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Baristas Coffee Enters Functional Beverage Market

August 30, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Kenmore, Wash.-based Baristas Coffee Company introduced what it calls a “boutique coffee product,” Baristas White Coffee, on Amazon and has begun product and distribution channel development for its expanded line of alternative and functional coffee SKUs. The products contain vitamins, minerals, nutraceuticals, and other additives that are legal in the state where they are distributed. The coffees are targeted at health-conscious consumers, especially Millennials, looking for nutrients such as vitamins, protein, extended energy, and probiotics along with functionality that addresses joint health, heart health, memory support, and diabetes. CEO Barry Henthorn said coffee is “a perfect daily vehicle for the delivery of a variety of healthy supplements, herbs, and vitamins.” Baristas White Coffee single-serve cups are compatible with the Keurig 2.0 brewing system.
"Baristas Coffee Expands Into the Alternative and Functional Beverage Market, Expands Distribution", Globe Newswire, August 30, 2018, © GlobeNewswire, Inc.
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Coca-Cola Hopes To Make The Most Of Growing Chinese Interest In Functional Drinks

August 30, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
The head of Coca-Cola’s China business says “the next big thing” among Chinese consumers – especially the growing class of middle-income consumers – is functional beverages beneficial for health and wellness. With that in mind, the company expects to offer more juice products, beverages containing fiber, and even drinks based on traditional Chinese medicine, according to Curt Ferguson. Coca-Cola began riding the trend when it rolled out new products like sugar-free Sprite with fiber in March, two RTD tea products in North China and South China in the second quarter, and a bottled water range containing fiber in June. A fiber-rich Coca-Cola Plus version for China debuted in August. Bottled water, RTD tea, carbonates, juice drinks, and functional drinks were the biggest sellers in the $84 billion Chinese beverage industry. 
Shi Jing, "Coca-Cola embarks on 'healthy' growth route", China Daily, August 30, 2018, © China Daily Information Co (CDIC)
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Hershey Rolls Out New Omnichannel That Blurs Online and Offline

August 30, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Hershey Co. has a ‘digital’ strategy that is centered on four components, search, content, conversion, and community. It is designed to enhance the company’s competitive advantage and help it succeed in the emerging omnichannel marketplace and holds that there is no offline and online division, but rather a continuum between the two. The initial goal is to convert a purchase, but the long-term goal is repeat purchases and to earn a place on the consumers digital shopping list. Hershey is also experimenting with digital impulse sales.  [Image Credit: © THE HERSHEY COMPANY]
Keith Nunes, "Inside Hershey’s digital strategy", Food Business News, August 30, 2018, © SOSLAND PUBLISHING COMPANY
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Entrepreneurial Couple Succeeds With Mobile Cookie Dough Cart

August 29, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Wife-and-husband entrepreneurs Katie Pollock and Andy Simms of Ohio are fulfilling their dream of making and selling edible cookie dough in a variety of flavors. But they didn’t open a bakery, restaurant, shop or even a food truck. They operate from a mobile cart that allows them to service weddings, corporate events, bar mitzvahs, family events, graduations, birthday parties, and other Cleveland-area events. They got the idea while on a trip to California where, at Fishermen’s Wharf in San Francisco, they noticed a line snaking around outside a cookie dough eatery. Several bakeries in Northeast Ohio sell edible cookie dough, but the Dough Street mobile cart is the only one selling it exclusively.[Image Credit: © Dough Street USA]
"Couple turn ‘aha!’ moment into a safe way to eat cookie dough Innovations", Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH), August 29, 2018, © Advance Local Media LLC
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Non-profit Atlanta Bakery Gives Refugees A Helping Hand – And Baking Skills

August 29, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
A start-up Atlanta bakery is getting a reputation not only for the treats it produces daily, but also for the atmosphere of good cheer and camaraderie. Just Bakery is unique for another reason: it is a non-profit operation housed in a Presbyterian church, and its seven workers are all refugees from other countries – Congo, Bhutan, Central African Republican – who fled their homelands to escape violence. They were selected from a pool developed by the International Refugee Committee. They produce bagels, cinnamon rolls, cookies, rye pretzels sprinkled with Gruyere, breakfast tarts and loaves of multigrain and sourdough bread. The motto of Just Bakery? "Eat well, do good, change lives.”[Image Credit: © Just Bakery of Atlanta]
C. W. Cameron, "Just Bakery of Atlanta’s goal: ‘Eat well, do good, change lives’ ", The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, August 29, 2018, © Cox Media Group
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Perdue To Begin Offering Lower-Priced Organic Chicken Products

August 28, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Maryland-based Perdue Farms announced its Simply Smart Organics chicken products – including frozen and refrigerated whole grain, gluten-free, and lightly breaded nuggets, strips and tenders – will be available next month at about half the cost of other organic brands. The company says the new organic products will be more affordable relative to other similar products, without compromising organic standards, convenience or taste. The line of chicken products can already be found in stores, but beginning in October they’ll carry the USDA certified organic seal. U.S. sales of organic broiler chickens were up 78 percent in 2016 from the previous year, totalling $750 million, according to the USDA.[Image Credit: © Perdue and its affiliates or subsidiaries]
Sara Swann, "Perdue organic chicken line targets affordability", Salisbury Daily Times, August 28, 2018, © www.delmarvanow.com
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Start-Up Hopes To Make A Big Splash In U.S. Market With Antioxidant-Rich Aronia Juice

August 28, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Los Angeles-based beverage start-up Truronia has launched four flavors of antioxidant-rich fruit juice made with 100 percent organic aronia berries. The antioxidant-rich RTD drink can be consumed by itself or mixed into smoothies and recipes. According to the company, aronia berries contain more antioxidants than cranberries, blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries. The fruit is a common staple in Europe, though it is also native to the United States. Health benefits include improved digestion, reduced inflammation, and a boosted immune system. The company says its goal is to reintroduce the superfruit to the United States, where the berry is still relatively unknown. Truronia juice is stocked in stores like Erewhon and Mother’s Market & Kitchen throughout southern California and Nebraska, with plans to expand into more cities across the U.S. The juices can also be found online in packs of six, or in variety packages that include mango, pineapple, coconut, and original aronia flavors,
"Truronia Releases Ready-To-Drink Aronia Berry Juice", PR Underground, August 28, 2018, © PR Underground
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Methane Producer To Build $120M Food Waste Digester In Philadelphia Area

August 28, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Renewable methane producer RNG Energy Solutions has formed a joint venture with Philadelphia Energy Solutions, operator of the huge South Philadelphia refinery complex, to build a $120 million digester to convert more than 1,100 tons of food waste daily into methane gas. To be built on 22 acres of vacant land at the refinery, the Point Breeze Renewable Energy Project would take two to three years to permit and to build. The biogas project would divert food wastes from landfills, reducing the escape of methane from decomposing landfill waste into the atmosphere. The facility would produce three million cubic feet of gas a day. There is a strong market among owners of truck fleets and municipal buses for renewable methane to satisfy green-energy targets.[Image Credit: © RNG Energy Solutions LLC]
Andrew Maykuth, "Philly refiner plans $120M plant to convert food scraps to fuel for trucks and buses", Philadelphia Inquirer, August 28, 2018, © Philadelphia Media Network (Digital), LLC
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Starbucks, Nestlé Join Hands In Major Marketing Alliance

August 28, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé and Starbucks have closed a deal that grants Nestlé perpetual worldwide rights to market Starbucks consumer packaged goods and foodservice products outside of the company’s coffee shops. Dubbed a “strategic milestone” for Starbucks by CEO Kevin Johnson, the deal involves the marketing of Starbucks roast and ground coffees, whole beans, instant coffee, portioned coffees, and tea brands, including Teavana. Nestlé’s coffee portfolio in the North American premium roast, ground, and portioned coffee business will be strengthened by the deal, the company aid, and will also lead to global expansion in grocery and foodservice for Starbucks, through Nestlé. About 500 Starbucks employees in the U.S. and Europe will join Nestlé in Seattle and London.
"Nestlé and Starbucks close deal for the perpetual global license of Starbucks Consumer Packaged Goods and Foodservice products", Nestlé, August 28, 2018, © Nestlé
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O2 Natural Recovery Adds New Flavors To Oxygenated Water Line

August 24, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Columbus, Ohio-based beverage company O2 Natural Recovery has released two new flavors of its oxygenated natural recovery drink. O2 contains seven times the amount of oxygen in typical water, and is believed to give the liver added power to process harmful toxins – released from burning fat during exercise or ethanol from alcohol – 60 percent faster. They also energize without caffeine. The new lemon lime and blackberry currant flavors are caffeine-free and contain 20 calories per 16 oz can. The beverages are sold in the U.S. at retailers such as Kroger and Whole Foods Market at an SRP of $12.99 for a variety four-pack, or $41.99 for a case of 12 drinks.
Martin Whiteon, "O2 Natural Recovery unveils two new oxygenated recovery drinks", Foodbev Media, August 24, 2018, © Foodbev Media Ltd
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General Mills Drops “Natural” Claim For Granola Bars

August 24, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

General Mills will no longer claim on its Nature Valley granola bars that they are 100 percent natural, according to a news report. The company recently settled a 2016 lawsuit that said that oats used in the bars contained the herbicide glyphostate, the active ingredient in the Monsanto product Roundup that has been connected to cancer. Tests by an independent lab found .45 parts per million glyphosate in the Nature Valley products. The company reportedly settled instead of going through "the cost and distraction of litigation" and instead will focus on making sure products have 100 percent whole grain oats.[Image Credit: © General Mills]
Brett Molina, "General Mills drops '100% Natural' on Nature Valley granola bars after lawsuit", USA Today, August 24, 2018, © USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, LLC.
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Omnichannel Ad Campaign To Boost Natural And Organic Products

August 23, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
With sales of natural and organic products in the U.S. climbing 6.5 percent to $207 billion in 2017 – sales are expected to top $ 250 billion in 2020 – Mambo Sprouts and SKUlocal have partnered to produce and distribute an omnichannel education and savings program focused entirely on natural and organic products for health-conscious consumers. Direct Connect is targeting two million shoppers via direct mail, email and a network of social influencers. The direct mail portion will target homes within five miles of Whole Foods stores in California and in select areas in the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and Rocky Mountain regions. N.J.-based Mambo Sprouts is a pioneer in delivering natural and organic consumer and shopper solutions.[Image Credit: © MamboSprouts.com]
"SKU local and Mambo Sprouts to provide savings on natural, organic products for health-conscious consumers", ENP Newswire, August 23, 2018, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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The US And Other Countries Should Look To Norway For Possible Solutions To The Plastics Problem

August 22, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Norway is being seen as a standout for innovation aimed at reducing plastic use. It recycles all but a small percentage of plastic bottles, using a bottle deposit scheme nationally that enables consumers to exchange containers over the counter in a range of stores as well as reverse vending machines in public spaces. In return, consumers receive cash or store coupons. The recycled plastic is used in a variety of ways, including packaging, textiles and new bottles. With China, for example, backing away from accepting recyclable materials from other countries, the US and other economies are having to look at alternative approaches to dealing with the problem of plastic trash, and some of the reactions, such as Oregon recycling processors being allowed to send recyclable materials to landfills, are not long-term solutions. Dune Ives, executive director of the Lonely Whale Foundation, believes the US should look at the way Norway and other countries are tackling the issue, by improving the messaging and changing consumer behavior. Ives said that US consumers were surprised at how much wasn’t being recycled and were open to ways to improve the situation. Bottle deposit schemes might be one approach that US consumers might embrace, but brands must also explore other possible solutions, including next-generation plastics that can be composted, reused, eaten or more easily recycled. Norway, for example, chose two PET resins for manufacturers to work with and then established a value chain that focused on recycling them.[Image Credit: © Matthew Gollop]
Lucy Siegle, "Norway Has A Radical Approach To Plastic Pollution, And It’s Working", Huffington Post, August 22, 2018, © Oath Inc
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China Grants Organic Certification To Sneakz Powders, Milkshakes

August 21, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Florida-based Sneakz Organic has hurdled a major obstacle to doing business in China. The company, a maker of vegan protein powders and vegetable-based milkshakes, has obtained organic certification from the Chinese government, and will begin shipping its milkshakes there in September. The company will begin shipping its milkshakes, Meal2Go nutrition powder, Kids Vegan Daily Nutrition Smoothie, Meal Replacement Shake, Vitamins On The Go, and Vegan Protein to China in the fourth quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019. Sneakz products contain no GMOs antibiotics or synthetic hormones, and no artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, or gluten. Sneakz is also targeting Malaysia by end of 2018 and Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, India and Korea by Q2 2019.
Lester Wan , "First U.S. firm to obtain China organic label for veggie-infused milk drinks will ship in September", Food Navigator Asia, August 21, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Fizzique Unveils Sparkling Protein Waters

August 21, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Taking advantage of the rising popularity of protein foods and beverages, Carlsbad, Calif.-based Fizzique has launched a line of sparkling protein waters in strawberry watermelon and tropical limon flavors. The company has positioned the drinks as hydration solutions that also deliver 20 grams of whey protein isolate that is lactose free, caseinate free, soy free, kosher, and free of artificial preservatives and flavors. The company says the beverage is “keto perfect” and low-glycemic, perfect for athletes and others looking for more protein and fewer carbs in their diet. Although the company experimented with monkfruit, stevia, and other natural sweeteners, it ended up using sucralose simply because it tastes better.
Elizabeth Crawford , "Sparkling water Fizzique takes protein in a new, refreshing direction", Food Navigator USA, August 21, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Court Says Desire For Truthful Food Labeling Does Not Pre-empt Federal Law

August 21, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. District Court in New York on August 14 rejected spice maker McCormick & Co.’s argument that the plaintiff's claims in a lawsuit – that McCormick’s products were falsely labeled “all natural” – were expressly pre-empted by the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard. The court said the claim is that McCormick's "natural" labeling should be truthful and not deceptive. The plaintiff is not seeking to establish a GMO label requirement, so the claim is not pre-empted by the federal law. McCormick and other food and beverage companies (and potential plaintiffs), meanwhile, await FDA guidance on how the term "natural" can be used on food labels. [Image Credit: © monicore]
Kim Bousquet, "N.Y. Judge Serves Up Spicy Ruling: All Natural' Claims Not Pre-empted By Bioengineered Food Disclosure Law", Thompson Coburn LLP, August 21, 2018, © Thompson Coburn LLP
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Coca-Cola In Dispute With Brazil Over Loss Of Tax Breaks

August 21, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
To settle a truckers strike in May, the Brazilian government raised $3.4 billion by cutting soft drink manufacturers’ tax breaks. Needless to say, this did not sit well with the 59 members of the Brazilian Association of Soft Drink Manufacturers (Abir), which includes Coca-Cola, Inbev, and PepsiCo. Now Coke is threatening to stop production in the Manaus Free Trade Zone – and shift it to another country with better tax incentives – unless Pres. Michel Temer restores the breaks. A bill establishing the tax on industrialized products at 15 percent could be introduced before Temer's mandate is over, but the government would like to punt the problem to the next president. Moving out of Brazil would mean a loss of 15,000 jobs in the soft drinks bottling industry there.
Julio Wiziack & Maeli Prado, "Coca-Cola Threatens to Leave Brazil If Free Trade Zone's Subsidies Are Not Returned", Folha de S.Paulo, August 21, 2018, © Folha de S.Paulo
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Campbell Expands Vegetable Juice Line With Functional Hydration Product

August 21, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Campbell Soup Company announced it is adding another variant in its line of vegetable- and fruit-based beverages, to be introduced solely on Amazon and Walmart.com on August 23. V8 +Hydrate will reach store shelves in November at a suggested retail price of $4.99 for a six-pack of 8-ounce cans. According to one report, Campbell’s V8 +Hydrate is targeting both the sports drink market and flavored waters, while tapping into several trends, including the growing popularity of functional and plant-based products, which account for nearly 20 percent of total U.S. food and beverage dollars. The new drink gets natural electrolytes from sweet potato juice, and is blended with natural fruit flavors (strawberry cucumber, coconut watermelon, and orange grapefruit). It is vegan-friendly, non-GMO, gluten-free, has no artificial sweeteners or added sugar, and delivers 45 calories per 8-ounce can. 
Karlene Lukovitz, "V8 +Hydrate Is Campbell's First All-Online Launch", MediaPost, August 21, 2018, © MediaPost Communications
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Socially Conscious Bakery Now Sells Plant-Based Cakes, Cupcakes In Retail Stores

August 21, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Twenty-five-year-old Rubicon Bakers, whose mission is to employ formerly incarcerated people who need a second chance, has launched four clean label and vegan cupcake and cake SKUs. More than 2,500 in-store bakeries are now scratch-baking plant-based chocolate blackout cake and cupcakes, and vegan vanilla cake and cupcakes, each with 100 percent vegan cream filling and frosting. With Rubicon’s new vegan products, in-store bakeries can take advantage of a major trend: sales of plant-based food in the U.S. rose 8.1 percent in 2017, topping $3.1 billion. The new 4-inch vegan vanilla cake with vanilla filling and frosting, and 4-inch vegan chocolate blackout cake with chocolate filling and frosting, are available as double-layer 11-oz desserts with an SRP of $6.99 each. [Image Credit: © Rubicon Bakers]
Elizabeth Crawford , "Rubicon Bakers' Newest Cakes and Cupcakes Just Happen to be Vegan", PR Newswire, August 21, 2018, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Study Sheds Light On Why Younger Adults Tend To Be Chronic Food Wasters

August 20, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Research from the University of Illinois shows that young adults have a higher tendency to waste food compared to other age groups because food management behaviors that might prevent food waste weren’t learned yet or weren’t necessary. In focus groups with college students aged 18–24, the researchers also found that there were differences in perceptions and behaviors among those who lived on- or off-campus; there was a sense of apathy about food waste; there was a lack of awareness of how much food is wasted, for example, in a university dining hall; constraints like transportation and environment – maybe no access to a refrigerator to store leftovers – contributed; many didn’t see their personal food-wasting as part of the overall problem; and many did not think changing their behavior would help. [Image Credit: © USDA]
"Young adults may lack management behaviors to prevent food waste", Institute of Food Technologists, August 20, 2018, © Institute of Food Technologists
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Muffins Sneak Up The Rankings Of Popular Breakfast Options - Report

August 20, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Market researcher Packaged Facts issued a report on breakfast foods in the U.S., noting that cereal remains the most popular– an 87 percent market penetration ($11 billion in sales) in 2017 – followed by eggs, drinkable yogurt and, “somewhat surprisingly,” muffins. Concerns about sugar have dampened the cereals category – sales slid 1.9 percent from 2016 – but the search for protein and convenience foods has buoyed the other categories. Muffins are the third fastest growing category projected through 2022, despite consumer trends toward more healthful breakfast options. Sales of muffins grew 9.6 percent from 2016 to 2017 to reach $1.17 billion and are projected to have a seven percent CAGR through 2022. Sugary packaged muffins are most popular among black households and families with children. [Image Credit: © SKopp | Wikimedia Commons]
Elizabeth Crawford, "Drinkable yogurt, eggs & muffins are the fastest growing breakfast foods, Packaged Facts finds", FoodNavigator-USA.com, August 20, 2018, © William Reed Business Media
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Successful N.Y. Artisan Bakery Begins Expansion

August 19, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
New York-based HeartStone Artisan Bakery takes its time creating its artisan breads. There’s the slow rising loaves – all prepared with locally grown and milled heirloom grains such as spelt, rye, emmer, einkorn, and red fife sourced from farmers in Central New York and the Finger Lakes. All loaves are made with a naturally fermented starter. The dough for the ciabatta, sourdough, garlic lovers, and light deli rye breads then spend at least 24 hours in a walk-in cooler. The resulting flavors and textures are catching on big in the Syracuse area. HeartStone breads are now available at nine regional markets and stores, and online.  The success has convinced the couple to spend $300,000 to expand its Lebanon site, adding more space and a professional artisan oven from Italy. When completed, the bakery will produce about 120 loaves at a time, rather than the 35 baked now. [Image Credit: © HeartStone Artisan Bakery]
Teri Weaver, "HeartStone Artisan Bakery: How local-grain breads grew on a Madison County farm", Syracuse.com, August 19, 2018, © Advance Local Media LLC
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Consultancy Says Businesses, Governments Should Partner On Food Waste

August 19, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
According to a report by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), aggressive action by companies, agricultural players, governments, and others can significantly reduce a global food waste problem expected to hit 2.1 billion tons – worth $1.5 trillion – through 2030. Five key drivers of the problem include: lack of awareness by consumers and others; inadequate supply chain infrastructure; supply chain inefficiency; a lack of collaboration within the food value chain; and poorly designed tax and regulatory policies. The report suggests 13 concrete initiatives companies can take to help combat the problem, addressing a major societal challenge while delivering business value. [Image Credit: © Sporkist | Wikimedia Commons]
"A Coordinated Global Offensive Can Reduce Annual Food Loss and Waste by $700 Billion", The Boston Consulting Group, August 19, 2018, © The Boston Consulting Group
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BiPro Sports Drinks Adds Line Of Protein Waters

August 17, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Canadian dairy cooperative Agropur’s biPro brand of sports nutrition drinks has added a protein water line for the Canadian market. A 500ml bottle in the biPro Protein Water range contains 90 calories and 20 g of protein, and is available in three flavors: lemon, berry and orange + caffeine. The sugar-free beverages are flavored with stevia and other natural flavors and are lactose-free and gluten-free. The protein is sourced from whey protein isolate. Though individual 500 ml bottles (C$3.49) are available now, cases of 12 will be available soon.
Martin White, "Agropur’s biPro brand releases new protein water range", FoodBev , August 17, 2018, © FoodBev Media Ltd
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Perrier Launches Mineral Water & Juice Drinks In L.A.

August 17, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Stamford, Conn.-based Nestlé Waters announced that carbonated mineral water brand Perrier has introduced a line of Perrier & Juice drinks in the Los Angeles area. The new products feature Perrier mineral water mixed with fruit juices and a “touch of sugar.” Three flavor combinations – strawberry & kiwi, peach & cherry, and pineapple & mango – are available, all enhanced with apple and lemon juices. The beverages are being sold in 8.45 fl oz slim can four-packs and 11.15 fl oz sleek cans at select retailers in the Los Angeles area. On August 18, the company sponsored what it called a Perrier Gym & Juice pop-up at The Americana, a shopping, dining, entertainment and residential complex in Glendale, California, featuring five “hyped-up Y7 Vinyasa sessions,” a Perrier & Juice drink bar, live DJs, swag giveaways, and “photo experiences.”
"Perrier Brings Bold and Tasty Refreshment to Los Angeles with the Launch of Perrier & Juice Drink", PR Newswire, August 17, 2018, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Coca-Cola FEMSA Backs Out Of Bottling Operations In The Philippines

August 17, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Coca-Cola’s Bottling Investments Group (BIG) announced it is taking control of bottling operations in the Philippines after Mexico’s Coca-Cola FEMSA said it would divest its 51 percent stake in Coca-Cola Philippines after a five-year stint. FEMSA has been dealing with labor problems in the Philippines since late 2016, and there are unconfirmed reports that the company has had a tough time complying with a new tax reform law that increased levies on sugar-sweetened beverages. BIG works to ensure that global bottling operations receive the appropriate investments and expertise to succeed. According to Coca-Cola, the takeover would ensure a smooth transition of the Philippine bottling operations for customers, business partners, consumers and workers.

Othel V. Campos, "Coca-Cola FEMSA sells 51 percent stake to U.S. bottler", Manila Standard , August 17, 2018, © manilastandard.net
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Full Harvest Hopes To Keep Surplus Produce Out Of Landfills

August 17, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Online surplus produce marketplace Full Harvest has snagged $8.5 million in a Series financing round led by Spark Capital. The company aggregates excess produce supply at scale and provides a buy/sell experience to growers and food buyers via software. Full Harvest will use the investment to further scale its technology platform, expand its U.S. footprint and triple the size of its technology, sales and operations teams. The company says it has already helped large farms sell and deliver nearly seven million pounds of produce – keeping it from landfills – driving revenue for farmers and savings for food and beverage companies. Other benefits include the conservation of drinking water and the prevention of CO2 emissions. [Image Credit: © Full Harvest]
"Full Harvest Closes on Investment to Tackle Food Waste Problem", waste360.com, August 17, 2018, © Informa USA, Inc.
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Denmark Continues Leadership In Food Waste Efforts

August 16, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
A Danish collaboration of players in the food industry has committed to halve food waste in the country by 2030. The collaboration comprises 17 Danish food makers, retailers, and NGOs hopes to improve climate action through lower CO2 emissions, to ensure better use of the Earth's resources, and contribute positively to the Danish economy. Among participants in the partnership are Denmark’s largest food retailer, Salling Group, along with food processors Nestlé, Unilever, Arla, and HK Scan. Backing the collaboration are anti-food waste group Stop Wasting Food, and Danish food redistribution organization The Food Bank. Nearly 2,000 tons of food waste are produced every day – 700,000 tons annually – in the Danish food chain. [Image Credit: © Stop Wasting Food]
Katy Askew , "It’s going to require openness and courage : Nestlé, Unilever, Arla, Salling join Danish push to halve food waste", FoodNavigator.com, August 16, 2018, © William Reed Business Media
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Natalie’s Now Offers Functional Sports-Recovery Drink With Capsaicin

August 16, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Florida-based juice company Natalie’s Orchid Island has debuted a functional sports-recovery formulation containing juice from cucumbers, jalapeno peppers, apples, and lemons. Cucumber Jalapeno Juice is low in sugar, and contains 60 calories per eight-ounce serving and no added sugars or artificial ingredients. According to the company, the beverage contains capsaicin from jalapenos, associated with weight loss, boosted immunity, and pain relief. Cucumbers are said to be a detoxifying agent. In addition to its sports-recovery benefits, the drink is also “a great tasting, low calorie, post-workout cocktail mixer.” 
"Natalie’s Juice Company Releases Cucumber Jalapeno Juice", Bevnet.com, August 16, 2018, © Bevnet.com
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New McDonald’s Breakfast Sandwich Is Anything But Heart Healthy

August 15, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
For the first time in five years, McDonald’s is testing a new breakfast sandwich in 200 locations in four cities in Minnesota – and it seems to be an artery-clogging doozy. Two years in the works, the new McGriddles French Toast sandwich was developed after consumer research found that fast-foodies are looking for a more filling breakfast option. The sandwich is certainly that, made from egg-coated brioche bread, American cheese, egg, pork sausage, and applewood-smoked bacon. The $4.39 concoction has more than 37 grams of fat, 650 calories, and 85 milligrams of cholesterol: 129 percent of the daily recommended intake. Said a McDonald’s spokesman: “'People were looking for regular, everyday flavor profiles.” The company will roll out the sandwich nationally in 2019 after it irons out some kinks in its supply chain. [Image Credit: © McDonald’s]
Matthew Wright , "A fatty way to start your day! McDonald's rolls out new 650 calorie French Toast breakfast sandwich in 200 Minnesota restaurants which has a cholesterol content of 129 percent of your recommended daily intake", Dailymail.com, August 15, 2018, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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Regulators, Organic Industry, Work To Shore Up Labeling Standards

August 15, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Though organic food represents only five percent of total U.S. food sales, the $45 billion industry is large enough to be experiencing growing pains, including fraudulent and slack labelling practices. The problem is causing consumers to wonder whether the USDA organic label is worth paying premium prices. The USDA says it’s working to fix label issues involving imported foods, as well as questionable practices within the egg and dairy industries. The agency hopes to step up inspections, coordinate with other agencies, and implement technologies to better track products across global supply chains. The Organic Trade Association, meanwhile, says it's testing ways to detect fraud and, once fine-tuned, will share the methods with its membership. [Image Credit: © USDA | Wikimedia Commons]
"Is the "organic" seal worth it, given disputes on standards?", Associated Press, August 15, 2018, © Associated Press
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Big Investors Back Food Waste App Start-Up

August 15, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Two-year-old Swedish tech start-up Karma has caught the interest of serious investors intrigued by an app that links restaurants and supermarkets with consumers looking for a food bargain. The company just completed a $12 million Series A funding round whose participants include Bessemer Venture Partners of the U.S., Kinnevik, and Electrolux, the global appliance manufacturer. So far Karma has convinced 1,500 food sellers, including hotels, cafes and bakeries, to distribute surplus food to 350,000 Karma users. The win-win proposition gives customers half-price food while providing food sellers income on food that otherwise would end up in the dumpster. [Image Credit: © Karma]
Amelia Heathman, "Expansion of Karma app shows tech industry is taking food waste problem seriously", Evening Standard, August 15, 2018, © Evening Standard Ltd
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Coca-Cola To Acquire Minority Stake In BodyArmor Sports Drink Company

August 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola is buying a minority stake in the sports drink start-up BodyArmor, and may soon begin distributing its products. The move is seen as another attempt to break Gatorade’s hold on the sports beverage market. Queens, N.Y.-based BodyArmor is backed by pro athletes Kobe Bryant, Mike Trout, and James Harden. Dr Pepper Snapple Group has a 12.5 percent stake as well as a distribution deal. Coca-Cola may also strike a distribution deal with BodyArmor, a move that would allow Coke to assume full ownership. Like hydration rivals Gatorade (PepsiCo) and Powerade (Coca-Cola), BodyArmor is rich in electrolytes, but uses coconut water, has less sodium and more potassium. It is marketed as a natural beverage that contains no artificial colors or high-fructose corn syrup. BodyArmor is expected to have about $400 million in revenue this year and could be valued at $2 billion.
Jennifer Maloney and Cara Lombardo, "Coca-Cola Invests in BodyArmor as It Chases Gatorade", Wall Street Journal, August 14, 2018, © Dow Jones & Co., Inc
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Water Is The Key Component Of A Healthy Life, Survey Finds

August 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Water is the most important part of a healthy life, according to a study commissioned by Nestlé Waters NA. Twenty-seven percent of consumers and 32 percent of experts rank water higher than sleep and healthy foods. The study surveyed a total of 6,142 American consumers and experts on water-related topics. Water conservation efforts were found to be a key priority for Americans, with more than half of consumers (55 percent) and experts (60 percent) saying they think about their water usage on a daily basis. But an average of 42 percent admit that they do not conserve water, but are willing to do so. [Image Credit: © Nestlé Waters North America Inc.]
"Americans Say That Clean Water Is the Most Important Factor to Living a Healthy Lifestyle, According to Second Annual Study from Nestlé Waters North America", PR Newswire, August 14, 2018, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Diageo To Launch Edible Straws

August 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST


Moving on from recyclable and compostable drinking straws, Diageo is attaching edible straws to its ready-to-drink cans to be sold through UK online drinks vendor 31Dover later this year. There are four flavors, to complement the drink: lemon, lime, strawberry, and chocolate. This follows a similar announcement by Pernod Ricard, which is working Loliware, an edible plastics maker. Other drinks and hospitality companies, including the hotel chains Marriott and Hilton, have pledged to stop using single-use plastic straws.[Image Credit: © Diageo]

Edith Hancock , "Diageo has launched lime, strawberry, and chocolate-flavoured edible straws", The Drinks Business, August 14, 2018, © Union Press Ltd
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Ugandan Student’s Invention Speeds Drying Of Fruits, Vegetables

August 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
A 23-year-old Ugandan engineering student has invented a produce drying device that he believes could help solve a serious food waste problem in Africa and beyond. Dubbed the Sparky Dryer, the dehydrator runs on garden waste – not electricity, which is scarce. It dries fruit and vegetables quickly so they last months instead of days, cutting down on food waste. Lawrence Okettayot’s device – starting price $80 – looks like a small refrigerator and can dehydrate 10 kg of mangoes in two hours. A small chamber contains a gas fire that heats a separate drying chamber above where the sliced produce is stacked in shelves. A catalytic converter prevents harmful gases from being released during the drying process. The device is a better option than traditional methods because it doesn’t rely on scarce electricity and can operate during the rainy season. [Image Credit: © www.Nhillfilms.com]
Alfonso Daniels , "The student trying to solve the food waste crisis", BBC, August 14, 2018, © BBC
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Nestlé Waters Adds Functional Variants To Levissima Range In Italy

August 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé Waters is extending its Levissima mineral water brand in the Italian market with the launch of a functional water range in three flavors and variants offering added potassium (muscle function), magnesium (tiredness and concentration), or zinc (stress). Levissima + is marketed as a hydration solution that also can “perform additional functions.” The company’s Italian unit said early feedback from the market has been "strong," with other varieties scheduled to launch in 2019.
Lucy Britner, "Nestle Waters unveils functional water Levissima + in Italy", just-drinks.com, August 14, 2018, © just-drinks.com
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Fermented Foods Are The New Superfood, Dieticians Say

August 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
A survey of more than 2,000 registered dieticians found that the top superfood of 2018 is fermented foods, a category that includes everything from yogurt to the pickled cabbage known as kimchee. The popularity of fermented eats stems from the fact that they contain healthy bacteria that is beneficial for the human gut. Basically an ancient, pre-refrigeration method of food preservation, fermentation is used to make kefir, a fermented milk drink; kombucha, a fermented black or green tea; miso, a paste made from fermented soybeans; and tempeh, a fermented soy food frequently used as a meat replacement. [Image Credit: © KVDP | Wikimedia Commons]
Jack Moore , "Go with your gut: Why fermented foods could be next superfood trend", WTOP-FM, August 14, 2018, © WTOP
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To Reduce Product Line Complexity, Coke Is Targeting “Zombies” For Liquidation

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

August 13, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Packaged Facts research finds that drinkable yogurts and smoothies are gaining popularity as breakfast options – up 20 percent over last year – while longtime favorite Greek yogurt slides. According to the report, suppliers are looking to attract younger adults to breakfast: most breakfast consumers today are baby boomers or families with children. Innovations in drinkable yogurt have included Chobani’s Apple Cucumber flavor, Dahlicious Organic’s single-serve lassi, and products from General Mills’ Yoplait and Pillars. The report predicts that the category will increase another 13 percent within the next four years.
Brett Dworski, "Drinkable Yogurt Is Becoming a Breakfast Staple", CSP Industry News, August 13, 2018, © Winsight, LLC.
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IBM’s Blockchain Program Seeks To Eliminate Food Fraud By Partnering With Producers And Retailers

August 11, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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