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Carrefour Expands Blockchain-Enabled Supply Chain Testing To Include Tomatoes

July 11, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Carrefour is expanding its blockchain trial to include Filiere Qualite-branded Cauralina coer de boeuf tomatoes. According to the French retailer, the move is aimed at ensuring the transparency and traceability of its food supply chain. Carrefour has partnered with tomato supplier Les Paysans de Rougeline to support what it describes as “local, innovative and sustainable agriculture.” Blockchain technology allows the creation of a secure digital database, ensuring the integrity of information submitted or changed by users.[Image Credit: © Carrefour]

Mike Knowles, "Carrefour rolls out tomato blockchain trial", Eurofruit, July 11, 2018, © Market Intelligence Ltd - Fruitnet.com
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Companies, Cities Announce Anti-Plastic Straws Plans And Policies

July 11, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Several companies have announced their plans to stop using plastic straws, while a number of towns and cities have revealed proposals to ban single-use plastics and fine firms and organizations that will not comply. Starbucks said it plans to remove all plastic straws from its stores by 2020 and replace them with recyclable plastic lids for cold beverages. Starting September 1, 2018, plastic straws would only be available by request at its hotels, Hyatt said. For its part, Hilton Hotels said it plans to remove plastic straws from 650 locations in 2018.[Image Credit: © PublicDomainPictures]

Erin Corbett , "These 8 Companies Are Ditching Plastic Straws. Here’s How They Are Replacing Them", Fortune.com, July 11, 2018, © Time Inc.
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Specialty Breads Eyes 50-Percent Cut In Plastics Use By 2020

July 10, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Specialty Breads, a company that supplies frozen bread and dough to restaurants, hotels, pubs, cafés and caterers, has announced its plan to reduce by 50 percent its use of single-use plastics by 2020. Also, the company said it aims to use recyclable or recycled packaging, use solar cooling to enhance efficiency of refrigerators, provide sales staff with low emission or hybrid cars, and achieve zero-landfill status for its bakery operations.[Image Credit: © Specialty Breads Ltd]

Vince Bamford, "Speciality Breads aiming to halve single-use plastics", Bakery Info UK, July 10, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Coca-Cola Introduces Functional Probiotic Soft Drink To Japanese Market

July 10, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Coca-Cola Japan has introduced its third product in the “Fanta Double Plus” line of functional soft drinks that contain "vitamins and seasonal ingredients". Limited edition Fanta Yogurtropical, containing vitamin B and “lactic acid bacteria” debuted in July at $1.26 per 16-ounce bottle, and 49 calories per 3.4-ounce serving. The range also includes Fanta Pineapple GABA, containing gamma-aminobutyric acid and vitamin B.

"Coca-Cola Japan's Fanta Yogurtropical - Product Launch", just-drinks.com, July 10, 2018, © just-drinks.com
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US Foods Reformulates Product Lines With Clean Label In Mind

July 9, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Foodservice distributor US Foods Holding Corp. has reformulated its entire line of Metro Deli, Rykoff Sexton, Chef's Line, and Stock Yards Exclusive Brand products to create “clean label” profiles for its restaurant and foodservice customers. The move, a part of its “Unpronounceable List” initiative, was designed to offer products with simple recognizable ingredients by avoiding, removing or replacing more than 80 listed ingredients from 1,000 Exclusive Brand products. These ingredients include artificial flavors, artificial (FD&C) colors, high-fructose corn syrup, disodium guanylate, sodium benzoate, and monosodium glutamate. According to the company’s data, 46 percent of Millennials would be more likely to buy a product with no artificial ingredients. [Image Credit: © US Foods]

"US Foods Introduces Clean Labels Across Four of the Company's Exclusive Brands; More than 1,000 Products Now Include Simple, More Recognizable Ingredients", Business Wire, July 09, 2018, © Business Wire, Inc
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Company’s Advanced Monitoring Technology Ensures Food Freshness

July 9, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
California-based Zest Labs, a specialist in food monitoring technologies, is marketing its Zest Fresh solution using analytics and data to determine the remaining freshness of transported food and to enable proactive decision-making throughout the supply chain. Zest Fresh reduces or eliminate waste at its source by harnessing the right data at the right time – in the field at harvest, for example, in the case of fresh produce. The technology uses a “freshness metric" dubbed the Zest Intelligent Pallet Routing (ZIPR) Code to provide growers, shippers and retailers with the actual remaining shelf life of food products, including meat, poultry, and fish. This enables intelligent routing that ensures each pallet meets the retailer’s freshness requirements. [Image Credit: © Zest Labs]
"Zest Labs Seeks to Prevent Food Waste at Harvest Level by Using IoT Technology", waste360.com, July 09, 2018, © Informa USA, Inc.
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Company’s Advanced Monitoring Technology Ensures Food Freshness

July 9, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
California-based Zest Labs, a specialist in food monitoring technologies, is marketing its Zest Fresh solution using analytics and data to determine the remaining freshness of transported food and to enable proactive decision-making throughout the supply chain. Zest Fresh reduces or eliminate waste at its source by harnessing the right data at the right time – in the field at harvest, for example, in the case of fresh produce. The technology uses a “freshness metric" dubbed the Zest Intelligent Pallet Routing (ZIPR) Code to provide growers, shippers and retailers with the actual remaining shelf life of food products, including meat, poultry, and fish. This enables intelligent routing that ensures each pallet meets the retailer’s freshness requirements. [Image Credit: © Zest Labs]
"Zest Labs Seeks to Prevent Food Waste at Harvest Level by Using IoT Technology", waste360.com, July 09, 2018, © Informa USA, Inc.
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Mock-Meats Maker Says Its Products Are Strictly Clean Label

July 9, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Ashville, N.C.-based start-up No Evil Foods hopes to differentiate itself from makers of “mock-meats” that use highly-processed ingredients and protein isolates. The company has applied clean label principles to the production of plant-based meat products that are small batch and sustainable. Instead of isolated proteins, the company uses a chickpea and European wheat flour base that is texturized and seasoned to make four products. The portfolio includes Comrade Cluck vegan chicken, a chorizo sausage, an Italian sausage that comes in links, and smoked pulled pork barbeque. The mock-meats are very low fat – they contain no added fats or oils – are cholesterol free, and protein-rich. [Image Credit: © No Evil Foods]

"No Evil Foods' mock meats marry plant-based and clean-label trends", FoodNavigator-USA.com, July 09, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Starbucks Says Goodbye To Plastic Straws, Says Hello To Earth-Friendly Lids

July 9, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Coffeeshop chain Starbucks has announced plans to stop using plastic straws at its more than 28,000 locations worldwide by 2020. Part of the company’s efforts to reduce waste and protect the environment, the move will also see Starbucks replacing plastic straws with the recyclable lid developed by Emily Alexander, an engineer at the chain’s Global Research and Development. At present, the recyclable lids are used for some drinks, including Draft Nitro and Cold Foam in more than 8,000 locations in the US and Canada. These lids will be used for all iced drinks, the company said, except Frappuccino, which will have a straw made from paper or compostable plastic made from fermented plant starch or other environment-friendly material.[Image Credit: © Starbucks Corporation]

Bonnie Rochman , "Straws are out, lids are in: Starbucks announces environmental milestone", Starbucks Newsroom, July 09, 2018, © Starbucks Corporation
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India’s Kerala State Taps Blockchain, IoT To Upgrade Food Supply Chain

July 8, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

In India, the state of Kerala is planning to use a combination of blockchain technology and the Internet of Things to improve its food supply, including milk, vegetable, and fish. Being implemented through the state’s Kerala Development and Innovation Strategic Council, the program aims to use separate ID tags for each food shipment to keep track of food products across the supply chain. To ensure fast and reliable delivery and prevent food waste, each part of the supply chain will include radio frequency identification or RFID tags integrated with mobile apps. 

Toshendra Kumar Sharma , "Kerala to use Blockchain Technology for Food Supply", Blockchain Council, July 08, 2018, © Blockchain Council
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Sales Growth Of Natural, Organic Foods Outpaces Industry

July 6, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

The SPINS data service for the organic products industry finds that natural food and beverage sales growth is outpacing growth for conventional foods nationally. Some of the differences in sales growth are “striking,” the company said. For the year ending May 20, sales growth was nine percent, compared to 0.6 percent for the food industry overall. In the Mid-South, overall food product growth was only 1.7 percent, but nine percent for natural food and beverages. Market penetration of natural foods and beverages varies by region: 13.1 percent of the market in California, but only 5.5 percent in the four-state South Central region (Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas). SPINS said the fast-rising consumer demand is prompting major conventional grocery chains to “raise their good food game,” and is putting pressure on other competitors. [Image Credit: © Whole Foods Market]

"Every U.S. region seeing serious growth in natural food and beverage sales", NewHope, July 06, 2018, © Informa USA, Inc.
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Expenditures On Food Waste Reduction Significantly Reduce Operating Costs

July 6, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
The Champions 12.3 organization has determined that every dollar food service operators spend on programs to curb food waste results in a six-dollar reduction in operating costs. Researchers looked at financial cost and benefit data for 86 sites – including hospitals, schools, sports arenas, and similar facilities – in six countries and found that within one year, the sites had reduced food waste by 36 percent on average, and 64 percent had recouped their investment. The food service operators involved in the study invested in various food waste reduction programs, including purchasing smart scales or similar technology to measure their food waste, training staff in measurement and techniques to reduce waste, and redesigning menus. Seventy-nine percent of sites were able to keep their total investment in food waste reduction below $10,000.
Mike Buzalka, "Report: $1 investment on food waste reduction saves $6", Food Management (Penton), July 06, 2018, © Informa business
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Expenditures On Food Waste Reduction Significantly Reduce Operating Costs

July 6, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
The Champions 12.3 organization has determined that every dollar food service operators spend on programs to curb food waste results in a six-dollar reduction in operating costs. Researchers looked at financial cost and benefit data for 86 sites – including hospitals, schools, sports arenas, and similar facilities – in six countries and found that within one year, the sites had reduced food waste by 36 percent on average, and 64 percent had recouped their investment. The food service operators involved in the study invested in various food waste reduction programs, including purchasing smart scales or similar technology to measure their food waste, training staff in measurement and techniques to reduce waste, and redesigning menus. Seventy-nine percent of sites were able to keep their total investment in food waste reduction below $10,000.
Mike Buzalka, "Report: $1 investment on food waste reduction saves $6", Food Management (Penton), July 06, 2018, © Informa business
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GacLife Functional Water Based On Southeast Asian Fruit Debuts Soon In U.S. Fitness Market

July 5, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
California start-up GacLife next month will introduce its eponymous functional still and sparkling water infused with  Southeast Asian gac, an orange fruit rich in the antioxidant beta-carotene and lycopene. The “rare superfruit” was created by entrepreneur Yin Zou as “a response to severe skin irritants and eye troubles we experience daily due to digital burnout.” The product is available in 12-oz bottles, each containing 20 milligrams of carotenoids, “the equivalent of one head of cabbage, five large tomatoes, 15 large carrots and 30 bunches of spinach.” The drink has 15 calories per bottle, no added or artificial sugars, and is available in lemon, pineapple, peach, sparkling mango, sparkling lemon, and sparkling passion fruit flavors.
Beth Newhart, "Rare Asian ‘superfruit’ shines in new line of functional, flavored water", Beverage Daily, July 05, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Israeli Firm Develops Flavor Agent To Replace MSG

July 5, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Israeli food company Salt of the Earth has replaced flavoring ingredient monosodium glutamate (MSG) in its ranch dressing with an all-natural sodium-reduction ingredient based on vegetable extracts and sea salt. Mediterranean Umami was tested in many ranch dressing formulations. The tests resulted in a compound that maintained the true flavor of Ranch dressing, but with 30 percent less sodium, and no MSG or yeast extracts. According to the company, MSG leads to “Chinese restaurant syndrome,” a group of symptoms now known as MSG Symptom Complex. They can include headache, skin flushing, and sweating. Mediterranean Umami does not trigger side-effects and is a clean-label product evoking no negative consumer health reactions, the company says. [Image Credit: © Salt of the Earth]

"Healthier Savory Dishes With All-natural Mediterranean Umami; Replacing MSG in Ranch Dressing--Naturally", PR Newswire, July 05, 2018, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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SMC Nutrition Uses Blockchain Service To Offer Supply Chain Transparency And Prevent Food Fraud

July 4, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Singapore-based food company SMC Nutrition is using a distributed ledger, which is hosted on a blockchain-based service developed by security services provider Certis Group. Designed to provide business partners and consumers access to information about the company’s supply chain, the system lets consumers see the information by scanning QR codes found on the food company’s products. According to Fuji Foo, VP for business digitization, the system is fraud-proof because only suppliers and distributors are granted control and access to the information.

Kimberly Chua, "Singapore company turns to blockchain to improve food security", Computer Weekly, July 04, 2018, © TechTarget
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Coca-Cola Readies Seed-Based Breakfast Drink For Belgian Consumers

July 4, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
A Belgian newspaper reports that Coca-Cola has developed a plant-based, lactose-free breakfast drink at a lab in Brussels. AdeZ is a reworking of the brand name Ades – short for Alimentos de Semilla (“foods based on seeds”) – a popular South American line acquired last year. The product being developed for the Belgian market comprises six flavors formulated with seeds, nuts, and fruit. It will debut in August.
Alan Hope, "Coke lab in Anderlecht working on breakfast soft drink", The Brussels Times, July 04, 2018, © The Brussels Times
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Donut Monster Entrepreneur Puts Experience As A Chef To Work

July 3, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

An alumnus chef from Milwaukee’s Ardent restaurant has built a business by building a better doughnut to please his – at the time – eight-months pregnant wife. Former chef de cuisine at Ardent, Jackie Lee Woods applies his knowledge, experience and good taste to his doughnut business, dubbed Donut Monster. Woods looks for ingredients (many of them organic) that meet his standards, then tests and retests recipes. The business sells three basic styles of doughnut: old-fashioned, cake, and yeast, with a richer brioche-like dough. The rest of the product line is built on those basics. Current flavors include cherry cheesecake, lemon-butter glaze, and peanut butter and jelly with a Concord grape glaze and peanut butter buttercream filling. ][Image Credit: © Donut Monster (Milwaukee]

Carol Deptolla, "Donut Monster: Building a better doughnut", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel , July 03, 2018, © jsonline.com
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Olam’s Technology Empowers Farmers, Gives Them Real-Time Access To Information

July 3, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Commodities company Olam’s Olam Farmer Information System is helping farmers innovate and increase their production. For example, Olam’s technology puts farmers, such as Ghana cocoa farmer Muhammed Adams, in touch with agricultural experts. From them, Adams learned that he did not have to use pesticides when he had an outbreak of disease. To make customized recommendations to farmers, the OFIS app gathers farm data and uses algorithms. Also, Olam apps let farmers monitor products when leaving the farm and enable them to check product prices and trade online. [Image Credit: © Olam International]


Jessica Bown, "The trick that turned seven bags of cocoa into 25", BBC, July 03, 2018, © BBC
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Coffee Company Uses Blockchain Technology To Return Some Of The Purchase Price To Farmers

July 3, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
According to fledgling coffee brand Token, the majority of the world’s 25 million smallholder coffee farmers have a tough time covering the cost of production, let alone accounting for social and environmental costs. Token hopes to remedy that problem by using blockchain (distributed ledger) technology to connect coffee drinkers in the West with the communities that produce the coffee. Each package of Token coffee contains a token worth $0.59 – an amount the company says it is willing to spend on marketing. Buyers can take the money to blockchain-based platform KrypC Technologies to use as a discount on coffee, or as an investment in Token or the farmers that produce their coffee. The Token initiative is a partnership with the FairChain Foundation and the FairChain roaster Moyee Coffee.
"Blockchain coffee: Token builds a “community-owned” coffee brand", Food Ingredients 1st, July 03, 2018, © CNS Media BV
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College Friends Create Winning Recipe For Low-Sugar, High-Protein Doughnut

July 2, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Doughnut-loving alumni of the University of Texas have launched a company whose mission is to market a delicious but low-sugar, gluten-free, keto-friendly, and protein-rich doughnut. Elite Sweets’ founders were either studying sports management or playing football, and all shared a passion for doughnuts – healthful ones if possible – and a dream of entrepreneurship. They developed the basic recipe in 2017, and since then have come up with four flavors that are sold online and in several Austin shops. All of their offerings are low in sugar: the cinnamon sugar version, said to be the most popular, contains two grams of sugar and 17 grams of protein. [Image Credit: © Elite Sweets]

Meara Isenberg, "Alumni launch protein-packed donut company", The Daily Texan: University of Texas - Austin, July 02, 2018, © Texas Student Media
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Chipotle Looks At Technology To Revive Sales Hammered By Outbreak

July 2, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Chipotle is using technology to recover from a sales slump caused by an E. coli outbreak. One of the restaurant chain’s locations in New York City has functioned as a test site for many of the innovations Chipotle has implemented. According to the company, one of the biggest changes involved the company’s mobile ordering. Previously, customers have complained that its mobile ordering was confusing and came with wait times that could be as long as 45 minutes. Chipotle is using bold signs to help lead customers to mobile pick-up shelves and has reduced wait time to 12 minutes. Mobile orders account for 8.8 percent of sales, an increase of 40 percent from 2016 to 2017.[Image Credit: © Chipotle Mexican Grill ]


Hollis Johnson and Kate Taylor, "We visited the Chipotle of the future. Here's what it's like", Business Insider, July 02, 2018, © Insider Inc.
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FSA Tests Blockchain As Regulatory Tool, Completes Pilot In Slaughterhouse

July 2, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

UK’s Food Standard Agency has completed a trial program involving the use of blockchain technology as a regulatory tool in a cattle slaughterhouse. Aimed at improving transparency in the food supply chain, the pilot allowed both FSA staff and the slaughterhouse to access data. According to the FSA, the agency will implement the same program in other food production plants.[Image Credit: © FOOD.GOV.UK]


Ana Alexandre, "UK Food Standard Agency Completes Blockchain Pilot for Food Supply Chain", Cointelegraph, July 02, 2018, © Cointelegraph
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Pizza Chain Debuts Cheese-Stuffed “Dough Knots”

July 2, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

National pizza chain Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza has introduced what it calls a “modern twist on traditional breadsticks.” Dough Knots are made-to-order and hand-stretched, filled with mozzarella, garlic, and pesto, baked and served with a red sauce. Available at the chain’s 270 locations in the U.S. and Canada, Dough Knots are offered in orders of two or four. They can also be purchased at $1.95 for 2 and $2.95 for 4. To promote the new item, the company is giving away more than two million Dough Knots. Customers enrolled in Blaze's loyalty mobile app or email programs will receive two free Dough Knots with the purchase of any pizza. [Image Credit: © Blaze Pizza LLC]

"Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza Launches House-made Dough Knots", GlobeNewswire , July 02, 2018, © GlobeNewswire, Inc.
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Half Of Americans Worry About Health Impact Of GMO Ingredients

July 2, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Research from the International Food Information Council shows that labels proposed by the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service to disclose “bioengineered” (BE) foods “dramatically increase a wide variety of consumer concerns.” The IFIC Foundation tested reactions to the three BE labeling symbols and two variations of text disclosures. Consumers were shown bottles of canola oil without any BE logo or text, with symbols (like a “plant”), with a symbol plus “bioengineered” in text, and with a symbol plus “may be bioengineered” in text. Half of the consumers had “human health concerns” when shown the BE “plant” symbol. The number rose to 51 percent when text was added to indicate that the product was “bioengineered,” and to 57 percent when “may be bioengineered” was added to the “plant” symbol. [Image Credit: © IFIC]

"Survey: Nearly Half of U.S. Consumers Avoid GMO Foods; Large Majority Primarily Concerned About Human Health Impact ", Food Insight, July 02, 2018, © International Food Information Council
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PCC Community Markets Says To Remove Plastics From Delis by 2022

July 2, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Food co-op PCC Community Markets has promised to stop using plastics in its delis by 2022. At present, the company uses more than 5 million plastic packaging containers every year. According to PCC, it plans to replace plastic packaging with biodegradable compostable containers. In 2015, the company replaced plastic straws and utensils with compostable alternatives. [Image Credit: © Puget Consumers Co-op]

Michael Browne, "PCC to eliminate plastic in delis by 2022", Supermarket News, July 02, 2018, © Informa USA Inc
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Company Expands Production Facilities As Demand For Plant-Based Meats Soars

July 1, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Responding to what it calls “surging demand for its meat-free burgers,” California’s Beyond Meat, which produces Beyond Burger and Beyond Sausage, is opening a second factory in Columbia, Mo., that will add 250 jobs to its operations in the state. The new plant will expand production capacity from 30,000 sq. ft. to 100,000. Beyond Burger, launched in 2016, is made entirely from plants without GMOs, soy, or gluten. The Beyond Sausage line was launched late in 2017. The company has customers in Europe, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Chile, Israel, UAE, South Korea, Taiwan, and South Africa.  [Image Credit: © Beyond Meat]

"Beyond Meat opens second factory, creates 250 jobs, as demand for meat-free burgers soars", just-food global news, July 01, 2018, © just-food.com
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Blockchain’s Innovative Features Whet Restaurants’ Appetite For Safety And Openness

July 1, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Restaurant companies are trying blockchain applications to manage their various operations, including customer loyalty programs and supply chains. For example, Chanticleer Holdings uses blockchain, which is a digital, peer-to-peer technology designed to store encrypted data and protect it from fraud, to manage its loyalty program. With blockchain, the company is letting customers earn points and rewards across its restaurant brands. Closely linked to the cryptocurrency bitcoin, blockchain lets users share and access data through a decentralized system that is both open and anonymous. However, developers can add safeguards and safety parameters to the technology. 

Kevin Hardy, "Explaining the Rise of Blockchain in Restaurants", QSR Magazine, July 01, 2018, © Journalistic, Inc
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Blockchain Works To Improve Food Safety, Benefits Farmers

June 30, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Blockchain technology has some positive impact on farming and the food industry. By integrating blockchain into the food industry’s supply chain, food safety scares can be easily detected, and their origin determined. Blockchain can also help prevent food fraud by making it easier to identify ingredients of finished products. Also, by removing paper-based processes and middlemen from the process, bitcoin can help lower food prices while improving farmers’ income.

Connor Blenkinsop, "Blockchain's Impact on Food and Farming, Explained", Cointelegraph, June 30, 2018, © Cointelegraph
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Student’s Invention Helps Fight Food Waste At Home

June 29, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Eleven-year-old British student Rumaan Malik didn’t like it when apples went bad while sitting in the fruit bowl at home. Concerned about wasted food, she invented what she calls the “Alarm Cup,” in the process winning online supermarket Ocado’s Food Waste Challenge award. The grocer then partnered with design website, Little Inventors, to create a prototype of the cup.  Her invention sounds an alarm before the fruit goes bad, thereby keeping it out of the trash. The cup also has a small touchscreen display with icons for different produce, and recipes such as apple crumble and banana bread that put aging fruits to good use. [Image Credit: © LittleInventors.org]
"Eleven-year-old girl's groundbreaking invention could help reduce food waste; Some £13bn-worth of food is binned annually", The Independent (United Kingdom), June 29, 2018, © Independent Digital News and Media Ltd
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Dairy Farmers Can Turn Waste Products Into Electricity, Methane Gas

June 29, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

A recent podcast sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation presented ideas for recycling inedible products from dairy farms. One farmer in Pennsylvania, for example, who is participating in the No Taste for Waste campaign uses an anaerobic digester – the original purpose was to reduce odor –  to recycle food waste into enough electric power and methane to supply the farm and roughly 100 other homes. It’s a better way to deal with waste than sending it to a landfill. But another solution is to, whenever possible, channel surplus food “to those that are less fortunate” and to animal feed processors. [Image Credit: © Univ. of Minnesota Extension]

Micheal Clements, "Farms Can Help Reduce Food Waste", American Farm Bureau Federation, June 29, 2018, © American Farm Bureau Federation
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International Companies Urge India’s Maharashtra State To Ease Plastic Ban

June 29, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Multinational corporations, including Amazon and H&M, are reportedly urging the state of Maharashtra in India to relax its recently approved ban on single-use plastic. Coming after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign for an end to the use of single-use plastic in the country by 2022, the state’s move is expected to raise operating costs for companies. Retailers and beverage manufactures are among companies that use plastic packaging. Business groups, including the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, have called on the government to soften its anti-plastic policies.[Image Credit: © Hans Braxmeier]

"Amazon, H&M Pressing to Soften India's Plastic Ban", The Business of Fashion, June 29, 2018, © The Business of Fashion
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Flourishing Remote Bakeries In Maine Symbolize The State’s “Work Ethic”

June 28, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
People looking for quality baked goods are not daunted by out-of-the-way bakery locations. Robin Chase of Whitefield, Maine, is a classic example of that truism. After spending 40 years baking and selling her wares at local farmers markets, she opened a retail bakery shop in the old milk room in her barn. A display case there is packed with Danish pastry, bars, cookies, doughnuts, pies and loaves of bread. Customers are more than happy to search out the Chase Farm Bakery. According to a Maine economic development official, it’s something of a tradition in “a small-business state” teeming with “literally tens of thousands of examples” of flourishing home-based enterprises. “It's a sign of a strong economy and a sign of Maine's work ethic," says Douglas Ray. [Image Credit: © Chase Farm Bakery]
Jessica Lowell, "Small bakery businesses on the rise in rural locations around Maine", Portland Press Herald, June 28, 2018, © Press Herald
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“Frankenfoods” Stitch Together Fast Food Items That Customers Already Love

June 28, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Reporter Paul R. La Monica says the trend toward “Frankenfoods” – “gimmicky culinary concoctions” – began eight years ago (“arguably”) with KFC’s calorie-packed Double Down sandwich comprising bacon, cheese, and sauce held together by two pieces of fried chicken instead of bread. The trend continues today, the latest example being the Dunkin' Donuts contrivance known as donut fries: crispy pieces of doughnut dough dusted with cinnamon sugar and served in a French fries-style box. Other examples include Burger King's Whopperito, Mac and Cheetos, Nacho Fries, Doritos Locos Tacos, bacon shakes, and chicken rings. More are on the way. The idea, La Monica notes, is “to generate buzz with creations that often combine things people already like.” [Image Credit: © Dunkin’ Donuts]

Paul R. La Monica, "Why fast food chains sell Frankenfood", CNN Wire, June 28, 2018, © Cable News Network. A Time Warner Company.
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High-Tech Indoor Farms Promise Improved, Better-Tasting Produce

June 28, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Business startups, including Bowery farming, AeroFarms, and Lettuce Networks, are using data and artificial intelligence to operate indoor food farms more efficiently than conventional farms. Also, these companies keep their farms small-scale and locate them near population centers. Described by some experts as distributed farming, these indoor food farms are designed to provide food for more people, while keeping their environmental impact less than those of traditional, large-scale farms. Compared with conventional farms, these “unscaled farms” offer better produce, with food grown and harvested near urban centers. Investors believe indoor farms are the future of farming, with about $2 billion invested in hundreds of farming technology startups since 2013.
Kevin Maney, "Why You Should Hope Your Next Tomato’s Grown Indoors by Robots", Strategy+business, June 28, 2018, © PwC
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Europe’s Food Safety Agency Agrees With Unilever: Black Tea Improves Attention

June 26, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever announced that it is the first company to earn a positive scientific opinion from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that validates the claim that black tea improves attention – “the ability to concentrate on, filter, and utilize incoming sensory information,” according to Unilever scientist Amelia Jarman. The company conducted three studies with volunteers who drank either black tea, tea-flavored water or colored water. After drinking black tea, attention scores were higher. One of the company’s studies showed that the stronger the tea, the higher the attention scores. The European Commission will review the EFSA opinion to determine whether Unilever will be granted exclusive rights to use the health claim for five years.
"Unilever receives positive opinion on health claim for tea from the EFSA", Unilever, June 26, 2018, © Unilever
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Eco-Friendly And Healthful: Nutrition Bar Dough Is A Product For Our Times

June 26, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Two twenty-something friends who attended rival colleges in Iowa launched a start-up (in Colorado) that makes bake-your-own nutrition bar dough packaged in eco-friendly recyclable tubs. The tubs are meant to help reduce waste associated with protein and nutrition bar wrappers often made from plastic foil or plastic-infused paper. Customers of Unwrapp’d will eventually be able to return the jars to the company to be refilled instead of recycled. The dough comes in four flavors – cookie dough, peanut butter chocolate chip, mint chocolate, and banana nut muffin – enough in each refrigerated tub for 20 1/2-ounce portions or seven bars for $9.99. Ingredients include dates and nuts like cashews, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, and coconut flour. The tubs stay fresh for five months in the fridge, but founders Reed McIntyre and Tom Miner say eating it at room temperature is just fine. Register][Image Credit: © Unwrapp'd | Des Moines (Iowa]

Brian Taylor Carlson, "Iowa college rivals unite to unleash eco-conscious energy bars at Ankeny Hy-Vee store", Des Moines Register, June 26, 2018, © www.desmoinesregister.com
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Whole Grains Make A Healthful Salad Topper

June 26, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Whole grains – including ancient grains like barley, farro, and quinoa – are not just for baking, according to food writer Diane Peterson. They make healthful additions to salads because they boost fiber and protein in their diet, and help diners feel full longer, lose weight and ward off disease. They are, in fact, “a tasty way to add flavor and a nice chew to summer salads.” The chef at Zoftig restaurant in Santa Rosa, Calif., uses only organic whole grains – brown rice, semi-pearled farro from Italy and white quinoa from Peru – in salads as well as in the popular Korean burrito wrap. A Middle Eastern-style Maccabi Bowl [left] features housemade hummus, smoky baba ganoush, and a beet dip served with whole-wheat chips, olives and tabbouleh made not with bulgur wheat but Italian farro, mixed together with the traditional blend of cucumber, herbs, parsley, green onions, olive oil and vinegar. ][Image Credit: © John Burgess | The Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, Calif.]
Diane Peterson, "Whole grains add heft to summer salads", The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, Calif., June 26, 2018, © The Press Democrat
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Blockchain-Based App Helps Atlanta Businesses Reduce Food Waste

June 24, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

A technology that allows distribution – but not copying – of digital information, blockchain was originally devised for the digital currency Bitcoin. Now a food waste management company in the Atlanta, Ga., area is using a blockchain-based app to connect businesses with local charities to ease deliveries of leftover food. The idea behind the Goodr app is to reduce food waste by providing data about what types of surplus food app users are producing. The Goodr app keeps a data ledger for clients showing how much food is wasted, and where they might be losing money. Data indicate what food gets wasted the most, what the community connections are, and how the environment is affected. Goodr hopes to expand to Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Miami, Dallas, Houston and San Francisco by the end of 2019.

Gillian Brassil, "Meet Goodr, the company using blockchain technology to reduce food waste", CNBC, June 24, 2018, © CNBC LLC
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Cut Back On Plastic Packaging, Leading Manufacturers Hear From As You Sow

June 22, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

As You Sow, a nonprofit group representing 25 investment companies managing more than $1 trillion in assets, has called on Nestle SA, PepsiCo Inc., Procter & Gamble Co., and Unilever NV, to reduce their use of plastic in packaging of their products. Signed by investment managers, including Hermes Investment Management and Impax Asset Management, the initiative calls plastic packaging damaging to the environment. Companies should reveal their annual use of plastic packaging, establish goals for reducing plastic packaging, and exert efforts to recycle plastic packaging, the group said.[Image Credit: © Emilian Robert Vicol]

Emily Chasan, "Investors Demand Nestle, Pepsi and Others Cut Plastic Use", Bloomberg, June 22, 2018, © Bloomberg LP
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British Meal Powder Import Claims U.S. Market Success

June 21, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

A British company whose mission three years ago was to create a “nutritionally complete, convenient, affordable food” with minimum environmental impact, says its plant-based powdered meals are succeeding in the U.S. because they are clean label, healthful, and help eliminate food waste and hunger. Huel claims to have sold more than 17 million meals – $10 million in sales – since its debut here last summer. The company says its product is not a supplement like other powders, but a complete food that contains all the proteins, carbs and fats needed in addition to 100 percent of the FDA's "Daily Values" of all 27 essential vitamins and minerals. Huel blends oats, pea protein, flaxseed, brown rice protein, medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) from coconut, and other ingredients. The powder sells for $66 for two bags (28 meals total, 14 per bag, only $2.36/meal). [Image Credit: © Huel]

"New Category of Food Cleans Up American Diets", PR Newswire, June 21, 2018, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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New App Helps Reduce Food Waste With Smart Shopping, Storage, Cooking

June 20, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Silicon Valley-based Chefling, Inc., has created a smartphone app that helps consumers minimize daily food waste. Available now on the App Store and Google Play, the app includes food inventory organization, intuitive recipe suggestion, and shopping list management. According to the company, consumers using the app can track and make the most out of recently purchased and existing ingredients in the pantry. The app monitors the freshness of added foods, notifies the consumer when foods are about to expire, and suggests recipes for the foods already purchased. The app also features integration with voice assistant devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home: it will add foods to a shopping list and provide step-by-step cooking instructions. [Image Credit: © Chefling, Inc.]

"Chefling App Provides Consumers with a Simple Way to Minimize Food Waste with Intuitive Recipe Suggestions", PR Newswire, June 20, 2018, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Chicago Restaurant Chain Plans To Stop Using Plastic Straws

June 20, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Chicago-based restaurant chain operator Lettuce Entertain You Enterprise said it plans to stop using plastic straws by October 1, 2018. With more than 100 local restaurants and bars having committed support for the Shedd Aquarium’s “Shedd the Straw” campaign, the company’s support for the movement could speed up the elimination of plastic straws. Popular among restaurants and similar establishments, plastic straws are not easily recycled and usually end up in the ocean. [Image Credit: © LETTUCE ENTERTAIN YOU ® ENTERPRISES]
Greg Trotter, "Lettuce Entertain You restaurant empire to phase out plastic straws at its 120 restaurants", Chicago Tribune, June 20, 2018, © tronc
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EU Clarifies Rules On Surplus Food Used As Animal Feed

June 19, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Surplus food cannot be categorized as food waste when it is used as animal feed, according to revised European Union rules known as the Waste Framework Directive. Substances already covered by feed legislation would not be unnecessarily included in the scope of waste legislation, a clarification advocated by the trade group European Former Foodstuff Processors Association (EFFPA), which represents companies that turn foodstuffs into animal feed. According to an EFFPA representative, under the old rules Europe-wide processors of surplus food occasionally would have had their operations interrupted by environmental control authorities who incorrectly interpreted former foodstuffs as a waste. [Image Credit: © Europa.eu]

Jane Byrne, "Legal clarity for surplus food used in feed", FeedNavigator.com, June 19, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Calif. Bakeries Feature Mexican-American Desserts

June 16, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Two new California bakeries are offering smaller, single-serve Mexican-American desserts along with their usual wedding and birthday cakes. Fresno’s Callejas Cakes specializes in cakes of all kinds – tres leches, German chocolate, red velvet, champagne, etc. – but also tiramisu, cheesecake slices, Danishes with all kinds of fillings, cannoli, and many different cookies: butter, crunchy pink strawberry, Mexican wedding cookies and rugelach: triangular rolls of cream cheese dough filled with apple or raspberry. Also in Fresno is Mi Panaderia La Michoacana, which sells a variety of Mexican foods and pastries, as well as gelatinas: cakes with multiple layers of gelatine with green and pink Jello-o cubes suspended with fruit. [Image Credit: © The Fresno Bee | Bethany Clough]

Bethany Clough, "Ever try gelatina? How about rugelach? Two new Mexican bakeries making these and more", Fresno Bee (California), June 16, 2018, © The Fresno Bee
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McDonald's In The UK To Phase Out Plastic Straws

June 15, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

McDonald’s in the UK will start using recyclable paper straws later this year, with plastic straws withdrawn completely next year. The company in the UK uses some 1.8 million straws each day, and the move follows a two-month trial at certain UK restaurants. It also follows a similar announcement by UK supermarket chain Waitrose. McDonald’s in other countries, including France, Norway, Sweden and the US, are expected to run trials later this year in their own efforts to find schemes to eliminate plastic straws.[Image Credit: © Manfred Richter ]

Adam Vaughan, "McDonald's to switch to paper straws in UK after customer campaign", The Guardian, June 15, 2018, © Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies
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Does Adding Fiber To A Brownie Make It More Healthful Than A Peach?

June 15, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

As the FDA continues to review health claims related to added fiber, and continues to approve ingredients that boost fiber content, critics wonder whether food companies are distorting notions of what’s really healthful. The founder of the candy company Smart Sweets said its fiber-laden gummy bears are a way for people to "feel good about enjoying candy." The trend got started when the agency ruled in 2016 rule that added fibers need to provide a health benefit beyond just adding a non-digestible carbohydrate. Though the FDA recently rejected two fiber ingredient petitions, it approved eight that can be counted as fiber. The consumer advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest says added fiber creates situations where, for example, a consumer might choose a brownie over a peach because the brownie might have more fiber. [Image Credit: © ESHA.com]

Candice Choi , "Fiber optics? Range of ingredients bulk up food fiber counts", Associated Press International, June 15, 2018, © The Associated Press
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The Power Of Digital Is Driving Coca-Cola’s “Consumer-Centric” Strategy

June 15, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

At the Consumer Goods Forum in Singapore recently Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey emphasized his company’s commitment to a digital and ecommerce future when he noted that digital will put Coke products “within a click’s reach of desire.” He cited as evidence what’s happening in China, where there are four times as many mobile users as in the U.S., and “rapid and exponential growth” in digital technologies is driving change in Asia’s beverage industry. Quincey said the strategy of creating a consumer-centric product portfolio is based on making Coke products a part of peoples’ lives by offering the brands they want in the package sizes they prefer. Digital tools will make that happen.

"Coke should be ‘within a click’s reach’ of consumers, CEO says", FoodBev.com, June 15, 2018, © FoodBev Media Ltd
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Coca-Cola Ponders Bid For GSK’s Horlicks Malted Beverage Brand

June 15, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Coca-Cola may be looking to solidify its commitment to India as it contemplates a bid for children’s malted drink brand Horlicks, marketed in India by pharmaceuticals company GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, which has a 72.5 percent stake. Nestlé and Kraft Heinz are also thought to be considering a bid for the 145-year-old $3.3 billion Chicago-based brand. Coca-Cola is committed to offering more healthful beverage options in India beyond soft drinks and expects to invest $1.7 billion there through 2023 developing region-specific juices made from native fruits. 

"Coca-Cola, Nestlé and Kraft Heinz eyeing GSK’s Horlicks – reports", FoodBev.com, June 15, 2018, © FoodBev Media Ltd
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Cronut Inventor’s Latest Creation Is Shaped Like A Shot Glass

June 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Dominique Ansel, N.Y.-based inventor of the croissant-doughnut hybrid known as the cronut, has come up with a new treat that may rival the popularity of that durable dessert. The cookie shot requires two hands: one to pour in the Tahitian vanilla milk and one to hold the palm-size chocolate chip cookie shaped like a shot glass. The milk is cold-infused with vanilla beans for 24 hours; the “shot glass” cookie comes cold, making it easy to eat. A London bakery says it is selling “hundreds” of the treats. It is, according to food writer Morwenna Ferrier, “the cuteification of an adult thing, the shot glass” and “a power move” to make something "bad" into something good. [Image Credit: © Nan Palmero | Flickr]

Morwenna Ferrier, "The cookie shot: sweet, messy and joyous", The Guardian (London), June 14, 2018, © Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies
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