Saturday, June 30, 2012

Rate of Severe Reactions High in Kids With Food Allergies

Results of a new National of Institute of Health (NIH) study reveal many young kids who are allergic to milk, eggs and peanuts have serious reactions after accidental exposures caused by misread labels, cross contamination between foods or mistakes in food preparation. The findings reinforce the importance of caregivers working closely with their doctors to understand how to effectively manage a child's food allergy.

The study was published online in the June 25 issue of the journal Pediatrics and are the latest findings from the Consortium of Food Allergy Research (CoFAR), a network established by NIAID to conduct clinical trials, observational studies and basic research to better understand and treat food allergy.

The “Big Eight" allergens—tree nuts, peanuts, soy, fish, shellfish, dairy, egg and wheat—account for 90% of all food allergies, and children are most at-risk because they usually are not the ones preparing foods or reading labels.

Almost 90% of allergic reactions to egg, milk or peanut occurred after a child accidentally ate the food. The reasons for the accidental exposures included caregivers misreading food labels, not checking a food for an allergen, and unintentionally allowing a food allergen to come into contact with other foods. The study also found that approximately 11% of allergic reactions to egg, milk or peanut occurred after a caregiver—most often a parent—provided a child the allergenic food intentionally.

"Intentional exposures to allergenic food are typically reported in teenagers, who tend to take more risks or who might be embarrassed about their food allergy," says David Fleischer, M.D., the lead study author. "What is troubling is that in this study we found that a significant number of young children received allergenic foods from parents who were aware of the allergy."

The study also found that severe and potentially life-threatening reactions in a significant number of these children occur and that some caregivers are hesitant to give such children epinephrine, a medication that reverses the symptoms of such reactions and can save lives.

"This study reinforces the importance of doctors, parents and other caregivers working together to be even more vigilant in managing food allergy in children," said Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

The research is part of an ongoing CoFAR observational study that enrolled 512 infants aged 3 to 15 months who at study entry were allergic to milk or egg, or who were likely to be allergic, based on a positive skin test and the presence of moderate-to-severe eczema, a chronic skin condition. The investigators are carefully following these children to see whether their allergies resolve or if new allergies, particularly peanut allergy, develop. The study is ongoing at research hospitals in Baltimore; Denver; Durham, N.C.; Little Rock, Ark.; and New York City.

CoFAR investigators advised parents and caregivers to avoid giving their children foods that could cause an allergic reaction. Study participants also received an emergency action plan, describing the symptoms of a severe allergic reaction to food and what to do if a child has one, along with a prescription and instructions on how to give epinephrine if a severe reaction occurred.

Data compiled from patient questionnaires and clinic visits over three years showed 72% of the children had a food-allergic reaction, and 53% of the children had more than one reaction, with the majority of reactions being to milk, egg or peanut. This translated into a rate of nearly one food-allergic reaction per child per year. Approximately 11% of the reactions were classified as severe and included symptoms, such as swelling in the throat, difficulty breathing, a sudden drop in blood pressure, dizziness or fainting. Almost all of the severe reactions were caused by ingestion of the allergen rather than inhalation or skin contact.

In only 30% of the severe reactions did caregivers administer epinephrine as an emergency protocol. Investigators found that caregivers did not give children epinephrine for a number of reasons including, the drug was not available, they were too afraid to administer it, they did not recognize the symptoms as those of an allergic reaction, or they did not recognize the reaction as severe.

"This study documenting the natural history of allergic reactions to three of the major food allergens in preschool children provides important new information for parents, caregivers and health care workers because of the large number of children involved and the rigorous follow-up," said Daniel Rotrosen, M.D., director of the NIAID Division of Allergy, Immunology and Transplantation, which oversees CoFAR. "The findings not only reveal that food-allergic reactions occur at a much higher rate in young children than we thought, they also suggest that more vigilance and increased use of epinephrine is needed."

Friday, June 29, 2012

Sour Wine, Sweet Success

Vinegar’s rich history and variety of use began over 10,000 years ago with the discovery that a cask of wine had been held beyond its shelf life. This sour wine—or vin aigre as the French called it— no longer providing fruity bouquet or flavor, but it offered unique flavor and functionalities that would find use throughout the food industry, starting with pickling..

Pickling is one of the oldest methods of food preservation, right along salting and smoking," says Sylvain Norton, Ph.D., vice president, technology and regulatory, Fleischmann's Vinegar, Cerritos, CA. “In condiments, vinegars promote microbial stability by lowering pH, water activity and by the intrinsic antimicrobial properties of acetic acid. However, vinegars are not food additives added in formulations for a single, well-defined technological purpose. They are full-fledged food ingredients, used for their impact on a combination of factors, such as flavor, color, water retention, salt reduction, umami, water activity and starch gelatinization."

Fermentation frenzy

Vinegar is the product of bacterial fermentation of alcohol by Acetobacter aceti. “The main effect of the acetic-acid fermentation is to convert the alcohol into acetic acid, but this is not the only effect," Norton says. “The industry unit of measure is the vinegar grain, which represents acidity in grams of acetic acid per liter of vinegar. In the USA, vinegar must contain at least 4% acetic acid (40 grain). Most retail vinegars are sold between 40 and 60 grain. As an ingredient for the production of food products, vinegar is generally sold at concentrations ranging from 50 to 300 grain."

Although classified by acetic-acid content, vinegar is not simply a dilution of acetic acid. In fact, the FDA’s Compliance Policy Guides (Section 562.100) references a study that identified eleven components from five samples of distilled vinegar. "The volatile components consisted of aldehydes, ketones, esters, and alcohols. Acetaldehyde, acetone, ethyl acetate, and ethyl alcohol were present in all samples of vinegar analyzed."

Vinegar is produced by three methods, according to Barbara Zatto, director of culinary and sales manager West, Mizkan Americas, Inc., Mt. Prospect, IL,. The “Orleans" and “generator" methods are traditional processes that utilize wooden barrels as fermentation vessels, and finished vinegar or “mother of vinegar" as a fermentation bacteria source.

“The submerged fermentation method is the most commonly used in the production of vinegar," Zatto says. "Large stainless-steel tanks called acetators are fitted with centrifugal pumps in the bottom that pump air bubbles into the tank to stir the alcohol while acetozym nutrients are piped into the tank. The nutrients spur the growth of acetobacter bacteria on the oxygen bubbles. Cooling coils in the tank keep the temperature between 86 and 88F. Within a matter of hours, the alcohol product has been converted into vinegar. The vinegar is piped from the acetators to a filtering machine."


“The workhorse of the vinegar world is white distilled vinegar, also called spirit vinegar," notes Norton. "The name is somewhat misleading, because the vinegar itself is not distilled. It is made from distilled alcohol—essentially double-strength vodka. This product is relatively neutral in flavor profile and is used in various food applications, such as ketchup, mustard, pickles, salad dressings, hot sauces, mayonnaise, etc."

Many regions of the world are home to traditional varieties of vinegar, each exhibiting characteristics that reflect the available raw materials and culinary history. “The most common traditional vinegar in the USA is apple cider vinegar, in France and southern Europe, wine vinegar, in the UK, malt vinegar, in Japan, rice vinegar, and in the Philippines, coconut vinegar." Norton says, “Each of these different types of vinegar has its own unique set of properties, which can be used by chefs and processors to formulate specific food products."

A popular choice for culinary and commercial applications throughout the world, balsamic vinegar varieties originate from the Italian provinces of Reggio Emilia and Modena. “The production of traditional balsamic vinegar is labor intensive and time consuming," says Zatto. "Therefore, it is very expensive and available in limited quantities. Commercial-grade balsamic vinegar constitutes a more economical alternative to the traditional product. In the United States, products labeled as ‘balsamic vinegar’ are made from the juice of grapes, but would not carry the term ‘of Modena’ on the label. Commercial products are high quality and suitable for use in marinades, vinaigrette dressings and in making pan sauces."

Flavored vinegars are those whose taste is not the direct result of its fermentation. “One could make pineapple vinegar by fermenting pineapple juice into vinegar, or by using another vinegar base such as white wine vinegar, and adding pineapple juice, puree, flavor, etc.," says Norton. "The second example would be called a flavored vinegar. A typical example of flavored vinegar is raspberry vinegar, which is generally a blend of red or white wine vinegar, actual raspberries, or raspberry juice concentrate, raspberry purée, raspberry flavor or any combination thereof. Another common flavored-vinegar is tarragon white wine vinegar, in which tarragon leaves are soaked in white wine vinegar. Most commercial tarragon vinegars also contain tarragon flavor."

Zatton notes that “manufacturers are constantly asking for new flavored vinegars and also new raw materials, including grains, from which to manufacture vinegar, Some manufactures are looking for high-strength flavored vinegars, and requests for organic vinegar are on the rise. Others look to emulate trends and tastes that start in chef-driven restaurants that can translate to a broader audience—honey and fig balsamic vinegars, for example."

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Compound in Apple Peels Reduces Obesity

A natural substance found in apple peel—ursolic acid—may help reduce obesity and its associated health problems by increasing the amount of muscle and brown fat, two tissues recognized for their calorie-burning properties, according to a new study published in the journal PLoS ONE.

University of Iowa researchers studied mice on a high-fat diet over a period of several weeks. Half of the animals also received ursolic acid in their high-fat food. Mice whose diet included ursolic acid actually ate more food than mice not getting the supplement, and there was no difference in activity between the two groups. Despite this, the ursolic acid-treated mice gained less weight and their blood sugar level remained near normal. Ursolic acid-treated mice also failed to develop obesity-related fatty liver disease, a common and currently untreatable condition that affects about one in five American adults.

The study further showed ursolic acid consumption increased skeletal muscle, increasing the animals’ strength and endurance, and also boosted the amount of brown fat. Because both muscle and brown fat burn calories, the researchers investigated energy expenditure in the mice and showed that ursolic acid-fed mice burned more calories than mice that didn't get the supplement.

"Since muscle is very good at burning calories, the increased muscle in ursolic acid-treated mice may be sufficient to explain how ursolic acid reduces obesity. However, we were surprised to find that ursolic acid also increased brown fat, a fantastic calorie burner. This increase in brown fat may also help protect against obesity," the researchers said. "Our study suggests that ursolic acid increases skeletal muscle and brown fat leading to increased calorie burning, which in turn protects against diet-induced obesity, pre-diabetes, and fatty liver disease."

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Drinking a glass of polyphenol-rich Concord grape juice may help boost neurocognitive function in older adults with mild memory decline, according to a new study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Polyphenol compounds found in berry fruits, in particular flavonoids, have been associated with health benefits including improvement in cognition and neuronal function with aging. Concord grape juice contains polyphenols, including anthocyanins and flavanols, and previous research has shown improvement in a number of human health conditions with grape juice supplementation.

For the study, researchers at the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center enrolled older adult subjects (average age 77) with mild cognitive impairment in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Participants consumed Concord grape juice or placebo daily for 16 weeks and were administered assessments of memory function and brain activation pre- and post-intervention.

Participants who consumed grape juice showed reduced semantic interference on memory tasks. Relatively greater activation in anterior and posterior regions of the right hemisphere was also observed with functional magnetic resonance imaging in the grape juice treated subjects. These findings provide further evidence that Concord grape juice can enhance neurocognitive function in older adults with mild memory decline.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Overweight men who incorporated a ginger drink into their morning meals had a lower prospective food intake later in the day and reduced hunger, according to a new study published in the journal Metabolism. The findings suggest ginger may play a potential role in overall weight management by increasing satiety without any adverse side effects.

Researchers at Columbia University and the New York Obesity Research Center gave 10 healthy but overweight men a standard breakfast accompanied by a ginger “tea" with 2 g of dried ginger powder (equivalent to about 1 teaspoon) or the same breakfast with plain hot water on two separate days. Researchers documented feelings of hunger immediately before and hourly after breakfast consumption, the calories burned after eating (thermic effect of food) as well as other measures.

They found approximately 43 more calories were burned after eating but total resting energy expenditure and respiratory quotient were not significantly affected. There were also no ginger-related effects on blood glucose, insulin, triglycerides or a variety of other metabolic parameters.

While more research is needed to understand the role of ginger in weight management, the researchers concluded including powdered ginger in the diet could have a small but significant effect on how food is processed in the body and “influence feelings of satiety without any adverse side effects."

Monday, June 25, 2012


While companies improved the nutritional quality of most cereals marketed to children, total media spending to promote child-targeted cereals has increased by 34% from 2008 to 2011, according to the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity’s newly released Cereal FACTS 2012 Report.

The latest report found cereal companies continue to push their least nutritious products directly to children, and children continue to see more advertising for cereals than for any other category of packaged food or beverages.

Cereal FACTS was originally launched in 2009 and found that the least healthy breakfast cereals were those most frequently and aggressively marketed directly to children as young as age 2. Major companies such as General Mills, Kellogg, and Post belong to the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), sponsored by the Council of Better Business Bureaus, and have promised to improve the nutritional quality of their children’s cereals. The CFBAI reports that participating companies also have improved their standards for child-directed advertising.

Using the same methods as the original Cereal FACTS, researchers found that the children’s cereal landscape has not improved over the past three years. The findings presented in the new report document limited progress in the nutrition and marketing of children's cereals.

From 2009 to 2012, cereal companies improved the nutrition of most cereals marketed directly to children. Overall nutritional quality improved for 13 of 16 child-targeted brands, and the average nutrition score for children’s cereals improved from 40 out of 100 in 2009 to 43 in 2012. Of the 22 different varieties of child-targeted cereals available in both 2008 and 2011, 10 (45%) reduced the sodium, seven (32%) reduced sugar, and five (23%) increased fiber. General Mills

improved all of its child-targeted cereals. Companies also introduced new varieties of children’s brands with somewhat improved nutrition scores, such as Pebbles Boulders and Gluten Free Rice Krispies.

Cereal companies also reduced some forms of advertising directed to children. Most significantly, General Mills and Post discontinued their popular children’s advergame websites— and As a result, children’s exposure to cereal company-sponsored websites declined by an estimated 100 ads per year, on average.

In addition, General Mills banner advertising on third-party children’s websites, such as and, went down by 43%. Cap’n Crunch and Envirokidz Organic also discontinued their child-targeted websites.

On TV, preschoolers’ exposure to ads for all cereals declined by 6%, and their exposure to ads for child-targeted cereals decreased by 8%. Among 6- to 11-year-olds, TV ad exposure declined for seven child-targeted cereals, including reductions of 66% to 67% for Kellogg Apple Jacks

and Corn Pops and 16% for General Mills Cookie Crisp. Post stopped advertising Honeycomb on TV.

At the same time, cereal companies increased advertising to children for many of their least nutritious products. Media spending to promote child-targeted cereals totaled $264 million in 2011, an increase of 34% versus 2008. Companies spent more to advertise children’s cereals than they spent on adult cereals; whereas in 2008, they had spent 41% more on adult cereals.

According to the report, despite improvements in nutritional quality, the cereals advertised to children contain 56% more sugar, 52% less fiber, and 50% more sodium compared with adult-targeted cereals.

The report also found children continue to see more ads on TV for ready-to-eat cereals than any other category of packaged food or beverage. Almost one-half (45%) of TV ads seen by children promoted five brands—General Mills Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Honey Nut Cheerios, Lucky Charms, and Reese’s Puffs; and Kellogg Froot Loops.

The majority of cereal ads seen by children on TV (53%) promote products consisting of one-third or more sugar; just 12% of cereal ads seen by children promote products with 26% or less sugar, compared with 48% of ads seen by adults. The Top 10 list of cereals advertised to children in Cereal FACTS 2012 is nearly identical to the Top 10 list in the first Cereal FACTS.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Eating Disorders Don’t Discriminate Based on Age

Although the term “eating disorder” is traditionally associated with behaviors of teenagers and young adults, new research suggests it also pertains to middle-age and older women.

Researchers say age is not a barrier to eating disorders, as behaviors such as binge eating and purging occur among women aged 50 and over.

Cynthia Bulik, Director of the University of North Carolina Eating Disorders Program, surveyed 1,849 women from across the U.S. She discovered that among women aged 50 and over that 3.5 percent report binge eating, nearly 8 percent report purging, and more than 70 percent are trying to lose weight.

Strikingly, researchers discovered that 62 percent of women claimed that their weight or shape negatively impacted on their life.

Findings from the study are published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.

“We know very little about how women aged 50 and above feel about their bodies,” said Bulik.

“An unfortunate assumption is that they ‘grow out of’ body dissatisfaction and eating disorders, but no one has really bothered to ask. Since most research focuses on younger women, our goal was to capture the concerns of women in this age range to inform future research and service planning.”

In the study, the average age of the participants was 59 with the vast majority being white women (92 percent). Twenty-seven percent were obese, 29 percent were overweight, 42 percent were normal weight and 2 percent were underweight.

Investigators discovered that eating disorder symptoms were common. About 8 percent of women reported purging in the last five years and 3.5 percent reported binge eating in the last month. These behaviors were most prevalent in women in their early 50s, but also occurred in women over 75.

The quest to lose weight is a dominating life theme for many women. Researchers discovered 36 percent of women report spending at least half their time in the last five years dieting.

Forty-one percent stated that they checked their body daily and 40 percent weighed themselves a couple of times a week or more.

An individual’s weight or body image appears to influence the way in which a woman perceives self-worth. Investigators discovered 62 percent of women claimed that their weight or shape negatively impacted their life, 79 percent said that it affected their self-perception and 64 percent said that they thought about it daily.

In a quest for weight control, some women resort to a variety of unhealthy methods. Researchers discovered 7.5 percent of surveyed women use diet pills, 7 percent report excessive exercise, 2.5 percent turn to diuretics, 2 percent use laxatives and 1 percent are bulimic.

From the survey, researchers learned that two-thirds of American women over the age of 50 were unhappy with their overall appearance. Specifically, 84 percent of women were unhappy with their stomach and 73 percent with their overall shape.

“The bottom line is that eating disorders and weight and shape concerns don’t discriminate on the basis of age,” concluded Bulik.

“Health care providers should remain alert for eating disorder symptoms and weight and shape concerns that may adversely influence women’s physical and psychological wellbeing as they mature.”

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Western Diet Alters Gut Bacteria, Increases Colitis Risk

Certain saturated fats that are common in the modern Western diet can initiate a chain of events leading to complex immune disorders such as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) in people with a genetic predisposition, according to a study to be published early online in the journal Nature.

The finding helps explain why once-rare immune-mediated diseases have become more common in westernized societies in the last half century. It also provides insights into why many individuals who are genetically prone to these diseases are never affected and how certain environmental factors can produce inflammation in individuals already at risk.

Researchers at the University of Chicago found that concentrated milk fat alter the composition of bacteria in the intestines. The changes can disrupt the delicate truce between the immune system and the complex but largely beneficial mix of bacteria in the intestines. The emergence of harmful bacterial strains in this setting can unleash an unregulated tissue-damaging immune response that can be difficult to switch off.

“This is the first plausible mechanism showing step-by-step how Western-style diets contribute to the rapid and ongoing increase in the incidence of inflammatory bowel disease," said study author Eugene B. Chang, MD, PhD, the Martin Boyer Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago. “We know how certain genetic differences can increase the risk for these diseases, but moving from elevated risk to the development of disease seems to require a second event which may be encountered because of our changing lifestyle."

The researchers worked with a mouse model that has many of the characteristics of human IBD. Genetically deleting a molecule, interleukin 10, which acts as a brake on the immune system’s response to intestinal bacteria, caused about 20% of mice to develop colitis when fed a low-fat diet or a diet high in polyunsaturated fats. When exposed to a diet high in saturated milk fats, the rate of disease development within six months tripled, increasing to more than 60%. In addition, the onset, severity and extent of colitis were much greater than that observed in mice fed low-fat diets.

In investigating why milk fat triggered inflammation when polyunsaturated fat did not, the researchers traced the answer to the gut microbiome, the complex mix of hundreds of bacterial strains that reside in the bowels. They found an uncommon microbe called Bilophila wadsworthia was preferentially selected in the presence of milk fat. Previous studies had found high levels of B. wadsworthia in patients with appendicitis and other intestinal inflammatory disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease.

While Bilophila wadsworthia levels were almost undetectable in mice on a low-fat or unsaturated-fat diet, the bacteria made up about 6% of all gut bacteria in mice fed a high milk-fat diet. “Here we show how the trend in consumption of Western-type diets by many societies can potentially tip the mutualistic balance between host and microbe to a state that favors the onset of disease," Chang said.

As its name implies, Bilophila wadsworthia has an affinity for bile, a substance produced by the liver and released into the intestines to help break down ingested fats. Milk fats are particularly difficult to digest and require the liver to secrete a form of bile that is rich in sulfur. B. wadsworthia thrives in the presence of sulfur. So when the bile created to dissolve milk fats reaches the colon, it enables B. wadsworthia to blossom and activate the immune system of genetically prone individuals.

The byproducts of B. wadsworthia’s interaction with bile also can amplify the effect. They serve as “gut mucosal barrier breakers," said Suzanne Devkota, PhD, a member of Chang’s laboratory and first author of the study. “By increasing the permeability of the bowel, they enhance immune-cell infiltration, and that can induce tissue damage."

Friday, June 22, 2012

Having a dog may protect children from developing asthma

Man’s best friend is giving kids more than just their loyal companionship – they’re giving them strong lungs as well.

A new study found that microbes living on pet dogs help to strengthen a child’s immune system against asthma, Discovery News reported.

Infants with a condition called respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are at a greater risk of developing asthma. But after examining dust found in the homes of families with dogs, researchers found they contained a bacteria that protected against RSV.

Their findings back previous research that has indicated differences in the dust of homes with and without dogs, as well as studies that found children who had pet dogs were less likely to have asthma.

In order to test the dust’s protective effects, the researchers collected dust from homes with dogs and then mixed it in a solution which they fed to mice. After a little over a week, the mice were given RSV and compared to another group of mice who were also given RSV as well as a control group of healthy mice.

The mice who were given the house dust solution did not develop the symptoms related to RSV. The researchers also found a distinct group of bacteria found in the gastrointestinal tract of these mice that the other groups of mice did not have.

While the scientists believe this bacteria was what helped to protect the mice against RSV, they are not exactly sure which bacteria were key for the response.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Obesity threatens global food reserves, UK study claims

The world's population is in danger of running out of food if the growing obesity problem is not tackled, scientists warned in a study published Monday.

The increasingly overweight population could have the same impact on food demands as an extra one billion people, researchers claimed after examining the average weight of adults across the globe.

The authors of the study, scientists from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said that the energy requirement of humans depends not only on numbers, but on average mass.

Tackling population weight is crucial for food security and ecological sustainability, they suggested.

"Everyone accepts that population growth threatens global environmental sustainability -- our study shows that population fatness is also a major threat," according to Prof. Ian Roberts, who led the research. "Unless we tackle both population and fatness, our chances are slim."

The world's adult population weighs 316 million tons (287 million tonnes), 16.5 million tons (15 million tonnes) of which is due to being overweight and 3.9 million tons (3.5 million tonnes) is due to obesity, according to the study published in the journal BMC Public Health.

The data, collected from the United Nations and the World Health Organization, shows that while the average global weight per person was 137 pounds (62kg) in 2005, Britons weighed 165 pounds (75kg) and the average adult in the US weighed in at 179 pounds (81kg).

Across Europe, the average weight was 156 pounds (70.8kg), compared with 127 pounds (57.7kg) in Asia.

More than half of people living in Europe are overweight, compared with only 24.2 percent of Asian people. Almost three-quarters of people living in North America are overweight.

The United Nations predicts that by 2050, there could be a further 2.3 billion people on the planet and that the ecological implications of the rising population numbers will be exacerbated by increases in average body mass, the researchers added

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

China's consumer market is forecast to become the second largest in the world after the U.S. by 2015

Chinese consumers can afford to splash out more on higher quality products but also expect better value for their money than in the past, an American Chamber of Commerce study found.

China's consumer market is forecast to become the second largest in the world after the U.S. by 2015. Both Chinese and foreign companies are struggling to keep up as the market evolves, said the report, released Wednesday.

"There is no doubt that the Chinese marketplace is maturing," said Joni Bessler, a partner with consultancy Booz & Co. in Shanghai, who helped compile the report.

The past divide between luxury or premium products and affordable ones is blurring as the middle class grows, with most consumers expecting good value and wide choices, even for less expensive goods.

"The race is on to see who really captures this buyer segment," Bessler said.

For companies like Kraft Foods Inc. and PepsiCo. Inc., that means tailoring products to suit local tastes while leveraging the company's global brand name.

Kraft spent much time researching Shanghai consumers, going into their homes, to understand their preferences in developing a branding strategy for its famous Chips Ahoy and Oreo cookies, said Haiyan Wang, chief marketing officer for Kraft Foods China.

Melded with social media through games and videos, in China the branding campaign plays on typical local stereotypes, where their "cookie guys" include a persnickety female character meant to epitomize feminine but tough Shanghainese ladies and an indecisive "chewy" guy who is her Shanghainese male counterpart.

"Without a knowledge of who our customers are and what their needs are, branding is not easy to do," Wang said.

The consumer market strategies report released Wednesday outlines major trends as reported by dozens of companies in various industries, including consumer goods, autos and financial services.

It says Chinese are increasingly concerned with health and quality of life. As growing numbers travel abroad, they are becoming more familiar with foreign brands and the variety and quality of goods available overseas and expect the same at home.

Chinese living in the biggest cities, such as Shanghai and Beijing, are more focused on value but able and willing to pay more.

"Value consumers are not spendthrifts," the report says. "Although they are willing to spend for value, they want to be certain they are actually getting what they pay for."

Those with lower incomes or living in smaller provincial cities are more price conscious, but also choose from a much wider range of products than in the past — making the markets increasingly competitive for both foreign and local companies, it says.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


The past decade has witnessed a dramatic shift in household responsibilities, and food and beverage marketers might want to take notice of a new survey that found 52% of dads are the primary grocery shopper in the household. Results also found 35% of moms admit dads have had more influence on grocery store purchases over the last few years.

According to the 2012 Cone Communications Year of the Dad Trend Tracker study, more dads are demonstrating a lot of forethought and preparation. They also do their homework before setting foot in the store. Before heading to the grocery store, 63% of dads create a detailed shopping list; 56% collect coupons or read circulars; 52% plan meals for the week ahead of time; and 24% perform background research on grocery products.

"This research goes against all stereotypes of the 'Father Knows Best' dad who doesn't concern himself with domestic responsibilities," said Bill Fleishman, president of Cone Communications. "Marketers need to recognize the growing number of dads in the supermarket aisles who are taking their roles seriously and can benefit from brands who provide tools and shortcuts to make shopping easier."

When asked about their typical grocery shopping experience, 32% of dads said they get in and out as fast as possible buying only what they came for, compared to just 21% of moms. Dads are also less likely than moms (26% versus 30%) to say they get distracted by large in-store displays.

For brands to reach dads, it's important to leverage tried-and-true marketing strategies like advertising and media relations. Dads' top three channels for gathering product- and other grocery-related information are in-store promotions (57%), advertising (50%) and traditional media like newspapers, magazines and television (40%). When looking at all online channels together, 44% of dads seek out online sources for information.

When making purchasing decisions on the spot in-store, coupons play an important role in tipping the scales in favor of one product versus another. After price and quality, dads said the No. 1 purchase influence is a coupon (37%), stronger even than product benefits (20%) or brand name (14%).

"Marketing to the sexes has always been looked at as needing two distinct approaches, but the lines are blurring," Fleishman said. "Roles may be shifting within the household, but we're finding that dads are not acting so differently from moms in their approach to grocery shopping. This is good news for marketers because it means we don't have to rewrite the playbook. By understanding the nuances between them, we can actually use the same strategies to reach the primary grocery shopper in the household, whether it's mom or dad."

Monday, June 18, 2012

Pistachios may positively reduce the body's response to the stresses of everyday life

A Pennsylvania State University study published online this month in Hypertension, an American Heart Association Journal, reveals that including pistachios in a healthy diet may positively reduce the body’s response to the stresses of everyday life.

Adults with elevated cholesterol were enrolled in a randomized, controlled clinical trial comparing diets containing pistachios to a low fat diet. The results show that a healthy diet supplemented with pistachios helps decrease systolic blood pressure, peripheral vascular resistance and heart rate during acute stress. Cardiovascular responses were measured while participants engaged in a challenging mental arithmetic test and again as they immersed their foot in cold water.

The study conducted at Pennsylvania State University by Drs. Sheila G. West and Penny M. Kris-Etherton and colleagues examined how diets containing pistachios (one-and-a-half and three ounces per day) versus a low-fat diet without pistachios, affect responses to stress on subjects with elevated LDL cholesterol, but normal blood pressure. This study is the first to show that including both salted and unsalted pistachios in a healthy diet helps reduce blood pressure and lessen the vascular load on the heart.

The people in the study were healthy, non-smoking men and women with elevated LDL cholesterol (commonly regarded as bad cholesterol) but normal blood pressure. All of the meals were provided and calorie levels were customized to maintain body weight. Pistachios were substituted for other foods in the diet to prevent weight gain. Participants followed three different diets – one low fat diet (25% fat ) without pistachios, and two with different levels of pistachios (approximately 1.5 oz or 10% of calories from pistachios and 3.0 oz or (20% of calories from pistachios). The pistachio diets contained higher amounts of potassium, healthy fats and protein. All diets were rich in fruit, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains, consistent with current food-based dietary recommendations. Participant demographics and the diet design have been published previously.2

“Daily events, such as work stress, a tight deadline, or public speaking can increase blood pressure, and we know that we can’t avoid all of the stressors in our lives. These results are significant because they show that physiological responses to stress are affected by the foods we eat,” stated Sheila West, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biobehavioral Health and the study’s lead author. Dr. West continues, “These changes in blood pressure occurred even though self-reported mood, anxiety, and tension were not changed.”

The largest drop in blood pressure, - 4.8 mm Hg, was associated with eating about one-and-a-half ounces of pistachios a day versus a -1.8 mm Hg on the low-fat diet and, -2.4 mm Hg, three ounces of pistachios per day. The diet containing three ounces of pistachios resulted in a significant decrease in peripheral vascular resistance, a measure of artery stiffness and heart rate versus the control diet. Fifty percent of the pistachios were given salted as a snack and the other half were unsalted and incorporated into recipes. Interestingly, although high sodium intake is typically associated with high blood pressure, the largest drop in in blood pressure was not associated with the lowest sodium diet. Pistachios do provide potassium (8% Daily Value) and magnesium (8% Daily Value) which are important in maintaining a healthy blood pressure.

“In addition, these results are very exciting because they demonstrate further benefits of pistachios on another risk factor for cardiovascular disease,” added Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., R.D., Distinguished Professor of Nutrition, and a lead researcher for the study. Dr. Kris-Etherton adds, “Our previous research suggests including pistachios in a healthy diet lowers LDL cholesterol in a dose-response fashion2 and increases antioxidants in the blood.3

“This research adds to the growing body of literature on the health benefits of pistachios,” added Constance J. Geiger, Ph.D., R.D. who serves as a nutrition research consultant with the American Pistachio Growers. Dr. Geiger continues, “Nuts, such as pistachios, are an important part of a healthy diet.”

For more information and to read the full study, go to

About the Study

The research support was provided by the Western Pistachio Association, now known as the American Pistachio Growers, with partial support from the NIH-supported General Clinical Research Center at Pennsylvania State University. It was first reported on in 2007. It is relevant because lowering blood pressure may reduce the risk for stroke and heart disease.

Pistachios Pack Powerful Nutrition

In recent years the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognized that tree nuts, including pistachios, may help reduce the risk of heart disease when eaten as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Since then, the American Pistachio Growers have committed to learning more about the nutritional benefits of pistachios and the nuts’ impact on other health issues affecting Americans today.

Pistachio Facts

Pistachios are a naturally cholesterol-free and sodium-free snack that contains just 1.5 grams of saturated fat and 13 grams of fat per serving, the majority of which comes from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat. A one-ounce serving of pistachios equals 49 nuts, which is more nuts per serving than any other snack nut. One serving has as much potassium (290mg, 8 percent) as an orange (250 mg, 7 percent) and 3 g of fiber making it a nutritious snack choice or ingredient to incorporate into daily diets.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Saturday, June 16, 2012

IBM introduced retail technology allowing consumers to scan items into a mobile phone

IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced retail technology that allows consumers to scan items into a mobile phone as they shop the aisles, then check themselves out at an IBM self-checkout station.

 Designed to help retailers provide a more customized in-store shopping experience for smart phone shoppers, the IBM Mobile Shopper application incorporates Honeywell (NYSE: HON) mobile scanning technology capable of scanning virtually any bar code, no matter what background it is printed on, the direction it faces, or the packaging covering it. The solution currently runs on the Google Android and Apple iOS operating systems, is highly reliable and offers sub-second response time.

According to a recent IBM Institute of Business Value study ( ), self checkout is the preferred way to shop for most consumers today, and they are very specific about the way they want to use mobile technology while shopping. More than 50 percent say they want to use a mobile device to scan while shopping, and to do final checkout at a self-checkout station. More than 40 percent want to scan samples and retrieve shopping items for pickup, or have the items delivered directly to their homes.

"Retailers can now deliver a more personalized shopping experience that is less of a chore and more of a convenience for consumers," says John Gaydac, vice president, IBM Retail Store Solutions. "By enabling consumers to scan and check-out a wide variety of products at their own pace, retailers can not only create a more customized shopping environment, but also increase in-store traffic."

The new mobile phone application is powered by IBM ACE software, Store Integrator software, and the newest release of IBM Self-Checkout software, which provides shoppers the same access to digital coupons, loyalty programs and special promotions at self-checkout stations that is traditionally available at fully-staffed point-of-sale checkout lanes.

The IBM Mobile Shopper, or "digital shopping assistant," incorporates Honeywell's high-performance SwiftDecoder Mobile bar code decoding software, one of many patented technologies that have helped secure the company's leadership in camera-based bar code decoding. Among them is the practice of decoding bar code-related information from a real-time video image, such as the display of a smart phone or other mobile device (U.S. patent 6,015,088).

"Honeywell has a long heritage of providing bar code scanning for mission-critical applications where inaccuracy is not an option," said John Waldron, president of Honeywell Scanning & Mobility. "Today, with IBM, we're bringing those capabilities to consumers to help make their shopping trips more efficient and productive."

The IBM Mobile Shopper solution with Honeywell mobile scanning is available immediately. For more information on Honeywell's SwiftDecoder Mobile software, please visit

Friday, June 15, 2012

Research shows you can detect certain traits by what shoes a person wears

If you're trying to get a read on someone's personality, just look down at their feet. According to researchers, the shoes you wear can say a lot about your personality.

The authors of the study say that you can accurately judge 90 percent of a stranger's personality just by their shoes, according to an article on Yahoo!. "Shoes serve a practical purpose, and also serve as nonverbal cues with symbolic messages," the authors said. "People tend to pay attention to the shoes they and others wear."

Some traits that researchers say you can detect through a person's shoes are general age, income, political affiliation and even someone's emotional stability.

Students at the University of Kansas were shown hundreds of different pairs of shoes worn by the study's participants and asked to describe what they thought their personality was like.

Some of the results weren't too surprising. People with higher incomes tended to wear more expensive shoes and flashier shoes were often worn by people with outgoing personalities.

The study also found descriptions that were not so obvious. "Practical and functional" shoes were worn by more "agreeable" people, and those who wore ankle boots were described as "aggressive." And if a participant had on shoes that looked "uncomfortable," they had personalities that were "calm."

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Researchers ID Brain Receptor Controlling Appetite

Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) have identified a brain receptor that may play a central role in regulating appetite, according to a new study published in the journal Cell. The findings may lead to drug therapies for preventing or treating obesity.

“We’ve identified a receptor that is intimately involved in regulating food intake," said study leader Domenico Accili, MD, professor of Medicine at CUMC. “What is especially encouraging is that this receptor is belongs to a class of receptors that turn out to be good targets for drug development, making it a highly ‘druggable’ target. In fact, several existing medications already seem to interact with this receptor. So, it’s possible that we could have new drugs for obesity sooner rather than later."

In their search for new targets for obesity therapies, scientists have focused on the hypothalamus, a tiny brain structure that regulates appetite. Numerous studies suggest that the regulatory mechanism is concentrated in neurons that express a neuropeptide, or brain modulator, called AgRP. But the specific factors that influence AgRP expression are not known. CUMC researchers found new clues to appetite control by tracing the actions of insulin and leptin—two hormones involved in maintaining the body’s energy balance, and inhibiting AgRP.

“Surprisingly, blocking either the insulin or leptin signaling pathway has little effect on appetite," they said. “We hypothesized that both pathways have to be blocked simultaneously in order to influence feeding behavior."

To test their theory, the researchers created a strain of mice whose AgRP neurons lack a protein— Fox01—that is integral to both insulin and leptin signaling. They found mice that lack Fox01 ate less and were leaner than normal mice. The Fox01-deficient mice also had better glucose balance and leptin and insulin sensitivity—all signs of a healthier metabolism..

Since Fox01 is a poor drug target, the researchers searched for other ways to inhibit the action of this protein. Using gene-expression profiling, they found a gene that is highly expressed in mice with normal AgRP neurons but is effectively silenced in mice with Fox01-deficient neurons. That gene is Gpr17 (for G-protein coupled receptor 17), which produces a cell-surface receptor called Gpr17.

To confirm that the receptor is involved in appetite control, the researchers injected a Gpr17 activator into normal mice, and their appetite increased. Conversely, when the mice were given a Gpr17 inhibitor, their appetite decreased. Similar injections had no effect on Fox01-deficient mice.

There are several reasons why Gpr17, which is also found in humans, would be a good target for anti-obesity medications. The researchers said since Grp17 is part of the so-called G-protein-coupled receptor family, it is highly druggable. About one-third of all existing drugs work through G-protein-coupled receptors. In addition, the receptor is abundant in AgRP neurons but not in other neurons, which should limit unwanted drug side effects.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


While low-carbohydrate/high-fat diets may help short-term weight loss, results of a new study published in BioMed Central’s open access journal Nutrition Journal demonstrate that long-term weight loss is not maintained and the diet increases blood cholesterol and elevates the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The 25-year study in Northern Sweden is the first to show that a regional and national dietary intervention to reduce fat intake, decreased cholesterol levels, but a switch to the popular low-carbohydrate diet was paralleled by in an increase in cholesterol levels.

In the 1970s, men in northern Sweden had among the highest rates of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) worldwide. The Västerbotten Intervention Program (VIP) was set up in 1985 to address this and was later extended to include the entire country. The VIP included better food labeling, healthy information, cooking demonstrations and health examinations and counseling, including diet advice, and still continues today.

Evaluation of this program was combined with data from the WHO MONICA project which monitors cardiovascular disease risk factors. Researchers from Umeå University, University of Gothenburg and The National Board of Welfare collaborated on the study to examine trends in food and nutrient intake, serum cholesterol and body mass index (BMI) from 1986 to 2010 in northern Sweden.

The impact of the VIP was clearly seen in the changing intake of fat and carbohydrate. By 1992 the fat intake for men had reduced by 3% for men and 4% for women and remained stable until 2005. Not only did fat intake reduce due to VIP but the types of fat changed, for example from butter to low fat spreads, which was mirrored by a decrease in cholesterol levels. After 2005 the levels of total and saturated fat intake began to increase, returning to levels above those in 1986, and the amount of complex carbohydrates eaten decreased. The timing of this matched the promotion of low-GI diets in the media. Consequently cholesterol levels began to once more increase despite the introduction of cholesterol lowering medication.

"The association between nutrition and health is complex. It involves specific food components, interactions among those food components, and interactions with genetic factors and individual needs," the researchers said.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


New statistics released today by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reveals global food prices dropped sharply in May due to generally favorable supplies, growing global economic uncertainties and a strengthening of the U.S. dollar.

The FAO Food Price Index, measuring the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities, fell by 4% in May to 204 points, down 9 points from April, the lowest level since September 2011 and about 14% below its peak in February 2011.

"Crop prices have come down sharply from their peak level but they remain still high and vulnerable due to risks related to weather conditions in the critical growing months ahead," said FAO's grain analyst Abdolreza Abbassian.

FAO at the same time raised the forecast for world cereal production by 48.5 million tons since May, mainly on the expectation of a bumper maize crop in the United States. FAO's latest forecast for world cereal production in 2012 stands at a record level of 2.419 million tones, 3.2% up from the 2011 record. The bulk of the increase is expected to originate mainly from maize in the United States amid an early start of the planting season and prevailing favorable growing conditions. As a result, the global coarse grain production is forecast at 1.248 million tons, an 85 million ton increase from the previous year.

The Cereal Price Index averaged 221 points in May, down 1% from April. Wheat prices fell most following improved weather conditions and influenced by maize prices, which plunged following the release of the USDA report projecting a record maize crop in the United States. By contrast, international rice prices rose slightly, mainly on increased purchases ahead of the Ramadan period.

The Oils/Fats Price Index averaged 244 points in May, down 6.8% from April. The drop, which was led by falling soy and palm oil quotations, reversed the upward trend witnessed since December 2011. The Dairy Price Index averaged 164 points in May, down 12% FROM April and the lowest level since October 2009. The recent slide in international dairy prices, uninterrupted since the beginning of the year, mirrors a rebuilding of supplies in major export markets.

The Meat Price Index averaged 179 points in May, barely 1 point below its April value.

The Sugar Price Index averaged 295 points in May, down 9% from April, and as much as 5.6% below their level in May 2011. Sugar prices declined for the third months in a row, reflecting larger availabilities in India, the EU and Thailand, and new supplies from Brazil entering the market. Markets were also pressured by declining oil prices and the strengthening of the U.S. dollar.

Monday, June 11, 2012

FDA Denies Petition to Rename Corn Sugar

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday issued its much-anticipated response denying the Corn Refiners Association’s (CRA) petition to allow the term “corn sugar" as an alternate common or usual name for high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). In its response, FDA said “there are not sufficient grounds to warrant this substitution" and the action would only serve to confuse U.S. consumers and could even pose a health risk to those suffering from fructose intolerance.

In its petition, filed in September 2010 and amended in July 2011, CRA requested FDA amend the generally recognized as safe (GRAS) affirmation regulation for HFCS to designate “corn sugar" as an optional name for HFCS; the standard of identity for dextrose monohydrate to eliminate “corn sugar" as an alternate name for dextrose; and the GRAS affirmation regulation for corn sugar (21 CFR 184.1857) to replace all references to “corn sugar" with “dextrose.

In the May 30 letter sent to CRA President Audrae Erickson, Michael M. Landa, director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, addressed all three arguments.

FDA said the use of the term “corn sugar" for HFCS would suggest that HFCS is a solid, dried, and crystallized sweetener obtained from corn. Instead, HFCS is an aqueous solution sweetener derived from corn after enzymatic hydrolysis of cornstarch, followed by enzymatic conversion of glucose (dextrose) to fructose. Thus, the use of the term “sugar" to describe HFCS, a product that is a syrup, would not accurately identify or describe the basic nature of the food or its characterizing properties. As such, using the term “sugar" would not be consistent with the general principles governing common or usual names under 21 CFR 102.5.

FDA also said the petition does not support amending FDA’s longstanding regulations, which describe and define corn sugar as “dextrose," to instead identify corn sugar as an alternative name for a sweetener that is different from dextrose. “We are not persuaded by the arguments in the petition that consumers do not associate ‘corn sugar’ with dextrose. The term ‘corn sugar’ has been used to describe dextrose for over 30 years. The Select Committee on GRAS Substances used the term “corn sugar" to describe dextrose as early as 1976.

Finally, FDA said “corn sugar" has been known to be an allowed ingredient for individuals with hereditary fructose intolerance or fructose malabsorption, who have been advised to avoid ingredients that contain fructose. Because such individuals have associated “corn sugar" to be an acceptable ingredient to their health when “high fructose corn syrup" is not, changing the name for HFCS to “corn sugar" could put these

Addressing FDA's decision, CRA issued a statement that read in part: "The Food & Drug Administration denied our petition to use the term corn sugar to describe high fructose corn syrup on narrow, technical grounds. They did not address or question the overwhelming scientific evidence that high fructose corn syrup is a form of sugar and is nutritionally the same as other sugars. The fact remains–which FDA did not challenge–that the vast majority of American consumers are confused about HFCS. Consumers have the right to know what is in their foods and beverages in simple, clear language that enables them to make well-informed dietary decisions. In light of the FDA’s technical decision, it is important to note that the agency continues to consider HFCS as a form of added sugar, and requires that it be identified to consumers in the category of sugars on the Nutrition Fact Panel on foods and beverages."

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Eating fruits and vegetables may help smokers quit

Eating fruits and vegetables may help some people quit smoking, a new study suggests.

In the study, smokers who ate the most fruit and vegetables were three times more likely to be tobacco-free for at least 30 days than those who ate the least amount of fruits and vegetables, the researchers said.

The results held even after the researcher's took into account factors that could influence people's likelihood of successfully staying away from smoking, including the participants' age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, household income and how frequently they exercised, drank heavily or used illicit drugs.

The study also found that smokers with higher fruit and vegetable consumption smoked fewer cigarettes per day, waited longer to smoke their first cigarette of the day and scored lower on a commonly-used test of nicotine dependence.

"We may have identified a new tool that can help people quit smoking ," said study researcher Jeffrey P. Haibach, a graduate research assistant at the University of Buffalo.

However, the study showed an association, and not a cause-effect link. More research is needed to confirm the findings, and identify the possible mechanisms that could explain how eating fruits and vegetables may help smokers quit.

Haibach and colleagues surveyed 1,000 smokers ages 25 and older in the United States in telephone interviews. Fourteen months later, participants were contacted again, and asked if they had abstained from tobacco use during the previous month.

To be included in the study, participants had to have smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime, and have been currently smoking daily or on some days at the study's start.

Several explanations for the findings are possible: people who consume a lot of fruits and vegetables may be less nicotine dependent , or may have a decreased desire to smoke, the researchers said.

Fruits and vegetables are also high in fiber, which may give people a sense of satiety or fullness so that they feel less of a need to smoke. Smokers sometimes confuse hunger with an urge to smoke, Haibach said.

And unlike some foods which are known to enhance the taste of tobacco, such as meats, caffeinated beverages and alcohol, fruits and vegetables may actually worsen the taste of cigarettes, Haibach said.

The study was published May 21 in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

OTG, an operator of restaurants in airports, is deploying more than 7,000 iPads at three major airports

OTG today announced that it is deploying more than 7,000 new iPads at three major airports over the next 18 months to give travelers a new level of access to tech amenities and high-quality food at the gates.

This unprecedented platform represents an investment of more than $10 million in technology and infrastructure alone. Combined with OTG's newly renovated chef-driven restaurants, the company is dramatically improving the traveler's airport experience.

To date, OTG has deployed 300 new iPads in LaGuardia Airport Terminal D, with hundreds more to be installed throughout the terminal during the summer. The full deployment at the three major airport hubs will occur over the next 18 months. OTG will deploy more than 2,000 new iPads at LaGuardia Terminals C & D; an additional 2,500 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport; and another 2,500 new iPads throughout Toronto Pearson International Airport.

"We believe this to be the largest deployment of consumer-facing iPads in the world, and for us, it's just the beginning," said Rick Blatstein, chief executive officer of OTG. "We have plans to roll out thousands of additional iPads at other airports around the United States and the world. Technology is an important complement to the customer service experience."

For travelers, this means a new level of comfort at the airport. The experience starts when a customer sits down in front of a new iPad at one of OTG's chef-driven restaurants or newly renovated seating areas at the gates. From there, they can order meals through an intuitive visual menu, where OTG wait staff is on hand to assist throughout the entire process. Orders are then prepared fresh, and delivered to their seat in 15 minutes or less.

Ordering food through an iPad is just the beginning. With OTG's custom browser, travelers can easily log in to their Facebook, Twitter and personal email accounts, and be confident that their personal information is securely removed from the iPad the moment the home button is pressed. Travelers can also check their flight status, play games and watch the news through pre-loaded apps such as Bloomberg News on the iPads.

Making the experience even more engaging, travelers can pick up the iPad out of its custom designed stand, hold it in their hands and plug in their own headphones for sound. OTG retained technology firm Control Group to develop this custom application suite, which brings the personal experience of the iPad to the public space.

"This is a unique deployment that has no precedent," Blatstein remarked. "We're marrying culinary excellence at the airport with new media. In addition to the content we are already offering, we see this as a significant opportunity for broader deployment of digital content from movies to news to games."

High res images and broadcast quality B-Roll footage are available to support this announcement. Please access at this OTG site.