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Governments Call On Manufacturers To Remove Toxic Chemicals Used In Their Products

October 18, 2010: 02:46 AM EST

Governments are demanding that manufacturers replace deadly chemicals in their products with non-toxic substitutes. While green-product vendors and some mainstream companies have been reducing their use of dangerous substances in their products, governments worldwide are concluding that self-regulation is not enough to address the problem. Regulations established by the European Union and California illustrate governments’ efforts to rein in the use of toxic chemicals by manufacturers and chemical suppliers. But manufacturers assert that governments should not create rules that are too strict and wide ranging: they should cover only potentially harmful chemicals. That view, however, is strongly opposed by environmentalists who want regulations to encompass a much wider variety of consumer and industrial products.

Cassandra Sweet , "What's in All the Stuff We Buy? ", Wall Street Journal, October 18, 2010, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc
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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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High Intake Of Soy Isoflavones Tied To Reduced Recurrence Of Breast Cancer

October 18, 2010: 06:59 AM EST

Chinese researchers who studied the dietary habits of more than 500 post-menopausal women who had undergone breast cancer surgery found that a high intake of soy isoflavones from foods like soymilk, soybean sprouts, tofu and other soy products was associated with reduced risk of recurrence of cancer. The women also received anastrozole or endocrine therapy during their recovery, and their health histories and diets were followed via questionnaires for about five years. According to the researchers, the overall death rate (30.6 percent) was not related to intake of soy isoflavones, but the risk of cancer recurrence among women who consumed the highest levels of soy isoflavones was significantly lower.  The researchers recommended much larger, multicenter clinical studies to confirm their results.

Xinmei Kang, Qingyuan Zhang, Shuhuai Wang, Xu Huang, Shi Jin, "Effect of soy isoflavones on breast cancer recurrence and death for patients receiving adjuvant endocrine therapy ", Canadian Medical Association Journal, October 18, 2010, © Canadian Medical Association Journal
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Natural Compounds In Foods And Spices Impact Brain Activity And Mood

October 17, 2010: 06:43 AM EST

Natural compounds from various foods and spices can act like drugs, firing up different parts of the brain to release chemicals like dopamine and serotonin that induce feelings of happiness, according to a new book that discusses the effects of foods and spices on human behavior and brain functions. Chemicals also support brain activity and stave off aging of the brain. For example, author Gary Wenk traces the Aztecs’ fondness for human sacrifice to their low-tryptophan corn-based diet – critical to serotonin production and positive feelings. Sugar, often avoided due to its negative effects on the body, is actually necessary for strong brain functioning. Spices, too, affect brain function and mood: nutmeg, saffron, fennel, dill, cinnamon, and anise are chemically similar to mescaline. Large amounts can actually provoke feelings of euphoria.

HEATHER HADDON, "This is your brain on food", NY Post, October 17, 2010, © NYP Holdings, Inc.
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Florida Grower Unveils “Red Celery”

October 16, 2010: 07:13 AM EST

Florida-based fruit and vegetable grower Duda Farm Fresh Foods has developed a red celery variety to be marketed under the brand name “Celery Sensations.” Unveiled after twenty years of research, the red celery was created using traditional techniques and natural plant breeding methods, according to the company. Scientists cross-pollinated a commercial variety of celery with an old-world heritage red celery root “to produce a commercially viable variety for today’s consumer’s taste profile,” the company said. The brand will be packaged with Microsoft Tags, high-capacity color barcodes (HCCB) that contain encoded information that can be accessed by scanning with a mobile device. Encoded information includes product data, storage and usage tips, and recipes and meal suggestions.

""The New Red" Revealed at PMA Fresh Summit Today - Celery Sensations", News release, Duda & Sons , October 16, 2010, © Duda & Sons
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Ag Policy Think Tank Urges USDA To Prohibit Use of Nanomaterials In Organic Food Production

October 16, 2010: 07:11 AM EST

The USDA’s National Organic Standards Board Materials Committee is asking the public to comment on a proposal that a symposium be conducted on whether the use of nanotechnology – controlling materials at the atomic or molecular level – is "possible, practical and legal" in organic production. Daily Planet columnist Ben Lilliston says “the idea that engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) would be allowed in certified organic food production … seems ludicrous on its face.” And the nonprofit Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) has submitted its comments on the issue, arguing against any assumption that federal regulators can effectively regulate ENMs in any food production, organic or conventional. The IATP urged the USDA  to “adopt a presumptive prohibition on ENMs in products that meet the organic standard."

Ben Lilliston, Think Forward, "Nanotech organic?", Daily Planet, October 16, 2010, © Daily Planet
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Growth In Organic Food Demand Provides Opportunities For Women Farmers

October 14, 2010: 10:35 AM EST

With Canadian farming characterized by highly-mechanized, high-yield, large-scale farms, the growth in demand for organic good is providing opportunities for women to become more involved in what has become a male-dominated industry. Although women have played a key part in family farming businesses, they often didn’t get the recognition they deserved, and their role has decreased as farm sizes increased. Today, 30 percent of organic farmers are women. They seem better suited to smaller-scale farming: they are less focused on yield and profit, and more focused on the community and family health. According to one female organic farmer, women are changing the face of farming in Canada, with a long-term perspective that recognizes food needs to be produced sustainably.

Mary Teresa Bitti, "Taking the lead - Women drawn by organic farming focus on healthy food, healthy communities", Edmonton Journal, October 14, 2010, © Postmedia Network Inc
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Wal-Mart’s Massive Global Food Business To Add More Local Sustainable Food

October 14, 2010: 03:22 AM EST

As part of its five-year global effort to shrink the company’s environmental footprint, the world’s biggest retail grocer will buy 9 percent of its U.S. produce from local, sustainably-run farms; an increase of 100 percent. Considering that Wal-Mart’s food business represents a large proportion of its $400 million annual sales, this move has significant consequences for U.S. farmers located in states where Wal-Mart operates. To further its sustainability impact, the retail giant plans to evaluate the production and shipping efficiencies of large suppliers and help small (under 50 acres) and mid-size farmers, particularly in emerging economies, to build more ecologically-aware operations. Part of the commitment includes selling $1 billion of produce from one million farms. In addition, Wal-Mart will spend over $1 billion to address spoilage and reduce waste by 10 percent in the U.S., expecting to improve profitability for itself and suppliers, and it has announced sustainable sourcing initiatives for palm oil and beef. Despite reservations from some, experts say that Wal-Mart’s plans will significantly advance local and global sustainability.

STEPHANIE CLIFFORD, "Wal-Mart to Buy More Local Produce", New York Times , October 14, 2010, © The New York Times Company
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Nestlé Criticized For Using U.K.’s Change4Life Logo To Promote Its Junk Food

October 14, 2010: 10:57 AM EST

Change4Life, a U.K. government nutrition program funded with a two-year commitment of £75m, took a blow when one of its leading partners, Nestlé, included the program’s logo on a website dominated by its sugar-laden products. This was particularly inappropriate because families that participate in the Change4Life program are encouraged to replace high-sugar foods with nutritious alternatives. Christine Haigh, Children’s Food Campaign Coordinator, argued that Nestlé’s actions provide a “wake up call for the Department of Health” to think about their collaboration with companies promoting products inconsistent with its anti-obesity efforts.

"Nestlé breaches Change4Life guidelines", Sustainweb, October 14, 2010, © Sustain
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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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Whole Foods Market Shoppers Donate $1.4 M To Support School Salad Bar Initiative

October 13, 2010: 10:30 AM EST

Acting as a conduit for donations to the Salad Bar Program of non-profit Food Farming Foundation (F3), Whole Foods Market energized its shoppers to donate $1.4 million to provide 570 schools with salad bar kits and training manuals. Both Whole Foods and F3 professionals were thrilled with the outpouring of support during the seven-week drive and feel it shows how important healthy school lunches are for many families. To qualify for grants under the program, schools must participate in the National School Lunch Program, be located within 50 miles of a Whole Foods Market store, be dedicated to maintaining a viable salad bar for at least two years and be able to continue the program long-term. Grants for the salad bar kits will be awarded in January.

"Whole Foods Market shoppers donate more than $1.4 million for salad bars in schools", News release, Whole Foods Market, October 13, 2010, © Whole Foods Market
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Ingredients Firm Offers Carotenoid-Rich Extract From The Gac Fruit

October 13, 2010: 04:20 AM EST

Telos Ceuticals, a Michigan-based food ingredients producer, has introduced a carotenoid-rich extract from a Southeast Asian fruit known as gac (momordica cochinchinensis spreng). According to the company, Carogac can be used as an ingredient by companies who want to enrich food products with carotenoids. The fruit contains 76 times the lycopene in tomatoes, 60 times the vitamin C in oranges, and 10 times the beta-carotene in carrots. The company cites published USDA research showing that extracts from the gac fruit also contain 40 times the zeaxanthin in corn, and is a source of omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, and vitamin E. Self-affirmed GRAS, Kosher, and Hallal, the extract is available in 100 percent pure fruit powder, 100 percent pure frozen puree and fresh puree, the company said.

Stephen Daniells, "Telos Ceuticals launches carotenoid-rich Gac fruit extract", Carogac, October 13, 2010, © Carogac
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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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Starbucks And L’Oréal Use O2 To Trial Geofencing In UK

October 14, 2010: 12:49 AM EST

U.K.-based mobile phone network O2, using a global positioning technology developed by U.S. company Placecast, has launched location-based mobile phone marketing campaigns for Starbucks and L’Oréal. The campaigns use a “geofencing” system that brings targeted text messages to consumers when they are near retail outlets. It’s an “auto-check-in” service, but consumers have to opt-in by registering online. Starbucks plans to use the campaign at its U.K. outlets and in grocery stores, with the system sending numerical codes with corresponding 50 pence discounts to consumers purchasing its Via instant coffee. L’Oréal, meanwhile, has set up the system around branches of health and beauty retailer Superdrug to promote the Elvive brand of hair products. Other brands are expected to join the system, as Placecast sets up some 1,500 geofences across the U.K.

Christopher Heine, "Starbucks, L'Oreal Will Test Geo-Fencing for Six Months", ClickZ, October 14, 2010, © Incisive Interactive Marketing LLC
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Online Store Abe’s Market Uses Producer Stories To Sell Natural Products

October 13, 2010: 10:54 AM EST

Start-up organic product aggregator, Abe’s Market, opened last year using a seemingly contradictory concept: use personal, local-feeling merchant profiles and stories to add the ‘farmers-market-like’ sensation to buying online. Online sales reached $155 billion last year but are soulless and devoid of human contact. At the same time, farmers markets are rising in popularity, with their number doubling in the last decade.  Abe’s Market hopes to bridge the gap with high-touch merchandizing and personal stories. Its business model relies on specialization – separating manufacturing from distribution – and charging its merchants, many of whom have their own online stores, a 30% fee. Revenues, so far, are unremarkable but angel investor, Toby Coppel, believes Abe’s buyers are “passionate about organic and natural products and want to connect with the people behind the products.”

JESSICA BRUDER, "Turning Business Owners Into Stars of Their Own Stories", The New York Times, October 13, 2010, © The New York Times
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Web Site Provides Traceability Data On Soybeans Used In Silk Soymilk

October 13, 2010: 04:59 AM EST

Silk Soymilk says it has launched a Web site that allows consumers to trace the origin of the soybeans used in its top-selling product. Consumers can trace soybean origins and production methods down to the county level on each carton, according to the company. Consumers enter the manufacturing code and expiration date from Silk cartons to find out where in the U.S. the soybeans were grown and can learn more about how Silk makes sure its soybeans contain no genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Dubbed “a complete crop-to-carton story,” the new Web site follows in the wake of Silk's enrollment in the Non-GMO Project's Product Verification Program, a system that tests whether a product has met non-GMO standards. The Web site can be found at www.silksoymilk.com/traceit/.

"Silk® Soymilk Launches Soybean Traceability Website", PRNewswire, October 13, 2010, © PRNewswire
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New Cornell Center Applies Behavioral Economics To Encourage Healthier Eating In Schools

October 12, 2010: 04:55 AM EST

Cornell University’s new Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs, launched in part with a $1 million grant from the USDA, will apply the principles of behavioral economics to distribute information on ways U.S. schools can imaginatively "nudge" – rather than force – students to eat a healthier diet. The Center, for example, encourages placing fruits and vegetables in more attractive locations in schools and putting chocolate milk behind regular milk to make it a bit more difficult to grab. In one pilot study a school tripled salad eating by placing the salad bar into a bottleneck area in the checkout line. In  another, a school doubled fruit consumption by putting fruits in a well-lit and attractive basket instead of a steel bin.

Stacey Shackford, "New center, with $1 million grant, aims to make school lunchrooms smarter", Chronicle Online, Cornell University, October 12, 2010, © Cornell University
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CEO Of UK’s Waitrose Sees Organic Sales Rising, Even As Consumers Remain Price Sensitive

October 12, 2010: 11:15 AM EST

Organic sales in the UK rose for 15 consecutive years, only to turn down in 2009, but Mark Price, Managing Director at the retailer Waitrose, says organic food sales are rising once again. Price also indicated that consumers remain cost sensitive. To remain competitive, especially against Tesco, Waitrose offers around 800 promotions a month, with promotions accounting for 18 to 20 percent of store sales.  He also pointed to changing consumer preferences, mentioning that some customers now preferring to shop online, either with purchases delivered or for pick-up at the store.

John Reynolds, "Organic foods on way back, says Waitrose chief", Marketing Magazine, UK, October 12, 2010, © Haymarket Brand Media
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Consumers Prefer Beauty Advertisements That Appeal To Their Self-Confidence - Study

October 13, 2010: 01:33 AM EST

A survey conducted in August 2010 by About.com, an online depository of information, found that consumers react better to beauty product advertisements that aim at their confidence instead of their perceived insecurities. The survey sought to study the factors affecting consumers’ purchase and use of cosmetics, skin care products and hair care products, as well as what manufacturers can do to draw more consumers, and the emotional impact of beauty products on consumers. The survey found, for example, that beauty products inspire confidence (55 percent), help people achieve success (70 percent), instill desirability (63 percent) and encourage feeling good “on the inside” (75 percent). In addition, consumers consider beauty products a necessity and prefer buying well-established brands, which they view as more reliable and of higher value than generic products.

"Most Compelling Beauty Product Ads Are Those That Appeal to Consumers' Confidence Rather Than Their Insecurities About.com's 2010 Beauty Study Finds", New York Times, October 13, 2010, © The New York Times Company
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Nestlé Partnership With Pediatricians Worries Consumer Advocates

October 12, 2010: 05:03 AM EST

Consumer advocates aren’t happy about the recently announced partnership between global food giant Nestlé and the American Academy of Pediatrics to inform consumers about childhood obesity. The partnership will develop “plain-language,” focus group-tested nutrition help messages for young families over the next year and a half. However, consumer advocates like the Center for Science in the Public Interest argue that the partnership will taint the AAP’s independence, mainly because Nestlé, which manufactures food products of questionable nutrition, including Gerber Graduates Lil' Entrees, a toddlers' pasta dish that contains 550mg of sodium. "Getting this funding from Nestlé will make a difference in the Academy's ability to criticize Nestle, if there is reason to criticize it," said the head of CSPI. But AAP says Nestlé will not influence message content.

Gergana Koleva, "Critics: Nestle, American Academy of Pediatrics alliance a conflict of interest", WalletPop, October 12, 2010, © AOL Inc
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Data Show Young Adult Singles Are A Growing – And Wealthy – Market

October 11, 2010: 02:14 AM EST

More people aged 25 to 34 are single now than married – 46 percent to 45 percent respectively, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data by the Population Reference Bureau. While some marketers like Coldwell Banker, Norwegian Cruise Lines, and Match.com are already targeting young adult singles in their ads, most companies haven’t developed marketing strategies to attract the affluent demographic to their products. Young adult singles are known for relatively unrestrained spending – thanks to the lack of family financial responsibilities – that could benefit many industries. However, marketers need to be wary about the message they send. According to the author of a book on the adult singles lifestyle, marketers should stop assuming, for example, that all singles are on the prowl for a mate.

E.J. Schultz, "As Single Becomes New Norm, How to Market Without Stigma", Advertising Age, October 11, 2010, © Crain Communications
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Food-Allergy Sufferers Reward Companies That Address Their Needs

October 11, 2010: 03:26 AM EST

Four percent of the U.S. population currently suffers from food-related allergies, up18 percent in the last ten years, and both food manufacturers and food-service providers are beginning to address allergy victims’ concerns. General Mills’ gluten-free brands, Chili's allergen-informative website, and American Airlines switch from peanuts to pretzels are all examples of how businesses meet these expanding challenges. Because a large percentage of the 12 million U.S. food-allergy sufferers are children, parents are highly-sensitive to safety issues, underscoring the need for businesses to change food processing, preparation, distribution and contamination-prevention practices. Doing so can allay victims’ concerns but also be good for business. Unresponsive companies will likely lose business, a process aided by technology:  the iPhone app, iCanEatOntheGo, screens fast-food restaurants; Foodcontentalerts.com identifies packaged-food allergy issues; and Allerdine.com grades restaurants on allergy-related issues.

Rupal Parekh, "Market for Food-Allergy-Friendly Biz More Than Peanuts", AdAge.com, October 11, 2010, © Crain Communications
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Facebook Users Are Big Fans Of Brand Pages

October 11, 2010: 03:57 AM EST

A new DDB survey conducted in the U.S., U.K., Italy, France, Australia and Chile has found that Facebook users who are fans of a brand page buy more of the product. In addition, 92 percent proactively recommend products to their friends. Strong customer loyalty develops when the fan considers the relationship exclusive and personal, and finds the page content interesting. Advertising and search engines drive Facebook users to brand pages. Most users follow nine brands on average, with the largest concentrations in media/entertainment and fashion/luxury goods. While brand pages offer a compelling opportunity to marketers, the operation requires an ongoing, inviting, and unique communications strategy for success. DDB contacted more than 1,600 Facebook users: a little more than half were female, while the average age was 31.

Andrew McMains , "Facebook Brand Pages Pay Off", Adweek, October 11, 2010, © Adweek
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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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Studies Show Mobile Users Getting More Comfortable With Ads

October 11, 2010: 04:06 AM EST

Consumer research conducted by inMobi, comScore, Nielsen, and Oracle shows that owners of mobile devices see the value of advertisements appearing on their phones, as long as the ads are targeted to their needs and they get something in return. According to the surveys, 50-60 percent of mobile phone users accept the idea of mobile phone ads, but want free content or a discount on their phone bill as incentives. And they want the ads to be personalized and customized to their location. While some marketers believe fulfilling these requests would be expensive for advertisers, the impact of reaching consumers directly with focused, personalized messages may justify the costs.

"Mobile Consumers See Value in Advertising", eMarketer, October 11, 2010, © eMarketer
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Recession Has Led To Shift In Consumer Values, Spending Behavior

October 11, 2010: 02:16 AM EST

The “great recession” has driven many Americans to reassess their values and priorities and shift their spending to support more meaningful lifestyles and companies that share their values, according to research from Young & Rubicam. The author and colleagues drew their conclusions from internal data and from interviews with Americans from all walks of life. Their data indicated that Americans were uneasy with the consumerist lifestyle before the recession. And now, with less money to spend, 55 percent said they are returning to traditional ideals like “self-reliance, thrift, faith, creativity, hard work and community.” Americans use their purchases as a form of vote for a simpler lifestyle and for companies who share their ideals. Seventy-one percent said they patronize companies with similar values; 66 percent shun incompatible ones.

John Gerzema, "How U.S. Consumers Are Steering the 'Spend Shift'", Advertising Age, October 11, 2010, © Crain Communications
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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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Retailers See Facebook As Dynamic New Shopping Platform

October 9, 2010: 02:12 AM EST

The 500 million Facebook users look very attractive to retailers today as online friends’ conversations turn to buying evaluations and purchases, as discussed in Dallas last week at the Shop.org annual retail technology meeting. Retailers, integrated with Facebook, bring consumers buying information and opportunities through over 30 billion content messages monthly “because this is where the customer is hanging out. They’re not hanging out on websites,” according to one industry expert. Best Buy’s Facebook page has a “shop” tab which allows Facebook users to link directly to its inventory and then discuss purchases they are evaluating with their friends. Because many Facebook members use the gaming aspects of the site, retailers are now offering gaming credits rather than discounts as incentives to purchase items from them. The cost of these credits is significantly lower than traditional incentives.

Maria Halkias , "Facebook becomes new face of retail", McClatchy Tribune Newspapers, October 09, 2010, © Los Angeles Newspaper Group
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Recession Doesn’t Dampen U.K. Chocolate Sales

October 8, 2010: 10:46 AM EST

U.K. consumers increasingly looked to chocolate for comfort during the recession, according to new market research from Mintel. Sales growth from 2007 to 2009 was 9.2 percent, while new product introductions increased 34 percent in the last six months. Total U.K. chocolate sales in the two-year period were $5.8  billion and are expected to top $6.6 billion by 2015. More than 90 percent of the population treat themselves to chocolate regularly, Mintel found. Other  interesting new trends: 87 percent of men admitted enjoying chocolate, compared to 91 percent of women, and more consumers today believe dark chocolate is healthier than milk chocolate (35 percent compared to only 23 percent two years ago). Ethical claims such as fair trade appeared on 25 percent of new chocolate products in the U.K. in 2009.

"Consumer demand for chocolate stays sweet", News release, Mintel, October 08, 2010, © Mintel
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USDA Study Sheds Light On How Some Omega-3s Protect Against Diabetes, Liver Disease

October 8, 2010: 10:12 AM EST

The positive health effects of omega-3 fatty acids found in certain fish and fish oil supplements are well known. Now new studies in mice by a USDA research team at UC-Davis have found out how. Researchers evaluated the interactivity between fatty acids DHA, EPA and CLA in fifty laboratory mice over eight weeks. DHA protected the animals from damaging side effects of CLA, including insulin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. EPA, however, provided only partial protection. The researchers said their findings support the call for larger studies in humans, because past research has been inconclusive about the interaction of various omega-3s. Insights into treatment of people using omega-3s may lead to new ways to delay or eliminate the onset of diabetes, cirrhosis and liver cancer.

Marcia Wood, "Got Fish? Nutrition Studies Explore Health Benefits", News release, USDA Agricultural Research Magazine, October 08, 2010, © USDA
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FDA Seeks Injunction Against Juice Producer For Neglect Of Safety Measures

October 7, 2010: 04:34 PM EST

The U.S. Department of Justice, acting on behalf of the FDA, has filed a complaint in New York requesting a permanent injunction against Brooklyn juice company Juices Incorporated barring it from further processing and distribution of juice products because of violations of federal food safety laws. FDA investigators found that the company failed to adequately heat and refrigerate low-acid vegetable juices to destroy dangerous microorganisms. The company also allegedly failed to properly clean food-contact surfaces or maintain plumbing properly to avoid food and water contamination. The company was also charged with failing to have a Hazard Analysis plan for its carrot and beet juice products. Neglect of safety precautions for beet and carrot juices can lead to formation of that botulism bacteria that produces  a dangerous neurotoxin.

Ira Allen, "FDA seeks to stop juice company’s processing, distribution", News release, FDA, October 07, 2010, © FDA
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UK Organic Food Producer Yeo Valley Expands Marketing Presence

October 7, 2010: 10:21 AM EST

In an effort to increase name recognition, perceptions of accessibility, and sales, the UK’s Yeo Valley has developed a £5m multi-media strategy to reach a range of consumers through television and online. As consumer issues over the higher prices of organic food dampen demand, Yeo Valley wants to change buyers’ views and present a less-serious, family-owned business that has its roots in the West Country. Through its first television ads, new website, and social media campaigns on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, Yeo Valley invites prospective buyers into its farm operation and environment, through video-heavy experiences and accompanying music, stressing openness and “really shouting about our sustainably produced, quality organic food,” according to a company spokesman. The first screening of Yeo Valley’s Live in Harmony campaign occurs in early October.

Rosie Baker, "Yeo Valley takes organic message to TV", Marketing Week, October 07, 2010, © Marketing Week/Centaur
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Soy Supplement Reduces Hot Flashes, Muscle/Joint Pain In Menopausal Women

October 7, 2010: 10:01 AM EST

A study among American women showed for the first time that daily intake of at least 10 mg of a whole soy germ-based nutritional supplement (Natural S-equol) reduced hot flashes as well as muscular and joint pain in menopausal women. A second study among Japanese women found that the supplement improved bone density. Some women, particularly those who consume high levels of dietary soy, can produce S-equol naturally. Japanese women, who consume more soy in their diets, have milder menopausal symptoms than American women. The study involved 102 women from 45 to 65 years of age who had begun menopause in the prior five years. Some side effects of Natural S-equol included stomach distention, constipation and thickening of the uterine lining. No serious side effects were encountered.

"New Soy-Based Natural S-equol Supplement Reduces Menopausal Hot Flashes, Muscle and Joint Pain in First Study Among U.S. Women", News release, Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, October 07, 2010, © Otsuka Pharmaceuticals
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Organic Milling To Use Ganeden’s Probiotic Strain In Versatile Yogurt Puffs

October 7, 2010: 10:04 AM EST

Organic Milling said it will incorporate Ganeden Biotech’s probiotic strain GanedenBC30 into its yogurt puffs to be marketed as a standalone product or as an ingredient that adds probiotic health benefits, as well as flavor and texture, to a wide range of foods. According to Ganeden, a naturally-occurring layer of organic material created by the spore protects the genetic core of GanedenBC30, allowing it to withstand heat, cold, high pressure and sheer during manufacturing, shelf life, pH and water activity ranges of finished products. In addition, the product accommodates different recipes, including conventional, natural, kosher, gluten free and organic. Organic Milling, a producer of cusomizable cereal products, plans to incorporate the yogurt puffs in its cereal and granola products.

"Ganeden Biotech and Organic Milling Develop a New Line of Probiotic Functional Yogurt Ingredient Puffs", News release, Ganeden, October 07, 2010, © Ganeden
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Walmart Works With Worldwise To Recycle Waste Materials Into Green Pet Products

October 7, 2010: 01:21 AM EST

Walmart is launching a program with green pet products maker Worldwise, Inc., that will turn Walmart’s salvageable waste materials – including plastic bottles, bags, cardboard, and hangers – into pet products sold in Walmart stores. Recycled products that will hit the shelves this month include dog beds made from bottles, cat scratchers from cardboard and litter pans from hangers. Walmart’s sustainability goals include a commitment to “creating zero waste,” according to a senior executive, and “the closed loop partnership with Worldwise is a perfect example of how retailers and suppliers can cooperate to innovate and achieve greater sustainability.” Worldwise says its efforts will keep the equivalent of more than 100 million 16.9 oz. plastic bottles out of landfills, about 25 million of which will come from Walmart and Sam's Clubs.

"Trend Towards More Sustainable Products Gets Boost With New Worldwise-Walmart Partnership", PRNewswire, October 07, 2010, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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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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Some Foreign Organic Labeling Could Be Meaningless, New Book Argues

October 7, 2010: 10:27 AM EST

A new book by former organic food inspector Mischa Popoff contends that foreign food brokers and traders – who have a major impact on what organically-labeled food reaches U.S. grocery stores – have “watered the standards down” for organic labeling. Food labeled organic may only qualify on paper rather than through direct inspection of farming processes or through organic quality testing and control, Popoff says. In fact, huge amounts of food from countries such as China, Mexico, and Brazil arrive in the U.S. labeled organic without meeting compliance standards. These shoddy practices penalize North American farmers who are monitored, tested, and held to strict compliance rules. “You’ve got pages and pages of regulations [in those countries] but there’s no testing so it doesn’t matter what other regulations are,” Popoff says.

Mischa Popoff, Audio, OSOYOOS, BRITISH COLUMBIA, "Organic food may not be what you think", Central Valley Business Times, October 07, 2010, © Central Valley Business Times
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Study Shows Teens Mirror Adults’ Online Privacy Concerns

October 7, 2010: 04:09 AM EST

Teen’s high level of involvement with Facebook and other social media does not mitigate their concerns about online privacy. Despite Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg’s recent comment that “People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people," survey results indicate that over 85 percent of teens between 15 and 18 think social media and search engines should get permission before they gather information on people for marketing and sales purposes. In addition, most teens (92 percent) say they should be able to delete all of their personal information on the internet when they want.  The survey, conducted by Zogby, was sponsored by Washington privacy advocate, Common Sense Media. A similar study, involving adults, showed similar results.

Austin Carr, "Teens Want More Privacy Online Too ", Fast Company, October 07, 2010, © Mansueto Ventures LLC
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More Companies Join the March for Sustainable Packaging

October 7, 2010: 01:34 AM EST

A new report by the Global Industry Analysts, Inc., forecasts the world’s sustainable packaging market to reach US$142.42 billion in 2015. Meanwhile, the Sustainable Packaging Alliance says that packaging can only be considered sustainable if it satisfies these four criteria: socially and economically beneficial; efficient use of materials, energy, and water; cyclic or recyclable through industrial or natural systems; and safe or non-polluting and non-toxic. While a survey by Procter & Gamble Professional showed that companies favor environmental responsibility but are confused over how to go about it, several leading businesses, such as Apple, Boeing, Chevrolet, Clorox, Green Mountain Coffee Roaster, and HBO, are doing their shares to promote environment-friendly business practices.

Hayden Norris, "Green Branding Watch: Boeing, Apple, P&G and more", Eco Institution, October 07, 2010, © Green Consulting
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New York Seeks Ban On Food Stamp Purchases Of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

October 7, 2010: 10:34 AM EST

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor David Paterson extended their fight against obesity and unhealthy diet choices by requesting approval from the USDA to bar use of food stamps to buy sugary sodas, sports drinks, sweetened teas, etc. in the city. Bloomberg and Paterson observed that using government money to buy “foods of little or no nutritional value …effectively subsidizes a serious public health epidemic.” New York City’s eight million food stamp recipients – roughly half the population – spend more than $75 million on sugar-sweetened drinks. More than half of the adult population and 40 percent of public primary school students are overweight or obese. The USDA denied earlier requests by Maine and Minnesota for similar restrictions because they were discriminatory against needy consumers.

Sara Kugler Frazier, "NY seeks to ban sugary drinks from food stamp buys", Associated Press , October 07, 2010, © The Associated Press
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Axe, Old Spice Ads Promote Personal Hygiene Among Young Teen And Tween Boys

October 7, 2010: 01:05 AM EST

Male hygiene brands Axe (Unilever) and Old Spice (Procter & Gamble) have launched marketing campaigns that may have accidentally promoted the importance of personal cleanliness among teen and tween boys aged 11-14 years. The ads use humor, hyperbole, and even some silliness to drive home their message to a target audience that is more concerned with issues related to their masculinity and does not consider hygiene a major priority. While the campaigns might have inadvertently met success – they were actually targeting college-age and twenty-something males – it illustrates the importance of the teens and tweens group whose members, according to marketing research firm YouthBeat, play the most important role when families purchase clothes, shoes, and deodorants.

Amy Henry, "Axe, Old Spice Make It Cool To Be Clean", MediaPost, October 07, 2010, © MediaPost Communications
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Walmart Brings Mexican, Central American Suppliers Up-To-Date On Eco-Goals

October 7, 2010: 01:15 AM EST

Walmart’s recent two-day forum for Mexican and Central American suppliers outlined the giant retailer’s plans for reducing its environmental impact in those regions. The retailer’s long-term commitment to support eco-friendly best practices includes three long-term global objectives: to create zero waste, to use 100 percent renewable energy, and to sell products that sustain the environment. In Mexico, for example, the company’s first wind energy facility provides energy to 348 Walmart Mexico stores. Walmart hopes that, by the end of 2015, it will: limit greenhouse gas emissions growth to half the rate of sales floor expansion, reduce energy consumption by 13 percent (over 2009 levels), recycle or reuse 80 percent of waste, reuse 60 percent of treated water, and reduce all water consumption by 30 percent.

"For Walmart Mexico, Sustainability Is a Group Effort", TreeHugger.com, October 07, 2010, © TreeHugger.com
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Roundup-Treated GM Foods Linked To Cause Birth Defects and Cancer

October 6, 2010: 09:13 AM EST

Scientific studies show that glyphosate, an active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup Ready herbicide, is linked to high increases in reproductive problems and early childhood health issues. Of particular concern is the use of Roundup on 90% of the soy crops in North America, along with growing usage in South American crop production. Soy, frequently used in infant formula and by nursing mothers, may be linked to a 300% increase in childhood cancer and a 400% increase in birth defects in Argentina over the last decade.  Advocacy groups want countries to mandate proper labeling and force retailers to pull products contaminated by genetic modification, especially baby formula, from their shelves.

Josette Dunn, "GM soy linked to birth defects, cancer: new study", AFN, October 06, 2010
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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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Paying Cash For Food Leads To Healthier Dietary Choices

October 6, 2010: 03:39 AM EST

A new U.S. study has found that the way consumers pay for food – either by cash or credit card – influences the kind of food they purchase: healthy or unhealthy. Researchers analyzed shopping behavior among 1,000 households for six months. They found that shoppers react to certain food items, mainly unhealthy ones like cookies, cakes and pies, impulsively. That impulse is more easily satisfied and becomes fairly painless when credit cards are used, but more difficult when cash is the only option. The researchers found that “shopping baskets have a larger proportion of food items rated as impulsive and unhealthy when shoppers use credit or debit cards to pay for the purchases.” Follow-up tests showed that the “pain” of paying with cash can restrain impulsive actions.

Manoj Thomas, et al., "How Credit Card Payments Increase Unhealthy Food Purchases: Visceral Regulation of Vices", Journal of Consumer Research, October 06, 2010, © Journal of Consumer Research, Inc.
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Effective Food Safety Risk Communication Would Build Consumer Trust

October 6, 2010: 09:17 AM EST

Institute of Food Technologists President Robert Gravani told the recently-held Food System Summit that effective risk communication is critical to handling food safety issues. Not only would better communication protect food companies, it would also inspire consumer trust and confidence in the food distribution system. He outlined several best practices for insuring better risk communication, including prompt response, creating a crisis communication network, accepting uncertainty, partnering with the public, being open and honest, and being accessible to the media. According to the IFT, the food industry over the next ten years needs to double the yield of food from the same amount of land. That fact heightens consumer concerns about food safety and food labeling, issues that have grabbed headlines in the U.S. in the past year.

"Food System Summit addresses consumers perception of US food ", Institute of Food Technologists, October 06, 2010, © Institute of Food Technologists
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New Potato Variety Arrives At U.K. Supermarkets Wearing the Royal Purple

October 6, 2010: 09:03 AM EST

A purple potato rich in the anthocyanins that give blueberries and blackberries their deep color has hit supermarkets in the U.K. The Purple Majesty potato, grown in Scotland, is “ideal for making deep purple chips, purple mash and purple roasted potatoes” and can be boiled or micro-waved, according to British supermarket Sainsbury's. The nutrient-rich potato, which was bred by scientists at the University of Colorado and is grown by Albert Bartlett, retains its color during cooking. The colorful spud is a naturally occurring variation crossed from original potato varieties. Only 400 tons have been harvested this year, but plans are underway to boost crop volumes next year, Sainsbury’s said.

"First purple potato hits supermarket shelves", J Sainsbury Plc, October 06, 2010, © J Sainsbury Plc
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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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