Natural Foods Merchandiser


U.S. farmers produce less organic cotton
Even though organic cotton is the latest hot clothing fiber, organic cotton farming in the United States is decreasing dramatically, according to an Organic Trade Association survey.

The OTA found that U.S. organic cotton production in 2003 dropped to less than half of what was grown in 2001, although acreage planted in organic cotton increased slightly in 2004 to 4,674 acres.

Growers attributed the decline in production to foreign farmers who are selling organic cotton to domestic manufacturers at a lower price than U.S. growers. The 12 farmers who participated in the survey said that market forces, rather than the implementation of the National Organic Program, has had the biggest impact on their business.

Health drinks are all the rage in Japan
Feeling the need for bee-head secretions or mother?s milk? Health beverages have captured consumers? imaginations in Japan and may be headed for the United States, according to The Wall Street Journal. Coca-Cola?s ?Wellness? line includes a diet drink with grapefruit and caffeine called Body Style Water; a polyphenol-spiked tea, Spring Mint Habit, sold as a hay fever reliever; and a tea for lowering blood sugar called Sasso. The Japanese government approved the wellness claims, and the drinks sell for about $4.80 a bottle, more than twice the price of Coke?s other bottled teas.

Other market entrants, according to the Journal, are energy drink Real Tank with bee-head secretions; Japan Tobacco?s Senoby with lactoferrin, a protein it says is found in breast milk; and Suntory?s Flavan Tea with flavangenol, extracted from pine trees in France. No word on whether Bill Murray will promote the Suntory beverage, as his character did in the film Lost in Translation.

Ginseng sleuth seeks truth behind eleuthero
V-Net Beverage has launched a ?Truth in Ginseng? challenge to verify which of its Ginseng Rush beverages—and those of its competitors—contain advertised quantities of ginsenoside, the active ingredient in ginseng. The Blue Island, Ill., manufacturer says it uses high-performance liquid chromatography to analyze drink samples for quantity, potency, species and origin ?of the ginseng they use, if any,? according to a letter to shareholders from V-Net President Robert Corr.

Some natural sodas say they contain ginseng but actually use eleuthero, the new name for Siberian ginseng, which contains much lower levels of ginsenoside, Corr says.

V-Net hired longtime natural beverage executive Corr in January 2004. The company?s other projects include Allimax Nutraceutical Water with allicin, the active ingredient in garlic.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVI/number 3/p. 46

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