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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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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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Schnucks buys St. Louis area grocery stores

BY Alaric DeArment

ST. LOUIS Three supermarkets in the Illinois portion of the St. Louis metropolitan area have come under the Schnucks banner.

The supermarket chain has acquired the O’Fallon Hart Food & Drug, the Bethalto Park N Shop and the Godfrey Park N Shop. The first two stores will be changed to Schnucks stores, while the third will close, but employees at all three stores will be offered jobs with Schnucks.

The acquisition gives Schnucks a total of 105 stores.

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