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Period: July 30, 2011 to August 6, 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  

Kraft Foods Splits, Aims For Better Performance And Shareholder Value

Kraft Foods Inc.'s board of directors plans to divide the company into two independent public companies through a tax-free divestiture of the North American business to company shareholders. A $32 billion company will take care of Kraft Foods' faster growing global snacks business, while the second company, with $16 billion in revenue, will take control of the North American grocery business. The food company has expanded its global snacks business by acquiring some of the biggest companies in the market, notably Cadbury,  while its North American grocery business focused more on increasing its revenue through innovations in product development and marketing and aiming for higher margins. The spinoff highlights the company's efforts to improve performance and shareholder value.


Unilever To Exit Food Market, Buy Home Care Company, Reports Say

Analysts believe that Unilever plans to sell its food division to finance reported plans to acquire a home and personal care company. Such an acquisition would help improve the company's performance in the stock market, where concerns about skyrocketing materials costs and declining consumer spending have hammered Unilever shares recently. Letting go of its food unit will enhance the company's growth potential, while an acquisition in the home care segment will strengthen the company's profile in that category. Some investment analysts advise clients to buy shares of Unilever, which is reportedly looking at Reckitt Benckiser as a potential takeover target.

"Unilever tipped for possible €14bn sale of its food business to fund home and personal care deal", Guardian.co.uk, August 02, 2011

GLG Launches Subsidiary To Exploit International Stevia Market Opportunities

Stevia developer GLG Life Tech Corporation has created a subsidiary to provide naturally sweetened zero and reduced calorie food and beverage formulations to customers outside mainland China. AN0C Stevia Solutions Company’s product lines will include natural sweeteners, natural flavors and natural colors in zero or low calorie beverage and food products. AN0C Stevia Solutions will focus on customer opportunities internationally; AN0C Anhui will focus on opportunities in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. AN0C Stevia Solutions is also developing customer opportunities in the Middle East and India.

"GLG Launches Subsidiary To Exploit International Stevia Market Opportunities", Press release, GLG Life Tech Corp, July 26, 2011

Whole Foods returns to its roots with in-store Wellness Clubs

Natural Foods Merchandiser, July 18, 2011

Characterisation of chocolate eating behaviour

Physiology & Behavior, June 12, 2011

Innovation & New Ideas  

Scientists Discover Natural Antibiotic That Could Protect Foods From Deadly Microbes

Researchers in Minnesota have patented a newly discovered, naturally occurring peptide produced by a harmless bacteria that could be added to food as a potent weapon against deadly foodborne bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli and listeria. According to scientists, the lantibiotic they discovered is the first natural preservative that destroys so-called “gram-negative” bacteria, typically the harmful kind. The substance could protect many foods – meats, processed cheeses, egg and dairy products, canned foods, seafood, salad dressing, fermented beverages, etc. – from a broad range of disease-causing microbes. Lantibiotics are easy to digest, nontoxic, and nonallergenic. And dangerous bacteria have a hard time developing a resistance to them.

"Researchers Discover Natural Food Preservative That Kills Food-Borne Bacteria", Press release, University of Minnesota, August 04, 2011

Subway Fortifies Its Bread With Calcium And Vitamin D

Subway has added bread with enhanced calcium and vitamin D content to its menu lineup and claims that each 6-inch serving of Subway sandwiches provides 30 percent of the recommended daily value of calcium and 20 percent of vitamin D. Subway  move plays to concerns about average poor nutrition: the Centers for Disease Control and the Institute of Medicine have both warned  about Americans' failure to consume sufficient nutrients, saying, for example, that less than 33 per cent of older people get the recommended intake for Vitamin D.

"SUBWAY® Chain Introduces Calcium and Vitamin D Fortified Bread to National Menu", PRNewswire, July 26, 2011

‘Lever'-aging a better work-life balance

The Hindu Business Line, July 24, 2011

Market News  

Nestlé Launches “Cocoa Plan” In Indonesia

Nestlé has launched its “Cocoa Plan” to create a sustainable supply chain for the cocoa industry in Indonesia, the third largest cocoa producing country in the world after Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. Launched in 2009, the Cocoa Plan is designed to improve the quality and quantity of cocoa yields, and in turn better quality cocoa. According to Nestlé, the plan also benefits cocoa farmers by providing them with long-term security and training expertise. Nestlé will invest more than $4 million over four years in Indonesia to train farmers, provide plant expertise, and support supply chain transparency. The plan will also focus on projects related to nutrition education, water, and rural development, while protecting the environment.

"Nestlé’s Cocoa Plan extends to Indonesia", Press release, Nestlé, July 27, 2011

Prebiotic Products Specialist NuMe Health Raises $675 K

Biotech start-up NuMe Health, which is developing prebiotic products targeting specific health conditions, said it has raised $675,000 from a series A-1 financing round led by BVM Capital LLC. The company said the funds from the financing will be used primarily to support corporate and product development. NuMe Health is preparing to commercialize its first prebiotic products for the dietary supplement and health food markets. The company also said it hired Dean P. Stull, Ph.D. as CEO. Stull said NuMe intends to be a leader in developing novel evidence-based prebiotic products to help prevent and manage common diseases, initially targeting conditions involving metabolism and the maintenance of healthy body weight.

"Nume Health Announces Closing Of Series A-1 Financing Round", Press release, NuMe Health, July 26, 2011

Portion Control Is Growing In Importance Among American Consumers

U.K. market research firm NPD Group reports that American consumers are becoming increasingly aware of portion control as a way to ensure a healthier diet. “Eating smaller portions” was one of 30 diet and lifestyle characteristics consumers of different age groups were asked to associate with good health. Eating smaller portions ranked 11th among all adult consumers as a healthy eating characteristic. Adults consistently rated five eating/lifestyle habits as most important: exercising regularly, eating well-balanced meals, eating all things in moderation, limiting or avoiding saturated fats/cholesterol/trans fats and drinking at least eight glasses of water daily. Generation X consumers (ages 35 to 45) ranked eating smaller portions seventh in importance.

"Portion Control of Growing Interest to U.S. Consumers, Reports NPD", Press release, NPD, July 26, 2011

Indian consumers: The other Asian giant

The Economist, August 06, 2011

Chief concerns at Unilever

Inside Investor Relations, August 01, 2011

Weaker Dollar Fuels Sales

Wall Street Journal, July 29, 2011

NBJ on New Dietary Ingredients

Nutrition Business Journal, July 19, 2011

Press Release  

Israeli Company Debuts Tomato-Derived Flavor Enhancer For Multiple Applications

Tomato products specialist LycoRed of Israel has introduced a natural tomato concentrate that enhances the flavor of foods and can replace expensive artificial flavor components and can be used for salt taste enhancement. LycoRed SANTE is the result of an effort by company scientists to separate out and concentrate the taste enhancing components of the tomato, resulting in a natural flavor enhancer suitable for a wide range of applications. The company said that in some cases food companies can save up to 10-20 percent of product cost by replacing expensive ingredients, reduce sodium content “and enable a clean label.” LycoRed SANTE is available as a  liquid or a free-flowing powder, is heat resistant, stable at almost all pH’s and is suitable for ambient, frozen, baked, cooked and fried products.

"LycoRed Boosts Health & Flavor with Natural Salt-Enhancement Ingredient", Press release, LycoRed, July 25, 2011

Biggest Grocery Retailers Join The Partnership For A Healthier America's Efforts To Bring Inexpensive, Healthy Foods To Americans

Some of the largest grocery retailers in the US have agreed to join the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) to bring access to healthy and affordable food to about 10 million Americans in the next five years. Brown's Super Stores, Calhoun Enterprises, Klein's Family Markets, SUPERVALU, Walgreens, and Walmart have agreed to build or expand more than 1,500 stores in economically depressed areas currently not served by retailers that sell inexpensive and nutritious foods, and where about 23.5 million Americans live. Walmart plans to build or enlarge up to 300 new stores as part of its partnership with the PHA, while Calhouns Grocery will build 10 new stores in Alabama and Tennessee. SUPERVALU will build 250 new stores, while Brown's Super Stores and Klein's Family Markets have committed to open one new store each.

"Leading Grocery Retailers Commit to Fight Childhood Obesity by Increasing Access to Healthy, Affordable Food for 10 Million Americans", Partnership For A Healthier America press release, July 20, 2011

Products & Brands  

Food Companies In European Union Face Changing Rules On Health-Claims Marketing

The European Commission is revising the European Union's policy regarding marketing of food products with claimed health benefits that  will prompt food manufacturers to find other ways to market their products and any related health claims. European Food Safety Authority plans to publish the final batch of article 13.1 claims opinions, as the EC plans to present its "Union List" draft article to the Standing Committee in December 2011, and while commentators expect the Union List to contain many approved claims for vitamins and supplements, suppliers will likely need to make many changes to be compliant, including making changes in labelling and packaging. 

"Shift in practices for marketing food products with health benefits imminent in EU says EAS ", EAS Strategic Advice , July 27, 2011

McDonald's Makes Its Menu Lineup Healthier And More Nutritious

McDonald's announced plans to revise its menu to include more options for families and children who want more nutritious food servings from the country's leading fast-food chain. The company's "Commitments to Offer Improved Nutrition Choices" program won praise from US First Lady Michelle Obama and includes promotion of children's well-being and expansion of nutritionally balanced menu options. It also aims to expand customer access to nutrition information, while seeking to reduce sodium content of McDonald's menu offerings. McDonald's will introduce a revised, healthier version of the Happy Meal, as the food chain continues its support for the Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. A proposed "listening tour" will help McDonald's hear inputs from parents and nutrition experts, while third-party evaluators will help assess the program's performance and impact.

"McDonald’s® Announces Commitments to Offer Improved Nutrition Choices", McDonald’s press release, July 26, 2011

Smart marketing = doing good

Business Standard, August 01, 2011

Research, Studies, Advice  

Expectant Mothers Who Take Omega-3 Supplements Protect Babies From Illnesses

Pregnant women who consumed 400 mgs of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA, in an algal form daily from 18 weeks through childbirth protected their infants from colds and other illnesses, according to a U.S. study conducted among 1,100 pregnant women and 900 infants in Mexico. At one month, the infants in the DHA group had 25 percent fewer cold symptoms, including cough, phlegm and wheezing. At three months, the DHA infants spent 14 percent less time ill. And at six months, the DHA infants experienced shorter duration of fever, nasal secretion, and other symptoms. "Pregnant women taking 400 mg of DHA [daily] are more likely to deliver healthier infants," researchers said.

"Prenatal Docosahexaenoic Acid Supplementation and Infant Morbidity: Randomized Controlled Trial", Pediatrics, August 01, 2011

Fructose, High Fructose Corn Syrup Consumption Increases Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease

A study that examined the metabolic impact of consuming fructose, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and glucose found that consumption of fructose and HFCS increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. The study was launched to find out whether the U.S. recommendation that the upper limit of added sugar consumption should be 25 percent is supported by scientific evidence. Forty-eight adults were tested. Within two weeks, study participants consuming fructose or high fructose corn syrup, but not glucose, had higher concentrations of LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and a protein that leads to vascular plaques. The researchers said their findings suggest that the upper limit of 25 percent of daily calories consumed as added sugar recommended in the 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines “may need to be re-evaluated."

"Consumption of fructose and high fructose corn syrup increase postprandial triglycerides, LDL-cholesterol, and apolipoprotein-B in young men and women", Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, July 31, 2011

Grape-Derived Polyphenols Protect Skin From Harmful Effects Of UV Radiation

A study by Spanish scientists has found that certain polyphenol compounds (flavonoids) extracted from grapes can reduce the formation of “reactive oxygen species” (ROS) in human skin cells exposed to long-wave (UVA) and medium-wave (UVB) ultraviolet radiation. UV rays activate ROS compounds, which in turn oxidize macromolecules such as lipids and DNA and stimulate certain reactions leading to cell death. The polyphenols in grapes, however, inhibit formation of ROS compounds, thus protecting the skin from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. The scientists say their findings support the use of grapes or grape derivatives in sun protection products.

"Protective Effect of Structurally Diverse Grape Procyanidin Fractions against UV-Induced Cell Damage and Death", Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, July 29, 2011

Antibiotic Works Better Than Cranberry Capsules At Preventing UTI Recurrences

The standard antibiotic used to treat urinary tract infections (UTI) did a better job of preventing recurrences of the condition in premenopausal women than cranberry capsules, Dutch researchers have found. They warned, however, that low-dose antibiotics can contribute to antibiotic resistance over time. For the study, 221 women with symptoms of UTI took either 480 mg of trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX) daily or 500 mg cranberry capsules twice daily. At 12 months, the average number of clinical recurrences OF UTI was 1.8 in the TMP-SMX group and 4.0 in the cranberry capsules group. However, antibiotic resistance rates tripled in the pathogens found in the TMP-SMX patients.

"Cranberries vs Antibiotics to Prevent Urinary Tract Infections: A Randomized Double-blind Noninferiority Trial in Premenopausal Women", Archives of Internal Medicine, July 25, 2011

Adding Dietary Fibers Makes Pasta A Healthier Fare

A study on durum pasta revealed that adding dietary fibers to pasta can improve its health benefits without compromising culinary and sensory qualities, but only within certain limits of substitution. Researchers analyzed the cooking properties, sensory characteristics, fiber content, antioxidant properties, and starch digestibility of spaghetti made with durum semolina augmented with varying amounts of durum bran or germ dehydrated at high temperatures. Results showed that pasta made with duram bran or duram germ (pollard) had unattractive sensory and cooking properties, but offers more dietary fibers and antioxidants than regular pasta does. For pollard the study found that pasta made at 10% pollard has minimal impact but beyond 30% it netagively impacts the pasta.

"Effect of insoluble dietary fibre addition on technological, sensory, and structural properties of durum wheat spaghetti", Food Chemistry, July 23, 2011

Scientist Sees Significant Reduction In Global Mortality Rates If Vitamin D Intake Doubled

Global mortality rates could be cost-effectively reduced by as much as 17.3 percent by increasing serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, a U.S. study has found. Researcher William B. Grant evaluated the possible impact on mortality rates in six regions of the world if vitamin D intake was doubled. He found that life expectancy would increase an average of about two years. The mortality rate for African females would drop by 7.6 percent, and for European females by 17.3 percent. Doubling vitamin D intake would be cost-effective, according to Grant, because vitamin D supplementation is cheap and supplementation and moderate UVB irradiance have few adverse side effects.

"An estimate of the global reduction in mortality rates through doubling vitamin D levels", European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, July 06, 2011

Novel Antioxidant Found In Tomatoes Has Many Potential Applications

Researchers in Spain have discovered a potent natural oxidant that is synthesized in tomato plants when they are subjected to biotic stress. The antioxidant power of the new compound is about 14 times higher than that of resveratrol, an antioxidant found in red wine that slows cellular aging. It is also 4.5 times more potent than vitamin E and 10 times more potent than vitamin C, according to the researchers, who said the substance could have multiple applications. In the food industry it could be used as a preservative because it retards lipid oxidation and could prevent fats and oils from becoming rancid. Other possible uses are as a gasoline preservative and in the cosmetics industry in skin care products.

"Identification of defence metabolites in tomato plants infected by the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae", Environmental and Experimental Botany, June 16, 2011

Omega-3s From Plants And Marine Animals Seem To Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Studies conducted in China and the U.S. comparing the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids derived from different sources have found that increased levels of any form of omega-3 were associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. Scientists compared omega-3s from plants (alpha-linoleic acid, or ALA) and marine animals. The two Chinese studies came to different conclusions: one said only plant-derived omega-3s reduced diabetes risk, and the other said only marine-derived omega-3s reduced the risk. The U.S. study, however, found that both forms reduced diabetes risk. The researchers said that evidence suggests that both forms are protective, but more studies are needed to draw definitive conclusions.

"Plasma omega-3 fatty acids and incident diabetes in older adults", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, May 18, 2011

Seaweed And Other Macroalgae Can Be Source Of Heart-Healthy Peptides

A review of scienftic studies suggests that seaweed and other macroalgae can be used to produce peptides that have hypotensive effects in humans' circulatory system. Currently the primary source for most people of these "bioactive peptides" is milk and milk products but the authors believe seaweed and macroalgae could be an important additional source. Macroalgae, which can be 47 percent protein dry weight, have for centuries been part of east Asian and north European diets. Manufacturers already add hypotensive peptides derived from marine sources into functional foods including beverages and soups and the authors believe much more could be done with further research.

"Heart Health Peptides from Macroalgae and Their Potential Use in Functional Foods", Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, May 16, 2011

Magnesium Intake Among Young Korean Women Is Inadequate For Healthy Bones – Study

A study by Korean researchers who assessed magnesium intake in young women has found that consumption levels of the mineral were inadequate to support bone health. For the study, the dietary habits of 484 healthy women in their early twenties were monitored and analyzed. The average intake of magnesium was about 186 mg/day – mainly from cereals, vegetables, milk, legumes and fish – only 63 percent of the recommended daily intake. The researchers concluded that “the magnesium intake status of young Korean women …is unsatisfactory.” Raising dietary intake levels of magnesium “may positively impact bone quality in this population,” they wrote.

"Evaluation of magnesium intake and its relation with bone quality in healthy young Korean women", Biological Trace Element Research, April 05, 2011

Evidence Supports Role Of Almonds In Heart-Healthy Diet

U.S. researchers who analyzed the results of scientific studies on the cardioprotective effects of almonds have found evidence that the unsaturated fatty acids and dietary fiber contained in the nuts help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. In addition, almonds contain nutrients that play a mechanistic role in promoting heart health. Other heart-healthy ingredients in almonds include vitamin E, protein, magnesium, manganese, copper and calcium. “The message that almonds, in and of themselves, are a heart-healthy snack should be emphasized to consumers,” the researchers said. Between 91and 94 percent of the fatty acids in almonds are unsaturated, which may account for their ability to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

"Effects of almond consumption on the reduction of LDL-cholesterol: a discussion of potential mechanisms and future research directions", Nutrition Reviews, April 01, 2011

Trends in Energy Intake among US Children by Eating Location and Food Source, 1977-2006

Journal of the AMERICAN DIETETIC ASSOCIATION, July 31, 2011

Vitamin D supplementation for prevention of mortality in adults

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, July 06, 2011

Vitamin D and type 2 diabetes: a systematic review

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition , July 06, 2011

Allosteric Modulation of Retinal GABA Receptors by Ascorbic Acid

The Journal of Neuroscience , June 29, 2011


Consumer Research And Targeted Marketing Help Western Consumer Goods Companies Flourish In Russia

Western consumer packaged goods companies are investing in consumer research to adapt their marketing campaigns to local conditions in Russia. Reckitt Benckiser spends around 12 percent of its $440 million revenue from the former Soviet countries on consumer research and marketing, an investment that helped the company launch a successful advertising campaign for its Calgonit dishwasher tablets after research found that Russian women spend inordinate amounts of time on washing dishes because dishwashers are not common in Russian homes. The company also found success in marketing its Clearasil anti-acne treatment although Russian teenagers had been using soap and water until ten years ago. Unilever signed up Russian celebrity Vera Brezhneva to endorse its Rexona deodorant after research showed majority of Russian women viewed her as their ideal of a perfect woman.

"Consumer Companies Teach Western Ways to Russians", The St. Petersburg Times, August 03, 2011

Sales Of Organic Foods And Beverages Slowed Decline In UK

Sales of organic foods and beverages in the UK decreased 3 percent in the 12-month period ending mid-June 2011, an improvement over the 12 percent decline in the same period of the previous year, according to the Soil Association. Economic slowdown and rising food prices adversely affected the organic food market and a survey by consumer group Which? found that 38 per centof consumers are now less likely to buy organic meat compared to a year ago, and 43 per cent are less likely to buy organic fruit and vegetables. Analysts expect the market for organic foods and beverages to grow gradually in the near term, while its long-term growth prospects depend on the market's ability to persuade consumers of the health and lifestyle benefits offered by organic food products.

"Organic food sales seen stabilising, may rise", Reuters, July 29, 2011

Singapore shines as consumer business hub

The Straits Times Singapore, August 01, 2011

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