Apple a Day
Apparently, even juice has become something of a guilty pleasure, no doubt impacted by the sugar and calorie content of the average juice beverage. To assuage some of that consumer guilt, Tropicana is expanding its range of Trop50 juices with the launch of Farmstand Apple, promising ìthe goodness of juice with 50% less sugar and calories, and no artificial sweeteners.

Each 8oz glass has 50 calories, plus a full dayís supply of vitamin C, while being a good source of antioxidant vitamin E. All varieties of Trop50 utilize a zero-calorie, natural stevia-based sweetener. The addition joins the other Trop50 varieties, Pomegranate Blueberry, Pineapple Mango and the original Orange version.

Shape of Things to Come
Popcorn has become one of Americaís favorite snacks and a hallmark of most trips to the movies. However, the latest take on the popped treat from Medora Snacks hardly looks like the film-time favorite.

PopCorners promise to be "the new shape of popcorn." Made from all-natural ingredients, Medora's triangle-shaped offering is reminiscent of a potato chip, and the line's four flavors include white Cheddar, butter, sea salt and kettle, ranging in fat content from 3.5-6g. The snacks are popped and not baked or fried, a move the manufacturer believes will make PopCorners more appealing to health-conscious consumers.

Described as a 'better-for-you' snack, PopCorners also can be found in Philadelphia and Chicago schools, as an alternative to fried, baked and sweet snacks.

On the Inside
It may be difficult to believe, but there was a time when gut health was considered almost taboo in America. Not that the concept was disdained, but virtually no commercials pondered regularity with any, sorry to say, regularity. Some regard those as the good old days, but anyone sharing that notion might want to skip the new promotional campaign for Yakult USA.

'Love Your Insides' is the company's effort to promote its signature probiotic beverage, Yakult, and truly encompasses the notion of multimedia, spreading over television, radio, online, print and a redesigned website. The centerpiece of the campaign is a new brand icon; the company describes it as a 'cuddly digestive system.'

The campaign attempts to capitalize on the fact that, while Americans may have heard of probiotics, they are presumably unaware of their digestive health benefits. There is no word yet on if the 'cuddly digestive system' has a name, itself.

Energy Market Mature?
Mintel research finds energy drink manufacturers are facing a challenge in luring new consumers. Though the segment's sales jumped 136% from 2005-2009, energy drink market penetration remains flat: 15% of all U.S. adults 18+, from 2007-2009.

This might suggest there remains plenty of room for the market to grow, as 74% say they do not consume the beverages, but the problem rests in the 69% of those non-users who are not interested in trying the drinks.

Why are these consumers uninterested? Energy drinks/shots non-users cite high prices (48%), too much caffeine (43%) and a general feeling that energy drinks/shots just are not healthy (43%) as reasons why they have not consumed any in the past three months.

Some 71% of energy drink users (80% of energy shot users) consume them for an energy boost; 57% of energy drink users employ them to stay awake, and 60% of energy shot users say they drink them for mental alertness.