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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 January, 2004, 00:06 GMT
Feel good foods 'to improve mood'
ice cream
Makers claim the ice cream will "make spirits fly"
Some UK manufacturers are producing "feel good foods", designed to improve people's moods and help them sleep.

As consumers turn to energy drinks and foods with added vitamins, parts of the industry are looking to build on that demand by producing healthy goods.

Among the new products are "happy" ice cream and milk to help people sleep, with anti-stress biscuits on the way.

Red Kite Farms in the Chilterns sells milk with extra melatonin - a natural hormone in cows - to combat jet lag.

The company decided to look at how it could maximise the amount of melatonin in its herd's milk.

It depends on the breed, age and stage of lactation in the cows.

Clare Pool
We thought we could do something to help people get to sleep
Clare Pool, Red Kite Farms
The company milks its cows at dawn - after they themselves have had a good night's sleep.

Company director Claire Pool told the BBC: "Melatonin has been widely used as, not a cure, but an aid to jet lag.

"People take the tablets after returning from the States to help them sleep and get their body clock back onto the UK pattern.

"We thought we could do something to help people get to sleep."

Another company - Mackie's of Scotland, which makes ice cream - is adding essence of orchid to its product, claiming it will make you feel happy "and your spirits fly".

The company admits the idea is part marketing and part fun.

Spokeswoman Kirstin Mackie says that, for maximum effect, the essence should be added by a happy workforce.

'Happy thoughts'

"We ask them first if any of them are not feeling happy or feeling a bit stressed, and if so they will not be chosen.

"But if they are happy and joyous, they will be chosen. And while they add the flower essence, they actually have to think happy thoughts."

Anti-stress ingredients could soon be added to chocolate and biscuits to help people relax.

The trend for "feel good foods" comes as leading brands making so-called unhealthy foods appear to be suffering a dip in sales.

A study in The Grocer magazine this month claimed Kit Kat, Walkers Crisps and Kellogg's Frosties were losing customers to brands thought of as healthier.

The BBC's Dharshini David
"Feel good foods are big business and are here to stay"

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