Coca-Cola to rename Coke Zero and make it more like the original

1460985528690Coca-Cola Great Britain has revealed that it will change the name of its sugar-free version, Coke Zero, and change the recipe so that it “tastes even more like the original Coca-Cola”.

The rebranded product will be known as Coca-Cola Zero Sugar and forms part of the company’s efforts to help people reduce their sugar intake, supported by Coca-Cola Great Britain’s “biggest marketing investment in a new product launch for a decade”.

The company will spend £10 million on encouraging consumers to choose the no-sugar variant, embarking on new television, out-of-home, digital advertising and experiential campaigns.

The news comes just over a month after the UK government announced plans to introduce a sugar levy, equivalent to £0.24 per litre for drinks containing more than 8g of sugar in every 100ml of liquid. The tax is expected to raise £520m for the treasury – though some products such as fruit juices and milk drinks will be automatically exempt.

It has also been prompted by a lack of awareness among consumers that Coke Zero was the company’s sugar-free, no-calorie alternative. As many as one in two consumers couldn’t clearly identify the point of distinction between Coke Zero and Coca-Cola, the company said last year.

Coca-Cola Great Britain general manager Jon Woods said: “For years we have offered people a choice – every brand we sell has a great-tasting no-sugar version. Since 2012 our commercial strategy has focused on accelerating the growth of our no-sugar options. We know that millions of people love the taste of Coca-Cola and have been working to refine the recipe of Coca-Cola Zero to match the taste of the original, but without sugar. It’s the biggest investment we’ve made in a new product launch for a decade and will give people the great taste of Coca-Cola Classic but without the sugar.”

Coca-Cola Zero Sugar will be available across Great Britain from the end of June in new-look cans, which feature a red disc that ties all of the company’s four key variants together.

It is similar to a series of “unifying” changes that Coca-Cola made across its portfolio earlier this month in Mexico, clearly identifying each product to consumers and further underscoring the company’s commitment to choice.

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 12.06.11

“Packaging is our most visible and valuable asset,” said Marcos de Quinto, chief marketing officer for The Coca-Cola Company. “The Coca-Cola Red Disc has become a signature element of the brand, synonymous with great taste, uplift and refreshment. By applying it to our packaging in such a bold way, we are taking the next step towards full adoption of the One Brand strategy, uniting the Coca-Cola family under one visual identity and making it even easier for consumers to choose their Coca-Cola with or without calories, with or without caffeine.”

As well as reformulating Coke Zero, Coca-Cola Great Britain will continue to work towards increasing the availability of smaller can formats such as 250ml.

It will also promote clear information on pack by displaying voluntary colour-coded nutrition labels on the front of bottles, remaining one of only a handful of major manufacturers to have adopted the new labelling system.

And, as part of the marketing strategy for its One Brand approach, which it announced earlier this year, Coca-Cola Great Britain will invest more of its marketing budge into the lower- and no-sugar variants of Coca-Cola.

Currently, 43% of all Coca-Cola products sold in the UK are lower- or no-sugar and the new marketing strategy is designed to increase this to more than 50% by 2020, the company said.


Healthy food supplier launches range of world-inspired foods

High-Resolution-Vive-Bio-Range2Health food supplier Healthy Foods Online has developed its own range of gluten-free, world-inspired foods after years of producing private-label products for “big brand names”.

The Vive Bio line-up combines gourmet flavours with healthy and organic ingredients, ranging from traditional Mediterranean red wine vinegars, oils and olive bruschettas to superfood coconut sugars, lucuma powders and chia seeds.

Embracing the best flavours from both Eastern and Western cultures, it was inspired by the company’s various visits to food suppliers across the globe. The ingredients that go into the range are sourced from high-quality farms across the globe – from the Mediterranean fields where its vinegars and sauces are produced to the Peruvian mountains where quinoa grain is picked by hand.

Michael Craven, marketing manager for Healthy Foods Online, said: “It’s a real exciting time for Healthy Foods Online to be launching its own range of products. We spotted a gap in the market for fresh, healthy ingredients that make a change to peoples diets but don’t comprise on taste. We have scoured the globe to find the finest suppliers who can offer the best foods and this is certainly reflected in the quality of the products.”


Truffles tap into the omega-3 benefits of ahiflowers

Now available in the EU and US, Ahiflower oil is unique among plant-based omega-3-6-9 dietary oils, because it combines the highest-available omega-3 stearidonic acid (SDA) with beneficial levels of gamma linolenic  acid (GLA) in a clean-tasting, sustainable and fully traceable product.

Being sold incorporated into capsules, as a liquid oil or even now in chocolate truffles, Ahiflower oil is derived from the plant buglossoides arvensis and has a neutral flavour and aroma compared with other omega-rich oils like flax, fish, krill, and algal oils; and has been shown in trials to have up to four times the EPA conversion benefit versus traditional flaxseed oil.

“The high level of omega-3 content of the Ahiflower has been known for many years, but the plant was only available as a wild plant until we developed it as a commercial crop,” explained Natures Crops International Ahiflower vice president for strategic initiatives Greg Cumberford, who confirmed that it took over 12 years for Natures Crops International to develop a crop that displayed sufficiently repeatable and reproducible outcomes for commercial growers.

Ahiflower is now exclusively grown and harvested by Natures Crops International’s network of growers in the UK, and then processed at Natures Crops International’s refinery in Canada, from where it is supplied as refined oil for further processing.


One recent finished product to feature Ahiflower in its healthy list of ingredients is UliMana ChocolateTruffles in the US. The company specialises in producing healthy truffles made from raw chocolate and organic ingredients. It prides itself on creating its new Oh! Mega 3 Truffles with the omega-3 benefits of Ahiflower oil plus the prevailing attributes of being Fairtrade, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, certified organic and with no processed sugars.

“Oh! Mega 3 Truffles are both delicious and healthy,” said Cumberford. “The truffles highlight Ahiflower oil’s versatility in applications one would never be able to achieve with fish or algal oils (due to sensory challenges). The flavour of Ahiflower is just slightly ‘planty’ yet it contains over 90% omega fatty acids.”

Tonya Bennert bought UliMana in 2015 and, drawing on her extensive experience working with healthy product-based companies, has been perfecting an existing formulation for the healthy Oh! Mega 3 Truffles ready for relaunch during 2016. The individual truffles have an ingredients list featuring organic cacao powder, organic cacao butter, organic coconut nectar, Ahiflower seed oil, organic flax seeds, organic chia seeds, organic sesame seeds, organic cinnamon, organic turmeric, organic ginger, Celtic sea salt and organic vanilla.

“Oh! Mega 3 Truffles offer consumers powerful health properties and their eyes light up when they taste them, because despite being low glycaemic and sweetened with an organic, low-glycaemic sweetener – coconut nectar – instead of sugar, they taste incredible,” said Bennert, who explained that each 0.4oz truffle has 50 calories and is considered as an individual, fulfilling serving – although consumers can eat as many as they like. “Our truffles are not like commercial milk- and sugar-laden chocolates that stimulate a craving for more. Instead, they are nutrient dense and very satisfying.”

Other Ahiflower food products in the pipeline from end user brands include salad oils, an RTD fruit smoothie, and a fortified non-dairy milk beverage.

“Confectionery lozenges, gummies, and gel tabs are also non-pill forms through which Ahiflower oil will no doubt proliferate. All foods, beverages, and supplements are commercialised only through licensed co-branding partners, with Natures Crops International retaining responsibility for the farming, production, refining, and sale of bulk Ahiflower oil globally,” said Cumberford.


Pepsi launches premium drink to mark ‘a century of cola-making’

PepsiCo 1893Pepsi has today unveiled a new premium cola – 1893 from the Makers of Pepsi-Cola – in a “tribute to more than a century of cola-making expertise”.

The new beverage offering is an “unexpectedly bold cola blend” featuring premium kola nut extract, real sugar and sparkling water. Blending together the past and the present, is has been rolled out in two distinct flavours – original and ginger cola – for what has been described as “a unique and unexpected cola experience”.

While the cola can be enjoyed as a standalone beverage, it is also the perfect complement for cocktails, Pepsi said.

“We were energised by the food revolution, and inspired by consumer interest in bold and interesting taste combinations,” said Chad Stubbs, vice-president of marketing for Pepsi. “We were also motivated by our past, so we created these unique 1893 taste experiences to honour the passion of our founder, Caleb Bradham.”

1893’s launch will be supported by a national television spot, debuting in April in both English and Spanish, which features a soda sommelier played by actor Jeff Galfer.

Packaged in sleek and premium 12oz cans, 1893 will be sold in stores where Pepsi products are already available, and features a suggested retail price of $1.79.


The couple who chose a giant Easter egg as their wedding cake

easter_egg-large_trans++qVzuuqpFlyLIwiB6NTmJwYPDojd8fAyVIYmAUppgzYsTrue innovation in the wedding cake area is extremely unusual. You may find couples who add multiple tiers to produce dangerously teetering piles, or those who go continental with a croquembouche, a giant conical tower of choux pastry secured in place with threads of caramel. But Lauren Pacey and Ben Lester, from Warrington in Cheshire, have cast convention entirely aside. They will be getting married at Easter at Park Manor in their home town and wanted a cake appropriate to the time of year. Why not, they thought, do away with a cake altogether, and instead have a giant Easter egg?

“We were on holiday in Turkey last Easter and talking over our plans for the wedding when the idea came up,” Pacey explains. “What could be better, we thought, than a massive Easter egg for all our guests to enjoy?”

The bride-to-be recalled that she had seen a spectacular creation that friends had shared on social media, and when returned from Turkey she quickly tracked it down: the Imperial Egg made by Bettys of Harrogate.

The Yorkshire bakers and confectioners have been making wedding day treats of every kind since their foundation in 1919, but never, so far as any serving member of staff can recall, has one of their enormous eggs been employed as a wedding centrepiece.easter_egg2-xlarge_trans++CEYXuZ-229TmZ2QzNh8Ui_BDyxhu1GA1_AvKpUvrMtA

The Imperial Egg is 70cm high and weighs 5.4kg. It comes in either milk or dark chocolate, decorated with an array of edible ferns, hand-painted butterflies and lifelike spring flowers. Each one is made to order at the bakery in Harrogate and costs £250.

It seems that Lauren and Ben are not alone in their ambitions. Word gets around quickly in a tea-room, and other brides-to-be are taken with the Imperial idea. “We have had a number of similar enquiries,” a Betty’s spokesperson discreetly concedes.

There are other, less exclusive and less expensive, options if you have a wedding to plan in a hurry, or just have a lot of friends to feed at Easter time. Hotel Chocolat’s ostrich egg, their biggest ever at just over a kilogramme, costs £75 and is available in branches and online. The resolutely downmarket can tuck into a Giant Creme Egg from Cadburys for £9.99. But you wouldn’t want to offer that to your wedding guests.


Artisan chocolate brand Choc on Choc shows off Easter collection

Artisan chocolate brand Choc on Choc has created a collection of “deliciously decadent hand-crafted confectionery” in time for Easter.

The indulgent line-up includes an intricately designed giant chocolate hen with gold eggs; a chocolatey take on traditional hot cross buns, made from chocolate and filled with marshmallow; a caramel-filled chocolate Easter egg; and chocolate quail’s eggs.

Caramel Easter Egg 2

There is also a set of chocolate bunnies, egg on toast made from chocolate, a white chocolate egg with chocolate dipping soldiers – as well as a scene that depicts a bunny diving into a punnet of carrots, all made from Belgian milk and white chocolate.

Chocolate rabbit and carrots

Choc on Choc takes its name from the patented production method invented by its founders, which decadently layers chocolate on top of chocolate, producing exceptionally designed confectionery and the perfect gifts for Easter, the company said.


Innovative new smart oven ‘can bake, broil, heat and steam food’

A Chicago-based start-up has secured funding for its “multi-function countertop oven”, which can bake, broil, convection heat or steam ready-prepared meals in minutes, after launching a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.

Tovala was originally seeking $100,000 in financing but, with more than three weeks remaining, has secured more than twice that amount.

The handy gadget, which looks and functions in a similar way to microwave ovens, will be accompanied by a chef-curated meal plan to offer consumers an array of convenient dishes that perform well on taste and nutrition.

Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 10.22.32

Users can go to the Tovala app to choose their meals for their week, with options including black pepper and coriander-crusted salmon plus ginger-marinated pork or miso-glazed sea bass. “We plan on pricing our meals from $10 to $15 depending on ingredients,” Tovala said, with shipping available across the continental US.

All they have to do is scan the barcode on the meal’s packaging and press start, with the machine’s WiFi-enabled automation taking care of the rest. The Tovala uses a bespoke combination of cooking methods, timing and temperatures for each dish, meaning each meal comes out the way it was intended with no preparation or cleanup required.

But the “smart oven” can also be used to cook consumers’ own food in a number of different ways, providing the ultimate convenience in cooking and even making food preparation easier in small spaces. What’s more, it can be used to reheat leftover food, typically taking a longer time than microwave ovens but producing better results.


The Tovala’s combination of wet and dry heat allows users to cook food in a way that had only previously been available in commercial kitchens, it said.

The innovators behind the technology are currently building a Tovala-specific recipe-sharing platform that will allow consumers and professional chefs to create and share recipes and cooking combinations using the Tovala smart oven. Where recipes show sustained popularity, the company will offer the meal as part of its weekly meal plans and pay royalties to the user who submitted the recipe in the first instance.

fe1bc5f6387e4e1d26c0e12b7a6e60f9_originalThe estimated retail price will be $329, but Tovala is currently offering a limited-number of ovens at $199 as part of its Kickstarter campaign.

“We at Tovala are passionate and excited about the idea of empowering home chefs and artisan food makers across the country,” Tovala said as part of its original crowdfunding pitch.

“Tovala lets you do your own experimenting – go beyond traditional cooking methods by employing both wet and dry heat for maximum effectiveness. That means chicken that’s juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside; vegetables that are firm yet fully cooked (and even lightly charred); and preparation times that are incredibly short.”


MSC Cruises creates chocolate decadence at sea by Jean-Philippe Maury

e8d19681ae448407a76cc7ef8bb31c62This is not for passengers worried about their weight. But those of you who throw caution to the wind when on a cruise will love to know that MSC Cruises has partnered with acclaimed chocolatier and pastry chef,Jean-Philippe Maury, to create a decadent assortment of sweet treats for the line beginning with a roll out on the MSC Divina. “We constantly look to surprise and delight our guests with new and authentic culinary experiences. Jean-Philippe Maury is a world pastry champion who embodies passion, elegance, innovation and excellence – the same characteristics that distinguish MSC Cruises,” said Rick Sasso, president of MSC Cruises. “We partner with the world’s leading brands and individuals who lend us best practices in their fields to create unique and unforgettable experiences for our guests. Jean-Philippe’s artistic culinary creations are an exciting addition to the authentic Mediterranean and international culinary offerings already found across MSC Cruises fleet.

“I am truly honored to partner with MSC Cruises in this new exciting adventure. Creativity and passion will lead us to the next level of excellence,” says Jean-Philippe Maury, Best Pastry Chef in France (Meilleur Ouvrier de France 1997) and gold medal winner at the World Pastry Team Championship (2002 and 2004). Maury also held the position of executive Pastry Chef at The Bellagio Hotel Las Vegas in 1998 and then Aria Hotel in 2009. Today, he is managing in partnership with MGM Resorts International his two shops Jean Philippe Patisserie, one of which houses the world’s tallest and largest chocolate fountain. Last summer, he opened an innovative dessert concept in San Diego, called iDessert.

Don’t look if you’re dieting but the new dessert offerings within the ship’s buffet, specialty restaurants and the MSC Yacht Club will include a chocolate atelier with an open kitchen where passengers can watch the chocolatiers create seductive offerings.


Maine Man’s Biscuit Cutters Called ‘Prettiest Pastry Tool in Kitchen’

drommar-piece-pastry-cutter-set-in-box-blue__0090574_PE224679_S4Thanks to the website, a Maine wood turner is a very busy man.

Two years ago, the website described Al Mather’s handmade wooden biscuit cutters as the prettiest pastry tool in the kitchen.

“I like them because I don’t have to hide them in the drawer and wonder where it is,” said Bobbi Mather, Al Mather’s wife.

While Bobbi Mather says there is a lot to the looks of her husband’s biscuit cutters, Al Mather has a different take.

“I think of it as a tool,” he said.

Each of Al Mather’s biscuit cutters begin as a block of specially selected ash. He said the unique grain of the wood ensures no two cutters will be identical.

“I like the grain of the ash. I like the hard wood that’s a darker, but it offers up a lot of possibilities,” Al Mather said.

For most of Mather’s wood turning career, biscuit cutters were simply a side product, but since Food 52 came knocking 22 months ago, he hasn’t had time to create anything else.

“So I get responses back. People say it’s just a beautiful work of art, it’s beautiful,” Mather said.

Mather is coming around to the notion that his biscuit cutters are more than just a tool.

He appreciates that many of his customers choose to display their cutters and not hide them away in the drawer.

“I think there’s an element of appreciation when you see something that’s beautiful regardless what the form of art is, but I like to have something that’s functional,” Mather said.

Mather is quick to admit he has never baked a biscuit in his life, so personally, he has little use for his cutters.

However, he revels in the idea that so many others do.

“Somebody, somewhere is going to have this in their kitchen,” Mather said.

Because his customers use and enjoy the cutters, Mather said he loves making as many of them as he can.

“In a sense, I get to serve people I don’t even know, and give them a product that they might delight in without knowing a thing about me,” Mather said.


Dr. Oetker plans giant ‘bunny bum’ installations for Easter

Dr. Oetker Baking has revealed its Easter-time campaign plans, which include the reveal of giant chocolate ‘bunny bums’ in Manchester and London.

Giants versions of Dr. Oetker's 'bunny bum' design appear in Manchester and London
Giants versions of Dr. Oetker’s ‘bunny bum’ design appear in Manchester and London

The brand has teamed up with specialist cake maker Juliet Sear to create the installations. The Bunny Bum is a baking design that aims to celebrate the Easter rabbit, and giant versions of the cupcake will be displayed in London’s Potters Field Park on 16 March, along with Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester on 18 March.

Samples of Bunny Bum cakes, recipe leaflets and money off vouchers will be distributed at each location.

The activity forms part of Dr. Oetker’s home baking initiative across half term, Mother’s Day and Easter. Bake a Better Day will encourage children to cook up treats for their mums, via a national press and coupon campaign.

The brand has also partnered with Great British Bake Off contestant Ian Cumming, who has created a playful children’s recipe book illustrated by Matt Nguyen. Dr. Oetker be working with influential ‘daddy bloggers’, such as Diary of the Dad and Dadda Cool, to bring the recipes to life.

Jan McKee, head of marketing at Dr. Oetker UK, said: “Seasonal events are worth £65m to the home baking category and make up 40% of the category’s sale]. Bake a Better Day will help to drive events and occasions in home baking and we hope to inspire more consumers and families to get baking with Dr. Oetker.”