Elizabeth Fuhrman
Managing Editor

everage Industry’s Associate Editor Jenny Zegler coined the word, “healness,” a fusion of the words “health” and “wellness,” after covering the trend in every beverage category she features in BI’s Category Focus department. After writing a Special Report on health and wellness this month (page 26), I found the word provided a great explanation of the combination of healing solutions that consumers seek in their “healness” beverages.
The big issue that needs some “healness” is the obesity epidemic that exists in America. It is estimated that two-thirds of U.S. consumers are overweight or obese, according to the Global Obesity Report from Europanel.
Lifestyle changes are necessary to combat obesity, and Information Resources Inc. reported in the November 2007 “Times & Trends” that retailers and manufacturers who provide lifestyle solutions, including value-priced healthy options, will be well positioned to help consumers fight obesity. Value-priced products are important in markets with a high level of lower-income consumers, whose high obesity rates likely reflect budget constraints that limit purchases of healthier foods and beverages, IRI says.
“In general, what we’ve found through different studies is the propensity toward obesity is higher for lower-income consumers,” says Sheila McCusker, editor for IRI “Times & Trends.” In urban areas, lack of availability of healthier products, partly due to fewer major supermarkets, contributes to the problem, she says. “But also, I think it’s a matter of cost. If you’re looking at some of these organic products or some of these functional products, they tend to be a bit higher priced when even raw fruits and vegetables are more expensive.”
Health and wellness beverages sales continue to surge, because they are a convenient way for consumers to intake vitamins and minerals, including servings of fruits and vegetables. Companies can excel further by entering the underserved value-priced better-for-you beverage market, because we all could use a little “healness.”
Guilt-free glosses
Fuze partnered with cosmetics company Too Faced for a line of Slenderize Guilt-free Lip Glosses. The line was inspired by Fuze’s Slenderize juice flavors and is available in Dragonfruit Lime, Strawberry Melon and Blueberry Raspberry flavors. In addition, Too Faced Slenderize lip glosses boast the drink’s appetite-curbing, energy-boosting ingredients, including chromium, l-carntine and Super CitriMax. The functional lip glosses are available at cosmetics retailer Sephora for $18.50.
Making recipes pop
A new cook book, “Sodalicious,” shows chefs how to spice up recipes with soft drinks. Author Tom Fralia uses his 20-year experience in the soft drink industry to add some ‘pop’ to 300 recipes ranging from ham glazes, dips, breads and desserts. The book contains recipes for Strawberry Shortcake featuring 7 UP, French Onion Soup with Coca-Cola, and hamburgers made with Dr Pepper.
Vote Granny in  08
Joining the pack of presidential candidates, Sweet Leaf Tea’s Granny mascot announced her bid for president last month. Granny is the muse of Austin, Texas-based Sweet Leaf Tea and is running on an “Organic for Everyone” platform. The candidate released the following statement, “I stand for liber-tea and great taste for all! As Americans, we all deserve access to all-natural, organic beverages, free of high fructose corn syrup. If I win — and I’m in it to win, by the way — I will lead this country towards a healthy and refreshing future!”
Rioja on the runway
The fashionable side of wine was shown off by Vibrant Rioja, a spanish wine promotion organization, in Chicago last month. The official wine of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City, held several wine tastings and events throughout the city. The events not only featured wine tastings, but also the chance to win a trip to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and a designer dress made by Steven Rosengard, who was a contestant on this season of Bravo’s “Project Runway” TV show. Rosengard was also on hand with model Amanda Alter for a meet and greet session.
Sampling via scooter
SanPellegrino traveled through New York City on a scooter to introduce its new Aranciata and Limonata Sparkling Fruit Beverages. The company sampled the reformulated Lemon and Orange sparkling beverages from the sidecars of SanPellegrino-branded yellow Vespa scooters. The scooters made stops at the Big Apple’s hottest spots, including Park Slope and the Upper West Side to sample the all-natural Sparkling Fruit Beverages.
Spirited festival
360 Vodka was named the Official Spirit of the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Due to its energy-efficient manufacturing process and sustainable packaging, the vodka was the Sustaining Sponsor of the festival, which was held last month in Park City, Utah. 360 Vodka was served at all official parties, film premieres and sponsored events. The brand, made by McCormick Distilling Co. Inc., also sponsored the 360 Green Box at the Egyptian Theatre in Park City.