By MARILYNN MARCHIONE, AP Medical Writer – Thu Aug 20, 2009
MILWAUKEE – From heart-friendly margarines to sugary cereals that strengthen bones, once-demonized foods are being spiked with nutrients to give them a healthier glow — and consumers are biting, even on some that are little more than dressed-up junk food.
A report released Thursday finds that even in a weak economy, people will pay a premium for products seen as preventing a health problem or providing a good alternative to sodas and empty-calorie snacks. The report is from research firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers.
These products include winners and sinners: juices that supply kids with needed calcium, but also candy disguised as granola bars with just a smidgeon of much-ballyhooed nutrients.
The industry calls these products “nutraceuticals” or “functional foods.” Critics say they could lead people to consume too much of certain nutrients, plus too many calories and fats.