More on the Juice

Is there any limit to the juice combinations manufacturers are willing to try? Apparently, the answer would be no, as the bevy of bipolar beverages abounds. NBI Juiceworks has added two of the hottest ingredients to its line of 100% nectarine juices.

Sun Shower Nectarine Acai and Sun Shower Nectarine Pomegranate both promise to be a “terrific” source of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants, while also being rich in beta carotene. The company notes that 4oz of the juice equals one serving of fruit.

Meanwhile, Minute Maid is pairing pomegranate with blueberry in its Pomegranate Blueberry Flavored 100% fruit juice blend. This is actually a blend of five juices and has been enhanced with 50mg of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) omega-3 per 8oz serving. The long-chain omega-3 fatty acid serves as a primary building block for the brain and eyes.

Egged On

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) was quick to jump on the recent announcement that Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr. would join Burger King in beginning to switch to cage-free eggs in their restaurants. At the same time, the HSUS called on Wendy’s to “stop lagging behind its competitors on this important animal welfare issue.”

However, it is not as if those moving toward cage-free eggs are doing so on a huge scale. Burger King will switch 5% of its eggs to cage-free by the end of 2007. Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. will have 2% of their eggs cage-free by July of 2008.

The move away from cage eggs does appear to be gathering steam. Wolfgang Puck is ending his use of them, and Whole Foods Market and Wild Oats no longer sell cage eggs.

The news for Wendy’s is not all bad, however. Zagat Survey recently named its hamburgers as the best in the quick-service segment, and the consumer survey ranked it first among quick-service “mega-chains” for food, facilities and popularity.

Annie Get Your Bun

Natural Products Expo East featured a number of products geared toward children. The Clif Kid line from Clif Bar & Co. moves away from the company’s grown-up bar tradition, with Organic Twisted Fruit (one serving of fruit per piece), Clif Kid Splashers (a drink mix with half the sugar of apple juice) and Clif Kid ZBaR (a baked, whole-grain bar).

Whole grains also play a key role in a couple of Annie’s Inc. introductions. Bunny Love Toasted Oat and Corn Cereal provides a good source of fiber and 10g of whole grains per serving, while Honey Bunnies Toasted Oat and Corn Cereal features 9g of whole grains per serving. In addition, the company announced it would offer its popular organic macaroni and cheese in a classic mild cheddar variety.

Pleasing Pets

The 2007 Natural Products Expo East was held in Baltimore the last week of September, with a surprisingly large group of natural products geared toward pets.

“Holistic” and “natural” were just two of the monikers found on many items. American BioSciences Inc. featured NK-9, a “hybridization of several Japanese medicinal mushrooms.” It contains Active Hexose Correlated Compound, an ingredient promising “unsurpassed support for a pet’s immune system.” Asked if the abundance of pet products at this year’s show might be a reflection of the increasing number of “empty nesters” with greater disposable income, the brand manager of American Bio-Sciences’ pet division (Stephanie Johnson) noted that factor—combined with a simple desire for healthier pets—is propelling premium pet product introductions.