Norman Rockwell Homestyle Ice Cream, a product of Dallas-based L&M Creative Foods L.P., recently debuted through the network of Albertson food stores.



Norman Rockwell Homestyle Ice Cream, a product of Dallas-based L&M Creative Foods L.P., recently debuted through the network of Albertson food stores. The ice cream comes in seven different pint-size varieties: Butter Pecan, Cookies and Cream, Cherry Vanilla, Homestyle Chocolate, Homestyle Vanilla, Mint with Chocolate Chips and Rocky Road.

L&M's Mark Lafferty and Allen Mann worked closely with The Bradford Exchange, the Curtis Publishing Company, which owns the Saturday Evening Post, and the Rockwell family to obtain a licensing agreement for the brand. Southwest Ice Cream in McKinney, Texas, a division of Dean Foods, is exclusively making the product for L&M. The company is currently negotiating with other supermarket chains to launch the line nationally, in both pint and half-gallon containers.

L&M is not stopping there. Norman Rockwell-brand jams, jellies, cookies and cakes are in the works, along with frozen novelty stick and sandwich ice cream products. Lafferty and Mann have one goal in mind: to create a product like grandma used to make with the integrity, taste and attention to detail of times past. All of L&M's products are based on famous Norman Rockwell paintings, which bring a feeling of warmth to the entire product line.

Responding to national trends toward moderation and portion control, Cabot Creamery, Cabot, Vt., introduces Cabot Snack Packs in Cabot's signature Sharp Cheddar and 50% Light Cheddar varieties. Cabot Snack Packs offer consumers eight pre-packaged 0.75-oz bars of naturally aged Cheddar cheese. Cabot's 50% Light Snack Pack is the only individually wrapped light Cheddar in the marketplace.

"Consumers are increasingly aware that all snacks are not created equal," says Rich Stammer, president and CEO. A serving of Cabot Sharp Cheddar contains 80 calories and 7g fat, while still packing in 15% of the recommended Daily Value of calcium (150mg), and 5g protein. Cabot 50% Light Cheddar has the same amount of calcium per serving and 6g protein, with only 50 calories and 3.5g fat.

Cabot Snack Packs are available for national distribution and are already appearing in supermarkets, super centers and cheese shops. Customers can also order a box of 100 individually wrapped 0.75-oz bars from Cabot's website.

In September, Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, Old Chatham, N.Y., rolled out its award-winning premium sheep milk yogurt across the country.

"Our sheep milk yogurt is unique, flavorful and nutritious," says Company Owners Tom and Nancy Clark. The protein in sheep milk yogurt is double that of yogurt made from cows milk and the calcium content is 50% greater, too. Calories in the Old Chatham sheep milk full-fat yogurt are similar to most low-fat yogurts on the market. Because sheep milk is higher in total solids than cows or goats milk, the end product is a naturally thick creamy yogurt without the use of stabilizers.

In 2005, élan celebrates its 20th birthday with a new package design, new size and new flavors! "Over the years, frozen yogurt has taken a back seat to fresh yogurt in both taste and health benefits, but the new élan frozen yogurt line is about to change all of that," says Chuck Green, CEO, Brigham's Inc., Arlington, Mass. "We're enticing consumers to take another look at-and taste of-frozen yogurt. Not only is élan rich in flavor, but it offers a healthful option for the calcium intake recommended by the National Academy of Sciences. It's time consumers know that a long-time favorite treat is truly healthy for them as well."

The changes include on the outside-stylish, cosmopolitan packaging embodying the gourmet lifestyle the élan name has come to represent-and on the inside-a strong product line in a variety of flavors, to meet today's consumer demand for all-natural, low-fat products. In addition to élan's new elegant, classy and sophisticated feel, the packaging has gone up in size-from pint to quart size-providing consumers a tremendous value ounce for ounce in comparison to other high-end frozen desserts still in pints. This package size change is in response to studies that showed a strong preference among consumers who desired a larger size to share with family or for multiple-occasion uses. The new élan flavors are: Black Raspberry, Bordeaux Cherry Chip, Coffee, Decaf Cappuccino and Vanilla. Special, limited edition flavors will also be added to the seasonal roster, beginning with Strawberry Kiss, a rich-tasting strawberry yogurt with chocolate candies in a familiar chocolate candy kiss shape.

Noteworthy Introductions

Farmland Dairies, LLC, Wallington, N.J. is growing its Special Request™ line of aseptic, shelf-stable packages of milk products. New Special Request Half & Half comes in quarts and 8-oz containers. Both sizes are easy to pour and represent a convenient alternative for foodservice operators, particularly in the airline industry, since there is no need to use up valuable refrigerator space to preserve the product while unopened. The company also launched a shelf-stable version of Skim Plus® 100% fat-free milk with 34% more calcium and 37% more protein than whole milk. The product comes in 8-oz containers, and is a convenient item for hospitals, nursing homes and healthcare organizations. Both products have an ambient, unopened shelflife of seven months from the manufacturing date.

Just in time for the holiday season, Blue Bell Creameries L.P., Brenham, Texas, has released Cinnamon Ice Cream in half-gallon containers. It is vanilla ice cream flavored with ground cinnamon. Blue Bell has produced the flavor for several years for foodservice, but 2005 is the first time it is available in half gallon retail packages.

The company has also added blueberry to its strawberry and cherry cheesecake-flavored ice cream line. Blueberry Cheesecake is a rich, cheesecake ice cream loaded with cheesecake pieces and a flavorful blueberry sauce swirl. Each of the cheesecake ice cream flavors are available for three months throughout the year. By rotating the flavors, consumers can try a different cheesecake flavor every few months.

INTERNATIONAL

In Italy, Nestlé is introducing Motta Chúpate El Dedo Cacao Vaniglia Ice Creams, which are cocoa- and vanilla-flavored ice cream lollies for kids. The ice cream lollies are to be placed on the thumb to hold, creating a fun and interactive way for kids to enjoy a cold treat.

Yakult Honsha in Japan recently introduced its new Modified Soymilk-a black soybean milk combined with regular yellow soybean milk (in order to suppress the bitterness of black soybeans and its unpleasant taste). The drink contains soy isoflavones and vitamin E for anti-aging and beauty effects, and targets middle-aged adults, seniors and women. The black soybean content in this product classifies it as a ‘black food' (any food that contains black soybean, black vinegar, black sesame paste, etc.). Black foods are predominantly found in the Asia Pacific region, and provide such health benefits as antioxidants and anticoagulation to prevent blood clots.

In France, Nestlé launched Yoco Peach Flavoured Drinking Yogurt with a "cool" sensation. This product, housed in portions suitable for infants, contains added calcium, vitamin D and is low in sugar. This introduction follows the many cooling drinks currently available on the market. The difference, however, is that one typically finds these cooling drinks in carbonated soft drinks, rather than yogurt drinks. Additionally, it is rare to see them positioned towards children.

Kraft Foods in the Philippines has extended its Eden cheese brand to include Hotdog Flavor Pasteurized Filled Cheese Spread, a cheese spread with a hotdog flavor filling that is fortified with vitamin A and iron. This is the first time one is finding a flavored cheese variety under the Eden brand name. Other interesting flavors introduced in the cheese sector in the past year include cucumber and dill, mushroom, sweet chili and chocolate.

In Ireland, Sheila's released Cuinneog ProBiotic Butter, which contains friendly bacteria to help aid the digestive system. This is a very notable introduction, as probiotic cultures are prominent in almost all dairy products, such as yogurt, yogurt drinks, milk, ice cream and cheese.

Contributed by Christy Brinnehl, assistant analyst, Global New Products Database (GNPD) Consulting Services, a division of Mintel International, a global research company. For more information call 312/932-0400, or visit www.gnpd.com.