Natural Foods Merchandiser

Natural Food News Briefs

Stores partner with local farmers
An East Coast retailer figures if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Stew Leonard's, a chain of three family-run stores in Connecticut and New York, hosted farmers' markets at all of its stores in September. The chain brought in growers from regional family farms, who were on hand to answer questions about new varieties, or how to cook and serve their fare. Store officials say they've always done business with local farmers. "By buying produce direct from local farms, we're able to offer customers just-picked fruits and vegetables delivered to the stores the same day they are harvested at a great price, since there is no middleman. The farmer benefits, as well as the customer." The farmers' market events also featured family activities, such as face painting and cooking demonstrations.

Meat saved with rosemary this thyme
Manufacturers and retailers sensitive to consumer concerns about the use of carbon monoxide in meat packaging have a new tool to help keep meat looking fresh: rosemary. According to researchers at the University of Zaragoza in Spain, polypropylene film enhanced with rosemary extract kept beef steaks fresh and pink for up to two weeks, thanks to the antioxidant properties of rosemary. Oxidation causes meat to change from red to brown and can lead to off-flavors. The researchers called the rosemary-infused plastic film "a promising way to extend the shelf life of fresh meat."

Is the Un-cola un-natural?
Ever since rebranding itself as "all natural" in April, Cadbury Schweppes' 7Up soda has seen its sales surge. By Aug. 26, its sales increased 18 percent over the same period a year ago. Prior to the campaign, sales were down 9.3 percent over the previous year. Because the drink has high fructose corn syrup, it is less than natural, says the Center for Science in the Public Interest. "As Cadbury knows, HFCS is manufactured from corn using a complex and multi-step industrial process … There is nothing natural about this complex process of creating new molecules. Therefore, Cadbury's entire campaign is unfair and deceptive," a CSPI attorney wrote in a letter to the manufacturer back in May. While CSPI threatened a lawsuit, none had been filed as of press time.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVII/number 11/p. 22

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