Archive for December, 2011

New York  (Food News)  Looking for the hot new diet trends to follow in 2012? Who better to ask for help than the nation’s top nutrition experts?  In a survey by Pollock Communications, a full-service public relations agency with long-standing relationships in the food and wellness industry, responses from more than 200 RDs in their network were tallied to identify the top 2012 nutrition trends for consumers and food companies.  The survey revealed five nutrition trends that will make news and affect your choices in the coming year:

1. Go Green & Add Some Spice!
Unprocessed, natural foods will be the biggest consumer nutrition trend in 2012
Most RDs (72%) predict that consumers will continue to demand more local, organic, sustainable, fresh, minimally processed foods. With consumers returning to the table and cooking at home, they will become more aware of where their food is coming from and what it contains.  RDs also agree (46%) that simplifying the ingredient list, (39%) sodium reduction and (37%) eliminating high fructose corn syrup,will play key roles in dietary modifications in the coming year.  In addition, consumers will look to spice things up with exotic and ethnically diverse flavors and cuisines.

2. Diet Trifecta: Vitamins, Minerals & Fiber!
Eat more antioxidants and phytonutrients… and get more fiber
Of the 204 responses,almost all RDs (96%) emphasize more antioxidants and phytonutrients in the diet, and many (59%) say consumers need more vitamins and minerals.  While most agree that consumers are already consuming enough protein, carbohydrates and fats, RDs say Americans are lacking sufficient amounts of fiber from whole grains and fruits and vegetables.

3. ‘Tis the Season!
Seasonal and local fruits and vegetables rise to the top
Almost all RDs (94%) agree that in the coming year there will be a bigger push for Americans to consume more fruits and vegetables.  Eating seasonal and local plant based foods that are organically grown will be a big trend in the coming year, as well.

4. How Low Can You Go?
Go low with trans and saturated fat, sugar and sodium
The majority of RDs (78%) name trans fats as the most harmful nutrient in the diet, followed by added sugars (68%), saturated fat (58%) and sodium (52%).  In 2012, we will see a greater emphasis on reducing these harmful dietary hazards.

5.  Make Your Plate Look Like MyPlate!
Use USDA’s MyPlate as your guide
Many (69%) RDs are using MyPlate to counsel patients and it will continue to play a role in diet recommendations through 2012. MyPlate recommends half the plate consist of vegetables and fruit, with the other half made up mostly of whole grains and a small portion of lean protein.

“As RDs, we are at the forefront of nutrition issues, consumers’ perceptions and diet and lifestyle behaviors,” says Julie Upton, MS, RD. “It’s our goal to help provide our expertise to debunk the common myths and misperceptions and provide our insights with consumers and food and beverage manufacturers.”

When it comes to diet and nutrition, RDs know best.  Louise Pollock, founder and President of Pollock Communications, adds, “As key influencers in food and nutrition, RDs shape consumer food shopping decisions, affect health policy, impact nutrition trends in the media and promote evidence-based recommendations. At Pollock, we always seek their expertise when advising our food clients.”

About Pollock Communications
Pollock Communications is an independent, full-service health and wellness New York City-based communications firm launched in 1991. They create innovative partnerships that link brands to health and wellness platforms, and have experience in communicating the taste, health and lifestyle benefits of brands and commodities to consumer, retail and business audiences.

Contact: Emily Blasi
Pollock Communications
212-941-1414



Harrisburg, PA  (Food News)  New World Pasta Company has entered into an agreement to acquire the No Yolks® and Wacky Mac® dry pasta brands and certain assets from Strom Products Ltd. for $50 million. The transaction is expected to close by December 31, 2011.

“The No Yolks® brand commands the number one market share position within the dry pasta noodle and dumpling segment in both the United States and Canada, and provides New World Pasta an excellent opportunity to solidify its leadership position within the North American dry pasta business” said Peter Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ebro North America, the U.S. division of Ebro Foods, S.A. “In addition, this business presents manufacturing, logistical, and selling synergies which will result in the addition of two very profitable brands to New World Pasta’s portfolio.”

“The acquisition of the No Yolks® and Wacky Mac® brands is consistent with our strategic plan to expand our leadership position within the branded North American pasta business” said Antonio Hernandez Callejas, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ebro Foods, the parent company of New World Pasta. “They also enable the company to continue to capitalize upon the North American consumers’ keen interest in wellness-related products that enable them to live a healthier lifestyle.”

No Yolks® dry pasta is a noodle-style product that was first introduced in 1976 that is cholesterol free, contains no saturated fat, and is high in fiber with market shares of 15.6 in the United States and 29.4 in Canada. The Wacky Mac® brand was also introduced in 1976 as a fun, healthy, vegetable-based pasta, comprised of unique shapes and four colors. Net revenue for the two brands will total approximately $37.5 million in 2011.

New World Pasta is the largest branded pasta manufacturer in North America with leading brands such as Ronzoni®, Creamette®, Skinner®, San Giorgio®, Prince®, Catelli®, American Beauty®, and Light & Fluffy®. Together with Riviana Foods Inc., the largest processor, marketer and distributor of branded and private label rice products in the United States, the companies make up Ebro Foods’ division, Ebro North America.

Based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, New World Pasta is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ebro Foods, S.A., a leading Spanish food company that markets rice brands such as Cigala®, Brilliante®, Nomen®, Lustucru®, Taureau Aile®, Oryza®, Bosto®, Reis-Fit®, Riceland®, Danrice®, and Risella® and Panzani® pasta and sauces.

Ebro Foods’ other subsidiary in the United States, Riviana Foods, headquartered in Houston, Texas has such well-known brands as Minute®, Success®, Mahatma®, Carolina®, River®, Water Maid®, Blue Ribbon®, Wonder®, Comet®, and Adolphus®.

Carson, CA  (Food News)  Custom Food Products (CFP), a leading national protein supplier to chain restaurants and food manufacturers, has invested in a new InspX brand ScanTrac X-ray Inspection System, as part of CFP’s Continuous Improvement Program. This is the fourth such investment CFP has made in x-ray technology in its manufacturing facilities since 2007.

The new InspX ScanTrac Fermata Pipeline X-ray Inspection System will process CFP meat and poultry as it moves through a pipeline-style system. The closed cabinet system x-rays the product in a high-resolution screening process, detecting unwanted foreign objects as small as 1mm in diameter, such as packaging residue, non-edible fragments or naturally occurring bone particles. The system can safely inspect more than 15,000 pounds of meat per hour.

Any meat that fails to pass Custom Food Product’s stringent quality control requirements is automatically discharged from the processing flow via a pneumatic valve assembly.

“Investments in cutting edge safety technology like the InspX ScanTrac is an investment in the safety of our clients and their consumers,” said Jon Hickerson, President and Chief Operating Officer of CFP. “You can’t put a price on safety and trust. We take that responsibility very seriously. This technology helps us provide a safer, better product.”

Most food processing facilities employ metal detection systems, but it is not yet typical for meat processing facilities such as Custom Food Products to invest in advanced foreign material prevention measures such as x-ray technology.

Founded over 30 years ago, CFP continues to seek out and utilize the most innovative processing techniques available. CFP is a $170 million operation, employing 400, with processing facilities in Carson, CA and Owingsville, KY.

Producing beef, chicken, pork and turkey meats and gravies, CFP supplies a wide range of proteins and customized ingredients to some of the largest international restaurant chains, packaged food manufacturers and consumer products marketers in the U.S. and abroad. Custom Food Products has been a supplier of well-known consumer favorites for decades, including Arby’s® Restaurants for over 30 years, Hot Pockets® proteins for over 25 years, as well as SUBWAY® Restaurant and ConAgra Foods for over 20 years respectively.

At both of its state-of-the-art processing facilities, CFP has also received dual certifications from the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and British Retail Consortium (BRC). CFP’s operations are BEV product requirement-approved for several countries, and Halal certified as permissible for Islamic consumers.

For more information on Custom Food Products, please contact Jon Hickerson, at 310-637-0900 or visit www.customfoodproducts.com. Learn more about InspX at www.inspx.com.

Battle Creek, MI  (Food News)  The terms whole grains and fiber cause a “whole lot” of confusion and can add up to a “whole lot” of calories for consumers looking to increase the fiber in their diets. According to a three-part series examining fiber in Nutrition Today, consumers who eat more whole-grain foods to up their fiber intake could increase their calories by more than 1,200 per day unless they carefully read the Nutrition Facts label and choose higher-fiber versions of the foods they already eat.

“Small steps in your diet can help make a big difference,” said DeAnn Liska, Ph.D., senior director of nutrition science at Kellogg Company and a co-author of the article series. “Choose two or three foods each day – such as beans, fruit and cereal with at least 3 grams of fiber – to boost your fiber intake.”

Fiber is an important nutrient beneficial to healthy weight, digestive health and heart health. Yet, less than one in 10 American adults and children get enough fiber in their diets, and most get about half the amount of fiber they need, as recommended by the Institute of Medicine.

In response, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans identified fiber as one of four nutrients of concern that Americans need more of in their diets and recommended that the best way for people to meet their fiber needs is to use the Nutrition Facts label to compare whole-grain products and find choices higher in dietary fiber.

“Whole grains can be an important source of fiber, but the reality is that meeting the recommendation of ‘making half your grains whole’ will only provide about one-third of daily fiber needs for most people,” said lead author Betsy Hornick, M.S., R.D. “So it’s important to make your whole-grain choices count by looking for whole-grain products that provide at least 3 grams of fiber per serving.”

This advice is important because the amount of fiber in whole-grain products can vary greatly and leads Americans to believe they are getting more fiber in their diet than they are. According to the articles, consumers should specifically look for grain or whole-grain foods that provide at least a good source (3 grams) of fiber to help meet their daily requirements without increasing calories.

To help consumers meet this need, Kellogg offers more ready-to-eat cereals that provide at least a good source of fiber and 8 grams of whole grains than any other U.S. food company, including Kellogg’s Raisin Bran, Frosted Mini-Wheats, Froot Loops and Apple Jacks.

Additional articles in this three-part series will be published in 2012. The abstract of the first article is now available at http://journals.lww.com/nutritiontodayonline/Abstract/2011/11000/The_Fiber_Deficit,_Part_I__Whole_Grain.9.aspx

SIDEBAR: Track Your Fiber Intake

Kellogg has two useful, free tools to help consumers determine their fiber needs and track their daily fiber intakes. A Fiber Tracker app for iPhone® and Android™ platforms and an Online Fiber Tracker are available at Kelloggsnutrition.com.

About Kellogg Company

For more than 100 years, consumers have counted on Kellogg for great-tasting, high-quality and nutritious foods. Kellogg Company, with 2010 sales of more than $12 billion, is the world’s leading producer of cereal and a leading producer of convenience foods, including cookies, crackers, toaster pastries, cereal bars, fruit-flavored snacks, frozen waffles and veggie foods. Kellogg Company’s beloved brands, which are manufactured in 18 countries and marketed in more than 180 countries, include Kellogg’s®, Keebler®, Pop-Tarts®, Eggo®, Cheez-It®, All-Bran®, Mini-Wheats®, Nutri-Grain®, Rice Krispies®, Special K®, Chips Deluxe®, Famous Amos®, Sandies®, Austin®, Club®, Murray®, Kashi®, Bear Naked®, Morningstar Farms®, Gardenburger® and Stretch Island®. For more information on the Kellogg Company, including our corporate responsibility initiatives, visit www.kelloggcompany.com.

Riverside, CA  (Food News)  Active Health Foods, Inc. (OTCBB: AHFD), the maker of Active X(TM) Energy Bars, a 100% Natural, 100% Organic, Organic and Kosher certified Energy Bar made from the highest quality natural, organic and raw ingredients in a variety of unique and delicious flavors, today is pleased to announce the commencement of the development of Active X(TM) Plus Energy Bars fortified with Vitamins B6 and B12.

“Shanais Pelka, holding a Masters of Science degree in Nutrition, a Master of Arts degree in Education, as well as being a Certified Nutritional Consultant and a PhD candidate in Nutrition, has commenced development of unique and proprietary formulas for our Active X(TM) Plus Energy Bars.  These distinctive energy bars will be fortified with B6 and B12 vitamins and will come in a variety of delicious and nutritious flavors.  As you may know, B6 and B12 vitamins have essential roles in red blood cell metabolism, fat and protein metabolism, nervous system function and the synthesis of nucleic acids.  Vitamin B6 has been associated with helping to lower your risk of strokes and heart attacks.  Vitamin B12 can assist in normalizing appetite, providing greater levels of energy with less fatigue, getting a better nights sleep and relieving muscle pain,” announced Gregory Manos, founder, CEO and President of Active Health Foods, Inc.

“After considerable research on food additives and these vitamins in particular, I have concluded that the benefit to our consumers of adding Vitamins B6 and B12 to our energy bars under the proprietary formulas of Active X(TM) Plus will be of significant benefit to our consumers and add to Active Health Foods, Inc.’s philosophy and legacy of being an innovative industry leader in bringing good tasting, healthy alternatives to the American family,” stated Director of Research Shanais Pelka.

History

Active X(TM) is a trademarked designation exclusive and proprietary to Active Health Foods, Inc. (OTCBB: AHFD).  Active X(TM) Energy Bars are made from a proprietary formula developed by the Company in conjunction with a qualified Nutritionist exclusively for Active Health Foods, Inc. and refined by the company into 100% Natural, 100% Organic, Organic and Kosher certified Energy Bars using only the highest quality natural, organic and raw ingredients.

Active X(TM) Energy Bars come in a variety of delicious flavors including: Almond Chocolate Delight, Peanut Butter Chocolate Joy, Cashew Berry Dream, Coconut Cocoa Passion and Double Chocolate Chip.  Each energy bar is 1.76 net ounces and comes wrapped in a professionally designed, distinctive full color wrapping inserted into an efficiently designed combination shipping and counter display box holding 12 bars.

Active X(TM)Energy Bars are produced locally by a certified organic food manufacturer enabling the company to maintain frequent and superior quality control over the production process as well as promoting immediate access to freshly made products for speedy distribution to the consumer.

Active X(TM) Energy Bars are available through the Company’s websites, activexbars.com and activehealthfoodsinc.com and will soon be available at leading retail and wholesale outlets throughout the U.S.

CONTACTS
Greg Manos
(951) 360-9970
www.activexbars.com
www.activehealthfoodsinc.com

About Active X(TM)and Active X(TM) Plus Energy Bars

Active X(TM)and Active X(TM)Plus Energy Bars were developed by an experienced Nutritionist using proprietary formulas developed solely for Active Health Foods, Inc. (OTCBB: AHFD) utilizing the highest quality 100% Natural, 100% Organic ingredients that are Organic and Kosher certified ingredients.  Active X(TM) and Active X(TM)Plus Energy Bars come in five distinctive, unique and amazing flavors: Almond Chocolate Delight, Peanut Butter Chocolate Joy, Cashew Berry Dream, Coconut Cocoa Passion and Double Chocolate Chip.

To find out more about Active X(TM) and the soon to be developed Active X(TM)Plus Energy Bars as well as the innovative company Active Health Foods, Inc. (OTCBB: AHFD), visit www.activehealthfoodsinc.com or www.activexbars.com.

About Active Health Foods, Inc.

Active Health Foods, Inc. (OTCBB: AHFD) is an innovative producer of unique, amazing and delicious 100% Natural, 100% Organic, Organic and Kosher certified, healthy and nutritious alternatives to the fast food mentality of millions of families across America.  Active Health Foods, Inc.’s brands include Active X(TM) and Active X(TM)Plus Energy Bars, which are moist and flavorful nutritious snacks, utilizing 100% Organic, 100% Natural and raw ingredients from proprietary formulas developed by and exclusively for Active Health Foods, Inc.  Active X(TM) and Active X(TM)Plus Energy Bars come in a variety of delicious flavors including: Almond Chocolate Delight, Peanut Butter Chocolate Joy, Cashew Berry Dream, Coconut Cocoa Passion and Double Chocolate Chip.

Active Health Foods, Inc. is developing a line of other innovative, tasty, nutritional and healthy foods and beverages that will be the subject of further press releases.

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This press release contains a number of forward-looking statements. Words, and variations of words such as “expect,” “goals,” “plans,” “believe,” continue,” “may,” “will,” and similar expressions are intended to identify our forward-looking statements, including but not limited to, our expectation for growth; benefits from brand-building; cost savings; growth and margins.

These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control, which could cause our actual results to differ materially from those indicated in our forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to, continued volatility of, and sharp increase in, costs, pricing actions, increased competition, risks from operating internationally, continued consumer weakness, weakness in economic conditions and tax law changes.

Please also see our risk factors, as they may be amended from time to time, set forth in our filings with the SEC, including our most recently filed Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequent reports on Forms 10-Q and 8-K. Active Health Foods, Inc. disclaims and does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement in this press release, except as required by applicable law or regulation.

Bellingham, WA  (Food News)  ‘Tis the season of holiday fun and festivity — and holiday weight gain, stress, emotional eating, and overload.

“Holiday stress has a particular impact on women, who are more likely to feel increased stress during the holiday season and are more likely to fall into unhelpful habits like emotional eating to cope with overload or overwhelm,” says psychologist, life coach, and founder of TooMuchOnHerPlate.com, Dr. Melissa McCreery. “Additionally, the high calorie treats are everywhere. People gain more weight during the holiday season than any other time of year and unfortunately, if you are already overweight, you are likely to gain more weight than average. The good news is, there are simple steps that you can take to stay in control.”

Dr. McCreery offers these do-able ways to take control of holiday stress, overeating, and weight gain:

  1. Be clear on your goals.
    McCreery suggests you ask yourself what you want to have or experience during the holidays. Whatever your goal — creating happy memories, maintaining your weight, or hosting an enjoyable family gathering — you are much more likely to achieve what you want if you are crystal clear on what it is.
  2. Ditch perfectionism.
    Settle for “good enough” this holiday season, and you’ll probably laugh more and stress a lot less. “Perfect” rarely happens, and frankly, it’s not very much fun having to have everything “just right.” Give yourself permission to lighten up and enjoy the moment.
  3. Set time and energy budgets.
    Setting a financial budget is critical for reducing stress and overwhelm during the holidays, but it’s also essential to be realistic about budgeting your time and energy. Be clear about how much of yourself you have to give to various projects and do your best to stick within these limits. You’ll find that this policy also helps with perfectionism.
  4. Savor the important stuff and say no to the rest.
    Focus on making deliberate choices and then savoring. This is an excellent strategy for approaching holiday treats and can help prevent holiday weight gain. It’s also a useful decision-making tool for the invitations and events that many of us face in December. The holidays come with some very special once-a-year-treats that you probably don’t want to miss. Identify what these are — and make sure you allow yourself the chance to indulge and enjoy them. Make a commitment to yourself now to pass up all the “extras” that aren’t really anything special. Decide now to skip the chips, store-bought cookies, extra cocktails, and “fillers” that people will be setting out this holiday season. Likewise, choose deliberately and decline the “must-do” events that really aren’t where you want to be spending your valuable time.
  5. Get your zzzs.
    Sleep affects just about everything including appetite, metabolism, energy, and mood. Although you may be tempted to burn the midnight oil, you’ll be more productive and effective if you commit to seven and a half hours of sleep a night.

More tips for avoiding holiday overeating and stress are available at http://TooMuchOnHerPlate.com/blog/. For a copy of McCreery’s free audio set: Five Simple Steps to Move Beyond Overwhelm with Food and Life, go to TooMuchOnHerPlate.com.

About Melissa McCreery and TooMuchOnHerPlate.com:

Psychologist and Life Coach Dr. Melissa McCreery focuses on the three Os that ambush successful, high-striving women — overeating, overwhelm, and overload. She is the founder of TooMuchOnHerPlate.com where her clients take control of overeating and stress and add more ease, success, and joy in their health, their businesses, and their lives. The creator of The Emotional Eating Toolbox™ 28 Day Program and the How to Put Yourself First 7 Day Blast-off, Dr. McCreery has been featured in Self magazine, on Yahoo Health, in Diane magazine (the magazine of Curves Fitness Centers), SparkPeople.com, and many other wellness publications. For more tips and articles or to arrange an interview, visit http://TooMuchonHerPlate.com or email info@toomuchonherplate.com.

Chicago, IL  (Food News)  The new USDA standards regulating what foods are served to the nation’s schools will result in gaps not being filled, according to a new study by foodservice consultants Technomic, Inc., in collaboration with Aurora Insights. The standards focus specifically on increasing emphasis on sodium and calorie reduction, and more whole grains. School foodservice directors are searching for better food options in these areas, while also considering the preferences of their very picky eaters.

“School foodservice directors have a very tough job. They have to meet these tougher standards, but in a way that will maintain reimbursable meal participation rates,” says Joe Pawlak, Technomic Vice President. “Today’s lower sodium and whole grain options are often rejected by students.  Schools need manufacturers to innovate in these areas, offering more better-for-you foods that students will accept.”

In addition to the new regulations, the K-12 segment is challenged by increasing special diet requirements. “Reflecting the general population, diet homogeneity does not exist in school cafeterias,” says Sheri Petrich, President of Aurora Insights. “Foodservice directors plan multiple menus every day to meet special cultural and medical-related diets. Gluten-free diets are one of the fastest growing diets and one of the most challenging to menu.”

These and other issues are examined in the research, entitled The K-12 Foodservice Segment:  Navigating through a Segment Facing Significant Change. Food manufacturers gain insights into changing market dynamics and specific opportunities for their product mix. For more information on this study, contact Joe Pawlak at 312-506-3940 or jpawlak@technomic.com.

About Technomic
Technomic provides clients with the facts, insights and consulting support they need to enhance their business strategies, decisions and results. Its services include numerous publications and digital products, as well as proprietary studies and ongoing research on all aspects of the food industry.

About Aurora Insights
Aurora Insights is a consulting firm specializing in the K-12 and College & University food service segments with an emphasis on K-12 regulations. Its services include customized research, strategic development, informational presentations and other segment-related consultative services.

Press Contact: Chris Urban, 312-506-3929 or curban@technomic.com

Omaha, NE  (Food News)  Omaha Steaks has announced the addition of the iGrill cooking thermometer functionality to its Steak Time iPhone application. Steak Time, Omaha Steaks free app which debuted in the New and Noteworthy category of the iTunes store earlier this year, was designed to provide the tools for preparing and serving the perfect steak every time.

Steak Time offers an innovative Grilling Timer that enables the user to create a personalized steak timer setting for each guest. The timer indicates when to put the steaks on the grill and exactly when to turn them to achieve the specific degree of doneness that each guest prefers. The iGrill, a temperature probe cooking thermometer with a long range Bluetooth® connection, integrates seamlessly to upgrade the Steak Time app, by giving the user the ability to now cook by temperature, as well as by time.

The iGrill function enhances the Steak Time app by allowing the user to monitor the internal temperature of the items being grilled or smoked up to a distance of more than 200 feet, making it ultra-convenient for slow roasting and smoking food preparation.

Other key features of the iGrill enabled Steak Time app from Omaha Steaks include:

  • Multiple cooking timers and temperature tools which allow users to set food preparation timers directly from within recipes and view active times and temperatures from anywhere in the app.
  • ‘Buy Now’ buttons that appear in a user’s grocery list allowing them to purchase Omaha Steaks products.
  • Ability to browse the Omaha Steaks store from within the app.
  • Conversation card feature that provides a host of interesting facts and questions to help liven up the dinner discussion.
  • Social media integration allowing users to share recipes and tips with their friends on Facebook and Twitter.

The Steak Time App is available for free from the App Store on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, or at www.itunes.com/appstore. Users can purchase the iGrill temperature probe directly through a link within the Steak Time app.

About Omaha Steaks

Omaha Steaks, founded in 1917, is an Omaha, Nebraska-based, fifth-generation, family-owned company that markets and distributes a wide variety of the finest quality USDA-approved, grain fed beef and gourmet foods. Today, Omaha Steaks is recognized as the nation’s largest direct response marketer of premium beef, available to customers by calling 1-800-960-8400, online at www.OmahaSteaks.com or at retail stores nationwide.

About the iGrill

The iGrill device is built by iDevices, LLC, an American based company that creates and specializes in unique products based on an extensive knowledge of wireless connectivity. In 2010, iDevices successfully developed and launched the iGrill, and the iGrill applications. The company is currently in development of a variety of new products.

Chicago, IL  (Food News)  People who eat baked or broiled fish on a weekly basis may be improving their brain health and reducing their risk of developing mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

“This is the first study to establish a direct relationship between fish consumption, brain structure and Alzheimer’s risk,” said Cyrus Raji, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “The results showed that people who consumed baked or broiled fish at least one time per week had better preservation of gray matter volume on MRI in brain areas at risk for Alzheimer’s disease.”

Alzheimer’s disease is an incurable, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and cognitive skills. According to the National Institute on Aging, as many as 5.1 million Americans may have Alzheimer’s disease. In MCI, memory loss is present but to a lesser extent than in Alzheimer’s disease. People with MCI often go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

For the study, 260 cognitively normal individuals were selected from the Cardiovascular Health Study. Information on fish consumption was gathered using the National Cancer Institute Food Frequency Questionnaire. There were 163 patients who consumed fish on a weekly basis, and the majority ate fish one to four times per week. Each patient underwent 3-D volumetric MRI of the brain. Voxel-based morphometry, a brain mapping technique that measures gray matter volume, was used to model the relationship between weekly fish consumption at baseline and brain structure 10 years later. The data were then analyzed to determine if gray matter volume preservation associated with fish consumption reduced risk for Alzheimer’s disease. The study controlled for age, gender, education, race, obesity, physical activity, and the presence or absence of apolipoprotein E4 (ApoE4), a gene that increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Gray matter volume is crucial to brain health. When it remains higher, brain health is being maintained. Decreases in gray matter volume indicate that brain cells are shrinking.

The findings showed that consumption of baked or broiled fish on a weekly basis was positively associated with gray matter volumes in several areas of the brain. Greater hippocampal, posterior cingulate and orbital frontal cortex volumes in relation to fish consumption reduced the risk for five-year decline to MCI or Alzheimer’s by almost five-fold.

“Consuming baked or broiled fish promotes stronger neurons in the brain’s gray matter by making them larger and healthier,” Dr. Raji said. “This simple lifestyle choice increases the brain’s resistance to Alzheimer’s disease and lowers risk for the disorder.”

The results also demonstrated increased levels of cognition in people who ate baked or broiled fish.

“Working memory, which allows people to focus on tasks and commit information to short-term memory, is one of the most important cognitive domains,” Dr. Raji said. “Working memory is destroyed by Alzheimer’s disease. We found higher levels of working memory in people who ate baked or broiled fish on a weekly basis, even when accounting for other factors, such as education, age, gender and physical activity.”

Eating fried fish, on the other hand, was not shown to increase brain volume or protect against cognitive decline.

Coauthors are Kirk Erickson, Ph.D., Oscar Lopez, M.D., Lewis Kuller, M.D., H. Michael Gach, Ph.D., Paul Thompson, Ph.D., Mario Riverol, M.D., Ph.D., and James Becker, Ph.D.

Note: Copies of RSNA 2011 news releases and electronic images will be available online at RSNA.org/press11 beginning Monday, Nov. 28.

RSNA is an association of more than 48,000 radiologists, radiation oncologists, medical physicists and related scientists committed to excellence in patient care through education and research. The Society is based in Oak Brook, Ill. (RSNA.org)

For patient-friendly information on MRI, visit RadiologyInfo.org.

AT A GLANCE

  • Regularly eating baked or broiled fish improves brain health and may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Eating fried fish was not shown to protect against cognitive decline.
  • As many as 5.1 million Americans may have Alzheimer’s disease.

Orrville, OH  (Food News)  Dairy Enterprises Inc. has announced that SMITH’S All Natural Sour Cream is now available in dairy cases throughout the region. The newest product in SMITH’S line of sour cream is made with just two ingredients: milk and cream.

“Today’s consumers are looking for foods with less processing and more natural ingredients,” said Penny Baker, director of marketing for SMITH’S. “Our new All Natural Sour Cream is a simple recipe made with cultured milk and cream.  That’s it! It has a full-bodied texture with a clean finish and natural taste.”

SMITH’S All Natural Sour Cream is Grade A and pasteurized, gluten-free, and KO Kosher-certified. With only 60 calories per 2-tablespoon serving, it’s a natural addition for topping, dipping, cooking and baking needs.

SMITH’S All Natural Sour Cream is packaged in 16-ounce containers at suggested retail pricing (SRP) of $2.29 to $2.49.

About Smith Dairy Products Company and Dairy Enterprises Incorporated

Smith Dairy Products Company manufactures products marketed by Dairy Enterprises Inc. Family-owned since 1909 and headquartered in Orrville, Ohio, Smith Dairy Products Company has production facilities in Ohio and Indiana. Smith Dairy Products Company manufactures a full line of quality dairy, beverage, ice cream, and foodservice products, from Ruggles® Premium Ice Cream to SMITH’S milk in the distinctive yellow jug. Dairy Enterprises Inc. and Smith Dairy Products Company assure their customers the freshest and highest-quality products. For more information, visit www.smithdairy.com or become a fan of Smith Dairy and Ruggles on Facebook.

Columbus, OH  (Food News)  The holidays are a joyful time of year, but preparing meals during this busy season can cause some unwanted stress. When friends and family come into town to celebrate, the main meal on those big days tends to get the most attention. But it’s easy to make overnight or early-arriving guests feel special by waking up their senses with a deliciously simple breakfast casserole for a welcomed morning surprise.

Bob Evans understands and respects the importance of family meal time during the holidays. The company offers a vast line of food products and delicious recipes as convenient meal solutions to help moms and dads avoid spending hours in the kitchen, especially when the house is filled with guests.

“The main course is usually the most significant part of any holiday gathering, but don’t overlook the appeal of a warm, home-cooked breakfast,” says Bob Evans Executive Development Chef David Eisel. “You can still impress your company while saving time with a delicious, pre-prepared breakfast like my family’s favorite, the Make-Ahead Breakfast Casserole.”

An easy way to serve an appealing and effortless breakfast to a large group is by using recipe-ready refrigerated products like Bob Evans Original Roll Sausage, which can be found in many local grocery store meat cases. With many Bob Evans recipes requiring only 10-15 minutes of prep time, families can spend less time slaving over the stove and more time with each other.

Learn how to cook like a pro and make time in the kitchen easier with some simple tips from Chef David:

  • Plan according to group size. When there’s a big group of visitors, plan to serve meal that can accommodate everyone such as a casserole. Don’t forget to anticipate people hoping for seconds!
  • Dry out those veggies. To avoid soggy casseroles and other meals, let frozen vegetables thaw out and allow them to dry before mixing them in with other ingredients.
  • Prep and refrigerate overnight. Instead of waking up early to prepare a hot breakfast for company, get all of the work done the night before. Set your table, combine your ingredients in the casserole dish and refrigerate it overnight. That way, all that’s left to do it pop it in the oven the next morning.

Bob Evans’ commitment to family mealtime means that the company stands behind the quality of the food it produces. By using real ingredients in its products, Bob Evans guarantees a wholesome and delicious dining experience for every family. Bob Evans Sausage is made with only premium cuts of pork and showcases the difference that farm-fresh goodness makes in meals.

“Quality is in the DNA of Bob Evans Food Products,” says Eisel. “When families use our products, they can be confident in the superior taste of their cooking and spend more time creating lasting holiday memories.”

For more information about Bob Evans Food Products, visit www.bobevans.com. For more simple and delicious ideas for breakfast and entertaining recipes, visit www.bobevans.com/recipes. Sign up for BEmail to receive great offers on their recipe-ready sausage rolls and other convenient products.

About Bob Evans Farms, Inc.

Bob Evans Farms, Inc. owns and operates full-service restaurants under the Bob Evans and Mimi’s Café brand names. At the end of the third fiscal quarter (Jan. 28, 2011), Bob Evans owned and operated 561 family restaurants in 18 states, primarily in the Midwest, mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions of the United States, while Mimi’s Café owned and operated 145 casual restaurants located in 24 states, primarily in California and other western states. Bob Evans Farms, Inc. is also a leading producer and distributor of pork sausage and a variety of complementary homestyle convenience food items under the Bob Evans and Owens brand names. For more information about Bob Evans Farms, Inc., visit www.bobevans.com.

Oakland, CA  (F00d News)  For generations, kids have tried to convince their parents that broccoli tastes bad. According to a new study, they just might be right.

A study published by the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that 70 percent of kids tested were bitter-sensitive, meaning bitter foods, such as broccoli and cucumber, can have a very unpleasant taste to them. The study did provide some hope, though: Bitter-sensitive kids who were offered a dip, in this case Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Dressing, ate 80 percent more vegetables than kids who weren’t given a dip. The findings held true regardless of the fat content of the dip, with kids consuming as many vegetables with low-fat ranch dressing as they did with a full fat version – good news for parents concerned about offering kids too much fat.

“Most parents probably aren’t even aware that their child may have a genetic reason for not liking the taste of broccoli and other bitter foods,” said Dr. Jennifer Orlet Fisher, a Temple University professor who authored the study. “The good news is that this study shows you can overcome some of those barriers by encouraging them to keep trying the vegetable – and providing a dip or dressing along with veggies appears to help some kids.”

In the study(1), 152 predominantly Hispanic children (87.5 percent) aged 3-5 years old and recruited from eight preschool classrooms were served an afternoon snack of raw broccoli twice a week for seven weeks. For bitter-sensitive kids, the combination of a familiar dip alongside repeatedly offering raw broccoli resulted in children eating more of that vegetable. In fact, bitter-sensitive children ate 80 percent more broccoli with Hidden Valley® salad dressings than when served the vegetable plain. After seven weeks, the number of children who said broccoli tasted “yummy” also increased by 18 percent.

“I’ve never met a parent who’s not familiar with the daily struggle to get their kids to eat better,” said veggie expert and registered dietitian Jodie Shield. “It’s helpful for parents to know that there is a reason why their kids might not eat vegetables and exciting to see that simple actions like offering a dip can have a profound difference in a child’s eating habits.”

The study tracked how much broccoli the kids ate at afternoon snacks in four scenarios: with no dressing, with regular dressing served as a dip, with light dressing served as a dip and with regular dressing served as a sauce. Parents provided insight into each child’s willingness to try new and unfamiliar foods, following the widely used Pliner’s Child Food Neophobia Questionnaire. After four weeks, students were assessed for bitter taste sensitivity (6-n-propylthiouracil or PROP) using a force-choice PROP tasting procedure, with 70 percent of the preschoolers showing sensitivity.

Dipping in Ranch Helps Kids Love Their Veggies

Ensuring kids get their daily recommended servings of vegetables can be difficult for parents. In fact, about 93 percent of children aged two to 12 fall short of the recommended 2-5 cups of veggies per day. (2)  This study is the latest in a growing body of science pointing toward viable veggie consumption solutions:

  • The Relevance of Ranch: A study suggested that consuming a moderate amount of fat with vegetables/salads may be beneficial to the body’s ability to adequately absorb fat-soluble nutrients.(3)
  • Getting Kids Involved in the Process: In a study of 600 school-aged children taking part in a nutrition curriculum intended to increase vegetables and whole grains consumption, researchers at Teachers College at Columbia University found that children who helped cook their own food were more likely to eat those foods in the cafeteria, and even ask for seconds.(4)
  • Making Veggie Eating Fun at Home: Parents participating in a home-based intervention program about fruits and vegetables led to increased knowledge and availability of both in the home, which was in turn a significant predictor of their children’s increased consumption.(5)

Getting Kids To Love Their Veggies

In an effort to help parents enhance their children’s nutrition, the makers of Hidden Valley Salad Dressings introduced the Love Your Veggies™ campaign. Now in its fifth year, the program offers parents and educators tools and resources to help grow kids’ taste for vegetables, including kid-friendly educational materials, annual events, interactive games/tools and nutrition education grants. Since the 2006 start of the program, the makers of Hidden Valley Salad Dressings have awarded nearly $1 million in funding for school nutrition programs.

Jodie Shield has worked with the Love Your Veggies campaign for several years now, helping to educate moms and media. “I’ve seen the impact a little information can have on a mom and her family’s diet, and this program helps make veggie eating educational and fun by helping mom involve her kids in the process starting with a simple, practical solution of dipping vegetables in ranch,” said Shield.

Visit www.LoveYourVeggies.com to learn more about the campaign.

About Hidden Valley®

The HV Food Products Company is a subsidiary of The Clorox Company, headquartered in Oakland, Calif. The Clorox Company is a leading manufacturer and marketer of consumer products with 8,100 employees and fiscal year 2011 revenues of $5.2 billion. Clorox markets some of consumers’ most trusted and recognized brand names, including its namesake bleach and cleaning products, Green Works® naturally derived home care products, Pine-Sol® cleaners, Poett® home care products, Fresh Step® cat litter, Kingsford® charcoal, Hidden Valley® and K C Masterpiece® dressings and sauces, Brita® water-filtration products, Glad® bags, wraps and containers, and Burt’s Bees® natural personal care products. Nearly 90 percent of Clorox Company brands hold the No. 1 or No. 2 market share positions in their categories. The company’s products are manufactured in more than two dozen countries and marketed in more than 100 countries. Clorox is committed to making a positive difference in the communities where its employees work and live. Founded in 1980, The Clorox Company Foundation has awarded cash grants totaling more than $84 million to nonprofit organizations, schools and colleges. In fiscal year 2011 alone, the foundation awarded $4 million in cash grants, and Clorox made product donations valued at $13 million. For more information about Clorox, visit www.TheCloroxCompany.com.

(1)  “Offering “Dip” Promotes Intake of a Moderately-Liked Vegetable among Preschoolers with Genetic Sensitivity to Bitterness.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association; Article in Press, Online November 24, 2011.

(2)  Produce for better Health Foundation and ACNielsen; State of the Plate; 2010

(3) “Carotenoid bioavailability is higher from salads ingested with full-fat than with fat-reduced salad dressings as measured with electrochemical detection.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2004): 396-403.

(4)  “Do you want your children to try new foods? Try keeping them in the kitchen.” Teacher College at Columbia University. 15 Sept. 2008 <http://www.tc.columbia.edu/news/article.htm?id=6665>.

(5) “High 5 for Kids: The impact of a home visiting program on fruit and vegetable intake of parents and their preschool children.” Preventive Medicine 9 Apr. 2008.

White Plains, NY  (Food News)  Sabra Dipping Company, the country’s leading hummus manufacturer, has released its first ever limited edition hummus for the holiday season. Made with only the finest premium ingredients, the Rosemary, Olive Oil and Sea Salt flavor of Season’s Finest hummus has all the deliciousness of Sabra’s smooth Classic hummus with a special festive touch.

The task of choosing Sabra’s first ever limited edition hummus fell upon the 2011 Sabra Tastemaker panel, a group of influential bloggers, food lovers, and thought leaders who provide feedback to the company. Through a blind taste test, the panel determined that the Rosemary, Olive Oil and Sea Salt hummus was the most delicious and appropriate for the holiday season.

“We’re proud to introduce this special edition hummus just in time for holiday entertaining,” said Ken Kunze, Chief Marketing Officer for Sabra Dipping Company. “We review feedback from our consumers, and are excited about letting our Tastemaker panel represent them and choose this new flavor for the market. The robust and creamy blend is really delicious.”

Featuring a specially designed metallic foil packaging, Season’s Finest hummus comes table-ready from the grocery store. The hummus’s label features a seasonal design, making it perfect to serve at parties and family gatherings, or as the ideal holiday hostess gift.

Season’s Finest hummus can be found in the 17oz size at grocery stores in the Pacific Northwest, New England and New York metro area, and in the 25 oz size at Sam’s Clubs nationwide through early January. All varieties of Sabra Hummus are gluten free and certified kosher.

For more information about Sabra’s new products, please visit www.sabra.com.

About Sabra Dipping Company, LLC

Sabra Dipping Company, LLC is a leader in the refrigerated dips and spreads category and producer of America’s top-selling hummus. Sabra’s award-winning hummus, available in more than a dozen flavors and a wide range of authentic, healthy and vegetarian dips and spreads can be found nationwide in club stores, supermarkets, specialty retailers and through food service. Sabra operates a silver LEED certified factory in Virginia, and in 2011 received an A-Classification from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) audit board for food safety for its California plant. Visit Sabra at www.sabra.com, on Twitter at www.twitter.com/sabra and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sabra.