Natural Foods Merchandiser

Natural products industry new briefs

Ginger helps fight diarrhea
Ginger might be a new key to preventing the No. 1 killer of infants in developing countries: diarrhea from intestinal pathogens. A new study from China Medical University in Taiwan showed that ginger significantly blocked one of the most common diarrhea-causing agents from binding to cell-surface receptors in mice, keeping the mice's small intestines from accumulating fluid. Researchers isolated the substance in ginger—zingerone—that is likely responsible for its antidiarrheal effects. The findings suggest that ginger extract could be used as an herbal supplement to prevent cholera-like diarrhea in developing countries, said the researchers in the September issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Organic convenience grows
Natural foods retailers might have more options for prepared foods offerings next year, as New York-based natural and organic prepared foods supplier Really Cool Foods is planning to invest $100 million to increase production and distribution in North America. The company announced it is building a 77,000-square-foot certified organic commissary and distribution center in Cambridge City, Ind., that will triple production capacity. Expected to open next summer, the new facility will increase supply of the company's prepared foods to retailers including Kroger, Stop & Shop, Shop Rite, Giant and Trader Joe's. Really Cool Foods currently prepares and packages fresh meals in a 35,000-square-foot certified organic commissary in Syosset, N.Y., and operates a flagship store in Manhattan.

NPA to work with China on exports
The Natural Products Association won a national competition in September to receive more than $160,000 in federal funds to expand into China. The award, which will be matched by private-sector funds, is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Market Development Program, which assists nonprofits, such as trade associations, that help small- and medium-size companies in the export business. The NPA will work with the International Trade Administration to improve Chinese market access for U.S. natural products manufacturers and help manage the supply chain from China. The NPA is planning to co-sponsor an annual expo in Beijing with the China Chamber of Commerce, as well as establish a Chinese-language Web site as a resource and connection point for U.S. exporters and Chinese buyers.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 11/p. 11

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