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The Power Of Digital Is Driving Coca-Cola’s “Consumer-Centric” Strategy

June 15, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

At the Consumer Goods Forum in Singapore recently Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey emphasized his company’s commitment to a digital and ecommerce future when he noted that digital will put Coke products “within a click’s reach of desire.” He cited as evidence what’s happening in China, where there are four times as many mobile users as in the U.S., and “rapid and exponential growth” in digital technologies is driving change in Asia’s beverage industry. Quincey said the strategy of creating a consumer-centric product portfolio is based on making Coke products a part of peoples’ lives by offering the brands they want in the package sizes they prefer. Digital tools will make that happen.

"Coke should be ‘within a click’s reach’ of consumers, CEO says", FoodBev.com, June 15, 2018, © FoodBev Media Ltd
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Coca-Cola Ponders Bid For GSK’s Horlicks Malted Beverage Brand

June 15, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Coca-Cola may be looking to solidify its commitment to India as it contemplates a bid for children’s malted drink brand Horlicks, marketed in India by pharmaceuticals company GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, which has a 72.5 percent stake. Nestlé and Kraft Heinz are also thought to be considering a bid for the 145-year-old $3.3 billion Chicago-based brand. Coca-Cola is committed to offering more healthful beverage options in India beyond soft drinks and expects to invest $1.7 billion there through 2023 developing region-specific juices made from native fruits. 

"Coca-Cola, Nestlé and Kraft Heinz eyeing GSK’s Horlicks – reports", FoodBev.com, June 15, 2018, © FoodBev Media Ltd
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Lawmakers Ask Exemption For Maple Syrup, Honey From “Added Sugars” Labeling

June 8, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle and both houses of Congress asked FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb urging an exemption for pure maple syrup and honey from new “added sugars” disclosure requirements in any rewrite of the Nutrition Facts box on food labels. The FDA has proposed changes that would require an added sugar disclosure for most products. An added sugars declaration on pure maple syrup or honey products, the lawmakers wrote in their letter, “may signal to consumers that these pure products … actually contain added sweeteners such as table sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. This is patently false." The FDA's March 2, 2018, Draft Guidance allows manufacturers to add a symbol after the added sugars daily value pointing consumers to clearer language on the label, but that “seems unlikely to reduce consumer confusion.” [Image Credit: © Wikimedia Commons (GearedBull)]

 

"CRAMER, WELCH TO FDA: EXEMPT PURE MAPLE AND HONEY FROM "ADDED SUGAR" LABEL RULE", News release, Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), June 08, 2018, © US Federal Government
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Coca-Cola’s E-Commerce Chief Sees Synergy Between Sales Reps, E-Tail

June 8, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Sales reps at many companies see e-commerce as a threat to their sales and commissions But Coca-Cola’s system of training and customer segmentation makes e-commerce an asset to sales reps, according to Marta Dalton. For low-volume customers, online buying makes good sense because it only costs $3 to acquire a customer (compared to $50 to $80 to bring in a new customer through a sales call). The real value of e-commerce to a sales rep is the reduction in time wasted on grunt work, freeing the rep to focus on selling, rather than paperwork. E-commerce helps sales reps in areas such as: scheduling appointments; accessing support before, during and after sales calls; and tapping into communication channels that provide B2B services like print, e-mail, search, and social.

Mark Brohan , "Coca-Cola makes e-commerce work for sales reps", Digital Commerce 360, June 08, 2018, © Vertical Web Media LLC
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Elimination of “Country-Of-Origin” Labeling On Meat Sold Here Upheld By Court

June 7, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Although federal judge Rosanna Malouf Peterson agreed with domestic livestock producers that the lack of country-of-origin labelling on beef and pork products sold here was harmful to business, she ultimately sided with the USDA and dismissed their lawsuit asking that such labeling be required. Meat producers filed suit in Spokane in June 2017 after U.S. legislation called for the USDA to remove the country-of-origin labeling requirements following sanctions imposed by the World Trade Organization. Peterson said that unfortunately the legal clock had run out for any challenge to the underlying 1989 federal law, and that the U.S. Congress had clearly intended to have the labeling end. The livestock producers vowed to continue the fight. [Image Credit: © Specialty Food Association]

Thomas Clouse, "Federal judge in Spokane dismisses suit seeking to reinstate country-of-origin labels on imported meat", The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.), June 07, 2018, © The Spokesman-Review
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Bipartisan Bill Seeks To Protect U.S. Consumers From Inaccurate Food Labels

June 7, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Eight Republican and Democratic congressmen joined to introduce a bill that would provide American consumers with “clear, accurate, meaningful” nutrition information on food products and prevent inaccurate and misleading labels that drive up prices. According to lead sponsor of the bill Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), the Accurate Labels Act (H.R. 6022) would establish science-based criteria for labeling requirements and ensure that “legitimate risks” are taken seriously. The bill would allow state-mandated product information to be provided through smartphone-enabled "smart labels" and on websites and ensure that covered product information is risk-based. It has the support of the American Chemistry Council, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, and others.[Image Credit: © USFDA]

"Congressmen Kinzinger And Schrader Join Senator Moran To Introduce Accurate Labels Act", News release, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), June 07, 2018, © US Federal Government
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Clean Label Muffin Start-up Secures $2.5M In Seed Funding

June 7, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

N.Y.-based clean label muffin bakery start-up Soozy’s has snagged $2.5 million in seed funding from two VC companies. The company's products are certified gluten-free, certified paleo, Non-GMO Project Verified, and contain no gums, fillers, refined sugars, grains, dairy, peanuts, soy or additives. Soozy's products can be purchased online or in 500 retail outlets in Texas, the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, including H-E-B and Wegmans. Investors include BIGR Ventures, a growth equity fund, and AccelFoods, an investment fund that focuses on innovative, high-growth packaged food and beverage companies. [Image Credit: © Soozy’s]

"Soozy's Closes on $2.5 Million in Seed Capital From BIGR Ventures and AccelFoods", PRNewswire, June 07, 2018, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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USDA Proposal On Disclosure Of Bioengineered Food Ingredients Release

June 6, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

The USDA’s long-awaited proposed rule providing a national standard for disclosure of bioengineered food ingredients was released in May with a public comment period extending to July 3. The proposed rule implements the 2016 National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard Act, which pre-empts state GMO labeling schemes, including Vermont’s. The final rule is supposed to take effect on July 29. However, Chicago law firm Seyfarth Shaw LLP says it is likely that deadline will be missed because there are several unanswered questions: for example, how will the presence of "bioengineered" ingredients be disclosed?  Which foods and food manufacturers will be exempted from the labeling requirements. These open questions mean food manufacturers, retailers, consumers, industry groups, and other interested parties can shape the final rule, the firm notes. [Image Credit: © Wikimedia (Tony Webster)]

Jay Connolly, Edward F. Maluf, Joseph J. Orzano and Owen Wolfe, "United States: The USDA's Proposed National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard", Mondaq Business Briefing, June 06, 2018, © Mondaq
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New FDA Menu Labeling Regulations Now In Effect

June 6, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

With no plans by the Trump administration to interfere, FDA menu nutrition labeling took effect last month over the objections of major grocers and retailers. Meanwhile, the House passed legislation (H.R. 772) that would ease compliance, but the Senate hasn’t yet acted on the bill. The new FDA rules apply to all restaurants and similar retail food establishments nationwide with 20 or more locations; do business under the same name; and offer substantially the same menu items. Among other requirements, all menu boards must conspicuously mention that nutrition information is based on a 2,000 calories-a-day diet, and that more written information is available. Menu boards are defined as all primary writings – in-store, Internet, and take-home – from which the consumer orders food. Calorie information must be conspicuously displayed next to the name or price of "standard menu items."[Image Credit: © CSPI]

Robert B. Milligan and Daniel Joshua Salinas , "United States: FDA Menu Labeling Rules Unfreeze", Mondaq Business Briefing, June 06, 2018, © Mondaq
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Clean Label Seaweed-Based Pig Feed Debuts In America

June 5, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Ireland’s Ocean Harvest Technology Ltd. announced it is introducing in the U.S. pork products from swine raised on its Oceanfeed Swine seaweed-based feed ingredient formulated for pork. Farmers supplying poultry and livestock producer Heritage Foods are feeding their pigs with the feed made from a proprietary blend of red, brown, and green seaweed species. Brooklyn-based Heritage Farms is committed to providing heritage breed poultry and livestock raised on pasture without antibiotic growth promoters to American consumers. Customers who have tried Oceanfeed, a natural prebiotic, see enhanced animal health, more efficient nutrient uptake, and reduced mortality rates. [Image Credit: © Ocean Harvest]

"Ocean Harvest Technology Introduces North American Heritage Breed Pork Products Enhanced With Seaweed-Based Feed Ingredients", Business Wire, June 05, 2018, © Business Wire, Inc
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Bakery Debuts Line Of Clean Label Minicakes

June 4, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Family-owned California bakery Sugar Bowl Bakery has launched a line of clean label miniature “Button Cakes” in four flavors. The minicakes are made with butter and eggs, contain real fruit and vanilla bean seeds, but no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. The Button Cakes – available in tropical mango, wild blueberry, lemon zest and madagascar vanilla flavors – will be sold in eight- and 16-count packages in retail stores throughout the U.S.  They were introduced at the recent International Dairy Deli Bakery Association Show in New Orleans, La. [Image Credit: © Sugar Bowl Bakery]

"Sugar Bowl Bakery Expands Product Line with Launch of its New Button Cakes At The International Dairy Deli Bakery Association Show", Globe Newswire, June 04, 2018, © GlobeNewswire, Inc
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Sales Of Soymilk, Rice Milk, Are Weakest Among The Non-Dairy Offerings

June 4, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

New SPINS data show that sales of refrigerated and shelf-stable soymilk slid 10.5 percent and 9.6 percent respectively in the year that ended April 22, while sales of refrigerated almondmilk rose 9.8 percent and shelf-stable almond milk rose four percent. Sales of refrigerated coconut milk were up 5.2 percent, shelf-stable varieties were up 3.3 percent, refrigerated rice milk slid 5.6 percent, and shelf-stable dropped 3.7 percent. However, the “other” category of plant-based milks (i.e., cashew, walnut, pea, hemp, quinoa, oat, and flaxmilk) and “blends” experienced the most robust growth. A Mintel analyst said innovation in the non-dairy milk category would drive it forward this year “as both mainstream bases like almond and alternative plant bases offer added functional benefits and unique flavors.”

Elaine Watson , "SPINS data: Who are the winners and losers in the plant-based milk category? ", Food Navigator USA, June 04, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Healthful Baked Snacks For Kids Who Are “Picky Eaters”

June 1, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Freedom Foods North America, a unit of the Australian company, is introducing a line of healthful, affordable snacks for kids who are “picky eaters.” Messy Monkeys are baked whole grain non-GMO sorghum and quinoa bites available in kid-friendly flavors, including pizza, cheese, and apple. Each serving contains 14 percent protein, seven percent fiber, one gram of sugar, and less than 100 mg of salt. Messy Monkeys are sold in a 10-pack for $5.99 and are available for now only through Amazon. The company said distribution partnerships with multiple natural foods retailers will be announced soon, and the snacks will be selling nationwide by the end of the year. [Image Credit: © Freedom Foods North America]

Mary Ellen Shoup, "Messy Monkeys balances nutrition with affordability for US launch", FoodNavigator-USA.com, June 01, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Advanced Store-Shelf Audit Technology Gives Coca-Cola Speedy Competitive Intelligence

May 31, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Coca-Cola is one of the biggest CPG companies that is replacing “old school and time-consuming” manual store shelf audits with advanced digital tools. The company is using technology from start-up Trax that merges image recognition, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to analyze smartphone images of store shelves to provide timely insight into fast-changing consumer buying patterns. According to Coca-Cola, it used to take a month to collect shelf data manually, and another three months to organize it – way too much time to react to competitive challenges. Using the new technology cuts time and costs, allowing store shelf audits to be conducted every two months instead of twice a year. The company is testing the technology in three of its nearly 70 North American bottlers/distributors that “serve as its regular eye on the ground.”

Andria Cheng, "CPG Brands Are Leveling The Playing Field By Bringing This Digital Tool Into Brick-And-Mortar Retail", Forbes.com, May 31, 2018, © Forbes Media LLC
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Nestlé Waters Acquires Majority Stake In Welsh Bottled Water Company

May 31, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

The founders of Wales-based bottled water company Princes Gate Spring Water Ltd. believe they have found “the best partner in Nestlé Waters” to grow their 27-year-old business. Nestlé Waters has acquired a majority stake in the company, hoping to further exploit growing demand for bottled water in the U.K. Founded by two brothers on land farmed by generations of their family, the company sells Princes Gate spring water in the retail and out of home (OOH) channels and under other brand names.  It is one of the few U.K. bottling facilities that are 100 percent self-sufficient, thanks to renewable energy from an onsite wind turbine.

"Nestlé Waters acquires majority share in Princes Gate Spring Water Ltd", Nestle, May 31, 2018, © Nestle
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Midwest Supermarket Chain Hy-Vee Has Success Selling Sourdough Breads

May 30, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

A Hy-Vee supermarket in Urbandale, Ill., sells about 400 half- and full-loaves of sourdough bread every week in four varieties: regular, roasted garlic, rye, and jalapeño-cheddar. The volume sold makes sourdough one of the most popular breads at the store and inspired the store manager to sell sourdough rolls. The Hy-Vee experience is an example of a trend among supermarkets to offer more natural, preservative-free breads. Authentic sourdough is made with only flour, water, and salt, and no other additives or preservatives. According to Mintel, sourdough bread is also a facet of another growing food trend: fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha.  About 50 Hy-Vee stores in the Midwest were taught how to make sourdough starter, and now bake the loaves on a regular basis. [Image Credit: © Hy-Vee]

Carol Angrisani, "Sweet sales for sourdough", Supermarket News, May 30, 2018, © Informa USA, Inc
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Traditional Dairy Products Have An Image Problem, But It’s Solvable

May 29, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Alternatives to cow’s milk made from soy, rice, oats, and other plant-based ingredients, are catching on big with consumers, mainly because of smart marketing by producers. The result is that sales of liquid milk slid 3.5 percent in the five years ended in 2017, while dairy alternatives – still a tiny slice of the $600 billion dairy market – grew four percent. The shift is due to a perception by consumers that dairy alternatives are more healthful, and more eco-friendly, than cow’s milk, though experts say there is no evidence of that. But some traditional milk brands have bucked the trend. Coca-Cola’s premium Fairlife milk has grown by touting its ingredients: more protein and calcium, less sugar and lactose. Other dairy companies could follow suit by emphasizing innovation, “premiumization,” new packaging with, label transparency about sourcing, and clear statements about humane treatment of dairy animals.

Lauren Hirsch , "Milk may need a makeover: Alternatives to dairy are increasingly winning over consumers", CNBC, May 29, 2018, © CNBC LLC
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JAB Holdings Acquires U.K.-based Sandwich Shop Chain

May 29, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

German family-owned investment group JAB Holdings will acquire the 530-store U.K.-based sandwich shop chain Pret A Manger from private equity group Bridgepoint for $2 billion including debt. Bridgepoint paid $486 million for the chain ten years ago. The purchase price is about 15 times earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, the people said. Annual sales are about $1.2 billion. 

Javier Espinoza and Arash Massoudi in London, "Deal-hungry JAB to buy Pret A Manger for £1.5bn", The Financial Times, May 29, 2018, © The Financial Times Limited
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Food Industry Paper Reports On Progress In Fight Against Waste Since 2016

May 26, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

After the British food waste experts at Wrap reported on the enormity of the problem, trade newspaper The Grocer in 2016 launched an editorial campaign to double the amount of edible food being redistributed, to lobby for governmental fiscal incentives to curb waste, and to encourage greater engagement and cooperation in the food industry. Wrap had reported that 1.9 million tons of edible food was being wasted annually, some by grocery stores, but the most by producers who left ugly but otherwise perfectly good produce in the fields to rot. A lot of edible food – 525 million meals – could have been donated to serve the hungry but wasn’t. Since the launch of the campaign, there have been some major changes in the U.K. food and beverage distribution system, particularly in the areas of redistribution; commitment by retailers, suppliers, trade bodies, and campaigners to waste reduction; and increased transparency about waste policies and practices in the food industry. [Image Credit: © Wikimedia]

Megan Tatum, "Reversing the rot on food waste: two years of our campaign", The Grocer, May 26, 2018, © William Reed Business Media
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Chilean Dairy Company Unveils Children’s Probiotic Drink In Recyclable Box

May 24, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Chilean dairy producer Soprole has launched a probiotic beverage for children packaged in an 80 ml recyclable Tetra Pak cardboard box. Uno Colación is available in strawberry and multi-fruit flavors in the country’s main supermarkets. The drinks are low in sodium, and sugar- and fat-free. Tetra Pak says this is the first time its container has been used in Chile. The Aseptic 80 ml Slim, designed for children's consumption, is easy to carry and drink from, and is with recyclable cardboard from FSC certified forest sources. Soprole and Nestlé dominate the Chilean dairy market.

Stephen Daniells, "Soprole works with Tetra Pak to launch new probiotic format for children", Beverage Daily, May 24, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Clean Label “Total Beverage Solution” Debuts

May 22, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Global beverage supplier Arcadia Beverage has launched what it calls “a total beverage solution for foodservice and retail operations.” The Zumora beverage line is “high in flavors, low in calories, and contains no preservatives or additives. Available in 12 oz. ready-to-drink bottles and 50 and 128 oz. beverage base, is a ready-to-use 3:1 concentrate mix available in lemon, strawberry lime, cucumber mint, mango, pineapple coconut, and other flavors. "Developing beverages with a clean label is at the core of our formulation,” an Arcadia spokesman said. [Image Credit: © Arcadia Beverage]

"Arcadia Beverage Launches Clean Label Beverage Line, Zumora", PR Newswire, May 22, 2018, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Snack Company Toosum Introduces Protein Cookies With No Added Sugar

May 21, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Snack brand Toosum launched its Protein Cookies product at the recent Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago. The 180-200-calorie cookies contain no added sugar, contain ten grams of protein along with oat fiber, and are gluten-free, vegan, kosher, and non-GMO. They will be available in oatmeal peanut butter, oatmeal chocolate chip, and oatmeal double chocolate fudge. "Time continues to show that people are tired of eating dried up protein bars or processed junk food with high sugar and calorie counts," said Toosum founder Peter Guyer. [Image Credit: © Toosum]

"Toosum's Newest "Bites with Benefits" to Debut at Sweets & Snacks Expo", Chicago Business Journal, May 21, 2018, © PRNewswire
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Coke Unveils Lower-Sugar Variants In Its Simply Juice Line

May 21, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Coca-Cola’s Simply Beverages unit announced expansion of its juice product line with the addition of more healthful, lower-sugar varieties of orange juice and lemonade. The new orange juice variants – Simply Light Orange Pulp Free and Simply Light Orange with Calcium & Vitamin D – have about half of the sugar and calories of the original Simply Orange. Simply Light Lemonade and Simply Light Lemonade with Raspberry have 75 percent less sugar and less calories than Simply Lemonade. The move represents another step toward the goal of marketing more healthful beverages outlined in Coca-Cola’s 2017 Sustainability Report, which revealed a commitment to reduce sugar in more than 400 drinks.

Collin Huguley, "Coca-Cola continues low-sugar push with new healthier line of juices", Atlanta Business Chronicle, May 21, 2018, © American City Business Journals
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Americans Are Getting A Taste Of Canada’s Gooey Butter Tart Pastry

May 20, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Canadian visitors to, or expats living in, the New York City area can now feast on one of their country’s most beloved pastries, a delicacy known as the butter tart. Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Btarts Sweet Canadian Treats company is working hard to make the butter tart as mainstream in the U.S. as it is in Canada. Founded by transplanted Canadians, Btart’s gooey treats are made with all-natural ingredients, including maple and pure syrup for the filling, but no shortening, lard, or corn syrup. The owners and their wares have been featured on national TV, and in various American food publications. Available online, they are shipped anywhere in the U.S., but not, unfortunately, into Canada. [Image Credit: © Btarts/Smorgasburg Brooklyn]

Rita DeMontis, "Are butter tarts only for Canadians?", Toronto Sun, May 20, 2018, © Sun Media Corporation
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Nestlé Waters Debuts RTD Sparkling Tea Products Under Sanpellegrino Brand

May 18, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Nestlé Waters believes it can make the most of its Sanpellegrino customer base while expanding to new audiences with the launch of an RTD subcategory comprising a “flavor-packed, premium sparkling tea experience," dubbed Sanpellegrino + Tea. The range of organic, low-calorie sparkling teas includes Limone + Tea and Pesca + Tea flavors. The brand was launched in Canada in March and recently in the U.K. as a component of a brand awareness campaign this year featuring digital engagement, experiential and sampling activities, in-store merchandising, and print ads.

Lucy Britner, "Nestlé Waters' Sanpellegrino + Tea - Product Launch", Just-drinks.com, May 18, 2018, © Just-drinks.com
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Sales Of Protein Beverages, Including Waters, Are On The Rise

May 17, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

RTD beverages that contain protein are seeing sales increase to meet demand from health-conscious consumers seeking to conveniently boost intake of the nutrient. Different brands of protein-rich drinks offer various functional benefits, including energy, refueling, rehydration, satiation, sports nutrition, and meal replacement. A growing subcategory of protein drinks is protein water, including those containing WPI, a concentrated clear protein source. Protein water is represented by several brands and companies: BiPro Protein Water from BiPro U.S.A;  Chicago-based Protein2O, with two product lines; Bolthouse Farms (Campbell Soup Co.) B Strong and B Balanced beverages;  Gatorade protein shakes (PepsiCo); and JoeFroyo Functional Cold Brew coffee with caffeine, probiotics, and protein. Protein sources include milk protein isolate, whey, pea protein, pumpkin seed protein, and collagen peptides.

Donna Berry, "Beverage makers capitalizing on the power of protein", Food Business News, May 17, 2018, © SOSLAND PUBLISHING COMPANY
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Companies Start To Adopt World’s First Plastic-Free Packaging Mark

May 16, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

A ‘plastic-free’ Trust Mark has been launched to advise shoppers on the material used to package food and drink, as part of initiatives to cut the use of plastic in packaging. It was created by environmental group A Plastic Planet. Iceland is the first British retailer to adopt it, and it plans to use on its own-label products as part of its pledge to stamp out single-use plastic packaging by 2023. Beverage brand Teapigs will also display the Trust Mark on its packaging, and Dutch supermarket chain Ekoplaza is another early-adopter. It is the first retailer to build plastic-free aisles in its supermarkets. 

Sarah Knapton, "World’s first plastic-free mark will help shoppers choose eco-friendly products", The Telegraph, May 16, 2018, © Telegraph Media Group Limited
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Successful Australian Start-Up Sells Snap Frozen Unwanted Berries

May 16, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

An Australian couple committed to reducing food waste in their region have created a company that puts so-called “wonky” (i.e., miscolored, misshapen, or otherwise unsold) fruits rejected by supermarket chains to good use. They maintain a warehouse where they and their small staff snap freeze raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and blackcurrants. Stuart and Allison McGruddy say they wanted to help berry growers manage any oversupply and reduce the waste. In 2016 found a niche market for safe and quality frozen berries, restoring public faith in the product after food scares associated with imported berries. The berries are carefully hand-picked, washed and frozen on the same day before being packaged into transparent zip-locked pouches. The berries arrive at the buyer’s door packed in dry ice. [Image Credit: © myberries.com.au]

"Couple put the freeze on berry growing waste", Moreton Life, May 16, 2018, © Moreton Life
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Polish Student Invents Edible Vegetarian Packaging Made From Kombucha

May 16, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Edible packaging is becoming a reality with the creation of Scoby, the brainchild of Polish design student, Roza Janusz. With the potential to help reduce the use of plastic in packaging, Scoby is a vegetarian wrapping material made by mixing sugars and other organic substances with kombucha, a fermented drink produced with yeast, bacteria, and tea. During the process, the biocellulose membrane forms on the surface of the mixture and layers into a sheet-like material, similar to how an onion grows. With its long shelf life, Scoby can be used to wrap farmers' produce including vegetables, fruits, herbs, and seeds. It can also be used to pack instant meals. Given Scoby's acidic PH level and mineral compounds, it can also be used by farmers as a natural fertilizer. While Scoby is not yet available in the market yet, Janusz said plans are in the pipeline to make this alternative packaging commercially available soon.  

Jesus Diaz, "This new edible packaging is grown from kombucha", Fast Company Design, May 16, 2018, © Mansueto Ventures, LLC
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Coca-Cola Weathers Several Storms Since 2013 To Find Smoother Sailing

May 15, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

A number of “qualifications” – particularly restructuring costs, currency ups and downs, and ongoing bottler refranchising – make Coca-Cola’s five-year financial performance a little cloudy. But an analysis by just-drinks reveals “modest, if not spectacular, growth” globally. Among the highlights: a gradual shift in emphasis in global product mix due to evolving consumer trends; the success of RTD tea and coffee, packaged water, and sports drinks; overall market share gains in major regions, fueled by a rising global middle class, increased urbanization, and higher spending on personal consumption; an increase in billion-dollar brands to 20; and a reduction to three percent of volume from company-owned bottlers thanks to refranchising in China and the U.S. through 2016 and 2017 that led to lower sales (down 15 percent) but higher margins in a brand-led but less capital-intensive operation. 

Nigel Huddleston, "The Coca-Cola Co Performance Trends 2013-2017 - results data", just-drinks.com, May 15, 2018, © just-drinks.com
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Eat17 Escalates The Fight Against Single-Use Plastic

May 15, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Eat17, the eco-friendly retail and restaurant chain, is joining the battle against single-use plastic, introducing paper straws and bamboo cups in its restaurants. It is also bringing in refillable stations in its Bishop’s Stortford store for a range of products, including organic milk, wine, nuts, cereals and grains, and also washing up liquid and laundry detergent. It expects to roll the stations out to other stores during the year. Eat17 said the moves align with customers looking to become more eco-friendly and cut down on single-use plastics and pre-packaged food. [

Liz Wells, "Eat17 introduces initiatives to cut plastic waste", Talking Retail, May 15, 2018, © Independent Retail News
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Start-Up Cookie Company Offers “Great Treat Without The Cheat”

May 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

A start-up bakery is targeting the low-sugar, low-carb market with snacks once known as Keto Cookies. Nui Foods LLC offers a variety of cookies that are low-carb, gluten free, and contain only two grams of sugar per serving. The company says their new cookie line offer a delicious way to resist sweet cravings on-the-go, “a great treat without the cheat.” Founded in 2016 in Southern California, Nui has expanded its reach and offers four flavors: peanut butter, chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, and double chocolate. Key ingredients include: erythritol and Monk fruit extract, grass-fed butter, coconut oil and MCT oil, almond and coconut flavors, and six grams of protein. [Image Credit: © Nui Foods LLC]

"Nui Foods Offers a Keto Friendly Cookie With No Added Sugar ", Business Wire, May 14, 2018, © Business Wire Inc
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WHO Asks World’s Governments To Ban Trans Fats By 2023

May 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

The World Health Organization (WHO) wants the world’s governments to eliminate trans fats – partially hydrogenated vegetable oil – associated with margarine, Crisco and other low-price, long shelf products linked to countless premature deaths. WHO’s guidelines suggest eliminating trans fats from global food supplies within five years, a move that would save as many as 10 million lives. WHO’s campaign was developed with the help of Vital Strategies, a global health group backed by Michael Bloomberg, who as mayor of New York City, introduced the first municipal ban on trans fats in 2006. Denmark, Switzerland, Canada, Britain, and the United States have all moved to restrict or ban trans fats. [Image Credit: © Adam Engelhart (flickr]

Andrew Jacobs, "Trans Fats Should be Eliminated Worldwide by 2023, WHO Says", The New York Times, May 14, 2018, © The New York Times Company
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Heirloom Grains Are Reviving Interest In Eating Bread

May 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

According to the head baker and co-founder of Illinois-based artisan bread specialist  Hewn Bakery, bread is making a comeback because more consumers are paying attention to the ingredients used in baking. They are particularly interested in the flour, says Ellen King, and that heritage and ancient grains that are processed in ways that reduce the likelihood of allergic reactions to gluten. King is working with local farmers who are growing some unusual, even unheard of, grain and wheat varieties. Among these is the Einkorn, which she blends with other heritage wheats to make “an amazing, nutty and rich bread with little flecks of gold inside." Other varieties include Rouge de Bordeaux, a French wheat used to make all of their whole wheat bread, and Marquis, a nearly extinct variety revived by Hazzard Free Farm of Pecatonica, Ill. [Image Credit: © Hewn Bakery]

Megy Karydes, "Heritage Grains Are Making a Comeback And Contributing to Bread's Resurgence", Forbes.com, May 14, 2018, © Forbes Media LLC
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Coca-Cola HBC Posts Healthy 1st Q Results, Notably In Energy Segment

May 11, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (HBC) posted a 4.5 percent increase (FX neutral) in first quarter sales to $1.6 billion along with a 2.3 percent increase in volume. The company is looking forward to a healthy second quarter as Russia hosts the two weeks-long FIFA World Cup matches beginning on June 14. The first quarter rise in sales came despite continued economic weakness in Nigeria and Russia, which are both likely to improve in 2018. Volumes of the company’s carbonated soft drink portfolio increased by 2.8 percent year-on-year, water grew 0.9 percent, but juices slid two percent. The energy drinks segment soared nearly 27.8 percent in volume, with continued strong performance from Monster.

Olly Wehring, "Coca-Cola HBC upbeat on 2018 - Q1 2018 results", just-drinks.com, May 11, 2018, © just-drinks.com
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Tinkering With Sourdough Process To Improve Digestion

May 11, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Canadian and U.S. wheat-promoting agencies are funding research into whether the fermentation process used to create sourdough bread could be tweaked to make it “a more easily digested food option” for people with wheat allergies. The sourdough fermentation process breaks down proteins and carbohydrates in wheat flour that are known to cause wheat sensitivity. Canadian food microbiologist Michael Gänzle's project aims to better understand whether this fermentation process is sufficient in reducing adverse effects and hopes to define the best practices for making easily-digestible bread. Funding for the three-year project will total $147,250. "This is a unique project that has exciting potential for the baking industry," said Laura Reiter of the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission. (© Wikimedia)

"Sourdough bread research aims to improve prospects for wheat sensitive individuals", Prairie Post, May 11, 2018, © Alberta Wheat Commission
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Coca-Cola CEO: Innovation Is The Key To Becoming A “Total Beverage Company”

May 10, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey is a strong advocate of innovation and experimentation to quickly take advantage of market opportunities. Creating new products, and pushing existing products into new markets, are the underlying concepts behind the “total beverage company” slogan. It’s the reason why the company has tinkered with its line of traditional cola beverages as it expands into dairy, juice, and plant-based drinks, energy drinks, water and sports drinks; and RTD tea and coffee. But this is not just innovation for the sake of innovation, Quincey recently noted, but “in the service of the consumer, in the service of wondering what will connect and engage with the consumer.” The flip side of experimentation, of course, is acknowledging failure and being willing to “kill the zombies.”

Rachel Arthur, "Coca-Cola on innovation: ‘We’ve got to be willing to kill the zombies’", Beverage Daily, May 10, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Keeping Coke Relevant In Nepal

May 10, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Coca-Cola’s country director for Nepal Ambuj Deo Singh says Coke has remained pretty much the same during its 132-year history but has also managed to be relevant in his country, and in many others. Relevance, he notes, comes from talking to consumers about their needs “in the language that they want us to speak.” An example is the recent ad campaign (“Coke Kham Russia Jam”), which “relates to everyone here in Nepal” because it is associated with momo (a type of dumpling). Coca-Cola is also associated with the festival of Dashain, celebrating human relationships. Singh says the company is planning to introduce new products, such as juices, in the near future. Plans also include making Kinley available nationwide and expanding the distribution base.

"‘Staying locally relevant under global vision is Coca-Cola’s mantra for success’", Onlinekhabar, May 10, 2018, © Onlinekhabar.com
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Sen. Casey‘s Bill Would Reimburse Farmers For Food Donation Costs

May 10, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.) introduced the Farm to Food Bank Act of 2018 (S. 2824) to establish food recovery networks in each state that would incentivize farmers to donate their produce directly to food banks to be distributed to the needy. The bill would authorize assistance to farmers and ranchers by reimbursing them for the costs to produce, harvest, pack, process, store, or transport to foodbanks food that is safe for consumption but lacks access to a retail market or supply chain. The bill is a response to the fact that food is often discarded on the farm if considered "ugly," overproduced, market conditions are unfavorable, or if an existing contract or retail market is lost. According to Feeding Pennsylvania, the commonwealth produces an abundance of fresh and nutritious food, yet 1.7 million residents struggle with hunger every day, 500,000 of whom are children. [Image Credit: © Sen. Bob Casey]

Sen. Bob Casey, "Casey Looks to Fight Hunger, Address Food Waste", Sen. Bob Casey, May 10, 2018, © Sen. Bob Casey
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NutraBolt’s Cellucor C4: A Hybrid Energy And Sports Performance Drink

May 9, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Texas-based fitness nutrition company NutraBolt is positioning its Cellucor C4 On The Go Carbonated beverages as healthier functional alternatives to conventional energy drinks. The company hopes to exploit the continuing rebound in the energy drinks market, especially among products with reduced sugar. Sugar- and calorie-free Cullucor C4 Carbonated, sold in 16-ounce cans, is positioned as a convenient extension to Cellucor’s C4 pre-workout powder, and somewhere between a sports performance and energy beverage. The company emphasizes the product’s hydrating and energizing effects – supported by clinical research – thanks to ingredients like 200 mg of caffeine anhydrous, CarnoSyn beta-alanine, BetaPower betaine, citrulline malate, N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine, vitamins B6 and B12. The beverage is available nationwide for $29.99 per 12-pack at GNC and Vitamin Shoppe locations, gyms, convenience and grocery stores, and online.

Mary Ellen Shoup, "Cellucor C4 On The Go Carbonated aims for positioning between sports performance and energy drink segments", Beverage Daily, May 09, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Mobile Trailer Bakery Specializes In Huge Cookies

May 9, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

One would think that housing a bakery in a mobile trailer is unique enough. Not so for Serious Cookie Co., which turns out hefty half-pound cookies in a variety of flavors, including chocolate chip, Macadamia nut, creamy peanut butter or pecan, all  topped with ice cream, whipped cream, or ribbons of chocolate and caramel sauce. The family-owned business – three generations participate – sells about 50 cookies a week, shrink-wrapped and boxed with a handwritten note. The cookie trailer appears at many Southwest Florida festivals, fairs and events, and can be booked for birthday parties, weddings and other private happenings. The company’s top seller? “Plain ol' chocolate chip.” (© Serious Cookie Co.)

"Seriously huge; cookies made at Serious Cookie Co.", Naples Daily News (Florida), May 09, 2018, © USA Today Network
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Cannabis Company Harvest One Acquires Dream Water

May 8, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Canadian cannabis company Harvest One has acquired the natural sleep aid Dream Water (Miami, Fla.) for $27 million. According to Dream Water executives the deal will allow the company to exploit “synergies in the commercial cannabis and sleep aid markets.” The company expects to develop product lines that include the non-psychoactive compound cannabidiol (CBD), found in the cannabis plant, that purportedly has several health benefits, including as pain and anxiety relief. After closing the deal, Dream Water USA and Dream Water Canada will be consolidated and become a subsidiary of Harvest One called Dream Water Global.

Martín Caballero, "Dream Water Acquired by Canadian Cannabis Co. Harvest One", Bevnet.com, May 08, 2018, © Bevnet.com
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Panera Rolls Out Delivery Program Nationwide

May 8, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Panera Bread is expanding its food delivery service nationally to 897 cities and 43 states via the Panera app or website. The company said its products will be available for lunch and dinner to officers, hospitals, college campuses and, in participating markets, to homes.According to CEO Blaine Hurst, "Delivery is fueling our next phase of growth.”Panera is using its own delivery drivers in the expansion – it has hired 10,000 so far – and says it has already created 13,000 jobs. Digital sales at Panera comprise online, app and kiosk orders and represent 30 percent of total company sales. Deliveries are possible with orders as small as $5 menu purchase plus tax and a $3 delivery fee in most markets. The company operates 2,076 bakery-cafes in 46 states and in Ontario, Canada. (© Panera Bread)
"Panera Bread Unveils National Delivery Service", GlobeNewswire, May 08, 2018, © GlobeNewswire, Inc.
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Cone-Shaped Pizza Chain Expands To Northern California

May 8, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

An Italian company that makes cone-shaped pizza is opening latest U.S. location near the University of California-Berkeley campus. The menu of Kono Pizza, which has 12 other locations around the U.S., features Classic Kones (cheese, meat, sausage, pepperoni and vegetable), Dessert Kones (tiramisu, nutella, cannoli, etc.), and smaller Kids Kones in cheese or peanut butter and jelly. The dough and sauces are imported from Italy and the cones are made to order using a low-skim, low-moisture cheese. They are layered with sauce, cheese and toppings in a vertical fashion before being baked in a special oven. Baking takes only three minutes, making it a perfect on-the-go option, the company says. (© Kono Pizza)

"Italy's pizza in a cone is coming to Berkeley this month", The East Bay Times (California), May 08, 2018, © Digital First Media
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FDA Menu Labeling Rules Take Effect, But Restaurants Should Do More

May 7, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

The FDA’s new menu labeling requirements, which went into effect on May 7, apply to restaurant chains with 20 or more locations. They must disclose the number of calories contained in standard menu items, and provide nutrition information, including total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, etc. A Virginia Tech food and nutrition policy expert called the FDA’s rules “an important first step.” But the restaurant industry, which has contributed to “poor diet quality, obesity and related chronic diseases," should voluntarily implement strategies to promote healthy foods and beverages. Specifically, the industry should improve the nutritional profiles of products to reduce calories, sodium and fat; and standardize and limit portion sizes to 600 calories for kids' meals and 700 calories for adult meals. (© Wikimedia)

"Mandatory National Menu Labeling Underway. While It Is A Good Start, Restaurants Could Voluntarily Do Much More, According To Virginia Tech Expert", Virginia Tech, May 07, 2018, © Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
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Coca-Cola Packaging In Japan Boasts Uniquely Japanese Styles

May 7, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola’s packaging in Japan always features the characteristic logo and red color, but in recent years has also been distinguished by “bits of distinctively Japanese flair.” Collectible beverage bottles often salute popular tourist attractions (e.g., Tokyo, Kyoto, Yokohama, Shinto shrines, cherry blossoms, etc.). But a newly-released batch features characters and scenes from the world of anime, the country’s unique style of hand-drawn and computer animated cartoons. The new 250 ml bottles, available in stores ($1.14), vending machines ($1.37) and other locations only on the island of Shikoku, are decorated with images of Megumi, Chiwa, and Mao, all characters from the anime television series “Ohenro” (“pilgrims”).
Casey Baseel, "Coca-Cola releases special anime-design bottle just for Japan", SoraNews24, May 07, 2018
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Japanese Entrepreneurs Tackle Food Waste Problem With Smartphone Apps

May 5, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

According to Japan’s agriculture ministry, 6.46 million tons of untouched food were discarded in 2015. Japanese entrepreneurs, however, are making progress using technology to tackle this crticial food waste issue. Among the advanced solutions are online services that link restaurants with consumers wishing to buy food at lower prices that would otherwise be discarded. An example is Shifft Inc., which launched the Reduce Go smartphone app service last month to offer registered users economic benefits by allowing them to pick up food directly twice a day from restaurants and food outlets for $18 (¥1,980) a month. About 25,000 users have signed up for the free version of the app, while 32 restaurants, bars, and shops in Tokyo and its environs have signed on to the food giveaway. [Image Credit: © Wikimedia]

Sakura Murakami, "Tokyo-based startups look to link consumers with restaurants to curb food waste", The Japan Times, May 05, 2018, © The Japan Times Ltd
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Dutch Restaurants Thrive on Sustainability, Re-Purposing, Zero-Waste

May 5, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Restaurants in The Netherlands, particularly in the capital Amsterdam, are showcasing innovative and accessible sustainability projects that focus on zero-waste practices and creative reuse of buildings and materials. Moer Restaurant, for example, is housed in a former Michelin tire shop; its serving pans are made from old train tracks. It has replaced the traditional buffet table piled high with bound-for-the-bin meats, cheeses, and pastries with a buffet of all-organic offerings, including juices from Dutch orchards, dairy and egg products from a local farm, and homemade granola and breads made with grain and beer waste from brewery Gulpener. The Instock restaurant uses only surplus food for ingredients and wastes nothing. It gets unused food from Albert Heijn, the country's largest supermarket chain. There is so much discarded but edible food that the restaurant has set up a wholesale distribution center to serve other restaurants. [Image Credit: © Moer Restaurant]

Diane Daniel, "Doing good, deliciously: Sustainable dining in Amsterdam", The Washington Post (published in the Toronto Star), May 05, 2018, © Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd
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FDA Extends Nutrition Facts Label Compliance By 18 Months

May 4, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

The FDA has extended the compliance date for the rules regarding the Nutrition Facts, Supplement Facts, and Serving Size labels, from July 26, 2018 to January 1, 2020, for manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual food sales. The American Heart Association lamented the extension, calling it a “disappointment.” CEO Nancy Brown was encouraged, however, by the fact that several major food manufacturers decided to stick to the original July 2018 and 2019 deadlines. She noted that 29,000 foods on the market now have the revised Nutrition Facts labels containing “critical” information for consumers. She urged other food manufacturers to follow that example because “Americans should not only enjoy the food they are eating, they deserve to know what’s in it.” (Image credit: © Oregon State University)

"Delay of revised nutrition facts labels disappointing, but companies should still comply promptly, says American Heart Association", American Heart Association, May 04, 2018, © American Heart Association, Inc.
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USDA Issues Proposed GMO Food Labeling Rules For Public Comment

May 4, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

The USDA has issued proposed rules on the labeling of foods that contain “bioengineered” ingredients, a more neutral term than “genetically modified organisms” (GMO). The rules implement a federal law enacted in 2016 (National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, PL 114-216) that was a victory for backers of federal mandatory labeling, but also for opponents because it did not require all food companies to put readable information on packages. The law also barred states from writing their own mandatory labeling laws. The proposed rules allow small food manufacturers to inform consumers via websites or telephone numbers. Larger companies can use a label on packages, a symbol to be developed by USDA or bar codes, or other digital means scannable with smartphones. Public comment on the proposal is open until July 3; the final rules will be issued July 29. (© Wikimedia)

Cathy Siegner , "GMO labeling moves one step closer to reality, but what will it look like?", Food Dive, May 04, 2018, © Industry Dive
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