2010-08-21 23:00
Convenience Store News

According to The Food Channel, the top ten snack trends are:

Chip and dip 2.0

New varieties and flavors are giving consumers something different. It's likely to find hummus and falafel chips or pretzel crisps at the next party instead of the traditional chip-and-dip duo.

Small and sensational

Consumers are eating more substantial snacks packed with protein as meal replacements, and eating them more often. For pick-me-ups, people may grab a slider at Steak 'n Shake, or a Big Mac Wrap at McDonald's. Come dinnertime, they may graze some more, but by today's definition, snacks may be all they need.

The drink shift

This trend is all about the "halo of health" around drinks made with fruit or antioxidants. There is a shift in snack beverages away from colas and energy drinks and more toward teas, lemonades, fruity organic waters and carbonated fruit drinks with interesting flavor combinations.

Goin' nuts

Snacking habits are adjusting to the talk about how good nuts are for health, with nuts and granola, nuts and fruits and smoked nuts growing more popular. Unique flavor combinations give consumers the feeling they are eating healthy: for example, cashews with pomegranate and vanilla, or dark chocolate with caramelized black walnuts.

Fruits: the low-hanging snack

The trend here is the mainstreaming of new types of fruit, and the redefinition of locally grown to mean locally sourced. Fresh fruit is now the No. 1 snack among kids aged two to 17.

Cruising the bars

While it's become mainstream that a granola bar is an acceptable emergency meal, bars are now offered in dairy-free, gluten-free, organic, soy-free, cholesterol-free, trans-fat-free and more varieties. There are even versions specifically formulated for women and children.

Sweet and salty

Until recent years, the only way sweet and salty snacks mixed was when people ate something sweet and then craved something salty, or vice-versa. That barrier is now removed, with consumers dipping pretzels in Nutella and eating fruit with a side of popcorn.

Yogurt, redefined

The new gold standard for yogurt is the increased health value found with probiotics. Acknowledging the trend toward global flavors, there is Greek yogurt, among the healthiest snacks one can eat. Icelandic yogurt is starting to emerge as yet another world player and new self-serve frozen yogurt shops are popping up everywhere too. Although not new, yogurt continues to redefine itself and is definitely trending up.

Bodaciously bold

Bold flavors are almost becoming regular, satisfying an urge for something unordinary. One example is Doritos First-, Second- and Third-Degree Burn.

Nostalgia's new again

Any decent tribute to snacking has to mention the traditional Snack Cake, which includes the Hostess Twinkie, the Ding Dong, the TastyKake and the Little Debbie. Anything that's lasted this long deserves a mention in the snacking hall of fame.

2010-08-19 23:00
Reuters Health

According to the article, British researchers who reviewed six earlier studies on links between diabetes and the consumption of fruits and vegetables found that eating an extra serving a day of vegetables like spinach, cabbage, and broccoli reduced adults' risk of getting type 2 diabetes by 14 percent.

The article indicates the findings don't prove that the veggies themselves prevent diabetes. People who eat more green leafy vegetables may also have a healthier diet overall, exercise more, or may be better off financially than people who don't load up on greens. Any of those factors could affect how likely they are to get diabetes.

Patrice Carter of the diabetes research unit at Leicester University, the study's lead author states the data suggest that green leafy vegetables are key. The review, recently published in the British Medical Journal, looked at six studies, which covered more than 200,000 people between 30 and 74 years old, in the United States, China and Finland.

"Fruit and vegetables are all good, but the data significantly show that green leafy vegetables are particularly interesting, so further investigation is warranted," Carter said. “Green leafy vegetables contain antioxidants, magnesium and omega 3 fatty acids -- all of which have been shown to have health benefits.”

Each of the studies that Carter and her colleagues analyzed followed a group of adults over periods of 4 ½ to 23 years, recording how many servings of fruits and vegetables each participant ate on a daily basis then examining who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

According to the article, the researchers found no significant difference in diabetes risk with higher intake of vegetables in general, fruits in general, or combinations of vegetables and fruits. Green leafy vegetables stood out, however, with an increase of 1.15 servings a day producing a 14 percent decrease in an individual's risk of developing diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is caused by the body's inability to adequately use insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, to regulate levels of glucose produced from food. Uncontrolled, the sugar levels rise and can damage the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart and major arteries. The chronic condition is often linked to poor diet and lack of exercise and is reaching epidemic levels as rates of obesity rise. An estimated 180 million people worldwide have diabetes.

Although there is no cure for diabetes, people with the condition can minimize their chances of getting sicker by being more active and losing weight. Some people with diabetes need medications to control their blood sugar and insulin levels -- for others, it's enough to keep a close watch on their diet.

World Health Organization (WHO) estimating that inadequate consumption of fruit and vegetables could have accounted for 2.6 million deaths worldwide in the year 2000.

Separate research found that in 2002, 86 percent of adults in Britain ate fewer than the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, with 62 percent consuming fewer than three portions. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found similar patterns among Americans. In 2005, just 33 percent of U.S. adults said they ate at least two servings of fruit a day, and 27 percent reported eating three or more vegetable servings daily.

2010-07-18 23:00

The internal study, conducted by Dole Fresh Vegetables, ranked Washington, D.C., among the top 2010 salad markets in the United States. This means that local residents eat more salad per person than their counterparts in other U.S. cities, have the potential to eat more salad and/or are more likely to try new salad blends, experiment with salad and salad ingredients in the kitchen or serve salad as a meal.

According to the release, the exhaustive, 18-month research effort, which was part of the company's relaunch of its reinvented DOLE Salads and All Natural DOLE Salad Kit lines, surveyed the in-store buying habits and in-home consumption trends of pre-packaged salad consumers throughout the United States and Canada. 

"Despite its reputation for local cuisine, Washington, D.C., is among the most sophisticated salad markets in the country and home to an increasing number of salad lovers," said Chris Mayhew, senior brand manager for Dole Fresh Vegetables. "Our research found that salad consumers here are much more likely to use salad as a meal or as the basis for creative new lunch and dinner entrees. From a salad standpoint, the Nation's Capital is a trendsetter." 

As part of its ongoing mission to get Americans eating salad again, and facing new evidence showing that Americans are less interested in salads at a time when the latest health research suggests they need them the most, Dole late last year launched its re-imagined bagged salad line designed to reignite the country's consumption of fresh, pre-packaged salad blends and kits. 


Determined via private research conducted by Dole Fresh Vegetables and based on a combination of per-capita consumption, consumption potential and local consumer willingness to try new salad blends and experiment with salads in the kitchen. Markets are listed in alphabetical order.

Albany-Schenectady, NY

Houston, TX

Baltimore, MD

Indianapolis, IN

Boston, MA

Kansas City, MO

Buffalo, NY

Lansing, MI

Cincinnati, OH

Los Angeles, CA

Columbus, OH

Louisville, KY

Dallas, TX

Philadelphia, PA

Denver, CO

Phoenix, AZ

Detroit, MI

Richmond-Petersburg, VA

Flint-Saginaw, MI

Salt Lake City, UT

Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo, MI

Washington, D.C.

Harford-New Haven, CT

Wichita-Hutchinson, KS

Harrisburg, PA


2010-07-14 23:00
Progressive Grocer

“These findings underscore a real change in consumer behavior as the family meal enjoys a resurgence. People are hungry for delicious, healthy meals that can be shared with loved ones around the kitchen table,” said Lucinda Scala Quinn, executive editorial director of food at New York-based MSLO and host of the forthcoming cooking show “Mad Hungry with Lucinda Scala Quinn,” premiering on the Hallmark Channel in September.

The article lists these key findings of the study:

  • More families sitting down for meals at home. Sixty-five percent of those surveyed enjoy a sit-down dinner at least five times per week - More than half the respondents sit down for breakfast at least five times per week.
  • Magazines, websites and TV cooking shows as primary sources of culinary inspiration -  When it comes to recipes, media are more influential than word-of-mouth recommendations. Respondents cited cookbooks, recipe websites, food-focused magazines and TV cooking shows as their resources for recipes, ahead of suggestions from friends and family.
  • People are actively seeking mealtime ideas - More than one-third of respondents said they use recipes for inspiration more often than they used to, and over 60 percent of respondents said health and efficiency are the most important factors when considering a recipe.
  • Time-starved families share more mealtime responsibilities - Busy schedules have prompted families to divvy up everyday cooking responsibilities. Twenty-five percent of women said cooking is shared among family members and that husbands are increasingly tying on the apron.
  • Forty-eight percent of those surveyed cook in larger batches to save time.
  • Consumers are savvier about products they buy - Finding deals has become a source of satisfaction, and even a passion. Eighty-one percent of those surveyed said they’re proud of budgeting.
  • Although supermarkets are the leading source for groceries, 55 percent said they shop at multiple retailers to get better deals.
  • Consumers are purchasing healthier products at the grocery store - Ninety-five percent said they know what’s healthy for them, while 87 percent said they read food labels.
2010-07-07 23:00
Food Business News

In its fifth year, the IFIC survey is designed to gain insight into how consumers view their own diets, the efforts they are taking to improve them, how they balance diet and exercise, and their actions when it comes to food safety practices. The survey was conducted with 1,024 adults over a two-and-a half-week period in April and May 2010.

Key findings:

  • Of those consumers who say they are trying to lose or maintain their weight, only 19 percent said they are keeping track of calories.
  • Almost half of the consumers surveyed also could not identify how many calories they burn in a day or offered inaccurate estimates.
  • With regard to tracking the calories consumed during the day versus calories burned, 58 percent of the survey’s respondents said they do not make an effort to balance the two.
  • Seventy percent of respondents said they are concerned about their weight status.
  • Seventy-seven percent said they are trying to lose or maintain their weight.
  • When asked what actions they are taking, most respondents said they are changing the amount of food they eat, the type of foods they eat, and engaging in physical activity.

The article notes a new topic added to this year’s survey was sodium consumption. Fifty-three percent of the respondents said they are concerned with the amount of sodium in their diet. Six in 10 said they regularly purchase reduced or lower sodium products. Among those who do purchase the reduced or low sodium items, the most cited products included canned soup, snacks and canned vegetables.

Thirty-eight percent of the respondents also said that low-calorie, artificial sweeteners may play a role in weight loss or weight management, and 34 percent said the sweeteners may reduce the calorie content of foods. Thirty-two percent said they consume low-calorie, artificial sweeteners to help with calorie management, according to the survey.

2010-07-07 23:00
Food Business News

According to the Food Business News article, the survey showed, as in previous years, there is consistency in consumers’ beliefs that food safety is primarily the responsibility of government (74 percent) and industry (70 percent). Overall, approximately one-third of the respondents (31 percent) see food safety as a shared responsibility among five or more stakeholders that include farmers and producers, retailers and consumers themselves.

In addition, there has been a decline in basic consumer food safety practices such as washing hands with soap and water (89 percent in 2010 vs. 92 percent in 2008). The same decline also was identified in microwave food safety practices, where 69 percent of survey respondents in 2010 (compared with 79 percent in 2008) follow all of the cooking instructions.

According to the article, when asked to identify the most important food safety issue today, 44 percent of respondents identified foodborne illness from bacteria as the number one issue, a decrease compared with the 2009 survey. Notable is that 39 percent of respondents identified “chemicals in food” as the most important food safety issue, an increase compared with 2009.

The survey also showed that consumers primarily are getting their food safety information from television news programming (43 percent) and the Internet (32 percent). Information from government agencies or officials was cited by 14 percent of the survey respondents.

Thirty-seven percent of respondents said they were not aware of any food supply safety practices. Among those consumers who said they were aware, improvements to packaging and “standard protocols” were the top two cited.

2010-06-30 23:00
Prepared Foods

Prepared Foods states that originating in China over 2,500 years ago, soy sauce comes in a wide range of colors and flavors, from reddish-brown, which is usually more delicate and floral, to dark brown, with a more pungent, stronger flavor. Its uses range from a dipping sauce to stir-fry cooking to glazes for meat, fish and poultry.

Soy sauce is a fermented liquid made from soybeans (the strong, pungent flavor) and wheat, which adds sweetness. Japanese soy sauce tends to be made with more wheat, thus is considered sweeter and lighter in flavor than its Chinese counterpart. Chinese soy sauce has been described as having an “earthier” flavor, probably due to its lower proportion of wheat. The traditional Chinese fermentation process also uses natural sunlight, whereas the Japanese-style is typically fermented indoors. Chinese soy sauce tends to hold more flavor during heating, imparting the end dish with a richer flavor.

According to the article, traditional soy sauces are made by mixing soybeans and grains with cultures, such as Aspergillus oryzae and other related microorganisms and/or yeast. The basic taste, and indeed for what soy sauce is best known, is its distinct umami flavor. The free glutamates that occur naturally in soy sauce give it this quality, which goes with so many recipes.

Soy sauces are often employed strategically in traditional Chinese cooking, to add both flavor and color to dishes. There are two main varieties of Chinese soy sauce. Light (or fresh) soy sauce is a thin, viscous sauce that is light brown in color. It is the main sauce used for seasoning, since it is saltier, lighter in color and adds a distinct flavor. Light soy sauce is made from the first pressing of the soybeans (tóuchŌu). Like extra virgin olive oil, tóuchŌu is sold at a premium, because the flavor is considered superior.

Dark (or old) soy sauce is, as expected, dark in color and thicker than the light version. It is aged longer and usually has added molasses, which contributes to its consistency and appearance. Because of its darker color, it is sometimes used after cooking to impart color to a dish, but its main use is during the cooking process, since its flavor develops during heating.

With the current interest in salt reduction, much interest has been focused on umami flavors as excellent salt replacers.

2010-06-08 23:00

Products mentioned include:

  • Salsa as a source of lycopene, an antioxidant that keeps cells from dying.
  • Hot sauce as a source of capsaicin, which can help improve blood flow and speed up metabolism.
  • Horseradish as a source of glucosinolates, a substance that helps detoxify the body.
  • Cinnamon, for its ability to help lower blood sugar, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
2010-06-02 23:00

According to the article, this eating pattern, which includes lots of fruits and vegetables, nuts, vegetable oils, low-fat dairy products, legumes, whole grains, and fish, has been shown to help shield people from heart disease and may also ward off certain cancers.

But less information is available on whether the Mediterranean diet might be helpful for people who already have heart disease. To investigate, a research team looked at 1,000 patients who had suffered heart attacks or severe chest pain while at rest or with only light exertion, and rated each patient on a scale of 0 to 55 based on how closely their eating matched the Mediterranean ideal.


  • Nearly half of the patients experienced a second heart-related event within two years after their original hospital discharge.
  • Patients with the most Mediterranean-style diets were at 31 percent lower risk of suffering another heart attack or experiencing chest pain during the first month after they were discharged from the hospital.
  • They were only half as likely as those with the least Mediterranean eating habits to have another heart-related event within a year, and nearly 40 percent less likely to experience repeat heart problems within two years.
  • For every additional point on the 55-point Mediterranean Diet Score, a person's risk of having another heart-related event over the next two years fell by 12 percent, the researchers found.
  • Patients with the most Mediterranean diets were also the least likely to experience reductions in the ability of the heart's main pumping chamber to work at full capacity, as well as harmful structural changes to the heart known as cardiac remodeling.

According to the article, when the researchers looked at different components of the Mediterranean diet separately, they found that vegetables and salad and nuts were the only foods that cut risk; people who ate vegetables and salad or nuts daily or weekly were at 20 percent lower risk of repeat heart problems within two years of their initial hospitalization compared to people who ate these foods monthly or less often.

Based on the findings, the research team concludes that strategies to reduce mortality and illness due to heart disease should include a "diet that contains the favorable characteristics of the Mediterranean diet."

2010-05-05 23:00
Marketing Daily

"It wasn't until fourth-quarter 2008 that we started to see these big shifts, driven largely by affluent households," Todd Hale, SVP/ Consumer & Shopper Insights, tells Marketing Daily. "These are now among the fastest users." By March 2010, Nielsen reports, store brands had a 17.3% share of dollar sales in the U.S. and a 21.9% share of units -- up 2.1 and 1.9 points, respectively, from 2007.

Also telling, he says, is the continued enthusiasm among younger shoppers, including Gen Y and Gen X. "It's the younger ones turning to store brands much more than older people." He says about half of both Millenials and Gen X shoppers say they are likely to turn to private labels, versus 41% of Baby Boomers and 35% of the Greatest Generation.

Hale says both trends speak to the major inroads that private labels are continuing to make against national brands. Fueling that growth is the continued innovation from relatively upscale retailers, such as Costco and Target, whose brands are clearly aimed at more affluent shoppers.

Other Nielsen data:

  • Middle-income families (those earning between $30,000 and $70,000) continue to be the primary store-brand shoppers, while two-person households are also big users.
  • Overall, heavy users of store brands comprise just 20% of households, but they purchase 46% of store brand products, accounting for 34% of total store purchases.

Branded products, however, still drive the vast majority of dollar (82.7%) and of unit (78.1%) sales. Nielsen reports that store brand average period unit sales grew by 2.5% during that period, while national brands -- thanks to enhanced promotional spending -- were able to stabilize declines and manage a growth of 0.4%.


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