James N. Klapthor

Food Technology Experiencing a Trend in Driving Food Coverage
As the name implies, this IFT Newsmakers column regularly assesses the success of IFT members in general and IFT Food Science Communicators specifically in gaining scientific opinion in news outlets nationwide. This month’s column will vary slightly from that format by first mentioning that Food Technology has achieved noteworthy success by having its content republished recently in major, general consumer news outlets.

In its April 2005 issue, Food Technology published its annual feature on food trends, this year turning an eye toward the influence of global flavors and tastes on United States consumers and their food choices. Later that month, other news outlets began addressing the same topic, relying on Food Technology for support.

On April 13, a feature "The Dinner Dance" received front-page status in the Taste section of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Ohio’s largest daily newspaper. Accompanying it were two articles and four boxed inserts with accompanying images. In the insert slugged "We’ll take that to go," the newspaper wrote, "Food Technology magazine’s yearly report shows that single-serve items were all big winners" and "ready-to-eat and frozen main dishes . . . will likely replace homemade in the next five years." The Cleveland Plain Dealer boasts a circulation of more than 350,000 in northern Ohio, making it one of the 25 largest newspapers in America.

On April 14, the popular Internet health site WebMD addressed the topic in its exhaustive coverage entitled "Top Food Trends: What’s In Right Now." The article identified the Institute of Food Technologists and focused its coverage of the topic specifically on the Food Technology top trends list. It noted each of the ten trends and provided supporting context. WebMD is one of the world’s most popular consumer health Web sites, receiving monthly approximately 20 million visitors.

Two weeks after WebMD published its top ten trends list relying extensively on information originally compiled for publication in Food Technology, the Denver Post followed suit. However, unlike WebMD, the newspaper referenced additional sources of information in its article. But it still utilized the tried-and-true method of offering a list. It included each of Food Technology’s top 10 trends and supplied details of each. The Denver Post circulates 340,000 newspapers daily and, like the Cleveland Plain Dealer, is among the largest newspapers in the U.S.

In May, the trend to publish food trends was still on the minds of news editors. On May 13, The Detroit News published an article on dieting research and included at its end the growing interest in health-related food products by empty-nesting baby-boomers. This is one of the top ten global trends, and each of the 10 trends was published in an accompanying sidebar, with attribution to Food Technology and the Institute of Food Technologists. The Detroit News has more than a quarter-million readers daily, and its online site, www.detnews.com, where the article also appeared, generates more than 600,000 page views per day.

Following in the wake of the print media’s lead, television news also found this IFT content to be of interest to its audience. On May 14, WMAQ, the NBC-TV affiliate in Chicago, ran a story on food trends, focusing on Food Technology’s cover story and baby-boomers’ move toward becoming empty-nesters. WMAQ is the second-highest-rated station in Chicago, the nation’s third largest television market.

Now back to our format. Not to be overlooked is the hard work put forth by IFT Food Science Communicators who had their expert opinions included lately in major national consumer magazines.

In the April issue of Health magazine, Roger A. Clemens, University of Southern California, offered this advice to readers contemplating a raw foods diet: "It’s important to have a blend of cooked and raw foods in our diets," said Clemens, who regularly attempts to educate journalists and their readership that a raw food diet may have the reverse effect on nutrient absorption. "In some cases, cooking makes nutrients more available," he said. Published ten times a year, Health has a healthy circulation of 1.5 million.

The May issue of Fitness magazine featured an article on caffeine, offering insight on some often-disregarded knowledge. John Allred, Ohio State University, told readers that "Caffeine cancels out the effects" of medications taken for anxiety. The article also reminded readers that caffeine can have its stimulating effect on the body for hours, which may cause insomnia in some individuals. Like Health, the circulation for Fitness surpasses 1.5 million.

by JAMES N. KLAPTHOR
Media Relations Manager
[email protected]