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Period: August 26, 2018 to September 2, 2018
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

Socially Conscious Bakery Now Sells Plant-Based Cakes, Cupcakes In Retail Stores

Twenty-five-year-old Rubicon Bakers, whose mission is to employ formerly incarcerated people who need a second chance, has launched four clean label and vegan cupcake and cake SKUs. More than 2,500 in-store bakeries are now scratch-baking plant-based chocolate blackout cake and cupcakes, and vegan vanilla cake and cupcakes, each with 100 percent vegan cream filling and frosting. With Rubicon’s new vegan products, in-store bakeries can take advantage of a major trend: sales of plant-based food in the U.S. rose 8.1 percent in 2017, topping $3.1 billion. The new 4-inch vegan vanilla cake with vanilla filling and frosting, and 4-inch vegan chocolate blackout cake with chocolate filling and frosting, are available as double-layer 11-oz desserts with an SRP of $6.99 each.

"Rubicon Bakers' Newest Cakes and Cupcakes Just Happen to be Vegan", PR Newswire, August 21, 2018

Muffins Sneak Up The Rankings Of Popular Breakfast Options - Report

Market researcher Packaged Facts issued a report on breakfast foods in the U.S., noting that cereal remains the most popular– an 87 percent market penetration ($11 billion in sales) in 2017 – followed by eggs, drinkable yogurt and, “somewhat surprisingly,” muffins. Concerns about sugar have dampened the cereals category – sales slid 1.9 percent from 2016 – but the search for protein and convenience foods has buoyed the other categories. Muffins are the third fastest growing category projected through 2022, despite consumer trends toward more healthful breakfast options. Sales of muffins grew 9.6 percent from 2016 to 2017 to reach $1.17 billion and are projected to have a seven percent CAGR through 2022. Sugary packaged muffins are most popular among black households and families with children.

"Drinkable yogurt, eggs & muffins are the fastest growing breakfast foods, Packaged Facts finds",, August 20, 2018

Successful N.Y. Artisan Bakery Begins Expansion

New York-based HeartStone Artisan Bakery takes its time creating its artisan breads. There’s the slow rising loaves – all prepared with locally grown and milled heirloom grains such as spelt, rye, emmer, einkorn, and red fife sourced from farmers in Central New York and the Finger Lakes. All loaves are made with a naturally fermented starter. The dough for the ciabatta, sourdough, garlic lovers, and light deli rye breads then spend at least 24 hours in a walk-in cooler. The resulting flavors and textures are catching on big in the Syracuse area. HeartStone breads are now available at nine regional markets and stores, and online.  The success has convinced the couple to spend $300,000 to expand its Lebanon site, adding more space and a professional artisan oven from Italy. When completed, the bakery will produce about 120 loaves at a time, rather than the 35 baked now.

"HeartStone Artisan Bakery: How local-grain breads grew on a Madison County farm",, August 19, 2018

Consultancy Says Businesses, Governments Should Partner On Food Waste

According to a report by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), aggressive action by companies, agricultural players, governments, and others can significantly reduce a global food waste problem expected to hit 2.1 billion tons – worth $1.5 trillion – through 2030. Five key drivers of the problem include: lack of awareness by consumers and others; inadequate supply chain infrastructure; supply chain inefficiency; a lack of collaboration within the food value chain; and poorly designed tax and regulatory policies. The report suggests 13 concrete initiatives companies can take to help combat the problem, addressing a major societal challenge while delivering business value.

"A Coordinated Global Offensive Can Reduce Annual Food Loss and Waste by $700 Billion", The Boston Consulting Group, August 19, 2018

New McDonald’s Breakfast Sandwich Is Anything But Heart Healthy

For the first time in five years, McDonald’s is testing a new breakfast sandwich in 200 locations in four cities in Minnesota – and it seems to be an artery-clogging doozy. Two years in the works, the new McGriddles French Toast sandwich was developed after consumer research found that fast-foodies are looking for a more filling breakfast option. The sandwich is certainly that, made from egg-coated brioche bread, American cheese, egg, pork sausage, and applewood-smoked bacon. The $4.39 concoction has more than 37 grams of fat, 650 calories, and 85 milligrams of cholesterol: 129 percent of the daily recommended intake. Said a McDonald’s spokesman: “'People were looking for regular, everyday flavor profiles.” The company will roll out the sandwich nationally in 2019 after it irons out some kinks in its supply chain.

"A fatty way to start your day! McDonald's rolls out new 650 calorie French Toast breakfast sandwich in 200 Minnesota restaurants which has a cholesterol content of 129 percent of your recommended daily intake",, August 15, 2018

Edible Cutlery From Bakeys Is Attracting Criticism…From Environmentalists

Bakeys, a dining ware manufacturer in India, has come under criticism from environmentalists for its edible cutlery, made from sorghum, rice, and wheat flours. Although they can be eaten - they reportedly taste like crackers - they will also decompose in a few days. The company raised $280,000 through Kickstarter, the crowdfunding platform, but critics have highlighted the environmental damage from producing, packaging and transporting the products, and that a better solution would be for consumers to carry reusable cutlery when they go out.

"Company Met With Criticism After Launching Edible Utensils To Fight Plastic Waste", Plant Based News, August 11, 2018

After Whole Foods, Former co-CEO Tackles The Food Waste Problem

Former Whole Foods Market co-CEO Walter Robb has joined the boards of two companies focused on reduction of food waste. Robb left the company when Whole Foods was sold to Amazon and has since become an investor, mentor and adviser to FoodMaven, a digital platform company that sells oversupplied and imperfect food to restaurants at a significant discount, and to Apeel Sciences, which extends the shelf life of produce using a natural coating. Both companies give grocers tools to address the mismatch between supply and demand, Robb says. He also says he’s a fan of upcycled products such as Renewal Mill's okara flour, made from a by-product of soymilk production, and Regrained's Supergrain+, made from spent distiller grains.

"Whole Foods' Walter Robb Is Taking On Food Waste",, August 10, 2018

Morrisons Steps Up Fight Against Single-Use Plastic By Removing Cucumber Sleeves

UK supermarket chain Morrisons is responding to the call for less single-use plastic in packaging by removing the plastic sleeves on cucumbers, although the Cucumber Growers’ Association claims that the shrink-wrap keeps the cucumber hydrated and helps prevent it being damaged. Removing the sleeve reduces shelf life by two days to five. The move only applies at the moment to whole cucumbers sourced from the UK and Netherlands. Mini and pre-cut cucumbers will also retain their plastic covering. The move follows other initiatives from the chain, including replacing plastic bags in the produce aisles with brown paper bags, and selling at a discount reusable containers on its fresh meat and fish counters.

"Morrisons removes cucumber plastic sleeves to reduce waste", The Grocer, August 07, 2018

Sales Of Plant-Based Food Substitutes Continue To Soar

Nielsen data published by the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) show that plant-based foods that directly substitute for animal products grew ten times faster than those animal-derived counterparts. Sales of plant-based food substitutes for seafood, meat, eggs, and dairy products jumped 20 percent last year, compared to two percent in these same categories. The plant-based substitutes market is still dwarfed by the real products: the entire meat market is $85 billion, while the plant-based substitutes market is $670 million. Nevertheless, improvements in taste, variety, and competition have all led to sales growth and mainstreaming of plant-based foods, according to the PBFA.

"2018 Retail Sales Data for Plant-Based Foods", Plant Based Foods Association, July 30, 2018

Bakey's Sells Eco-Friendly Edible Spoons And Forks To India And The World

India-based Bakey's developed and sells environment-friendly, edible spoons and forks. Developed in 2010, Bakey's cutlery is the first of its kind and is made from millet, rice, and wheat flours. According to company founder and directing manager, Narayana Peesapaty, Bakey's cutlery was developed in response to pollution caused by plastic spoons and forks. Peesapaty said he was also concerned with the health effects of plastic utensils, with research showing chemical components in plastic products can leach into food. Some environmentalists, however, have expressed doubts about the product's environment-friendly features. 

"Cutlery you can eat: One company's approach to the plastic pollution problem", CBC News, July 29, 2018

Just Eat Tests Seaweed-Based Sachets Developed With Skipping Rocks Lab

Online food-ordering company Just Eat has partnered with packaging technology firm Skipping Rocks Lab to develop a sachet made from seaweed. Part of the company's efforts to cut the volume of plastics used by its restaurant partners in the UK, the seaweed-based sachets can be composted and are environment-friendly. According to Just Eat, the company will test the sachet for six weeks with The Fat Pizza in Southend, and determine the possibility of introducing the packaging to its 29,000 partner restaurants. 

"Just Eat trials seaweed sachets as alternative to single-use plastics",, July 24, 2018

Aramark Aims To Reduce Or Remove Plastic Straws From Facilities It Serves

Food service company Aramark said it plans to reduce the use of plastic straws and plastic stirrers and provide environment-friendly alternatives at food and dining facilities it serves. Aramark, which manages food service operations for various locations, including schools, convention centers, and arenas, across the US, said the reduction will depend on the location. According to the company, it plans to have 100-percent removal of plastic straws from parks and residential dining halls of colleges and universities.

"Food Service Giant Aramark Is Phasing Out Plastic Straws",, July 24, 2018

Which? Study Shows A Third Of Plastic Packaging Used By UK Retailers Hard To Recycle

Results of an analysis by Which?, a consumer group, revealed that as much as 29 percent of plastic packaging used by UK retailers is non-recyclable through the usual collection schemes or hard to recycle. Results of the study of packaging used for 27 everyday private-label products sold by 10 leading retail chains showed Lidl had the lowest percentage of easily recyclable packaging at 71 percent. Morrisons topped the results with 81 percent of tested products with packaging considered widely recyclable.

"One-third of UK supermarket plastic is not easily recyclable, analysis shows", The Guardian, July 19, 2018

Companies, Organizations  

Fizzique Unveils Sparkling Protein Waters

Taking advantage of the rising popularity of protein foods and beverages, Carlsbad, Calif.-based Fizzique has launched a line of sparkling protein waters in strawberry watermelon and tropical limon flavors. The company has positioned the drinks as hydration solutions that also deliver 20 grams of whey protein isolate that is lactose free, caseinate free, soy free, kosher, and free of artificial preservatives and flavors. The company says the beverage is “keto perfect” and low-glycemic, perfect for athletes and others looking for more protein and fewer carbs in their diet. Although the company experimented with monkfruit, stevia, and other natural sweeteners, it ended up using sucralose simply because it tastes better.

"Sparkling water Fizzique takes protein in a new, refreshing direction", Food Navigator USA, August 21, 2018

Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy  

Coca-Cola In Dispute With Brazil Over Loss Of Tax Breaks

To settle a truckers strike in May, the Brazilian government raised $3.4 billion by cutting soft drink manufacturers’ tax breaks. Needless to say, this did not sit well with the 59 members of the Brazilian Association of Soft Drink Manufacturers (Abir), which includes Coca-Cola, Inbev, and PepsiCo. Now Coke is threatening to stop production in the Manaus Free Trade Zone – and shift it to another country with better tax incentives – unless Pres. Michel Temer restores the breaks. A bill establishing the tax on industrialized products at 15 percent could be introduced before Temer's mandate is over, but the government would like to punt the problem to the next president. Moving out of Brazil would mean a loss of 15,000 jobs in the soft drinks bottling industry there.

"Coca-Cola Threatens to Leave Brazil If Free Trade Zone's Subsidies Are Not Returned", Folha de S.Paulo, August 21, 2018

Press Release  

Starbucks, Nestlé Join Hands In Major Marketing Alliance

Nestlé and Starbucks have closed a deal that grants Nestlé perpetual worldwide rights to market Starbucks consumer packaged goods and foodservice products outside of the company’s coffee shops. Dubbed a “strategic milestone” for Starbucks by CEO Kevin Johnson, the deal involves the marketing of Starbucks roast and ground coffees, whole beans, instant coffee, portioned coffees, and tea brands, including Teavana. Nestlé’s coffee portfolio in the North American premium roast, ground, and portioned coffee business will be strengthened by the deal, the company aid, and will also lead to global expansion in grocery and foodservice for Starbucks, through Nestlé. About 500 Starbucks employees in the U.S. and Europe will join Nestlé in Seattle and London.

"Nestlé and Starbucks close deal for the perpetual global license of Starbucks Consumer Packaged Goods and Foodservice products", Nestlé, August 28, 2018

Products & Brands  

O2 Natural Recovery Adds New Flavors To Oxygenated Water Line

Columbus, Ohio-based beverage company O2 Natural Recovery has released two new flavors of its oxygenated natural recovery drink. O2 contains seven times the amount of oxygen in typical water, and is believed to give the liver added power to process harmful toxins – released from burning fat during exercise or ethanol from alcohol – 60 percent faster. They also energize without caffeine. The new lemon lime and blackberry currant flavors are caffeine-free and contain 20 calories per 16 oz can. The beverages are sold in the U.S. at retailers such as Kroger and Whole Foods Market at an SRP of $12.99 for a variety four-pack, or $41.99 for a case of 12 drinks.

"O2 Natural Recovery unveils two new oxygenated recovery drinks", Foodbev Media, August 24, 2018

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