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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.

<<891011121314151617>> Total issues:453

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December 17, 2017, to December 24, 2017

Restaurants Can’t Ignore Customers Looking To Avoid Certain Foods

Big restaurant chains are swerving from their standardized approach to foods and beverages to better serve customers trying to avoid gluten and dairy. Customers with food intolerances or allergies, or who are following avoidance diets, have become a market simply too large to ignore. Starbucks, for example, now sells a hot chocolate drink made with steamed almond milk. California Pizza Kitchen offers a gluten-free cauliflower crust for those who don’t eat wheat-based foods. Industry research has found that lactose comes in third, after high fructose corn syrup and GMOs, as America’s most-avoided ingredients. Gluten and wheat came in at No. 7.

“Free-From” Food Company Unveils Two New Product Lines

A Chicago-based company dedicated to providing food that is safe for people with food allergies has added two new product lines to their non-GMO, clean label portfolio. The Safe + Fair Food Company has announced the launch of two free-from brands: the Kid’s Stuff, and Good to Give. The Kid’s Stuff products, available in boxes of 36 for $14.99, are clean label and nut-free, made with whole grains and without GMOs, artificial ingredients or trans fats. Products include Abby’s Chocolate Chip Cookies and Remy’s Cinnamon Grahams. The Good to Give brand, priced between $1.99-$2.99, includes desserts, meals and snacks also made with clean ingredients, are nut-free, and free from artificial flavors and colors. The brand includes Brownie Mix, Pancake and Waffle Mix, Granola Cereal, etc.

Entrepreneurs Put Wood-Fired Pizza Ovens To Work Making Bagels

Two Syracuse, N.Y., baking entrepreneurs plan to open a shop in the spring that specializes in wood-fired bagels. In the meantime, they are learning all that they can about the unusual technique: consulting with other wood-fired bagel bakers and even attending a class. But the key is the recipe, which Meg Dellas and Luke Esposito have been testing. Their Water Street Bagel Co. bagels will be made New York style, using a yeasty dough containing malt barley that is boiled after a slow rise, then baked in a wood-fired pizza oven. It’s definitely non-traditional. Says Esposito, "Every city needs a bagel shop that's more unique than a chain." 

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December 10, 2017, to December 17, 2017

Brexit Consequences Will Make It Too Expensive For Some To Eat Healthfully

Great Britain’s Food Foundation says Brexit-related ramifications like unfavorable exchange rates, tariffs, and higher labor costs will make it too expensive for lower income families to afford healthful quantities of fruits and vegetables. The Brexit impact could add £158 ($212) a year to the amount a family of four spends on fruits and vegetables, especially if they try to meet the five-a-day eating target. The thinktank recommends: an expanded healthy food voucher system; increased production of homegrown fruit and vegetables; new measures to secure seasonal labor for farms; capital grants to farmers to expand production; and guidance to ensure British-grown fruit and vegetables are prominent in meals served in schools, hospitals, and jails. 

Almonds Are The Healthful, Sustainable “Feel Good” Snack

Market opportunities are increasing for food ingredients that are not only healthful but ecologically beneficial by fostering sustainability in relation to humans, animals, and the environment. Ingredients that fall into that category are generally natural, GMO-free, sustainable, and ethical. One ingredient that satisfies these concerns is almonds, a snack people can feel good about. New snack product launches have again made almonds the number one nut for new product introductions in Europe. 

Chipotle Founder Exits Company Battered By Food Safety Disasters

Chipotle Mexican Grill founder and CEO Steve Ells [left] has resigned under pressure from investors unhappy with the failure to turn around the troubled chain over the last two years. Chipotle’s sales have never fully recovered from a string of E. coli, salmonella and norovirus outbreaks that sickened hundreds of U.S. customers in 2015. Chipotle shares, down more than 20 percent this year, rose more than five percent to $301.99 with the news of Ells’ departure. Prior to the food safety problems, the stock had reached a high of $742.

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December 03, 2017, to December 10, 2017

Re-Used Bread Offers Many Benefits, Including Waste Reduction

Disturbed by the amount of bread wasted around the world every year – about 1.2 million tons – a New Zealand university professor figured out a way to take unsold bread from supermarkets and make new loaves. Collaborating with food company Goodman Fielder, Aydin Berenjian [left] developed a day-long process that produces one ton of fermented bread that has a high profile of essential amino acids, high resistance starch, and a higher shelf life – up to seven days. It tastes like a cross between white bread and sourdough, and because the microbes used in the fermentation system are all probiotics, the bread benefits the digestive and immune systems. 

Australian Scientists Create Machine That Turns Unsold Produce Into Healthy Snacks

Scientists at Australia’s national science agency CSIRO have developed an extrusion machine that can turn agricultural food waste into healthy snacks, cooking ingredients, soup premixes, etc. Powders produced [left] can be used in smoothies, dips, sauces, spreads, pasta, noodles, or bakery items. Growers could use the machine to generate a secondary income line by turning unharvested produce – e.g., broccoli or carrots – that might otherwise be left on the field into high-value food ingredients or healthy snack products, scientists said. According to CSIRO, the machine is ready for commercialization; the agency is demonstrating it to growers to determine the level of interest.

Food Donations Up 20 Percent In Italy Since 2016 Food Waste Law

Italians are donating 20 percent more food to charities since the enactment of a law designed to curb food waste, a politician says. The law, which went into effect in September 2016, expanded the types of foods that could be donated beyond products with a long shelf life. Cooked food, fruits and vegetables, much of it sourced from produce markets, cruise ships, and sporting events. can now be donated to the needy, said Maria Chiara Gadda. 

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November 26, 2017, to December 03, 2017

Start-Up Introduces Probiotic Beverages

A U.K.-based startup has introduced two probiotics drinks in citrus and raspberry flavors that deliver live bacteria and vitamins to support a healthy gut. Alive Biome’s mission is to provide beverages that could help solve many of the diseases and conditions that have been linked to an undernourished microbiome, the human gut’s collection of billions of beneficial bacteria. The drinks come in 375 ml water bottles, with a cap that safely stores the probiotics, vitamins, and botanicals. Twisting the cap releases the ingredients into the bottle when the consumer is ready to imbibe.

Coca-Cola Seeks Patent For Process That Naturally Protects Produce From Browning

Coca-Cola has applied for a patent with the World Intellectual Property Organization that would protect its discovery of a natural way to prevent “enzymatic browning” of fruit and vegetable juice that negatively affects color, taste, flavor, and nutrition. Browning is the result of oxidation of phenolic compounds by polyphenol oxidase. The company accidentally discovered a way to use the cherry-like fruit acerola to reduce browning and hopes to patent the process.

Top Coca-Cola Execs Discuss The Impact Of Culture Change On Innovation

At its recent investors day meeting, Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey and other top executives outlined for analysts how the company is changing its corporate culture to reflect shifts in consumer beverage and health trends. It is revamping e-commerce strategy, focusing on nutrition, and diversifying away from core soft drinks. Analysts were given examples of innovative international products in various markets and examples of incubating innovation and geographic scaling. Chief Growth Officer Francisco Crespo defined categories of innovation, including explorer brands (e.g., Honest Tea) that then graduate to challenger brands, and eventually to leader brands. Consumer-driven innovation is reflected in a growing presence in natural, craft, organic, and premium sparkling categories, and extension of the Coke brand to include Coca-Cola Coffee in Japan and Australia.

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November 19, 2017, to November 26, 2017

Milk Producer Group Adds Examples Of “Fear-Based” Labeling To Its List

The National Milk Producers Federation, based in Arlington, VA., has added more items to its list of foods found to be misleadingly labeled “non-GMO,” “no added hormones,” etc. The organization has launched a “Peel Back the Label” campaign targeting “fear-based” labeling such as non-GMO on foods or products that contain no DNA to modify – e.g., table salt – and “no added hormone” labels on poultry products that are already barred from adding hormones by federal law. New examples of deceptive labeling include canned sliced carrots with "non-GMO" labels, a "GMO-free" label on lettuce, and mandarin oranges. None of these foods have ever been genetically modified, the group says.

San Francisco Requires Reporting Of Antibiotics Contained In Grocery Store Meat

The San Francisco board of supervisors has passed a law requiring larger grocery retailers in the city report the type of antibiotics used in raw meat products they sell. Grocery stores with 25 locations or more will have to report antibiotic use by their suppliers to the city Department of the Environment. The department’s website would make the information available to consumers. Meat and grocery industry representatives have panned the law as costly, unnecessary, and potentially confusing to consumers. Last month, in a victory for the meat industry, the U.S. Congress repealed a law requiring that packages of pork and beef sold in grocery stores be labeled with country of origin. 

Food Retailer Partners With Iowa Farmers To Obtain GMO-Free Pork

California food retailer Raley's has launched a program to offer non-GMO and antibiotics-free pork in its stores. The company has partnered with supplier American Homestead Pork, a group of 35 family farms in Iowa whose animals have never been given antibiotics or growth-promoting chemicals, and have never been caged. Family-owned Raley’s says it now offers more than 15,000 natural and organic foods.

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November 12, 2017, to November 19, 2017

L’Oreal And Nestle To Face Ownership Options For French Cosmetics Group

The death of heiress Liliane Bettencourt, whose family owns 33 percent of L’Oréal, will likely force key investors to address the company’s ownership structure. Nestlé SA, which owns 23 percent, agreed with the Bettencourts not to increase stakes in L’Oréal, but this agreement expires in six months.  Nestlé could then purchase a controlling share in L’Oréal but is more likely to sell its stake, a move that would force L’Oréal to accept wider (and potentially hostile) ownership or opt to invest further funds in the company, boosting earnings per share but reducing funds available for acquisitions.  For Nestlé, the resulting 24 billion euro windfall brings a dilemma. It could payout funds to appease shareholders and especially its activist investor, Third Point, or use the funds to double down on its currently lackluster food and nutrition business.

U.S. Consumers Need To Know About Benefits Of Unrefined Whole Grains

Australia’s Freedom Foods Group is on a mission to educate American consumers about the benefits of unrefined whole grains, the kind it uses to make its range of Barley+ breakfast muesli products and snack bars. According to the company, the highly refined carbohydrates in the American diet not only do not deliver nutritional benefits like a healthier gut, they increase the risk of disease. Kroger Supermarkets in the U.S. is selling the Barley+ range, with distribution expanding in both the U.S. and Australia. The toasted muesli collection is available in three flavors: cranberry and nuts, pink lady and macadamia muesli, and maple and nut. They retail for $6.49. 

Italian Fashion Company Adopts Food Theme As It Partners With Pasta Maker

The Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana has partnered with Italian pasta maker Pastificio di Martino to produce a limited-edition tin of pastas accompanied by a D&G-designed apron. Just 5,000 of the tins will be available worldwide, only a fifth of which will be sold in the U.S. Pastificio di Martino, based in Naples, produces more than 9,000 tons of pasta a day from 100 percent Italian durum wheat. Dolce & Gabbana has designed the packaging for three of Pastaficio’s 125 shapes: spaghetti, the tubular paccheri, and penne mezzani rigate. In September, D&G’s line of food-oriented outfits walked the runway at the Paris show for its spring 2018 collection. 

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November 05, 2017, to November 12, 2017

Data Analytics Platform Helps Tesco India Detect, Prevent Shopping Fraud

The Indian technology center for supermarket chain Tesco has created a platform and team that detects online and offline fraud involving its massive amounts of collected customer data. The 18-member staff is focused on combating fraud for online businesses (food and non-food), buyer-supplier collusion fraud, and employee fraud at checkout counters. The platform is programmed to detect anomalies in purchasing patterns that might indicate fraud, such as bulk purchases of products like alcohol and cigarettes. 

Australian-Made Beauty, Personal Care Products Attract Chinese Consumers

Chinese consumer demand for Australian-made beauty and personal care products is strong, thanks to the country’s clean and green reputations, strict regulations, and quarantine control. Demand for Australian products will remain strong, according to Euromonitor, because they are more trusted and perceived as higher quality, with consumers willing to pay a premium. Australian companies can expect increasing sales, including via direct-to-consumer channels like Chinese e-commerce sites Tmall and JD.com. Australian companies and retailers have opened their own sites through these channels as well. 

Stagnant Indonesia Economy Could Drive Unilever To Tinker With Product Portfolio

A PT Unilever Indonesia executive said a stagnant business environment tends to increase the cost of living and push middle-class consumers toward smaller, cheaper products. More affluent consumers, however, continue to buy premium-priced goods. Consumer research in Indonesia shows that the composition of high-income, middle-income, and low-income consumers is now 10 percent-40 percent-50 percent, respectively. The middle-income segment could decline, however, if the stagnant environment persisted. Anticipating that, Unilever would “need to change our portfolio." 

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October 22, 2017, to November 05, 2017

Ex-Microsoft Tech Guru Explores Nexus Of Tradition, Innovation In Making Bread

Former Microsoft technology chief Nathan Myhrvold, who has written a 2,642-page book on bread making, says the craft is ancient, but it’s golden age is now. Myhrvold collaborated not only with co-author Francisco Migoya, but also with an army of chefs, scientists, writers, and researchers over four years to create the five-volume opus, “Modernist Bread.” It is partly a cookbook, once you get past the first three volumes. But the real focus is the intersection of tradition and innovation in making bread. An example is the debunking of the traditional technique of kneading dough. It’s just simply not necessary: “… to a large extent kneading is a fraud,” he says. “Kneading does not do what most baking books say it does.”

Airline Reclassifies Unopened Snacks, Beverages As Safe For Future Use

In a bid to not only save costs but also reduce food waste, Air New Zealand has launched a program to recycle sealed and unopened beverages and snacks. Project Green, a collaboration of the airline, its catering partner, and the Ministry for Primary Industries, allows reclassification of unopened in-flight food and beverage products so they can be redistributed on future flights. So far more than 40 such products are included in the reclassification scheme. In the first month, the airline diverted 266,000 plastic cups, 480 kg of sugar packets, and 3.5 tons of bottled water from landfills – 13 tons total.

San Francisco Grocery Delivery Service Uses AI To Cut Food Waste

San Francisco Bay Area food delivery service Farmstead, powered by artificial intelligence (AI) technology, sources and delivers exact amounts of food in less than an hour in an effort to cut grocery industry food waste. Farmstead’s AI software helps customers select food items from a “carefully curated array of local farm produce and grocery products.” AI calculates and predicts users' habits to know exactly how much food to order from local sources daily, weekly, seasonally, and annually. Customers can choose one-hour, same-day and weekly services. Customers who are part of a weekly eco-optimized delivery route, their order is delivered for free. Otherwise delivery is $3.99; one-hour delivery is $4.99.

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October 15, 2017, to October 22, 2017

It’s Not Really A Gluten Problem, Nutritionist/Author Says

A former nutrition counselor – and current director of player development for the NBA’s New Jersey Nets – says it’s time to dial back the anti-gluten frenzy that has spawned a $16 billion industry. While acknowledging that people suffering from celiac disease – perhaps one percent of the U.S. population – do need to avoid gluten, the rest of us don’t. John Douillard’s book, Eat Wheat: A Scientific and Clinically Proven Approach to Safely Bringing Wheat and Dairy Back into Your Diet, suggests that processed foods in the American diet are the real cause of digestive problems, not wheat or gluten. He suggests, among other things, avoiding processed foods, and eating more fiber in the form of green vegetables, and starchy and protein-rich foods to get the digestive system back in shape.  

Judge: Plaintiff In Added-Sugar Suit Against Kellogg Has An Adequate Case

A federal judge in California has refused to dismiss a lawsuit against Kellogg, agreeing essentially with the plaintiff that most of the claims made by the company about the nutritional value and wholesomeness of its breakfast cereals seem to be refuted by the fact that they contain “excess added sugar.” Judge Lucy Koh dismissed five of the claims because she agreed they were essentially harmless advertising “puffery.” But she allowed claims regarding 24 other products to move forward because “these products contain at least one statement that the court found was not pre-empted, non-misleading, or puffery as a matter of law." The case is Hadley v. Kellogg Sales

USDA Says Its Organic Police Are Slacking Off

The inspector general of the USDA has found that agency officials tasked with monitoring imported foods labeled “USDA Organic” have been sleeping on the job, allowing, for example, millions of pounds of imported conventional soybeans and corn to reach U.S. grocery stores with bogus certified-organic labels. The audit of the Agricultural Marketing Service determined that the agency could not “provide reasonable assurance” that those items from abroad are actually “from certified organic foreign farms and business.” The inspector general suggested that the USDA needs to find a way to get the organic food-monitoring staff to do its job properly.

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October 08, 2017, to October 15, 2017

Lidl Sees Share Of Shopper Traffic Drop In US

Months after opening its stores in the US in June 2017, German discount retailer Lidl saw its share of store visits declined, according to an analysis by location-based data firm inMarket. Local rivals, including Kroger Co. and Wal-Mart, have recovered much of market share they lost when Lidl after Lidl opened its first nine US stores in June 15. Lidl grabbed 11 percent of customer visits to traditional grocers in nine markets in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, inMarket data revealed. Lidl's share of traffic fell below 8 percent in August, inMarket revealed.

Aldi Plans To Build ₤75-Million Warehouse In UK

German discount retailer Aldi plans to invest ₤75 million to build a distribution center in Bedford, England, to support the company's growing network in the UK. Aldi said it remains committed to expansion plans in the UK retail market despite reporting its third year of declining profit. By 2022, the retailer expects to have 1,000 stores in the country from its current 726 locations.

Amazon Angers India’s Big Retailers With Unapproved Gift Coupon Scheme

Big retail chains in India are crying foul over what they feel was a sneaky tactic by Amazon to steal their customers using gift coupons distributed via ITC, Nestlé, and Coca-Cola products. The tactic – dubbed “below the belt” and “ambush marketing” – infuriated Big Bazaar, Hyper-City, Star Bazaar, Walmart-owned Best Price Modern Wholesale, and others. The brands involved in the Amazon campaign include ITC’s Yippee Noodles, Nestlé’s KitKat chocolate, and Coca-Cola’s Sprite and Fanta soft drinks. The stores have since removed products carrying the coupons. A D-Mart executive criticized the brands for not talking to his company first. Amazon downplayed the ruckus, calling the campaign a normal promotional activity.
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