Keeping score of healthy foods
Retailers will soon have another tool available to help customers appreciate a food's healthfulness. The Overall Nutritional Quality Index, developed by health and nutrition experts at the Yale Prevention Research Center, will be released to thousands of grocery stores in the second half of 2008. The system provides at-a-glance comparisons of foods' nutritional value, assigning each a score of 1 to 100 based on levels of saturated fat, sugar, cholesterol, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, protein and other nutrients. The scoring will be available for manufacturers to put on their labels, or for retailers to display on shelves.
The system is being introduced by Topco Associates, a grocery distribution and services co-op owned by numerous independent retailers including Wegmans, Ukrop's and Bashas'.
A similar program, Guiding Stars, launched by Hannaford Bros. in 2006, will also be licensing to other retailers and manufacturers in early 2008.
Reclaiming the kitchen
Recycled plastic isn't just for toothbrushes anymore. Recycline, the Waltham, Mass.-based company that uses recycled yogurt lids to make toothbrushes, has launched a line of kitchenware. The company partnered with Watertown, Conn.-based Evo Design, which makes its headquarters in a reclaimed sewage-treatment plant. The Preserve Kitchen line by Recycline is made entirely of recycled plastic, and the products themselves are recyclable in communities that accept No. 5 plastics. The products will be available to naturals retailers in early 2008.
Flowery fresh breath
Forget the fake mint flavor. The chewing gum and mints of the future might freshen breath with magnolia bark extract. A recent Wrigley study in the November 2007 Journal of Agricultural and Food Study found that magnolia bark extracts removed about 20 times more of the bad-breath germs than did placebo mints. The study showed that only a very small amount of MBE (0.2 percent concentration) was needed to reduce bacteria by 99.9 percent after five minutes in the lab. In live humans, MBE-laced gum reduced salivary bacteria by 43 percent after 40 minutes.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXIX/number 1/p. 22