WESTERN FAMILY: TERIYAKI VEGETABLES

Western Family had one goal in mind when it formulated its Teriyaki Vegetables entree: Beat the competition. In this case, the competition was Uncle Ben's, which has teriyaki stir-fry vegetables in a rice bowl.The 12-ounce, single-serve entree contains carrots, broccoli, bamboo shoots and red peppers in teriyaki sauce and retails for $3.19. The taste profile was developed in conjunction with Norpac

Western Family had one goal in mind when it formulated its Teriyaki Vegetables entree: Beat the competition. In this case, the competition was Uncle Ben's, which has teriyaki stir-fry vegetables in a rice bowl.

The 12-ounce, single-serve entree contains carrots, broccoli, bamboo shoots and red peppers in teriyaki sauce and retails for $3.19. The taste profile was developed in conjunction with Norpac Foods, a supplier of frozen fruits and vegetables. The product went before a blind testing panel, said Brian Kennedy, Western Family brand manager. "It was rated better across the board, as far as appearance, aroma, taste, texture and mouth feel, to Uncle Ben's," he said.

This is the fourth item in Western Family's rice-based entree line, all part of its Home Meal Replacement initiative. Items in this category are being designed with similar flavor banners, colors and graphics. The item comes packaged in a microwavable bowl with plastic overwrap. A high-resolution photo of the product on the outside of the package suggests the quality inside.

It took Western Family a year and a half to develop the item. It was rolled out to retailers in the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountain regions under the Western Family label in October 2004. Kennedy expects the item will eventually be distributed to East Coast retailers under the Shurfine label. The item is promoted through funding to retailers. Kennedy said retailers support the product through newspaper ads, fliers and two-for-$5 offers.