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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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Jones Soda fighting tough times with new business plan

BY Melissa Valliant

SEATTLE Even the Jones’ are struggling to keep up these days.

Jones Soda will be eliminating 40 percent of its 110 employees this week in a plan to save $2.6 million annually. The 21-year-old company, known for its bottled, carbonated soft drinks and their unique flavors, recently announced a drastic drop in sales.

Last year proved a tough year as well, with an $11.6 million loss when founder Peter van Stolk led the company in an expansion plan that backfired. Jones Soda began producing canned sodas that were hoped to rival PepsiCo and Coca-Cola products.

Former Coca-Cola marketing executive Stephen Jones then replaced van Stolk with the initial strategy of increasing the number of distributors and increasing canned soda sales. This plan crashed and burned this year, and Jones now plans to revert back to the company’s original roots by focusing on selling the sodas at more independent delis and pizza places, cutting back on the canned soda initiative and reducing the amount of distributors. The company has even made a deal with independent graphic novel publisher Dark Horse Comics to add cartoon images to the soda bottle labels.

“Consumers are looking for variety, something unique in this huge market,” Gary Hemphill, managing director at the Beverage Marketing Corporation, said. “Growth in this industry is coming from the smaller niches of the market, where I would include Jones Soda.”

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