Plant Based Food Options Are Sprouting Profits For Retailers

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Tart Cherry Juice Lowers Blood Pressure
Tart Cherry Juice Lowers Blood Pressure
Tart Cherry Juice Lowers Blood Pressure
Tart Cherry Juice Lowers Blood Pressure

Plant Based Options Are Sprouting Growth for Retailers

FMCG AND RETAIL | 06-13-2018

From a consumption perspective, many would argue that there’s never been a better time to be a shopper. That’s because there’s something for everyone and every taste. And when it comes to nutrition, 37% of Americans say they’re following a specific diet this year, which is up from 35% last year and 29% in 2016. And with consumers narrowing their foci, brands and retailers need to stay tuned in—or risk missing out.

Once convenience is tossed into the mix, consumer choices expand into an ever growing universe of new, different or better. The food category has become ‘complicated’. Retailers persist in showing customers pictures of products on sale with no ‘why behind the buy’ story to give context to the purchase decision.

Retailers who do educate before selling, gain predictable and consistent profits. Content marketing has been tested and proven to outperform any other marketing program using sales circulars or ads. That’s the good news for retailers. This is the most fertile area for growth these days.

Amid the various nutrition programs on the market today, plant-based diets are gaining particular prominence. Notably, a Nielsen Homescan survey last year found that 39% of Americans are actively trying to eat more plant-based foods. To meet their goals, however, many shoppers aren’t looking to traditional plant-based staples like tofu, brown rice and granola. In fact, sales of traditional plant-based options were down 1.3% in the year ended April 7, 2018.

That’s not to say that growth in plant options is absent, however. Within the plant-based food space, innovation is booming, and an array of plant-based alternatives are posting significant sales growth.

In looking across the U.S., 6% of Americans say they follow a strictly vegetarian lifestyle, while 3% follow a strictly vegan lifestyle. Regardless of motivations, the number of consumers adopting vegetarian or vegan lifestyles is increasing, predominantly among young and diverse consumer groups. In looking across demographic groups, ethnic and young consumers express higher intentions to eat more plant-based foods:

African Americans are 48% more likely than the average U.S. consumer to incorporate plant-based foods.
Asian Americans are 47% more likely than the average U.S. consumer to incorporate plant-based foods.
Hispanic consumers are 46% more likely than the average U.S. consumer to incorporate plant-based foods.
Caucasian Millennials are 47% more likely than the average U.S. consumer to incorporate plant-based foods.

From a total store perspective, plant-based food options are no small potatoes. As of 2017, 19.5% of food and beverage dollars came from products that met a plant-based diet. And as a result of consumer interest, vegan (which excludes produce) and produce sales growth is outpacing total food and beverage sales.

Vegan and produce growth
In addition, vegan and produce options increased their dollar share by nearly 2% between 2014 and 2017.

Vegan and produce dollar share
Vegetarian and vegan offerings aren’t limited to solid foods, however, as most of us are well aware of the rise in dairy alternatives, particularly milk substitutes. And from a consumption perspective, Americans are going nuts for almond milk, which has posted a three-year combined annual growth rate of 8.2%.

Whether it be due to health, ethics or sustainability, the proportion of U.S. consumers that adhere to a vegetarian or vegan diet is growing. And that presents notable opportunity for brands and retailers looking for ways to capitalize on specific needs and desires among consumers opting for plant-based food and beverage options, particularly in cases where no or few options currently exist.

METHODOLOGY
The insights in this article were derived from the following sources:

Nielsen Retail Measurement Services
Nielsen Product Insider, powered by Label Insight, Latest 52 weeks ended Dec. 30, 2017
U.S. Homescan Panel Protein Survey, April 2017
The Nielsen Global Health and Ingredient-Sentiment Survey, 2016
Nielsen 2018 Health Shopper Survey

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Soil Samples Contain Antibiotics Effective Against Resistant Bacteria

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New Family of Antibiotics That May One Day Be Used Against Drug-resistant Bacteria,

02/15/2018 http://smartbrief.com/branded/0CFA9D5B-9285-47DF-A018-5ED9E96C0C0B/E53E0A04-B1AE-463F-8EFC-B6FC6159D02F

The dirt under your soles might just hold the key to your immune defenses against bacteria resistant antibiotics. No wonder organic farmers spend so much time building their soil. Maybe there’s a lesson to be learned by paying attention to dirt.  .

Natural compounds in soil collected from around the US are a new family of antibiotics that may one day be used against drug-resistant bacteria, according to findings published in Nature Microbiology. The compounds are called malacidins, and the study says they’ve been shown to destroy drug-resistant infections, such as MRSA, in rats.

US scientists have discovered a new family of antibiotics in soil samples.

The natural compounds could be used to combat hard-to-treat infections, the team at Rockefeller University hopes.

Tests show the compounds, called malacidins, annihilate several bacterial diseases that have become resistant to most existing antibiotics, including the superbug MRSA.

Experts say the work, published in Nature Microbiology, offers fresh hope in the antibiotics arms race. Drug-resistant diseases are one of the biggest threats to global health. They kill around 700,000 people a year, and new treatments are urgently needed.

Drugs from dirt

Soil is teeming with millions of different micro-organisms that produce lots of potentially therapeutic compounds, including new antibiotics. Dr Sean Brady’s team at New York’s Rockefeller University has been busy unearthing them.

They used a gene sequencing technique to analyse more than 1,000 soil samples taken from across the US. When they discovered malacidins in many of the samples, they had a hunch it was an important find.

They tested the compound on rats that they had given MRSA and it eliminated the infection in skin wounds. The researchers are now working to improve the drug’s effectiveness in the hope that it can be developed into a real treatment for people.

Dr Brady said: “It is impossible to say when, or even if, an early stage antibiotic discovery like the malacidins will proceed to the clinic. “It is a long, arduous road from the initial discovery of an antibiotic to a clinically used entity.”

Prof Colin Garner, from Antibiotic Research UK, said finding new antibiotics to treat gram-positive infections like MRSA was good news, but would not address the most pressing need. “Our concern are the so called gram-negative bacteria which are difficult to treat and where resistance is on the increase,” he said.

“Gram-negative bacteria cause pneumonia, blood and urinary tract infections as skin infections. We need new antibiotics to treat this class.”

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Plant-Based Foods Could Save A Country Billions

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Plant-based eating is cost-effective, reduces economic costs, such as hospital admissions and doctors’ bills, as well as increasing the number of healthy years people live.

Billions of euro could be saved from a country’s annual health bill if more people can be persuaded to follow a plant-based diet, according to new research published in the Journal of Nutrition. Also society overall will benefit due to less absenteeism from work.

The study looked at the health and economic consequences of two plant-based eating patterns, a diet with a daily portion of soya foods and a Mediterranean-style diet.

The study suggests the British government could reduce its healthcare and societal costs over the next 20 years by £5.21 billion if just 10% of the UK population would emphasize plant-based foods in their diet. Cost savings could be as high as £7.54 billion if 10% of the UK population could be encouraged to incorporate soya products in their daily diet.

“Our research demonstrates that increasing plant-based eating is cost-effective, reduces economic costs, such as hospital admissions and doctors’ bills, as well as increasing the number of healthy years people live, and enabling them to continue having an active life,” said Lieven Annemans, professor of health economics at Ghent University, and the lead author of the paper. “Our study has the potential to contribute to the way healthy eating is promoted,” he added.

There are different approaches to plant-based eating, from Mediterranean-type diets through to vegetarian and veganism. Plant-based eating is in line with the latest government dietary guidelines, the Eatwell Guide. In other words, plant-based eating does not have to exclude all animal products, but places plant-based foods such as soya, fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts, seeds and vegetable oils at the core of the diet.

The researchers carried out an extensive review of the scientific literature and concluded that both plant-based and soya eating patterns reduce the risk of diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke and certain cancers. Diets containing soya demonstrated the most favorable health effects from the two evaluated plant-based food patterns.

The researchers calculated the impact of these plant-based food patterns on ‘quality adjusted life years’ (QALYs), which estimate the number of expected years of good health. To calculate disease costs, a societal perspective was taken, including direct and indirect costs. Direct costs are those directly associated with the disease or related conditions including costs related to diagnosis and treatment. Indirect costs include employment related elements such as absenteeism, and productivity loss due to sickness.

For the UK, a diet containing soya is estimated to yield 159 QALYs and 100 QALYs per 1,000 women and men, respectively. Similarly, adherence to a plant-based Mediterranean-type diet also results in living longer in good health and cost-savings to society.

Professor Ian Rowland, professor in nutrition from Reading University, supported the findings of the new study and commented: “Emphasizing plant-based foods in your diet can help to improve nutrition and meet current dietary recommendations. More plant-based eating helps against a variety of diseases which many people are currently confronted with. In addition to the personal health benefits, it can also help reduce society’s healthcare costs.”

This study provides yet more reasons to eat more plant-based foods and is in line with the UK ‘Eatwell guide’ which champions plant-based foods for good health and sustainability. It follows a report published by the Sustainable Food Trust in November – The Hidden Cost Of UK Food – which found that poor diets add 37p of healthcare costs to every £1 spent on food.

Full bibliographic information

Nutrition, Volume 48, April 2018, Pages 24-32. Applied Nutritional Investigation
The potential health and economic effects of plant-based food patterns in Belgium and the United Kingdom
Janne Schepers M.Sc
Lieven Annemans Ph.DDepartment of Public Health, Interuniversity Centre for Health Economics Research (I-CHER), Ghent University, Ghent, BelgiumDepartment of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacologic Sciences, KU Leuven, Flanders, BelgiumReceived 8 August 2017, Revised 6 November 2017, Accepted 11 November 2017, Available online 15 December 2017.

 

Carb-Restricted Diet Battles Fatty Liver Disease

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The researchers found that the metabolism of dangerous hepatic lipids was “strongly linked” to rapid increases in B vitamins and the bacteria that produce folic acid.

New details about how a carbohydrate-restricted diet improves metabolism were revealed in a study published today. This could lead to improved treatments for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

15/02/2018 KTH The Royal Institute of Technology

A research team in Sweden examined  the effects of reduced carbohydrate consumption – without an accompanying reduction in calorie intake – by putting 10 subjects with obesity and high liver fat on a two-week diet. The study, which involved KTH Royal Institute of Technology’s SciLifeLab research center, combined clinical and big data analysis to determine the subsequent changes in metabolism and gut bacteria.

By doing so, they identified why the subjects showed “rapid and dramatic” reductions of liver fat and other cardiometabolic risk factors, along with marked decreases in synthesis of hepatic fat. Published today in Cell Metabolism, the work was authored by researchers from KTH, University of Gothenburg and other international collaborators.

Adil Mardinoglu, a systems biology researcher at KTH, says that the subjects were restricted to an isocaloric, low-carbohydrate diet with increased protein content. The researchers found that the metabolism of dangerous hepatic lipids was “strongly linked” to rapid increases in B vitamins and the bacteria that produce folic acid.

This benefit was coupled by a reduction in the expression of genes that are involved in fatty acid synthesis, and an increase in the expression of genes involved in folate-mediated one-carbon metabolism and fatty acid oxidation.

“A carbohydrate-restricted dietary intervention such as the one we used can be an efficient treatment strategy for a severe health problem, as medical science continues the development of new drugs,” Mardinoglu says.

The study relied upon a combination of systems medicine and advanced clinical studies, with close interaction between experts in systems medicine, basic scientists, nutritionists and clinicians. Combining forces enabled the team to apply a “multi-omics” approach, which means integrating multiple data sets from the body’s omes (genome, proteome, transcriptome, etc.) to identify biomarkers.

“We’ve moved from an era where scientists could work individually and command – in one laboratory – everything they needed, to a world that’s much more interactive,” Mardinoglu says.

Lead author Jan Boren, a professor at University of Gothenburg, says: “We found that the diet, independently of weight-loss, induced rapid and dramatic reductions of liver fat and other cardiometabolic risk factors, and revealed hitherto unknown underlying molecular mechanisms.

“It’s important, however, to clarify that diets are complicated and that one type of diet does not fit everyone. For example, subjects with hypercholesterolemia should be careful.”
Liver fat is the earliest abnormality in the pathogenesis of both NAFLD and alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD) due to metabolic risk factors associated with insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome in the presence or absence of alcohol consumption.

Therefore, the strategies the research team identified could be used also for the treatment of AFLD patients, Boren says.

Full bibliographic information

Mardinoglu et al.,

An Integrated Understanding of the Rapid Metabolic Benefits of a Carbohydrate-Restricted Diet on Hepatic Steatosis in Humans,

Cell Metabolism (2018)

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2018.01.005

Stem Cells Boost Immunity Against Candida albicans Infections

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the discovery of this new host/pathogen interaction mechanism and its consequences in the modulation of immune response may provide a new target for intervention in the fight against serious infections.

María Luisa Gil

Professor of microbiology , The University of Valencia

Coconut Oil To Kill Candida Fungus

Using stem cells to boost immunity against Candida albicans infections

26/10/2016 Asociación RUVID

Researchers from the Universitat de València (UV) and the Cedar Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles have partnered to describe a biological mechanism that generates cells which are better equipped to fight off serious infections caused by the Candida albicansfungus.

The fungus, which is often found in innocuous form in the oral cavity, vagina and gastrointestinal tract, can cause superficial skin and mucus infections in healthy people. It can also cause serious internal or invasive infections in immunodepressed patients and is as such considered an opportunistic pathogenic fungus.

The research, published in Microbes and Infection, analyses the interaction betweenhematopoietic progenitor and stem cells with this fungus. María Luisa Gil, professor or microbiology at the University of Valencia, explains:

“When stem cells interact directly with the Candida albicans microorganism, this leads quickly to the conversion of these cells into mature mieloid cells -neutrophil, monocyte, macrophages and dendritic cells-, which are what fuel our natural immune system, our first defense against infections”.

The fact of stems cells interacting with the C. albicans microorganism is important because until now it was thought that only mature cells recognised and responded directly to microorganisms and derivatives. The study shows that this interaction can lead to the generation of cells that are functionally better prepared to face off an infection.

Indeed, the discovery of this new host/pathogen interaction mechanism and its consquences in the modulation of immune response may provide a new target for intevention in the fight against serious infections.

Research group and funding

The Immunology of Fungal Infections research group of the Infections) reports to both the department of Microbiology and Ecology, and the Interdisciplinary Research Structure for Biotechnology and Biomedicine (ERI-BIOTECMED) of the University of Valencia. Part of the experimental work was carried out at the University’s Central Service for Experimental Research (SCSIE), and in collaboration with researchers from Cedar Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

The group has been researching immune response to the Candida albicans fungus for a number years. The incidence and seriousness of C. albicans infections has increased considerably over recent decades, due mainly to the increase in at-risk population. The work has received funding from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (ref. SAF2014-53823-P, co-funded by the ERDF).

Full bibliographic information

Javier Megías et al. TLR2, TLR4 and Dectin-1 signalling in hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells determines the antifungal phenotype of the macrophages they produce. Microbes and Infection. Volume 18, Issue 5, May 2016, Pages 354–363. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.micinf.2016.01.005
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