Tag Archives: beverage industry

Nutrition Spotlight: Caffeine and L-theanine in Tea

2 Jan

According to a Unilever study recently reported in a Food Navigator-USA article, there is evidence to support the notion that compounds in tea, primarily caffeine and L-theanine, can be beneficial for one’s mood and mental focus.

Despite the European Food Safety Authority’s recent rejections of two Unilever health claims petitions (13.1 and 13.5) which linked black tea consumption to improved mental focus, the company is continuing its extensive research on the many benefits of tea consumption. Suzanne Einother and Vanessa Martens, employed at Unilever Research and Development, Vlaardingen (the Netherlands), are responsible for a recent review in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition which, concerning a number of studies of tea consumption, notes “particularly consistent evidence for improved attention” throughout. They added that tea “consistently improved self-reported alertness and arousal” among subjects.

“These studies,” they said, “showed the validity of laboratory findings by supporting the idea that tea consumption has acute benefits on both mood and performance in real-life situations.”

The review was first formally presented on September 19th, 2012, at the Fifth International Scientific Symposium on Tea and Human Health in Washington, D.C.

Scientific research of tea has long focused on green tea, the benefits of which are well-documented and include improving oral and cardiovascular health, aiding in weight-management and reducing the risks of Alzheimer’s disease and some forms of cancer.

Black tea is simply green tea which is oxidized by fermentation, and contains between 3% and 10% of water-extractable polyphenols; original green tea, by comparison, contains between 30% and 40%. Fresh tea leaves contain four primary extractable polyphenols: epicatechin, epicatechin gallate, epigallocatechin and epigallocatechin gallate.

Unilever’s research, however, has focused more on L-theanine, an amino acid extracted from tea leaves, and caffeine. L-theanine is believed to help reduce stress while improving one’s quality of sleep. Since it is found in very low concentrations (less than 2%) in tea leaves, drinking tea cannot deliver effective dosage levels of 100 to 200 milligrams per day.

In the past, L-theanine has been linked to other various health effects, including improved attention, relaxation and certain “neuro-protective” effects. For example, it has been suggested that the amino acid is responsible for increased alpha activity during rest (as shown in EEG models), which can improve relaxation.

In the new review, Einother and Martens used data from randomized control trials focusing on tea’s effects on attention and mood.

“From the totality of research on tea summarized,” they wrote, “[…] it can be concluded that consumption of black tea may improve attention and self-reported alertness. These conclusions are further supported by studies on caffeine and on theanine and caffeine in combination.”

They are quite clear, however, about the pockets of uncertainty which remain for the time being: “Research on the benefits of tea is promising for attention and alertness, although questions remain regarding the scope and magnitude of impact as well as the sensitivity of different individuals. Whereas the bioavailability of both caffeine and theanine has been established, as well as the [suggested] mechanisms of action in the brain, they extent to which they actually cross the blood-brain barrier in humans and how much this is associated with [individual] changes in subsequent performance and mood measures are as yet unknown.”

http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Trends/Health-Wellness/Unilever-on-tea-Available-evidence-supports-tea-and-tea-ingredients-for-mood-and-performance-benefits

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Ingredient Spotlight: Benefits of Beetroot Juice

27 Dec

A Nutra-Ingredients article has recently reported the findings of a study of nitrate-rich beetroot juice; in a study using trained female runners, it was determined that drinking the juice for four days leading up to a running time-trial could greatly improve the runner’s performance.

As little as 140 milliliters per day of beetroot juice proved beneficial for systolic blood pressure and, in turn, a runner’s 5-kilometer performance, as determined by scientists at Sheffield Hallam University.

“Although not statistically significant,” they wrote, “these results suggest beetroot juice supplementation improved 5-km time trial performance over PLA by 31 s (2.4%). Athletes should consider ingesting beetroot juice to improve 5-km running performance.”

The study of beetroot juice and its potential nutritional and cardiovascular benefits has gained momentum in recent years, especially in the United Kingdom. In past studies, scientists from the University of Exeter (U.K.) found that beetroot juice could help individuals increase stamina and exercise for as much as 16% longer; scientists at the University of Maastricht have noted similar improvements in performance among cyclists. Publications in the Journal of Applied Psychology have suggested that the juice’s nitrate content, which helps reduce oxygen uptake, may be responsible for easing [quite effectively] the “tiring effect” of exercising.

That particular study was led by Professor Andy Jones, who offered a brief summary: “Our study is the first to show that nitrate-rich food can increase exercise endurance. We were amazed by the effects of beetroot juice on oxygen uptake because these effects cannot be achieved by any other known means, including training.”

In the new study, led by Robyn Lancely and her co-workers, a double-blind “crossover design” with repeated measures a two-week washout period was used to determine whether supplementation of beetroot juice would affect 5-km running time-trial performance.

Eleven trained female runners with an average age of 20 were assigned to receive 140 mL of the juice per day, as compared to no supplementation and a placebo. While there were no major differences in systolic blood pressure among the groups, the researchers identified a trend toward reductions following consumption of the juice; those who consumed it had an average value of 114 mmHg, compared to 122 mmHg for the control intervention and 120 mmHg for the placebo intervention.

“One km split times were similar between conditions except for the 2nd km where beetroot juice was faster than control by 16 seconds and placebo by 12 seconds.”

http://www.nutraingredients.com/Research/Beetroot-juice-supplementation-may-boost-time-trial-performance

Power Brands Reviews: Recycling in the Beverage Industry

24 Dec

A recent survey led by Research Data + Insights and reported in an Environmental Leader article has shed light on the role consumers expect companies to play in recycling.

Of over 1,000 American adults surveyed, an overwhelming 86% said they expect food and beverage brands to work continuously on improving the recyclability of their packages. Many also indicated that they consult the products they purchase for environmental information before consulting other resources. About 76% of adults said they determine a package’s recyclability by looking at the package itself; the second most popular way is to consult the company’s website (33%), followed by 26% who consult the consumer’s city website.

Also, 45% of the adults claimed that their loyalty to a food/beverage company is affected by that company’s involvement in environmental causes, strengthening the common belief that environmental effort can improve consumer loyalty.

According to Jason Pelz, VP of Environment at Tetra Pak North America and VP of Recycling Projects at the Carton Council of North America, the survey should certainly encourage food/beverage brands to use the “recycling logo” on cartons; it not only proclaims the cartons are recyclable, but also provides the Recycle Cartons website (recyclecartons.com) where consumers can learn what cartons are accepted in their local recycling programs.

The Carton Council of North America, according to Pelz, actively encourages brands to use their packaging to “spread the word,” as well as expand their advertising to social media outlets – which provide endless marketing opportunities – and other websites.

The recycling of aluminum beverage containers at the industry level has been on an upward trend in the U.S. for decades, with a strong rate of 67% reported just last year. This is according to data published by the Aluminum Association, the Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI).

The 67% rate reported in 2012 is, according to the three groups, the highest overall recycling rate since the early 1990s, and the second-highest since 1972 when the survey began. The groups say this rate marks tremendous progress towards their goal of a 75% recycling rate by 2015.

http://www.environmentalleader.com/2013/11/01/consumers-to-food-and-beverage-brands-step-up-recycling-efforts/

Power Brands Reviews: Dairy May Help Protect Muscle Mass

16 Sep

A recent article on the daily Rx reports that dairy products may play a role in preserving muscle mass says Power Brands, a leading beverage industry expert. The article ‘Got Dairy?’ reports that eating and drinking more dairy products may help protect the elderly from losing muscle mass. When you lose muscle mass, adds Power Brands, you are more prone to fractures and other similar injuries.

In actual fact, a current study found that older women who ate more dairy had greater physical performance and more muscle mass compared to woman who ate less dairy. The research was directed by Kun Zhu, PhD, in the Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes in Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital in Nedlands, Western Australia. There were 1,456 women between the ages of 70 and 85 that were tested. The researchers study involved examining the results of dairy intake and any association with physical performance and body composition.

The study involved measuring daily consumption using a food frequency survey. According to the daily Rx article, participants reported how much dairy they consumed in the last 12 months plus portion sizes. Dairy includes milk, cheese and yogurt, adds Power Brands.

The participants were then placed in one of three categories: more than 2.2 servings per day, 1.5 to 2.2 servings per day and less than 1.5 servings per day. In addition; height, body weight, BMI (body mass index) and body composition (lean and fat mass) measurements were taken. Rendering the daily Rx article, lean mass was categorized as the weight of everything in the body except for the weight of the head, bones and fat.

The researchers determined physical performance by measuring mobility (movement) and hand grip strength. Participants also reported the number of falls they had within the past three months. A participants smoking status and physical activity were also analyzed in the research.

Overall Findings

The researchers found that women who had 1.5 or more servings of dairy per day had considerably greater skeletal muscle mass  and whole body lean mass than women who had less than 1.5 servings per day. The researchers also found that hand grip strength was greater in women who had 2.2 servings of dairy a day compared to women who had less than 2.2 servings of dairy per day.

The study also concluded that there was no association between dairy intake and the amount of time it took to complete a mobility test. As well, there was no significant association found between dairy intake and number of falls.

Other Professional Input

 

Deborah Gordon, MD, a preventive medicine and nutrition expert not associated with the research told dailyRX, “There are a number of fascinating connections that appear in the details of this study”. Her conclusions are as follows:

  • Women who consumed more dairy (712 grams or around 25 ounces) were quite different than the group of women who consumed the lowest amount of dairy (210 grams or about 7.4 ounces)
  • Dairy lovers as a group ate more calories, fat and protein – the protein difference being primarily in dairy protein.
  • Dairy lovers were less likely to drink regularly and engaged in significantly more physical activity than the dairy minimizers

Dr. Gordon explained that some degree of sarcopenia (muscle loss) is unavoidable with aging. However, Dr. Gordon added that the extent to which muscle loss can be minimized and possibly reversed is in correlation to how vigorous and energetic she is as she ages. Dr. Gordon concludes that the study suggests woman who have a healthy appetite and partake in regular physical activity are investing in their sturdiness as they aging.

Overall Conclusion on Study

Based on their findings, dairy may be connected to better physical performance and more lean mass in older women. For further reading you can find full details of the study online in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

For further reading of the daily Rx article, go to Got Dairy?, adds Power Brands.

Small Steps for Reducing Beverage Packaging

18 Jun

The world is full of product manufacturers, some small, some big; but regardless of the size of the brand they all have one thing in common: they produce goods that utilize packaging materials that end up in waste fills, junkyards and the like. As a Global Society we are all endeavoring to become more conscious of the materials we use in the production of our consumer goods.

Anyone who has been involved with the product manufacturing industry knows that real change can only be implemented in incremental pieces; otherwise you run the risk of a total loss on your profits. Delays in production and any unintended results of changing packaging methods are avoidable if upgrades and improvements are simply made in well managed baby steps. The key is to find the correct balance between common sense and Eco-friendly distribution and profitability.

Changing the Sustainability of Your Packaging in Baby Steps

The following is a simple, yet not always foreseen, list of things that all product manufactures should read over before attempting any significant sized revamping of their product line packaging.

Reduce, reuse and recycle your product’s packaging.

These baby steps to improving your products packaging may seem like no brainers; however there are some aspects associated to these basic steps that you may not have considered.

Reduce your packaging material:

  • First is that by reducing the actual materials in your packaging you are ensuring that when it does end up in a landfill, or wherever, there will be less overall material that your product contributes to the massive pile of trash. This should be done with care however, because the last thing you want to do is compromise the protection that your packaging offers your product or violate any industry standard packaging guidelines.

If you can find areas where you can reduce the materials used in your packaging then you will save in the long run. The cost of materials that go into the packaging, the cost of fuel in transporting your products and the costs associated with discarding unused packaging materials can all be reduced by reducing the physical materials used in your packaging.

Reuse and Recycle your packaging materials:

  • If reducing your products packaging material is not an option, then you could always reuse and recycle your packaging and others like it to offset the overall impact your products have on the environment. Ideally, you would want to try and utilize all three steps (reduce, reuse and recycle), but take it slow and one step at a time. If you can’t reduce then reuse, if you can’t reuse your own materials, then use recycled materials from other similar product packaging.

Reusing excess materials in your manufacturing process can help in your overall cost of transporting the materials from the packaging providers to your workshop and from your workshop to the retail shelves. Fuel is a major consideration to product manufacturing and reducing your fuel consumption is a great way to lower your company’s overall carbon footprint and fuel related costs.

Fewer materials coming in means you will have lower expenses related to packaging materials. Less materials being discarded means more profit in the end. In situations where you simply do not have any excess materials you can reuse then simply take the well traveled road of recycling. All of the cost saving points outlined above applies to using recycled packaging materials from other manufactures as well.

Using recycled materials from other manufacturers actually provides dual company cost saving benefits for both your company and theirs. Seek out mutually beneficial relationships you can establish that work to benefit similar businesses in your industry. Adopt a “more the merrier” philosophy and maybe your customers will do the same!