New market research facility opens

Focus on Food, a new market research facility dedicated to the development, refinement, analysis, and testing of menus and food products, recently opened its doors just outside Atlanta. 

The company, based in Norcross, Ga., was founded by former Applebee’s International Senior Vice President of Research and Development Ron Marks, a 25-year veteran of the foodservice industry. He has assembled a team of professional food and marketing specialists who together bring more than 60 years of food industry experience to clients. 

The company hopes to fill a niche in the Southeast by providing a stand-alone center devoted to supporting companies involved in primary consumer research in the restaurant, food manufacturing, and retail food industries. The 6,000-sq-ft facility features multiple fully equipped commercial test kitchens, consumer focus group and client viewing rooms, and one-on-one interview rooms. 

Services include food consumer research, product development and refinement, nutritional analysis, marketing, food photography and styling, diary panel tasting services, turnkey quality assurance programs, independent test kitchen services, and access to a spice and food ingredient library. Other services, such as food shopping and procurement and cook and food server staffing, are also available. For more information, visit

New report focuses on diet and exercise guidelines
The National Academies’ Institute of Medicine released a new report in September that doubles the daily exercise goal set by the 1996 Surgeon General’s report and slightly shifts diet guideline percentages.

According to the report, which focuses on eating and exercise targets for reducing chronic disease risk, adults and children, regardless of weight, should spend a total of at least one hour each day in moderately intense physical activity to maintain cardiovascular health at an optimal level, which is twice as much as previously recommended. As for diet, to meet the body’s daily energy and nutritional needs while minimizing risk for chronic disease, adults should get 45%–65% of their calories from carbohydrates, 20%–35% from fat, and 10%–35% from protein. Earlier guidelines called for diets with 50% or more calories from carbohydrates and 30% or less from fat. Protein intake recommendations are the same.

“We established ranges for fat, carbohydrates, and protein because they must be considered together,” Panel Chair Joanne Lupton, Professor of Nutrition, Texas A&M University, said. “Studies show that when people eat very low levels of fat combined with very high levels of carbohydrates, high-density lipoprotein concentration, or ‘good’ cholesterol, decreases. Conversely, high-fat diets can lead to obesity and its complications if caloric intake is increased as well, which is often the case. We believe these ranges will help people make healthy and more realistic choices based on their own food preferences.”

The report stresses the importance of balancing diet with exercise and gives recommendations for total calories to be consumed by individuals of given heights, weights, and genders for each of four different levels of physical activity. The complete report is available at Printed copies are available for purchase from the National Academy Press (phone 202-334-3313 or 1-800-624-6242,

World Bank looks at reducing hunger
The World Bank is launching a new international consultative process on the risks and opportunities of using agricultural science to reduce hunger and improve rural livelihoods in the developing world.

The World Bank announced the new initiative at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, in August. The purpose of the initiative, which is expected to last through mid-2003, is to exchange ideas between consumers, farmers, scientists, non-governmental organizations, governments, and the private sector in an effort to produce an international assessment on agricultural science that would give decision makers the tools and information they need to answer questions surrounding the issue. 

The new process will be co-chaired by World Bank Chief Scientist Robert T. Watson, who is also the former head of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); Claudia Martinez Zuleta, former Colombian Deputy Minister of Environment; Rita Sharma, Joint Secretary and Land Resources Commissioner of India’s Agriculture Ministry; Louise Fresco, Food and Agriculture Organization Assistant Director General for Agriculture; and Seyfu Ketema, Executive Secretary of the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa. 

The initiative will look at the risks and opportunities of a broad range of issues, such as organic agriculture, traditional plant breeding techniques, new farming technologies, and biotechnology. The assessment will be modeled on similar assessments on climate change and ozone that have been valuable for guiding policy makers on pressing issues. The process will attempt to maximize input by holding meetings in various parts of the world, videoconferencing, and using and interactive Web site at

FAO says food production will exceed population growth
A new study by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization indicates that population growth will slow and people will be better fed. 

The Report Summary of World Agriculture: Towards 2015/2030 found that the growth in demand for food will be lower. The pressure agriculture puts on natural resources will continue to increase, but at a slower pace than in the past. There will be enough food for a growing world population by the year 2030, but hundreds of millions of people in developing countries will remain hungry and many of the environmental problems caused by agriculture will remain serious. 

The report presents the latest FAO assessment of long-term developments in world food, nutrition, and agriculture. FAO issued similar studies in 1995, 1988, 1981, and 1970. The projections cover approximately 140 countries and 32 crop and livestock commodities. 

Agrilink Foods Inc.
sold its applesauce business to Knouse Foods, a grower-owned cooperative headquartered in Peach Glen, Pa., in September. Agrilink is also pursuing an agreement with Cahoon Farms Inc., a fruit-processing business based in Wolcott, N.Y., to produce some of the company’s fruit fillings and toppings beginning in 2003. Agrilink Foods is based in Rochester, N.Y.

Archer Daniels Midland Co. subsidiary Agri-Sales Inc. is now conducting business under the name ADM Edible Bean Specialties Inc. The company’s products include a full line of edible and dehydrated beans. These products join the ADM Specialty Ingredients portfolio which includes soy proteins, lecithin and monoglycerides, citric acid, xanthan gum, sorbitol, lactic acid, emulsifiers, and bakery mixes. ADM is based in Decatur, Ill.

Bemis Co. Inc. acquired the Walki Films division of UPM-Kymmene for $70 million. The purchase will expand the company’s packaging film manufacturing presence in Europe. Bemis also plans to sell MACtac, its pressure-sensitive materials business, to UPM-Kymmene, for $420 million. Walki Films manufactures packaging films, specializing in high-barrier vacuum and modified atmosphere packaging used primarily for packaging meat, cheese, and other fresh foods. Bemis, based in Minneapolis, Minn., supplies flexible packaging and pressure sensitive materials. UPM-Kymmene is based in Helsinki, Finland.

Blue Pacific Flavors & Fragrances opened a new finished beverage research and development application facility for the development of functional beverages in Industry, Calif. The center was designed to focus on creating a variety of innovative functional beverages, including hot-filled sports, energy, and wellness drinks. It will also feature customized development work for UHT/HTST and retort high-protein milk- or soy-based meal replacement beverages. A separate sensory area for evaluating finished drinks is planned for completion later this year.

Davisco Foods International broke ground in August on a $40 million mozzarella cheese plant adjacent to its food ingredient plant in Lake Norden, S.D. Land O’Lakes Inc. will market the cheese produced at the new plant, and will partner with Davisco Foods in milk procurement for the plant.

Degussa Corp. broke ground in August on a new global headquarters for its Fruit Systems business in Philadelphia, Pa. The new 18,000-sq-ft facility is adjacent to the business’s existing 150,000-sq-ft production plant, allowing the company to have the management, customer service, technical, and production facets of the business all in one location. Degussa Corp., based in Parsippany, N.J. is the North American subsidiary of Degussa AG, based in Duesseldorf, Germany. Degussa AG produces specialty chemicals with major businesses dedicated to health and nutrition, construction chemicals, fine and industrial chemicals, performance chemicals, coatings and advanced fillers, and specialty polymers.

DSM plans to acquire Roche’s Vitamins and Fine Chemicals Division. The Roche division is a leading supplier of vitamins and carotenoids. The sale allows Roche to focus on its two high-tech pillars, pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Healthcare group Roche is based in Switzerland. Life science products and performance materials company DSM is based in Holland.

Hormel Foods Corp. and Excel Corp., a subsidiary of Cargill Inc., formed a joint venture in September to market nationally branded fresh-case-ready beef and pork under the existing Hormel Always Tender® brand name to retailers in the U.S. The two food companies are combining their marketing and distribution capabilities and ex 

New Products 
Carbsense Foods Inc. added Garlic & Herb Pizza Crust and Honey Bran Muffin to its line of low-carb dry mixes in July. The new mixes contain 80% fewer carbohydrates than their regular versions and are high in protein and fiber. Carbsense Foods, based in Hood River, Ore., produces low-carbohydrate food alternatives for the retail and foodservice markets. The company plans to introduce as many as 30 new items to its line this year.

General Mills introduced Nature Valley Chewy Granola bars with a naturally flavored yogurt coating in August. The new bars will be available in strawberry and vanilla yogurt flavors. General Mills is based in Minneapolis, Minn.

Kettle Cuisine Inc. introduced a new “autumn harvest”-inspired recipe for its Roasted Vegetable Soup in July. Prepared using classical cooking techniques, Roasted Vegetable Soup is a hearty and aromatic blend of coarsely puréed onions, celery, cabbage, carrots, leeks, and potatoes, finished with herbs and cabbage braised in olive oil. The product is vegetarian, vegan, and dairy-free. Kettle Cuisine, based in Chelsea, Mass., makes more than 60 varieties of fresh refrigerated soups for the foodservice industry.

Walnut Acres introduced Walnut Acres Certified Organic Fruit Squeezies in August. The squeezable tubes of apple sauce are available in Berry Wild and Wild Apple flavors. The products contain puréed certified organic apples, organic grape juice concentrate, natural flavors, and added Vitamin C. The snacks contain no synthetic pesticides, artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or sweeteners and do not need to be refrigerated. Each two-ounce tube contains 50% of the RDA for Vitamin C and is 35 calories. Walnut Acres is based in New Rochelle, N.Y.

7 UP will introduce a new soft drink called dnL in November. The product is a strong, full-flavored carbonated soft drink that is bright green, will include caffeine, and will feature a blend of fruit flavor. The name dnL comes from turning the phrase 7 UP upside down and is part of the drink’s claim to be the “upside-down” 7 UP by adding caffeine, a new flavor, and color. The product is targeted at teens and young adults and is expected to be available nationally by January.

Pacific Foods of Oregon expanded its soup line in August to include Creamy Butternut Squash, Creamy Broccoli, and Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato. The new soups are available in single-serve 16-oz. sizes. Pacific Foods, based in Tualatin, Ore., manufactures non-dairy natural products. 

Assistant Editor