General Mills, Minneapolis, Minn., is heading into a new aisle of the supermarket through a licensing agreement with Leiner Health Products, Carson, Calif. The No. 2 cereal maker in the United States is lending its Wheaties and Total brand names to a new line of vitamins produced and distributed by Leiner.

Four varieties in the line include Wheaties Multivitamin, Wheaties Daily Performance, Total Multivitamin, and Total High Potency Daily Vitamin Pack. Wheaties Multivitamin contains 17 essential vitamins and minerals, lutein, lycopene, and green tea, plus CoQ10 "for energy and cardiovascular support." Total High Potency Daily Vitamin Pack includes glucosamine, fish oil, and extra calcium to support bones, joint, eye, and heart health.

The two companies also launched an interactive Web site,, which offers consumers a daily video image alert from a sports legend reminding them to take their Wheaties and Total vitamins.

When the first Baby Boomers began hitting their 20s in the late 1960s, brewers saw a steady stream of new beer drinkers for nearly two decades. But things have changed as the 20-something demographic has shrunk, and many mature Boomers have turned to wine or other alcoholic beverages. To gain market share today, U.S. beer makers must either steal it from their competitors or target a new group of nontraditional beer drinkers.

To expand its presence in the premium beer segment, Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis, Mo., has launched Budweiser Select. It was developed using two-row and roasted specialty malts for a rich color. The brand spends approximately twice as long as regular beers in the brewhouse, where grains are milled, mixed with water, and mashed. The company's main rival, Miller Brewing, Milwaukee, Wis., is also on the prowl for new beer drinkers. It is test marketing a fruit juice–based malt beverage for women age 24–35. Called Brutal Fruit, the drink comes in four varieties—Sultry Strawberry, Kinky Kiwi, Manic Mango, and Luscious Litchi. Similar to other malt liquors, it contains 5% alcohol by volume.

Food manufacturers in the U.S. are paying close attention to the recommendations from the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, recently issued by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. For example, Monterey Gourmet Foods, Salinas, Calif., has introduced a fresh whole-wheat pasta line under the Monterey Pasta Company brand. Items in the line include raviolis and tortellini made with whole grains.

"Whole grain products are very much in demand as health-conscious consumers become increasingly aware of their dietary benefits," said President and CEO Jim Williams. "Our new line is made with whole wheat flour, is low in saturated fat, has no trans fats, and is a delicious source of dietary fiber. While Americans are still carb-cautious, they are also becoming more aware of the dietary benefits of ‘good' carbs and whole grains."

Within the first six weeks of introduction, 11 supermarket chains representing more than 2,500 stores have committed to carry the whole-wheat pastas. These include Safeway, Dominick's, Ralphs, Jewel, Hannaford Bros., Wegmans, Albertsons, and Giant Carlisle. Also, a major chain in the Southeast committed to adding all of the whole-wheat items in its 800+ stores.

Sometimes just a slightly different package shape can get your product noticed by consumers and picked up from the store shelf. That's what Milko, Sweden's largest dairy, is hoping for with its new curved gable-top carton. The dairy partnered with Elopak, a global packaging systems specialist, to produce the ergonomically designed carton for its Milko Lättyoghurt yogurt drinks.    

In addition to the curved corners, the carton sports a larger-diameter spout for improved pouring. "We were impressed by the striking and elegant style of the carton which with the fifth panel provides new graphic possibilities and a prominent space for branding or slogans—we have used it for one of our key messages for these products, Lättsockrad (meaning low sugar)," said Jonas Welander, Milko's Marketing Manager. "Elopak's innovative design generates outstanding visibility and the distinct differentiation demanded for the highest-quality products in an ever-increasing competitive market."