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Fast-food, Restaurant Chains Wooing Millennials Spurn Processed Cheese

Fast-food and fast-casual restaurant chains bowing to the demands of the Millennial generation are spurning the century-old sandwich favorite processed American cheese – made with sodium citrate, calcium phosphate, natamycin, modified food starch, and milk – in favor of premium cheeses that contain no synthetic or artificial ingredients. Wendy’s, for example, offers asiago, AW's Canada locations use real cheddar, McDonald's replaced its Big Mac American cheese with a version that contains no artificial preservatives, and Panera Bread is now using a four-cheese combo of fontina, cheddar, manteau and smoked gouda to make its grilled cheese sandwich. The result is higher sales for the restaurants, and a significant drop in American cheese sales for the fourth straight year. U.S. sales of processed cheese, including brands like Kraft Singles and Velveeta are projected to drop 1.6 percent this year.

"Millennials Kill Again. The Latest Victim? American Cheese", Bloomberg, October 10, 2018

FDA Drops Seven Approved Flavoring Chemicals After Data Prove They Cause Cancer

Responding to two food additive petitions, the Food and Drug Administration has removed seven synthetic flavoring substances and flavor enhancers (adjuvants) from its list of approved ingredients because they have been proven to be carcinogenic. Data presented in one of the petitions submitted to the FDA by Breast Cancer Fund and nine other watchdog groups show that six of the synthetic substances caused cancer in laboratory animals under the conditions of the studies. The seventh synthetic flavor was dropped from the list because it is no longer used by industry. The six flavoring substances include synthetically-derived benzophenone, ethyl acrylate, eugenyl methyl ether (methyl eugenol), myrcene, pulegone, and pyridine. 

"FDA Removes 7 Synthetic Flavoring Substances from Food Additives List", USFDA, October 05, 2018

Nestlé USA Forms New Partnerships With Innovative Food Start-Ups

Nestlé USA announced three new partnerships with innovative food start-ups as part of the TERRA Food & Agriculture Accelerator founded by RocketSpace and Rabobank. The partnerships are with with Jackson's Honest, Miyoko's and Here, each of which is “creating on-trend foods focused on plant-based nutrition, simple labels and fresh ingredients.” Chicago-based Here Foods turns fresh produce ingredients grown by independent farmers into products like cold-pressed juices, spreads, dips, and salad dressings. Jackson’s Honest sells more than 20 Non-GMO Project verified snacks, including potato chips, tortilla chips, and grain-free puffs cooked “low and slow” in organic coconut oil. Miyoko Creamery makes non-dairy cheese, butter, and other products from organic nuts, legumes, and other plant-based ingredients.

"Nestlé USA Partners with Start-ups Disrupting the Healthy Snacking and Plant-based Foods Categories", PR Newswire, October 03, 2018

USDA Researchers Work To Develop More Nutritious Wheat Varieties

Scientists at the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Lincoln, Neb., are developing experimental biofortified breeding lines of winter wheat, the first step in the long process of creating a new type of nutritious wheat that farmers can grow. The goal of biofortification is to have the wheat used to make bread dough naturally contain more iron – 60 percent of the world's population doesn't get enough of this mineral in their diet– and other nutrients. The team combined low levels of the antinutrient phytate and high grain protein without reducing grain yield, while at the same time increasing levels of zinc, calcium, and manganese. More work needs to be done to get it in wheat that can be planted by farmers, but the genes can be used to develop more nutritious wheat without sacrificing yield.

"Wheat That Pumps Iron, Naturally", Science Daily, October 03, 2018

Bioengineering Company’s New Technology Delivers “Natural Preservatives”

Responding to consumer demands for simple and understandable food ingredient labels, manufacturers are looking to replace artificial preservatives. To help in that endeavour, Mass.-based bioengineering firm Conagen announced a “ready-to-go” technology that can create the “next generation of natural preservatives.” The fermentation technology produces a highly pure compound with significant anti-microbial effects and preservative functionalities. It is stable in various pH conditions, colorless with a slightly sweet taste, and water soluble. The company says the compound will be ready for commercial scale production in 2019, with regulatory approvals “on the way.”

"Next Generation, Non-GMO Natural Preservatives Developed By Conagen", PR Newswire, October 03, 2018

Belgians Adopt Food Nutrition Labeling Scheme Developed In France

The Belgian government has introduced a voluntary scheme for front-of-pack nutritional labeling that is now being implemented by the country’s grocery retailers. The Nutri-Score scheme was developed by the French government and put in place in France a year ago. The system was designed to inform consumers about the nutritional quality of a product by using color coding associated with letters from A to E. Five levels range from the most nutritionally favorable product (class A) to the least (class E). U.S exporters to Belgium will not have to comply with the scheme if they don’t want to. Two large retail chains, Ahold Delhaize and Colryut, have committed to applying the scheme by the end of 2018.

"Belgium Adopts Nutri-Score for Front of Pack Nutritional Labeling", USDA Foreign Agricultural Service , October 03, 2018

FDA May Soon Require Non-Dairy “Milks” To Change Their Labeling

In what may be the first step toward changing the way plant-based dairy substitutes are labeled, the FDA is soliciting comments from producers and other experts on how consumers use the alternative “milk.” The agency wants to know whether American consumers understand how substitutes differ from cow’s milk in nutritional content and cooking performance. As sales of non-dairy substitutes like soy and almond milk National Milk Producers Federation asked the FDA to enforce what's known as a "standard of identity." The for milk reads, in part: "the lacteal secretion, practically free from colostrum” – the milk produced after giving birth – “obtained by the complete milking of one or more healthy cows." Companies and consumers have 60 days to respond to the FDA's questions.

"U.S. Explores Renaming Almond Milk in Victory for Dairy Industry", Bloomberg, September 27, 2018

McDonald’s Removes Artificial Preservatives, Flavors, Colors From Menu Items


Hoping to attract more health-conscious consumers to its restaurants, McDonald's is getting rid of the artificial ingredients in its menu items. Seven classic burgers – the hamburger, cheeseburger, double cheeseburger, McDouble, Quarter Pounder with Cheese, Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese, and Big Mac – will no longer contain artificial preservatives, flavors or colors. The changes apply to the bun, the cheese, and the sauce, but not to the pickles. Ingredients eliminated include the artificial preservative calcium propionate from buns and the preservative sorbic acid from its American cheese. Th company is also removing potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, and calcium disodium EDTA from the Big Mac Special Sauce without "sacrificing that signature taste."

"McDonald's removing artificial additives from its burgers", CNN Money, September 27, 2018

Starbucks Is Getting Ready To Build A New Standalone Princi Bakery In Seattle

Starbucks has filed a site plan with Seattle’s construction and inspection department for a $1.1 million, 40-seat second standalone Princi bakery. A 231-square-foot outdoor patio would hold an additional 15 seats. Besides the first standalone bakery,  Princi operates two bakeries in the city within a Roastery and Starbucks headquarters. Standalone Princi bakeries are centered around the ovens that make fresh pastries and pizza onsite throughout the day. The menu also offers baked eggs in a spicy tomato sauce, cornetti sandwiches, focaccia sandwiches, and Italian cakes, tarts and other desserts. The new bakery would be the third standalone Princi in the U.S.

"Records reveal Starbucks is planning a second stand-alone Princi in Seattle", Puget Sound Business Journal (Seattle, Washington), September 27, 2018

Suit Alleges Pret a Manger’s Baked Goods Contain Weed Killer Ingredient

Washington, D.C.-based non-profit Beyond Pesticides announced it is joining GMO Free USA and Organic Consumers Association in a lawsuit charging restaurant chain Pret a Manger with “deceptive marketing and sale of certain bread and other baked goods” as "natural food" though they tested positive for glyphosate. The lawsuit accuses Pret of exploiting consumers' preferences and willingness to pay more for products marketed as natural. A component of Roundup weed killer, glyphosate is patented as a chelator and an antibiotic, but is linked to adverse health effects including cancer, infertility, and non-alcoholic fatty liver and kidney diseases. The suit would have Pret fully disclose glyphosate in its products and reformulate them to be glyphosate-free.

"Nonprofits Sue Pret A Manger for Deceptive Marketing of Foods as 'Natural'", PR Newswire , September 25, 2018

FDA May Soon Update The Definition Of, And Permitted Ingredients For, Yogurt

The FDA is looking into the possibility of “modernizing” regulations governing the content and even the definition of yogurt. The dairy industry has been pushing to open up the yogurt standard as manufacturing practices and consumer tastes have changed. The FDA established a standard for foods labeled as "yogurt" in 1981 that limited the ingredients. But the industry objected; the following year the agency suspended enforcement of various provisions and allowed the addition of preservatives. A 2009 rule that was never finalized created a unified standard that allowed emulsifiers as well, but yogurt makers said the rule created confusion and left it open to lawsuits. Meanwhile, milk producers hope the FDA’s “modernized” standards will soon crack down on soy and almond drinks that call themselves "milk," which current standards say must come from a cow.

"'Yogurt' to get more modernized definition in U.S.; Industry wants greater liberty to use term in food labels", The Associated Press, September 25, 2018

Inventor’s “Twist & Grip” Bag Preserves Bread’s Flavor, Freshness Longer

InventHelp says it has helped an Atlanta, Ga.-based inventor develop a bread bag that seals more effectively, preserving the freshness, flavor and shelf life of the loaf. The “Twist & Grip” bag allows the package to open and close easily, and also contains an easy-to-grip handle for carrying. The bag is recyclable and reusable. The invention is available for licensing or sale to manufacturers or marketers by contacting InventHelp at its Pittsburgh, Pa., headquarters.

"Inventor Develops Stay Fresh Bread Bag (AAT-1637)", PR Newswire , September 24, 2018

 
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