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Brown rice accepted by FDA as whole grain

BY Michael Johnsen

ARLINGTON, Va. Brown rice, a 100 percent whole grain food, joins the recognized ranks of healthful whole grains, according to an announcement this week from the Food and Drug Administration that will allow brown rice food labels to bear the whole grain health claim, the USA Rice Federation announced Thursday.

Consumers can now be on the lookout for brown rice labeled with the FDA whole grain health claim: “Diets rich in whole grain foods and other plant foods and low in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers.”

“Rice is the most popular grain around the world, which makes brown rice a great choice for increasing whole grain intake,” stated Joann Slavin, professor of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota. “In the United States, where chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancers are common, encouraging whole grain brown rice consumption could have a significant public health impact.”

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Pepsi designs lighter, more eco-friendly bottle for non-carbonated drinks

BY Jenna Duncan

PURCHASE, N.Y. Pepsi proclaimed yesterday it will begin bottling some flavored drinks in a new 500-mL beverage bottle made with 20 percent less plastic. Pepsi said the bottles will arrive in stores starting this month.

Pepsi will sell Aquafina Alive, Aquafina FlavorSplash, Lipton iced tea and Tropicana juice drinks in the lighter bottles. These selections will be available in 12- and 24-packs. Pepsi said about 20 million pounds of waste will be eliminated from entering the environment by the introduction of the bottles.

“As a company, we’ve challenged ourselves to consistently identify ways to lessen our impact on the environment and in this case we’re doing a little ‘plastic surgery,’” PepsiCo vice president of worldwide beverage packaging and equipment development, Robert Lewis, said. “We’re constantly striving to make our packaging an even smaller part of the waste stream and this new bottle is just one of many examples.”

Not only will the amount of plastic used in each bottle be reduced, Pepsi said, label sizes will also be reduced by 10 percent and shrink wrap film used to cover multi-packs will be lessened by 5 percent.

Pepsi said that a special team of experts from inside and outside the company were behind the project. After trying out more than 30 designs with consumer testing, a team worked to streamline the lightweight package that is now coming to the market.

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Nestea announces new packaging, products

BY Jenna Duncan

ATLANTA Nestea has given its line of iced tea products a new look and its green tea citrus and diet green tea citrus teas now have the power of 50 percent more antioxidants than before, the company said yesterday,

To stay competitive in the growing ready-to-drink tea segment, Nestea revamped its green tea citrus and diet green tea citrus teas to now contain 96 milligrams of flavonoid antioxidants per eight ounces.

Independent research, the company said, shows that the RTD tea category was up in sales by 24 percent last year, and green tea sales, specifically, provided two-thirds of that category’s growth.

Nestea said the growth in retail sales, plus increased consumer education about the health benefits of tea, were the reasons for its recent launch.

“With over 50 years of brand equity and consumer trust, our products blend the natural goodness of tea with natural fruit flavors to offer consumers a refreshing experience to immediately revitalize their day,” Coca-Cola North America’s senior vice president/general manager of coffee and tea, Penny McIntyre, said. “We have reinvigorated the brand with a new look and new green tea formulations—with superior taste and more antioxidants to appeal to consumers seeking a delicious green tea.”

The newly packaged Nestea flavors are available nationwide at convenience stores, drug stores, retailers and supermarkets.

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