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Sales of carbonated soft drinks have been stagnant in the United States and Western Europe for the past several years. To reverse that trend here and abroad, Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, Ga., is launching Coca-Cola Blâk—a blend of cola and real coffee—in France. It will be rolled out to the U.S. market later this year. The lightly carbonated, mid- calorie beverage is designed to appeal to adult consumers. It has about half the calories, sugar, and carbohydrates as regular colas, and contains about twice as much caffeine.
“Coca-Cola Blâk is not just a flavor extension. It is a blend of unique Coke refreshment with the true essence of coffee and has a rich smooth texture and has a coffee-like froth when poured,” said Marc Mathieu, Vice President, Global Core Brands. “We believe we have created a new category of soft drink—an adult product in a carbonated beverage—and a whole new drinking experience. This brand is ideal for any part of the day when people are looking for renewed energy or simply to take a break.”
Better-for-you Mac & Cheese
Kraft Foods Inc., Northfield, Ill., has introduced a healthier version of its popular and convenient Mac & Cheese mix. Supermac & Cheese pasta and sauce provides a good source of whole grains (8 g per 2-oz serving) and vitamins B1, C, D, and E and is an excellent source of calcium in each 2-oz serving. It comes in four varieties: SpongeBob Squarepants, Spiderman, Fairly Odd Parents, and regular elbow. The suggested retail price is $.99 per box.
Approximately 75% of moms encourage their kids to consume products with more calcium; 65% want their kids to eat more whole grains; and 72% make an effort to have their kids eat products with more vitamins and minerals, according to Kraft Internal Research, 2002. “With Supermac, we took an American favorite, made it more nutritious, and kept it delicious,” said Lance Friedmann, SVP, Health & Wellness. “That’s what parents are looking for today—better-for- you choices that keep the fun in food for kids.”
Cocoa Content Labeling
In response to media reports extolling the virtues of chocolate and its health-promoting flavanols in the cocoa bean, many chocolate manufacturers are touting the cocoa content on their labels. As part of a formula improvement to its dark baking chocolate line, Ghirardelli Chocolate Co., San Francisco, Calif., provides consumers with cocoa percentage information on its packaging.
Ghirardelli has increased the cocoa percentage in its Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar to 60% cocoa, and in its popular Bittersweet Chocolate Chips, which have the highest cocoa content (60% cocoa) of any national baking chip brand. The company has also added a new Extra Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar with 70% cocoa. Ghirardelli’s Unsweetened Baking Bar remains 100% cocoa.
“There is a growing trend towards dark chocolate in the U.S. Consistent with this trend, within the baking segment, bakers are beginning to explore and appreciate the rich range of intensities in flavor that dark chocolate can deliver,” said Steve Genzoli, Ghirardelli’s Head Chocolatier. “Our new packaging helps these bakers best match their individual tastes and recipe requirements for the best results.”