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Omnichannel Ad Campaign To Boost Natural And Organic Products

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 17, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 11, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 6, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Colorado-based Einstein Bros. Bagels is launching its “perfect” smartphone app with a rewards program and a one-day offer of a free bagel and shmear with purchase to anyone who shows a restaurant brand's mobile app on their device. To participate, customers need to download the app and sign up for the Shmear Society Rewards program. Members are eligible to enjoy a free egg sandwich with purchase on their birthday and two points for every $1 spent in-store, which can be redeemed at any time for food and beverages at participating locations. Einstein Bros. Bagels is part of the Coffee Bagel Brands family, which includes Caribou Coffee, Bruegger's Bagels, Noah's New York Bagels, and Manhattan Bagel. [Image Credit: © Einstein Bros. Bagels]
"Einstein Bros. Bagels Extends Free Bagel and Shmear to All Restaurant Mobile App Users", PRNewswire, August 06, 2018, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Direct-To-User Model Promises To Do More Than Typical DTC Does

August 6, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Consumer packaged goods companies, whether users of the direct-to-consumer model or not, should focus on evolving from DTC to direct to user. By adopting a DTU approach, brands can expand their horizons when it comes to customer engagement. DTU provides brands the opportunity to avoid retail costs and the need to compete with established brands. Instead of focusing on what users think of a brand, companies should concentrate on what users experience during engagements. Also, a DTU model also offers brands an opportunity to have an uninterrupted exchange with users that can retain and protect user engagement that can help long-term growth. [Image Credit: © Matthews International Corporation]
"How to Create Deeper Connections by Going “Direct to User”", Packaging Europe, August 06, 2018, © Packaging Europe Ltd
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European, Asian Heat Wave Signals Higher Wheat Prices, Smaller Global Stockpiles

August 4, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
The heat wave that is searing Europe and Asia is also scorching forecasts for wheat harvests and driving prices up. North American wheat farmers are likely to benefit from the higher prices just as the Trump tariffs dampen demand for other crops, especially soybeans. The USDA forecasts a significant drop in global wheat stockpiles – the first time in five years – thanks to hot temperatures and drought that stunt the growth of cereals and reduce their quality. Chicago wheat futures hit three-year highs early in August, while a key European benchmark reached a four-year high. The price of Paris-traded milling wheat has soared 33 percent so far this year, which means more expensive animal feed in some regions and possibly more expensive bread. Agricultural analysts say the heat wave is an aberration, some observers predict an eventual shakeup for farming in parts of the world as the prospect of global warming looms.
David Hodari and Benjamin Parkin, "Global Heat Wave Toasts Wheat and Prices Soar", The Wall Street Journal, August 04, 2018, © Dow Jones & Co. Inc
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Dunkin' Donuts Launches First Gluten-Free Pastry: The Fudge Brownie

August 3, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Dunkin' Donuts’ new, gluten-free fudge brownie is made with potato starch instead of wheat flour containing gluten, rendering it safe for anyone who has celiac disease, a wheat allergy, or a gluten intolerance. The brownies are packaged in a plastic wrap, similar to store-bought snack cakes, to guard against gluten contamination in the bakery case. Courier Journal staffers who tried the snack said “there was something different about it,” but not different enough to keep them from trying it again. One reported described the brownie as a dense "sucker punch of chocolate" that was "pretty darn good." [Image Credit: © Dunkin’ Donuts]
Maggie Menderski, "Dunkin' Donuts' gluten-free pastry packs a fudgy punch", Louisville Courier Journal, August 03, 2018, © Louisville Courier Journal, Part of the USA Today Network
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Coca-Cola India Invests In Apple Cultivation For Its Fruit-Based Beverages

August 3, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola India is partnering with an Indo-Dutch agribusiness to expand apple cultivation – via 110 orchards – in the northern hilly state Uttarakhand to locally source pulp for its fruit-based drinks. Project Unnati Apple was created as a catalyst to help India achieve self-sufficiency in apple production. The country ranks second in terms of area under apple cultivation, yet it imports the fruit and its concentrate as the average productivity per hectare is low. Coca-Cola has been investing in fruit-based beverages as consumers worldwide switch to more healthful beverages. In India the company agreed to nearly $2 billion to source fruits locally while diversifying its portfolio. Researcher Euromonitor expects sales of sodas in India grow at 3.4 percent by 2022, half the pace of the previous five years.
Sharleen Dsouza, "Coca-Cola Turns Apple Grower In Push Beyond Sugary Sodas", BloombergQuint, August 03, 2018, © BloombergQuint
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Milling Company Says Its High Fiber Flour is Non-GMO Project Certified

August 2, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Bay State Milling Company’s HealthSense High Fiber Wheat Flour, derived from high amylose wheat, has secured non-GMO Project verification. The Mass.-based company said the wheat combines in one ingredient the benefits of wheat flour taste, the functionality of resistant starch fiber, and traceability to the farm. The company says food manufacturers can replace traditional hard wheat with the HealthSense flour and “close the dietary fiber gap that currently exists in the American diet without a fiber additive.” [Image Credit: © Bay State Milling]
"HealthSense High Fiber Wheat Flour Achieves Non-GMO Project Verified Status", MarketWatch, August 02, 2018, © MarketWatch, Inc
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Wahaha To Introduce Functional Probiotic Beverages For Women, Children, Elderly

August 2, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
China’s Hangzhou Wahaha Group is targeting women, children, and the elderly with three new functional probiotic beverages packaged in sachets. The products contain several probiotic strains, including several Lactobacillus and bifidobacterium strains. The children’s and women’s products contain five types of probiotics and three types of prebiotics (fiber). The product for the elderly claims to help to reduce blood sugar level and promote the absorption of calcium, while the product for women is said to aid detoxification. China accounts for almost half of all probiotic sales in the Asia Pacific region, at $8.3 billion. The Asia Pacific probiotics market is forecast to grow by a CAGR of 8.3 percent over the next seven years, but China will continue to track higher than the average.
Tingmin Koe , "China beverage firm Wahaha to launch new probiotic range as it ramps up health focus ", Nutra-Ingredients, August 02, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Following String Of Acquisition Flops, Starbucks Tries Again With Italian Bakery

August 2, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Starbucks hasn’t had much success in buying and locating companies either within its stores or as stand-alones. One memorable flop was the bakery Boulange. But Starbucks is trying again, and with another bakery: Princi, a small but high-end chain launched in 1968 in Italy that has no U.S. locations yet. Starbucks has committed to making the brand the exclusive food partner at its global Reserve and Roastery locations. A Princi has opened inside the Shanghai Roastery and in the first Reserve store at the Seattle headquarters. Princi will also be included in upcoming Roastery locations in Milan and New York. Starbucks plans only a few Roastery locations around the world, but possibly 1,000 Reserve stores. Stand-alone Princi locations will also open in two major markets: New York and Chicago, where there are Roastery locations. [Image Credit: © Princi.com | Starbucks]
Daniel B. Kline , "As Starbucks Ramps Up A New Bakery Line, It's Hard To Forget Its String Of Second-Brand Failures", Motley Fool, August 02, 2018, © The Motley Fool
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Kraft Heinz Commits To Environmentally-Friendlier Packaging By 2025

August 1, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
The Kraft Heinz Company has committed to making its packaging 100 percent recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025, and it will also work towards reducing the amount of packaging. The CEO, Bernardo Hees, said that the company needs to look at how its greenhouse emissions are generated throughout the supply chain, and not just from direct operations. The initiatives are a part of its ‘Growing a Better World’ program it announced in 2017.[Image Credit: © The Kraft Heinz Company]
Alexandra Deabler, "Kraft Heinz announces 100 percent of packaging will be recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025", Fox News, August 01, 2018, © FOX News Network, LLC.
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The Romaine Lettuce E-Coli Outbreak Highlighted Blockchain Potential For Food Sector

August 1, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Although Blockchain technology is penetrating the supply chains of many industries, the food sector has some catching up to do. The romaine lettuce e-coli outbreak in the U.S. earlier this year highlighted the need for the food industry to improve transparency in supply. Despite efforts from some companies, such as Walmart, to improve food safety procedures, much of the industry remains reliant on paper-based systems. There are a number of hurdles to overcome in switching to digital systems, including the cost, but new technologies like blockchain have the potential to improve safety for businesses and consumers. [Image Credit: © BlackRiv from Pixabay]
Aaron Cohen, "Romaine, Blockchain, and the Future of Food Safety", Food Newsfeed, August 01, 2018, © Journalistic Inc.
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AgTech Firm Sues Walmart, Alleging Illegal Use Of Food Waste Technology

August 1, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Agricultural tech company Zest Labs and its parent company Ecoark Holdings are suing Walmart in federal court for $2 billion, alleging violations of the Arkansas Trade Secrets Act and other offenses. Data created and insights created by Zest Labs’ Zest Fresh technology reduces field to shelf food waste and improves delivered freshness, helping food distributors and retailers reduce the $85 billion problem of fresh food waste. Zest Labs in 2015 helped Walmart adopt the technology, in the process sharing trade secrets. In March 2018, Walmart announced Eden, a technology to keep track of food freshness from farms to stores. Zest Labs says it was “surprised and concerned by how similar Walmart’s Eden description was to Zest Fresh,” triggering the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. [Image Credit: © Zest Labs]
"Ecoark Holdings and Zest Labs File $2 Billion Complaint Against Walmart", Globe Newswire, August 01, 2018, © GlobeNewswire, Inc
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