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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.

"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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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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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.

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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E-Coli Outbreak Underlines Key Blockchain Benefits For Agricultural Sector, Industry Regulators

May 4, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Rapid and accurate tracking of food would help regulators better manage food contamination outbreaks, says SupplyBloc Inc. CEO Robert McNulty. McNulty used the April 2018 E. coli outbreak in romaine lettuce to illustrate how blockchain would have helped the FDA and CDC identify the cause and minimize collateral costs. According to McNulty, the blockchain technology’s decentralized ledger and smart contracts would ensure better business dealings among supply chain parties and improved tracking of the supply chain process, without room for data manipulation. All food products would be registered into the decentralized ledger, which would track the products’ movement along the entire supply chain process. This ledger, accessible to all supply chain participants, would be able to pinpoint any point of contamination or corruption, improving the sector’s transparency. [Image Credit: © U.S. Department of Health & Human Services]
Robert McNulty, "Opinion: Blockchain technology can help both agricultural professionals and industry regulators", Food Engineering, May 04, 2018, © BNP Media
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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.

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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Coca-Cola India Launches Fortified Drink Powder At Reduced Price Point

May 3, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola India has introduced an affordable water-soluble beverage powder in a bid to attract consumers to the company’s products. At 7¢ a packet, the price of Minute Maid Vitingo harkens back to the days when the company sold bottles of Coca-Cola at 7¢ apiece. The price was discontinued in 2004. Coca-Cola President T. Krishnakumar said the low price of the orange-flavored beverage fortified with micronutrients would expand the market “to the segment which cannot afford most of the packaged beverages.” Vitingo was launched at 4¢ a packet in 2010 with the help of non-governmental organizations and self-help groups and targeted consumers in rural areas of the country. Vitingo’s main competitors are Glucon-D from Kraft Heinz, and Glucose-D from Dabur India.
Sounak Mitra, "Coca-Cola unveils Vitingo at Rs5 in bid to boost reach", Livemint, May 03, 2018
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Nutrient-Dense Grain Foods Are Ideal For Older Americans

May 3, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

A new study has found that regularly eating a variety of grain foods, along with fruits and vegetables, contributes to the nutrient density needed by Americans over age 50. This age group is not getting those nutrients in their diets, according to the study published in the journal Nutrients and presented at a recent scientific meeting. The trade group Grain Foods Foundation said older people should think twice before giving up bread and other grain foods because they are nutrient-dense. They contain dietary fiber, folate, magnesium, calcium and iron, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B12, niacin, and thiamin. Breads, rolls, and tortillas contain thiamin, niacin, dietary fiber, folate, and iron. These foods “can play a key role in helping older Americans meet recommendations for under-consumed nutrients and nutrients of public health concern," said one of the study’s authors.

"New Study Shows Breads And Cereals Contribute Many Nutrients Older Americans Are Missing For Healthy Aging; Data Presented at American Geriatrics Society Annual Scientific Meeting", PR Newswire, May 03, 2018, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Detroit Area Benefits From Tyson Foods, Flashfood Food Waste Initiative

May 2, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Tyson Foods has partnered with Toronto, Ont.-based Flashfood Inc. in a Detroit area pilot program that lets shoppers buy quality surplus food items at a discount rate. The Flashfoodbox program involves other services – nonprofit Forgotten Harvest, Michigan Farm to Freezer for processing and packaging, and AxleHire Inc. for shipping – but the core is the Flashfoodbox. The boxes are ordered online or via the Flashfood app and are delivered directly to customer homes. Weekly, biweekly, or monthly subscriptions come with a 10 percent discount. At $44.99 a box, customers get about five pounds of protein, including meat, and nearly 10 pounds of rescued vegetables and fruits, enough to prepare 14 meals at less than $4 per plate. [Image Credit: © Flashfood Inc.]

Tyler Clifford, "Companies partner to reduce food waste in Detroit", Crain’s Detroit Business, May 02, 2018, © Crain Communications, Inc.
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Coca-Cola’s 1st Quarter Revenues Flat Year-Over-Year

May 1, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) posted a first-quarter profit of $1.8 billion on revenue of $2.9 billion, flat versus the prior year’s first quarter, or up one percent on a comparable and currency-neutral basis. earnings per share were $0.30 on a reported basis, or $0.40 on a comparable basis. Volume was down 2.5 percent on a comparable basis. The cost of sales rose $1.8 billion and operating profit decreased 12.5 percent to $224 million. Volumes for sparkling brands decreased one percent, Coca-Cola trademark brands decreased two percent, but Coca-Cola Zero Sugar reported a growth of 8.5 percent. Sparkling flavors and energy brands increased by one percent. CEO Damian Gammell said the results reflected a “continued focus on improving our in-market execution” but were adversely affected by “unfavorable weather, customer challenges, and the effect of some of our brand realignment decisions.”
"Coca-Cola European Partners reports flat revenues in Q1 2018", Cost Sector Catering, May 01, 2018, © Cost Sector Catering
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Israel’s Coca-Cola Bottler Targets Online Retailer Selling Lookalike Cola

May 1, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Super-Sol, Israel’s biggest supermarket chain, has been selling a cheaper private-label brand of cola whose packaging resembles Coca-Cola’s. To counter that tactic, Coke’s bottler in the country, Central Bottling Company, has acquired a 25 percent stake in BringBring, a new online food retailer. Though the founders and majority owners of BringBring say Coca-Cola’s investment does not amount to a declaration of war against Super-Sol, it does represent a major challenge to Super-Sol, which controls 70 percent of the online grocery market. BringBring promises grocery deliveries within four hours of ordering with no charge for orders over $56. It’s a big improvement over Super-Sol’s service, which promises only same-day service and charges $8 for orders less than $207.
Gabriela Davidovich-Weisberg , "Coca Cola Israel to Battle With Israel's Largest Supermarket Chain With New Online Retailer", Haaretz, May 01, 2018, © Haaretz Daily Newspaper Ltd
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Fast-Growing Danish Bakery Alights In Manhattan This Year

April 30, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

A 20-year-old Danish bakery chain has expanded to the U.K. and will soon open its first store in the U.S. Founded in Christianshavn Denmark, the Lagkagehuset chain is majority-owned by the Norwegian capital fund FSN, whose cash infusion – and an 18 percent increase in sales in 2017 – is making the international expansion possible. CEO Jesper Friis said Lagkagehuset is looking forward to “exporting a small piece of Danish cultural history” when its Manhattan location opens this year.

"Well-known Danish bakery opening in the U.S.", CPH Post Online, April 30, 2018, © Online Post
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Alibaba Deploys Blockchain Pilot To Ensure Food Authenticity

April 30, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Alibaba is testing blockchain technology to track products and ensure food authenticity. It is working with two food products, one from Australia and one from New Zealand – and giving consumers the ability to scan a QR code to verify product authenticity. Fake food has long been a problem in China and Michigan State University estimates it costs the global food industry $40 billion per year.  First announced in March 2017, the goal of this blockchain integration is to “achieve end-to-end supply chain traceability and transparency to enhance consumer confidence and build a trusted environment for cross-border trade,” said Alibaba.  Investment in blockchain technology has doubled to $2.1 billion and industry projections see that expenditure reaching $9.7 billion in 2021, according to reports from IDC. Numerous firms, such as Alibaba’s industry rival JD, are also delving into blockchain tech to streamline the supply chain, auditing, and compliance processes.[Image Credit: © congerdesign from Pixabay]
Steven Millward, "Alibaba rolls out blockchain pilot to tackle fake food products", Tech in Asia, April 30, 2018, © Tech in Asia
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Kroger Provides Update On Its Zero Hunger-Zero Waste Program

April 27, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

The Kroger Co. says that since it launched the Zero Hunger-Zero Waste food rescue initiative last September it has provided 325 million meals for “food-insecure” families across America. The company directed a total of $181 million in food and funds to end hunger in local communities and rescued 91.2 million pounds of unsold safe, nutritious food from its retail stores, or shipped from its distribution centers and manufacturing plants. The food was donated to Feeding America food banks in 2017. The program was originally launched 10 years ago as the Perishable Donation Partnership. Kroger said it is also working with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on a company-wide food waste analysis to identify where the company stands today in its journey to zero food waste. The company said it will donate $5 to WWF for each customer who shares a food waste reduction idea or photo on Kroger’s Facebook page.[Image Credit: © Kroger Co.]

"Kroger Celebrates Zero Hunger-Zero Waste Progress", Kroger Co., April 27, 2018, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Starbucks Hopes To Trim $75M In Food Waste by 2020

April 27, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Starbucks Corp. is losing $500 million a year on waste in its more than 8,000 company-operated U.S. stores, but hopes to cut that by 15 percent ($75 million)over the next year-and-a-half through greater efficiency. The company says its business model – “strict product quality requirements” plus “product availability” – always results in some waste. Food discarded because after the expiration date, and lost sales associated with a lack of inventory, are part of the costs. During Starbucks' fiscal second quarter, it cut waste costs by focusing on “outlier stores” that had high waste as a percentage of sales. It also improved training on the process of pulling .

Coral Garnick, "Wasted food, other items cost Starbucks $500 million a year", Puget Sound Business Journal, April 27, 2018, © American City Business Journals
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Coke’s Strategy In India Is Paying Dividends

April 27, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey’s strategy in India – focus on its product portfolio, bottling operations, distribution, and sales and communication – is paying off after years of sluggish sales. Popular drinks like Coca-Cola, Fanta, and Thums Up all experienced torpid sales, a situation worsened by demonetization. By September 2017, the company began to see a turnaround as volumes grew six percent during the quarter. By March 2018, the company had posted three consecutive quarters of growth. Portfolio changes eliminated gaps for competitors at critical price points: smaller packs of juices, new fizzy drinks, expansion of the premium drinks line, and a stronger mid-range line were all implemented. Lastly, to boost distribution, bottling unit Hindustan Coca-Cola merged two sales forces that were selling popular and juice-based drinks.
Arnab Dutta, "Worst over for Coca-Cola? Multi-front strategy boosts sales in India", Business Standard , April 27, 2018
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Nestlé Waters NA Beverage Delivery Service Reaches Gettysburg, Pa.

April 27, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé Waters North America announced it has acquired the Roaring Spring Water company’s customer list and storefront in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, allowing it to expand ReadyRefresh beverage delivery service to eastern Pennsylvania and eastern Maryland. The ReadyRefresh service delivers Nestlé Waters beverages to homes and business offices. This is the first time ReadyFresh will operatea a storefront where shoppers can purchase Nestlé Waters products, including Deer Park spring water, Pure Life purified water, Perrier, and S. Pellegrino sparkling mineral water.
"Nestlé Waters North America Expands ReadyRefresh Beverage Delivery Service to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania", News release, Nestlé Waters NA, April 27, 2018, © Nestlé Waters NA
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Canada’s Lassonde Industries Acquires Michigan’s Old Orchard Brands

April 26, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Quebec-based Lassonde Industries Inc. announced the acquisition of Old Orchard Brands, a family-owned juice and beverage company for $146 million in cash plus possible milestone payments of $10 million over the next two years. Lassonde will also buy the Sparta, Mich.-based company’s plant and land for $4 million. Lassonde said the acquisition will improve its manufacturing footprint in the midwestern U.S. and provide access to a production line for frozen concentrated products. Old Orchard’s product portfolio includes 100 juices, juice blends, reduced-sugar juice cocktails, seasonal lemonades, and flavored teas. Sales in 2017 were $103.3 million. Lassonde sells RTD fruit and vegetable juices and drinks under brands such as Apple & Eve, Everfresh, Fairlee, Fruité, Graves, Oasis and Rougemont.
"Lassonde Industries announces an agreement to acquire U.S.-Based Old Orchard Brands", News release, Lassonde Industries Inc., April 26, 2018, © Lassonde Industries Inc.
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Scary Food Warning Labels Not The Answer To Obesity Problem

April 26, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

The Chicago Tribune editorial board is warning readers that the scary food labeling policy in Chile could happen in the U.S., thanks to possible revisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Because of a growing obesity problem, Chile requires food companies to label high-calorie or high-fat treats with black stop-sign-shaped warning labels. As part of the NAFTA negotiations, officials are discussing similar warning labels, though the Trump administration is opposed to them on American foods. The Trib editors, while acknowledging the obesity crisis, argue that food labels shouldn’t be a part of trade negotiations in the first place, and “scare tactics like warning labels are a huge Super-Nanny-State overreach.” They also argue that obesity is not caused by eating fatty or sugary foods. “It is caused by people eating too much of those foods.”

"Scare us thin? NAFTA doesn’t hafta", Chicago Tribune, April 26, 2018, © Chicago Tribune
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Coca-Cola Turns To Alcoholic Drinks In Japan, As Nonalcoholic Segment Stagnates

April 26, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola Japan this summer will launch Lemon-Dō, an alcoholic beverage that emulates the classic Japanese beverage chu-hai, also called "the lemon sour." The move to alcoholic beverages is based n the company’s reckoning that Japan’s soft drink and nonalcoholic market offers no growth potential. Three varieties Lemon-Dō to be sold include: Teiban Lemon (five percent alcohol/10 percent fruit-juice), Salty Lemon (seven percent alcohol/7 percent fruit juice), and the lightweight, Honey Lemon, only three percent alcohol and sweetened with honey and sugar. All will be sold in 350 ml cans, with retro-styled labels, at $1,50 each. According to the company, the chu-hai and low-alcohol beverage market is valued at more than a billion dollars.
Jake Adelstein, "Coca-Cola Experiments With New Boozy Drinks As Japan's Beverage Market Becomes 'Saturated'", Forbes.com, April 26, 2018, © Forbes.com LLC
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Over 40 Firms Form UK Plastics Pact, Promising To Cut Single-Use Plastic Packaging

April 26, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Over 40 firms, responsible for over 80% of plastic packaging on products sold in the United Kingdom, have joined the government and several trade organizations in establishing the UK Plastics Pact, led by sustainability group WRAP. The agreement lays out a set of pledges undertaken by firms to reduce plastic pollution over the next seven years. It promises to eliminate single-use plastic packaging, including 2025 goals to make 100% of packaging recyclable or compostable, to recycle or compost 70%, and to use 30% recycled material in plastic packaging. The pact signatories include Coca-Cola, Asda, Procter & Gamble, and Marks & Spencer. Environmental groups including Friends of the Earth and Ellen MacArthur Foundation expressed their support. [Image Credit: © The Waste and Resources Action Programme]

David Shukman, "Companies sign up to pledge to cut plastic pollution", BBC, April 26, 2018, © BBC
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Hey FDA, It’s Time To Update Those Rules About Labeling Eggs

April 25, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

An organic and free-range egg company has petitioned the FDA to modify its regulations to allow eggs to be labeled as a healthy food. New Hampshire-based Pete and Gerry's Organic Eggs is puzzled that many sugary foods, such as toaster pastries and pudding cups, are allowed to market themselves as "healthy," but foods widely known to be nutritious, such as eggs, are not. In fact, the FDA’s stance on eggs is out of step with the thinking reflected in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, issued by the USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services (HSS). "Our goal with this petition is to encourage the FDA to bring outdated regulations in line with current nutritional science and general consumer awareness,” says CEO Jesse Laflamme.

"Pete and Gerry's Organic Eggs Says What the FDA Won't Say: Eggs. Are. Healthy.; Files Petition Urging FDA to Update Outdated Assessment", Pete and Gerry's Organic Eggs, April 25, 2018, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Fonterra Ups Capacity For Producing Fruit And Dairy Beverages In New Zealand

April 24, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

New Zealand dairy products producer Fonterra Brands has partnered with a local start-up to build a plant in Whakatu to make fruit and dairy beverages for the N.Z. market. Apollo Foods will apply its beverage filling technology in making and filling a range of containers on one production line. The plant will be able to produce millions of liters of beverages each year. The partnership was prompted by the rising global demand for dairy and fruit beverages, according to a Fonterra spokesman. The Apollo Foods plant is currently producing Fonterra’s Mammoth brand of flavored, low-sugar milk, with a shelf life of six months.

"Fonterra eyes dairy beverages", Rural News Group, April 24, 2018, © RuralNewsGroup
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Coca-Cola Posted Solid First Quarter Financials

April 24, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Coca-Cola announced it is on track to meet financial targets for the year, thanks to its refranchising strategy – net revenues declined by 16 percent as a result – and growth in new and core beverage brands. The company reported first quarter profit of $0.47 a share on revenue of $.6 billion, both numbers beating analyst estimates ($0.47 a share and $7.35 billion, respectively). The healthy numbers excited investors: shares rose by 1.6 percent after the results were announced. The stock was down more than four percent this year. In addition to selling off company-owned bottlers, Coca-Cola has invested in start-up beverage companies and relaunched its Coke Zero and Diet Coke brands with new flavors and packaging. First-quarter growth of the Coke Zero Sugar brand reached double-digits, and volume growth of Diet Coke in North America returned to positive territory.

Jennifer Kaplan, "Coca-Cola’s Focus on Healthier Drinks Pays Off ", Bloomberg, April 24, 2018
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Blossom Water Debuts Reformulated Lower-Calorie Version Of Essence Water

April 24, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Westwood, Mass.-based Blossom Water LLC has introduced a reformulated version of its essence water based on blossom botanicals. Blossom Water Version 2.0 has cut the sugar and calorie content by half and is now sweetened without erythritol or agave using a “proprietary, next-generation sweetener blend” containing 10 calories and two grams of sugar. The company says the new version also contains inactivated GanedenBC30, a probiotic strain that offers a functional benefit for the immune system “on a par with that of probiotics.”
"Innovation Blooms This Spring via Blossom Water Version 2.0", News release, Blossom Water LLC, April 24, 2018, © Blossom Water LLC
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Americans Replace Sugar With Natural Sweeteners

April 23, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Americans are increasingly avoiding sugar, but they still want sweetness, as long as its not synthetic. A Nielsen survey finds that 57 percent of consumers say low-sugar is important in the foods they buy, up from 55 percent last year. Thirteen percent say they follow a specific low-sugar diet, five percent follow a diabetic diet, and others follow popular low-carb diets like paleo, keto, Whole30, and Atkins. Regarding alternative sweeteners, the jury is still out. However, “in most cases, it is natural sweeteners that are winning,” a Nielsen researcher said. 
Elizabeth Crawford , "More Americans are avoiding sugar – but what do they want instead for sweetness?", Food Navigator USA, April 23, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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C-Store Poll Shows Modest Rise in Coca-Cola, Monster 1Q Sales

April 23, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

A Wells Fargo Securities poll of 15,000 U.S. convenience stores found that first quarter Coca-Cola sales rose 2.3 percent in the channel, and retailers were pleased with the company’s recent relaunch of Diet Coke. Twenty percent of respondents plan to allocate incremental shelf space to the line. Some respondents complained about the company’s decision to take Smartwater “out of a beautiful sealed box with blue clouds,” a move that hurt stores’ ability to create displays. C-stores also reported that Monster Energy sales increased 5.4 percent in the quarter, and several praised the positive impact of RTD coffee innovations, such as Espresso and Caffe. Fifty-seven percent said Monster did the best job in introducing new innovations in the quarter, and 100 percent said they expected to give Caffe Monster shelf space.

Martín Caballero, "C-Store Survey: Coke, Monster Spur Incremental Growth", BevNET.com, April 23, 2018, © BevNET.com
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Nature’s Own Introduces “Artisan-Inspired” Breads

April 23, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Bread maker Nature's Own has added two new varieties to its “artisan-inspired” product line. Perfectly Crafted Thick Sliced Multigrain and Perfectly Crafted Thick Sliced White contain no artificial preservatives, color or flavors, no high fructose corn syrup, and are Non-GMO Project Verified. The “bakery style” breads feature thick slices, soft texture, a distinctive flour dusting, and fresh-baked aroma, the company says. [Image Credit: ©   Nature's Own ]
"Nature's Own Introduces Perfectly Crafted Artisan-inspired, Thick-sliced Bakery Bread", News release, Nature's Own, April 23, 2018, © Nature's Own
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Boxed Water Company Carves A Lucrative Niche In Packaged Water Market

April 23, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Maryland-based beverage start-up Rethink Brands says it has found a lucrative niche in the $2.5 billion bottled water market by targeting health- and eco-conscious parents with zero-calorie, sugar-free flavored water in recyclable boxes. Co-founder Matthew Swanson says parents who wanted to give their kids water had to give them plastic bottles or sippy cups, but “Rethink Kids Water solves all those problems.” The Rethink Kids Water line provides a more healthful alternative to juices that contain sweeteners and other additives. Swanson says demand for the products has been strong enough for the company to double its offerings with four new flavors. The products are available in more than 10,000 stores, including CVS, Wegmans and Target. 

Elizabeth Green, "Start-up focus: Rethink Water revolutionizes sugar-free beverages for children", Food Ingredient First, April 23, 2018, © CNS Media BV
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Functional Sparkling Water From Sweden Targets America’s Diabetics

April 23, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Sweden’s Good Idea blood sugar management drink is tackling the America’s 30 million diabetics and 90 million pre-diabetics who need to manage blood sugar levels. The carbonated dietary supplement blends five specific amino acids with chromium to reduce post-meal blood sugar spikes significantly. The beverage is intended to be consumed before and during a meal when blood sugar levels tend to ebb and flow the most. Aventure’s research, conducted with scientists at Lund University, included nine clinical trials showing that Good Idea can help reduce blood sugar by 20 – 30 percent. Despite the functional benefits of the drink, parent company Aventure AB is positioning it as a sparkling water for a mass audience.
Mary Ellen Shoup , "Good Idea brings functional beverage delivery format to blood sugar management", Nutra-Ingredients USA, April 23, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Bai Brands Is Newest Defendant In Malic Acid Lawsuits

April 20, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Bai Brands is the latest in a string of food and beverage companies targeted by lawsuits accusing them of violating FDA ingredient labeling rules. Each of the suits, filed on behalf of four different plaintiffs by one attorney, claims that certain products should be labeled as “artificially flavored” because they contain the petrochemical-derived ingredient malic acid. There is some disagreement, however, as to whether malic acid is a flavoring itself, or merely a flavor enhancer, which would put it outside of FDA regulatory jurisdiction. There is also disagreement over whether the suits will advance in the courts. A spokesman for Dr Pepper Snapple Group, owner of Bai Brands, said the lawsuit has no merit, and the company would ”defend against it vigorously.” Other companies sued include Campbell Soup (V8 Splash drinks), Kellogg’s, and Frito-Lay.

Elaine Watson, "Bai Brands Latest Target in Malic Acid Lawsuits; Dr Pepper Blasts 'Meritless' Complaint", FOODnavigator-USA.com, April 20, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Premium Coconut Water Company Spurns Traditional Retail Channel

April 20, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Three-year-old premium coconut water company CoAqua doesn’t want to be seen in the low-rent district of traditional retail stores alongside lookalike coconut water brands. Company founder Grier Govorko says there’s not much difference among competitive brands, most of which claim to be a “sports replacement drink.” To differentiate itself CoAqua is sold only in luxury resorts and restaurants in Southeast Asia, and in the U.S. direct-to-consumer online channel. The target demographic is younger health-conscious consumers willing to pay $48 online for a 12-pack case. The packaging – single-serve, recyclable clear glass bottles with metallic pull-tab caps – also sets the brand apart. Govorko is not only committed to recycling, he feels his coconut water tastes naturally sweeter because it is pasteurized in glass bottles.

Mary Ellen Shoup, "CoAqua Targets Premium-Seeking Audience Relying on Direct-To-Consumer Online Channel", FOODnavigator-USA.com, April 20, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Avoid Processed Foods, Replace With “The Clean 20”

April 19, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Processed foods – potato chips, snack cakes, frozen pizzas, etc. – may be tasty and convenient, but they are a major contributor to obesity and illness. Best-selling author Dr. Ian Smith says that transitioning away from processed foods to cleaner, more healthful edibles needn’t be difficult. In his new book, "The Clean 20: 20 Foods, 20 Days, Total Transformation," Smith lists the foods and the benefits of including them in our diets every day. They are: avocados, berries, cheese, chicken, chickpeas, eggs, kale, lemons, lentils, nuts, oatmeal, seafood, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turkey, quinoa,100 percent whole-grain or whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, and yogurt.

"Are you eating 'The Clean 20' foods?", The Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Mississippi), April 19, 2018, © USA Today Network
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Coca-Cola Unveils New Cans In Celebration of 23 Chinese Cities

April 19, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Coca-Cola China has unveiled limited edition Coke can designs that celebrate the diversity of 23 Chinese cities.  The “visually captivating” packaging, created by McCann Shanghai and illustrator Noma Bar, is being promoted with a film celebrating city cultures, as well as print, billboards and a partnership with Chinese technology firm Baidu. The firm developed an augmented reality (AR) experience in which consumers may interact with the 23 city cans. According to a Coca-Cola design executive, the idea behind the city can is to capture the “essence” of each metropolis through its culture, food, “idiosyncrasies,” and landmarks.

"Coca-Cola China celebrates city cultures through ‘Faces of the cities’", Marketing-Interactive.com, April 19, 2018, © Marketing-Interactive.com. Lighthouse Independent Media Pte Ltd
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Company’s New Snack Foods Are Certified Palm Oil Free

April 19, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

The production of palm oil has a devastating effect on the planet, according to Enjoy Life Foods, a large marketer of foods in the “free from” category that is committed to sustainability. It announced that it is the first U.S. food company to receive Palm Oil Free Certification for its newest product launches (Grain & Seed Bars and plant-based Protein Bites) from the International Palm Oil Free Certification Accreditation Program (POFCAP). The goal, according to the company, is to show that delicious foods can be created “without having to utilize an ingredient that increasingly more consumers are looking to avoid." Enjoy Life Foods’ portfolio of 70+ foods are also Non-GMO Project Verified, kosher, and free from 14 allergens. Nearly 90 percent are Certified Vegan.  

"Enjoy Life Foods Earns First Palm Oil Free Certification For Latest Snack Innovation; #1 Free-From Food Brand Once Again Sets New Industry Standard in Response to Consumer Demand for Trusted and Transparent Options; ", Enjoy Life Foods, April 19, 2018, © Business Wire, Inc.
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Canadian Start-Up Company Expands Its Line Of Oral Health Teas

April 19, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

A Toronto start-up focused on oral microbiome research has added three fruit flavors to its Qii line of beverages created to reduce dental plaque. DoseBiome, a resident within Johnson & Johnson Innovation, was founded by a veteran of both PepsiCo and 3M’s Oral Care business who wants to replace the “bad habit” of drinking sugary beverages with a good habit of consuming beverages that promote a healthful oral environment. Ted Jin says research proves that Qii reduces dental plaque by 52 percent with each serving. Brewed in the U.S. using certified organic loose-leaf teas, Qii has 30 calories per serving, is non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, and low-glycemic. Qii is available in 4-packs of 8-ounce cans at $9.99. The new flavors – added to lemongrass ginger and oolong tea – are white peach, pomegranate and lychee tea.

"Revolutionary Drink Reduces Up to 52% of Dental Plaque with Each Serving", PR Newswire, April 19, 2018, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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“Smart Packaging” Helps Extend Food Shelf Life, Reduces Waste

April 19, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
A New Zealand university scientist who specializes in “smart packaging” says there are a number of viable solutions that can cut food waste. Each type of packaging acts differently depending on the food being protected. According to Dr. Jenneke Heising, “active packaging” extends shelf life by reducing negative factors, such as oxygen, that react with the food. Active packaging can also react to ethylene gas, slowing the ripening process of produce, and can also regulate the level of moisture, other gases, and temperature. Still another type of packaging uses antimicrobial materials to curb bacterial growth on fresh produce, reducing the need for preservatives.  [Image Credit: © Rabobank New Zealand ]
"High-tech packaging means less food waste", Rabobank, April 19, 2018, © Rabobank
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British Company Healthy Sales Group Revives Ancient Fermented Drink

April 18, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

A British company has introduced a fermented soft drink that is “evolved” from a recipe dating back to ancient Greece and colonial America. Switchle from Healthy Sales Group is made with sparkling water, apple cider vinegar, honey, fruit juices, and botanical extracts. It is available in three flavors, including a blend of turmeric, ginger, and peach. The beverages are sold at the online supermarket site Ocado in the U.K. and independent health food stores at $2.50 a can.

"Switchle Range of Fermented Soft Drinks for Adults Launches in UK", FoodBev, April 18, 2018, © FoodBev Media Ltd
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Danone’s Water Sales Up Significantly

April 18, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Danone CEO Emmanuel Faber said several factors contributed to a three percent rise in the company’s share price and signified continued growth. Among the factors were the premiumization of Danone’s offering in early childhood nutrition in China, broad-based growth in waters, and gradual improvement in essential dairy and plant-based activities. The water business, which includes the Evian brand, experienced a four percent rise in sales, but dairy sales in Europe, though improving, still dropped 0.3 percent in the first quarter compared to the same period last year. Faber said demand for baby formulas in China – fed by a sharp rise in birth rates – helped boost like-for-like sales by almost five percent. 
"China’s baby boom lifts French dairy group Danone", Financial Times, April 18, 2018, via Financial Times, © Financial Times
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Food Waste In The U.S. Exacts A Huge Environmental Toll

April 18, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
A new study by university and USDA researchers has found that about 25 percent of all food available to eat in the U.S. – one pound per person, or about 30 percent of available calories – is wasted each day. The environmental costs of such food waste are huge. About 30 million acres of cropland, 4.2 trillion gallons of water, and nearly two billion pounds of fertilizer are used to produce the wasted food. The most wasted foods – fruits and vegetables – are actually the healthiest: produce waste amounts to 39 percent of the food wasted by each person, according to the study published in the journal PLOS ONE. 
Chris Mooney , "The staggering environmental footprint of all the food that we just throw in the trash", The Washington Post, April 18, 2018, © The Washington Post
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Carbs Schmarbs, Bring On The Toast

April 18, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Food writer JeanMarie Brownson says toast is having a long moment in the U.S., thanks to the popularity of avocado spread, and despite the anti-carb trend. But there are other good things to slather or sprinkle on toasted bread, she notes. There’s old favorite cinnamon, for example. Other possibilities include cheese and béchamel sauce; mushrooms sautéed with spicy poblano pepper and glazed with cream; hummus, cucumber, feta and micro-arugula; and hummus and sautéed ground lamb and feta. But it’s not just the toppings that matter. “Crusty, toasted bread also makes lunch better,” she says. 
JeanMarie Brownson, "What to put on toast when you're done with avocados", Chicago Tribune, April 18, 2018, © tronc, Inc./Chicago Tribune
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U.K. Juice And Smoothie Company Savsé Extends Its Cold-Pressed Portfolio

April 18, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
London-based beverage company Savsé has added a third cold-pressed protein smoothie to its product line.  Protein Rise, combining 10-12 g of whey protein with quinoa and cold-pressed fruits, is being introduced to the convenience store channel at $4.00 each and will be available in 6x250 ml cases. Savsé fruit- and vegetable-based juices and smoothies are produced using High Pressure Processing (HPP), a non-thermal preservation process.
Eilis Cronin, "Savsé launches “UK first” cold pressed breakfast protein smoothie", Talking Retail, April 18, 2018, © Talking Retail
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Nestlé Waters UK Hopes New “Emoji” Pure Life Bottles Will Attract Kids

April 18, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé Waters UK’s new limited edition “emoji” bottles for its Pure Life purified water line are designed to appeal to family shoppers and especially to children. According to the company, 65 percent of British children (ages five to 16) do not drink enough water. Four “water buddy” designs will be included on the 33 cl bottles, which will be released intermittently throughout the year. The company says bottled water is the fastest growing segment within the $10.4 billion U.K. soft drinks category. It believes the new bottle designs will help retailers drive sales and “appeal to new shoppers.”
"Nestlé Waters UK creates ’emoji’ inspired water bottles", FoodBev, April 18, 2018, © FoodBev Media Ltd
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Coca-Cola Makes Smartwater Available To Uber, Lyft Passengers Via Cargo Platform

April 18, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Start-up in-car commerce company Cargo has partnered with Coca-Cola to offer Smartwater along with an array of snacks, gum, premium electronics, cosmetics, and personal care items for purchase using smartphones in Lyft and Uber rideshare vehicles. The Cargo partnership with Coca-Cola launched in Coke hometown Atlanta, Ga., recently in a nationwide expansion that began in New York, Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore. Rideshare drivers can earn up to $500 a month extra in commissions, referrals, and performance bonuses by adopting the Cargo platform.
"US Uber users can now buy Coca-Cola snacks and drinks from their smartphones as car-commerce accelerates", InternetRetailing, April 18, 2018, © InternetRetailing Media
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Company Adds Reduced-Gluten Wheat To Its Ingredients Portfolio

April 17, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Agricultural food ingredients company Arcadia Biosciences has introduced reduced-gluten (RG) wheat lines to its GoodWheat ingredients portfolio. The company says flour made from the RG wheat will be available by the end of the year. The wheat was developed in part with funding from NIH’s Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders Institute. The RG product is a non-GM wheat in which allergenic glutens have been reduced by 75 percent. Overall gluten content has been reduced by 60 percent, but the California-based company says the levels of glutens important for bread making are not changed.  [Image Credit: © Arcadia Biosciences ]
"Arcadia Biosciences Expands GoodWheat™ Portfolio with Reduced Gluten Wheat", News release, Arcadia Biosciences, April 17, 2018, © Arcadia Biosciences
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Retail Grocers Are Major Culprits In America’s Food Waste Problem

April 17, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Supermarket chains in the U.S. are contributing significantly to the nation’s food waste problems, according to a new report. Nine of the ten largest grocery retailers – Ahold Delhaize is the exception – do not publicly report their total volume of food waste. The study, conducted by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Ugly Fruit and Veg Campaign, listed five companies – Target, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Costco, and Publix – who earned a “D” grade for efforts to reduce waste. Aldi flunked the evaluation, while Walmart earned a “B.” Food retailers generate 40 percent of the food waste in the U.S., more than restaurants or foodservice providers, the study noted. A CBD spokesperson said food waste squanders farmland and water and puts food security at risk. “We can stop this massive waste, but only if supermarkets are part of the solution," Jennifer Molidor. 
Russell Redman, "Supermarkets don’t make grade in reducing food waste", Supermarket News, April 17, 2018, © Informa USA, Inc.
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Bisleri Unveils Ad Campaign For Sparkling Mango Drink

April 17, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Indian beverage company Bisleri International has launched a nationwide multimedia advertising campaign to promote the sparkling mango drink Fonzo, especially among younger consumers looking for more healthful beverages. Ads will be shown on Indian Premier League cricket TV broadcasts and on social media, supported by outdoor and radio ads. According to the company, mango is “the favorite fruit and flavor of most Indians,” so the launch of a fizzy mango drink will “grab consumer interest.”
"Bisleri Launches Nation-Wide Integrated Campaign For Fizzy Mango Drink, Fonzo ", Exchange4Media, April 17, 2018
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Raw Pressery Juices Are Now Being Sold By Subscription In India

April 17, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Indian beverage company Rakyan Beverages, maker of the Raw Pressery cold-pressed juice brand, is among a handful of juice marketers in the country that are turning at least partly to a subscription-based sales and delivery model. According to Euromonitor, selling fresh juice via subscriptions to health-conscious consumers is gaining traction because plans can be customized to fit individual buyers. Rakyan offers juice subscriptions of one to three months.
"Parched this summer? Online juice delivery startups are here to save the day", YourStory, April 17, 2018, © YourStory Media Pvt. Ltd.
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Nestlé Waters NA Buys Delivery Business Of Connecticut-Based Spring Water Company

April 17, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Nestlé Waters NA has acquired the home and office delivery businesses of Meriden, Conn.-based Triple Spring Spring Water Co. The company, whose name comes from the three springs on its property, originated as a farm in 1918 and began selling bottled water locally in the 1940s. In 1974 it began selling water statewide, and later in New York and Long Island. A Nestlé Waters spokeswoman said a subsidiary, ReadyRefresh, would handle the acquired portions of Triple Spring. However, customers will still be able to purchase Triple Spring water from an onsite company vending machine at any time.

Leigh Tauss, "Meriden Spring Water Company Sells Portion of Business to Nestlé", MyRecordJournal.com, April 17, 2018, © The RJ Media Group
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