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Health & Wellness Insight Alert Archive

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

<<78910111213141516>> Total issues:151

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November 01, 2011, to November 15, 2011

New Test Determines Whether Farmed Fish Are Being Contaminated With Pesticides

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. 

Survey Finds That Americans Believe Canned Foods Are Not As Nutritious As Frozen Or Fresh

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.

Dean Foods Forms Joint Venture With Jam Producer Hero Group

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.

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October 15, 2011, to November 01, 2011

Extract Of Cranberry Flavonoids Not As Effective At Fighting Infections As The Juice

Researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute studying whether a cranberry extract might offer more health benefits than the juice have found that the juice is better at preventing biofilm formation, a precursor of urinary tract infections (UTI). The study tested the group of flavonoids in cranberries known as proanthocyanidins or PACs, the ingredient scientists have assumed gives the juice its infection-fighting properties and therefore could be candidate for creation of an extract deliverable in pill form. The researchers tested the extract and the juice on E. coli bacteria, the primary cause of UTI, finding that the PACs were no “silver bullet,” showing only limited ability to reduce biofilm formation, and only after extended exposure to the E. coli.

Regaining Weight Lost On A Diet Seems To Be Hormonal Problem

Obese people who restrict their diet and lose weight are likely to regain that weight because of hormonal changes, not because of a return to a poor diet. Fifty overweight or obese adults with a BMI of between 27 and 40 participated in a 10-week low-calorie weight loss program. Researchers measured appetite-regulating hormones at the beginning of the study, at the end, and a year later. Participants lost an average of 13 kgs, but the hormone levels changed in a way associated with an increase in hunger. After a year, participants had regained an average of five kgs. “The relapse has a strong physiological basis and is not simply the result of the voluntary resumption of old habits," researchers concluded.

Girls’ Self-Image More Affected By Magazines, TV Shows That Focus On Body Image

Adolescents, especially girls, who read magazines and watch TV shows that focus on body image are more likely to have a poor self-image, according to a Spanish study of 1,165 high school students. The researchers said the relationship between exposure to these media and body dissatisfaction is not direct, but is real. Psychological variables – eating disorders, self-esteem, internalization of a “thin-body ideal” – can moderate the relationship. Researchers found that exposure to media content such as diet, beauty, health or music videos had a bigger negative impact on girls than on boys. The girls in the study had a lower BMI than the boys, but displayed greater body dissatisfaction: 16.5 percent in women as opposed to 5.4 percent in men.

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October 01, 2011, to October 15, 2011

Business Coalition Petitions FDA To Require Labeling Of GE Foods

A petition calling for the mandatory labeling of genetically-engineered (GE) foods was submitted to the U.S. FDA “on behalf of millions of consumers” by a coalition of  400 businesses and organizations dedicated to food safety and consumer rights. GE foods are altered at the molecular level in ways that could not happen naturally, the coalition said. Noting that consumers have a right to know what’s in their food, Just Label It - We Have a Right to Know (www.justlabelit.org) said that the FDA has rejected labeling of GE food since 1992, even though many countries worldwide require it. The agency is considering allowing the marketing of a genetically engineered salmon that grows to maturity twice as fast as normal salmon.

Canada Considers Strengthening Energy Drink Warning Labels, Restricting Sales

Writer Nora Simmons reports that new labeling requirements and sales limits being considered by the Canadian government for energy beverages “could send shockwaves through the industry.” A Health Canada panel recently issued a set of labeling and sales recommendations saying that energy drinks such as Red Bull, Rockstar and Monster should be reclassified as “stimulant drug containing drinks” that should be sold only in pharmacies under the supervision of a pharmacist. Current labeling for energy drinks in Canada has the usual warnings for pregnant women, breastfeeding women and children. But the panel suggested stiffening the warnings to say that energy drinks have been shown to have harmful and even fatal effects.

Jury Still Out On Whether Organic Produce Is More Nutritious – Rodale Institute

A 30-year Rodale Institute experiment comparing conventional to organic farming systems in raising corn, soybean and wheat has found that the organic way is superior to conventional in terms of crop yields, sustainability and profit. But Rodale says that, despite recent findings, the jury is still out on whether crops produced organically are actually more nutritious. Rodale said many of the nutrition studies that show organic isn't better than conventional don't say how long the plant material has been hanging around. “Sometimes, the organic had been sitting around while the conventional was just picked, which can bias the results." As to profit, the study found that an organic farmer can earn twice as much than a chemical farmer who spends money on chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.

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September 15, 2011, to October 01, 2011

National Starch Creates A New Language To Describe Food Textures

National Starch has come up with a unique set of words, including some newly-coined ones, to better describe the consumer food texture experience. The new Texicon food texture language was created to “translate the consumer texture experience into measurable scientific terms,” according to National Starch. By using the new language, National Starch customers can quickly target and achieve the right texture in their products. Among the new words being used are “crinchy,” which describe food that is between crunchy and crispy, and “flumpy,” which describes mayonnaise as it comes from the jar. The Texicon language applies to a range of low- and high-moisture systems, such as baked snacks, creamy dressings, barbecue sauces, yogurt, sour cream, etc.

Stop And Shop, Unilever Partner To Battle Hunger

East Coast grocery retailer Stop & Shop has partnered with Unilever to donate $150,000 to Feeding America and member food banks during September to feed local children and families. The money will buy more than one million meals through hunger relief organizations such as regional food banks and pantries. Every dollar donated buys eight meals from Feeding America. Stop & Shop is conducting special promotional events in September in conjunction with the initiative, including Popsicle Parties and Stuff-A-Truck days. According to the companies, 25 percent of American children face hunger every day.

American Consumers Admit They Know Nothing About How Food Is Produced In The U.S.

Two national surveys have found a knowledge disconnect between Americans and the food production process in the U.S. The surveys found that Americans think a lot about how food is grown or raised, but don’t really have any idea how food makes its way to the dinner table: seventy-two percent admitted they know nothing or very little about farming or ranching. They acknowledge that food production is important to the success of the country, but are divided over whether it is going in the right or wrong direction. Overwhelmingly, the surveys found, farmers and ranchers share the same values as consumers on issues related to environmental stewardship and animal care. Consumers also said they wanted to know more about how chemicals and pesticides are used in farming and ranching, and about food safety standards.

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September 01, 2011, to September 15, 2011

Natural Bug Repellant Can Be Incorporated Into Food Packaging

An Israeli company has developed a package coating and spray derived from natural plant extracts that repel insects. According to Bio[pack] co-founder Shlomo Navarro, the compound is natural, safe and long-lasting. In addition, bugs are unlikely to develop a resistance to it. The product, which combines numerous natural repellant compounds, is being used as a repellant in factories and warehouses to keep food safe during production and storage. And the compound can be incorporated into plastic, aluminum wrap, cardboard and other types of food packaging to repel insects on store shelves. The company says its product is being evaluated by U.S. government agencies for marketing in the U.S.

Danone Hopes New Yogurt Product Will Boost Market Share In India

Seeking to boost market presence in the fast-growing Indian market, French food and beverage firm Danone is introducing a creamy yogurt in the country. The new product follows other product introductions over the past two years, including smoothies, flavored yogurts and dahi. Danone’s joint venture with Japan’s Yakult Honsha, dubbed Yakult Danone, produces and markets probiotic drinks in India. Yakult Danone and Danone India distribute products in different states and cities. Danone is also trying to figure out a way to market healthy dairy products to consumers at the lower end of India’s economic spectrum.

Food testing In Indian State Finds High Incidence Of Contamination, Adulteration

Twenty-five percent of food samples tested recently in a lab in the Indian state of Bihar were found to be contaminated or adulterated. Products such as cereals, wheat and wheat flour, graham flour, refined flour and “sattu,” rice and grams were contaminated with dust, insects and fungus. Milk and milk products were found to be adulterated with starch and sodium bicarbonate. Spices and condiments were adulterated with artificial yellow color, lead chromate, brick powder and dust. Under India’s Food Safety and Standard Act, which took effect last month, people caught selling adulterated food can be fined and/or imprisoned. Genetically modified food, organic food, health food and dietary supplements, alcohol and beverages can be tested under the law act, along with tea, coffee, soft drinks, jelly, ketchup, etc.

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August 15, 2011, to September 01, 2011

Quality Of Campus Foodservice Is Important, But Disappointing, To College Students, Survey Finds

A report from consumer research group Technomic has found that the quality of campus foodservice is an important criterion when students select a college or university to attend. But many students say the quality of the campus dining experience falls short of expectations. Though 44 percent of students indicated that their school’s dining program was at least somewhat important in the enrollment decision, only 32 percent said their school’s dining program is satisfactory. According to research director Sara Monette, these findings suggest there are significant opportunities for foodservice suppliers and operators who focus on pleasing college students with their $300 billion in buying power. For example, only 28 percent said they were satisfied with the healthy offerings at their school.

Parents Are Often Misled By Bogus Nutrition Claims On Children’s Cereals

A study examining parents’ understanding of nutritional claims found on children’s cereal packages found that they were often confused by the claims. The potential for misleading parents was especially high when the claims were placed  on cereal products that contained high levels of “nutrients to limit” such as sugar or sodium, and low levels of “nutrients to encourage” such as fiber and protein. For the study, 306 parents of young children looked at images of the box fronts of cereals of poor nutritional quality. Nutrition-related claims on the boxes included “supports immunity,” “whole grain,” “fiber,” etc. The researchers found that the majority of parents misinterpreted the claims, judging the cereals to be healthy and nutritious.

Coriander Oil Shows Potential As Natural Antibiotic

Portuguese researchers report that coriander oil is toxic enough to a variety of harmful bacteria to be used in foods to prevent food-borne illnesses. The researchers tested coriander oil against 12 bacterial strains, including Escherichia coli, Salmonella enterica, Bacillus cereus and meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Solutions containing 1.6 percent coriander oil killed or reduced the growth of the tested bacterial strains. According to the researchers, coriander oil damages the membrane surrounding the bacterial cell, inhibits essential processes and ultimately causes cell death. They suggest that in addition to use in the food industry, coriander oil could be used as a natural alternative to antibiotics in lotions, mouth rinses and pills.

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August 01, 2011, to August 15, 2011

Americans Recognize The Health Benefits Of Food, Survey Finds

Cardiovascular disease, weight and cancer are the top health concerns of Americans, according to research from the International Food Information Council, that also found that people look to food for its health advantages. Ninety percent of Americans can name at least one food and its associated benefit. Seventy-six percent say that functional foods can have a meaningful impact on their health, though they look mainly to fruits and vegetables, fish/fish oil, dairy, whole grains, and herbs and spices to help improve or maintain their health.

Portion Control Is Growing In Importance Among American Consumers

U.K. market research firm NPD Group reports that American consumers are becoming increasingly aware of portion control as a way to ensure a healthier diet. “Eating smaller portions” was one of 30 diet and lifestyle characteristics consumers of different age groups were asked to associate with good health. Eating smaller portions ranked 11th among all adult consumers as a healthy eating characteristic. Adults consistently rated five eating/lifestyle habits as most important: exercising regularly, eating well-balanced meals, eating all things in moderation, limiting or avoiding saturated fats/cholesterol/trans fats and drinking at least eight glasses of water daily. Generation X consumers (ages 35 to 45) ranked eating smaller portions seventh in importance.

FDA Tells HBB It Is Breaking The Law With Its Melatonin-Laced Brownies

The FDA has warned HBB, L.L.C. that the agency can confiscate the melatonin-flavored brownies the company sells under the Lazy Larry brand. HBB has marketed the brownies as a dietary supplement, but the FDA letter says the product is promoted for use as a conventional food. The FDA argues the product is marketed together with snack foods; the company's web site claims the product has "the same ingredients your mother uses to make brownies;" and the product is packaged as a brownie. HBB has 15 days from receipt of the FDA warning letter to correct the situation.

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July 15, 2011, to August 01, 2011

Nestlé Invests In New Zealand Maker Of Kiwi-Based Functional Foods, Drinks

In a move that further entrenches it in the burgeoning medical nutrition market, Nestlé SA announced it will acquire an 18 percent stake in Auckland, New Zealand-based Vital Foods, a producer of kiwi-based functional drinks and dietary supplements used to treat intestinal disorders. Vital Foods, founded in 1991 and financed in recent years by the Nestlé Health Science venture capital fund, said the new funding would allow it to pursue clinical trials (in irritable bowel syndrome) and enter new markets. According to this Reuters report, Nestlé Health Science has targeted three main areas for product and market development: gastrointestinal health, metabolic and brain health.

Nestlé To Spend $1.4 Billion On Production Expansion in Africa

Though income levels are low in Africa, they are on the rise, and Nestlé SA has decided to take advantage of that by investing 1.2 billion Swiss francs ($1.4 billion) over the next four years to expand production capacity on the continent, where sales soared to $3.5 billion in 2010. The company also plans to fortify products made there with more micronutrients. Sales growth in Africa and other emerging nations is at double-digit levels, much stronger than in Europe and North America, where growth is two percent of less, according to the company. Nestlé expects to spend 150 million Swiss francs to refurbish factories in Kenya and Zimbabwe. The company opened a second factory in Nigeria this year, and new plants are planned in Mozambique and Angola.

U.S. Lawmakers Call On FDA To Ban Genetically Engineered Salmon

A bipartisan group of legislators from the U.S. House and Senate has called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to not approve the genetically engineered (GE) salmon developed by AquaBounty. The U.S. House approved an amendment that seeks to keep the FDA from approving the GE salmon. Lawmakers, salmon industry leaders, and consumer groups oppose the GE salmon, which they claim can destroy the "genetic adaptations" of wild salmon populations. AquaBounty, however, claims that its GE salmon poses no health risks to humans and that GE salmons will be kept away from natural salmon populations.

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July 01, 2011, to July 15, 2011

European Companies Unveil Products Based On Chr. Hansen’s Probiotics+Fiber Formulation

European dietary supplement companies have begun to launch retail products based on Chr. Hansen’s probiotic-plus-fiber formulation designed to fight constipation. The Chr. Hansen product is a stick with a powder blend of the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium BB-12 and fiber. It is sifted over breakfast cereals or poured into a glass of water once or twice a day. In February, the product Yovis Regola was unveiled in Italy; British firm Wren Laboratories Ltd. has just introduced a consumer version of the product in the UK under the brand OptiBac Probiotics. Chr. Hansen said it is working with other companies in other countries on probiotics-plus-fiber products to “help people tackle constipation.”

U.N. Calls For Global Energy Transformation As Population, Pressure On Resources, Rise

A 251-page report from the United Nations takes a close look at the key forces – energy generation and natural resource management – that will play a critical role in shaping the future of the planet as global population climbs toward nine billion by 2050. The World Economic and Social Survey notes that while hundreds of millions of Asians, Latin Americans and Africans have risen from poverty, the expansion of economic production requires a balance between “respect for the human and natural capital.”  Otherwise, there will be irreversible changes in the ability to sustain progress. Growth and sustainability should not be competing goals, the report warns, but “complementary and mutually supportive imperatives.” The report calls for a global energy transformation using green technologies that not only improve the global food supply but protect its sources.

Adolescent Obesity In China Is Associated With “Healthy” Western Lifestyle

In findings that run counter to patterns in Western society, teenaged boys from affluent Chinese families who are physically active and whose diet is rich in vegetables but not candy or junk food are more likely to be overweight. U.S. researchers looked at lifestyle questionnaire data from more than 9,000 Chinese middle and high school boys. Like Western teenagers, Chinese youth who slept and exercised less tended to be more overweight. But similarities ended there. Contrary to Western patterns, Chinese adolescents were more likely to be overweight: if they were boys; if they frequently participated in vigorous physical activity; and if they were younger rather than older. The findings suggest that “weight-related correlates might play different roles in Chinese culture than they do in Western cultures," researchers said.

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June 15, 2011, to July 01, 2011

Safeway Bats For Stringent "Natural" Criteria In Marketing Of Natural Products

Safeway aims to promote transparency in the use of the term "natural" in the consumer packaged goods industry as it seeks to promote its Open Nature store brand of natural products. Lack of clear-cut definition of what a natural product is has confused some consumers, assigning nutrition and health benefits to products marketed as natural. Safeway's Open Nature products will come with packaging that includes lists of all ingredients, in clear language, on the front and back.

Atrium Partners With INAF To Study Metabolic Syndrome

Canadian dietary supplement maker Atrium Innovations Inc. and the Institute of Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods (INAF) announced a multi-year commitment to study the impact of nutrition on metabolic syndrome. The two organizations have budgeted more than $5 million for the collaborative effort, which includes some funding from governmental agencies. Atrium CEO Pierre Fitzgibbon said the goal of the “sophisticated science-based approach” will be to develop products that help consumers “maintain their health and prevent serious diseases.” A particular focus of the research initiative is to gain a better understanding of metabolic syndrome, and to investigate the impact of small fruits, fish oil, probiotics and systemic enzyme therapy on inflammation.

Survey Shows Busy Mornings Keep Most Americans From Eating Breakfast Daily

Most Americans believe that breakfast is important but are sometimes too busy to have one, according to results of Kellogg's survey of more than 14,000 Americans. Survey's findings show that only 34% of respondents actually eat breakfast every day and that 40% of mothers said their child does not eat breakfast daily. As they get older, the number of children who regularly eat their breakfast declines — while almost all toddlers and preschoolers do, only 77% of young children eat breakfast every day. The numbers decline further to 50% for middle-school children and to 36% for high school students. Kellogg has assembled the Kellogg Breakfast Council to encourage children to eat their breakfast, making the claim that cereal and milk combined can help provide consumers with a nutrient-filled breakfast.
<<78910111213141516>> Total issues:151
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