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Food Companies Can Benefit From Advanced Meal Planning By Households

December 1, 2010: 05:50 PM EST

The NPD Group’s recent food and beverage market research report says that most U.S. households at some time plan their meals in advance: 71% sometimes plan dinners, 53% lunches, and 51% breakfasts. 26% typically plan breakfasts. These shoppers often therefore decide what to buy before going to the store. Retailers and manufacturers can establish themselves in the shopping and preparation cycle of household meal planners, usually women, by providing solutions to their concerns about cost, variety, and convenience, and by better understanding shoppers’ impulse purchase behavior and their use of recipes and prepared foods. These strategies can help strengthen shoppers’ loyalty, as well as increase basket size and shopping trip frequency. 

"Meal Planning Before Grocery Shopping Drives Purchase Decisions, Reports NPD", NPD, December 01, 2010, © NPD
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New Report Highlights Growth Potential From Chitin And Chitosan

December 2, 2010: 08:09 AM EST

Chitin and chitosan (a form of chitin) are derived from crustacean shells and used in nutrition and food products, as well as biomedicine. A new report from Global Industry Analysts reviews the market for these materials, which are used in a range of products, including surgical sutures and clothes, as well as antibiotics, dietary supplements, and food for humans and pets. The report forecasts a global market of $63 billion for chitin derivatives by 2015 and a global chitosan market of over $21 billion. Benefits include cholesterol control. In the supplements market, for example, chitosan, a natural biopolymer, is an “excellent fat trapper due to its remarkable property of binding with lipids and fats.” It can also be used to help treat irritable bowel syndrome, and one derivative is glucosamine. New applications for the ingredients are awaiting FDA approval in the US. Japan already has an established market. Downside risks to the market include high production costs, a lack of quality chitosan supplies, and pollution in the production process. 

Joanna Cosgrove, "The Global Chitosan Market", Nutraceutical World, December 02, 2010, © Rodman Publishing
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Developing “Truly Healthy” Foods Is A Key Industry Challenge Over Next Five Years

December 1, 2010: 06:41 AM EST

A panel of food industry experts says the biggest challenge for food companies in developing healthful products over the next five years is making sure they are “truly healthy,” while keeping them simple and natural. Several problems inherent in these goals include maintaining superior taste, functional benefits, the ”inherent goodness” of ingredients and appropriate portion sizes while reducing sodium, fat and high fructose corn syrup levels. Key trends in the food industry include: growing consumer aversion to processed foods; interest in foods whose ingredients offer health benefits (vitamins, minerals, fiber, omega-3s, etc.); battling obesity through development of thermogenic foods, portion control products, low-glycemic index foods and resistant starches. Also, look for increased interest in foods that offer greater functionality: lowering bad cholesterol, improving digestion, regulating insulin, etc.

William A. Roberts, Jr., "Tasteful Predictions", Prepared Foods, December 01, 2010, © BNP Media
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P&G Leverages Emerging Markets To Grow Global Laundry Market Share

November 30, 2010: 12:29 AM EST

With a 30% share of the 2009 global market, Procter & Gamble leads the laundry detergent sector and continues to grow its share though innovation, acquisitions and aggressive marketing; industry analyst Trefis expects this share to grow to 35% by 2016. As its traditional markets of Western Europe and the US become saturated, P&G continues to focus attention on the developing markets of Latin America and Asia, and particularly populous countries like India and China, where incomes are growing and an increasingly affluent middle class provides the potential for strong sales growth. The company's focus on the specific consumer needs and cultural characteristics in different markets is seen as the main reason for its continued success in emerging markets, with the launch of products such as low water usage detergents for countries where water consumption is a real issue. Other P&G initiatives such as its US-based Future Friendly campaign raise awareness of greener products and greener practices.

"Proctor & Gamble’s Fabric Care Business Hinges on Emerging Markets Growth", Trefis, November 30, 2010, © Insight Guru, Inc.
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DSM Nutritional Products' Fruitflow Scoops Awards And Could Help Save Lives

November 24, 2010: 05:46 AM EST

Fruitflow® is, according to its manufacturer, DSM Nutritional Products, the “first natural, scientifically substantiated solution for the promotion of healthy blood flow”, and the product won Most Innovative Health Ingredient at this year’s Hi Excellence Awards. DSM Nutritional Products also says that Fruitflow is the only ingredient with an approved health claim from the European Food Safety Authority under Article 13.5, which should allow it to market the product with the claim: "Helps maintain normal platelet aggregation, which contributes to healthy blood flow". The company adds that a product with such a claim could help save lives. Along with Fruitflow’s overall award it also won the award in the heart health category, and there were also awards for products in three other categories: digestive health (Danisco’s Grinsted® Fibreline healthier bread technology); nutrition (Innophos’s VersaCal Clear); and sports performance (Chr. Hansen's L. Fermentum PCC probiotic). There was no winner in the weight management category – no entries met the judges’ criteria. 

"Ingredient That Could Save Lives Triumphs", PRNewswire, November 24, 2010, © PRNewswire
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Whole Foods Removes HFCS-Containing Products From California Stores, But Not Nationwide

November 24, 2010: 06:22 AM EST

Whole Foods said that starting in January 1, 2011, the company will stop selling products that contain high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in its stores in northern California. Whole Foods regional grocery buyer Parrish Placencia has admitted in an email that the company has “historically sold only a few products that contain HFCS.” This confirms some customers’ complaint that the company has been selling HFCS-containing products for some time. Whole Foods’ practice of using HFCS as an ingredient in its own pastries and cookies means the organic food retailer has no basis for selling these products at premium prices. The company indicates it  has no interest in removing HFCS-containing products from its stores nationwide.

Kelsey Blackwell, "Whole Foods drops products with high fructose corn syrup, kind of", New Hope 360 Blog, November 24, 2010, © New Hope 360
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Consumers Prefer To Buy From Retailers With Mobile Sites

November 23, 2010: 01:32 AM EST

An October 2010 study by Brand Anywhere and Luth Research show that 51% of consumers prefer to buy from retailers that have a mobile Web site. The study also reveals that fewer than 5% of retailers operate a mobile site, suggesting a need to address this m-commerce disparity as a record number of consumers intend to use their mobile phones to shop this holiday season. A separate study conducted in February 2010 by Multichannel Merchant discovered that almost 80% of multichannel retailers were not using m-commerce; while eROI’s April study revealed that fewer than 25% of marketers owned a mobile Web site. Consumers found many mobile sites were not up to their expectations. Brand Anywhere’s research also showed that retailers’ mobile sites display Flash animations although these are not supported by all iPhone and almost half of Android smartphones.

"Consumers to Retailers: Improve Your Mobile Sites", eMarketer, November 23, 2010, © eMarketer Inc
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General Mills Continues To Make Its Product Line Healthier

November 22, 2010: 11:56 AM EST

General Mills says it has enhanced the health profile of many of its products by adding whole grains, fiber and calcium, and reducing calories, sugar, sodium and trans fats. These healthier products now account for 25 percent of its U.S. retail sales in fiscal 2010, according to the company. Noting that it will continue to “push the envelope on improving the nutrition profile” of its products, the company says it plans to increase vitamins, minerals and fiber; reduce calories, fat, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar or sodium; formulate products to include at least a half serving of whole grain, fruit, vegetables or low or nonfat dairy; and meet FDA guidelines for a product to be considered healthy.

General Mills, "General Mills Announces Health Improvements; 25 Percent of U.S. Retail Sales Volume Improved in Fiscal 2010", General Mills press release, November 22, 2010, via Business Wire, © General Mills
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Scientists Say FDA’s Process For Assessing Transgenic Salmon Is Flawed

November 19, 2010: 10:10 AM EST

The review process used by the FDA to determine the safety of a faster-growing transgenic salmon does not take into account all of the consequences of the fish's widespread production, U.S. scientists say. If the agency approves the modified salmon, whose genome contains genes from two other fish species, it would be the first genetically modified organism accepted for human consumption in the U.S. But the scientists argue that the process used by the FDA assesses its safety only by comparing its nutritional profile to an equivalent portion of nonmodified salmon, and screening it for known toxins and allergens. That ignores potential health and environmental effects. A smarter approach would be for the FDA or even the Congress to broaden the interpretation of the terms "safe" and "health" in FDA statutes.

Martin D. Smith, et al., "Genetically Modified Salmon and Full Impact Assessment", Science, November 19, 2010, © AAAS
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Coca-Cola Launches Marketing Campaign With SCVNGR Location-Based Gaming Service

November 19, 2010: 09:47 AM EST

Coca-Cola plans to launch a location-based marketing campaign based on SCVNGR’s smartphone gaming application. The campaign, which is part of the company’s Secret Formula Challenges marketing program will be rolled out in 10 malls in the United States on Black Friday. By doing certain tasks, consumers taking part in the campaign can earn points that they can use to redeem prizes. While the campaign is part of the growing trend of brands partnering with providers of location-based services, Coca-Cola’s partnership with SCVNGR might have been driven in part by rival Pepsi’s alliance with Foursquare. SCVNGR founder Seth Priebatsch said his company puts emphasis on the gaming side of location-based services, saying "You use Foursquare, Gowalla and Twitter. You do not use SCVNGR -- you play it."

Brian Morrissey, "Coca-Cola Takes SCVNGR on Location", Adweek, November 19, 2010, © Adweek
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P&G’s Gillette Guard Innovation Shows Three Lessons

November 17, 2010: 12:24 AM EST

Launched in India in October and priced at a very low 15 rupees (~$0.33), with refill cartridges at five rupees, the Gillette Guard has been a success. Procter & Gamble's Chief Technology Officer Bruce Brown gives three core reasons for the Guard’s success. First is consumer insight based on thousands of hours in market, understanding consumer wants, needs and desires. Second is the push to innovate a solution that would delight consumers, not merely satisfy them. Last, is the need to match the model to the market, which in the case of the Gillette Guard required new/appropriate manufacturing, distribution and promotion strategies.

Scott Anthony, "Three Innovation Lessons from the Gillette Guard", Harvard Business Review, November 17, 2010, © Harvard Business School Publishing
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New Smartphone App Counts Calories From Photographic Images Of Food

November 12, 2010: 05:51 PM EST

Japan's NTT Communications has developed a mobile phone app that uses photographs of the meal being eaten to count calories. Current phone apps for dieters require typing in food and calorie information. But NTT’s software analyzes food color and shapes and checks the information against a database to come up with the calorie counts. The database, which is accessible by smartphone, is extensive, including information on 100,000 foods; calorie counts can be adjusted according to perceived portion size. NTT says the app is still being tested, but a beta version will be made available free in January.

Elaine Lies, "Japan mobile phone app takes photos, counts calories", Reuters, November 12, 2010, © Thomson Reuters
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Canadian Agency Rules That Food Ingredient That Induces Feelings Of Fullness Is Non-Novel

November 12, 2010: 09:32 AM EST

Health Canada has confirmed in a letter of non-objection that Kemin Health’s Slendesta food ingredient is not considered a novel food and may be marketed as such for use in conventional foods and beverages without a pre-market notification process. Slendesta has achieved the same status in Europe; in the U.S. the FDA ruled it was GRAS (generally recognized as safe) for use in foods and beverages. The active component in Slendesta, Proteinase Inhibitor II (PI2), is derived from U.S.-grown white potatoes. According to the company, the compound enhances the body’s natural release of cholecystokinin (CCK), a signaling peptide that travels through the bloodstream and helps induce feelings of fullness and satisfaction, thus helping people control hunger and perhaps make dieting easier.

"Slendesta Now has non-Novel Food Status in Canada", News release, Kemin Industries, Inc., November 12, 2010, © Kemin Industries, Inc.
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Babies Fed New Lower-Protein Formula Show Similar Growth Rate To Breastfed Babies

November 10, 2010: 04:07 PM EST

Infants fed a new lower-protein infant formula gained weight at a similar rate to breastfed infants, according to a new study. Infant growth rate indicates overall health and reflects a child's nutritional well-being. Breast milk and standard infant formulas differ in their protein composition and concentration: human milk contains protein and is rich in essential amino acids; standard formulas typically contain higher levels of protein to provide similar amino acid levels. The randomized study tested the effect of infant formulas enriched with alpha-lactalbumin, one with a  standard level of protein and a new one developed by Pfizer Nutrition with less protein. A control group consisted of breastfed babies. The researchers found that weight gain in the infants who consumed the new formula was not significantly different from that of breastfed babies.

Trabulsi J, et al., "Effect of alpha-lactalbumin-enriched infant formula with lower protein on growth", European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, November 10, 2010, © Nature Publishing Group
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Restaurants Must Walk Fine Line Between Healthy Food Requirements And Consumer Tastes

November 10, 2010: 07:53 AM EST

Restaurants will have to balance their efforts to comply with U.S. government regulations with customers’ demand for value and good-tasting food, according to Mintel Menu Insight’s foodservice trends study for 2011. Results of the study also reveal that 62% of consumers say they intend to eat healthier food in the coming year but assert that healthy food does not taste as good. Consumers will get better information as the healthcare bill requires restaurants with more than 20 branches to disclose nutritional information of their menu offerings. This rule, however, does not cover limited time offerings and restaurants are expected to exploit this with more seasonal items. The study also predicts that restaurants will include more local ingredients into their menus and will experiment with automated menus allowing consumers to get better information and restaurants to reduce front-of-house staff.

"Restaurants will have to serve two masters in 2011: the government and their customers", Mintel, November 10, 2010, © Mintel
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Grant Will Support Research Into Better Safety Procedures For Organic Leafy Greens

November 10, 2010: 11:39 AM EST

As U.S. food producers turn more to certified organic farming systems for a variety of reasons, they need better methods of ensuring the safety and post-harvest quality of organic leafy greens, including spinach, lettuce, arugula, cabbage and radicchio. The USDA is expediting the search for better safety methods with a $2.9 million grant to a University of Arizona researcher whose  comprehensive project will examine every step in the process, from field to fork. Since the late 1990s, U.S. organic production has grown steadily, the USDA says: more than two-thirds of U.S. consumers now buy organic products at least occasionally; 28 percent buy organic products weekly. The researchers will look at ways to eliminate bacterial – especially E. coli and salmonella – contamination in bagged leafy greens using organic methods.

Daniel Stolte, "Improving safety and quality of organic leafy greens", News release, University of Arizona, November 10, 2010, © Univ. of Arizona
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Syntroleum-Tyson Foods Joint Venture Turns Animal Fats Into Renewable Fuels

November 8, 2010: 03:41 AM EST

Dynamic Fuels LLC, an equal-share joint venture of Syntroleum Corporation and Tyson Foods, Inc., began commercial operations at its plant, which uses Syntroleum’s Bio-Synfining technology to convert non-food grade animal fats and greases into renewable fuels. The new facility produces 2,500 barrels of fuels per day from animal fats produced or acquired by Tyson Foods. Designed to manufacture as much as 75 million gallons of renewable fuels per year, the plant employs 44 full-time workers on site and 13 start-up support staff. The plant started shipping renewable diesel that meets ASTM D975 specifications in October, and has begun producing jet fuel for testing by the Air Force Research Laboratory. Dynamic Fuels hopes that Congress will restore tax credits, which could help improve the plant’s financial feasibility.

Tyson Foods, "First U.S. Commercial Scale Advanced Biofuels Plant Opens", Tyson Foods press release, November 08, 2010, © Tyson Foods, Inc.
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Joint Venture To Develop And Commercialize Microalgae-Derived Food Ingredients

November 8, 2010: 08:43 AM EST

U.S. algal biotechnology company Solazyme, Inc. and French starch producer Roquette Frères have created a joint venture company to produce and commercialize microalgae-derived food ingredients. The companies pan to use the venture to launch natural, healthy and functional ingredients based on microalgae that provide “superior nutritional properties” along with good taste and texture. Products to be developed by Solazyme-Roquette Nutritionals include oil, protein and fiber based ingredients that would deliver “improved performance with a vastly superior health profile” compared to currently available ingredients, the companies said. Roquette will build a joint venture-owned, commercial-scale manufacturing plant in France with capacity in the tens of thousands of tons of annual production.

"Solazyme and Roquette Sign Agreement to Create Global Nutritional Joint Venture", EON: Enhanced Online News, November 08, 2010, © Enhanced Online News
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New Food And Beverage Products Emphasize Healthy And Natural

November 8, 2010: 08:29 AM EST

Food and beverage manufacturers have felt considerable pressure in major market countries – from consumers and regulatory bodies – to provide foods and beverages with healthy, especially natural, ingredients. And manufacturers have found several ways to deliver them, according to a market research report available through Reportlinker. Many natural ingredient formulations offer quality nutritional quality calories. In fact “natural” was the most frequently identified claim – 10 percent – in food and drink product launches in 2009. Soft drink launches were the most innovative in terms of ingredient formulations, again with natural being the most frequent theme. A key ingredient theme in dairy was probiotics in 2008-2009, while confectioners offered quality calories and nutritional value by fortifying products with vitamins and minerals.

"Emerging Ingredients in Food and Drinks: Growth Opportunities in Flavors and Formulation by Product Category", News release, Reportlinker, November 08, 2010, © Reportlinker
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PepsiCo To Market New Coconut Water Beverage Through GNC Store In 2nd Q 2011

November 8, 2010: 09:29 AM EST

PepsiCo is joining forces with specialty nutrition retailer GNC to develop and market fortified coconut water products under the “Phenom” brand name beginning in the second quarter of 2011. The companies have partnered before with the successful retail launch of the Gatorade G Series Pro at GNC stores last May. According to PepsiCo, coconut water is a natural electrolyte beverage formed inside coconut shells. Low in fat and calories, the beverage is a source of vitamin C and potassium. PepsiCo said the venture with GNC is part of its expansion into the health and wellness sector.

PepsiCo, "GNC and PepsiCo Plan National Launch of ‘Phenom’ Line of Fortified Coconut Water Products At GNC Stores and Other Major Retail Outlets", PepsiCo press release, November 08, 2010, © PepsiCo Inc.
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Microsoft Kinect Pushes In-Game Advertising to Newer, Bolder Directions

November 4, 2010: 02:09 AM EST

Microsoft Kinect’s combination of motion- and gesture-based gaming technologies presents advertisers and marketers with revolutionary opportunities in in-game advertising. Kinect’s capability to recognize facial gestures or expression will push motion- and gesture-based gaming, which began with Nintendo’s Wii console and is reinforced by Sony’s Move platform, into wider adoption by marketers. This capacity will allow the gaming system to adjust the game in real time based on the player’s emotions, enabling in-game advertising to be tailored to individual gamers. Combined with Xbox Live, this technology will allow advertisers and gamers to create interactive advertisements with some social-networking elements.

Wes Keltner – Creative Director, Gun, "Gesture-Based Advertising", PSFK, November 04, 2010, © PSFK
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Booz & Co. Finds Innovation Is Not About Money, But About Capabilities

November 3, 2010: 02:04 AM EST

Booz & Company’s sixth annual Global Innovation 1000 review looks at what makes some companies able to consistently innovate successful products. It finds that investment is not the reason, with no relationship between total R&D dollars or R&D as a percent of revenue. Instead, Booz focuses on the importance of aligning corporate capabilities – knowledge, talent, team structures, tools and processes – with wider business strategies and goals. Booz also identified three distinctive innovation strategies, each of which can be successful, which it termed  Need Seekers (actively engage customers to shape new products, use superior end-user understanding, try to be the first to market), Market Readers (watch customers and competitors, use incremental change centered on proven trends) and Technology Drivers (push their technological capabilities, seek innovation to solve the unarticulated needs of customers). Apple, Google and 3M are considered the most innovative companies. Technology represents 6 of the top 10; Toyota is the sole car manufacturer and P&G the sole FMCG company.

Barry Jaruzelski and Kevin Dehoff, "The Global Innovation 1000: How the Top Innovators Keep Winning", Strategy-business, November 03, 2010, © Booz & Company, Inc
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Packaged Breakfast Food Providers See Big Opportunities In Westernizing Indian Market

November 3, 2010: 11:10 AM EST

With busy Indian consumers in urban areas demanding more quick and easy breakfast options, big food companies are rushing to fill the void. It’s a big opportunity: industry estimates peg the branded breakfast foods market in India at $113 million and growing. Involved in the sprint to the Indian breakfast table are Britannia Industries, Marico, PepsiCo, Kellogg India and MTR Foods. Britannia, whose bread, biscuit, butter and cheese products are already familiar to Indian consumers, is market testing packaged products such as buttermilk oats and sweet multi-grain porridge under the “Healthy Start” brand. A Kellogg India study of Indian breakfast habits found that least one in three Indians and more women than men skip breakfast daily, presenting a huge opening for packaged breakfast providers.

Sarah Jacob, "Britannia, Marico, PepsiCo spot a big opportunity", The Economic Times, November 03, 2010, © Times Internet Limited
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Whole Foods Adds Chicken Broth To Its Line Of Organic Kosher Foods

November 2, 2010: 02:26 AM EST

Whole Foods Market has expanded its kosher food offerings with the addition of specially developed organic kosher chicken broth from Pacific Natural Foods. Certified kosher by the Orthodox Union, the broth is made from free-range, grain-fed chickens raised without antibiotics or added growth hormones, and are processed according to kosher standards. Whole Foods offers an array of kosher products from Streit’s, including  vegetarian and gluten-free macaroons, and vegetarian cake and stuffing mixes that are free of hydrogenated oils, artificial preservatives and MSG. Some stores also offer poultry options from Kosher Valley, including fresh and frozen whole young turkeys and chickens, ground turkey and chicken, and value-pack options for both. On the confectionery side, Whole Foods offers kosher marshmallows, candy canes, and organic, ethically sourced Hanukkah gelt.

"Whole Foods Market soups up kosher offerings", News release, Whole Foods Markets, November 02, 2010, © Whole Foods Markets
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Functional Foods Can Help Satisfy Consumer Demand For Disruptive Innovation

November 1, 2010: 07:02 AM EST

Consumers seeking to change their lifestyles are open to disruptive innovation, and functional food is one area that can help. As consumers become more aware of what they are eating and what it does to them, they are looking for products that are simpler, less processed, more natural, and with recognizable ingredients. An example of the sort of product that is gaining interest is Five ice cream from Haagen Dazs, which contains just five recognizable ingredients. Consumers are also demanding more information on a product’s provenance and want to know that their food is free of pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and preservatives. The organic food industry has benefited from these trends, but there remains distrust and uncertainty about organic food claims, and consumers are increasingly demanding locally-sourced food from farms with sustainable, free-range and humane agricultural practices. Globally, this extends to fair-trade or rainforest alliance certification. These trends are being driven partly by the Baby Boomers, as they transition to later life stages and expect products and services targeted at their needs, such as functional foods and beverages. 

Gregory Stephens, RD, "Business Insights: Disruptive Innovation in Functional Foods", Nutraceutical World, November 01, 2010, © Rodman Publishing
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Success In Functional Foods Comes From Meeting Consumers Needs, Not “Hot Ingredients”

November 1, 2010: 06:22 AM EST

What makes a successful functional food? It’s not a “hot ingredient,” according to industry expert Julian Mellentin. Instead it’s a combination of the right packaging and product differentiation, clearly explained health benefits of key ingredients and – most important of all – filling consumer wants. An example is digestive health, the most important benefit currently offered by functional foods, which is why they comprise the largest segment of the market along with energy drinks. The reasons for their success, however, are fairly easy to define. Technological advances in probiotics and fiber have helped, of course. But the key factor is how products are carefully created and marketed to meet demonstrated consumer needs. Surveys have found that digestive health ranks among the top four health concerns globally: digestive disorders affect nearly everyone at one time or another.

Julian Mellentin, "Finding Success in Functional Foods", Nutraceuticals World, November 01, 2010, © Rodman Publishing
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Companies Ponder Uncertainties In The Blood Sugar Management Product Category

November 1, 2010: 06:39 AM EST

Food and supplement companies are keenly aware of the rising interest among consumers in attaining healthy blood sugar levels for energy maintenance, weight control and diabetes management or risk reduction. But as they ponder how to meet the demand for products that help achieve a healthy glycemic index (GI), they deal with significant questions. For example, when will science definitively prove the benefits of a low GI? What GI claims will the FDA allow on product labels? Are GI-lowering products really healthful? Is all the talk about GI just a fad? Do consumers really understand what GI is all about? Despite these uncertainties, several companies offer products that promise a healthier GI. Key ingredients include glycinate chelates (minerals), fiber and oligosaccharides, fenugreek and amla fiber, yacon herb, cinnamon, banaba leaves and crepe myrtle.

Brenda Porter-Rockwell, "Blood Sugar Management ", Nutraceuticals World, November 01, 2010, © Rodman Publishing
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The Collaborative “Forth Quadrant” Drives Innovation

October 30, 2010: 12:54 AM EST

Critical innovations often come not from lone entrepreneurs, amateurs or private companies, but from the “fourth quadrant”: an area of nonproprietary innovation, such as the Web, where innovations are not owned by anyone. This “fourth quadrant” is collaborative by nature and, according to Steven Johnson, author of “Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation,” who analyzed 300 influential innovations, is the source of more game-changing ideas than the competitive domain. Johnson sees the Internet as the ideal environment for supporting fourth-quadrant innovation, even though the economic opportunity (idea ownership) is lower. He expects to see rapid innovation as connectivity increases: “Ideas are free to flow from mind to mind, and to be refined and modified without complex business development deals or patent lawyers.”

STEVEN JOHNSON, "Innovation: It Isn’t a Matter of Left or Right", New York Times , October 30, 2010, © The New York Times Company
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Coca-Cola Seeks Next Billion-Dollar Beverage Among Entrepreneurial And Foreign Brands

October 29, 2010: 09:36 AM EST

Coca-Cola’s in-house product development unit is looking for the company’s next billion-dollar beverage brand among small domestic entrepreneurial brands that show significant sales potential, and among foreign brands that might appeal to American consumers. The best candidates may end up being niche products, and it may take awhile to find and develop them, but that’s okay with Mary-Ann Somers of Coca-Cola’s Venturing and Emerging Brands group. There are only 33 nonalcoholic beverage brands in the billion-dollar sales club – out of 3,000 total brands – so they don’t pop up everyday. “We will develop things that not everybody will like, and that's OK," she said. The strategy partly depends on a two-pronged distribution plan: some brands will be promoted through Coca-Cola's huge distribution system, and some will be marketed by independents.

Natalie Zmuda, "Coca-Cola Looks for Another Billion-Dollar Brand, But Marketer Thinks Next Big Thing Could Be Niche Product", AdAge.com, October 29, 2010, © Crain Communications
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Global Industry Analysts Sees Global $130 Billion Functional Food and Beverage Market By 2015

October 25, 2010: 05:08 AM EST

Driven by health and aging concerns, lifestyle changes and growing wealth, functional foods are moving to the mainstream and, according to Global Industry Analysts, set to reach $130 billion in sales by 2015. Growth slowed in 2009 and 2010 but remained positive and is now recovering; Asia Pacific will have especially strong growth at 6% annually through 2015. GIA sees continuing innovation in functional foods and drinks as companies target specific needs such as heart health, energy and antioxidant delivery, increasingly using niche ingredients such as spirulina, wheatgrass and Chlorella and other  ‘super greens’.

"Global Functional Foods and Drinks Market to Exceed $130 Billion by 2015, According to New Report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc.", PRWEB, October 25, 2010, © Vocus PRW Holdings, LLC
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Vending Machine Maker Unveils Machine That Preserves, Safely Dispenses, Fresh Produce

October 21, 2010: 12:03 PM EST

A vending machine manufacturer is partnering with Fresh Del Monte Produce to develop a machine that will vend bananas and other fresh produce without damage. The effort is driven by the push to provide healthier snacks in machines located in schools and offices. The Wittern Group’s new machine, launched earlier this year, is partitioned into two separate chambers. The upper chamber contains bananas kept at 57 degrees; the bottom contains other fresh-cut produce kept at 34 degrees. Other special features include: plastic packaging to keep bananas fresher longer; padding in the retrieval bin to protect delicate produce from the long drop; and, in future models, elevators to gently lower fruit to the bin. Freshness is not cheap: the new device costs $5,000, compared to $3,000 for traditional models.

ILAN BRAT, "The Great Banana Challenge", The Wall Street Journal, October 21, 2010, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Beverage Marketers See Persistent Growth In Natural, Sugar-Free Juices

October 19, 2010: 12:44 AM EST

Thanks to consumers’ ongoing demand for healthy, low-calorie beverages, producers and industry experts expect continued strong sales growth for natural, sugar-free juices as well as new fruit and vegetable offerings. While Europe led in consumption of natural fruit and vegetable juices at 11 billion liters last year, North Americans drank about 9.5 billion liters and Asians about 8 billion. A leading U.K. beverage consultant expects a 1.2 percent sales increase in Europe in 2011, though a global juice packager sees Asian and South American markets showing the strongest growth. Selling well in produce aisles are Bolthouse, Odwalla, Naked, Acai and pomegranate juices, while new products like coconut water are gathering steam. Meanwhile, Coca Cola is fortifying its traditional beverages with vitamins and nutrients and low- and no-calorie options.

Elvina Simpson, "Juices Flood Market as Demand for Health Drinks Surge", CNBC.com, October 19, 2010, © CNBC.com
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New ‘Replenish’ Line Hopes To Deliver A More Environmentally Sensitive Cleaning Product Using Concentrate Pods That Consumers Dilute

October 19, 2010: 02:45 AM EST

In the continuing trend to deliver traditional products in more environmentally sensitive ways, Replenish has launched a new line of surface cleaners that relies on consumers diluting a concentrate solution. Replenish sells pods that contain cleaner concentrate along with a specially designed reusable spray bottle into which the pod fits; consumers add water to obtain a traditional strength cleaning spray. The company sells the reusable bottle and the initial pod for $7.99 and each pod, which is enough for four bottles of cleaner, for $3.99, compared to about $4.00 for a single bottle of Windex.

"Replenish Cleaning Products: You Provide the Water (And Help Save the Earth)", Fast Co Design, October 19, 2010, © Mansueto Ventures, LLC
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Low-Carb Beverages Enhance Endurance In Cyclists - Study

October 18, 2010: 06:36 AM EST

Low-carbohydrate beverages fortified with protein provide longer endurance times in cyclists, according to new U.S. research. The findings offer a different perspective on the use of standard carbohydrate supplements as endurance boosters. A protein-enhanced low-carb drink containing half the carbs and less than a third of the calories of conventional sports drinks improves aerobic endurance – depending on the level of exercise intensity, researchers said. The lab study included 15 skilled endurance cyclists who did two long rides, one after drinking a standard six percent carb supplement, the other a three percent carb plus protein supplement. Overall, there was no significant difference in endurance times. However, endurance improved by about 28 percent in cyclists exercising at or near their ventilatory threshold (VT).

Ferguson-Stegall, Lisa, et al., "The Effect of a Low Carbohydrate Beverage with Added Protein on Cycling Endurance Performance in Trained Athletes", The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, October 18, 2010, © Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
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Danisco Innovation Improves Texture And Taste Of High-Fiber Bread

October 18, 2010: 06:52 AM EST

Denmark’s Danisco, a global bio-tech company, recently introduced GRINDSTED Fiberline, a revolutionary solution for increasing the popularity of wholesome, fiber-laden bread by addressing current consumer issues with texture and taste. The firm’s bakery research group created an “ingredient system” that can be used in normal industrial baking processes with no change to recipes or processing regimes. The technology can be used with breads made from rye flour or high-fiber-content oat bran to produce products similar to white wheat bread in taste, texture, and shelf-life. A Danisco spokesperson noted, “Many consumers simply do not enjoy food with added fiber, this additive is an opportunity to reverse this trend and take advantage of the growing mainstream market for healthier food products.”

"Danisco Makes Healthier Bread the Consumer’s Choice", Food Ingredients First, October 18, 2010, © CNS Media BV
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“Night Milk” Crystals Sold In Europe As Natural Source of Melatonin

October 17, 2010: 12:19 PM EST

The German firm Milchkristalle has developed a way to produce melatonin-rich milk that can be marketed as a natural crystalline source of the “sleep hormone” that helps regulate the body’s sleep cycles. The firm’s “night milk” is taken from cows under nighttime lighting conditions when the melatonin levels in the milk are the highest. The cows’ diet is fortified with clover, which contains tryptophan, a chemical converted to melatonin by the body. The milk is marketed in crystalline form to be mixed with milk or yogurt. Melatonin is sold over-the-counter in the U.S. as a supplement, but requires a doctor’s prescription in Europe. Some scientists have referred to the Milchkristalle crystals as “expensive placebos” that contain much less melatonin than the relatively ineffective pill supplements.

The Local, "Munich firm patents 'night milk' to help the sleepless", The Local, October 17, 2010, © The Local
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New Oral Probiotic Could Boost Oral Health, Many Applications

October 14, 2010: 10:23 AM EST

Frutarom, USA has launched a patented oral cavity probiotic that the company claims can boost oral health. The product, BLIS M18, is based on the bacteria S. salivarius M18, a proprietary strain of micro-organism that produces the BLIS antibacterial molecules, Salivaricins A, 9 and X that target and kills pathogens. Frutarom claims that BLIS M18 can be used in a range of applications, including chewing gum, chewable tablets, lozenges, powder drinks and fast-melt tablets.  Using products with the probiotic should enable people to maintain a healthily balance of bacteria beyond that possible through current mouth care regimes, protecting gums and teeth from pathogens and decay and helping to ensure fresher breath.

"Frutarom Launches Oral Probiotic", Nutrition Horizon, October 14, 2010, © CNS Media BV
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FMCG Manufacturers Study Consumer Behavior With Unprecedented Intimacy

October 13, 2010: 01:22 AM EST

Manufacturers of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) are going beyond the usual consumer research, using intimate studies that increasingly rely on new media such as blogs and social networking Web sites to gain a clearer understanding of why consumers behave the way they do. Aside from direct-to-the-customer studies, FMCG companies also rely on various experts, such as historians, psychologists, and anthropologists, to tailor their messages to customers’ needs, requirements, and specific socio-economic conditions. Because FMCG vendors demand accurate consumer data, which has helped unveil ethnic and cultural differences in consumer preferences, consumer research is a fast growing business.

Louise Lucas , "Brands get up close and personal", Financial Times, October 13, 2010, © The Financial Times Limited
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New Ice Cream Coatings From ADM Cocoa Offer Much-Reduced Saturated Fat Content

October 11, 2010: 11:48 AM EST

With low fat ice cream products in high demand among health conscious consumers – 319 low fat ice creams were unveiled between 2005 and 2009, according to Mintel – ingredients that lower fat content while retaining flavor and quality are likely to find a ready market. That’s what ADM Cocoa is counting on with the introduction of a family of coatings using vegetable oils instead of coconut oil, cutting saturated fat in recipes by more than 40 percent. The new coatings contain 74 percent less saturated fat than coconut oil, but retain a "clean snap, smooth texture, fast melting profile at body temperature, quick flavor release and rapid solidification" on frozen foods. Potential applications of the coatings include enrobed chocolate ices, sprayed coatings, toppings and drizzle decorations.

Ben Bouckley, "ADM Cocoa meets rising demand for lower sat fat levels in ice cream coatings", Food Navigator, October 11, 2010, © Decision News Media SAS
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Kimberly-Clark Launches Smart Flush To Save Water

October 11, 2010: 02:17 AM EST

Seeking to raise public awareness of how wasteful toilet flushing is and to help consumers do their part for water conservation, Kimberly-Clark launched the Smart Flush bag, a device that inflates when put inside a toilet tank, cutting the volume of water used in each flush by as much as one liter. Praised by retailers for letting consumers join water conservation efforts easily, the device is given for free exclusively to buyers of 8-pack and 12-pack Scott Naturals bath tissues, which contain 40% recycled fiber and packaged using recycled plastic.

Julie Gallagher, "Paper Products Update", Supermarket News, October 11, 2010, © Penton Media, Inc.
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Men Lose Economic Significance But Gain Importance as Shoppers and Consumers of Personal Care Products

October 11, 2010: 01:06 AM EST

While the decline in men's earning ability may affect others' view of their importance as partners or members of the family, marketers see men’s growing significance as consumers of personal care products. Seeing an increase in men as main shoppers in the last 18 to 24 months, Walmart set up sections for men’s personal-care products in 800 stores, and is planning to expand to its other branches. Some observers say an increase in socio-economic pressures on men is driving their interest in personal care products, with American men spending five times more on skin products today than they did 13 years ago. Unilever claims responsibility for two-thirds of the growth in men’s personal care outside shaving in the last five years.

Jack Neff, "Oh Man, Life May Be Tough but Marketers Still Love You", Advertising Age, October 11, 2010, © Crain Communications
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Sephora Launches iPhone App to Make Cosmetics Shopping a Pleasant Mobile Experience

October 7, 2010: 01:12 AM EST

Cosmetics retailer Sephora North America launched the Sephora to Go application for the iPhone, which allows users of Apple’s smartphone to access the m.sephora.com mobile commerce Web site. Designed for the iPhone, iPod, and iPad running the 3.1 or later version of the iOS operating system, the free app also includes features that let consumers buy, learn about new products, view instructional and product video clips, read product ratings and reviews, browse purchase records, view their Beauty Insider accounts, and create their own shopping lists.

"Sephora to Go iPhone App Launches to Enhance Mobile Shopping Experience", PR Newswire, October 07, 2010, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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New Online Health Advisor Offers Healthcare Product Marketers As Content Providers

October 6, 2010: 03:03 AM EST

A new entrant into the online health advice category, Sharecare.com, plans to respond to consumers’ health questions using both recognized medical resources – like the Cleveland Clinic and the American Cancer Society – and sponsor companies marketing health-related products. Although content offered by the marketers will be clearly labeled, skeptics wonder if users will be able to differentiate between the two sources and worry that information from marketers might not be completely objective. A Sharecare executive countered: “It’s interesting to see how seriously the brands are taking their answers because they know their answers will not be far from the experts’.”  The online health advice market in the U.S. is sizeable, seeing 96.6 million unique visitors in August, about 45 percent of the month’s total U.S. internet activity.

Stuart Elliott, "Web Site to Offer Health Advice, Some of It From Marketers", New York Times, October 06, 2010, © The New York Times Company
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Frito-Lay Drops Noisy Biodegradable Chip Bags After Consumer Complaints

October 6, 2010: 10:20 AM EST

Frito-Lay’s implementation of its commitment to eco-friendly packaging has backfired. Biodegradable bags for multigrain Sun Chips, released to stores in January, have been pulled from the market because of consumer complaints on social Web sites and elsewhere that the bags are too noisy. The discontent with the new bags has driven down sales, as consumers have shied away from purchasing them. Meanwhile, Frito-Lay continues to look for a quieter variety of compostable packaging. "We chose to respond to the consumer feedback but still want to show that we are committed" to compostable packaging, a company spokesman said.

Suzanee Vranica, "Sun Chips Bag to Lose Its Crunch", The Wall Street Journal, October 06, 2010, © Dow Jones & Company
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Pre-washing, Adding Edible Coating, Significantly Improves Shelf Life Of Blueberries

October 5, 2010: 08:54 AM EST

U.S. researchers have discovered that pre-washing and applying an edible protective coating to fresh blueberries prior to packing and storage extends their shelf life. The scientists believe that by doing that, new markets will open up for the popular Oregon crop. Besides enhancing quality and extending storage capabilities, scientists say the edible coatings used on two varieties, Duke and Elliott, also slow decay and water loss after washing. The process, tested over two years, involves a wash with chlorinated water, and then a dip in one of five edible coatings (Semperfresh, acid-soluble chitosan, water-soluble chitosan, calcium caseinate and sodium alginate). Fresh untreated, unwashed blueberries typically last from one to eight weeks depending on several factors like ripeness at harvest and storage conditions. Washing the berries speeds deterioration.

"Edible coatings slow rot, increase shelf life in pre-washed fresh blueberries", Oregon State Univesity College of Agricultural Sciences, October 05, 2010, © Oregon State University
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Gardens Sprout Up Among Independent Restaurants As Part Of “Eat Local” Movement

October 5, 2010: 09:57 AM EST

The National Restaurant Association says a third of 2,000 members polled recently said they have signed on to the “eat local food” movement by planting gardens to produce their own vegetables. The poll results suggest that restaurant gardens are a hot trend in the restaurant industry and is likely to gather steam, because growing produce costs restaurants less than buying it and having it shipped, gives them more quality control and allows them to use locally grown foods. An NRA representative said independent restaurants are more likely to plant gardens because they have more seasonal menu flexibility. Most start small, growing a few basics, but then expand. A restaurant in Michigan, for example, eventually tripled the size of its garden, expanding from tomatoes to include squash, peppers, etc.

Michael J. Crumb (AP), "Chefs name gardens top restaurant trend of 2010", Associated Press (via Yahoo!), October 05, 2010, © The Associated Press
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Science-Based Innovation Drives European Face Care Market; France Still Biggest Spender

October 5, 2010: 01:32 AM EST

New products that leverage biochemical and medical advances, and especially those that address aging are driving the face care market in Europe. Popular technologies include stem cell technology, DNA repair, peptide chains, and sirtuins. Mintel estimates that nearly two-thirds (62%) of French women use anti-wrinkle cream compared to 60% in Italy, 55% in Spain, 51% in the UK and 49% in Germany. European women are primarily concerned with fine lines and wrinkles (with a proportion that peaks at 63% in France and Spain), dark circles and bags under the eyes (peaking at 49% in Britain), sagging skin (43% in Germany) and stretch marks (45% in Italy). Mintel also estimates that the face care market in Europe’s five largest markets (France, Italy, Germany, UK and Spain) was €6.1 billion in 2009 and projects it will reach €6.5 billion by 2013. 

Vincent Gallon, "European facial skincare market capitalizes on advances in science", Premium Beauty News, October 05, 2010, © Premium Beauty News
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Transgenics Turn Nutritionally Poor Cassava Into Carotenoid-Rich Yellow Variety

October 4, 2010: 11:46 AM EST

Collaborative biofortification research efforts among German and Colombian scientists applying transgenic modification techniques turned a white-rooted cassava cultivar into a yellow-rooted variety that accumulates beta-carotene (provitamin A). The white cassava is a carbohydrate staple in arid regions of the world, including Sub-Saharan Africa, but is unfortunately low in micronutrients. Scientists looking at differences among cassava varieties found a single amino acid change in the enzyme phytoene synthase, which functions in the biochemical pathway that produces carotenoids. The research "paves the way for using transgenic or conventional breeding methods to generate commercial cassava cultivars containing high levels of provitamin A carotenoids,” the researchers concluded.

Welsch, R., Arango, J., et al., "Provitamin A accumulation in cassava (Manihot esculenta) roots driven by a single nucleotide polymorphism in a phytoene synthase gene", The Plant Cell, October 04, 2010, © American Society of Plant Biologists
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USDA Awards Grants To Develop Healthier Humanitarian Aid Foods

September 30, 2010: 11:52 AM EST

Endeavoring to promote healthier food products for use in humanitarian assistance efforts, the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has awarded $3.7 million to Johns Hopkins University ($2.7 million) and global health non-profit PATH ($1 million). JHU will use the grant to introduce and test three specially formulated foods for children ages 6-24 months in Bangladesh. PATH’s award will be used to field test Ultra Rice, a cost-effective and culturally appropriate micronutrient fortification technology designed to prevent malnutrition in rice-consuming communities. The technology will be tested in Burundi. “These projects will improve the nutritional quality of food aid products these people depend on for survival,” a USDA official said. NIFA supports development of ready-to-use, fortified blended, and high-energy foods, as well as micronutrient powders.

Jennifer Martin, "USDA Awards Enhance the Nutritional Quality of Food Aid Products", News release, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, September 30, 2010, © USDA
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Researchers Determine Best Way To Preserve Antioxidant Anthocyanins During Baking

September 17, 2010: 07:54 AM EST

U.S. researchers have developed a way to bake blue corn (maize)-based cookies that preserves the colorful water-soluble anthocyanin pigments that are rich in antioxidants. The best ratio of whole-grain blue corn flour to wheat pastry flour ratio was found to be 80:20. The cookie dough was tested using added acidulants citric acid, lactic acid and glucono-δ-lactone (GDL). Cookies were backed in three oven types having different heat transfer coefficients. Cookies baked with citric acid in a convection oven at 182° C for four minutes had the highest total anthocyanin content (TAC) after baking. “By baking rapidly at lower temperatures and adding acidulants, it may be possible to increase residual natural source antioxidants in baked foods,” the researchers concluded.

Jian Li, et al., "Acidulant and oven type affect total anthocyanin content of blue corn cookies", Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, September 17, 2010, © Society of Chemical Industry
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