Dean Foods, Dallas, introduces Land O Lakes (LOL) milk in the "easy pour" gallon bottle. The LOL brand is used by Dean Foods under a licensing agreement with Minneapolis-based Land O'Lakes Inc.

The new easy pour bottle rolled out in the Twin Cities at the end of October after a successful test market. The redesigned gallon incorporates a stabilizing thumb groove and handle, making it easier to maneuver. The new bottle replaces a milk jug that has been around for almost 40 years.

"We believe that this design is ground-breaking," says Pat Graiziger, v.p. and gen. mgr. of Dean Foods North Central. "Gallon bottles can be bulky and difficult to handle, especially for kids. The easy pour bottle has a comfortable handle and a centered spout that allows for ease, stabilization and accuracy when pouring."

At the beginning of November, Englewood, Colo.-based Mountain High Yoghurt, a div. of Dean Foods, introduced Naturally Nutritious Yoghurt, a creamy, smooth 99.5% fat-free treat for the taste buds and a healthy choice for the body. Naturally Nutritious Yoghurt includes the dietary fiber NutraFlora®, which has been shown to promote a healthy digestive system. The dietary fiber ingredient assists in the absorption of calcium, strengthening the immune system, fighting infection, increasing metabolic energy, digesting food, producing vitamins and promoting regularity.

"At Mountain High we have been packaging all-natural, premium quality yogurt for more than 25 years," says Pam Vallone, gen. mgr. "From the beginning, we have remained true to our philosophy: Wholesome, healthy food for all."

Naturally Nutritious Yoghurt comes in five flavors: Mixed Berry, Peach Mango, Strawberry Banana, Strawberry and Vanilla. It is available in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington.

Riding the trend of consumers' ever-growing interest in ethnic cuisines, Rosa's Original, LLC, Glenview, Ill., introduces Rosa's Original Horchata. This traditional Mexican beverage is made with water, milk, rice and flavorings. In addition to the traditional cinnamon flavor, the company has plans to add melon and strawberry varieties. This is the first time horchata is sold in shelf-stable, single-serve (15-oz) bottles. Suggested retail price is $1.49.

For the initial phase of the roll out, Rosa's Original Horchata is targeting the Latino market, with the initial launch in Chicago through traditional mercados, as well as some large grocery chains. The company plans to introduce the product to a broader audience on a national basis. To build awareness, the company sampled Rosa's Original Horchata at a variety of Chicago ethnic festivals.

"Because it is rice-based and contains milk, horchata is a natural antidote to the spice of Mexican food," says Marvin Berger, co-owner. "It's also a great accompaniment to Indian, Thai and other spicy cuisines."

This past holiday season, consumers were able to enjoy their favorite European-style cheeses in a creamy,

rich spread thanks to Bel/Kaukauna USA, Little Chute, Wis., which debuted Kaukauna Connoisseur Cheese Spread. Sold in decorative, ready-for-entertaining 5-oz tubs, this "never processed" cheese spread line comes in five varieties: Aged English Cheddar, Asiago, Brie, Gorgonzola and Swiss. A two-tablespoon serving contains 60 calories and 7g fat. The rollout was supported with a dollar coupon FSI. To encourage repeat purchases, each package contains a coupon for a dollar off the future purchase of two tubs, along with appetizer recipes and serving suggestions. Suggested retail price is $4.49.

Noteworthy Introductions

Smith Dairy Products Co., Orrville, Ohio, introduces Smith's Garden Herb Dip, which is a zesty blend of onion, mushroom and tomato seasonings in a real sour cream base. Not only is it a great dip for chips and vegetables, it can also be used to spice up recipes calling for sour cream. The 12-oz polypropylene container features bright and colorful graphics, and incorporates the familiar Smith Dairy cow caricature.

Athens, Tenn.-based Mayfield Dairy Farms offers two new ice cream flavors that are ideal for winter weather-Mayfield Snow Cream and Mayfield Spiced Dulce. "Mayfield Snow Cream reminds me of winters when I was a child and my grandmother would gather up a big dish of snow, pour milk, sugar and vanilla on it, and serve it up to us kids," says Scottie Mayfield, pres. Spiced Dulce blends the flavors of dulce caramel and spiced pear with crispy toffee bits.

INTERNATIONAL

Varying seasonal preferences influenced overseas product launches in 2003. For the winter months, "comforting" flavors such as cinnamon, vanilla and caramel continue to be popular as they often reproduce nostalgic memories involving holiday parties and family gatherings. For example, Trol Milch introduced a creamy yogurt blended with pears, cinnamon and caramel under the Wintertraum label in Austria, while Campina extended its Landliebe brand by introducing a festive winter-themed yogurt in Germany with gingerbread and chocolate pieces.

To beat the cold, a few chilled products double as hot beverages, including an eggnog drink from Dairy Vale in Australia. The beverage can be warmed on the stove or in the microwave. The company is trying to extend use into the warmer months with the tagline "A nourishing year-round drink for the family. The perfect nightcap or an ideal start to the day." Nordmilch introduced a similar product in Germany, a plum, acerola and cinnamon Vitality Winter buttermilk with vitamin C, a nutrient recognized for helping fight the onslaught of winter illness.

After the spring thaw, manufacturers offer lighter flavors with a refreshed, cool feeling. Many products feature exotic fruits such as mango, passionfruit, pineapple; others include citrus accents such as lemon or orange. For example, this past spring, Hansells introduced a lime- and pineapple-flavored yogurt to the New Zealand market. And in the summer of 2003, Austria-based Onken introduced a range of seasonal yogurt products under the Frühjahrs Vielfalt label. Flavors included Spanish lemon, Florida orange, South Sea pineapple and Pacific mango, papaya and passion fruit.

More recently, indulgent items provided the perfect ending to any meal during the gluttonous holiday season, and many consumers will continue to enjoy products such as the Tiramisu, Poppy Seed Marzipan and Vanilla Apple Strudel quark desserts from Frischli in Germany. As the warmer months of 2004 approach, expect to see more refreshing, snack-positioned products such as Coop's Betty Bossi mango and passionfruit smoothie in South Africa. The beverage is fruit purée mixed with partly skimmed sour milk. It is a cool, healthful beverage for any outdoor activity.

Contributed by Gina Kuhn, research consultant, Global New Products Database (GNPD), a division of Mintel International, a global research company. For more information call 312/932-0400, or visit www.gnpd.com.