The Homestyle brand joins other Stage 3 products, as well as Stage 1 and Stage 2 items, in Beech-Nut’s portfolio of infant food, in addition to the Let’s Grow line of toddler foods with a “no junk promise.”
This Day...and Age While the Baby Boomer generation has matured to the point of entering retirement age, fairly few food and beverage products have marketed themselves around age-related issues outright, at least in America. American Boomers have embraced products that help them maintain a rather precarious hold on their youth, but few such products have dared to proclaim they address health conditions facing aging consumers.
BeneVia, however, has embraced the notion. The fruit-based protein beverage promises to “address common health conditions faced by aging consumers.” Fat-free and containing approximately half the calories of other beverages in the adult nutrition category, the HealthSpan Solutions LLC introduction focuses on strength and energy; memory and focus; heart health; and immunity protection. The company notes that protein, or a lack thereof, can be a critical factor in a healthy and active life.
Not So Sweet During the XV International Symposium on Atherosclerosis, experts reviewed research indicating “the growing problem of increased consumption of sweetened caloric beverages and its link to negative health impacts.”
The workshop, “Calories from Beverages: An Underestimated Dietary Target for the Prevention/Management of Obesity/Type 2 Diabetes,” saw Barry Popkin, Ph.D., with the University of North Carolina, note, “We’re facing a serious global public health threat that is caused in part by an upward trend in the consumption of sweetened caloric beverages, combined with an accelerated shift toward inactivity, poor diet and obesity...In order for Americans to better manage their health, they need to consider their daily intake of beverage calories.” Researchers found little change in water consumption and “essentially” no reduction in food consumption to reduce the impact of these additional beverage calories.
Research presented also correlated regular soft drink consumption with a 49% increase in the risk of coronary heart disease in women, based on data from the “Nurses’ Health Study.”
Grim Outlook for Restaurants Technomic Information Services held its annual Restaurants: Trends & Directions Conference in Rosemont, Ill., on June 18, and Ron Paul, founder, CEO and president of Technomic Information Services, revealed the industry grew only 0.4% in 2008. While the top 100 and top 500 each grew 3.4%, respectively, the rest of the industry fell 4.3%, and full-service restaurants (FSR) experienced a 2.5% decline in sales.
Unfortunately, the consumer outlook for restaurants presents a grim picture. Technomic consumer research has found nearly a quarter (24%) of consumers expect no change in their restaurant spending. However, 35% will use the “same restaurant, less often;” 19% are going to restaurants for “special occasions only;” and 4% are no longer going to restaurants altogether. Some 8% plan to go to restaurants just as often, but to less expensive ones, while 10% are going to spend less at their usual restaurants.
Operators, meanwhile, have seen traffic and sales decreases, by and large. In terms of operator confidence, only 35% are optimistic on foodservice growth over the next 12 months, an increase over the 31% sharing that opinion in January, yet still far off the 67% pace of August 2006. In 2009, operators are expecting traffic decreases, and no one is looking for robust growth, at least through this year, Paul has found. In fact, some 73% believe their business will not recover until after 2010.
Technomic predicts LSR sales will grow 1.5% in 2009, with FSR declining 7.5% and no growth in bars and taverns. For the industry as a whole, therefore, Technomic is predicting a 2.4% decline in 2009.
THE IN BOX: For daily industry news updates, see the homepage of www.PreparedFoods.com and www.NutraSolutions.com.