Tuesday, January 20, 2009

JavaFit in the News

Jan 20, 2009 (Datamonitor via COMTEX) -- The natural sweetener stevia has gained much attention in recent weeks after the US Food and Drug Administration approved the sweetener for use in foodstuffs. Following the approval, a number of manufacturers have introduced new stevia products, including Coca Cola and PepsiCo. As a result, the product can be expected to gain further exposure in 2009.
PepsiCo has launched the SoBe Lifewater Vitamin Enhanced Water beverage, a new line of soft drinks which contains an extract of the stevia leaf called PureVia, in the US. The extract is said to provide a sweet taste but without the calories of sugar, and is promoted on the fact that it is a natural product, unlike other available sugar substitutes. Now that stevia has official approval, PepsiCo is likely to include it in a rising number of new products.
PepsiCo rival Coca Cola has also released a new drink that contains an extract of stevia leaf in the US. Sprite Green Naturally Sweetened Soda contains a stevia leaf extract called Truvia. However, while the new SoBe line is said to contain no calories, Sprite Green is said to contain 50 calories per 8.5-ounce serving which, according to the company, is 50% fewer calories than regular soda.
Staying with the health theme, Javalution Coffee has launched the JavaFit Ready to Drink Latte, a line of functional, ready-to-drink coffee beverages, in the US. The line includes Diet Plus, Extreme, Focus and Immune varieties, which each claim to have a functional benefit. The Diet Plus variety, for example, is described as a lower calorie, lower fat, high powered blend that can help to suppress the appetite and support weight loss programs. Such products could help to reposition coffee, reversing its somewhat negative image to present it as a healthier beverage.
Meanwhile, Rubyy has launched an energy drink in the US under its company name. This is a premium style of energy drink that is presented in a distinctive black aluminum bottle. The drink is available in an orange flavor which contains the juice of various orange varieties including blood oranges, tangerines and Valencia oranges. The company claims that this provides the beverage with a superior taste. The energy drinks market is currently saturated with products, but this high-end launch could stand out from the crowd.
Over in Europe, more specifically Spain, Finland, Portugal, France, Italy, and Norway, PepsiCo is capitalizing on the popularity of mojito beverages with the launch of Pepsi Mojito. The mojito is a blend of mint and lime which has traditionally been used in alcoholic drinks. This version pairs lime and mint in a cola, in both diet and non-diet varieties, showing that the mojito flavor is moving into the soft drinks market.
Finally, a recent Japanese launch claims to feature a new type of super carrot. Ito En has introduced Ito En Kokusan 100 Yasai, a vegetable juice drink that is made with 12 types of selected vegetables. However, helping it to stand out from the crowd is the fact that the "connoisseur" carrots used in the drink are said to contain 1.5 times as much beta-carotene as normal carrots. The carrots are processed through the Natural Sweet Method, which is said to enhance the sweetness of carrots without using sugar or salt. This new drink appears to be a first in the juice market.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Some Salt with Your Coffee? Taiwan's Hot Drink

Oh my, salt in java? Apparently, according to this article, licking the salty foam will arouse your senses. Or perhaps, all that salt will make you more thirsty and buy more coffee!!

By Natalie Tso / Taipei - Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009
Chinese people like to eat foods that Westerners consider unusual, things like pig-blood cake and chicken-butt kebab, to name just a few popular snacks. So the introduction of salty coffee shouldn't be such a shocker. What difference, after all, can a few sprinkles of salt make to your morning cup of joe? The chefs at Taiwan's top coffeehouse, 85C Bakery Cafe, pondered that question for six months before they started serving sea-salt coffee, which became their best-selling drink following its December debut.
That's no small feat considering that 85°C (which is named for the ideal temperature at which to brew coffee) has surpassed Starbucks to become the biggest coffee chain in Taiwan. Founded five years ago by tea-shop owner Wu Cheng-hsueh, 85°C now has 325 stores in Taiwan and is expanding into China, Australia and the U.S. Wu first built the business by finding good beans: in 2004, he went to the source of Starbucks' most popular beans and persuaded the Guatemalan supplier to sell him virtually all its arabicas (sorry, megachain). Then he hired five-star hotel chefs to concoct fancy drinks and desserts that sell for about half the price of Starbucks'. (See the top 10 food trends of 2008.)
What inspired those chefs to come up with sea-salt coffee? According to spokeswoman Kathy Chung, it was the Taiwanese habit of sprinkling salt on fruits like pineapple and watermelon to bring out their sweetness. Salty coffee also makes sense in a place where shaved-ice desserts are topped with corn kernels and breads get slathered with sugary frosting and bits of pork. "Taiwanese are greedy," explains graphic designer Xena Wang, one of six friends who recently tried the drink for the first time. "We like to get all the tastes we can in one bite."
A striking palette of tastes and textures has long been a hallmark of Chinese cuisine (think sweet-and-sour soup), and this affinity for taste-bud workouts has carried over to trendy drinks. The countless drink stands that line Taiwanese streets flood the thirsty soul with endless variations of bubble teas, a.k.a. hot or cold teas with chewy tapioca balls and tropical juice blends. One popular combo, green tea with passion fruit, tapioca pearls and chewy coconut cubes, helps explain why 85°C's next coffee innovations will use panna cotta and fresh fruit.
Salty coffee may sound strange, but it isn't so much an acquired taste as it is sequential tasting. You're supposed to lick the salty foam to arouse your senses, then savor the sweet, creamy coffee. "Through the contrast of textures, you experience the saltiness and coffee at different times," says architect Jeff Lu of his first encounter with the drink. "It's a multisensual experience that works."
After sea-salt coffee spent two weeks as the best-selling drink at 85°C outlets in Taiwan, the company is sending the flavor combo to its China branches. If it's a hit there, Chung says, this cup of Taiwanese sophistication may be exported to the West too. Could salty Frappuccinos be far behind?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Higher regular coffee and tea consumption is associated with reduced endometrial cancer risk.

2008 Oct 30. Int J Cancer
Higher regular coffee and tea consumption is associated with reduced endometrial cancer risk.
McCann SE et al. Department of Cancer Prevention and Control, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Elm and Carlton Streets, Buffalo, NY.

According to this study, the scientists concluded: These findings suggest coffee and tea may be important in reducing endometrial cancer risk.