CHICAGO -- Center Store items accounted for most of the new food-product introductions in 2003, which exceeded 11,500, a 20% jump over the prior year, according to the Global New Products Database from market research firm Mintel, based here. The sauces and seasonings categories generated the most new entries, accounting for 14% of all food products introduced. The category as a whole showed growth in ethnic flavorings, with Indian curry sauces, Asian stir-fry sauce and spicy Cajun sauces gaining in popularity. Overall, the four strongest categories within food were sauces and seasonings, bakery, beverages and confectionery products. The rate of ready-to-eat cereal introductions increased 82% over 2002, although most of the new items were line extensions, the report stated.