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Subway Writes Key Message into “Chuck” Script

April 16, 2009: 07:57 AM EST
Subway has broken new ground in product placement on TV shows by having one of its key phrases written into the script of NBC’s “Chuck”. The sandwich has featured in a previous episode, but this is the first time it has been referenced in the script as well. Subway has a deal with NBC universal that gives it access to a number of shows, and uses an independent firm to handle the placements. The “Chuck” placement goes “far beyond just a logo placement or a product placement. It's more about the messaging," according to Tony Pace, chief marketing officer of Subway’s consumer marketing arm, the Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust. Frank Zazza, CEO and founder of iTVX, a firm that measures the effectiveness of product placements, says companies want to go beyond passive placement to get the most out of the exposure it offers them. But they face the risk of over-exposure, causing viewers to switch off from both the message and the program.
"Subway Places More Than Just Product in NBC's 'Chuck'", AdAge, April 16, 2009, © Crain Communication
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Food Channel’s Top 10 Trends Cover all the Bases

April 16, 2009: 01:48 PM EST
The Food Channel has picked its 10 top trends for 2009, working with the World Thought Bank and the International Food Futurists. Home cooking, particularly “slow and unattended”, tops the list, followed by food “communities”, both online and including a return to functions such as potluck dinners and cooperative buying. Green and fair trade considerations round out the top three. Consistent with these themes are eating locally at number four and too much information on labels and more use of “gluten free” claims at five. Sixth spot goes to more bioengineered and genetically modified foods, seemingly at odds with the clean, green and home-based trends topping the list. An increase in “food philanthropy” at seven and concerns over food security (eight) return to the “caring” theme of the top five. Ninth spot goes to a widening gap between “luxury beverages” and a “daily fix” of a favorite but cheaper brew, with globalization and variety sitting at 10, seemingly at odds with the higher-placed eat-local theme. As an outside runner, look for “underground” restaurants, promoted by word of mouth and possibly also on the move, based in trailers.
"The Food Channel's Top Ten Trends for 2009", The Food Channel® , April 16, 2009, © Food Channel, LLC
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Whole Foods Feature on Top-Five Fortified List

April 16, 2009: 08:53 AM EST
Probiotic low-fat yogurt is the only “truly technical, fortified food” on the New York State Dietetic Association’s (NYSDA) list of top-five functional foods. The Association opted for four “whole foods” as the bulk of the list, saying that, "Functional foods describe foods that, in addition to being nutritious, offer distinct health benefits”. The list, in descending order, is: salmon, for its omega-3 content; oats (fiber); blueberries (antioxidants); low-fat milk (calcium and vitamin D); and low-fat yogurt (probiotics). NYSDA president J. Elizabeth Smythe said, "These foods may provide extra amounts of essential nutrients, and/or contain other biologically active components that promote healthy body functions”. The list was compiled after the American Dietetic Association endorsed the potential health benefits of “fortified, enriched or enhanced foods” as part of a balanced diet.
Shane Starling, "NY nutritionists list top 5 functional foods", foodnavigator-usa.com, April 16, 2009, © Decision News Media SAS
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New Process Cheese Touches “Better-For-You” Bases

April 16, 2009: 06:35 AM EST
Land O’Lakes is promoting the benefits of its new process cheese, which it says meets FDA labeling requirements for process cheese, rather than the less strict “process cheese product” or “process cheese food”. The new cheese contains half the fat and one-third the sodium of traditional process cheeses, and 90 percent of the USDA recommended daily levels of calcium, compared with 60 percent for standard process cheese. This means that products using the new cheese can make label claims such as ““good source of calcium”, “reduced sodium” and “reduced fat”, depending on the formulation of the finished product. The biggest advantage, according to Land O’Lakes, is that the cheese can be formulated according to customer requirements for melt profile, color, flavor and pack size.
Caroline Scott-Thomas, "Land O’Lakes targets healthier formulation with process cheese", Food Navigator USA, April 16, 2009, © Decision News Media SAS
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New aLive Range Provides Healthy Cereal and Yogurt Choices

April 15, 2009: 12:47 PM EST
Fraser & Neave Dairies Sdn Bhd have entered the healthy food arena in Malaysia with the launch of its new aLive range of whole grain cereals, snack bars and low-fat yogurt. The brand, marketed under the F&N Dairies Sdn Bhd marque, is a “synergistic combination of specific foods to amplify the nutritional benefits and flavors of each ingredient”. The cereals were developed in association with Sanitarium, have up to 97 percent grain content and provide fiber, carbohydrates, protein, B vitamins, iron, zinc and other nutrients. The yogurts are 98 percent fat free and contain probiotics.
Tan Teong Li, "Lifestyle food on the go", The Sun Daily, April 15, 2009, © Sun Media Corporation Sdn. Bhd
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India Consumer Goods Sector in Good Shape

April 14, 2009: 04:45 AM EST
India's fast-moving consumer goods sector is expected to have notched up 15 percent net profit growth in the March quarter. High-end consumer products are likely to have suffered from smaller volumes. Analysts expect Hindustan Unilever to report a 23 percent year-on-year increase in its earnings and a 14 percent rise in revenues.
Kiran Kabtta Somvanshi, "FMCG cos may stay in fast lane", Economic Times, April 14, 2009
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Oldways Revamps Mediterranean Diet After Conference

April 13, 2009: 09:01 AM EST
Not-for-profit educational group Oldways has launched a modified Mediterranean Diet Pyramid, based on changes made at an international meeting of nutritionists last November. The new pyramid places all plant foods into a single category, adding herbs and spices for the first time. This group now includes fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, seeds, nuts, olive oil, herbs and spices. The pyramid also recommends eating fish at least twice a week. A Mediterranean diet is based on using olive oil as the major source of dietary fat, low to moderate consumption of fish, poultry, cheese and yogurt, moderate wine consumption, and eating foods from the plant group at every meal.
"Oldways Unveils New Mediterranean Diet Pyramid Illustration", supermarketnews.com , April 13, 2009, © Penton Media, Inc
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Vitamin Sales Boom as Consumers Seek Cheap Dietary Gains

April 11, 2009: 12:57 PM EST
Vitamin sales are booming in Korea and the US as people seek cheap ways to boost their nutrition during the recession. Sales of vitamins in the US increased 8 percent between October and December last year compared with the previous year, according to one market researcher. The rise is in contrast to sales of other items, including food, clothes and home appliances, which are dropping as unemployment levels rise and incomes fall. Some experts have issued warnings that taking vitamins may obscure the existence of a serious disease, because they are known to boost physical strength and alleviate a number of ailments.
"Vitamins Popular as Cheap Recession Busters", The Chosun IIbo, April 11, 2009, © The Chosun Ilbo & Digital Chosun Ilbo
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Functional Foods Offer Hope of Disease Prevention Through Genes

April 11, 2009: 01:33 PM EST
Functional foods hold the promise of developing personalized diets that alter genes to prevent diseases, says Prof Charles Daly from the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre at University College, Cork. The diets could target a range of conditions, including obesity, diabetes, intestinal diseases, cognitive failure, bone problems and stress. Institute for Food Research (IFR) scientist John Eady said about 30 percent of genes showed potential to be changed through dietary intervention. Skeptics say it would be better to focus on improving people’s diets rather than pour money into long-term research with doubtful benefits.
David Christie, "New ‘science’ food may pave way to a disease-free diet", Sunday Herald , April 11, 2009, © newsquest (sunday herald) limited
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Health Benefits of Anthocyanins are Getting More Interest

April 8, 2009: 01:25 AM EST
The coloring pigments in plants, anthocyanins, are getting more interest from researchers. Their function is complicated and still uncertain, but they are prized for powers such as enhancement of night vision and for their anticarcinogenic properties. Cardiovascular properties are also likely, while they are associated with improvement in motor and mental ability. Blueberry extracts appeared to reverse age-related deficits in memory and motor functions in rats. One of the big challenges is that they break down when consumed as ordinary foods and companies are working to provide standardized and stable solutions, including InterHealth Neutraceuticals of California and Food Ingredient Solutions, Teterboro NJ.
Sharon Palmer, "Coloring the Anthocyanin Age", Food Product Design, April 08, 2009, © Virgo Publishing
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Edible Adverts Aim to Hit Front Page of Daily Paper

April 8, 2009: 03:44 AM EST
Edible adverts may the next innovation to hit newspapers. Inspired by the movie “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”, which featured orange-flavored wallpaper, the new adverts are edible films that can be sealed in a pouch and attached to magazine and newspaper ads. The brainchild of Adnan Zizi, who set up First Flavor with entrepreneur Jay Minkoff, the ads feature flavors such as grape juice, acai-berry juice, lime-spiked rum and baking-soda toothpaste. So far they’ve been used with some success in shops, magazines and direct-mail promotions, and now the company is targeting newspapers. Their aim to hit the front page. This may be a tall order, as newspapers tend to be broad-based, whereas magazines target niche markets. However, First Flavor figures that the declining fortunes of traditional print media in these tough economic times may work in their favor.
"Trading Licks", The Economist, April 08, 2009, © The Economist Newspaper Limited
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Checkout TV Captures Eye of More Shoppers

April 7, 2009: 03:48 AM EST
In-store TV is becoming more effective at influencing shoppers’ future buying intentions, according to research carried out by GfK Custom Research North America. A random exit survey of more than 1,200 shoppers who had watched the Premier Retail Networks' (PRN) program while going through the checkout showed that recall of ad messages was 18 percent up on the previous year. Viewership was up 8.4 percent, approaching the 100 million mark. Sixty percent of those surveyed said they recalled brand messages, with 70 percent of those (42 percent of the survey total) saying "it influenced their intent to buy the product in the future." Richard Fisher, president of PRN worldwide, said the increased viewership and recall was a result of the “evolution of our content strategy”, showing ads “that were contextually relevant to shoppers at that moment”.
"U.S. consumers checking out in-store TV", In-Store News , April 07, 2009, © Centaur Media Plc
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Foods for Moods Likely to Take an Upswing, say Reports

April 5, 2009: 10:00 AM EST
Food and mood will become increasingly linked, according to two recent reports. Mintel defines mood foods as those that “either bring to mind a particular emotion, or foods that have been scientifically shown to exert an impact on behavior”, and says they are an “up and coming” trend. Kline & Company describes them as “foods that uplift mood, boost mental health or improve cognitive function” in a report entitled “Mood-Enhancing Foods and Beverages: The ‘Fun’ in Functional Foods”. A recent conference in the UK studied the effects of nutrients on cognitive development and behavior.
Lorraine Heller, "Mood foods are on the way up, confirms Mintel", NutraIngredients-USA.com, April 05, 2009, © Decision News Media SAS
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Red Meat Shortens Life, Says Large Federal Study

April 5, 2009: 07:37 AM EST
People should avoid eating red meat, including pork, and processed meats, every day, says Barry Popkin, a professor of global nutrition at the University of North Carolina, commenting on a recent federal study that looked at the diets of 500,000 middle-aged and elderly Americans. The study showed that people who eat the equivalent of a small hamburger every day were more than 30 percent more likely to die than others. Dietitians recommend eating more fish and white meat.
Rob Stein, "A DIET TO DIE FOR", WASHINGTON POST, April 05, 2009, © The Buffalo News
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Polyphenols Overrated For Antioxidant Benefits

April 5, 2009: 10:05 AM EST
Polyphenols have no basis as antioxidants and must not be promoted as such in superfruits, according to an analysis on their use. Even worse, claiming that they have such health powers breaks FDA rules. Lack of antioxidant powers extends to dietary flavonoids, although these may affect a variety of cell-signaling pathways, possibly influencing the onset and progression of cancer or cardiovascular diseases.
Paul Gross, "New Roles for Polyphenols", Nutraceuticals World, April 05, 2009, © Nutraceuticals World
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ConAgra Revamps, Relaunches Healthy Choices Product Line

April 3, 2009: 11:56 AM EST
ConAgra Foods has revamped its Healthy Choice range of frozen entrees, including a new range of All Natural Entrees, backed by an advertising campaign fronted by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, new packaging and a new-look Web site. As part of the promotion, Healthy Choice and the ConAgra Foods Foundation are donating $250,000 to US hunger-relief organization Feeding America. Carlos Veraza, vice president and general manager frozen, ConAgra Foods, said Healthy Choice aims to provide “food with more positive health benefits and delivering deliciously healthful meals with protein, fiber, antioxidants and other nutrients that consumers seek."
"Healthy Choice Reinvents Brand With New Products, A New Look And New Campaign Featuring Julia Louis-Dreyfus", Reuters, April 03, 2009, © ConAgra Foods, Inc.
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White Wheat Provides Whole Grains without Sacrificing Texture

April 2, 2009: 07:21 AM EST
ConAgra says it has overcome one of the key barriers to eating more whole grains. Its new Ultragrain Whole Wheat Flour is made from white wheat under a patented process that gives it the texture, appearance and taste of the refined flours people prefer. Previously available only to manufacturers and food service operators, the flour is now being marketed US-wide under the Eagle Mills brand. The flour provides 30 grams of whole grains per serving and has more than four-and-a-half times the fiber of refined white flours, and can be used to replace a portion of the refined white flour in many recipes.
"100% Ultragrain White Whole Wheat Flour Now Available to Consumers", ConAgra Foods, April 02, 2009, © ConAgra Foods, Inc.
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NYC Restaurant Dietitian Boosts Nutritional Value of Dishes

April 2, 2009: 01:21 PM EST
New York City restaurant Rouge Tomate may be pioneering a new trend in fine dining: pairing ingredients that work together to maximize their nutritional impact. Dietitians accept that some things go together, such as iron and vitamin C, or yogurt to help calcium absorption. At Rouge Tomate, nutritionist Natalia Rusin gives dishes the once over, and makes suggestions for added ingredients to boost the nutritional impact. But David R. Jacobs, Jr., a professor of public health with the University of Minnesota, says “there are so many nuances in the way that diet works that it’s hard to know the exact benefits of food pairings”. Nevertheless, the drive to improve the nutritional value of restaurant offerings is a welcome sign.
Gina Pace, "New Approach To Nutrition: Food Pairings", CBSNews.com, April 02, 2009, © CBS Interactive Inc
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Nigerian Fast-Food Outlets Warned to Toe the Line

April 1, 2009: 01:38 PM EST
Fast food outlets in Nigeria have been put on notice that the Federal Government plans to keep a close eye on their activities, with a view to enforcing “existing legislation and codes of practices put in place to check unethical food marketing in the country”. The warnings came at a meeting of the Nigerian Children's Parliament held to mark the 2009 World Consumer Rights Day. Representatives of the First Lady and the Minister of Commerce and Industry expressed concern about the impact of fast food on the population, and the impact of advertising aimed at children’s need to be seen as “sociable”.
Christopher Adedeji, "Nigeria: FG Plans Stringent Monitoring of Fast Foods' Outlets", Daily Independent (Lagos) , April 01, 2009, © Daily Independent
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Probiotics Could Be Used against Human Diseases

April 1, 2009: 09:13 AM EST
Probiotic bacteria could be used against human diseases, say Irish scientists who studied the effects on animals. The researchers studied three animal diseases that had human counterparts - bovine mastitis, porcine salmonellosis and listeriosis in mice (an often fatal form of food poisoning) — using bacteria from human volunteers. In all cases, the animals were significantly protected against infection and the team also successfully treated animals that were already infected.
"Probiotics could treat human diseases, claim scientists", Functional Ingredients Staff, April 01, 2009, © Penton Media
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Atkins Diet Worse than others in Maintenance Phase

April 1, 2009: 08:14 AM EST
The Atkins Diet is tougher on people’s hearts if they stay on it after they have met their weight-loss target, according to a study published in the April issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Principal investigator Dr. Michael Miller, director of the Center for Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, compared the effects of the Ornish, South Beach and Atkins diets on blood vessel dilation and cholesterol levels, and found that Atkins performed the worst on both counts. Atkins Nutritionals' vice president of nutrition and education Colette Heimowitz said the study was too small and the correlations were too weak to allow conclusions to be drawn.
Kathleen Doheny, "Atkins Diet Tougher on Heart After Weight Loss", Health Scout, April 01, 2009, © The HealthCentralNetwork, Inc
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Yogurt Proves to be a Flexible Stayer in the US Market

March 31, 2009: 10:31 AM EST
Yogurt gained a foothold in the US market decades ago as a natural product in health-food stores. Since then, it has rocketed into prominence as the fastest-growing product in the dairy category. The number of new yogurt products launched in the US rose from 189 in 2005 to 244 in 2006 to 265 in 2007, according to Mintel’s Global New Products Database. Sales in the year to July 2008 were up 9 percent on the previous year (excluding Wal-Mart). Spoonable yogurt was the second most active subcategory of all functional foods launched in the US in 2007. Yogurt meets many of today’s consumers’ needs, and it lends itself to the drive for natural, healthy, nutritional and functional products that are convenient and good value for money. It’s a flexible product, easily adaptable to many forms, from drinkable to single-shot or smooth and creamy. It blends easily with new, all-natural artificial sweeteners, and can handle a wide range of flavors and additives, particularly fruit.
Kimberly J. Decker, "Online Exclusive: Rediscovering Yogurt", Food Product Design, March 31, 2009, © Virgo Publishing
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CRN Defends Benefits of Omega-3s Despite Headlines

March 31, 2009: 04:17 AM EST
The benefits of omega-3s in maintaining heart health are backed by research, despite recent headlines that erroneously suggested they are of no benefit, says Douglas "Duffy" MacKay, N.D., vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition. The German study referred to in the headlines related only to heart attack victims already taking “optimal medical therapy”, MacKay says. That study showed that omega-3 added no further benefits in that situation. But for heart patients and the general population the story is somewhat different. More than 2,000 out of 8,000 omega-3 studies support its role in maintaining heart health. Coronary heart disease patients should take a gram of omega-3s per day, and patients needing to lower triglyceride levels should take 2 to 4 grams per day, according to the American Heart Association.
Hilary Oliver, "Omega-3 headlines could be deceiving", Natural Foods Merchandiser, March 31, 2009, © New Hope Natural Media
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Kellogg Upset over Restriction on Children's Advertising in UK

March 27, 2009: 09:25 PM EST
Kellogg has joined the chorus of criticism against the Food Standards Agency in the UK, regarding its rules on food advertising during children's TV shows. The agency wants a restriction to stay that prohibits foods high in salt, sugar or fat from being advertised even if they have a high protein content – known as the "protein cap." The food industry says the FSA has ignored its own technical panel, which advised that the cap should be removed. If the restriction was lifted, additional foods such as some breakfast cereals could be advertised to children.
Gemma Charles, "Kellogg criticises Food Standards Agency", marketingmagazine.co.uk, March 27, 2009, © Haymarket
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Dairy Crest Cuts JV with Yoplait

March 27, 2009: 08:02 AM EST
Dairy Crest has ended a joint venture with Yoplait early, selling its 49 percent holding in Yoplait Dairy Crest to its partner for $90 million. Dairy Crest will continue to distribute Yoplait products in the UK until March 2010. The joint venture was expected to continue at least until 2012 but Dairy Crest now wants to focus on its own butter and cheese lines.
Fiona Ramsay, "Dairy Crest sells off Yoplait stake for £63.5m", marketingmagazine.co.uk, March 27, 2009, © Haymarket
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Symposium Reports Health Benefits of Soy Products

March 27, 2009: 05:21 AM EST
Research presented at the eighth International Soy Symposium in Tokyo from November 9-12, 2008, supports the view that soyfoods can play a part in promoting heart and bone health. A meta-analysis of a number of high or moderate quality studies showed that soy protein can reduce total and/or LDL (bad) cholesterol levels by about 5 percent. This is about the same effect as soluble fiber. Mark Messina, Ph.D., author of the report and professor of nutrition at Loma Linda University, says, "Integrating a variety of heart-healthy foods – like soy, beans, nuts and certain vegetables - together into a healthy lifestyle are really the best approach to heart health." Other research presented at the Symposium suggested that postmenopausal women with signs of bone-mass loss given a soy extract experienced increases in spinal and hip bone mineral density, while women given a placebo experienced 12 and 8 percent declines.
"New Report in the Journal of Nutrition Shows Soy is Beneficial for Heart and Bone Health", Nutrition Horizon, March 27, 2009
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A New Fruit Juice for Diabetics Could be Available in a Year

March 26, 2009: 04:11 AM EST
New from Chinese scientists is a vegetable juice low in calories and sugar, aimed at diabetics and those with pre-diabetic conditions. The drink was highlighted at the latest National Meeting of the American Chemical Society. It uses lactic acid-producing bacteria (often called probiotics) to remove sugar but retaining the nutritional content of the raw materials. The juice is made from pumpkin, balsam pear, onion and carrots. The study used LAB to reduce the sugar content by converting carbohydrates into lactic acid by fermentation. This increases the juice's acidity, lengthening its shelf life by inhibiting growth of other bacteria. The juice also contains a diabetic-friendly sugar substitute, called xylitol. One researcher said that it could be ready for the market in a year, but still needs more testing.
Michael Bernstein, "Nutritious new low-sugar juice targeted for diabetics, individuals with high blood sugar", Eureka Alert, March 26, 2009
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Economic Downturn Impacting Gourmet Store Sales

March 25, 2009: 03:08 PM EST
Earlier signs that upscale grocery stores might fare relatively well in the recession have been replaced by indications that, according to one gourmet grocery store owner, “frugal is in”, which means consumers choosing store brand rather than just trading down from restaurant food to high-end retail options. A consultant working with the Food Marketing Institute found that the recession could have an effect on consumer shopping habits that will endure longer than the economic downturn, and research firm Information Resources Inc. says that some consumers are reducing costs by not buying expensive organic food and luxury items. The National Association for the Specialty Food Trade Inc. said sales of specialty food rose in 2008 but turned down in the fourth quarter. Also affecting the gourmet stores are the improvements that traditional supermarkets have made to their meat and produce sections.
"Upscale Grocery Stores Lose Customers to Kroger, Wal Mart", Business Torrents, March 25, 2009, via Technology Marketing Corp. , © Business Torrents
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Online Shoppers Seek Bargains, Compare Prices, Gain Confidence

March 25, 2009: 02:33 PM EST
Consumers are going online to research purchases as a strategy to combat the recession, says the March Consumer Behavior Report from PriceGrabber.com. The largest percentage (40 percent) say they are spending more time comparing prices. More than a quarter are searching for coupons, and a quarter also say they are spending more time shopping online. Most consumers are focused on spending smarter, with 91 percent of online shoppers saying they feel more confident about purchases after researching prices. Many of them (71 percent) say they will continue their recession savings strategies permanently. Big-ticket items are still on their radar if the price is right, and searching for deals is important to consumers.
Sara Rodriguez, "Economic Climate Shifts Consumers Online", PriceGrabber: Consumer Behavior Report, March 25, 2009, © PriceGrabber
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Soda Drink Consumption Linked to Risk of Heart Disease in Women

March 24, 2009: 05:25 AM EST
Sugary drinks such as soda can increase the risk of coronary heart disease in women, according to a new study led by Simmons College Nutrition Professor Teresa Fung. Women who drank two or more servings a day were 35 percent more likely to suffer from heart disease than those who had one or no drinks a day. Researchers found that a number of factors were related to higher consumption of soda beverages, including smoking, lower levels of physical activity, higher body mass index, and consumption of more energy, saturated and trans fats, and less alcohol, fruit, and vegetables. The study was published in the April edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and was based on data from the Nurses’ Health Study.
"Sugary Drinks are Bad for Your Heart", Simmons College, March 24, 2009, © Simmons College
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New Products from Weight Watchers

March 24, 2009: 08:13 AM EST
Thirteen new products from Weight Watchers are being rolled out. The items include sweet baked goods (chocolate brownie with real chocolate chips, banana nut muffin, peanut butter soft cookie, and petite bagels); frozen novelties (an ice cream candy bar, giant mint ice cream cone, giant mint ice cream sandwich, two-pack cups in cookies and cream and peanut butter varieties); and cheese (natural reduced-fat medium cheddar, Swiss and pepper jack slices, and reduced-fat pepper jack slices). Supporting the launch is an online and print campaign.
Karlene Lukovitz, "Weight Watchers Adds 13 New Products", Media Post, March 24, 2009, © MediaPost Communications
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Consumer Body Warns Consumers against Online Acai Scams

March 24, 2009: 01:19 AM EST
US consumer group, Center for Science in the Public Interest, is telling consumers not participate in free trials for diet products based on the superfruit acai. CSPI says there is no evidence that acai meets claims that it helps people lose weight, and there have been many complaints that consumers, once signed up, are unable to stop recurring charges on their credit cards. CSPI recommends that any consumers unable to resist the marketing of acai should use pre-paid cards with low credit limits, or some other means of protection against the scammers. Other claims for acai include energy enhancement and detoxification, and there is little or no scientific evidence for these either.
"Web-Based Acai Scams Targeting Dieters", Nutraceutical World, March 24, 2009, © Rodman Publishing
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FDA Adds More Weight-Loss Products to “Tainted” List

March 23, 2009: 01:01 AM EST
The FDA has added more weight loss products to its list of those it says are tainted with undeclared, active pharmaceuticals. The list now includes 72 products. The March 23 list adds Herbal Xenicol, Slimbionic and Xsvelten, and includes the ingredients fenproporex, fluoxetine, furosemide and cetilistat. Previous lists named sibutramine, bumetanide, phenytoin, rimonabant and phenolphthalein in other over-the-counter (OTC) weight loss products. The agency issued its first warning on December 22, 2008, and a second on January 8. Some of the products are marketed as dietary supplements and are promoted on websites, retail stores and beauty salons. They carry claims such as “herbal” and “natural”, but the FDA says they contain “potentially harmful” ingredients not listed on labels or in advertisements. It is seeking product recalls and may take other enforcement action, and is warning consumers to stop taking the products and seek medical advice.
"FDA Expands List of Tainted Weight Loss Products", Nutraceuticals World, March 23, 2009, © Nutraceuticals World
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Parents Looking for Authenticity in Their Kids' Food

March 23, 2009: 10:25 AM EST
A new survey suggests that parents are increasingly looking for food that will benefit their kids. The report by Just Kid Inc., a kids-focused research firm in Connecticut, found that 86 percent of parents surveyed saw "healthy and nutritious" as the important attribute for food, but also that moms were less interested in sophisticated ingredients than in basic, simple benefits, such as fresh and nutritionally-balanced foods. Traditional nutrients like calcium and protein were ranked near the middle, and some of the trendier nutrients, like Omega-3s, were ranked lower. Amy Henry, managing director of research and strategy for Just Kid, said that moms want more authentic forms of health linked closely to the food, and are seeking to make kids appreciate the food, not just the packaging and promotions.
Shara Rutberg, "Parents seek authentic snacks", Natural Foods Merchandiser, March 23, 2009, © New Hope Natural Media
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Antibody Added to Yogurt Combats Stomach Ulcers

March 22, 2009: 03:35 AM EST
Japanese researchers have developed a yogurt that helps to control gastritis and stomach ulcers caused by the Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria. Study coordinator Hajime Hatta, Ph.D., a chemist at Kyoto Women's University in Kyoto, Japan, developed an antibody to H. pylori by using the same techniques used to make vaccines. This antibody was then harvested from chicken eggs and added to yogurt. After four weeks of treatment with the yogurt, subjects who had tested positive for H. pylori had lower levels of bacterial activity. H. pylori is easily treated with antibiotics and acid suppressants, but many people in the world do not have ready access to these treatments. The yogurt is now on sale in Japan, Korea and Taiwan, and the study may open doors to the US market. Hatta warns that people allergic to eggs should not eat the yogurt.
Michael Bernstein, "Clinical trial backs use of special yogurt to fight stomach ulcer bacteria", Eureka Alert, March 22, 2009
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UK's Foods Standards Agency Draws Criticism from Industry

March 20, 2009: 09:20 PM EST
The Food and Drink Federation in the UK has attacked the country's Food Standards Agency for its refusal to alter an important part of the nutrient profiling model used to determine what products can be advertised to children. The FSA is to recommend retention of the protein cap, which prevents foods with high levels of fat, salt or sugar being called 'healthier' because of their protein content. Without the cap, some additional products, such as some breakfast cereals and crisps, could be advertised on children's TV. The FSA's recommendation to health ministers on the matter is contrary to the findings of an independent panel.
Gemma Charles, "Food industry attacks Food Standards Agency policy on ads during children's TV", marketingmagazine.co.uk, March 20, 2009, © Haymarket
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Sugar Returns To Favor As Manufacturers And Consumers Avoid Corn-Syrup

March 20, 2009: 10:51 AM EST
After three decades in which high-fructose corn syrup had been gaining on sugar in the American diet, reaching level in 2003, the tide has turned. Department of Agriculture data shows that in 2007 American adults ate an average of 44 pounds of sugar in 2007, compared with 40 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup, and the trend looks set to continue in sugar's favor. Responding to consumer concerns, suppliers are switching to sugar, such as Log Cabin syrup, a 120-year-old brand from Pinnacle Foods Group, which announced earlier this month it had stopped using high-fructose corn syrup. The Corn Refiners Association argues consumers are being duped by misleading marketing claims and flawed science, but they face an uphill battle.
Kim Severson, "Sugar Is Back on Food Labels, This Time as a Selling Point", New York Times , March 20, 2009, © New York Times
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UK Probiotics Ramp up; More Products, Higher Sales

March 20, 2009: 05:38 AM EST
Probiotic and health food companies in the UK are intensifying their marketing while expanding the range of products. Some are even offering money back guarantees if consumers are not happy, with Müller UK and Danone leading the charge. According to Müller, the functional yogurts and yogurt drink markets have sales of $600 million, with yogurt drinks accounting for just over half. Warburtons is active in the bakery sector and Prestat is offering chocolate that is said to be high in antioxidants. Even Mars is selling a chocolate containing a high proportion of flavanols.
Gaelle Walker, "Health wise", Thegrocer.co.uk, March 20, 2009, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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2008 Nutraceutical Drinks Sales Up 9% To 3.7 Billion Liters

March 18, 2009: 05:41 AM EST
The 2009 Global Nutraceutical Drinks report estimates that sales of nutraceutical drinks - which claim to deliver specific benefits such as beauty, weight management and stress relief - grew by 9% to reach 3.7bn liters in 2008. North America is the largest market, with 47% volume share, followed by Japan with 37%. The authors expect sales to reach 5.6bn liters by 2013. The report, prepared by Zenith International, highlights how innovation and growth has been boosted by the arrival of major beverage multinationals Nestlé, Coca-Cola, Danone and PepsiCo.
"GLOBAL: Nutraceutical sector on the rise in '08 - statistics", just-drinks.com, March 18, 2009, © just-drinks.com
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Research Sheds Light on How Low-GI Food Suppresses Appetite

March 18, 2009: 04:23 AM EST
Low-GI (glycemic index) foods are generally known to reduce appetite, but little was known about how this happens. Research undertaken at Kings College London and unveiled at the annual Society for Endocrinology BES meeting in the UK showed that low-GI (low glycemic index) food increases production of a gut hormone (GLP-1), which suppresses appetite and leads to a feeling of satiety. Researcher, Dr Reza Norouzy, said: “Our results show for the first time the direct effect of a single GI meal on gut hormone levels. We already know that the hormone GLP-1 and a low GI meal independently lead to suppression of appetite. This study builds on these findings by providing a physiological mechanism to explain how a low GI meal makes you feel fuller than a high GI meal.”
"Scientists Discover Why A Low GI Meal Makes You Feel Full", ScienceDaily, March 18, 2009, © ScienceDaily LLC
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Toronto Researchers Show Link Between Gut Health and Stress

March 18, 2009: 05:01 AM EST
Preliminary research carried out by a Toronto-based research team suggests that particular strains of probiotics may help to reduce stress and anxiety in people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome. The study found that anxiety symptoms in subjects taking Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota (LcS, Yakult Honsha, Tokyo, Japan) were lower than in a control group. The study was funded by Yakult Honsha. Other studies have reported changes in intestinal microflora of CFS patients, with lower levels of Bifidobacteria and higher levels of aerobic bacteria.
A Venket Rao et al, "A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study of a probiotic in emotional symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome", Gut Pathogens , March 18, 2009, © Rao et al licensed to BioMed Central Ltd
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Parents and Children Seeking Out Healthier Snacks

March 16, 2009: 10:46 AM EST
Parents and children are making their snack consumption choices healthier. A survey by Mintel International found that children and teens are sensitive to healthy eating messages and are choosing foods with healthful ingredients, with over a third saying they try to eat foods rich in vitamins and nutrients, 25% said they sought out foods low in fat and 22% look for foods low in sugar. Separate research by The Hartman Group indicates that consumers look for snacks with high fiber, whole fruits and less sugar.
"Snack sales healthy at drug, healthy snacks even stronger", Drug Store News, March 16, 2009, © Drug Store News
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UK Government Scrapes Home on Watchdog’s Scorecard

March 11, 2009: 09:27 PM EST
UK consumer magazine Which? has given the government and private sector a rating of about 55 percent on 12 demands it made in 2004 to encourage families to eat healthier food. The demands covered a range of issues, from prioritizing nutrition policy, restricting television advertising, reducing fat, sugar and salt in foods, and launching “a hard-hitting, innovative government campaign to change eating habits”. In a second report, the magazine says that families are making “unhealthier” food choices as the recession bites. It says that 60 percent of adults in the UK say they would buy more fruit and vegetables if they were cheaper, while 56 percent said that price “is now more important” in their food choices. Three-quarters said they thought the government could do more to promote healthy eating, despite the “Change for Life” initiative.
Ed Kemp, "Which? calls on government to give families incentives to eat healthily", marketingmagazine.co.uk, March 11, 2009, © Haymarket
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Study Sheds Light on Compulsion to Sprinkle Salt on Chips

March 12, 2009: 05:16 AM EST
Salt in the diet may have “drug-like” qualities, says Professor Kim Johnson at the University of Iowa. Working with rats, he found that eating salt put them in a better mood, and sparked cravings similar to drug addiction. Salt is essential to help fluids pass through the body, but too much can be bad news, contributing to raised blood pressure, heart disease and other ailments. Not getting enough salt, on the other hand, may cause depression. Prof Johnson’s study found that changes in the rats’ brain activity when they were denied salt were the same as when they were denied drugs.
Jon Swaine, "Salt 'may be drug-like mood enhancer', says study", Telegraph.co.uk, March 12, 2009, © Telegraph Media Group
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UK Recession is Discouraging Healthy Eating, Says Which?

March 11, 2009: 05:49 AM EST
A study by UK consumer group Which? found that the recession has persuaded many Britons to abandon healthy eating in order to focus on price. 76% of respondents believed the government ought to make it easier for consumers to choose healthier food. Which? is urging manufacturers and retailers to promote healthy options and make it easier for consumers to identify healthy foods. The British Retail Consortium countered by saying that the report instead undermined healthy eating, claiming that retailers have been in the vanguard of promoting healthy eating, and added that the UK Food Standards Agency's 'Low Income Diet and Nutrition Survey' found no "significant" link between diet and income. BRC says that retailers have promoted fresh produce and also re-formulated products to reduce salt and remove fats, for example, and are working with the government on initiatives like the '5-a-day' fruit and vegetable campaign.
"UK: Credit crunch “hitting waistlines” - Which?", just-food.com, March 11, 2009
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Scientists Question The Basis Of "Superfruit" and "Superfoods"

March 11, 2009: 01:05 AM EST
In recent years pomegranates, blueberries, goji berries and açaí have been termed superfruit, standing out for high levels of antioxidants, vitamin C and fiber. But some scientists are scornful, seeing the terms 'superfruit' and 'superfood' as marketing inventions with little meaning. For instance, Stephen T. Talcott, associate professor of food chemistry at Texas A&M University said "Superfruit is a marketing term; most scientists don’t use it", pointing out that all fruits "have nutrients and photochemicals that give you energy."
Abby Ellin, "Food Claims Raise Questions", The New York times, March 11, 2009, © The New York times
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Acai No Longer Flavor of the Month

March 11, 2009: 01:13 AM EST
Debate over the benefits of acai products is heating up, with both scientists and consumers lining up on both sides of the “is it good for you?” argument. Several celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey and Rachel Ray, have distanced themselves from health claims, and even the maker of a successful range of products containing acai, Dr. Nicholas Perricone, “is looking into claims made by companies using his image to market products he does not endorse”. Stephen T. Talcott, associate professor of food chemistry at Texas A&M University, says there is no scientific research to support claims that acai contributes to weight loss. Two studies published in the September 2008 Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry indicated that the antioxidants found in acai berries were absorbed by the body, but were not large enough to prove health benefits. Consumers are complaining about being ripped off by online free trial offers, saying they’re being charged for the products even after they canceled the trial, and some say they didn’t lose weight while taking the product. The Center for Science in the Public interest is advising people not to take part in online "free trials" of acai, and Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal says he will begin investigations into the complaints.
ABBY ELLIN, "Pressing Açaí for Answers", The New York Times, March 11, 2009, © The New York Times Company
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High Salt Levels Inhibit Blood Flow Mechanisms

March 11, 2009: 03:28 AM EST
A new joint US-Chinese study provides the first direct evidence that high salt intake is linked to high blood pressure (hypertension). Research from the University of Kentucky Medical School and Taishan Medical College, showed that high salt levels in the blood could “significantly” suppress the action of nitric oxide synthase (NOS), an enzyme linked to maintaining healthy blood flow. NOS produces nitric oxide, which enables muscles around blood vessels to relax, boosting blood flow and reducing blood pressure. The study “clearly indicates the importance of lowing salt intake,” says lead author Xiang-An Li, an assistant professor at the Kentucky Pediatric Research Institute. Sodium is necessary to healthy bodily function, as are other metal ions, including potassium, magnesium and calcium. Dr Li says it would be interesting to find out if these ions also inhibit NOS action.
Stephen Daniells, "Scientists lift the lid on salt’s hypertensive power", Food Navigator, March 11, 2009, © Decision News Media SAS
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Salt-Loving Americans Put Own Lives at Risk

March 11, 2009: 05:18 AM EST
Americans eat about twice as much salt per day as they should, and cutting it by about 10 percent would dramatically reduce the number of deaths and cases of heart disease, says researcher Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, an assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of California, San Francisco. Using a computer model, her team of researchers found that cutting one gram of salt a day form the average American diet would result in 250,000 fewer new cases of heart disease and more than 200,000 fewer deaths over a decade. Many health organizations recommend intake of no more than 5 or 6 grams a day. The average American eats 9 to 16 grams, 50 percent more than in the 1970s. Processed food is the big culprit in the high intake – comparatively small amounts of salt are added at the table or when people cook their own food, says Bibbins-Domingo. The food industry could achieve huge health results with virtually undetectable cuts in salt levels in their products, either by regulation or voluntarily, she says.
Steven Reinberg, "Slight Cut in Salt Intake Would Mean Fewer Heart Attacks, Deaths", HealthDay, March 11, 2009, © ScoutNews
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Appropriations Bill Includes Disputed Measure on Food Advertising

March 11, 2009: 01:08 AM EST
A wide-ranging appropriations bill signed by US President Barack Obama March 11 includes provisions for a government study on whether or not it should set standards for marketing foods to children under 18. The study’s two co-sponsors, however, are at odds over the age set in the measure. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., says the study should be limited to children under 12. A spokeswoman for Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, indicated that he was happy with the 17-year age limit. A target of July 15, 2010 has been set for completion of the study. The proposal has been welcomed by the the Center for Science in the Public Interest, but the advertising industry, food manufacturers and food industry associations have expressed concerns about it. Many already support a voluntary scheme to limit advertising to children under 12.
Ira Teinowitz, "FTC Could Set Standards for Food Marketing Aimed at Teens", AdAge.com, March 11, 2009, © Crain Communication
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