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To Reduce Product Line Complexity, Coke Is Targeting “Zombies” For Liquidation

August 13, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola has developed a guide for executives in its various markets to identify underperforming products – dubbed “zombies” – that should be axed.  So far in 2018 the company has flagged 125 “underperforming SKUs for elimination” in in the Middle East and North African region alone. Sixty percent have already been dropped from the portfolio. The process of developing “zombie reviews” is a subcategory of innovation, according to CEO James Quincey, that requires ruthlessness. According to Quincey, product line complexity needs to be reduced to ensure the sales force is focused, the supply chain is efficient, and the innovation pipeline gains more space and visibility at the point of sale.
Rachel Arthur , "Coca-Cola steps up the zombie hunt: More than 100 products identified for elimination", Beverage Daily, August 13, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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IBM’s Blockchain Program Seeks To Eliminate Food Fraud By Partnering With Producers And Retailers

August 11, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Announced in August 2017, IBM’s Food Trust is a blockchain-enabled cloud-based system designed to help retailers determine the sources of food contamination. Counting 10 food producers and retailers, including Dole, Driscoll’s, and Kroger, among its partners, the system uses blockchain to link the members using a “transparent, permanent and shared record” of the “most urgent areas” in the global food supply chain. At present, the IBM Food Trust system accounts for more than 350,000 food data transactions, covering dozens of food products, such as vegetables, meats, and spices.[Image Credit: © IBM]

Rachel Wolfson, "Understanding How IBM And Others Use Blockchain Technology To Track Global Food Supply Chain", Forbes.com, August 11, 2018, © Forbes Media LLC
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Edible Cutlery From Bakeys Is Attracting Criticism…From Environmentalists

August 11, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Bakeys, a dining ware manufacturer in India, has come under criticism from environmentalists for its edible cutlery, made from sorghum, rice, and wheat flours. Although they can be eaten - they reportedly taste like crackers - they will also decompose in a few days. The company $280,000 through Kickstarter, the crowdfunding platform, but critics have highlighted the environmental damage from producing, packaging and transporting the products, and that a better solution would be for consumers to carry reusable cutlery when they go out.[Image Credit: © Bakeys Foods Private Limited]
Emily Court, "Company Met With Criticism After Launching Edible Utensils To Fight Plastic Waste", Plant Based News, August 11, 2018, © Plant Based News
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Retailers Back The New Zealand Government’s Ban on Single-Use Plastic Bags

August 10, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
New Zealand retail companies have added their support to Government plans to ban single-use plastic bags. The Countdown chain was the first to commit to stopping by the end of this year, and more chains have joined the list of those making similar commitments. Foodstuffs, which includes a number of supermarket banners, such as Pak'nSave and Liquorland, will stop providing single-use bags from January 2019. Steve Anderson, managing director, said the Government’s plans level the playing field, but the company will ensure every customer is offered an affordable alternative.[Image Credit: © BRRT]
Aimee Shaw, "Saying bye to plastic: What Kiwi shops say about Government's plan to ban single-use plastic bags", Nzherald.co.nz, August 10, 2018, © NZME. Publishing Limited
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After Whole Foods, Former co-CEO Tackles The Food Waste Problem

August 10, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Former Whole Foods Market co-CEO Walter Robb has joined the boards of two companies focused on reduction of food waste. Robb left the company when Whole Foods was sold to Amazon and has since become an investor, mentor and adviser to FoodMaven, a digital platform company that sells oversupplied and imperfect food to restaurants at a significant discount, and to Apeel Sciences, which extends the shelf life of produce using a natural coating. Both companies give grocers tools to address the mismatch between supply and demand, Robb says. He also says he’s a fan of upcycled products such as Renewal Mill's okara flour, made from a by-product of soymilk production, and Regrained's Supergrain+, made from spent distiller grains. [Image Credit: © USDA | Wikimedia Commons]
Dana Gunders, "Whole Foods' Walter Robb Is Taking On Food Waste", Forbes.com, August 10, 2018, © Forbes Media LLC
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Australian Exporters Hope To Exploit U.S. Love Of Grass-Fed Beef

August 9, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Australian grass-fed beef exporters see a niche market in the U.S. as American producers face mounting beef, pork, and poultry supplies that could soon export suppress prices. The demand for chilled grass-fed beef is being driven by Millennials looking for “all natural” protein supplies. Since 2012, Australia’s grass-fed beef trade with the U.S. has increased 100 percent, and now represents 25 percent of total volume shipped there, the second largest beef market after Japan. The grass-fed, HGP-free, antibiotic-free product range is a fast-growing,albeit competitive, niche in the U.S. The sale of meat with natural claims has a CAGR of four percent, while meat labeled hormone- and antibiotic-free is growing at nine percent. [Image Credit: © redjar – jared benedict | Wikimedia Commons]
Shan Goodwin, "Mounting US protein supply drives home need for niche ", Stock and Land, August 09, 2018, © Fairfax Media
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Investors See Big Opportunities In Food Waste Solutions Start-Ups

August 9, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Four start-ups that are battling food waste in their own unique ways have secured significant backing from major investors. Four-year-old BlueCart, originally founed to provide restaurants with an online procurement tool, realized that the technology also reduced waste. The company raised $22 million in three years from VCs. It now boasts 53,642 foodservice venues and 7,078 suppliers that have cut food waste by 52 percent. Other food waste start-ups include: Winnow, helping commercial kitchens cut food waste with a monitor and digital scale connected to a tablet ($11.5 million in funding); and FoodMaven, providing an online marketplace and logistics to capture revenues from lost food ($9.1 million). Funding initiative ReFED says more than $100 million in private funding has been provided to food waste innovators. [Image Credit: © BlueCart]
Arlene Karidis, "A Look at Some Food Waste Innovators with Major Backing", waste360.com, August 09, 2018, © Informa USA, Inc.
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Aldi In Australia Justifies Its Use Of Fruit And Veg Packaging

August 9, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
With more and more attention being focused on single-use plastic, Aldi in Australia has been forced to explain its use of plastic packaging for fruit and vegetables. The company says its down to its focus on cost efficiency, by making the checkout process easier, but it is working to minimize the use of plastics. However, some shoppers have responded by removing the packaging at the tills. Aldo also said it keeos the items fresher and avoids customers handling the food. It added that “over the coming years our customers can expect to see changes in our stores that reflect our commitment to protecting the environment.” [Image Credit: © ALDI Stores]
Brittany Chain, "Revealed: The reason why Aldi wraps its fruit and vegetables in plastic – and it's all to do with speeding things up at the checkouts", Daily Mail Australia, August 09, 2018, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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Emerging Category Of Energy Drinks: Organic And Natural

August 8, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
The global energy drink market was worth about $43 billion two years ago, and could double in seven years. While traditional caffeine-laced energy drinks are still popular, health warnings about excessive caffeine intake are beginning to transform the category. More brands with organic or natural ingredients perceived as better-for-you are appearing on the market. Brands showcased as natural and organic energy drinks appeared at the 2018 Natural Products Expo West show, including Dark Dog Organic, Limitless, Guru and Zola. Researchers say natural and organic energy drinks sales will reach $32 billion – 40 percent of the market – by 2025. Key ingredients n the new ranges of energy drinks include green coffee, green tea, guarana, and ginseng, and combinations of these.
Holly McHugh, "Transforming energy drinks with natural, organic ingredients", Natural Products Insider, August 08, 2018, © Informa USA Inc.
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Life On Earth Acquires Relaxation Beverage Maker Just Chill

August 8, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
New York-based functional beverage company Life on Earth has closed the acquisition of The Chill Group, Los Angeles-based makers of natural relaxation drink line Just Chill. The deal is a common stock purchase agreement for 100 percent of The Chill Group, Inc. Eight-year-old Just Chil is a natural functional beverage formulated with the amino acid L-theanine, an amino acid, which is said to promote relaxation and sleep. The products are available in four flavors and sold in retailers such as Whole Foods (Southern California), Kroger, and H-E-B. Just Chill joins Latin drink brand Gran Nevada and Victoria’s Kitchen almond water in Life On Earth’s beverage portfolio. In April the publicly-traded company acquired The Giant Beverage Company, Inc., a Staten Island, N.Y.-based maker of shelf stable beverages.
Martín Caballero, "Life On Earth Acquires Just Chill", BevNet.com, August 08, 2018, © BevNET.com
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Morrisons Steps Up Fight Against Single-Use Plastic By Removing Cucumber Sleeves

August 7, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
UK supermarket chain Morrisons is responding to the call for less single-use plastic in packaging by removing the plastic sleeves on cucumbers, although the Cucumber Growers’ Association claims that the shrink-wrap keeps the cucumber hydrated and helps prevent it being damaged. Removing the sleeve reduces shelf life by two days to five. The move only applies at the moment to whole cucumbers sourced from the UK and Netherlands. Mini and pre-cut cucumbers will also retain their plastic covering. The move follows other initiatives from the chain, including replacing plastic bags in the produce aisles with brown paper bags, and selling at a discount reusable containers on its fresh meat and fish counters.[Image Credit: © Krzysztof Jaracz]
Rachel Graham , "Morrisons removes cucumber plastic sleeves to reduce waste", The Grocer, August 07, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd.
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Einstein Says It Has Perfected Its Mobile App

August 6, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Colorado-based Einstein Bros. Bagels is launching its “perfect” smartphone app with a rewards program and a one-day offer of a free bagel and shmear with purchase to anyone who shows a restaurant brand's mobile app on their device. To participate, customers need to download the app and sign up for the Shmear Society Rewards program. Members are eligible to enjoy a free egg sandwich with purchase on their birthday and two points for every $1 spent in-store, which can be redeemed at any time for food and beverages at participating locations. Einstein Bros. Bagels is part of the Coffee Bagel Brands family, which includes Caribou Coffee, Bruegger's Bagels, Noah's New York Bagels, and Manhattan Bagel. [Image Credit: © Einstein Bros. Bagels]
"Einstein Bros. Bagels Extends Free Bagel and Shmear to All Restaurant Mobile App Users", PRNewswire, August 06, 2018, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Direct-To-User Model Promises To Do More Than Typical DTC Does

August 6, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Consumer packaged goods companies, whether users of the direct-to-consumer model or not, should focus on evolving from DTC to direct to user. By adopting a DTU approach, brands can expand their horizons when it comes to customer engagement. DTU provides brands the opportunity to avoid retail costs and the need to compete with established brands. Instead of focusing on what users think of a brand, companies should concentrate on what users experience during engagements. Also, a DTU model also offers brands an opportunity to have an uninterrupted exchange with users that can retain and protect user engagement that can help long-term growth. [Image Credit: © Matthews International Corporation]
"How to Create Deeper Connections by Going “Direct to User”", Packaging Europe, August 06, 2018, © Packaging Europe Ltd
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European, Asian Heat Wave Signals Higher Wheat Prices, Smaller Global Stockpiles

August 4, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
The heat wave that is searing Europe and Asia is also scorching forecasts for wheat harvests and driving prices up. North American wheat farmers are likely to benefit from the higher prices just as the Trump tariffs dampen demand for other crops, especially soybeans. The USDA forecasts a significant drop in global wheat stockpiles – the first time in five years – thanks to hot temperatures and drought that stunt the growth of cereals and reduce their quality. Chicago wheat futures hit three-year highs early in August, while a key European benchmark reached a four-year high. The price of Paris-traded milling wheat has soared 33 percent so far this year, which means more expensive animal feed in some regions and possibly more expensive bread. Agricultural analysts say the heat wave is an aberration, some observers predict an eventual shakeup for farming in parts of the world as the prospect of global warming looms.
David Hodari and Benjamin Parkin, "Global Heat Wave Toasts Wheat and Prices Soar", The Wall Street Journal, August 04, 2018, © Dow Jones & Co. Inc
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Dunkin' Donuts Launches First Gluten-Free Pastry: The Fudge Brownie

August 3, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Dunkin' Donuts’ new, gluten-free fudge brownie is made with potato starch instead of wheat flour containing gluten, rendering it safe for anyone who has celiac disease, a wheat allergy, or a gluten intolerance. The brownies are packaged in a plastic wrap, similar to store-bought snack cakes, to guard against gluten contamination in the bakery case. Courier Journal staffers who tried the snack said “there was something different about it,” but not different enough to keep them from trying it again. One reported described the brownie as a dense "sucker punch of chocolate" that was "pretty darn good." [Image Credit: © Dunkin’ Donuts]
Maggie Menderski, "Dunkin' Donuts' gluten-free pastry packs a fudgy punch", Louisville Courier Journal, August 03, 2018, © Louisville Courier Journal, Part of the USA Today Network
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Coca-Cola India Invests In Apple Cultivation For Its Fruit-Based Beverages

August 3, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola India is partnering with an Indo-Dutch agribusiness to expand apple cultivation – via 110 orchards – in the northern hilly state Uttarakhand to locally source pulp for its fruit-based drinks. Project Unnati Apple was created as a catalyst to help India achieve self-sufficiency in apple production. The country ranks second in terms of area under apple cultivation, yet it imports the fruit and its concentrate as the average productivity per hectare is low. Coca-Cola has been investing in fruit-based beverages as consumers worldwide switch to more healthful beverages. In India the company agreed to nearly $2 billion to source fruits locally while diversifying its portfolio. Researcher Euromonitor expects sales of sodas in India grow at 3.4 percent by 2022, half the pace of the previous five years.
Sharleen Dsouza, "Coca-Cola Turns Apple Grower In Push Beyond Sugary Sodas", BloombergQuint, August 03, 2018, © BloombergQuint
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Wahaha To Introduce Functional Probiotic Beverages For Women, Children, Elderly

August 2, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
China’s Hangzhou Wahaha Group is targeting women, children, and the elderly with three new functional probiotic beverages packaged in sachets. The products contain several probiotic strains, including several Lactobacillus and bifidobacterium strains. The children’s and women’s products contain five types of probiotics and three types of prebiotics (fiber). The product for the elderly claims to help to reduce blood sugar level and promote the absorption of calcium, while the product for women is said to aid detoxification. China accounts for almost half of all probiotic sales in the Asia Pacific region, at $8.3 billion. The Asia Pacific probiotics market is forecast to grow by a CAGR of 8.3 percent over the next seven years, but China will continue to track higher than the average.
Tingmin Koe , "China beverage firm Wahaha to launch new probiotic range as it ramps up health focus ", Nutra-Ingredients, August 02, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Following String Of Acquisition Flops, Starbucks Tries Again With Italian Bakery

August 2, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Starbucks hasn’t had much success in buying and locating companies either within its stores or as stand-alones. One memorable flop was the bakery Boulange. But Starbucks is trying again, and with another bakery: Princi, a small but high-end chain launched in 1968 in Italy that has no U.S. locations yet. Starbucks has committed to making the brand the exclusive food partner at its global Reserve and Roastery locations. A Princi has opened inside the Shanghai Roastery and in the first Reserve store at the Seattle headquarters. Princi will also be included in upcoming Roastery locations in Milan and New York. Starbucks plans only a few Roastery locations around the world, but possibly 1,000 Reserve stores. Stand-alone Princi locations will also open in two major markets: New York and Chicago, where there are Roastery locations. [Image Credit: © Princi.com | Starbucks]
Daniel B. Kline , "As Starbucks Ramps Up A New Bakery Line, It's Hard To Forget Its String Of Second-Brand Failures", Motley Fool, August 02, 2018, © The Motley Fool
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Milling Company Says Its High Fiber Flour is Non-GMO Project Certified

August 2, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Bay State Milling Company’s HealthSense High Fiber Wheat Flour, derived from high amylose wheat, has secured non-GMO Project verification. The Mass.-based company said the wheat combines in one ingredient the benefits of wheat flour taste, the functionality of resistant starch fiber, and traceability to the farm. The company says food manufacturers can replace traditional hard wheat with the HealthSense flour and “close the dietary fiber gap that currently exists in the American diet without a fiber additive.” [Image Credit: © Bay State Milling]
"HealthSense High Fiber Wheat Flour Achieves Non-GMO Project Verified Status", MarketWatch, August 02, 2018, © MarketWatch, Inc
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AgTech Firm Sues Walmart, Alleging Illegal Use Of Food Waste Technology

August 1, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Agricultural tech company Zest Labs and its parent company Ecoark Holdings are suing Walmart in federal court for $2 billion, alleging violations of the Arkansas Trade Secrets Act and other offenses. Data created and insights created by Zest Labs’ Zest Fresh technology reduces field to shelf food waste and improves delivered freshness, helping food distributors and retailers reduce the $85 billion problem of fresh food waste. Zest Labs in 2015 helped Walmart adopt the technology, in the process sharing trade secrets. In March 2018, Walmart announced Eden, a technology to keep track of food freshness from farms to stores. Zest Labs says it was “surprised and concerned by how similar Walmart’s Eden description was to Zest Fresh,” triggering the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. [Image Credit: © Zest Labs]
"Ecoark Holdings and Zest Labs File $2 Billion Complaint Against Walmart", Globe Newswire, August 01, 2018, © GlobeNewswire, Inc
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Kraft Heinz Commits To Environmentally-Friendlier Packaging By 2025

August 1, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
The Kraft Heinz Company has committed to making its packaging 100 percent recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025, and it will also work towards reducing the amount of packaging. The CEO, Bernardo Hees, said that the company needs to look at how its greenhouse emissions are generated throughout the supply chain, and not just from direct operations. The initiatives are a part of its ‘Growing a Better World’ program it announced in 2017.[Image Credit: © The Kraft Heinz Company]
Alexandra Deabler, "Kraft Heinz announces 100 percent of packaging will be recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025", Fox News, August 01, 2018, © FOX News Network, LLC.
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New Marketing Chief Takes Over At Nestlé Waters NA

July 31, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé Waters NA marketing head Antonio Sciuto, credited with transforming the company’s digital strategy, has resigned and will be replaced by Yumi Clevenger-Lee. The change in leadership comes in the midst of a mushrooming sparkling water marketing war among Nestlé, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and smaller marketers such as La Croix. Nestlé is the market leader, after private label brands, commanding a 13.3 percent share in the U.S. Private labels have 31.2 percent of the market. PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have 3.3 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively, but have been spending heavily on marketing and have been gaining. Nestlé's share fell by 1.3 points in the year-to-date period through mid-June. Clevenger-Lee had been marketing director for the Latin American division of Cereal Partners Worldwide, a joint venture between Nestlé and General Mills.
E.J. Schultz, "Nestle Waters taps new CMO amid sparkling water ad war", Advertising Age, July 31, 2018, © Crain Communications
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New FreshCloud Platform Monitors Produce Quality Through The Supply Chain

July 31, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Food preservation company AgroFresh Solutions announced the launch of its FreshCloud platform, a data- and insights-driven solution for monitoring produce quality through the supply chain. The company also announced the acquisition of Verigo, an “Internet of Things” (IoT) company offering end-to-end visibility and management of cold-chain logistics. FreshCloud offers real-time predictive data insights that improve efficiency in the delivery of produce to global consumers.  Verigo's technology is the foundation of FreshCloud Transit Insights, and triggered a revamp of AgroFresh's AdvanStore offering, now called FreshCloud Storage Insights. FreshCloud Predictive Screening, also a component of the FreshCloud platform, predicts the risk of disorder development during storage by analyzing gene expression at commercial harvest, resulting in more informed storage management decisions. [Image Credit: © AgroFresh]
"AgroFresh Launches FreshCloud Platform", PRNewswire, July 31, 2018, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Sales Of Plant-Based Food Substitutes Continue To Soar

July 30, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Nielsen data published by the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) show that plant-based foods that directly substitute for animal products grew ten times faster than those animal-derived counterparts. Sales of plant-based food substitutes for seafood, meat, eggs, and dairy products jumped 20 percent last year, compared to two percent in these same categories. The plant-based substitutes market is still dwarfed by the real products: the entire meat market is $85 billion, while the plant-based substitutes market is $670 million. Nevertheless, improvements in taste, variety, and competition have all led to sales growth and mainstreaming of plant-based foods, according to the PBFA. [Image Credit: © Beyond Meat]
"2018 Retail Sales Data for Plant-Based Foods", Plant Based Foods Association, July 30, 2018, © Plant Based Foods Association
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NRDC: Beef, Pork Producers, Fast-Food Chains, Should Reduce Antibiotics Use

July 30, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
The Natural Resources Defense Council is happy that poultry producers and fast-food chains are weaning themselves from chickens raised with human antibiotics, but wonder why beef and pork are ”another story.” Progress in the chicken industry is “in stark contrast” to what’s happening with pigs and cattle. In fact, according to the NRDC, pretty much the same amount of medically important antibiotics is sold for use in pigs as for use in treating sick people in the U.S. But pork producers in many countries raise pigs without routine use of antibiotics. Beef producers represented by the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB) – which also includes fast-food chains – are also falling short when it comes to antibiotics use. “It is time to clean up antibiotic use practices behind the beef and pork served on [fast-food] menus,” the Council said. [Image Credit: © Stephen Fulljames | Wikimedia Commons]
Lena Brook, "More Chicken Antibiotics Pledges; Where's the Beef & Pork?", Natural Resources Defense Council , July 30, 2018, © Natural Resources Defense Council
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Bakey's Sells Eco-Friendly Edible Spoons And Forks To India And The World

July 29, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
India-based Bakey's developed and sells environment-friendly, edible spoons and forks. Developed in 2010, Bakey's cutlery is the first of its kind and is made from millet, rice, and wheat flours. According to company founder and directing manager, Narayana Peesapaty, Bakey's cutlery was developed in response to pollution caused by plastic spoons and forks. Peesapaty said he was also concerned with the health effects of plastic utensils, with research showing chemical components in plastic products can leach into food. Some environmentalists, however, have expressed doubts about the product's environment-friendly features. [Image Credit: © Bakeys Foods Private Limited]
Lavaniya Rajah, "Cutlery you can eat: One company's approach to the plastic pollution problem", CBC News, July 29, 2018, © CBC/Radio-Canada
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Dunkin Donuts Is Way Smaller Than Starbucks, But Better Loved By Customers

July 26, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Dunkin’ Donuts is doing a lot of things right, a fact reflected in its most recent quarterly financial report showing higher-than-expected earnings and revenues. Starbucks, however, with 25 times the revenue of Dunkin’, “has lost its mojo” and Wall Street “is losing faith” in its management team, according to Forbes. At least part of the problem is the fact, confirmed by data from LikeFolio's consumer insights, that for the first time Dunkin’ Donuts happiness levels are higher than Starbucks. Other key factors at play: Dunkin' Donuts is growing its customer base and adding stores, while Starbucks is closing locations; purchase intent mentions for Dunkin’ Donuts are at multi-year highs; Starbucks has a serious employee morale problem; Dunkin’ is more inclined to give customers – rather than environmental activists – what they want; and Dunkin’ Donuts has delicious donuts, rather than pastries. [Image Credit: © Starbucks]
Andy Swan, "5 Reasons Dunkin' Donuts is Dominating Starbucks", Forbes.com, July 26, 2018, © Forbes Media LLC
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Hormel Removes Carrageenan From Line Of Natural, Organic Deli Meats

July 26, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Hormel’s Applegate brand of natural and organic meats announced it has eliminated the controversial ingredient carrageenan from its deli meat products after consumers complained about it.  Carrageenan is a sulfated polysaccharide derived from seaweed that is used as a thickener and stabilizer in foods. The USDA now allows the use of carrageenan in natural and organic foods. Hormel also requires a no-antibiotics policy on the farms that produce meats for its Applegate products. [Image Credit: © Hormel]
"Applegate Does Deli Better with Ingredient and Packaging Updates ", Hormel Foods Corporation, July 26, 2018, © Hormel Foods Corporation
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Danone Launches Organic Fruit Juices In Spain

July 26, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
With demand for organic products in Spain growing by double digits, Danone has launched an organic fruit drink line there that contains no artificial ingredients, and was made using fruits grown without pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers. Danone’s Font Vella Organic brand is made with mineral water, fruit juice and a range of natural ingredients, and is available in orangeade with oregano and lemonade with basil from Spanish retailers in 40 cl bottles, with a suggested retail price of $1.69 a bottle.
Martin White, "Danone’s Font Vella releases new organic drink line in Spain", Foodbev.com, July 26, 2018
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Coca-Cola Profit Soars 64 Percent In Quarter; Plans Tariff-Induced Price Hikes

July 25, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola reported a second quarter profit of $2.3 billion – a 64 percent increase from a year ago – on an organic revenue increase of five percent (excluding currency swings, acquisitions and divestitures), helped by growth in sales of concentrates and higher prices for products. Overall sales slid eight percent from last year to $8.9 billion, thanks to divestiture of bottling operations. The company said it is raising prices on carbonated drinks in North America in response to rising freight rates and metal prices – “some broad-based push on input costs,” said CEO James Quincey – spurred by tariffs on Chinese imports. Drink volumes rose two percent, driven by double-digit growth in Coca-Cola-branded products. Volumes were up two percent in carbonated soft drinks and four percent for water, enhanced water and sports drinks.
Jennifer Maloney, "Coke Raising U.S. Soda Prices, Citing Tariffs", Wall Street Journal , July 25, 2018, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc
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Court Squashes Suits Seeking Human Rights Disclosure Labels On Foods

July 25, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
A federal appeals court has ruled that California consumer laws do not require food companies to put disclaimer labels about supply-chain issues on their products. The 9th circuit court’s decision ends class action suits that have sought to force companies to disclose possible human rights violations within the supply chain. The U.S. Department of Labor has reported that forced child labor occurs in the harvesting of cocoa beans in the Ivory Coast and the collection of fish and shrimp in Thailand. Companies such as Mars and Nestlé have acknowledged that such abuses occur, but plaintiffs in the class action suits say such efforts do not go far enough.
Glenn G. Lammi, "Demands For On-Label Disclosure Of Possible Supply-Chain Abuses Fail In Ninth Circuit", Forbes.com, July 25, 2018, © Forbes Media LLC
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Students Turn Food Processing Waste Into Profit Center

July 25, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Danish technology students who were asked to find a sustainable process to recycle carrot peels and pulp have come up with a way to turn to it into flour. Vegetable supplier Greens Wholesale generates 100 tons of biological waste every month as it produces fresh juices and produce. Much of the waste is converted to biogas or fertilizer, but the company wanted to optimize its production process to reduce costs and perhaps turn a profit. Turning carrot waste into flour was the winning idea: it can replace up to half of the wheat flour in a recipe. The company and the Technical University of Denmark students hope to commercialize the idea within a year. [Image Credit: © Cokolatetnica | Pixabay]
Miriam Meister, "Technical University Of Denmark: Out-of-the-box thinking transforms carrot peel into carrot flour", Technical University of Denmark , July 25, 2018, © Technical University of Denmark
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U.K. Start-Up Recognized For Low-Carb Bread Dough

July 24, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

A British food technology start-up that invented a low-carb bread alternative was recently certified as “reduced carb” by Sugarwise, an international certification authority for sugar claims on food and drink. Manchester-based Lo-Dough was awarded the certification because its products have no more than 10 percent of calories coming from free sugars, and no more than five grams of free sugars per 100 grams. Lo-Dough has recipes for low-carb pizzas, pies, desserts and pastries. [Image Credit: © Sugarwise]

"Food Tech Startup Lo-Dough Becomes First Ever Reduced Carb Certified Company With Sugarwise", PR Newswire , July 24, 2018, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Just Eat Tests Seaweed-Based Sachets Developed With Skipping Rocks Lab

July 24, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Online food-ordering company Just Eat has partnered with packaging technology firm Skipping Rocks Lab to develop a sachet made from seaweed. Part of the company's efforts to cut the volume of plastics used by its restaurant partners in the UK, the seaweed-based sachets can be composted and are environment-friendly. According to Just Eat, the company will test the sachet for six weeks with The Fat Pizza in Southend, and determine the possibility of introducing the packaging to its 29,000 partner restaurants. [Image Credit: © Just Eat Holding Limited]
"Just Eat trials seaweed sachets as alternative to single-use plastics", edie.net, July 24, 2018, © edie.net
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Next Major Food Trend Could Be “Allergen-Free”

July 24, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Companies that sell foods that claim to not only be gluten-free but free of other ingredients that trigger allergic reactions expect solid growth over the coming years. Chicago’s Enjoy Life Foods, for example, saw an opportunity when the U.S. FDA designated eight common food allergens, including peanuts and gluten. The company has seen double-digit growth every year since 2011. No one is really tracking the allergen-free market yet, so there are no reliable measures of it. But the rate of anaphylactic reactions to food increased 377 percent between 2007 and 2016. Another company, Safe + Fair, says its chocolate chip cookie is free of nuts, but does contain wheat, egg and soy. The company, which recently completed a $10 million Series C funding round, is developing a line of nut-free cookies and crackers called Skeeter Snacks. [Image Credit: © Aney | Wikimedia Commons]
"Allergy-Free: The Next Gluten-Free?", NACS, July 24, 2018, © NACS
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Aramark Aims To Reduce Or Remove Plastic Straws From Facilities It Serves

July 24, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Food service company Aramark said it plans to reduce the use of plastic straws and plastic stirrers and provide environment-friendly alternatives at food and dining facilities it serves. Aramark, which manages food service operations for various locations, including schools, convention centers, and arenas, across the US, said the reduction will depend on the location. According to the company, it plans to have 100-percent removal of plastic straws from parks and residential dining halls of colleges and universities.[Image Credit: © Aramark]
Chris Morris , "Food Service Giant Aramark Is Phasing Out Plastic Straws", Fortune.com, July 24, 2018, © Time Inc.
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Restaurant Bases Expansion Plans On Success Of Its “Doughboys”

July 23, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Saratoga Springs (N.Y.) restaurant Esperanto has signed wholesale distribution deals to bring its popular “doughboy” cheese-and-chicken-stuffed pockets to convenience stores, entertainment venues, and college campuses. The restaurant says it already sells hundreds of thousands of doughboys a year and is planning to acquire more space so it can ramp up production to more than a million. Expansion began when convenience store chain Stewart’s Shops started carrying the product in 12 of its stores. Doughboys contain sautéed diced chicken breast, cheeses, and scallions baked in pizza dough. Gluten-free and vegetarian versions are available as well. Says owner William Pouch: “People are going nuts over the product." [Image Credit: © Esperanto Restaurant]

Chelsea Diana, "Esperanto owners opening commercial bakery to bring its infamous doughboys to bigger market", Albany Business Review, July 23, 2018, © American City Business Journals
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British Company To Open Waste Food Catering Business

July 23, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

A British non-profit company is planning to use unused food to offer catering and meal services to people, businesses and organizations, beginning in September. Real Junk Food Manchester’s program will focus on commercial outside catering services such as buffets and hot meals. The venture will be housed in a large commercial kitchen in partnership with a local social housing provider and will collaborate with local charity and public-sector groups to supply meals to vulnerable people across the city. RJFM opened its first waste food pay-as-you-feel restaurant concept last year as a short-term pop-up concept and doubled in size. [Image Credit: © Real Junk Food Manchester]

"British firm Real Junk Food Manchester to open waste food catering business", MarketLine NewsWire , July 23, 2018, © Verdict Media Limited
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Tomatoes With Longer Shelf Life Will Soon Reach Market

July 20, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, tomato food waste costs American households $2.3 billion annually. But California-based food technology company Arcadia Biosciences and hybrid seed developer Shriram Bioseed may have come up with a solution. They announced development of extended shelf life (ESL) tomatoes with improved yield and fruit quality. The new hybrids are in the pre-commercial, wide-area field testing stage with anticipated launch in 2019. Arcadia used a non-GM advanced screening and breeding technique called TILLING to screen genetic variations that allow tomatoes to fully ripen on the vine yet remain durable enough to survive the packing and shipping process.

"Arcadia Biosciences and Shriram Bioseed Reach Milestone in Developing Extended Shelf Life Tomatoes", Plus Company Updates (PCU), July 20, 2018, © Arcadia Biosciences
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Which? Study Shows A Third Of Plastic Packaging Used By UK Retailers Hard To Recycle

July 19, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Results of an analysis by Which?, a consumer group, revealed that as much as 29 percent of plastic packaging used by UK retailers is non-recyclable through the usual collection schemes or hard to recycle. Results of the study of packaging used for 27 everyday private-label products sold by 10 leading retail chains showed Lidl had the lowest percentage of easily recyclable packaging at 71 percent. Morrisons topped the results with 81 percent of tested products with packaging considered widely recyclable.[Image Credit: © Anja Osenberg]
Rebecca Smithers , "One-third of UK supermarket plastic is not easily recyclable, analysis shows", The Guardian, July 19, 2018, © Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies
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Calif. Court Rules Acrylamide Warning On Breakfast Cereals Not Necessary

July 18, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
A California appeals court has ruled that healthful whole grains trump potential cancer-causing chemicals when it comes to food labeling. The court said breakfast cereals like Cheerios and Grape-Nuts Flakes do not have to put a warning label about a chemical ingredient that may cause cancer under the state's Proposition 65, because the labels could discourage consumers from buying healthful foods. The cereals contain the chemical acrylamide, but so do other foods, the court said, including peanut butter, rye and whole wheat bread, sunflower seeds, and prune juice. [Image Credit: © Amin | Wikimedia Commons]
Bob Egelko, "Cancer labels on cereal ruled unnecessary; Breakfast cereals don't need cancer warnings, California court rules", The San Francisco Chronicle (California), July 18, 2018, © Hearst
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Danone Introduces Fermented Milks, Yogurts Inspired By International Recipes

July 16, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Danone has launched a range of fermented milks and yogurts in the U.K. that it says are “inspired by authentic recipes” from around the world. The two fermented milks (250 g, $1.95) in the Danone of the World lineup include an Indian-style Lassi drink and a Turkish-inspired Ayran drink. Among the yogurts are a Greek-style Straggisto yogurt (140 g, $1.30), a fat-free, high protein Icelandic-inspired Skyr yogurt (140g, RRP $1.30), and a Lebanese-style Laban yogurt, (250g, $1.95). A Danone spokesperson said the new products represent “a real market growth opportunity for retailers.”
Andrew Sykes , "The Danone of the World yogurts launched", Retail Times, July 16, 2018, © RetailTimes.co.U.K.
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Food Freshness Card Honored As Best New Food Safety Solution

July 16, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
The Food Freshness Card developed by Natures Natural Solutions was recently named the Best New Safety Solution by United Fresh. The card is laboratory and commercially tested to keep food fresher longer, according to the company, whose mission is to address the global problem of food waste and spoilage, “inside and outside of a refrigerator.” The Food Freshness Card combines specific frequencies, elements and customized programs and encodes information on a substrate enabling it to extend shelf life. It can prolong freshness at any point in the food chain: from the farm to packaging, pallet, container, distributor and retailer. The company says supermarkets that use the card average an instant 20 percent decrease in shrink/spoilage and prevent more than $3,000 a month per store in waste. [Image Credit: © FoodFreshnessCard.com]
"The Food Freshness Card; The Newest Technology in the Food Industry Wins the 2018 United Fresh Innovation Award for Best New Safety Solution", PR Newswire, July 16, 2018, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Indiana Bakery Chain Debuts Vegetable Breads

July 15, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Saratoga Springs (N.Y.) restaurant Esperanto has signed wholesale distribution deals to bring its popular “doughboy” cheese-and-chicken-stuffed pockets to convenience stores, entertainment venues, and college campuses. The restaurant says it already sells hundreds of thousands of doughboys a year and is planning to acquire more space so it can ramp up production to more than a million. Expansion began when convenience store chain Stewart’s Shops started carrying the product in 12 of its stores. Doughboys contain sautéed diced chicken breast, cheeses, and scallions baked in pizza dough. Gluten-free and vegetarian versions are available as well. Says owner William Pouch: “People are going nuts over the product." [Image Credit: © Esperanto Restaurant]

Sherry Slater, "Bread gaining vegetables Aunt Millie's new brands appeal to diet-conscious", Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, July 15, 2018, © www.journalgazette.net
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US Foods Cleans Up Four Of Its Product Lines

July 13, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. Foods Holding Corp. announced that four of its product lines will be produced with clean label profiles. The Metro Deli, Rykoff Sexton, Chefs Line, and Stock Yards Exclusive Brand products will be made with simple, more recognizable ingredients by avoiding, removing or replacing ingredients and food additives found on the company’s new “Unpronounceables List.” The list comprises more than 80 ingredients the company will avoid using in more than 1,000 of its Exclusive Brand products. Product ingredient labels across the four best-quality Exclusive Brands will now be free of ingredients such as artificial flavors, artificial (FD&C) colors, high-fructose corn syrup, disodium guanylate, sodium benzoate, and monosodium glutamate. [Image Credit: © US Foods]
"United States : U.S. Foods Introduces Clean Labels Across Four of the Company’s Exclusive Brands", Business Wire , July 13, 2018, © Business Wire, Inc.
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Morrisons Rewards Shoppers For Returning Plastic Bottles

July 13, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Supermarket company Morrisons has started a deposit return schemes by placing vending machines for plastic bottles at its stores in North Yorkshire and Scotland. Part of the company’s efforts to promote recycling of plastics, the program will reward shoppers for every plastic bottle they return with coupon for 100 Morrisons More points or let customers donate 10p to charity organization CLIC Sargent, which helps children and young people who have cancer.[Image Credit: © Morrisons Ltd]

Michael Holder, "Morrisons trials plastic bottle return machines with offer of reward points or charity donation", Business Green, July 13, 2018, © Incisive Business Media (IP) Limited
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Today’s Energy Drinks Contain Exotic Energizing Ingredients

July 12, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
According to a recent food and health survey, energy is one of the three main health benefits consumers desire. A major trend in the beverage industry is drinks that provide energy from sources of caffeine, vitamins, and an array of natural energizers. Campbell Soups V8 +Energy, for example, combines fruit and vegetable juices with green tea (with 80 mg of caffeine) and B vitamins, delivering wakefulness rather than a wired feeling. Synapse optimizes brain function using “nootropics:” vitamins, minerals, herbs, and organic compounds that enhance cognition without negative side effects. The key ingredient in Synapse is acetylcholine, a molecule used by the brain for maintaining attention and focus. Among other innovative ingredients in the new generation of energy drinks are: caffeine from brewed coffee and green tea; coffee fruit; guarana extract; guayusa extract; caffeine-free Korean ginseng; and coenzyme Q10.
Donna Berry, "Alternative forms of energy beverages", Food Business News, July 12, 2018, © Sosland Publishing Company
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Albertsons Extends Organic And Natural Foods Lines To Online Market

July 12, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Privately-owned grocery chain Albertsons has launched an Instacart-powered virtual store offering organic and natural foods and beverages. According to the Idaho-based company, the O Organics Market will be available at first in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, Calif., but will expand to other locations in the future. The online market will carry more than 3,800 items from the O Organics, Open Nature, and other organic and natural brands available in its stores, which include Safeway, Albertsons, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Acme, Shaw’s, and United Supermarkets, among others. [Image Credit: © Albertsons Companies]
"Albertsons Companies launches O Organics Market in San Francisco and Washington D.C.", GlobeNewswire , July 12, 2018, © GlobeNewswire, Inc.
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Technological Advances Disrupt Meat Industry, Prompt Industry Leaders To Adapt

July 12, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Digital disruption, the process by which technological changes are forcing businesses worldwide to re-invent their operations and products, is also affecting the meat industry. Recent steps taken by industry leaders Cargill and Tyson Foods, Inc., are providing a clear insight on how digital innovations are upending the market. For example, Cargill has disposed of its 153-year-old business model to become a “modern, flexible, integrated food company.” For its part, Tyson launched its Tyson Ventures investment arm, which has invested in laboratory-grown meat startups Beyond Meat and Memphis Meats. Also, technology is transforming the industry’s supply chain into a “shortened, more transparent, completely disrupted” model. 

Greg Henderson, "Digital Disruption: Technology is Transforming the Meat Business", Drovers.com, July 12, 2018, © Farm Journal, Inc.
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Leading Brands Employ Blockchain To Get Most Value From Online Advertising

July 12, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Leading brands, including Anheuser-Busch InBev, AT&T Inc., and Kellogg Co., are adopting blockchain technology to ensure that their online advertising is viewed by real people and not by computer-generated bots. Also, these major brands seek to use the technology to determine how much of their ad spending goes to middlemen. Designed as a “secure digital database” that can host a “record book” of transactions, blockchain lets business partners to maintain a record of their dealings and transactions. These data cannot be edited. 

Lara O’Reilly, "Big Advertisers Embrace Blockchain to Root Out Digital Spending Waste", Wall Street Journal, July 12, 2018, © Dow Jones & Company Inc
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