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Clean Label Muffin Start-up Secures $2.5M In Seed Funding

June 7, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

N.Y.-based clean label muffin bakery start-up Soozy’s has snagged $2.5 million in seed funding from two VC companies. The company's products are certified gluten-free, certified paleo, Non-GMO Project Verified, and contain no gums, fillers, refined sugars, grains, dairy, peanuts, soy or additives. Soozy's products can be purchased online or in 500 retail outlets in Texas, the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, including H-E-B and Wegmans. Investors include BIGR Ventures, a growth equity fund, and AccelFoods, an investment fund that focuses on innovative, high-growth packaged food and beverage companies. [Image Credit: © Soozy’s]

"Soozy's Closes on $2.5 Million in Seed Capital From BIGR Ventures and AccelFoods", PRNewswire, June 07, 2018, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Elimination of “Country-Of-Origin” Labeling On Meat Sold Here Upheld By Court

June 7, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Although federal judge Rosanna Malouf Peterson agreed with domestic livestock producers that the lack of country-of-origin labelling on beef and pork products sold here was harmful to business, she ultimately sided with the USDA and dismissed their lawsuit asking that such labeling be required. Meat producers filed suit in Spokane in June 2017 after U.S. legislation called for the USDA to remove the country-of-origin labeling requirements following sanctions imposed by the World Trade Organization. Peterson said that unfortunately the legal clock had run out for any challenge to the underlying 1989 federal law, and that the U.S. Congress had clearly intended to have the labeling end. The livestock producers vowed to continue the fight.[Image Credit: © Specialty Food Association] 

Thomas Clouse, "Federal judge in Spokane dismisses suit seeking to reinstate country-of-origin labels on imported meat", The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.), June 07, 2018, © The Spokesman-Review
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Bipartisan Bill Seeks To Protect U.S. Consumers From Inaccurate Food Labels

June 7, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Eight Republican and Democratic congressmen joined to introduce a bill that would provide American consumers with “clear, accurate, meaningful” nutrition information on food products and prevent inaccurate and misleading labels that drive up prices. According to lead sponsor of the bill Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), the Accurate Labels Act (H.R. 6022) would establish science-based criteria for labeling requirements and ensure that “legitimate risks” are taken seriously. The bill would allow state-mandated product information to be provided through smartphone-enabled "smart labels" and on websites and ensure that covered product information is risk-based. It has the support of the American Chemistry Council, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, and others.[Image Credit: ©  USFDA]

"Congressmen Kinzinger And Schrader Join Senator Moran To Introduce Accurate Labels Act", News release, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), June 07, 2018, © US Federal Government
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USDA Proposal On Disclosure Of Bioengineered Food Ingredients Release

June 6, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

The USDA’s long-awaited proposed rule providing a national standard for disclosure of bioengineered food ingredients was released in May with a public comment period extending to July 3. The proposed rule implements the 2016 National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard Act, which pre-empts state GMO labeling schemes, including Vermont’s. The final rule is supposed to take effect on July 29. However, Chicago law firm Seyfarth Shaw LLP says it is likely that deadline will be missed because there are several unanswered questions: for example, how will the presence of "bioengineered" ingredients be disclosed?  Which foods and food manufacturers will be exempted from the labeling requirements. These open questions mean food manufacturers, retailers, consumers, industry groups, and other interested parties can shape the final rule, the firm notes. ]

Jay Connolly, Edward F. Maluf, Joseph J. Orzano and Owen Wolfe, "United States: The USDA's Proposed National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard", Mondaq Business Briefing, June 06, 2018, © Mondaq
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Advanced Technology Is Tackling Waste All Along The Food Chain

June 6, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Technology is playing an increasingly important role in dealing with America’s $218 billion annual food waste problem. It is being gradually implemented upstream to track food as it moves from farm to processor to distributor to store. At the other end of the line, where disposal happens, innovations such as digesters (Waste 2-0 left) provide alternatives to landfill and “waste-to-energy.” A key to wasting less food is understanding how much food is being wasted and what percentage of the available food that represents. Farmers, processors, restaurants, bakeries and others can use this information to better understand the financial costs and implement solutions. Older technology also plays a role: refrigeration, freezing, and drying all extend the shelf life of food to prevent waste. [Image Credit: © Mechline]

Megan Greenwalt, "Industry Experts Weigh In on How Technology Can Help Reduce Food Waste", waste360.com, June 06, 2018, © Informa USA, Inc.
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Indian PM Announces Single-Use Plastic Ban By 2022

June 6, 2018: 12:00 AM EST


India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, announced that the country plans to scrap single-use plastic by 2022, as part of World Environment Day, which India is hosting this year. Modi also announced a scheme to address marine plastic, and agreed to join Clean Seas, a UN campaign.[Image Credit: © United Nations Environment Programme]

"India to eliminate the use of single-use plastics by 2022", FoodBev , June 06, 2018, © FoodBev Media Ltd.
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New FDA Menu Labeling Regulations Now In Effect

June 6, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

With no plans by the Trump administration to interfere, FDA menu nutrition labeling took effect last month over the objections of major grocers and retailers. Meanwhile, the House passed legislation (H.R. 772) that would ease compliance, but the Senate hasn’t yet acted on the bill. The new FDA rules apply to all restaurants and similar retail food establishments nationwide with 20 or more locations; do business under the same name; and offer substantially the same menu items. Among other requirements, all menu boards must conspicuously mention that nutrition information is based on a 2,000 calories-a-day diet, and that more written information is available. Menu boards are defined as all primary writings – in-store, Internet, and take-home – from which the consumer orders food. Calorie information must be conspicuously displayed next to the name or price of "standard menu items."[Image Credit: © CSPI]

Robert B. Milligan and Daniel Joshua Salinas , "United States: FDA Menu Labeling Rules Unfreeze", Mondaq Business Briefing, June 06, 2018, © Mondaq
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FoodLogiQ Plans Blockchain Pilot To Increase Transparency In Food Supply Chains

June 5, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Working with a series of partners, FoodLogiQ plans to explore ways blockchain can be used to boost supply chain transparency and food traceability. FoodLogiQ CTO, Charles Irizarry, says that blockchain in the food supply chain is still in its “infantile stage” and argues that companies need to better understand the business issues they face before implementing solutions. FoodLogiQ, which recently raised $19.5 million in funding, plans to test its software-as-a-service solution with a range of partners, including AgBiome Innovations, Subway/Independent Purchasing Cooperative, Testo, and Tyson Foods. Its pilot is expected to start in Q3 2018 and the company is seeking additional partners to work with.[Image Credit: © oodLogiQ: Food Safety, Traceability and Sustainability]
Katy Jones , "FoodLogiQ Announces Blockchain Pilot Alongside Industry Leaders", FoodLogiQ , June 05, 2018, © FoodLogiQ: Food safety, traceability and sustainability
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Clean Label Seaweed-Based Pig Feed Debuts In America

June 5, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Ireland’s Ocean Harvest Technology Ltd. announced it is introducing in the U.S. pork products from swine raised on its Oceanfeed Swine seaweed-based feed ingredient formulated for pork. Farmers supplying poultry and livestock producer Heritage Foods are feeding their pigs with the feed made from a proprietary blend of red, brown, and green seaweed species. Brooklyn-based Heritage Farms is committed to providing heritage breed poultry and livestock raised on pasture without antibiotic growth promoters to American consumers. Customers who have tried Oceanfeed, a natural prebiotic, see enhanced animal health, more efficient nutrient uptake, and reduced mortality rates.[Image Credit: © Ocean Harvest]

"Ocean Harvest Technology Introduces North American Heritage Breed Pork Products Enhanced With Seaweed-Based Feed Ingredients", Business Wire, June 05, 2018, © Business Wire, Inc
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Sales Of Soymilk, Rice Milk, Are Weakest Among The Non-Dairy Offerings

June 4, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

New SPINS data show that sales of refrigerated and shelf-stable soymilk slid 10.5 percent and 9.6 percent respectively in the year that ended April 22, while sales of refrigerated almondmilk rose 9.8 percent and shelf-stable almond milk rose four percent. Sales of refrigerated coconut milk were up 5.2 percent, shelf-stable varieties were up 3.3 percent, refrigerated rice milk slid 5.6 percent, and shelf-stable dropped 3.7 percent. However, the “other” category of plant-based milks (i.e., cashew, walnut, pea, hemp, quinoa, oat, and flaxmilk) and “blends” experienced the most robust growth. A Mintel analyst said innovation in the non-dairy milk category would drive it forward this year “as both mainstream bases like almond and alternative plant bases offer added functional benefits and unique flavors.”

Elaine Watson , "SPINS data: Who are the winners and losers in the plant-based milk category? ", Food Navigator USA, June 04, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Bakery Debuts Line Of Clean Label Minicakes

June 4, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Family-owned California bakery Sugar Bowl Bakery has launched a line of clean label miniature “Button Cakes” in four flavors. The minicakes are made with butter and eggs, contain real fruit and vanilla bean seeds, but no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. The Button Cakes – available in tropical mango, wild blueberry, lemon zest and madagascar vanilla flavors – will be sold in eight- and 16-count packages in retail stores throughout the U.S.  They were introduced at the recent International Dairy Deli Bakery Association Show in New Orleans, La. [Image Credit: © Sugar Bowl Bakery]

"Sugar Bowl Bakery Expands Product Line with Launch of its New Button Cakes At The International Dairy Deli Bakery Association Show", Globe Newswire, June 04, 2018, © GlobeNewswire, Inc
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N.Z. Supermarket Tests Bring-Your-Own Meat Containers

June 1, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

A New Zealand supermarket is testing an unusual solution to waste management: customers may bring their own reusable containers to the store to package fresh meat purchases. For the time being, the test is limited to the butcher and seafood counters, but if successful could be extended to bakery, deli and bulk foods. Other stores, however, are casting a skeptical eye at the initiative, mainly because of concerns about food safety, hygiene and correct measurement of weight. The store says there are restrictions: containers must have lids and be suitable for weighing and handling; price labels must be placed on containers for security; and customers must provide clean containers and accept the safety risk. ]

Michelle Cheng , "Supermarket encourages customers to bring their OWN containers for meat and seafood - but is it safe?", Daily Mail Australia, June 01, 2018, © Associated Newspaper Ltd.
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Healthful Baked Snacks For Kids Who Are “Picky Eaters”

June 1, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Freedom Foods North America, a unit of the Australian company, is introducing a line of healthful, affordable snacks for kids who are “picky eaters.” Messy Monkeys are baked whole grain non-GMO sorghum and quinoa bites available in kid-friendly flavors, including pizza, cheese, and apple. Each serving contains 14 percent protein, seven percent fiber, one gram of sugar, and less than 100 mg of salt. Messy Monkeys are sold in a 10-pack for $5.99 and are available for now only through Amazon. The company said distribution partnerships with multiple natural foods retailers will be announced soon, and the snacks will be selling nationwide by the end of the year.[Image Credit: © Freedom Foods North America]

Mary Ellen Shoup, "Messy Monkeys balances nutrition with affordability for US launch", FoodNavigator-USA.com, June 01, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Smaller Organic Farmers Are Forgoing Decertification, Study Finds

May 31, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

A published Purdue University study reflecting data from more than 1,500 farmer surveys found that of the 234 farms that were or had been organic at some point, 36 percent had dropped certification, and a large majority of these were smaller farms. Obtaining USDA organic certification can be an expensive, year-long process that smaller farmers find prohibitive. Large- and medium-sized farms were less likely to decertify. They apparently were able to produce enough volume of fruits and vegetables to access high-value, high-volume markets. Fewer of the smaller organic farms were located near markets that would purchase large quantities of organic produce. Farmers who decide to opt out are likely selling their organic produce directly to consumers through farmer's markets or community-supported agriculture programs. Seventy-two percent continued to use organic practices even after decertification. [Image Credit: © USDA]

"Farmers Drop Organic Labels Over Certification Process, Access to Markets, Study Says", Purdue University, May 31, 2018, © Purdue University
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Advanced Store-Shelf Audit Technology Gives Coca-Cola Speedy Competitive Intelligence

May 31, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Coca-Cola is one of the biggest CPG companies that is replacing “old school and time-consuming” manual store shelf audits with advanced digital tools. The company is using technology from start-up Trax that merges image recognition, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to analyze smartphone images of store shelves to provide timely insight into fast-changing consumer buying patterns. According to Coca-Cola, it used to take a month to collect shelf data manually, and another three months to organize it – way too much time to react to competitive challenges. Using the new technology cuts time and costs, allowing store shelf audits to be conducted every two months instead of twice a year. The company is testing the technology in three of its nearly 70 North American bottlers/distributors that “serve as its regular eye on the ground.”

Andria Cheng, "CPG Brands Are Leveling The Playing Field By Bringing This Digital Tool Into Brick-And-Mortar Retail", Forbes.com, May 31, 2018, © Forbes Media LLC
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Nestlé Waters Acquires Majority Stake In Welsh Bottled Water Company

May 31, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

The founders of Wales-based bottled water company Princes Gate Spring Water Ltd. believe they have found “the best partner in Nestlé Waters” to grow their 27-year-old business. Nestlé Waters has acquired a majority stake in the company, hoping to further exploit growing demand for bottled water in the U.K. Founded by two brothers on land farmed by generations of their family, the company sells Princes Gate spring water in the retail and out of home (OOH) channels and under other brand names.  It is one of the few U.K. bottling facilities that are 100 percent self-sufficient, thanks to renewable energy from an onsite wind turbine.

"Nestlé Waters acquires majority share in Princes Gate Spring Water Ltd", Nestle, May 31, 2018, © Nestle
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Carrefour Announces 100% Recyclable, Reusable Or Compostable Packaging Goal

May 31, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

French supermarket chain Carrefour is aiming for own-brand packaging that is 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, and to stop using non-recyclable packaging for organic fruit and vegetables by the end of this year, as well as ending the sale of plastic straws. By 2022, it intends to use 50% recycled plastics in bottles for its juice, soda and water products. The announcement coincides with a European Commission announcement to ban single-use plastics like straws and drink stirrers in the European Union. Plans also cover plastic cutlery and cotton buds, and by 2025 EU states will be expected to collect 90% of single-use plastic beverage bottles.[Image Credit: © annca]

"Carrefour own-brand products to have fully recyclable packaging", FoodBev , May 31, 2018, © FoodBev Media Ltd.
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With New Seal Technology Consumers Can Get A Whiff Of A Product Without Tampering

May 31, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

A unit of Wayne, Pa.-based Tekni-Plex, Inc. was granted a patent for its Sniff Seal technology, the first container liner to enable scent permeation through an induction seal closure liner that doesn’t affect the seal or compromise the contents. The company says Sniff Seal technology allows the consumer to experience a scent in the retail aisle without compromising the seal or the product contents.  A wide variety of product categories, including food, beverage, personal care, cosmetics can benefit from the technology. Often consumers peel back seals or remove fitments to experience the scent before buying​. The product is then no longer saleable, leading to retailer loss. The Sniff Seal liner eliminates this problem because it provides an olfactory experience without removing the seal. Tamper evidence remains in place and the product integrity is maintained.[Image Credit: © Tekni-Plex]

Jenny Eagle, "Sniff Seal lets consumers know what a product smells like before buying it", DairyReporter.com, May 31, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Midwest Supermarket Chain Hy-Vee Has Success Selling Sourdough Breads

May 30, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

A Hy-Vee supermarket in Urbandale, Ill., sells about 400 half- and full-loaves of sourdough bread every week in four varieties: regular, roasted garlic, rye, and jalapeño-cheddar. The volume sold makes sourdough one of the most popular breads at the store and inspired the store manager to sell sourdough rolls. The Hy-Vee experience is an example of a trend among supermarkets to offer more natural, preservative-free breads. Authentic sourdough is made with only flour, water, and salt, and no other additives or preservatives. According to Mintel, sourdough bread is also a facet of another growing food trend: fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha.  About 50 Hy-Vee stores in the Midwest were taught how to make sourdough starter, and now bake the loaves on a regular basis.[Image Credit: © Hy-Vee]

Carol Angrisani, "Sweet sales for sourdough", Supermarket News, May 30, 2018, © Informa USA, Inc
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Traditional Dairy Products Have An Image Problem, But It’s Solvable

May 29, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Alternatives to cow’s milk made from soy, rice, oats, and other plant-based ingredients, are catching on big with consumers, mainly because of smart marketing by producers. The result is that sales of liquid milk slid 3.5 percent in the five years ended in 2017, while dairy alternatives – still a tiny slice of the $600 billion dairy market – grew four percent. The shift is due to a perception by consumers that dairy alternatives are more healthful, and more eco-friendly, than cow’s milk, though experts say there is no evidence of that. But some traditional milk brands have bucked the trend. Coca-Cola’s premium Fairlife milk has grown by touting its ingredients: more protein and calcium, less sugar and lactose. Other dairy companies could follow suit by emphasizing innovation, “premiumization,” new packaging with, label transparency about sourcing, and clear statements about humane treatment of dairy animals.

Lauren Hirsch , "Milk may need a makeover: Alternatives to dairy are increasingly winning over consumers", CNBC, May 29, 2018, © CNBC LLC
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JAB Holdings Acquires U.K.-based Sandwich Shop Chain

May 29, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

German family-owned investment group JAB Holdings will acquire the 530-store U.K.-based sandwich shop chain Pret A Manger from private equity group Bridgepoint for $2 billion including debt. Bridgepoint paid $486 million for the chain ten years ago. The purchase price is about 15 times earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, the people said. Annual sales are about $1.2 billion. 

Javier Espinoza and Arash Massoudi in London, "Deal-hungry JAB to buy Pret A Manger for £1.5bn", The Financial Times, May 29, 2018, © The Financial Times Limited
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Grains Contribute To Healthy Aging, Study Finds

May 29, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

A study published in a scientific journal confirms that bread and cereals contain many nutrients that contribute to successful aging. Researchers analyzed data from surveys of more than 4,500 adults over 50 conducted between 2011 and 2014 regarding their consumption of all grains, especially focusing on vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. They found that grain foods contribute less than five percent of total saturated fat and less than 15 percent all calories yet comprise 14 percent of all energy in the total diet. Grains are among the most nutrient-rich foods in terms of dietary fiber, iron, folate, magnesium, calcium, thiamin and niacin. The study was published in the journal Nutrients.[Image Credit: © U.S. National Institutes of Health]

Gill Hyslop , "Want to stay young? Eat bread, says study", BakeryAndSnacks.com, May 29, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Food Industry Paper Reports On Progress In Fight Against Waste Since 2016

May 26, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

After the British food waste experts at Wrap reported on the enormity of the problem, trade newspaper The Grocer in 2016 launched an editorial campaign to double the amount of edible food being redistributed, to lobby for governmental fiscal incentives to curb waste, and to encourage greater engagement and cooperation in the food industry. Wrap had reported that 1.9 million tons of edible food was being wasted annually, some by grocery stores, but the most by producers who left ugly but otherwise perfectly good produce in the fields to rot. A lot of edible food – 525 million meals – could have been donated to serve the hungry but wasn’t. Since the launch of the campaign, there have been some major changes in the U.K. food and beverage distribution system, particularly in the areas of redistribution; commitment by retailers, suppliers, trade bodies, and campaigners to waste reduction; and increased transparency about waste policies and practices in the food industry.

Megan Tatum, "Reversing the rot on food waste: two years of our campaign", The Grocer, May 26, 2018, © William Reed Business Media
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Chilean Dairy Company Unveils Children’s Probiotic Drink In Recyclable Box

May 24, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Chilean dairy producer Soprole has launched a probiotic beverage for children packaged in an 80 ml recyclable Tetra Pak cardboard box. Uno Colación is available in strawberry and multi-fruit flavors in the country’s main supermarkets. The drinks are low in sodium, and sugar- and fat-free. Tetra Pak says this is the first time its container has been used in Chile. The Aseptic 80 ml Slim, designed for children's consumption, is easy to carry and drink from, and is with recyclable cardboard from FSC certified forest sources. Soprole and Nestlé dominate the Chilean dairy market.

Stephen Daniells, "Soprole works with Tetra Pak to launch new probiotic format for children", Beverage Daily, May 24, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Clean Label “Total Beverage Solution” Debuts

May 22, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Global beverage supplier Arcadia Beverage has launched what it calls “a total beverage solution for foodservice and retail operations.” The Zumora beverage line is “high in flavors, low in calories, and contains no preservatives or additives. Available in 12 oz. ready-to-drink bottles and 50 and 128 oz. beverage base, is a ready-to-use 3:1 concentrate mix available in lemon, strawberry lime, cucumber mint, mango, pineapple coconut, and other flavors. "Developing beverages with a clean label is at the core of our formulation,” an Arcadia spokesman said.[Image Credit: © Arcadia Beverage]

"Arcadia Beverage Launches Clean Label Beverage Line, Zumora", PR Newswire, May 22, 2018, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Snack Company Toosum Introduces Protein Cookies With No Added Sugar

May 21, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Snack brand Toosum launched its Protein Cookies product at the recent Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago. The 180-200-calorie cookies contain no added sugar, contain ten grams of protein along with oat fiber, and are gluten-free, vegan, kosher, and non-GMO. They will be available in oatmeal peanut butter, oatmeal chocolate chip, and oatmeal double chocolate fudge. "Time continues to show that people are tired of eating dried up protein bars or processed junk food with high sugar and calorie counts," said Toosum founder Peter Guyer.[Image Credit: © Toosum]

"Toosum's Newest "Bites with Benefits" to Debut at Sweets & Snacks Expo", Chicago Business Journal, May 21, 2018, © PRNewswire
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Food, Beverage Companies Wrestle With New Economic, Competitive Monsters

May 21, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Investors are not yet convinced that America’s cereal, soda, and soup companies know how to adapt to the changing food and beverage preferences of today’s consumers. The consumer staples segment of the S&P 500 has slid 13 percent this year, the worst performance in 10 years. Small consumer goods companies grabbed market share from large brands between 2011 to 2016, the first time in 50 years. Sales growth is slowing while oil, freight, raw material, steel, and aluminum costs climb. The pricing power of the big companies is disintegrating as consolidation takes over in the retail and grocery industries, consumer allegiances fade, and cheaper digital advertising lure shoppers. Companies are turning to acquisitions to stem the tide, but acquisitions tend to raise corporate debt and dent profits. And all of this is happening as higher interest rates loom on the horizon.

Nathaniel Meyersohn, "Trouble in Big Food: America's cereal, soda and soup companies are in turmoil", CNN Wire/CNNMoney, May 21, 2018, © Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company
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Coke Unveils Lower-Sugar Variants In Its Simply Juice Line

May 21, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Coca-Cola’s Simply Beverages unit announced expansion of its juice product line with the addition of more healthful, lower-sugar varieties of orange juice and lemonade. The new orange juice variants – Simply Light Orange Pulp Free and Simply Light Orange with Calcium & Vitamin D – have about half of the sugar and calories of the original Simply Orange. Simply Light Lemonade and Simply Light Lemonade with Raspberry have 75 percent less sugar and less calories than Simply Lemonade. The move represents another step toward the goal of marketing more healthful beverages outlined in Coca-Cola’s 2017 Sustainability Report, which revealed a commitment to reduce sugar in more than 400 drinks.

Collin Huguley, "Coca-Cola continues low-sugar push with new healthier line of juices", Atlanta Business Chronicle, May 21, 2018, © American City Business Journals
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Americans Are Getting A Taste Of Canada’s Gooey Butter Tart Pastry

May 20, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Canadian visitors to, or expats living in, the New York City area can now feast on one of their country’s most beloved pastries, a delicacy known as the butter tart. Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Btarts Sweet Canadian Treats company is working hard to make the butter tart as mainstream in the U.S. as it is in Canada. Founded by transplanted Canadians, Btart’s gooey treats are made with all-natural ingredients, including maple and pure syrup for the filling, but no shortening, lard, or corn syrup. The owners and their wares have been featured on national TV, and in various American food publications. Available online, they are shipped anywhere in the U.S., but not, unfortunately, into Canada.[Image Credit: © Btarts/Smorgasburg Brooklyn]

Rita DeMontis, "Are butter tarts only for Canadians?", Toronto Sun, May 20, 2018, © Sun Media Corporation
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The Royal Wedding Has Sparked A Lemon-Elderflower Flavor Trend

May 20, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

The American baker who created the cake for the recent wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle has probably touched off a significant trend. Claire Ptak’s lemon-elderflower cake “has already spawned a flood of variations by bakeries in both Britain and the United States,” according to Forbes.com contributing editor Micheline Maynard. Lemon-elderflower (or plain elderflower) flavoring has also arrived on dessert and drinks menus, a trend not likely to fade very soon, thanks to the royal wedding. Expect lemon-elderflower to join lavender, turmeric and other garden-inspired flavors “at your coffee bar, bakery or café,” Maynard writes.[Image Credit: © Kensington Palace, www.Royal.uk]

Micheline Maynard, "The Cake Flavor You'll Be Seeing Everywhere, And More From The Royal Wedding Menu", Forbes.com, May 20, 2018, © Forbes Media LLC
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RTE Bakery Partners With Hershey’s On Snack-Size Cheesecake Bites

May 19, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Café Valley Bakery of Phoenix, Ariz., a global manufacturer of RTE baked goods, has introduced chocolate cheesecake brownie bites made with Hershey’s chocolate – “a flavor profile that speaks to most Americans.”  Though Café Valley has partnered with other food and beverage companies – it recently introduced soda cakes featuring 7UP, Orange Crush, and A&W Root Beer – this is its first partnership with Hershey’s. The new brownie bites are available in 11.6-ounce packages, 12 bites to a package, for $4. Other snack-size coffee cake bites include lemon curd, cinnamon, raspberry, pumpkin, and red velvet flavors.[Image Credit: © Café Valley Bakery]

Grace Palmieri, "Phoenix bakery, Hershey Co. debut chocolate treat", The Arizona Republic (Phoenix), May 19, 2018, © www.azcentral.com
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Nestlé Waters Debuts RTD Sparkling Tea Products Under Sanpellegrino Brand

May 18, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Nestlé Waters believes it can make the most of its Sanpellegrino customer base while expanding to new audiences with the launch of an RTD subcategory comprising a “flavor-packed, premium sparkling tea experience," dubbed Sanpellegrino + Tea. The range of organic, low-calorie sparkling teas includes Limone + Tea and Pesca + Tea flavors. The brand was launched in Canada in March and recently in the U.K. as a component of a brand awareness campaign this year featuring digital engagement, experiential and sampling activities, in-store merchandising, and print ads.

Lucy Britner, "Nestlé Waters' Sanpellegrino + Tea - Product Launch", Just-drinks.com, May 18, 2018, © Just-drinks.com
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Sales Of Protein Beverages, Including Waters, Are On The Rise

May 17, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

RTD beverages that contain protein are seeing sales increase to meet demand from health-conscious consumers seeking to conveniently boost intake of the nutrient. Different brands of protein-rich drinks offer various functional benefits, including energy, refueling, rehydration, satiation, sports nutrition, and meal replacement. A growing subcategory of protein drinks is protein water, including those containing WPI, a concentrated clear protein source. Protein water is represented by several brands and companies: BiPro Protein Water from BiPro U.S.A;  Chicago-based Protein2O, with two product lines; Bolthouse Farms (Campbell Soup Co.) B Strong and B Balanced beverages;  Gatorade protein shakes (PepsiCo); and JoeFroyo Functional Cold Brew coffee with caffeine, probiotics, and protein. Protein sources include milk protein isolate, whey, pea protein, pumpkin seed protein, and collagen peptides.

Donna Berry, "Beverage makers capitalizing on the power of protein", Food Business News, May 17, 2018, © SOSLAND PUBLISHING COMPANY
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Polish Student Invents Edible Vegetarian Packaging Made From Kombucha

May 16, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Edible packaging is becoming a reality with the creation of Scoby, the brainchild of Polish design student, Roza Janusz. With the potential to help reduce the use of plastic in packaging, Scoby is a vegetarian wrapping material made by mixing sugars and other organic substances with kombucha, a fermented drink produced with yeast, bacteria, and tea. During the process, the biocellulose membrane forms on the surface of the mixture and layers into a sheet-like material, similar to how an onion grows. With its long shelf life, Scoby can be used to wrap farmers' produce including vegetables, fruits, herbs, and seeds. It can also be used to pack instant meals. Given Scoby's acidic PH level and mineral compounds, it can also be used by farmers as a natural fertilizer. While Scoby is not yet available in the market yet, Janusz said plans are in the pipeline to make this alternative packaging commercially available soon.  [Image Credit: © Growing Pakaging]

Jesus Diaz, "This new edible packaging is grown from kombucha", Fast Company Design, May 16, 2018, © Mansueto Ventures, LLC
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Successful Australian Start-Up Sells Snap Frozen Unwanted Berries

May 16, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

An Australian couple committed to reducing food waste in their region have created a company that puts so-called “wonky” (i.e., miscolored, misshapen, or otherwise unsold) fruits rejected by supermarket chains to good use. They maintain a warehouse where they and their small staff snap freeze raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and blackcurrants. Stuart and Allison McGruddy say they wanted to help berry growers manage any oversupply and reduce the waste. In 2016 found a niche market for safe and quality frozen berries, restoring public faith in the product after food scares associated with imported berries. The berries are carefully hand-picked, washed and frozen on the same day before being packaged into transparent zip-locked pouches. The berries arrive at the buyer’s door packed in dry ice.[Image Credit: © myberries.com.au]

"Couple put the freeze on berry growing waste", Moreton Life, May 16, 2018, © Moreton Life
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Singapore’s New Food Waste Standard: 70 Percent Recycled By 2030

May 16, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

After Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA) reported that the country generated more than 800,000 tons of food waste in 2017 – 140 kg per person – the Food Standards Committee and chief science agency issued a standard for food manufacturers to limit food waste. Singapore recycles about 16 percent of food waste now, according to the government; an NEA official said the new national target is 70 percent by 2030, requiring industry-wide cooperation between stakeholders, manufacturers, and processors. The new standard is expected to help reduce food waste and improve manufacturing practices through the more efficient use of food resources at all levels of the supply chain. It will consider food loss, waste, overproduction, expiration, spoilage, overcooked items, and contaminated foods.[Image Credit: © Singapore NEA]

Talal Husseini, "Singapore unveils first standard for food waste reduction", Food Processing Technology, May 16, 2018, © Verdict Media Limited
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Eat17 Escalates The Fight Against Single-Use Plastic

May 15, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Eat17, the eco-friendly retail and restaurant chain, is joining the battle against single-use plastic, introducing paper straws and bamboo cups in its restaurants. It is also bringing in refillable stations in its Bishop’s Stortford store for a range of products, including organic milk, wine, nuts, cereals and grains, and also washing up liquid and laundry detergent. It expects to roll the stations out to other stores during the year. Eat17 said the moves align with customers looking to become more eco-friendly and cut down on single-use plastics and pre-packaged food.[Image Credit: © EAT17]

Liz Wells, "Eat17 introduces initiatives to cut plastic waste", Talking Retail, May 15, 2018, © Independent Retail News
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Companies Start To Adopt World’s First Plastic-Free Packaging Mark

May 16, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

A ‘plastic-free’ Trust Mark has been launched to advise shoppers on the material used to package food and drink, as part of initiatives to cut the use of plastic in packaging. It was created by environmental group A Plastic Planet. Iceland is the first British retailer to adopt it, and it plans to use on its own-label products as part of its pledge to stamp out single-use plastic packaging by 2023. Beverage brand Teapigs will also display the Trust Mark on its packaging, and Dutch supermarket chain Ekoplaza is another early-adopter. It is the first retailer to build plastic-free aisles in its supermarkets. [Image Credit: © A PLASTIC PLANET]

Sarah Knapton, "World’s first plastic-free mark will help shoppers choose eco-friendly products", The Telegraph, May 16, 2018, © Telegraph Media Group Limited
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Coca-Cola Weathers Several Storms Since 2013 To Find Smoother Sailing

May 15, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

A number of “qualifications” – particularly restructuring costs, currency ups and downs, and ongoing bottler refranchising – make Coca-Cola’s five-year financial performance a little cloudy. But an analysis by just-drinks reveals “modest, if not spectacular, growth” globally. Among the highlights: a gradual shift in emphasis in global product mix due to evolving consumer trends; the success of RTD tea and coffee, packaged water, and sports drinks; overall market share gains in major regions, fueled by a rising global middle class, increased urbanization, and higher spending on personal consumption; an increase in billion-dollar brands to 20; and a reduction to three percent of volume from company-owned bottlers thanks to refranchising in China and the U.S. through 2016 and 2017 that led to lower sales (down 15 percent) but higher margins in a brand-led but less capital-intensive operation. 

Nigel Huddleston, "The Coca-Cola Co Performance Trends 2013-2017 - results data", just-drinks.com, May 15, 2018, © just-drinks.com
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Heirloom Grains Are Reviving Interest In Eating Bread

May 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

According to the head baker and co-founder of Illinois-based artisan bread specialist  Hewn Bakery, bread is making a comeback because more consumers are paying attention to the ingredients used in baking. They are particularly interested in the flour, says Ellen King, and that heritage and ancient grains that are processed in ways that reduce the likelihood of allergic reactions to gluten. King is working with local farmers who are growing some unusual, even unheard of, grain and wheat varieties. Among these is the Einkorn, which she blends with other heritage wheats to make “an amazing, nutty and rich bread with little flecks of gold inside." Other varieties include Rouge de Bordeaux, a French wheat used to make all of their whole wheat bread, and Marquis, a nearly extinct variety revived by Hazzard Free Farm of Pecatonica, Ill. [Image Credit: © Hewn Bakery]

Megy Karydes, "Heritage Grains Are Making a Comeback And Contributing to Bread's Resurgence", Forbes.com, May 14, 2018, © Forbes Media LLC
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WHO Asks World’s Governments To Ban Trans Fats By 2023

May 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

The World Health Organization (WHO) wants the world’s governments to eliminate trans fats – partially hydrogenated vegetable oil – associated with margarine, Crisco and other low-price, long shelf products linked to countless premature deaths. WHO’s guidelines suggest eliminating trans fats from global food supplies within five years, a move that would save as many as 10 million lives. WHO’s campaign was developed with the help of Vital Strategies, a global health group backed by Michael Bloomberg, who as mayor of New York City, introduced the first municipal ban on trans fats in 2006. Denmark, Switzerland, Canada, Britain, and the United States have all moved to restrict or ban trans fats.

Andrew Jacobs, "Trans Fats Should be Eliminated Worldwide by 2023, WHO Says", The New York Times, May 14, 2018, © The New York Times Company
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Start-Up Cookie Company Offers “Great Treat Without The Cheat”

May 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

A start-up bakery is targeting the low-sugar, low-carb market with snacks once known as Keto Cookies. Nui Foods LLC offers a variety of cookies that are low-carb, gluten free, and contain only two grams of sugar per serving. The company says their new cookie line offer a delicious way to resist sweet cravings on-the-go, “a great treat without the cheat.” Founded in 2016 in Southern California, Nui has expanded its reach and offers four flavors: peanut butter, chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, and double chocolate. Key ingredients include: erythritol and Monk fruit extract, grass-fed butter, coconut oil and MCT oil, almond and coconut flavors, and six grams of protein.[Image Credit: © Nui Foods LLC]

"Nui Foods Offers a Keto Friendly Cookie With No Added Sugar ", Business Wire, May 14, 2018, © Business Wire Inc
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Coca-Cola HBC Posts Healthy 1st Q Results, Notably In Energy Segment

May 11, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (HBC) posted a 4.5 percent increase (FX neutral) in first quarter sales to $1.6 billion along with a 2.3 percent increase in volume. The company is looking forward to a healthy second quarter as Russia hosts the two weeks-long FIFA World Cup matches beginning on June 14. The first quarter rise in sales came despite continued economic weakness in Nigeria and Russia, which are both likely to improve in 2018. Volumes of the company’s carbonated soft drink portfolio increased by 2.8 percent year-on-year, water grew 0.9 percent, but juices slid two percent. The energy drinks segment soared nearly 27.8 percent in volume, with continued strong performance from Monster.

Olly Wehring, "Coca-Cola HBC upbeat on 2018 - Q1 2018 results", just-drinks.com, May 11, 2018, © just-drinks.com
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Tinkering With Sourdough Process To Improve Digestion

May 11, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Canadian and U.S. wheat-promoting agencies are funding research into whether the fermentation process used to create sourdough bread could be tweaked to make it “a more easily digested food option” for people with wheat allergies. The sourdough fermentation process breaks down proteins and carbohydrates in wheat flour that are known to cause wheat sensitivity. Canadian food microbiologist Michael Gänzle's project aims to better understand whether this fermentation process is sufficient in reducing adverse effects and hopes to define the best practices for making easily-digestible bread. Funding for the three-year project will total $147,250. "This is a unique project that has exciting potential for the baking industry," said Laura Reiter of the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission.

"Sourdough bread research aims to improve prospects for wheat sensitive individuals", Prairie Post, May 11, 2018, © Alberta Wheat Commission
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Coca-Cola CEO: Innovation Is The Key To Becoming A “Total Beverage Company”

May 10, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey is a strong advocate of innovation and experimentation to quickly take advantage of market opportunities. Creating new products, and pushing existing products into new markets, are the underlying concepts behind the “total beverage company” slogan. It’s the reason why the company has tinkered with its line of traditional cola beverages as it expands into dairy, juice, and plant-based drinks, energy drinks, water and sports drinks; and RTD tea and coffee. But this is not just innovation for the sake of innovation, Quincey recently noted, but “in the service of the consumer, in the service of wondering what will connect and engage with the consumer.” The flip side of experimentation, of course, is acknowledging failure and being willing to “kill the zombies.”

Rachel Arthur, "Coca-Cola on innovation: ‘We’ve got to be willing to kill the zombies’", Beverage Daily, May 10, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Keeping Coke Relevant In Nepal

May 10, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Coca-Cola’s country director for Nepal Ambuj Deo Singh says Coke has remained pretty much the same during its 132-year history but has also managed to be relevant in his country, and in many others. Relevance, he notes, comes from talking to consumers about their needs “in the language that they want us to speak.” An example is the recent ad campaign (“Coke Kham Russia Jam”), which “relates to everyone here in Nepal” because it is associated with momo (a type of dumpling). Coca-Cola is also associated with the festival of Dashain, celebrating human relationships. Singh says the company is planning to introduce new products, such as juices, in the near future. Plans also include making Kinley available nationwide and expanding the distribution base.

"‘Staying locally relevant under global vision is Coca-Cola’s mantra for success’", Onlinekhabar, May 10, 2018, © Onlinekhabar.com
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Sen. Casey‘s Bill Would Reimburse Farmers For Food Donation Costs

May 10, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.) introduced the Farm to Food Bank Act of 2018 (S. 2824) to establish food recovery networks in each state that would incentivize farmers to donate their produce directly to food banks to be distributed to the needy. The bill would authorize assistance to farmers and ranchers by reimbursing them for the costs to produce, harvest, pack, process, store, or transport to foodbanks food that is safe for consumption but lacks access to a retail market or supply chain. The bill is a response to the fact that food is often discarded on the farm if considered "ugly," overproduced, market conditions are unfavorable, or if an existing contract or retail market is lost. According to Feeding Pennsylvania, the commonwealth produces an abundance of fresh and nutritious food, yet 1.7 million residents struggle with hunger every day, 500,000 of whom are children.[Image Credit: © Sen. Bob Casey]

Sen. Bob Casey, "Casey Looks to Fight Hunger, Address Food Waste", Sen. Bob Casey, May 10, 2018, © Sen. Bob Casey
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NutraBolt’s Cellucor C4: A Hybrid Energy And Sports Performance Drink

May 9, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Texas-based fitness nutrition company NutraBolt is positioning its Cellucor C4 On The Go Carbonated beverages as healthier functional alternatives to conventional energy drinks. The company hopes to exploit the continuing rebound in the energy drinks market, especially among products with reduced sugar. Sugar- and calorie-free Cullucor C4 Carbonated, sold in 16-ounce cans, is positioned as a convenient extension to Cellucor’s C4 pre-workout powder, and somewhere between a sports performance and energy beverage. The company emphasizes the product’s hydrating and energizing effects – supported by clinical research – thanks to ingredients like 200 mg of caffeine anhydrous, CarnoSyn beta-alanine, BetaPower betaine, citrulline malate, N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine, vitamins B6 and B12. The beverage is available nationwide for $29.99 per 12-pack at GNC and Vitamin Shoppe locations, gyms, convenience and grocery stores, and online.

Mary Ellen Shoup, "Cellucor C4 On The Go Carbonated aims for positioning between sports performance and energy drink segments", Beverage Daily, May 09, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Mobile Trailer Bakery Specializes In Huge Cookies

May 9, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

One would think that housing a bakery in a mobile trailer is unique enough. Not so for Serious Cookie Co., which turns out hefty half-pound cookies in a variety of flavors, including chocolate chip, Macadamia nut, creamy peanut butter or pecan, all  topped with ice cream, whipped cream, or ribbons of chocolate and caramel sauce. The family-owned business – three generations participate – sells about 50 cookies a week, shrink-wrapped and boxed with a handwritten note. The cookie trailer appears at many Southwest Florida festivals, fairs and events, and can be booked for birthday parties, weddings and other private happenings. The company’s top seller? “Plain ol' chocolate chip.”

"Seriously huge; cookies made at Serious Cookie Co.", Naples Daily News (Florida), May 09, 2018, © USA Today Network
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Cone-Shaped Pizza Chain Expands To Northern California

May 8, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

An Italian company that makes cone-shaped pizza is opening latest U.S. location near the University of California-Berkeley campus. The menu of Kono Pizza, which has 12 other locations around the U.S., features Classic Kones (cheese, meat, sausage, pepperoni and vegetable), Dessert Kones (tiramisu, nutella, cannoli, etc.), and smaller Kids Kones in cheese or peanut butter and jelly. The dough and sauces are imported from Italy and the cones are made to order using a low-skim, low-moisture cheese. They are layered with sauce, cheese and toppings in a vertical fashion before being baked in a special oven. Baking takes only three minutes, making it a perfect on-the-go option, the company says.

"Italy's pizza in a cone is coming to Berkeley this month", The East Bay Times (California), May 08, 2018, © Digital First Media
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