NEWS ROUNDUP

Fantastic Foods Adds Items astic Foods here has added a new line of one-pot Rice & Beans and Pasta & Beans meals to its collection of instant health food products in a cup.Rice & Beans is available in Curried Basmati with Lentils, Jamaican Black Beans & Brown Rice, and New Orleans Red Beans & Brown Rice varieties. Pasta & Beans dishes are Mediterranean Gemelli & Red Lentils, Pasta Fagioli with White

Fantastic Foods Adds Items

astic Foods here has added a new line of one-pot Rice & Beans and Pasta & Beans meals to its collection of instant health food products in a cup.

Rice & Beans is available in Curried Basmati with Lentils, Jamaican Black Beans & Brown Rice, and New Orleans Red Beans & Brown Rice varieties. Pasta & Beans dishes are Mediterranean Gemelli & Red Lentils, Pasta Fagioli with White Beans and Zesty Black Beans & Penne.

Fantastic Foods has also added four varieties to its successful hot cereal cups. The new flavors are: Mellow Mango with Oat Bran, Peachberry Wheat & Oats, Maple Raisin Three Grain and Strawberry Banana Three Grain.

Wine Group Dating Products

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Wine Group here has introduced freshness dating for its Franzia line of boxed wine.

Depending on the variety, Franzia wines now have expiration dates of up to nine months after their production. The freshness dating is applied to all 14 Franzia wine products. The dates are located in an approximately 2-inch box on the top of the carton.

"Despite the common myth that all wines benefit from aging, the opposite is actually true -- most wines are made in a fresh and fruity style and are intended to be enjoyed within nine to 12 months of their release," said Art Ciocca, chairman of The Wine Group. "Retailers and wholesalers will benefit because they'll be assured their inventories are fresh," he added.

Frozfruit Has Smaller Pack

GARDENA, Calif. -- To aid frozens merchandising, Frozfruit Corp. here has developed a smaller-sized four-pack for its frozen fruit bars.

The new box is 40% smaller than the previous package, allowing frozens managers to make better use of space in the novelty case. Its contents remain the same: four 4-ounce bars.

Also, the colorful new packaging emphasizes "naturally fat-free" and "more fruit," and it can be effectively displayed horizontally and vertically. The new four-packs, which retail from $2.69 to $3.29, come in five juice-based flavors (strawberry, cherry, lemon, lime and new Tropical) and three cream-based flavors (banana, coconut and cappuccino).

Heineken USA Sets Record

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Heineken USA here set a new all-time record when it exceeded 40 million cases in depletion in 1995.

Heineken USA saw an overall growth rate of nearly 8% for its entire portfolio of brands in 1995. Its flagship Heineken brand had an 8% sales increase for the year, while its Murphy's Stout brand had a 50% increase in depletions. Buckler Non-Alcoholic Brew increased depletions by 30% during the year.

Michael Foley, president and chief executive officer of Heineken USA, said growth in the above-premium beer segment is being driven by the changing tastes of the American consumer.

"The upper half of the beer market is in the midst of a move to quality. We're seeing significant consumer dollars that were being spent in the premium sector moving to the above-premium imports and microbrews," he said.

FitFoods Offers Baked Chips

NEWTON CENTRE, Mass. -- FitFoods here has introduced a line of all-natural, low-fat, baked potato chips.

FitFoods Fat Free Baked Potato Chips contain 1.5 grams of fat per serving and are 94% fat-free.

FitFoods new chips are available in three varieties, original, Mesquite Barbecue and Sea Salt & Vinegar.