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Organic Grain Breeding Program Endowed At WSU

January 31, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Organic snack food company Clif Bar has joined with King Arthur Flour to fund a $1.5 million endowment to support organic grain breeding at Washington State University (Pullman, Wash.) that would develop crop varieties adapted to organic farming. An endowed chair totaling $850,000 is being awarded to Stephen Jones (left), director of the WSU Bread Lab. Working with area farmers, the Bread Lab is developing varieties of wheat and barley that provide hardy, nutritionally-dense rotation crops. The new varieties not only enrich the soil, but also produce grains favored by local millers and maltsters who sell to regional bakers and brewers, according to Clif Bar.  [Image Credit: © WSU]
Ashley Gonias, "King Arthur Flour Announce: $1.5 Million Organic Endowment for WSU's Bread Lab", Clif Bar & Company, January 31, 2018, © Clif Bar & Company
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Nutritionist Argues That Pizza Makes A Better Breakfast Than Cereal

January 31, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
A registered dietitian nutritionist has posted a blog entry saying that a slice of pizza makes for a more healthful breakfast than a bowl of cereal. The two contain essentially the same number of calories, argues nutrition blogger Chelsey Amer, but pizza “packs a much larger protein punch, which will keep you full and boost satiety throughout the morning." She acknowledged that pizza isn’t really a health food, but compared to most sugary cereals, it’s more balanced, contains more fat and less sugar. Another nutritionist disagreed, noting that cereal provides important nutrients “to start your day off right." Keri Gans said “the right cereal that’s packed with fiber, may help lower cholesterol and control blood sugar," especially when topped with berries rich in vitamins. 
Andrew N. White, "Pizza Is Healthier Breakfast Option than Cereal, Dietitian Says", International Business Times, January 31, 2018, © Newsweek Media Group
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Mondelēz Stake In New Keurig Dr Pepper Enables Future Rewards

January 31, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Snack and candy company Mondelēz International has purchased a 14 percent stake in Keurig Dr Pepper, the company created by the recent acquisition of Dr Pepper Snapple Group by Keurig Green Mountain. The relatively small investment nevertheless gives Mondelez an insider’s perch to watch company performance, according to industry researcher Mintel, which notes that the stake could lead to a boost in investment or outright acquisition. This, in turn, would give Mondelēz a product portfolio that could compete against Nestlé, PepsiCo and other food and drink corporations. “In particular,” Mintel said, “Keurig Dr Pepper would allow Mondelēz to re-enter the fast-growing global coffee market and also to leverage Dr Pepper Snapple’s partnerships with emerging ready-to-drink beverage brands.”
Jennifer Zegler, "Mondelēz Could Emerge as a Winner in the Keurig Dr Pepper Merger", Blog entry, Mintel, January 31, 2018, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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“Blue” Chocolates Debut In Japan

January 31, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Japanese confectionery innovators have developed a naturally blue-tinted chocolate in two tones. Novelty store Village Vanguard said the chocolates come in two styles: one resembling the complex night sky, and the other suggesting the still winter atmosphere “where the air remains clear throughout.” The introduction of blue chocolate follows naturally-pink-colored ruby chocolate, dubbed the “fourth type of chocolate” in the world. Kit Kat Japan commercialized it last year. Village Vanguard said it was difficult to color the chocolates a deep blue. It solved the problem by adding blue-colored herbs from Thailand.  [Image Credit: ©   Oh! Nuts ]
 
Mikelle Leow, "Japan Invents Naturally Blue Chocolates Tinted in Colors of Day & Night Skies", DesignTAXI, January 31, 2018, © DesignTAXI
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Kroger’s Scan, Bag, Go Digital Shopping Service To Expand Nationwide This Year

January 31, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Kroger said it will introduce its Scan, Bag, Go shopping technology this year in 18 operating divisions and 400 stores. The company said it tested the service in several locations and decided to expand its availability across the U.S. through Restock Kroger. Scan, Bag, Go allows customers to use a wireless handheld scanner or the smartphone app to scan and bag products as they shop. Shoppers can view and download digital coupons, keep a running total of their order, and view the current week's sales ad. They can then provide payment directly through the app so they can exit the store quickly.  [Image Credit: © Kroger ]
"Kroger Announces Divisions for Scan, Bag, Go Expansion", News release, Kroger Co. , January 31, 2018, © The Kroger Co.
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Authenticity Is RAW Pressery’s Guiding Precept

January 30, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Indian entrepreneur Anuj Rakyan, founder of cold-pressed juice company RAW Pressery, says clean label will be the hot trend in food and beverages in 2018. With that in mind, the company will base an advertising campaign on that trend this year. But Rakyan nevertheless believes that authentic products – not advertising itself – builds consumer trust. That philosophy actually prevented Rakyan from launching a new product – baby food – it spent many months developing. There were distribution problems certainly, but more importantly, the company came to the conclusion that baby food was not within its definition of authentic. Rakyan told his people, “Let’s focus on what we are good at.”
Priyanka Nair, "RAW Pressery's Anuj Rakyan on Clean Label, His Philosophy on Advertising and More", ET Brand Equity, January 30, 2018, © ETBrandEquity.com
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Walmart Makes Operational Changes To Speed Stock Replenishment, Delivery

January 30, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart has decided it can compete more effectively with Amazon.com if it shares more investory data with suppliers so out-of-stock items can be replenished more quickly. Formerly available only internally, the company’s On Shelf Customer Availability (OSCA) data information will be shared at the Supplier Growth Forum, a two-day event at Walmart headquarters. The retailer also said it will tighten deadlines for delivery. It is now requiring large suppliers to deliver full orders within a specified delivery window 85 percent of the time or face a fine of three percent of the cost of goods. Previously, large suppliers had to hit a 75 percent threshold to avoid fines. The delivery threshold for smaller suppliers will move to 50 percent, up from 33 percent, effective in April.   [Image Credit: ©   Walmart ]
"Walmart to share inventory data with suppliers in battle with Amazon", Reuters , January 30, 2018, © Reuters
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McDonald’s Beats 4th Quarter Estimates

January 30, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
McDonald’s profit totaled $698.7 million ($0.87 a share) on $5.34 billion in revenue in the 4th quarter that ended December 31. Adjusted earnings were $1.71 per share, which beat the Wall Street forecast of $1.59 per share, as did revenue performance. U.S. same-store sales were up 4.5 percent during the quarter, due mainly to the two-for-$5 special known as McPick 2, to soda promotions, and to new Buttermilk Crispy Tenders. Early in the New Year, the company revived its McDonald's revived its popular Dollar Menu with $1, $2, and $3 items. One retail analyst called value meals a "necessary evil," however, because they lower profits and hurt sales of more expensive items even though they draw more customers.  [Image Credit: ©   McDonald's   ]
Joseph Pisani, "McDonald's Boosted by Value Meals and New Chicken Snack", Chicago Tribune, January 30, 2018, © Chicago Tribune
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Kroger Looks To Bolster “Restock Kroger” Initiative With Executive Changes

January 30, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Kroger announced it is shuffling two management positions to bolster Restock Kroger, a data-drive initiative focused on pricing, personalized communications with customers, and a large revamp of product assortments. The company, the largest collector of food purchase data in the U.S., wants to put that data to competitive advantage as it expands meal- and food-shopping solutions. Thirty-seven-year Kroger veteran Steve McKinney, president of the Fry's Food Stores division, will become senior vice president of retail divisions, effective February 5. Monica Garnes, corporate vice president of produce-floral merchandising, will succeed McKinney as president of the Fry's division. She has been with Kroger for 23 years.  [Image Credit: ©   Kroger ]
"Kroger Names Steve McKinney Senior Vice President of Retail Divisions, Monica Garnes President of Fry's Division", News release, Kroger Co., January 30, 2018, © Kroger Co.
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Hummus Producer Reformulates Without Artificial Ingredients

January 30, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
National hummus brand Tribe Mediterranean Foods has committed to a clean label policy that is now reflected in its product packaging and formulations. Its hummus products now contain no artificial ingredients, while packaging features more white space, simpler designs and fewer claims. The changes reflect trends in consumer preferences, according to the company, whose own research found that “removing any artificial preservatives from our hummus was a really huge positive from the standpoint of our core consumer.” [Image Credit: © Tribe ]
Elizabeth Crawford, "Tribe Seeks to Fill Void in Hummus Category with a “Clean” Reformulation & New Branding", FOODnavigator-USA.com, January 30, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Tyson Foods Invests In Another Alternative To Livestock-Sourced Protein

January 29, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Meat producer Tyson Foods, which markets about 20 percent of the meat sold in the U.S., has invested in a company whose mission is to eradicate farm-raised protein. The company invested in Silicon Valley-based Memphis Meats, which is trying to grow meat from animal cells, through its venture capital arm, joining Cargill, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Atomico, and DFJ. Memphis Meats CEO Uma Valeti said he hopes his company will benefit from the Tyson and Cargill investments because of their deep knowledge of meat distribution. “They really understand how to scale up,” he says. “They’ll help us learn a lot about getting meat on the shelf.” Tyson has also backed Beyond Meat, which is attempting to replicate the taste of meat with plants. 
Beth Kowitt, "Tyson Foods Has Invested in a Startup That Aims to Eradicate Meat from Live Animals", Fortune, January 29, 2018, © Time Inc.
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Panera Chides Competitors About Use Of Non-Clean Ingredients In Menu Items

January 29, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Fast-casual restaurant chain Panera has set up a committee of food experts who can advise competitors on how to start using natural “clean” ingredients in their menu items. The experts who comprise Clean Consultant can also be hired by other restaurant chains to learn how to get more active in food policy issues. The feisty company has also begun marketing a revamped breakfast sandwich; asked the FDA to clearly define the term “egg;” and called out rivals Chick-fil-A and Starbucks for using additives in their egg sandwiches. [Image Credit: © Panera Bread]
Kate Taylor, "Panera Wants to Help Other Brands Clean Up Their Menus ' and it Shows How the Sandwich Chain is Doubling Down on a Key Strategy in a New Era", Business Insider, January 29, 2018, © Business Insider Inc.
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DoorDash Tries A Unique Solution To The Food Waste Problem

January 28, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Food delivery app DoorDash has come up with a scheme to put the 50 tons of its extra restaurant food that gets tossed annually into dumpsters and landfills to better use. Pilot programs set up in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City allow local restaurants to donate their unused food to food banks. DoorDash delivery people pick up the food and drop it off at Feeding America hubs that in turn redistribute it. After January, DoorDash will seek to partner with national restaurants already available on the app and have those sponsor donations each month.  [Image Credit: © Baskin-Robbins ]
Sasha Lekach, "DoorDash Now Delivers Surplus Food to Fight Hunger", Mashable, January 28, 2018, © Mashable, Inc.
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Bear Squeeze Stakes Future Of Its Ketogenic Meal Powder On Non-GMO Claim

January 25, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Budding meal replacement company Bear Squeeze is differentiating itself from major competitor Soylent by touting its non-GMO nutrient profile. Billing itself as a “higher-end, cleaner Soylent,” the drinkable ketogenic meal product contains medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil, kale, pumpkin seed protein, and probiotics. The ketogenic diet trend is gathering steam – searches have increased steadily on Google since 2016 – as consumers look for products that are low in carbs and high in fats like MCT oil. The California-based company, which raised more than $100,000 on the Indiego funding platform and was a prizewinner at BevNet Live recently, says Bear Squeeze is sold only online and only in bottled powder form for the time being.
Adi Menayang, "‘The Meal Replacement Category is On Fire,’ Says Founder of Ketogenic Beverage Brand Bear Squeeze", FOODnavigator-USA.com, January 25, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Mom’s Pancake Mix Recipe Spawns A Fast-Growing Baking Business

January 24, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Kodiak Cakes has come a long way from the time (in the early 1980s) when co-founder Joel Clark hauled a red wagon full of his mom’s whole-grain pancake mix door-to-door selling to neighbors. In the mid-1990s, Clark and his brother launched a business based on their mother’s pancake recipe, showcased it in 2014 on the TV show Shark Tank, and haven’t looked back. The company recently announced it is launching 20 new whole-grain, high-protein products this year ranging from frozen waffles to baking mixes. Next on the radar is the multi-billion-dollar baking mix market. On the launch pad are a high-protein brownie in a cup and box, and high-protein muffin mixes..  [Image Credit: © Kodiak Cakes ]
Stephen Daniells, "Kodiak Cakes’ CEO: ‘We’re Growing 80% Year-On-Year and Approaching $100 Million’", FOODnavigator-USA.com, January 24, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Breakfast Biscuits Contribute To Steady Decline Of Breakfast Cereals

January 24, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Breakfast cereal sales are declining as fast as canned soup and cigarette sales, thanks in part to the rise of the simple breakfast biscuit, whose success is typified by Mondelez International’s belVita brand. Since its debut in the U.S. in 2012, sales have doubled to more than $600 million. Marketed as a healthful and nutritious energy boost, European-style belVita has gathered a loyal following as America’s breakfast preferences have changed dramatically. belVita’s sales have grown by double digits every year. On the other hand, breakfast cereal – which remains big business at $8.4 billion annually – has been declining at an annual rate of 2.6 percent over the past four years.. [Image Credit: © Mondelez International ]
Greg Trotter, "How Breakfast Biscuit Became a Cereal Killer", Chicago Tribune, January 24, 2018, © Chicago Tribune
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Bread Is No Longer A Dirty Word In America

January 21, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
One of the hotter new food trends in the restaurant world is in-house artisanal bread baking. According to trend watchers, bread is seeing a renaissance in America, thanks to the availability of a wide variety of bread styles, flavors, and textures. The fact is, diners have decided that bread is a good thing after all, an observation not lost on restaurant operators. An increasing number of chefs have begun to make their own loaves, or have turned to local purveyors of made-from-scratch bread. One of those is GK Baked Goods in Fort Wayne, Indiana, whose founder noted the rising demand for artisanal breads some time ago and began offering her products to local businesses and residents. She now has 20 clients.  [Image Credit: © GK Baked Goods ]
Terri Richardson, "Making Bread", The Journal Gazette, January 21, 2018, © www.journalgazette.net
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N.Y. State Legislators Move To Incentivize Commercial Food Donations With Tax Credits

January 20, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
A Republican Senator and colleagues in the New York State legislature is tackling the food waste problem by co-sponsoring legislation to create a tax credit of up to $5,000 for grocery stores, food brokers, wholesalers, restaurateurs, and catering services that donate surplus or about-to-waste food to local food banks and pantries. The tax credit proposal builds on a measure enacted last year that created a tax credit of up to $5,000 for farmers who donate fresh produce to food banks and other emergency food providers. “We need to keep taking commonsense actions like this one to stop perfectly good, fresh, nutritious food from ending up in landfills and waste incinerators and, at the same time, to help combat hunger,” Sen. Thomas F. O’Mara said.  [Image Credit: © Thomas O'Mara ]
Jeff Smith, "O’Mara Calls for Tax Credit to Grocers, Others Donating Surplus Food", The Leader, January 20, 2018, © GateHouse Media, LLC
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Growing Public Awareness Will Make Food Waste A Major Issue In 2018

January 18, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Global food waste is a problem of staggering proportions. It encompasses edible food that is lost, left uneaten or thrown away; imperfect fruits and vegetables that are never sold; and edible food thrown away because it’s past its best-before date. However, growing awareness and concern about the issue might make 2018 the year when minimizing food waste becomes a bona fide movement. A surge in veganism reflects consumer concern not only about what we eat but whence it comes. Global educational campaigns are trying to raise awareness about waste. Food waste initiatives and sustainable practices campaigns are popping up all over, especially in the hotel and restaurant industry. “Public awareness is an important step in changing the food culture,” says sustainability expert Ivano Iannelli. [Image Credit: © Green-Mom.com ]
Kevin Hackett, "Minimising Food Waste: A New Culinary Trend for 2018", The National, January 18, 2018, © International Media Investments FZ LLC
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Chicken Producer Predicts Oversupply Of Expensively-Raised Antibiotic-Free Meat

January 17, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
A major U.S. poultry producer said in a regulatory filing that the supply of antibiotic-free chicken is outstripping the demand. Nearly 41 percent of chickens produced in the U.S. through October 2017 were antibiotic-free, though only 6.4 percent of sales were for products sold as antibiotic-free (ABF). Sanderson Farms said this overproduction could begin to erode processor profits. Sanderson is the only large U.S. chicken producer that has not committed to limit the use of antibiotics. However, it does have a plan to do that if it decides it is in the company’s best interest. A Sanderson spokesman said selling chickens raised using antibiotics allows the company to produce meat more profitably.
Tom Polansek, "U.S. Faces Oversupply of Antibiotic-Free Chicken: Sanderson Farms", Reuters, January 17, 2018, © Reuters
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Australian Technology Solves Food Waste, Creates New Products

January 16, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Banana-growing couple Rob and Krista Watkins have patented and trademarked a technology that turns any fruit or vegetable – but especially discarded, unmarketable produce – into powder in less than 25 minutes. The powder can be used to make any number of food products, including flour and cake pre-mixes, resistant starches, ointments, and vegan protein mixes. Vertically integrated Natural Evolution Foods in Queensland, Australia, uses its proprietary NutroLock technology – an in-line, cold, raw, low-speed food processing technique – to turn green bananas into flour and resistant starch. Its facility can produce eight tons of banana flour a week, with 10kg of bananas making 1kg of flour. [Image Credit: © North Queensland Register ]
Sarah Hudson, "Natural Evolution Foods: Adding Value to Queensland Bananas", The Weekly Times, January 16, 2018, © News Limited
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Whole Grain “Grab-And-Go” Breakfast Morsels Beat Skipping Breakfast

January 15, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
A family-owned bakery in California has created a “grab-and-go” breakfast treat it says is a “healthy yet tasty option” for busy consumers. Breakfast Bites from Sugar Bowl Bakery offer a whole-grain alternative to skipping breakfast or gobbling a sugary pastry. The company’s bakers found a solution to providing sweetness without added sugar in these products by including all-natural dried fruits in the Blueberry Lemon and Cranberry Orange Breakfast Bites. They are denser than a muffin and “airier than a brownie,” according to the company. The breakfast bites debuted recently at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco.  [Image Credit: © Sugar Bowl Bakery ]
"Sugar Bowl Bakery Launches Whole-Grain Breakfast Bites at Winter 2018 Fancy Food Show", News release, Sugar Bowl Bakery, January 15, 2018, © Sugar Bowl Bakery
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It’s Not Easy To Find Out Whether Meat Is Ethically Raised

January 15, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Americans are eating 50 pounds more meat per person than they did in 1960. An increasing number of them want to be certain their meat was ethically raised. But that’s not easy to do. Labels like “all natural” or “free range” on meat packages are no help, and few many consumers are likely to visit farms to observe animal husbandry practices. That’s where independent third-party certification comes in. Whole Foods Market, for example, requires its fresh meat to be certified through the nonprofit Global Animal Partnership, a somewhat expensive procedure that involves regular farm audits. Other third-party organizations that assure customers that the meat they are eating was ethically raised include Animal Welfare Approved, Certified Humane, and American Humane Certified, as well as the Non-GMO Project and Where Food Comes From, Inc. [Image Credit: © agrilicious.org ]
Abigail Curtis, "You Want to Eat Meat That’s Been Ethically Raised. But How Can You Know for Sure?", Bangor Daily News, January 15, 2018, © Bangor Publishing Co.
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Food Company Shareholders Submit Antibiotics Resolutions

January 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, a coalition of corporate investors, have each filed shareholder resolutions with three big food companies urging them to stop buying or producing meat raised with antibiotics. The resolutions submitted to McDonald’s Corp., Denny’s, and Sanderson Farms will be voted on at shareholder meetings unless challenged ahead of time. Last year, McDonald’s stopped buying chicken from suppliers who used antibiotics. The new resolution calls on the company to extend the practice to pork and beef. Rivals Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. and Panera Bread Co. already serve chicken, pork, and beef from animals raised without antibiotics.  [Image Credit: © ICCR ]
Lisa Baertlein, "Investors Call on Sanderson, Denny's, McDonald's to Cut Antibiotics", Reuters, January 14, 2018, © Reuters
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British Beverage Firm Debuts Functional Collagen-Infused Water

January 12, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
U.K. beverage company Protein Water’s new line of protein-rich collagen water is designed to meet growing consumer demand for collagen and its purported benefits for hair, nail, and skin health. The company says the new line dovetails neatly with the "athleisure beauty and glowing skin" trend of 2018. Each $3.20 50 cl bottle in the skin maintenance range, available in Apple & Strawberry and Purple Grape flavors, contains 10 grams of collagen blended with water but no added sugar. The makers of a collagen-infused gin (Collagin) were warned last year by an alcoholic beverage trade organization last year about its claims that their product had therapeutic qualities or could help with a consumer's appearance. 
Andy Morton, "Protein Water Co Aims to Harness "Athleisure" Trend with Skin Maintenance Collagen Water", Just-Drinks, January 12, 2018, © just-drinks.com
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Unable To Make A Dent, Danone Abandons The Indian Dairy Market

January 12, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
France’s Danone is discontinuing dairy brands in India that have been underperforming, including ultra-high temperature processing (UHT) brands and fresh dairy products, which have accounted for only ten percent of the company’s revenue in the country. Danone’s dairy portfolio comprised flavored yogurt, lassi and misti doi, and milk. India’s estimated $14 billion dairy market is dominated by cooperatives like the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd that owns the Amul brand. The decision means Danone’s factory at Rai, Sonipat, will stop production. The company said it will re-emphasizse the marketing of its portfolio of nutrition brands in the country.
Sounak Mitra, "Danone to Shut Down its Dairy Business in India", LiveMint, January 12, 2018, © HT Media Ltd.
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Food Waste Start-Ups Face Four Key Organizational Challenges

January 11, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
A number of companies have launched in recent years to tackle the staggering problem of fruit and vegetable produce that never reaches the consumer’s shopping cart because it is deemed below commercial grade. Cosmetically challenged produce nevertheless retains intrinsic value: it is edible, nutritious, and marketable, at least somewhere. Though still small, companies like Imperfect Produce, Hungry Harvest, Full Harvest, and the new iPhone app goMkt, are pursuing solutions to the problem of delivering edible discarded food to the needy. More such initiatives are likely to emerge in the coming years. According to a university professor, each of these businesses faces four challenges: schematizing of quality distinctions to allow useful pricing; creating an efficient distribution system; nailing down liability issues when produce deteriorates prior to delivery; and ensuring profitability.  [Image Credit: © Hungry Harvest ]
"Beneath the Bruises: A New Market for Old and Ugly Fruit and Vegetables Takes Shape", The Economist, January 11, 2018, © The Economist Newspaper Limited
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Walton Family Invests In Colorado Food Waste Company

January 10, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
A Colorado-based start-up whose mission is to cut food waste by buying at a discount excess or rejected foods from supermarkets and selling it to foodservice companies has caught the eye of an investment arm of the billionaire Walton family. Foodmaven completed an $8.6 million fundraising round, including Walton money, to continue acquiring, for example, still edible frozen pizzas with a mistake on the box, excess chicken from supermarkets, and produce rejected for cosmetic reasons. FoodMaven has 700 customers in Colorado, including restaurants, hospitals, and large institutional cafeterias, and expects $10 million in revenue this year. [Image Credit: © Colorado Restaurant Assoc. ]
Craig Giammona, "Second-Hand Pizza Seen as Next Big Thing by Richest U.S. Family", Bloomberg Quint, January 10, 2018, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Potato Chip Company Turns Ugly Spuds Into Gold

January 10, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Rather than discard potatoes deemed too small or too large or too blemished for regular potato chip production, Pennsylvania’s Dieffenbach Potato Chips has launched the “It’s Good to be Ugly” campaign to reduce waste and fight hunger. The campaign follows the launch of its Uglies Kettle Chips last year. The company works with local farmers to acquire surplus and blemished potatoes, which are cooked in small batches like its regular potatoes. A total of 350,000 pounds of potatoes have been kept from landfills since the launch of Uglies Kettle Chips last year, according to the company..  [Image Credit: © Dieffenbach's ]
Gill Hyslop, "Ugly Chips are All the Rage in Fight against Food Waste in America", BakeryAndSnacks.com, January 10, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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British Fruit Farm Cotchel Juices Its Unsold Pears, Apples

January 8, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
On a mission to reduce food waste, British fruit juice company Cotchel has unveiled four variants of bottled apple and pear juice using fruits that can’t be otherwise marketed because they are too big, too small, or too ugly. The unsold apples and pears used to make the juices are grown, pressed and bottled on a family farm in Essex. They are sold in four versions, including Braeburn; Opal; Topaz and Evelina; and Conference, Topaz and Evelina. “Cotchel is all about creating a great-tasting fruit juice using fruit we can’t sell,” says farmer Pete Thompson, “and taking small steps towards reducing food waste.”
"Cotchel unveils four-strong juice range made with unwanted fruit", FoodBev , January 08, 2018, © FoodBev Media Ltd
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GAC’s “Brookie” Merges Two Chocolate Favorites

January 8, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Mall-based retail bakery chain Great American Cookies has introduced a hybrid baked treat that blends a chocolate brownie with a chocolate chip cookie. The “Brookie” is available at GAC stores on a buy three, get one free basis. “Brownie and cookie,” the company says. “In our book, they are the sweetest royal couple." Great American Cookies, known for its signature Cookie Cakes, operates in shopping malls in the United States, Bahrain, Chile, Guam, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.   [Image Credit: © GAC]
"Great American Cookies® Premieres "The Brookie"-- A Bakery Love Story for the Ages", News release, GAC, January 08, 2018, © Great American Cookies
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Start-Up May Have Sweetener Formula That Makes Sugar Obsolete

January 8, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
An Israeli entrepreneur and former PepsiCo exec has patented a clean-label sweetener he promises is a “breakthrough product that could ultimately make sugar obsolete.” Heylo is a proprietary combination of acacia and stevia, blended in a precise ratio using a technique that delivers clean taste and functionality. Unavoo Technologies, the brainchild of Yuval Maymon, says do-it-yourself concoctions of the two ingredients cannot duplicate the result. The patent protects the levels [of acacia and stevia], the formulation, and the interaction of the carrier with the sweetener. The sugar replacement market is large – as much as $20 billion – but current offerings have major problems that Heylo avoids. The biggest one: bulking agents (i.e., erythritol, maltodextrin, dextrose, maltitol and sorbitol) that comprise 80-90 percent of replacements. 
Elaine Watson, "Heylo! There’s a New Sugar Replacer in Town… and this One’s a Game-Changer, Says Ex-PepsiCo Exec", FOODnavigator-USA.com, January 08, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Desire For Skillfully-Cooked Veggies Transcends Vegetarianism

January 7, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Diners looking for restaurants that serve good vegetarian or vegan cuisine can now thank WalletHub for its list of the best cities for veggie-based cuisine. (Top of the list: New York City, but there are many others.) Chefs in New York once thought of vegetarianism as a fad, but now acknowledge it is “becoming a concrete cultural shift," as Sean McPaul of New York’s High Street on Hudson put it. But the shift encompasses much more than veganism and vegetarianism. An increasing number of diners simply want to eat more vegetables that are cooked well. The shift includes other concepts as well, including the farm-to-table movement, which supports local farmers. The end result: chefs are getting very skilled at cooking fresh vegetables well.  
Melissa Kravitz, "There's Something Big Shifting in American High Cuisine", AlterNet, January 07, 2018, © Independent Media Institute
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“Naked Cakes” Skip The Frosting, But Not The Decadence

January 6, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
A minimalist trend is overtaking the cake-baking community: “naked cakes” shun frosting or fondant, but still manage to hold onto a certain sugar-rich decadence. The basic idea is to highlight the texture of the cakes themselves and the fillings between layers. They are embellished with fresh blooms, gum paste-molded flowers, edible pearls and gems, chocolate chips, crumbs, cookie dough, candy sprinkles, and fresh berries. The basic idea is to highlight the texture of the cakes and the fillings between layers. Christina Tosi, owner of the award-winning U.S. and Canadian bakery Momofuku Milk Bar, is said to have come up with the idea. But many other pastry chefs and bakers are featuring the desserts, including Martha Stewart and wedding resource The Knot.  [Image Credit: © Momofoku Milk Bar ]
"Frosting-Free Cakes the Latest Trend", Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, January 06, 2018, © Lubbock Avalanche-Journal
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Survey: Eating Healthful Foods Goes Hand In Hand With Clean Labels

January 4, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
A survey of 1,023 Americans by a product transparency advocacy group has found that two-thirds have made buying healthful or socially-conscious foods a priority in 2018, along with labels that are transparent regarding ingredient identification. The main emphasis will be on cutting down sugar consumption, with almost half saying they will eat less sugar or buy more “no sugar added” foods and beverages. According to Label Insight, the survey found that Americans want better-defined and more transparent food labels, especially ones that provide information they can better understand in 2018 (25 percent). Greater transparency into ingredients (14 percent) is another desire, along with and easier-to-identify “clean” or minimally processed products (14 percent).  [Image Credit: © Del Monte ]
"Americans are planning to Avoid Sugar and Eat More Sustainably in 2018, Says Survey from Label Insight", News release, Label Insight, January 04, 2018, © Label Insight
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Dunkin’ Removes All Synthetic Dyes From Donuts

January 4, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Dunkin’ Donuts has removed all artificial dyes from its donuts in the U.S., almost a year before its original deadline. Calling the accomplishment ”an incredible milestone moment,” the company said it took years of research to make the transition to simpler donut ingredients and hopes to continue the trend with “innovative new flavors” in the months ahead. The company said it is on track to meet its end-of-2018 deadlines for removing synthetic dyes from its entire menu, including donut icings, fillings and toppings, and frozen beverages such as Coolatta frozen beverages, baked goods, breakfast sandwiches and coffee flavorings. Sister brand Baskin-Robbins is also working to remove synthetic dyes from its products. [Image Credit: © Dunkin' Donuts ]
"To Ring in the New Year, Dunkin' Donuts Removes Artificial Dyes from Donuts", News release, Dunkin' Donuts, January 04, 2018, © Dunkin' Donuts
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Would Knowing What The USDA Means By “Natural” Make For Smarter Meat Buying?

January 4, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
New research from Arizona State University shows that food shoppers not only misinterpret labels on food products, they’re willing to pay a premium price for a “natural” steak without really knowing the USDA’s explanation of the term: no artificial ingredients or added color and only minimally processed. The online study of 663 beef-eaters tested their willingness to pay for steak labeled with different attributes, such as natural, grass-fed, or raised without growth hormones. Half were given the definition of natural, half were not. Uninformed consumers were willing to pay $1.26 more per pound for the “natural” beef, and $2.43 more for natural beef with no growth hormone. Informed consumers, however, were unwilling to pay a premium for the “natural” claim alone, but were willing to pay $3.07 more per pound for steak labeled as natural with no growth hormones. [Image Credit: ©   Arizona State University]
Rebecca Ferriter, "Is 'Natural' Beef Label Misleading?", Arizona State University, January 04, 2018, © Arizona Board of Regents
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Kroger Continues To Expand Its Clean-Label Product Offerings

January 3, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Kroger’s “Simple Truth” product line, which are free from more than a hundred artificial preservatives and other undesirable ingredients such as GMOs and antibiotics, is being expanded, the company announced. Simple Truth brand includes more than 1,400 natural and organic products in categories such as grocery, meat, produce, deli, bakery, baby, household essentials and personal care. New Simple Truth products will debut this year that “align with customer trends, including increasingly popular categories like beverage, snacking and non-animal proteins." The company said Simple Truth 3rd quarter sales grew 19 percent.  [Image Credit: © Kroger ]
Alissa Marchant, "Kroger Will Expand Its Simple Truth Lines to ‘Align With Customer Trends’", The Shelby Report, January 03, 2018, © The Shelby Report
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Ancient Grains Find A Modern Audience In U.S.

January 3, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Today’s health-conscious consumers have taken foods considered staples in ancient civilizations – grains like quinoa, amaranth, farro, and spelt – and made them new again. Industry data show that case shipments to U.S. foodservices rose by double-digit rates compared to processed wheat grains. Shipments of highly popular quinoa rose 18.5 percent in the 12 months that ended in October 2017 compared to a year ago. Shipments of spelt and farro also increased by double digits. Consumers are turning to ancient grains because they are richer in protein, fiber, and vitamins than modern grains. But the increasing popularity among foodservice operators is also due to the fact that chefs appreciate their unique flavors.  [Image Credit: © Bob's Red Mill ]
Kim McLynn, "Everything Ancient is New Again: Case Shipments of Ancient Grains to Foodservice Outlets Increased by Double-Digits", The NPD Group, January 03, 2018, © The NPD Group, Inc.
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Croissant-Sushi Hybrid Gets Decidedly Mixed Reviews

January 3, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Some fans call it the “California croissant,” but its creators have named the croissant-sushi hybrid the “crossushi.” A product of Mr. Holmes Bakehouse, located in Los Angeles and Seoul, the crossushi is a French-style croissant topped with sesame seeds and stuffed with smoked salmon, nori seaweed, pickled ginger, and wasabi. The bakery’s owners say the crossushi is "actually pretty amazing and sells out super fast," but an online consensus is building that is far from favorable. In fact, some say the creation is "revolting," while others plead "Stop Crossushi 2k18.".  [Image Credit: © Novotaste.com ]

 
Brittany Bennett, "Crossushi, A Cross Between Croissants & Sushi, Is The 2018 Food Trend You Never Saw Coming", Bustle, January 03, 2018, © BUSTLE
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U.K. Supermarket Store Gives Away Cartloads Of Unsold Holiday Produce

December 30, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
An Asda supermarket branch in Wales decided it didn’t want to waste the unsold produce accumulated over the holidays. It created a sensation in the Barry community as shopping carts full of leftover carrots, broccoli, parsnips, and brussels sprouts were given away free of charge to surprised and happy shoppers. Some of the food was collected for the homeless, charities, soup kitchens or owners of livestock. Store managers at other Asda outlets apparently were free to do the same thing at their own discretion. [Image Credit: © Aled Williams/Wales Online ]
Tom Houghton et al., "Supermarket Gives Away Trolley-Loads of Free Food Left Over from Christmas to Make Sure Nothing Goes to Waste", Mirror (U.K.), December 30, 2017, © MGN Limited
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Fermentation Of Veggies: One Tactic In War On Food Waste

December 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A farm family in Maine has hit upon a healthful and tasty solution to the food waste, especially vegetable waste, problem. Each day they take vegetables from their farm that were not sold at the local farmers market and ferment them using brine, or just salt, in jars stored for later consumption. Fermented vegetables are filled with nutrients, digestive enzymes and "good bacteria" known as probiotics, as are other fermented foods like kombucha, kefir, yogurt, and beet kvass (fermented beet juice). Says Mary Margaret Ripley: “It's inexpensive, it's a way to use extra vegetables before they go bad, and it results in healthy, flavorful food.”
Aislinn Sarnacki, "How to Reduce Waste with Fermented Vegetables", Bangor Daily News, December 27, 2017, © The Bangor Publishing Co
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Harnessing Information/Communication Technology To Study Food Sharing

December 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Though urban food-sharing initiatives are gaining momentum in the U.S., not much is known about the impact of activities on cities or on the nation as a whole. There is very little data that can be shared with municipal governments or with the citizenry. ShareCity is trying to plug that data gap by collating information on the nearly 4,000 initiatives – especially those using information and communication technologies – identified in 100 cities in 43 countries. It created a project website with an accessible online database. The organization found that food sharing occurs not only in urban areas celebrated for being “smart cities,” but also in cities facing immense social, economic and environmental challenges. Ultimately, the database allows for more consistent and comparable analysis of how food sharing is accomplished globally.  [Image Credit: © Airdrie Food Bank ]
"Food Sharing as a Means to Reduce Waste and Boost Urban Sustainability", Phys.org, December 21, 2017, © Phys.org
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FMCG Spending Grows In China, Report Shows

December 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Consumer spending on fast-moving consumer goods in China grew 5.5 percent during the 12-week period ending November 3, 2017, compared with the same period in the previous year, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Data from the market research firm revealed modern trade expanded 3.1 percent during the period, faster than the same period in the previous year. Also, smaller-store formats grew the fastest, with supermarket and convenience stores growing by 3.9 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively, data showed. Among China's largest retailers, Yonghui grew the fastest at 11 percent, while Sun Art group, owner of the RT-mart brand, grew 5.7 percent, reinforcing its market-leading status.
"FMCG in China reported new record recovery", Kantar Worldpanel, December 20, 2017, © Kantar Worldpanel
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MoonPie’s Twitter Strategy Wins A New Generation Of Customers, And Huge Sales

December 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A Tennessee snack cake company that makes only one iconic product – MoonPie – has built a social media reputation, and sales, by being quietly, hilariously funny, especially on Twitter. It carefully crafted a social media strategy to attract younger customers without losing its older base. Its biggest Twitter success, garnering 500,000 likes and 1.1 billion impressions across media channels, was a brief response to competitor Hostess’s Tweeted declaration last August that its Golden Cupcakes were the official snack of the Solar Eclipse. MoonPie’s Tweeted reply was simply “lol ok.” The Tweet not only caught the attention of younger snack cake buyers, it generated huge demand. One month after the “lol ok” Tweet, MoonPie's sales were the highest on record in the company's 100-year history. [Image Credit: © MoonPie ]
Maseena Ziegler, "How MoonPie Became the Unexpected Top Social Media Brand Of 2017", Forbes, December 20, 2017, © Forbes Media LLC
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New Manhattan Bakery Not Exactly Dedicated To Healthful Eating

December 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Apparently, there will always be a market for sweet decadence, even in a time of health-conscious eating. Manhattan’s newly-opened Supermoon Bakehouse is already building a reputation for “quirky croissants” that come in flavors like pecan pie and banana split sundae. Also available is an eggnog cruffin – a croissant-muffin hybrid – filled with an eggnog-nutmeg-rum flavored cream, and popular twice-baked pecan-pie croissant. It’s baked once plain, stuffed with brown-butter pie filling and pecan cream, then again to a crispy flakiness. Not exactly the stuff of a Mediterranean diet. [Image Credit: © Supermoon Bakehouse ]
Hannah Sparks, "These Crazy Croissants are the Ultimate Dessert", New York Post, December 19, 2017, © NYP HOLDINGS, INC
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Big Grocery Chains Can Do A Lot To Reduce Food Waste

December 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Three business and management scholars writing in the Harvard Business Review suggest several ways large food retailers – Kroger, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Carrefour, Walmart, etc. – can help reduce food waste in their supply chain, stores, and communities. The four-pronged strategy includes the following suggestions: upgrade inventory systems with the latest technology; partner with farms, where seven percent of U.S. produce is left unharvested; modify or eliminate traditional store practices that increase waste, e.g., focusing too heavily on the cosmetics of produce; and team up with consumers, only three percent of whom attach a social stigma to throwing away food. [Image Credit: © Walmart ]
Yasemin Y. Kor et al., "How Large Food Retailers Can Help Solve the Food Waste Crisis", Harvard Business Review, December 19, 2017, © Harvard Business School Publishing
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Pork Suppliers Say They Have Greatly Reduced Reliance On Antibiotics

December 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The National Pork Board, which represents the 60,000 pig farmers in the U.S., says its constituents have made great strides in reducing the use of antibiotics while continuing to protect the health and welfare of pigs. Data from the USDA support the progress, says NPB President Terry O'Neel, a Nebraska pig farmer, though figures for antibiotic use are not species-specific. Nevertheless, USDA numbers show that America's pig farmers produced over five million more market hogs in 2016 than in 2009, as market weights increased by 16 pounds. The figures suggest that pig farmers are using far less total antibiotics per pound of pork produced, and are using them in close cooperation with veterinarians to ensure that they are FDA-approved. 
"Antibiotic Use in Farm Animals Drops", AgriNews, December 19, 2017, © agrinews-pubs.com
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Mass. Cage-Free Eggs Law Is Targeted By 13 States In Supreme Court Suit

December 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Led by Indiana, thirteen states have sued Massachusetts in the U.S. Supreme Court to prevent enforcement of a state law that bans the sale of eggs produced by caged chickens, and meats from caged pigs or calves. A similar action is being pursued by states against California and its cage-free law. The plaintiffs claim that Massachusetts is attempting to impose its own regulatory standards on farmers in other states, in violation of the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution. The Massachusetts law defines an overly restrictive cage as one that would prevent an egg-laying hen, breeding pig or calf raised for veal from standing up, turning around or fully extending its limbs.  [Image Credit: © Eggland's Best ]
"13 States Sue to Stop Cage Free Eggs Law in Massachusetts", Daily News, December 18, 2017, via The Associated Press, © The Associated Press
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No Need To Toss Out Sprouted Potatoes: They’re Safe To Eat

December 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
British food scientists have determined that potatoes that have begun to sprout are not harmful to eat and needn’t be thrown away. Noting that people in the U.K. waste £230 million ($311 million) worth of potatoes every year, the scientists at the University of London said consumer only need to cut the sprouts to get them to taste the same as fresher potatoes. Even soft and spongy potatoes are still edible, but may have a slightly different flavor. 
Imogen Blake, "Stop Throwing Them Away! Scientists Chastise Shoppers for Binning Sprouted Potatoes as They Confirm They ARE Edible (and they're Definitely Not Poisonous)", Mail Online, December 18, 2017, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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