Barilla Makes 60-Second-Italian with Microwaveable Meals Launch

August 10, 2012

Barilla, the world’s leading pasta brand, recently made its first leap to the microwavable aisle with its tasty launch—Barilla Microwaveable Meals. From the cabinet to the microwave to the table, the new single serving meals bring a little piece of Italy right to the home in just 60 seconds.

The portable 320 calorie meals are available in five varieties including Mezze Penne with Traditional Marinara Sauce, Mezze Penne with Tomato & Basil Sauce, Mezze Penne with Spicy Marinara Sauce, and in two whole grain options including Whole Grain Fusilli with Vegetable Marinara Sauce and Whole Grain Mezze Penne with Tomato & Basil Sauce (and for those of you pasta lovers, that’s five different pasta dishes for five work days, but who’s counting?)

Barilla’s new creation was developed with the busy on-the-go professional in mind.

“[The meals] are shelf stable so you can throw them into your bag on your way out the door, or keep a supply in your desk drawer,” said Giannella Alvarez, president of Barilla America in a press release.

With the April 5th product announcement on the brand’s Facebook page, Barilla invited the first 1,000 users to register for a free sample of the microwaveable meals to be sent to their home. The samples were gone almost as soon as the offer was posted. Social media engagement didn’t stop there for the new all-natural meals; Twitter followers were encouraged to use the hashtag #BarillaIn60 to share their thoughts on the new product.

Barilla is no amateur when it comes to product launching. The top pasta brand invited editors from some of the most well-known New York City publications to test the new microwaveable meals, and captured the entire event on video—which they of course included on their YouTube channel.

Effective campaign initiatives aside, what makes these microwavable meals so different from the rest? For starters: simplicity. The meals are shelf stable and packed with quality ingredients minus the preservatives, not to mention they’re incredibly convenient. It’s easy products like this that consumers have come to expect, and as long as Barilla keeps launching them, they’ll keep holding onto that #1 spot.

Expert Panelist Phil Lempert of Supermarket Guru

November 16, 2011

With thousands of new food and beverage launches each year, new consumer packaged goods enter an extremely competitive market where it’s difficult to create a memorable impact on passive consumers. One of the recurring trends that we are finding in the CPG industry is using to catch consumer’s attention is the promise of simplification and convenience.

Food marketing expert Phil Lempert, the force behind, is a pioneer in news information media, specializing in consumer behavior. Here, he offers up his top five nominations for the 2011 MMNPL survey.

Aunt Jemima Frozen Breakfast

With five new microwavable breakfast foods (pancakes, waffles, entrées, sandwiches and French toast), Aunt Jemima is providing consumers with simple solutions for busy weekday mornings from a brand they already know and associate with a tasty breakfast. Calling on the slogan “Just Add Warmth,” these homemade tasting items can be prepared in just minutes using a toaster or microwave.

David’s Jumbo Sunflower Seeds

America’s favorite in-shell sunflower seeds are delicious and fun to eat anytime, anywhere, but the launch of their Jumbo Seeds is accompanied by a variety of new flavors, including Bar-B-Q, Ranch, and Chili Lime. It also exhibits new, portable packaging for convenient on-the-go enjoyment!

Dole Mixed Fruit Bowls

While most other fruit bowls contain fruit in syrup or other artificial sweeteners, Dole’s Mixed Fruit Bowls offer a healthier option, with all-natural fruit in 100% fruit juice. Awarded the 2011 Chefs Best Award for Best Taste, Dole’s Fruit Bowls are the perfect choice for a quick, healthy snack at home, in the office, or on-the-go.

Orville Redenbacher Pop up Bowl

The unique design of Orville Redenbacher’s Pop up Bowl demonstrates innovation at its finest: a microwave popcorn bag that opens on the side and morphs into a perfect popcorn bowl. By cutting out a buttery bag that only causes a greasy mess, this product has addressed the strong consumer need for convenience and simplification, ultimately revolutionizing your typical popcorn-eating experience.

Velveeta Cheesy Skillets

To address hectic family schedules during the back-to-school season, Kraft launched a new line of just-add-meat dinner kits that grant parents convenience and ease in the kitchen, allowing them to whip up a non-microwavable meal in no time. It solves the problem of wanting a home cooked meal, but not having a lot of time to prepare it. A pouch of Velveeta to mix in the meal is easier than mixing in powder, milk and butter, making this a quicker and easier option over other boxed meal kits.

Expert Panelist Domenick Celentano Nominates Products for 2011 MMNPL Survey

November 3, 2011

Thousands of new products are launched every year. While some products fail, others prove to be memorable launches. Domenick Celentano, author of the food and beverage guide for and The Foodpreneur blog, offers his picks * for the most memorable new product launches of the year (product choices by Celentano, summaries compiled by the MMNPL staff).

Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Sandwich Bread

This past year, Pepperidge Farm introduced the bread that smiles back. Available in three varieties, this bread does not contain high fructose corn syrup and boasts 3 grams of fiber per serving for only 120 calories. The bread is completely crust-free, ensuring that the pickiest eaters will have no reason to dislike it. This product created a lot of buzz through word of mouth marketing.
Kids loved the fun shape of the bread while busy mothers loved that their kids were eating healthy.  


Frito Lay All Natural Chips

Frito Lay introduced more than six dozen products made with all natural ingredients. The transition from processed to wholesome snack options is a result of rising health-consciousness among consumers. Promoting the “real ingredients” made by “real people” were key messages in this successful launch. Instead of using paid actors in their commercials, Frito Lay made a smart decision to use their employees, allowing consumers to get to know the real people behind the brand.


Triple Double Oreo

Oreo has literally taken this iconic brand to the next level.  With the introduction of the Triple Double Oreo, fans of the original cookie can now indulge in the new product, which includes one layer of original crème stuffing and one layer of chocolate stuffing sandwiched between three cookie wafers.  Oreo was smart to cash in on two important food trends– flavor layering and affordable indulgence. Consumers created a buzz online months before the Triple Double Oreo was released, proving once again that word of mouth is a powerful boost to marketing programs and sales. 


Bertolli® Premium Meal Soups for Two

Bertolli is bringing restaurant-style food home to you.  In partnership with Fabio Viviani, acclaimed Italian chef, restaurant owner and Top Chef contestant, Bertolli has released a line of soups based on Italian restaurant cooking.  Bertolli Premium Meal Soups for Two are available in four different varieties. The traditional, hearty Italian soups are used for the main course rather than a side dish or appetizer.   Bertolli also positioned this new soup meal as a healthy, affordable option for dinner during the recession. 


Amazon Kindle Fire

Since the announcement from Amazon in September, consumers have been waiting for the release of this new tablet.  The Amazon Kindle Fire allows users to watch movies and TV shows, purchase apps, play games, and surf the internet, all while still reading the eBooks they love on their Kindle.  The color touch screen, features and lower price point are why the Kindle Fire is a new and potentially fierce competitor to the iPad and other tablets.


Ben & Jerry’s Introduces ‘Schweddy Balls’ Ice Cream

Fans of the popular late-night TV show Saturday Night Live are giddy over Ben and Jerry’s new limited time flavor, “Schweddy Balls.”
In celebration of the 37th season of SNL, Ben and Jerry’s decided to create an ice cream flavor after one of the famous SNL skits starring Alec Baldwin.  The flavor consists of “vanilla ice cream with a hint of rum and is loaded with fudge covered rum balls and milk chocolate malt balls.” The release of this ice cream flavor in September created quite the buzz through both word of mouth and the media.  This ice cream was talked by main stream media for about a week shortly after it was released, and then again in October when parent groups called for it to be removed from store shelves. Schweddy Balls may not be on the market for long, but many people are sure to remember the launch of this delicious product, specifically because of the controversy that surrounded it.


McDonalds Frozen Strawberry Lemonade

McDonald’s Frozen Strawberry Lemonade – the perfect drink for summertime.  Released in May, the drink is made by blending together a lemonade base, strawberry syrup on the bottom, and ice.  Sales were strong and proved that McCafe, isn’t just for coffee and smoothies anymore. Backed by a huge integrated marketing campaign, no wonder this cool drink should be considered for the most memorable product launch. 

*Not all products chosen by the MMNPL expert panelists are guaranteed to be included in the MMNPL survey due to our rigorous criteria for selecting new products.

Velveeta Cheesy Skillets Forge New Ideas in Quick and Easy Dinners

October 13, 2011

Velveeta and its parent company, Kraft, have earned a reputation for introducing products that provide families with convenience and ease in the kitchen. Building on Velveeta’s popular quick and easy meals, the new Velveeta Cheesy Skillets are creating a buzz. The difference between the new introduction and Velveeta’s past dinner products is that moms and dads can whip up a “real” non-microwaved meal for the family in no time. Kraft is targeting busy moms during back to school season, when hectic schedules necessitate quick and easy meals.

In the commercial, a suburban mom is abruptly greeted by a man dressed as a 19th century blacksmith holding an iron skillet and a box of Velveeta Cheesy Skillets as she attempts to leave the house to pick up dinner. The spokesman guides her hands while she prepares the meal in a way that is reminiscent of the famous pottery scene in the movie Ghost, all the while speaking in an olde English accent. Another Commercial portrays a mom attempting to prepare a meal in the microwave as the 19th century blacksmith appears yet again and stops her. He proclaims, “Reject these cold technology contraptions. Would you want the shoes of your horse forged in a microwave? Your Stove: Use it!”

Velveeta promoted Cheesy Skillets via their Facebook page where visitors could take a poll on which of the four flavors is their favorite, while reading up on a product description of each.

Along with television ads, Facebook, and YouTube, Velveeta is also activating one of the most effective tools in promoting a new product: word of mouth. Through promotions that encourage hosting a Velveeta Cheesy Skillets House Party, the brand is hoping to promote trial and create a buzz by asking people to upload their house party photos to the Facebook page.

With the school year in full swing, it will be interesting to see if Velveeta’s new launch and ad campaign are persuasive enough to take market share away from competitors like Hamburger Helper and make it to family dinner tables.

Pepperidge Farm Launches Bread that Smiles Back

October 3, 2011

For more than a decade, children have enjoyed the famous Goldfish crackers from Pepperidge Farm (smiling Goldfish crackers were launched by Schneider Associates many years ago) Now, Pepperidge Farm is leveraging their smiling Goldfish equity by launching Goldfish Sandwich Bread– the bread that smiles back.

The bread comes in three varieties: Soft White, Soft 100% Whole Wheat, and Soft Honey Whole Wheat. All three contain no high fructose corn syrup and boast 3 grams of fiber per serving for only 120 calories. Not to mention, the bread is completely crust-free, ensuring that the pickiest eaters will have no reason to dislike it.

“We are excited to offer kids and the young at heart a fun and healthful new way to enjoy their favorite sandwiches,” Maureen Linder, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Fresh and Frozen Bakery at Pepperidge Farm said in a press release from the company.

To celebrate the launch, Pepperidge Farms conducted a national survey to unveil the hidden troubles of making lunches. In “The Shape of Sandwiches” survey, they found that parents often find making lunches difficult and even frustrating. Nine out of 10 moms revealed that their children find their sandwiches more appealing if the bread is cut into fun and creative shapes and sizes, and are more likely to eat them. 50% of mothers participating in the survey revealed that their children have requested triangular sandwiches while 23% revealed that their children have wanted their food in shapes of faces. Pepperidge farm created a product based on a unique consumer insight, fitting into the recent trend of Customer Calibration™ that we have been seeing.

Aside from the survey, Pepperidge Farms also participated in Evo ’11, a three-day social media conference for women in Park City, Utah, to showcase their new bread. They provided lunch for the conference on Friday, July 8th, where the new sandwich bread was a featured product. A photo op included a scenic picnic backdrop and a blow-up replica of the Goldfish mascot, Finn. Participant pictures were all uploaded onto the official Pepperidge Farms Facebook page.

So far, the reviews for Goldfish Sandwich Bread have been positive, which is no surprise considering the brand developed the product based on consumer insights. Is it the best thing since sliced bread? Could be.

The Triple Double Oreo: Delicious Indulgence and Nostalgic Delight

September 20, 2011

Another product on the MMNPL radar is a new snack from Nabisco.

As if the Double Stuf Oreos are not tasty enough, in August, Nabisco launched what may be their most indulgent Oreo ever – the Triple Double. With one layer of original crème stuffing and one layer of chocolate stuffing sandwiched between three cookie wafers, the Triple Double delivers deliciousness with 100 calories and 4.5 grams of fat per cookie.

A creative new entrant to the Oreo family, the Triple Double seems to have the appropriate qualities of a popular consumer trend that is currently taking the U.S. by storm: Multi-layered foods have been the center of some other recent launches, like Taco Bell’s Triple Steak Burrito and Trident Layers Gum. The 2011 Sweet and Snacks Expo also reported that candy with dual layers and multiple-flavor profiles in one bite were two of the top candy trends this year. Food that is designed in multiples may not appeal to the health conscious, but instead may attract those looking for a small indulgence with 100 calories (two other trends from last year, which we saw in the annual Most Memorable New Product Launch Survey).

To support the Triple Double launch, Nabisco called on the “Double Stuf Racing League,” a dream team comprised of celebrity athletes Shaquille O’Neal, Eli Manning, Venus Williams and Apolo Ohno. In 2008, the DSRL took part in TV advertisements for the Double Stuf Oreo, where they competed to achieve the fastest Oreo-eating time. Now, the DSRL Team is returning for the Triple Double. Fans can expect more twist-and-lick racing as TV ads air this month, with the challenging twist offering up the slogan: “Are You Game?”

“Now that I am retired I can spend more time perfecting my twist, lick and dunk skills, and with an added layer of creme and a third cookie, it’s clear that I am going to need the practice,” said O’Neal.

As part of an online campaign, Oreo has also launched a series of games via their company website. Participating fans will have the chance to win a trip to attend a sports event and have a meet-and-greet with one of the DSRL team members.

The use of famous athletes may help to counter negative perceptions of a fatty indulgence like the Triple Double, or it may simply coincide with the recent competitive eating interest generated by food-challenge reality shows, like Man vs. Food. Will the Triple Double be a slam-dunk for Nabisco? Only time will tell.

Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut Cereal Launch Targets Males, Uses QR Codes to Spur Engagement

July 28, 2011

One of the products we’re tracking for MMNPL is a recent 2011 U.S. launch, although it has already established popularity among consumers abroad in Europe.

After years of success in the UK, Kellogg’s rolled out their Crunchy Nut Cereal in the U.S. in late January. Kellogg’s is targeting a young male adult audience by sending the message that cereal isn’t just for breakfast. The campaign slogan, “It’s morning somewhere,” a play off it’s 5:00 somewhere, is an unusual approach for a product category traditionally aimed at either kids or health-conscious adults.

The official launch was hosted at a 24-hour event, centered on a six-story tall cuckoo clock, which aimed to make the Guinness Book of World Records. Every hour of the day-long launch, the gigantic clock would chime, and actor Brad Norman would emerge, offering comedic performances dressed as a character from a location where it was currently morning. Celebrity entertainer Nick Cannon kicked off the event at Hollywood and Highlander Center in Los Angeles, energizing the crowd with a countdown to the first chime.

               Clock   Nickcannon

 Live video streams of the performances were available on the Crunchy Nut Facebook page, keeping fans in the loop. Additionally, there were opportunities to sample the cereal and interact with Brad Norman.

Keeping in mind the rising trend of brand engagement via mobile, Kellogg’s partnered with Augme Technologies, one of the leading services in the interactive media market. Augme launched a program that offered QR codes and SMS keywords printed on the backs of the cereal boxes.  The codes recognize the user’s location and local time, and use this information to direct them to a mobile page offering one of 13 different videos of morning in a foreign location. By scanning at different times of the day, consumers experience different videos, all reinforcing the message, “It’s morning somewhere.”

The QR campaign was targeted specifically to single males between the ages of 18 and 35, who were mostly college students. The goal was to use the QR code to intrigue this market, who are computer literate and enjoy electronic games.

The mobile campaign drove more than 40,000 QR scans and 60,000 texts during its promotional period, resulting in 38,000 videos played and 50,000 page views. It seems surprising that QR scans would outnumber keyword texts, but the effectiveness of QR scans makes sense in realm of cereal promotions – where consumers used to spend time reading the backs of cereal boxes, now they can now use a simple barcode as they leisurely eat their breakfast.

If you would like help planning your next launch, contact us at or on Twitter @SchneiderPR.

Mentos Leaves the Flavor Choice UP2U

June 14, 2011

In May, Mentos launched UP2U Gum – two different flavors of gum in a single pack, giving consumers the choice of which flavor to chew at any given time. And if two choices aren’t enough, UP2U has released four different assortments of the dual-flavor pack: Daylight Mint/Mintnight Mint, Sweet Mint/Bubble Fresh, Berry Watermelon/Fresh Mint, and Mandarin Strawberry/Spearmint. Whether it’s a sweet, fruity taste you’re after, or that minty, just-brushed feeling – UP2U lets you act on your impulses.

The concept of a 2-in-1 flavored candy product is not necessarily an original idea – both Nerds and Stride’s Shift Gum have offered their sweet-toothed consumers a variety-pack of flavors in the past. What gives UP2U Gum the innovation advantage is its emphasis on the role of the consumer – a decision-maker, stepping up to make his or her own choice.

Beyond securing television and print advertisements, the Martin Agency kick-started UP2U’s social media campaign with the placement of several billboards in Chicago, urging people to call (800) 304-UCHOOSE. Callers hear an automated voice that directs them through a series of survey questions. A series of simple questions (“What is your favorite color?”) progress to increasingly stranger decisions. Prompts like “Where do you think grandpa is hiding?” and “What would be a good name for a mongoose farm?” engage the caller in making some bizarre choices.

After all the questions have been answered, callers receive this response: “Thank you, friend, for your choices and the hard work you put into choosing all of them. After analyzing your responses, it appears that Mentos UP2U gum is the perfect gum for you. Please buy some and visit us at”

From there, UP2U keeps the ball rolling on their social media campaign with online promotional deals. For 10 days through June 22nd, UP2U Facebook followers can log onto the product’s fan page, where every day at noon EST, the first 1,000 people to sign in receive a free pack of Mentos UP2U Gum.  This is the first layer of a large-scale social media sampling campaign/contest, which Mentos will gradually build on over the next couple of months.

Keeping in sync with the rising consumer trend of personalization and consumer participation, Mentos UP2U Gum serves up an interesting launch in the ever competitive gum category. It will be interesting to see if UP2U’s social push gives it the teeth to compete with chewing favorites like Trident, Orbit, Stride and Extra.

Have you tried this gum? Let us know which flavor you like best.