Campaign enlists huge public focus group with demonstration of transparent sensory characteristics for its mainstream healthy food ingredient
MUNDELEIN, Ill., Dec 10, 2003 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via Comtex/ -- Imagine taste tests for a product that has no taste. That's precisely what FiberGel Technologies, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Circle Group Holdings, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: CRGQ), has been conducting for the past several months.
In a series of traditional field and lab focus groups conducted in October and November, respondents who sampled FiberGel's Z-Trim commercial fat substitute could detect no differences in taste between foods containing the company's low fat product and high fat versions of the same items. These taste studies included cream cheese, salad dressings, chili, chocolate cake and cookies.
Z-Trim is an important line of corn based all natural, zero calorie fat substitutes originally developed at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to decrease fat and calories and increase healthy insoluble fiber in a variety of products, including cheese, baked goods, meat products, dressings, confectionery products and a wide range of other prepared foods. It has been well received by a number of major domestic and foreign food manufacturers as a vital mainstream component for making healthier foods as a response to their concerns about the global obesity epidemic and associated health issues.
FiberGel is expanding its field testing by offering foods prepared with Z- Trim for critical judging by all visitors attending HealthExpo at the Miami Dade County Fair from January 16 to February 1, 2004. It is expected that as many as 700,000 visitors will have opportunities to sample healthier and more nutritious foods prepared with Z-Trim replacing up to 50% of the fats traditionally contained in these items. They will be asked to provide their opinions on these healthier food items and judge whether they can detect any taste variances from higher fat versions they are familiar with.
"Taste is the most important characteristic of food, and attempts by the food industry to replace fat often have been unacceptable because consumers have not been satisfied by adverse sensory changes produced in otherwise healthier foods. This is why those products often have failed," said Dr. Triveni Shukla, Vice President of Technology Development for FiberGel. "We have been very successful in proving to the food industry that Z-Trim is the best mainstream solution to their problems for formulating better products, and we're excited about the opportunity to be doing this in such a high profile public setting."
FiberGel designed this large public focus group campaign specifically for the HealthExpo setting because it offers a demographically diverse selection of people that is larger than any traditional focus group sample. HealthExpo enables the company to emphasize health and nutrition at the same time it can demonstrate Z-Trim as a superior economic ingredient to manufacturers.
"We're pleased that FiberGel selected this event as their choice to assemble such a huge focus group for Z-Trim," said Cynthia Tsai, HealthExpo founder and CEO. "HealthExpo is the nation's most important event for marketing to and educating people about healthier products and life choices. Z-Trim represents a great opportunity for the food industry, and we're looking forward to our visitors having a chance to eat better and healthier products made with Z-Trim while they're with us in January."
Circle Group CEO Gregory Halpern feels large public sampling is an important demonstration for food manufacturers as well as the public. "It's not enough to show the food industry data from consumer testing in a lab setting. Our confidence has been validated by such tests, but we resolved that we would go public with our product as part of the Z-Trim Taste Challenge campaign FiberGel is launching nationally. HealthExpo has been recognized for years as the most important setting to accomplish product awareness goals," said Halpern. "This gives us a chance to educate consumers who are concerned about the dangers of obesity and seeking improved nutritional products that can lead to better health, and it gives manufacturers an opportunity to view consumers voting for better and more nutritious products."
A number of large global food manufacturers have been using Z-Trim to formulate healthier products that maintain desirable tastes and mouth-feel properties similar to those of full-fat foods. Z-Trim focus group test reports can be viewed at www.fibergel.com .
About Fiber Gel Technologies
Fiber Gel owns the worldwide rights to Z-Trim for all fields of use. Developed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Z-Trim is a patented, zero calorie, multi-functional, fiber food ingredient that lowers calories and fat in most foods without affecting taste or texture. For more information about Fiber Gel Technologies, visit http://ztrim.com/ .
About Circle Group Holdings, Inc.
Circle Group Holdings, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: CRGQ) ( www.crgq.com/ ), is a pioneer of emerging technology companies. The Company provides small business infrastructure, funding and substantial intellectual capital to bring important and timely life-changing technologies to market through all early phases of the commercialization process.
This press release and prior releases are available on the Company's web site at www.crgq.com/HTML/breakingNews.html .
About HealthExpo, Inc.
HealthExpo is a high-touch marketing channel that will reach more than 12 million consumers interested in wellness and healthy lifestyles in 2003. HealthExpo puts marketers in touch directly with consumers at state fairs and other entertainment venues, offering a highly effective and economical channel for pharmaceutical, nutrition, sports, exercise and other companies to reach consumers directly with healthcare education and product information.
Statements made in this news release that relate to future plans, events or performances are forward-looking statements. Any statement containing words such as "believes" "anticipates" "plans" or "expects" and other statements which are not historical facts contained in this release are forward-looking, and these statements involve risks and uncertainties and are based on current expectations. Consequently, actual results could differ materially from the expectations expressed in these forward-looking statements. Reference is made to the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a more complete discussion of such risks and uncertainties.