Reports indicate that food retail prices in nearly every category are in for higher-than-average inflation in 2011. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has said that for all food, prices are expected to rise 2–3%, nearly double the 2010 increase. Meat prices are predicted to approach a 3.5% hike, and dairy a 5.5% jump.

Boulder, CO—The practice of grass-based, environmentally friendly organic dairy farming is better for cows’ health, and leads to better quality milk, too, according to a recent report. The research, conducted by The Organic Center and published under the title, “A Dairy Farm’s Footprint,” presents the conclusions that organic dairy farms support healthier, less stressed, more frequently lactating and longer-living cows. Organic dairies also have a smaller carbon footprint than high-production, conventional dairies (with manure methane emissions reduced by 60% to 80%) and produce milk with a superior nutritional profile.

grocery briefs

 News from industry food companies.

Buckinghamshire, UK—Elevated prices among commodities such as sugar are forcing food manufacturers to reformulate products with alternative sweeteners. Despite the general trend away from high-fructose corn syrup (HCFS), some companies are opting to use this sweetener in an effort to avoid the soaring price of sugar. Others are looking to up-and-coming sweeteners such as agave and stevia to sidestep the inflation.

Gaithersburg, MD—The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has put out reference materials for supplements that include Vaccinium berries. New to its library are a suite of quality assurance tools for the following dietary supplement ingredients: cranberry, blueberry, bilberry and mixed berry.

Migdal HaEmeq, Israel—Clinical Interventions in Aging has published data indicating that elderly individuals with memory recall problems may benefit from taking a omega 3–phosphatidylserine (PS) product.

News and notes from industry suppliers.

Recently, a mega-food manufacturer did something very uncharacteristic of big business. In the name of helping to save the environment, it rolled out compostable bags for a line of its snack chips. This product is marketed to your average, mainstream supermarket shopper.

University Park, PA—A recent report published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition indicates that walnut oil and walnuts may improve one’s reaction to stress. Sheila G. West from Pennsylvania State university and her team examined how foods containing polyunsaturated fats (such as walnuts) can positively affect blood pressure at times of rest and during times of stress.