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Companies, Organizations  

Sunflower Seeds Expected To Soar In Popularity in 2022

Eating sunflower seeds, either as a snack or as an ingredient in other foods, is expected to become very popular in 2022, mainly because the seeds are a plant-based source of protein, fats, and other nutrients. The seeds are becoming a staple ingredient in many grocery items, including crackers, milk alternatives, nut butters, ice creams, and more. One medical expert says sunflower seeds are high in healthy fats, plant compounds, fiber, vitamins and minerals, and contain some plant protein. They may help to decrease inflammation, and chronic diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Other health benefits include reduction in cardiovascular disease, anxiety and depression, the risk of stroke and cancer, and improvement in bone health.

"This Grocery Item Is Expected to Fly Off Shelves in 2022", Eat This, Not That!, December 27, 2021

Potato Cultivation Kits From Japan’s Calbee

In an effort to raise awareness of potatoes, Tokyo-based potato chip-maker Calbee is selling kits that make it easy for people of all ages to grow their own potatoes. Two products that work together to grow potatoes were released by Calbee in December to home and garden retailers in the Kyushu area of Japan. The Poroshiri kit, named for Calbee’s in-house potato variety, contains two seed potatoes – not “potato seeds” – to get a garden started. Potato Bag, meanwhile, is a 10-kilo sack full of coconut peat, palm mulch, and fertilizer. Just plant the seed potatoes, water as necessary, and “behold as the miracle of life takes place before your very eyes.”

"Japanese potato chip maker releases potato-growing kits", Japan Today, December 23, 2021


Healthier Foods Are A Key Trend For 2022

Thanks to the pandemic, more consumers are avoiding unhealthy snacks, desserts, and sugary drinks, turning instead to healthier foods and snacks. A nutritionist keeping her eye on healthy eating and snacking sees the following trends continuing or emerging in 2022: flavorless water lily seeds loaded with nutrients are a perfect vehicle for added spices; the “omnivore” diet that incorporates  foods from the animal and plant worlds is the basis of what’s known as “flexitarian” eating;  mushrooms with their meat-like texture and taste serve as an authentic swap for meat; the traditional flavors of Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, Singapore and the Philippines continue popular; and lastly, immunity-boosting ingredients from foods like berries, fermented foods, spices (ginger, turmeric, cinnamon), cruciferous vegetables, nuts and seeds, and citrus fruits.

"These will be the biggest healthy food trends in 2022", MSNBC, December 31, 2021

Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing  

Private Equity Firm Buys Controlling Stake In Organic Cracker Brand

San Francisco Equity Partners (SFEP) has acquired a majority stake in Rustic Bakery, a pioneer and market leader in organic and specialty foods, and “one of the highest-velocity specialty cracker brands in the market.” Founded in 2005, Rustic Bakery markets a growing portfolio of artisanal products, including crackers, crisps, cookies, and biscuits. The company manufactures its organic, non-GMO products with locally sourced ingredients at its California production facility, where it controls a proprietary production process. Rustic Bakery’s products are sold in more than 5,000 stores in North America across multiple distribution channels, including conventional and natural grocery, club, ecommerce, specialty, and foodservice. Financial terms were not disclosed.

"San Francisco Equity Partners Acquired Majority Stake in Specialty Foods Leader Rustic Bakery", BUSINESS WIRE, December 23, 2021

Innovation & New Ideas  

Nestlé Develops Optimum Ratio Formula For Ceereal Carbs, Fiber, Sugar

Collaborating with scientists from Australia, Singapore, and Tufts University (Boston, Mass.), Nestlé has developed and validated a new nutritional concept for carbohydrate quality in a porridge or cereal format. The Grainsmart balance concept is a defined ratio between carbohydrates, fibers, and sugars that aims to limit the number of free sugars and increase the number of fibers, which helps to shift to healthier products and balanced products diets. This ratio is 10:1:2 and indicates that for every 10 g of total carbohydrates, there should be a minimum of one gram of fiber and no more than two g of free sugars when developing certain products such as cereals. Products that meet the 10:1:2 ratio can include the Grainsmart balance logo on pack. Nestlé has launched the first products based on Grainsmart balance, consisting of an oatmeal cereal product range with Nutri-Score A rating in Europe.

"Nestlé unveils Grainsmart concept that support carbs, fiber and sugar levels in porridge", foodingredientsfirst.com, December 22, 2021

Market News  

Cereal Sales Were Rejuvenated During Pandemic, But Seem To Be Slowing

With consumers confined to their homes during the pandemic, they turned back to an old breakfast staple: cereals. As a result, U.S. cereal sales bounced back above $9 billion in 2020, good news for General Mills and Post Consumer Brands that together sell half of all of the ready-to-eat cereal in the U.S. However, as lockdown stockpiling eased, cereal sales slipped this year to $8.66 billion, according to market researcher IRI. Kellogg says the performance of key brands in the U.S. was also impacted by supply complications in North America, though international growth has been healthy. Despite slippage here and there, the sales outlook for cereal has been revived somewhat by the lasting effects of pandemic-era grocery shopping and a permanent shift to more people working from home.

"Cereal was a winner in the pandemic. How does your favorite kind rank?", Star Tribune, December 27, 2021

Products & Brands  

Kameda Seika Hopes New Exec Can Take Rice Snacks Global

The Tokyo-based maker of crunchy "kaki no tane" rice crackers hopes recently-hired Indian executive Juneja Raj Lekh will take the Japanese snack beyond its borders to the world market. Kaki no tane (literally "persimmon seeds," for the crescent shape) has been around since 1924, with a major enhancement (i.e., peanuts) in 1966. Lekh, 69, was vice president of sales in overseas markets for Rohto Pharmaceutical Co. when he was hired and assigned his mission. Kameda Seika started selling kaki no tane in India in January 2020, changing the name to "Kari-Kari" ("crunchy") though it is still a rice snack with peanuts available in six flavors, including chili garlic and wasabi. Each bag retails for about $1.30. Sales for fiscal 2021 are expected to top $881,000, and the company hopes to surpass that level in fiscal 2022.

"Japanese snack giant taps India-born exec to make rice crackers overseas hit", Mainichi Japan, January 02, 2022


Spain’s Natursnacks To Use Kale Leaves To Make Snacks

The Valladolid, Spain-based brand, known for snacks made from dehydrated fruit and vegetables, is planning to use the waste of kale leaves for the production of cookies and crackers. The company is working with another Spanish firm, Itacyl, which has been exploring the possibilities of using the by-products generated in the transformation process of kale. The company has developed a flour from the leaves of kale, an important source of bioactive compounds, to make biscuits and crackers. “With a small percentage of this flour, the antioxidant properties of the final product are doubled and even tripled, without altering its sensory characteristics,” the company says. “In this way, a waste with a limited use as a by-product for animal feed, recovers all its value and is reintegrated into the production chain.”

"The Valladolid company Natursnacks will make cookies and crackers using the waste of the kale leaf.", The News 24, December 29, 2021

Three Startups Focus On Climate-Friendly Foods And Snacks

During 2022, as more consumers voice a desire to eat more sustainably, three companies – Airly and Moonshot in the U.S., and WhatIf in Singapore – are bringing products to market in the hopes of satisfying that appetite. St Louis, Mo.-based Airly, for example, is making and marketing foods – mostly snacks – using regenerative agriculture practices and in some cases are carbon-neutral. The first product from Airly Foods, a company launched through Post Holdings‘ subsidiary Bright Future Foods, is Oat Clouds, an oat-based cracker that comes in cheddar, sea salt, chocolate, and salted caramel flavors. PlanetFWD’s Moonshot crackers brand is another climate-friendly snacking option that is carbon-neutral, sourced from regeneratively-grown heirloom wheat. And Singapore’s WhatIf Foods created a lineup of nutrient-dense instant foods – primarily noodles and soups – sourced from ingredients grown by regenerative farming.

"Airly, WhatIf Foods & Moonshot aim to make climate-friendly snacks the main course for 2022", AgFunderNews, December 27, 2021

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