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Period: April 23, 2017 to April 30, 2017
Comment & Opinion or Companies, Organizations or Consumers or Controversies & Disputes or Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing or Earnings Release or Finance, Economics, Tax or Innovation & New Ideas or Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy or Market News or Marketing & Advertising or Other or People & Personalities or Press Release or Products & Brands or Research, Studies, Advice or Supply Chain or Trends

Smaller Portions Benefit Diners And Help Reduce Food Waste

A new fast-casual, “farm fresh” eatery opened recently in Washington, D.C., that operates on a novel business model. It offers smaller portions – half sandwiches, half pizzas, etc. – to people looking for less than “a ton of food” when they dine. The co-owner of Unum in Georgetown – it has sister restaurants elsewhere in the U.S. – said half portions allow customers to create “more of a tasting-menu experience:” they get to try more dishes than the usual appetizer and entrée. Diners have more control over the number of calories they consume, as well and, as an added and significant benefit, send less uneaten food to the trash barrels. That means a reduction in food waste, which the USDA says affects 30 to 40 percent of the food supply. 

"Why More and More Restaurants in D.C. are Offering Half Portions", The Washington Post, April 30, 2017

U.K. Supermarket Chain Launches Coffee Grounds Giveaway Program

A Morrisons supermarket is giving away spent coffee grounds collected from its in-store café to its green thumbed customers. The grounds are bagged by the store, and there is no limit to the number a customer may take. Coffee grounds make great fertilizer, either in composting, or simply placed around plants in the garden. Grounds are rich in nitrogen, and encourage the growth of beneficial micro-organisms. They are also said to attract earthworms. Morrisons uses 316 tons of coffee beans to make 18 million cups a year in its cafés. The coffee recycling program will be expanded nationwide in late April.

"Used Coffee Ground Waste to Help to Fertilize Largs’s Gardens", Largs & Millport News, April 26, 2017

Danish Supermarkets Look For Ways To Cut Food Waste In Half By 2030

Although Danish holding company Dansk Supermarked says only 2.5 percent of the food it buys for its constituent grocery chains is discarded, that still adds up to more than 33,400 tons of mostly edible perishables a year. Seventy percent comprises fruit, vegetables and bread, a lot of which is converted to animal feed or biomass. The company hopes to change all of that, and cut food waste in half by 2030, with the help of new ideas, processes and technology. Its employees will dialogue with customers, suppliers, and organizations fighting against food waste. Customer support is certainly there, the company says: a survey found that 44 percent of Danes believe conquering food waste would go a long way toward reducing man-made climate change. 

"Supermarket Chain Ups its Efforts to Reduce Food Waste", CPH Post, April 25, 2017

The Meal Kit Phenomenon Takes The World’s Kitchens By Storm

An alternative to fast food and traditional cooking has captured the attention of home cooks looking to serve fresh, nutritious meals that require little or no planning and very little preparation. For the past five years, meal kits have been purchased in grocery stores or delivered straight to the front door, globally or anywhere in the U.S. Examples of the phenomenon include Germany’s Hello Fresh, which delivers to 48 states and eight countries, and Blue Apron, which delivers nationwide. Locally produced kits, available at grocery stores and supermarkets, share one trait with those of the national companies: ingredients are fresh, take little time to cook – 25 to 40 minutes – and are convenient for weeknights or special occasions. 

"What’s for Dinner? How About One of those New Grocery Store Meal Kits?", The Kansas City Star, April 25, 2017

Virginia-Based Company Set To Launch Products Derived From Chick Peas

A company that just received an $8 million shot in the arm in a venture capital funding round says its chickpea protein concentrates, and a high-protein chickpea flour, will be on the market by the end of 2017. Nutriati, Inc., says its products boast unique functional properties that permit development of applications in gluten-free baked goods to meat and dairy alternatives, ice cream and pasta. The Richmond, Va.-based company says it is test-marketing a beverage in the natural food channel, and several manufacturers are working with the flour and the protein concentrate.

"Chickpea Protein in the Spotlight as High-Profile Investors Pump $8M into Nutriati", FOODnavigator-USA.com, April 21, 2017

Egg Yolks, Whites And, Yes, Shells – They’re All Good For You

Eating food waste is a solution to the food loss problem that few people talk about. But one food writer says egg shells, usually tossed in the bin but also increasingly composted, can be processed at home and eaten. There are the obvious environmental benefits to that scheme, but there are also nutritional benefits. The main one being, of course, the essential nutrient calcium, in the form of calcium carbonate. The first step is to boil the shells to rid them of bacteria. Then bake them, grind them to a fine powder, and add to foods such as bread, pizza dough and spaghetti. But be aware that the average adult needs only one gram of calcium a day. More than that can be harmful. 

"The Reason Why You Should Be Eating Your Eggshells - and How to Prepare Them Safely", Daily Mirror, April 20, 2017

Feeding America Fights Hunger And Food Waste With New Technology

A large food rescue and hunger relief organization has launched a novel technology that takes the complexity out of donating food. Feeding America’s free MealConnect platform identifies food that might have gone to waste – e.g., a small load of meat from a local butcher, a box of tomatoes from a farmers market, etc. – and, using a clever algorithm, directs the rescued food to the appropriate Feeding America food pantries and meal programs. Food businesses of all sizes can post surplus food on MealConnect. A $1 million grant from General Mills has helped develop the technology, and will also help support efforts to expand MealConnect to communities across the country. The Feeding America network serves 46 million people nationwide through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 pantries and feeding programs. 

"Feeding America Launches MealConnect Technology Platform to Help Reduce Food Waste and End Hunger", News release, Feeding America, April 20, 2017

Like The Aroma Of Weed? You’ll Love These Non-Psychoactive Doughnuts

It sounds a little like alcohol-free beer. A bakery chain in San Jose, California, made doughnuts especially for the stoner holiday 420 that smell and even taste like marijuana edibles. Except they will not get you high. Instead of THC, the psycho-active ingredient in marijuana, the novel doughnuts contain cannabis-derived terpenes, the compound that gives marijuana that distinct aroma and flavor. Prepared by Guild Extracts, the terpenes are derived from the plant, processed into a liquid, and then infused into the frosting of the doughnuts. But because California has yet to figure out the rules for recreational marijuana use, only medicinal users were able to try the doughnuts on April 20. 

"These Doughnuts are Infused to Taste like Weed, but Won't Get You High", Mashable, April 20, 2017

Companies Succeeding As “Upcyclers” Of Discarded Food, Processing Waste

A food industry census conducted by the nonprofit coalition ReFED has found an “explosion” since 2014 in the number of new companies developing and marketing products from food -- and food processing -- waste. Eleven such companies existed in 2011, twice that two years later, and now there are more than five times that number (64 total). They’re selling fish cakes made with undesirable fish species, jams and other products made from ugly fruit, beer from stale bread, flour from discarded coffee fruit, chips from juice pulp, vodka distilled from leftover strawberries, and other “upcycled” products. According to the executive director of ReFED, when companies began to take a close look at how much food was being wasted, “the economics of food waste solutions began to look a lot more attractive.” 

"The Hot New Trend in Food is Literal Garbage", The Washington Post, April 19, 2017

Hard To Swallow? Jiminy Cricket As A Dinner Entrée

It could be a sign of the long-overdue acceptance of insect-based foods – and entomophagy (bug eating) generally – by the Western world. Or not. It is a sign, however, that food experts are warming to the idea that crickets are a healthful, sustainable food ingredient. A group of Penn State University food science graduate students convinced judges in the Ag Springboard business pitch contest that the flavor and texture of pasta made with high-protein cricket flour closely resembled that of wheat pasta. The group won the $7,500 grand prize after also convincing judges that the flour was commercially viable. The product will compete with early entrants in the nascent market, including Bugsolutely Cricket Pasta and Chirps Chips (Six Foods), pitched successfully on the TV show Shark Tank.

"Cricket-Fortified Pasta Pitch Wins $7,500 Ag Springboard Top Prize", News release, Penn State University, April 17, 2017

There’s Gold In That There Food Waste, In The Bay Area Anyway

San Francisco Bay area entrepreneurs and established companies are paying close attention to food waste and discarded food manufacturing byproducts, especially the kind that can be turned into a profitable new product. ReGrained, for example, “upcycles” spent grain from craft breweries into granola bars that are now sold in regional grocery stores. Forager Project’s basic business is making juice, yogurt and nut milk. But it recently figured out that the vegetable pulp it was composting from its juice-making business would make good veggie chips. Its products are now sold at Whole Foods and Safeway. 

"A group of savvy entrepreneurs has started companies based on upcycling food byproducts", San Francisco Business Times (California), April 13, 2017

Campus Food Giveaway A Big Success At Johns Hopkins

A Johns Hopkins University undergraduate partnered with a recent graduate to launch a project to give away food left over from campus events as a way to keep edible leftovers out of the dumpsters. Sponsors of campus events were surveyed to see if they were receptive to the idea, and 70 percent said they were. Students themselves were overwhelmingly in favor. Nemo Keller and Leana Houser then conducted a trial of the Free Food Waste Remediation initiative during the recent spring open house weekend (SOHOP) at the Homewood campus (Baltimore, Md.). Initially the idea was to just donate leftover food to worthy causes, but the logistics were too complicated. They instead tried email blasts to students, telling them when and where the food was available. It worked because, after all, “Who doesn’t want free food?” Keller said. 

"Free Food Initiative Reduces Waste on Campus", The Johns Hopkins News-Letter, April 13, 2017

Heirloom Wheat Is Key Ingredient Of New Artisan Snack Crisps

California artisan bake shop La Brea Bakery announced it is incorporating an heirloom wheat variety into a new snack. Flatbread Crisps are made with Fortuna Wheat grown on one farm in Montana. The snack follows the introduction of the company’s Bakery Reserve bread, also made from single origin Fortuna Wheat. The new snack is flavored with fresh herbs and spices, and twice-baked to give it the appropriate crunch. The new crisps, soon available in grocery stores nationwide, are offered in three varieties: rosemary, sea salt and smoked paprika. La Brea Bakery of Los Angeles is owned by ARYZTA, a manufacturer and distributor of bread, buns, cookies, pizza and other baked goods.

"La Brea Bakery Introduces Artisan Flatbread Crisps Made with Single Origin Fortuna Wheat", News release, La Brea Bakery, April 13, 2017

Fighting Food Waste Has Become A Scottish Obsession

Scots, especially those who dine out frequently, have come to terms with the fact that more than 53,000 tons of food are wasted each year in Scottish restaurants, and two-thirds of it could have been prevented. If they were ever skittish (or snooty) about using doggie bags or boxes, for instance, they are much less so now. More than 100 restaurants have committed to Scotland’s Good to Go scheme, under which eateries automatically pack leftover food in branded boxes and give it back to diners. A small change, yes, but experts say it could keep more than 800,000 edible leftover meals a year out of trash bins. It’s just one of the initiatives that have won Scotland a growing reputation as a leader in food waste prevention. 

"How Scotland Has Food Waste All Wrapped Up", The Grocer, April 10, 2017

Portland Ice Cream Parlor Uses Discarded Flavor Ingredients In Its Products

A small-batch ice cream shop in Portland, Ore., with a reputation for adventurousness in flavor combinations, is applying its expertise to a social/environmental cause – namely, food waste. Salt & Straw’s June menu will be featuring flavors of food that were otherwise destined for the trash bins. Included in the offerings at the artisan eatery, for examples, will be rum-soaked spices salvaged from the nearby East Side Distilling company, including Moroccan peppercorns, Sri Lankan cinnamon, Mexican vanilla, and California orange peel. The flavors will be re-steeped in cream and blended into frozen treats. Local food redistributors and anti-food waste organizations Urban Gleaners and the Portland Fruit Tree Project are collaborating with Salt & Straw on the project. 

"American Ice Cream Parlor is Making Flavors from Recycled Food", Stuff, April 06, 2017

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