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Period: February 3, 2019 to February 24, 2019
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

Dairy Co-op Demands That FDA Enforce Rules Regarding “Milk” Labeling

Wisconsin’s Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative has demanded that the FDA “no longer turn a blind eye to misleading labeling” of plant-based beverages as “milk.” In comments submitted to the agency, Edge called on the FDA to "take immediate action" to enforce existing regulations that define dairy foods as originating from cow's milk. The enforcement is “long overdue and increasingly important,” the co-op said. The FDA has asked for public input to help determine customers' understanding of the labeling and differences between dairy products and plant-based non-dairy products and the effects on purchasing decisions. The FDA says the input could affect any industry guidance it might issue.

"Farmer Group: Time to End 'Anything Goes' Dairy Labeling of Plant-Based Products", Dairy Business, February 18, 2019

Vegetable-Based RightRice Debuts At Whole Foods Markets

Popchips founder Keith Belling has introduced a vegetable rice made with lentils, chickpeas, green peas, and rice. San Francisco-based RightRice is a shelf-stable blend of more than 90 percent vegetables comprising 10 g of complete protein and five grams of fiber per serving, but has 40 percent fewer net carbs than traditional white rice. RightRice, available in original and three savory flavors, cooks like rice in about 10 minutes.  Each flavor comes in a seven-oz. pouch (about four servings) at a suggested retail of $3.99, and is non-GMO, vegan, kosher and gluten-free. RightRice is available at Whole Foods Markets nationally and online at Amazon.

"RightRice Introduces Innovative Vegetable Rice Grain With Exclusive National Launch In Whole Foods Market And On Amazon", PR Newswire , February 15, 2019

French Bakery Chain Opens Locations In N.Y. Area

French bakery and café chain Marie Blachère is setting up shop this month in the Long Island village of Great Neck, N.Y., and next month in Greenwich Village (Manhattan). The 35-year-old chain, with more than 500 locations in France, is known for its baguettes, but also sells croissants, brioches, fruit tarts, and – especially for Americans – muffins, doughnuts, sandwiches, and pizza. 

"Marie Blachère Bakery Heads to Great Neck, N.Y.", The New York Times, February 11, 2019

Generation Z Ideal Is Fast, Healthful, Eating

Market researcher Packaged Facts says today's 18- to 24-year-old adults (Generation Z) are more likely than their Millennial predecessors to say they often snack between meals (74 percent vs. 66 percent) and, when cooking at home, are much more likely to prefer simple, easy-to-prepare meals (58 percent vs. 40 percent). Households headed by adults under age 25 are 29 percent more likely to eat shelf-to-microwave dinners and 26 percent more likely to eat frozen breakfast entrees/sandwiches.  They are also 23 percent more likely to eat frozen (complete) TV dinners and are 10 percent more likely to eat dry packaged dinners, dinner mixes, and kits. "Therefore,” a company exec says, “there's exists ample opportunity for food marketers of frozen prepared meals, canned soups, potato chips, and other canned and packaged prepared food such as salads and desserts, to convert adults under the age of 25 into loyal lifelong customers."

"Gen Z Adults Seek Foods Fitting Their Busy, Yet Health Conscious Lifestyles", PR Newswire, February 11, 2019

Two Bakers Share A Love For Artisan Bread – And A Simple Business Plan

Two baking entrepreneurs who share a love of sourdough bread have joined forces in Green Bay, Wisc., to make their artisan loaves in the kitchen of a parish school, sell it on the Internet, and deliver it to customers. They take over the kitchen, with its two ovens and large wooden work counter, after the schoolkids have been fed their lunches. The experienced online businessmen knew they had a good thing going, and they knew how to market it without much overhead cost. Customers order bread on the company website and the two bakers deliver it right to homes and retail businesses. The first week Voyageurs Sourdough had four orders, but they are now averaging 50 a week. The 28-ounce loaves sell for $10 each. 

"At Voyageurs Sourdough, fresh-baked artisan bread gets delivered to your door", Green Bay Press-Gazette, February 10, 2019

Science Is Helping To Make Bread Less Harmful For Some, More Healthful For All

Scientists are actively working on ways to reduce or eliminate components in bread (such as fructans and gluten) that create health issues for people with irritable bowel syndrome or celiac disease.  A Finnish company, for example, has introduced an enzyme called LOFO, which can help lower the fructan content in wheat bread. An American researcher has developed a reduced-gluten wheat using CRISPR gene-editing technology. For people looking for more healthful bread, European bakers are experimenting with tritordeum flour (a hybrid of wheat and wild barley) that yields 30 percent more fiber than traditional wheat flour. Other bakers are adding fiber by blending traditional wheat flour with lupin bean or lentil flour.

"Can’t stomach bread? Alterations to the carbs, gluten and fiber in wheat could change that.", Washington Post Blogs , February 09, 2019

USDA Issues Final GMO Food Labeling Rule

It took nearly three years, but the USDA in December issued the final rule implementing the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS) signed into law by President Obama in 2016. The NBFDS pre-empted state and local genetic engineering labeling requirements. The rule takes effect on February 19; implementation will be phased in over the next three years. The NBFDS requires food manufacturers, importers of food labeled for retail sale in the U.S., and some U.S. retailers to disclose foods and ingredients produced from foods that are or may be bioengineered. Disclosure can be through text, a symbol, electronic or digital link, or text message. For example, the text disclosure can say “bioengineered food” or “contains a bioengineered food ingredient” for a multi-ingredient food. 

"Bioengineered Food Disclosure Rules Finalized, Require Disclosure of 'Detectable' GMOs", Bryan Cave Law Firm, February 08, 2019

Panera’s Nine-Year Experiment In Feeding The Hungry Comes To A Close

The last location of Panera Cares, Panera Bread’s pay-what-you-can non-profit experiment, has closed its doors. The St. Louis, Mo.-based company acknowledged that the concept launched nine years ago in Clayton, Mo., – and since then in other cities around the U.S. – is “no longer viable.” The community cafes posted a suggested donation for customers whose payment would cover the free food given to those unable to pay. The cafes were also supposed to raise awareness of hunger issues in America. The last Panera Cares café was in Boston.

"Panera Bread closes last pay-what-you-can restaurant", Nation's Restaurant News, February 07, 2019

N.C. Bagel Bakery Takes A Fresh Look At An Old Tradition

A bagel bakery in North Carolina is doing its best to shatter the myth that the only good bagels in the world come from the boroughs of New York or from Montreal. The owners of Benchwarmers Bagels are “asking people to try something new,” something that emerged from the joint efforts of a stone mill bakery that provides fresh milled grain and flour, and a craft coffee bar. Benchwarmers boils its bagels in a vat of honey-water before sliding them into a wood-burning oven on long wooden planks. They mix favorites like sesame, poppyseed and everything, with za'atar and sea salt and a Southern-inspired grits bagel. Their bagel sandwich fillings include duck rillette with sour cherries, house-cured lox with deviled eggs spread, and fried bologna with yellow mustard and an egg. The owners say they respect the bagel traditions, but new takes are long overdue. 

"Benchwarmers Bagels bakes with fire and challenges the bagel establishment", The News & Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina), February 06, 2019

Dangerous Chemicals Found In Foods Produced, Sold By Grocery Chains

Environmental organization network Friends of the Earth said that its testing found store and name-brand foods produced and sold by the top four U.S. food retailers contain residues of toxic pesticides linked to a range of serious health and environmental problems. The foods were purchased in 15 cities across the country by Friends of the Earth and a number of allies, including Environment Texas. Oat cereals, apples, applesauce, spinach and pinto beans from Kroger, Walmart, Costco, and Albertsons stores contained detectable amounts of glyphosate – key ingredient of the herbicide Roundup – organophosphates and neonicotinoids. The average level of glyphosate found in cereal samples (360 parts per billion) was more than twice the level set by scientists at Environmental Working Group for lifetime cancer risk for children. The average level of glyphosate found in pinto beans (509 ppb) was more than 4.5 times the benchmark.

"New Study: Multiple Dangerous Pesticides Found in Food Made and Sold by Kroger, Walmart, Costco and Albertsons", Friends of the Earth , February 05, 2019

PETA Billboard In Calif. “Debunks Myth” Of Cage-Free Eggs

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has erected a billboard in San Diego, Calif., that it claims “debunks the myth of cage-free eggs.” The billboard followed the release of PETA video footage showing a packed chicken shed at Hilliker's Ranch Fresh Eggs, Inc., in Lakeside, Calif. The company had been publicized as a model of the future of cage-free egg farming in the state and touted by its owner as “Chicken Disneyland.” “’Cage-free' means absolutely nothing to the hens stuffed on top of each other in filthy warehouses and made to overproduce eggs until their bodies give out and they're killed,” said PETA Director Danielle Katz. According to PETA, constant exposure to noise and severe crowding in the sheds can lead to distress, excessive adrenal hormone production, and suppression of the immune system. The billboard will remain up for four weeks.

"This Is Cage-Free Billboard Now Up In Wake Of Prop 12 Passage", PETA, February 04, 2019

State Bills To Bar Non-Meat Products From Deceptive Labeling Gather Steam

The Pew Charitable Trusts reports that several states are considering legislation similar to a recent Missouri law that bars non-meat products, such as those made from tofu or vegetable sources, from being labeled as if they are made from beef. State legislators in Virginia, Nebraska, Tennessee, and Wyoming have introduced bills to stop what they say is deceptive labeling of non-meat products. The Nebraska bill aims to prevent companies from labeling plant-based, insect-based or lab-grown products as "meat." The Wyoming bill would outlaw "misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry." Under the Virginia bill, a product would be deemed "misbranded" if it "purports to be" meat while containing no meat, unless it contains the word "imitation" on the label. Beef producers generally back the bills, while vegetarians and producers of plant-based food oppose it.

"'Fake Meat' Battle Spreads to More States", PEW Charitable Trusts, January 26, 2019

Market For Citrus Essential Oils Expands Rapidly

An analysis by Fact.MR finds that citrus essential oil sales increased by 3,000 tons between 2017 and 2018. The oils are used in industrial and other applications, including aromatherapy, cosmetics, health care, and food and beverages. Citrus essential oils manufactured using grapefruits are expected to witness relatively faster momentum, as chemical constituents of grapefruit are sought by various industries. Grapefruit-derived citrus essential oil sales are expected to grow twice as fast as their counterparts in 2019. Purported health benefits of grapefruit essential oils include weight loss, improved immunity, and alleviation of stress. With the oils approved as safe for consumption by regulatory authorities, food and beverage companies have continued to incorporate them as a “clean label” ingredient into multiple products. Their antimicrobial and antifungal properties have opened up new avenues for citrus essential oils in the packaging industry, and as a natural preservative. 

"Citrus Essential Oil Demand in F&B Growing as Scramble for -Clean-Label' and -Green' Ingredients Intensifies", News release, Fact.MR, January 18, 2019

Israeli Company Uses Zero-Waste Process To Make Plant-Based Yogurt

Israel’s Yofix Probiotics Ltd. has launched a dairy-free, soy-free yogurt alternative line using a clean-label formula involving a few natural ingredients. The yogurt is traditionally fermented and contains live probiotic cultures, plus the prebiotic fibers that feed them. The products, available in three fruit flavors, use no cow milk and, unlike almond or cashew, do not require a great amount of water. The production process is carefully designed to ensure zero waste: all raw materials used in production remain in the final product. The company plans to launch globally, and will also debut plant-based dairy substitutes for milk, yogurt drinks, cream cheese, coffee creamers, and ice cream. 

"Yofix Launches Clean-label, Plant-based Yogurt Alternative", PR Newswire, January 15, 2019

Professor’s Research Helps Candy Firm Mars Achieve Its “No Artificial Dyes” Goal

Candy company Mars Inc. has patented an Ohio State professor’s method of extracting the natural pigments – anthocyanins – that give red, purple, and blue fruits and vegetables their colors. Three years ago, Mars announced a "five-year effort" to remove all synthetic dyes from its products. Before research by Monica Giusti's lab, there was no method of anthocyanin extraction that produced the specific blue pigment of blueberries. Though anthocyanins are difficult to work with, her research helped the company reach its natural dye goal. Giusti's work is allowing companies such as Mars to incorporate real nutritional value into foods that are typically perceived as unhealthy. "The real beauty is that the pigments that we extract from nature tend to be those phytochemicals that make plants good for us," Giusti said.

"Ohio State researcher develops natural dye, making M&Ms healthier", The Lantern: Ohio State University (Columbus), January 14, 2019

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