10 Faster than ever foods

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1. Spam

The classic bomb-shelter meat-in-a-can is getting a makeover: Hormel Foods' four-market test of Spam Singles. The new single-serve pouches of Turkey and Classic Spam require no can opener, just "rip and tear your way to crazy tasty town," the packages claim (including a four-step diagram of just how-don't ask).

2. Rice

Minute Rice has long been a lie. Even with recent technology, the best Kraft Foods' rice could do was bring down cooking times to five minutes. That all changed this year as Minute Rice rivals Masterfoods USA and McCormick & Co. raced to market with new technology that brings cooking time down to a still-longer-than-a-minute 90 seconds.

3. Nestle Tollhouse

Tollhouse started as a baking brand, with moms and kids gathering round to laboriously mix tasty chocolate morsels into a (gasp!) bowl of fresh ingredients. Now, for those who even find refrigerated dough too much, Tollhouse cookies can be yours with a simple reach down to the candy shelf for a chocolate-covered Tollhouse Candy Bar.

4. Kellogg cereal

Sitting down with a bowl and spoon is clearly too time-consuming for modern consumers. But Battle Creek is battling back. With Kellogg's new Drink `n Crunch, consumers need only take apart the two-chamber cup, pour in milk, insert an inner cup containing a finer form of Frosted Flakes, Granola, Special K or Froot Loops, then sip the cereal while on the go.

5. Bacon

Bubbling grease has been the birthright of all but the most observant of Jews and Muslims, but new ready-to-serve bacon from Kraft's Oscar Mayer and Tyson Foods may put an end to all that. Fully cooked, no fuss no muss, the perfectly formed strips (no bunched up, grease-filled pieces) are ready to eat as quickly as one can peel back the pouches.

6. Bush's Baked Beans

The Bush Brothers may slow cook their beans according to their "secret family recipe," but there is nothing slow about their new microwaveable single-serve cups. The not so hidden "secret" the new product has tapped into is that the work required to heat up a can of beans is far too hard. Never mind that the famed Bush family dog Duke could probably do it himself.

7. Peanut Butter

Never thought the day would come when eating peanut butter would be utensil free. Unilever's Skippy now comes in a handy Squeez' It form that saves crucial seconds. For those who think even that sort of sandwich making is too much work, they can just rip open a Skippy Squeeze Stix tube and consume. Now that's protein on the fly.

8. Condiments

H.J. Heinz Co. had a runaway hit when it came out with Easy Squeeze upside down ketchup bottles back in 2002. Competitor ConAgra quickly followed with its own inverted bottles for Hunt's ketchup and since then stores have been inundated with inverted packages for condiments from relish to mayo that are, as Heinz put it so eloquently, "ready when you are."

9. Frosting

You thought ready-to-spread frosting was quick and easy? Think again. Now, General Mills has come out with new Betty Crocker Pour & Frost, microwaveable containers of frosting that can be poured directly on to even warm cakes without the many wearying moments it once took to actually glop the frosting on by hand. Mills calls it "ultra convenience."

10. Sandwiches

J.M. Smucker Co. had to rapidly ramp up production this year for its thaw-in-the-lunchbox frozen, crustless PB&J sandwiches and its newer offering, "Pre-toasted" Grilled Cheese. Around for years, it seems that consumers are just beginning to get wise that Uncrustables offer an easy out to the terribly time-consuming task of sandwich making.

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