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Food Waste Has Become A “Platform For Commerce”

A growing number of entrepreneurs in the U.S. see profit opportunities in the 40 percent of the food supply that ends up in the trash. “Food waste,” says The New York Times, “is now a platform for commerce.” Among the latest ventures: Back to the Roots (sells mushroom- growing kits using coffee grounds}; EcoScraps (turns food waste into gardening products); Cerplus (links farms with waste produce to wholesalers); Harvest Power (processes organic waste into mulch and fertilizer); Food Cowboy (app connects rejected truckloads of fresh foods to charities}; and Liquid Environmental Solutions (processes waste water and used cooking oil). Some of these companies have been able to bootstrap their enterprises, but others have garnered... More

"New Crop of Companies Reaping Profits From Wasted Food", The New York Times, June 24, 2016

Smartphone App That Tracks Food Shelf Life Wins Sustainability Contest

A smartphone app designed to reduce global food waste and improve how people consume food has won a contest whose goal is to help launch a new sustainable product or service in the food and beverage industry. According to its creators, the Foodfully app could save consumers as much as $600 a year on groceries by keeping track (from shopping receipts) of food purchases, especially shelf life and spoilage dates. The competition, which received 140 applicants, was sponsored by Net Impact, a global network of “aspiring change agents,” and supported by Campbell Soup Company and General Mills.

"Food Waste App Takes Top Prize in the Forward Food Competition", 3BL Media, June 22, 2016

New Version Of Hostess Twinkies Is Deep-Fried, Frozen, And Reheated At Home

Snack cakes maker Hostess rebounded from bankruptcy in 2012 with robust sales. But lately it has struggled to boost performance, even as it reformulated some of its products to include more healthful ingredients like whole grains while eliminating high fructose corn syrup. So its more health-conscious customers may be surprised to hear about its latest product: deep-fried Twinkies. The cream-filled snacks – they are battered and fried before being boxed – can be found exclusively in the frozen foods section at Walmart. Heating in the oven creates a crunchy exterior and a warm, gooey filling. The chocolate versions actually have less fat, cholesterol, and sodium than the original.

"Strangely, You Bake The New Deep Fried Twinkies", BuzzFeed News, June 18, 2016

Pillsbury Unveils Girl Scout Cookie Baking Mixes

J. M. Smucker’s Pillsbury brand has signed a licensing agreement with the Girl Scouts to make and market two of the organization’s iconic cookie flavors as non-cookie baking mixes. Under the agreement, Pillsbury is brining to market Girl Scouts Thin Mints and Caramel & Coconut flavored mixes for brownies, blondies and cupcakes. The new mixes are available at grocery stores nationwide at a suggested retail price of $3.29.

"New Pillsbury Girl Scout Cookie Inspired Baking Mixes Brings the Fun and Flavor of Girl Scout Cookies to Snack Time", News release, J. M. Smucker, June 16, 2016

Panera To Get Rid Of All Artificial Additives In Bakery And At-Home Products

Further applying its Panera 2.0 program, Panera Bread says it will remove all artificial ingredients from its range of 50 Panera at Home products by the end of the year. It has also said it will eliminate all artificial ingredients from its food in all 2,000 bakeries and cafes by the end of 2016. The company has already removed ingredients like artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and sweeteners, from 90 percent of its food items. Panera at Home sells Panera branded products to other retailers, including refrigerated soup, mac and cheese, pasta, and salad dressings, as well as artisan frozen bread, sliced sandwich bread and coffee.

"Panera to Remove Artificial Ingredients from At-Home Products", Zacks, June 16, 2016

British Research Project To Develop New Gels From Surplus Potatoes

Several British universities and research institutes will benefit from a $3.7 million grant supporting development of personal care gels, creams and other products from discarded starchy vegetables like potatoes. The food industry throws away millions of tons of vegetables that are unsold for one reason or another each year. Also contributing to the problem are surplus supply and processing waste. The researchers will investigate how nature’s catalysts –  enzymes – can be used to make starch-based gels using nanoscale fibers. The new gels could be used across the pharmaceutical, beauty, home product and food industries. Participating in the research are the University of East Anglia, the John Innes Center, the University of Bath,... More

"£2.8 million project to make new types of gel from waste food", News release, University of East Anglia, June 16, 2016

Chickpea Pasta May Someday Displace Wheat Pasta On Dinner Menus

Chickpeas are an ancient pulse and a culinary staple of Middle Eastern, African and Indian dishes. But even as recently as 20 years ago, Americans weren’t eating very many of them: about three ounces a year per person. But that’s all changed now. In 2013, Americans consumed more than 269 million pounds of chickpeas. One entrepreneur who has benefited from the new-found interest in chickpea cookery is a kitchen tinker who in 2013 invented a recipe for chickpea pasta (marketed as Banza Pasta). Usually made with semolina flour, conventional pasta is high in protein, low in fat, and rich in vitamins and minerals. But chickpea pasta beats semolina pasta hands down in the nutrition department. It has four times the fiber, no cholesterol,... More

"Chickpeas take on pasta; Good news for Montana pulse crops", Great Falls Tribune, June 16, 2016

Recipe For A Longer Life: Eat Whole Grain Foods

An exhaustive review of published research and individuals’ health data finds that eating whole grain foods can extend lifespan. The Harvard study shows that people who ate 70 grams of whole grains a day lowered their risk of premature death, cancer and cardiovascular diseases, as long as a healthy lifestyle was followed. Refined grains stripped of their bran and germ during the milling process have a longer shelf life, but lack key nutrients unless they are “enriched.” U.S. dietary guidelines that recommend at least three daily servings — or 48 grams — of whole grains to "improve long-term health and prevent premature death." Researchers based their findings on the results from 12 published studies and health information from more... More

"Whole grains can help you live longer, Harvard study finds", Chicago Tribune, June 13, 2016

Home System Turns Organic Waste Into Useable Biogas

An Israeli company is marketing a device that turns food and organic waste – meat, fish, fats, oils, dairy, used kitty litter, etc. – into clean cooking gas. The easily assembled HomeBiogas sells for less than a thousand dollars, runs without electricity, and creates a byproduct that can be used as fertilizer. The daily gas output from the bacteria-driven digester is equivalent to about six kilowatt-hours of energy – enough gas for about three hours of cooking. It can also be used for lighting, or for heating water using devices that work with low-pressure biogas.

"This Machine Turns Your Food Waste Into Gas For Cooking", The Huffington Post, June 13, 2016

Food Retailers, Manufacturers Back New Food Waste Reporting Protocol

Swiss food manufacturer Nestle and British retail grocery chain Tesco have announced support for new international reporting requirements for food loss and waste. A Nestle representative called the reporting standards “a massive, global step in fighting food loss and waste.” The World Resources Institute (WRI) said food loss and waste globally costs $940 billion a year; food loss generates about eight percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Using the standard, countries and companies will be able to quantify how much food is lost and wasted and where. They will also be able to report on it credibly and consistently. Other major companies backing the standard individually, or through the Consumer Goods Forum, include Australia’s... More

"Nestle, Tesco back new world standard on food loss and waste", Just-Food, June 06, 2016

Clever Technologies Turn Food Waste Into Eco-Fashion

Turning food waste into fashion isn’t going to solve the huge global leftover food problem. But it will help a little, while teaching consumers about the importance of recycling, upcycling, and reusing food. Among the basic food-based clothing innovations being reported are: coffee grounds turned into fabric (Ecoalf’s process turns processed coffee grounds into a nano-powder that can be spun with polyester polymers into fabric); salmon skin into leather (Tidal Vision’s tanning process results in belts, wallets, and handbags); and coconut ash mixed with polyester makes coat insulation (Nau’s coconut-based fiber will possibly replace goose down and other clothing insulation).

"How leftover foods are being turned into green fashion", TreeHugger, June 02, 2016

Yes, The Finger Lakes Are Known For Wine, But Grape Pies Are The Big Attraction

Home bakers in the tiny Finger Lakes (N.Y.) town of Naples make thousands of concord grape pies each year, with the heaviest volume during the autumn Naples Grape Festival. The region is known for its wine – there are 120 wineries in the area – but concord grapes work best in pie making. Grape pie remains a best-seller – 10,000 are baked and sold each year – and comes either with a crumb crust or a floating crust. One local grape pie maker sells 3,000 to 5,000 pies in the fall from tents or at local stores through Thanksgiving.

"New York wine country sweet on grape pie", Chicago Tribune, May 27, 2016

Discounted “Wonky” Veggies Win Over British Grocery Shoppers

British supermarkets, including Tesco and Asda, are reporting greater acceptance of so-called “wonky” (ugly or misshapen) fruits and vegetables, thanks to significant discounting. Tesco launched an initiative called Perfectly Imperfect in March with misshapen potatoes and parsnips, extended it to apples and strawberries in May, and hopes to broaden the range to 15 to 20 produce lines.  A Tesco executive called the program a huge success, with sales having grown tenfold. Sales of Perfectly Imperfect strawberries account for 10-15 percent of total category sales. Besides increasing sales, the initiative has also led to increased crop utilization and reduced food waste. Tesco is now taking 95 percent of strawberries from its suppliers... More

"Sales of new Perfectly Imperfect fruit & veg are 'flying' at Tesco", The Grocer, May 27, 2016

Wearable Food Waste May Help Solve A Global Problem

Researchers in Hong Kong are working on a way to turn discarded food into clothing. The core of the technology is the use of a lactic acid fermentation to transform starchy food waste with high sugar content into spun fibers. The researchers say the fiber is not yet strong enough to make textiles out of it, but further study should solve that problem. Meanwhile, scientists around the globe are creating their own food-waste-to-clothing solutions: orange peels into textile fibers; “leather” from pineapple leaves; fabrics from fermented milk and wine; and even food waste buttons.

"Use the power of innovation to reduce food waste", South China Morning Post, May 26, 2016

Companies, Organizations  

Private Label's Share Of FMCG Market In Western Economies Falls

In 2015, private-label products’ share of the FMCG market in Europe in terms of value dropped by 0.6 points to 38.3 percent, compared with the previous year, according to IRI Worldwide. Data from the report “Private Label in Western Economies” revealed private-label unit market share also dropped by 0.5 points to 47.4 percent during the period. These numbers prove that the segment’s downward trend, which started in 2014, has continued, as well as focus on the challenges faced by private-label retailers and manufacturers across Europe. Among the eight countries covered by the study, France showed the highest decrease in private label’s market share, although it has a high share at 34.1 percent compared with Italy’s 17.2 percent... More

"Private Label in Western Economies", IRI, June 22, 2016

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