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Period: January 22, 2011 to January 29, 2011
Comment & Opinion or Companies, Organizations or Consumers or Controversies & Disputes or Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing or Earnings Release or Finance, Economics, Tax or Innovation & New Ideas or Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy or Market News or Marketing & Advertising or Other or People & Personalities or Press Release or Products & Brands or Research, Studies, Advice or Supply Chain or Trends
Companies, Organizations  

WHO Urges Member States To Cut Exposure Of Children To Marketing Of Unhealthy Foods

The World Health Organization is asking governments to reduce children's exposure to marketing of foods with high levels of fat, sugar, or salt. These foods put children at risk of developing noncommunicable diseases, which account for about 60% of all deaths globally and pose a serious threat to human health and development. With 43 million pre-school children worldwide obese or overweight, WHO is highlighting the risks of an unhealthy diet, one of the four most common factors linked to cancers, cardiovascular diseases, chronic lung diseases, and diabetes, and there will be a United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of NCDs in September, in New York.

"Reducing the marketing of unhealthy foods to children", World Health Organisation (WHO), January 21, 2011

Study Says Americans Not Getting Enough Whole Grain From Their Diet

General Mills's study, General Mills Whole Grain Check-up, reveals that although 92% of Americans know the importance of whole grains in their diet and 61% think they consume enough, only 5% consume the three daily servings (of at least 48 grams) recommended by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Only 55 percent of participants could identify foods with whole grains, and 28 percent cannot differentiate whole from enriched grain. Convenience, price, and taste prevent Americans from consuming the recommended amount. Seventy one percent of over 55s thought they were getting enough whole grain, but only 47 percent in the 18-34 age band.

"Dietary Guidelines Committee Report Shows 95 Percent of Americans Do Not Get Enough Whole Grain; General Mills Report Reveals More than Half Overestimate Whole Grain Consumption", General Mills, January 18, 2011

Claiming Health

Prevention Institute, January 17, 2011

Kraft and Intel Virtual Meal Planning Solution Overview

Intel press release, January 10, 2011


Anthocyanins In Blueberries Associated With Decreased Risk Of Hypertension, Heart Disease

U.S. and British researchers have found that bioactive compounds in blueberries called anthocyanins protect against hypertension. In fact, people who ate at least one serving of blueberries a week cut the risk of developing high blood pressure by 10 percent. Researchers studied health and diet data gathered from questionnaires completed by 134,000 women and 47,000 men over 14 years. None of the participants had hypertension at the start of the study. Researchers noted that participants consuming the highest amounts of anthocyanins, especially from blueberries in the U.S. and from blackcurrants and blood oranges in the U.K., were the most protected from hypertension. High blood pressure can lead to stroke and heart disease; healthcare costs associated with the disease amount to $300 billion annually.

"Habitual intake of flavonoid subclasses and incident hypertension in adults", The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, February 01, 2011

Fourteen States Flunk The Foodborne Pathogen Detection, Reporting Test

Many U.S. states are reporting only a small fraction of the outbreaks of foodborne illnesses, while states like Oregon and Minnesota with good detection and reporting systems report many more outbreaks, according to a nationwide “report card” from the Center for Science in the Public Interest. The report used 10-year data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and CSPI’s database to assign a letter grade for each state. Oregon and Minnesota were used as benchmarks. Five other states had equally high reporting rates and also received an “A”: Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, Washington, and Wyoming. “F” grades were given to Arizona, Arkansas, and 12 other states. A “troubling”  trend: the percentage of solved outbreaks with an identified food and pathogen declined from 1998 through 2007.

"All Over the Map: A 10-Year Review of State Outbreak Reporting Fact Sheet", Report, Center for Science in the Public Interest, January 19, 2011

Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy  

Illegal Steroid-Based Muscle-Enhancing Supplements Are Easily Obtainable Online

Steroid compounds banned by the federal government have crept back into muscle-building dietary supplements and are available online at such retail outlets as Amazon.com, according to press reports. Two representatives of the nonprofit Anti-Doping Research Group of Los Angeles, Calif., tested four muscle-building supplements they  purchased and found illegal steroids in three of them. Amazon has since removed several of the products, manufactured by Competitive Edge Labs, from the site. According to Don Caitlin, CEO of Anti-Doping Research Group, the purchase and testing effort was not meant to target Amazon, but to show the wide availability of  adulterated products. "Our interest is in protecting the unsuspecting consumer from being able to buy these products, take them without knowing what they really are, and put themselves in the hospital," Caitlin said.

" Amazon.com sells banned steroids posing as supplements, researchers find", Functional Ingredients/New Hope360, January 20, 2011

Small Increases In Folate Levels Are Enough To Reduce Folic Acid Deficiencies - Study

An Australian study has found that government-led folate promotion programs have reduced folate deficiency in the population with only small increases in overall folate intake. Scientific evidence has shown that adding the B vitamin folate to the diet of childbearing-age and pregnant women reduces the risk of neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida. This has led to government-sponsored efforts to encourage women of childbearing age to supplement their daily intake of folate. Australia implemented food standards calling for fortification of bread flour with folic acid. However, there is continuing concern that excess folic acid in the diet may increase the risk of cancer and heart disease and mask vitamin B12 deficiency. But the study found that ”relatively minor” increases in blood folate levels “have led to an impressive reduction” in folate deficiency in Australia.

"The impact of mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid on the blood folate levels of an Australian population", The Medical Journal of Australlia, January 17, 2011

Leaked Diplomatic Cables Show U.S. Pressure On Europe To Support GM Crops

The U.S. State Department has been actively lobbying European countries to support genetically modified (GM) crops, according to diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks. For example, in 2007 the U.S. Embassy in Paris called on State to create a “retaliation list” of  EU member states that oppose GM crops. France has taken steps to ban a GM maize strain produced by Monsanto, temporarily halting marketing and cultivation of the MON 810 strain within its borders. The crop is authorized in all EU countries. "Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU," U.S. Ambassador Craig Stapleton wrote on December 14, 2007. Other countries targeted for pressure included Spain and the Vatican, according to the WikiLeaks disclosures.

"US lobbied EU to back GM crops", News release, EurActiv, January 04, 2011

Market News  

Online Indian Health Food Store Designed To Save Shoppers Time

An innovative online store named Health Rush, based in Bangalore, India, offers a range of healthy products for those who lack the time to shop at conventional health food stores. Products are organized by brands, categories and health concerns, e.g., diabetes, pregnancy or heart problems. Categories include baby foods such as organic milk-based supplements, berries and breakfast cereals (some of which are high in carbohydrates, despite the “healthy” claim). Also offered are green tea-based beverages (but no herbal teas), grains like quinoa and brown rice, flavored whey protein shakes, wheatgrass powder, nuts and seeds, snack items like pita chips, an array of flours (bajra, jowar, soya flour, ragi and sattu), pastas, roasted snacks, unrefined sugars and natural fruit bars. However, the store does not stock cheese, milk or meats.

"Health Rush - Health food just a click away", Livemint, January 24, 2011

Brazil's Packaged Food Market Now The World's Fifth Largest

Brazil's packaged food industry grew 44% from 2005 to R$176 billion (US$105 billion) in 2010, moving from eighth to become the fifth largest in the world. Euromonitor sees continued growth for five more years, backed by a strong agricultural production capacity and a growing consumer base that has attracted multinational companies to compete with domestic brands. In the past two years, the market has also seen significant mergers and acquisitions, improving the competitiveness of Brazilian companies. But the newer entrants, like General Mills, find it difficult to penetrate the market as consumers trust brands such as Nestle that have been in the market longer.

"Brazil: Food Industry Boom", Latin Business Chronicle, January 20, 2011

Private Label Products Gain Positive Consumer Views, Mintel Study Shows

A Mintel study reveals that 44% of grocery shoppers believe that the quality of today's store brands is better than those of five years ago and 39% of respondents who are their households' primary shoppers say they would recommend a private label product. Also, significant majorities — 62% for dairy products; 61% for canned foods; and 56% for household cleaners — believe there are no quality difference between name and store brand products and just 19% say paying more for name brand products is worth it. Mintel says private label manufacturers continue to gain ground by introducing improved, budget-friendly products with enhanced packaging.

"Private label gets a quality reputation, causing consumers to change their buying habits", Mintel, January 20, 2011

Overweight/Obesity Epidemic Costs $300 Billion In Added Medical Care, Lost Productivity

The total economic cost of an overweight and obese citizenry in the U.S. and Canada is now about $300 billion a year, according to the Society of Actuaries (SOA). The U.S. accounts for 90  percent of the total, or about $270 billion. Costs associated with overweight (BMI between 25.0–29.9) and obesity (BMI of more than 30) are an increased need for medical care and loss of economic productivity resulting from excess mortality and disability. Excess medical care comprises the major portion of costs caused by overweight and obesity: $127 billion. Lost productivity accounts for $49 billion; lost productivity caused by disability for active workers costs $43 billion; and lost productivity for totally disabled workers is $72 billion.

"Obesity and its Relation to Mortality and Morbidity Costs", Study, Society of Actuaries (SOA), January 10, 2011

Marketing & Advertising  

School Lunch Suppliers Commit To Providing Healthier Meals To 30 Million Students

Thirteen school meals makers, group purchasing organizations and technology companies have partnered with  the Alliance for a Healthier Generation “to make healthier school lunches possible for more than 30 million students” at more affordable prices. According to the AHG, about 14 million of the affected students participate in the free and reduced lunch program. The partnership is part of an effort to combat childhood obesity that involves developing, marketing and competitively pricing products that will lead to healthier school meal options, a streamlined ordering process, and easier identification of healthy food options. Participants have committed to providing lean protein products such as lean red meat, skinless poultry, etc.; low-fat lunch entrées; whole-grain products; fresh, canned or frozen fruit; non-fried vegetables; and zero trans fat cooking oils.

"Groundbreaking Industry Agreements Help Increase Availability of Healthy School Meals", News release, Alliance for a Healthier Generation, January 21, 2011

Nestlé HCN Agrees To Stop “Deceptive Advertising Claims” For Probiotic Children’s Drink

In a unanimous vote, the Federal Trade Commission has ordered a Nestlé S.A. subsidiary to stop deceptive advertising claims of the health benefits of its BOOST Kid Essentials probiotic drink. The first FTC challenge of company advertising for probiotic products, the order requires the company to stop claiming – without FDA approval – that BOOST Kid Essentials reduces the risk of colds, flu, and other upper respiratory tract infections; stop claiming – without clinical trial evidence – that BOOST reduces children’s sick-day absences in children up to age 13; and to not make any claims about the health benefits, performance, or efficacy of any probiotic or nutritionally complete drinks sold at retail without “reliable scientific evidence.”

"U.S. Federal Trade Commission - In The Matter Of: Nestlé Healthcare Nutrition, Inc.", Decision and order, Federal Trade Commission, January 18, 2011

Press Release  

U.S. Consumers Change Food Spending Behaviors, Prepare For Price Increases

The NPD Group's latest food market research has revealed that U.S. consumers, faced with rising food prices, are preparing to change how they spend for food in 2011. Based on 30 years of data, NPD said that consumers have always kept food costs from rising faster than their incomes. Data from NPD shows that 72% of meals are prepared at home, 18% are purchased from foodservice stores, 8% are skipped, and 2% are purchased from undetermined sources. NPD also reveal that for the two year period ending November 2010 consumers cut back on their trips to restaurants, with the restaurant industry losing 2.4 billion visits, which fell from 61.5 billion to 59.1 billion.

"U.S. Consumers Brace for Higher Food and Gas Costs in 2011 and Will Manage Their Food Budgets Differently as a Result, Reports NPD", NPD, January 26, 2011

Walmart Launches Major Healthy, Affordable Foods Program, Gets First Lady's Support

Walmart has launched a program aimed at providing its customers with healthy and affordable food options that gained the support of First Lady Michelle Obama. The program comes with five key components, namely: reformulation of packaged food items by cutting sodium 25% and added sugars by 10%, and removing all manufactured trans fats; cutting prices of fresh fruits and vegetables; strengthening standards for "front-of-package seal" to help consumers determine healthy food choices; opening stores to serve economically disadvantaged communities that need healthy and affordable foods; and expansion of corporate support for nutrition education campaigns. Walmart’s initiative will have far reaching affects across the US food supply chain In 2010, Walmart launched a $2 billion program to work against hunger by awarding fresh and healthy foods to food banks in the United States. Walmart will also work with the Partnership for a Healthier America to help address the country's obesity problem.

"Walmart Launches Major Initiative to Make Food Healthier and Healthier Food More Affordable", Walmart Stores, January 25, 2011

OTA Advocates Protection Of Organic Farmers As GE Seeds Advance To Commercialization

At a House of Representatives members forum on genetically-engineered (GE)  alfalfa, the U.S. Organic Trade Association (OTA) expressed strong support for a recent USDA proposal to consider the economic consequences of unrestricted deregulation of Monsanto’s Round-Up Ready (RR) alfalfa, including the impact on organic agriculture and products in the United States. The OTA said it believes the department has the authority to oversee GE crop commercialization and protect organic farmers. The member forum was organized to question USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack on whether the USDA has the authority to consider conditional deregulation of RR Alfalfa. The OTA advocated a “meaningful co-existence” between organic and conventional farmers that would protect seed purity for organic farmers’ use, compensate organic farmers for contamination losses and require USDA oversight of GE crop commercialization.

"Organic industry wants farmers protected in the marketplace And USDA has authority to do so", News release, Organic Trade Association , January 20, 2011

EU food labelling rules under attack

EurActiv, January 18, 2011

Research, Studies, Advice  

Fatty Acid Supplementation Found To Reduce PMS Symptoms

A six-month randomized, controlled trial involving 120 women in Brazil has found that daily one- or two-gram doses of capsulized polyunsaturated fats (oleic, linoleic, and gamma-linolenic acids) plus vitamin E significantly reduced premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms. The researchers also found that administration of the dietary supplement did not change the total cholesterol levels of the patients. PMS symptoms were shown to be reduced at both three and six months after the start of treatment with only mild, insignificant adverse effects unrelated to the medication. The two -gram dose appeared to have the greatest clinical benefit. “The results of the current study present some evidence in support of the use of essential fatty acids in PMS patients,” the researchers concluded.

"Essential fatty acids for premenstrual syndrome and their effect on prolactin and total cholesterol levels: a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study", Reproductive Health , January 17, 2011

Eating Berries, Especially Blueberries, Can Protect Against High Blood Pressure

A research study conducted jointly by the University of East Anglia and Harvard University concludes that eating blueberries can prevent high blood pressure. The agents responsible for this effect are called anthocyanins, part of the flavonoid family—compounds found in many commonly-eaten foods, and already known to protect against heart disease. This study—the first of its kind to examine the effect of flavonoids on high blood pressure (or hypertension)—followed more than 150,000 subjects over 14 years—none of whom had hypertension at the beginning of the study. Participants who ate at least one serving of blueberries per week showed a 10 percent reduction in their risk of developing high blood pressure.

"Bioactive compounds in berries can reduce high blood pressure", University of East Anglia, January 14, 2011

Analysis Of Studies Finds Links Between Vitamins, Fruit/Vegetable Intake And Asthma Prevention

Acknowledging that the findings from 62 non-controlled studies were weak, British researchers nevertheless said they supported a link between asthma prevention and intake of vitamins A, D, and E, zinc, fruits and vegetables, and a Mediterranean diet. The studies examined records of women's diets and other anecdotal evidence and so were less reliable than clinical trials. Seventeen of the studies looked at fruit and vegetable consumption, finding a lower risk of asthma and allergies. Two found a 75 percent lower risk of asthma among children with higher levels of vitamin A. And lower risk of newborn wheezing was found among pregnant women who consumed large amounts of vitamin D and E. Researchers warned that the findings do not warrant wholesale dietary changes among pregnant women and parents, but do warrant further studies.

"Nutrients and foods for the primary prevention of asthma and allergy: Systematic review and meta-analysis", The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, December 27, 2010

Want Healthy-Looking Skin? Skip The Beach And Eat Your Carrots, Tomatoes

Research by British scientists has found that people who eat more servings of fruit and vegetables each day have a healthier, golden skin color, thanks to antioxidants known as carotenoids that help absorb damaging compounds produced by stress, strain and illness. Carotenoids are responsible for the reddish color in carrots and tomatoes, and are important for the immune and reproductive systems. In three studies, researchers found that people actually preferred a skin color caused by carotenoids to one caused by suntan, a fact reflected in the animal kingdom where, for example, birds’ bright yellow beaks and feathers advertise a healthy male. “Together our studies link skin carotenoid coloration to both perceived health and healthy diet, establishing carotenoid coloration as a valid cue to human health,” the researchers concluded.

"Carotenoid and melanin pigment coloration affect perceived human health", Evolution and Human Behavior, December 24, 2010

Eating Leafy Vegetables, Olive Oil, Lowers Risk Of Coronary Heart Disease - Study

Italian researchers who looked at self-reported diet and health data from nearly 30,000 women in large-scale investigations conducted in the 1990s found that the more leafy vegetables and olive oil consumed, the lower the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). No such association was found between consumption of fruits and CHD, however. Researchers followed the women for an average of eight years, keeping track of adverse health events. The women experienced 144 major heart disease-related events, such as heart attack or bypass surgery. Women who ate at least one daily serving (about 2 oz) of leafy vegetables such as raw lettuce, or cooked vegetables like spinach, were 46 percent less likely to develop heart disease than women who ate only two portions a week, researchers found.

"Fruit, vegetables, and olive oil and risk of coronary heart disease in Italian women: the EPICOR Study", The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, December 22, 2010

Compounds From Digested Green Tea Effectively Inhibit Toxins Associated With Alzheimer’s

Drinking green tea regularly may help protect the brain from the harmful biochemical changes that lead to Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia and may also play a role in protecting against cancer, research by U.K. scientists has found. The researchers wondered whether the beneficial compounds (polyphenols) of freshly-brewed green tea survived the digestive process and were “bioavailable.” They found that when intestinal enzymes digested green tea, the resulting chemicals were even more effective against key triggers of Alzheimer's – hydrogen peroxide and a protein known as beta-amyloid – than undigested tea. Tumor cell models exposed in the lab to varying concentrations of the different toxins were protected by the digested green tea compounds. The next step is to find whether the same result is observed in human tests.

"In vitro protective effects of colon-available extract of Camellia sinensis (tea) against hydrogen peroxide and beta-amyloid (Aβ(1–42)) induced cytotoxicity in differentiated PC12 cells", Phytomedicine, December 22, 2010

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Found To Have Antidepressant Properties

A meta-analysis of research found that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can have antidepressant benefits. Two acids in particular—eicosapentenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)—are critical to brain function and have antidepressant properties, but EPA is especially important: subjects taking omega-3 high in EPA or a combination of EPA and DHA realized the antidepressant benefits, while those taking only DHA did not. In a separate study, the research team discovered that women consuming high levels of omega-3 were less susceptible to depression during and after pregnancy than those whose omega-3 intake was low.

"Omega-3 Supplements Show Promise in Alleviating Depression", PRNewswire, December 08, 2010

Genetic structure and domestication history of the grape

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences PNAS, January 18, 2011

What Is Your Product Saying to Consumers?

Advertising Age, January 18, 2011

Omega 3 Chia Seed Loading as a Means of Carbohydrate Loading

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, January 01, 2011

A process for the production of a diacylglycerol-based milk fat analogue

European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology , December 29, 2010

Supply Chain  

Woodland Strawberry DNA Sequence Should Result In Hardier, Healthier Fruit

An international effort led by the University of Florida and Virginia Tech has just published the genome sequence for the woodland strawberry—a wild, less genetically complex relative of the familiar cultivated strawberry. Knowing the strawberry’s DNA sequence will give breeders the ability to grow plants that produce more fruit with less environmental impact. This will also allow them to create fruit that is more resistant to environmental stresses and has higher levels of healthful phytochemicals. In addition, unlocking the strawberry’s genome sequence may result in advances in related crops, such as apples, peaches, almonds, cherries, raspberries, and plums.

"The genome of woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca)", Nature Genetics, January 26, 2011

Organic Milk Is Healthier For People And The Planet, Any Time Of Year

Researchers in the United Kingdom found that organic supermarket milk is far higher in beneficial fatty acids than conventional, non-organic milk, and has between 30-50 percent less saturated fat. And while conventional milk shows seasonal and weather-related variability in both saturated fat and fatty acid content, organic milk shows no such effects: beneficial fatty acids like CLA and omega-3 are higher year-round. Researchers also uncovered a link between milk quality and climate change: wetter, cooler summers result in nutritionally-impoverished conventional milk.

"Organic milk is better for you - whatever the weather", Newcastle University, January 17, 2011


Organic, Fair Trade Products Make Waves At Berlin's International Green Week

Berlin’s International Green Week fair had organic food stalls for the second year and fair trade food products for the first time. German consumers have been attracted to the premium-priced organic food partly by the recent scandal in the country over dioxin found in animal feed, but cynics argue that organic food is expensive and not always credible, and rather misses the point if flown to market. Fair trade producers also displayed their products and called on consumers to support farming systems that are fair for workers, farm owners, and the environment. 

"Organic produce makes strong showing at Berlin's Green Week", DW-World, January 24, 2011

Kellogg Revamps Global Marketing, Appoints Brand Learning To Manage Campaign

In the face of poor financial performance — its third-quarter net sales decreased 4% to $3.2 billion — Kellogg is investing to improve its marketing effort globally and has appointed Brand Learning to train Kellogg's marketing directors and senior marketing executives to help set up standards and common processes. Kellogg envisions the program, which will ultimately cover all of the company's marketing units, to improve its marketing capacity and business performance. Mark Baynes, Kellogg CMO, says He said: "We (are aiming) to create a team inspired, equipped and enabled to drive stronger returns in this increasingly complex consumer landscape."

"Kellogg unveils plan to boost global marketing", Marketing Magazine, January 20, 2011

South Korea Pushes Expansion Of Local Organic Food Market

South Korea's Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries will launch a 4.46 trillion won green farming development program seeking to expand the local organic food industry fourfold into a 2-trillion won market by 2015. Up to 60 percent of the budget will go to construction of related infrastructure. Plans also include the creation of up to 50 eco-friendly farming regions throughout the country. This will help increase the volume of crops grown without the use of agricultural chemicals, and reduce use of chemical fertilizers 3% each year from 2011 to 2015.

"S. Korea to inject 4.4 tln won to expand eco-friendly farming", Yonhap News, Korea, January 18, 2011

You are what you eat

Athens News, January 24, 2011

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