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N.Y. City Tightens Food Waste Rules For Restaurants, Grocery Stores

February 15, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
In an effort to divert 50,000 tons of food waste from landfills, the New York City sanitation department is implementing new rules for restaurants and grocery stores on handling food waste. Businesses covered by the rules may: hire a private carter, self-transport, or process their food scraps on site for beneficial use, such as for compost; donate unsold food to a charity or food bank; sell or donate the food to a farmer for feedstock; and sell or donate meat by-products to a rendering company. Covered establishments include restaurants with at least 15,000 square feet of floor area, chain restaurants with 100 or more locations in the city, and grocery stores with at least 25,000 square feet of space. [Image Credit: © NY City Dept. of Sanitation]
"New York to Require More Restaurants, Grocery Stores to Put Food Waste to Good Use", NBC Universal, February 15, 2018, © NBC Universal Media, LLC
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Danone Trims Stake In Yakult, But Expands Collaboration

February 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
French food and beverage giant Danone said it is extending its collaborative relationship with Japanese probiotic beverage company Yakult Honsha Co. to “promote probiotics as part of a balanced diet.” Danone also disclosed that it has agreed to trim its 21.29 percent stake in Yakult to seven percent “in line with capital allocation priorities.” The companies said they would step up efforts to promote probiotics through their Global Probiotics Council, and will expand the Ishoku Dogen program focusing on the link between diet and health. Potential new collaboration projects include testing distribution of Yakult's products by Danone in European markets, starting with Spain.
"Danone Enters a New Phase in its Strategic Partnership with Yakult", News release, Danone, February 14, 2018, © Danone
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Food Spoilage – Not Plate Waste – Is More Of A Problem In The Home

February 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Researchers at Ohio State University have determined that people who on average left just three percent of their food on their plates when choosing their own meals left almost 40 percent behind when given a standard boxed-lunch type of meal. Plate waste at home was 3.5 percent higher when diners went for seconds or thirds. But the study’s lead author also noted that efforts to reduce food waste at home would be better directed toward other conservation tactics, like using up food before it spoils. Plate waste is a more serious problem at school cafeterias and event buffets. [Image Credit: © Portland State University]
Misti Crane, "Clean Plates Much More Common When We Eat at Home", News release, Ohio State University, February 14, 2018, © The Ohio State University
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Specialty Bakery Market To Grow At Healthy Pace Over Next Five Years

February 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
A new research report forecasts the global specialty bakery market to grow at a CAGR of five percent through 2022, thanks to growing consumer concerns about health and wellness. Those concerns have driven bakery manufacturers to include functional ingredients – e.g., oats, legumes, nuts, probiotics, cereals, and fortified margarine – that promote health and boost energy while enhancing the nutritional value of bakery products. The specialty bakery market includes specialty breads, cookies, doughnuts, cakes and pastries, and specialty crackers and pretzels. [Image Credit: © Oteri's Italian Bakery]
"Global Specialty Bakery Market - Emergence of Hybrid Bakery Products to Boost Growth", News release, Technavio, February 14, 2018, © Technavio
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McDonald’s Sees Better Quality Chicken As Vehicle For Extending Growth Curve

February 13, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
McDonald’s, which is in the midst of a three-year growth period, is betting that offering “Better Chicken” will keep that growth bubbling along. The company’s plan is to upgrade the chicken items on its menu to achieve a premium status similar to Chik-fil-A. It has already implemented some customer-pleasing changes to its McNuggets and sandwich lines: it has promised to stop serving poultry with antibiotics; removed artificial preservatives from McNuggets; and launched Southern-style sandwiches and tenders coated in a crispy buttermilk breading. It’s a major shift for the decades-old burgers-and-fries company, whose customers see chicken as a healthier protein. "It's definitely a transformational era for McDonald's," said an analyst at Motley Fool. "Chicken is part of that." [Image Credit: © McDonald's]
 
Leslie Patton, "McDonald's Bets that 'Better Chicken' can Keep Growth Run Going", Chicago Tribune, February 13, 2018, © Chicago Tribune
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Company’s Edible Produce Spray Extends Shelf Life

February 12, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
California-based Apeel Sciences has developed a plant-based edible skin – dubbed “Edipeel” – that quadruples the shelf life of fruits and vegetables, and reduces need for fungicides and refrigerated produce transport. Edipeel creates an “idealized little micro-climate inside of each piece of produce” that retards spoilage, according to the company founder, who has convinced investors to pump $40 million into the venture since 2012. The company uses materials extracted from plants, usually agricultural by-products such as tomato skins, combines them, then processes them into a water-soluble powder. When mixed with water, the material can be sprayed on produce or the produce can be dipped in it. [Image Credit: © Apeel Sciences]
Elaine Watson, "Apeel Sciences Seeks to Slash Fresh Produce Waste with Plant-Based Edible Skin: 'We've created this Idealized Little Micro-Climate Inside of Each Piece of Produce'", FOODnavigator-USA.com, February 12, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Natural/Organic Is Increasingly Attractive To Hispanic Grocery Shoppers

February 8, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
The organic and clean label foods and beverages movement is permeating nearly every segment of the American consumer population, and especially Hispanics, whose buying power has reached $1 trillion annually. A new Packaged Facts report finds that more than half of Hispanic shoppers routinely buy natural/organic groceries, and 60 percent say they are buying more natural/organic foods than ever. Forty percent of Hispanic adults say a store's organic vegetable and fruit selection is an especially important factor when choosing where to shop for groceries, while 33 percent say the store's selection of organic packaged foods and beverages is important. In each of these cases, Hispanics are 15 percent or more above the average for all adults.  [Image Credit: © Sustainable Brands ]
"Hispanics Creating New Retail Opportunities in Organic and Clean Label Food Market", News release, Packaged Facts, February 08, 2018, © Packaged Facts
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Companies Introduce Better-Tasting Chickpea Flour For Gluten-Free Formulations

February 8, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Nutriati and PLT Health Solutions have introduced a premium quality chickpea flour solution to the North American food market. Artesa Chickpea Flour features a taste profile similar to premium wheat flours, along with similar mouthfeel and texture characteristics, according to the companies. The manufacturing process removes much of the bad-tasting pulse oil from the finished product, producing a clean, neutral flavor and a white color. Food manufacturers will be able to use the ingredient in gluten-free food products such as breads, baked goods, and pasta. The flour contains a minimum of 12 percent protein, is a source of resistant starch, and has a lower glycemic index compared to wheat and other pulse flours. [Image Credit: © PLT Health Solutions ]
"Nutriati and PLT Health Solutions Introduce Artesa Chickpea Flour in North America", News release, PLT Health Solutions, February 08, 2018, © PLT Health Solutions
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DoorDash, Feeding America Partner To Deliver Surplus Food To Charities

February 7, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Meal delivery company DoorDash has partnered with Feeding America to tackle two daunting problems at the same time: food waste and hunger. The fundamental problem for foodservice companies who want to donate surplus food to food banks and shelters is logistics. San Francisco-based DoorDash works with local and national restaurants in more than 600 cities across the U.S. and Canada. It has been running a pilot program using their drivers to deliver donated meals to recipient agencies, but had trouble identifying those agencies. Feeding America provided the answer: the partnership gives DoorDash access to the hunger-relief organization’s network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs. [Image Credit: © DoorDash]
 
Megan Greenwalt, "Feeding America Teams with DoorDash to Combat Food Waste", Waste360, February 07, 2018, © Informa USA, Inc.
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Hain Celestial’s 2nd Quarter Sales, Profits Increase, But Miss Forecasts

February 7, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Natural and organic food marketer Hain Celestial (Lake Success, N.Y.) posted second quarter profit of $47.1 million on sales of $775.2 million, a five percent increase over the same period last year. Second quarter profit was up 73 percent over the prior year period. But the results missed Wall Street estimates, sending shares on a downward slide, dropping 6.3 percent in morning trading. Nevertheless, CEO Irwin D. Simon said he was pleased with the financial performance and noted that the company continues to look for ways to simplify its brand portfolio and “reduce complexities.” Though net sales for Hain Pure Protein increased four percent to $159 million over the prior year period, the company said it is exploring the divestiture of the business. [Image Credit: © Hain Celestial ]
"Hain Celestial Reports Second Quarter Fiscal Year 2018 Financial Results", Earnings release, Hain Celestial, February 07, 2018, © Hain Celestial
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Steam Oven/Meal Kit Start-Up Gets Cash Infusion From Tyson Foods

February 7, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
The Tyson Foods investment unit has purchased a stake in a start-up subscription meal kit company that also sells an steam-based "smart" oven. Tyson Ventures will also collaborate with Chicago-based Tovala on Tyson-branded meals. Tovala began three-and-a-half years ago when the founder connected with an engineer with an idea for a modern version of the steam oven that looks like a microwave oven. The concept attracted the attention of Origin Ventures, which led the company’s $9.2 million round late last year, along with the Chicago-based Pritzker Group Venture Capital; Morningstar founder Joe Mansueto; restaurant and real estate entrepreneur Larry Levy; and Y Combinator. Tovala’s oven retails for $399, but the price drops when customers subscribe to the meal kits service.. [Image Credit: © Kickstarter.com ]
Jonathan Shieber, "Tyson Foods Invests in Tovala’s New Oven and Meal Kit Business", TechCrunch, February 07, 2018, © Oath Tech Network
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New Choline Gummie Supplements Meet An Important Need In Young Children

February 7, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Research over the years has shown that the brains of infants and young children are healthier when their moms supplement their pregnancy diets with larger doses of the vitamin-like essential nutrient choline. But choline – found in beef liver and eggs and in supplements – is also essential as children grow, though it can be difficult to get kids to ingest adequate amounts. An entrepreneur is trying to solve that problem with the launch of a gummie supplement that makes that task easier. Sarah Kline, founder of Austin, Texas-based BestCholine, begins shipping her choline supplement this month in 500mg capsules, the amount recommended by the American Medical Association. Her marketing challenge is twofold: spreading the word about her product while educating parents about the need for adequate amounts of choline in developing brains.. [Image Credit: © BestCholine ]

Adi Menayang, "Kids Need Choline Too: Supplement Start-Up BestCholine Launches Choline Gummies", NUTRAingredients-USA.com, February 07, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Spain Joins With Food Companies To Make Foods More Healthful

February 6, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

In a comprehensive initiative to make the country’s foods and beverages more healthful, the Spanish health ministry is working with food manufacturers, foodservice companies, and vending machine firms to cut levels of salt, sugar, and fat in more than 3,500 products within two years. The Spanish health minister called the move “a pioneering plan to improve the composition of food, promote the health of Spaniards and prevent chronic diseases.” [Image Credit: © CasualSpain.com ]

"Spain to Reduce Sugar, Salt and Fat Levels in 3,500 Products", FoodBev, February 06, 2018, © FoodBev Media Ltd
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Start-Up Bakery Makes Its Sandwich Waffles Using Dough

February 6, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
A N.C.-based start-up that launched in 2016 as a waffle delivery service and has since opened two waffle shops is pushing the idea that “waffles are the new bread,” i.e., eatable all-day long. The founders of the Smashed Waffle Company have even created sandwiches that use waffles instead of bread. “Smashedwiches” come in pastry (ice cream) and savory versions. Because a batter-based waffle might turn soggy carrying ice cream, the company uses a scratch-made dough base that is pressed into heavy-duty cast iron waffle "smashers." The result? A crisp outer shell with a soft, airy center that “pairs perfectly with sweet and savory items.”  [Image Credit: © Smashed Wafffle Company ]
"Waffles Are the New Bread", News release, Smashed Waffle Company, February 06, 2018, © Smashed Waffle Company
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Calif. Dairy Introduces Non-GMO, Lactose-Free Milk Products

February 6, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
A family-owned California dairy says it has developed a non-GMO Project verified lactose-free milk for consumers who are lactose-intolerant and hoping to avoid genetically modified organisms in their food and beverages. According to Clover Sonoma, the product is available in whole milk, two percent reduced fat, one percent low fat and fat free, as well as a chocolate whole milk option. Nearly two-thirds of the U.S. population has a reduced ability to digest lactose, a condition caused by the body’s inability to produce enough of the lactase enzyme to fully break down the natural sugar lactose found in milk.  [Image Credit: © Clover Sonoma ]
"Clover Sonoma Announces First and Only Non-GMO Project Verified Lactose Free Milk", News release, Clover Sonoma, February 06, 2018, © Clover Sonoma
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Coca-Cola CEO Promises Further Innovation, Hints At Further Acquisitions

February 5, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey continues to call attention to his company’s need for ongoing innovation – even if there are some flops along the way – that will bring more consumer beverage choices not involving traditional soft drinks. “We need to learn, move on, and reinvent,” he said, noting that the company accepts the fact that beverages like water, juices, and tea may comprise the portfolio of the future, alongside traditional, and innovative, Coca-Cola soda brands. Quincey realizes that investors are looking for some excitement to rev up the company’s stock price, and even let on that further acquisitions are a possibility. And, significantly, he did not nix the possibility of entering the food or alcoholic beverage markets. “Never say never,” he told a CNN interviewer.
Paul R. La Monica, "Coca-Cola's New CEO: 'We've got to Experiment'", CNN Money, February 05, 2018, © Cable News Network
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Phivida Steps Up Production Of Functional Hemp Oil-Based Drinks In California

February 5, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Canada’s Phivida Holdings Inc. has ramped up production of its “Nano-CBD Infused” functional foods, beverages and natural health products as it gets ready for statewide distribution in California. The company’s 15 products are infused with a proprietary hemp oil containing neutraceuticals using a nanoencapsulation technology that converts phytocannabinoids into water soluble delivery format, enhancing bioavailability, and timed released. The product portfolio includes three flavors of iced teas, vitamin juices (viz., Focus, Protect, Relax) and vitamin shots. Phivida Enhanced products include clinical grade sublinguals, as well as specialty muscle and bone joint hard-cap pills sold under the Vida+ label.
"Phivida Begins Mass Production for California Retail Market", News release, Phivida, February 05, 2018, via BevNET.com, © Phiivida
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Israel May Ease Tax Burden To Lure Walmart, Other Retailers

February 4, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
A senior aide to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu disclosed that Israel is leaning toward loosening the tax structure that makes foreign investment more difficult. Netanyahu economic adviser Avi Simhon said “some drastic changes” – including tax cuts – are needed to lure foreign retailers like Walmart to Israel to help lower the cost of living. Netanyahu spoke with John Furner, a senior Walmart executive, at the recent World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland. According to Simhon, the two discussed the idea of Walmart’s opening a retail branch and investing in Israeli technologies after the country eased some regulatory burdens. “The door to Netanyahu’s office is open,” Simhon said. Walmart did not comment on the discussions. [Image Credit: ©   Benjamin Netanyahu via Twitter ]
David Wainer et al., "Is Walmart Coming to Israel? Netanyahu Says the Door Is Open", Bloomberg, February 04, 2018, © Bloomberg Finance L.P.
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New Croissant Hybrid Lights Up Instagram

February 2, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Two foodie favorites – the taco and the croissant – have been hybridized and Instagrammed by a San Francisco bakery to make the $12 “tacro” and, according to a British newspaper food writer, “it looks delicious.” The bakers at Vive La Tarte slice the crispy croissant down the middle and fill it with any one of three taco fillings: pulled pork, chili chicken with avocado, or barbecued jackfruit. They top the treat with sliced radishes, chopped pickled onions, green avocado salsa and red salsa. The bakery is now toying with the idea of a breakfast version. [Image Credit: ©  Vive La Tarte ]
Alice Howarth, "Would You Try the Tacro?", Evening Standard (U.K.), February 02, 2018, © Evening Standard Limited
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Hostess Builds Breakfast Brand Portfolio With Aryzta Acquisitions

February 1, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Hostess Brands said it is completing the acquisition of certain U.S. breakfast assets of Aryzta LLC, including a Chicago Cloverhill bakery, and the Big Texas and Cloverhill brands. Hostess said the addition of the brands to its business portfolio will “add significant strength to our growing breakfast business.” Specifically, Hostess: will gain greater access to the club, vending, cash and carry, and independent convenience stores sales channels; will have an expanded range of offerings in the breakfast category of sweet baked goods, including HoneyBuns, Danish Pastries and Cinnamon Rolls; and will have a 137,000 square-foot bakery facility that makes individually-wrapped Danish pastry. The company expects EBITBA losses in 2018 and 2019 as a result of the acquisition, but EBITBA contributions of $20 million to $25 million by 2020.  [Image Credit: ©   Aryzta]
"Hostess Brands, Inc. Acquires Breakfast Brands and Expands Product Range", News release, Hostess Brands, February 01, 2018, © Hostess Brands
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Doughnut Entrepreneurs Succeed With Their Vegan Offerings

February 1, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
A vegan doughnut bakery that began as a wholesale business serving Baltimore restaurants is opening a retail shop after getting its start in the food incubator B-more Kitchen. The move will provide the Doughnut Alliance with more room for creativity as well as partnerships with other local businesses, said co-founder Jeff Arenberg. The shop will serve locally made coffee and kombucha to accompany the doughnuts, which are available in cookies and cream, s'mores, Boston creme, pink lemonade and cinnamon crunch flavors. Arenberg promises that the vegan doughnuts are indistinguishable from the conventional kind. The shop will also sell sandwiches. 
Amanda Yeager, "Donut Alliance Bringing Its Vegan Doughnuts to Brick-And-Mortar Shop in Baltimore", Baltimore Business Journal, February 01, 2018, © American City Business Journals
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Danone Manifesto Leads Funding Round For Organic Coconut Water Company

February 1, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Danone’s venture capital unit took the lead in a $30 million funding round for refrigerated premium coconut water producer Harmless Harvest (San Francisco, Calif.), citing its “unique DNA.” The company uses a novel micro-filtration process to produce fresh organic coconut water certified by Fair for Life. Danone Manifesto joined Mousse Partners, Accelfoods, and current shareholders in the round. Harmless Harvest will use the investment to boost production capacity, increase marketing, and expand distribution to “meet growing consumer demand for refrigerated premium coconut water.”
"Danone Manifesto Ventures Invests in Harmless Harvest, a U.S. Leader in the Premium Coconut Water Category", News release, Danone, February 01, 2018, © Danone Manifesto Ventures
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Ongoing Probe Uncovers “Alleged Conspiracy” To Fix Bread Prices In Canada

February 1, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Court documents filed by Canada’s Competition Bureau show evidence of a 14-year price-fixing scheme involving two big bread companies and several retailers. The ITO (“information to obtain”) documents named Canada Bread and Weston Bakeries, and retailers Loblaw Companies Ltd., Sobeys Inc., Metro Inc., and Walmart Canada Corp., in the scheme that inflated bread prices by at least $1.21 a loaf. The Competition Bureau said there has been no conclusion of wrongdoing yet, and no charges have been filed. However, Weston and Loblaw have admitted to participating in the industrywide scheme, and have received immunity from prosecution in exchange for their cooperation. A senior competition law officer at the bureau said the “alleged conspiracy” was a deliberate attempt “to suppress competition” and increase the wholesale and retail prices of bread in Canada. [Image Credit: ©   Weston Bakeries ]
Gill Hyslop, "Charges Laid Against Canadian Bread Cartel for Alleged Price Fixing Scandal despite Allegations", BakeryAndSnacks.com, February 01, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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British Produce Firm Acquires Large Stake In Dole Food

February 1, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
European fresh produce company Total Produce announced it has acquired a 45 percent stake in California-based Dole Food Company for $300 million. The equity was acquired from Board Chairman David H. Murdock. Dole generated $4.5 billion in revenue during the year ended in October 2017. The company said the transaction “creates the world's leading fruit and vegetables group with potential to realize synergies.” The Dole management team will continue to operate the business; Total Produce will share governance rights including equal board representation. Murdock will continue as chairman; Carl McCann, chairman of Total Produce, will be vice chairman.  [Image Credit: ©   SEC.gov ]
"Investment in Dole Food Company", Total Produce PLC, February 01, 2018, © Total Produce PLC
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Organic Grain Breeding Program Endowed At WSU

January 31, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Organic snack food company Clif Bar has joined with King Arthur Flour to fund a $1.5 million endowment to support organic grain breeding at Washington State University (Pullman, Wash.) that would develop crop varieties adapted to organic farming. An endowed chair totaling $850,000 is being awarded to Stephen Jones (left), director of the WSU Bread Lab. Working with area farmers, the Bread Lab is developing varieties of wheat and barley that provide hardy, nutritionally-dense rotation crops. The new varieties not only enrich the soil, but also produce grains favored by local millers and maltsters who sell to regional bakers and brewers, according to Clif Bar.  [Image Credit: © WSU]
Ashley Gonias, "King Arthur Flour Announce: $1.5 Million Organic Endowment for WSU's Bread Lab", Clif Bar & Company, January 31, 2018, © Clif Bar & Company
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Nutritionist Argues That Pizza Makes A Better Breakfast Than Cereal

January 31, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
A registered dietitian nutritionist has posted a blog entry saying that a slice of pizza makes for a more healthful breakfast than a bowl of cereal. The two contain essentially the same number of calories, argues nutrition blogger Chelsey Amer, but pizza “packs a much larger protein punch, which will keep you full and boost satiety throughout the morning." She acknowledged that pizza isn’t really a health food, but compared to most sugary cereals, it’s more balanced, contains more fat and less sugar. Another nutritionist disagreed, noting that cereal provides important nutrients “to start your day off right." Keri Gans said “the right cereal that’s packed with fiber, may help lower cholesterol and control blood sugar," especially when topped with berries rich in vitamins. 
Andrew N. White, "Pizza Is Healthier Breakfast Option than Cereal, Dietitian Says", International Business Times, January 31, 2018, © Newsweek Media Group
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Mondelēz Stake In New Keurig Dr Pepper Enables Future Rewards

January 31, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Snack and candy company Mondelēz International has purchased a 14 percent stake in Keurig Dr Pepper, the company created by the recent acquisition of Dr Pepper Snapple Group by Keurig Green Mountain. The relatively small investment nevertheless gives Mondelez an insider’s perch to watch company performance, according to industry researcher Mintel, which notes that the stake could lead to a boost in investment or outright acquisition. This, in turn, would give Mondelēz a product portfolio that could compete against Nestlé, PepsiCo and other food and drink corporations. “In particular,” Mintel said, “Keurig Dr Pepper would allow Mondelēz to re-enter the fast-growing global coffee market and also to leverage Dr Pepper Snapple’s partnerships with emerging ready-to-drink beverage brands.”
Jennifer Zegler, "Mondelēz Could Emerge as a Winner in the Keurig Dr Pepper Merger", Blog entry, Mintel, January 31, 2018, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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“Blue” Chocolates Debut In Japan

January 31, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Japanese confectionery innovators have developed a naturally blue-tinted chocolate in two tones. Novelty store Village Vanguard said the chocolates come in two styles: one resembling the complex night sky, and the other suggesting the still winter atmosphere “where the air remains clear throughout.” The introduction of blue chocolate follows naturally-pink-colored ruby chocolate, dubbed the “fourth type of chocolate” in the world. Kit Kat Japan commercialized it last year. Village Vanguard said it was difficult to color the chocolates a deep blue. It solved the problem by adding blue-colored herbs from Thailand.  [Image Credit: ©   Oh! Nuts ]
 
Mikelle Leow, "Japan Invents Naturally Blue Chocolates Tinted in Colors of Day & Night Skies", DesignTAXI, January 31, 2018, © DesignTAXI
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Kroger’s Scan, Bag, Go Digital Shopping Service To Expand Nationwide This Year

January 31, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Kroger said it will introduce its Scan, Bag, Go shopping technology this year in 18 operating divisions and 400 stores. The company said it tested the service in several locations and decided to expand its availability across the U.S. through Restock Kroger. Scan, Bag, Go allows customers to use a wireless handheld scanner or the smartphone app to scan and bag products as they shop. Shoppers can view and download digital coupons, keep a running total of their order, and view the current week's sales ad. They can then provide payment directly through the app so they can exit the store quickly.  [Image Credit: © Kroger ]
"Kroger Announces Divisions for Scan, Bag, Go Expansion", News release, Kroger Co. , January 31, 2018, © The Kroger Co.
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Authenticity Is RAW Pressery’s Guiding Precept

January 30, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Indian entrepreneur Anuj Rakyan, founder of cold-pressed juice company RAW Pressery, says clean label will be the hot trend in food and beverages in 2018. With that in mind, the company will base an advertising campaign on that trend this year. But Rakyan nevertheless believes that authentic products – not advertising itself – builds consumer trust. That philosophy actually prevented Rakyan from launching a new product – baby food – it spent many months developing. There were distribution problems certainly, but more importantly, the company came to the conclusion that baby food was not within its definition of authentic. Rakyan told his people, “Let’s focus on what we are good at.”
Priyanka Nair, "RAW Pressery's Anuj Rakyan on Clean Label, His Philosophy on Advertising and More", ET Brand Equity, January 30, 2018, © ETBrandEquity.com
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Walmart Makes Operational Changes To Speed Stock Replenishment, Delivery

January 30, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart has decided it can compete more effectively with Amazon.com if it shares more investory data with suppliers so out-of-stock items can be replenished more quickly. Formerly available only internally, the company’s On Shelf Customer Availability (OSCA) data information will be shared at the Supplier Growth Forum, a two-day event at Walmart headquarters. The retailer also said it will tighten deadlines for delivery. It is now requiring large suppliers to deliver full orders within a specified delivery window 85 percent of the time or face a fine of three percent of the cost of goods. Previously, large suppliers had to hit a 75 percent threshold to avoid fines. The delivery threshold for smaller suppliers will move to 50 percent, up from 33 percent, effective in April.   [Image Credit: ©   Walmart ]
"Walmart to share inventory data with suppliers in battle with Amazon", Reuters , January 30, 2018, © Reuters
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McDonald’s Beats 4th Quarter Estimates

January 30, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
McDonald’s profit totaled $698.7 million ($0.87 a share) on $5.34 billion in revenue in the 4th quarter that ended December 31. Adjusted earnings were $1.71 per share, which beat the Wall Street forecast of $1.59 per share, as did revenue performance. U.S. same-store sales were up 4.5 percent during the quarter, due mainly to the two-for-$5 special known as McPick 2, to soda promotions, and to new Buttermilk Crispy Tenders. Early in the New Year, the company revived its McDonald's revived its popular Dollar Menu with $1, $2, and $3 items. One retail analyst called value meals a "necessary evil," however, because they lower profits and hurt sales of more expensive items even though they draw more customers.  [Image Credit: ©   McDonald's   ]
Joseph Pisani, "McDonald's Boosted by Value Meals and New Chicken Snack", Chicago Tribune, January 30, 2018, © Chicago Tribune
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Kroger Looks To Bolster “Restock Kroger” Initiative With Executive Changes

January 30, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Kroger announced it is shuffling two management positions to bolster Restock Kroger, a data-drive initiative focused on pricing, personalized communications with customers, and a large revamp of product assortments. The company, the largest collector of food purchase data in the U.S., wants to put that data to competitive advantage as it expands meal- and food-shopping solutions. Thirty-seven-year Kroger veteran Steve McKinney, president of the Fry's Food Stores division, will become senior vice president of retail divisions, effective February 5. Monica Garnes, corporate vice president of produce-floral merchandising, will succeed McKinney as president of the Fry's division. She has been with Kroger for 23 years.  [Image Credit: ©   Kroger ]
"Kroger Names Steve McKinney Senior Vice President of Retail Divisions, Monica Garnes President of Fry's Division", News release, Kroger Co., January 30, 2018, © Kroger Co.
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Hummus Producer Reformulates Without Artificial Ingredients

January 30, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
National hummus brand Tribe Mediterranean Foods has committed to a clean label policy that is now reflected in its product packaging and formulations. Its hummus products now contain no artificial ingredients, while packaging features more white space, simpler designs and fewer claims. The changes reflect trends in consumer preferences, according to the company, whose own research found that “removing any artificial preservatives from our hummus was a really huge positive from the standpoint of our core consumer.” [Image Credit: © Tribe ]
Elizabeth Crawford, "Tribe Seeks to Fill Void in Hummus Category with a “Clean” Reformulation & New Branding", FOODnavigator-USA.com, January 30, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Tyson Foods Invests In Another Alternative To Livestock-Sourced Protein

January 29, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Meat producer Tyson Foods, which markets about 20 percent of the meat sold in the U.S., has invested in a company whose mission is to eradicate farm-raised protein. The company invested in Silicon Valley-based Memphis Meats, which is trying to grow meat from animal cells, through its venture capital arm, joining Cargill, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Atomico, and DFJ. Memphis Meats CEO Uma Valeti said he hopes his company will benefit from the Tyson and Cargill investments because of their deep knowledge of meat distribution. “They really understand how to scale up,” he says. “They’ll help us learn a lot about getting meat on the shelf.” Tyson has also backed Beyond Meat, which is attempting to replicate the taste of meat with plants. 
Beth Kowitt, "Tyson Foods Has Invested in a Startup That Aims to Eradicate Meat from Live Animals", Fortune, January 29, 2018, © Time Inc.
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Panera Chides Competitors About Use Of Non-Clean Ingredients In Menu Items

January 29, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Fast-casual restaurant chain Panera has set up a committee of food experts who can advise competitors on how to start using natural “clean” ingredients in their menu items. The experts who comprise Clean Consultant can also be hired by other restaurant chains to learn how to get more active in food policy issues. The feisty company has also begun marketing a revamped breakfast sandwich; asked the FDA to clearly define the term “egg;” and called out rivals Chick-fil-A and Starbucks for using additives in their egg sandwiches. [Image Credit: © Panera Bread]
Kate Taylor, "Panera Wants to Help Other Brands Clean Up Their Menus ' and it Shows How the Sandwich Chain is Doubling Down on a Key Strategy in a New Era", Business Insider, January 29, 2018, © Business Insider Inc.
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DoorDash Tries A Unique Solution To The Food Waste Problem

January 28, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Food delivery app DoorDash has come up with a scheme to put the 50 tons of its extra restaurant food that gets tossed annually into dumpsters and landfills to better use. Pilot programs set up in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City allow local restaurants to donate their unused food to food banks. DoorDash delivery people pick up the food and drop it off at Feeding America hubs that in turn redistribute it. After January, DoorDash will seek to partner with national restaurants already available on the app and have those sponsor donations each month.  [Image Credit: © Baskin-Robbins ]
Sasha Lekach, "DoorDash Now Delivers Surplus Food to Fight Hunger", Mashable, January 28, 2018, © Mashable, Inc.
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Bear Squeeze Stakes Future Of Its Ketogenic Meal Powder On Non-GMO Claim

January 25, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Budding meal replacement company Bear Squeeze is differentiating itself from major competitor Soylent by touting its non-GMO nutrient profile. Billing itself as a “higher-end, cleaner Soylent,” the drinkable ketogenic meal product contains medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil, kale, pumpkin seed protein, and probiotics. The ketogenic diet trend is gathering steam – searches have increased steadily on Google since 2016 – as consumers look for products that are low in carbs and high in fats like MCT oil. The California-based company, which raised more than $100,000 on the Indiego funding platform and was a prizewinner at BevNet Live recently, says Bear Squeeze is sold only online and only in bottled powder form for the time being.
Adi Menayang, "‘The Meal Replacement Category is On Fire,’ Says Founder of Ketogenic Beverage Brand Bear Squeeze", FOODnavigator-USA.com, January 25, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Mom’s Pancake Mix Recipe Spawns A Fast-Growing Baking Business

January 24, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Kodiak Cakes has come a long way from the time (in the early 1980s) when co-founder Joel Clark hauled a red wagon full of his mom’s whole-grain pancake mix door-to-door selling to neighbors. In the mid-1990s, Clark and his brother launched a business based on their mother’s pancake recipe, showcased it in 2014 on the TV show Shark Tank, and haven’t looked back. The company recently announced it is launching 20 new whole-grain, high-protein products this year ranging from frozen waffles to baking mixes. Next on the radar is the multi-billion-dollar baking mix market. On the launch pad are a high-protein brownie in a cup and box, and high-protein muffin mixes..  [Image Credit: © Kodiak Cakes ]
Stephen Daniells, "Kodiak Cakes’ CEO: ‘We’re Growing 80% Year-On-Year and Approaching $100 Million’", FOODnavigator-USA.com, January 24, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Breakfast Biscuits Contribute To Steady Decline Of Breakfast Cereals

January 24, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Breakfast cereal sales are declining as fast as canned soup and cigarette sales, thanks in part to the rise of the simple breakfast biscuit, whose success is typified by Mondelez International’s belVita brand. Since its debut in the U.S. in 2012, sales have doubled to more than $600 million. Marketed as a healthful and nutritious energy boost, European-style belVita has gathered a loyal following as America’s breakfast preferences have changed dramatically. belVita’s sales have grown by double digits every year. On the other hand, breakfast cereal – which remains big business at $8.4 billion annually – has been declining at an annual rate of 2.6 percent over the past four years.. [Image Credit: © Mondelez International ]
Greg Trotter, "How Breakfast Biscuit Became a Cereal Killer", Chicago Tribune, January 24, 2018, © Chicago Tribune
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Bread Is No Longer A Dirty Word In America

January 21, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
One of the hotter new food trends in the restaurant world is in-house artisanal bread baking. According to trend watchers, bread is seeing a renaissance in America, thanks to the availability of a wide variety of bread styles, flavors, and textures. The fact is, diners have decided that bread is a good thing after all, an observation not lost on restaurant operators. An increasing number of chefs have begun to make their own loaves, or have turned to local purveyors of made-from-scratch bread. One of those is GK Baked Goods in Fort Wayne, Indiana, whose founder noted the rising demand for artisanal breads some time ago and began offering her products to local businesses and residents. She now has 20 clients.  [Image Credit: © GK Baked Goods ]
Terri Richardson, "Making Bread", The Journal Gazette, January 21, 2018, © www.journalgazette.net
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N.Y. State Legislators Move To Incentivize Commercial Food Donations With Tax Credits

January 20, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
A Republican Senator and colleagues in the New York State legislature is tackling the food waste problem by co-sponsoring legislation to create a tax credit of up to $5,000 for grocery stores, food brokers, wholesalers, restaurateurs, and catering services that donate surplus or about-to-waste food to local food banks and pantries. The tax credit proposal builds on a measure enacted last year that created a tax credit of up to $5,000 for farmers who donate fresh produce to food banks and other emergency food providers. “We need to keep taking commonsense actions like this one to stop perfectly good, fresh, nutritious food from ending up in landfills and waste incinerators and, at the same time, to help combat hunger,” Sen. Thomas F. O’Mara said.  [Image Credit: © Thomas O'Mara ]
Jeff Smith, "O’Mara Calls for Tax Credit to Grocers, Others Donating Surplus Food", The Leader, January 20, 2018, © GateHouse Media, LLC
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Growing Public Awareness Will Make Food Waste A Major Issue In 2018

January 18, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Global food waste is a problem of staggering proportions. It encompasses edible food that is lost, left uneaten or thrown away; imperfect fruits and vegetables that are never sold; and edible food thrown away because it’s past its best-before date. However, growing awareness and concern about the issue might make 2018 the year when minimizing food waste becomes a bona fide movement. A surge in veganism reflects consumer concern not only about what we eat but whence it comes. Global educational campaigns are trying to raise awareness about waste. Food waste initiatives and sustainable practices campaigns are popping up all over, especially in the hotel and restaurant industry. “Public awareness is an important step in changing the food culture,” says sustainability expert Ivano Iannelli. [Image Credit: © Green-Mom.com ]
Kevin Hackett, "Minimising Food Waste: A New Culinary Trend for 2018", The National, January 18, 2018, © International Media Investments FZ LLC
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Chicken Producer Predicts Oversupply Of Expensively-Raised Antibiotic-Free Meat

January 17, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
A major U.S. poultry producer said in a regulatory filing that the supply of antibiotic-free chicken is outstripping the demand. Nearly 41 percent of chickens produced in the U.S. through October 2017 were antibiotic-free, though only 6.4 percent of sales were for products sold as antibiotic-free (ABF). Sanderson Farms said this overproduction could begin to erode processor profits. Sanderson is the only large U.S. chicken producer that has not committed to limit the use of antibiotics. However, it does have a plan to do that if it decides it is in the company’s best interest. A Sanderson spokesman said selling chickens raised using antibiotics allows the company to produce meat more profitably.
Tom Polansek, "U.S. Faces Oversupply of Antibiotic-Free Chicken: Sanderson Farms", Reuters, January 17, 2018, © Reuters
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Australian Technology Solves Food Waste, Creates New Products

January 16, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Banana-growing couple Rob and Krista Watkins have patented and trademarked a technology that turns any fruit or vegetable – but especially discarded, unmarketable produce – into powder in less than 25 minutes. The powder can be used to make any number of food products, including flour and cake pre-mixes, resistant starches, ointments, and vegan protein mixes. Vertically integrated Natural Evolution Foods in Queensland, Australia, uses its proprietary NutroLock technology – an in-line, cold, raw, low-speed food processing technique – to turn green bananas into flour and resistant starch. Its facility can produce eight tons of banana flour a week, with 10kg of bananas making 1kg of flour. [Image Credit: © North Queensland Register ]
Sarah Hudson, "Natural Evolution Foods: Adding Value to Queensland Bananas", The Weekly Times, January 16, 2018, © News Limited
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Whole Grain “Grab-And-Go” Breakfast Morsels Beat Skipping Breakfast

January 15, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
A family-owned bakery in California has created a “grab-and-go” breakfast treat it says is a “healthy yet tasty option” for busy consumers. Breakfast Bites from Sugar Bowl Bakery offer a whole-grain alternative to skipping breakfast or gobbling a sugary pastry. The company’s bakers found a solution to providing sweetness without added sugar in these products by including all-natural dried fruits in the Blueberry Lemon and Cranberry Orange Breakfast Bites. They are denser than a muffin and “airier than a brownie,” according to the company. The breakfast bites debuted recently at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco.  [Image Credit: © Sugar Bowl Bakery ]
"Sugar Bowl Bakery Launches Whole-Grain Breakfast Bites at Winter 2018 Fancy Food Show", News release, Sugar Bowl Bakery, January 15, 2018, © Sugar Bowl Bakery
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It’s Not Easy To Find Out Whether Meat Is Ethically Raised

January 15, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Americans are eating 50 pounds more meat per person than they did in 1960. An increasing number of them want to be certain their meat was ethically raised. But that’s not easy to do. Labels like “all natural” or “free range” on meat packages are no help, and few many consumers are likely to visit farms to observe animal husbandry practices. That’s where independent third-party certification comes in. Whole Foods Market, for example, requires its fresh meat to be certified through the nonprofit Global Animal Partnership, a somewhat expensive procedure that involves regular farm audits. Other third-party organizations that assure customers that the meat they are eating was ethically raised include Animal Welfare Approved, Certified Humane, and American Humane Certified, as well as the Non-GMO Project and Where Food Comes From, Inc. [Image Credit: © agrilicious.org ]
Abigail Curtis, "You Want to Eat Meat That’s Been Ethically Raised. But How Can You Know for Sure?", Bangor Daily News, January 15, 2018, © Bangor Publishing Co.
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Food Company Shareholders Submit Antibiotics Resolutions

January 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, a coalition of corporate investors, have each filed shareholder resolutions with three big food companies urging them to stop buying or producing meat raised with antibiotics. The resolutions submitted to McDonald’s Corp., Denny’s, and Sanderson Farms will be voted on at shareholder meetings unless challenged ahead of time. Last year, McDonald’s stopped buying chicken from suppliers who used antibiotics. The new resolution calls on the company to extend the practice to pork and beef. Rivals Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. and Panera Bread Co. already serve chicken, pork, and beef from animals raised without antibiotics.  [Image Credit: © ICCR ]
Lisa Baertlein, "Investors Call on Sanderson, Denny's, McDonald's to Cut Antibiotics", Reuters, January 14, 2018, © Reuters
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British Beverage Firm Debuts Functional Collagen-Infused Water

January 12, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
U.K. beverage company Protein Water’s new line of protein-rich collagen water is designed to meet growing consumer demand for collagen and its purported benefits for hair, nail, and skin health. The company says the new line dovetails neatly with the "athleisure beauty and glowing skin" trend of 2018. Each $3.20 50 cl bottle in the skin maintenance range, available in Apple & Strawberry and Purple Grape flavors, contains 10 grams of collagen blended with water but no added sugar. The makers of a collagen-infused gin (Collagin) were warned last year by an alcoholic beverage trade organization last year about its claims that their product had therapeutic qualities or could help with a consumer's appearance. 
Andy Morton, "Protein Water Co Aims to Harness "Athleisure" Trend with Skin Maintenance Collagen Water", Just-Drinks, January 12, 2018, © just-drinks.com
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Unable To Make A Dent, Danone Abandons The Indian Dairy Market

January 12, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
France’s Danone is discontinuing dairy brands in India that have been underperforming, including ultra-high temperature processing (UHT) brands and fresh dairy products, which have accounted for only ten percent of the company’s revenue in the country. Danone’s dairy portfolio comprised flavored yogurt, lassi and misti doi, and milk. India’s estimated $14 billion dairy market is dominated by cooperatives like the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd that owns the Amul brand. The decision means Danone’s factory at Rai, Sonipat, will stop production. The company said it will re-emphasizse the marketing of its portfolio of nutrition brands in the country.
Sounak Mitra, "Danone to Shut Down its Dairy Business in India", LiveMint, January 12, 2018, © HT Media Ltd.
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