Tracking all the new product action around the world, leading drinks researcher Mintel brings just-drinks' readers its exclusive New products Database. This month sees considerable activity in packaging, RTD's and in the functional drinks sector.

This month's Global New Product Database sees some interesting packaging being introduced into the drinks market.

The widget has now moved in to the coffee sector having revolutionised the beer market back in the late 1980s, offering consumers the qualities of draught beer at home. Now, the widget idea is being used outside of the alcoholic beverages market in an attempt to give a premium edge to a new iced coffee launch in the UK.

The new canned Kenco branded Ice Cappio line from Kraft Foods is poured to give a creamy coffee drink with a frothy top. In contrast to Nestlé's Nescafé Ice line, which coincidentally is being withdrawn from retail, Ice Cappio has an indulgent rather than refreshing positioning.

Said to be the first non-alcoholic beverage to feature a widget, when Ice Cappio is poured it settles into two layers - creamy coffee at the bottom with a frothy top. It is aimed at 25- to 35-year-old females, who want to treat themselves. Ice Cappio is packaged in a 200ml metal can, priced at £1.29.

Pouch packaging is appearing in all sorts of categories, even ice cream (e.g. Solero Smoover from Unilever). It offers portability, disposability and in most cases also gives resealability. It is highly used within the beverages market and the latest novel pouch line in beverages has been launched in Hong Kong. New there is Cube, an isotonic water with grapefruit essence, packaged in a "cool" blue coloured, transparent pouch indicating a "natural" feel. It is distributed by Allied Submit.

Expert Analysis

Growth Strategies in Packaging Food & Drink to 2007

This report will provide you with a comprehensive breakdown and future forecast of each key packaging segment to 2007 backed up by in-depth analysis and relevant and up to-to-date case studies.

 

A novel way for the body to obtain probiotic cultures has been developed. BioGaia has developed the probiotic LifeTop Straw, marketed by Tetra Pak, which releases an extra ingredient as liquid is sucked through it. The first products to use the new technology are Orchard Maid's yoghurt drinks. Packs carry the telescopic straws along with directions explaining the concept. In the case of Orchard Maid the extra ingredient is a lactic acid bacteria called Lactobacillus Reuteri, said to maintain the body's natural defences and balance the digestive system. Without the straw, the drinks would just be regular yoghurt drinks.

The idea means that processing difficulties, such as heating, can be avoided, as the extra ingredient is not added directly to the product. The process allows manufacturers to add an extra health dimension to products without having to reformulate them or increase prices. New under the Orchard Maid brand is a blueberry & blackcurrant flavoured variety, priced at £0.99 for a 250ml carton featuring the new straw.

Within the wine sector, a recent development in the sparkling wine segment has been the emergence of single serve bottles with straws for easy drinking. Recent examples include Asti Sparkling Wine in the US from Martini & Rossi; and flavoured Arbor Mist Wine, also in the US from Canandaigua Wine. More importantly, it seems that the straw is no longer required. New in the UK from Veuve Clicquot is a pack of 4 x 200ml single serve bottles, which also come with "Clicqs" - a new device which snaps onto the tops of the bottles and enables the Champagne to be drunk directly from the bottle without the need of a straw. The pack will be available priced at £32-35.

Staying with alcoholic drinks development, but moving to Canada, Molson has launched a refreshing iced tea with a kick. The Tornade Long Island Iced Tea contains 6.1% ABV and is flavoured with a twist of lemon. Its packaging features graphics displaying a city being hit by whirls of wind, assumed to be tornadoes.

In the spirit segment, to speed up serving time, Australian pubs in Sydney and Melbourne have witnessed the arrival of pre-mixed Bundaberg rum & cola on draught. It is believed to be the first spirit on tap anywhere in the world. The drink is already available in a packaged format. While in the UK, VDB Spirits is attempting to modernise advocaat (an egg-based liqueur with a somewhat old fashioned image) with the launch of Advoscotch. It is made with a blend of Scotch and advocaat. The drink is available in two flavours original and coffee.

Beer continues to make in-roads in the FABs (flavoured alcoholic beverages) market. Mintel has already reported on Holsten Cooler in Germany, Holsten Fusion in the UK, and fruit flavoured Grolsch in bottles in the Netherlands. Now, Carlsberg is joining the new segment with the Swedish launch of Cube. It is a bottled 5.6% ABV beer-based, mixed drink with a sour lemon flavour. It is said to be ideal served with ice cubes and a slice of lemon.

Gin is also attempting to gain a share in the FAB market. New in the UK from Guinness UDV is Gordon's Edge, available in lemon and lime flavours. It features the well-established Gordon's gin brand but is not targeted at traditional "gin & tonic" consumers. Instead, its aim is to entice younger people to gin. The launch is being supported with a hefty £5m budget.