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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.

<<234567891011>> Total issues:437

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February 03, 2019, to February 24, 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.

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. 

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. 

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January 27, 2019, to February 03, 2019

Missouri Lawmakers Are Considering Bill To Require Food Donations


Lawmakers in Missouri are considering legislation that would require foodservice and other food companies with revenues of $5 million or more to donate ten percent of any excess edible “to needy individuals or to nonprofit organizations that provide food to needy individuals." If passed, the bill would make it a misdemeanor punishable by a $25,000 fine if it is discovered that a business is making their food inedible to avoid the donations.

Oregon Is Latest State To Legalize Harvesting Of Roadkill For Use As Food

Oregon recently enacted legislation that legalizes the harvesting and use of roadkill as food. The state is the latest of about 20 states that allow people to scoop dead animals off the road and serve them for dinner. One of these is the state of Washington, which issued 1,600 roadkill salvaging permits within one year of legalizing the practice in 2016. The rules vary by state, though most require timely reporting of the collection to authorities, and most absolve the state of responsibility if the meat turns out to be stomach-churning. Oregon allows the salvaging of deer and elk and for human consumption only. People who pick up a carcass must apply online for a free permit within 24 hours, and they must turn over the animal's head and antlers to the state wildlife agency within five business days.

Japan Offers Its Own Versions Of Bread

Though Japan is not generally known as a bread-eating country, bread has become more popular, especially among young people, and the country does have its own unique varieties. Introduced in Japan by 16th century Portuguese traders – the Japanese word for bread, "pan," is derived from Portuguese – bread grew rapidly after World War II. The Japanese have adapted foreign bread-making techniques to create their own variations, including curry pan (doughnut-like bread filled with curry), melon pan (fluffy bread covered with a sweet cookie dough crust), anpan (bread filled with sweet bean paste), and katsu-sando (pork cutlet sandwiches). Japanese bakeries in New York City offer wasabi-butter breads, wasabi-sausage items, and pizzas with green shiso leaves.

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January 13, 2019, to January 27, 2019

Antibiotic Use Declining In Meat Industry, But Still Dangerously High

Though use of antibiotics important to human medicine is dropping in the livestock industry it is still dangerously high, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The FDA reported recently that such sales dropped 28 percent between 2009 and 2017. But the latest numbers also show the beef and pork industries remain high users of these drugs at 5.1 million pounds and 4.5 million pounds in sales respectively in 2017, compared to 590,000 pounds in the chicken industry. The NRDC called the downward trend “real progress,” but warned that “the American meat industry continues to have a drug problem.” A positive sign is that major beef buyer McDonald's announced it will reduce use of the drugs across its global beef supply chain, offering hope it will spark a wave of change.

Food Label Transparency Trend To Gather Momentum This Year

A report from Label Insight and the Food Marketing Institute finds that a majority of shoppers have transparency on their minds when grocery shopping: 86 percent would feel a higher sense of trust for food manufacturers and retailers that provided access to complete, “easy to understand” ingredient information. One solution is to use new methods like Smart Label, from Label Insight, to provide that information. According to Label Insight, transparency initiatives led by retailers will continue to spread in 2019. “Retailers will move beyond health and wellness as brand positioning by leveraging new approaches to data and omnichannel integration,” the data insight company said.

Report: The Emergence Of “Clean Packaging”

A report based on an online survey on packaging trends finds that “clean packaging” is the next step following clean label and clean processing. Evergreen Packaging says need to make their packaging protect taste, freshness, and nutrients; align with ingredients; be responsible; and share values. Consumers felt that packaging should protect flavor: packaging like steel cans, aluminium cans, and plastic bottles were most cited as altering product flavor. In terms of consumer values, the environmental responsibility interests of many grocery shoppers go much deeper than the package itself and the label information. In addition to environmentally-friendly products and packaging, many shoppers expect brands and retailers to demonstrate social responsibility as a company.

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January 06, 2019, to January 13, 2019

Supermarkets In Australia Seeing Up To 90 Percent Reduction In Single-Use Plastic Bag Use

Since July, 1.5 billion fewer single-use plastic bags have been used by large Australian supermarkets. A ban by Coles and Woolworths were added to a total ban across the state of Queensland. Reusable options have helped bring about an 80 percent drop in plastic bag use, and some retailers have reported a 90 percent reduction. The supermarkets have donated profits from the sale of reusable bags to community organizations, including Clean Up Australia, Little Athletics Australia and Guide Dog.

Kellogg Europe Executive Outlines Bio-Based Cereal Pouches Goal

According to Rupert Maitland-Titterton, Kellogg Europe’s senior director of sustainability and corporate communications, the company is working towards its pledge to ensure 100 percent of its packaging is recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025. An interim goal is to develop bio-based cereal pouches, recyclable in all Kellogg’s markets, to replace oil-based pouches by the end of next year. Although it’s up to consumers to contribute to the recycling process, he says, food companies must work with stakeholders, including suppliers and waste management companies, to design packaging that can be recycled and to improve the infrastructure. Kellogg Europe has started an audit of recycling structures in its largest 25 markets. Kellogg is one of the 250-plus signatories to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, which aims to eliminate single-use plastic. Maitland-Titterton believes this scale of collaboration is crucial and that the food industry can’t solve it alone.

Starbucks Says Plastic-Lined Coffee Cups Can Be Converted Into New Cups


Coffee chain Starbucks says it has converted 25 million of its coffee cups into new cups as part of a pilot scheme introduced earlier in 2018, overturning conventional wisdom that the plastic lining means they couldn’t be recycled. Mike Mueller of WestRock, the company that recycled the cups, said the company is aiming to raise awareness about how it can be achieved and scaled. Other initiatives used by Starbucks include charging a small fee to its London customers for single-use cups, and it is working on a cup that can be easily recycled and composted. Customers in most stores can expect a discount if they bring their own reusable cup.

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December 23, 2018, to January 06, 2019

N.J. Lawmakers Tackle Food Waste Problem With Package Of Bills

A N.J. Assembly committee has approved a package of bills aimed at reducing hunger statewide. Assembly Bill 4705 would create a 12-member New Jersey Food Waste Task Force whose purpose would be to devise ways to reduce wasteful food consumption in the state 50 percent by 2030. Assembly Joint Resolution 174, meanwhile, would urge retailers and consumers to find and adopt ways to reduce food waste. Suggestions outlined in the legislation for retailers include lowering “unreasonably high cosmetic standards” for their products, urging food manufacturers to drop “best by” labels and establishing systems for donating surplus foods to charities. To curb food waste among consumers, the resolution suggests retailers could provide food reduction tips and recipes to use leftovers and organize “waste less” campaigns.

Food Companies Finding Ways To Upcycle, Recycle For Profits, Sustainability

The packaged-food industry, both CPG giants and start-ups concerned about sustainability, along with foodservice chains and providers of plastic packaging, are seeing the benefits of the so-called “circular economy.” By recycling and upcycling as much as they can, they are benefiting their bottom line and helping preserve the planet. Many companies are engaged in efforts to try to reduce food waste. About two dozen CPG manufacturers and food retailers are working with the EPA as U.S. Food and Waste 2030 Champions, setting a target to cut food waste in half by 2030. An increasing number of start-up manufacturers are using food-waste reduction as a primary platform. Barnanas, for example, has become a $15 million company in six years, selling banana “bites” in several varieties made from bananas that were a bit ripe.

New Program From L.A. Food Delivery Company Cuts Food Waste, Feeds The Homeless

California food delivery service Postmates has launched a new endeavor: rescuing food before it is sent to landfills and taking it to where it will do the most good. The company’s drivers in Los Angeles are picking up leftover foodstuffs from local restaurants and delivering it to local homeless shelters. The FoodFight! program was incubated in the company’s social impact arm, Civic Labs, and launched in October.  Participating restaurants simply touch a button to coordinate food pickup at the close of business. Four hundred restaurants in the L.A. area are eligible to make surplus food donations. The biggest problem for the program is a logistical one: shelter hours. Many shelters close for donations earlier than restaurants are finished serving, so the Civic Labs team is working on creative solutions, including additional funding for staffing.

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December 09, 2018, to December 23, 2018

U.K. Grocers Sell Cheaper “Fauxdough” Bread In Place Of Expensive Sourdough

British Millennials love sourdough bread, which is more nutritious and easier to digest than conventional offerings. So the classic bread has become very popular in the U.K. Popular but, it turns out, very expensive: about $5 per bakery loaf. Which is why sales of cheaper sourdough bread at grocery stores are on the rise. But according to British consumer watchdog Which?, just four out of the 19 supermarket sourdough loaves tested contained the traditional four ingredients: flour, water, salt and what’s known as a mother or starter culture. Many of the loaves – dubbed “fauxdough” – contained yeast, ascorbic acid, yogurt and vinegar, added to speed up the rising process, boost volume or create sour flavor. And they defeat the purpose of eating the more healthful sourdough.

U.K. To Finally Act On Folic Acid Fortification Of Flour

British Prime Minister Theresa May is backing a plan to add folate supplement to bread flour to stem the tide of neural tube defects occurring in early stage fetuses: at least two pregnancies a week are terminated because of the defect, which leads to conditions like spina bifida. The U.K. has one of the highest rates of neural tube defects in Europe; folic acid fortification could help alleviate the problem. The Royal College of Midwives has urged the government to introduce mandatory fortification “as soon as possible.” Senior British government sources suggest the change could be made a reality within weeks. 

Once Considered Only Fit For Animals, Sorghum Makes Its Way Into The U.S. Diet

Gluten-free fans take note: sorghum, a whole grain commonly used for animal feed and ethanol production, is starting to make its way into the human diet.  An abundant crop in the U.S. – the largest producer in the world – sorghum is known for its natural drought tolerance and versatility but is also nutritious and gluten-free. It has been introduced into a variety of popular American foods, including Kind bars, Kellogg's cereals, and Ronzoni pastas as an “ancient grain.” Research has shown that some types of sorghum are rich in antioxidants that may help lower the risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and some neurological diseases.

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December 02, 2018, to December 09, 2018

Food Distributor’s Program Moves Ugly Produce To Restaurants Rather Than Landfills


One of America’s largest fresh food distributors is showing chefs and restaurants that “imperfect” produce – fruits and vegetables that don’t meet aesthetics and size requirements – has real value. Baldor Specialty Foods’ Imperfect Produce program allows farmers sell these commodities to chefs, and directly to the public through community-supported agriculture (CSA) models. An estimated 24.7 percent of on-farm produce waste occurs because of disposal of imperfect produce.

Celebrity Chef Teaches Whirlpool Employees How To Cut Down On Food Waste

Joel Gamoran, a national chef with Sur La Table and the host of a cooking show called "Scraps," recently gave a cooking demonstration for employees at the global headquarters of Whirlpool Corp. Michigan. His mission was to show his audience how common household foods normally tossed in a garbage disposal can be used to create nutritious meals. He pointed out that Americans waste $319 billion worth of food every year while one out of eight people go to bed hungry. For his TV shows he partners with food waste champions around the U.S. to celebrate the local cuisine and create a delicious meal with food items many consider to be waste, like banana peels, shrimp shells, chicken bones, and carrot stems. The program is sponsored by Whirlpool’s KitchenAid brand, so he uses the brand's stand mixers, food processors, and blenders throughout his travels.

Blockchain Technology Improves Walmart’s Food Safety, Reduces Food Loss

Walmart is using blockchain technology to help track and manage the chaotic and decentralized food supply system comprising producers, suppliers, and intermediaries such as processors that change constantly. Blockchain technology, like the food system, is based on a decentralized and distributed model that fits the modern food system perfectly. Each player in the network can update data, but also stops them from entering false data or making false changes. The speed with which blockchain enables companies to trace products and problems back to the source means improved food safety and less economic loss, and reduced food waste. It quickly and accurately identifies the source of a problem so that only impacted products are recalled or removed, rather than everything in the category.

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November 25, 2018, to December 02, 2018

Lidl In Ireland And Northern Ireland Is Eradicating Its Use Of Black Plastic


Lidl announced it is eliminating black plastic in packaging before Christmas from its fruit and vegetables in all of its stores in Ireland and Northern Ireland. It will be withdrawn from fresh fish products by February next year, and its poultry and fresh and cured meat products will follow by August. Lidl also announced that it had stopped selling single-use plastic items, such as straws, plastic plates, cups and cutlery. They will be replaced by biodegradable items. The retailer added that it continues to test unpackaged fruit and vegetables. Over a quarter of its fresh produce has no packaging. 

North London Budgens Opens Plastic-Free Zones

A north London branch of supermarket chain Budgens is introducing plastic-free zones. The Belsize Park outlet, Thornton’s Budgens, offers over 1,700 products in plastic-free packaging, using alternative materials such as beechwood nets, paper and glass to wrap foods. It enlisted the help of A Plastic Planet, a campaign group, and created the zone in 10 weeks. Mr. Thornton claims his store is just the second worldwide to have plastic-free zones, with Dutch supermarket Ekoplaza the first.

Seventh Generation Introduces ‘Game-Changing’ Innovation In Laundry Detergent Packaging



Unilever’s Seventh Generation detergent brand has launched what it claims is a game-changer. The 23oz bottle contains 100 per cent recycled PET and uses 60 per cent less plastic and 50 per cent less water than a typical 100oz bottle, for the same number of laundry loads. The product also features EasyDose™, a new automatic dosing technology in the cap. The EasyDose™ Ultraconcentrated Laundry Detergent was launched as an online exclusive. 

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November 18, 2018, to November 25, 2018

Premier Nutrition Corporation Partners With Tetra Pak To Launch A New Earth First Packaging Initiative For Its Premier Protein Shakes

In its commitment to reduce its environmental impact, Premier Nutrition decided to change the packaging for its Premier Protein shakes by using Tetra Pak cartons certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The cap is durable, recyclable, free from genetically modified organisms and made from sugarcane. Company president, Darcy Horn Davenport, claims the growing environmental awareness of consumers prompted them to reevaluate the product line's packaging.

Novel Edible Utensils Enhance Customer Experience And Help Eliminate Plastic Waste

Companies are responding to consumer concerns about plastic pollution and regulation restricting the use of plastic straws, with a range of innovative solutions. After announcing it would remove single-use straws globally by 2020, Starbucks introduced a pumpkin spice cookie straw. In the summer Diageo introduced flavored edible straws that supposedly complemented its canned cocktails. Beyond straws, British packaging startup Skipping Rocks Lab partnered with delivery service Just Eat to offer seaweed-based edible sauce sachets. Consumer awareness continues to rise as the scale of the issue becomes clear. One study found that just 9 percent of the 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic produced worldwide is recycled, underling the work still to be done.

Multinational Corporations Support Campaign To Reduce Ocean Plastic Pollution

Multinational corporations, including Coca-Cola and Walmart, pledged their support for the Ocean Plastics Charter signed by Britain, Canada, France, Germany, and Italy in June 2018. Despite an abstention by the two other G7 nations, United States and Japan, several non-G7 nations supported the plan to achieve 100 percent plastics recyclability by 2030. An announcement by Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKena to create a new partnership with businesses to reduce plastic waste secured support from several companies, including Loblaws, Walmart, and IKEA, and Nestle Canada. Separately, Unilever announced the launch of a not-for-profit venture to reduce consumer and business waste.

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November 04, 2018, to November 18, 2018

How Europe’s Wheat Farmers Can Plan For Climate Change-Induced Drought

Climate change in Europe is likely to bring frequent heat waves and drought, both of which will challenge production of wheat and maize, according to scientists at Denmark’s Aarhus University. Drought in particular will cause crops, especially those sewn in spring, to wither and die as they did in this past summer. The researchers wondered which was the bigger problem in the long run for winter wheat and maize: heat or drought. It is important to differentiate because the defense mechanisms of plants against drought are different from those used to protect against heat stress. Wheat and maize under climate change will be most affected by drought, less so by heat. Knowing this will help farmers and plant breeders develop suitable crop varieties and management systems. 

Ahold Delhaize Unit Commits To Removing Artificial Ingredients From House Brands

Salisbury, N.C.-based Retail Business Services, an Ahold Delhaize USA subsidiary, announced a commitment to making its house brands cleaner and more natural by 2025. The company promised to remove from its foods: synthetic colors; artificial flavors, preservatives, and sweeteners; MSGs; and high fructose corn syrup. It also plans to reduce salt and sugar, advance transparency and sustainable chemistry practices used in products and packaging, and reduce plastic and packaging waste. The company also promised to produce more allergen-free products. Retail Business Services, LLC, serves six East Coast grocery brands, including Food Lion, Giant Food, Giant/Martin's, Hannaford, Stop & Shop, and online grocery retailer Peapod.

Large 4-Year Study Finds Reduced Risk Of Cancer Among Eaters Of Organic Foods

French government scientists have published a study demonstrating that the risk of cancer declines significantly when people eat organic foods, especially those free from pesticides. The scientists tracked the diets of nearly 69,000 people over four years. Those who consumed the most organic foods were 25 percent less likely to develop cancers, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma, all lymphomas, and postmenopausal breast cancer. Pesticides linked to cancer include the weed killer glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup, and the organophosphate pesticides malathion and diazinon. The scientists focused on 16 organic food and beverage products, including fruits and vegetables, soy-based foods, eggs, dairy, grains, meat and fish, among others. The study was published in a journal of the American Medical Association.
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