Bevscape Innovation

Cancer Connections

Good news: a new study suggests that high daily intakes of coffee or soft drinks may not increase consumers’ risk for colon cancer. Bad news: antioxidants, a key modern functional beverage ingredient, could cause cancer in high doses.

Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute reported that they added mega-doses of antioxidants to tissues being grown in a lab in an attempt to prevent mutations, and – unexpectedly – got more.

“Antioxidants suppressed DNA damage at low concentrations,” the researchers reported “but potentiated such damage at higher concentrations.”

As a result, the group theorized that there is an optimal dose of antioxidants like vitamins A, C and E. The FDA’s recommended daily allowance is safe, they said, but consumers might want to cancel any planned IVs of POM Wonderful.

In an unrelated report, Dr. Xuehong Zhang and his colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health reviewed 13 studies that analyzed a total of more than 730,000 people, of whom more than 5,600 developed colon cancer.

Those that drank more than six 8 oz. cups of coffee, or more than 18 oz. of traditional soft drinks daily, shared the same colon cancer risk as the general population, said the study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Heavy tea drinkers – those that drank more than four 8 oz. cups of non-herbal tea per day – suffered a slight uptick in their risk, but the researchers said the sample included only a small number of such drinkers.

Are We More (Lactose) Tolerant Than We Think?

More than half of people that think they are lactose intolerant may be wrong, according to a study published in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

The researchers fed subjects who identified themselves as lactose intolerant a lactose solution equivalent to a quart of milk. Only half suffered stomach pain or flatulence.

The researchers speculated that those that had believed they were lactose intolerant, but weren’t, could be suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. Or, the group said, mistaken test subjects may have concluded that they were lactose intolerant after simply over-indulging in milk products on some occasion.

Gut Health Rumbles

American interest in gut-health products has spiked, according to Innova Market Insights. The new product-tracking firm reported more than 4,000 global products launched on a gut or digestive health platform in 2009, double the 2,000 it identified in 2004.

American products accounted for 28 percent of last year’s launches, the firm said, with stateside introductions more than tripling since 2005. American interest in the segment jumped notably, Innova said, after Danone repositioned Activia to more clearly call out its gut-health boosting properties.

While probiotic yogurts and dairy drinks still lead the field, Innova reported that gut health claims have extended to chocolate bars and frozen yogurts.

“Outside the US, there has been an even wider range of activity, with novel products appearing alongside development of existing brands and concepts,” the group wrote.

Innova added that the “gut health” field remains difficult to define. The segment includes high-fiber foods in addition to probiotic foods, and, many probiotic products have focused on immune defense as much, if not more than, digestive health. Estimates now tend to put the global market for gut health foods and drinks at over $10 billion per year.

E-Marketing Update

Your products’ package – with the aid of a smart phone – could create a window to a new, virtual marketing channel. StickyBits allows iPhone and Android users to attach video, photos, text or audio to real-world universal product codes. The program geo-tags the content and attributes it back to the user’s social media profile, allowing later users to find the attached media and continue the conversation. StickyBits will let brand owners track where and when people scan their products and will also let them monitor and manage attached conversations.

In more traditional social marketing, a report from eMarketer and Morpace found that referrals from Facebook friends made two thirds of American users more likely to patronize the recommended brand or store. The study also found that 41 percent of Facebook users connect to fan pages to show off their favorite products – though 37 percent joined those pages due to coupons or discounts.

Regardless of how they join, each Facebook follower is worth about $3.60, according to social media specialist Virtue. The firm determined that, while individual brand success varied, a Facebook fan base of 1 million averaged annual brand impressions equal to a $3.6 million traditional online media campaign.

Those traditional online campaigns have become more effective than television, according to The Nielsen Company. The advertising research firm, in cooperation with Microsoft, reported that video ads shown during full-episode, online TV shows achieve better results than on-air TV ads. Online ads boasted a 65 percent general recall compared to 46 percent for TV ads. The report added that the most effective way to air a commercial is both online and on the air.

Ingredient Update

Synergy Flavors, Inc. earned organic certification for its manufacturing facility near Chicago, its second in North America.

DSM Nutritional Products announced a clinical trial that showing that six months of using geniVida Bone Blend increased bone mineral density by up to 3.4 percent in post-menopausal women.

BI Nutraceuticals announced the availability of two new ingredients: quinoa, a gluten-free grain rich in protein, fiber, and micronutrients; and maqui, an antioxidant-rich, dark-purple berry native to Chile.

Sensient Technologies Corporation announced a $16 million investment in its Color Group headquarters site in St. Louis, where it will construct a 25,000 square foot facility dedicated to natural colors production.

TIC Gums announced new stabilizers for dairy and alternative formulations for protein beverages.

Suntava announced a purple corn concentrate that can be used to formulate Chicha Morada and other fruit and vegetable fusion drinks.

WILD Flavors, Inc. announced new flavors developed to pair with coconut water – including mango, passionfruit, acai berry, strawberry guava, lime citrus, tropical pineapple, and pomegranate berry. WILD also designed a flavor to make coconut water taste fresh, and developed marketing concepts for the trendy ingredient.