Not only are GoodBelly Probiotic Fruit Drinks dairy-free and soy-free, but they also are vegan and wheat-free.

But enough about what these drinks lack. What’s more important here is what they have - probiotics, multivitamins and natural fruit flavor.

Product Spotlight

GoodBelly Probiotic Fruit Drinks

Not only are GoodBelly Probiotic Fruit Drinks dairy-free and soy-free, but they also are vegan and wheat-free.

But enough about what these drinks lack. What’s more important here is what theyhave- probiotics, multivitamins and natural fruit flavor.

“GoodBelly is the next generation of fruit drink - it’s where advanced nutrition meets modern day taste,” says Steve Demos, CEO and co-founder of NextFoods, Boulder, Colo., the company behind GoodBelly.

Demos and his partner Todd Beckman, co-founded NextFoods in October 2006. The duo previously worked together at White Wave Foods, Broomfield, Colo., a soy product company that Demos also founded (now a Dean Foods subsidiary).

Launched in July, GoodBelly is NextFoods' first product and comes in two product lines, GoodBelly and GoodBelly Multi. Both fruit-based beverages contain probioticLp299v, which, the company says, improves overall digestion and immunity.

“Our star player for GoodBelly, patented probioticLp299v, has been tested and proven through years of research,” Demos says. “Beyond that, it has also been proven on the breakfast table -Lp299v is the probiotic strain in the No. 1 selling fruit drink in Sweden for 13 years.”

GoodBelly Probiotic Fruit Drink contains 10 billion active probiotic cultures in each 8-ounce serving. The drink comes in 32-ounce cartons and is intended to be used by the whole family, according to the company. Flavors include Black Currant, Cranberry Watermelon and Mango.

GoodBelly Multi contains 20 billion active probiotic cultures per 2.7-ounce serving and come in four pack s of 2.7-oune servings. Multi is fortified with 100 percent daily doses of nine essential vitamins and, the NextFoods says, the grab-and-go format makes it a good breakfast solution for adults. Flavors include Blueberry Acai, Strawberry Rosehips and Peach Mango. Both drinks are designed for consumption of one serving a day.

Supplier Spotlight

The SmartCooker from Materials Transportation Co.

It pays to take a smart approach to market opportunities. Just ask Materials Transportation Company. This Temple, Texas, supplier made some insightful improvements to its SmartCooker continuous batch cooking system and the results have been so dramatic - that it’s almost a completely different piece of equipment.What happened? With an eye on a growing co-pack market, MTC Special Projects Manager Randy Johnson took a closer look at processors’ demands.

“Most co-packers need a high-volume turnover for a variety of products,” he says. “Yet, one of the major hurdles in developing cooking systems has been maintaining ease of sanitation in the receiving vessel design while eliminating splash and waste. We overcame this by using hooded covers with a clean-in-place (CIP) system on the surge hopper.”

Johnson says the CIP feature helps reduce sanitation labor by a third. He adds that MTC also reduced its SmartCooker’s footprint and enhanced the unit’s programmable logic controls that guide both operation and CIP activities.

“This provides an added benefit,” Johnson says. “It makes this system very user friendly and minimizes down time for training and cleaning.”

MTC’s improved SmartCooker has since proven itself at Diversified Foods & Seasonings, Mandeville, La. In fact, the processor’s Nebraska City, Neb., plant uses two MTC H-LE dumpers that load raw product into two MTC SmartCookers. The SmartCookers discharge the cooked product into an MTC Agitated Surge Hopper. Product then is pumped to the packaging area. Each cooker has a 5,000-lb capacity and alternate run cycles giving Diversified Foods & Seasonings the ability to achieve continuous output of a batch-cooked product.

Says Rick Chapman, Diversified Foods & Seasonings’ president and chief executive officer, “As a custom food manufacturer to the multi-unit restaurant segment, we need high-quality, flexible and cost-effective processing equipment to gain our competitive edge. For over eight years, MTC has been our ‘go-to’ resource for cooking and material handling requirements.”  

Fresh & Easy readies new product blitz; 200 items in three months

With private label offerings accounting for more than 70 percent of sales, Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, El Segundo, Calif., says it’s preparing to introduce more than 200 additional private label items by the end of this year.

“People increasingly want food that is more like they would make in their own kitchens,” says Tim Mason, Fresh & Easy chief executive officer. “At Fresh & Easy, we are able to offer fresh, wholesome products at incredible prices without the additives and preservatives they don’t want. Our products are a win-win for customers.”

New entrees on the way include Vegetable Curry with Brown Rice, Mushroom Stroganoff, Chicken Parmesan with Linguine, Broccoli and Cheese soup, Shrimp Alfredo and Orange Chicken. Still more new products include varieties of: organic honey, coffee and tea flavors, cereals, veggie and kettle chips and juice blends.

Fresh & Easy noted that its products contain no artificial flavors or colors, no added trans fats and preservatives only when “absolutely necessary.”

Packaged Facts: Natural, organic food sales still going, growing

With products in every retail outlet and more options overall, natural and organic food and beverage sales grew 67.6 percent with a compounded annual growth rate of 18.8 percent from 2005 to 2008, according to Packaged Facts, a New York division of Market Research Group.

In a new study,Natural and Organic Food & Beverage Trends in the U.S.,  the firm says natural and organic product sales will continue at a double-digit rate and reach $32.9 billion by the end of 2008. Not even rising fuel or grain costs are enough to impede the market’s steady development, which Packaged Facts projects will experience strong single-digit growth through 2013.

“While natural and organic products are no longer recession proof, Americans are waking up to expect natural and organic food in their stores; food that is pesticide-free, hormone-free and non-GMO. Suppliers and retailers are quickly acting to provide it to them,” says Packaged Facts Publisher Tatjana Meerman. “We believe this consumer demand will continue to spur the strong growth for these products.”

Supplier targets "50plus" consumers

At its annual Innovation Days Wadenswil (Switzerland), Frutarom Industries Ltd. introduced “50plus,” a comprehensive line of product samples - including beverages, bakery, dairy, confectionery and savory - to boost cardiovascular health, digestive balance, mental agility and bone health. One of the meeting’s opening presentations was titled, “Baby Boomers – healthy snacking or indulgence?”

Talking about the development of “50plus,” spokesperson Susanne Fassler

- “We found [older consumers] were concerned with premium ingredients and products, that they were interested in authenticity and favored natural ingredients.”

- “We also found they don’t want to be marketed to in the same way as products aimed at a younger crowd. They have more than 30 years as consumers - they know what they want. At the same time, old fashioned techniques will not necessarily work either.”

Better-for-you trend spreading to dips, spreads

Food processors continue to embrace the health trend with healthy ingredients such as Omega-3 fatty acids and probiotic bacteria cultures appearing in an array of new items. New product tracker Productscan Online, New York, says it has news of a new probiotic ketchup and salsa items (Zukay Live Foods, Elverson, Pa.), as well a cooking oil (from J.M. Smucker, Orrville, Ohio) and peanut butter (from Hearts & Minds) fortified with Omega-3 fatty acids.

“This shows that no stone has been left unturned in the quest for consumer business in the health sphere,” says Tom Verhile, Productscan Online executive editor.Productscan Online is published by Datamonitor plc, New York.

The scoop on new dairy products: health, indulgence, convenience

Global Industry Analysts Inc., (GIA) San Jose, Calif., says the dairy products market is experiencing sturdy growth driven by an rush of new products intended to meet the demands of both health-conscious consumers and indulgence seekers. Future market expansion is based on unique flavor and ingredient combinations, novel packaging and pack formats and aggressive marketing.

In its report,Dairy Products: A Global Outlook, GIA notes:

- Processors will continue delivering stronger and wider product assortments - including value-added functional, convenient, ready-to-eat dairy products targeted to dieters. Rising health awareness will provide growth opportunities for participants touting “lite,” low fat, no fat and sugar-free claims.

- Both mainstream retailers and creative new distribution channels are boosting sales. Dairy products - including ice cream - are more available all year at shopping centers, service stations, vending machines and convenience stores.

- Yogurt sales are strong, based on their freshness and nutritious appeal. Probiotic yogurt with added health benefits particularly is popular.

- Since 2006, the ice cream sector has seen the most new product introductions. Trends here emphasize premium as well as low-fat offerings. Likewise, processors are touting new processing technologies such as low-temperature freezing and blending techniques.

Just the facts

Is fiber in fashion? According to an International Food Information Council Foundation survey, American consumers increasingly are aware of how much fiber is in their food and are trying to incorporate more.Fifty-two percentof consumers said they look for fiber on nutrition labels - an increase from 42 percent in 2006. Further, market research firm Frost & Sullivan predicts the fiber market will double in size to reach $470 million by 2011.
Source: Decision News Media SAS

Could rejection be a new marketing strategy for soup purveyors and coffee sellers? It turns out that icy stares could cause consumers to crave warm liquids. Scientists at the University of Toronto conducted an experiment in which some subjects were left out of a virtual game of catch while others were included. Each subject then was asked to rate his or her preference for certain foods including chicken soup, apples, crackers and coffee. Those who were subjected to social “iciness” - or left out of the game - showed astrong preferencefor the warmth of chicken soup and coffee, while those included did not.
Source: New York Times

Anyone can go on a diet. It’s sticking to it that is the hard part, but those that do reap the benefits - weight loss, increased energy - whatever they might be. A recent study by scientists at the University of Florence found that those who strictly stick to a Mediterranean diet had significant health improvements including a9 percent dropin overall mortality, a 9 percent drop in mortality from cardiovascular disease, a 13 percent reduction in the incidence of Parkinson and Alzheimer's disease, and a 6 percent reduction in cancer.
Source: Science Daily