KFC popcorn packs and canned wine lead NPD round up

By William Dodds

- Last updated on GMT

The new 'Sekko' is available through Ocado and WHSmith. Credit: When in Rome
The new 'Sekko' is available through Ocado and WHSmith. Credit: When in Rome

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Food Manufacture rounds up the latest innovations from businesses in food and drink manufacturing, including a new KFC partner and a carbon conscious wine maker.

Here are six interesting new product development (NPD) stories that have recently come across our desk.

KFC and Proper Snacks partner on popcorn

The maker of Propercorn and Properchips, Proper Snacks, has partnered with KFC for the release of ‘Popcorn Chicken Popcorn’.

KFC’s well-known innovation will soon be widely available on supermarket shelves in 90kcal servings, sold either separately or as part of sharing packs.

Launched on 23 August 2023 in Co-op stores, the packs will also arrive in Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda locations over the next few weeks. ‘Popcorn Chicken Popcorn’ is vegan and gluten-free, in addition to being HFSS compliant and free from palm oil.

Our take on the finger-lickin’ classic brings a little extra seasoning to your go-to snack​,” said Proper Snacks founder Cassandra Stavrou.

Two culturally relevant brands have collided to bring the world’s favourite popcorn chicken to fans in a fun, creative way​.”

Meanwhile, KFC innovation director, Kate Wall, said the partnership was in keeping with the brand’s goal of remaining “unexpected​”.

This partnership is about combining two iconic products to bring the world ‘Popcorn Chicken Popcorn’, so that people can enjoy our distinctive taste in new ways,” ​Wall added.

“This collaboration pushes the boundaries of taste and texture in a fun and exciting way, and we can’t wait for our fans to try it​.”

When in Rome launches canned ‘Sekko’

Anglo-Italian drinks maker When in Rome has launched a new canned sparkling wine product named ‘Sekko’.

The crisp and fresh, semi-sparking white is made with Glera grapes and will be exclusively available in cans.

In a recent interview with Food Manufacture, When in Rome chief executive, Robert Malin, described the firm’s commitment to decarbonising the wine industry​. Its products are never sold in glass bottles, with the manufacturer instead opting for the following formats: cans, bag in box and paper bottles.

“[This] is a way for us to strip back all of the unnecessary packing associated with sparkling wines and reduce its carbon footprint significantly​,” said Malin.

It’s got all the fizz, but none of the fuss of a single-use glass bottle, the same premium product, but in a more convenient format, perfect for picnics, festivals, train rides or for those who simply don’t want to open and finish an entire bottle of wine​.”

Cans of ‘Sekko’ are now available through Ocado and WHSmith, while other sustainably packaged wines produced by When in Rome are stocked in Waitrose and Sainsbury’s.

[Almost 40%] of the wine industry’s carbon footprint globally is produced by single-use glass bottles, with smarter, lower-carbon packaging alternatives available we can change this​,” Malin added.

Glebe Farm updates granola range with new recipe

British gluten-free oats manufacturer Glebe Farm has launched a “new and improved​” granola range with a revamped recipe and updated packaging.

The upgraded recipe includes greater oat content in the ‘Maple & Banana’ and ‘Strawberry’ packs, while the inclusion of vegan chocolate in the ‘Choco Chip’ sees an accessible favourite added to the range. The new products have also been certified as 100% vegan by the Vegan Society.

Research shows that 62% of British adults make time for breakfast each day, while 79% cited enjoyment as a driver behind the food and drink they buy. As a result, Glebe Farm is hoping to provide a fun and nutritious granola product that can fuel people for the day.

"We take pride in producing the purest, British gluten-free oats that not only fall under the Free From category, but also deliver an exceptional taste experience​,” said chief executive Tony Holmes.

Our new ‘PureOaty Granola’ range reflects our dedication to creating delicious food and drink with the added benefit of catering to various lifestyle needs. It therefore offers foodservice operators and retailers the perfect solution to meeting the increasing number of dietary requirements in the UK, without compromising on taste or quality​.”

The upgraded range, which consists of ‘Maple & Banana’, ‘Strawberry’ and ‘Choco Chip’ flavours, will be available through Ocado and Amazon from next month (September 2023).

Sour sweets on the menu at Barratt

Confectionery brand Barratt, part of Valeo Snackfoods, has launched a new offering under its Wham brand, dubbed ‘Wham Sour Squad’.

Designed for those who enjoy a sour option, it also has a soft and squidgy texture. Available in the traditional rocket shape, the ‘Wham Sour Squad’ comes in four flavours: raspberry, apple, cherry and lemon.

Now available at Co-op stores throughout the UK, each 95g pack is priced at £1.

Relevancy is key, and we can clearly see that consumers are increasingly seeking out gums and jellies when buying sweets​,” said Russell Tanner, marketing director at Barratt.

That’s why we’re innovating to grow our presence in this space, an approach we believe will allow us to bring the distinctive and delicious flavours of our much-loved sweets to new audiences​.”

Merchant Gourmet looks to frozen

UK-based pulses and grains brand, Merchant Gourmet, has launched a new frozen range of grab and cook ‘Veg & Grains’ pouches.

Merchant Gourmet is hoping to tap into the need for convenience, with its fresh, vegetable-rich meals easy to prepare from frozen and ready in just four minutes.

Research shows that 35% of consumers are uninspired by the frozen vegetable aisle, but the new range includes ‘Korean-Style Vegetables & Mixed Grains’, ‘Mediterranean-Style Vegetables & Giant Couscous’ and ‘Mexican-Style Vegetables & Quinoa’.

The range is available now in Waitrose, and will be launching in Tesco from 18 September 2023, priced at £3 per 400g pack.

Richard Peake, managing director at Merchant Gourmet, said: “We wanted to create a frozen range that makes it easy to inject more plants into your everyday. The grab and cook pouches are for people who love fresh food that is full of flavour, but sometimes lack the time to create healthy, nourishing meals at home.

We developed this range so that after just 4 minutes in the microwave you have a super healthy lunch or dinner, without having to compromise on taste or health. Just add a protein and you have a stress-free, nourishing meal, packed with flavour​.”

Kallø adds new ‘Mini Veggie Cakes’ flavour

Rice cake manufacturer Kallø has added a new ‘Mini Veggie Cakes’ flavour to its range, salt and vinegar, as it looks expand the options available to consumers.

The salt and vinegar minis will look to build on the brand’s success with the flavour in the larger format. The ‘Sea Salt & Vinegar Mini Veggie Cakes’ are now available in Waitrose stores around the UK, priced at 99p per pack.

Made from natural plant-proteins including lentil and pea, the snacks are HFSS-compliant, vegan and gluten-free. Prior to the addition, the ‘Mini Veggie Cakes’ only came in ‘Beetroot & Balsamic’ and ‘Caramelised Onion Chutney’.

Already, ‘Veggie Cakes’ have transformed the category with vibrant flavour and an unforgettable crunch,”​ said Adele Ward, Kallø marketing director at parent company Ecotone UK.

Now, with ‘Sea Salt & Cider Vinegar’ joining the ‘Mini Veggie Cake’ range, more consumers can enjoy the much-loved tangy flavour while upping their plant-based proteins. The range is performing incredibly well with an increasing number of younger, more health-conscious consumers seeking healthier choices and packing their own lunches.​”

Kallø is a B Corp brand, a concept Food Manufacture recently explored in more detail​.

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