Thinking Outside the Pizza Box
Major pizza chains in the United States are moving beyond their signature dish to attract new customers and differentiate themselves. Domino’s Pizza, Ann Arbor, Mich., has expanded its menu with hot, oven-baked sandwiches. Priced at $4.99, the sandwiches come in four varieties—Philly Cheese Steak, Chicken Bacon Ranch, Chicken Parm, and Italian. “This launch springboards Domino’s into the lunch business by providing a product that is high quality, priced right, and aimed at convenience-minded people without a lot of time,” said Patrick Doyle, President of Domino’s USA.

As an extension to its Tuscani Pastas, Pizza Hut, Dallas, Texas, is rolling out Premium Bacon Mac ’n Cheese. The oven-baked product consists of rotini pasta smothered in a cheddar cheese sauce and topped with cheese and bacon. Designed to feed a family of four, the 3+ lb of product comes with 5 breadsticks and retails for $12.99.

Raising the Bar
Energy bars are evolving to take advantage of nutrition trends. Kraft Foods, Glenview, Ill., launched LiveActive Chewy Granola Bars, which contain a live probiotic culture and fiber. The on-the-go bars come in three flavors—Peanut Butter, Chocolate Raspberry, and Blueberry Almond. Probi AB, Lund, Sweden, supplies the probiotic culture. The 1.23-oz bars come in a 5-count carton with a suggested retail price of $3.59. According to an online consumer survey of 1,000 people commissioned by Kraft Foods, nearly two-thirds of Americans (63%) polled claim they are not at all familiar with probiotics and only 13% of those who were familiar with them could define them accurately.

Quaker Oats, Chicago, Ill, a unit of PepsiCo, offers Quaker Chewy Granola Bars with Protein. Each 28-g bar contains 110 calories, 5 g of protein, 1 g of fiber, and whole grain oats and wheat. The snack bars come in 2 varieties— Nutty Peanut Butter and Peanut Butter & Chocolate. An 8-count carton carries a suggested retail price of $3.19.

Marketing Product Traceability
Nature’s Premium Brand LLC, Northfield, Ill., a marketer of all-natural fresh pork products, is using a DNA-based system that is USDA Process Verified to track naturally raised pork back to the farm. The meat processor uses the DNA Traceback system from IdentiGEN, Lawrence, Kan. Nature’s Premium brand pork packages carry the DNA TraceBack seal at the meat case to guarantee to consumers that each cut came from the company’s unique production and processing system. Retailers carrying Nature’s Premium pork with DNA TraceBack include Kowalski’s Markets, Minneapolis, Minn.; Sendik’s Food Markets, Milwaukee, Wis.; New Leaf Community Markets, Santa Cruz, Calif.; Dave’s Marketplace stores, Rhode Island; Donelan’s Supermarkets, Boston, Mass.; and Bogopa, a food distributor serving several international foods markets in New York. “Simply put, this program equates to trust,” said Nature’s Premium CEO John D. Stewart. “We take samples of the actual DNA of every animal in the program to assure that we are delivering the premium quality assurances customers expect.”