Superfruits — Super Sales and Super Claims
“These new superfood companies are all so eager to have health claims on their packages,” says Nestle. “They all hide behind the First Amendment.Congress needs to give the Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration more power to regulate health claims more tightly.”
In the past year, the Food and Drug Administration sent out letters to 17 companies, warning them for making health claims more suited to drugs than food.
In the current environment, its the Federal Trade Commission that has the power to act.
Last September, filed a complaint against juicemaker Tropicana, the makers of POM Wonderful pomegranate juice, claiming there’s no science to support its claims about POM's effectiveness in easing erectile dysfunction, arterial plaque and prostrate cancer
POM countered by saying its health claims are supported by 55 published studies, costing $34 million, and cited "its First Amendment rights to communicate the promising results of our extensive scientific research program...."
Market watchers say that when food companies see a fruit like acai rack up $130 million in annual sales after just a few years on the shelves, the desire to replicate that success is strong.
“Manufacturers are looking for the next acai,” says Kelsey Blackwell of Natural Foods Merchandiser. “They want something that will generate that amount of buzz."