Funky new products innovations or a twist on the existing?

Christmas – a time of giving, a time of sharing and a time of testing those new scrumptious food products. The eager beavers will go as far as to switch supermarkets in the search of something new to impress their Christmas guests on the biggest day of the year, whilst those buying food on the move can often be found biting into the latest festive sandwich, turkey and cranberry sausage roll or glittery drink (just to mention a few). So what are the true innovations this year?

Mastering the mince pie…

Keeping in with the festive spirit of ensuring something for everyone this Christmas, Asda have introduced the very first Vegan mince pie. These have been accredited by the Vegan Society and carry their logo, helping those on a Vegan friendly lookout to spot the products on the shelves.

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And for another mince pie innovation, Branston have introduced the latest twist on the nation’s favourite – a cheese and pickle mince pie. Made in partnership with Lily Vanilli, the pies have a sprinkle of thyme on top and inside you’ll find cheddar, new potato and Branston Pickle.

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And shoppers won’t be cheesed off this year…

The cheese twist reared its head very early in the festive season, with the introduction of the UK’s very first cheese calendar. Asda introduced the posh calendar, with a price tag of £8 and 24 doors. The calendar had a helping hand from the blogging world, being created by Annem Hobson (food blogger) who introduced the initial prototype and accumulated 11,000 sales sign ups after just 4 days. The handy calendar is a book style which can be split in half (after enjoying the first 12 days of Christmas of course!) to save space in the fridge.

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It’s the season for a tipple and while we’re used to extending the tipple to our cooking techniques, and even our trifle, but now the market has been rocked further with some ‘merry’ cheese. We’ve seen lots of NPD in cheese but the most striking is the addition of the festive spirit – in literal terms. The Great British Cheese Company have introduced a Wensleydale with Raspberry & Prosecco variation and, what’s more, it’s of a pink variety!

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Elsewhere in the cheese world, we’ve seen the introduction of the M&S Cornish Cruncher Cheese Bake with Cider. This one is unlikely to send you over the sober edge though, sold at 270g for 8-10 people.

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It looks like the elves at the Vegan Society have also been busy this Cheesemas as we’ve seen the Vegan Society approved introduction of the Vegan cheeseboard. The ‘Christmas Dairy Free Platter’ has been rolled out by the free-from brand ‘Vio-life’ and is sold exclusively in Sainsbury’s.

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It’s all about the Brussels sprout!

Sprouts are the vegetable version of Marmite, you love them or you hate them! What’s not to like about Waitrose’s newest sprout innovations though?

First up is the sprout wreath – a £35 Christmas decoration that has a dual purpose as a wreath to welcome your guests through your front door or to be placed on the table as a candle centrepiece. If the quirky wreath is a success in 2017 you’ll see a comeback in 2018.

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Heston Blumenthal has also been busy in the Waitrose world of sprouts, taking them into the dessert aisle. His giant sprout is a green chocolate dome shell (which is actually coloured white chocolate) filled with 18 profiteroles and drizzled with salted caramel sauce. To the everyday shopper, it really looks like some sprouts in gravy so we were hardly surprised by some of the looks this got on the shelf. The verdict on the taste is still out there but we’ve a keen team of taste testers here who will no doubt have a very educated opinion post-Christmas.

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Adding some Christmas sparkle…

The great new introductions from our food on the move friends also haven’t gone unnoticed this year. We’ve seen sparkle, sparkle and more sparkle! M&S and Costa have been the chief reindeers leading Santa’s sparkle sleigh. At M&S we have seen the Snow Globe sandwich with sparkly stars on top, festive macaroons and festive sparkly drinks (okay, well the packaging!).

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We’ve also seen Costa raise the benchmark - they started off the festive season with the usual treats of festive cups and coffees. They’ve now gone a step further and introduced ‘shimmer coffee’ and yes, you guessed it, it’s a shimmery version of their existing range available across most coffee products. The trick is to simply add sparkles to their existing range and they’ll be doing this until the New Year.

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So whether it’s a good festive lunch on the go, a nice relaxing hot drink or an impressive Christmas spread, there’s lots to choose from this year.

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