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Food Business Insight Alert Archive

Have a look at some of our recent alerts. These give broad coverage of the industry - if you want something more specific create your own here.

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June 17, 2018, to June 24, 2018

Midwest Supermarket Chain Hy-Vee Has Success Selling Sourdough Breads

A Hy-Vee supermarket in Urbandale, Ill., sells about 400 half- and full-loaves of sourdough bread every week in four varieties: regular, roasted garlic, rye, and jalapeño-cheddar. The volume sold makes sourdough one of the most popular breads at the store and inspired the store manager to sell sourdough rolls. The Hy-Vee experience is an example of a trend among supermarkets to offer more natural, preservative-free breads. Authentic sourdough is made with only flour, water, and salt, and no other additives or preservatives. According to Mintel, sourdough bread is also a facet of another growing food trend: fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha.  About 50 Hy-Vee stores in the Midwest were taught how to make sourdough starter, and now bake the loaves on a regular basis.

Healthful Baked Snacks For Kids Who Are “Picky Eaters”

Freedom Foods North America, a unit of the Australian company, is introducing a line of healthful, affordable snacks for kids who are “picky eaters.” Messy Monkeys are baked whole grain non-GMO sorghum and quinoa bites available in kid-friendly flavors, including pizza, cheese, and apple. Each serving contains 14 percent protein, seven percent fiber, one gram of sugar, and less than 100 mg of salt. Messy Monkeys are sold in a 10-pack for $5.99 and are available for now only through Amazon. The company said distribution partnerships with multiple natural foods retailers will be announced soon, and the snacks will be selling nationwide by the end of the year.

Bakery Debuts Line Of Clean Label Minicakes

Family-owned California bakery Sugar Bowl Bakery has launched a line of clean label miniature “Button Cakes” in four flavors. The minicakes are made with butter and eggs, contain real fruit and vanilla bean seeds, but no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. The Button Cakes – available in tropical mango, wild blueberry, lemon zest and madagascar vanilla flavors – will be sold in eight- and 16-count packages in retail stores throughout the U.S.  They were introduced at the recent International Dairy Deli Bakery Association Show in New Orleans, La.

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June 03, 2018, to June 17, 2018

WHO Asks World’s Governments To Ban Trans Fats By 2023

The World Health Organization (WHO) wants the world’s governments to eliminate trans fats – partially hydrogenated vegetable oil – associated with margarine, Crisco and other low-price, long shelf products linked to countless premature deaths. WHO’s guidelines suggest eliminating trans fats from global food supplies within five years, a move that would save as many as 10 million lives. WHO’s campaign was developed with the help of Vital Strategies, a global health group backed by Michael Bloomberg, who as mayor of New York City, introduced the first municipal ban on trans fats in 2006. Denmark, Switzerland, Canada, Britain, and the United States have all moved to restrict or ban trans fats.

Clean Label “Total Beverage Solution” Debuts

Global beverage supplier Arcadia Beverage has launched what it calls “a total beverage solution for foodservice and retail operations.” The Zumora beverage line is “high in flavors, low in calories, and contains no preservatives or additives. Available in 12 oz. ready-to-drink bottles and 50 and 128 oz. beverage base, is a ready-to-use 3:1 concentrate mix available in lemon, strawberry lime, cucumber mint, mango, pineapple coconut, and other flavors. "Developing beverages with a clean label is at the core of our formulation,” an Arcadia spokesman said.

Clean Label Seaweed-Based Pig Feed Debuts In America

Ireland’s Ocean Harvest Technology Ltd. announced it is introducing in the U.S. pork products from swine raised on its Oceanfeed Swine seaweed-based feed ingredient formulated for pork. Farmers supplying poultry and livestock producer Heritage Foods are feeding their pigs with the feed made from a proprietary blend of red, brown, and green seaweed species. Brooklyn-based Heritage Farms is committed to providing heritage breed poultry and livestock raised on pasture without antibiotic growth promoters to American consumers. Customers who have tried Oceanfeed, a natural prebiotic, see enhanced animal health, more efficient nutrient uptake, and reduced mortality rates.

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May 20, 2018, to June 03, 2018

Starbucks Hopes To Trim $75M In Food Waste by 2020

Starbucks Corp. is losing $500 million a year on waste in its more than 8,000 company-operated U.S. stores, but hopes to cut that by 15 percent ($75 million)over the next year-and-a-half through greater efficiency. The company says its business model – “strict product quality requirements” plus “product availability” – always results in some waste. Food discarded because after the expiration date, and lost sales associated with a lack of inventory, are part of the costs. During Starbucks' fiscal second quarter, it cut waste costs by focusing on “outlier stores” that had high waste as a percentage of sales. It also improved training on the process of pulling .

Dutch Restaurants Thrive on Sustainability, Re-Purposing, Zero-Waste

Restaurants in The Netherlands, particularly in the capital Amsterdam, are showcasing innovative and accessible sustainability projects that focus on zero-waste practices and creative reuse of buildings and materials. Moer Restaurant, for example, is housed in a former Michelin tire shop; its serving pans are made from old train tracks. It has replaced the traditional buffet table piled high with bound-for-the-bin meats, cheeses, and pastries with a buffet of all-organic offerings, including juices from Dutch orchards, dairy and egg products from a local farm, and homemade granola and breads made with grain and beer waste from brewery Gulpener. The Instock restaurant uses only surplus food for ingredients and wastes nothing. It gets unused food from Albert Heijn, the country's largest supermarket chain. There is so much discarded but edible food that the restaurant has set up a wholesale distribution center to serve other restaurants.

Japanese Entrepreneurs Tackle Food Waste Problem With Smartphone Apps

According to Japan’s agriculture ministry, 6.46 million tons of untouched food were discarded in 2015. Japanese entrepreneurs, however, are making progress using technology to tackle this crticial food waste issue. Among the advanced solutions are online services that link restaurants with consumers wishing to buy food at lower prices that would otherwise be discarded. An example is Shifft Inc., which launched the Reduce Go smartphone app service last month to offer registered users economic benefits by allowing them to pick up food directly twice a day from restaurants and food outlets for $18 (¥1,980) a month. About 25,000 users have signed up for the free version of the app, while 32 restaurants, bars, and shops in Tokyo and its environs have signed on to the food giveaway.

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May 13, 2018, to May 20, 2018

Avoid Processed Foods, Replace With “The Clean 20”

Processed foods – potato chips, snack cakes, frozen pizzas, etc. – may be tasty and convenient, but they are a major contributor to obesity and illness. Best-selling author Dr. Ian Smith says that transitioning away from processed foods to cleaner, more healthful edibles needn’t be difficult. In his new book, "The Clean 20: 20 Foods, 20 Days, Total Transformation," Smith lists the foods and the benefits of including them in our diets every day. They are: avocados, berries, cheese, chicken, chickpeas, eggs, kale, lemons, lentils, nuts, oatmeal, seafood, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turkey, quinoa,100 percent whole-grain or whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, and yogurt.

Company’s New Snack Foods Are Certified Palm Oil Free

The production of palm oil has a devastating effect on the planet, according to Enjoy Life Foods, a large marketer of foods in the “free from” category that is committed to sustainability. It announced that it is the first U.S. food company to receive Palm Oil Free Certification for its newest product launches (Grain & Seed Bars and plant-based Protein Bites) from the International Palm Oil Free Certification Accreditation Program (POFCAP). The goal, according to the company, is to show that delicious foods can be created “without having to utilize an ingredient that increasingly more consumers are looking to avoid." Enjoy Life Foods’ portfolio of 70+ foods are also Non-GMO Project Verified, kosher, and free from 14 allergens. Nearly 90 percent are Certified Vegan.  

Hey FDA, It’s Time To Update Those Rules About Labeling Eggs

An organic and free-range egg company has petitioned the FDA to modify its regulations to allow eggs to be labeled as a healthy food. New Hampshire-based Pete and Gerry's Organic Eggs is puzzled that many sugary foods, such as toaster pastries and pudding cups, are allowed to market themselves as "healthy," but foods widely known to be nutritious, such as eggs, are not. In fact, the FDA’s stance on eggs is out of step with the thinking reflected in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, issued by the USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services (HSS). "Our goal with this petition is to encourage the FDA to bring outdated regulations in line with current nutritional science and general consumer awareness,” says CEO Jesse Laflamme.

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May 06, 2018, to May 13, 2018

Fast-Growing Danish Bakery Alights In Manhattan This Year

A 20-year-old Danish bakery chain has expanded to the U.K. and will soon open its first store in the U.S. Founded in Christianshavn Denmark, the Lagkagehuset chain is majority-owned by the Norwegian capital fund FSN, whose cash infusion – and an 18 percent increase in sales in 2017 – is making the international expansion possible. CEO Jesper Friis said Lagkagehuset is looking forward to “exporting a small piece of Danish cultural history” when its Manhattan location opens this year.

Nutrient-Dense Grain Foods Are Ideal For Older Americans

A new study has found that regularly eating a variety of grain foods, along with fruits and vegetables, contributes to the nutrient density needed by Americans over age 50. This age group is not getting those nutrients in their diets, according to the study published in the journal Nutrients and presented at a recent scientific meeting. The trade group Grain Foods Foundation said older people should think twice before giving up bread and other grain foods because they are nutrient-dense. They contain dietary fiber, folate, magnesium, calcium and iron, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B12, niacin, and thiamin. Breads, rolls, and tortillas contain thiamin, niacin, dietary fiber, folate, and iron. These foods “can play a key role in helping older Americans meet recommendations for under-consumed nutrients and nutrients of public health concern," said one of the study’s authors.

Panera Rolls Out Delivery Program Nationwide

Panera Bread is expanding its food delivery service nationally to 897 cities and 43 states via the Panera app or website. The company said its products will be available for lunch and dinner to officers, hospitals, college campuses and, in participating markets, to homes.According to CEO Blaine Hurst, "Delivery is fueling our next phase of growth.”Panera is using its own delivery drivers in the expansion – it has hired 10,000 so far – and says it has already created 13,000 jobs. Digital sales at Panera comprise online, app and kiosk orders and represent 30 percent of total company sales. Deliveries are possible with orders as small as $5 menu purchase plus tax and a $3 delivery fee in most markets. The company operates 2,076 bakery-cafes in 46 states and in Ontario, Canada.

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April 29, 2018, to May 06, 2018

Food Waste Collaboration Connects Farmers And Consumers

A group of organizations and companies concerned about food loss in food production have banded together to create he “No Taste for Waste” campaign. The initiative includes an interactive website, “bookazine,”, and social media resources for farmers and ranchers trying to reduce food loss in the fields and for consumers who want to reduce household food waste. One goal of the campaign is to connect consumers with farmers and ranchers who are using sustainable practices in land stewardship while reducing food waste. Participants in the campaign are the American Farm Bureau Federation, Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN, Valent BioSciences Corporation, FLM Harvest, the CropLife Foundation, and Meredith Agrimedia. 

U.K. Project Is Studying How Robotics Might Help Reduce Food Waste

Innovate U.K. has awarded $1.2 million to an industrial R&D project that will study the food waste problem to determine how robotics might reduce the inefficiencies that cause it. Roboticists engineers, computer scientists, and food specialists will work together to figure out how to eliminate the 51 percent of food waste that is avoidable. The goal of the two-year project is to remove the human error from the crucial early stages of handling, preparing and weighing raw ingredients. The project is led by Olympus Automation (OA), which will collaborate with the University of Lincoln's National Center for Food Manufacturing and supplier English Provender. 

Hotels Benefit Financially From Spending On Food Waste Solutions

A review of 42 hotels in 15 countries by Champions 12.3 has found that on average facilities achieved a 21 percent reduction of kitchen food waste by weight in just one year. Within the first year, more than 70 percent recouped their investment. The average hotel saved $7 for every $1 invested in reducing kitchen food waste. Within two years, 95 percent had recouped their investment. Nine out of ten sites kept their total investment in food waste solutions below $20,000, less than one percent of sales on average. The data came from budget, mid-range, casino resort, and luxury market hotels. Champions 12.3 comprises 40 executives in government, business, and civil society dedicated to achieving Target 12.3 of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals. 

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April 22, 2018, to April 29, 2018

C-Store Poll Shows Modest Rise in Coca-Cola, Monster 1Q Sales

A Wells Fargo Securities poll of 15,000 U.S. convenience stores found that first quarter Coca-Cola sales rose 2.3 percent in the channel, and retailers were pleased with the company’s recent relaunch of Diet Coke. Twenty percent of respondents plan to allocate incremental shelf space to the line. Some respondents complained about the company’s decision to take Smartwater “out of a beautiful sealed box with blue clouds,” a move that hurt stores’ ability to create displays. C-stores also reported that Monster Energy sales increased 5.4 percent in the quarter, and several praised the positive impact of RTD coffee innovations, such as Espresso and Caffe. Fifty-seven percent said Monster did the best job in introducing new innovations in the quarter, and 100 percent said they expected to give Caffe Monster shelf space.

Boxed Water Company Carves A Lucrative Niche In Packaged Water Market

Maryland-based beverage start-up Rethink Brands says it has found a lucrative niche in the $2.5 billion bottled water market by targeting health- and eco-conscious parents with zero-calorie, sugar-free flavored water in recyclable boxes. Co-founder Matthew Swanson says parents who wanted to give their kids water had to give them plastic bottles or sippy cups, but “Rethink Kids Water solves all those problems.” The Rethink Kids Water line provides a more healthful alternative to juices that contain sweeteners and other additives. Swanson says demand for the products has been strong enough for the company to double its offerings with four new flavors. The products are available in more than 10,000 stores, including CVS, Wegmans and Target. 

Fonterra Ups Capacity For Producing Fruit And Dairy Beverages In New Zealand

New Zealand dairy products producer Fonterra Brands has partnered with a local start-up to build a plant in Whakatu to make fruit and dairy beverages for the N.Z. market. Apollo Foods will apply its beverage filling technology in making and filling a range of containers on one production line. The plant will be able to produce millions of liters of beverages each year. The partnership was prompted by the rising global demand for dairy and fruit beverages, according to a Fonterra spokesman. The Apollo Foods plant is currently producing Fonterra’s Mammoth brand of flavored, low-sugar milk, with a shelf life of six months.

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April 15, 2018, to April 22, 2018

Smoothie Chain Reformulates To Offer Clean Label Menu

Smoothie King has added two whole organic spinach variants to its menu, which already includes carrot and kale smoothie offerings. Vegan pineapple spinach smoothie and lemon ginger spinach smoothies contain fiber, potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C. The company has launched a Cleaner Blending initiative to remove added sugar, artificial flavors, colors and preservatives, added hormones in dairy, and GMO fruits and veggies from its offerings. In addition, the company has added in more whole fruits and vegetables. The company says it is on track to achieve its Cleaner Blending goals in more than 50 blends by the end of 2018.

Jennie-O Cleans Up Its Processed Turkey Line

Hormel Foods subsidiary Jennie-O has debuted 17 “on-trend turkey products,” including flavored turkey bacon, taco-seasoned turkey sausage, and uncured turkey breast franks. The franks are made with premium turkey breast and have half the fat of beef franks. They contain no artificial preservatives, colors or flavors, no added nitrites or nitrates, and are gluten free. The company’s other new products also boast of less fat and no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors.

U.S. NAFTA Negotiators Want To Limit Ability To Mandate Junk Food Warning Labels

According to confidential documents obtained by The New York Times, the Trump administration – spurred on by U.S. food and soft drink manufacturers – is using trade negotiations with Canada and Mexico to limit governmental power to mandate food labels that warn of the dangers of eating junk food. U.S. trade negotiators want to bar the use of any warning symbol, shape or color that "inappropriately denotes that a hazard exists from consumption of the food or non-alcoholic beverages." Health officials and advocates are concerned that eliminating such warnings would harm international efforts to contain the growing obesity crisis.

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April 08, 2018, to April 15, 2018

Time For Healthful, Natural Energy Beverages, Says Mamma Chia

The Mamma Chia beverage company, whose functional product range includes health and energy drinks made with chia seeds, is basing its marketing strategy on the belief that “the traditional energy drink space” – dominated by chemical- and sugar-laden drinks – “is ripe for disruption.” Consumers are demanding more healthful, natural beverages. Its recently-launched “clean energy beverages” combine chia seeds with caffeine from organic yerba mate and organic green coffee beans to deliver 2,500 mg of omega-3 and 90 mg of caffeine per serving. Chia seeds also add fiber, healthy fat, and protein to the beverages. CEO Janie Hoffman sees “endless opportunities” in chia-based drinks, “and we seek to create more.”

Nestlé Waters NA Makes Progress On Factory Sustainability Efforts

Third-party accrediting organization Alliance for Water Stewardship has certified a Nestlé Waters NA factory in Ontario, Calif., along with facilities in Canada, for sustainability achievements. Last week AWS certified Nestlé’s Los Angeles and Cabazon, Calif., factories. AWS is an alliance of businesses, nonprofits, public-sector agencies, and academic institutes. The organization’s audit of the California facilities showed combined savings of more than 54 million gallons of water between 2016 and 2017, according to Nestlé Waters. Eight Nestlé Waters facilities worldwide have met the AWS standard; two more plants in North America are expected to be certified by the end of this year.

Coke’s April Fool’s Prank Involves Some Hip New Flavors

Coca-Cola played an April Fool’s prank on the media and consumers with an announcement of new flavors of Coke Zero Sugar for the "brunch-loving, superfood-snacking Millennial" members of the “Instagram generation.” The faux flavors announced were Coke Zero Sugar Avocado (with “creamy undertones of amazing avocado”); Charcoal (“loaded with activated charcoal”); and Sourdough “superbly sour and bursting with fermented flavors.” In a statement, Coca-Cola said the new flavors offer the “perfect tasty, sugar-free refreshment” as well as an ideal accessory for social media photos “guaranteed to see the ‘likes’ rolling in.”

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March 25, 2018, to April 08, 2018

Walmart Unveils High-Tech Produce Spoilage Initiative At Distribution Centers

Walmart has introduced an “Intelligent Food” initiative to improve perishable food quality and eliminate waste from the produce supply chain. Dubbed “Eden,” the initiative has been implemented company-wide in 43 grocery distribution centers and other facilities over the last 12 months. The company says Eden has already reduced spoilage by “tens of millions of dollars” in fiscal 2018 (since January 27, 2018), and will eliminate $2 billion in spoilage over the next five years. Under the program, visual inspection of fresh produce at distribution centers is being automated and digitized. Algorithms and other advanced technologies monitor the temperature and freshness of produce and perishable foods from farm to supplier to warehouse to Walmart’s shelves.

Mutual Fund Company Hopes To Force Amazon To Issue A Food Waste Report

A mutual fund company with an environmental conscience has petitioned the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to compel Amazon.com’s shareholders to vote on a proposed food waste report. Boston-based Green Century Capital Management says it has worked with Kroger, Costco and other retailers on food waste; Safeway, Publix, Ahold USA, and Target have all addressed the issue. According to the company, which had begun talking about the issue with Whole Foods Market management before last year, it sent a letter to Amazon’s management and board outlining its concerns. But when Amazon said it did not want to issue a food waste report, Green Century filed a shareholder resolution asking that the proposal be voted on by shareholders. Amazon has challenged the shareholder request to the SEC.

Company Transforms Food Manufacturing Waste Into Versatile Flour

A company that turns food processing byproducts into a versatile and nutritious flour has release the SuperGrain+ line of snack bars. The 160-calories bars are non-GMO, made with organic ingredients, and come in Honey Cinnamon IPA, Chocolate Coffee Stout, and Blueberry Sunflower Saison. Each bar contains four grams of fiber, four grams of protein, and eight grams of sugar. Functional ingredients include manuka honey, ginseng, and coffee fruit. ReGrained’s patented technology rescues, processes, and stabilizes food manufacturing byproducts to create the fiber- and protein-rich SuperGrain+ flour usable in all commercial applications, from savory to sweet..
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