Press Clips: NYC Teens Drinking Less Soda; Nestlé Bets Big on Bubbles

istock_000015490370smallSoda Consumption Plummets Among New York City High Schoolers

A survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found a significant decline in the number of New York City high school students who drink soda on a regular basis, according an article in the New York Post.

The CDC’s Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey revealed that in 2013, 15.7 percent of the city’s teenagers said that they consumed a soda over the course of a week, a 5.2 percent plunge from 2011 and down almost 8 percent from 2007. Moreover, students that do drink soda during the week are consuming less of the fizzy beverage; just 10.4 percent said that they had two or more servings in 2013 versus 14.8 percent two years prior. Almost 30 percent of students reported that they did not drink any soda during the measured week’s time in 2013.

Howard Wolfson, New York City’s deputy mayor during Michael Bloomberg’s administration, credited his boss’s unsuccessful plan to limit sales of large format sugary beverages (often referred to as the “Bloomberg Ban”), and the controversy that surrounded it, as having an impact on decreased soda consumption.

“The proposed soda ban clearly changed behavior,” Wolfson told the Post. “It discouraged people from drinking soda.”

CSPI-Backed Group Endorses Calif., N.Y. Legislation for Warning Labels on Sugary Drinks

Meanwhile, The Center of Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a consumer advocacy group, reported that a cadre of “leading public health scientists and researchers” have announced their support for legislation in California and New York that would require new warning labels to be added to packages of soda and other sugary beverages. The labels would “inform consumers of the risk of diabetes, obesity, and tooth decay from excessive consumption.”

The group was organized by CSPI and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy (CCPHA) and includes individuals “who have conducted or analyzed the current scientific evidence on soda-related diseases,” according to a press release.

The warning labels would provide for “a clear, inexpensive way so that adults and children alike could make truly informed choices,” said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson.

Green Apple PerrierAmid Soda Slump, Nestlé Plans to Launch More Sparkling Water Products

The Wall Street Journal today reported that food and beverage conglomerate Nestlé SA will introduce new flavored line extensions for its water brands and increase production of sparkling water products as it aims to take advantage of increased consumer demand for healthier beverages. This year, Nestlé will build seven production lines and invest as much as $200 million in the U.S., doubling the amount output capacity in comparison to the previous five years.

Along with a surge in production, the introduction of new products, which include a green-apple flavor for Perrier and a cherry lemon flavor for Poland Spring, are intended to address a rapidly expanding market for healthy, carbonated drinks and declining demand for soda.

“[Consumers] want bubbles,” said Marco Settembri, Chief Executive, Nestlé Waters “But they want healthy bubbles.”

Rising demand for carbonated waters propelled a 14 percent leap in sales of Nestlé’s sparkling products in 2014, according to Tim Brown, Chief Executive, Nestlé Waters North America. By comparison, sales of its still water brands, including Pure Life, grew by 8 percent.

Wired Magazine: “Nobody Can Prove That Cold-Pressed Juice is Better for You”

While volume sales of cold-pressed and high pressure processed (HPP) juice are nowhere near that of sparking water, the category is similarly benefiting from a shift toward consumption of healthier products. While supporters of the fast-growing segment contend that cold-pressed, HPP juices provide greater nutritional value than it traditionally processed counterparts, Wired Magazine recently published an article questioning the validity of that claim.

Wired noted “how you make juice definitely changes the nutrients that show up in the final fluid,” and that “plenty of research shows that cold-pressing” and HPP do a good job at preserving more micronutrients in produce than thermal processing, “that generalization doesn’t apply to every nutrient.”

“Certain micronutrients have their own weird outcomes, changing the impact of processing on a fruit-by-fruit or vegetable-by-vegetable basis,” the article reads.

As an example, Wired noted that when some heat is added to tomatoes, better-for-you versions of the antioxidant compound lycopenes is released. Bhimu Patil, director of the Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center at Texas A&M University, told Wired that “in some cases, the heat is helping convert the metabolites into useful, absorbable compounds.”

ChongwaterBudGenius to Market Tommy Chong-Branded, Hemp-Infused Water

Tommy Chong, an actor best known for the “Cheech & Chong” movie franchise, and, of course, its ties to marijuana, will be the face of a new line of cannabis-related products. Last week, U-T San Diego reported that BudGenius, a company that provides “quality-control testing and related services for dispensaries and consumers,” of marijuana, will launch several hemp-infused products endorsed by and bearing the likeness of Chong, including a beverage called “Chongwater.”

While Bud Genius CEO Angel Stanz told U-T San Diego that he’s excited to begin selling the new product line, marijuana advocacy group the National Cannabis Industry Association, is concerned that Chong will reinforce “stoner stereotypes.”

Energy Drink Lawsuit Settled… for $5.49

RedlineYep, you ready that right.

A 2012 lawsuit filed against Vital Pharmaceuticals Inc., which markets Redline energy drinks, has been settled for $5.49, according to an article in Daily Business Review. The plaintiffs in the case, Adam Mirabella and Kristen Arrendell, claimed that after consuming Redline drinks, each suffered from excessive sweating, vomiting, convulsions, chest pain and rapid heartbeat, sending them to emergency rooms.

The pair said that Vital’s “marketing material used inadequate labelling and misleading references to university studies to pitch the drinks as a safe,” sued the company and sought class-action status for the lawsuit. The suit demanded for a refund for anyone who’d purchased a Redline product, which exposed Vital to a potential payout of $100 million.

However, Vital’s lawyer Scott Knapp uncovered information on social media sites that pointed to drug use and excessive partying by Mirabella and Arrendell. Knapp argued that the information showed as plaintiffs as inadequate representatives for the class.

After a federal judge denied class certification for the lawsuit, as well as the plaintiffs’ request for reconsideration, the two sides reached a settlement, which “provided $2.50 for Mirabella and $2.99 for Arrendell,” a reimbursement for their respective purchases of one Redline Xtreme drink, plus interest from the date of sale through March 6.

Each side covered its own legal fees and costs, as per the agreement.