HEALTH

Fitness trend boosts RTDs, nutritional shakes

BY Michael Johnsen

“I want to lose weight.” That’s been one of the top four New Year’s resolutions for the past decade, according to a recent survey conducted by FC Organizational Products, makers of “To-Do” lists. However, more people every year are resolving “to become more physically fit,” which goes a long way to explaining why ready-to-drink nutritional shakes and meal replacement bars are hotter than diet aids right now. 


Conversely, diet tablets have been trending down over the past three years, in part because sales of market leader Alli are down 35.4% for the 52 weeks ended Oct. 30, 2011, according to SymphonyIRI Group data across food, drug and mass (excluding Walmart).


NBC’s reality show “The Biggest Loser,” now entering its 13th season, still is raising awareness around the need for weight loss, even though viewership is slightly declining. Nonetheless, “Biggest Loser” generates that kind of feel-good-about-losing-weight message — especially as “Biggest Loser” trainer Bob Harper’s diet aids gain a little more traction. Outside of the potential of that product, the growing sales of diet aids Hydroxycut and SlimQuick are the exception to the downtrend in diet-aid tablets.

 

The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Diet/Weight Loss Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.

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FDA, CDC affirm safety of Mead Johnson’s Enfamil; tests for Cronobacter negative

BY Michael Johnsen

GLENVIEW, Ill. — Mead Johnson’s infant formulas, including Enfamil Premium Newborn, are safe, according to results of testing by both the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These tests confirmed that the Mead Johnson products were safe, and no presence of the Cronobacter (Enterobacter sakazakii) bacteria was detected.

Mead Johnson Nutrition reported Saturday that the agencies had given Enfamil a clean bill of safety and that all samples collected from the company — and related to health investigations in Missouri and Illinois — have been found safe. Mead Johnson emphasizes these are the only incidents that led to tests on its products.

According to Mead Johnson, all of its infant formulas undergo approximately 2,300 quality checks and safety tests to ensure that they meet or exceed standards set by the World Health Organization, the FDA and other regulatory bodies before they are made available to consumers.

"We’re pleased with the FDA and CDC testing, which should reassure consumers, healthcare professionals and retailers everywhere about the safety and quality of our products," stated Tim Brown, SVP and GM for Mead Johnson North America. "These tests also reinforce the rigor of our quality processes throughout our operations. … We remain committed to our mission to nourish the world’s children for the best start in life."

The testing, and concern, came after the death of an infant associated with the bacteria Cronobacter in December. That infant had been fed an Enfamil product, and while no correlation had been made, the Enfamil batches were tested by the agencies as part of the investigation into that infant’s death. 

"Our company recently became aware of an infant’s death in Missouri. This infant tested positive for Cronobacter, which is a microorganism commonly found in the environment and sometimes implicated in rare but serious illnesses in newborn babies. We were informed that the infant had been fed one of our products," Mead Johnson stated following those news reports.

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Job listing for Geisinger Health System — smokers need not apply

BY Michael Johnsen

DANVILLE, Pa. — Geisinger Health System may be the largest employer to discriminate against a declining minority — smokers — beginning Feb. 1.

Geisinger last week announced it will no longer hire job applicants who use tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars and chewing or smokeless tobacco.

“Geisinger is joining dozens of hospitals and medical organizations across the country that are encouraging healthier living, decreasing absenteeism and reducing healthcare costs by adopting strict policies that make smoking a reason to turn away job applicants,” stated Richard Merkle, chief human resources officer at Geisinger Health System. “Non-nicotine hiring policies are legal in 20 states, including Pennsylvania.”

This policy also affects any applicants receiving offer letters as of Feb. 1. During the hiring process, all applicants — including those seeking full- and part-time positions, flex, volunteers and students enrolled in Geisinger-based schools — will be tested for nicotine as part of the routine drug screening.

The test will include screening for cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, snuff, nicotine patches, nicotine gum and cigars. The test only detects active nicotine users, not those exposed to second-hand smoke.

“Applicants who test positive for nicotine use will be welcome to re-apply in six months provided they are nicotine-free at that time,” Merkle said. “A listing of smoking cessation resources will be provided to any applicant who tests positive for nicotine.”

Current employees are not affected by this new policy but are encouraged to take advantage of the tobacco cessation programs offered through Geisinger’s Employee Wellness program.

Geisinger currently has a no-tobacco-use policy that extends across all of its properties.

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