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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.

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June 28, 2020, to July 05, 2020

Plant-Based Snack Company Helps Revive Scotland’s Seaweed Industry

With the help of £1.7 million ($2.2 million) in new investment, Scottish seaweed food firm Shore (Alness) is expanding its range of plant-based snacks. Shore uses sustainably harvested seaweed to produce its range of snacks, introduced in late 2018. Seaweed has a long history in Scotland: at one time the industry was worth about £7.5 million ($9.2 million) a year to the Hebrides alone. The funding package combines a business development grant from Highlands and Island Enterprise (HIE), equity investment from the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB), and contributions from several private investors.

British Company Unveils “World’s First Organic Daily Nutrition Bars”



Human Food (Tenby Pembrokeshire, U.K.) has introduced meal replacement bars that contain all the essential nutrients and minerals you'd expect from a normal meal. Human Food bars are described as the “world's first organic daily nutrition Bars” and can be used in smoothies, crumbled into granola, or just eaten on their own. The bars contain 20 organic whole foods and whole food extracts, but no added sugar, sweeteners, preservatives, flavorings, synthetic nutrients, soy, grains, wheat, dairy, or GMOs. Each bar contains 11 grams of protein, 100 percent of the daily vitamin B12, 50 percent of daily iron, calcium, magnesium, and vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and D. Three variants are available: a red bar (goji berries), yellow bar (turmeric), and green bar (organic spirulina). They are priced at £33 ($40.50) for a box of ten.

Finnish Company Unveils Eco-Friendly Snack Packaging Solution

Finnish fiber-based products company Ahlstrom-Munksjö (Helsinki) has introduced its first brand of CelluSnack snack packaging papers, designed to reduce the impact on the environment by making compostability, biodegradation, and recycling easier. The new snack packaging papers are the result of the company’s “from Plastic to Purpose” initiative that encourages food and industrial packaging producers to consider fiber and paper-based packaging solutions. CelluSnack papers also offer heat sealing and various barrier coatings.

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June 14, 2020, to June 28, 2020

Wisconsin’s Kohler Chocolates Debuts Line of Protein Bars In Three Flavors

Wisconsin-based Kohler Original Recipe Chocolates’ new protein bars combine 21 grams of protein with plant–based ingredients, including peanuts, quinoa, chia seeds and hemp hearts. The bars are low in sugar and sodium and free from egg, soy, and gluten. They retail for $2.49 for a 2.1–oz. bar and $24.99 for a 12–pack. Available flavors include berries, coffee, and peanut butter. The company also introduced new flavors and packing for its handcrafted chocolate bars. With two bars to a pack, they contain natural ingredients such as Colectivo coffee and the brand’s own 70 percent Andoa Dark Chocolate. The bars retail $3.49 per two–pack and $19.99 for six two–packs. The new lines are available at the Craverie Chocolatier Café and Woodlake Market in Kohler, Wis., or online at kohlerchocolates.com.

Start-Up Snack Company Debuts Flagship Product Made From Sprouted Almonds

Calif.-based plant-based snack start-up AKA Snacks has launched its flagship sprouted almonds product. Palmonds are soy–free, gluten–free, dairy–free, paleo, and vegan, made from sprouted – not roasted – almonds that are dehydrated and flavored with organic spices, coconut sugar, and coconut aminos, a condiment typically used as a savory alternative to soy sauce. Palmonds, which deliver 10 grams of plant–based protein per serving, are available in salty sweet, cinnamon sugar, sweet barbecue, and spicy nacho flavors, each containing between 250 and 280 calories. AKA Snacks is named for founder and CEO Ashley Kathleen Allyn, who created the brand after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.

Three Wishes Adds Cocoa Flavor To Line Of Plant-Based Breakfast Cereals

New York City-based Three Wishes cereals, founded in October 2019 by a husband-and-wife entrepreneurial team, has launched a new flavor, cocoa, which joins cinnamon, honey, and unsweetened flavors. Three Wishes cereals are high protein (eight grams per serving) and low sugar (three grams from monkfruit and cane sugar). The grain-free breakfast cereals are made with chickpeas, pea protein, and tapioca, are gluten–free, and free from wheat, dairy, soy, oats, corn, rice and peanuts. The cereals are available on the company website and on Amazon, and in select retailers across the country. 

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April 12, 2020, to June 14, 2020

Sainsbury’s Showcases Start-Up Snack Maker’s Products In Its Future Brands Category

U.K. grocery chain Sainsbury’s has chosen start-up Pep & Lekker's Seed Snacks to be part of its Future Brands category showcasing tomorrow’s pioneering brands. The chain announced it would test two flavors – Fennel & Chia and Rosemary & Hemp – under the label in 70 stores beginning June 9. The baked snacks are billed as healthier living, vegan-friendly, crunchy snacks with a low-carbon footprint that represent a no-added-sugar, high-fiber, high-protein, gut-healthy alternative to standard crisps. Each 30-gram pack has a recommended sale price of £2 ($2.53). Sainsbury’s also helped Pep & Lekker shift to colorful, compostable packaging that stands out on store shelves. The grocery chain launched its Future Brands program two years ago to support small and innovative suppliers.

Royal Hawaiian Introduces 24-Ounce Bag Of Macadamia Nuts For At-Home Snacking

Royal Hawaiian Orchards (MacFarms, LLC, Dana Point, Calif.) has introduced a family-sized bag (24 ounces) of Sea Salt macadamia nuts. The company says the larger bag gives consumers “a one-stop, healthy option to help feed and nourish the entire household” while homebound during the pandemic. Royal Hawaiian says its macadamia nuts are gluten-free, keto-, paleo-, and vegan-friendly. The new 24-oz option is available online and in select retail locations.

Researcher IRI Names Two New Pistachio Snack Flavors As “Rising Stars” In Sales

Chicago-based research firm IRI has named Wonderful Pistachios’ (Los Angeles, Calif.) No Shells Chili Roasted and Honey Roasted flavors as “Rising Stars” in its annual New Product Pacesetters Report. The status confirms the two flavors’ first-year sales success, according to a company news release. They are the only snack nut and healthy salty snack on this year’s list, the company said, and drove 94 percent of the company’s flavored snack nut growth, and more than 30 percent growth for the No Shells line. The IRI report features the biggest consumer packaged goods launches based on sales.

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January 19, 2020, to April 12, 2020

Huge Market Opportunity Forecast Through 2026 For Pulse Flour Manufacturers

Pulse flour manufacturers can expect to benefit from rising global consumption of snacks such as nutritious soups, sauces, and nutrition bars, according to new research from Fact.MR (Dublin, Ireland). The world pulse flour market is projected to accelerate at a surprising CAGR of more than 10 percent from 2020 to 2026 – double the growth rate of the global flour market. Pulse crops such as lentils, beans, peas, and chickpeas are a good source of amino acids and plant-based proteins, a reason they are being incorporated into gluten-free products. Demand for pulse flour is expected to create a $15 billion market opportunity into 2026.

Break Your New Year’s Resolutions At Hotels.com’s “Bread & Breakfast” In New York City

Hotels.com, a website for booking hotel rooms online and by phone, announced it has introduced the “Bread & Breakfast,” a limited-time hotel room experience that opened at New York City's Refinery Hotel on January 17 – “which just so happens to be National Ditch Your Resolution Day.” After check-in, guests are treated to a “belt-bustin' carbo-load” in their rooms where they find a minibar with a bakery case stocked with an assortment of free pastries, bread, or a breakfast of cereal, bagels, and doughnuts, along with butter, jam, and cream cheese. The room service menu features “scrumptious starches,” including an array of pastas. The Hotels.com Bread & Breakfast is $225 a night, through January 31. 

California Bakery Expands To Whole Foods Markets In Two States With Plant-Based Pizzas


California-based Pizza Plant (Pasadena), known for its large 13-topping, CBD-infused, plant-based Nacho Pizzas, recently debuted a USDA certified organic take-and-bake plant-based pizza at Whole Foods Market locations in California, Arizona, and Nevada. Available organic plant-based pies include: house-made ancho chilled spiced tofu pepperoni slices, Italian spiced wheat crumble, bell peppers, onions, kalamata olives, and cashew nut cheese and marinara; roasted baby bella mushrooms, broccoli, house-made pumpkin seed pesto, red onion, and cashew nut cheese; and house-made Italian spiced wheat crumble, cured shiitake bits, shaved fennel, and cashew nut cheese and marinara. atop an artisan crust. The 10" pies are packaged in a microwavable TreeSaver Pizza Pan. Pizza Plant is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Plant Craft Foods, Inc.

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October 06, 2019, to January 19, 2020

Vegetables Are Gradually Taking Over Menus At High-End Eateries

A dietary and dining revolution is taking place in the U.S., as the American consumer moves gradually away from traditional meat and dairy. A 2018 survey by Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, for example, found that two-thirds of Americans said they were cutting back on meat. Meanwhile, from April 2017 to July 2019 plant-based food sales grew approximately 31 percent, to $4.5 billion and will probably reach $6.5 billion by 2023. But a quieter facet of the revolution is reflected in the fact that the number of courses in eateries that highlight beef, pork, lamb, and poultry is dwindling at places where a $200 tasting menu is a bargain. New values are changing what’s considered a luxury when it comes to dining. Many of the hot topics and trends in At fine dining restaurants, where meats such as imported Japanese beef and game like antelope and boar were invariably the star attractions, diners might now find well-dressed mushrooms and roots. 

University’s Grain School: Where Bakers, Farmers Get An In-Depth Look At The World Of Grain

A group of gardeners, growers, and baking enthusiasts from the Santa Fe, N.M., area this month is meeting up in Colorado Springs to attend the Grain School at the University of Colorado. The group has spent the past two years conducting production trials and milling and baking tests on 52 different rare varieties of wheat, barley, amaranth, and other grains. That was precisely the outcome Nanna Meyer was hoping for when she launched the Grain School five years ago after the school’s dining service dropped its contract with a big foodservice company in favor of doing all food sourcing in-house. But chefs at the school couldn’t find locally-grown specialty grains, even though the local climate is perfect for grain production. To fix that Meyer knew there had to be both education and collaboration. The intensive three-day course, which can be taken for credit or non-credit, offers a comprehensive deep-dive into the world of grain, from breeding and agronomy to end uses like milling, baking, and brewing. The Grain School has sold out in recent years and is likely to sell out again this year. 

University’s “Ancient Grains” Project Hopes To Build A Niche Industry

The mission of the First Grains project at the University of Wyoming is to not only successfully cultivate ancient grains but to make a profitable, sustainable niche industry with them. Emmer, einkorn, and spelt – considered "ancient grains" or "first grains" – were some of the earliest domesticated cereal crops, grown over 10,000 years ago in ancient Mesopotamia during the first agricultural revolution. The project is growing the grains under dryland and irrigated conditions, using no-till, conventional, organic, and non-organic methods to determine which conditions result in the best yields. The biggest obstacle, though, is the additional step – de-hulling – required after harvesting the grains. A de-huller machine solved the problem, and now “the project can start building the niche industry and take the first steps toward privatization," a project leader said, including exploring potential products and markets.

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September 22, 2019, to October 06, 2019

DuPont: Plant-Based Nutrition Is Better Served By Combinations Of Synergistic Ingredients

DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences says plant-based nutrition is moving beyond single-source ingredients to synergistic combinations that strengthen the nutritional and sensorial profile of final products. Providing single ingredients was once the most common way to serve the plant-based diet market. But now DuPont’s application and development teams are increasingly blending plant-based ingredients that include proteins, stabilizers, antimicrobials and antioxidants, among others. The idea is to take the best of each plant ingredient to develop higher-performance formulations, bringing synergy and leverage of one ingredient to another. An example would be combining soy with almond, or soy with pea or rice and pea. The combinations are better than a single source of protein, because one can bring texture and the amino acids, while another can bring a different sensorial aspect or better hydration.

Established Foods Are Repositioning As “Real Foods” For The Sports Crowd

Creating new foods, or repositioning established, traditional foods, as sports nutrition products is proving to be a profitable business tactic. As sports nutrition products move into the mainstream, so-called “real foods” – devoid of artificial ingredients – are moving into the world of professional and amateur sports. Example include: Veloforte's sports twist on a traditional Italian treat packed with fruit and nuts; California-based Clif Bar, now firmly tethered to sports and activity;  Soreen, a fruit-based cake from the U.K. repositioned for recreational cyclists; low-sugar protein bar Grenade Carb Killa, marketed as a real food alternative to sports nutrition bars. The trend is powered by sports dietitians whose first principle is that whole foods are the best fuel.

Restaurant Sales Growth Ebbs As Delivery Emerges As Growth Area

Sales growth for the top 500 U.S. restaurant companies slid in 2018 to 3.3 percent compared to the average 3.8 percent for the restaurants in the last five-year period, according to Technomic research. And while the fast-casual segment outpaced all other segments, its sales growth slipped to eight percent from an average 9.8 percent gain for the past five-year period signaling a cooling-off period. Meanwhile, delivery has emerged as a major growth area for all restaurants. This has caused companies to explore packaging that allows food quality to sustain itself in transit. It is also causing chains to reconsider their store designs to include a separate entrance for delivery drivers. 

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August 25, 2019, to September 22, 2019

For French-Born Entrepreneur, The American Dream Is Built On Macarons

The French patisserie business Rosalie Guillem founded with her daughter Audrey in Sarasota, Fla., is approaching its tenth anniversary and is flush with entrepreneurial success. The company owns a few corporate stores, but also some 50 franchise locations, in Florida, California, New Hampshire, Arizona, and seven other states. Another 30 franchises are in development, all based on the original flagship delicacy, an airy but decadent macaron – not to be confused with an American macaroon. The company did $11 million in sales in 2018, made the Inc. 5,000 list of the nation’s fastest-growing companies in 2016, and posted 259 percent growth over three years. Guillem’s Le Macaron stores now offer gelato, eclairs, napoleons, pies, cakes, croissants, and fine chocolates – all made with French ingredients. A catering unit handles parties, weddings and other events – all of it a testament to the dogged pursuit of the American dream, French-style.

“Bread Nerd” Uses Yeast Dormant For Eons To Bake “Incredible” Loaves Of Bread

Self-professed “bread nerd” Seamus Blackley, one of the developers of the Xbox, has created a stir in baking circles by experimenting with yeast extracted from a 4,000-year-old Egyptian loaf and from ancient artefacts. The artefacts, including Egyptian ceramics once used to make or store beer and bread, were found at museums in Boston with the help of an interested archaeologist. Blackley, who also collects wild yeast from medieval forests, created a loaf of sourdough bread with a “light and airy” crumb and an “incredible” flavor and aroma. He shared his results on Twitter, sparking interest among thousands of people. Useable thousand-year-old yeast? Yes, experts say: once yeast spores run out of food they go dormant, rather than simply dying, and stay quietly viable for thousands of years until they are extracted.

Ackee-Stuffed Patties Form The Core Of Jamaican Baker’s Growing Business

Jamaica native Chantal Thomas is a career baker and pastry chef who also blogs about her country’s national fruit, the avocado-like ackee, which she employs in numerous recipes, including one for a vegan ackee-stuffed patty. In addition to ackee patties, Thomas sells ones filled with eggplant, chickpea and zucchini, and lentil. For the crust, Thomas uses coconut instead of shortening. She formed her company, Amazing Ackee LLC, in 2017 and began baking out of a rented kitchen. She landed a spot at one farmers market last year and expanded to four markets this year. Thomas sells between 20 and 40 dozen patties a week at the farmers markets, the volume matching demand for vegan products.

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July 21, 2019, to August 25, 2019

Hilton Hotel Chain To Send Its Cookie Dough Into Outer Space


U.S. hotel chain DoubleTree by Hilton has partnered with space flight appliance company Zero G Kitchen and NanoRacks, which provides commercial access to space travel, to launch a batch of its DoubleTree Cookie dough and a prototype oven to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of a microgravity experiment. With the launch, Hilton becomes the first hospitality company to participate in research aboard the space station. The husband and wife team at Zero G Kitchen responsible for the space oven concept said the DoubleTree Cookie was their first thought when they began creating an oven to make space travel more comfortable.

Bimbo Bakeries Says Downsized Households Deserve A Downsized Loaf Of Bread



The Arnold, Brownberry and Oroweat bread brands of Bimbo Bakeries USA have single-person household in minds with their new Simply Small 10-slice bags. The idea is to provide just the right ammoungt of bread needed by smaller households while avoiding food waste. The single-person household is no small demographic: twenty-eight percent of U.S. households fit the category. And they often skip buying bread because they just don’t eat a regular loaf. Simply Small is available in Honey Oat and White with Whole Milk varieties under all three labels. They have no artificial preservatives, colors or flavors, no high fructose corn syrup, and no trans fat. Simply Small breads are available at major retailers on the East and West Coasts at about $2.49 a package.

Better Ingredients, Better Pizza – For Breakfast?

A recent survey of 9,000 customers commissioned by mobile pizza-ordering and delivery service Slice found that 53 percent preferred cold pizza for breakfast than cereal or eggs. Though it’s a finding that many nutritionists and cereal makers may find indigestible – some consider pizza at any time of the day a no-no – others argue that pizza has more nutrients than cereal or doughnuts. For example, a New York-based nutritionist says a slice of pizza contains more fat and much less sugar than most cold cereals, “so you will not experience a quick sugar crash.” Pizza also has more protein than a bowl of cereal. If the idea of pizza-for-breakfast catches on, “some pizza purveyors may want to think about opening earlier in the day to take advantage of the demand for pizza in the morning.” 

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June 16, 2019, to July 21, 2019

Organic Farming Has A Plastics Problem Too

Organic farming, like traditional farming, has hit an obstacle caused by the move to limit single-use plastic, which is used as mulch to suppress weeds, improve irrigation and water conservation, and support plant growth. Plastic film to cover acres of arable land represents miles of film, which is disposed of in landfills after one use. There are as yet no feasible alternatives. Biodegradable plastic, for example, is disallowed under existing organic rules in the US, and natural mulches are expensive and labor-intensive. Manufacturers of biodegradable options, including BASF, have been calling on the USDA's National Organic Program to change the rules, but the long-term impact has yet to be identified. 

Aldi UK Replaces Plastic Checkout Bags With Paper Or Compostable Options




Aldi in the UK will from July this year replace plastic bags in half of its stores with paper bags, and biodegradable bags at the other half. After the trial, Aldo will choose the most popular. The Bioplast 100% compostable bags will cost 6p. Aldo is charging 19p for the paper bags. 

Coca-Cola In Belgium Asks Consumers Not To Buy Its Products Unless It Plans To Recycle Them

Coca-Cola in Belgium is trying an ambitious approach to raising awareness of the need to recycle plastic, with a summer campaign that asks consumers not to buy Coke products if they aren’t willing to help the company recycle. Some 85% of Coca-Cola packaging in the country is currently recycled, but the company says this rate is not high enough. The campaign is also being adopted in the Netherlands, on TV ads as well as activations in towns and at festivals. Although the campaign ends in September, it will be incorporated in other advertising.

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May 26, 2019, to June 16, 2019

New Data On Bread Wheat May Help Improve Yield, Disease Resistance

For about 12,000 years, since the dawn of agriculture, humans have been selectively breeding plants with desirable traits, such as high grain yield and disease resistance. Bread wheat (triticum aestivum) during that time emerged as one of the world's most important crops. Together with the growing human population and the changing climate, the demand for wheat with a higher yield and additional resilience is increasing. However, for a few years now the average yield increase of wheat is stagnating. But, according to a new study (Pont et al., Nature Genetics, 2019; 51 (5): 905), high-yielding varieties of triticum aestivum can be found all over the world, each adapted to its growing environment. The study provides a rich genetic data resource that can be used to improve genetic traits in bread wheat, from environmental adaptation to improved yield and disease resistance. 

Hey America! Chickpea Flour Is Not A U.S. Innovation

Indians, Nepalese, Pakistanis, and others have been cooking with chickpea flour for centuries. And now that Americans are getting into the ancient ingredient, some Indians wonder whether their culinary heritage might be getting blurred. The popularity of chickpea flour in the U.S. has been traced to 2009, when it began to appear on gluten-free blogs. In a few years, cookbooks appeared with recipes, for example, like chickpea flour pancakes layered with tomatoes and onions. Gluten-free bakeries popped up, offering treats like chickpea chocolate cupcakes. But freelance food writer Priya Krishna, whose family has long cooked with chickpea flour, wishes cooks and bakers in the U.S. were aware of chickpea flour’s deep roots in South Asian cooking. “I'm not against chickpea flour entering the mainstream,” she writes. “But I wish that more of the stories I read about it, or the recipes I saw that featured it, didn't frame it as a brand-new discovery, and completely ignore its heritage.”

Whole Grain Reduces Gut Serotonin Levels – And Risk Of Diabetes

A new Finnish study finds that adults who eat whole grain rye products have lower plasma serotonin levels than people eating low-fiber wheat bread, and therefore possibly a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Serotonin, best known as a neurotransmitter in the brain, is also produced by the intestines where it remains separated from the brain. In the gut it serves various peripheral functions. including modulation of gut motility, the ability to move food through the digestive tract. Increased blood serotonin is also associated with high blood glucose levels. The researchers noted that whole grain is known to reduce the risk of diabetes. “On the basis of these new results, the effect could at least partly be due to a decrease in serotonin levels," said researcher Kati Hanhineva from the University of Eastern Finland. (Pekka Keski-Rahkonen et al., The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2019.)
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