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Period: February 24, 2019 to March 10, 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

Rosy Outlook For World Functional Flour Market

Market researcher Fact.MR expects “impressive growth” in the global functional flour market, thanks to the consumer preferences shift toward healthful foods and ingredients. Global sales of functional flour will grow at a CAGR of over 6.5 percent through 2025, driven by the health and wellness trend that is creating sustained opportunities for the manufacturers of functional flour. The segment is controlled by a few leading companies with global and regional reach. However, smaller companies predominantly operating across local markets are also in play. The leading companies will continue to focus on strategic collaborations, such as mergers and acquisitions with the small players to boost their production abilities and gain substantial profits, the company said.

"Functional Flour Sales Soar as Consumer Show Marked Preferences for Specialty Foods & Ingredients: Fact.MR Study", GLOBE NEWSWIRE , February 25, 2019

Are “Newfangled Devices” The Answer To The Food Waste Problem? Maybe Not

Nonprofit coalition ReFed says start-ups dedicated to fighting food waste attracted $125 million in venture capital and private equity funding in the first ten months of 2018. Products included smart tags that change color when milk goes bad, a mist to prolong the shelf life of fruit, and software to help grocery stores order the right amount of produce. Investors see food waste as “a big business opportunity," according to a marketing exec at Apeel Sciences, which sells a water-based solution that extends the ripeness of avocados by four days. But the products – and the trend – have their skeptics. Elizabeth Balkan, director of the Natural Resource Defense Council’s food-waste program, says, "I worry about this food-tech, food-waste boom becoming a food-waste bust."  Consumers are a major contributor to the food waste problem, so if they want to throw away less food, what they have to do is plan better and store smarter. “Newfangled devices” may not be the answer.

"Big Money Joins Fight Against $1 Trillion in Wasted Food", Bloomberg , February 24, 2019

Some Grocery Chains Are Backing Away From Ugly Produce Promotion

The "ugly produce'" trend may be fading at U.S. supermarkets. Walmart, Whole Foods and other stores experimented with selling blemished or “wonky” fruits and vegetables at a discount to keep them out of trash bins. But the two chains and others have quietly ended their tests: selling dented apples and undersized potatoes may not be all that appealing next to better looking fruits and vegetables. Though many stores and chains are still interested in ugly produce – Kroger and Hy-Vee are notable examples – others like Meijer in the Midwest, Hannaford of Maine and Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle have backed away, citing lukewarm shopper interest. "Customers didn't accept it as much as we had hoped," said Mona Golub of Price Chopper, a grocery chain in the Northeast that also discontinued sales of cheaper ugly produce.

"'Ugly produce' trend may have limits, as grocers end tests", Associated Press Financial Wire, February 21, 2019

University Researchers Seeks Answer To Toxic Flour

Scientists at Kansas State University are working to find ways to ensure the safety of flour and products made from it. A handful of flour product recalls since 2015, both here and abroad, has raised the alarm among consumers. General Mills in January announced a voluntary national recall of five-pound bags of its Gold Medal unbleached flour, citing the potential presence of Salmonella. There have been no confirmed consumer illnesses as a result of the suspect flour, but the company issued the recall “out of an abundance of care,” according to a statement. The university is replicating commercial milling and baking processes and introducing E. coli and Salmonella at high doses to determine ways to reduce the risk of contaminated flour and finished bakery products.

"K-State researchers seeking ways to protect flour", Salina Post (Kansas), February 21, 2019

Pizza Beats Froot Loops In The Nutritious Breakfast Category

Many breakfast favorites – e.g., Froot Loops and Cap’n Crunch – are made up of nearly 50 percent sugar, but more healthful alternatives are available. One of them, believe it or not, is pizza. Because pizza contains protein, carbs, and veggies – and way less sugar – word has been spreading that the food once considered junk is actually much more nutritional than breakfast cereals – if you choose the right ingredients. According to a nutritionist, a veggie-loaded whole-grain pizza with plenty of protein and not a lot of saturated fat “can absolutely be a healthier choice for breakfast.” Nutritionist-approved options include: hummus pizza; cheese pizza; mushroom, tortilla, or egg white pizza; and sweet potato pizza, topped with veggies, and fresh arugula.

"Great news: Pizza for breakfast is apparently healthier than cereal", Well+Good , February 21, 2019

Time To Start Communicating What Food Date Labels Really Mean

Johns Hopkins researchers say misunderstood food date labels – and keen awareness of food safety issues –are major reasons why as much as 31 percent of all food is wasted by supermarkets and consumers, according to the USDA. Under U.S. federal law, product dating is not required on food or beverage products, except for infant formula. Meat, poultry, and egg products may be voluntarily labelled if the labels comply with USDA regulations. A Johns Hopkins survey found 84 percent of consumers discarded food near the package date "at least occasionally" and 37 percent reported that they "always" or "usually" discard food near the package date. The researchers found that among labels assessed, "best if used by" was most frequently perceived as communicating quality, while "use by" was one of the top two perceived as communicating safety. The researchers concluded that there is a need for a strong food date labeling communications campaign, especially among those aged 18 to 34.

"Study: Food date labels can cause widespread confusion and unnecessary food waste", FoodNavigator-USA.com, February 20, 2019

German Government Sets Goal Of Halving Food Waste By 2030

Acknowledging that reducing food waste is an "economic, ecological, and ethical obligation" for everyone, German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet has adopted a goal of cutting food waste in the country in half by 2030. The idea is not only aimed at customers in supermarkets, but also at food manufacturers, companies, organizations, politicians, and scientists. Every year, the average German throws away 120 pounds of food, an unfortunate and avoidable situation. The most important part of the plan is packaging food in smaller quantities, German experts say, which food manufacturers can certainly help with. 

"German government rolls out plan to curb food waste", Deutsche Welle, February 20, 2019

Will Gluten-Free Soon Be An Obsolete Health Claim?

A multinational team of scientists has developed a new genotype of wheat with built-in enzymes designed to break down the proteins that cause the body's immune reaction to gluten, which gives breads, pasta, and cereal their chewy, crunchy texture. The scientists introduced new DNA into wheat, developing a variety that contains one gluten-busting enzyme (or glutenase) from barley and another from bacteria Flavobacterium meningosepticum, both of which break down gluten proteins in the human digestive system. The researchers tested gluten extracts from the experimental grain and found that it had far fewer levels of the disease-provoking proteins. The enzymes reduced the amount of indigestible gluten by as much as two thirds.

"Healing grain: Scientists develop wheat that fights celiac disease", Washington State University, February 19, 2019

Hospital Adopts A “Room Service” Model To Cut Food Waste

The rate of wasted food for an individual hospital can vary from six to 65 percent, according to a European report. The University of California, San Francisco, Medical Center, however, has implemented a change in its food service that has cut waste by 30 percent, no small achievement in an industry that tosses about $3 billion worth of food a year. The change? Instead of serving meals at predetermined times, it serves on-demand, much like hotel room service: when they’re ready.  The customization does require more labor, so UCSF had to roll out on-demand dining in waves as the labor and budget became available. But each time it was introduced to a new part of the hospital, food waste levels dropped by 30 percent. The hospital is now adding delivery robots to help ease the labor costs associated with the program.

"Hospital Wastes A Third Less Food After This One Change", Forbes Media, February 18, 2019

Vermont Enters Final Implementation Stages Of 2012 Food Waste Law

Enacted in 2012, Vermont’s universal recycling law (Act 148) is nearing the end of its long implementation phase. By July 1, 2020, Vermonters will have to keep food scraps out of their trash bins. The act quotes a waste composition study that showed more than half the state's waste comprises recyclables, yard debris, and food scraps that could be diverted and repurposed. In 2014, the law required some of the largest producers of food waste – grocery stores, food manufacturers – to keep food waste out of the trash. In 2020, individual residents will finally be required to do the same. When the law goes into effect, trash haulers must provide a food waste pickup service to customers. The requirement is being debated in the state capital, because trash haulers don't have the right equipment for this service and might not want to invest since the revenue stream isn't guaranteed, especially if residents compost in their backyard or feed scraps to animals.

"Vermonters prepare for food waste law", The Milton Independent (Vermont), February 14, 2019

“Upcycled Food” Is A Marketable Term That Could Help Reduce Food Waste

Drexel University scientists have reported on consumer perceptions of “upcycled food" – leftovers from processing that are put into new, value-added products – after originally using the term “value-added surplus products." A survey of more than 1,000 consumers asked what term would encourage them to buy products from materials leftover after processing, including salvaged, repurposed, reprocessed, and rescued. The clear winner was “upcycled,” the scientists found, because it’s a familiar term from fashion that suggests recycling and environmental goodness. What’s more, consumers were also willing to pay more for upcycled than conventional food. The researchers concluded that the right message and marketing would benefit food companies by reducing food waste while achieving equal or greater value from products.

"Addressing Consumers’ Perceptions of “Upcycled Food"", waste360.com, February 14, 2019

Panera Bread Re-Introduces Double Bread Bowl For Two Weeks

Panera Bread introduced a double-bowl version of its bread bowl nationally on February 14 for two weeks only. The Double Bread Bowl was available starting at $9.99 and is essentially the same as the classic bread bowl but twice as long, allowing for double the amount of soup or mac-and-cheese filling. Panera tested the Double Bread Bowl in Philadelphia in 2018. The company said a test launch  resulted in “an overwhelming response on social media from fans asking, 'When will Double Bread Bowls come to my city?'" 

"Panera is rolling out the two-bowl version of its famous bread bowl across America", The Business Insider, February 13, 2019

Home Bakers Seek Easing Of NM Rules On Sales At Farmers Markets

Home-based bakers in New Mexico are eagerly supporting a bill in the state legislature that would legalize the limited sale of un-inspected food items, including bread, at farmers markets. The bill –House Bill 463, or the Food Freedom Act – was referred to, but not heard by the pertinent House committees. New Mexico has some of the most restrictive rules in the U.S. regarding cottage industries. Proponents of the bill say they would like to see a law similar to one in Texas – “a more lenient approach” – that acknowledges that customers at a farmers market know they are purchasing food prepared in someone's home. The New Mexico legislative session ends in mid-March.

"More lenient law sought for home-baked goods at farmers markets", Ruidoso News (New Mexico), February 11, 2019

Canadian Start-Up Gets $1M Investment To Develop An Upcycling Machine

Halifax-based Beyond Food Inc. has raised $1 million from a range of investors – including several NHL players – to develop its first Zero Waste Pod and launch a partnership with a Canadian supermarket chain. The company’s mission is to reduce food waste – $31 billion a year in Canada – by using supermarket produce that is about to be tossed out to make a nutritional food ingredient. The patent-pending Zero Waste Pod is a modular facility about the size of a shipping container that can process aging fruits and vegetables into a fine powder for use as a nutritious ingredient in food manufacturing.

"Entrevestor: Beyond Food raises $1 million to launch Zero Waste Pod", Chronicle Herald (Halifax, Nova Scotia), February 06, 2019

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