The Natural Products Expo East show in held in Washington D.C. in September drew more than 20,000 attendees.

The Natural Products Expo East show in held in Washington D.C. in September drew more than 20,000 attendees. Among the crowd were some 8,000 retailers browsing more than 1,700 exhibits.The low-carbohydrate phenomenon started by the late Dr. Atkins was a major focus, with several vendors showing no-carb or low-carb food items from baked goods to breakfast cereals, ice cream and salty snacks. Russian dairy company Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods has installed a new $8 million aseptic line at its plant in Kharkov, Ukraine. Using Tetra Pak high-tech production equipment, and a Hassia filling line, the plant is going to produce a range of four-cup milk yogurts under "Frugurt" trademark in 4 x 125g packaging with natural peach, raspberry, cherry, strawberry and apricot-mango flavors. McDonald's is testing a coffee bar concept called McCafe which will sell drinks such as lattes and cappuccinos inside some of its restaurants in the San Francisco and Raleigh-Durham areas. Credit-rating firm Moody's Investors Service raised the rating outlook for Friendly Ice Cream Corp. , Wilbraham, Mass.to positive from stable, citing the company's improvements in financial flexibility and its expectation that the family-dining company will continue its recent pattern of operating progress. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service will host a USA Food Pavilion, next March at the FoodEX Japan 2004 trade show in Tokyo. FoodEX Japan is the largest food and beverage trade show in Asia and third largest in the world after SIAL in Paris and ANUGA in Cologne for information on other USDA-endorsed shows, call 202/720-3065 or e-mail: Khaliaka.Meardry@.usda.gov. Carvel Corporation, the nation's first retail ice cream franchise, passed the century milestone in new franchise agreements for 2003 when it granted 38 new franchise licenses and opened 10 new locations during the third quarter. The Pantry, Inc. , Sanford, N.C., a leading convenience store retailer, has acquired 138 convenience stores operating under the Golden Gallon name from Ahold, USA, Inc. Golden Gallon, with $387 million of revenue, operates 90 stores in Tennessee and 48 stores in northwest Georgia. Golden Gallon's Tennesssee dairy plant was sold to National Dairy. HP Hood, Chelsea, Mass., is introducing a line of low-carbohydrate dairy beverages with the Atkins seal. Carb Countdown™, a line of dairy beverages with significantly fewer carbohydrates than milk. Is currently available at over 750 Wal-Mart stores in the Northeastern, Southwestern and Southeastern parts of the United States. The products are packaged in half-gallon gabletops with screw fitments, and come in three white varieties of various fat-levels and in a low fat chocolate.