Ice Cream Cuts Carbs

Hot on the heels of low-carbohydrate beer, a new low-carb offering is making its way to store shelves, and this one appeals to a different demographic—those with a sweet tooth.

LeCarb is manufactured by SouthWest Foods in Tyler, Texas, and is distributed nationwide, says the company. Catering to diabetics and low-carb dieters, LeCarb also boasts a reduced sugar content, with 3g of sugar per serving, as compared with 14g in regular ice cream.

However, the real story of LeCarb is its low carbohydrate content. Each serving has 6g of total carbohydrates, three from glycerine, which the company says has very little impact on blood sugar.

Furthermore, the fat content is a relatively low 7g. LeCarb is available in a variety of flavors, including chocolate, vanilla, lemon, strawberry, cinnamon, homemade vanilla and chocolate almond.

Irradiation Nation

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued a ruling allowing irradiation of imported fruits and vegetables. Likely to result in a big jump in available irradiated foods, the ruling affects some 40% of the produce consumed in this country, accounting for an estimated $39 billion in 2001.

While most health and food authorities hail irradiation as safe for food, particularly for destroying lethal bacteria in meats, consumers have yet to embrace the concept.

The ruling on fruits and vegetables is less about food safety than it is about protecting American crops from foreign pests.

“We're very concerned about keeping pests out of California,” said Dave Kranz of the California Farm Bureau Federation. “In part that's because we depend to a great extent on selling our crops in other states and other nations. Whenever another pest comes in, it constricts our ability to sell our produce to other locales.”

Something in the Water

Coca-Cola, Atlanta, has made interesting moves with its Dasani water line. The first is a rather unique marketing effort called the “Dasani Difference.” Markets across the Northeast feature Dasani bottles with messages behind the product labels. In-store point-of-sale materials advise consumers to “Unwrap Today's Potential” by pulling back the Dasani label.

Dasani's other effort has been to enhance its offering with vitamins. Called NutriWater, the new products are expected to launch by year-end and are an effort to increase brand loyalty among water consumers. Coca-Cola's NutriWater will have vitamins and minerals and be lightly sweetened. As an example, the cucumber-pear flavor is to include vitamins B and C.

While relatively small, the enhanced-water market is growing. The bottled water market totals around $7 billion annually, of which enhanced water accounts for roughly $85 million. However, enhanced water sales have more than quadrupled in the last two years.

Darkest Before the Dawn

Dawn Food Products, Jackson, Mich., has debuted a new variety of frozen baked items, bringing croissants into the freezer.

Made with real butter, Dawn promises the croissant variety will have “a consistent texture, taste and overall performance.” In addition, the company says the croissants require very little labor and allow the user to bake only the amount needed, thereby cutting down on waste.

In addition to the plain variety, Dawn's croissants also are available filled with original cream cheese, strawberry cheese, blueberry cheese, almond, apple, cherry cheese, raspberry cheese or chocolate. Dawn further markets these filled goodies as suitable for on-the-go, hand-held snacking.

The traditional croissants are available in four sizes. The large and extra-large versions are suitable for sandwiches, while the mini and frozen butterflake rolls serve as an alternative to dinner rolls.