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Vegetarian more popular, healthy menu options, cholesterol-lowering beef – news to December 26 2011

People are eating less meat, and often eat vegetarian meals, according to a number of studies. Other studies say that consumers want healthier menu options – including low fat, low calorie, and low sugar. Lean beef may lower cholesterol as much as the DASH diet. More gluten-free products are brought to market, but some may be mislabeled. Eating too little salt can be harmful to health. Sugar during pregnancy may cause addiction for the baby. Critics say the fair-trade movement has profoundly lost its way.

Flexitarians eating vegetarian-friendly meals

Less meat being eaten Dec-13-11 Allrecipes
More than 1/3 of home cooks report eating less meat compared with a year ago. 80% want to eat healthier, 38% enjoy meatless dishes, 32% want to save money; 16% have environmental concerns; 13% are against animal cruelty; 8% have diet restrictions; 5% eat less because friends and family are cutting back.

33% of non-vegetarians in USA eat vegetarian meals a significant percentage of the time Dec-14-11 Progressive Grocer
The Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG) commissioned a telephone poll on how often Americans are eating vegetarian meals. 17% of Americans stated that they “don’t eat meat, fish, seafood, or poultry at many of my meals (but less than half the time)” and 16% don’t eat these foods at more than half of their meals (but not all the time). Thus, 33% of the country are eating vegetarian meals a significant amount of the time (in addition to committed vegetarians).

Meat-free and free-from becoming mainstream Dec-15-11 Marketing Week (UK)
A growing number of consumers are turning to meat-free food and other products that have certain allergens, such as gluten or lactose, removed from their ingredients. This growth is being driven by an increased openness to both meat-free and free-from products by people who eat all types of food, not just vegetarians or consumers with food allergies, the study by Mintel reveals. More than half of consumers (55%) say they sometimes choose meat-free foods for variety, and 51% make a meal from them because they look appealing. Although one in five consumers say they would like to cut back on meat, only 4% are restricting their meat intake because of environmental concerns, whereas 25% are doing so for health reasons and 26% because of financial constraints.*

Healthy menu options in demand – 2 studies

Restaurants list more “healthy” menu options Dec-20-11 Nation’s Restaurant News
New MenuMonitor data from Chicago-based Technomic found that many restaurants have increased menu offerings that are low in fat, calories and sugar and are promoting them more prominently on menus.

Americans want healthier items on menus Dec-20-11 Food Product Design
According to a new survey by Leo Burnett Chicago, 47% of Americans say they would like restaurants to offer healthier items, but only 23% actually order those items.

Beef – may lower cholesterol, consumption in decline

Lean beef every day lowers cholesterol as much as DASH diet Dec-16-11 Food Product Design
Consuming a diet including lean beef every day is as effective in lowering total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol as the heart-healthy Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

U.S. beef consumption in decline Dec-22-11 Reuters
USDA estimates 2011 U.S. per capita beef consumption at 57.4 lbs, down 13 percent from 10 years ago and down about 25 percent from 1980. In 2012, USDA predicts, Americans will eat 54.1 lbs of beef on average.

Gluten-free – GF kosher, frozen pizza, beer mislabeling

Increase in gluten-free kosher products Dec-19-11 Kosher Today
The dramatic increase in kosher gluten-free products was one of the leading stories in kosher in 2011. Sources estimate that more than 100 new gluten-free products were released in 2011 and were being used by more than just people who suffer from celiac disease.

Gluten-free frozen pizza Dec-21-11 Marketing Daily
Garlic Jim’s Famous Gourmet Pizza is debuting a new, gluten-free retail frozen pizza line.

Some gluten-free beers mislabeled Dec-22-11 EMaxHealth
Researchers found that two out of ten beers labeled “low-gluten”, which are supposed to contain less than 20 ppm, actually contained as much as a regular beer.

Salt – Don’t eat too little, restaurants cutting back

Studies hint at limits when reducing salt Dec-19-11 Harvard Health Publications
In two recent studies of men and women at high risk of developing heart disease, rates of cardiovascular disease and death were lowest among those taking in a middling amount of sodium, and higher in those consuming the most and the least sodium.

Restaurants working to quietly cut back sodium Dec-24-11 QSR
The restaurant industry seems committed to offering lower-sodium options. “We support the dietary guidelines, and we want to help consumers meet them. We’re not in favor of any sort of mandate or compulsory requirements, but the industry is sensitive to what diners want.”

Other – Sugar addiction for babies, lactose-free yogurt, fair trade ethics

Top trending searches on WebMD in 2011 include Dukan Diet Nov-21-11 WebMD
When rumors flew (unconfirmed) that Kate Middleton went on the Dukan Diet to lose weight for her storied wedding to Prince William, readers rushed to WebMD for the latest. Page views to Dukan Diet content grew by more than 1,200% year over year, with interest peaking around the time of the couple’s April wedding.

Sugar during pregnancy may cause addiction for baby Dec-12-11 Daily Mail, UK
Babies are being born addicted to sugar because their mothers eat too much during pregnancy. The infants are being forced on to sugary drips just hours after birth to counter withdrawal symptoms. Experts have warned that women who develop diabetes while pregnant, or become pregnant while overweight, put the long-term health of their children at risk.

Quorn allergic reactions Dec-14-11 NewHope 360
The Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the FDA to remove Quorn from shelves due to reports of severe allergic reactions.

Sustainable seafood demand growth Dec-15-11 Progressive Grocer
All across the United States, supermarket operators and the companies that supply them are rolling out stringent programs to ensure that the product they offer green-minded consumers is as eco-friendly as possible.

Knee arthritis – a very low-calorie diet may help Dec-21-11 WebMD
A study from Denmark suggests that a very low-calorie commercial diet in which most meals are replaced with a high-protein formula, can help patients with the degenerative joint disorder lose weight safely.

McDonald’s 2011 Sustainability Scorecard Dec-21-11 QSR
The 2011 Scorecard highlights the company’s progress in five priority areas, including significant advancements related to menu evolution and sustainable sourcing.

Lactose-free Yoplait yogurt Dec-22-11 Just-food
General Mills has introduced its first lactose-free yoghurt under the Yoplait brand in the US.

Questions on ethics of fair trade Dec-23-11 Business Week
Critics say the fair-trade movement has “profoundly lost its way… Its focus on volume — unless they have got all their systems in place to address fundamental issues like ethical trade, child labor and child slavery — is problematic.” The creation of 202 new ethical labels in the past decade boosted the total tracked by Ecolabel Index to 424.

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