With Christmas just out of the way, complete with its associations of overindulgence, January might not seem like the best time of year to launch new products which are both rich and potentially damaging to the waistline.
But our latest look at the pages of the Mintel Global New Products Database shows that this month has in fact been full of new product launches in that potentially most fattening of product categories, desserts and ice cream. While there are undoubtedly many dessert products which cater for the increasingly health conscious consumer, most of those launched by producers and retailers across Europe this month fall firmly in the indulgent rather than the good-for-you category.
Many of the launches have been in the ice cream sector, with most being either line extensions or the launch of well known brands into new markets. One product which seems to be somewhat different to the traditional ice cream tub, however, is Kurabiye Güzeli & Cilek Sepeti, launched in the Turkish market by Unilever Bestfoods' subsidiary Algida Carte d'Or.
The mini ice cream pack consists of two pots of cocoa biscuit & chocolate ice cream with milk & vanilla and two pots of ice cream with strawberry pieces and strawberry sauce. Each pot contains 120ml, and the four pack costs €2.19.
Another ice cream product which is a little unusual has been launched in the Portuguese market under the Camy brand by Swiss food group Nestlé. The product, Nestlé Noir, is part of the Duets range of ice cream and combines dark chocolate ice cream with a separate compartment of chocolate drops. The pack of two 130ml pots costs €2.17.
On the more traditional side, and once again from Unilever Bestfoods, is Carte d'Or Spagnola, a cherry flavoured ice cream addition to the Carte d' Or range in Greece, and a €3.90 per 900ml pot, targeted firmly at the luxury end of the take home market. Another addition to the Carte d'Or brand, this time in Hungary, is Gerbeaud, ice cream with cinnamon, walnut, apricot and chocolate and then covered with walnuts and chocolate pieces. It retails for €2.65.
But there are several other product categories which have also seen new additions this month. In the chilled dairy desserts category, the majority of the products featured in the GNPD are relaunches of popular favourites. These include new versions of custard (by Sainsbury's in the UK) and rice pudding (by Cerealia in Denmark), as well as packaging revamps for already well-established brands, such as Danette in both Belgium and Hungary, and reformulations, such as that for Le Viennois from Nestlé in France, which, according to the company has been made smoother.
However, the chilled desserts category does not just include dairy-based products targeted at adults looking for a little indulgence. In the UK, Nestlé has extended its range of tropical fruit jelly with Stich Slime, a 450g six-pack to tie in with the latest Disney movie, Lilo & Stich and aimed firmly at the 5-12 year-old category.
Targeted at adults, but playing the health card, are two products launched in France this month. Senoble has launched Weight Watchers Duetto, a reduced fat dessert that combines chocolate mousse with a cream base, which claims to have 30 per cent fewer calories and 50 per cent less fat than other brands. It has a recommended retail price of €1.50. Meanwhile, Andros has launched a new range of fruit desserts with no added sugar, made with an apple base and in six flavours -apple, pineapple, prune, raspberry, pear and banana.
But the category which has seen the most products launched this month within the desserts segment must be that of cakes, and most of the activity has come from the UK retail sector. Tesco has launched several new products, including Indulgent Frosted Carrot And Walnut Squares in its premium own label range Finest and old favourite treacle tart, in its chilled dessert range.
Marks & Spencer, on the other hand, has introduced a chocolate pavlova in its own label frozen dessert range, as well as a single-serve Tarte au Chocolat in its Food To Go sub-brand, designed to cater for consumers seeking something indulgent with their sandwiches at lunchtime.
Mintel's Global New Products Database looks at new product development, and features records of food, drink and non-food product launches. For more information, visit www.gnpd.com or call +44 20 7606 45533