Grilling Up Innovation
For decades, roller-style grills in convenience stores and other quick-serve outlets rotated and cooked frankfurters or other sausage-shaped products for immediate or on-the-go consumption. But they were becoming a relic due to changing food preferences. That’s changed in large part due to Ruiz Foods, Dinuba, Calif., which manufactures El Monterey Tornados—a rolled, crispy tortilla containing meat, cheese, and/or other ingredients. "Our El Monterey Tornados not only revitalized the use of roller grills in convenience stores and quick-serve food outlets," said Bryce Ruiz, President and COO, Ruiz Foods, "but c-store retailers recently ranked El Monterey Tornados in the #1, #2, and #6 positions out of the top 10 frozen sandwiches by SKU."

The handheld products come in two sizes—3 oz and 6" in length and 4.25 oz and 9". The products are prepared on roller grills and can be held warm on the grill or in the hot case. They carry a suggested retail price from $0.99 to $2.29. The newest flavor in the line is Firecracker Chicken—a hot-wing-style medley of chicken and Monterey Jack cheese in a crispy seasoned tortilla.

A Brand with Guts
Kraft Foods, Northfield, Ill., plans to launch a line of snack cheeses and cottage cheeses under the LiveActive brand that help to support digestive health. Kraft LiveActive cheese sticks and cubes contain live and active probiotic cultures. Individually wrapped sticks come in a 7-oz resealable pouch; cubes are packed in an 8-oz resealable pouch. Varieties include Cheddar, Colby & Monterrey Jack, Mozzarella, and White Cheddar. The products carry a suggested retail price of $3.49. "Probiotics work naturally with your intestinal microflora to help balance your digestive system," said Richard Black, Vice President of Global Nutrition, Kraft Foods. "Consumed regularly, probiotics have long been known to help deliver significant health benefits."

Breakstone’s and Knudsen LiveActive cottage cheese contains prebiotic fiber (i.e., inulin) to help consumers meet their daily fiber goals and naturally regulate their digestive systems. The products come in a four-pack of 4-oz cups, which carries a suggested retail price of $2.59.

Simplifying Seafood Cooking
Most consumers can grill a hamburger or boil a hot dog, but it’s a different story for seafood. Many consumers are often unsure how to prepare fish. McCormick & Company, Hunt Valley, Md., removes some of the guesswork with its new line of Seafood Steamers. The 1-oz product contains seasoning and steaming bag. Consumers place either shrimp or fish, seasoning, and water in the steaming bag and microwave for 6 min. The specially designed steaming bag helps lock in moisture and flavor and minimizes cleanup. Available in Lemon Garlic and Garlic Butter varieties, the product carries a suggested retail price is $2.89.

Old Bay Seafood Steamers adds convenience to cooking shrimp. The 0.53-oz product contains seasoning and a steaming bag. Consumers add shrimp, seasoning, and water to the bag, shake the contents to evenly coat the products, and microwave for 3–4 min.