The Dr. Is In

It may be fairly late to the energy drink segment, but Dr Pepper Snapple Group is banking on bold flavors, provocative brands and noteworthy packaging for its initial forays into energy beverages.

Venom is described as an energy drink for consumers “wanting to experience thrill-seeking adventures.” The names for the line are somewhat thrilling: Black Mamba is the moniker for the regular variety, while Mojave Rattler is the low-carbohydrate and low-calorie version. The energy blend contains caffeine, l-carnitine, guarana, ginseng and taurine.

Venom follows on the heels of Dr Pepper’s Potencia Energy Drink, a Latin Tamarind-flavored beverage made with real fruit pulp concentrate imported from Mexico and Central America. Separating Venom from the energy drink pack somewhat is its 16.9oz resealable aluminum bottle, which the company says delivers something “new and functional in the competitive energy landscape.”

On a High Note

This year may have seen the last All Candy Expo with The Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. as its own entity (its merger with Mars Inc. should be approved and completed before next year’s expo), but the venerable company went out on a high note.

Eclipse gum and mints will be the first in the U.S. to include magnolia bark extract, a natural ingredient proven to help kill the germs that cause bad breath. The new Eclipse gum with magnolia bark extract will be in Spearmint, Winterfrost, Polar Ice, Peppermint and Fresh & Cool flavors. The mints will be available in Spearmint, Peppermint, Winterfrost and Cinnamon Inferno varieties.

The launch was not the company’s only gum introduction: Wrigley’s popular Orbit also debuted a couple of new flavors: Sangria Fresca and Fabulous Fruitini, while the 5 line expanded to include Lush (a tropical flavor) and Elixir (with berry notes). In addition, Extra has been extended with Fruit Sensations, a sugar-free range in strawberry banana, Berry Pearadise, Island Cooler and Sweet Watermelon flavors.

Leaning Into It

Describing competing brands as “fatty and unhealthy,” Java Solutions has introduced what it terms a “dairy-free coffee creamer to start the day off with a weight-loss boost.”

How does it fulfill that promise? The product combines French vanilla flavor and non-fat buttercream with Hoodia, the natural weight-loss supplement, and Bitter Orange Extract, a metabolism booster.

Hoodia is the member of the milkweed family native to the Kalahari Desert and has been used to increase energy and suppress appetites. Citrus aurantium, the Bitter Orange Extract, is said to contain several properties known to stimulate the metabolic rate and subsequently increase calorie burning; however, Java Solutions notes, these statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. 

The company’s owner, Holly Kashani, says she was inspired to enter the weight-loss market while working as a dietitian. “Over the years, I became troubled by the fattening of America and saw calorie-laden coffee drinks as one of the many culprits. I wanted a safe and effective coffee additive that would help people lose weight while enjoying their coffee drinks.”

Candy Shopping

The All Candy Expo had more than just Wrigley on hand — far more. In fact, more than 2,000 confections and snacks were to be found, all playing off on some consumer trend.

A number of premium sweets exemplified the trend toward artisan, including Craves!, a blended chocolate handmade in small batches, with dried cranberries and all-natural orange. Russell Stover introduced American Classics, in such varieties as New York Cheesecake Ganache and Mississippi Mud Truffle, while Jelly Belly joined with Cold Stone Creamery to introduce Ice Cream Parlor Mix, featuring Chocolate Devotion and Our Strawberry Blonde.

The launches were not solely on the sweets side. In fact, a number catered to the desire for healthy snacks. Landgarten Organic Soy Snack is a “naturally sweet snack packed with soy protein and a good source of calcium and fiber.” It is actually Austrian-grown soybeans covered in Belgian milk chocolate.

Restaurants and Generations

Consumer age appears to play a significant role in their use of restaurants, suggests new research from Technomic Inc. “The Generational Consumer Trend Report” examines attitudes and behavior for three generational segments: Baby Boomers (age 43-62), Generation X (32-42) and Millennials (16-31), while also addressing differences across and within each generation.

"We're in a highly competitive market, one in which many consumers are shifting what were formerly discretionary dollars toward the purchase of necessities. It's more important than ever for restaurant operators to understand what their consumers are looking for in the dining experience and tailor their offering to it," noted Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic. "To do that, operators and suppliers must have information that lets them get into the heads of the consumer — both by generational segment and psychographic cluster."

The report found Millennials to be the largest users of natural and organic foods. Baby Boomers, meanwhile, were more likely to value balanced meals, fruit and vegetable consumption, and fat avoidance. Boomers are more likely to avoid trans fats. Some 51% avoid trans fat regularly, compared to 34% of Millennials and 37% of Generation X. Millennials, however, are more likely to eat meals away from home than at home: nearly half of the group do so, a larger proportion than among Generation X or Boomers. Four in 10 Generation Xers dine out more frequently than they eat at home. Boomers, meanwhile, tend to regard dining out as more for special occasions.

When eating out, the reasons behind choosing a restaurant can vary. “Freshly prepared food” ranked as very important for all three, but 45% of Millennials and the same amount of Boomers regard the opportunity to increase or decrease portion size as “important in choosing a restaurant for a dine-in meal.” Generation X, as might be expected for a group largely comprised of parents, regarded the availability of kid-friendly menus as important, a factor influencing 47% of the group.
For more information on “The Generational Consumer Trend Report,” visit www.foodpubs.com or contact Sara Gillis at 312-506-3848 or sgillis@technomic.com.

IN BOX

  • Mark Hostetler, attorney at Blackwell Sanders LLP, will be among the featured speakers at “Preventing Lawsuits and Violations in Advertising and Promotions,” on July 30, in Clayton, Mo. For more information, visit www.nbi-sems.com.
  • Southeastern Mills Inc. announced William T. Andersen joined the company as senior vice president of sales.
  • The American Spice Trade Association named Tim Sonntag, vice president of Quality and Technical Services for Wixon Inc., as the new chairperson of its government relations committee. 
  • D.D. Williamson introduced Caramel Color 570 to the North American marketplace.
  • X Cafe LLC received the 2008 Award for Innovation in Business by the Smaller Business Association of New England.
  • FMC Corporation entered into an agreement to acquire the hydrocolloid ingredients business of International Specialty Products (ISP), which had revenues of approximately $80 million in 2007. Under the agreement, FMC will acquire ISP’s alginates and food blends business (other than ISP’s germinal blending business based in Brazil), including ISP’s Girvan, Scotland, manufacturing facility and employees associated with the business. The newly acquired business will be integrated into FMC Specialty Chemicals Group’s BioPolymer Division.
  • Dow AgroSciences LLC and Martek Biosciences Corporation entered into a collaborative agreement to jointly develop and commercialize a canola seed that produces the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for the food industry.
  • Kikkoman, Japan, announced a new corporate logo and slogan, to be used by Kikkoman Group companies worldwide. Kikkoman International Inc., headquartered in San Francisco, has now become Kikkoman Sales USA Inc. The company will continue to oversee the marketing and sales of Kikkoman products in North America, including Kikkoman Soy and Teriyaki Sauces. The new corporate logo includes the slogan “Seasoning Your Life,” which reflects Kikkoman’s promise: “To fill the world with the joy of food by delivering wholehearted flavor.”
  • Symrise opened its new Creative Center in Shanghai, to house all functions and creative resources of the Scent & Care division for the Chinese market. It will also serve as the newly established regional hub for Northeast Asia.
  • The Private Label Manufacturers Association will devote a new section of its 2008 Private Label Trade Show to industrial ingredients, including raw materials, flavors and fragrances that comprise today’s store brands. The show will be held November 16-18 at Chicago’s Rosemont Exhibition Center.
  • The Manitoba Food Processors Association (MFPA) presented the 2008 President’s Award to Linda Pizzey, president and CEO of Pizzey’s Nutritionals. Pizzey was recognized for her achievements with Pizzey’s Nutritionals and her years of dedicated service on behalf of food manufacturers.
  • Protient Inc. completed a capital investment project into its plant in Norfolk, Neb.  
  • BestSweet Inc. is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The organization is using this as a platform for announcing a variety of other new growth initiatives. As it adds manufacturing lines, the facility will experience a significant increase in capacity, with every area running on a continuous basis. Simultaneously, the company has recently been USDA-certified for organic manufacturing on select lines and products.
  • General Mills will acquire Humm Foods, makers of Larabar and Larabar Jocalat. The brands will become part of Small Planet Foods, the natural and organic products group of General Mills.
    n Monsanto’s vegetable seed company and Landec’s food subsidiary have entered into a collaborative agreement to develop novel broccoli and cauliflower products for exclusive sale by Apio in defined market segments and channels.
  • An extract of red yeast rice, which gives Peking duck its distinctive color, cuts cancer death rates by two-thirds and heart disease by a third. One scientist involved in the study, which focused on thousands of patients, described the results as “profound.” When given to heart disease patients, researchers found it reduced their chances of a repeat heart attack by 45%. Dr. David Capuzzi, director of the cardiovascular disease prevention program at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, led the study with Dr. Zonliang Lu, from the Chinese Academy of Medical Science, in Beijing. Their findings were reported in the American Journal of Cardiology.
  • McDonald’s USA named Dr. Cynthia M. Goody director of Nutrition.
  • The J.M. Smucker Company and The Procter & Gamble Company signed a definitive agreement to merge the Folgers coffee business into The J.M. Smucker Company in a transaction valued at approximately $3.3 billion, including the assumption of an estimated $350 million of Folgers’ debt.


  • Consumers and Health

    The International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC) conducted its first “Food and Health Survey” in 2006, focusing primarily on how consumers approach overall diet, physical activity and weight to manage their health. It also delved into consumer awareness of principal nutrients, such as fats, sugars and carbohydrates, as well as their attitudes toward information sources. A follow-up survey last year repeated many of those questions, to gauge trends and understand consumer attitudes regarding health and food.

    For 2008, IFIC has repeated many of those queries, while also expanding questions to include dietary fats and caffeine, sugars and low-calorie sweeteners. In addition, preparation preferences were addressed: namely, whether consumers prefer using the stove, oven or microwave.

    Some 39% of Americans regard their health as either “excellent” or “very good,” compared to 33% in 2006. Furthermore, 59% are “extremely satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with their health status, a statistic that has changed little from year to year.

    This is not to say Americans would not wish to alter some aspects of their lives. In fact, weight concerns appear to be a very strong factor. Some 75% say they are concerned with their weight, only slightly more than the 74% in 2007, but significantly ahead of the 66% reported in 2006. Of those who made a change in their diet, 69% did so “to lose weight,” while 57% reported they are actively “trying to lose weight.”

    Of the group trying to lose weight, 57% of them are making an effort to “reduce the number of calories they consume.” While that 57% would appear sizable, IFIC surveys find a distinct disconnect between this and Americans’ actual knowledge about calories. Only 15% were able to estimate correctly the recommended number of calories per day for a person their age, height, physical activity and weight. Only 31% understood that calories from any source contribute to weight gain, and 44% do not balance diet and physical activity to manage their weight.

    While 92% of those surveyed regarded breakfast as the most important meal of the day, less than half (46%) eat breakfast seven days a week. What are the barriers to eating breakfast every day? Some 59% cited “not (being) hungry right after I wake up,” while 54% said they simply did not have enough time.

    “Taste” and “price” remained as the top of purchase influences, but 62% noted the importance of healthiness in purchasing. At least 60% of Americans either somewhat or strongly believe that certain foods and beverages can provide multiple benefits (i.e., heart health). Identically to last year, more than 80% of Americans are currently consuming or would be interested in consuming foods and/or beverages for such benefits.

    A significant portion of Americans (70%) reported concern with the amount of fat they consume, and 68% are concerned with the type of fat consumed. Awareness of trans fat hit 91%, a 10-point increase over 2006. Of Americans who use the Nutrition Facts Panel, 59% check the trans fat information. Of those who are aware of trans fat, 79% rated it as either “not at all healthful” or “not very healthful,” a 15-point increase from 2006.

    Awareness of healthy fats, however, is limited. Only 63% are aware that recommendations suggest monounsaturated fats, while 71% are cognizant of the recommendations for polyunsaturated fats.

    While sweeteners have had their share of media coverage, both good and bad, Americans seem to be trying to consume less of certain types of low-calorie sweeteners. Some 43% are ditching aspartame, with 45% abandoning saccharin and 44% consuming less sucralose.

    For the entire survey, visit www.ific.org.