Floros becomes President
About one in four Americans have high or elevated levels of LDL or "bad" cholesterol. To help combat the problem, Unilever USA, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., has launched Promise active SuperShots—mini drinks containing natural plant sterols. Over 140 clinical studies have shown that natural plant sterols can significantly lower LDL cholesterol. The product contains 2 g of plant sterols per 3.3-oz serving and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and is a good source of vitamin E. It comes in three flavors—strawberry, peach, and raspberry. The products—which carry a suggested retail price of $3.99 for a 4-pack—are available in the dairy aisle of many leading supermarkets.

Foods containing at least 0.4 g/serving of plant sterols eaten twice a day with meals for a daily total intake of at least 0.8 g, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease. Natural plant sterols actively help block the absorption of cholesterol from the foods eaten as well as the cholesterol made naturally by the body.

Microwave Popcorn Eliminates Diacetyl
Diacetyl, a GRAS flavoring component that helps give many foods a buttery taste, has been linked to lung diseases in workers inhaling the compound. In addition, some evidence suggests that frequent and prolonged exposure to fumes generated during the preparation of microwave popcorn containing added diacetyl may be harmful to consumers. In light of these safety concerns, Weaver Popcorn Co., Indianapolis, Ind., has eliminated diacetyl from its Pop Weaver microwave popcorn products. "We follow strict safety guidelines in manufacturing our products, so we’ve had no incidents among our associates related to diacetyl exposure," said President Mike Weaver. "However, we know consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about this issue, so we’ve taken it out of our flavorings. It was a challenge to eliminate diacetyl from our flavorings and still maintain the great buttery taste that consumers love, but we’ve done it."

In September, other marketers of microwave popcorn—including ConAgra Foods Inc., Omaha, Neb., General Mills, Minneapolis, Minn., and American Pop Corn Co., Sioux City, Iowa,—announced plans to remove the ingredient from its products.

Veggies for Aging Boomers
"Eat your vegetables!"—a constant battle cry of moms and dads to their kids—is now being directed to grandparents and aging Boomers, thanks to General Mills’ Green Giant. The Minneapolis, Minn.-based vegetable processor is launching Green Giant Health Blends frozen vegetables in three all-natural varieties: Healthy Weight contains sliced carrots, sugar snap peas, black beans, and edamame in a light butter sauce; Immunity Boost includes broccoli florets, julienne carrots, and red and yellow sweet pepper strips in a garlic-herb-infused extra virgin olive oil seasoning; and Healthy Vision consists of sliced carrots, zucchini quarters, and sliced green beans in a light rosemary butter sauce. "Improving and maintaining our health is the number one concern among Boomers," said Mike Martin, Green Giant marketing. "We feel these products can help Boomers meet their specific health needs." The microwavable products come in a 7-oz package with a suggested retail price of $1.88.