McNeil Nutritionals, Fort Washington, a division of McNeil-PPC Inc., says its Splenda[r] No Calorie Sweetener has become the top-selling low/no-calorie sweetener in United States retail outlets just two and a half years after its introduction. Splenda products, which include granular and packets sold at retail, had a 32.7% dollar share of the retail sugar substitutes market for the 12-week period ending April 20. That compares to 28.1 % for its closest competitor. Splenda has now led the market for 13 of the last 15 weeks. "Splenda¿as become the leader because consumers have responded so well to its taste and its versatility," said Debra Sandler, worldwide group v.p. marketing & strategic ingredient technology for McNeil Nutritionals. "People are learning that they can have the best of both worlds--the sweetness they love, without the calories or unpleasant aftertaste." Splenda, the brand name for sucralose, was launched into the consumer market in September 2000.

Praxair Inc., Danbury, Conn., has announced new applications for its Better Than Fresh[tm] beverage processing system. The new applications are for low-acid juices, including carrot and dairy-based beverages both of which are major pillars in the functional food segment. The Praxair[r] Better Than Fresh[tm] technology utilizes carbon dioxide (CO2) as a processing aid, in lieu of heat, to significantly extend the shelflife of low-acid beverages while retaining the nutritional and sensory characteristics of fresh product. The Better Than Fresh[tm] process has previously been commercialized for the orange juice industry as an alternative to thermal pasteurization. "This is a new product category that holds great potential," commented Sam Johnston, Praxair business development mgr. "Our success with orange juice has created an opportunity to apply the technology to less acidic fruit and vegetable juices. In addition, we see a growing trend in dairy-based foods which will also benefit from Better Than Fresh[tm] processing." Carbon dioxide has been used for years to extend the shelflife of dairy products such as cottage cheese when trace amounts are sparged into product. Praxair's recent testing with the its dense-phase system is producing consistent results including the finding that with the dense-phase CO2 process, the number of spoilage microorganisms is greatly reduced allowing for extended shelflife without subjecting product to detrimental levels of heat in thermal pasteurization.

Tetra Pak Inc., Vernon Hills, Ill., a global leader in liquid food processing and packaging, has received a Gold Award for the food category in the 16th Annual DuPont Awards for innovation in food processing and packaging. The international industry

competition, which recognizes food and non-food industry

advances in the use of plastics, honors Tetra Pak for its Tetra Plast[tm] LFA-20 aseptic filling technology at Jasper Products, Joplin, Mo. This technology is the first high-speed FDA-accepted linear aseptic filler for high-density polyethylene (HDPE) bottles. The introduction of the Tetra Plast LFA-20 marks the first time that low-acid products, such as flavored milks, infant formulas, nutritional drinks and prepared foods, can be packaged aseptically in plastic containers at a commercial filling speed. This technology allows Tetra Pak customers to fill and distribute low-acid food and beverage products without refrigeration.

Curtron Products, Pittsburgh, was recently recognized by a leading food industry buying group for achieving product sales growth of 65% from 2002 to 2003. Curton's President Jos P. Kleynjans attributes the growth to aggressive product engineering, diversification of products, commitment to selling through dealers and superior customer service. The company manufactures strip doors, accordion doors, swinging doors and a new concept for coolers and freezers called the Curtronizer.

Specialized Vehicle Corp., the parent company of Kidron, Kidron Ohio, has acquired two additional manufacturing facilities, in Tulare, Calif., and Montgomery, Pa. The new facilities will complement Kidron facilities in Ohio and in Lakeland, Fla., and make the company one of the largest manufacturers of truck bodies in North America.