With double-digit annual sales increases in recent years, the $4+ billion bottled water market is awash in growth. Kraft Foods, Northfield, Ill., hopes to ride on the coattails of the bottled water boom with its recent launch of Crystal Light On The Go iced tea and soft drink mix. The sugar-free product comes in foil-barrier packets. Each packet is designed to flavor a 16- to 20-oz bottle of water, and provides about 5 calories/8-oz serving.

The slim packet permits spill-free pouring of the powdered mix into the narrow neck of the bottle. Its compact size enables consumers to take it to work, school, gym, or any recreational activity. The product is available for both foodservice and retail distribution.

Many consumers associate yogurt’s live and active cultures with improved gut health. General Mills, Minneapolis, Minn., wants to add a new health benefit to yogurt by introducing Yoplait Healthy Heart yogurt with plant sterols. Research has shown that plant sterols can lower cholesterol. The yogurt package carries the health claim "Helps Lower Cholesterol."

While results will vary by individual, studies have shown that eating 0.8 g of plant sterols—the amount found in two servings of Yoplait Healthy Heart—each day over a period of as little as four weeks may reduce LDL or bad cholesterol by an average of 6%. Plant sterols occur naturally in certain foods. However, to get the same amount of plant sterols as two servings of Healthy Heart through other foods, it would take 22 servings of Brussels sprouts, 24 servings of broccoli or cauliflower, 70 large carrots, 100 medium potatoes, 44 medium apples, or 26 oranges.

Yoplait Healthy Heart yogurt is available in single-serve 6-oz cups. Each container carries a suggested retail price of $0.79.

When it comes to selecting fresh fruit in the supermarket, many consumers sniff and squeeze the produce to determine ripeness. But that may be changing, thanks to Ripesense Ltd. of New Zealand. The company is working with several U.S. produce packers in the Northwest to package fresh pears with an "active" indicating label. As the fruit ripens and releases gases, the aromas react with chemicals on the label. A dot on the label changes color from yellow (crisp fruit) to orange (firm) to red (juicy) to indicate the level of ripeness.

The company claims that the packaging and label reduce unsalable product for the supermarket by the elimination of consumer handling and squeezing, which lead to bruised and damaged fruit. Ripesense plans to introduce color-indicating labels for other fresh fruit, including kiwi, melon, mango, avocado and stone fruit.

Is the PowerBar Triple Threat a candy bar with extra energy or an energy bar with a sweet tooth? Whatever you call it, the new entry from PowerBar Inc., Berkeley, Calif., further blurs the line between the two product categories. The marketer positions the product "for active guys who want the taste of a candy bar yet seek a nutritious energy snack to stave off hunger."

Research revealed that consumers feel they must trade-off taste for nutrition when choosing an energy snack. So, PowerBar added layers of crisp rice, caramel, peanuts, peanut butter, and chocolate to Triple Threat to improve the taste profile. On the "fuel" side, each 55-g bar is fortified with 16 vitamins and minerals and provides 4 g of fiber, 10 g of protein, 30–32 g of carbohydrate, and 220–230 calories.

The nutrient-dense product is available through supermarkets, convenience stores, mass merchandisers, and health and drug stores. It carries a suggested retail price of $1.49.