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Gluten-free niche gains momentum

BY Barbara White-Sax

Gluten-free foods have exploded into the mainstream as more people see the foods as a healthier option. The Celiac Disease Foundation estimated that 17 million Americans may be gluten-intolerant. Millions more claim that avoiding gluten helps them control everything from arthritis to asthma.


New products, from niche and major players, give consumers more choices and further fuel the segment’s momentum. While growth won’t be as explosive over the next five years, Packaged Facts projected that U.S. sales of gluten-free foods and beverages will exceed $5 billion by 2015, moving the products beyond fad to trend status. 


Retailers have responding by creating gluten-free sections to help consumers find a wide range of products — from breads to snacks to beverages. Flagged with shelf signage that helps consumers find just what they are looking for, the sections are a natural fit for drug stores looking to expand their better-for-you food selections.

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Reports: Kraft Foods pulls plug on Athenos

BY Allison Cerra

NORTHFIELD, Ill. — After a nearly two-year presence on store shelves, Kraft Foods is pulling its Greek yogurt brand, according to published reports.

The company announced its plans to pull Athenos Greek yogurt, despite the substantial growth experienced by the category. Kraft Foods generated buzz around the brand last year with the launch of an advertising campaign that featured yiayias, or Greek grandmothers, and their no-nonsense, unsolicited opinions of the world.

Athenos’ portfolio also included feta cheese, hummus and pita chips.

According to Reuters, said a Kraft spokesman told the news outlet that the company planned "to refocus [our] efforts on innovating new products for the Athenos brand. We know that this is very disappointing to consumers, and it was an extremely difficult decision for us to make."

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Mintel: Salt intake on minds of dieting U.S. adults

BY Allison Cerra

CHICAGO — While more than half of U.S. adults currently are "watching" their diet, a fraction of them are doing so because they are concerned about their "salt intake," according to Mintel research.

While about 15% of those surveyed said they mind their salt intake, more than 4-in-10 (44%) of U.S. consumers claimed that they "always" or "usually" consult the Nutrition Facts Panel and/or ingredient list to assess sodium levels when considering a food purchase. What’s more, nearly two-thirds of Americans said they believe that manufacturers are responsible for disclosing how much sodium is in their products, while 35% feel the government should be responsible for such disclosures and 18% said retailers should be held responsible.

"The relatively high incidence of dieting in the U.S. is one key factor driving demand for low-sodium products," Mintel senior health-and-wellness analyst Molly Maier said. "Our findings indicate that fat and calorie counts are more likely than sodium to influence purchase. Thus, companies may be able to maximize the appeal of low-sodium foods by also showing, where appropriate, that they are low in fat and calories."

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