The Art of Marketing Superfoods and Fitness

Where business, health and media intersect. A round-up of top headlines from the past week:

NY TIMES: Coconut Water Changes Its Claims
Coconut water has long been dubbed Nature’s Gatorade, a natural alternative to chemically laden sports drinks. And with claims of health benefits like fighting viruses, kidney disease and other ailments like osteoporosis, it’s no wonder sales have reached $400 million a year. After studies debunked many of the myths leading to class action lawsuits, coconut water my now be sold as simply, well, water. Our take: that won’t stop marketers. As the article says, “Dial has released a soap and a body wash that use coconut water as a hydrating agent — and as a powerful image on the package.” Click here for the full story.

WSJ: A Gym’s Search For The Next Zumba
Gym goers who engage in group fitness classes are significantly more likely to renew their membership, thus making the treasured class schedule many gym rats swear by a top priority for many fitness franchises. Executives at the Crunch gym chain are in search of the next Zumba and betting on Dutch speedskating. We say: Unless classes are instructed by Apolo Ohno, speed skating is a hard sell—the future is in combos of tried-and-true favorites like Kettlebell Kickboxing. Click here for the full story.

BBC: Fruit And Veg: More Than Five-A-Day “No Effect”
Eat your veggies, but not too many. An analysis of 16 worldwide studies suggested that fruit and vegetables consumption lowered ones risk of premature death, but that after five portions a day, there was no increased impact. This recent discovery is bound to have an impact on convenience foods: Be on the look out for “health” foods boasting an entire day’s worth of fruits and vegetables. Click here for the full story. 

SCIENCE DAILY: When It Comes To Gluten-Free Diets, Unfounded Beliefs Abound
Every era has its dietary demon—first it was fat, then carbs, and now the calorie counting crowd shivers in the face of gluten, but perhaps for the wrong reasons, a UF/IFAS researcher says. Such diets, while necessary for those with celiac disease, may lack nutrients essential to good health. A worrisome finding, since the gluten-free industry is anticipated to earn $16 billion in sales by 2016, most of which is derived from non-celiac sufferers. Click here for the full story.

WSJ: What Makes A Superfood?
Kale farmers have never had it so good. Superfoods are big business, but how is one “good for you” food deemed better than another? Phil Hagen, a preventive-medicine specialist at the Mayo Clinic’s Healthy Living Program in Rochester, Minn., explains why there is more to food than a name. Click here for the full story.