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Study Shows YoplaitPlus has Digestive Benefits

June 3, 2009: 09:43 AM EST
General Mills’ YoplaitPlus™ yogurt has been shown in clinical trials to improve digestive health. Lead co-researcher Tamar Ringel-Kulka, MD, MPH, and her team from the University of North Carolina (UNC) – Chapel Hill found that digestive health improved in people who consumed one serving per day, whereas there was no change in people who consumed a product containing no yogurt cultures, probiotics or fiber. YoplaitPlus contains the probiotic culture Bifidobacterium lactis (Bb-12) and 3g fiber per 4-oz cup.
"Yoplait® YoPlus™ Clinically Shown to Naturally Help Regulate Digestive Health ", Business Wire, June 03, 2009, © Business Wire
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Organic Producers Seek New Ways to Differentiate Products

June 3, 2009: 10:08 AM EST
Sales of organic products in the UK appear to be slowing as the recession takes hold. The Soil Association Organic Market Report says that sales of organic products grew 1.7 percent by value in 2008, mostly in the first six to nine months of the year, after “spectacular” growth in recent years. “Organic” has become a generic term, shared by niche and private label products and everything in between, and brands now have to find new ways to differentiate themselves. Claims such as “responsible sourcing” and “free range” are also competing for consumers’ attention. Focusing on a product’s natural and wholesome qualities is a good strategy, and this can be reflected in packaging to attract buyers.
Simeon Goldstein, "Organics: Tempting shoppers back to nature", Packaging News, June 03, 2009, © Haymarket Media Group Publication
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School Diets Fall Short on Whole Grains in US

June 2, 2009: 10:04 AM EST
School food-service directors in Minnesota are having difficulty in increasing the amount of whole grain in school food. Research lead by Len Marquart, assistant professor at the University of Minnesota's food science and nutrition department, shows that the directors aren’t always sure if a product meets whole-grain criteria, and find it hard to source suitable products. Most US school children get only one serving of whole grains a day, short of the recommended three. The university is engaged in a series of projects aimed at increasing the amount of whole grains children eat each day.
"Study says confusion reigns over whole-grain claims in school lunches ", University of Minnesota, June 02, 2009, © Regents of the University of Minnesota
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Review Dispels Myths about Aspartame, says Leading Manufacturer

June 2, 2009: 10:57 PM EST
Aspartame is not associated with adverse effects in the general population, and nor does it have an effect on appetite or food intake when used as a sweetener, says Brendan Naulty, president of Ajinomoto North Americam, a leading global manufacturer of the artificial sweetener. Naulty was commenting in a media release on a review of research posted on the American Dietetic Associaiton (ADA) Evidence Analysis Library web site. Lisa Carlson, a Chicago-based registered dietitian, said the study “adds meaningful, science-based information that will help registered dietitians respond to questions from consumers”. The ADA managed all aspects of the review, which was funded jointly by the ADA and Ajinomoto.
"Evidence-Based Analysis of Aspartame Research --Questions Put to Rest ", CNBC.com, June 02, 2009, via PR Newswire, © PR Newswire
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Organic Alone No Longer Good Enough for Consumers

June 2, 2009: 11:44 AM EST
Organic food producers are responding to an anticipated slowdown in growth by adopting an “Organic Plus” strategy. Sales are being affected by lower consumer spending power, declining investment levels and higher expectations from consumers, says Organic Monitor. Organic is no longer enough on its own as consumers seek products that are from ethical sources, are traceable, have small carbon footprints, are sustainable and produced by socially responsible companies. Some companies are investing in war-torn countries, and others are going greener by offsetting carbon emissions.
"More Companies Going 'Organic Plus'", Food Product Design, June 02, 2009, © Virgo Publishing, LLC
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Mainstream Struggles to Find Right Wellness Formula

June 1, 2009: 10:42 AM EST
Mainstream retailers are trying to emulate the success of “greentailing” – specialist outlets operating in the wellness lifestyle category, such as Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s – but are having difficulty getting the formula right. Several ventures have failed, including Ike's Farmers Market (set up by Bashas' Supermarkets) and Supervalu’s Sunflower Markets. Some conventional retailers are having some success by integrating “wellness” products in their mainstream aisles, others by setting up “boutique” corners with green products. However, smaller stores have a lot of promise, so the drive is still on to create successful “stand alone” wellness outlets. There is probably no “one-size-fits-all formula” says Chuck Cerankosky, retail analyst with FTN Midwest, Cleveland. Location and knowing your customers may be the key.
"Slimming Down ", Supermarket News, June 01, 2009, via http://www.lexisnexis.com, © Penton Media, Inc.
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Recession Frugality May Become Ingrained, Pundits Say

June 1, 2009: 09:19 AM EST
Frugality may be here to stay, according to a number of commentators. The view is backed by research: between one third and one half of consumers say they will continue their money-saving strategies even after the recession ends, according to retail consulting firm Retail Forward. Consumers were beginning to place more emphasis on value and relationships before the recession hit, and this will continue, as will the desire to “do good” with purchases, for example by buying “environmentally friendly” products. Heavy discounts are here to stay, say some retailers, including Home Depot. Some voices, however, say that people adapt quickly, and will return to pre-recession habits as the economy improves.
Nat Ives, "Marketers Fear Frugality May Just Be Here to Stay_06-01-09", AdAge.com, June 01, 2009, © Crain Communications
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Sugar Content Surges in Healthy Foods

June 1, 2009: 09:55 AM EST
The amount of sugar in “healthy” foods in the UK has more than doubled in 30 years, according to McCance and Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods. In many cases sugar levels are above levels classified by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) as “high”. Increased demand for sweeter foods and lower sugar prices are thought to be factors in the increase. The issue is complicated by the fact that different sugars have different “health values”, and that labeling laws can be confusing. Industry spokespeople say they are taking steps to make the sugar content of their products more transparent, and the information easier to digest.
Ross Chainey and Natalie Duthie, "The hidden sugars in your food", MSN, June 01, 2009, © Microsoft
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Growth Forecast in Worldwide Milk Consumption

June 1, 2009: 08:58 AM EST
Global consumption of milk and other liquid dairy products is expected to increase by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.2 percent over the next three years. In a media release, Tetra Pak, the world leader in food processing and packaging solutions, said that global consumption of liquid dairy products, excluding soy and dairy alternatives, reached a record high of 258 billion litres in 2008, an increase of 1.6 percent over the previous year. Nearly 96 percent of the growth is in emerging markets, such as India, Pakistan, China and the Middle East.
"Tetra Pak forecasts continued growth in global milk consumption over the next three years", Tetrapak.com, June 01, 2009, © Tetra Pak International
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Boom in Naturals Offers Scope for Multinationals

June 1, 2009: 06:24 AM EST
Marketers across the spectrum are pulling out all the stops to ensure their products are “green”, to capitalize on surging consumer interest in natural products. Major companies such as Unilever and Colgate are well positioned to take advantage of growth in the sector, riding on the backs of niche players who developed the market, says Carrie Mellage, director of Kline & Company’s Consumer Products practice. But it might not be a smooth path. The natural ingredients market is characterised by concerns about efficacy, traceability, authentication of ingredients, regulatory issues and ambiguity in the definition of “natural”, according to Dr. Lakshmi Prakash, Ph.D., vice president of innovation and business development, Sabinsa. Joshua Onysko, founder and chief executive officer of Pangea Organics, says it is “rare to find an organic or natural product that actually stands up to its claims”. Global standards have yet to be agreed, meaning consumers can be confused because countries, and even companies, have differing definitions of “organic” and “natural”.
Melissa Meisel, "Green Is the New Black", Happi.com, June 01, 2009, © Rodman Publishing / HAPPI
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Vinegar Could be Means to Cut Salt in Food without Affecting Taste

May 29, 2009: 10:38 AM EST
A team of Japanese researchers says that adding a small amount of vinegar to food could be a way to cut the level of salt without affecting taste. The research looked at how low concentrations of salt and acids react together, focusing on vinegar, because it has high levels of acetic acid and is already used in cooking. They found that a test panel detected salt in a distilled water solution at far lower levels when vinegar was added. The same effect was not found when salt was added to vinegar.
Keiko Hatae, Fujio Takeutchi, Mariko Sakamoto, Yasushi Ogasawara, and Hirofumi Akano, "Vinegar could be used for salt reduction: Study", Journal of Food Science, May 29, 2009, © Journal of Food Science
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Organic “Bioneers” Respond to Market Downturn

May 29, 2009: 12:50 PM EST
The global recession is hitting organic products as consumers cope with reduced spending power and the level of industry investment declines. This year could be the first in more than a decade where growth is in single-digits only. The UK market appears to be one of the hardest hit, recording 2 percent growth in 2008. Consumers are also demanding more from organic products, including ethical sourcing, traceability, the carbon footprint, sustainability and corporate social responsibility. “Bioneers” (organic food pioneers) are responding in numerous ways in a trend now tagged as “Organic Plus”. Strategies being employed include ethical and fairtrade sourcing, investing in the poorest (and often war-ravaged) parts of the world, offsetting carbon emissions, ensuring that products can be traced to the grower, more emphasis on sustainability, and more wide-ranging certification.
"Global Organic Market: Time for Organic Plus Strategies...", Organic Monitor, May 29, 2009, © Organic Monitor
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Health Lifestyles Give Way to Obesity and Smoking

May 27, 2009: 09:52 AM EST
Health and exercise trends among middle-aged and older Americans are heading in the wrong direction, according to a recent study. The researchers looked at five “lifestyle factors”, and found that the number of people adhering to all five dropped from 15 percent to 8 percent between 1988 and 2006. Consumption of fruit and vegetables, and levels of exercise, dropped, while obesity rates went up and the smoking rate remained the same. More people were drinking “moderately” in 2006 than in 1988, however. Lead researcher Dr. Dana E. King, of the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, said that reliance on medication, hectic lifestyles and the difficulty of making lifestyle changes may be behind the trend. He also said that “it’s never too late” to change for the better.
Amy Norton, "Fewer Americans following a healthy lifestyle", Reuters, May 27, 2009, © Elsevier Inc.
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Store Brands Surge as Buyers Seek Cheaper Deals

May 26, 2009: 11:16 AM EST
Cash-conscious consumers are seeking out store brands as the economy stays in the doldrums. The Nielsen Co. said that store brand sales rose 8.5 percent year-on-year to reach $54.7 billion. The Food Marketing Institute said that store brands now make up 9.7 percent of items carried in a typical store, compared with 8.1 percent and 7.5 percent in the two previous years. Store brands are usually cheaper than name-brand products, partly because they don’t carry the same national distribution and marketing costs. Name brands have also been reluctant to drop prices despite falling commodity and transport costs. Some industry leaders are predicting that premium store brands will do better in future as baby boomers trade down but still seek higher quality.
Sandra Pedicini , "In tough economy, store brands are in demand", Orlando Sentinel , May 26, 2009, © Orlando Sentinel
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Green Tea Extract Offers Hope for Leukemia Patients

May 26, 2009: 02:07 PM EST
First-stage clinical trials have shown that high doses of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), an ingredient in green tea, can reduce the size of lymph nodes in people with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) by more than 50 percent. The lymphocyte count was reduced in one third of the participants in the trial, being carried out by a team lead by Mayo Clinic hematologist Tait Shanafelt, M.D. There is no cure for CLL, the most common subtype of leukemia found in the US. Researchers are now starting a stage 2 clinical trial.
"Green Tea Extract Shows Promise in Leukemia Trials", Mayo Clinic, May 26, 2009, © Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research
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Tesco Sets Up New Distribution Center in Malaysia

May 26, 2009: 07:34 AM EST
Tesco Stores (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd plans to open a new $86 million distribution center for non-chilled products in Bukit Beruntung, Selangor. The company, an alliance between Tesco plc of the UK and Sime Darby Bhd, has a fresh produce distribution center in Simpang Pulai, Perak. It runs 30 stores in Malaysia, and plans to open a further seven this year. Malaysia supplies about 1 percent of the products Tesco sells worldwide, with 64 percent sourced from China, 6 percent from India, and 5 percent each from Turkey and Sri Lanka.
Rupa Damodaran, "Tesco to spend RM300m on new facility", Business Times, May 26, 2009, © The New Straits Times Press
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100-Calorie Packs Lose Steam as Dieters Turn to Satiety

May 26, 2009: 10:28 AM EST
Satiety may be replacing calorie control as the next big trend in dieting. Consumers are turning away from 100-calorie packs, amid concerns about price, efficacy, taste and sustainability. IRI says sales of 100-calorie packs are down, and Datamonitor says the segment “has run out of steam”. Food analyst Phil Lempert says “newly frugal consumers have figured out how to measure out 100-calories by themselves”. There is also increasing evidence that the low-cal packs aren’t effective for weight control: people tend to eat more smaller packs, and show more restraint when snacking from a full-size package. The dieting trend is now also moving toward satiety, based around consuming more protein to make people feel full for longer, but this may itself be slowed because protein products tend to be more expensive.
Elaine Wong , "100-Calorie Packs Pack It In", Brandweek, May 26, 2009, © Nielsen Business Media
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Small Format and Value Banners Driving Grocery Sector

May 25, 2009: 07:14 AM EST
Small-format stores and value banners are becoming the front-runners in the grocery business as companies try to keep afloat in a tightening economy. The reduction in spending power is driving an increase in consolidation activity as companies with cash buy up struggling rivals, says Natalie Berg, grocery research manager for Planet Retail, which produced a report on the sector in April. Grocery sales are expected to grow at 5.2 percent annually over the next five years, about half the rate for the previous five. The discount channel is expected to grow by 6.3 percent, according to Planet Retail. It predicts that the largest discount grocery chains will add about 12,600 stores worldwide between 2008 and 2013. Companies such as Tesco, Wal-Mart Stores and Carrefour are increasingly moving into the small-format sector, competing with groups such as Aldi and Schwarz Group.
"Global Food Retailers Growing on the Cheap", Supermarket News, May 25, 2009, via LexisNexis, © Penton Media, Inc
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Milk Industry Groups Oppose Sugar Tax on Flavored Milks

May 25, 2009: 12:32 PM EST
Two major milk industry organizations are criticizing a proposal to tax flavored milk drinks because of their sugar content. In a media release, the groups, the International Dairy Foods Association and the National Milk Producers Federation, said flavored milk was part of the solution to the child obesity problem, not a cause. The tax was proposed in a list of revenue options put forward by Senators Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman, and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking Republican, on the Senate Finance Committee. The groups said that low-fat flavored milk was a good way for children to get essential nutrients without adding too many calories, and claim their view is supported by the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
"Milk Industry Unites to Pan Proposed Tax on Chocolate Milk ", Food Ingredients First, May 25, 2009, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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ConAgra CEO Shares Shopper Marketing Insights

May 25, 2009: 12:13 PM EST
ConAgra Foods executive vice president and chief marketing officer Joan Chow has revealed some of the secrets of her trade. Chow says that sales and marketing are completely aligned at ConAgra, with both departments seeing the need for a strong focus on shopper marketing. About three-quarters of the marketing team is out in the field with sales teams, linking shopper insights and category leadership, and working closely with shopper marketing itself, and in-store marketing. ConAgra refers to the process as Integrated Customer Marketing. Underpinning the effort is the focus on the company’s leadership values: authenticity, courage and vulnerability.
"ConAgra Culture", The Hub Magazine, May 25, 2009, © reveries.com
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Go Back to Basics in Retailing, says Asda Chief

May 22, 2009: 09:31 AM EST
The era of abundance is over, and customers are now shaping businesses rather than businesses shaping customers, says Asda chief executive Andy Bond. It is time to get back to basics and offer the best possible value at a given price, he said. This means minimizing waste and excess at all levels of the retail operation. Asda had noticed three key trends emerging from the downturn. First, consumers were more aware of “need versus want”. Second, they now have less trust in major institutions than previously. Third, there has been a “rebirth of families and local communities”. "We’re starting to see the birth of consumer power – where big institutions will need to form a new bond with ‘consumer communities’ by exercising empowerment,” he said.
Daniel Palmer , "UK supermarket boss takes swipe at “premium” products_05-22-09", ausfoodnews.com.au, May 22, 2009, © Australian Food News
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Nestlé Sets Up Research Unit at University of Tokyo

May 20, 2009: 09:08 PM EST
Nestlé S.A. and the University of Tokyo have combined in a new “Food for Life” health and nutrition research program. Research will begin on 1 June 2009, focusing on current and emerging topics, such as healthy ageing, with an emphasis on mobility and cognitive performance. The aim is to develop new products that promote health. Nestlé is contributing $900,000 over three years to endow a chair at the research unit, part of the company’s Science and Research unit in Switzerland. Scientists from the Swiss unit will be seconded to Tokyo.
"Nestlé launches first research unit in Japan ", Nestlé Media Center, May 20, 2009, © Société des Produits Nestlé S.A
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Red Mango Gains Gluten-Free Status for Frozen Yogurt

May 19, 2009: 09:52 PM EST
Red Mango says in a media release that its frozen yogurt has been certified as gluten-free by the Gluten Free Certification Organization (GFCO). The yogurt is made only with natural ingredients, has no fat, no preservatives, and no artificial flavors or colors. It also contains active and live probiotic bacteria, according to the company. Dan Kim, Red Mango's founder, president and CEO, said that the yogurt was the first to obtain gluten-free status in the US. GFCO is an independent testing agency. About one in 133 Americans are thought to be gluten intolerant.
"Red Mango is Certified Gluten-Free by the Gluten Free Certification Organization", Yahoo Finance, May 19, 2009, © PR Newswire
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“Nordic Diet” Touches All the Bases for Healthy Living

May 19, 2009: 07:48 PM EST
The “Nordic Diet” may be just as healthy as the Mediterranean diet, according to work at Copenhagen University. The traditional Scandinavian diet and lifestyle adds up to good health, researchers say. Mainstays are eating seasonal food, using locally sourced ingredients, and a balance of protein, carbohydrate and fat. Vegetables, grains and fish feature strongly, with meat about once a week. Report author Trine Hahnemann says some of the “old dishes” were “heavy and repetitive” and doesn’t believe everything was better in the old days. But the outdoor lifestyle, a connection with nature and using bicycles as a major form of transport do combine with the diet to keep people healthy. People also tend to “eat together around a table”, adding a valuable social component to the food.
Trine Hahnemann, "Coming Late 2009, The Nordic Diet ", Medical News Today, May 19, 2009, © MediLexicon International Ltd
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Prebiotics a Burgeoning Field as Awareness Expands

May 20, 2009: 06:45 AM EST
Probiotics and prebiotics are a complex field, says R.J. Foster, contributing editor, Food Product Design. Prebiotics not only feed probiotics, they have benefits in their own right, such as boosting mineral absorption, reducing risk factors for colorectal diseases, improving the immune system and enhancing resistance to infection. Prebiotics are dietary carbohydrates, usually some form of fiber, that nurture probiotics. Polydextrose is one of the most common, used as a bulking agent and for fat and sugar reduction. Chicory inulin is also valued by food manufacturers because of its neutral flavor, excellent solubility and low viscosity. The door is opening to the use of prebiotics in bakery, cereal products, soups and prepared meals as awareness of their benefits increases, and the variety and sources expands.
R.J. Foster, "Prebiotics Promote Gut Instincts ", Food Product Design, May 20, 2009, © Virgo Publishing, LLC
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The Hidden Depths Behind Sugar-Free Claims

May 19, 2009: 06:56 AM EST
There’s more to cutting the amount of sugar in foods than simply substituting another sweet product, says Ronal Dels, contributing editor at Food Product Design. Consumers’ overriding concern is the taste – 38 percent of the 14 percent of adults who avoid low-calorie, reduced-sugar and sugar-free foods and beverages, do so because of taste and/or aftertaste, says a 2007 Calorie Control Council survey. Different applications – sweetening beverages, baked goods or confectionery, for example – require different physical and chemical characteristics of the sugars, providing rich territory for food manufacturers and scientists to explore. Labeling laws also take a bit of navigating. The market for sugar-free and reduced-sugar confectionery is likely to grow as the economy recovers, adding further fuel for the drive to find the perfect sugar substitute.
Ronald Deis, "Seamlessly Sugar-Free Sweets ", Food Product Design, May 19, 2009, © Virgo Publishing, LLC
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Diagnosis First, then Go Gluten-Free, says Expert

May 18, 2009: 12:56 PM EST
Removing the gluten from your diet may stop your physician from being able to accurately diagnose celiac disease, says Shelley Case, RD. Speaking in the light of a new gluten-free diet being promoted by “celebrity” Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Case said "The only way to diagnose celiac disease is with a blood test and small intestinal biopsy and gluten must be present in the diet in order for these tests to be accurate." Celiac disease is among the most misdiagnosed and under-diagnosed diseases in the US, she said. Going gluten-free is the only effective treatment, and people should not self-diagnose.
"Going Gluten Free?: The Critical Test Everyone Needs To Have BEFORE They Try The Latest Celebrity Endorsed Diet", Medical News Today, May 18, 2009, © Case Nutrition Consulting
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UK Sticks to 2012 Date for Salt Reduction Guidelines

May 18, 2009: 08:42 PM EST
The Food Standards Authority in the UK is sticking to its aim of reducing the daily adult salt intake to 6 grams (two-tenths of an ounce) a day by 2012. In its latest guidelines, the agency says that the level children should vary between 2 grams and 6 grams, depending on age. The existing average daily adult intake is put at 9 grams (three-tenths of an ounce), a 10 percent drop over the past eight years which has saved more than $2 billion in health costs. About 20,000 premature deaths a year would be avoided with a 6 gram average, says the FSA.
"Agency publishes 2012 salt reduction targets", Food Standards Agency (UK), May 18, 2009, © Crown
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Health Professionals Protest Fortification Of Junk Foods

May 15, 2009: 06:04 AM EST
Dietitians and health professionals are criticizing Health Canada’s proposal to allow the fortification of junk foods such as chips and flavored drinks, claiming that despite the addition of vitamins and mineral, these kinds of food are still junk. Nutritionists fear that fortifying junk food will encourage consumption and may lead to diabetes and obesity, because people might opt to choose the enriched junk food that may have high calorie and fat content over healthier foods. Industry group Food and Consumer Products of Canada has been a proponent of the policy change.
Stephanie Brunner , "Discretionary Fortification Of Junk Food With Vitamin And Mineral Could Be Approved By Health Canada", Medical News Today , May 15, 2009, © Medical News Today
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Interview with Michael Pollan covering Food Rules and the Food Movement

May 14, 2009: 03:26 PM EST
In this wide ranging interview with Leonard Lopate, Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food and a range of articles about the food business, discusses food rules and the rise of the food movement in the US.
"Food Rules with Michael Pollan", May 14, 2009, © WNYC Radio
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Stevia “Fully Competitive” Worldwide Following FDA Approval

May 14, 2009: 07:47 AM EST
Stevia-based Rebaudioside A (Reb A) sweeteners are now fully competitive with sugar for global brands, PureCircle supply chain vice president Dorn Wenninger told the Stevia World 2009 conference in Shanghai. In a media release, Wenninger said that the granting of GRAS status by the FDA last December had opened the doors to intense development activity. Based on previous experience, and its contracts with Cargill, PepsiCo and the Whole Earth Sweetener Company, PureCircle can now market Reb A at a “fully competitive price” worldwide.
"PureCircle Announces that Reb A is Sustainably Competitive with Sugar ", PRNewswire, May 14, 2009, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Cereal with Milk has Same Outcome as Sports Drink

May 14, 2009: 07:36 AM EST
Cereal with milk may be as effective as sports drinks in aiding muscle recovery after endurance exercise, say researchers from the Exercise Physiology and Metabolism Laboratory at the University of Texas, Austin. Lynne Kammer and other researchers found that the cereal and non-fat milk combination affected muscles differently from the carbohydrate-electrolyte sports drink, but that the overall result after moderate exercise was similar. They conclude that the cereal combination could be used instead of sports drinks, particularly for athletes who “refuel” at home.
John M Berardi, Eric E Noreen and Peter WR Lemon, "Cereal and nonfat milk support muscle recovery following exercise", Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, May 14, 2009, © Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition
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Massachusetts Passes Law Forcing Fast-Food Chains to Post Calorie Information

May 13, 2009: 04:38 AM EST
Massachusetts has passed the “toughest” state-wide laws to require major chain restaurants to provide information about the calorie content of food on its menus. The new law applies to chains with more than 19 locations in the state, and will affect 50 chains with 5,800 sites. Calorie counts will have to be posted next to each menu item or on menu boards, including at drive-throughs, where about 65 percent of fast food is purchased, according to Judy Grant, campaign director of the healthy food advocacy group ValueTheMeal.org. The new rule takes effect on November 1, 2010. New York and California have passed similar laws, and another 12 or so states are considering them.
Jason Szep, "Massachusetts sets tough fast-food menu rules", Reuters, May 13, 2009, © Thomson Reuters
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Digestion-Booster Hits Store Shelves for First Time

May 13, 2009: 04:36 AM EST
Align with Bifantis® is now available nationwide, after previously being available online and by special order from pharmacists. The Procter & Gamble product is known to be beneficial in cases of constipation, diarrhea, urgency, gas and bloating. Bifantis (Bifidobacterium infantis 35624) is a probiotic bacterium shown in clinical trials to help build a strong digestive system. Microbiologists at Alimentary Health in Cork, Ireland discovered the bacterial strain in the early 1990s, working in collaboration with P&G. Align meets guidelines developed by the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics.
"Procter & Gamble Announces National Launch of Align with Bifantis ", The Financial, May 13, 2009
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UK Debates Folic Acid Fortification in Wake of Canadian Research

May 12, 2009: 10:44 AM EST
Fortifying bread with folic acid could reduce the risk of congenital heart defects in addition to helping to protect babies from neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, Canadian experience shows. Canada began fortifying bread and pasta with folic acid in 1998, and since then there has been a 9 percent drop in neural tube defects and a 6 percent drop in heart defects. The UK’s Food Standards Agency is considering folate fortification, and is awaiting a report called for by the Chief Medical Officer. However, Dr Sian Astley, a scientist at the Institute of Food Research, said the move would be “like using a sledge hammer to crack a nut”. The British Heart Foundation also urged caution. Elderly people in particular could be adversely affected if they were deficient in other B vitamins.
"Folic acid protects baby hearts ", BBC News, May 12, 2009, © BBC
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Omega-3s Could Help Prevent Macular Degeneration

May 12, 2009: 06:06 AM EST
Eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids from nuts, fish and olive oil, and avoiding trans fats, may be a recipe for avoiding age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to two Australian studies. A Westmead Hospital, University of Sydney, study found that eating one serving of fish per week was associated with a 31 percent lower risk of developing early AMD. One to two servings of nuts per week was associated with a 35 percent lower risk. A study at the Centre for Eye Research found that people who consumed higher levels of trans-unsaturated fat were more likely to have late AMD, and backed the finding that those who consumed the most omega-3 fatty acids were less likely to have early AMD.
"Eating fish, nuts and olive oil may be associated with reduced risk of age-related blindness ", Science Daily, May 12, 2009, © ScienceDaily LLC
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Omega 3-Rich Foods Protect Against Early Onset of AMD

May 12, 2009: 10:34 AM EST
Eating foods high in omega-3, such as fish, nuts and olive oil, and avoiding trans fats, appears to protect people against the early onset of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to two Australian studies. One study found that eating just one serving of fish a week was associated with a 31 percent lower risk of developing the condition, and eating one or two servings of nuts a week was associated with a 35 percent lower risk. The other found that people eating more baked goods and processed foods high in trans-unsaturated fats were more likely to have late AMD, and those who ate more omega-3 fatty acids were less likely to have early AMD.
"Eating Fish, Nuts And Olive Oil May Be Associated With Reduced Risk Of Age-Related Blindness", Medical News Today, May 12, 2009, © American Medical Association
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Mangosteen Extract Shown to Boost Immune System

May 12, 2009: 06:15 AM EST
Thai researchers have developed concentrated extracts from mangosteen that could boost the body’s immune system and have other health benefits. The research was sponsored by the Agricultural Research and Development Agency, a public organisation, and Asian Phytoceuticals Public Co. The discovery could help to boost flagging farm incomes because of a drop in mangosteen prices. Pichaet Wiriyachitra, chairman and chief executive of Asian Phytoceuticals, said that a sales contract had already been signed for purchases of 1,500-2,000 tonnes of the fruit this year, expected to rise to 20,000 tonnes next year. The company says the discovery could help to boost mangosteen juice sales in overseas markets, particularly Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and the United States, where the product is not well known.
Post Reporters , "New research reveals mangosteen effects", Bangkok Post, May 12, 2009, © The Post Publishing Public Company Limited
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Chinese Inspectors Find No Melamine, Uncover More Illegal Food Additives

May 12, 2009: 05:59 AM EST

More than four million law-enforcement officials have found no further cases of melamine-contaminated milk in China in the last four months, says the Chinese Health Ministry. But they have uncovered more than 7,620 cases of illegally used food additives, arrested 30 suspects, closed 3,309 unlicensed food makers and revoked 87 business licenses of makers using illegal food additives, said Su Zhi, deputy director with the ministry's food safety coordination and supervision bureau. The inspectors seized 68 tonnes of illegal food additives and 116.3 tonnes of excessively used food additives during the campaign, initiated when thousands of Chinese children became ill after being fed milk contaminated with melamine. Officials are about to publish a third “blacklist” of forbidden chemicals, based on new substances found by the inspectors after tip-offs from public informants.

"No melamine found in raw milk by nationwide tests, Health Ministry says ", China.org.cn, May 12, 2009, © China.org.cn.
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Thailand Finds Health Benefits for Mangosteen

May 12, 2009: 06:15 AM EST
Thai scientists say they have found that mangosteen extracts can boost the body's immune system and cure some (unspecified) diseases without side effects, adding that they have developed extracts for use in food as well as in health and beauty supplements. An export drive is being launched and a private company, Asian Phytoceuticals, has agreed to buy 2,000 metric tons of the fruit this year, which will be increased tenfold to 20,000 metric tons in 2010, from farmers in a number of outlying regions.
"New research reveals mangosteen effects", Bangkok Post, May 12, 2009, © Bangkok Post Publishing
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General Mills Marketing Cheerios “As a Drug”, says FDA

May 12, 2009: 06:09 AM EST
The Food and Drug Administration has warned General Mills that it is overstepping the mark with its claim that Cheerios can reduce bad cholesterol and cut the risks of heart disease. The claim amounted to marketing the cereal as a drug, the FDA said. It has not approved the claim. In a letter issued May 7, 2009 the agency takes issue with General Mills’ claim that “eating two 1½ cup servings daily of Cheerios cereal reduced bad cholesterol when eaten as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol”. This was clearly a drug claim, according to Dr Steven Sundloff, head of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety. He said that Cheerios were “a product that can be part of a healthy diet”, but said that companies tended to go too far with their health claims. The FDA was reacting to a complaint made in September by consumer advocacy group the National Consumer League. The letter to General Mills “marked a significant change of approach under the Obama administration” said Bruce Silverglade, legal director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. General Mills said the complaint related to how the information is presented, not to the health claims themselves.
Jonathan Birchall , "FDA warns Cheerios over health claims", Financial Times, May 12, 2009, © The Financial Times Limited
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Mexican Company Acquires US Milk Processor

May 11, 2009: 04:49 AM EST
Dallas-based milk-processing company National Dairy has been sold to Mexican food and drinks company Grupo Lala. National Dairy has 18 processing plants in the US, producing branded and private-label dairy products, including Borden, Dairy Fresh, Velda Farms, Flav-O-Rich, Sinton's and Meyer Dairy. It will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lala but retain its current management team. Lala said the deal will give it a broader base in the US, while National Dairy said Lala would contribute a "breadth of resources and strong track record for understanding consumers' needs, creating and manufacturing innovative products and marketing brands". No financial information was made public.
"MEXICO: Grupo Lala acquires National Dairy", just-food.com, May 11, 2009, © American City Business Journals, Inc
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Antioxidants May Block Benefits of Physical Exercise

May 11, 2009: 04:39 AM EST
Antioxidants such as vitamin C and E can block the positive effects of healthy exercise, according to a recent joint US-German study. Exercise promotes the release of free radicals, prompting the body to mobilize defense systems against stress and to process carbohydrates more effectively, said lead investigator Dr. Michael Ristow. Taking antioxidants after exercise blocks this effect, he said. The finding is of particular interest to diabetics, because the antioxidants negate the beneficial effects that exercise has on insulin resistance. The research was done by scientists from Germany's Leipzig and Jena Universities and Harvard's Medical School in Boston, and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine, said the study had no bearing on the value of ensuring people get enough vitamins in their daily diets.
"Antioxidants Blunt Exercise Benefit, Study Shows", empowerher, May 11, 2009, © EmpowHer/HW, LLC
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Target Reinstates Price-Matching Scheme to Combat Wal-Mart Dominance

May 11, 2009: 04:29 AM EST
Target Corp. has reintroduced its price-matching program, seven years after dropping it, as a response to the recession. The company wants to “speak boldly about value and low prices and give customers peace of mind," said spokeswoman Delia McLinden. Initially the program will run in downtown Minneapolis and Medina stores, and in Orlando and Denver. It will go nationwide in the fall if the trial is successful. Price-matching will be done at customer service desks, and customers will have to bring in the complete current ad. Expired prices will not be matched, and there are a number of other restrictions. Target’s key rival, Wal-Mart, recently began promoting its price-matching scheme. Wal-Mart has out-sold Target in same-store sales for the past 17 months.
John Ewoldt, "Target Corp. tests a return to price-matching", Star Tribune , May 11, 2009, © Star Tribune.
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Angels Alliance Supplies Vitamins to the Undernourished

May 11, 2009: 06:11 AM EST
For the past 15 years a little-known humanitarian group has been quietly making a contribution to the fight against malnutrition around the world. More than 300 US vitamin and supplement manufacturers are now part of the Vitamin Angels Alliance, contributing products or money to worthy causes. Participants include ingredients firms, contract manufacturers, retailers, trade groups, and services organizations such as investment banks and market researchers. They’re tackling issues such as blindness (caused by lack of vitamin A); rickets (lack of vitamin D and calcium); and even death from conditions such as measles or diarrhea in situations where the immune system has been weakened by a lack of vitamin A and other micronutrients. Surveys show that 92 percent of consumers like companies to contribute to nonprofits. Most of these are prepared to switch brands if price and quality are equal.
Lorraine Heller , "Quiet potential of supplements and fortified foods", Nutraingredients-USA, May 11, 2009, © Decision News Media SAS
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Sodium Content in Restaurant Meals Three Times RDI

May 11, 2009: 04:51 AM EST
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has released a scorecard measuring the sodium content of restaurant meals. The nutrition watchdog group said that more than 80 percent of the 102 meals it analyzed contained more than the recommended daily limit for sodium. Its survey covered 17 full-service and quick-serve chains. The top-scorer was Red Lobster’s Admiral’s Feast, which contained 7,106 milligrams of salt, compared with a recommended daily 2,300mg for healthy Americans and 1,500mg for people with high blood pressure, African-Americans and baby boomers. Meals from Chili's, Olive Garden and Denny's filled the slots from 2 to 7, with KFC, Dairy Queen, and Arby's ranked at Nos. 8, 9, and 10. More than 150,000 premature deaths could be prevented each year if people consumed less sodium, say hypertension experts. CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson acknowledged that it is difficult for restaurants to cut sodium without adversely affecting the taste. He suggested reducing portion sizes, and seeking suppliers of low-sodium ingredients. The organization is pressing the FDA to regulate sodium content in foods, to ensure a “level playing field” for manufacturers and restaurants.
Blair Chancey , "More Bad News for Sodium", qsrmagazine.com, May 11, 2009, © Journalistic Inc.
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Tesco Promotes Loyalty Scheme to Woo Back Customers

May 9, 2009: 05:28 AM EST
Tesco is hoping to gain ground it is losing to competitors by relaunching its Clubcard loyalty scheme. The $227 million revamp is aimed at attracting one million new customers, taking the total enrolled in the scheme to about half of the UK’s 32 million households. Tesco will be offering members double value rewards for the first time, but only for a limited period. Consumer analyst David McCarthy, at Hobart Capital Markets, said the scheme was disappointing overall. “The heavy promotional launch will help short-term sales, but we are unconvinced that this campaign will lead to any change in underlying trends,” he said. Tesco has been losing ground to J Sainsbury, Morrisons and Asda, but says it has “stemmed the loss” against discounters Aldi and Lidl in the UK.
James Thompson, "Tesco relaunches Clubcard scheme with £150m campaign", independent.co.uk, May 09, 2009, © independent.co.uk
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Supplements Market Heats Up In India to Meet Consumer Concerns

May 8, 2009: 09:46 AM EST
India is becoming a battleground for vitamins and dietary supplements as more players enter the market and established companies fight for market share. Euromonitor predicts that the market will grow 33 percent by 2013. Key participants are Amway, with 19.9 percent of the market, and Danbur, with 11.8 percent. Heinz India is third overall, followed by Ranbaxy Laboratories and Pfizer, with 4.6 percent each. The market is being driven by urban consumers concerned about stressful lifestyles, pollution and digestive complaints. Swedish cosmetics company Oriflame will launch some of its wellness products in India later this year, and Emami plans to introduce a range of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs for stress relief, diabetes and blood pressure.
Pradipta Mukherjee / Kolkata , "Amway, Dabur to sweat it out over vitamins, dietary supplements", Business Standard, May 08, 2009, © business-standard.com
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Tesco Focuses on China, Thinks About Three Other Markets

May 8, 2009: 05:20 AM EST
Tesco is focusing its overseas expansion on China, but says it is also eyeing two or three more markets. Head of international business Philip Clarke declined to name the potential markets, but mentioned the potential of Egypt, Vietnam and Morocco in an interview at the World Retail Congress. Clarke said the downturn in overseas markets had bottomed-out, but was not showing signs of recovery, and that he didn’t expect to make an announcement about expansion in other markets for two or three years. He said he was confident about the future of its business in the US, despite a recent announcement that it was scaling back its operation there. Tesco operates in 14 countries, and international sales and trading profits account for about 30 percent of the group total.
Mark Potter, "Tesco foreign mkts bottom out, no recovery", May 08, 2009, via Reuters, © Guardian News and Media Limited 2009
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American Academy of Environmental Medicine Warns Against GMO Foods

May 8, 2009: 05:14 AM EST
In a review of studies, The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) finds a range of concerns and warns against the possible dangers of using genetically modified organisms (GMOs). For example, lab studies conducted on animals show a very high mortality rate for those fed with GM soy and GM cottonseed compared to the control subjects fed with natural foods. AAEM finds that “…it is biologically plausible for Genetically Modified Foods to cause adverse health effects in humans” and is advising physicians to educate their patients about possible risks. AAEM is also calling for, amongst other things, a moratorium on GM foods.
"Genetically Modified Foods", American Academy of Environmental Medicine Website, May 08, 2009, © American Academy of Environmental Medicine
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