Diet Coke Plus was launched in 2006, but the FDA only recently sent Coca-Cola officials a letter to tell them the product is misbranded, because it “doesn’t comply with the regulations governing the use of this claim,” according to the official letter. The product is a diet soft drink that the company describes on its website as having several essential nutrients. “Each 8fl oz serving of Diet Coke Plus provides 15% of your RDI for niacin and vitamins B6 and B12, and 10% for zinc and magnesium.” That doesn’t sound untruthful, does it?

However, the agency objects to the diet drink’s claim of “plus,” which is acceptable only when a food or beverage has 10% more in key nutrients than regular versions. Additionally, the regulator who signed the letter deemed “inappropriate” the fortification of snack foods, such as carbonated drinks with vitamins and minerals.

I think objecting to the fortification of a diet drink is interesting, because people who drink the diet sodas do not expect (I hope) to get any significant source of nutrition from them. In today’s health-, natural- and green-oriented society, drinking a soda, especially a diet version, is something that might be done a bit shamefully, as if the person drinking the artificial concoction should know better.

But, I do like to think about the other side. There are many people who do not have the best of diets. They eat on the run, need foods that are fast and that are competitively priced. They will drink cola, for better or worse. Why not give these consumers a choice to drink something that might have a bit more nutrition? Is it not the American way to give people choices? Or is the thinking that fortifying snack foods condones them as being, even just a little bit, “good” for us? My opinion is that people who choose to eat a snack food are probably going to eat it, anyway. Why not offer even a bit more nutrition, if it’s possible?

In challenging economic times, many consumers will be forced to make food choices that may be less than optimal. Prices for organic, natural or healthier foods are usually higher than their regular counterparts. Carbonated beverages and certain types of snack foods are low-cost alternatives that already are a regular part of many families’ diets. Perhaps fortifying them is not as outlandish as it first seems; if it were, FDA would have responded much sooner.

Mom Knows Best

Are kid products now being marketed to moms?

There have been a lot of changes in the kid food industry.

What are the emotional, rational and environmental drivers that influence Mom’s decision on which foods are served at breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack time? How does Mom weigh her need for food products with functional health attributes?

Prepared Foods’ New Products Conference 2009 unveils a revolutionary new study on the rapidly changing influences that govern Mom’s food choices for her child. Hear from a live mom focus group.

New Products Conference 2009 will feature interactive sessions, consumer trends and culinary trends—and, you’ll taste 75 new products from around the globe!

Mark your calendar!

Prepared Foods’ New Products Conference 2009 will be held September 9-12, 2009, at The Ritz-Carlton in Palm Beach, Florida. The Ritz-Carlton/NPC special rate of $189 plus tax per night is available 3 days prior and 3 days after New Products Conference dates. Make plans to attend now!

For more information, visit or contact Marge Whalen at 630-694-4347 or