Natural Foods Merchandiser

Natural Food News Briefs

Open the hangar for organic baby food
The baby food and drink market is expected to rise only modestly in the next five years, from current annual sales of $3.5 billion to just $3.6 billion in 2011, according to Mintel. But the bright spot in that dim outlook is for organic baby products. Mintel's survey found that 61 percent of mothers said it was "very important" for their babies' food to be all natural and that organic brands most closely hit that mark. Similarly, toddler food is expected to boost sales in the category. "More than 60 percent of respondents who have kids age 3 or under at home said they use or plan to use a combination of adult foods and specially made toddler foods," the Chicago-based market research company reported.

The color purple
Bananas are yellow, peas are green and tomatoes are … purple? They will be if researchers at Oregon State University have their way. Jim Myers and his OSU graduate students crossed modern-day red tomatoes with seeds from purple tomatoes that were found in the wild back in the 1960s and '70s but deemed too small and poisonous. Myers' predecessors hybridized them and made them safe to eat, but later abandoned the research. Myers' team resumed the efforts when they realized the purple tomatoes had high levels of anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant. In addition, the purple-red hybrid would still contain lycopene, a nutrient in tomatoes that has been shown to benefit prostate health.

"Tomatoes are second only to the potato in terms of the top vegetable consumed in the world," Myers said. "If we could boost the nutritional value of tomatoes, a large part of the population would benefit from that." Myers said OSU is still about two years away from releasing a marketable variety.

It's all clear now
The Glass Packaging Institute wants the organics industry to know about the results of an independent survey, which shows that people who eat organic food want it packaged in glass containers rather than materials such as plastic or tin. "Certain packaging may contain chemicals that have the capacity to migrate into foods and beverages, thus altering the 'organic' composition of such products," the GPI said in a news release. "Glass is virtually inert and, thus, an excellent choice for concerned organic consumers."

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVII/number 12/p. 22

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