Muscle icecream, frozen wine and coconut water sorbet

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 21st October 2010

Datamonitor novel foods roundup OctoberThe launch of a light ice cream with performance supplements to encourage muscle growth, a freezable wine dessert and an organic, fat-free, coconut water-based sorbet show how functional food is straying ever further from its traditional territories. Featured in Datamonitor’s monthly roundup of novel food launches, the products hint at new directions for the frozen dessert market.

New Pro-Cream Performance Light Ice Cream claims to be the world’s first performance ice cream. Sold in the US and produced by Pro Foods, the product comes in strawberry, vanilla and chocolate variants and is said to combine the taste of classic ice cream with premium performance supplements such as vitamins, minerals and fiber, along with milk, whey and egg proteins. Ice cream is probably not the first food that most performance athletes would reach for, but a successful alliance of indulgent taste and functional benefits could yet inspire similar product developments in the frozen sector.

Also innovating in the US frozen dessert market is Turtle Mountain, with its So Delicious Coconut Water Sorbet. The product comes in a choice of hibiscus, lemonade, mango and raspberry flavors and is certified gluten-free and organic, as well as claiming to contain only 100 calories per serving. The launch shows how coconut water is continuing to make waves as a functional ingredient, and how it is expanding beyond the beverage sector to reach ever more diverse product categories.

Mint flavor products, meanwhile, are seeing an increase in unusual flavor combinations, as evidenced by two recent launches in the US. In chewing gum, Wm. Wrigley is due to launch its Wrigley’s Extra Dessert Delights Sugarfree Gum, which takes its inspiration from classic American desserts such as key lime pie, strawberry shortcake and mint chocolate chip. In mint confectionery, Accoutrements has also expanded its assortment to include varieties with fruit cake, onion rings, ranch dressing and nacho cheese flavors. Its Archie McPhee Mints, on sale in the US, come with food pairing suggestions similar to those more typically attached to wine. As both gum and mints are usually associated with clean flavors and breath-freshening properties, it will be interesting to see which of these unusual varieties catch on, especially among those that are more prone to create breath odor rather than breath freshness.

Novel and unexpected flavors are also featuring in the chocolate category, as demonstrated by Meybona in Germany with its new Meybona Collage Chocolate range. The range combines chocolate, nuts, fruit and spices, and includes ‘gourmet’ blends such as curry and poppyseed with white chocolate, and crepes and cocoa with milk chocolate. The creative decorative design of the product, along with the ‘connoisseur’ flavor combinations and the ‘collage’ branding combine to give the range a particularly artistic feel.

Over in Japan, meanwhile, dessert is taking on a boozy twist, with BonBlaze Wine, which turns into a dessert when frozen. It has a similar alcohol content to wine at 12.5%, includes real fruit, and comes in Natural Cranberry and Blueberry variants.

Two Japanese companies are also adding a savory twist to conventionally sweet product categories. Fujiya, firstly, has recently launched two new varieties of its bite-size Fujiya Country Ma’am Chocochip Cookies, one flavored with miso and caramel and the other with golden sesame. Miso is a salty-flavored paste made from fermented soybeans and is most normally seen as a soup or sauce flavoring, making its appearance in a cookie product something of a rarity. The second notable launch comes from Frito-lay, which has added shrimp and perilla (a herb similar to basil) as flavors within its range of Frito Lay Mike Popcorn. This development suggests that the company is focusing on consumers with more sophisticated and mature palates.

In Brazil, finally, Gold Nutrition has launched two new versions of its Vitalon Turma da Monica Mingau, which is a traditional infant cereal product made with grains such as oats and wheat. Notable in the new range is a rice and chamomile variant, which has been introduced alongside a more conventional oat cereal. Chamomile is known for its relaxing properties and is most typically taken as a tea; it will therefore be interesting to see whether young children find its flavor palatable in a cereal product.