New fitness and nutrition non-profit debuts
The food and beverage industry and related organizations have launched a new non-profit council charged with getting practical information into the hands of parents, teachers, communities, and policymakers about effective solutions for tackling obesity.

The American Council for Fitness and Nutrition (ACFN) will advocate realistic solutions to improve the health of all Americans, particularly youth. It will also address obesity in America with comprehensive, constructive public policies based on sound science and behavioral research.

The council was founded by a broad coalition of food and beverage companies, trade associations, and related industries and associations, including the American Bakers Association, American Meat Institute, Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc., ConAgra Foods Inc., Del Monte Foods, Food Marketing Institute, General Mills Inc., Grocery Manufacturers of America, Kellogg Co., Kraft Foods Inc., McDonald’s Corp., National Confectioners Association, National Restaurant Association, Nestle USA Inc., Pepsi-Cola Co., Sara Lee Corp., Procter & Gamble Co., Quaker Oats Co., and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The new council supports increasing the number of students who engage in physical activity for 30 minutes a day in schools, as well as increasing effective nutrition education in schools and increasing support for applied research on achieving behavior changes to support fitness and nutrition education goals.

“The council’s goal is to help Americans, especially children and parents, develop eating and exercise habits that lead to a balanced and healthier lifestyle,” Council Spokesperson and Registered Dietitian Alison Kretser said. “We will work with leading health, nutrition, fitness, and behavioral experts to help Americans set achievable goals for lifetime health.”

The member companies and organizations hope drawing on their collective resources will produce a greater impact than any single organization.

ACFN launched a Web site,, that includes tips for consumers and links to sources for nutrition and fitness information. The organization also plans outreach programs to policy makers and media, as well as “listening tours” around the country.

ACFN is based in Washington, D.C.

Father of food banking honored
St. Mary’s Food Bank (SMFB) in Phoenix, Ariz., honored its founder, John van Hengel, the father of food banking, on February 21 to celebrate his 80th birthday.

Van Hengel started SMFB, the world’s first food bank, in 1967. He based the organization on a simple concept—some people are hungry, while others have an abundance of food. Why not build a bridge between the two?

After learning that local grocers often dumped food nearing expiration, he asked the pastor of his church, St. Mary’s, to help establish a central location where agencies could pick up food he gathered throughout the city. Within three days, van Hengel had an abandoned building and a $3,000 loan from the parish council.

The volunteer staff at the food bank received and distributed 250,000 pounds of food that first year. They were able to repay the loan from St. Mary’s, and named their organization St. Mary’s Food Bank in thanks for the parish’s help. Today, SMFB, a private nonprofit, nonsectarian food bank, distributes more than 25 million pounds of food per year.

Van Hengel went on to serve as a consultant to other food banks, first independently and then through the organization he created, Second Harvest. Today America’s Second Harvest is the largest domestic hunger relief organization in the country, and thousands of food banks exist around the world. Van Hengel is still an active participant in worldwide food banking and a vital part of SMFB.

To honor van Hengel, SMFB hosted a celebration and open house, inviting the community to wish him happy birthday and tour the food bank. The City of Phoenix Police Dept. hosted a food drive in his honor as well. SMFB also asked the public to honor van Hengel by holding their own food drives, making donations, volunteering at food banks, or sending a special message to him by signing an on-line guestbook at

2002’s best new products recognized
Productscan Online named three domestic and two international food industry-related products winners of its 2002 “Build a Better Mousetrap” New Product Innovations award.

The on-line database of new products ( is part of the Marketing Intelligence Service, based in Naples, N.Y.

In the domestic category, 10 products, three of which were food related, were chosen from 30,000 new U.S. and Canadian introductions. Weston Bakeries, based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, won for its Country Harvest The Better Half Bread, a sliced loaf of bread that is half Harvest White and half Stone Milled Whole Wheat bread. The product solves the problem of some family members wanting white bread and some preferring wheat. Instead of buying two loaves that end up only half eaten, consumers can purchase one loaf that pleases everyone. The bread bag also opens at both ends, so consumers can easily retrieve the desired slices.

Uncle Ben’s, based in Vernon, Calif., was recognized for its Uncle Ben’s Frozen Breakfast Bowls, which allow consumers to enjoy hot breakfasts when time is limited. The portable, disposable plastic bowls contain traditional breakfast favorites, such as Bacon, Egg & Potatoes, as well as more unique offerings, such as Peach & Pecan Pancakes.

Reynolds Consumer Products, based in Richmond, Va., won for its Reynolds Wrap Release Non-Stick Aluminum Foil, which solves the problem of foods that stick to foil. One side of the product has a non-stick side so foods slide off. It also works in the freezer to prevent foods from sticking together, so consumers don’t have to pry frozen foods apart.

Two food products were also recognized in the international market. France’s Tranches de Vie! Pate Prete a Cuire is a premade bread dough sold in a metal aerosol can that is sprayed into a baking pan, a new idea for bread dough. Germany’s Milka Schokus Pokus Chocolate Bar starts out with a chocolate flavor that changes to strawberry and ends with a peppermint taste.

Assistant Editor

New Products
ConAgra Foods® Specialty Potato Products introduced Lamb Weston Generation 7® Fries in January. The French fries are made with an advanced proprietary process that slashes cooking time by up to 50% over conventional fries. They feature fryer or oven preparation and freezer or refrigerator storage for operator convenience. The company is based in Eagle, Idaho.

Herr Foods Inc. introduced Herr’s Salsa & Lime Tortilla Chips in January. The snack blends salsa and lime seasonings for a cool and crunchy flavor combo that can be eaten alone or with dips. The product is packaged in lime green bags highlighted with a colorful southwest sunburst design. Herr Foods is based in Nottingham, Pa.

Kraft Foods introduced Kraft® Singles Manchego processed slices to meet Hispanic consumer expectations and taste demands. The mild and creamy cheese is ideal for melting and is perfect for quesadillas, sandwiches, or as a snack. The cheese, which comes in a bilingual package, provides traditional Manchego flavor in the convenience of cheese slices. The product, already available in Mexico, is now available at select retailers nationwide. Kraft is based in Glenview, Ill.

McCormick® introduced McCormick 1 Step Seasonings™ in January. The all-in-one seasonings are intended for combination with fresh ingredients, such as ground beef or boneless chicken breasts, to help create favorite dishes with easy preparation. It comes in eight varieties: Tex-Mex Chili, Spaghetti Meat Sauce, Skillet Mac, Sloppy Joe, Garlic Herb Chicken, Lemon Herb Chicken, Jambalaya, and Stir Fry. McCormick is based in Hunt Valley, Md.

Schwan’s Consumer Brands North America introduced Red Baron Stuffed Pizza Slices in December. The new product provides pizza taste stuffed into a single-serve slice that microwaves in about two minutes, making it easy for consumers on the go. The ingredients come wrapped in a golden-brown crust garnished with Italian cheese and herbs. It comes in Pepperoni Pizza, Five Cheese & Tomato Pizza, Italian Sausage & Pepperoni Pizza, Supreme Pizza, Italian Sausage with Roasted Red Onions Pizza, and Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza flavors. Each box contains two slices. Schwan’s is based in Marshall, Minn.

ABC Research Corp. launched an on-line Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) that provides clients with direct access to food test results as they are completed. The company submitting food or beverage samples for testing can get results as the tests are completed and posted, without waiting for fax, phone, or e-mail notification. Quality control and quality assurance directors at food production facilities will know sooner that their product is free of pathogens and safe to ship. The system can be accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The status of a particular sample can also be checked. Companies using this system, which is protected by a firewall with a login procedure, will need no additional software. Reports can be saved in a Microsoft Word format. ABC Research is based in Gainesville, Fla.

Chiquita Brands International sold its Progressive Produce Corp. to a group led by Progressive Produce’s management for approximately $7 million in January. Progressive Produce was founded in 1967 and specializes in potatoes and onions that are distributed within California and other western states. The sale is part of Chiquita’s efforts to focus on its core business. Chiquita is based in Newport Beach, Calif., and Progressive Produce is based in Commerce, Calif.

FMC FoodTech Inc. has upgraded the freezer and refrigeration capabilities at its Food Processing Technology and Training Center located in Sandusky, Ohio. The $2 million expansion includes the addition of Frigoscandia Equipment freezers to the already existing Stein•DSI product lineup. Based in Chicago, Ill., FMC FoodTech supplies technology solutions for the global food industry.

Harvest States, the grains and foods division of CHS Cooperatives, opened a Brazil-based grain marketing office in January. The wholly owned subsidiary, Harvest States do Brasil Ltda, originates and markets primarily soybeans for export to Pacific Rim and European buyers and is based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Harvest States, based in St. Paul, Minn., markets soybeans, wheat, corn, barley, oats, and milo, along with specialty crops such as sunflowers, flax, and canola.

ICV Capital Partners, a New York-based private-equity investment firm focused on minority and inner-city companies, acquired Asian appetizer and entree provider Chung’s Foods Inc. from Yellowstone Capital Inc., both based in Houston, Tex. Chung’s has a 50% market share of all egg rolls sold in the selfservice deli category, a fast-growing area in supermarkets. The company’s product focus is on fresh and frozen egg rolls and entrees marketed primarily to supermarkets, wholesalers, and convenience store chains. Yellowstone Capital is a private-equity investment firm.

Candy maker Just Born Inc. plans to acquire Goldenberg Candy Co., best known for its Peanut Chews® and Chew-ets®. Based in Bethlehem, Pa., Just Born is know for its Marshmallow Peeps®, Hot Tamales®, MiKE and IKE® and ZOURS® confections. Goldenberg Candy is based in Philadelphia, Pa.

McClancy Seasoning is celebrating 55 years of creating flavor-packed seasonings, spices, and mixes. McClancy, a food development company, promotes turnkey solutions for the food industry with hands-on research and development, a variety of custom blending capabilities, and economical and convenient co-packing services for clients of all sizes. The company specializes in desserts and salads; gravies, sauces and soups; meat seasonings and marinades; batters, breadings, and bakery; snack foods; dairy blends; drink mixes; and whole and ground spices. The company is headquartered in Fort Mill, S.C.

Plaza Belmont LLC, a private equity fund specializing in acquiring and operating food manufacturing companies, acquired the mixing business of Cereal Food Processors Inc., based in Bonner Springs, Kans. Plaza Belmont acquired the business through its subsidiary Premier Blending Inc. All acquired operations will be transferred to Premier Blending’s Wichita, Kans., facility. Premier Blending formulates and manufactures dry blended food products.

Procter & Gamble Co. donated novel snack food technology in January to the Mid-America Commercialization Corp. (MACC), an entrepreneurial technology development and commercialization facilitator affiliated with Kansas State University. P&G’s Nutrition Science Institute has developed several innovations, collectively referred to as Rainbow Technology, which have the potential to permit the manufacture of a wide array of snack foods that taste good and conform to the USDA’s recommended “Food Guide Pyramid.” Rainbow Technology is a proprietary methodology of increasing the nutritional value of portable snack foods. All servings of snack foods made with Rainbow Technology will meet the following nutritional criteria: Less than 3 grams