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Vitamin K-2 Is Catching On In Functional Food Applications

April 1, 2011: 08:41 PM EST
Both natural and synthetic forms of Vitamin K-2 are the rising stars in functional food ingredients, according to Innova Market Insights, which ties the rising popularity of the vitamin to increasing evidence of a beneficial impact on bone and cardiovascular health. New vitamin K-based product launches rose 40 percent in 2010, with much of the activity in dietary supplements. The trend is picking up strength due to vitamin K’s recent U.S. award of GRAS status for dairy foods and EU Novel Foods approval in 2009. Among the most active promoters of vitamin K-2 products are Nattopharma of Norway and Danisco. An Innova researcher predicts that vitamin K-2–fortified food and drink product launches will begin to show up soon in the U.S.
"Functional foods potential boosts interest in vitamin K-2", Press release, IFT, April 01, 2011, © IFT
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Protein-Based Testing Can Verify Natural Flavor Claims Of High-Priced Cola Beverages

April 1, 2011: 12:00 AM EST
Italian scientists report that they have developed a way to tell if premium-priced cola drinks that claim to be made with natural ingredients really do contain natural flavorings. The new method involves testing for the presence of proteins derived from plant extracts and, according to the researchers, is very accurate. For their study, they detected plant proteins in a drink claiming to have "organic agave syrup and cola nut extracts." Coca Cola products, which do not claim to include cola extract, had no protein. The scientists say the method they developed "gives a certificate of authenticity" to beverage claims and their findings suggest “the possibility of certifying whether soft drinks … are indeed made with vegetable extracts or only with artificial chemical flavoring.”
Alfonsina D’Amato, et al., "Going Nuts for Nuts? The Trace Proteome of a Cola Drink, as Detected via Combinatorial Peptide Ligand Libraries", Journal of Proteome Research, April 01, 2011, © American Chemical Society
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USDA Adds Purell Green Hand Sanitizer To List Of Approved Biobased Products

March 31, 2011: 03:02 AM EST
The USDA announced at a biobased product meeting that Purell Green Certified Instant Hand Sanitizer Foam will be featured in the formal launch of the agency’s new BioPreferred Label Program. The Purell Green brand, produced by GOJO Industries Inc., is made with 100 percent naturally renewable plant-derived ethanol in a biodegradable formula, according to the company. The  foam is sold in 1200 mL TFX (touch free) refills under the SKILCRAFT brand through Travis Association for the Blind, a nonprofit agency associated with National Industries for the Blind. The new USDA label is assigned to products independently certified to meet USDA BioPreferred program standards for biobased content.
"Purell Green Certified Instant Hand Sanitizer Among First to Earn USDA BioPreferred Product Label", News release, GOJO Industries, March 31, 2011, © GOJO Industries
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“Bitterness Blocker” May Open Up A World Of New Foods For Some Consumers

March 29, 2011: 11:37 AM EST
Scientists at Givaudan Flavors Corporation (Cincinnati, Ohio) have developed a substance that can be used as a “bitterness blocker” in foods, medicines and calorie-free sweeteners (like saccharin and sucralose) that are often avoided because of a bitter flavor or aftertaste. According to the researchers, blocking the unpleasant “off-notes” in some foods could help consumers eat healthier and more varied diets or switch to sugar-free sodas. There are 27 receptors on the human tongue for different shades of bitterness. The newly-developed substance – known as GIV3616 – blocks some of those receptors, is more potent than an earlier version and can dissolve more quickly in foods and beverages.
"Updating the Mary Poppins solution with a better bitter blocker", Presentation, American Chemical Society (ACS) American Chemical Society meeting, March 29, 2011, © ACS
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Company To Market Nutritional Supplement That Offers “Stem Cell Nutrition”

March 29, 2011: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. biotech firm Emergent Health Corp. has formed a division (J.D.I. International) to market a daily nutritional supplement that contains vitamins and minerals and makes a new kind of health claim: promotion of “stem cell nutrition.” According to the company, Vita-Stim Powered MultiVite/MultiMineral is a patented and patent-pending product that also provides 1000 IU of vitamin D. The company said its product “with the Vita-Stim Powered adjunct for stem cell nutrition support” may “open new markets” for a multivitamin/multimineral daily supplement. The company is seeking distributors for the product. The company did not mention how its supplement promotes “stem cell nutrition.”
"Emergent Health Corp Announces Release of New Health Product to be Offered Through a Recently Formed Marketing Division", Press release, Emergent Health Corp. , March 29, 2011, © EHC
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New Eco-Friendly Packaging Film Extends Food Products' Shelf Life

March 27, 2011: 09:39 PM EST
Scientists presented ‘nano-bricks’, an eco-friendly packaging film that combines montmorillonite clay particles with an array of polymer materials, at the American Chemical Society's 241st National Meeting and Exposition. Made with about 70 percent clay and less than 100 nanometers thick, the transparent film can help food and beverage companies extend the shelf life of a wide range of products, such as keeping sodas sparkling longer, prolonging the shelf life of ready-to-eat meals, and keeping fruits and vegetables fresh longer. Unlike some advanced packaging materials, nano-bricks do not easily crack, and do not contain metal — which means they can be microwaved. Nano-bricks also have potential uses in electronics, automobiles, and sporting goods.
Press Release, American Chemical Society, "“Nano-bricks” may help build better packaging to keep foods fresher longer", American Chemical Society, March 27, 2011, © American Chemical Society
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“Mompreneurs” Successfully Blend Motherhood With Entrepreneurship

March 28, 2011: 04:25 AM EST
Highly-educated and high-achieving women who take time out from their careers to raise their children often use their time at home to launch businesses. These so-called “mompreneurs” in their twenties and thirties are becoming something of a force in the business world, thanks to their business and organizational skills, drive and passion, social media savvy and ability to network among themselves, sharing tips and ideas with colleagues. An example of the phenomenon is a Canadian mother of two, Jennifer Broe, whose organic baby foods can be found on the shelves of Walmart. Keys to her success? “Riveted entrepreneurial focus, detailed business growth planning, intelligent marketing and financial acumen,” according to Tony Wanless, writing for Financial Post & FP Investing.
Tony Wanless, "Baby food firm grows through word of mouth", National Post's Financial Post & FP Investing (Canada), March 28, 2011, © National Post, a division of Postmedia Network Inc
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Newly Discovered Herbal Ingredients Could Provide Safer, More Effective Skin Whitening Cream

March 28, 2011: 12:00 AM EST
Scientists in Taiwan report that two active compounds derived from an evergreen herb used as a “cure all” in traditional Chinese medicine will make a safer and more effective skin-whitening agent. They will be testing the ingredients in clinical trials, and have applied for patents in the U.S. and other countries. The ingredients, from the evergreen bush Cinnamomum subavenium, can block tyrosinase, an enzyme that controls the synthesis of melanin, the dark pigment responsible for coloring skin, hair and eyes. Inhibiting tyrosinase is one of the major strategies for skin-whitening, the researchers said. Skin lightening products are especially popular among Asian men and women, but often cause unwanted side effects, such as itching, redness and inflammation. The researchers hope to market a cream based on the herbal ingredients within a year.
Hui-Min Wang, Ph.D., et al., "Safer, More Effective Skin-Whitening Creams from Ancient Chinese Herbal Medicine", Presentation,National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, March 28, 2011, © American Chemical Society
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Oxygen-Replacement Packaging Found To Preserve Healthy Compounds In Fresh Carrots

March 23, 2011: 07:04 PM EST
The healthy bioactive compounds in vegetables, including the polyacetylenes found in carrots, can be negatively affected as they move through the food chain, resulting in less nutritious food. Polyacetylenes have been shown in studies to have anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer benefits. Preserving those compounds from farm to consumer is a challenge, however. Researchers in Ireland found that the use of an oxygen-replacement technology called “modified atmosphere packaging” (MAP), commonly used in the food industry to improve shelf life, is effective in preserving the freshness of carrots. The scientists tested different combinations of oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide and found that they all helped the carrots retain polyactylenes when stored at 4°C for six days in breathable packaging films.
Juan Valverde, "Bioactives in minimally processed carrots", TeaGASC, March 23, 2011, © TeaGASC
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Europe's Nutricosmetics Market Languishes

March 22, 2011: 07:26 PM EST
Functional food, beverage and supplement experts say the European market for “beauty from within” nutricosmetics – once thought to have huge potential – continues to stagnate, probably because consumers just don’t believe beautiful skin comes from something edible. Perhaps the biggest sign of that disappointment was Danone’s failed skin-health yogurt product, Essensis, introduced four years ago but now vanished from store shelves thanks to poor sales. New nutricosmetics products continue to emerge, but Sweden’s Biovelop, which has a new line of functional beauty ingredients made from oats, says consumers want to apply, not ingest, their personal care products. Julian Mellentin, director of consultancy New Nutrition Business, agrees: "Consumers are a long way from being ready to believe that yogurt or juice can make their skin look better.”
Richard Clarke, "European nutricosmetic market treads water", Functional Ingredients, March 22, 2011, © Penton Media
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Sustainability Is A Key Issue, And Major Challenge, For Cleaning Products Industry

March 23, 2011: 03:09 AM EST
At IntertechPira’s recent two-day conference, Cleaning Products Europe, speakers focused on sustainability as the driver of future growth, followed closely by innovation and collaboration, according to the conference producer. Both Unilever and Procter & Gamble emphasized that sustainability is a key factor in all aspects of the cleaning products business and one of the biggest internal challenges. All parts of the supply chain have a role to play in implementing sustainable practices, including regulatory authorities and industry bodies. Keith Rutherford of Unilever said that at the top of the supply chain “there is a need for a mix of safe and sustainable materials” as consumers become more demanding on the sustainability issue.
"Cleaning Products Europe - a great success! What are the key learnings?", Press release, IntertechPira, March 23, 2011, © IntertechPira
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Joint Venture Will Market “Steviasucrose” Sweeteners In Northern, Eastern Europe

March 21, 2011: 07:44 PM EST
European sugar producer Nordzucker AG and stevia sweetener supplier PureCircle Limited have formed a sales and marketing joint venture, NP Sweet A/S, to market reduced calorie products known as “steviasucrose” that combine sugar and stevia. The market for the stevia and steviasucrose portfolio is food and beverage companies in northern and eastern Europe. According to NP Sweet General Manager Lars Bo Jørgensen, the joint venture takes advantage of integrated supply chains that offer customers “sustainability and traceability from field to final application.” EU regulatory clearance for stevia products is expected before the end of 2011.
"Nordzucker and Pure Circle Limited announce the creation of NP Sweet A/S, the leading Northern European steviasucrose company", Press Release, Pure Circle, March 21, 2011, © Pure Circle
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Target Virtualizes Its Business-Critical Retail Store Applications Using Microsoft Technology

March 21, 2011: 03:44 AM EST
Discount retailer Target has virtualized business-critical workloads such as inventory, point-of-sale, supply-chain management, asset protection, in-store digital media and other functions using virtualization and management technologies from Microsoft. Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V and Microsoft System Center are being implemented on 15,000 virtual machines at 1,755 stores and 37 national distribution centers in 49 states. Applications supported include Microsoft SQL Server 2008 SP1, SharePoint 2007 and Exchange 2007, as well as third-party, line-of-business software. By using the new technologies, Target eliminated 8,650 physical servers along with their maintenance and power costs, according to Microsoft..
"Customer Spotlight: Target Virtualizes With Microsoft", Press release, Microsoft, March 21, 2011, © Microsoft
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Wide Array Of Energy-Boosting Ingredients Available To Food, Beverage Formulators

March 18, 2011: 12:00 AM EST
A Food Technology article reports on the broad range of current and upcoming energy-boosting ingredients available to food and beverage formulators looking for options beyond caffeine. is not the only ingredient that provides that extra boost. The ingredient categories include slow-digesting sucrose-derived carbohydrates, botanicals, green tea, beetroot juice, B vitamins, L-carnitine, ribose, taurine and coenzyme Q. Botanicals that provide “natural” energy include ginkgo biloba, ginseng, yerba maté, and milk thistle, while B vitamins help break down carbohydrates into glucose, which provides energy. L-carnitine helps supply energy to the heart, muscles, liver, and immune cells, and is essential in the production of energy from fat.
Linda Milo Ohr, "The Buzz About Energy Products", Food Technology, March 18, 2011, © Institute of Food Technologists
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Will Beverage Labeling Initiative Convince Americans To Cut Back On Sugar Consumption?

March 17, 2011: 12:00 AM EST
A new U.S. beverage labeling initiative could provide the necessary incentive for Americans to cut back on consumption of sugar and extra calories, according to medical weight-loss specialist Jessica Bartfield, M.D. As of last month, the front labels of packaged beverages now show the total number of calories in bottles and cans containing 20 ounces or less of a soda or other non-alcoholic beverage. According to Dr. Bartfield, sugary beverages loaded with calories “can be quite a significant contribution to weight gain,” and the hope is that the labeling initiative will have a big educational impact on the public. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey reported in 2004 that the average American consumes 22.5 teaspoons of added sugar daily –  half from regular soda and fruit drinks.
"Americans Are "Sickeningly Sweet" ", News release, Loyola University Health System , March 17, 2011, © Loyola University Health System
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Spain Launches Collaborative Effort To Create Healthier Diets For Elderly Population

March 15, 2011: 07:47 PM EST
As part of the SENIFOOD project funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, research organizations and companies are collaborating to develop nutritionally balanced diets and foods targeting a growing aging population. The plan is to create ingredients and diets that will help reduce the incidence of metabolic syndrome, a precursor to diabetes; improve bone, muscle, gastrointestinal, visual and cognitive health; and to reduce neurodegenerative disorders. The issue of elder health is a pressing one in Spain, where older people comprise 17 percent of the population. Involved in the collaboration are functional ingredients companies, food manufacturers, a manager of nursing homes, and 25 technological centers and universities.
"Spanish Consortium Develops Ingredients and Diets for an Elderly Population", Nutrition Horizon, March 15, 2011, © CNS Media BV
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PepsiCo Is Researching Ways To Convert Cellulose Fiber Waste To Packaging

March 14, 2011: 07:55 PM EST
PepsiCo Inc. Chief Scientific Officer Mehmood Khan told an audience at the recent Reuters Food and Agriculture Summit that the company hopes to find a way to economize by converting cellulose fiber from food production waste, including oat husks and orange peels, to packaging materials. The research effort is ongoing in the Frito-Lay snacks, Quaker oatmeal and Tropicana orange juice units, he said. Competitor Coca-Cola Co. is already using plant-derived materials to make plastic bottles. "If you could take cellulose today and convert that cellulose to packaging, think of the impact that you would have on the costs of other commodities," Khan said.
Martinne Geller, "PepsiCo looks to reuse plant waste", Reuters, March 14, 2011, © Thomson Reuters
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Gene For Seedlessness Could Lead To Seedless Varieties Of The Tasty Cherimoya Fruit

March 14, 2011: 12:00 AM EST
Plant scientists in the U.S. and Spain have discovered a gene that could lead to creation of  seedless varieties of the tasty cherimoya, also known as the custard apple, a South American fruit that has many large seeds. The advance could make the fruit as popular as bananas, the researchers suggest. Spanish researchers studying the seedless variety of sugar apple consulted with an American scientist studying a mutant variety of the plant Arabidopsis that does not make seeds or fruit. Working together they found that the same gene was responsible for uncoated ovules in both the Arabidopsis and sugar apple mutants. This gene for seedlessness could lead to development of seedless varieties of sugar apple, cherimoya and perhaps other fruits.
Jorge Lora, et al., "Seedless fruits and the disruption of a conserved genetic pathway in angiosperm ovule development", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, March 14, 2011, © National Academy of Sciences
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Researcher IGD Forecasts Solid Growth In Online Food And Grocery Shopping

March 11, 2011: 10:20 PM EST
U.K. food industry and grocery researcher IGD, in a report on the online channel, says that 27 percent of food and grocery manufacturers surveyed would consider building their own e-stores to engage directly with shoppers online. The value of online grocery shopping is likely to increase 100 percent by 2015, with sales reaching £9.9 billion. According to IGD, online sales are growing faster than any other sector in the grocery market: 21.4 percent in 2010. The online grocery market in 2010 accounted for 3.2 percent of total grocery spending in the U.K. and is projected to increase to 5.4 percent by 2015. About 43 percent of food manufacturers see online  revenues comprising as much as 10 percent of total revenue by 2015, about double the current performance.
"Online grocery sales to double by 2015", Press release, IGD, March 11, 2011, © IGD
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Kraft, HSN Partner To Cross-Promote Their Products

March 10, 2011: 08:15 AM EST
Interactive multichannel retailer HSN and Kraft Foods have partnered to cross-promote their products through a program of innovative content and commerce across multiple platforms. Consumers will be able to purchase HSN cooking products on Kraftfoods.com's recipe pages and find Kraft Foods products on HSN.com and other HSN distribution channels. According to the companies, the program is designed to offer consumers “compelling food ideas, quality cookware products and a richer experience in the kitchen.” The partnership will initially showcase the Kraft Foods portfolio by creating multiplatform marketing programs with HSN for Philadelphia Cooking Crème and  Maxwell House International coffee.
"HSN and Kraft Foods Form Strategic Alliance to Create Integrated Experience in the Kitchen", Press release, HSN, March 10, 2011, © HSN
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Walmart Adds New Multichannel Program: “Pick Up Today”

March 10, 2011: 12:41 AM EST
Walmart is expanding its U.S. multichannel programs platform by launching a national rollout of a service that enables customers to buy items online and receive free same-day pickup at local Walmart stores. Launching nationwide later in March, the “Pick Up Today” program will be available in nearly 3,600 Walmart stores across the U.S. by June. Up to 40,000 items will be included in the program, including products from the baby, toys, home décor, hardware, outdoor living, electronics, household appliances and video games categories. According to Walmart, items ordered online are ready for pickup in four hours. Walmart’s other multichannel programs include Site to Store, FedEx Site-to-Store and Walmart Mobile.
"Walmart Expands its Multichannel Offering with National Rollout of "Pick Up Today"", News release, Walmart, March 10, 2011, © Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
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Mambo Sprouts Expands Digital Coupon Marketing Program

March 8, 2011: 11:19 AM EST
Acting on the findings of a consumer survey, natural and organic product marketer Mambo Sprouts Marketing is launching new digital coupon initiatives. The survey found that more than half (56 percent) of natural and organic consumers plan to use more online printable coupons in 2011. With that finding in mind, the company is offering a five-times-a-year digital savings newsletter and direct links to health, natural and organic offers, including click-and-print coupons for natural and organic products. The company says future trends include fully customized promotions with 24/7 instant access, giving marketers more cost-effective targeting of audiences. Customers will print more than 1.5 million natural and organic coupons from the Mambo Sprouts Web site in 2011, the company says.
"Digital Coupon Newsletter Enhances Service, Reduces Waste", News release, Mambo Sprouts Marketing, March 08, 2011, © Mambo Sprouts Marketing
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Production-Line Imaging System For Bakeries Assures Perfect Sandwich Buns

March 8, 2011: 12:00 AM EST
Researchers at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) have developed a production-line imaging system for bakeries that assesses the quality of sandwich buns exiting the oven and automatically adjusts oven temperatures if buns are unacceptable. The researchers worked with Georgia baking company Flowers Foods and Baking Systems Technology to develop the prototype system, which is made of stainless steel, is dust and water resistant and mounts to conveyor belts as wide as 50 inches. The automated inspection-adjustment system would replace cumbersome manual procedures currently in place. The researchers say the system could be adapted to control the quality of other bakery products, such as biscuits, cookies, crackers, bread and pies.
"Imaging System Controls Baking Process on Production Line to Improve Sandwich Bun Quality", News release, Georgia Tech Research Institute, March 08, 2011, © GTRI
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Pine-Sol Brand Adds New Scents, New Flip-Top Cap

March 7, 2011: 03:01 AM EST
The Clorox Company’s Pine-Sol brand cleaner is adding two scents: Garden Fresh and Outdoor Fresh. The brand has also improved the traditional scents Lavender Clean and Lemon Fresh, and introduced an easy-pour flip-top cap for its all-purpose dilutable cleaner and disinfectant bottles, including 28-, 48- and 60-ounce sizes. According to the company, the new cap delivers a more controlled pour and prevents lost and misplaced caps while cleaning. Pine-Sol can be used on hard, non-porous surfaces including floors, sinks, counters, stoves, bathtubs, shower stalls, tiles, toilets and more.
"Pine-Sol Introduces Garden FreshTM and Outdoor Fresh Scents", News release, Pine-Sol, March 07, 2011, © The CLorox Company
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University College Cork's Online Calculator Predicts Food Allergies In Children

March 3, 2011: 07:05 AM EST
Researchers at the University College Cork, Ireland (UCC) have developed an online calculator that can in seconds predict with 96 percent precision whether a child has any of the three main food allergies: dairy, peanuts and eggs. The mathematical model is based on algorithms specific to the allergen, and the combination of known and suspected predictors delivers better prediction accuracy than the 61-81% typical in current methods. The Cork-Southampton calculator could be marketed this year and help reduce the cost of food-allergy testing.
"Predicting food allergies", University of Cork, March 03, 2011, © University of Cork
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Fluoride Delivered By Oral Care Products Offers Insufficient Cavity Protection

March 3, 2011: 04:24 AM EST
Oral care products like mouthwash and toothpaste don’t deliver enough fluoride to prevent cavities, according to German research that used X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy to measure fluoride coverage on tooth enamel. In fact, the protective fluoride shield provided by oral care products is sometimes only six nanometers thick – 100 times thinner than scientists thought. A layer of fluoride that thin does not effectively fight oral disease, the researchers said. Future research will focus on how thick the optimum fluoride layer should be to protect against tooth decay.
Simon Pitman, "Study questions effectiveness of fluoride in some oral care products", Cosmetics Design, March 03, 2011, © Decision News Media SAS
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General Mills Connects With New Ideas Via Innovation Portal

March 2, 2011: 09:26 AM EST
The General Mills Worldwide Innovation Network (G-WIN) portal has encouraged more than 1,000 inventors globally to register in the year since it was launched. The online open innovation platform enables General Mills to connect with potential business partners. Registered visitors can submit proposals for innovations to address the company’s technology challenges. It has so far received over 500 innovation proposals for review by General Mills product developers.  Some 40 products incorporate innovations received through G-WIN. The framework is the result of a two-year collaboration by General Mills, Procter & Gamble, the US Air Force Research Laboratory, and software developer inno360.
General Mills, "General Mills connects with more than 1,000 innovators", General Mills press release, March 02, 2011, © General Mills Inc.
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Oregon State University Releases Two New Potato Varieties

March 2, 2011: 06:47 AM EST
Oregon State University has released two new potato varieties — red fingerling AmaRosa and the light-brown Sage Russet. AmaRosa retains its color even when baked, fried, or microwaved, is antioxidant-rich, resists both scab and tuber late blight, and is expected to be popular with the specialty market. Sage Russet's flat, long shape makes it ideal for fries, hash browns, and chips. Oregon accounts for almost 25 percent of all exports of French fries from the United States. The AmaRosa breeding process started in 2000; the Sage Russet was started with a cross in 1996.
Press Release, Oregon State University, "Something for everyone in two new OSU potato varieties", Oregon State University, March 02, 2011, © Oregon State University
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TCI Gums Unveils Organic Stabilizers For Yogurt Products

March 1, 2011: 09:37 AM EST
Food industry texture and stabilization specialist TIC Gums has developed a couple of ingredients that it says make yogurt smooth and stable while meeting USDA organic certification guidelines. YG Cup Set is a 100 percent organic stabilizer made from an extract of red seaweed and designed for cup set organic yogurt products, while YG Vat Set is a specialized blend of certified organic ingredients designed for stirred yogurts. TIC Gums also provides organic agar, the latest addition to its line of certified organic gums.
"Building a Better Organic Yogurt", News release, TIC Gums, March 01, 2011, © TIC Gums
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CPG Manufacturers Try Out Quick Response Codes Mobile Web Marketing

March 1, 2011: 12:33 AM EST
Consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies, such as Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble, are implementing pilot promotions using Quick Response (QR) codes, a smartphone-based mobile Internet marketing platform. QR codes, which are usually placed on packaging and in-store displays and can be scanned with a smartphone camera, connect to mobile Web sites containing product data, price information, discount coupons, and related videos. Industry observers forecast wider acceptance of QR codes technology among CPG companies, driven by consumer smartphone ownership forecast by Nielsen to rise from 28 percent in fall 2010 to over 50 percent by end of 2011. Early adoptions of QR code technology include Durex's campaign for its condoms, Kellogg's Special K brand campaign, and Orville Redenbacher's Gourmet Popping Corn.
Dan Alaimo, "CPGs Prep for Growth of QR Code Promotions", CPG Matters, March 01, 2011, © CPG Matters
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Kraft's High-Tech Kiosk Helps Consumers With Their Grocery Shopping

February 28, 2011: 10:17 AM EST
Kraft Foods' Meal Planning Solution on-site retail kiosk helps consumers with their grocery shopping and sells Kraft products at the same time. Powered by Intel processors and designed for in-store operations, the automated shopping guide scans shopping lists and captures data stored on mobile phones via Kraft's iFood assistant mobile application. Kraft's machine also scans consumer's faces with a camera, and creates their basic profiles using video analytics technology. 
E.J. Schultz , "Kraft Meal-Planning System Tailors Recipes, Grocery Lists to Shoppers", Advertising Age Digital, February 28, 2011, © Crain Communications
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Exotic Superfruits Are Making Their Way Into Health Foods

February 26, 2011: 07:41 PM EST
Food and beverage ingredients experts see a bright future for three exotic botanicals that offer an array of potential health benefits. The purple berry maqui, found in Patagonia, is rich in antioxidants – more than four times the amount in blueberries – and is already being used in superfruit juice blends because of its creamy taste and hints of dried fruit flavor. The green, velvety fruit of the baobab tree has six times the antioxidants of blueberries, more calcium than dairy products and six times the potassium of bananas. The red berry camu camu, harvested from a bush that grows along the Amazon River, has 60 times the vitamin C of an orange and is packed with antioxidants, phytochemicals, polyphenols and amino acids.
Vicky Uhland, "3 exotic ingredients emerging in the grocery aisle", Natural Foods Merchandiser, February 26, 2011, © Penton Media Inc
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Transition To Natural Food Colorants Is Plagued By Problems

February 25, 2011: 08:14 PM EST
Food and beverage manufacturers are beginning the transition from synthetic to natural dyes, but the switch is complicated and costly, and the results are not altogether esthetically pleasing, experts say. The impetus for major changes comes from Europe, where the European Commission responded to concerns over the safety of synthetic food colorants by imposing new requirements, including warning labels on packages, that have pushed food manufacturers to reformulate their products. The movement has spread to the U.S. Products from companies like Frito-Lay and Pepperidge Farm now contain no artificial ingredients, including synthetic dyes. But besides cost and complexity, reformulation with natural dyes has another downside: in some cases the quality of the product, color-wise, just isn’t the same.
Lisa Marshall, "Natural color market seeing green as demand grows", New Hope 360, February 25, 2011, © New Hope 360
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Organic Trade Show Spotlights New Flavors And Exotic Ingredients

February 24, 2011: 10:55 AM EST
A wide array of food products on display at the recent Biofach World Organic trade Fair in Germany were notable for their great flavor rather than innovation. From yogurts to spice mixes, manufacturers exhibited food products enhanced with “outstanding taste” and “new flavors,” according to NewHope 360 blogger Nancy Coulter-Parker. Examples of this trend include Stevia organic yogurt with “orange sallow thorn and passion fruit banana” flavors; sparkling water flavors like pear rose and cassis, elderberry, and ginger orange; and a spice mixture – Grandma’s Flash – for muffins. But new ingredients were also evident in organic personal care products. Aronia Original Naturprodukte, for xample, exhibited a line of facial lotions and products containing aronia berries, also known as “chokeberries.”
Nancy Coulter-Parker, "Biofach's new natural and organic products and flavors", NewHope360 Blog, February 24, 2011, © Penton Media, Inc.
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Heinz Adopts Coca-Cola's PlantBottle Sustainable Packaging

February 23, 2011: 09:30 AM EST
Coca-Cola and H.J. Heinz Company entered into a partnership that allows Heinz to use Coca-Cola's PlantBottle environment-friendly packaging. Materials from plants account for up to 30 percent of material used to make PlantBottle polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles. Heinz plans to launch its PlantBottle ketchup bottles in June with a marketing campaign featuring "talking labels" and on-packaging messages. A life-cycle analysis by Imperial College London revealed that the packaging technology can reduce carbon impact by 12-19 percent. Heinz says that adopting PlantBottle is part of its global sustainability commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, solid waste, water consumption and energy usage at least 20 percent by 2015.
Heinz Co., "Coca-Cola and Heinz Announce Landmark Partnership to Expand Use of Innovative PlantBottle™ Packaging ", H.J. Heinz press release, February 23, 2011, © H. J. Heinz Company
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MiGenetics Produces New Line Of Ethnically-Inspired Nutritional Supplements

February 17, 2011: 10:40 AM EST
MiGenetics has developed a new line of dietary supplements specifically tailored to the genetic differences among ethnic populations that influence health conditions, including diseases to which they are predisposed. The product comes in four formulations - for people of African, Asian, European, and Hispanic descent - and is the first of its kind to recognize ethnic difference as a factor in health conditions and the absorption of nutrients, according to Dr. Roger Roff, CEO of the Washington, D. C.-based VibraGene, maker of MiGenetics. The supplements, which are available for purchase online or through physicians, are described as aiding the digestive and immune systems and helping to slow the aging process. MiGenetics also claims they contain enzymes that reduce the toxicity of processed foods.
Joanna Cosgrove, "One Size (Doesn’t) Fit All", Nutraceutical World, February 17, 2011, © Rodman Publishing
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Ethnic Foods Post Strong Growth In The U.S. Market

February 16, 2011: 11:23 AM EST
Ethnic food products have seen strong growth in the United States in recent years, according to Mintel's Global New Products Database, but consumers and manufacturers are looking beyond the traditionally popular Italian, Mexican and Asian cuisines. The GNPD shows a 150 percent growth in new products described as Caribbean in 2010, and 230 percent growth in launches of Japanese products. New products launches of products with Thai flavors grew 68%. Various factors are driving the trends, such as the variety of outlets, media, overseas travels and neighborhood diversity.
Oxygen Report, Mintel, "Ethnic food-lovers developing a taste for exotic flavors", Mintel, February 16, 2011, © Mintel
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Cargill Introduces Fressure Fresh Ground Beef Patties

February 14, 2011: 09:47 AM EST
Cargill has introduced its Fressure brand of fresh ground beef patties, which have a shelf life that the company claims to be twice as long as those of conventional fresh burgers. Using a patent-pending pressure system technology to manufacture the beef patties, Cargill claims to have developed ground beef patties, which come with improved food safety, enhanced flavor, and consistently high quality, for the foodservice market. The company says its production process, which is all natural and does not use high temperatures, chemicals, or irradiation, retains the nutrients and freshness of the ground beef.
Press Release Cargill, "Cargill introduces Fressure™ ground beef patties using a patent-pending process to double shelf life, enhance food safety, preserve flavor", Cargill, February 14, 2011, © Cargill Inc.
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Japan Drops To No. 3 World Economy, Thanks To Dismal 4th Quarter Performance

February 14, 2011: 03:09 AM EST

China is now the world’s second biggest economy after the U.S., as fourth-quarter economic and political problems took their toll on former No. 2 Japan's year-long performance: a strong yen dampened exports; real gross domestic product slid by 1.1 percent; car purchases dropped with the end of government subsidies; and cigarette sales were bashed by a new tax on tobacco. Adding to the pressure on the Japanese government were a huge public debt, protracted deflation and low approval ratings. China’s economy has overtaken Japan’s several times during individual quarters, but this is the first time it has jumped ahead based on full-year performance. Despite the poor showing in the fourth quarter, Japan’s real GDP actually expanded by 3.9 percent for the year.

Andrew Monahan, "China Overtakes Japan as World's No. 2 Economy", Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2011, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc
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Easy-To-Use Technology Uses Ultrasound, Organic Acids To Sanitize Organic Produce

February 14, 2011: 10:53 AM EST
U.S. researchers have developed a technology using ultrasound and organic acids to reduce E. coli and two other strains of foodborne bacteria (Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes) on organic fresh lettuce. The treatment involves submersion of the lettuce – and potentially other types of produce – in an ultrasound tank that contains small amounts of malic, lactic and citric acids. The researchers believe the easy-to-use technique could be adapted for use by food processors to sanitize most types of fresh produce. They hope to ramp up the technology for applicability on a larger scale for industrial organic food applications.
Chelsea Low, "WSU Researchers Find Better Way to Protect Organic Produce Consumers", News release, Washington State University, February 14, 2011, © Washington State University
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Review Says More Work Needed On Heat-Resistant Chocolate

February 11, 2011: 06:03 AM EST
A study that reviewed existing methods of producing heat-resistant chocolate revealed three main ways of increasing the melting temperature of chocolates: enhancing the microstructure of materials used, adding a polymer, or adding non-conventional ingredients including high melting fats and surfactants. Each has downsides, such as an increase in viscosity due to incorporation of water. Also, chocolate manufacturing standards limit the ability of manufacturers to add ingredients. The reviewers said more work is needed to find a way to produce, simply and cheaply, chocolate that is more resistant to melting.  
T.A. Stortz, A.G. Marangoni , "Heat Resistant Chocolate", Trends in Food Science & Technology, February 11, 2011, © Elsevier Ltd.
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Chocolate Makers Battle Cocoa Price Inflation With, Well, Product Inflation

February 11, 2011: 01:45 AM EST
With cocoa prices up 18 percent since November 2010 – thanks to political unrest in top producer Ivory Coast – chocolate makers Nestlé SA and Barry Callebaut AG have begun to inflate their chocolate products with air to save money. Besides reducing production costs, air bubbles make chocolate confections creamier, more “textured” and lower in calories, according to chocolatiers. In the past, refined sugar was added to products to offset higher cocoa prices but sugar, too, is now more expensive. Nestlé will spend about $24 million in 2011 to market its air bubble-filled Aero chocolate in the U.K. and Ireland. Barry Callebaut is debuting airy “textured” fillings such as Tintoretto, with dark cocoa and caramel flavors. The company also hopes to use less cocoa in processing by creating more intensely flavored chocolate.
Tom Mulier , "Chocolate Makers Find Recipe for Profits by Adding Air to Bars", Bloomberg, February 11, 2011, © Bloomberg L.P.
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U.S. Introduction Of Japanese Blended Tea Surpasses Coca-Cola’s Expectations

February 10, 2011: 10:32 AM EST
Coca-Cola Co. has introduced in the U.S. a modified version of an unsweetened Japanese blended tea originally targeted at the women’s health-and-beauty market in Japan. Sokenbicha is being tested without fanfare at Whole Foods Market – where a 15.2 oz. bottle sells for $1.99 – as a no-calorie alternative to plain water. Coca-Cola reformulated the original 15-ingredient Japanese version of the drink to eliminate some exotic components – like the herb lizard’s tail – that bothered U.S. regulators. The 17-year-old Sokenbicha is the blended-tea market leader in Japan, where the category represents four percent of the non-alcoholic beverage market. Coke said Sokenbicha sales through Whole Foods have exceeded expectations, but has not revealed whether it plans to expand distribution.
Chester Dawson and Valerie Bauerlein, "Coke Tests Health-Tea Waters", wsj Online, February 10, 2011, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Chewing Gum Brands Now Offer More Than Fresh Breath And Fewer Cavities

February 9, 2011: 08:46 AM EST

Taking a leaf from the marketing book of energy drinks and breakfast cereals, some chewing gum makers have begun adding healthy-sounding ingredients like vitamin C and ginseng to their products. Stride and Trident from Cadbury promise greater alertness or wellness. Stride Spark, for example, says it provides 25 percent of the RDA of vitamins B-6 and B-12, while creating a tingling sensation in the mouth. Vitality, a sub-brand of gum market-leading Trident, offers flavors that contain vitamin C, ginseng and mint and white tea but, except for the vitamin C, does not claim to provide health benefits. A blogger who reviews chewing gum said the Vitality Awaken brand was “easy on the taste buds,” but the ginseng ingredient is a “gum gimmick, pure and simple.”

Andrew Adam Newman, "New Gums With Vitamins, Herbs and Varied Claims", NY Times, February 09, 2011, © The New York Times Company
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“Human Social Network” Still Most Important When Shoppers Consider New Products

February 9, 2011: 02:34 AM EST

A nationwide survey of 60,000 consumers conducted by market research firm TNS has found that four out of every five shoppers are open to trying new products, while 68 percent said a consumer-voted award was a better recommendation for a new product than the opinion of an expert. The insights from the survey were presented at the 2011 Product of the Year USA awards, where innovation across 22 product categories was recognized by the surveyed shoppers. Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert noted that consumers are smarter and spend more intelligently than ever before and, despite the growth of product reviews shared on mobile devices and social networks, “it is still the ‘human’ social network that is the most powerful.”

"The Most Innovative Consumer Packaged Goods of 2011 Revealed at Last Night’s Product of the Year USA Awards Ceremony", News release, Product of the Year USA, February 09, 2011, © Product of the Year USA
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French Connection And Dove Set Up Facebook Stores in UK

February 9, 2011: 01:27 AM EST
French Connection and Dove have set up Facebook stores in the UK through which users of the social network can buy their products. French Connection’s Facebook store, to be launched by end of February, will allow users who follow its Facebook page to buy items directly from its news feed. On the other hand, Dove’s Facebook store, to be rolled out globally later this year, has enabled Amazon-powered ecommerce on its Facebook page. French Connection said it will feature its most popular selections and proactively sell its brand to users without spamming them. Dove will let users search and add products to a shopping basket in Facebook and complete the purchase in Amazon.  UK research suggests a small percentage of brands and retailers experimenting with social commerce. A survey by One Iota of brands in the IMRG/Hitwise Top 100 found that while 65% have a fan page, just 4% had integrated shopping functionality. 
Charlotte McEleny , "French Connection and Dove start selling on Facebook", new media age, February 09, 2011, © new media age
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Consumer Interest In Digital Coupons Continues Strong Growth

February 8, 2011: 02:27 AM EST

A trend report issued by the Coupons.com network says that “issued” digital coupon savings grew by 41 percent in 2010 to more than $1.2 billion. By contrast,coupons distributed in newspapers grew only seven percent. “Online savings as an industry is growing at a frenzied pace, and the digital coupons space is no exception,” said CEO Steven Boal, who noted that digital coupons are accessed via the Internet, social media, consumer electronics, mobile phones, etc. Other findings: digital coupon users are more affluent and better educated than users of newspaper coupons; and cereal was the most popular category, followed by yogurt, refrigerated dough, portable snacks and vegetables. “Consumer interest in savings is expected to remain steadfast,” the report notes, even as the economy improves.

"Digital Coupons Represent Fastest Growing Coupon Segment in 2010", News release, Coupons.com, February 08, 2011, © Coupons.com
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Lallemand Offers Yeast-Derived Antioxidant Ingredients For Nutricosmetics

February 3, 2011: 11:30 AM EST

Canada’s Lallemand Health Ingredients, a maker of various forms of yeast for dietary supplements and other applications, is taking full advantage of the growth in nutricosmetics in Western Europe by providing an array of  premium yeast-based minerals and vitamins for “beauty-from-within” products. The attractiveness of yeast-derived antioxidants was given a push when the health and beauty claims for selenium, zinc and B vitamins were recognized by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Lallemand’s Lalmin range of ingredients are suitable for food supplements promoting healthy skin, nails and hair, according to the company. The product LalminSe is based on inactivated whole cells of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast containing high levels of organically-bound selenium.

"Lallemand Health Ingredients to Address Nutricosmetics with Premium Yeast", Nutrition Horizon, February 03, 2011, © CNS Media BV
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The Cupcake Vogue Finds Fresh Life With A Los Angeles Caterer

February 3, 2011: 12:34 PM EST

Cupcakes have achieved renewed popularity in Los Angeles through the inspiration of Heirloom-LA, a caterer enjoying prosperity with its highly popular line of lasagna cupcakes. The success of the lasagna cupcakes keeps fifteen cooks busy in the Heirloom kitchens, according to co-owner and chef Matthew Poley, and has created a demand for new flavors of the party treats, which now come in twelve varieties, including macaroni and cheese, bologna, and short ribs. Poley said Heirloom sold 10,000 of the cupcakes in December and plans to expand its menu further as different ingredients become available with the changes in the seasons. The lasagna cupcakes can also be purchased frozen in a selection of Los Angeles stores and are available by mail order for New Yorkers through the company's website.

MARSHALL HEYMAN, "Next Up: Lasagna Cupcakes", wsj Online , February 03, 2011, © The Dow Jones Co
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Nestlé Targets Nutritional Needs Of Obese ICU Patients With Tube-Feeding Formula

February 3, 2011: 12:39 PM EST

Noting that the consensus of nutrition experts is that the unique nutritional needs of critically-ill obese people remain unmet, Nestlé HealthCare Nutrition has introduced a tube feeding formula designed specifically for that patient population. Tube feeding formulas often do not contain enough protein or micronutrients recommended for obese patients in intensive care units (ICUs). According to Nestlé, the result is that some patients are overfed, others are underfed and become malnourished, and others don’t have their nutritional needs assessed at all. Peptamen Bariatric tube feeding formula includes 37 percent of calories from 100 percent whey protein, enzymatically hydrolyzed to produce peptides. The lipid blend contains 50 percent medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) to improve formula tolerance.

"Nestlé introduces Peptamen Bariatric Formula for the critically-ill obese patient", News release, Nestlé, February 03, 2011, © Nestle
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