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Food Business Insight Alert Archive

Have a look at some of our recent alerts. These give broad coverage of the industry - if you want something more specific create your own here.

<<30313233343536373839>> Total issues:387

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February 12, 2011, to February 19, 2011

PepsiCo Says Further Salt Reductions In Snacks Will Be Small And Far Between

A representative of PepsiCo in Europe has warned that further trimming of salt levels in its snacks will be very difficult without damaging flavor. Natalia Douek told a food and health conference that the company would still make small changes, but there won’t be any big drops in salt content for the foreseeable future. PepsiCo began to cut salt content in products in 2004, two years before EFSA’s salt reduction targets were introduced. The Walkers core crisps line was relaunched in 2006 with 25 percent less salt. Between 25 percent and 58 percent of the salt was removed from Quavers, Wotsits, Monster Munch and French Fries snacks in 2007. "The current technologies have taken us a long way,” Douek said, but new salt-reduction technologies are needed.

Focusing On Dietary Saturated Fat As Villain In Heart Disease May Be Wrong Approach

A perspectives article presented at a symposium in Copenhagen challenges entrenched beliefs that saturated fatty acids increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. The authors of the paper suggested that looking at one factor like saturated fat content or blood lipids can be misleading because so many “pathways” affect cardiovascular disease risk. To properly assess cardiovascular risk it is necessary to look at all components of the diet, not just one element like fatty acids. For example, the protein, calcium and other nutrients in cheese may counteract the impact of saturated fat content. One study found that replacing saturated fats and trans fatty acids with polyunsaturated fats actually increased the risk of coronary heart disease.

Salad Bar Project Places Over 500 Salad Bars In Schools, Gets Boost From Whole Foods

Salad Bar Project has made grants for over 500 free salad bars in schools in the US, helping students eat more fruits and vegetables during lunch. Whole Foods Market raised more than $1.4 million for the project from in-store fundraisers and partnered with Chef Ann Cooper’s nonprofit, F3: Food Family Farming Foundation to review the more than grant applications. Grant recipients receive a full salad bar kit with training tools. Whole Foods is also a founding partner of Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools, whose goal is to provide 6,000 salad bars across the nation by 2013.

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February 05, 2011, to February 12, 2011

The Cupcake Vogue Finds Fresh Life With A Los Angeles Caterer

Cupcakes have achieved renewed popularity in Los Angeles through the inspiration of Heirloom-LA, a caterer enjoying prosperity with its highly popular line of lasagna cupcakes. The success of the lasagna cupcakes keeps fifteen cooks busy in the Heirloom kitchens, according to co-owner and chef Matthew Poley, and has created a demand for new flavors of the party treats, which now come in twelve varieties, including macaroni and cheese, bologna, and short ribs. Poley said Heirloom sold 10,000 of the cupcakes in December and plans to expand its menu further as different ingredients become available with the changes in the seasons. The lasagna cupcakes can also be purchased frozen in a selection of Los Angeles stores and are available by mail order for New Yorkers through the company's website.

Unilever Rolls Out SAP ERP-Based Global Supply Chain And Procurement Systems

Unilever has put into operation its new global supply chain and purchasing systems based on SAP's enterprise resource planning (ERP) technology. Unilever's supply chain systems, launched with Accenture, enable the company to monitor its supply chain in real time, and to manage price volatility and changes in commodity supplies. The systems also play a big role in Unilever's efforts to reduce by half the environmental impact of its operations and supply chain, and double its annual revenue to €80 billion.

ONE Bio Hopes Distribution Agreement Will Boost Sales In The U.S.

Green process herbal extracts and natural supplement manufacturer ONE Bio, Corp. announced that subsidiary Green Planet Bioengineering Co., Ltd., has contracted with botanical products distributor P&G Ingredient to distribute Green Planet products in the U.S. Included in the distribution agreement are raw extracts such as resveratrol, stevia leaf powder, 5-HTP, polygonum extract and spirulina powder. P&G produces botanical and chemical extracts, besides distributing raw botanicals and chemical ingredients. ONE Bio said the distribution agreement is a key element of a plan to expand sales of nutraceuticals, health-related products and organic food products beyond China and Japan to the U.S.

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January 29, 2011, to February 05, 2011

Regulation Of Apolipoprotein Is Key to Cardiovascular Benefits Of Cocoa

The positive effects of adding cocoa to the diet have been generating increasing interest recently, with studies showing potential benefits for heart, skin and brain health. With respect to cocoa and cardiovascular health, Japanese scientists believe they have uncovered the mechanism: cocoa’s ability to boost high-density lipoprotein (HDL)—or good cholesterol—by increasing levels of apolipoprotein A1 (Apo-A1), a compound the human body needs in order to manufacture HDL. Cacao liquor—high in antioxidant-rich polyphenols, and a main ingredient in both cocoa powder and chocolate—is the agent responsible. Evidence suggests that adding dark chocolate to a diet increases HDL and slows or prevents LDL oxidation in healthy subjects. Further, this study found that, in healthy subjects, daily intake of cocoa powder increased HDL levels and decreased levels of LDL.

Sales Of Certified Eco-Friendly Chocolate Are On The Rise

Demand for certified environmentally-friendly chocolate is increasing. Consumers are more conscious about how and where their chocolate is grown, and are willing to pay a premium for it—and cocoa and chocolate producers are responding: Pastry chef François Payard imports about four tons of certified cocoa—20 percent of his total inventory—each year for his chocolate shops, and by 2020, Mars, Inc. plans to certify its entire supply of cocoa. Despite the economic downturn, certifiers saw ‘exponential growth’ over the last few years: According to the New York-based certification organization Rainforest Alliance, from 2007-2009, sales of certified cocoa more than doubled. Another certifier, Fair Trade USA, saw certified imports into the United States grow by 70 million pounds from 2006-2009.

Nestlé Subsidiary Acquires U.K. Medical Food Company

Nestlé Health Science has completed the acquisition of CM&D Pharma Ltd. (CM&D), a British company that develops medical foods and other products targeting patients with kidney disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and colon cancer. CM&D is a portfolio company of venture capital fund Inventages Group. CM&D’s leading product, Fostrap, is a chewing gum for kidney patients with elevated levels of phosphate in the blood (hyperphosphatemia), which contributes to vascular calcification and an increased risk of cardiac mortality, as well as mineral and bone disorders. Clinical trials of Fostrap are ongoing, though preliminary data are promising, according to Nestlé.

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January 22, 2011, to January 29, 2011

WHO Urges Member States To Cut Exposure Of Children To Marketing Of Unhealthy Foods

The World Health Organization is asking governments to reduce children's exposure to marketing of foods with high levels of fat, sugar, or salt. These foods put children at risk of developing noncommunicable diseases, which account for about 60% of all deaths globally and pose a serious threat to human health and development. With 43 million pre-school children worldwide obese or overweight, WHO is highlighting the risks of an unhealthy diet, one of the four most common factors linked to cancers, cardiovascular diseases, chronic lung diseases, and diabetes, and there will be a United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of NCDs in September, in New York.

Study Says Americans Not Getting Enough Whole Grain From Their Diet

General Mills's study, General Mills Whole Grain Check-up, reveals that although 92% of Americans know the importance of whole grains in their diet and 61% think they consume enough, only 5% consume the three daily servings (of at least 48 grams) recommended by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Only 55 percent of participants could identify foods with whole grains, and 28 percent cannot differentiate whole from enriched grain. Convenience, price, and taste prevent Americans from consuming the recommended amount. Seventy one percent of over 55s thought they were getting enough whole grain, but only 47 percent in the 18-34 age band.

Anthocyanins In Blueberries Associated With Decreased Risk Of Hypertension, Heart Disease

U.S. and British researchers have found that bioactive compounds in blueberries called anthocyanins protect against hypertension. In fact, people who ate at least one serving of blueberries a week cut the risk of developing high blood pressure by 10 percent. Researchers studied health and diet data gathered from questionnaires completed by 134,000 women and 47,000 men over 14 years. None of the participants had hypertension at the start of the study. Researchers noted that participants consuming the highest amounts of anthocyanins, especially from blueberries in the U.S. and from blackcurrants and blood oranges in the U.K., were the most protected from hypertension. High blood pressure can lead to stroke and heart disease; healthcare costs associated with the disease amount to $300 billion annually.

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January 15, 2011, to January 22, 2011

Almond Milk Pushes U.S. Milk Alternatives To Double-Digit Growth In 2010

The emergence of premium-priced almond milk helped boost the growth in the US milk alternatives category by 13 percent in 2010. Blue Diamond Growers’ Almond Breeze and Dean Foods Co.’s Silk Pure Almond brands are battling each other for leadership in the almond milk segment. Milk alternatives, especially soymilk, are becoming more popular as U.S. consumers’ consumption of cows’ milk has declined, partly through vegan lifestyles and some consumers’ intolerance to cows' milk, and almond milk is helping to drive that trend. The National Milk Producers Federation is calling for a ban on using the word “milk” in describing non-dairy milk, although sales of milk alternatives are small compared with regular milk. Silk, known also for soymilk, is extending its range of milk alternatives, with a new coconut milk.

GIA Estimates Global Soy Foods Market Will Reach $42.3 Billion In 2015

Global Industry Analysts forecast continued growth in the world soy food market and expect it to reach US$42.3 billion in 2015. Its report, "Soy Foods: A Global Strategic Business Report," sees key drivers as the increase in consumers' health consciousness, demand for nutritious diets, and knowledge about the health benefits of soy foods, such as protection from cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Manufacturers' innovations in product development, aging population, and increasing popularity of organic soy foods also help boost the market. Soy foods have become mainstream products in both developed and developing markets, and while anti-soy allegations impacted growth recently these worries have faded. The Asia-Pacific region is the largest market, followed by the United States and Europe.

California Organic Rice Producer’s Warehouse Is Now 100% Solar Powered

Organic rice and rice products producer Lundberg Family Farms has opened a 37,558-foot warehouse powered completely by solar energy. The warehouse uses 1,690 solar panels at the facility in Richvale, Calif. The company says the panels will produce 500,000 kilowatts of electricity, more than enough to power the building. According to the company, 20 percent of the electricity it consumes comes from solar energy. By purchasing renewable energy credits to offset the rest, the company can claim its energy use is 100 percent green. The warehouse was built to U.S. Green Building Council’s certification standards and is designed to capture and filter storm water runoff. It features high-efficiency water conservation fixtures such as dual flush water closets, waterless urinal and electronic faucets that reduce water by 39 percent, saving 15,625 gallons annually.

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January 08, 2011, to January 15, 2011

Campbell Soup Company And Symington's To Launch Dry Soups And Meals In UK

Campbell Soup Company and dry food manufacturer Symington's have signed a deal to launch in January 2011 “Campbell-branded” dry soups and meals in the UK. UK-based Symington's is responsible for the products’ development, production and distribution, and Campbell will control marketing and retain brand control. The products include 12 varieties of “Cup Soups,” five varieties of “Simmer Soups,” four varieties of “Savoury Rice,” and four varieties of “Savoury Pasta,” all bearing Campbell’s branding. 

Food Industry Experts Discuss Health Claims Labeling Rules In Webcast

In a recent webcast, several food industry experts shared their insights into U.S. regulations governing food and supplement health claims and into consumer purchase preferences. Attorney Anne Maher pointed out that food and supplement ad categories that are the most closely monitored have to do with treatment/cure prevention claims, immunity claims, products for children’s health/performance and weight loss. As to consumer buying trends, food marketing professor Nancy Childs said that nutrition is important to consumers but most important is taste. Citing data from FMI Research, she noted that health claims as a purchasing influence slid from 29 percent in 2008 to 25 percent in 2009. However, functional foods are still important despite the recession, because they “provide value and justify higher/holding prices to consumers.”

WOW Emulsion Technology Offers Some Intriguing Opportunities For Foods, Beverages

Oil-in-water emulsions (e.g., mayonnaise) and water-in-oil emulsions (e.g., margarine) have been around a long time. But a more recent type of emulsion, a double phase or multiple emulsion  known as water-in-oil-in-water (WOW), is gaining favor in the food and beverage industries because of its potential in fat reduction and other applications. WOW emulsions are difficult to make, requiring processing through a high-pressure homogenizer to create stability. But the possible benefits make the complex process worth undergoing. WOW emulsions are expected to be used as delivery vehicles for flavors and active ingredients, including health-promoting ingredients – water-soluble vitamins, botanicals, polyunsaturated fatty acids and others – in functional foods. Other possible applications include fruit pigment protection and salt reduction. Using WOW technology, for example, a food product could taste saltier to a consumer, but actually contain less salt.

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January 01, 2011, to January 08, 2011

U.K. Smartphone App Helps People Identify Allergenic Food Ingredients

A small British software company has developed an app for the iPhone that makes it easy to determine whether a food or ingredient contains allergenic ingredients. The app – known as IsItInIt – uses barcode-reading technology and the smartphone’s camera to determine the ingredients on more than 85,000 food products. Nutritionists see the advance as a major breakthrough for Britons who suffer from food allergies. To make the technology work, users enter details of their allergic condition, including specific offending foods and ingredients, at a Web site. The site’s database then synchs up with the app on the phone. A red warning signal is transmitted to the user as soon as the bar code is scanned into the phone. About 45 percent of Britons – 25 million people – suffer from food intolerances.

Weight-Loss Center Giants Ring In The New Year With Revamped Ads, Diet Programs

Commercial weight-loss companies are ramping up their advertising campaigns to promote new dieting programs to recapture former clients and win over new ones. Weight Watchers ($1.4 billion in sales in 2010), Nutrisystem ($527 million) and Jenny Craig ($480 million) rule the $3.2 billion commercial weight-loss center category but are not resting on their laurels. All three are rolling out innovations designed to entice dieters who switched to less expensive do-it-yourself dieting schemes during the recession. Nutrisystem’s new ad agency developed a campaign emphasizing real people rather than celebrities. Weight Watchers is pushing its refurbished calorie-counting system (PointsPlus), while Jenny Craig is touting its new Metabolic Max Program that customizes weight-loss programs to clients' "unique metabolism.”

Egypt Tightens Regulatory Control Of Organic Industry

Reacting to complaints that goods being sold in the country as organic were not organic at all, Egypt’s Minister of Trade and Industry announced tighter regulatory control over organic and biodynamic goods. Organic products in Egypt often cost twice as much as conventional goods, because they purportedly contain no chemical additives and have not been genetically modified. However, until now there has been no certification process, consumers could not file a complaint with the government and companies were not required to be accountable. Under the new decree, manufacturers will need to be accredited by auditors registered with the Egyptian Organization for Standardization and Quality (EOSQ), organic companies will have to register and be certified, and EOSQ may inspect facilities and shut them down if they do not meet organic standards.

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