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Kroger Recognized For Inclusive Corporate Buying Practices

A company that provides an online platform for entrepreneurial B2B networking and education has ranked the Kroger Co. eighth on its top 50 list of corporate buyers who offer multicultural products and services. Omnikal, once known as Diversity Business, says Kroger was chosen by two million minority- and women-owned business owners. Omnikal.com is a division of Computer Consulting Associates, Inc. [ Kroger headquarters, Cincinnati, Ohio; Image credit: © Derek Jensen ]

"Kroger Named a Top 10 American Company for Inclusion", News release, Kroger , February 16, 2017

Hain Celestial Expands Premium Soup Offerings In U.K. With Acquisition

Organic and natural food marketer Hain Celestial is expanding its presence in the premium soup market in the U.K. with the acquisition of Yorkshire Provender Limited. The company’s premium branded soup and other products are sold in retailers, on-the-go food outlets and food service providers. Hain owns the New Covent Garden Soup Co. and Cully & Sully brands in the U.K. In 2016 Yorkshire Provender (North Yorkshire) had approximately £6 million ($7.5 million) in net sales and is expected to be accretive to Hain Celestial's (Lake Success, N.Y.) earnings in fiscal year 2018. [ Image credit: © Yorkshire Provender ]

"Hain Celestial Announces Strategic Acquisition", News release, Hain Celestial, February 16, 2017

Tough Times Ahead For America’s Agricultural Suppliers?

Small-town stores and co-ops that for decades have supplied seed, fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides to farmers, may be in for a rough patch. Farmers are beginning to catch on to the financial benefits of shopping online, even if they have to forego the expert advice of local suppliers. Several trends have contributed to this phenomenon, not the least of which is that broadband is now available to 63 percent of rural residents. Online ag-suppliers like Farmers Business Network have much lower overhead expenses than brick-and-mortar suppliers, so prices are lower. Delivery of supplies, even in huge amounts, is now economically and technically feasible. A surplus of commodities has driven down crop prices and farm incomes, forcing farmers ...  More

"E-Commerce for Farmers: Shopping Online for $26,000 of Herbicides", The Wall Street Journal, February 16, 2017

“Guilt Free” Maybe, But Are Those PepsiCo Drinks And Snacks Healthful?

After PepsiCo reported that last quarter sales rose three percent for snacks and one percent for beverages, CEO Indra Nooyi told securities analysts that the company is betting that "positive" ingredients such as grains, fruits and vegetables will drive growth. The company calls foods with these ingredients “guilt free,” despite other questionable additives. Salty baked Lay’s potato chips are dubbed guilt free, as are Naked beverages, some of which are packed with sugary, fruit-based calories. Quaker’s 180-calorie "breakfast cookie" is loaded with fat and sugar along with the oats. Nooyi said 45 percent of PepsiCo’s revenues come from products designated “guilt free.” And despite pledges from Coke, Pepsi and Dr Pepper in 2014 to cut the ...  More

"Pepsico Sees Growth From "Guilt-Free" Items Like Baked Lay's", Associated Press, February 15, 2017

Tesco Moves To Make Sure Promo Prices Are Updated

UK retailer Tesco is making sure that prices on stores’ on-shelf promotions are up to date. Tesco took the step following a story by an undercover reporter broadcast by the BBC Inside Out TV program. According to the reporter, promotional offers at two-thirds of Tesco stores visited had prices were out of date and not honored at the checkout. Also, some stores failed to remove old labels on the shelves even after reporters told them of the discrepancies.

"Tesco Orders Promotion Checks after Damning BBC Probe", The Grocer, February 13, 2017

Candy Companies Should Get The E-Commerce Ball Rolling Now

Candy makers need to develop an e-commerce strategy now to get a head start on developing relationships with online retailers that stock their product lines. A good example of how an early start reaps rewards is the German unit of Mars Chocolate, which has gained a lot of experience and insight since it launched a B2C website selling personalized M&M’s (MyMM.com) ten years ago. Confectioners should not be dissuaded by the fact that e-commerce accounted for only 4.4 percent of global FMCG sales last year. E-commerce is expected to account for nine percent of the market by 2025 ($150 billion). A Mars Germany exec says it’s a small share now but is “gathering speed so you need to act quite quickly in this area.”  [ Image credit: © Mars MyMMs ...  More

"E-Tail-Volution: Why Confectionery E-Commerce Strategies Shouldn’t Be Put on Hold", FOODnavigator.com, February 10, 2017

Smartphones Will Be The Pillar Of U.K. E-Commerce By 2020

Smartphones are rapidly becoming the technological engine powering e-commerce in the U.K., according to a report from OC&C Strategy Consultants, Google and PayPal. Within three years, mobile purchases will account for two-thirds of e-commerce sales – £43 billion – up from £13.5 billion in 2016. Another £14 billion of online retail will involve a smartphone in product research and price comparison, meaning that 80 percent of all U.K. e-commerce by 2020 will be handled over a smartphone. But despite these forecasts, U.K. retailers lag behind U.S. and Asian competitors in terms of mobile readiness, the report notes.  [ Image credit: © Jason Howie  ]

"Smartphone Shopping to Account for Two Thirds of UK E-Commerce by 2020, says Google, PayPal Study", Internet Retailing, February 10, 2017

Aldi Continues To Beat Back Resistance By Big U.K. Grocery Chains

The U.K.’s big supermarket chains are resisting the successful invasion by German discount grocers Aldi and Lidl. Tesco Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons have all implemented strategies that sacrifice profit to fund price cuts, improve service, and retain market share. All say the price gap with the discounters has narrowed. But an Aldi exec says its own data show that “if anything, the price differential between Aldi and the big four is growing at the moment.” And Aldi is still growing sales .Industry data show Aldi has overtaken the Co-operative to become Britain's fifth largest chain with a market share of 6.2 percent. It has grown total sales by 12.4 percent, thanks in part to an aggressive store building program.   [ Image credit: © ...  More

"Aldi still thriving in U.K., despite rivals' claims, says CEO", Reuters, February 10, 2017

Green America Asks Mars To Do More Than Just Label GMO Products

An organization focused on a “green economy” is mobilizing its supporters to pressure candy maker Mars through an email campaign (GMO Inside) to remove genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from its human and pet foods. In 2016, Mars said it would remove artificial colors and begin listing GMO ingredients on human food packages. Green America congratulated Mars on these moves, but is now asking the company to do more than simply label GMOs. The organization maintains a chocolate scorecard on its website that shows which chocolate products are free of GMOs.  [ Image credit: © Evan-Amos, Wikimedia  ]

"For Valentine's Day, Green America Urges Mars to Dump GMOs and Related Toxins", News release, Green America, February 08, 2017

Athletes Who Crave Sugar Can Now Enjoy Protein-Packed Decadence

A sports and fitness food company has developed protein-rich snack cakes that also satisfy an athlete’s sweet tooth. Optimum Nutrition, known mainly for its protein powders, says its Cake Bites come in three flavors and provide 20 grams of whipped protein and five grams of sugar frosting, but only 250 calories. The snack cakes come in three flavors: birthday cake, red velvet and chocolate dipped cherry. [ Image credit: © Optimum Nutrition ]

"Have Your Cake And Protein Too: Optimum Nutrition Introduces Cake Bites", News release, Optimum Nutrition, February 08, 2017

N.J. Bakery Features Allergen-Free Treats

A New Jersey bakery that features allergen-free baked treats has opened its flagship shop in Denville, announcing retail distribution arrangements with Whole Foods Market and ShopRite. Mo’Pweeze Bakery and Café says that its baked goods are free of the FDA’s top 8 allergens: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soybeans. The products are also sesame free and vegan. [ Image credit: © Whitney  ]

"Allergen Free Bakery Opening in Denville", Daily Record, February 08, 2017

Snyder’s-Lance Adds Organic Version To Pretzel Cracker Line

Snack food manufacturer Snyder's-Lance, Inc., announced an addition to its Snack Factory Pretzel Crisp line. The company said the new Organic Original Pretzel Crisps, which will be available for a limited time nationwide, are also Non-GMO Project verified. Pretzel Crisps are the first flat-baked pretzel cracker. At 110 calories a preserving, the organic variety contain no saturated fat or trans fat, no cholesterol, preservatives, artificial flavorings or colors. [ Image credit: © Snack Factory ]

"Snack Factory Introduces USDA-Certified Organic Pretzel Crisps", News release, Snyder's-Lance, Inc., February 07, 2017

Probiotic Findings Could Have Major Economic Benefits

Japanese researchers have found that fermented milk containing a probiotic strain could help prevent the common cold in healthy middle-aged office workers. The 12-week study focused on upper respiratory tract infections (URTI). Participants who consumed Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota showed improvements in both immunological parameters and stress markers that are characteristic of the pressure of office work. The findings could have significant economic benefits: the Centers for Disease Control says that 22 million school days and 20 million workdays in adults are lost each year due to the common cold in the U.S. [ Image credit: Public domain, Pixabay ]

"Probiotic May Reduce the Risk of Common Cold: Yakult Study", NUTRAingredients-USA.com, February 07, 2017

A Pasta-Rich Mediterranean Diet Is A Healthful Diet

A pasta-rich diet is an indicator of a more healthful diet generally, according to a study presented at a recent scientific meeting. Pasta eaters tend to consume more minerals and nutrients like folate, iron, magnesium, and dietary fiber. All of these help reduce blood cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Because it is a low glycemic index food, pasta, a major component of the Mediterranean diet, also helps to manage blood sugar levels. Pasta consumption is also associated with less intake of saturated fat and sugar that adds calories but no essential nutrients.  [ Image credit: © Travis K. Witt, Wikimedia  ]

"Here's Why You Should Eat More Pasta", The Express Tribune, February 07, 2017

Effective Social Media Involvement Of Super Bowl 51 Fans Stretched Ad Dollars

Interactive ad strategy – use of live-streams, paid social advertising, and giveaways – were the hallmarks of successful social media and mobile campaigns for several Super Bowl 51 advertisers. Especially effective was PepsiCo’s Lady Gaga halftime show strategy for its Pepsi Zero soft drink, but Budweiser, casual dining chain Buffalo Wild Wings, and Snickers were also able to stretch their airtime ad dollars using social media. Pepsi sponsored a number of giveaways during the game in which football fans who were social media users could interact with Pepsi sites up to halftime. They were then given a chance to win merchandise by re-posting Pepsi’s tweets.   [ Image credit: © PepsiCo ]

"How Pepsi was One of Few to Leverage Mobile for Super Bowl LI", Mobile Marketer, February 07, 2017

“Clean Food” Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

There are numerous definitions of the terms “clean food” and “clean label,” depending on who’s doing the defining. Bakery-cafe chain Panera Bread recently said all of its food is clean – meaning, no artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners or preservatives. But Clean Eating magazine says clean foods are more natural foods, in other words vegetables, whole grains, filtered water, sustainable lean meats and wild seafood. Taboo foods include refined foods like pasta and bread, preservatives, stabilizers, trans fats, certain vegetable oils, artificial sweeteners like aspartame, and food dyes. Industry research finds two-thirds of grocery shoppers want foods with fewer and simpler ingredients, which amounts to yet another definition of “clean ...  More

"The "Clean Food" Trend — Defining it Gets Messy", The San Francisco Chronicle, February 06, 2017

Clean Label Frozen Treats May Lead To Sales Growth

The food industry has gotten the message from consumers that sugary, nutrition-free and calorie-packed ice cream is no longer acceptable They are now making healthier, “yet still decadent,” frozen treats, says researcher Packaged Facts. Today there are a growing number of ice creams and frozen desserts that eschew soy, gluten, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, and genetically modified ingredients, not to mention much less fat and sugar. Some of the new products are organic. Consumers are apparently pleased with the results. Ice cream and other frozen treats are a mature market – 85 percent of households buy ice cream routinely. Sales have been steady in recent years. But Packaged Facts says the new attention being paid to ...  More

""Free From" Ice Cream Trending in $28 Billion Market", News release, Packaged Facts, February 06, 2017

Hometown Of “Mork And Mindy” Attracts Growing Number Of Foodie Entrepreneurs

Boulder, Colo., -- the hometown of the late-1970s sitcom "Mork and Mindy" -- has become the ideal location for a new generation of food producers, mainly because it offers the right ingredients, packaging suppliers, and infrastructure for eco-conscious foodie entrepreneurs who are challenging Big Food. Among these startups – or, if you will, upstarts – are “clean” microwave popcorn maker Quinn Snacks, which moved west in 2011 from New York. Also Purely Elizabeth, Made in Nature and Good Karma Foods. They all moved to Boulder to take advantage of a “deep bench of food executives,” a food retail environment focused on innovation and experimentation, and the availability of investment cash. Another attractive feature: the burgeoning ...  More

"Foodies Know: Boulder Has Become a Hub for New Producers", The New York Times, February 04, 2017

Salmon-Stuffed Croissant Is A Social Media Hit

A California restaurant has taken the croissant a step or two farther along the hybrid pastry evolutionary road with a concoction featuring smoked salmon, baked seaweed (nori), pickled ginger and wasabi. Aron Caddl, owner of Mr. Holmes Bakehouse of Los Angeles and San Francisco acknowledges that the pastry is “weird” but also “insanely delicious,” and an Instagram sensation. The California Croissant, which costs $5, is topped with a dry Japanese seasoning (furikake) and is served with a side of soy sauce. It will only be on the menu for a short time because, as Caddel admits, the chefs get bored.  [ Image credit: ©  Mr. Holmes Bakehouse ]

"There's Something Fishy About this Pastry! California Bakery Sells SUSHI Croissants Filled with Salmon and Wasabi, which its Owner Describes as 'F***ing Weird' but 'Insanely Delicious'", Daily Mail Online, February 03, 2017

Government Food Consumption Report Shows Shifting Patterns Since The ‘70s

A new USDA report based on U.S. food availability data (adjusted for food loss) shows that Americans are eating more of the major food groups today than in the 1970s. But within that broad conclusion are some interesting shifts and new patterns. The avocado supply, for example, is up by a whopping 1,342 percent and the lime supply is up 1,654 percent. How about a margarita with your guacamole? Mango consumption is up 3,200 percent, but grapefruit, oranges, peaches, and plums are down. (Apples, melons, and bananas are constant.) Broccoli and mushrooms are way up, though potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and lettuce are constant. Lastly, people are eating more fat, but less animal fat (lard and butter). Salad and cooking oils like canola and olive ...  More

"Americans are Eating Way More Fat. But it’s Not Butter.", Vox Media, February 02, 2017

PepsiCo To Expand Beverage R&D Facilities In N.Y.

PepsiCo is negotiating with the town of Mount Pleasant, N.Y. (Westchester County), to expand its beverage research campus with a three-story, 122,000-square-foot R&D facility. The mayor of the town welcomed the news because the new facility would not only mean increased property taxes, it would provide employment. The town’s industrial development agency may grant the company sales and use tax exemptions on purchases of construction materials, as well as a partial real property tax abatement in the form of a payment in lieu of taxes agreement. [ PepsiCo headquarters, Purchase, N.Y.; image credit: © Peter Bond, Wikimedia ]

"PepsiCo Planning R&D Expansion, Renovations in Mount Pleasant", Westchester County Business Journal, February 02, 2017

A Closer Look At Major Food Retailer, Restaurant Chain Clean Label Policies

A consumer watchdog organization has analyzed the clean label initiatives of four big restaurant chains and nine supermarket chains finding that all have committed to excluding additives, such as synthetic food dyes and artificial sweeteners like aspartame. Except Whole Foods, the supermarket chains have limited their commitments to one or more lines of their house-brand products, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). Other findings: none of the clean label lists limit sodium or added sugars; all exclude many artificial ingredients that CSPI considers safe; and restaurant policies do not include “riskiest” beverage ingredients such as added sugars, artificial sweeteners, and synthetic food colors. One ...  More

"Clean Labels: Public Relations or Public Health?", Report, Center for Science in the Public Interest, February 01, 2017

The Use Of Fiber In Future Foods, Including Beverages, Bakery And Confectionary

Formulators of new foods, especially foods with higher levels of fiber, are facing several hurdles, as shown in a recent survey. First, consumers are fairly ignorant of how to get more fiber into their diets (25 percent), though they know they need more. They associate fiber with whole grains. They often assume that high-fiber foods don’t taste good (10 percent). The president of fiber supplier Beneo says formulators who choose the right fiber can enrich baked goods, dairy, cereals, confections and beverages, without sacrificing taste or texture. Fibers that will be increasingly used in the future include: resistant glucan (RG), hydrogenated resistant glucan (HRG), combinations of seaweed and starch, and chitosan, a polysaccharide derived ...  More

"Designer Fibers will Expand the Market to New Categories", New Hope Network, January 31, 2017

Cauliflower-Based Pizzas: The Beginning Of The Reign Of Cauliflower In Processed Foods?

A food company tightly focused on boosting the profile of cauliflower has launched a line of ready-to-cook, cauliflower-based frozen pizzas, available now at Whole Foods Market, Amazon.com, and Bristol Farms. According to Caulipower, the pizzas are made with real cauliflower, are nutrient-rich and gluten-free, and contain less sodium and sugar, and fewer calories than conventional pizzas. Cauliflower pizzas are the brainchild of CEO Gail Becker, whose two children were diagnosed with celiac disease. She was frustrated by the poor quality of available gluten-free pizzas. Caulipower pizzas come in four varieties: three-cheese, veggie, margherita and plain crust. [ Image credit: © Caulipower, Amazon.com ]

"Caulipower Launches First Nationally Available Line of Ready-to-Cook Cauliflower-Based Foods", News release, Caulipower, January 31, 2017

Hellman’s Fulfills Cage-Free Egg Pledge Three Years Early

Mayonnaise maker Hellman’s, a Unilever brand, announced that after a reorganization of its egg supply chain – involving 331 million eggs annually – all of its mayonnaise and dressings brands are now made with eggs from cage-free hens. The change in U.S. brands comes three years ahead of the company’s commitment announced in 2010. It affects 170 million jars, 30 million squeeze bottles, and 1.3 million egg-laying hens annually. A Humane Society spokesman said “Hellmann's move shows just how in synch the company is with its customers."  [ Image credit: ©  Wikimedia Commons ]

"Hellmann's Mayonnaise And Mayonnaise Dressings Now Use 100% Cage-Free Eggs In The U.S.*, Three Years Ahead Of Schedule", News release, Unilever U.S., January 23, 2017

Restaurants React To Demand For Gluten-Free Menus

The demand for gluten-free foods continues to rise in the restaurant sector and, in fact, is spreading to segments like quick-service sandwich and other fast casual eateries. Demand is driven by the increase in the number of people diagnosed with gluten-related disorders. It is expected that gluten-free menu items among U.S. restaurants will double over the next three years to $24 billion, up from $1 billion in 2006 and $11.6 billion in 2015. Also of note: the gluten-free trend has spawned some interesting innovation, for example, the growth of rice and potato flour producers. Smart Flour Foods has used food history to find and produce food sources for gluten-free doughs sing ancient grains, such as teff.  [ Image credit: © Wikimedia Commons  ]

"Why Gluten-Free isn't a Dying Trend", Fast Casual, January 13, 2017

 
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