Snacks for Toddlers
On-the-go, busy parents mean mobile infants and toddlers riding in strollers or car seats. But it’s not always easy to have something nutritious on hand when little Johnny or Janie gets hungry. For these times and others, Plum Organics, Emeryville, Calif., has launched Super Puffs—organic baby food snacks in five fruit & veggie whole-grain combinations. Rich in vibrant color from real organic fruits & veggies, each wheat-free puff is certified-organic and fortified with vitamins & minerals to meet the needs of a growing baby. Varieties include Super Yellows -Banana & Peach, Super Purples - Blueberry & Purple Sweet Potato, Super Reds - Strawberry & Beet, Super Oranges - Mango & Sweet Potato, and Super Greens - Spinach & Apple. The products come in 1.5-oz canisters that are designed to fit in car cup-holders and strollers, too. The containers are resealable, reusable, and recyclable. Each product carries a suggested retail price of $2.99.

A Better French Fry?
McDonald’s French fry comes closest to the ideal spud desired by consumers, according to Brand Keys’ Customer Loyalty Engagement Index. Arby’s and Hardees place second and third respectively, while Wendy’s, Dublin, Ohio, ties for eighth. But the freckled-face brand is not sitting still. Wendy’s recently launched natural-cut fries with sea salt in the U.S. The new fries incorporate new ingredients and preparation methods to meet consumers’ demand for a better-tasting, higher-quality French fry. They are made from 100% Russet potatoes and sliced “natural-style” with the skin on for additional texture and taste, and then cooked in proprietary oil. The fries are finished with a dusting of natural sea salt to further enhance the flavor.

Wendy’s extensive consumer research revealed what they wanted in a great-tasting French fry, which includes an even golden color, a real potato taste, and one that stays hot longer. The new fries were test marketed in three cities. Sales were above expectations and continued to be strong even after the test marketing advertising ended.

Package Speeds Pasta Preparation
Convenience in food preparation is a global phenomenon. In Germany, Buss, Ottersberg, offers Pasta Pronto—a fresh pasta and sauce combination that is ready to eat within minutes. The key to the product’s convenience is its two-part container supplied by RPC Bebo Plastik GmbH. “The advantage of separating sauce and pasta into two containers is the possibility to individually cook ingredients to the optimum point in the factory. The pasta is ‘al dente,’ while the sauces are prepared to bring out their rich flavors,” stated Manfred Petersen, General Manager of Buss.

A tall container holds 300 g of pasta. A smaller round sauce pot nests upsidedown on top of the larger cup. Both packs are thermoformed in high transparent PP, permitting a chilled shelf life of around three weeks. To prepare, the consumer pours the sauce into the pasta cup, which is microwaved for two minutes. The pasta container features ribbed insulation that protects the consumer’s fingers from getting burnt after heating, so that the meal can be eaten directly from the cup.