Round up

Latest NPD from across the food and drink industry

By William Dodds

- Last updated on GMT

Hames Chocolates has expanded its range of hot chocolate products ahead of Christmas. Credit: Hames
Hames Chocolates has expanded its range of hot chocolate products ahead of Christmas. Credit: Hames

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Food Manufacture rounds up the latest new product development from across the food and drink industry.

Hames expands hot chocolate range

Private label supplier Hames Chocolates has expanded its hot chocolate range in time for Christmas.

The new range features a selection of hot chocolate stirrers, bombers and pouches, which are all available now. It has been designed to appeal to grocery retailers, tourism and leisure operators, as well as specialist chocolate shops and gifting.

The hot chocolate spoons and hot chocolate stirrers both come in 35g packs and are available in flavours including milk chocolate, milk chocolate with mince pie and milk chocolate with salted caramel. The bombes range comes in white chocolate and strawberry, milk chocolate with hazelnut and dark chocolate flavours, while the pouches range comes in milk chocolate with orange and dark chocolate with peppermint flavours.

Now the weather has turned colder, we are urging retailers to stock up on our hot chocolate range to make sure they can meet consumer demand​,” said Carol Oldbury, director at Hames Chocolates.

Despite the current pressures on spending, shoppers are happy to pay the extra for premium quality hot chocolate product, which is why we have seen such a fantastic increase in sales of our real hot chocolate flakes. Traditional hot chocolate, made with milk chocolate, is doing extremely well, whilst premium flavours, such as milk orange and Irish cream have helped to increase sales in the run up to the festive period​.”

Crosse & Blackwell enters condensed soup category

Soup manufacturer Crosse & Blackwell has launched its debut range of condensed soup products.

Available now at an RRP of £1.25 in Asda, Co-op and Morrisons stores, the soup producer has launched with three different flavours: Cream of Tomato, Cream of Mushroom and Cream of Chicken.

Crosse & Blackwell has seen value growth of more than 70% in 2023 according to Kantar data, and is seeking to enhance its offering by entering the market for condensed soup, which is currently valued at £12.6m. In line with launching into this new category, the brand has also expanded its core range with the launch of tomato and minestrone products.

Kantar data also shows that Crosse & Blackwell saw +35% volume growth this year, driven by a 31% increase in the number of shoppers buying its products.

Jeremy Gibson, marketing director at Princes, the parent company of Crosse & Blackwell, said that now was “exactly the right time​” for the brand to enter a new market given its growth over the past year.

Gibson continued: “Understanding consumer behaviour, and the way attitudes are changing towards soup to become not only a meal but an ingredient, was essential to the end-to-end development and marketing of this new range​.”

Free-from producer CRAVE unveils new snacking option

CRAVE has unveiled a new biscuit sandwich with a vanilla cream filling and sprinkles called Bisco’s.

Set to be available in Sainsbury’s stores from 31 December 2023, it comes in 130g packs at a price of £3.50.

Founded in 2020 by Rob Brice, CRAVE has secured listings in Asda, Morrisons, Ocado and Sainsbury’s, with all its products being gluten-free and vegan and free from milk, egg and lactose. Existing options include crisps, onion rings, bacon-style rashers and spreads.

Remarking on the latest product offering, Brice said: “We like to think they encapsulate the fun of a Disco with the taste of a Birthday cake. Obviously Bisco’s are very different from any other circular biscuit, being vegan and free from the top 14 most common allergens, whilst still being tasty and ready to dunk (if you like that sort of thing).​”

Synergy launches whisky flavour range

Synergy Flavours has launched a natural whisky flavour range and a whisky cocktail flavour, developed for alcoholic and non-alcoholic ready-to-drink (RTD) products.

The new range has been created to support manufacturers meet the growing demand for cocktail bar-quality RTD options that can be drunk at home.

The range includes bourbon, Tennessee, fruity and peaty whisky flavours, as well as a traditional old fashioned cocktail flavour. This flavour range offers manufacturers flexibility in developing authentic RTD products, and allows customisation due to each flavour’s carefully crafted sensory profile.

Each whisky flavour has a sensory description highlighting the key flavour attributes, while Synergy also offers natural flavours, extracts and essences that can help support the new product development process.

Vicky Berry, senior European business development manager at Synergy, said that the move comes in response to the growing popularity of RTD products.

Berry continued: “We are seeing more activity in both non-alcoholic categories and beverages at 8% alcohol by volume (ABV) and above. For low- and no-alcohol products, the new portfolio helps our customers create drinks with flavours reminiscent of alcohol, replicating the sophistication of whisky-based options that consumers enjoy. In beverages at 8% ABV and above, our whisky flavours help manufacturers to reduce the amount of whisky they require in their RTD cocktail, perhaps opting for a less expensive alcohol instead, while maintaining a premium flavour at a lower price point.”

Asda and Tesco release new pigs in blankets ranges

Leading UK supermarket chains Asda and Tesco have both launched pigs in blankets ranges in time for the festive season.

The reimagined festive sides are available now in Asda and Tesco stores across the UK.

Asda has seven varieties on offer, including truffle and parmesan (£4), truffle (£4), cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan (£2.75) and maple sugar (£2.25). It has also released two traditional options, as a well as its special brown butter & spiced rum stuffing wreath, which serves 10 people and is on sale for £8.

Tesco meanwhile has created 11 different options, which include plant-based meat alternatives and a pigs in blankets topped steak pie. Varieties include pigs in blankets sausage rolls (£3), cheesy pigs in blankets (£2.50), gluten-free pigs in blankets (£3.25) and meat free banger in duvets (£2.80), as well as traditional and frozen options.

In other news, new Wrexham Lager chief executive James Wright tells Food Manufacture about the brand’s plans to use the city’s new found fame as a launchpad for expansion in the UK and around the world.

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