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Nondairy Oat-Based Shakes Offer All-Natural, Vegan Alternative To Sugary Drinks

March 18, 2012: 01:20 AM EST
An oat-based nutritional beverage developed by Finnish émigrés and unveiled a year ago in the U.S. was recognized by the National Restaurant Association for its innovative all-natural  ingredient profile. Simpli OatShake offers “a perfect alternative to soy, rice, and dairy products,” the company says, because it contains no dairy, eggs, wheat, nuts, soy or artificial ingredients, is vegan-certified and free of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). The product -- available in three flavors: coffee, chocolate and tropical fruit – contains no added colors, preservatives or high fructose corn syrup. Simpli is marketing the creamy shakes as nondairy alternatives to sugary drinks, especially for children.
"Simpli OatShake Wins 2012 Food & Beverage Product Innovation Award", Business Wire, March 18, 2012, © Business Wire
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Dietary Patterns In The U.S. Are Linked To Demographic Factors

March 14, 2012: 11:54 AM EST
Researchers have determined that there are five basic dietary patterns in the U.S., each of which is linked to demographic factors, including age, race, region, gender, income and education. The patterns were discovered through analysis of 21,636 questionnaires completed by black and white adults aged 45 and older. The five patterns are: southern (fried, processed meats, sugary drinks); traditional (Chinese and Mexican food, pasta, pizza, soup); healthy (fruits, vegetables, grains); sweets (snacks and desserts); and alcohol (proteins, alcohol, salads). The researchers found that blacks were more likely than whites to eat a southern dietary pattern and did not eat the alcohol pattern. And men, lower-income people and non-college graduates were more likely to follow the southern pattern.
"Researchers ID 'real' five food groups in the US based on eating patterns", Yahoo! News, March 14, 2012, via AFP Relax News , © AFP Relax News
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Global Baked Goods Market Is Growing Steadily, Fueled By Convenience Products

March 9, 2012: 11:08 AM EST
Convenient and easy-to-eat baked goods – snacks, resealables, single-portions and mini products -- are fueling the growth of the global baked products market, according to a report that sees industry value reaching $447 billion within the next five years. The convenience segment includes bread, pastries, cakes and biscuits. Among the hottest items within the segment are donuts, specialty breads, pizza and gourmet items. All are in high demand among busier, more affluent workers moving from rural to urban areas. With the bakery market mature in North America and Western Europe, future growth is expected to come from emerging markets: Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Bread/rolls are the largest segment globally, followed by cakes/pastries, the report says, with the “morning goods” product segment expected to become the fastest-growing at a CAGR of five percent.
"Global bakery products poised for growth", Modern Baking, March 09, 2012, © Penton Media Inc.
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24-Hour Cupcake “ATM” Is A Cash Cow For Sprinkles Cupcake Company

March 8, 2012: 10:20 AM EST
Fulfilling a late-night craving for a cupcake is no longer an impossibility, thanks to a technological advance in food vending. The high-tech ATM-like machine developed by California’s Sprinkles Cupcakes accepts credit cards for the purchase of $4.00 packaged, freshly-baked “haute” cupcakes that are instantly dispensed, 24 hours a day. The company’s success with the cupcake ATM -- it may not dispense cash but is definitely a cash cow -- is driving expansion of the technology to its nine locations across the country, including New York, D.C., and Chicago.
Sonya Hamasaki , "Cupcake ATM vends sweet treats around the clock", CNN eatocracy, March 08, 2012, © Cable News Network
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Digital And Social Media Transform The Way Americans Plan, Prepare And Eat Their Meals

March 7, 2012: 12:54 AM EST
There has been a sea change in recent years in the way Americans buy food and plan, prepare and even eat their meals, thanks to the Internet and the rise of social media, according to a report from Publicis Consultants USA that also offers some insights for brand marketers. People rely much less on “mom and family traditions” for recipes. Half of consumers now get recipes and culinary advice from Web sites, apps, and blogs; 40 percent use Twitter and Facebook. More people – especially Millennials (18-32 years old) – share their dining experiences by texting friends or posting commentary on review sites as they eat. Marketers developing social media campaigns should create long-term, personal relationships with consumers, a strategy that succeeded for whole grain bread company Roman Meal.
"Publicis Consultants USA Study: Americans Learning More About Food Scene, Trends Via Social Media", Newsedge, March 07, 2012, © ProQuest Information and Learning Company
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Chia “Superseeds” Offer Health -- And Food Processing -- Benefits

March 6, 2012: 12:30 AM EST
California-based food ingredients supplier Multiple Organics says its certified organic chia seeds offer unique health and food processing advantages for North American consumers and food producers. Recent studies touting the nutritional benefits of chia seeds – high omega-3, fiber and antioxidant content, positive effects on heart, liver and insulin sensitivity – have increased demand for the “superseed” as a way to bolster nutrient content of cereals, chips, cookies, beverages, etc. According to the company, chia is highly hydrophilic, transforming into a gel when exposed to liquids, thus slowing the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar. Food processors can use chia as a thickening agent, and in gluten-free formulations to provide moisture and a better texture.
"Organic "Superseed" Chia From Multiple Organics", PRNewswire, March 06, 2012, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Researcher Finds No Evidence That Weight Loss Supplements Are Effective

March 6, 2012: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. researcher who analyzed data from a variety of weight loss studies has concluded that no evidence exists that any single product results in significant weight loss, and many can be harmful. The researcher looked at studies involving four main categories of products: chitosan, which block absorption of fat or carbs; stimulants such as caffeine or ephedra that increase metabolism; products such as conjugated linoleic acid that claim to decrease body fat; and appetite suppressants such as soluble fibers. “For most people, unless you alter your diet and get daily exercise, no supplement is going to have a big impact,” the researcher said.
Melinda M. Manore, "Dietary Supplements for Improving Body Composition and Reducing Body Weight: Where is the evidence?", International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, March 06, 2012, © Human Kinetics, Inc.
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Move Over Food Supplements: Functional Cookies Claim To Cure What Ails You

March 5, 2012: 10:00 AM EST
A baker in California claims that his Chocolate Chip Nookie cookie contains an ingredient that increases sexual “vitality” in men and women. The “active” ingredient is a root called maca, which is considered Peru’s all-natural Viagra because it boosts strength, energy, stamina, libido, and sexual function. The innovative functional cookie was recently exhibited at the Natural Products Expo West, along with baker Akiva Resnikoff’s brain-boosting and hangover relief cookies.
"Cookie for bedroom nookie? Aphrodisiac and hangover cookies to debut at organic trade show", Yahoo News, March 05, 2012, via AFP Relax News , © AFP Relax News
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Kellogg Participates In Effort To Provide 1 Million Breakfasts To Kids During 2012-13 School Year

March 5, 2012: 12:09 AM EST
Noting the importance of a healthy breakfast – cereal and milk, for example – Kellogg recently partnered with the Action for Healthy Kids, as well as Hilton, Marriott and Sysco, to provide a million breakfasts to needy kids across the U.S. during the 2012-2013 school year. The program includes a grassroots social media marketing effort to enlist the support of Americans. People are encouraged to “Share Your Breakfast” by posting a description of their breakfast on Kellogg’s Facebook or Twitter pages. People who bought a LivingSocial Family Deal during National Breakfast Week received a free breakfast on Kellogg, which also donated a free breakfast to a needy child. Some Kellogg products also featured $5-off-breakfast coupons.
"Kellogg's Rallies Americans to Share the Power of Their Breakfast", Kellogg's, March 05, 2012, © Kellogg Co.
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Grandma’s Food Adages Contain More Than A Few Grains Of Truth

March 4, 2012: 02:38 AM EST
A few proverbs related to diet and nutrition that have been passed down through the generations have  won support from scientists. Kids often turn up their nose at bread crusts, for example, despite grandma’s insistence that they are good for you. Turns out grandma was right. The crust is healthier for you, according to German research that found it contains a cancer-fighting compound and higher levels of antioxidants – in dark-colored breads at least – than the rest of the bread. Other findings: phenolic compounds in apples, especially the peel, may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease; and chicken soup does contain ingredients that seem to reduce inflammation associated with upper respiratory tract infections.
Kevin Keller, "Wellness: Truth behind homespun adages", Richmond Times Dispatch, March 04, 2012, © Thomson Reuters
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No More Artificial Ingredients In Nestlé’s Confectionery Products

March 2, 2012: 07:58 PM EST
Nestlé announced it has replaced all artificial ingredients in its U.K. confectionery line with natural ingredients, including carrot, hibiscus, radish and lemon. The company is the first in the U.K. to accomplish this, noting that the move represents a “significant milestone” and a “responsible approach” to serving consumers. Nestlé said the changes were made in response to consumer demand in the U.K., where three-fourths of  confectionery buyers reportedly shop for products that contain no artificial additives.
"Nestlé removes all artificial ingredients from all its confectionery in the UK", Press release, Nestlé , March 02, 2012, © Nestlé
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General Mills Boosts Commitment To Natural And Organic Foods

March 1, 2012: 02:23 AM EST
General Mills is beefing up its investment in the natural and organic foods segment with the acquisition of tortilla and kettle chips maker Food Should Taste Good. The company cites market stats showing that the natural and organic salty snacks market has seen double-digit sales growth in the past two years, outpacing growth in the general salty snacks market. The company’s natural and organic products unit, Small Planet Foods, which sells, snacks, fruit bars and pasta sauce, experienced a 17 percent increase in sales in the quarter ending last November. Six-year-old Food Should Taste Good will become part of that unit.
Dean Best, "UPDATE: US: General Mills points to natural snacks potential", Just-food.com, March 01, 2012, © just-food.com
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Balanced Diet May Be Key Strategy For Relieving Depressive Disorders

March 1, 2012: 08:39 AM EST
Recent research finds that poor dietary habits -- too much sugary, salty and fatty processed foods -- are at least partly responsible for mood disorders experienced by nine percent of Americans. British research found that a diet loaded with chocolates, sweet desserts, fried food, refined cereals and high-fat dairy increased the risk of depression among middle aged people, while a diet rich in whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish  lowered the risk. Likewise, processed foods that contribute to inflammation are a risk factor for depression and may explain the link between cardiovascular disease and mood disorders. Eating a balanced diet -- grains, fruits, legumes, and starchy vegetables plus protein foods -- allows tryptophan, and the “feel good” chemical serotonin, to get into the brain, elevating one’s mood.
"Boost mood with whole foods", Environmental Nutrition, March 01, 2012, © Belvoir Media Group, LLC
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Ethnic Foodies Rate Authentic Flavor As The Most Important Characteristic

February 29, 2012: 11:23 AM EST
Interest in genuine ethnic foods continues to rise, aligning with the broad consumer trend dubbed “The Real Thing,” industry researcher Mintel finds. Two-thirds of respondents to a survey said  authentic or traditional flavors are the most important factors when buying or eating ethnic food. Besides authentic flavor, people who eat ethnic foods at home or at restaurants want fare that is all-natural (49 percent), premium/gourmet or artisanal (49 percent) and reduced fat (48 percent). Mintel advises food marketers to keep those claims in mind when positioning products because they are more likely to resonate with consumers. The five most popular ethnic cuisine menu items in restaurants at the end of Q3 2011 were Italian, Mexican, Chinese, Pan-Asian and Japanese, Mintel says.
"Authenticity is key ingredient in Ethnic fare, reports Mintel", Press release, Mintel Oxygen Reports, February 29, 2012, © Mintel
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Canadian Company Seeks Approval To Market DHA-Rich Algal Oil In U.K.

February 28, 2012: 09:21 AM EST
An advisory committee of the U.K. Food Agency is seeking public comment on an application from Canada’s Ocean Nutrition company to market docosahaexanoic acid (DHA)-rich algal oil as a novel food ingredient. The company also wants an opinion as to whether its algal oil is equivalent nutritionally and as safe for public consumption as DHA-rich algal oil from the microalgae schizochytrium produced by Martek Biosciences. Ocean Nutrition expects to use its DHA-rich oil in the same food categories to those authorized for Martek Biosciences’ oil, including food supplements, bakery products and breakfast cereals.
"Views wanted on algal oil - DHA Rich Algal Oil: Ocean Nutrition", Press release, Food Agency, UK, February 28, 2012, © Food Agency, UK
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CSPI To Sue Amway Over “Unsubstantiated Health And Nutrition” Claims

February 28, 2012: 10:46 AM EST
Consumer watchdog Center for Science in the Public Interest is threatening to sue multi-level marketer Amway unless it stops making allegedly “unsubstantiated nutrition and health” claims on its Nutrilite Twist Tube liquid dietary supplements. According to CSPI, Amway’s “fruits & vegetables 2GO Twist Tubes” illegally claim to provide two servings of vegetables. And its Nutrilite Immunity Twist Tubes illegally claim to be an “immune system booster” that “will protect your cells.” CSPI says it will sue Amway – which is “sending a horrible health message to American consumers” – unless it stops advertising the health and nutrition claims.
"Amway Makes Illegal Deceptive Claims for its Nutrilite Twist Tubes", Press release, Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), February 28, 2012, © Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)
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Substituting Ground Rolled Oats For Half The Flour Results In Delicious Pancake Recipe

February 23, 2012: 09:53 AM EST
A food writer reports on an innovative -- and delicious -- recipe he developed after tasting pancakes in Minnesota. The secret ingredient is finely ground rolled oats that were substituted for half of the flour in a normal “Joy of Cooking” buttermilk pancake recipe. The author tried various proportions of flour and oatmeal, finally settling on 50-50 as the best mix. Other key ingredients, and variations, were cooked wild rice, blueberries, sour cherries, cranberries and raisins, softened in orange juice. The author says the resulting pancakes “taste the way I always think whole wheat will but somehow never does.”
Russ Parsons, "California Cook: Pancakes made from ground oatmeal, wild rice", Los Angeles Times, February 23, 2012, © Los Angeles Times
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Devotees Of Gluten-Free Lifestyle Unmoved By Nutritionists’ Advice

February 16, 2012: 07:49 PM EST
According to market researchers, fewer than ten percent of U.S. consumers are allergic to the protein gluten, found in wheat, barley and rye. Only one percent suffer from celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder marked by a serious digestive reaction to gluten. Yet 25 percent of consumers have sworn off gluten – thanks to hype from marketers and celebrities – creating a $6 billion a year market. Nutritionists say avoiding gluten is not harmful to people without celiac disease, but it is a waste of money. If a person doesn’t have celiac disease and isn’t gluten-sensitive, they say, go ahead and eat that bread. But that advice does not convince those without gluten sensitivity or celiac disease who swear their gluten-free diet has changed their lives.
Jill Rosen, "Is going gluten-free good for you?", The Baltimore Sun, February 16, 2012, © Tribune Interactive, Inc.
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Buyer Beware: Organic Brown Rice Syrup Contains Excessive Amounts Of Arsenic

February 16, 2012: 08:01 PM EST
Although organic certification usually means foods are free of toxic chemicals, U.S. researchers have found that one organic food contains arsenic, which is both toxic and carcinogenic. The substance was already known to exist in rice, and now has been found in organic brown rice syrup – an alternative to high fructose corn syrup that is gaining popularity as a food sweetener. Researchers analyzed the concentrations of arsenic in commercial food products containing organic brown rice syrup including infant formula, cereal/energy bars, and high-energy sports foods. One of the infant formulas had a total arsenic concentration of six times the EPA safe drinking water limit for total arsenic. Cereal bars and high-energy foods using organic brown rice syrup also had higher arsenic concentrations than those without the syrup.
"Organic foods may be an unsuspected source of dietary arsenic", Press release, Dartmouth College, February 16, 2012, © Dartmouth College
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Eating “On-The-Go” Is Now A Significant Lifestyle Pattern Among Younger Germans

February 14, 2012: 07:20 PM EST
A survey by Nestlé finds that both male and female twenty-something Germans have “unpredictable” eating routines, often substituting snacks for main meals. Only 20 percent of people in their twenties eat at fixed times during then day. Forty-three percent eat only when they have time, and 31 percent eat whenever they’re hungry. The study also found significant differences in the eating patterns of German men and women in their twenties. More than 55 percent of women said they worry too much about their diet, compared to only 32 percent of men. And longer working hours affect women’s eating patterns more than men’s.
"Nestlé Study Shows Modern Life is Changing Germans’ Eating Habits", Press release, Nestlé, February 14, 2012, © Nestlé
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CDC Finds That Bread And Rolls Are The Major Source Of Sodium In The American Diet

February 7, 2012: 07:10 PM EST
A Center for Disease Control report on dietary sodium says bread and rolls – not salty snacks – are the number one source of salt in the U.S. diet. CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said snack foods like potato chips, pretzels and popcorn rank only at No. 10 on CDC’s list of top sodium sources. The CDC was careful to clarify that bread and rolls aren’t themselves loaded with salt: but people tend to eat a lot more of them. The top 10 list accounts for 44 percent of the sodium in the American diet. Bread and rolls provide about seven percent of the salt, followed by cold cuts and cured meats, pizza, fresh and processed poultry, soups, fast-food hamburgers and sandwiches, and cheese.
Mike Stobbe, "CDC: Bread beats out chips as biggest salt source", News feature via Google, February 07, 2012, via Google, © The Associated Press
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Researcher Finds Significant Increase In Consumers Buying Organic Products

February 7, 2012: 07:38 PM EST
Market researcher TABS Group has found a noteworthy increase in the percentage of American consumers who say they have purchased organic products, the first such increase in four years. The number of all consumers who bought organics climbed five percent, from 39.8 percent in January 2011 to 41.8 percent in January 2012. The TABS survey also reported an 11 percent increase in product types bought by a typical organic shopper. Especially interested in organic products were younger people (age 40 and under). Forty-eight percent of people in that age range bought organic products in the last half-year, compared to 34 percent of older (60+) consumers. Bottom line: “Consumers are finding more room in their budget so they can afford the higher price points associated with organic products,” a TABS analyst said.
"Organic Products on the Rise", Press release, TABS, February 07, 2012, © TABS
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Hot Trend In Baking – Red Velvet – Conquers The Wedding Cake Industry

February 7, 2012: 07:28 PM EST
Red velvet has become something of a color phenomenon in the baking and dessert world, appearing in restaurant desserts, as well as in doughnuts, ice cream, tea and cakes in grocery stores. Hundreds of recipes for red velvet cake are available on the Internet, along with numerous variations on white frosting (Cream cheese? Butter cream?). Red velvet has also made an appearance in wine (from Cupcake Vineyards) and in pet foods (red velvet "pupcakes"). But the biggest user of red velvet color is the wedding cake industry, where red cakes made with cocoa flavor and rich white frosting reign supreme. But bakers aren’t stopping at red food coloring for their output: some have experimented with blue velvet cakes, as well as green, purple and orange.
Richard Gorelick, "From cupcakes to cocktails, everyone is crushing on red velvet", The Baltimore Sun, February 07, 2012, © Tribune Interactive, Inc.
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Walmart Spotlights Its Healthy Food Products With New “Great For You” Label

February 7, 2012: 08:17 PM EST
A “Great For You” label will begin to appear this spring on Walmart food products that meet the company's newly developed standards for healthiness and nutrition. The bright green labels, part of a recent commitment to boost the nutritional quality of the foods it sells, will appear on its Great Value and Marketside food lines. The labels will also be displayed on signs in the fresh fruit and vegetable sections of stores. The company will allow use of the label – without requiring a licensing fee – by non-store brands, as long as products meet the company’s nutritional standards.
Stephanie Strom, "Walmart to Label Healthy Foods", The New York Times, February 07, 2012, © The New York Times Company
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IFT To Work With U.N. Agency To Improve Global Food Safety, Security, Supply

February 6, 2012: 06:50 PM EST
The Institute of Food Technologists has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with a U.N. agency to improve cooperation in “preventing and redressing the increased risks association with food safety and quality,” the IFT said in a statement. The mandate of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is to raise levels of nutrition, improve agricultural productivity, better the lives of rural populations and contribute to world economy growth. According to the IFT, global food safety is essential to global food security, and through the MOU IFT hopes put its scientific and technical expertise to work toward achieving those goals. 
"IFT, FAO partner to address global food system needs", Press release, IFT, February 06, 2012, © Institute of Food Technologists
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Ohio Bakery’s Blueberry Doughnuts Score Big With Super Bowl Winners

February 6, 2012: 07:19 PM EST
The mother-in-law of New York Giants center Jim Cordle created a marketing sensation when she provided blueberry doughnuts from an Ohio bakery to the team’s offensive line before this year's Super Bowl. Publicity surrounding the gesture ended up doubling the bakery’s business; the owner eventually donated 10 dozen of the treats – complete with Giants blue frosting – to the team, which beat the N.E. Patriots in the Super Bowl.
"Doughnuts fuel bigger Giants", Denver Post, February 06, 2012, via The Associated Press, © The Associated Press
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U.S. Hotels Board The Gluten-Free Bandwagon

February 5, 2012: 07:40 PM EST
With the growing awareness of the potential harm to people with a digestive sensitivity to gluten – the protein found in wheat, barley and rye – U.S. hotels have begun to modify their menus to cater to gluten-averse customers. The USA TODAY report notes that Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar (San Francisco), Fairmont Hotels, Omni Hotels, Marriott International and Washington’s Ritz-Carlton have all begun offering gluten-free fare in their facilities, from room service to minibars to buffets. The changes make for good marketing, say hoteliers: "This is a subtle message that we are attentive to health issues," says the dean of NYU's Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management.
Nancy Trejos, "Hotels cater to special diets; gluten-free food now on menus", USA TODAY, February 05, 2012, © USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.
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Food Shoppers Are Planning Their Shopping Trips More Carefully To Stretch Their Money

February 4, 2012: 06:38 PM EST
Food and grocery industry researcher IGD says more than two thirds of British food shoppers take the time to plan their purchases before heading to the store, up from 47 percent in 2008. Planning usually involves a quick check of the cupboard, refrigerator, or freezer, the researcher said. In addition, consumers are shopping more frequently than they used to. Nearly half of those surveyed said they stop at the store at least three times a week, compared to 39 percent three years ago. Why the changes? Stagnant wages and rising costs (like fuel prices) are forcing shoppers to spend time planning grocery purchases “to secure the best value,” according to an IGD analyst.
"Shoppers plan and shop around more to secure best value", Press release IGD ShopperVista, February 04, 2012, © IGD ShopperVista
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Scientists Discover New Method Of Destroying Harmful Food-Borne Bacteria

February 2, 2012: 11:24 PM EST
A study by U.S. researchers has determined that treating uncooked poultry with plasma – a high-energy, charged mixture of gaseous atoms, ions and electrons sometimes called the “fourth state of matter” – significantly reduced the levels of dangerous bacteria. In the study, raw chicken samples contaminated with Salmonella enterica and Campylobacter jejuni – the bacteria found on  70 percent of chicken meat tested – were treated with plasma for varying periods of time. The treatment eliminated or nearly eliminated bacteria in low levels from skinless chicken breast and chicken skin, and significantly reduced the level of bacteria when contamination levels were high.
"A Zap of Cold Plasma Reduces Harmful Bacteria on Raw Chicken in Drexel Study", Press release. Drexel University, February 02, 2012, © Drexel University
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New L.A. Café Introduces Local Foodies To Chile’s National Dishes

February 2, 2012: 07:59 PM EST
Chilean cuisine – featuring puffy, pie-like pastels stuffed with herbs and meats, and mountainous sandwiches known as chacareros – is making inroads in Los Angeles. The menu of a new café called Chilenazo is attracting attention for its pastels and chacareros – both considered Chilean national dishes – packed with chicken, beef, herbs and spices, whipped avocado with tomatoes (palta), homemade mayonnaise and oniony herbal relishes (pebre). Other popular dishes include braised chicken with green peas and a corn and baby lima stew topped with braised beef. L.A. Times writer Linda Burum says if Chilenazo and its Chilean fare catch on, they “may soon be changing the [L.A. dining] landscape.”
Linda Burum , "The Find: Building blocks of Chilean gastronomy", Los Angeles Times, February 02, 2012, © Los Angeles Times
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Continuing Higher Prices: Just One Food Industry Trend For 2012

December 20, 2011: 11:52 PM EST
Supermarket Guru sees food prices continuing to rise in 2012, thanks to greater demand for exports and global weather and other environmental conditions, plus higher fuel, feeds, packaging and food safety costs. A growing sense of community, perhaps driven by food blogs and ubiquity of mobile devices, is fueling a trend toward group food experiences. Aand aging baby boomers – all 76 million of them – are driving the popularity of healthy foods and beverages. A few more of the 10 key trends for 2012: rising consumer interest in the origins of their food supply, increased use of mobile devices to obtain food information and bargain offers, and the rise of ethnic food trucks as a replacement for gourmet and specialty stores.
Phil Lempert, "2012 Food Trends to Watch", Supermarket Guru, December 20, 2011, © Phil Lempert/Consumer Insight, Inc.
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OTA Refutes Misconceptions About Organic Agriculture

December 19, 2011: 07:09 PM EST
The Organic Trade Association says six myths about organic agriculture were “busted” by the media, by scientific discoveries, and by shoppers in 2011. At the top of the list is the belief that organic products are a niche market. OTA says its own research reveals that 78 percent of U.S. families say they purchase organic products. In addition, 11 percent of the total U.S. fruits and vegetables market comprised organic produce; and organic buyers are more likely to be Asian, African-American or Hispanic than non-buyers. Among the other myths disproved by the OTA: consumers are ambivalent about genetically modified foods; organic produce is unaffordable; organic farming cannot feed the world; and pesticides are no longer a danger.
"Six Myths Busted by Organic in 2011", Press release, Organic Trade Association, December 19, 2011, © Organic Trade Association
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Healthy Slice Of American Adults Eat Vegetarian At Least Part Of The Time

December 14, 2011: 09:37 PM EST
A Harris Interactive telephone survey sponsored by the Vegetarian Resource Group has found that about a third of adult Americans eat vegetarian meals a significant amount of the time, along with committed vegetarians. The finding, according to the VRG, provides a reason for companies producing vegetarian foods to be optimistic. And, “No wonder so many restaurants have added vegetarian options.” Seventeen percent of adult Americans eat no meat, fish, seafood, or poultry at many of their meals, though less than half the time, and 16 percent don't eat these foods at more than half of their meals, but not all the time. Almost half (48 percent) of those surveyed said they eat meat, fish or poultry at every meal. The survey was conducted between March 30 and April 3 of 2011 among 1,010 adults.
Charles Stahler, "How Often Do Americans Eat Vegetarian Meals? And How Many Adults in the U.S. Are Vegan?", Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG), December 14, 2011, © Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG)
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Vitamin D Supplementation Helps Protect Against Urinary Tract Infections

December 14, 2011: 12:24 PM EST

A study by Swedish researchers has found that boosting vitamin D levels in postmenopausal women to proper levels provides potent protection against urinary tract infections (UTIs). The researchers noted that vitamin D induces the production of cathelicidin, a human antimicrobial peptide secreted by bladder epithelial cells. Cathelicidin protects the urinary tract from threatening infections. The researchers examined biopsied bladder tissue from healthy postmenopausal women before and after intake of vitamin D over three months. Bladder cells infected with the bacterium E. coli, which causes UTI, showed a significant increase in cathelicidin expression after vitamin D supplementation. Taking a supplement to restore appropriate vitamin D levels “may therefore help prepare the bladder epithelium to mount a stronger and faster immune response once bacteria enter the bladder,” researchers concluded.
 

Olof Hertting, et al. , "Vitamin D Induction of the Human Antimicrobial Peptide Cathelicidin in the Urinary Bladder", PLoS ONE, December 14, 2011, © Hertting et al.
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New Gastrointestinal Simulation Technology Speeds Up Introduction Of Functional Foods

December 5, 2011: 08:09 AM EST
International Food Network has introduced an in vitro gastrointestinal modeling technology that tests the performance of functional foods and supplements in a simulated digestive environment. The GastroLab modeling system focuses on stomach processing, replicating gastrochemical make-up and pH profile to evaluate physiochemical properties. Food and beverage companies are under severe pressure to get products to market quickly; the GastroLab system speeds up product launches while minimizing risk and enhancing results, the company says. “We have the ability to determine what will survive the rigors of the digestive tract and develop new food and beverage forms to optimize their functionality,” CEO Peter Salmon told Nutraceuticals World.
Joanna Cosgrove, "IFN Debuts In Vitro GI Modeling", Nutraceuticals World, December 05, 2011, © Rodman Publishing
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Decline In Cardiovascular Health – Likelihood Of Early Death – Begins In Adolescence

November 16, 2011: 12:00 AM EST
Worsening teen health linked to high blood sugar levels, obesity, poor diet, lack of exercise and smoking is likely to lead to death at an earlier age from cardiovascular disease, a U.S. study has found. The researchers analyzed the health profiles of 5,547 children and adolescents who constituted a representative sample of 33.1 million American youth. The poor health condition of today’s teens is already having an impact on the health profiles of young adults: cardiovascular mortality rates in adults aged 35 to 44, particularly women, are on the rise. The researchers said it was especially alarming that “zero children or adolescents surveyed met the criteria for ideal cardiovascular health," indicating that “ideal cardiovascular health is being lost as early as the teenage years."
Donald Lloyd-Jones, M.D. et al., "Today's Teens Will Die Younger of Heart Disease, Study Finds", News release, presentation at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions, November 16, 2011, © AHA
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NPA To Take The Lead In Providing Concrete Definitions Of “Natural” Food Products

November 9, 2011: 06:11 PM EST
Unlike the term “organic,” “natural” foods lack an authoritative definition that consumers, retailers and manufacturers can look to when applying that term to products. Stepping in to fill the void is the Natural Products Association, which is expected to begin unveiling more tangible definitions of natural food products sometime in 2012. The NPA issued such a definition and seal for natural home care products in 2008. Six food categories have been targeted by the organization, and two – snacks and cereals, meat and poultry – will have definitions and seals next year, according to reports. Some observers feel the FDA should take the lead in the call for a definition of natural, but the agency hasn’t shown any indication it will.
Caren Baginski, "NPA to define 'natural' food with certification", Newhope360, November 09, 2011, © Penton Media Inc
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Hispanics Who Dine Out Like To Have The Kids Along

November 9, 2011: 03:41 PM EST
About 40 percent of restaurant visits by Hispanics include children, according to a market study by The NPD Group. In fact, Hispanics who like to dine out say they would do it more often if more restaurants made children feel welcome. In contrast, only 30 percent of non-Hispanic restaurant visits include children. Forty-five percent of Hispanic restaurant visits are in groups of three or more compared to 32 percent for non-Hispanics. NPD’s Michele Schmal said that “restaurant operators and food manufacturers would do well to focus marketing to Hispanics around the family and children.”
"U.S. Hispanics Consider Restaurant Dining a Family Affair, Reports NPD", Market report, NPD, November 09, 2011, © NPD
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Americans Love Their Snacks – Survey

November 8, 2011: 06:56 PM EST
Forty percent of Americans say they prefer to curb their hunger with snack foods throughout the day rather than by eating the traditional three square meals, according to a survey by Snack Factory’s Pretzel Crisps brand. More than three fourths (78 percent) said they eat snack foods for lunch and 55 percent eat snacks for dinner. The trend toward substituting snacks for full-course meals is greater among younger people – ages 18 to 49 years. Only 31 percent of people age 50 or older skip meals for snacks. But the survey found that  whatever the age, “more and more people are relying on snacks to get them through the day.”
"A Little Bite Goes a Long Way: The Growing Role of Snacks in America", News release, Snack Factory, November 08, 2011, © Snack Factory
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British Organic Producer Delivers The Goods Much More Cheaply Than Big Food Retailers

November 8, 2011: 05:56 PM EST
Riverford Organic, a British organic grower that delivers vegetables and other farm produce through a network of franchisees, reports that its products are an average 19.3 percent cheaper than big U.K. food retailers likeTesco, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s. Riverford is 32 percent cheaper than Sainsbury’s, and their best value boxes beat the supermarket equivalent by more than 40 percent for the second month in a row. Riverford founder Guy Watson says the company’s goal is to grow and sell affordable and accessible organic produce without compromising on flavor or freshness. Key principles driving its success are its fair treatment of growers, a minimal approach to packaging and model regional farms that reduce food transport miles.
"Organic Veg Delivery Franchise Beats the Big Supermarkets", Franchise News International, November 08, 2011, © Franchise News International Ltd
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Seven Key Restaurant Trends To Watch In 2012

November 8, 2011: 06:48 PM EST
Food industry consultant Technomic says restaurants will be affected by seven key trends during 2012. At the top of the list is a consumer preference for familiar comfort foods and formats that offer novel flavors. Also, diners are demanding rustic fare using simple preparations and fresh ingredients. This trend will push restaurant operators to curtail purchases of value-added items in favor of cheaper cuts, beans, grains and produce that can be transformed into home-style food. Other trends include: growing use of seasonal and local-sourced foods, greater use of social networking to share restaurant experiences and opinions, increased demand for product and menu nutrition information, etc.
"Technomic names seven leading U.S. restaurant trends for 2012", Press Release, Technomic, November 08, 2011, © Technomic
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Krill Oil Sales Soaring, Despite Environmental Concerns

November 4, 2011: 06:31 PM EST
Annual krill oil sales are growing at a rate of 20 percent, despite concerns about the sustainability of krill harvesting. Whole Foods and other natural foods stores have banned the sale of krill products because of environmental concerns. However, consumers are increasingly aware of the health benefits of krill oil, which has more omega-3s than other fish and contains a potent carotenoid known as astaxanthin. The increasing consumer awareness of the benefits of krill oil should drive sales – and probably prices – higher in the future, according to industry observers. However, environmental conservation groups are relentless in their opposition to krill harvesting.
James Townsend, "Krill awareness hits critical mass", Functional Ingredients, November 04, 2011, © Penton Media Inc
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Dean Foods Forms Joint Venture With Jam Producer Hero Group

November 4, 2011: 07:09 PM EST
Dairy product producer Dean Foods announced a 50/50 joint venture with Swiss-based Hero Group, producer of fruit and infant nutrition brands Hero and Beech-Nut. Dubbed Hero/WhiteWave, the new venture will take Dean's WhiteWave business into the jam and chilled fruits business for the first time. Hero has had success with chilled-fruit products in Europe, and believes that North American consumers will be receptive to the products. According to reports, the two companies will develop new healthful products, while sharing technology, manufacturing and distribution capabilities. Dean also announced healthy financial results for the third quarter, with earnings per diluted share on an adjusted basis doubling to $0.28 from a year ago.
Karlene Lukovitz, "Dean Foods Partners With Hero On New Chilled Fruits", Mediapost Publications, November 04, 2011, © MediaPost Communications
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Peruvian Legislators Ban GMO Imports

November 4, 2011: 06:54 PM EST
Peru's Congress has imposed a 10-year moratorium on imports of genetically modified organisms (GMO) to safeguard the country's biodiversity. The measure, approved by an overwhelming margin, bans the importation of  GMOs such as seeds, livestock, and fish for cultivation or to be raised locally. The Congress did allow some exceptions: for example, GMO can be used for research in closed environments though they must be carefully monitored. The bill requires the signature of President Ollanta Humala before becoming law. Humala is a strong opponent of GMO programs. Peru earns about $3 billion a year from the export of organic food, including coffee and cocoa.
"Peru's Congress approves 10-year GMO ban", AFP, November 04, 2011, © AFP/Yahoo
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New Test Determines Whether Farmed Fish Are Being Contaminated With Pesticides

November 2, 2011: 07:32 PM EST
Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology (Germany) have developed a way to test whether chemical substances accumulate in farmed fish that have been fed contaminated feed. The food industry needs such a test because half of all the fish eaten today comes from fish farms, where fish are increasingly fed vegetable-based foods that may contain pesticide residues. Fish feed producers have turned to the use of crops such as soya, maize and rape to replace the dwindling supplies of fishmeal and fish oil so important to fish feed. Using large water tanks, researchers test the flesh of fresh water fish like carp and trout for pesticide residues using highly sensitive analytical methods that detect even the smallest quantities of a harmful substance. 
"A fish test to make food safer", Press release, Fraunhofer Institute, November 02, 2011, © Fraunhofer Institute
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Higher Obesity Rates Among Poorer People Not Associated With Fast-Food Dining

November 2, 2011: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. and Korean researchers have found that fast-food dining is not the reason for higher rates of obesity among people with lower incomes. In fact, the study found that eating out – either at fast-food or full-services establishments – becomes more common as income rises. Middle income people, who have lower rates of obesity and are attracted to fast-food restaurants for a variety reasons, increased their visits as their annual household income approaches $60,000. When  income increased beyond that level, fast-food visits decreased. Eating at full-service restaurants, where there is a range of food choices and sit-down service, followed a predictable pattern: as income rose, visits increased. The researchers used survey data from nearly 5,000 people in the U.S.
J. Paul Leigh and DaeHwan Kim, "Are Meals at Full-Service and Fast-Food Restaurants 'Normal' or 'Inferior'?", Population Health Management, November 02, 2011, © The Authors
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Consumer Focus On Shedding Pounds Drives Healthy Retail Sales Of Weight Loss Products

October 29, 2011: 08:41 PM EST
Consumers interested in losing weight are responding to marketing promises, driving healthy weight management product sales, according to a Euromonitor report. Weight loss companies have successfully upgraded their meal replacement lines, introducing new flavors for current products, and launching new powders, soups and bars. All have enjoyed success at the retail level. Palatability and texture have improved markedly, thanks to the application of new ingredient technologies. Meal replacement slimming and weight loss supplements posted the highest sales in the U.S., mainly because of strong promotional efforts from direct sellers Amway and Herbalife. “A combination of high overweight/obesity rates, affluence and the desire for a perfect body helped North America dominate retail value sales of weight management products in 2010,” Euromonitor said.
"An overview of weight management results 2009-2010", Euromonitor International, October 29, 2011, © Euromonitor International
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New Abbott Glucerna Shakes, Bars Help Diabetics Manage Hunger, Sugar Spikes

October 27, 2011: 06:41 PM EST
Abbott Nutrition has introduced Glucerna Hunger Smart shakes and bars for diabetics. According to the company, the products are designed as meal replacements that assist in managing hunger and blood sugar spikes while helping diabetics achieve weight management goals. The Glucerna shakes contain a proprietary carbohydrate blend called Carb Steady with both low glycemic and slowly-digestible carbohydrates to help minimize blood sugar spikes. Each 180-calories shake has 15 grams of protein and six grams of sugars, as well as 25 vitamins and minerals. The snack bars are 140-150 calories with 10 grams of protein in addition to Carb Steady.
"Abbott Launches Glucerna Hunger Smart™ Nutrition Products for People with Diabetes", Press release, Abbott Nutrition, October 27, 2011, © Abbott Nutrition
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USDA, Other Groups, Provide Farmers With Info On Walmart’s Locally-Grown Food Initiative

October 26, 2011: 07:09 PM EST
Farmers in southwest Georgia (U.S.) are looking for more information about how to participate in, and benefit from,  Walmart’s new Heritage Agricultural Program, an initiative supporting consumers’ interest in local and sustainable farming. Various organizations, including the USDA, have been meeting with Georgia farmers to tell them what they need to do – like having the proper infrastructure in place – to supply produce to Walmart. The company wants to reduce the number of miles perishable fruits and vegetables travel from farm to market by purchasing locally-grown produce for stores, and is encouraging farmers to grow crops traditionally produced in their regions.
Gianna Caserta, "Walmart wants locally grown foods on your table", WorldNow News, October 26, 2011, © WorldNow and WALB
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Survey Finds That Americans Believe Canned Foods Are Not As Nutritious As Frozen Or Fresh

October 25, 2011: 07:45 PM EST
A survey conducted by a group representing steelmakers and some food processors found that only 46 percent of Americans know that canned foods count toward U.S. government recommended dietary guidelines; 40 percent believe canned foods are less nutritious than frozen foods; and sixty percent believes canned foods are not as nutritious as fresh. But according to the Canned Food Alliance, food packaged in steel cans “can be just as nutritious (and sometimes more nutritious) than fresh and frozen varieties.” CFA Executive Director Rich Tavoletti said canned foods provide affordable, accessible and convenient nutrition.
"Survey: Consumers Underestimate Canned Foods’ Benefits", News release, Mealtime.org, October 25, 2011, © Canned Food Alliance
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