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When Flies Pig Out, China Reduces Its Food Waste Problem

May 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
China, with 1.4 billion of people, has a serious food waste problem. A farm in Sichuan province in the southwestern region of the country is working on it, however, using the larvae of black soldier flies – maggots – to devour mountains of leftover meat, vegetables and fruits. The larvae can eat twice their weight in food refuse. On average, one kilogram of maggots can eat two kilos of garbage in four hours. Not bad considering that each person in the country throws away almost 30 kilograms of food every year. And it’s a sustainable system: the farm processes the maggots into a high-protein animal feed and their feces into an organic fertilizer.
"In China, Maggots Help Deal With Food Waste Problem", AFP Relax News, May 31, 2017, © Network18 Media and Investments Ltd
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New Breakfast Smoothies Target Brazilian Consumers With Health Concerns

June 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé Brasil Ltda has introduced two drinkable brown rice-based Nesfit breakfast smoothies that feature healthful ingredients like grapes, beets, ginger, cranberries and passionfruit. Because they are made from brown rice, they are low-calorie, high-fiber, and rich in vitamins and minerals. The lactose- and gluten-free smoothies are sold in 260ml plastic bottles at a retail price of about $1.99. [Image Credit: © Nestlé ]
Product Launch Tracker, "Nestle Nesfit's range of Smoothie de Arroz in Uva, Beterraba & Gengibre, Amora e Maracuja varieties available in Brazil", Product Launch Tracker, June 01, 2017, © Product Launch Tracker
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Thomas’ Introduces S’mores English Muffins, Mini Bagels

May 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Bimbo Bakeries USA announced that its Thomas’ brand of English muffins has come up with limited edition S’mores muffins and bagels. S’mores are a classic summertime campfire treat comprising roasted marshmallows and chocolate sandwiched between graham crackers. The basic formula has been adapted to cupcakes, cookies, pies, and other baked goods. The suggested retail price for a six-count pack of S’mores English Muffins is $4.49; $3.99 for Mini Bagels.  [Image Credit: © Bimbo Bakeries USA ]
"Thomas' Introduces Limited Edition S'mores English Muffins and Mini Bagels", News release, Bimbo Bakeries USA, May 31, 2017, © Bimbo Bakeries USA
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Peapod Fine-Tunes Customers’ Online Search Options

May 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Online grocer Peapod’s smart shopping technology now has more search filters so shoppers can further refine selections based on personal dietary tastes and preferences.. In addition to common search filters like brand preference, price and sale specials, the company now offers 16 nutrition options, including non-GMO, sugar free, vegan, and vegetarian. The new filters were selected based on consumer food and nutritional trend data. For example, 42 percent of consumers read nutrition labels before purchasing, 33 percent of Millennials say they eat a meat alternative product every day, and sales of non-GMO products will hit $330 billion by 2019. [Image Credit: © Peapod ]
"Peapod Expands Nutrition Filter Options To Help Shoppers Make Mindful Food Decisions Even Faster", News release, Peapod, May 31, 2017, © Peapod
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Inflation Boosts U.K. Grocery Sales Numbers

May 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Growth in the U.K.’s retail grocery segment is being fueled partly by rising inflation, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Inflation stood at 2.9 percent for the 12-week period ending May 21, while overall sales rose 3.8 percent, the best in four years. Sales at Morrisons, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco grew collectively by 1.6 percent in the period, while sales at German discounters Aldi and Lidl were up 19.2 percent over last year and reached a record market share of 12 percent. Sixty-two percent of the U.K. population shopped in an Aldi or Lidl during the past 12 weeks, compared to 58 percent a year ago. That amounts to an additional 1.1 million households shopping at either of the stores.
Chris Hayward, "Market heats up as Aldi and Lidl grow at fastest rate since 2015", News release, Kantar Worldpanel, May 31, 2017, © Kantar Worldpanel
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Apartment-Based Cake Baker Transformed Herself Into A Social Media Star

May 30, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A Manhattan cake baker no longer sells her apartment-made cakes to friends to make money. A much easier revenue-generating scheme allows her to create masterpieces in her kitchen, videotape the process, and share the edited results with fans on social media. She has 250,000+ followers, and her videos regularly generate hundreds of thousands of views. An Instagram celebrity, Chelsey White makes money basically selling the concept of cake, rather than the cake itself, with help from partners such as the Food Network and AwesomenessTV.
Polly Mosendz, "Bakers Are Cashing In on Instagram’s Cake Obsession", Bloomberg, May 30, 2017, © Bloomberg Finance L.P.
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Food Sharing Service In English Village Hopes To Expand

May 30, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The founder of a community fridge in a Hampshire village in England was pretty surprised to find how people from as far away as Germany were interested in her idea, and eager to get her advice. The community fridge in Botley is the fourth in the U.K. to offer food sharing, a concept that not only reduces food waste, it helps people in need. Riki Therivel’s “nice way for neighbors to share food” has become so popular that families regularly use it. Retail grocer Tesco drops off food twice a week as well. It’s providing such a useful service to the community that its temporary home at a local church has become permanent, though the fridge hopes for a larger facility in a shopping center. [Image Credit: © United Nations University ]
Callum Keown, "Community Fridge a 'Huge Success' and Could Move into West Way Centre", The Oxford Times, May 30, 2017, © Newsquest (Midlands South) Ltd
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Nestle To Improve Nutritional Profile Of Maggi Brand Of Foods

May 30, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé says it will work to improve the nutritional profile of its Maggi brand of seasonings, instant soups, and noodles. The move, part of its global “Simply Good” initiative, will basically involve fortifying products where necessary with micronutrients like iodine, iron or Vitamin A; adding vegetables and original flavors from vegetables, herbs and spices, grains and fiber; reducing sodium content; and removing “ingredients that consumers do not easily recognize.” The company also promised to help people cook healthily on a budget and reduce food waste. The goal is to implement the changes by 2020.
"Simply Good: Maggi to Offer Tastier and Healthier Choices", News release, Nestlé’s, May 30, 2017, © Nestlé’s
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Tesco Reports Improved Sales And Profits In FY 2017

May 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Tesco reported sales, excluding VAT and fuel, rose 1.1 percent in fiscal 2017. According to the retailer, it recorded positive growth in both UK and international operations. Group operating profit before exceptional items jumped 29.9 percent to ₤1.28 billion, compared with the previous year. Statutory profit before tax dropped 28.2 percent to ₤145 million, including ₤263 million in exceptional costs. Retail operating cash flow was ₤2.3 billion, an increase of 9.1 percent from the previous year, the company said. Tesco said it has reduced its net debt by 27 percent to ₤3.7 billion.
"Tesco Plc Annual Report and Financial Statements 2017", Tesco, May 28, 2017, © Tesco Plc
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PROMO CAMPAIGN: Coke Links Music Event Tix With Bottle Labels To Attract Romanian Teens

May 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
To spur Romanian teenagers to drink Coca-Cola, the company has launched a promotional campaign using detachable bottle labels, some of which double as tickets to major musical events in the country. Coke buyers need to use a special smartphone app to tell whether their bottle label is a winner. Consumer research told the company that 40 percent of Romanian teens hadn’t tried a Coke in the past month.
Patrick Kulp, "Coke is Printing Music Festival Wristbands on its Bottles in Romania", Mashable, May 28, 2017, © Mashable, Inc.
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ALTERNATIVE BEVERAGES: As Carbonated Soft Drink Sales Sag, Alternative Beverages Pick Up Steam

May 26, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
New Moody’s report confirms ongoing decline in carbonated soft drink consumption in U.S., as health-conscious consumers with more spending money switch to ready-made coffees, teas, organic juices, enhanced waters, all perceived as higher quality, more healthful. Though alternative drinks are still small market compared to carbonated soft drinks, beverage makers see benefit from shift in consumer preference. Despite lower volume sales, alternative drinks are inherently higher value: premium prices mean higher profit. Moody’s says large scale, cash-rich Coca-Cola, PepsiCo are well-positioned to develop strong alternative beverage portfolios.
"Announcement: Moody's: US Beverage Makers Look Beyond the Soda Bottle for Future Growth", Report, Moody's, May 26, 2017, © Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
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TECHNOLOGY: Coke CEO Sees Technology As Major Challenge, As Well As Solution

May 26, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Technology advances are helping Coca-Cola cut costs. Company has turned to cheaper off-the-shelf software, for example, to run human resources and bill payment, allowing it to cut obsolete jobs. But evolving technology also presents new marketing challenges, according to CEO James Quincey. Rise of online beverage purchasing is disrupting soft drink buying patterns: shopping trips that used to lead to soft drink purchases at food courts or vending machines are being replaced by smartphone purchases and home deliveries. Quincey sees technology such as social media as key to answering these challenges, including decline in foot traffic, and ultimately believes surmounting them will make Coca-Cola a winner, here and abroad, in the digital age.
Jennifer Kaplan, "Coca-Cola’s CEO Fights Digital Threat to Buying Habits", TheRecord.com, May 26, 2017, © Metroland Media Group Ltd.
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Unilever Is Best In Supply Chain Management In 2017, Gartner's List Says

May 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever was number 1 on the Supply Chain Top 25 list of companies with the best supply chain operations for 2017, according to Gartner, Inc. Other companies on the list include McDonald's, Inditex, Cisco, and H&M. Online retailer Amazon qualified for the Masters category, joining Apple and Procter & Gamble. P&G showed innovation by using digital automation of workflows and algorithm-driven tools to cut exceptions and enable end-to-end planning. Gartner said three trends helped determine supply chain directions in 2017: digitalization of supply chain, adaptive organization and capabilities, and developing and fostering healthy ecosystems.
"Gartner Announces Rankings of the 2017 Supply Chain Top 25", Gartner , May 25, 2017, © Gartner, Inc.
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Companies Partner To Provide Crop Insurance To At-Risk Coffee Farmers

May 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Nespresso is partnering with an insurance consortium to develop pilot crop insurance program for climate-dependent small coffee farmers in Colombia. Coffee and insurance markets do not always provide risk transfer mechanisms for the long-term security of small coffee farmers. The objective of the pilot insurance program from Nespresso and Blue Marble Microinsurance, a consortium or eight insurers, is to enhance farmers' welfare, address supply chain risk, and incentivize investment in coffee growing regions.
"Nespresso And Blue Marble Microinsurance Announce Partnership And Plan To Launch Pilot Crop Insurance Program For Smallholder Coffee Farmers In Colombia", News release, Blue Marble Microinsurance, May 25, 2017, © Blue Marble Microinsurance
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Wal-Mart's South African Business Massmart Posts Weaker Like-For-Like Sales

May 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Massmart, Wal-Mart's majority-owned retail business in South Africa, reported same-store sales dropped almost 2 percent in the first five months of 2017. Wal-Mart acquired a controlling stake in the company via a $2.4 billion deal seven years ago. Since then, the retailer has had to deal with economic slowdown in the region. Sales were also affected by consumer reluctance to spend and by a downgrading of credit ratings of South Africa, which accounts for 91 percent of Massmart's total sales in the region.
Tiisetso Motsoeneng, "Wal-Mart's South African arm Massmart reports drop in like-for-like sales", Reuters, May 25, 2017, © Reuters
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Costco Stores In California Test Marketability Of French Pastries

May 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
San Francisco-based bakery chain La Boulangerie has struck a deal with Costco to sell its packaged baked goods at 12 Northern California locations of the membership-only warehouse retailer. Bakery owner Pascal Rigo’s goal is to make his products available to the masses, and the Costco deal is the first step. Rigo has to prove to the company that his wares will do well in the bulk merchandise stores. If successful, La Boulangerie will expand to other Costco locations in California and perhaps across the U.S. Rigo is selling four items at Costco: soft brioche, soft brioche buns, soft brioche hot dog buns and flaky croissant buns. [Image Credit: © Le Point ]
Coral Garnick , "La Boulangerie baker has moved from working with Starbucks to Costco", Puget Sound Business Journal, May 25, 2017, © American City Business Journals
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REDESIGN: Redesigned Fanta Introduced In Latin America

May 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola’s Fanta brand was re-introduced in Latin America with newly-redesigned bottle and logo. Marketing VP for the region, Eugenio Mendez, said brand is being reformulated with more fruit juice and 95 percent fewer calories. Mendez also noted that Colombian teenagers aged 16 to 19 participated in the redesign/reformulation.
"Fanta offers new recipe and launches presentation", La Republica, May 25, 2017, © Editorial La República S.A.S.
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Danone Expects Significant Growth In West African Dairy Market

May 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Though African sales of fresh dairy products, early life nutrition, and waters, account for only five percent of Danone’s overall revenues, company expects substantial growth. With partner investors the Abraaj Group, company spent $25 million to build three production lines at subsidiary Fan Milk (Accra, Ghana), whose growth has been strong thanks to robust demand for dairy products in West Africa, including Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin and Nigeria. Larger factory capacity will be used to produce drinkable yogurt brand FanMaxx with four-month shelf life. Company says it expects to expand further in region.
Jim Cornall, "Danone and Abraaj Group Expand Fan Milk capacity in Ghana to Launch New Product", DAIRYreporter.com, May 24, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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BOTTLING STRATEGY: Coke’s Refranchising Plan Takes Major Step Forward

May 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The nearly-completed Coca-Cola refranchising strategy is to build a team of bottling partners that can serve major customers while maintaining “strong, local ties across diverse markets” in Canada and U.S. To that end, company has signed letter of intent for major Northeast territories with Coca-Cola Refreshments executives Paul Mulligan’s and Fran McGorry’s new bottling company, Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages LLC. Territories include metropolitan New York, Philadelphia, most of New Jersey, part of Delaware, four production facilities.
"The Coca-Cola Company Nears Completion of U.S. Refranchising Plan with Letter of Intent for Territory in Northeast", News release, Coca-Cola Company, May 24, 2017, © Coca-Cola Company
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Canadian Grocers Use Smartphone App To Get Surplus Food To Consumers

May 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Grocery retailers in Ontario, Canada, have partnered with the developer of an app designed to make it easier to sell unsold surplus food to consumers at big discounts. Flashfood app users are notified and can dial up deals on their phones for food that is three days to a month away from its best-before date. Users then pay using their phones and visit the Flashfood zones in the stores to pick up purchases. Grocery retailers Farm Boy and Longo say they have diverted kept more than 1,500 meals from landfills. [Image Credit: © Flashfood ]
"Major Ontario Grocery Chains Set Precedent to Reduce Food Waste", News release, Flashfood, May 24, 2017, © Flashfood
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Hydrox Sandwich Cookies Are Now Clean Label

May 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Leaf Brands announced a clean-label improvement in its sandwich cookie brand Hydrox. A competitor of Mondelez’s Oreo brand, Hydrox now contains no artificial colors or flavors, no trans-fats or high fructose corn sweeteners, and is 100 percent non-GMO.  The company said the clean-label decision has meant higher production costs, without any change in retail price, but will be worth it because it will lead to “increased sales and consumer loyalty in the multi-billion-dollar cookie market.” [Image Credit: © Leaf Brands ]
"American-Made Hydrox Cookies Goes Clean Label!", News release, Leaf Brands, May 23, 2017, © Leaf Brands
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State Governments Target Hunger, Food Waste, Environment

May 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
As debates rage at the national level over healthcare, immigration policy, and other issues, state governments are tackling more mundane local problems like food waste, hunger, and environmental protection. California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont already have laws on the books that restrict the amount of food and other organic waste (e.g., soiled and compostable paper and yard waste) that can be dumped in landfills. Maryland, New Jersey and New York are pondering similar laws. States are offering tax breaks to farmers and small businesses that donate food rather than throw it into the landfill. They are also limiting the liability of food donors, and standardizing “use by” labels so consumers don’t toss food that is still edible. It’s a significant endeavor: one in seven Americans suffers from “food insecurity,” defined as “limited or uncertain access to adequate food.”
Jon Frandsen, "States Try to Reduce Food Waste with New Laws", SF Gate, May 22, 2017, © Hearst Communications, Inc.
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Nespresso Pop-Up Store Opens In Argentina’s Rosario City

May 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé has opened a pop-up Nespresso coffee machine and capsule store in a shopping mall in the Paraná River port city of Rosario, Argentina. Nespresso machines brew espresso and coffee from capsules, or pods, that contain single-use amounts of ground beans.
"Argentina: Nespresso to open new pop-up store on 1 June 2017", Esmerk Latin American News, May 22, 2017, © M-Brain
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Bread: It Really Is Good For You, When Done Right

May 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A coterie of unabashed bread champions has emerged from the shadows to proclaim the inherent goodness of bread, long reviled by nutritionists and other self-proclaimed health experts. Leading the charge is Michael Pollan, author of An Eater's Manifesto, whose TV show explains in detail what makes good food good. He is especially hard on the anti-gluten movement and so-called gluten sensitivity – a real problem for the tiny troop of celiac suffers in the U.S. – but little more than a fad diet for others. Bakers like Canada’s Bryn Rawlyk, meanwhile, say customers simply don’t have a problem with his bread, made from whole grains grown and milled locally. It’s the industrialized, mass-market loaves that seem to cause the health problems. Pollan says, “In the case of bread, what we may have overlooked is the importance of a long, slow, sourdough fermentation."
Corey Mintz, "Healthy bread exists and it’s the greatest thing since, well, you know", The Globe and Mail , May 22, 2017, © The Globe and Mail Inc
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Airport Donates Unsold Concession Foods To Needy

May 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The Austin, Texas, airport has launched a program to salvage and share unopened, unsold concession foods with the 180,000 needy citizens of the city. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport’s Food Rescue Program has partnered with its concessionaires and with the nonprofit Keep Austin Fed to donate the food rather than sending it to the landfill. Begun in March, the program collected and donated more than 3,500 unsold food products in the first month, including sandwiches, salads, snack boxes and buns. The long-range goal of the program is to help reduce the 40 percent of food wasted in America. [Image Credit: © Austin-Bergstrom Airport ]
"Unsold sandwiches, salads donated to Keep Austin Fed", News release, City of Austin (Texas), May 22, 2017, © City of Austin
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Facebook Expands Food Order/Delivery Feature On Desktops And Phones

May 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Facebook users are now able to tap an icon on their smartphone or desktop to place food pickup and delivery orders from participating restaurants that use Delivery.com or Slice. The innovation means users needn’t leave the Facebook platform to visit a restaurant or delivery site. The new feature expands a deal with the two online ordering businesses announced last October that allowed Facebook users to order food from Facebook pages of supported restaurants using a “Start Order” button. The “Order Food” icon eliminates the need to visit restaurant sites because all participating restaurants are listed together on the user's Facebook page. [Image Credit: © Facebook ]
Sarah Perez, "Facebook Rolls Out a New “Order Food” Option in its Main Navigation", Tech Crunch, May 19, 2017, © AOL Inc.
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Potential Hikes In Prices, Fate Of NHS, Have British Consumers On Edge

May 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Mintel consumer research finds that Britons are worried about the prospect of higher prices of goods and services, including food, vacations and clothing. Eighty-three percent worry about price hikes generally, and 59 percent worry about more expensive groceries. With the impact of Brexit still largely unknown yet looming, and despite concerns about rising prices,  consumer confidence remains relatively strong. People still expect their personal finances to hold up well over the next year. However, the fate of the National Health Service (NHS) and the nation’s economy worry consumers.
"Britain braces itself for price hikes: 83% fear price rises on goods and services", News release, Mintel, May 19, 2017, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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As Retail Industry Continues To Sag, Walmart Booms

May 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart bucked depressing retail industry trends in the first fiscal quarter, posting a 1.4 percent increase in revenue to $117.54 billion, slightly less than the $117.74 billion expected by Wall Street. Earnings per share were up by two percent to $1.00, better than analyst expectations of $0.96 a share. The glowing performance in a time of limp retail sales was generally driven by aggressive pricing that increased store traffic by three percent (on a two-year stacked basis) and by successful expansion of its online business. E-commerce sales soared 63 percent, up from 29 percent growth last quarter, mostly due to organic growth and not acquisitions. Same-store sales grew for the 11th consecutive quarter.
"Walmart U.S. Q1 comps1 grew 1.4% and Walmart U.S. eCommerce GMV grew 69%, Company reports Q1 FY18 diluted EPS of $1.00", Earnings release, Walmart, May 18, 2017, © Walmart Stores, Inc.
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Opportunities For Confectioners In Asia’s Functional Candy Market

May 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Concerns about health among Chinese consumers have both helped and hindered the country’s confectionery industry, according to Mintel data. On the one hand, there is growing anxiety that the Chinese diet contains far too much sugar. This is reflected in a decline in volume candy sales beginning in 2015, a trend not helped by a general economic slowdown. However, Chinese consumers are buying more functional candy, for example throat-soothing or vitamin C candies. This presents a product development and marketing opportunity for confectionery firms, especially those that analyze the demands of demographic segments in Asian countries. One functional ingredient in candy is collagen, an anti-aging protein. Another is iron, already available in candy in Japan and Taiwan. Associated with good health and energy, iron is beneficial for skin complexions, and often taken to prevent anemia. ][Image Credit: © Golden Throat Lozenge (Jinsangzi Houpian]
Loris Li, "China’s Sugar Confectionery Market Declines While Functional Candy Grows", News release, Mintel, May 18, 2017, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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It’s Official: McDonald’s Ice Cream Is Clean Label

May 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
McDonald’s has added its vanilla soft serve ice cream product to the list of menu items that no longer contain artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. The change began quietly last fall, and is now nearly completed at its 14,000 U.S. locations. Vanilla soft serve is used to make cones, McCafe shakes and McFlurry desserts – a total of about 60 percent of the desserts McDonald's serves. In addition, the chocolate and strawberry McCafe shake syrup no longer contains high fructose corn syrup; the whipped topping served on all three flavors of shakes is made with no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. [Image Credit: © McDonald's ]
"Sweet Surprise: McDonald's Unveils a Change to its Vanilla Soft Serve", News release, McDonald's, May 18, 2017, © McDonald's
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Hot New Manhattan Dessert Is Part Asia, Part USA

May 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
It’s called “Japanese bouncy cheesecake” and it’s the latest dessert craze in New York City. The fluffy sweet concoction, hugely popular in Asia, is sold at a newly-opened Pan-Asian bakery in Manhattan that already boasts long lines of customers waiting to indulge. Keki Modern Cakes owner Lawrence Wai recruited executive chef Kevin Kim to recreate the pastry, whose secret ingredient is the French meringue added for bounciness. It is made with cream cheese from Amish farms, organic milk and free-range eggs. The top is an airy cake that melds into a dense mousse. It may have its roots in Asia, but its “unmistakable richness and sweetness” are pure American cheesecake. [Image Credit: © Keki Modern Cakes ]
Eva Kis, "Japanese cheesecake finally comes to NYC at Keki Modern Cakes", Metro NY, May 18, 2017, © Metro Media US
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High-Protein, Natural Ingredient Spheroid Snacks Available In U.K.

May 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A British company has launched a new natural food brand – Boostball – that features six high-protein spheroidal snacks made with only seven natural ingredients. The snacks are rich in fiber, as well as vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, B, E, B12, calcium, iron and zinc. They are made with raw, cold-pressed ingredients such as natural sugars found in fruits and plants, and produced without baking or refining. The product range includes two vegan varieties. [Image Credit: © Boostball ]
Leia Taing, "Boostball Launches New Range of Natural Protein Balls", The Food & Drink Innovation Network, May 18, 2017, © Food & Drink Innovation Network
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Sustainable Living Brands Initiative Has Positive Impact At Unilever

May 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Products that Unilever six years ago designated as “sustainable living brands” – they offer a strong social or environmental purpose – have proven to be generally more successful than the rest of its product lineup, the company says. They have grown 50 percent faster and delivered more than 60 percent of the growth in 2016. Eighteen ended up in Unilever’s top 40 brands. Most successful sustainable living products include Lifebuoy, Ben & Jerry’s, Dove and Hellmann’s, with high single- and double-digit sales over the past six years. CEO Paul Polman said the results show that “sustainability is good for business” because consumers want sustainable products. A Unilever-commissioned survey found that more than half of all consumers already buy or want to buy sustainably. [Image Credit: © Ben & Jerry's ]
"Unilever’s Sustainable Living brands continue to drive higher rates of growth", News release, Unilever, May 18, 2017, © Unilever
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Target’s Q1 Numbers Are Promising, But There’s Still Work To Do

May 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Target seems to be on a path to recovery, if profit is any indication, though it reported a first quarter same-store sales decline of 1.3 percent due to drops in traffic and basket size. Digital sales were up 22 percent, however. Sales totaled $16 billion down from $16.2 billion last year. Earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter were $1.22, compared with $1.02 a year ago. Thomson Reuters consensus forecast was 91 cents. The company expects a “low single-digit decline” in same-store sales in the second quarter, and adjusted EPS of $0.95 to $1.15. For the full-year 2017, Target continues to project a low single-digit decline in same-store sales. CEO Brian Cornell said the company is in "the early stage of a multi-year effort to position Target for profitable, consistent long-term growth.”
"Target Reports First Quarter 2017 Earnings", Earnings release, Target, May 17, 2017, © Target Brands, Inc.
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Danone Buys Entry Into Smaller, Quicker, Tuned-In Food Companies

May 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The venture funding unit of France’s yogurt multinational Danone has invested in a four-year-old, two-woman investment firm whose portfolio features small “disruptive food and beverage companies” in the natural and organic market that are “stealing shelf space and sales from established food companies.” AccelFoods of New York is nurturing 30 start-ups that produce everything from “better-for-you” bouillon cubes to calamansi juice drinks to flavored organic pressed teas. Adding Danone to the fund raised another $15 million, for a total of about $30 million. Danone’s investment comes at a time when Danone’s investment in AccelFoods is part of a strategy to boost sales by expanding in the U.S. It also acknowledges that smaller, more agile companies have a better grasp of the fast-evolving tastes of younger food consumers. [Image Credit: © Accel Foods ]
"Danone Announces Investment in AccelFoods", European Supermarket Magazine, May 17, 2017, © European Supermarket Magazine
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Barilla Unveils Line Of Microwaveable Pasta

May 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The U.S. unit of Italy’s Barilla Group SpA. has developed a quick-cook pasta that delivers a tasty al dente texture within 60 seconds. The microwave pasta has only two added ingredients – sea salt and olive oil – and comes in four shapes: elbows, gemelli, penne and rotini. Ready Pasta is non-GMO certified and has no preservatives. It is packaged in an 8.5-ounce pouch (two servings) and is found in the dry pasta aisle of grocery stores. [Image Credit: © Barilla ]
"New Barilla Ready Pasta Delivers Perfect Pasta in 60 Seconds", News release, Barilla, May 17, 2017, © Barilla Group SpA
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U.S. Grocery Chain Owner Delhaize Honored For Diversified Hiring Practices

May 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Retail grocery chain owner Delhaize America was recognized by Web-based “diversity” publisher and event sponsor DiversityInc for its excellence in hiring, retaining and promoting women, minorities, people with disabilities, LGBT people and veterans. Delhaize, whose grocery chains include Food Lion and Hannaford, was ranked 10th among the top 11 “Companies for Progress,” a subset of the top 50 companies for diversity. It was the only grocery firm to make the top 50. Other retailers among the top 50 were Target (No. 22) and CVS Health (No. 50). CPG companies included Johnson & Johnson (No. 5), Procter & Gamble (No. 13), Kellogg Co. (No. 28), Colgate-Palmolive (No. 35), and McCormick & Co. (No. 45).
"Delhaize America Among Top Companies for Progress", Progressive Grocer, May 17, 2017, © EnsembleIQ
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Companies Develop Plant Steroid Dietary Supplement Applications

May 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Several companies have collaborated to introduce food and dietary supplement ingredients applications based on a plant sterol ester that has been approved by the EU (EFSA) for use by European food companies. BASF health unit Newtrition partnered with Aenova and Kappa to develop the Vegapure brand of plant sterol ingredient, made with phytosterols known to reduce high cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The ingredient is available in several forms, including capsules, sachets and shots. [Image Credit: © BASF Newtrition ]
"BASF, Aenova and Kappa Develop New Dietary Supplement Applications with Phytosterol Vegapure", Nutrition Insight, May 17, 2017, © CNS Media BV
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Bagel And Doughnut Economics 101

May 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Doughnuts and bagels have a similar shape, including (usually) a hole in the middle. But they are not the same, not by a long shot, and neither are their respective small business models. Doughnut entrepreneurs like Rebecca Gullo say the economics of bagels “don’t work” for her mainly because it’s “unbelievably difficult to make great bagels.” And they’re not as profitable as doughnuts, primarily because bagel shops aren’t yet able to charge the premium prices for their product that doughnut shops do. Doughnuts are less labor-intensive to make: once glazed, they’re done. Bagels can be embellished with cream cheese or other spreads, sold as sandwiches, etc. But that requires extra work, and extra expense. 
Janelle Nanos , "Doughnut vs. bagel: a hole different game", The Boston Globe, May 17, 2017, © Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC
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Pizza Doughnuts: In An Age Of Doughnut Creativity, Why Not?

May 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Who says a pizza – despite its name – has to be in the shape of a pie? The West End Bistro in West Haven, Conn., has proven that pizza can look like a doughnut and sell just as well. Their creation – the idea came to the owner in a dream – begins with focaccia dough stuffed with Italian cheeses and shaped into a doughnut. It is then fried and “frosted” with what creator Jeff Lamberti calls “gravy” – pizza sauce – then baked, garnished with greens and served. Photos posted on social media were a viral hit; passels of orders soon followed. Lamberti said they sold two hundred of the junk food delicacies in a recent weekend. "I didn't think that it would take off the way it did,” he said.  [Image Credit: © NBC Connecticut ]
"The Pizza Donut: A Match Made in Junk Food Heaven", WHOtv.com, May 16, 2017, © WHO: A Tribune Broadcasting Station
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Trusted Brands In 40+ Product Categories Listed By Reader’s Digest

May 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
An online survey of 5,500 American consumers found that 49 percent are less trusting of brands these days. The survey, conducted by Reader’s Digest, sought to find the most trusted brands in 40 product categories, including food and beverage, beauty and healthcare, retail, etc. According to the company, which awards a “Trusted Brand seal of approval” to products, the survey found that trust outweighs product pricing and trust ensures customer retention and brand loyalty. (It doesn’t, however, equate with top sales: Ford is ranked as most trusted car company, but GM is the top seller.) More than half of participants said the Reader’s Digest seal of approval would increase their likelihood of trusting a brand.  [Image Credit: © Reader's Digest ]
"Reader’s Digest Annual Survey Determines the Most Trusted Brands in America", News release, Reader's Digest, May 16, 2017, © Reader's Digest
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Fast-Food Companies Deal With Menu Customization Trend

May 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A number of fast-food restaurants have begun to cater to customers who concoct their own entrees rather than order from the menu. The practice has led to rumors of “secret menus” on social media, complete with photos. McDonald’s restaurants have sometimes complied with requests (e.g., Chicken Cordon Bleu McMuffins), as have Chipotle (Quesaritos), and Shake Shack (Peanut Butter Bacon Burgers). The phenomenon has attracted legions of online fans who debate recipes and share ways to order custom items without ticking off stressed restaurant staff. Company reaction to the phenomenon varies. Some officially deny its existence, some acknowledge that their staff will do some customization, and others flat out welcome it. [Image Credit: © HackTheMenu.com ]
Corinne Ramey, "Can I Have That Burger With a Side of Peanut Butter?", The Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Chobani Strives To Be No. 1 In Yogurt, But Not Through Tactics Of “Desperation”

May 15, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
American yogurt fans have embraced Greek yogurt since Chobani introduced it here nine years ago, but the company is not satisfied. Fifty-four percent of U.S. yogurt sales are in the Greek category, but CMO Peter McGuinness says it is still “underpenetrated” and should be double what it is now. The market figures tell him that two-thirds of the country hasn’t had a Greek yogurt in the last 52 weeks. Chobani, with 20.4 percent of the overall yogurt market, will beat Yoplait and No. 1 Danone through “authentic innovation” within the category, rather than “desperation and discounting,” McGuinness says. [Image Credit: © Chobani ]
Mary Ellen Shoup, "Chobani CMO on Greek Yogurt: ‘We Think the Category Should be double what it is today’", DAIRYreporter.com, May 15, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Toronto Chef Seeks To End Food Waste And Hunger

May 15, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Chef Jagger Gordon is on a dual mission – ending food waste and hunger – has opened a subsidized eatery that allows customers to pay what they feel they can afford. Gordon’s Soup Bar in Toronto (Ont.) is the direct beneficiary of his other program, Feed It Forward, that collects unsold, unused food otherwise bound for the landfill. Patrons not only pay for their own meal, if they can afford it they can contribute $2.50 extra. That buys a chip that goes in a jar to be redeemed by a needy patron. Is Gordon worried his system will be abused? Not at all: "If you are humble enough to come and utilize one of the chips for a meal, you've earned it." [Image Credit: © Jagger Gordon Catering]
Gilbert Ngabo, "Subsidized eatery opening soon in Toronto", The Toronto Star, May 15, 2017, © Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd.
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British Grocery Chain Seeks To “Rescue” Scorned Bananas

May 15, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Sainsbury’s is dismayed that so many of its countrymen, who enjoy bananas fairly often – 30 percent eat at least one a day – nevertheless turn up their noses at – and usually bin – the fruits if they have imperfections like bruises, black marks, or green spots. It’s a serious problem: Britons trash about 1.8 million rejected bananas a day. As part of its £10 million Waste Less, Save More initiative, the company has launched pop-up “Banana Rescue” stations in its 500 stores to offer not only recipes for banana bread, but all of the hardware necessary to make it. That includes mixing bowls, blenders, baking tins and storage solutions. [Image Credit: © Sainsbury's ]
"Sainsbury’s launches in store ‘Banana Rescue’ stations, giving new a-peel to bin-bound fruit ", News release, Sainsbury’s, May 15, 2017, © J Sainsbury plc
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Tesco Keeps Excess Crops From Ending Up In Landfills

May 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Unseasonable weather in the U.K. has spurred bumper crops of cauliflower, carrots, and small iceberg lettuces in danger of going unsold and clogging landfills. To help remedy the situation, retail grocery chain Tesco recently purchased thousands of heads of small lettuce from G’s Fresh, a supplier of salads and produce to retail food chains in the U.K. and Europe. As part of its Perfectly Imperfect initiative, Tesco is selling the small lettuces at deep discounts (29p a head as opposed to 50p). The program benefits G’s Fresh because the small lettuces are tricky to sell. Earlier in the spring, Tesco also bought 220,000 surplus cauliflowers and a million surplus carrots to take advantage of the excess crops while reducing food waste. [Image Credit: © G's Fresh ]
Beth Gault, "Tesco buys thousands of small lettuces from G's to avoid waste", The Grocer, May 13, 2017, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Fanta’s Novel Twisted Bottle Debuts In Armenia

May 12, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Branding makeover of fruit-flavored soda Fanta includes new bottle with ”unique twisted” shape featured in the 500 ml, one liter and 1.5 liter sizes. Bottle debuted in Armenia recently and will be “especially loved and well suited to the taste of dynamic and active Armenian youth,” according to local Coca-Cola (Hellenic Armenia) head. Launch will be accompanied by Fanta giveaways and “dancing celebrations” in capital, Yerevan.
"A refreshing twist: Fanta gets a new look", PanARMENIAN.Net, May 12, 2017, © PanARMENIAN.Net
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Consumers Contribute To Extended Economic Recoveries Because Of Buying Habits

May 12, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
“Jobless recoveries” from recessions have become the norm. Routine jobs eliminated during downturns never come back, thanks to automation and outsourcing. That makes recovery slow, dampening real wages for longer periods. But business researchers show that companies cutting costs during hard times isn't the only reason for slow recoveries. Consumers contribute by buying cheaper, lower quality goods – usually produced overseas – at discount retailers, a phenomenon called “trading down.” It’s a smart move for consumers, but ultimately the macro economy suffers. Lower quality goods and services don’t require skilled labor, so demand for U.S. labor slides, further crippling the economy. As the trend continues after the recession ends, the job market remains hobbled.
Sergio Rebelo, "Recessions Push People to Buy Cheap Things, Which Just Makes Everything Worse", Harvard Business Review, May 12, 2017, © Harvard Business School Publishing
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Innovation Program Puts Coca-Cola In Touch With Creative Entrepreneurs

May 12, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Innovation involves connection with partners and customers, as well as with fast-growing start-up companies, according to the head of Coca-Cola’s innovation program, The Bridge. Launched three years ago, the program picks 10 companies with potential each year and gives them access to its massive marketing resources. For its efforts, Coke gets early access to innovative consumer technologies. The program has produced 68 pilot programs, 15 license agreements and four global license agreements. Not content with this early success, Alan Boehme now wants to accelerate the initiative. [Image Credit: © Coca-Cola Company ]
David Needle, "Coca Cola’s investments in startups is the real thing for innovation", CIO, May 12, 2017, © CXO MEDIA INC., Inc.
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Innovation Drives Fight Against Food Waste, Climate Change, Hunger

May 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Megatons of wasted food ends up rotting in landfills daily, releasing harmful greenhouse gases, while 800 million people globally endure chronic hunger and malnutrition. A growing number of entrepreneurs recognize the connection between wasted food, hunger and climate change, and see an opportunity to deal with all three. Among the innovations they have developed: Demetra, a natural post-harvest treatment that extends fruit shelf life by retarding the ripening process; the Winnow smart scale helps commercial chefs cut waste by measuring just what they throw from the kitchen every day; and food tech startup RISE uses the spent barley by-product of beer production to make flour for bread, pizza, cookies and other baked goods. [Image Credit: © New York University ]
Umberto Bacchi, "Coffee flour, beer pizza on menu as innovators fight food waste", Reuters, May 11, 2017, © Thomson Reuters
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