No Cooling Down Yogurt
For more than three decades, yogurt consumption in the U.S. has been on a steady increase, but the segment has seen tremendous growth in recent years, as new introductions have capitalized on the digestive and immunity benefits in many of the products on store shelves. One recent introduction, however, augments those benefits with a calorie-conscious positioning.

Yoplait YoPlus Light promises to help regulate digestive health, while keeping calorie intake at a minimum. Each of the lines’ three flavors (honey vanilla, strawberry banana and Key lime) have 70 calories per cup, a 36% reduction over the other YoPlus line, in addition to a blend of probiotic cultures and a natural dietary fiber.

Also joining the yogurt aisles is a recent introduction from Lowell International Foods. Lowell European Classic Yogurts are all-natural, probiotic yogurts, which also contain pieces of fruit, as well as whole grains. The developer notes the proprietary European recipe required two years of development to “marry nature-ripened fruits sourced in Europe with rBST-free milk from Wisconsin.” 

Pizza the Pie
Foodservice research firm Technomic notes the limited-service pizza segment registered flat sales in 2008 and into 2009, but it has found some elements of the segment are finding success through “a strategy of focused positioning.” As Darren Tristano, EVP at Technomic, notes, “Most successful pizza chains have staked out highly defined market positions that allow them to stand out from the pack. The key to growth in the slow economy will be differentiation. Top players will have to understand the competition, successfully identify emerging trends, and find and execute a strong position in the market.”

CiCi’s Pizza, for its part, has just launched a version of the classic pie on flatbread, a quickly emerging pizza base. CiCi’s Rustic Pizza boasts a thin, rectangular, flatbread crust and is topped with fresh rustic tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and Syracuse-style sausage, then cut into squares for serving and topped with CiCi’s Parmesan Oregano shake.

It’s Really the Economy
An IBM study has found that, despite the difficult economic times, American consumers at all income levels refuse to sacrifice quality, value and nutrition to save money on their grocery bills. That said, the survey does indicate Americans are re-examining the brands they typically buy, the stores they shop and even their preferred packaging, strategies they plan on maintaining even after the recession has abated.

The IBM survey of 4,000 U.S. residents found 72% of respondents more concerned with quality than price while grocery shopping, with 90% saying value and nutrition will be of equal or greater importance when the recession ends. Some 68% regard nutrition as “the most important consideration when food shopping.” 

60% of consumers will continue to shop around for the best deal after the recession, and 92% believe value will be of equal or greater importance in food shopping at that time.

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Take Off the Take OutP rior to the recession, takeout ordering hit a high point in terms of sales and availability. However, a recent study in Australia suggests takeout consumption may “contribute to socioeconomic inequalities in overweight/obesity and chronic disease.”

The study examined the consumption of 7,319 individuals between the ages of 25-64 and found 32% had consumed takeaway foods in the 24-hour period under review. Lower-educated groups were more likely to have chosen “less healthy” food options and less likely to have consumed “healthy” options. In addition, these foods comprised a greater portion of those less-educated individuals’ energy, total fat, saturated fat and fiber intake. The study may be found in theJournal of Epidemiology and Community Health, go to