Fast & Healthy Side Dishes
Consumers looking for something different to accompany their entrée may want to try a new offering of all-natural and gluten-free Quinoa & Brown Rice from Hodgson Mill, Effingham, IL. The product comes in several flavor combinations: Italian, Garlic & Herb, Lemon Pepper, Spicy, and Mediterranean. Preparation is quick and simple—consumers add water to the product, heat the mixture, and serve it in 15 minutes. A healthier alternative to white rice or white pasta, Quinoa & Brown Rice uses organic quinoa and all-natural seasonings. It delivers 140 calories with 5 g of protein, 2 g of fiber, and less than 1 g of sugar per serving. Depending on the variety, the sodium content ranges from 45 to 90 mg per serving. Plus, the product is certified Kosher (U Parve) and packaged in a gluten-free facility.
What’s for Dinner?
On average, U.S. consumers devote less than 30 minutes to prepare and cook the evening meal. General Mills
, Minneapolis, Minn., is answering the call for new and convenient dinner options with its launch of Ultimate Helper
, available in chicken and hamburger varieties. Ultimate Helper
extends the Hamburger
, and Tuna Helper
franchise by pairing pasta and a seasoning mix with a liquid sauce in a pouch. For example, Ultimate Cheddar Broccoli Chicken Helper
contains shell pasta, seasoning packet, and cheddar cheese sauce pouch. The prepared product delivers about 310 calories per 8-oz serving. Another variety—Ultimate Three Cheese Marina Hamburger Helper
—contains penne pasta, seasoning packet, and tomato herb sauce pouch.
In addition to the brand extension, the Helper franchise has gotten a packaging makeover. The cartons feature a starring role for the brand’s mascot, the Helping Hand, and the word “Helper” has been increased in size.
Pretzel Moves Beyond Snacks
The ordinary pretzel has moved beyond its snack food roots to become a rising bakery star. First, it became a pretzel roll in baskets on many restaurant tables. Now, it has moved to the QSR arena as a bun for burgers and hot dogs. Wendy’s
, Dublin, Ohio, recently launched its Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger
. Each pretzel bun is hand cut for a unique appearance. In addition to the bun, the new sandwich includes a ¼-lb beef patty, slice of cheddar cheese, thick Applewood
smoked bacon, spring mix made with 9 different greens, sliced red onion, sliced tomatoes, sweet & smoky honey mustard, and warm cheddar cheese sauce. It carries a suggested retail price of $4.69.
SONIC Drive-In, Oklahoma City, OK, is offering limited-time Pretzel Dogs this summer. The Cheesy Bacon Pretzel Dog is topped with crisp bacon and warm melted cheese sauce, and the Original Pretzel Dog is topped with mustard. Both products feature premium beef hot dogs, nestled in a warm, soft pretzel bun.