy-friendly chocolate, the bars are said to be dairy-, nut-, soy- and gluten-free, as well as being free from egg, soy, fish or shellfish. The company appears to have gone to great lengths to ensure that this new chocolate bar is free from potential allergens.

Finally, Nestle has introduced a novel chocolate bar in Japan that is designed to be posted. The KitKat Kit Mail consists of four chocolate bars contained within a square box that includes a space for writing the recipient’s name and address, as well as a message. The product is marketed as being a novel alternative to a birthday greeting, but could catch on as a unique present for a variety of occasions.