As you're well aware, my thoughts are typically focused on the task at hand: delivering tailored information about product development and formulation.

Today, however, my mind is divided. I'm partly concentrated on curling the ribbon on this information present I've put together for you, yet I can't help but think of a fetching cat. To make matters more bizarre, I've put myself under considerable pressure to write a letter to an estranged uncle. Well, he's not estranged, he's just strange.

He was a stand-up comedian in the 1970s. No, you wouldn't know him. He performed in Utah ski lodges to loaded (both with money and Canadian Club) crowds. He was a cop in New Mexico when he was 20, and also played an extra in Nightmare on Elm Street 4.

It goes without saying that I'm am terrified to pen a note to him.

And then there's this whole fetching cat thing. I dreamt of one recently, and then visited my childhood friend and current neighbor Sherwood Day who recently and against his will adopted a cat. Sure enough, it fetches. Cotton ball are its preferred carry.

I suppose I could write to my uncle about the fetching cat. In fact, doing so could release both preoccupations from my consciousness and allow me to get back to taut communication about the business of making and marketing food.

This week, exclusive Prepared Foods articles and videos you won't find anywhere else.

In this fifth edition, Food for Thought talks with Dr. Marianne O’Shea, senior director, R&D, Nutrition at PepsiCo and the director of the Quaker Oats Center of Excellence. This June saw PepsiCo create the Center as “a cross-functional entity focused on elevating the relevance and benefits of oats through science, agriculture and innovation.”

Thousands of industry experts, media and students gathered in Las Vegas in June for the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) 2012 annual meeting and food exhibition. Exhibitors and presentations ran the gamut of major trends impacting food and beverage developers--and the factors consumers will seek in the future.

Architects say “form follows function,” and it is obvious that consumers are still following the functional beverages category
This segment enjoyed a compound annual growth rate of 5.5% between 2006-2010, according to Packaged Facts, which factors energy drinks, sports drinks and functional waters, ready-to-drink (RTD) tea and coffee, and yogurt drinks and smoothies in its definition of functional beverages.

Every May, two trade shows hold court at Chicago’s signature convention center, McCormick Place. This year, the 93rdAnnual National Restaurant Association, Hotel-Motel Show (and the 5thAnnual International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event) took place on May 5-8. More than 1,900 exhibitors and 61,000 registered attendants from all 50 states and more than 100 countries sampled some of the most innovative and trend-setting foods and beverages in the restaurant and foodservice industry.

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