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Food Business Insight Alert Archive

Have a look at some of our recent alerts. These give broad coverage of the industry - if you want something more specific create your own here.

<<40414243444546474849>> Total issues:487

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April 23, 2011, to May 14, 2011

Weight Problem Of Many Immigrants To U.S. May Be Linked With Desire To “Fit In”

Though cheap, convenient and fatty fast foods are usually blamed for the increased weight of immigrants to the United States, a more subtle factor may be the desire of immigrants to “fit in,” researchers have found. In other words, immigrants to the U.S. choose typical American dishes to show that they belong and to prove their “American-ness.” For the study, Asian-American and white college students were asked questions that essentially tested whether they felt insecure about their “American-ness.” A question about English speaking skills, for example, prompted three-fourths of Asian-Americans to mention a typical American food as their favorite. But only 25 percent of Asian-Americans who had not been asked if they spoke English chose those foods.

Children Who Eat Family Meals Eat Healthier Foods, Have Less Risk Of Being Overweight

U.S. researchers have found that children and teens who eat with their families a minimum of three times a week are less likely to be overweight or have other nutritional health problems than other children. The researchers looked at data from 17 recent studies that examined eating patterns and child nutrition among 182,000 children between the ages of three and 17. Five of the studies that assessed the link between family meals and nutrition found children who ate with their families three times a week were 24 percent more likely to eat healthier foods and maintain healthy eating habits, the researchers found. Other benefits: a reduction in the odds for overweight (12 percent), eating unhealthy foods (20 percent), and disordered eating (35 percent).

Danisco Unveils Pine-Derived Plant Sterols For Health Supplements Making Cardio Claims

Danish food ingredient supplier Danisco has launched a new brand of sterols derived from a sustainable pine source and designed for food and dietary supplements that target cardiovascular health. According to the company, PinVita phytosterols lower the level of unfavorable LDL cholesterol in the blood by reducing cholesterol absorption. PinVita’s easy-to-formulate, ready-to-use solutions are available for applications such as dietary supplements, fats and oils, dairy and bakery products. The company says free and esterified formats of PinVita have limited impact on the taste, texture and appearance of the final consumer product. The PinVita plant sterols are suitable for allergen- and GMO-free products as well.

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April 16, 2011, to April 23, 2011

Energy Drinks Added To Alcohol Change The Perception Of Impairment, Increasing The Danger

Mixing an energy drink like Red Bull with alcohol changes the reaction to alcohol that a drinker experiences, compared to a drinker who imbibes alcohol only, creating a potentially dangerous situation. Drinking alcohol makes people act impulsively. For the study, researchers randomly assigned 56 male and female college students to one of four groups that drank alcohol alone, alcohol plus an energy drink or a placebo, then measured task execution times. Adding the energy drink to alcohol did not increase impairment, but did change the perception of impairment. “The mix of impaired behavioral inhibition and enhanced stimulation is a combination that may make energy drink consumption riskier than alcohol consumption alone,” the researchers concluded.

Dietary Supplement Use Is Common In U.S., National Surveys Confirm

Data from U.S. health and nutrition surveys has found a significant increase in the use of dietary supplements among adults over the last two decades. According to the surveys, more than 40 percent of American adults were using dietary supplements such as multivitamins, calcium, vitamin D and folic acid from 1988 to 1994. The number increased to more than 50 percent in the years 2003 to 2006, with multivitamins being the most prevalent supplement. In that same time period, 61 percent of women aged 60 and over were taking a calcium supplement, up from 28 percent in 1988 to 1994. Intake of folic acid supplements did not increase among childbearing age women: folic acid is widely available in vegetables, beans and legumes, and in processed foods fortified with folate.

Illinois House Passes Ban On Trans Fats In School Vending Machines, Restaurants, Etc.

The Illinois House has passed legislation that would ban trans fats in foods served in restaurants, movie theaters, cafes, bakeries and school vending machines. Foods likely to be affected by the ban include French fries, onion rings, popcorn shrimp, pies, cakes and fried chicken. The ban, if approved by the Senate and signed by the governor, would take effect in 2013 (2016 in school cafeterias). California is the only other state to enact such a ban, though more than a dozen jurisdictions, including New York City, have implemented similar bans on trans fats, which have been shown to increase levels of bad cholesterol (LDL), reduce levels of good cholesterol (HDL), and increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

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April 09, 2011, to April 16, 2011

Probiotics Marketing Needs To Educate Consumers About The Scientific Basis Of Health Claims

Probiotics research is fairly advanced, and more and more consumers are aware of the health benefits of probiotics, but there remains a gap between advanced probiotics science and public understanding. It is the probiotics industry’s responsibility to fill that gap through consumer education and marketing that accurately conveys probiotics benefits, according to industry panelists interviewed by Functional Ingredients. The term “probiotics” may only resonate with 20 percent of consumers, for example, but the term “supports digestive health” does. The problem is that claims made in marketing (and packaging) need to flow from science. They need to be specific, accurate and scientifically proven, as in the case of the digestive health claim, which is backed by numerous clinical trials.

EFSA Panel Reports On Assessment Of 442 “General Function” Food Health Claims

The European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) NDA Panel has assessed 442 “general function” health claims – about 80 percent of such claims – relating to protection against oxidative damage to body cells, contribution to either cognitive or bowel function and maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels. The panel reported favorably on claims regarding the relationships between, for example, walnuts and improved function of blood vessels and the antioxidant effects of olive oil polyphenols on LDL cholesterol. Nutrient replacement claims approved included replacement of digestible starch by resistant starch to lower the increase of blood glucose levels after meals and  replacement of saturated fatty acids with mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids to maintain normal blood cholesterol. Claims not approved generally offered low quality scientific evidence, EFSA said.

Quality Food Not Associated With C-Stores In Consumers’ Minds

Harried on-the-go consumers appreciate the convenience of quick meals and snacks, as long as they don’t come from convenience stores, Mintel research has found. C-stores pride themselves on being the “ultimate destination for convenience, Mintel says, but research shows that a third of consumers have never bought food at a C-store because of perceived low quality. They do buy beverages there, however, including fountain drinks, coffee drinks and frozen beverages. Nevertheless, Mintel foodservice research director Eric Giandalone says, C-stores were less affected by the recession than restaurants. Mintel forecasts the $22.8 million C-store foodservice sector to grow by 4.1 percent in 2011.

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April 02, 2011, to April 09, 2011

Wrigley Launches Calcium-Fortified Chewing Gum In Pacific Market

The Wrigley Company has introduced in Australia a calcium-fortified sugar-free chewing gum formulated to deliver 10 percent of the recommended daily intake of calcium. Extra Professional Calcium, which follows the introduction of Extra Professional and Extra Professional White sugar-free chewing gum, is the first fortified gum approved the Pacific market, according to the company. Chewing two pieces for 20 minutes provides about 80 grams of calcium. The Extra Professional product range has accounted for a 16.1 percent share of gum in national grocery channels and a 15 percent share of gum in national convenience channels, the company said. The launch of the new gum will be supported by integrated marketing and communications campaigns across Australia and New Zealand.

New Skin-Revitalizing Fruit Chew Features Resveratrol And Collagen

U.S. premium health supplement maker ResVitále has launched a skin-revitalizing fruit chew containing both resveratrol, a compound found in red grapes, and BioCell Collagen II, a healthy aging ingredient from BioCell Technology LLC (Newport Beach, Calif.). Collagen Enhance II’s formulation combines natural collagen and hyaluronic acid (HA) with organic French red wine antioxidants to boost skin hydration, firmness and elasticity, the company said. According to Naomi Whittel, CEO and founder of ResVitále, “This superior combination of BioCell Collagen II and red wine polyphenols works synergistically to promote age-defying, skin-revitalizing benefits." ResVitále’s supplements are sold only at GNC retail locations in the United States and international markets.

Food Companies Can Expect A Spate Of Class Action Suits Over Health Claims

High-profile food companies that make strong, but possibly questionable, health claims for their products should brace themselves for a deluge of class action lawsuits from consumer lobby groups. Legal experts told NutraIngredients that companies should expect an “explosion” of suits similar to the one targeting General Mills over its claims of digestive health for Yo-Plus yogurts. The suit was recently allowed to proceed by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals despite the company’s efforts to torpedo it. Part of the litigation problem may be aggressive lawyers looking for settlement opportunities with big companies. Dannon and Wrigley, for example, both settled class action challenges related to health claims for products. But perhaps the real root cause is overeager food company marketing departments with a penchant for health claim hyperbole.

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March 26, 2011, to April 02, 2011

Law Firm Criticizes NOP’s Decision To Ban Nanomaterials From Organic Products

Law firm Bergeson & Campbell, P.C., which represents nanotechnology companies on regulatory issues, says that the U.S. National Organic Program’s (NOP) decision to accept a recommendation to ban engineered nanomaterials from certified organic products is not welcome news.  The recommendation was made by the U.S. National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) after a technical review that offered a definition of questionable nanosized materials. But, according to the law firm, “any wholesale ban on 'engineered nanoscale materials' reflects adversely on the technology and products of the technology that are purely size-driven” and is “stigmatizing to nanomaterials generally.” The firm urged nano stakeholders to press the NOP for a public forum to address a variety of concerns.

Joint Venture Will Market “Steviasucrose” Sweeteners In Northern, Eastern Europe

European sugar producer Nordzucker AG and stevia sweetener supplier PureCircle Limited have formed a sales and marketing joint venture, NP Sweet A/S, to market reduced calorie products known as “steviasucrose” that combine sugar and stevia. The market for the stevia and steviasucrose portfolio is food and beverage companies in northern and eastern Europe. According to NP Sweet General Manager Lars Bo Jørgensen, the joint venture takes advantage of integrated supply chains that offer customers “sustainability and traceability from field to final application.” EU regulatory clearance for stevia products is expected before the end of 2011.

High Levels Of Omega-3 Intake Seem To Protect Obese Eskimos From Heart Disease Risk

U.S. researchers who studied the dietary patterns and health profiles of Yup’ik Eskimos in Alaska have found a beneficial correlation between their consumption of fatty fish and low rates of obesity-related chronic diseases, including diabetes and heart disease, despite similar rates of obesity and overweight. Yup’ik Eskimos consume 20 times more omega-3 fats from fish than other Americans, researchers said. Seventy percent of the 330 people studied were overweight or obese. Those who had lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) in their blood had higher concentrations of triglycerides and other markers of heart disease risk. But obese persons with high blood levels of omega-3 fats had normal triglyceride levels, suggesting that intake of omega-3-rich seafood protects Yup’ik Eskios from some of the harmful effects of obesity.

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March 19, 2011, to March 26, 2011

Small Australian Organic Food Supplier Takes Woolworths To Court Over Trademark Issue

Organic Marketing Australia, a Sydney-based independent organic food supplier that does business under the name Honest to Goodness, is suing Australian food company Woolworths over the use of the phrase “Honest to Goodness” in a new advertising campaign. According to the plaintiff, a family-owned business started by a husband-wife team in 2002, the use of the Honest to Goodness phrase infringes on its trademark. Woolworths maintains that the term Honest to Goodness is in common usage and can be used freely, although observers note that the way the phrase is used in the advertising campaign comes very close to branding. Woolworths denies that, telling the Sydney Morning Herald: "We will continue to work with the parties involved to resolve this matter."

Spain Launches Collaborative Effort To Create Healthier Diets For Elderly Population

As part of the SENIFOOD project funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, research organizations and companies are collaborating to develop nutritionally balanced diets and foods targeting a growing aging population. The plan is to create ingredients and diets that will help reduce the incidence of metabolic syndrome, a precursor to diabetes; improve bone, muscle, gastrointestinal, visual and cognitive health; and to reduce neurodegenerative disorders. The issue of elder health is a pressing one in Spain, where older people comprise 17 percent of the population. Involved in the collaboration are functional ingredients companies, food manufacturers, a manager of nursing homes, and 25 technological centers and universities.

Increased Consumption Of Added Sugars Coincides With Weight Gain – Study

U.S. researchers who analyzed 27 years of survey data on added sugar intake and patterns of body weight among adults in Minnesota found a significant correlation between the two that could be linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disorders. The researchers defined added sugars as sugars and syrups added to foods during processing, preparation or at the table. They examined trends for body mass index and dietary intake of foods and beverages with added sugars by gender and by age group, finding that added sugar intake increased along with BMI levels in men and women in all age groups. The researchers acknowledged that it is not yet clear “whether the relationship between BMI and added sugar intake is due to additional calories or the added sugars, per se."

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March 12, 2011, to March 19, 2011

Dyed-In-The-Wool Organic Food Buyers Keep Organic Co-ops Prospering

Devoted organic food buyers are fueling the prosperity of organic grocery coops around the U.S. According to the National Cooperative Grocers Association, whose members include a 40-year-old Duluth, Minn. co-op and 117 others, sales grew seven percent from 2008 to 2009 to reach to reach a total of more than $1.3 billion in annual sales. The growth seems to run counter to conventional wisdom, which says the first thing cut from shopping lists in times of economic downturn would be more expensive organic goods. But sales at the member-owned Whole Foods Co-op in Duluth grew in each year of the recession, thanks to customers looking to avoid harmful pesticides and fertilizers, and committed to buying locally.

Researcher IGD Forecasts Solid Growth In Online Food And Grocery Shopping

U.K. food industry and grocery researcher IGD, in a report on the online channel, says that 27 percent of food and grocery manufacturers surveyed would consider building their own e-stores to engage directly with shoppers online. The value of online grocery shopping is likely to increase 100 percent by 2015, with sales reaching £9.9 billion. According to IGD, online sales are growing faster than any other sector in the grocery market: 21.4 percent in 2010. The online grocery market in 2010 accounted for 3.2 percent of total grocery spending in the U.K. and is projected to increase to 5.4 percent by 2015. About 43 percent of food manufacturers see online  revenues comprising as much as 10 percent of total revenue by 2015, about double the current performance.

New Beetroot/Apple Juice Blend From Heinz Is Targeted At Athletes

Heinz is targeting sports enthusiasts with a new juice blend rich in dietary nitrate. GO BEET is a combination of beetroot and apple juice that contains no added flavors, colors or preservatives and was formulated to help athletes boost endurance and stamina. According to the company, scientific research has found that that high nitrate levels in beetroot help increase endurance and stamina by allowing muscles to use oxygen more efficiently and to extend the time it takes for muscles to become exhausted. The company recommends drinking one 200 mL bottle of GO BEET each day for three days before intense exercise or a sporting event. One 200 mL bottle should be consumed three hours before exercising.

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March 05, 2011, to March 12, 2011

Heinz Acquires 80-Percent Stake In Brazil's Coniexpress, Reports Third Quarter Results

H.J. Heinz Company agreed to purchase an 80-percent stake in Coniexpress S.A. Industrias Alimenticias, manufacturer of the Quero brand of tomato sauces, paste, ketchup, condiments, and vegetables in Brazil. Aside from greatly expanding Heinz's operations in Latin America, the acquisition of the Quero business, which has annual sales of about $325 million, gives the company its first significant presence in Brazil. Heinz reported 1.5 percent growth in sales for its third quarter ended January 26, 2011, and a 20 percent increase in total net income. Earnings per share rose from continuing operations rose 1.2%, fueled by 14 percent sales growth in emerging markets led by China, India, Indonesia, and Russia, 3.8-percent organic growth in the top 15 brands, as well as sales and volume growth in the North America Consumer Products segment. Heinz has increased its full-year reported EPS guidance and now expects to sales growth of 2-3 percent for the year, revised down to reflect the labor stoppage in Venezuela and slow recovery in the U.S. foodservice industry.

Greek Yogurt Sales Soaring Despite Higher Prices

Despite being more expensive, Greek yogurt is gaining in popularity among health-conscious consumers because it has fewer calories and more protein and calcium than regular yogurt, and no saturated fat. In addition, Greek yogurt is strained, eliminating whey, leaving a healthier balance of yogurt and cheese, a thicker texture and richer flavor. Major brands in the sector include Chobani, Fage, Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt and Dannon. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, sales of Chobani Greek Yogurt increased 200 percent in the past 12 months, a performance that matches the sector overall since October 2010, according to a report by Nielsen. Meanwhile sales of regular yogurt rose only one percent.

Scientists, Vegans Contribute To Coconut Oil’s Burnished Image As A Health Food

Coconut oil, once vilified as an artery-clogging fat to be avoided at all costs, has now become the “darling” of the natural foods community, according to a New York Times article. Whole Foods says annual sales growth for the oil has been at the double-digits level for five years. Among the reasons for the shiny new image: scientific evidence that virgin coconut oil, which isn’t partially hydrogenated, isn’t really bad for your health after all. And vegans have discovered that coconut oil, which is solid at room temperature, is a great substitute for butter in baking.

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February 26, 2011, to March 05, 2011

Artisan Manufacturers Whet Canadian Consumers' Appetite For Chocolates

Artisan chocolate manufacturers are transforming the chocolate industry in Canada the same way that their counterparts did earlier in the coffee industry. Several factors including the slowfood movement and social recognition of organic and fair-trade products are driving the trend. As a result, consumers are becoming aware of the fine distinctions in chocolate's qualities and characteristics. The U.S. market accounts for some $17 billion of the $74 billion global chocolate market, and Canada about $1.7 billion. 

New IOM Report Fails To Spot Vitamin D Deficiency In North America

This opinion piece asserts that the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) findings that there is no vitamin D deficiency in Canada and the United States highlights the IOM's failure to adequately update its Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) report for vitamin D and calcium. The author claims that the report is limited by the exclusion from the Committee of the most productive vitamin D researchers; an excessive reliance on clinical trials; exclusion of data supporting the conclusion that dietary deficiencies exist among significant parts of the population; and too much emphasis on vitamin D's impact on bone health.

Cadbury Introduces India To The Oreo Cookie

Kraft Foods unit Cadbury India has begun selling the Oreo cookie brand in India in an effort to crack a strong and growing Indian cookie market. An AC Nielsen study says the category grew 17 percent in 2010, led by creams and biscuits (cookies). Cadbury says testing among Indian consumers found an enthusiastic reception for the classic dark chocolate varierty with vanilla crème flavor. Kraft is investing heavily in promotion of Oreos in India, according to Cadbury, which notes that the company has tripled sales of Oreos in the Asia Pacific market in three years, and has done especially well in China.

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February 19, 2011, to February 26, 2011

Fonterra Expands Outside New Zealand, Builds Dairy Farms in China

Fonterra Co-Operative Group Ltd. CEO Andrew Ferrier has said his company plans to expand outside New Zealand, particularly in China. Fonterra, which has sales near $13 billion and produces about a third of the internationally traded dairy products globally, is building dairy farms in China; this follows the 2008 contaminated milk scandal involving Shijiazhuang Sanlu Group Co., which was 43-percent owned by Fonterra and prompted it to take control of all aspects of its operations in China. Ferrier sees growing wealth and population growth increasing demand, even as climate change and increasing costs of production push up milk prices worldwide. He added that Fonterra will not sell genetically modified milk products in countries where consumers do not want them, and is instead focusing on selective breeding of cows to improve milk quality and production.

Consumer Watchdog Urges FDA To Ban "Caramel Coloring" In Sodas

The Center for Science in the Public Interest has petitioned the U.S. FDA to ban the “caramel coloring” used in Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and other foods because it contains two cancer-causing chemicals. According to CSPI, the artificial brown coloring used in sodas is nothing like the caramel made at home by melting sugar in a saucepan. It is made under high pressure and temperatures by reacting sugars with ammonia and sulfites. The chemical reactions form 2-methylimidazole and 4 methylimidazole. Government-conducted studies chave shown that the two chemicals cause lung, liver, or thyroid cancer.

Delaware Judge Rules Against Barclays Capital In Del Monte Foods Shareholder Lawsuit

Delaware Chancery Judge Travis Laster ruled that Barclays Capital manipulated the process in the acquisition of Del Monte Foods by private equity firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., Vestar Capital Partners and Centerview Capital LP. The case highlights conflicts of interest that can emerge when deal advisers perform multiple roles in mergers and acquisitions. Barclays acted improperly by acting as adviser to Del Monte and providing debt financing for the buyers at the same time – a practice called “staple financing” – without informing Del Monte, and earning the bank about $50 million in fees. Laster also ruled that Barclays acted against the interest of Del Monte investors by arranging a covert partnership between KKR & Co. and Vestar that influenced the bidding process.
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