Probiotics Added to Bars
Probiotics are moving beyond the dairy case, thanks in part to Attune Foods, Mill Valley, Calif. The natural foods company introduced Attune Probiotic Wellness Bars, an all-natural, 100-calorie bar with beneficial probiotics that promote healthy digestion and immune systems. The bars come in three varieties—Chocolate Crisp, Cool Mint Chocolate, and Blueberry Vanilla—and contain more than five times the beneficial probiotics found in yogurt, with less sugar than most yogurts.

Attune wellness bars contain three different specially formulated Lafti® probiotic strains from DSM Food Specialties, Eagleville, Pa. Each bar contains more than 10 billion probiotics, an amount shown to provide optimal results. The bars also include the prebiotic inulin, a natural dietary fiber that supports healthy digestive function and works in harmony with probiotics. Attune bars come in a 20-g size and carry a suggested retail price of $1.29. They are available online at and at select grocery and natural foods retailers throughout the United States.

Self-Venting Packaging Systems
Four steam-and-serve packaging technologies from Curwood Inc., Oshkosh, Wis., offer convenient cooking for fresh, frozen, or shelf-stable foods, from soups and stews to rice, vegetables, and entrees. Processors can choose from a self-venting standup pouch, forming/nonforming film system, vertical form/fill/seal cook-in bag, or skin-pack steam dome to suit their products and operations. General MillsGreen Giant brand uses the self-venting technology in its primary packaging for Simply Steam vegetables.

Each of the four proprietary packaging systems facilitates the preparation and serving of foods, eliminating the need for knives or scissors to vent or open the package. Consumers just microwave and serve. All four systems offer hermetic protection throughout distribution. "Foods that are steamed stay more moist, flavorful, and healthful compared to other cooking methods," said Aimee Johns, Product Manager at Curwood. "Now food processors can offer those quality benefits while giving consumers the convenience they demand." 

The Ultimate Rice Bowl
For many consumers, convenience equates to time-saving food preparation. Riviana Foods, Houston, Tex., offers fully cooked rice products in single-serve cups that go from the microwave to the table in about one minute. The shelf-stable product, which can be eaten straight from the 4.4-oz cups with no cleanup—is suitable for brown-bag lunches or a quick side dish or snack.

Packed in polypropylene cups with peelable film lidding, Success Ready to Serve rice comes in four varieties—Whole Grain Brown Rice, Long Grain White Rice, Chicken Rice Mix, and Long Grain & Wild Rice Mix. Each cup provides about 200 calories. This helps consumers manage caloric intake. The suggested retail price for a two-cup package is $1.69.

"As packaged salads and pre-cut fruit and vegetables have changed how we think about, cook, and consume fruits and vegetables, this product will change how people think about, cook, and consume rice," said Paul Galvani, Vice President of Marketing.