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Atrium Innovations Buys Dietary Supplement Maker Seroyal International

January 4, 2011: 04:19 AM EST

Canadian nutrition supplement maker Atrium Innovations Inc. has acquired Ontario-based Seroyal International, a provider of premium dietary supplement brands targeting healthcare practitioners channels in Canada and in the U.S. Seroyal’s annual revenues are about US$40 million. Ninety percent of Seroyal’s sales come from three main products: Genestra, Unda and Pharmax. Another brand, the joint venture-owned CoreLab, is a health food store brand sold in the U.S. Atrium acquired Seroyal for a total cash consideration of US$110 million plus future earn-out payments. Atrium markets a portfolio of dietary supplements for the health and nutrition industry in more than 35 countries, primarily in North America and Europe. According to Atrium CEO, the acquisition ”adds premium, high margin and complementary brands” to Atrium’s product line.

Amélie Germain, "Atrium Innovations acquired Seroyal – a North American leader in providing well recognized and high quality brands to healthcare practitioners", News release, Atrium Innovations, January 04, 2011, © Atrium Innovations
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Tcho Chocolate Seeks To Spread Its Brand Of Chocolates In U.S. Market, Grab Overseas Targets

January 4, 2011: 10:58 AM EST

Chocolate startup Tcho Chocolate is entering the lucrative U.S. chocolate industry, worth some $16.9 million in 2009, as well as the global market. Tcho is a premium brand and the company is focusing on flavor and the taste experience. The company started selling chocolate in the U.S. only in 2009, but has already begun expanding international operations: consumers in the U.K., Ireland, and Japan can now buy Tcho Chocolate products from select stores, and emerging markets are targets too. The company uses the top quality beans from Ecuador, Madagascar, Ghana, and Peru. The San Francisco factory is both traditional and state-of-the-art. The top executives include the founders of Wired, the technology magazine, and workers can monitor operations using an i-Phone application. US distribution is currently focused on the West Coast, but distribution to other major cities should follow. 

Monaliza Noormohammadi , "New US Chocolate Maker Trying to Break Into World Market", Voice of America News, January 04, 2011, © The Associated Press
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L’Oreal And Clarins Explain Their Commitment And Approach To Sustainable Development

January 4, 2011: 12:21 AM EST

Representatives of L’Oreal and Clarins talked about their commitment to sustainable development practices, such as more organic ingredients use, product safety, and greener packaging. L’Oreal taps into renewable energy sources, such as biomethane, solar, biofuel, geothermal, and other local solutions and aims to cut GHG emissions and generated waste and water consumption per finished product to 50% by 2015. Clarins targets a 20% GHG reduction by 2011 and eschews the practice of carbon offset. It aims to promote fair trade and also plans to use more organic ingredients, but criticizes the number of different organic certifications worldwide. 

"A lighter footprint", The Star, January 04, 2011, © Star Publications (M) Bhd
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Flavor Company Lists Ten Unusual Flavors Offer Opportunities For Food And Beverage Makers

January 4, 2011: 09:34 AM EST

U.S. flavor company Sensient Flavors has developed a list of ten exotic flavors that present “opportunities for innovation” to food and beverage manufacturers in 2011, including aquaje, a sweet tasting Peruvian fruit whose flavor has been compared to that of the carrot, and berbere, an Ethiopian blend of cayenne pepper, allspice, cardamom, cloves, fenugreek, ginger, black pepper, and salt. Sensient’s list was developed using its trend framework that “filters trends from the broad, macro level down to the flavors themselves,” according to the company. Other innovative flavors listed by Sensient include sweet-and-sour energy-boosting borojo from Columbia and Ecuador; Ceylon cinnamon, a complex flavor with hints of citrus that is already used in the U.K. and Mexico; and tart, tangy hibiscus from South America and the Caribbean.

"Sensient Flavors Announces 2011 Flavor Trend Predictions", News release, Sensient, January 04, 2011, © Sensient Technologies Corporation
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Plant-Based Ingredients Could Relieve Stress On Resources Caused By Meat Production

January 3, 2011: 02:20 PM EST

Meat consumption in developing nations is on the rise, but scientists worry that the increasing demand for meat will put a heavy strain on natural resources, especially available farmland. The problem is that meat production requires a lot of land: 40 square meters to produce a kilogram of meat. That same amount of land, however, will produce 120 kilograms of carrots and 80 kilograms of apples. According to Dr.-Ing. Peter Eisner of Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute, plant-based food ingredients could play an important role as protein and fat substitutes in the years to come. Eisner, for example, has developed a "milk substitute" from lupin proteins that works well in foods such as ice cream and cheese, but contains no lactose or cholesterol and is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Peter Eisner, "Eating low-fat thanks to lupin proteins", News release, Fraunhofer Institute, January 03, 2011, © Fraunhofer Institute
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Evian Kicks Off Popular "Live Young" Campaign for 2011

January 3, 2011: 09:28 AM EST

Evian's 2011 "Live Young" campaign will build on the 2009 campaign based around videos of rapping babies on roller skates that have attracted millions of views in the US and internationally since their launch. This year, Evian will use music videos as well as urban events, and has enlisted the video specialists from Eclectic Method and other musicians to create footage of the culture and sights from Los Angles and Miami. The videos, which will appear on Evian's Facebook page, should encourage fans to "make the most of every moment" and will feature homegrown talent in promotional spots during the months of January and February.

Karlene Lukovitz, "Evian's 'Live Young' Takes Urban Turn For 2011", MediaPost, January 03, 2011, © MediaPost Communications.
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New Dining Trends Take Hold In “Meat-And-Potatoes” Iowa

January 2, 2011: 01:38 AM EST

Writers for the Des Moines Register newspaper who spoke with experts about trends in technology, health and dining found, for example, that Iowa’s chefs are catering more to the dietary requirements of vegans and vegetarians. Though “still a meat-and-potatoes kind of place,” they wrote, Iowans can find restaurants that serve tasty vegetarian meals. Other Iowa trends uncovered: gourmet pizza shops offering smaller pizzas and one slice servings; epicurean meals served in “one-night restaurants” at special events; increased use of non-traditional pork cuts, such as pork bellies and shanks; more menus featuring hand-crafted sausages and sausage dishes; greater use of unusual and exotic ingredients, such as smoked olive oil, hay, local Iowa honey and pimento cheese; and the re-emergence of pies, “both sweet and savory.”

Mike Kilen, Joe Lawler, Michael Morain And Tom Perry , "Trends for 2011: Changes ahead ", Des Moines Register , January 02, 2011, © The Des Moines Register
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Carb Loading With Omega 3 Chia Seeds Does Not Enhance Vigorous Athletic Performance

January 1, 2011: 08:54 PM EST

Scientists who tested two high-carbohydrate formulas found that a drink containing chia seeds and Gatorade had the benefit of using less sugar, but otherwise offered no performance advantage to highly-trained athletes undergoing rigorous exercise. The study compared a traditional carb-loading formula – 100 percent Gatorade – against a formula consisting of half Greens Plus Omega 3 Chia seeds and half Gatorade. Six highly-trained males did a one-hour run on a treadmill followed by a 10 k time trial run on a track. The researchers concluded that the Omega 3 Chia formula was a “viable option” for lower-sugar carb loading prior to vigorous exercise of more than 90 minutes, but offered no measurable performance advantage over plain Gatorade.

Illian, Travis G, et al., "Omega 3 Chia Seed Loading as a Means of Carbohydrate Loading", Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, January 01, 2011, © National Strength and Conditioning Association
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WOW Emulsion Technology Offers Some Intriguing Opportunities For Foods, Beverages

January 1, 2011: 06:30 AM EST

Oil-in-water emulsions (e.g., mayonnaise) and water-in-oil emulsions (e.g., margarine) have been around a long time. But a more recent type of emulsion, a double phase or multiple emulsion  known as water-in-oil-in-water (WOW), is gaining favor in the food and beverage industries because of its potential in fat reduction and other applications. WOW emulsions are difficult to make, requiring processing through a high-pressure homogenizer to create stability. But the possible benefits make the complex process worth undergoing. WOW emulsions are expected to be used as delivery vehicles for flavors and active ingredients, including health-promoting ingredients – water-soluble vitamins, botanicals, polyunsaturated fatty acids and others – in functional foods. Other possible applications include fruit pigment protection and salt reduction. Using WOW technology, for example, a food product could taste saltier to a consumer, but actually contain less salt.

Charlotte Dieroff, "Fat and Oil Functionality: A Little WOW Goes a Long Way", Prepared Foods Network, January 01, 2011, © BNP Media
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Italy Acts To Protect Environment By Banning Plastic Shopping Bags

December 31, 2010: 10:04 PM EST

Italy has joined a growing list of countries that have banned or imposed surcharges on plastic shopping bags by retail shops for environmental reasons. Violation of Italy’s new law carries penalties, but shopkeepers in the country claim they have received no official notices or explanations except through the media. According to an environmental group, each Italian on average uses about 300 plastic bags annually. If each consumer used only ten biodegradable bags a year, 180,000 tons of gasoline would be saved, Legambiente said. Other governments that have imposed bans or surcharges on plastic bags include Mexico, China, Tanzania, India, Ireland, and cities in Australia, South Africa and Taiwan.

Hada Messia, "Italy to ban plastic bags in New Year", CNN, December 31, 2010, © Cable News Network
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Central And South America First To Enjoy New Freeze Dried Cheese Cultures

December 30, 2010: 11:46 AM EST

Chr. Hansen has developed new freeze-dried RSF cultures for the cheese industry using Direct Vat Set® technology. The new cultures, to be introduced first in Brazil before being rolled out to other markets in South and Central America, will provide consumers with the sweet and nutty flavour, favored particularly in the Brazilian market, and help simplify logistics of producers through easier handling and storage. Made from a strain of Lactobacillus helveticus, Chr. Hansen says utilizing the technology with the FD-RSF cultures provides producers with better performance, taste, product safety, and quality. Mainly considered for Continental cheeses, Prato in particular, the company says applying the cultures to other cheeses is also an option. Brazil currently produces 43% of the 313,000 tons of Continental cheese produced annually in the region.

Chr. Hansen , "New culture concept for Continental cheese types in South America", Chr. Hansen press release, December 30, 2010, © Chr. Hansen A/S
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CEO Of Company In California Aims To Give Tofu A New Image

December 29, 2010: 10:17 PM EST

Known for his work reinvigorating American wines and gourmet chocolate, John Scharffenberger is working on adding tofu to his list of accomplishments. Scharffenberger is presently the CEO of Hodo Soy Beanery, founded by Minh Tsai with help from his family. Tofu produced by Hodo is gaining recognition among chefs and consumers for the flavor and the fact that the company uses preservative free organic soybeans. It’s very different from the bland blocks many Americans think of when picturing tofu. Currently limited by the life span of the product, the company plans to expand into Portland, Seattle, Vancouver and Los Angeles by spring. Scharffenberger says his goal is not to replace hamburgers but to market the tofu as a healthy, tasty, and easy addition to items such as salads.

Elizabeth Weise, "Maker of artisanal tofu aims to bring sexy to soybean curd", USA TODAY, December 29, 2010, © USA Today, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.
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Frito-Lay Will Make 50 Percent Of Its Snacks From Natural Ingredients In 2011

December 28, 2010: 08:53 PM EST

Frito-Lay will make 50% of its snack products in 2011 from natural ingredients, although probably not in its Cheetos and Doritos lines, in a bid to overhaul its reputation and product line. Also, the snack manufacturer will remove artificial ingredients, such as monosodium glutamate, sodium diacetate, and artificial colors, from some of its main products. Frito-Lay’s move reflects growing consumer interest in natural foods and the rapid expansion of the healthful foods market. Nutritionist Kelly Brownell, director of Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, however, alleges that a need to enhance its public image is driving Frito-Lay’s “natural foods” move, and that the company’s New Year advertising campaign might mislead consumers into eating more chips and other snacks. She adds that the real issue is high fat and sodium content. Frito-Lay’s chief marketing officer Ann Mukherjee disagrees with Brownel, saying consumers want more and better choices in snacks. 

Bruce Horovitz, " Frito-Lay to make snacks from natural ingredients", USA TODAY, December 28, 2010, © USA TODAY
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Weight-Loss Center Giants Ring In The New Year With Revamped Ads, Diet Programs

December 28, 2010: 09:57 AM EST

Commercial weight-loss companies are ramping up their advertising campaigns to promote new dieting programs to recapture former clients and win over new ones. Weight Watchers ($1.4 billion in sales in 2010), Nutrisystem ($527 million) and Jenny Craig ($480 million) rule the $3.2 billion commercial weight-loss center category but are not resting on their laurels. All three are rolling out innovations designed to entice dieters who switched to less expensive do-it-yourself dieting schemes during the recession. Nutrisystem’s new ad agency developed a campaign emphasizing real people rather than celebrities. Weight Watchers is pushing its refurbished calorie-counting system (PointsPlus), while Jenny Craig is touting its new Metabolic Max Program that customizes weight-loss programs to clients' "unique metabolism.”

E.J. Schultz, "New Year Brings New Diet-Company Ads, Programs", AdAge.com, December 28, 2010, © Crain Communications
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Chinese Joint Venture Begins Production Of Beverages Sweetened With GLG’s Stevia Extract

December 28, 2010: 08:42 PM EST

Canadian stevia extract producer GLG Life Tech Corporation says that its joint venture partner China and Healthy Foods Company Limited (CAHFC) has begun production of four all natural stevia-sweetened beverages under the ANOC brand name in China. The production line is capable of producing 108 million 500 ml servings a year, and is starting with green tea, black tea, peach juice and orange juice products. Key Chinese government objectives in participating in the joint venture are to show that a rural farming region such as Xioagang can support a strong farming economy and that industrial development will increase economic prosperity in a rural region. According to GLG, China’s food and beverage industry has grown 20 percent a year from 2002 to 2009, when it was valued at $693 billion.

"GLG Announces Commencement of ANOC Beverage Production Line in China", News release, GLG Life Tech, December 28, 2010, © GLG Life Tech Corp
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PepsiCo Opens Nutrition Research Laboratory, Aims For Healthy Foods Market

December 28, 2010: 10:24 AM EST

PepsiCo has opened a nutrition research laboratory at the Science Park in New Haven, aiming to find ways to make its snack products healthier. The laboratory is manned by eight full-time scientists and includes up to date equipment, such as spectrometers and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) machines. Although some people distrust PepsiCo’s healthy-foods credentials, the company claims it is part of its efforts to develop and market healthful products. The company’s chief scientific officer, Mehmood Khan, was hired in 2007 and aims to reduce sodium and added sugar by 25% and saturated fat by 15% from PepsiCo’s leading products. Also, the company has awarded the Yale Medical School’s graduate and post-graduate studies department a $250,000 fellowship for students working on topics about nutrition and obesity-related diseases, the acceptance of which has attracted criticism from inside the university.

WILLIAM WEIR, "Pepsi Ventures Into Science Of Nutrition", The Hartford Courant, December 28, 2010, © The Hartford Courant
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Big Food Firms Are Keeping Their Pledges To Advertise Healthier Foods To Kids - Report

December 27, 2010: 10:34 AM EST

The U.S. Council of Better Business Bureaus has issued a progress report for 2009 on food and beverage marketing to children that says participating companies “continue to demonstrate excellent compliance” with voluntary pledges to advertise healthier foods to children. The report focuses on companies that have signed on to the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI). Healthier food goals are being achieved by 17 big food and beverage manufacturers through “reformulation and innovation,” according to the report. A review of TV ads directed at kids over 38 hours of children’s programming in 2010 found that more than 75 percent of the ads touted products providing at least 10 percent of the Daily Value of a “shortfall”  nutrient in kids’ diets or a half-serving of a recommended food group.

Council of Better Business Bureaus, "The Children’s Food & Beverage Advertising Initiative In Action", A Report On Compliance And Implementation During 2009, December 27, 2010, © CBBB
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Sequencing Of Cacao Genome Will Benefit Chocolate Makers And Cacao Farmers

December 26, 2010: 12:34 PM EST

A multinational team of scientists who recently completed the sequencing and assembly of the chocolate tree genome suggests that the primary benefit from the initiative will go to producers of high quality chocolate and the farmers who grow the beans. The researchers sequenced the DNA of the Criollo variety of Theobroma cacao, which produces the world's finest chocolate. Growers, however, usually cultivate hybrid cacao varieties whose fruit is more abundant and disease resistant, but lower in quality. The researchers believe that their work will ultimately lead to increased productivity of the better quality cacao and help to develop a sustainable cacao economy benefiting farmers. Hidden in the genome the researchers also found genes that code for the production of cocoa butter, a substance highly prized in chocolate making, confectionary, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.

Xavier Argout, et al., "The genome of Theobroma cacao", Nature Genetics, December 26, 2010, © Nature Publishing Group
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Kraft Launches Vitality, A Nutrient-Laden Gum In Three Flavors

December 26, 2010: 08:36 PM EST

Kraft is launching a new Trident chewing gum in the US, called Vitality, containing beneficial ingredients. There are three variants: "Vigorate", which the company claims provides 10 percent of an individual’s vitamin C recommended daily intake of vitamin C; "Rejuve", with mint and white tea; and "Awaken", with peppermint and ginseng. Although the new products are scheduled for launch in the US this January, with national rollout in February, a Trident spokeswoman said that there are as yet no plans for an international launch.

"New gum claims to contain dose of nutrients", The Independent, UK, December 26, 2010, © Independent.co.uk
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Sequencing Of Cacao Tree DNA May Lead To More Sustainable Chocolate Production

December 26, 2010: 06:14 PM EST

An international group of scientists has sequenced the DNA of the Criollo tree, a variety of Theobroma cacao used in producing some of the world’s best chocolate. In doing so, they identified genes coding for or leading to chocolate quality, production of flavonoids, potential pest and disease resistance, and production of cocoa butter—a substance valuable in both confections and cosmetics. Low productivity and vulnerability to disease currently limit high-quality cocoa production to less than five percent of worldwide production, though market interest in superior, environmentally-friendly chocolate continues to increase. The results of this work should allow scientists to develop disease-resistant trees that produce more, better, and healthier chocolate—ultimately leading to sustainable cocoa production that benefits both the land the trees are grown on and the farmers who grow them.

Vladimir Shulaev, Daniel J Sargent, Ross N Crowhurst, Todd C Mockler, Otto Folkerts, Arthur L Delcher, Pankaj Jaiswal, Keithanne Mockaitis et al, "The genome of Theobroma cacao", Nature Genetics, December 26, 2010, © Nature Publishing Group, Open Access
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New Leaf’s Xtreme Porridge Uses Urban Animated Characters To Appeal To Britain’s Youth

December 24, 2010: 09:51 PM EST

UK food company New Leaf is launching Xtreme Porridge, aimed at Britain’s 7-15 year olds. It’s a healthy breakfast option with four variants, marketed using “urban animated characters” in its packaging, supported by an online and mobile campaign, including social networking. Major UK retailers will roll-out Xtreme Porridge, in original, blueberry, apple, and raspberry flavors, this January. It contains only natural oats, fruit pieces and flavorings, according to New Leaf, which will also launch product extensions such as porridge bars in fruit flavors and “pots-to-go’ this summer. New Leaf hopes Xtreme Porridge will appeal to youths’ values and fashion sense, while addressing parents’ concern for health.

"Xtreme porridge - Why a hot new porridge for youngsters is xtremely cool", Grocery Trader, UK, December 24, 2010, © Grocery Trader
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“Food Safety Culture” Spreading In The U.S., Professor Says

December 23, 2010: 12:39 PM EST

Most of the cases of foodborne illnesses are not “acts of God” but are the result of lapses in human behavior, according to a Kansas State University professor. Douglas Powell says that the last 10 years in the U.S. have seen the gradual development of a “food safety culture,” thanks to several highly-publicized food contamination outbreaks. It is the spread of this culture among farms, processors, retailers, restaurants and consumers at home – rather than legislation, policy and training – that will reduce the number of Americans sickened by foodborne pathogens, Powell says. Other trends noted by Powell: increased public exposure to food safety information; realization that fresh produce, not just meat, is a source of food contamination; and increased use of DNA technology and tools to better understand foodborne illnesses.

Douglas Powell , "Professor Looks at Decades Top Food Safety Trends", News release, Kansas State University, December 23, 2010, via Newswise, © KSU
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Agropur Acquires Main Street Ingredients, Expands Food Ingredients Presence In United States

December 23, 2010: 07:45 PM EST

Quebec-based dairy cooperative Agropur has acquired La Crosse, Wisconsin-based Main Street Ingredients, a manufacturer of functional food ingredients including proteins and stabilizers. The value of the deal was not disclosed. Aside from manufacturing stabilizers, proteins and protein isolates, and dairy products, Main Street Ingredients also provides technical expertise, contract manufacturing services, and manufacturing of private-label products. Brands include Keystone, Capstone, Cornerstone, and Gemstone. Under the terms of the merger agreement, Main Street will continue operating under its own corporate name and the leadership of current president, Bill Schmitz.

"Agropur buys U.S. functional food ingredient maker", Country Guide/Grain News, December 23, 2010, © Farm Business Communications
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Unilever Should Be Better At Leveraging Technology, Says Chief Technology Officer

December 23, 2010: 02:27 AM EST

Unilever chief technology officer Neal Matheson said he believes that his company needs to leverage technologies that exist today, including those developed in other industries, to improve the quality of life of consumers. Having demonstrated that the usual approaches have failed to improve its innovation rate, Unilever aims to adopt a new ways of thinking and technologies that will make its products more effective. Aware that growth today is coming largely from emerging markets, Unilever intends to flip the typical innovation flow by innovating instead for emerging markets and then adapt those technologies for developed markets. 

"Emerging innovations: Neal Matheson, Unilever", BBC, December 23, 2010, © The BBC
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Company In France May Have Answer To Hard To Swallow Pills And Vitamins

December 23, 2010: 09:29 AM EST

Recently known for their research and development of breathable chocolate and coffee, Le Whif is now expanding into the vitamin sector. Based on research for aerosol sprays the products designed by Le Whif spray particles into the mouth that are small enough to breathe but heavy enough to fall on the tongue. Currently Le Whif offers Antioxidant Green Tea that supplies 100% of daily vitamin C & E and Age Smart Wine Tea that contains reseveratrol. Comparing traditional consumption of vitamins to the inhaler, Le Whif claims their products taste better and enter the bloodstream faster with more potency as it bypasses the digestive system and the effects of the liver. Le Whif sold 60,000 tubes of breathable chocolate in 9 months and plans to launch additional flavors.

Joanna Cosgrove, "Breathable Vitamins ", Nutraceuticals World, December 23, 2010, © Rodman Publishing
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Certain Probiotics Shown To Have A Significant Impact On Fat Composition

December 22, 2010: 10:46 AM EST

Scientists in Ireland have shown that ingesting live probiotics can have a major impact on metabolism in other parts of the body. For their study, the researchers developed a recombinant strain of the common intestinal bacterium Lactobacillus by inserting a gene from Propionibacterium acnes. The new strain (Lactobacillus paracasei) was then able to produce the fatty acid known as t10, c12 CLA, produced only by Propionibacterium. t10, c12 CLA is associated with decreased body fat in humans and can also inhibit colon cancer cell growth. When fed to mice, the CLA significantly changed the composition of the animals’ fat tissue. The researchers found that the level of t10, c12 CLA in the mice's fat tissue quadrupled when fed the recombinant probiotic Lactobacillus paracasei.

Eva Rosberg-Cody, et al. , "Recombinant lactobacilli expressing linoleic acid isomerase can modulate the fatty acid composition of host adipose tissue in mice", Microbiology, December 22, 2010, © Society for General Microbiology
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High Pressure Treatment Kills Dairy Mold Without Changing Quality Or Flavor

December 22, 2010: 01:03 PM EST

Spain’s AZTI-Tecnalia technological center has shown that treating dairy products using high pressure technology deactivates molds and yeasts while preserving flavor and other important characteristics. Scientists, who worked with Spanish dairy companies, say the high pressure technology provides an alternative to traditional heat-based treatments for decontamination of dairy foods. Similar results have also been found with ready-to-eat fruit products. According to the researchers, dairy food samples processed with high pressure not only conserved quality for up to three months, they also tasted better than the traditional (heat treated) samples. The scientific team subjected the food to high pressure – up to 6,000 bars – that resulted in the inactivation of most pathogenic microorganisms, without modifying food properties or characteristics. The team is also experimenting with combinations of high pressure and temperature.

Oihane Lakar, "Research shows positive results with high pressure technology for certain dairy products", News release, Elhuyar Fundazioa, December 22, 2010, via EurekAlert, © Elhuyar Fundazioa
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Calorie Control Council: Five Key Trends In Weight Loss And Obesity

December 22, 2010: 01:37 PM EST

Small lifestyle changes, along with the elimination of certain foods and beverages, can lead to a healthier, longer life, say health experts from the Calorie Control Council, which represents the low-calorie and reduced-fat food and beverage industry. Reducing portions, controlling calories, increasing physical activity and adding more “color” to the plate (i.e., fruits and vegetables) can all help people avoid unhealthy weight gain. The Council predicts five weight loss and obesity trends for 2011: preventing weight gain by, for example, cutting 100 calories or adding 2,000 steps of physical activity a day; applying updated U.S. dietary guidelines to shape healthier eating patterns; introduction of more “light” products that provide hunger satisfaction – one of the hottest trends in weight management; implementation of corporate wellness programs; and increased calorie consciousness at restaurants.

"Calorie Control Council Predicts Top 5 Dieting Trends in 2011", News release, Calorie Control Council, December 22, 2010, via Newswise, © Calorie Control Council
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ONE Bio Sees Strong Demand For Its Organic Food Products In Japan

December 20, 2010: 09:38 AM EST

U.S. herbal extract and health supplement maker ONE Bio, Corp. announced that its organic products division has expanded into Japan by taking on new distributors. The company, which is focused on the Asia Pacific region,  said retail food chain Kobe Bussan Supermarkets has added more of ONE’s organic bamboo and vegetable product line. Consumer demand for its products in Japan has been strong enough to boost market share, according to the company, which said the strong demand is due to the high quality of its products. Its organic vegetable products, for example, are JAS (Japanese Agricultural Standard) Gold certified, the highest certification for organic products in the country. Kobe Bussan Supermarkets has agreed to increase distribution of the company's products and expand the product line offered in its stores.

"ONE Bio Expands Distributions to Japan", News release, ONE Bio, December 20, 2010, © One Bio
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Nestlé Is Determined To Bridge The Gap Between Food And Pharmaceuticals

December 19, 2010: 07:21 AM EST

Nestlé Chief Executive Paul Bulcke says that part of the solution to rising global healthcare costs “lies in the gap between food and pharmaceuticals”. His company’s goal is to close that gap – and spur company growth – first by launching Nestlé Health Science SA create “specialist food-based products” that will help thwart and even treat serious health conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes. An institute within that new company will conduct biomedical research to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms of disease. From that knowledge Nestlé hopes to develop food products or supplements like its Clinutren line, which are added to soups and other foods to help prevent weight loss in cancer patients. Total sales at the company’s current Healthcare Nutrition unit, which will be folded into Health Science SA, were $1.63 billion in 2009.

John Revill, "Nestlé chief looks to science to make healthier profits", The Wall Street Journal, December 19, 2010, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Australian Researchers Collaborate To Develop Healthier Grains

December 17, 2010: 09:18 AM EST

With the goal of developing a new healthier “High Fiber Grains Cluster” comprising widely cultivated wheat, barley and rice, four Australian research institutions will collaborate closely over the next three years to boost beta glucans and arabinoxylans, key contributors to the soluble component of dietary fiber in the various grains. The University of Melbourne, The University of Adelaide, The University of Queensland and CSIRO will pump more than $7 million into the project. The university partners will receive more than $3.4 million from the CSIRO’s Flagship Collaboration Fund. The beta glucans and arabinoxylans found in soluble fiber block the re-absorption of cholesterol from the gut, research has shown, so more of this cholesterol is lost naturally from the body during the digestive process.

"Research collaboration to deliver ‘healthier’ grains", News release, The University of Melbourne, December 17, 2010, © The University of Melbourne
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Tropicana Tests “Fun-to-Squeeze” Fruit Snack Targeted At Kids

December 16, 2010: 09:57 AM EST

PepsiCo’s juice division Tropicana Products says it is market-testing an addition to its “Good for You” food product line: a portable snack for children that blends “real squeezable fruit, packed with nutrition.” According to Tropicana, the idea is to provide America’s moms a fun way to get fruit into their kids’ daily diets. Called Tropicana Tropolis, the lunchbox and grab-and-go snack provides fiber and vitamin C, but no added sugars, artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. Varieties of the new snack, which are packaged in “fun-to-squeeze” pouches, include CherryWorld, GrapeWorld and AppleWorld. The product will be tested in select stores in limited markets beginning late January 2011, with a rollout set for 2012, if tests are successful.

Tropicana/PepsiCo, "Tropicana Introduces Tropicana Tropolis(TM) to Squeeze More Fruit into Kids' Daily Diets", PepsiCo press release, December 16, 2010, © PepsiCo Inc.
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Organic Producer Grimmway Farms Tests Advanced Dehydration Technology From EnWave

December 15, 2010: 09:21 AM EST

Canada’s EnWave Corporation, which specializes in food dehydration, has agreed to work with organic carrot and vegetable producer Grimmway Farms to develop and test a variety of dried vegetable products using the nutraREV dehydration technology. An initial successful test of the technology will be expanded to a more extensive testing program. The companies hope the testing will lead to a commercial license and machine order by the end of 2011. California’s Grimmway Farms has tens of thousands of acres of farmland under cultivation and produces dozens of different organic and non-organic food products. EnWave’s Radiant Energy Vacuum (REV) technology combines microwave energy transfer under vacuum to dehydrate and alter structures and drive chemical reactions that create “unique product characteristics for both food products and medical applications.”

"EnWave Signs Collaboration Agreement with Grimmway Farms", News release, Enwave Corporation, December 15, 2010, © Enwave Corporation
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Trends Point To Growth For Organic Food And Farm Markets In 2011

December 13, 2010: 07:27 PM EST

The Organic Consumers Association has published its opinions on the leading trends in organic food and agriculture for the coming year. With consumer spending likely to be constrained for a while yet and the “new frugality” possibly here to stay, organic marketers have to communicate value and added benefits. Organic food also needs to tie in with broader environmental and sustainability trends. For example, the President's Cancer Panel reported in 2010 that babies were being born with up to 300 synthetic chemicals in their systems; other studies show that schoolchildren have 10-13 pesticides in their systems that almost disappear when switched to an organic diet. Additional issues to be addressed include demand for sustainable packaging, the leeching of cancer-causing chemicals from packaging, avoiding animal testing, and the effects of pesticides and GMO. Organic farming is growing, with more acreage being given over to it, younger people entering farming by focusing on organic agriculture, and urban agriculture based around organic food. These trends are supported by non-profit Slow Money, which has invested $3 million in sustainable food businesses.

Steven Hoffman, Compass Natural, "Top Organic Food and Farming Trends in 2011", Organic Consumers Association, December 13, 2010, © Compass Natural/Organic Consumers Association
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Heinz Unveils “Taste of Home” Baby Foods In Resealable Plastic Pots

December 13, 2010: 07:05 PM EST

H. J. Heinz Co. is launching a new Taste of Home family of baby foods in the U.K. in resealable plastic pots that are easy and convenient to use on the go. The resealable pots can be reheated as well. Besides the plastic pots, Heinz is introducing a new look to its baby food packaging, designed by Pearlfisher, in January. The new design with its consistent color scheme calls attention to the healthy and wholesome nature of the products as well as the taste. The Taste of Home range of savory meals targets three age groups: babies aged 4+ months, 7+ months and 10+ months. Each meal is steam cooked, contains at least three vegetables or fruit and is textured for each stage of development.

Simeon Goldstein, "Heinz launches new baby-food line in resealable plastic pots", Packaging News, December 13, 2010, © Packaging News
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Functional Food Companies See Big Opportunities In Increasingly Health Conscious China

December 14, 2010: 04:47 AM EST

Beset by a rise in chronic illnesses such as diabetes and cancer, Chinese consumers, especially women and the elderly, have turned to wellness foods and beverages, whose sales in 2009 were $1.5 billion, up 28 percent from five years ago. Multinational food giants Nestlé SA and PepsiCo and other companies have begun to mine the health food market opportunities in China. A new Quaker oatmeal product, for example, contains the traditional Chinese folk medicines wolfberry and tremella, a fungus thought to benefit the skin. Nestlé is clinically testing five new functional food products, including a mulberry yogurt for diabetics that regulates blood sugar. And, according to Euromonitor, Chinese consumers spent $9 billion on meal replacements, vitamin pills, sports nutrition products and other dietary supplements.

Laurie Burkitt, "Selling Health Food to China", The Wall Street Journal, December 14, 2010, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Nutritionists Say Snack Bars Are Junk Food Disguised As Health Food

December 13, 2010: 05:28 AM EST

The search by health-conscious consumers in Canada (and elsewhere) for nutritious foods that are also convenient has spurred the dramatic growth of snack bars, including granola, cereal and breakfast bars. In Canada alone – where consumers eat 73 snack bars a year on average – the market is worth $720 million. But some nutrition experts say snack bars are just junk food. According to a nutritionist at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, “They’re basically cookies masquerading as health food.” A comparison of the fat, sodium, sugar and caloric content of a Nature Valley peanut butter bar with a Kit Kat candy bar shows them to be very similar. Originally a healthy mixture of rolled oats, nuts and spices, granola bars are often loaded with chocolate, marshmallows, sugar and artificial flavors.

Carly Weeks, "Granola bars: A healthy snack or dressed- up junk food?", Toronto Globe and Mail, December 13, 2010, © CTVglobemedia Publishing Inc.
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ZAG Beverages Introduces OSKI Natural Energy Drinks In Australia

December 10, 2010: 08:53 PM EST

The founders of Australia-based ZAG Beverages believe its new OSKI® Positive Energy Drinks are just what young Australians need, pointing to the results of a study by Lonergan Research, which showed nine out of ten young Australians use high caffeine- or sugar-content snacks and beverages to give them energy, but that many are concerned about the impact on their health. The new product is a healthier and natural energy option, with no caffeine and no artificial stimulants, and little sugar. Instead, they contain natural ingredients, including Siberian Ginseng, Ginkgo Biloba, Schizandra and L-Theanine, which ZAG claims together will help to improve and maintain alertness as well as sustain physical performance and provide energy. The product has been trialling in South East Queensland and ZAG hopes to roll them out nationally, and possibly overseas, in 2011. 

Josette Dunn, "New Australian natural alternative to energy drinks", AFN, December 10, 2010, © AFN
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Coca-Cola Partners With Flavor Ingredients Developer To Create Sweetness Enhancers

December 10, 2010: 11:33 AM EST

The Coca-Cola Company and flavor ingredients supplier Chromocell Corporation announced they will work together to develop sweetness enhancers, natural sweeteners and other flavor ingredients. Coca-Cola said it hopes the collaboration will result in “a robust pipeline of innovation across categories and sweetness options” for its beverage lines. Chromocell says its technology, which uses “naturally-occurring systems,” allows testing of  extracts and ingredients from fruits, herbs and vegetables for new flavor ingredients. Coca-Cola launched Stevia extract, a natural, zero-calorie sweetener, in collaboration with Cargill. Stevia is currently being used in 20 Coca-Cola products. Besides receiving research funding, Chromocell will earn royalty payments based on sales of products developed from its technology.

Coca-Cola, "The Coca-Cola Company And Chromocell Corporation Announce Innovative Sweetener Technology Collaboration", Coca-Cola press release, December 10, 2010, © The Coca-Cola Company
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Innovative Chocolate Makers Are Successfully Repositioning Chocolate As A Functional Food

December 9, 2010: 08:58 AM EST

Though the chocolate market seems to be recession-proof – global sales have risen three percent since 2008 – chocolate makers are not resting on their laurels. They are responding to consumer demand for healthier confections, and to a need for increased on-shelf product differentiation, with a host of innovations. According to Packaged Facts, chocolate makers developed portion-controlled packaging, sugar-free candies and heart-healthy chocolate. And companies like Barry Callebaut, NewTree and Azure Chocolat are developing chocolate products rich in functional ingredients, including omega-3s, calcium, vitamin D, flavonols, probiotics and superfruits. Chocolate is gaining credibility as a nutricosmetic because of its beneficial effect on wrinkles, according to Packaged Facts. If chocolate makers successfully tap into that market, it would add “another accolade to how versatile the 'Food of the Gods' really is.”

Joanna Cosgrove, "Mmm, Chocolate - Seemingly recession-proof, chocolate’s appeal continues to evolve with the times", Nutraceutical World, December 09, 2010, © Rodman Publishing
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Gatorade Reinvents Brand By Launching New Product Lines That Focus on Functionality

December 8, 2010: 09:57 AM EST

Sarah Robb O'Hagan, Gatorade’s CMO, gave a presentation at the recent ANA Creativity Conference in New York, detailing the changes at the brand. When she took the job in 2008, Gatorade comprised some 150 flavor variants. It has launched the 01Prime, 02 Perform, and 03 Recover line of G Series products, formulated and packaged for the competition needs of athletes. Transforming from one product with various flavors to three platforms - G Series Pro aimed at elite athletes, G Series for performance, and high school athletes - in just 2 years, it will again expand early next year with a G Series Fit product for adults who want to lose weight and need athletic drinks with lower calorie content. Other developments include redesigning the buckets used by pro teams, launching a naturals line trialing at Whole Foods, and moving in to the sports goods channel with nutrition products like shakes and protein bars.

Karl Greenberg, "Gatorade CMO Dishes On Reinventing Brand", Marketing Daily, December 08, 2010, © MediaPost Communications
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Bean-Based Chip Is Second Home Run For Snack Food Inventor

December 7, 2010: 08:32 PM EST

An Austin, Texas, food business entrepreneur searching for a corn-free, low-glycemic snack has invented a flash-fried chip made from legumes. The last time Doug Foreman felt he needed to lose some weight he invented Guiltless Gourmet Baked Tortilla Chips more than 20 years ago. This time around – and again looking to shed pounds – Foreman found that beans were perfect for the low-glycemic diet, experimented with various varieties and recipes, and settled on pinto and black beans. The final chip turned out to be light, crispy, flavorful and flying-saucer-shaped, perfect for dipping. And, unlike other purported bean snacks, they contain no corn, wheat or gluten, but are high in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and protein. The product, dubbed “Beanitos,” is sold in Whole Foods Market and 7-11, among others.

Becca Hensley, "Austinite invents chips based on healthful beans- Corn-free snacks could be good for you", Austin 360, December 07, 2010, © Austin360.com
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Sports Drinks Are Getting Serious About Meeting The Needs Of Athletes

December 7, 2010: 10:36 AM EST

Sports beverage makers are hoping that innovation focused on meeting the energy and nutrition needs of athletes will boost sales that have sagged during tough economic times. Market leader Gatorade (PepsiCo), for example, recently launched the G Series of sports drinks formulated to be consumed before, during and after workouts. EAS’s Peak line of beverages promises that its nutritious ingredients give athletes with the ability to push through workouts with less fatigue while protecting muscles from breakdown. Attitude Drinks Inc.’s Phase III line of milk-based, ready-to-drink beverages target the post-exercise recovery category. U.K. beverage marketing firm Canadean predicts that the sports drinks market will recover in 2010 and show a CAGR of five percent through 2015. Gatorade and Powerade (Coca-Cola) dominate the sports beverage market with a 95 percent combined market share.

Keith Nunes, "Expanding the active thirst occasion", FoodBusinessNews.net, December 07, 2010, © Sosland Publishing Co.
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Potential Tightening Of EU Functional Food Claims Threatens UK Yogurt Market

December 6, 2010: 12:13 PM EST

Manufacturers in the UK yogurt industry currently enjoy profit margins of 15% or more, partly by marketing yogurt as a functional food, which enables it to attract premium prices. Yogurt sales grew rapidly in the UK during the 1960s with the launch of the Ski brand, which added fruit and sugar to the bitter yogurt. Around 70% of British people now choose from the various forms of yogurt, but the market is dominated by foreign brands. Recently, brands like Yakult and Danone have developed yogurts with probiotic claims, bringing yogurt in to the functional food arena, which is increasingly gaining the attention of the European Food Safety Authority. To date, no major probiotic claim has been approved, which might at some stage prevent the companies from marketing the claims. 

Sreya Biswas, "Yoghurt and the functional food revolution", BBC, December 06, 2010, © BBC
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Salty Snacks Are Getting Healthier

December 6, 2010: 10:03 AM EST

Salty snacks – not usually thought of as health foods because of saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and forms of sugar – nevertheless are getting healthier. Snack makers have come up with a variety of products that claim to be organic, all natural, whole wheat, reduced-sodium, gluten-free and lower in fat. Some products are even earning higher scores on healthy food rating systems. Retailer Big Y says healthier snack products like Popchips are doing very well. The product is not fried or baked, but instead is made with a heat-and-pressure process that uses half the fat of fried chips and is seasoned with sea salt. Snyder's of Hanover, which sells better-for-you products like multigrain tortillas and veggies crisps, will soon launch several better-for-you snacks in 2011, including lower-fat and organic whole wheat nibblers.

Carol Angrisani, "Chips Ahoy", Supermarket News, December 06, 2010, © Penton Media, Inc.
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Yogurt Proves To Be A Good Category For Innovation, Led By Yoplait And Dannon

December 4, 2010: 09:28 AM EST

Yogurt is proving to be a product well-placed for innovation, and the Yoplait brand is a good example, introducing this summer a dessert yogurt, Splitz, a variant of the successful Yoplait Delights, but for kids. The brand is jointly-owned by a French cooperative and a French private equity firm, PAI Partners. General Mills holds the US license, and there is speculation that it might be interested in buying PAI’s 50% stake. Yoplait represented 15% of its total US revenues in the latest financial year. Yoplait, and yogurt generally, has been boosted by a “halo of health” – it’s not only tasty, but good for you too. Datamomitor says that 2009 yogurt sales grew 9.2%, excluding liquid yogurt, well ahead of other General Mills staple categories, such as ready-to-eat cereal and canned soup. Consumption rates in the US are still relatively low, so there remains plenty of potential. Dannon is probably even more innovative than Yoplait: about a fifth of all new US yogurt products introduced in the last two years have been Dannon’s, twice Yoplait’s contribution, and products from smaller, premium, brands, and especially Greek yogurt, have also eaten in to Yoplait’s market share. Dannon stole a march with its 2006 launch of Activia yogurt in the digestive health space, which now has 6% of the US yogurt market. Yoplait’s Yo-Plus has been far less successful. 

MIKE HUGHLETT, "Yoplait brings new thinking to dairy aisle", Star Tribune , December 04, 2010, © Star Tribune
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United Kingdom Food & Grocery Market To Reach £182.7bn By 2015

December 3, 2010: 07:55 PM EST

According to industry analysts IGD, United Kingdom consumers will spend £182.7bn (about $290bn) in grocery stores by 2015, a 3.9% annual growth rate. While reflecting renewed strength, the food industry needs to respond to consumer demand for value and convenience. The UK’s convenience channel is growing faster than the grocery sector generally, and IGD expects it to grow at an average annual rate of 5.8% through 2015. Non-food sales comprise 8.2% of the UK grocery market and this share should increase to 9.4% by 2015; online grocery sales are expected to double from £4.8bn to £9.5bn by 2015, driven by technological advance as well as improved websites and better delivery performance. Food and beverage suppliers are feeling more optimistic, but acknowledge the need to focus on innovation as well as providing options that better meet consumer needs and accommodate different retail formats and channels.

"Latest figures released by IGD reveal that consumers will spend £182.7bn in grocery retail outlets by 2015 - an average annual growth of 3.9%.", IGD Business Analysis, December 03, 2010, © IGD Business Analysis
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Danisco Study Shows Evidence Of Athletic Performance Benefit of Betaine

December 3, 2010: 06:51 PM EST

Danisco has released the results of research that indicates the positive effect of betaine on athletic power. The research studied the impact of giving participants Danisco’s BetaPower™ Natural Betaine dissolved in an electrolyte drink. The effect on “untrained males and females” was a statistically significant performance improvement. Two other recent studies have focused on betaine: one found evidence that betaine may be lost in sweat; and the second found a marked improvement in power and force from the use if betaine supplementation. The results of these studies indicate to Danisco that the function of betaine in athletic performance is an area worth exploring further. The natural betaine in Danisco’s product is extracted from the sugar beet molasses, but high levels of betaine can also be found in wheat, spinach and shellfish. 

"New study reinforces betaine’s positive effect on sports performance", Danisco, December 03, 2010, © Danisco
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Dairy Snacks Market Set For Six Percent Growth In 2010

December 3, 2010: 09:37 AM EST

The 2010 Zenith Report on Dairy Snacks looks at the global dairy snacks market. It grew 7% in 2009 and Zenith forecasts 6% growth this year. Most dairy snacks are aimed at kids and based on cheese, although some counties are looking at adult options. Two-thirds of 2009 volumes were consumed in the US, with UK the second-largest market. Key brands include Bel’s Babybel and Kraft’s Dairylea, as well as Yoplait yogurt tubes. Private label items have emerged in the markets where dairy snacks are more established. Laura Knight of Zenith International said that increasingly people are seeking convenient snacks that also offer health and nutrition benefits, and dairy snacks are well positioned to deliver this. 

"Dairy Snacks Market Driven by Health and Convenience", Zenith International, December 03, 2010, © Zenith International
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New Enzyme From Biocatalysts Helps Produce Superior Mayonnaise By Enhancing Egg Yolk Properties

December 2, 2010: 07:28 AM EST

By treating egg yolk with the new enzyme Lipomod 790L from Biocatalysts, manufacturers can now produce better quality mayonnaise that does not separate out during pasteurization. The enzyme can be used to modify egg yolk and make it more viscous and stable under heat during mayonnaise production. With better emulsifying properties of egg yolk due to the enzyme, manufacturers can also reduce ingredient cost since less yolk is now required to produce better quality mayonnaise. Other enzymes from Biocatalysts can be used to enhance different egg properties important for other food products. 

"Biocatalysts Launches New Enzymes to Aid Egg Progressing", Food Ingredients First, December 02, 2010
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