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BITES : Trick or Grape?

October 19, 1995

In Los Altos, California--the town that this year banned Halloween celebrations in its public schools--pediatric dentist Mel Freeman is taking advantage of a new trend in grape packaging to promote his crusade to keep Halloween healthy.

Freeman plans to give $1 and a bag of packaged grapes to every costumed trick-or-treater who turns in a pound of candy to him on Halloween. He's putting up the money, and the grapes--four-ounce bags of seedless, stemless red grapes--are being supplied Fresh Express, a company better known for its packaged salad mixes. Now Fresh Escape is pushing packaged fruit; the company claims that its Northern California launch of its Grape Express chilled grapes marks the first time fresh fruit will be sold as a ready-to-eat packaged snack. But will they fit in vending machines? Maybe. Southern California markets should receive the grapes sometime in December.

As for Freeman, he just wants to fix his town's growing anti-fun reputation.

"Kids should be able to dress in costume and enjoy themselves," he says, "so long as they don't rot their teeth!"

Big Is Beautiful

Some large facts about our growing food habits, from the Washington Post:

1916: Coca-Cola introduced its curvaceous, 6 1/2-ounce bottle.

1980: 7-Eleven introduced the 32-ounce Big Gulp.

1987: The Super Gulp, even bigger, is introduced.

1992: 7-Eleven introduces the Double Gulp, 64 ounces--almost 10 times bigger than the original Coke.

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* The Homer Laughlin China Co., a major supplier of standard 10 1/2-inch restaurant plates, made virtually no 12 1/2-inch plates five years ago. This year the firm will sell about the same amount of each size.

* Bertucci's Brick Oven Pizzeria, the fast-growing chain of casual Italian restaurants with 75 locations in 13 states, recently increased the size of its large pizza from 14 to 16 inches, the small from 11 to 12 inches.

* Between 1988 and 1991 the percentage of overweight adults jumped to a third of all Americans. Through the '60s, '70s and most of the '80s, only about a quarter of American adults were considered overweight.

* Adult Americans consumed a daily average of 1,969 calories in the 1970s. In the most recent survey, caloric intake had jumped to 2,200.

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Colonel Mustard in the Pizza

We got used to barbecued chicken on pizza . . . but mustard? In honor of National Pizza Month, California Pizza Kitchen is introducing Chicken Dijon Pizza. It's grilled garlic chicken, caramelized onions, spinach and mozzarella and Dijon mustard in place of tomato sauce.

Choosy Canyons Prefer . . .

According to the Georgia Peanut Commission, Americans consume enough peanut butter each year to coat the entire floor of the Grand Canyon.

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