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French Patisserie Continues U.S. Expansion Strategy

January 11, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
French patisserie Le Macron French Pastries plans to establish more than 20 new locations in “targeted” areas in the New York metropolitan area over the next five years. The company has more than 50 locations in the U.S.; it is looking to grow through “smart franchise partnerships and tactical site selection.” The new locations will be in Manhattan, Williamsburg (Brooklyn), and Staten Island. "As a prime state for expansion, especially with our versatile mobile cart franchise opportunity, we look forward to increasing our footprint … with franchise partners to help give all New York residents access to our little bites of heaven known as macarons," said CEO Rosalie Guillem. Franchise opportunities include kiosks, mobile carts, and express locations. [Image Credit: © Le Macaron]
"Le Macaron French Pastries Sets Eyes on New York", PRNewswire, January 11, 2019, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Japanese Barley-Based Vegetable Juice Aojiru Continues Global Expansion

January 10, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
Yamamoto Kanpoh Pharmaceutical announced it is expanding its marketing of the functional beverage Aojiru to Korea and Australia. Aojiru (“green vegetable juice”) is made from barley leaves harvested in Kyushu, Japan. The market size of Aojiru in Japan was $485.7 million in 2012, according to the Yano Research Institute. Popular in Japan and China, Aojiru is also exported to the U.S., Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, and Singapore. A 2018 Euromonitor showed that Yamamoto Kanpo continued to show strong growth in 2018, due to the success of its Aojiru.
Tingmin Koe , "Japanese Aojiru leader Yamamoto Kanpoh targets Korea and Australia entry for functional beverage", Beverage Daily, January 10, 2019, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Marijuana Compounds – And Zero-Waste Cooking – Loom Large In Eatery Trends

January 10, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
According to new research from the National Restaurant Association, plant-based ingredients, including cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD), and zero-waste cooking will be the hottest overall culinary trends of 2019. Seventy-seven percent of the survey’s 650 professional chef respondents identified cannabis/CBD-infused drinks as the No. 1 trend; 76 percent tapped cannabis/CBD-infused food as the second most popular trend. Association officials, however, stressed that cannabis and CBD are federally controlled substances and laws governing their use vary from state to state. They urged restaurant operators to follow all laws when selling or using those items. By the way, third on the list of overall trends was zero-waste cooking, which calls for chefs and restaurateurs to reduce the amount of food waste created during the preparation of menu items to keep it out of landfills. [Image Credit: © Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay]
"CBD-Infused Food/Drink, Zero-Waste Are Top Trends", National Restaurant Association, January 10, 2019, © National Restaurant Association
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Australia Sees Profit Potential In Legume Known As Lupins

January 9, 2019: 12:00 AM EST



A growing number of companies in West Australia are capitalizing on the nutritional benefits of the legume seed of the lupinus genus, the popular flowering plants known as lupins. The seeds are gluten-free, low carb, and rich in protein, amino acids, and prebiotics (i.e., fiber). An example of the phenomenon is a former chef who has been making lupin granola for almost three years. He buys lupin flakes, mixes them with nuts, grains and seeds, and roasts them in a slow oven, creating a nutritious, tasty granola. The lupin granola is used as a base in protein bars and slices, and there's a chia pudding topped with it. Eighty-five percent of the world's lupins are grown in West Australia.[Image Credit: © Coastal Crunch]
Jenne Brammer, "Lupins gain traction as human food", The West Australian (Perth, Australia), January 09, 2019, © The West Australian and Seven West Media (WA)
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C-Stores Add Healthful Snack Options To Their Product Lineups

January 8, 2019: 12:00 AM EST

Saddled for many years with a reputation as purveyors of junk foods, many convenience stores (C-stores) are now offering more healthful food and snack options, including produce, all-natural snacks and organic items. The industry is gradually adapting to a trend toward clean and transparent labeling that reveals where the food came from and tells the story behind it. According to industry observers, C-stores have an array of clean products to choose from (e.g., snacks like KIND bars and RXBARs, and SmartPop! popcorn). Consumers know they can find these options in grocery stores, so they now expect them in C-stores.[Image Credit: © U.S. Food and Drug Administration]
Tammy Mastroberte, "How C-stores Can Answer the Call for Clean Label Foods & Beverages ", Convenience Store News, January 08, 2019, © EnsembleIQ
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Impossible Foods Tinkers Successfully With Its Plant-Based Meats

January 8, 2019: 12:00 AM EST

Impossible Foods, producer of plant-based meat replacements, including hamburger patties (Beyond Burger), has tinkered with its popular formula, replacing textured wheat protein with soy protein concentrate, reduced salt, substituted sunflower oil for coconut oil to reduce saturated fat, and ditched konjac gum and xanthan gum. According to the company, taste tests determined that the new formula “matches conventional beef burgers when it comes to likeability.” Other new ingredients (not in the original versions) include modified food starch and methylcellulose (which are also used in the plant-based Beyond Burger), the preservative cultured dextrose, vitamin C, and vitamin E.[Image Credit: © Impossible Foods Inc.]
Elaine Watson, "Impossible Foods replaces wheat with soy protein concentrate in its plant-based burger; says color additive petition won’t delay retail launch", FoodNavigator-USA.com, January 08, 2019, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Blockchain Technology May Deliver Believability In Food Labeling

January 8, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
Food businesses use a lot of marketing and packaging gimmicks to convince consumers to buy their products. A large majority of Americans say they’ve felt tricked by the gimmickry. So how to build faith in food?  One solution would be to adopt a blockchain-based system that would provide a more accurate and trustworthy version of product labels, especially when it comes to claims about organic or non-GMO. Blockchain technology increases transparency and accountability in food supply chains and sets industry-wide standards. Manufacturers and wholesalers are already using it to track food. In the U.S., Walmart is working with IBM to streamline and improve its food safety system. European retail giant Carrefour is tracking chicken, eggs, and tomatoes from farms to grocery store shelves, and plans to expand that system to all their fresh products.[Image Credit: © felixioncool from Pixabay]
Samantha Radocchia, "Know What's GMO: Why Blockchain Will Build Faith In Food Labels", Forbes, January 08, 2019, © Forbes Media LLC
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“Certified Non-GMO” Seems A Meaningless, Even Fraudulent, Marketing Claim

January 7, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
Because “distrust and fear sell,” marketers are getting away with charging premium prices for grocery items certified as “Non-GMO,” even though most of them never have or ever could contain genetically modified organisms. The “standard bearer” for the movement is the Non-GMO Project, which has stamped more than 50,000 products as GMO-free. But only ten GMO plant types are commercially available: apples, potatoes, corn, canola, alfalfa, soybeans, rainbow papaya, cotton, sugar beets, and summer squash. An egregious example of the marketing silliness is a 10-pound bag of The Good Earth Non-GMO Project Verified clumping cat litter, which sells for $18.99 on Amazon. Ten pounds of standard Arm & Hammer clumping cat litter costs about $5.30 at Walmart. That, according to the Missouri Farm Bureau, is “not just outrageous, it is deliberately misleading and fraudulent.”[Image Credit: © Fancycrave.com from Pexels.com]]
Eric Bohl, "GMO-Free Marketing is Deliberately Misleading Consumers", Missouri Farm Bureau, January 07, 2019, © Missouri Farm Bureau
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Oregon Is Latest State To Legalize Harvesting Of Roadkill For Use As Food

January 7, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
Oregon recently enacted legislation that legalizes the harvesting and use of roadkill as food. The state is the latest of about 20 states that allow people to scoop dead animals off the road and serve them for dinner. One of these is the state of Washington, which issued 1,600 roadkill salvaging permits within one year of legalizing the practice in 2016. The rules vary by state, though most require timely reporting of the collection to authorities, and most absolve the state of responsibility if the meat turns out to be stomach-churning. Oregon allows the salvaging of deer and elk and for human consumption only. People who pick up a carcass must apply online for a free permit within 24 hours, and they must turn over the animal's head and antlers to the state wildlife agency within five business days.[Image Credit: © Free-Photos from Pixabay]
Karin Brulliard , "Roadkill on menu in growing number of U.S. states; Hunters and advocates see dead animals as wasted source of food", Bangor Daily News, January 07, 2019, © Bangor Daily News
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Company Promises New BreadBot Will Boost Baking Profit At Retail Grocers

January 6, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
The family-owned Wilkinson Baking Company unveiled its BreadBot at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this month. The machine goes “from flour to loaf all on its own,” according to company, and produces loaves that are “fresher, healthier, preservative free and eco-friendly.” The BreadBot mixes, forms, proofs, bakes, and cools ten loaves of bread per hour. It can make most varieties of bread that require dry ingredients, including white, wheat, whole wheat, nine grain, sourdough, and honey oat. Time to first completed loaf is 90 minutes, with new loaves produced every six minutes, up to a maximum of 235 loaves a day. The company claims that retailers using the BreadBot will realize a 20-fold lift in bottom line profits through cost reductions. [Image Credit: © Wilkinson Baking Company]
"Bread is Back on the Rise: The BreadBot Debuts at the Consumer Electronics Show", PR Newswire, January 06, 2019, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Natural Antioxidants May Someday Replace Synthetics As Food Preservatives

January 4, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
Consumers increasingly want clean labels: no synthetic-sounding ingredients, only natural alternatives. Now Penn State scientists have discovered that a natural antioxidant found in grain bran could preserve food longer and replace synthetic antioxidants used by the food industry, once the kinks are worked out. The researchers studied compounds called alkylresorcinols (AR), produced by wheat, rye and barley to prevent mold, bacteria and other organisms from growing on the grain kernels. They extracted and purified ARs from rye bran, then studied how well ARs were able to preserve omega-3-rich oils in emulsions. Though not yet as effective as synthetic antioxidants like butylated hydroxytoluene, the researchers say they worked well enough to provide hope for the future.[Image Credit: © $uraj tripathi from Pixabay]
Carolyn Trietsch, "A 'bran' new way to preserve healthy food with natural ingredients", Penn State University, January 04, 2019, © The Pennsylvania State University
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Missouri Lawmakers Are Considering Bill To Require Food Donations

January 3, 2019: 12:00 AM EST

Lawmakers in Missouri are considering legislation that would require foodservice and other food companies with revenues of $5 million or more to donate ten percent of any excess edible “to needy individuals or to nonprofit organizations that provide food to needy individuals." If passed, the bill would make it a misdemeanor punishable by a $25,000 fine if it is discovered that a business is making their food inedible to avoid the donations.[Image Credit: © filmbetrachterin from Pixabay]
Lexi Spivak, "Pre-filed bill would create the Missouri Food Waste Law and help charities", KY3/KSPR News , January 03, 2019, © ky3.com
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App-Driven SnackBot Matriculates At California University

January 3, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
PepsiCo has introduced the first snack delivery robots in the U.S. that provide “great-tasting, healthier snacks and beverages” to college students. The new all-wheel drive “snackbots,” with a 20-mile range on a single charge, arrived at the University of the Pacific (Stockton, Calif.) stocked with snacks and beverages from PepsiCo’s Hello Goodness line, including Smartfood Delight, Baked Lay's, SunChips, Pure Leaf Tea, bubly, LIFEWTR, and Starbucks Cold Brew. The Hello Goodness vending platform, including the snackbot, will be available at 50,000 touchpoints by the end of the year, according to PepsiCo. Users at University of the Pacific can order food and drinks from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., via the snackbot app, to be delivered to more than 50 designated spots across the 175-acre campus.[Image Credit: © Robby Technologies Inc]
"PepsiCo's Hello Goodness snackbot is Off to College", PR Newswire, January 03, 2019, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Obsession With Healthful Food Is A Real Eating Disorder

January 1, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
A little-known syndrome discovered two decades ago may win the distinction of becoming the eating disorder of the modern era. Orthorexia nervosa is defined as an unhealthy obsession with healthful eating. It often starts with a desire to eat "clean" whole foods in their natural state, but then hardens into a rigid eating style that can crowd out other activities and relationships. Though not yet recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), that will eventually change because it “is affecting a huge segment of the population,” according to one nutrition expert.[Image Credit: © silviarita from Pixabay]
Jancee Dunn, "Is Orthorexia the Eating Disorder for the Digital Age?", Vogue, January 01, 2019, © Condé Nast
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Gourmet Australian Bakery Arrives In The Big Apple

December 29, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
After 14 years, Australia’s Bourke Street Bakery (Surry Hills) is expanding beyond Down Under, establishing an outpost in midtown Manhattan. Slated to open in late January, the newest incarnation follows establishment of 12 stores in the Sydney area. The bakery is known for its stretchy sourdough, ginger crème brulee tarts, sandwiches, gourmet sausage rolls, and good coffee. Co-founder and chef Paul Allam says he will tweak the offerings to suit an American market: there will be no meat pies, but there will be pumpkin pies, pecan tarts, peanut butter and jam croissants, along with their famous ginger tarts and sausage rolls. A blackboard will list times that fresh loaves come out of the oven. The Manhattan store will open in the midst of a fortuitous trend: a host of Australian-run cafes, bakeries and coffee shops has opened recently, riding a wave of American interest in Australia's bright, colorful, Instagrammable breakfasts and cafe culture.[Image Credit: © Bourke Street Bakery]
Rachel Olding, "Bourke Street Bakery goes international with New York City cafe", Sydney Morning Herald, December 29, 2018, © The Sydney Morning Herald
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Nestlé R&D Unit Is Developing Beverages Made From Walnuts, Blueberries

December 28, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé SA hopes to ride the wave of plant-based eating – one of the new so-called “food tribes” that include gluten-free and lactose-free – to a billion-dollar business. In addition to stepping briskly into vegan substitutes for meat, using soy and wheat protein, the company’s research and development center in Switzerland is exploring the potential for a liquid derived from walnuts and blueberries, with a purple hue. There’s also a blue latte featuring spirulina algae in the works. The company says about half of the protein used in its food products, including in pet food, comes from plant rather than animal sources. Nestlé Chief Technology Officer Stefan Palzer said, “Vegetarianism has never been this popular before and it’s here to stay, I’m convinced about that.” 
Corinne Gretler, "Nestlé Plans Vegan Push With No-Meat Burger, Purple Walnut Milk", Bloomberg, December 28, 2018, © Bloomberg LP
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The Decline Of The Tortilla In Mexico Signifies Broader, Deeper Social Ills

December 26, 2018: 12:00 AM EST


In a tiny city southeast of Mexico City in the state of Oaxaca, a unionized group of handmade tortilla producers is fighting keep the Millennia-old tradition alive in the face of cheap competition. The inexpensive versions sold in the city’s 25 tortillería shops are made with industrially produced masa harina, or corn flour, like Gruma’s Maseca. The larger problem is that Mexicans in cities and in the countryside are simply eating fewer tortillas, and eating more bread and fast food. Consumption has dropped nearly 45 percent in the last 35 years to 125 pounds per person in 2016 from 225 pounds in 1982. Experts say the perilous state of the tortilla is a red alert for Mexico's wider social ills, including obesity, poverty and emigration.[Image Credit: © RociH from Pixabay]
Shaun Pett, "The Fight to Save the Traditional Tortilla", The New York Times, December 26, 2018, © The New York Times Company
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Midwest Wheat Farmers Hope Pasta resurgence Will Life Durum Sales

December 25, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Farmers in the Midwest whose livelihood depends on the health of the durum wheat market are hoping for a better year in 2019, thanks to a possible resurgence in the pasta market. Prices have been mostly flat in 2018, but may have finally bottomed out. Some observers expect prices to rise for producers. A year ago in mid-December local cash prices were at $6.25 so there's been a marked sell-off from there down to the $4.50 to $4.75 range. Price problems stem from the world supply and demand balance for durum. Larger domestic crops in North Africa, for example, have tempered demand for the early months of this export year. And there are some new players in the world durum export market, in particular Kazakhstan, which was exporting probably 5-6 million bushels of durum a year in 2015; this year they are projected to hit 25 million bushels in export sales.  On A brighter note, U.S. durum export sales are still 50 percent ahead of last year with current sales totaling 15 million bushels compared to 10 million a year ago.[Image Credit: © Christine DAUTIN from Pixabay]
"Pasta resurgence needed in 2019 to help durum market", Farm & Ranch Guide (Bismarck, ND), December 25, 2018, © NewsChamber
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Maine Lawmaker Knocks USDA’s GMO Labeling Scheme

December 24, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Maine Democratic congresswoman Chellie Pingree, an organic farmer, says the USDA’s new standard for labeling genetic engineered food is "an insult to consumers." Genetically engineered food is often called genetically modified or "GMO" food by advocacy groups that support mandatory labeling. The USDA said last week that new labeling rules require "food manufacturers, importers, and certain retailers to ensure bioengineered foods are appropriately disclosed." Pingree says use of the unfamiliar term "bioengineered" will confuse consumers, and the USDA is essentially launching "a marketing campaign aimed at putting a positive spin on GMO food." She promises to fight the new standard as a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, which oversees USDA funding.[Image Credit: © Congresswoman Chellie Pingree]
Patrick Whittle, "Maine rep says new GMO labels aren't consumer friendly", Bangor Daily News, December 24, 2018, © The Associated Press/Bangor Publishing Co.
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Trends: 2019’s Brave New World Of Eating

December 21, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Food world prognosticators are hard at work at this time of year. Some of the more notable forecasts for 2019 include: the rise of “celtuce,” a lettuce with a leafy, bitter top and a stalk that’s a cross between celery and asparagus; sour and funky flavors arising from the interest in fermentation; cheese tea – green or black tea sipped through a cap of cream cheese blended with cream; more foods with probiotics and prebiotics to improve the bacterial health of the intestinal tract; diets that emphasize fat – read “keto” – over carbohydrates, and “pegan” – a cross between a paleo and a vegan diet; foods containing marijuana compounds like THC and cannabidiol; cooking dinner in foil packets; and, in the spirits world, lighter wines, natural wines and drinks with less or no alcohol.[Image Credit: © Sharon Ang]
Kim Severson, "A Peek at Your New Plate: How You’ll Be Eating in 2019", The New York Times , December 21, 2018, © The New York Times Company
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California Celebrities Into Paleo, Keto, Etc., Have Found The Perfect Source

December 20, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
A Los Angeles bakery heartily endorsed by singer/songwriter/actress Mandy Moore has achieved success by catering to her celebrity friends and others who want grain-free, refined sugar-free, and dairy-free baked treats, including wedding cakes. The menu of Sweet Laurel, founded by two Santa Monica natives, is especially sensitive to the paleo, vegan, and keto diets followed by upscale residents of communities like Malibu and Beverly Hills. Laurel Gallucci and Claire Thomas built their customer base – including, besides Moore, Molly Sims, Haylie Duff, and Lauren Conrad – by hosting private classes based on the recipes in their cookbook. They recently opened a vintage style brick-and-mortar bakery in the Palisades, which is themed to look like an English garden inside a jewel box.[Image Credit: © Sweet Laurel Bakery.]
Lindsay Weinberg, "Meet Mandy Moore's (Grain-Free) Wedding Cake Bakers", hollywoodreporter.com, December 20, 2018, © The Hollywood Reporter
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Sodexo Honored By EPA For Food Waste Prevention Measures

December 20, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has named food services and facilities management company Sodexo as national Endorser of the Year for its commitment to food waste prevention. The company was honored for educating businesses/organizations, including its clients, about the importance of sustainable management of food and the EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge. In 2018, Sodexo influenced 60 of its sites to join the challenge, including Loyola Marymount University, New Mexico State University, and Kansas State University among others. The company hosted hands-on waste reduction training for Sodexo employees and clients, redeveloped and revamped a waste reduction action plan available to all Sodexo operators, and deployed a technology combining sustainability and efficiency through an automated food waste tracking and analytics platform, at Sodexo sites globally. [Image Credit: © USA.gov]
"EPA Recognizes Sodexo for Food Recovery Achievements", Sodexo , December 20, 2018, © Sodexo
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New Processes Make Eating Bread Less Of A Guilty Pleasure

December 19, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Among the predicted trends in Jewish cuisine in 2019 – tahini, faux meat, marijuana-derived compounds, Polish comfort foods like pierogies, etc. – is the declaration that “bread is back.” Facebook research on food trends confirms that bread has returned  and is better than ever. Naturally-fermented breads like sourdough are considered good for your gut and overall health, especially those made with whole grains. Innovative bread making techniques now include “slow carb baking,” or slow natural fermenting, which creates breads with lower glycemic indexes (GI) and with increased bioavailability of nutrients. The result? Less guilt about eating bread every day: “Make an extra challah, or even try making your own rye bread.”[Image Credit: © Monika Baechler from Pixabay]
Shannon Sarna , "The Jewish food trends you’ll be seeing in 2019 ", My Jewish Larning, December 19, 2018, © Jewish Telegraph Agency
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Philadelphia Company Delivers Half-Price “Misfit” Produce Directly To Consumers

December 19, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Philadelphia start-up Misfits Market is giving new life to so-called “wonky” or misfit produce – misshapen, small or overabundant but edible – by delivering it directly to customers' doorsteps at a discount from grocery store prices. The idea came to founder Abhi Ramesh when apple-picking with friends. He saw farm workers culling out bruised apples to be used for cider, for feeding pigs, or for the landfill. The company sells the "misfit" produce at half price from grocery stores, making it easier for families to afford fresh food while reducing food waste. The company focused at first on produce from small and medium-size farms near Philadelphia, especially on organic, non-GMO farms already certified. The company idelivers to all parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Delaware.[Image Credit: © Misfits Market]
Rebecca Sodergren, "Would you eat 'misfit' produce? New Pennsylvania company delivers boxes to your home at a discount ", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, December 19, 2018, © PG Publishing Co
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ShopRite’s Partnership With Perdue Produces Antibiotics-Free Fried Chicken

December 19, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
East Coast grocery chain’s partnership with Perdue Farms has led to the introduction of an eight-piece grab-and-go fried chicken item that promises “no antibiotics, ever” (NAE). The relationship with Perdue has also produced rotisserie chicken, roaster breast, and roaster leg quarters. The fried chicken is the company's newest style of NAE poultry that is hand-breaded, raised cage free and made fresh throughout the day. According to ShopRite, the products are priced at or below most conventional rotisserie and fried chicken offerings. ShopRite is the registered trademark of Wakefern Food Corp., a retailer-owned cooperative based in New Jersey and the largest supermarket cooperative in the U.S.[Image Credit: © Wakefern Food Corp, Inc.]
Kristen Brissette, "ShopRite Introduces No-Antibiotics-Ever Fried Chicken", The Shelby Report, December 19, 2018, © The Shelby Report
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New Clearer Use-By Labels Now On Nine Of Ten Foods

December 19, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
The Grocery Manufacturers Association says ninety percent of food products now have easier-to-understand labels featuring use-by dates. The food industry launched an initiative to streamline labels in February 2017 because of confusion over expiration dates. The adage “when in doubt, throw it out" was causing tremendous food waste – in part due to unclear date labeling. Two labels – Best If Used By and Use By – were created and are now in use by 87 percent of grocery products. The association projects that 98 percent will bear the simplified labeling by the end of 2019; all will carry the labels – along with the FDA’s new Nutrition Facts panel – by January 2020. “Date labeling is a step toward meaningful food waste reduction," a GMA spokesman said,[Image Credit: © monicore fromPixabay]
Russell Redman, "Use-by labels become clearer on groceries", Supermarket News, December 19, 2018, © Informa USA, Inc.
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Food Label Transparency Trend To Gather Momentum This Year

December 18, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
A report from Label Insight and the Food Marketing Institute finds that a majority of shoppers have transparency on their minds when grocery shopping: 86 percent would feel a higher sense of trust for food manufacturers and retailers that provided access to complete, “easy to understand” ingredient information. One solution is to use new methods like Smart Label, from Label Insight, to provide that information. According to Label Insight, transparency initiatives led by retailers will continue to spread in 2019. “Retailers will move beyond health and wellness as brand positioning by leveraging new approaches to data and omnichannel integration,” the data insight company said.[Image Credit: © Label Insight, Inc.]
Mary Ellen Shoup, "Label Insight: Transparency trends to gain steam in 2019", FoodNavigator-USA.com, December 18, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Antibiotic Use Declining In Meat Industry, But Still Dangerously High

December 18, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Though use of antibiotics important to human medicine is dropping in the livestock industry it is still dangerously high, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The FDA reported recently that such sales dropped 28 percent between 2009 and 2017. But the latest numbers also show the beef and pork industries remain high users of these drugs at 5.1 million pounds and 4.5 million pounds in sales respectively in 2017, compared to 590,000 pounds in the chicken industry. The NRDC called the downward trend “real progress,” but warned that “the American meat industry continues to have a drug problem.” A positive sign is that major beef buyer McDonald's announced it will reduce use of the drugs across its global beef supply chain, offering hope it will spark a wave of change.[Image Credit: © Natural Resources Defense Council]
"Antibiotic Sales For U.S. Meat Production Drop, But Use Remains High ", News release, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), December 18, 2018, © Natural Resources Defense Council
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Wayback Burgers To Offer Coke Products In U.S. And International Locations

December 18, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Wayback Burgers has switched to Coca-Cola products for the drink fountains in its 161 restaurants in the U.S. and overseas. Wayback has locations in 30 states and in Kuwait, Malaysia, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Pakistan, and The Netherlands. The company will now sell Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero Sugar, Sprite, Fanta Orange, Powerade Mountain Berry Blast, Minute Maid Lemonade, Barrilitos Aguas Frescas, Gold Peak Tea, as well as specialty craft beverages. In 2018, 14 of the top 50 quick-serve restaurant concepts were burger brands, and of those 14, 13 of them serve Coca-Cola.
"Wayback Makes the Switch to Coca-Cola Products", QSR Magazine, December 18, 2018, © Journalistic, Inc
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Weekend Baking Rises As An Antidote To Rising Anxiety Levels

December 18, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Time-strapped Millennials are known somewhat infamously for a lack of interest in “things kitchen.” Meaning, of course, that they’re “less likely to come home every night in time to roast a chicken instead of ordering takeout.” But that trend has given rise to another phenomenon: an upsurge in weekend baking. Many hard-working Millennials have turned to weekend baking as “a salve for the ambient anxiety of being alive in 2018,” because baking actually can be really relaxing. Forty percent of Americans report feeling more anxious in 2018 than they did in 2017.  Baking is a particularly effective activity for those whose professional lives exist mostly in the abstract. Baking forces a person to put down the phone, get your hands dirty, and pay close attention to what you're doing – activities that directly affect mood, like meditation and breathing exercises.[Image Credit: © David Greenwood-Haigh from Pixabay]
Amanda Mull, "The Rise of Anxiety Baking", Atlantic Online, December 18, 2018, © The Atlantic Monthly Group
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Report: The Emergence Of “Clean Packaging”

December 18, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
A report based on an online survey on packaging trends finds that “clean packaging” is the next step following clean label and clean processing. Evergreen Packaging says need to make their packaging protect taste, freshness, and nutrients; align with ingredients; be responsible; and share values. Consumers felt that packaging should protect flavor: packaging like steel cans, aluminium cans, and plastic bottles were most cited as altering product flavor. In terms of consumer values, the environmental responsibility interests of many grocery shoppers go much deeper than the package itself and the label information. In addition to environmentally-friendly products and packaging, many shoppers expect brands and retailers to demonstrate social responsibility as a company.[Image Credit: © Daniel Albany from Pixabay]
Carol Wiley, "2019 Food Packaging Trends: Clean Packaging", Food Industry Executive, December 18, 2018, © Food Industry Executive
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Coca-Cola Closes Aggressive Acquisition Year With Series A Investment In POS Connectivity Firm

December 17, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola took the lead in a $10 million Series A investment round in Hayward, Calif.-based restaurant tech company Omnivore, developer of a universal point-of-sale connectivity platform. Other investors were Performance Food Group and Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik. Omnivore promotes an "end-to-end suite of solutions" to help optimize the digital restaurant experience, such as online ordering, paying at the table, third-party delivery, kiosk/digital menus and analytics. The financing will be used to accelerate current development and growth of proprietary Omnivore products that minimize friction for restaurant brands, third-party technologies, and POS companies, according to a news release.
Eric Mandel, "Coca-Cola backs restaurant tech company", Atlanta Business Chronicle, December 17, 2018, © American City Business Journals
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Ioniqa’s Process For Hard-To-Recycle PET Materials Is Gaining Attention From Large CPGs

December 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola is supporting Dutch firm Ioniqa Technologies with a loan, to help it develop the technology for producing recycled PET content from PET waste that is typically difficult to recycle. The move is a part of  Coca-Cola’s target of using packaging containing 50 percent or more recycled content by 2030. The  technology allows recycling of colored PET bottles, typically excluded from some recycling processes, to be used in food-grade PET. Unilever announced earlier this year its collaboration with Ioniqa.[Image Credit: © Ioniqa Technologies]
"Coca-Cola supports Ioniqa in its efforts to develop recycled PET", Foodbev.com, December 14, 2018, © Foodbev.com
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Aldi To Replace Polystyrene Pizza Discs With Recyclable Discs

December 13, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

The Aldi supermarket chain in the UK is introducing 100 percent recyclable pizza discs to replace the Polystyrene discs. Earlier this year, Aldi in the US said it would roll out How2Recycle labels across its own brand products over the next two years, and in March the company committed to using 100 percent recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging for own-label products by 2022. In the UK, it has also stopped offering customers 5p plastic bags, only 9p reusable bags made from plastic waste.[Image Credit: © Lutz Peter from Pixabay]
"Aldi introduces 100% recyclable pizza discs in UK", Packaging Gateway, December 13, 2018, © Verdict Media Limited
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Koia Targets Keto Dieters With High-Fat Coconut Cream-Based Beverage

December 13, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
California RTD smoothie company Koia plans to launch a high-fat, low-carb beverage for the keto diet market in 2019. Koia Keto is targeted at those who adhere to a ketogenic diet or those looking for a healthfuly, sweet-flavored RTD option. Available flavors will be chocolate brownie, cake batter, and caramel crème. Koia’s beverages, including three fruit infusions, are sold in Whole Foods nationwide, and in Publix, Wegmans, and other regional retailers now carry the original collection of five drinks, as well as its recent line of three fruit infusions. Koia Keto is primarily coconut cream with 14 g of MCT oil, 22 g of fat, 12 g of plant-based protein (pea, rice and chickpea), with a total of five net carbs. It contains no added sugar and reaches a ratio of 74 percent fat, 18 percent protein and eight percent carbs.
Beth Newhart , "Koia launches keto-friendly drinks", Beverage Daily, December 13, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Carcinogenic Synthetic Flavors Ordered Removed From Food Products

December 13, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
The FDA has ordered the removal of six artificial flavors from food products because they cause cancer in animals at doses far higher than what a person would consume. The six flavoring substances include synthetically-derived benzophenone, ethyl acrylate, eugenyl methyl ether (methyl eugenol), myrcene, pulegone, and pyridine. The substances are being removed under the Delaney Clause of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The food industry has two years to comply, though the FDA believes the ingredients are safe in the trace amounts they are used. Neither the FDA nor the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association responded when asked for examples of products the six ingredients are used in. But they noted that the compounds have natural counterparts in foods like basil, coffee, grapes and peppermint, and that the action does not affect the naturally derived versions.[Image Credit: © U.S. Food and Drug Administration]
"Artificial flavors are mystery ingredients", Chicago Sun-Times, December 13, 2018, via The Associated Press, © The Associated Press
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Nestlé Acts To Increase Redistribution Of Its Surplus Food In U.K.

December 12, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé has partnered with a British anti-food waste charity and a surplus food redistributor in a program to curb food waste by ensuring that more of its surplus food is available for both charitable and commercial use. The company says its arrangement with WRAP and Company Shop will mean that more of its part-processed products can be redistributed instead of being used for animal feed or anaerobic digestion. The approach will increase the levels of charitable redistribution from Nestlé’s U.K. operations by the equivalent of two million meals a year, on top of the products that already go to another redistribution organization, Fareshare. [Image Credit: © Nestle ]
Andy Coyne, "Nestle Launches New Food Waste Initiative in the UK", Just-Food, December 12, 2018, © just-food.com
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KFC To Use Plastic-Free Food Buckets At Australia’s Upcoming Big Bash Cricket League

December 12, 2018: 12:00 AM EST


KFC, in partnership with Graphic Packaging International, is supplying half a million food buckets using sustainable materials for the the Big Bash League 2018, a cricket event in Australia. The move is aligned with the Government’s commitment to ensure all packaging in the country will be 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025. The plastic-free buckets will be made at Graphic Packaging’s plant in the UK and will have a grease-resistant lining. [Image Credit: © KFC Corporation]
Ojaswita Kutepatil , "KFC to launch recyclable buckets for Australia’s Big Bash League 2018", Sharp Reports, December 12, 2018, © Sharp Reports
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Consumers Expect Colors – Artificial Or Not – In Their Foods

December 11, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Colors are important to food companies because, apparently, they’re important to consumers. Though big food companies like McDonald’s and Kellogg have promised to get rid of artificial dyes, they continue to use – or have reinstated – colorings because consumers want them. General Mills, for example, eliminated artificial colors from Trix, it added them back in last year after consumers demanded a return to the “classic” look. The cheddar cheeses sold by Boar’s Head, Cabot, Kraft, and Tillamook contain annatto, a plant extract commonly used for color.  Because salmon buyers expect salmon to be pink, farmed salmon is often fed synthetic astaxanthin, a version of a naturally occurring compound. It makes economic sense: darker salmon commands an extra 50 cents to $1 per pound when offered next to lighter salmon.[Image Credit: © Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay]
Candice Choi , "Artificial dyes fading, but food will still get color boosts", Associated Press, December 11, 2018, © The Associated Press
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Coca-Cola CEO Tells Investors Not To Expect Brisk Acquisition Pace To Continue In 2019

December 11, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
After initiating six acquisitions in 2018, including the $5.1 billion purchase of U.K. coffee chain Costa Coffee, Coca-Cola will tap the brakes in 2019, according to CEO James Quincey, who said the plan is to spend time absorbing what it bought. Shares of the company are up more than seven percent so far this year, standing relatively strong against broader market volatility, an indication that investors are happy with the aggressive growth plan. Coke now has a market value of $209.8 billion. And while the beverage industry has been eyeing cannabis-infused drinks as an avenue for growth, Quincey said Coca-Cola will hold off from including cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabis compound, in any of its products until it is "legal, safe and consumable."
Amelia Lucas , "Coca-Cola CEO: Deal Making in 2019 will likely slow down as company integrates recent acquisitions", CNBC.com , December 11, 2018, © CNBC
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McDonald’s In The Vanguard Of Movement To Reduce Antibiotics In Beef

December 11, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
With a nudge from the Natural Resources Defense Council, McDonald's announced it has told its beef suppliers around the world to cut back on the use of antibiotics beginning in 2019. Implementation will begin with pilot projects in ten markets around the world, including in the U.S. McDonald’s is the first big burger chain to launch such a policy, though other fast food leaders – Chipotle, Panera, Subway – have either cut antibiotic use in their beef supplies or have committed to do so. A spokesman for the NRDC said: “Nobody in the world sells more burgers than McDonald's, and their actions can shape the future of the industry.” Forty-three percent of medically important antibiotics sold to the U.S. livestock industry go to the beef sector, compared to only six percent for chicken.[Image Credit: © McDonald's]
"McDonald’s Commits To Reducing Antibiotic Use In Its Global Beef Supply", Natural Resources Defense Council , December 11, 2018, © Natural Resources Defense Council
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NRDC Study Sheds Light On How Cities Might Prevent Food Waste

December 10, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
A new report by the Natural Resources Defense Council summarizes a food waste baseline assessment study in three U.S. cities – Denver, Nashville, and New York City – for residential and non-residential sectors, including the industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) sectors. The study characterizes the amount of food wasted in the cities and identifies reasons why the food is wasted. For example, six of the top 10 most commonly wasted edible foods in households were the same in all three cities: coffee, milk, apples, bread, potatoes and pasta. Accumulated data was used to help inform and inspire municipal initiatives to prevent food waste, to rescue surplus food to benefit people in need, and to recycle food scraps. The study also offers templates and descriptions of the methodologies to help other cities perform similar assessments. [Image Credit: © Natural Resources Defense Council]
Willona Sloan, "Analyzing Food Waste at the City Level", waste360.com, December 10, 2018, © Informa USA, Inc.
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Pladis UK & Ireland Steps Up Its Plastics Commitments

December 10, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Another company announcing its intention to make all plastic packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025 is Pladis UK & Ireland, which makes biscuits and confectionery. It has joined the UK Plastics Pact, is joining the On-Pack Recycling Label scheme, and has extended its partnership with Terracycle to make its packaging recyclable. [Image Credit: © pladis global]
"Pladis UK & Ireland pledges to reduce plastic waste by 2025", Foodbev.com, December 10, 2018, © Foodbev.com
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Hospitality Industry Can Play A Major Role In Reducing Food Waste

December 10, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
American consumers looking to escape the bad news that bombards them daily are visiting hotels and restaurants and supporting CPG brands that are doing the right thing. Hospitality industry trend-watcher Andrew Freedman notes that the hospitality  industry should be supporting good causes, like reducing food waste. Freedman says the movement to reduce food waste will continue to gain traction in 2019 as local governments start to restrict restaurants from disposing of food waste in landfills, prompting them to look for new solutions. Some hotels and restaurants are teaming with nonprofits and companies like Goodr Co. to redirect leftovers to those who are food insecure. Others are using food in unexpected ways to reduce waste, such as the Amazing Pasta Straw, which makes straws out of pasta.[Image Credit: © The Amazing Pasta Straw, LLC]
Elizabeth Crawford , "Consumers will embrace brands that do the right thing, AF & Co. trendologists predict", FoodNavigator-USA.com, December 10, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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New Program From L.A. Food Delivery Company Cuts Food Waste, Feeds The Homeless

December 7, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
California food delivery service Postmates has launched a new endeavor: rescuing food before it is sent to landfills and taking it to where it will do the most good. The company’s drivers in Los Angeles are picking up leftover foodstuffs from local restaurants and delivering it to local homeless shelters. The FoodFight! program was incubated in the company’s social impact arm, Civic Labs, and launched in October.  Participating restaurants simply touch a button to coordinate food pickup at the close of business. Four hundred restaurants in the L.A. area are eligible to make surplus food donations. The biggest problem for the program is a logistical one: shelter hours. Many shelters close for donations earlier than restaurants are finished serving, so the Civic Labs team is working on creative solutions, including additional funding for staffing.[Image Credit: © POSTMATES INC]
Hannah Sentenac , "Postmates is Starting a FoodFight in L.A.", LA Weekly (CA), December 07, 2018, © LA Weekly, LP.
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Irish Food Ingredient Company Licenses Enzyme That Reduces Acrylamide

December 7, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
The chemical compound acrylamide, a cumulative neurotoxin formed in brewed coffee and in starchy foods heated to high temperatures, such as chips and French fries, is being targeted by governments with regulations limiting its use and adding warning labels on foods and beverages. In the meantime, Irish food ingredient  company Kerry has signed a licensing agreement with Renaissance BioScience Corp. to manufacture the company’s non-GMO acrylamide-reducing yeast enzyme, Acryleast. The enzyme reduces acrylamide by up to 90 percent across food and beverage products, including biscuits, crackers, French fries, crisps, coffee, and instant food. According to Kerry, it is a clean label solution that requires minimal changes to the manufacturing process and has no impact on taste, aroma, or texture.[Image Credit: © Kerry Inc]
Katy Askew, "We anticipate great demand : Kerry and Renaissance BioSciences ink partnership on acrylamide-reducing yeast enzyme", FoodNavigator.com, December 07, 2018, © William Reed Business Media
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Coke’s Brand Incubator To Undergo Major Restructuring

December 7, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Scott Uzzell, president of Coca-Cola’s Venturing and Emerging Brands (VEB) business, outlined in a December 4 memo several organizational changes to take effect in January. The changes, including some staff shifts, will “sharpen our focus” related to the current marketing strategy and accelerate the growth of its beverage portfolio. VEB’s role – “futurist, investor, incubator and integrator“ – is to spot the right trends, invest in them, incubate them “and, finally, help integrate them into our broad business system.” With that in mind, VEB will create several new business units that will nurture acquired brands: imported mineral water brand Topo Chico and coconut water maker Zico will move into the Still Business Unit; Hansen’s and Blue Sky Beverage Company will move to the Sparkling Business Unit; and Hubert’s Lemonade and VEB’s Natural Channel Sales Team will be folded into the Minute Maid Business Unit based in Texas. Other brands – Fairlife, Suja, and BodyArmor – will not be affected.
Martín Caballero, "Coca-Cola VEB Set to ‘Sharpen Focus’ on Incubation in 2019", BevNET.com, December 07, 2018, © BevNET.com
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Retiring Coke Chairman Kent Lists Challenges For Global CEOs

December 7, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Outgoing Coca-Cola Chairman Muhtar Kent – he’s retiring in April 2019 – says running a global business is tougher than ever because of the competition, of course, but also because of “sociopolitical dynamics,” more unknowns – like Brexit, U.S. trade wars, and currency fluctuations – and “more volatility, constant volatility." But that’s not all that gives CEOs anxiety. Also at work are a “global war for talent” and “digitization," he told CNBC. Kent, a 40-year veteran of Coca-Cola, will be replaced as chairman by CEO James Quincey.
Amelia Lucas , "Coca-Cola chairman: 'More unknowns, more volatility' are making running a global business tougher", CNBC.com , December 07, 2018, © CNBC LLC
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Corn Flakes To Beer: Kellogg U.K. Program Cuts Food Waste 12.5 Percent

December 7, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
The U.K. unit of breakfast food company Kellogg is brewing a new business: beer. The company has launched a program, “Throw Away IPA,” that turns rejected corn flakes – too small, too big, undercooked – into beer, the revenues from which are partially donated to Fareshare, a food poverty charity. The English beer, made by Seven Bro7hers Brewery, tastes sweeter than the usual IPA, and has the iconic golden color of its breakfast cereal ingredients. Each Throw Away IPA brew uses roughly 132 pounds (60 kilograms) of rejected cornflakes. Since the program was launched, Kellogg says it has reduced its U.K.-based food waste by 12.5 percent.[Image Credit: © Seven Bro7hers Brewery]
McKinley Corbley, "In Bid to Cut Food Waste, Kellogg’s is Using Their Rejected Cornflakes to Make Beer ", Good News Network, December 07, 2018, © GNN, LLC
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Unilever Invests €100,000 To Solve Single-Use Plastic Sachet Problem

December 6, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever has set its sights on eliminating single-use plastic sachets for laundry products, piloting a technology in which it is investing €100,000. The crowd-sourced plastic-free tablet, which uses a plant-based coating, emerged from the company’s “Rethink Plastic” Hackathon. Other ideas from the event included a subscription model for detergent in ceramic or glass bottles, and soluble sheets of detergent, or ‘Laundry on a roll’. Teams from Unilever will look at some of these other ideas. [Image Credit: © Unilever]
"Unilever to invest €100,000 in a crowdsourced solution as part of its drive to rethink plastic packaging", Unilever, December 06, 2018, © Unilever
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