The terms “dashboard dining” and “deskfast” have been ringing around the food and beverage industry for years. Time-strapped consumers simply are fitting meal occasions wherever they can in their busy lives, and the number of such consumers continues to grow.

The American Dietetic Association (Chicago) and ConAgra Foods' (Omaha, Neb.) Foundation Home Food Safety program conducted a survey of 1,521 men and women. The results show that about 62% of people say they are sometimes or often too busy to sit down to eat. Furthermore, some nine out of 10 admit to doing other things while preparing meals. Some 35% dine at their desk at work, and they report that they multitask during that meal occasion—working on the computer, reading, making and receiving phone calls, writing, doing calculations or cleaning their work area.

Even more frightening, though, may be the hygienic issue that was discovered: 31% report that they do not consistently wash their hands when switching tasks during meal preparation.

While the food safety concerns from such information are obvious, the other statistical data may well offer an explanation for, of all things, obesity, says one dietician. Quoted in the September 30, 2004, USA Today, Robyn Flipse, a registered dietician in Bradley Beach, N.J., says people who eat quickly while doing other chores do not realize how much they are consuming, nor do they garner as much enjoyment from the meal as they could.

Bonnie Taub-Dix, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association agrees, “People really do not stop and smell the aromas”; people are overweight, she concurs, partially because they are not taking time to taste the food they eat.


  • The FDA announced the availability of a qualified health claim for reduced risk of coronary heart disease on conventional foods that contain eiscosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) omega-3 fatty acids.

  • Omega Protein Corporation (Houston, Texas) has entered into a manufacturing and supply agreement with National Starch and Chemical Company (Bridgewater, N.J.), making Omega Protein the exclusive provider of 100% of National Starch's requirements for long-chain omega-3 fish oil. National Starch will encapsulate Omega Protein's long-chain omega-3 fish oil product into a free-flowing dry powder.

  • GTC Nutrition (Golden, Colo.) hired Juliana Zeiher as food applications manager.

  • International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. (IFF, New York) added James H. Dunsdon to the new role of chief operating officer.

  • Bioriginal Food & Science Corp. (Saskatoon, Sask.) hired Manuel Sabares as marketing brand manager.

  • U.S. Flavors & Fragrances Inc. (Wauconda, Ill.) named Dana Van Eden as senior beverage scientist and Ketan Shah as senior flavor chemist.

  • A.M. Todd Company (Kalamazoo, Mich.) named Sharon Wicker president of ingredients and flavors, and Tony Willard vice president of sales, marketing and business development, ingredients and flavors.

  • KGK Synergize Inc. (KGK, London, Ont.) added Joshua Baisley as laboratory manager.

  • P.L. Thomas & Co. Inc. (Morristown, N.J.) named Rodger Jonas national business development manager, Paula Nürnberger marketing manager, Eric Anderson manager of new business and brand management, and Alicia Weyand assistant product manager.

  • According to the Hemp Industries Association (HIA, Occidental, Calif.), the Bush administration will not appeal the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision protecting the sale and consumption of hemp food products in the U.S.

  • Hennessy (Paris) appointed Patrick Sauvageot CEO.

  • Neil Shachter of Columbia University says a component of dietary fat known as triglycerides increases the amount of beta-amyloid inside cells, and may increase the risk of getting Alzheimer's disease.

  • Investigators at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Seattle) say a glass of red wine a day may cut a man's risk of prostate cancer in half.

  • A double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study in Sweden shows that chewing gum with Lactobacillus reuteri prodentis can significantly reduce bleeding of the gums.

  • Dean Foods Co. (Dallas) purchased the Milk Products of Alabama LLC unit of Parmalat USA Corporation (Wallington, N.J.) for $21.6 million in cash. In other Dean news, the company also announced that it will stop making weight-loss shakes and drinks due to poor sales; as a result, it will close its nutritional drinks plant in Michigan.

  • Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. (Lakeville, Mass.) named Kenneth G. Romanzi senior vice president of the cooperative's domestic food and beverage business.

  • McCain Foods (Florenceville, N.B.) is buying Midwest Foods Inc.

  • Flowers Foods (Thomasville, Ga.) elected Stephen R. Avera as senior vice president.

  • Del Monte Foods Company (San Francisco) hired Tim Cole as executive vice president of sales.

Risky Business

A national poll of 801 adults by the Dole Nutrition Institute (a division of the Dole Food Company Inc., Westlake Village, Calif.) finds Americans weigh the health risks associated with diet plans. Specifically, half of those surveyed say that no amount of weight loss from a low-carb diet is worth the potential negative health impact. On the other hand, though, 36% are willing to brave the risks, while 4% say any amount of weight loss would be “worth it.”

The report cited a variety of risks from low-carbohydrate diets: high cholesterol, constipation, kidney stones and increased risk of some cancers. Not noted were side effects mentioned in a recent survey published in The Lancet medical journal: headaches, fatigue and foul breath.

The anti-low-carb fervor is evident from the institute's director, Jennifer Grossman. “We've turned a corner in public awareness,” she finds. “The more people learn about low-carb health risks, the less appetite they have for such dangerous fad diets.”

The Dole Nutrition Institute states that 2004 has had fewer than half the number of low-carb product introductions than did 2003. In addition, many of these products are discounted or off the shelves weeks after introduction, according to Dole.

For more information, contact Jennifer Grossman, 818-874-4538.