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Research confirms pomegranate’s health benefits, POM sales on the rise

BY Melissa Valliant

LOS ANGELES Recent research has affirmed pomegranate’s various health benefits, and the juicy, red fruit’s sales have soared in response. POM Wonderful, the leading seller of pomegranate products, has dished out approximately $25 million on research in order to authenticate its nutritional perks.

In response, the fruit has been added to more than 400 new food products in the past year, including salad dressing, power bars, vodka, cereal and tea. “Ten years ago, only 10 percent of the (U.S.) population had ever tasted a pomegranate,” said Tom Tierandsen, manager of the California Pomegranate Council. “Now, we see no slowing in demand. People are using them in so many different ways.”

Besides being loaded with antioxidants, the pomegranate has been found to improve blood flow, promote prostate health and slow aging. It’s also a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B5 and potassium.

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Reily Foods plans to buy French Market coffee business

BY Jenna Duncan

NEW ORLEANS Reily Foods Company yesterday announced that it has made an agreement with French Market Coffee to purchase the business.

Reily Foods, the maker and distributor of such grocery store staples as Blue Plate mayonnaise, CDM coffee and Luzianne teas, has not reported the sum of its buyout offer for the iconic New Orleans French Market Coffee brand. Reily Foods said that it expects its purchase to expand the French Market brand into numerous new markets.

Before it is complete, the acquisition must be voted on by shareholder. However, the transaction is expected to be finished by the end of the year, published reports said.

Both American Coffee, the company that started the French Market Coffee tradition, and Reily Foods, are family-owned companies that are more than 100 years old.

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Pepsi to close six plants; cut 3,300 jobs

BY Melissa Valliant

NEW YORK PepsiCo announced Tuesday it plans on eliminating 3,300 jobs and closing six of its plants within the next few months. The company suffered a 9.5 percent drop in third-quarter profit and expects to take even more of a hit due to the surging U.S. dollar.

By cutting approximately 1.8 percent of its global work force, PepsiCo estimates it will save $350 million to $400 million in 2009 and pretax savings of more than $1.2 billion throughout the next three years.

The major beverage conglomerate plans to focus on its most popular product—carbonated soft drinks—and improving its marketing campaign, rather than following its recent strategy of branching out toward pricey alternatives, including energy drinks, sparkling juice and ready-to-drink teas.

“We’re looking at re-engaging consumers, keeping the ones we have and making sure we’re getting additional consumers into the fold,” chief financial officer Richard Goodman said.

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