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Nearly A Third Of American Adults Adhere To Gluten-Free Diet

March 7, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Despite advisories from scientists that only people with severe allergic reactions to the protein gluten need buy gluten-free products, increasing numbers of American adults are cutting gluten from their diets, according to the NPD Group. Nearly 30 percent of U.S. adults are avoiding gluten, making it “the health issue of the day”. The trend has affected the restaurant industry: the number of consumers ordering gluten- or wheat-free products has doubled in the past four years. That adds up to more than 200 million restaurant visits in 2012. NPD Group advises restaurants to respond to this opportunity by training staff to accurately answer customer questions and use symbols on menus and menu boards to highlight gluten-free items.
"No Gluten for Me!", NACS Online , March 07, 2013, © NACS
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Canada Approves Company’s Wheat Starch As Fiber Booster For Baked Goods

March 7, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Canadian food manufacturers that make flour-based products such as bread, muffins, pasta, etc., now have a government-approved resistant wheat starch to include as a dietary fiber source. MGP Ingredients received approval from Health Canada for its Fibersym RW product after submitting extensive data from lab, animal and human studies proving that the ingredient is a “non-digestible carbohydrate” that produces “energy-yielding metabolites through colonic fermentation” and is therefore a legitimate fiber source. Tests show Fibersym RW delivers a minimum 85 percent total dietary fiber while also lowering caloric content in baked goods.
"Health Canada Approves MGP's Resistant Starches as Dietary Fiber Sources", Yahoo! Finance, March 07, 2013, via Globe Newswire , © Globe Newswire
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Company Touts Nutritional Value, Lower Cost Of Perilla Seed, Compared To Chia

March 5, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. nutritional ingredient manufacturer Valensa International announced the introduction of supplement formulations based on an alpha linolenic acid (ALA) omega-3 ingredient from Perilla seed extract. Perilla seed CO2 extract has a 6:1 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, higher than any seed oil, and 50 to 60 percent ALA content – twice that of Chia seed extract. Products in the new lineup include Verilla Perilla Seed Extract and Verilla Max Perilla Seed Flour. The move to perilla seed was prompted by a critical shortage of chia seeds globally, the company said, noting that perilla seed extract is available now, has a higher nutritional value than chia, and costs less.
"Valensa Launches Broad New Portfolio of Perilla-based Formulations", Nutrition Horizon, March 05, 2013, © CNS Media BV
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USDA Studies Probe Connections Between Stress Hormone, Decision Making And Dieting

March 1, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
USDA researchers are conducting studies to find out why some dieters succeed at losing – and keeping off – weight, while others fail miserably, time after time. One study is looking at patterns of decision making,another is evaluating the levels of a stress-associated hormone known as cortisol during dieting. They found that volunteers who lost the most weight had the highest scores in the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT), which tests decision making, differentiating good from bad, awareness of future consequences of current actions, and resisting short-term rewards in favor of longer term benefits. They also found that cortisol levels were the highest among those with the lowest IGT scores, indicating that dieting was probably a stressful activity.
"Weight Loss, Cortisol, and Your Brain", News release, USDA, March 01, 2013, © USDA.gov
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Report Finds Significant Problems With U.S. Food Safety System

March 1, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
The statistics are staggering: foodborne diseases sicken more than 40 million people in the U.S. each year, causing 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths, according to a new report from the Center for Biosecurity of UPMC. The cost? Medical expenses combined with lost productivity total $77 billion annually. To tackle this enormous problem, the U.S. needs effective surveillance of the food supply and rapid response to foodborne illness outbreak. It especially needs to quickly know the source of food contamination. Among a list of findings and recommendations, the Center urges Congress and the White House to fully fund both technology development and agencies whose job is to monitor the food supply. Perhaps most important: the Food Safety Modernization Act should be fully funded and implemented.
Jennifer B. Nuzzo et al., "When Good Food Goes Bad: Strengthening the US Response to Foodborne Disease Outbreaks ", Center for Biosecurity of UPMC, March 01, 2013, © Center for Biosecurity of UPMC
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Snack Bar For Pregnant Women Contains Ganeden Probiotic

February 28, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Probiotics manufacturer Ganeden Biotech announced that CredibleCravings, a provider of healthy, natural food products for pregnant women and babies, has included the probiotic GanedenBC30 ingredient in its perinatal snack bar. The organic bar was formulated to support the nutritional needs of pregnant and breastfeeding women and their developing children. CredibleCravings bars are made from natural ingredients including organic fruits and veggies, and sprouted seeds. They contain no artificial preservatives, artificial sweeteners, chemicals or gluten. GanedenBC30 is a gram positive, spore-forming, lactic acid producing strain of Bacillus coagulans.
"New company raises the bar for pregnant and breastfeeding women", Ganeden Biotech, February 28, 2013, © Ganeden Biotech, Inc.
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Popularity Of Almonds Is One Of Several Trends In The World Of Snacks

February 28, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Global demand for almonds is increasing ten percent annually, in large part because of a growing awareness that almonds (and other nuts) in a variety of forms are a healthy snack. The Almond Board of California says the positive perception of almonds – that they are the "healthiest" nuts – is backed by scientific findings about the nut’s nutritional benefits. Consumers also give them high marks for "crunch appeal" and taste. Stuart Cantor, Ph.D., discusses almonds in an overview of current snack trends, including the fact that indulgent snacks – containing cheese, bacon, spices, and chocolate – seem to be holding their own. He also offers observations on advances in salt and hydrocolloid processing, and the emergence of the terms "air-popped" and "baked" in the snack world.
Stuart Cantor, Ph.D., "Snack Trends 2013: Health and Indulgence Square Off", Food Processing, February 28, 2013, © Putman Media
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Natural Colors Outgrow Synthetics, Account For 39 Percent Of Food Color Market

February 28, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
In 2011, the value of the natural color segment has overtaken that of the artificial and synthetic color segment of the global food color industry, according to Mintel and Leatherhead Food Research. Global sales of natural colors grew 29 percent from 2007 to reach $600 million in 2011, with annual growth rate exceeding 7 percent. Natural colors’ share of the total food color market rose from 34 percent in 2007 to almost 39 percent in 2011. Artificial colors grew less than 4 percent between 2007 and 2011, with total worth of $570 million, accounting for 37 percent of the overall market. Data also revealed the food industry accounted for 70 percent of the natural food colors market, while soft drinks had 27 percent and alcoholic beverages held 3 percent.
"New research from Mintel and Leatherhead Food Research reveals natural colours overtake artificial/synthetic colours for the first time", Leatherhead Food /Mintel, February 28, 2013, © Leatherhead Food International Limited/Mintel Group Ltd.
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Limiting Exposure To Harmful Synthetic Chemicals May Be More Difficult Than We Thought

February 27, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study testing the levels of chemical contaminants in the urine of two groups of families, found that exposure to the chemicals may go far beyond what scientists have assumed. Even when participants consumed only organic foods prepared and stored in non-plastic containers, exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates was significant. Previous studies have shown that phthalates and bisphenol A disrupt the endocrine systems of animals and humans and cause other health problems such as hyperactivity, anxiety, and depression in girls. "Current information we give families” – on plastic bottle labels and personal care products – “may not be enough to reduce exposures," said the lead author on the study.
Sheela Sathyanarayana et al., "Unexpected results in a randomized dietary trial to reduce phthalate and bisphenol A exposures", Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, February 27, 2013, © Nature Publishing Group
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Mediterranean Diet Supplemented With Nuts, Olive Oil, Reduces Risk Of Cardiovascular Death

February 25, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
The Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil or nuts reduces the risk of a heart, attack, stroke or heart-related death, according to a long-term U.S. clinical study involving 7,447 people in Spain. After five years, scientists proved that participants who followed either of two types of Mediterranean diet – supplemented with either nuts or with olive oil – showed a substantial reduction in risk of suffering a cardiovascular event. The findings prove that a high-vegetable fat diet is healthier at a cardiovascular level than a low-fat diet. The diet is characterized by a high intake of olive oil, fruit, nuts, vegetables, and cereals; a moderate intake of fish and poultry; a low intake of dairy products, red meat, processed meats, and sweets; and wine in moderation, consumed with meals.
Ramón Estruch et al., "Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet", New England Journal of Medicine, February 25, 2013, © Massachusetts Medical Society
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Asian Shirataki Noodles Catching On In West As Zero-Calorie Tummy Filler For Dieters

February 24, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
The world of dieting and weight control is catching on to the benefits of an old Asian food staple – shirataki noodles – as a way to fill one’s stomach without fear of overloading on calories. Marketed in the U.K. as ZeroNoodles and in the U.S. as Miracle Noodles, shirataki has no fat, no sugar and no taste, though before rinsing it has a slight fishy aroma. To make shirataki, tubers from the konjac plant are processed into a product called glucomannan flour. Marketers say a single 200 gram portion can replace rice, pasta or regular egg noodles on your plate, delivering only eight calories. Retailers in the U.K. are having a tough time keeping the store shelves stocked, according to news reports.
David Derbyshire, "Are 'no calorie' noodles the Holy Grail of dieting? Filling, healthy food with fewer calories than you burn to eat it sounds too good to be true...", Daily Mail Online, February 24, 2013, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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Report Finds Widespread Mislabeling Of Fish In Markets, Restaurants, Sushi Bars

February 21, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Nonprofit ocean protection group Oceana reports that about a third of 1,215 fish samples purchased in the U.S. between 2012 and 2012 were mislabeled, in apparent violation of federal guidelines. Samples in the study were bought at restaurants, markets and sushi bars in 12 areas of the country. Of 120 samples labeled red snapper, 28 different species were found, including 17 that were not in the snapper family. The study has implications for public health, as well. In New York, tilefish, which are known for their mercury content, was sold as red snapper, which the report called “one of the most egregious swaps”.
Kirk Johnson, "Survey Finds That Fish Are Often Not What Label Says", The New York Times, February 21, 2013, © The New York Times Company
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Children Consuming Fewer Calories, According to National Study

February 21, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Research on childhood food consumption patterns conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that calorie intake for both boys and girls has dropped significantly from 1999 to 2010. Though the declines in daily calorie consumption were small – seven percent to 2,100 calories for boys and four percent to 1,755 calories for girls – researchers said the trend is definitely moving in the right direction. The declines were driven by a drop in carbohydrate consumption, researchers said. Calories from fat were stable, while calories from protein increased. The report is based on data collected through interviews.
Sabrina Tavernise, "Children in U.S. Are Eating Fewer Calories, Study Finds", The New York Times, February 21, 2013, © The New York Times Company
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U.N., Andean Countries Promote Awareness Of Quinoa’s Many Benefits

February 20, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
The U.N.’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has joined with officials from South American quinoa-growing countries to launch the “International Year of Quinoa”. Quinoa is grown in the arid Andean altiplano regions of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, where it has been a food staple for thousands of years. Officials hope the International Year will raise awareness of quinoa’s value among the world’s small farmers because it is rich in essential amino acids and vitamins, and grows easily in most temperatures, altitudes, and moisture conditions. FAO says this versatility makes quinoa “a viable food option for areas with arid farming conditions and high malnutrition rates”.
"UN kicks off ‘Year of Quinoa’ with focus on world nutrition", United Nations, February 20, 2013, © United Nations
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Cereal Makers Target On-The-Go Breakfast Trend With New Drink Products

February 20, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Kellogg and General Mills, known for their diverse lines of hot and cold breakfast cereals, are now targeting consumers who don’t have time to sit down to eat a bowl of cornflakes in the morning. They are jumping on the breakfast on-the-run bandwagon with breakfast drinks. Kellogg is rolling out “Breakfast To Go,” a milk-based drink. General Mills is testing a dairy-based breakfast shake – BFast – containing whole grains, fiber, protein, and vitamins. Meanwhile, the trend toward mobile breakfasts and snacks is not lost on Quaker Oats parent company PepsiCo, which offers a Quaker cereal powder drink in China and last summer began testing a similar drink in Brazil.
Candice Choi , "Don't have time to eat breakfast? Drink it", Yahoo! News, February 20, 2013, via Associated Press , © The Associated Press
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Carb-Rich Foods And Dairy Products Seem To Influence, Aggravate Acne

February 20, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Diet plays a significant role in the aggravation of acne, according to new U.S. research. Scientists found that high glycemic load foods (containing higher levels of carbohydrates) and dairy products contribute especially to the problem, which afflicts more than 17 million Americans. Researchers reviewed scientific studies conducted between 1960 and 2012 that investigated diet and acne. The results do not demonstrate that diet causes acne, but seems to influence or aggravate it, the researchers said. They also noted that medical nutrition therapy (MNT) – including dietary intervention – could play an important role in acne treatment.
Jennifer Burris et al., "Acne: The Role of Medical Nutrition Therapy", Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, February 20, 2013, © Elsevier B.V.
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Food Authorities In The U.K. Begin Testing For Meat Products Contaminated With Horsemeat

February 19, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
As the horsemeat scandal continues to rock Europe, Nestlé announced that tests on nine processed beef products available in the U.K. – including products from the Jenny Craig weight-loss brand – had found no equine contamination. The company had earlier withdrawn beef and pasta products in Italy, Spain and France because it found traces of horsemeat. Meanwhile, the U.K.’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) said it will launch DNA testing next week of beef-based foods sold pre-packed or loose, including sandwiches, beef dripping, stock cubes, steak, stewing steak and ready meals that contain beef that is not minced. Officials in Parliament said various meat-based dishes had been withdrawn from eateries used by members, peers and staff.
James Meikle, Kate Connolly and Peter Newlands, "Nestlé UK products test negative for horsemeat", The Guardian, February 19, 2013, © Guardian News and Media Limited
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Resveratrol Protects Against Hearing Loss Due To Long-Term Exposure To Noise

February 20, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study in rats shows that resveratrol – a powerful antioxidant compound found in red grapes and wine – eases or protects against the long-term effects of exposure to loud noises over an extended period of time. The researchers were studying resveratrol’s effect on bioinflammation, which is suspected of contributing to health problems such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, aging and hearing loss. The researchers concluded that resveratrol seems to protect against both noise-induced hearing loss and cognitive decline. Noise-induced hearing loss is a growing medical issue among American troops: more than 12 percent return from Iraq and Afghanistan with significant hearing loss.
M. D. Seidman et al., "Resveratrol Decreases Noise-Induced Cyclooxygenase-2 Expression in the Rat Cochlea", Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, February 20, 2013, © American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation
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Chr. Hansen Invests In New Manufacturing Facilities To Prepare For Probiotics Market Growth

February 19, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Determined to ride the global probiotics wave – the market will expand 6.8 percent annually through 2018 – Danish food ingredients producer Chr. Hansen announced it is building a freeze-drying plant in Denmark to produce probiotic cultures for dietary supplements. The new facility will relieve production pressure on other manufacturing plants, freeing them to focus solely on human health products and food cultures. Expected to open in spring 2014, the new plant will be the world’s largest freeze-drying factory for pharmaceutical grade probiotic cultures, the company said.
"Expanding production facilities for probiotics", News release, CHR Hansen, February 19, 2013, © Chr. Hansen A/S
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“Diet” Is The New Four-Letter Word In Food Industry Marketing

February 19, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Market researcher Datamonitor’s database of new product launches in the food industry is showing a steady decline in the use of the term “diet” in product names. In 2009, new product labels featured the word diet 10.8 percent of the time. By 2012 that proportion had dropped to 6.6 percent. Food manufacturers are indeed acknowledging the obesity epidemic in the U.S. by “stealthily” introducing products lower in sugar, fat and salt. But in their labeling and advertising they are shunning the dirty word diet – “like the plague” – in favor of ”more positive messages” about food quality, protein, health and wellness, the researcher says.
Elaine Watson, "Datamonitor: ‘Marketers are avoiding the word ‘diet’ like the plague’ ", Food Navigator USA, February 19, 2013, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Will Advanced Technology Someday Come To The Aid Of Dieters?

February 18, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Whether or not the patent applications of inventors from The Netherlands, Israel and India ever reach the marketplace as viable products, they nevertheless provide some insight into the future of technology and weight control. The Dutch inventors came up with a video/computer system  that detects when a person is eating and announces “You are now eating”. This instant feedback is supposed to help them stop eating sooner. The Israeli inventors developed a sensor that detects the digestive process, alerts stomach muscle tissue, and induces satiation, vertigo or nausea. The Indian innovators built a refrigerator that monitors eating and drinking and offers obese people diet advice.
Marc Abrahams , "Coming soon: the fridge that helps you diet", The Guardian, February 18, 2013, © Guardian News and Media Limited
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Resources Are Available For Those Interested In Farming In The City

February 17, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Urban farming is catching on all over the country, as people from all walks of life grow food on rooftops, balconies, window sills, etc. To promote the trend and provide resources for novice and experienced urban gardeners, Food Tank  compiled a list of organizations, conferences, videos, and books dedicated to the subject. The City Chicken Project, for example, teaches city dwellers how to keep chickens that provide not only eggs, but also soil aeration and fertilizer. Two organizations in Chicago offer urban beekeeping classes. And “The Urban Farm Handbook” provides instruction for the novice urban farmer and includes “a wealth of relevant topics”.
Danielle Nierenberg and Food Tank Contributor Heather Penn, "Eight Urban Farm Initiatives In The U.S.", Foodtank.org, February 17, 2013, © Food Tank, The Food Think Tank
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When It Comes To Packaging, Sustainability Is The Key For Global Consumers

February 13, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A survey of nearly 20,000 consumers in 26 countries by French market researcher Ipsos finds a willingness to pay extra for packaging that keeps food and beverages fresher longer (55 percent), is environmentally friendly (55 percent), is re-usable and easy to use. But consumers were less interested in more sophisticated packaging that prevents mess or spills, keeps food and beverages at the right temperature, or makes it easier to eat and drink on-the-go (31 percent). Ipsos said the findings suggest a marketing opportunity “through innovative package designs that deliver sustainability of freshness as well as sustainability of the planet.”
"Global Consumers Willing to Fork Out More for Fresh and Sustainable Packaging", Ipsos, February 13, 2013, © Ipsos
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Loyal Customers Bring Major Benefits To Quick Service Restaurants

February 12, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Fast-food customers who are loyal to their restaurant brands tend to re-visit twice as often as customers who switch among competing brands, according to an NPD Group report. That suggests that fast-food (or quick service) restaurants operating in an era of consumer frugality and low growth ought to put a significant emphasis on building loyalty and enhancing value. Loyalty has other benefits for quick service establishments: as brand awareness increases, marketing costs decrease; loyal buyers bring in other buyers; loyal customers tend to care less about price; and they are more tolerant of mistakes.
"Restaurant Industry Will Need to Focus on Customer Loyalty and Value to Grow in the New Normal, Reports NPD", NPD Group Blog, February 12, 2013, © The NPD Group, Inc.
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Computer Models Show Significant Long-Term Health Benefit Of Reducing Sodium Consumption

February 11, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. scientists who used three different computer models to project the overall impact of steady annual reductions (totaling 40 percent) of sodium consumption in the U.S. diet found that between 280,000 to 500,000 lives could be saved over 10 years. The optimum scenario would reduce sodium consumption to about 2,200 mg/day. Three research groups took different approaches for their simulations: one used observational cardiovascular outcome follow-up data; the other two inferred the cardiovascular effects of reducing sodium from data about the relationship of blood pressure to cardiovascular disease. “All three methods consistently show a substantial health benefit for reductions in dietary sodium,” the researchers concluded.
Pamela G. Coxson et al., "Mortality Benefits From US Population-wide Reduction in Sodium Consumption Projections From 3 Modeling Approaches", Hypertension, February 11, 2013, © American Heart Association, Inc.
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Restaurant Menus Packed With Calorie Information Influence Least Health-Conscious Diners

February 8, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Despite legislative directives that restaurants list calorie content on their menus, there has been little agreement as to whether such informative menus have a positive effect on dining choices. In this U.S. study, researchers observed patron behaviors in a full service restaurant that provided three types of menus with varying levels of caloric information. They found that: calorie labels have the greatest influence on people who are the least health conscious; using a symbolic calorie label reduced the caloric intake of even the most health-conscious patrons; and calorie labels were more likely to influence the selection of the main entree rather than drinks and desserts.
Brenna Ellison et al., "Looking at the label and beyond: the effects of calorie labels, health consciousness, and demographics on caloric intake in restaurants", International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, February 08, 2013, © Ellison et al.
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Low-Cal Menu Items Boost Sales At Restaurant Chains

February 7, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A study by the Hudson Institute's Obesity Solutions Initiative finds that restaurants that served more lower-calories foods experienced an average increase of 5.5 percent in same-store sales. Restaurant chains that sold fewer low-calorie items experienced a 5.5 percent decrease in sales. The group analyzed 21 fast-food and sit-down restaurant chains from 2006 to 2011. The report defined lower-calorie servings as sandwiches and entrees with 500 or fewer calories, beverages with 50 or fewer calories (per 8 ounces) and side dishes, appetizers and desserts with 150 or fewer calories. "The bottom line,” said the report’s author, “ is if restaurants don't get more aggressive behind these low-calorie products, they're leaving sales on the table."
Julie Jargon, "Low-Cal Items Fuel Restaurant Sales", Wall Street Journal, February 07, 2013, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc
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Kellogg Scientists Find That Presweetened Breakfast Cereals Are Healthy For Kids

February 6, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A study by scientists at a Kellogg Company research unit found that children who start their day with cereal breakfasts – even presweetened ones, of which Kellogg produces many varieties – tend to have lower body mass indexes than children who eat no breakfast. They also found no differences in weight, BMI, waist circumference, blood pressure, or lipids among kids who eat presweetened ready-to-eat cereals or unsweetened cereals. The study was published in a bi-monthly, peer-reviewed journal on the nutritional care of children from birth through adolescence.
"Presweetened, Ready-to-Eat Cereal a Smart Choice for Children", news release, Kellogg Company, February 06, 2013, © Kellogg Co.
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Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes Increases With Exposure To Pesticides

February 5, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Researchers in Spain have found that there is a direct relationship between exposure to pesticides (i.e., Persistent Organic Pollutants) in food, air and water, and the occurrence of type 2 diabetes in adults, no matter their age, gender or body mass index. The study analyzed concentrations of a specific group of pollutants in the adipose tissue of 386 adults. They found that the substances tend to concentrate in body fat, and might be one of the reasons obese people are more likely to develop diabetes, the researchers suggested, because the more fat the higher the concentrations of pesticides in the body.
Juan P. Arrebola et al., "Adipose tissue concentrations of persistent organic pollutants and prevalence of type 2 diabetes in adults from Southern Spain", Environmental Research, February 05, 2013, © Elsevier B.V.
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Food Companies Are Mum On Use Of Nanoparticles In Their Products

February 5, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
As You Sow, a nonprofit corporate accountability group, reports that companies using nanoparticles in their food products have been less than forthcoming in making the public aware of it. The molecule-sized particles are entering the food chain in popular products and their packaging materials, the group says. Fourteen of 26 companies who responded to a survey – 2,600 companies received the survey – said they do not use nanomaterials. Various world regulatory bodies are grappling with the issue. Only the European Union has required labeling products if nanomaterials are present. Nanoparticles are said to be able to make products creamier without additional fat, and can intensify and improve flavors and brighten colors.
Stephanie Strom, "Study Looks at Particles Used in Food", New York Times, February 05, 2013, © The New York Times Company
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Review Of Research Finds Strong Links Between Whole Grains And Health

February 5, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A review by scientists in New South Wales of previous research has uncovered an association between whole grains and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. The scientists analyzed data from 11 major clinical trials completed in the last few years. The researchers used the data to create guidelines focusing on the ideal amount of whole grains that should be consumed, the nature of whole grains, and the potential mechanisms for the effect of whole grains on health. They suggested, for example, that the daily intake of whole grains should be 40 grams or more, approximately a bowl of whole grain breakfast cereal. Sounds easy enough, but unfortunately, 80 percent of the population falls short of this goal.
"Doctors Health Press Reports on Study: Link Found Between Whole Grains and Reduced Risk of Three Major Diseases", Press release, Doctors Health Press, February 05, 2013, © Doctors Health Press
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Vitamin D Levels Among Canadians Have Dropped Sharply Since 2009 – Study

February 4, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Blood levels of vitamin D among Canadians are dropping dramatically across all age groups, according to a study by Statistics Canada, putting them at greater risk of serious disease. Canadians between the ages of 6 and 70 experienced a drop of 6.2 percent in average vitamin D levels between 2009 and 2011. The researchers encouraged implementation of public health action programs to urge vitamin D production and recommended that people get their vitamin D blood serum levels to between 100-150 nmol/L for best overall health and disease prevention
"Vitamin D levels dropping dramatically, study finds", Engredea News & Analysis / Newhope 360, February 04, 2013, © Penton Media, Inc.
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FDA Toughens Its Control Over Potentially Harmful Food Products

February 4, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
The U.S. FDA has issued food safety regulations that delete a requirement for hard evidence that a food product presents a health threat before it can be kept from the marketplace. The stronger final rules allow the FDA to detain food if it “believes” it is adulterated or misbranded. The agency can prevent the products from reaching the marketplace for up to 30 days while officials determine if further enforcement action, such as seizure, is required. The rules implement sections of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The act was signed into law by President Obama in January 2011.
"FDA Issues Final Rule to Give Agency More Authority to Detain Adulterated Food", Food Safety News, February 04, 2013, © Food Safety News
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Nestlé Gives U.K. Shoppers Detailed Product Data Through Smartphone-Readable QR Codes

February 1, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé has launched an initiative that allows consumers in the U.K. and Ireland to use smartphones to scan quick-response (QR) codes on multi-packs of two-finger Kit Kat chocolate bars to obtain detailed nutritional, environmental and other information. Scanning the QRs takes consumers to Web sites that provide the additional data. The company plans to roll out the QR codes across its product line in both emerging and developed markets. The codes will appear within the Nestlé “nutritional compass”, a guide to help consumers choose between products. The compass is already included on 97 percent of the company's products worldwide.
"Nestlé empowers consumers with new digital labeling scheme", Nestle, February 01, 2013, © Nestle
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Innovation Based On An Understanding Of Changing Buying Patterns Could Boost Food Industry

January 31, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Just-food.com writer Katy Askew notes in an overview of the state of the food industry that 2013 will be a tough year for food manufacturers everywhere. “Downbeat” consumers are keeping sales weak in developed markets and putting pressure on pricing. Marketers have a significant challenge persuading shoppers to “part with their heard-earned bucks”. But food companies do have a tool at their disposal – innovation driven by an understanding of changing consumer eating and buying patterns – that can help turn things around. The trick is to show consumers that brands and products offer real value – not just a lower price. Successful companies will be able to identify and fill the complex mix of emerging consumer demands.
Katy Askew, "just-food's outlook for 2013: Consumer trends to watch", just-food.com, January 31, 2013, © just-food.com
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Emerging Trends In Health And Wellness Functional Products For 2013

January 30, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Increasing consumer awareness of fortified/functional health and wellness products and their usefulness is driving demand for the products, according to Euromonitor. The industry – which is growing at a strong five percent annually and is valued at $11.5 billion – includes products that focus on more than nutrition. The two top functional trends emerging in 2013: continued interest in energy drinks and sports drinks, as brands such as Red Bull and Burn gain a global following; and desire for long-term weight control and obesity prevention solutions is driving growth of products in both emerging and developed markets. Other functional growth trends: probiotics products in the U.S., China and Brazil; products that claim to prevent aging; and products that promote heart health.
Diana Cowland, "Top Five Functional Trends for 2013: Emerging vs Developed Markets", Euromonitor International, January 30, 2013, © Euromonitor International
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Pennsylvania Farmer’s Whole Grain Flours Catch On Among Local Bakers

January 29, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
In another sign of the times, a Pennsylvania farming entrepreneur who believes that “heritage” grains have a place on America’s dining tables has caught the attention of baking experts. Teena Bailey is making and selling whole-grain flour from her own farm-grown wheat varieties and marketing them locally to home cooks and chefs. Baked goods made from her flour have earned rave reviews. Whole wheat pancakes, for example, were a “wake up to discovering how good whole grains taste,” said an extension service educator. A chef at a local inn said Bailey’s flour “adds a touch of sweetness plus some malty and nutty flavors” to the breads he bakes for Sunday brunch.
Diane W. Stoneback, "Lehigh Valley farmer raises heritage wheat to make healthy flour", The Morning Call, January 29, 2013, © themorningcall.com
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When It Comes To Eating, “Smaller” Has Less To Do With Size Than With Source, Freshness

January 29, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
American consumers, especially aging baby boomers, are driving the trend toward “smaller” eating, which can mean literally smaller portions but also implies smaller in terms of locally grown, fresh, healthy, and easy-to-pronounce ingredients. In short, says one researcher, “pure and simple” with “transparency” in their food choices. Shoppers read labels and select foods “holistically” based on taste, ingredients, source, manufacturer and nutritional composition. All of these present a challenge for food manufacturers, who will need to re-align old business models to keep up with demands.
Timi Gustafson, "Food trends to keep - small, simple, fresh and healthy", Mercer Island Reporter (Washington), January 29, 2013, © Sound Publishing, Inc.
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Yogurt’s Popularity As A Breakfast Food Among Young Adults Drives Phenomenal Growth

January 29, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
NPD Group research finds that yogurt’s phenomenal growth over the last decade was primarily driven by an increase in the number of eating occasions – especially breakfast – featuring the product as well as penetration of the young adult market. Another key factor in its success has been innovation, especially in packaging and development of new varieties, such as Greek-style. Since 2008, yogurt has become a breakfast staple, as well as a popular snack and lunch item. Yogurt’s growth as a  breakfast food can be attributed to consumers in the 18-to-34 and 45-to-64 age groups, NPD says, noting that per capita consumption has nearly doubled since 2003.
"Yogurt’s Growth Primarily Sources to Young Adults and In-Home Breakfast, Reports NPD", NPD Group Blog, January 29, 2013, © The NPD Group, Inc.
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Protein From Rapeseed Oil Production Could Be Used For Human Nutrition – Study

January 28, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Providing enough protein to meet the nutritional needs of the world’s burgeoning population has become a challenging task. Now German researchers have found in a clinical study involving 28 volunteers that the protein-rich residue from the production of rapeseed oil – normally used as animal feed – is nutritionally equivalent to the protein isolate from soy. At the moment, however, European law prevents rapeseed protein from being used for human nutrition. The findings suggest that rapeseed protein isolate could become an “important protein source for human consumption” and may help reverse the European ban on human use.
Manja Fleddermann et al., "Nutritional evaluation of rapeseed protein compared to soy protein for quality, plasma amino acids, and nitrogen balance ", Clinical Nutrition, January 28, 2013, © Elsevier Ltd and European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism
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Beyond Whole-Grain Cereal And Bread: The Emergence Of Whole-Grain Pasta

January 27, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Whole grains are prominently featured in numerous dietary recommendations – including those from the U.S. government – because studies have linked eating whole grains with a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, digestive disorders and some forms of cancer. People tend to think of cereals and breads as the main sources of whole grains, forgetting that pastas can be another. But shoppers can now find a variety of whole-grain pastas at the supermarket that feature the texture and taste of refined pastas. They include traditional whole-wheat, whole-grain blends and fiber-rich white pasta. A serving of whole-grain pasta provides six grams of fiber, compared to refined pasta’s two grams.
Darlene Zimmerman, "Heart Smart: Whole-grain pasta a rich source of fiber", Detroit Free Press, January 27, 2013, © www.freep.com
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New York Bakery Trains Immigrant Women To Bake Their Way To A Brighter Future

January 25, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A nonprofit bakery in East Harlem (N.Y. City) is making bakers out of immigrant women from around the globe. The artisanal breads the women apprentices prepare at the Hot Bread Kitchen have their culinary roots in Morocco, Mexico, Bangladesh, Togo, etc., and are sold to some of the city’s best restaurants. The bakery offers more than two dozen types of bread, including Moroccan M'smen and Caribbean fruit bread. The bakery is the brainchild of a former U.N. immigration policy worker who knew that many immigrant women have a passion for the culinary arts, but end up in dead-end minimum wage jobs. With the proper training, she says, many will advance to bakery management positions.
Dave Grunebaum, "Immigrant Women Bake Up Hopeful Future", Voice of America, January 25, 2013, © Voice of America (VOA)
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Online Grocery Shopping Site Says Sales Of Whole Grain Quinoa Are Healthy

January 24, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A Peapod representative who specializes in fresh foods markets sees a bright future for quinoa, a gluten-free whole grain packed with protein and essential amino acids. Native to South America, quinoa can be grown anywhere. To highlight its exceptional nutritional qualities and its potential as a contributor to the fight against global hunger and malnutrition, the U.N. has designated 2013 the International Year for Quinoa. Noting that sales of quinoa and other healthy fresh foods have picked up, Peapod’s Tony Stallone offers some cooking tips for dinner and even breakfast.
"2013 Is International Year For Quinoa ", Press release, Peapod, January 24, 2013, © Peapod
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“Healthwashing” Of Problematic Foods: The Girl Scout Cookie Example

January 22, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A Huffington Post blogger grappling with how to get kids to eat more fruits and vegetables takes a look at how the food industry is trying to convince parents that it is helping to solve the problem. Bettina Siegel uses the humble Girl Scout cookie as an example of the predicament. A new variety was recently introduced (“Mango Crèmes with Nutrifusion”). According to the baking company, the ingredient Nutrifusion – a fruit and vegetable powder – makes Mango Crèmes great tasting and vitamin packed. Alas, writes Siegel, Mango Crèmes are still highly processed, white flour cookies containing eight grams of fat and 11 grams of sugar per serving. It’s all part of the broader trend of “healthwashing” processed foods by adding some “nutritious” ingredients to the mix of unhealthy junk, she says.
Bettina Elias Siegel, "A Girl Scout Cookie Gets "Healthwashed:" Musings on Nutritionism and Our Kids", The Huffington Post, January 22, 2013, © TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.
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U.S. Craving For Protein Drives Growth In New Product Launches

January 18, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Market researcher Mintel reports that the U.S. had three times as many new high-protein food and drink products in 2012 than any other country.  American consumers have turned to high protein products to achieve a balanced diet, satiety, muscle building and weight loss. High protein product introductions in the U.S. accounted for 19 percent of the global protein product launches in 2012, followed by India with nine percent and the U.K. with seven percent. High-protein foods span a wide array of categories beyond naturally protein rich foods. Snacks dominate the category, accounting for 20 percent of the high protein food and drink launches in the U.S. in 2012.
"US consumers have a healthy appetite for high protein food. The US leads the way in global launches of high protein products", Press release, Mintel GNPD, January 18, 2013, © Mintel Group Ltd
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Wendy’s Tests “Premium” Bacon Cheeseburger On Pretzel Bun

January 17, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
The Associated Press reports that fast-food giant Wendy’s has started offering in select restaurants a bacon cheeseburger on a “slightly heartier pretzel like bun”. The company – which is working to revitalize its menu as inexpensively as possible as beef prices rise – would not confirm the market tests or provide details like price or locations. But social media reports reveal it is being tested in Coral Springs, Fla., with positive results. Substituting pretzel-style breads and flatbreads for its traditional buns is seen as a way to offer higher-priced, premium-looking products without raising its costs.
Candice Choi, "Wendy's testing a 'pretzel burger'", Associated Press, January 17, 2013, © The Associated Press
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Artisan Breads Catching On In The Home And In Retail Food Shops

January 17, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Specialty breads that are handcrafted in small batches with the most basic of ingredients – and no preservatives – are regaining a foothold in American homes and bakeries as consumers “embrace local back-to-basic foods,” writes Meredith Hines Dochterman. The trend is catching on because consumers are realizing that bread isn’t just something that comes packaged from a grocery store. A specialty baker in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for example, sees the artisan bread trend picking up steam in small local coffee shops, sandwich joints and bakeries like his. Consumers are seeing expanding choices more than ever before: boulle and brioche, as well as bagels, focaccia, ciabatta, French bread and the familiar country white slices.
Meredith Hines-Dochterman, "Knead more bread?", The Gazette, January 17, 2013, © Gazette Communications
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Dietary Supplement Makers Have New Guidelines For Ensuring Manufacturing Integrity

January 17, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A self-regulatory alliance of dietary supplement trade groups has issued new manufacturing guidelines to help the industry maintain supply chain integrity. The guidelines from the Standardized Information on Dietary Ingredients (SIDI) Work Group outlines how dietary supplement manufacturers may establish their own ingredient supplier qualification program to determine if an ingredient supplier is suitable as a provider of raw materials. “The dietary supplement industry as a whole needs to improve its track record on current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs) compliance,” said SIDI official Duffy MacKay.
"Dietary Supplement Industry Coalition Releases Third Guideline To Aid Industry In GMP Compliance", SIDI Work Group, January 17, 2013, © SIDI Work Group
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What’s In And What’s Out In -- Iowa -- Food Trends

January 16, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Iowa food and restaurant writer Jennifer Miller foresees – or perhaps hopes for – the end of some recent food trends and the beginning of some others. On the way out: red velvet anything – cake, cookies, cheeseballs, martinis, you name it. Also truffle oil. Recent trends that have been adopted into the food culture: miniaturization, sweet potatoes and Greek yogurt. Trends on the horizon: fennel pollen, fermentation, ancient grains, charcuterie (“All things sausage and meat are hot and getting hotter”), and “artisan everything” She notes that artisan used to be a term that applied only to bread, but now includes “everything from pickles to whiskey to even meat and poultry”.
Jennifer Miller, "2013 food trends: Jennifer Miller's top five to watch for this year", Des Moines Register, January 16, 2013, © Gannett/www.desmoinesregister.com
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Anthocyanins Found In Blueberries, Strawberries Reduce Risk Of Heart Attack In Women

January 15, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Y oung women could cut their risk of heart attacks one third by simply increasing their intake of anthocyanins, the dietary flavonoids found in blueberries and strawberries, grapes, wine, blackberries and eggplant, a U.S. study has found. Researchers analyzed quadrennial questionnaires completed by 93,600 women (ages 25 to 42) for 18 years. Women who ate the most blueberries and strawberries had a 32 percent reduction in the risk of heart attack compared to women who ate the berries once a month or less, and even women who ate a diet otherwise rich in fruits and vegetables.
Aedín Cassidy et al., "High Anthocyanin Intake Is Associated With a Reduced Risk of Myocardial Infarction in Young and Middle-Aged Women", Circulation, January 15, 2013, © American Heart Association, Inc
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