After much speculation about revisions to, or even the
demise of the USDA Food Pyramid, the United States Department of Health
& Human Services and the United States Department of Agriculture last
month released the sixth edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
The recommendations, which are revised every five years, emphasize reducing
calories and increasing physical activity, and give more specific guidance
on some previously nebulous food categories.
“The report gives action steps to reach
achievable goals in weight control, stronger muscles and bones, and
balanced nutrition to help prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease,
diabetes and some cancers,” said HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson of the
The proportionate intake of calories against activity
plays strongly in the recommendations, as does increased consumption of a
variety of fruits and vegetables, which could be positive for juice-makers.
Producers of dairy-based beverages can smile over the increased
recommendation of three servings of fat-free or low-fat milk or equivalent
milk products per day. The government also more specifically defined grain
intake, saying at least half should come from whole grains.
Beverage-makers may want to note the recommendation to
“chose and prepare foods and beverages with little added sugar or
caloric sweeteners,” and “reduce the incidence of dental caries
by … consuming sugar- and starch-containing foods and beverages less
Alcohol recommendations are largely unchanged from
conventional guidance of one drink per day for women and up to two per day
for men, and no alcohol for pregnant or lactating women.
Hits the spot
PepsiCo is on the leading edge of the wellness trend
with Smart Spot, an initiative that highlights better-for-you and
good-for-you products across its entire portfolio of food and beverage
brands. The company announced the program last year, identifying more than
100 products, including Tropicana, Quaker, Dole, Gatorade, Diet Pepsi and
Baked Lays, to feature the Smart Spot logo.
“Health and wellness is one of the largest
growth opportunities in the food business,” says Aurora Gonzalez,
spokeswoman for the health and wellness program. “PepsiCo took on the
task because we have such a broad array of brands and products that are
well positioned to have an impact.”
In fact, the company has said more than 55 billion
servings of Smart Spot products will be consumed this year, and it has set
a goal to have 50 percent of its future products meet the Smart Spot
criteria. PepsiCo based those criteria on guidelines from the Food and Drug
Administration and the National Academy of Sciences, which limit the amount
of fat — trans and saturated — cholesterol, sodium and added
sugar. Smart Spot also will be used to identify products that contain
fiber, vitamins and other nutrients, or that have a specific health or
In keeping with the trend to not be trendy,
PepsiCo’s program takes a wellness rather than a diet approach, and
leaves room for the range of full-calorie, better-for-you and good-for-you
offerings. “People aren’t looking to make drastic changes, or
they have done so over the years and said that’s not the way they
want to go,” says Gonzalez. “Our program is modeled on the idea
that you don’t have to do drastic things, but you can do small,
simple changes and have a greater impact on your long-term
It also has sponsored exercise initiatives such as
America on the Move to help consumers understand the correlation between
calories burned and calories consumed, and teamed with “The
View” co-host Meredith Vieira to spread the word about the program.
It recently partnered with 16 of its largest retailers, including
Albertson’s, Costco, Safeway, 7-Eleven, Walgreens, CVS, Wal-Mart, and
others, for in-store, point-of-purchase displays that group the targeted
products, allowing consumers to, “get a sense of the larger scope of
Smart Spot,” says Gonzalez.
On the ‘Plus’ side
The launch of 7 UP Plus
from Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages created a new category of
carbonated soft drinks based on wellness rather than diet.
“This is the first CSD that is talking about
what we are putting in instead of taking out,” says Executive Vice
President of Marketing Randy Gier. “That’s where we parted with
the industry and where we thought the big play was.”
The company chose 7 UP as the base for the product
because it is perceived as lighter and healthier than other soft drinks,
and added fruit juice, vitamins and calcium. It sweetened the product with
Splenda for 10 calories and 2 grams of carbohydrates per serving, but for
the most part, it left calorie content out of the brand message.
“We tried very hard not to give it a reference
to diet or regular,” says Gier. “It’s not like a mid-cal,
which is trying to be in between something and something else. We decided
to positively position it as what it is, which is a benefit-added soft
So far, the brand is “exceeding all of our
expectations,” says Gier. “When you do something that
different, you never know for sure, but the whole trademark is up…
We’re right on track with where we expected to be from a repeat
standpoint, and a little ahead of where we expected to be from a volume
In addition, Cadbury has taken the Plus concept and
extended it to the Mott’s brand. This month, it is introducing
Mott’s Plus for Kids’ Health, a 100 percent juice with 10
percent of the RDI for vitamin A, 100 percent for vitamin C and 10 percent
for calcium; and Mott’s Plus Light apple juice, which is sweetened
with Splenda for 50 percent fewer calories, and has 10 percent of the RDI
for vitamin A, 20 percent for vitamin D, 100 percent for vitamin C and 10
percent for calcium.
Better-for-you beverages are some of the biggest
growth leaders, according to ACNielsen’s What’s
Hot Around the Globe: Insights on Growth in Food and Beverages 2004.
Beverage Industry’s November issue highlights the 100-year advocacy of the American Beverage Association and what’s next for CEO Katherine Lugar and a new plastics initiative, Every Bottle Back. This issue includes a special report on craft beer, an Up Close With feature on PRESS hard cider and what is sparking innovation in natural colors. Read more about how protein is powering up beverages and how warehouses are using WMS and WCS systems to streamline operations. As usual, the latest trends in new products, packaging and ingredients are highlighted.
Check back throughout the month for additional content.