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Fresh & Easy, Aldi stores lower prices on select holiday food items

BY Jenna Duncan

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets and Aldi stores have cut prices for holiday grocery shopping items now through Dec. 24, the companies announced this week.

For store brand items such as Fresh & Easy frozen green beans, smoked bone-in ham and Fresh & Easy pecan pie, prices have been reduced by 50%. Holiday groceries at Aldi have also been reduced to prices around 50% below competitors’, Aldi representatives said.

“With everyone trying to stretch budgets this holiday season, we are giving even better deals on our high-quality products so our customers don’t have to compromise,” Simon Uwins, Fresh & Easy CMO said.

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Dr Pepper Snapple joins Stevia-sweetened beverage stampede

BY Rob Eder

NEW YORK Fresh off news that its two biggest competitors plan to launch new diet beverages containing a new sugar alternative made from the plant Stevia, Dr Pepper Snapple Group announced Thursday it also plans to join Coke and Pepsi, and expects to launch a similar beverage product containing the new alternative sweetener.

On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Stevia-based sweeteners in foods and beverages.

The sweeteners, made from the leaves of a South American shrub, will provide natural alternatives to chemical sweeteners like Equal and Splenda.

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Coke asks regulators in Australia, New Zealand to approve use of phytosterols

BY Melissa Valliant

ATLANTA Coca-Cola South Pacific recently applied to Food Standards Australia New Zealand to add phytosterols at a level of 4.5 per liter to all fruit juice drinks with at least 20% juice. The application applied to both Australia and New Zealand, and Coke said it wants these drinks to target the over-40-year-old population, since data has shown phytosterol can lower cholesterol levels.

Scientific studies were included in the application, though FSANZ will be looking into a wider range of material. The European Food Safety Authority recently supported a submission for a plant sterol-based health claim from Unilever, saying, “Plant sterols have been shown to lower/reduce blood cholesterol. Blood cholesterol lowering may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.” FSANZ stated one of its concerns that consumers may exceed the Acceptable Daily Intake, created by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives, by consuming multiple products that contain phytosterol esters.

Currently, phytosterol esters from vegetable oils and non-esterified phyotsterols—derived from a tall-oil source—are permitted in oils spreads and margarines in Australia. And since November 2006, phytosterol esters have been permitted in breakfast cereals, low-fat milk and low-fat yogurt. Non-esterified phtosterols from vegetable oil have not yet been accepted.

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