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Period: September 16, 2018 to September 23, 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

General Mills Drops “Natural” Claim For Granola Bars

General Mills will no longer claim on its Nature Valley granola bars that they are 100 percent natural, according to a news report. The company recently settled a 2016 lawsuit that said that oats used in the bars contained the herbicide glyphostate, the active ingredient in the Monsanto product Roundup that has been connected to cancer. Tests by an independent lab found .45 parts per million glyphosate in the Nature Valley products. The company reportedly settled instead of going through "the cost and distraction of litigation" and instead will focus on making sure products have 100 percent whole grain oats.

"General Mills drops '100% Natural' on Nature Valley granola bars after lawsuit", USA Today, August 24, 2018

Perdue To Begin Offering Lower-Priced Organic Chicken Products

Maryland-based Perdue Farms announced its Simply Smart Organics chicken products – including frozen and refrigerated whole grain, gluten-free, and lightly breaded nuggets, strips and tenders – will be available next month at about half the cost of other organic brands. The company says the new organic products will be more affordable relative to other similar products, without compromising organic standards, convenience or taste. The line of chicken products can already be found in stores, but beginning in October they’ll carry the USDA certified organic seal. U.S. sales of organic broiler chickens were up 78 percent in 2016 from the previous year, totalling $750 million, according to the USDA.

"Perdue organic chicken line targets affordability", Salisbury Daily Times, August 28, 2018

Entrepreneurial Couple Succeeds With Mobile Cookie Dough Cart

Wife-and-husband entrepreneurs Katie Pollock and Andy Simms of Ohio are fulfilling their dream of making and selling edible cookie dough in a variety of flavors. But they didn’t open a bakery, restaurant, shop or even a food truck. They operate from a mobile cart that allows them to service weddings, corporate events, bar mitzvahs, family events, graduations, birthday parties, and other Cleveland-area events. They got the idea while on a trip to California where, at Fishermen’s Wharf in San Francisco, they noticed a line snaking around outside a cookie dough eatery. Several bakeries in Northeast Ohio sell edible cookie dough, but the Dough Street mobile cart is the only one selling it exclusively.

"Couple turn ‘aha!’ moment into a safe way to eat cookie dough Innovations", Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH), August 29, 2018

Arizona Donut Chain Continues Expansion Strategy With Funding Help

Long-time Arizona donut purveyor BoSa Donuts continues to expand with the help of new investors. The company is adding two new locations in downtown Phoenix, bringing to 24 the number of shops it has in the state. It has also announced plans to open four more in the coming months. The owners say they are not worried about over-saturation, mainly because their menu includes sandwiches and beverages in addition to donuts. Because BoSa is opening in different locations and in different sized spaces, the owners initial opening costs per new shop vary, but can run upwards of $2 million.

"Popular donut chain looks to make its mark in downtown Phoenix", Phoenix Business Journal (Arizona), August 30, 2018

Missouri Clarifies Restrictions On Labeling Plant-Based Or Lab-Grown Meats

Missouri lawmakers last spring passed a law stating that plant-based and lab-grown meat products cannot be labeled as meat. But on August 30 the state agriculture department issued a reprieve for companies marketing such products, saying they would have until January 1 to comply with the labeling requirements under the law, which took effect on August 28. The law states that products labeled as meat must be derived from an actual cow, chicken, turkey or some other animal with two or four feet. The agriculture department’s advisory said companies would not be prosecuted if labels prominently use words like "plant-based," "veggie," "lab-grown," or "lab-created" near the product name, or if it states the product is "made from plants" or "grown in a lab."

"Missouri ag officials offering `fake meat' companies a reprieve on labeling", St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Missouri), August 31, 2018

Barilla Introduces Four Varieties of Legume-Based Pastas

Acknowledging two key consumer food preference trends – plant-based and high-protein – pasta maker Barilla has launched a line of one-ingredient legume pastas made with chickpeas or red lentils. The products are available in four varieties: red lentil rotini, red lentil penne, chickpea rotini and chickpea casarecce. All are certified gluten free and Non-GMO Project Verified. They retail for $2.99 each and can be found at Amazon.com and select retailers nationwide.

"Barilla Debuts Latest Innovation with One-Ingredient Legume Pastas", PR Newswire, September 05, 2018

How Companies Are Working To Meet Demand For “Free From” Foods

As American consumers increasingly seek out foods that are “free from” gluten, antibiotics, pesticides, and genetic modification – sales of which are poised to grow 15 percent by 2022 – food manufacturers are taking extraordinary measures to ensure they are meeting that demand, changing the way they procure, process, and package food. General Mills Inc., for example, which was forced recall gluten-free Cheerios – oats do not naturally contain gluten – because wheat flour got into a facility in California. The company built a special eight-story sorting plant to make sure gluten particles from neighboring fields did not end up in their oat-based cereals.

"`Free-From' Foods Are Changing the Way Your Meals Are Produced", Bloomberg News, September 09, 2018

California Bake Mix Company Ventures Into Snack Bars

Baking and cake mix maker Cherryvale Farms of California has launched a line of plant-based, clean-label whole grain snack bars. Love It! Bars, available in three flavors, are made with whole grains and real fruit flavor. They are also Non-GMO Project Verified, egg-free, dairy-free, nut-free and contain no preservatives, artificial colors or flavors. The line of snack bars is Cherryvale’s firs step beyond the baking aisle.

"Cherryvale Farms Expands Beyond Baking Aisle", PR Newswire, September 10, 2018

Companies, Organizations  

Phivida Launches Line Of Functional Beverages Infused With Hemp Extract

Vancouver, Canada-based Phivida Holdings Inc. has launched the "Oki" line of functional beverages and supplements infused with active hemp extract that will be sold in 2,400 U.S. natural specialty store locations. Oki beverages are infused with 10 mg of active hemp extract per glass bottle and come in two different formulations: iced teas and flavor-infused water, each ranging in four different 16 oz flavors. Its supplements are available in tinctures or capsules in doses of 600-1800 total mg of active hemp extract. All products are non-GMO, contain natural and organic ingredients, and are plant-based and vegan friendly. Distribution will be handled by Natural Specialty Sales (NSS), a natural/specialty retail network that includes retailers such as Whole Foods Market, Sprouts Farmers Market, and National Co-op Grocers.

"Phivida introduces premium active hemp extract infused functional beverage and supplement line to mainstream retailers in the U.S.", CNW, September 12, 2018

Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing  

Coca-Cola Looks For Opportunities In CBD-Infused Beverage Market

Coca-Cola has issued a statement confirming that it is “closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD (cannabidiol) as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages around the world.” The company is one of many that are monitoring the development of CBD-infused beverages, or have – like Molson Coors Co. and Constellation Brands – invested in the segment. Bloomberg reported that Coca-Cola is discussing the possibility of new products with Aurora Cannabis Inc. of Vancouver, Canada.

"Coca-Cola says it's 'closely watching' the opportunities in CBD-infused beverages", MarketWatch, September 17, 2018

Finance, Economics, Tax  

Meal Replacement Beverage Company Gains Venture Capital Infusion

Austrian food and beverage investor Square One Foods has acquired a seven percent interest in Saturo Foods of Vienna, Austria. Founded in early 2017, Saturo makes a range of RTD meal replacement drinks formulated with proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins. The target market is individuals with busy lifestyles. One 500 ml bottle contains up to 25 percent of the daily balanced nutrient intake. Square One’s “six figure round” will be used to finance distribution plans, recruit additional manpower, and expand product lines, the company said. Saturo is discussing a large Series A funding round within 6-9 months. The company says it has “the potential to establish a new category of meal replacement drinks and will soon be an integral part of our beverage range, like Red Bull or Coca-Cola."

"Saturo secures six-figure investment to fund ‘new meal replacement drink category’", Nutraingredients-USA, September 14, 2018

Market News  

Optimum Nutrition’s New Sports-Energy Line Includes An RTD Sparkling Drink

Illinois-based protein powder marketer Optimum Nutrition has debuted two formats of its Essential Amin.O.Energy Plus Electrolytes beverage: a powder and an RTD sparkling drink. The new drink contains amino acids to help support muscle recovery and natural caffeine for energy plus electrolytes. Optimum’s Essential Amino.O.Energy line is mainly a variety of sugar-free protein powders in four flavors that contain caffeine (100 mg) derived from green tea and green coffee bean extract. Other ingredients include five grams of amino acids and minerals potassium and sodium.

"Optimum Nutrition Introduces New Essential Amin.O. Energy Plus Electrolytes", PR Newswire, September 14, 2018

Products & Brands  

Nestlé removes stabilizers in UHT milks in Brazil

In an effort to “simplify” the ingredient lists for its products, Nestlé’s Brazilian unit has removed the stabilizers used in the UHT (ultra-high-temperature pasteurization) long-life milks sold in the country under the brand names Ninho and Molico. The company said it is the first country where it has done this. In the U.S., Nestlé has removed GMO ingredients from its Buitoni products, and artificial colors, flavors, high fructose corn syrup, and GMO ingredients from six ice cream brands. It plans to eliminate artificial flavors and reduce the salt levels in pizzas and snacks sold in the U.S. 

"Nestlé removes stabilizers in UHT milks in Brazil", just-food, September 14, 2018

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