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Feds Crack Down On Misleading Social Media Celebrity Product Endorsements

May 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The Federal Trade Commission has warned companies that use celebrity endorsers on social media – notably Instagram – must disclose that the endorsements, which include photos of celebrities displaying products, are paid and not voluntary. The agency sent 90 letters to brand holders and endorsers allegedly in violation of federal law. Companies notified included dietary supplement firms, personal care brands, food companies and consumer goods companies like Adidas and Puma. Endorsers included Heidi Klum, Naomi Campbell, Allen Iverson, Jennifer Lopez, and former NFLer James Harrison. FTC guidelines say a company that has a “business relationship” with a celebrity endorser should “clearly and conspicuously” disclose that relationship in the endorsement ad. [Image Credit: © FTC.gov]
Hank Schultz, "FTC Tells Companies, 'Influencers' to disclose when Instagram Posts are Ads", NUTRAingredients-USA.com, May 10, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Whole Foods Market Names Manbeck Chief Financial Officer

May 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Retailer Whole Foods Market, Inc., said it has named Keith Manbeck as executive vice president and chief financial officer effective May 17, 2017. With more than 20 years of experience as financial and operational executive at leading companies, Manbeck joins the retailer's management team implementing an expanded strategy to improve shareholder value. Manbeck was SVP of digital finance, strategy management, and business transformation at Kohl's Corp. since 2014 and, before that, was global VP and CFO for Nike's Direct to Consumer business.
"Whole Foods Market Appoints Keith Manbeck as Chief Financial Officer", Whole Foods Market, May 10, 2017, © Whole Foods Market
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Whole Foods Market Suffers Another Quarterly Drop In Same-Store Sales

May 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market posted generally healthy second quarter financials, but endured another quarterly decline in same-store sales. Total sales were up 1.1 percent to a record $3.7 billion for the quarter. Same-store sales, however, slid 2.8 percent, the seventh consecutive quarterly drop. Profit was $99 million (2.6 percent of sales), or an expected $0.37 a share. The company returned $45 million in dividends to shareholders. CEO John Mackey said a key goal is to return to positive same-store sales and earnings growth next year, though the company expects same-store sales to remain depressed this fiscal year. It hopes to trim $300 million in costs this year, and has hired a consulting firm to help it figure out how. Keith Manbeck was named the new chief financial officer. [Image Credit: © Whole Foods Market ]
"Whole Foods Market Provides Shareholder Update on Accelerated Path to Delivering Shareholder Value and Announces Second Quarter 2017 Results", Earnings release, Whole Foods Market , May 10, 2017, © Whole Foods Market
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West Virginia Entrepreneur Shapes A Talent For Baking Into A Successful Business

May 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
It all started with a cake made for a friend who loves sushi. Fashioned by Erin Whitcomb to resemble a bento box packed with sushi rolls, the concoction so impressed the friend, who himself had a professional background in baking, that it led eventually to a business partnership and then a bakery in Martinsburg, W.V. Along the way, there was a stint at culinary school where Whitcomb mastered the science behind her baking. Edible Elegance by Erin now supports seven employees who produce breads (including gluten-free varieties), bagels, cakes and pastries with no added preservatives and mostly local ingredients such as fruit. Whitcomb has also stretched her range of unusual shaped cakes to include books, a guitar case, and an elaborate castle with a moat.   [Image Credit: © Edible Elegance by Erin ]
Jackie Puglisi , "Bakery begins with bento box cake idea", The Winchester Star (Virginia), May 10, 2017, © The Winchester Star
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Artisanal Small-Batch Pasta Maker Is A Florida Success Story

May 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A Sarasota, Fla., family with roots in Italy, Argentina and Maryland – and an old tradition of hand-made pasta – represents a growing trend in artisanal pasta whose motto could be: “Dry pasta is dead.” The family’s small-batch Peperonata Pasta comes in 20 flavors and 44 shapes, all made at their 800-square-foot facility using three machines. The Fochis began selling their products at local farmers’ markets in the Gulf Coast region. The Sarasota Whole Foods Market found them eventually and began stocking the products. They are now available at 20 of the chain’s stores. Three years ago the family opened their own store and café, selling pasta and empanadas. [Image Credit: © Sarasota Farmers Market ]
Maggie Menderski, "Passion and Fresh Ingredients", Herald-Tribune (Sarasota, Fla.), May 08, 2017, © GateHouse Media, LLC
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Uber Supports Volunteer Food Deliverers In Calgary

May 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A nonprofit organization based in Calgary (Alberta) rescues unsold perishable food and delivers it – with the help of 150 volunteers – to kitchens at 20 service agencies serving the hungry. A problem arises when a volunteer doesn’t own a vehicle, or wants to make a quick delivery on a lunch break. That’s where Uber comes in. The company has donated 40 free rides a month to LeftOvers Calgary, which works with 35 restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores and events across the city in a project that helps reduce food waste while alleviating hunger. [Image Credit: © RescueFood.ca ]
"LeftOvers Calgary partners with Uber", News release, LeftOvers Calgary, May 08, 2017, © LeftOvers Calgary
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Gilding The Lily: Why Mess With An Already Perfect Treat?

May 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Two Bloomberg food writers say that when it comes to variations on the doughnut, enough is enough already. The writers were once enthusiastic champions of the doughnut craze: ecstatic at each new adaptation. But doughnut re-invention has overstayed its welcome, as evidenced by the arrival of: sriracha and peanut butter doughnuts, doughnut ice cream cones, spaghetti doughnuts, sushi doughnuts, a JPMorgan Chase promotional doughnut the size of a pizza, doughnut sandwiches, etc. – all instant hits on, well, Instagram. What’s next? A doughnut chalupa from Taco Bell? Kate Krader and Chris Rovza say a doughnut is nearly perfect in and of itself. “The innovation is built in! Why do we need to take it to grotesque extremes?”
Kate Krader et al., "Doughnuts Are on a Global Rampage, and They Must Be Stopped", Bloomberg Pursuits, May 08, 2017, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Coca-Cola CEO Quincey Expects Robust Growth – Beginning Next Year

May 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
New Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey, who succeeds Muhtar Kent, says focus is on “next stage of growth," to be financed in part by cutting 1,200 jobs, saving $800 million. Problems plaguing company have included strong dollar (dampened profit), meager investment in “sparkling” brands, and need to shed bottlers to strengthen lineup of partners. Quincey doesn’t expect profit to rise this year, so focus is on 2018, 2019, and beyond.
Russell Grantham, "Coke’s new CEO: ‘The next stage has to be about growth’ ", The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, May 07, 2017, © Cox Media Group
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Boulanger Eric Kayser Expands Operations In U.S.

May 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
French baker Eric Kayser, who opened his first boulangerie in Paris in 1996 and now operates in Africa, South America, and Japan – is expanding his presence in New York City. The planned Maison Kayser café/restaurant – the latest of the 14 in the city – will open this spring near the Empire State Building. The ambitious boulanger is also planning to open stores in Washington, D.C. The stores serve more expensive versions of his Paris fare, including baguettes, viennoiseries, tartines, tarts, all made with local ingredients, except for the butter, which is imported from France. [Image Credit: © Maison Kayser ]
"French Boulanger Kayser Finds a Niche in US", The Express Tribune, May 06, 2017, © The Express Tribune
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Food Waste Repurposed Into Edible, Profitable New Products

May 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The food waste problem is inspiring a lot of creative new product development these days. Among the ingenious products from socially aware entrepreneurs: Foxhole Gin, made with leftover grape skins, flesh and pips from winemaking; Toast Ale, made from surplus loaves of bread mashed into crumbs and mixed with malted barley, hops and yeast; ChicP hummus in four varieties made from discarded wonky fruit and vegetables; Hellmann's Ketchup, a new product made from imperfect discarded red and green tomatoes; Snacktivism snack bars made from excess fruit gleaned from London’s wholesale food markets; Spare Fruit premium crisps made from rescued wasted fruit; and Rejuce fruit and vegetable juices made from rejected produce that is transformed into flavors like Lime, Cucumber, & Mint, and Lemon, Beetroot & Ginger.  [Image Credit: © ChicP ]
Megan Tatum, "How food waste is fueling a new wave of NPD", The Grocer, May 06, 2017, © William Reed Business Media Ltd.
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Certification To Transform Unilever Philippines Factory Into “Halal Hub”

May 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Fortified with its new halal certification, the Unilever Philippines factory in Cavite will begin producing products across its home care, personal care, food, and refreshment segments for domestic and foreign Muslim markets. The company said the Cavite factory will become the “halal hub” for the Southeast Asia and Australia markets. A new mega-distribution center in Cabuyao, Laguna, expected to be finished by October, would handle distribution and transport of Unilever products manufactured in Cavite and Paco, Manila. [Image Credit: © Unilever Philippines ]
Arra B. Francia , "Unilever PHL to export halal products", BusinessWorld, May 05, 2017, © BusinessWorld Publishing Corporation
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Monster Beverage Posts Sales Increases In First Quarter

May 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Despite persistent production problems, Monster Beverage Corporation posted first quarter net sales of $742.1 million, up 9.1 percent over last year’s first quarter. Net sales for Energy Drinks increased 7.5 percent to $668.6 million for 2017 first quarter, from $621.7 million for same period last year. Net sales for Strategic Brands segment (i.e., NOS, Full Throttle, other energy drinks managed under partnership with Coca-Cola) were $68 million, up 16.4 percent from $58.5 million. CEO Rodney Sacks cited growth internationally, continued realigning of distribution with Coca-Cola bottlers, and potential of new product innovations.
Martín Caballero , "Monster Sees Net Sales Boost in Q1 Earnings", BevNET.com, May 05, 2017, © BevNET.com
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Coca-Cola Edges Into China’s Premium Sparkling Water Market

May 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola will soon see whether it can compete successfully in China’s premium sparkling water market, currently ruled by Evian, Perrier, and San Benedetto. Looking to expand beyond sagging soft drink and juice brands, company has introduced expensive – $9.29 per 750 ml bottle – Valser brand on Tmall online platform. Company already offers low- and mid-range mineral water brands in China.
"Coca-Cola launches US$9 premium bottled water in China", Marketing Interactive, May 05, 2017, © Marketing-Interactive.com. Lighthouse Independent Media Pte Ltd
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Changsha Factory Is Coca-Cola’s 44th In China

May 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola’s 44th factory in China, largest in central China, has begun production of planned nine product lines, including water, sparkling beverages, juice, and juice drinks, all expected to be up and running within three years. New Changsha plant, which belongs to COFCO Coca-Cola Huazhong Beverages Co. Ltd., is culmination of company’s $13 billion in Chinese investments.
"Coca-Cola's Changsha Plant Starts Production", China Retail News, May 05, 2017, © ChinaRetailNews.com
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Dean Foods Invests In Flaxseed Milk Producer

May 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Food and beverage company Dean Foods announced investment in producer of flaxseed-based milk and yogurt products, Boulder, Colo.-based Good Karma Foods. Investment will help Good Karma more quickly expand distribution network in U.S. and accelerate brand building and product innovation. Dean said its sales staff will also support Good Karma's retail channel growth plans. Amount of investment was not revealed, but will give Dean minority equity position in Good Karma, behind 2x Consumer Products Growth Partners. [Image Credit: © Good Karma Foods ]
"Dean Foods and Good Karma Foods Strike Investment and Distribution Deal to Accelerate Brand Growth", News release, Dean Foods, May 05, 2017, © Dean Foods
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Einstein Bros. Unveils High Octane Bagel For That Added AM Jolt

May 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Einstein Bros. bagel chain has debuted limited-availability bagel packed with caffeine and protein. Espresso Buzz Bagel contains 32mg of caffeine – about half the caffeine in a six-ounce cup of coffee – sourced from both espresso and coffee-cherry flour. Company is also offering a 600-calorie breakfast sandwich based on the Buzz Bagel that features bacon and eggs. New line of innovative Boosted Bagels also includes a sweet, oat-topped Cherry Chia Bagel and Savory Parm Bagel. [Image Credit: © Einstein Bros. ]
Julie Pennell, "These Caffeinated Bagels Let You Have Your Coffee and Eat It Too", Today, May 05, 2017, © NBCUniversal Media, LLC
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Coca-Cola European Partners Needs Solid Summer Sales To Meet Full-Year Goals

May 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The company that resulted from combination of Coca-Cola Enterprises with its Iberian Partners and German division says currency weakness in U.K. dampened first quarter 2017 sales. Coca-Cola European Partners was encouraged, however, by strong net and operating profits that rose by double digits. CEO Damian Gamell called performance “solid,” but warned that reaching full-year targets would require executing marketing and operating plans during critical summer sales season.
Olly Wehring, "Coca-Cola European Partners sees Q1 hampered by UK - results", just-drinks.com, May 04, 2017, © just-drinks.com
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Dunkin’ Sponsors Blue-Colored Monster Energy Drink

May 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The donuts and coffee chain has partnered with Monster Energy to launch a Dunkin’-branded drink called Dunkin’ Energy Punch, available at only a few locations in New England, Miami and West Palm Beach. The blue-tinted beverage is a super sweet combination of blue raspberry (or strawberry) flavoring and a caffeine-loaded Monster Energy drink. 
Augusta Statz, "Dunkin’ Donuts Is Selling A Blue Monster Energy Drink", Simplemost, May 04, 2017, © Simplemost
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Minnesota Shop Offers Some Bonkers Donut Variations

May 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The Glam Doll Donuts shop in Minneapolis is stretching the concept of “doughnuts” to the nth degree, and succeeding admirably. The shop’s ring-shaped concoctions – sweet traditional, breaded and fried mac and cheese (at $8 a pop), alcohol-infused, egg and bacon (sandwiches), sriracha and peanut butter, etc. – are especially popular on social media. Traditional treats include the glazed Sugar Kane, the salted caramel and chocolate Calendar Girl, and the tres leches (sponge cake) Peek-a-Boo. That’s just for starters. Everything gets great reviews online, including the mac and cheese, which one reviewer described as: “Warm, gooey, and crunchy with a side of chili. A belly bomb for sure, and worth it.”  [Image Credit: © Glam Doll Donuts ]
Carly Stern, "Best of Both Worlds! A Minneapolis Bakery is Serving Savory Donuts Filled with MAC AND CHEESE, Pepperoni and Mozzarella, and Beer and Bacon", Mail Online, May 04, 2017, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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CEO Points To Problems, Successes In Monster’s Earnings Call

May 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Monster Beverage CEO Rodney Sacks noted that sales continue to be challenging in beverage industry in first quarter and remain weak, and that currency issues continued problematic. Company continues to make progress in strategic alignment with Coca-Cola bottlers globally. Last fall, Monster launched “an exciting super soda” named Mutant, and will unveil sister product named White Lightning this summer. Another energy drink, Hydro, packaged in PET bottle, will launch in May.
"Monster Beverage (MNST) Q1 2017 Results - Earnings Call Transcript", Seeking Alpha, May 04, 2017, © Seeking Alpha
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China's FMCG Market Grew Slowly In 1Q 2017, Report Says

May 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
In China, spending on fast moving consumer goods grew slightly by 1.7 percent year on year in the first quarter of 2017, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Compared with the previous year, the country's GDP grew 6.9 percent, boosted by a government infrastructure focus and a hot housing market. Of the country's top 5 retailers, Sun Art, Vanguard, and Walmart were able to maintain their market ranking during the year. While Carrefour saw its market share drop by 0.1 point, local retailer Yonghui's share grew from 2.6 percent to 3 percent in the first quarter of 2017.
outpaced the market by opening more stores Jason Yu, "FMCG growth remained challenging in the first quarter, while local retailers outpaced the market by opening more stores", Kantar Worldpanel, May 04, 2017, © Kantar Worldpanel
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Nestle Revamps Italian Factory To Ramp Up Frozen Pizza Production

May 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The Nestlé Group is selling the La Valle Degli Orti (soups), Mare Fresco (frozen fish) and Surgela brands to German frozen food company FRoSTA Group to clear way for Benevento factory in Italy to produce only Buitoni frozen pizzas. Company is investing $52.5 million to overhaul production lines and boost production capacity with cutting-edge technology. Founded in 1963, FRoSTA Group, with facilities in eight countries, will continue development and promotion of Nestlé brands.  [Image Credit: © Nestlé ]
"Nestlé announces the signing of preliminary agreement for sale of frozen food brands", News release, Nestlé, May 04, 2017, © Nestlé Group
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Scientists Find Significant Link Between Vitamin D, Exercise, And Heart Health

May 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A new U.S. study examining the relationship between exercise and adequate vitamin D levels shows that exercise not only boosts vitamin D in the body, the two together seem to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke more than either one alone. The researchers, who studied data collected from American adults for more than 20 years, were careful to say the findings do not show a cause-effect relationship, only a significant link. Long-term clinical trials are needed to determine a cause-effect relationship, they said. However, the researchers also said there was enough evidence to warrant suggesting that people need to “move more in the name of heart health,” get a few minutes a day of sunlight, and eat a well-balanced meal that includes oily fish and vitamin D-fortified foods like cereal and milk.
Kathleen Chin et al., "Physical Activity, Vitamin D, and Incident Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease in Whites and Blacks: The ARIC Study", The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, May 03, 2017, © The Endocrine Society
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New CEO Named By General Mills

May 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
General Mills has named a 23-year company veteran to take over the helm from CEO Ken Powell, who will stay on as chairman until his impending retirement. Jeffrey L. Harmening, 50, will be the new CEO effective June 1. Harmening most recently headed up the U.S. retail business of General Mills, which expanded its position in the natural and organic segment, including the acquisition of Annie's and EPIC Provisions. The company is now the fourth largest maker of natural and organic foods in the U.S. Harmening also served as president of the company's U.S. cereal business and CEO of Cereal Partners Worldwide (CPW), a joint venture with Nestlé. Powell began his tenure as CEO in 2007. [Image Credit: © General Mills ]
"Jeff Harmening Named Chief Executive Officer of General Mills", News release, General Mills, May 03, 2017, © General Mills, Inc.
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Israeli Company Says Its Microalgae Products Are Fully Organic

May 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Israeli biotech firm Algatech (Algatechnologies) Ltd., producer of natural astaxanthin for nutraceuticals and food applications, announced that its microalgae powder (Haematococcus pluvialis) and astaxanthin oleoresin are now fully organic, certified by the National Organic Program of the USDA. The company’s products have also been verified non-GMO. Algatech says it cultivates its microalgae in a patented, eco-friendly, closed system that produces high-quality ingredients and prevents contamination. [Image Credit: © Algatech Ltd.]
"Algatech Goes Organic", News release, Algatechnologies Ltd., May 03, 2017, © Algatech (Algatechnologies) Ltd.
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Coca-Cola India Has Prospered Under Outgoing Head

May 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola’s volume sales in India increased by 176 million cases over past four years, as profit surged 40 percent, market share gained eight percent, according to Venkatesh Kini, outgoing president for India and South-West Asia markets. Kini is being replaced by T. Krishnakumar, CEO of Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd., company-owned bottling unit. Coca-Cola India has put more focus on non-carbonated beverages like milk-based Vio and coconut water product Zico over last two years.
Sounak Mitra, "Coca-Cola India’s profit surged over 40% in the past four years: Venkatesh Kini", Livemint, May 03, 2017, © HT Media Ltd
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Sunscreen Use Linked To Global Vitamin D Deficiency Problem

May 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Sunscreen is widely used to protect skin from cancer-causing overexposure to ultraviolet rays. But a new “evidence based clinical review” by U.S. researchers finds that the use of sunscreen has a downside: it contributes to the vitamin D deficiency (or insufficiency) experienced by as many as a billion people worldwide. Meanwhile, chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, Crohn's and celiac disease, greatly inhibit the body's ability to metabolize vitamin D from food sources. The researchers note that people spend less time outside; when they are out of doors, they often wear sunscreen. But, they note, it is possible to spend reasonable amounts of time in the sun while ensuring adequate vitamin D absorption.   [Image Credit: © Coppertone ]
Kim M. Pfotenhauer, Jay H. Shubrook, "Vitamin D Deficiency, Its Role in Health and Disease, and Current Supplementation Recommendations", The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, May 03, 2017, © American Osteopathic Association
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New Lean Cuisine Meals Are Free Of Artificial Colors, Flavors, Preservatives

May 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé USA says it is expanding its lineup of Lean Cuisine frozen dinners for women with new dishes and “reinvented classics” boasting ingredients that can be found in the everyday kitchen, but without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. The new meals, targeted unabashedly at women, include Garlic Sesame Noodles with Beef, Mango Chicken with Coconut Rice, Roasted Garlic White Bean Alfredo, and Spicy Penne Arrabbiata. Nestlé says the recipes are “developed with women in mind.” They contain only ingredients that provide nutrients or flavor, and they provide women “a great-tasting dish they can feel good about.” [Image Credit: © Nestlé USA  ]
"Lean Cuisine keeps It Fresh in the Freezer with New Chef-Inspired, Modern Flavors", News release, Nestlé USA, May 03, 2017, © Nestlé USA
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Subway U.K.’s New Low-Sugar Drink Options Lower Calorie Intake By 3.7 Billion

May 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Subway in the U.K. has forged a new beverage contract with Britvic and PepsiCo that means a wider selection of drinks for consumers and a lower overall calorie and sugar intake – as much as 3.7 billion calories by July 2017. Redesigned drinks fountains and refrigerators emphasize the low/no sugar beverage arrays. The changes have already led to significant changes in consumer purchases. Options include no-sugar Pepsi Max or Diet Pepsi, 7Up Free, and Britvic’s lower sugar Orange Tango. Subway says the changes have led to a 30 percent reduction in calorie consumption, or early two million calories per store a year. [Image Credit: © Subway.co.UK ]
"Subway to Cut Almost Four Billion Calories from UK Diets", Food Ingredients 1st, May 03, 2017, © CNS Media BV
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UK's Grocery Market Expands In April 2017 Quarter

May 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
In the UK, the grocery market grew 3.7 percent during the 12-week period ending April 23, 2017, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Marking the fastest growth rate since September 2013, the growth is worth almost ₤1 billion in additional sales for the sector. Kantar Worldpanel head of retail and consumer insight Fraser McKevitt said all of the country's 10 leading retailers posted growth. Strong sales during Easter also helped the market grow, with shoppers spending ₤325 million on Easter eggs, McKevitt added.
"Britain’s Sweet Tooth Helps Grocery Sales Rise", Kantar Worldpanel, May 03, 2017, © TNS UK Limited
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General Mills Hopes To Patent Promising Protein-Rich Oat Variety

May 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
General Mills has applied for U.S. patent for oat variety it has developed with the same high protein levels as a wild variety (Avena magna) but cultivable using standard farming practices. Avena magna plants are not suitable for mechanical harvesting because processing clogs threshing and de-hulling machines. Company’s high-protein variety has stable fatty acid profile, rendering it less vulnerable to oxidation. Could be used in “high protein granola bars, hot cereals, cold cereals, snack bars, cookies, gluten-free products, snacks, muffins, pancake mix and the like,” company said in application. [Image Credit: © USDA ]
Elaine Watson, "General Mills Seeks to Patent High-Protein Oat Variety", FOODnavigator-USA.com, May 02, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Snack Company Intensifies Focus On Allergy-Free Products

May 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Skeeter Snacks (Chicago, Ill.) has renamed itself the Safe + Fair Food Company to serve the 17 million Americans with food allergies. The company, which makes nut-free snacks sold in schools and on JetBlue flights, said its goal will be to develop food brands that are “safe, accessible, fairly priced and delicious.” The company recently acquired Mama Jess Organics, a maker of organic pasta and enchilada sauces, and is itself developing snacks and meals that further its mission of making it “easy and fun to be safe” from allergic food reactions. [Image Credit: © Skeeter Snacks ]
"Passionate Entrepreneurs and Industry Veterans Launch the Safe + Fair Food Company", News release, Skeeter Snacks, May 03, 2017, © Skeeter Snacks
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Survey Puts Amazon, Google At Top Of Beloved Consumer Brands List

May 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Digital media and survey research firm Morning Consult says the two “most loved” consumer brands in the U.S. are Amazon and Google, followed by Campbell Soup, Hershey Company, UPS, FedEx, Sony, Home Depot, Lowe’s and Google unit YouTube. The rankings are based on 200,000 interviews that covered 27 consumer brand sectors. In the food and beverage category, beer is led by Heineken, followed by Budweiser and Samuel Adams. Among restaurants, Baskin Robbins is the leader, followed by Wendy’s and Dunkin’ Donuts. And Kroger edges out Whole Foods in the grocery category.
Tanya Gazdik, "Amazon, Google 'Most Loved' Brands", MediaPost, May 03, 2017, © MediaPost Communications
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Dr Pepper Snapple Rides “Both Hands Strategy” Into The Future

May 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Like most beverage companies, Dr Pepper Snapple is paying attention to consumer demands for healthier drinks. But it is also determined not to give short shrift to its core soda products, and especially to its recent acquisition, Bai Brands, which markets antioxidant infusion drinks. The company calls it a “both hands strategy,” but is nevertheless reducing its dependence on soda, pushing into waters, teas and sports drinks as soft drink sales continue to slide industrywide.
Christopher Doering, "Despite bets on fast-growing brands, Dr Pepper Snapple isn't giving up on soda", Food Dive, May 02, 2017, © Industry Dive
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Companies Work With Start-Up To Speed Bio-Based Water Bottles

May 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Bottled water makers Danone (France) and Nestlė Waters (U.S.) are collaborating with start-up Origin Materials to speed commercial scale development of 100 percent bio-based polyethylene terephthalate (PET) water bottles. The bottles will be made from sustainable, renewable biomass feedstocks, including cardboard, sawdust, and wood chips. Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle is 30 percent bio-based, though goal is 100 percent by 2020. Origin has produced samples of 80 percent bio- based PET bottles in California test factory.
"Danone and Nestlé Waters Launch NaturALL Bottle Alliance with California Startup to Develop 100% Bio-Based Bottles", News release, Nestlé , May 02, 2017, © Nestlé
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Heineken Cuts Distribution Ties With Coca-Cola Femsa In Brazil

May 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Dutch brewing company Heineken is leveraging recent acquisition of Brasil Kirin by putting Kirin’s established distribution network to work and jettisoning partnership with Coca-Cola Femsa. Heineken/Coca-Cola deal was supposed to continue for another five years, but Femsa CFO acknowledged the future is cloudy. Arrangement was lucrative for Femsa, which saw beer-related revenues of about $415 million – hefty 18 percent of all Femsa revenue in Brazil.
News Desk, "Heineken ends distribution tie-in with Coca-Cola Femsa in Brazil", Foodbev Media, May 02, 2017, © FoodBev Media Ltd
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Fiber-Enriched Coke Product Debuts In Japan

May 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola’s entry into functional beverages market in Japan is not “a health-forward product,” according to registered dietitian, commenting on Coca-Cola Plus. New beverage – which accomplishes “multiple objectives in same formulation,” according to CEO James Quincey – is calorie-free, sugar-free, and enhanced with five grams of fiber. But adding fiber to soft drink “doesn’t make it good for you,” says diet expert Shannon Crocker.
Laura Brehaut , "Coca-Cola, now with added … fibre?", National Post , May 02, 2017, © National Post, a division of Postmedia Network Inc
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Americans Want Humane Animal Treatment, Clarity When It Comes To Food

May 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A recent survey of American consumers determined that a large majority want their beef, chicken, eggs, and dairy products free of growth hormones and GMO. But they are also concerned that animals that produce milk and eggs be raised humanely. The concern did not extend to animals raised for slaughter. The University of Illinois study also found that consumers were concerned that animals had not been given routine antibiotics; had been raised in a free-range environment; and had been grass-fed or raised on a vegetarian diet. They also said they wanted animal products certified as organic. The big takeaway from the study is that American consumers want clarity: They want to know what they’re eating. [Image Credit: © USDA ]
Tracey Watson, "Consumers Now Demanding Their Meat Be Raised “Humanely,” Without Growth Hormones or GMOs, According to New Study", Natural News, May 02, 2017, © Natural News Network
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Plant-Derived Blend Of Compounds Treats Inflammation As Well As An NSAID

May 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A study to assess the anti-inflammatory effects of a polyphenol-rich spearmint extract mixed with rosmarinic acid found that it reduces swelling and inflammation as well as the synthetic non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) indomethacin, and works much better than the plant-derived compound rosmarinic acid by itself. The researchers tested the mixture on a rat model of paw swelling (edema). They said their findings showed there is a “potential synergy” between the compounds in the spearmint extract mixed with rosmarinic acid that targets inflammation. The study was sponsored by Kemin Industries, a nutritional ingredients manufacturer based in Iowa. [Image Credit: © Burpee Seeds]
Brenda Fonseca et al., "Anti-Inflammatory Effects of a Polyphenol-Rich Spearmint Extract", The FASEB Journal, May 02, 2017, © FASEB
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Get Revenge On Internet Trollers With A Cake

May 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
People victimized by Internet trolls and their hateful online comments can repay the perps with a cake, as long as they know the troller’s actual physical address. For a fee of $35, Brooklyn’s Troll Cakes Bakery and Detective Agency will bake a cake, decorate it with the troll’s hateful words, and then deliver it right to their door. Even if they don’t know the address – this is where the “detective agency” takes over – for $60 the service will research an unknown address and take it from there. The company even has a service for Donald Trump haters: it will decorate a cake with a customer’s favorite Trump tweet (or nasty comment) and send it to the White House. It’s called the “Tiny Hands Special.”  [Image Credit: © TrollCakes.com ]
Ben Hooper, "Bakery Returns Online Trolls' Comments to them in Cake Form", United Press International, May 01, 2017, © United Press International, Inc.
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Oscar Mayer Wieners Now Free Of Dubious Ingredients

May 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Food giant Kraft Heinz announced that after listening to customers and “going to great lengths,” its Oscar Mayer Hot Dog brand is now free of processed meat by-products, added nitrates and nitrites, and artificial preservatives. The company also announced a summer ad campaign – a “massive summer mission” – touting a cleaner product with the same taste and the same price. Besides TV, print, digital, social and PR support, the ad campaign will feature six Wienermobiles, including one water-borne in New York Harbor, spreading the news across the country, visiting remote towns, including in Alaska. [Image Credit: © Oscar Mayer Co. ]
"The Oscar Mayer Brand’s Most Iconic Product Undergoes Major Quality Improvements for the Love of Hot Dogs", News release, Kraft Heinz, May 01, 2017, © Kraft Heinz
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Juice Maker Creates Profit From Waste

May 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The problem for the high-pressure processed juice maker was, What to do with all that leftover pulp? The Forager Project came up with a profitable solution that also helps reduce food waste. Instead of dumping the pulp by-product, also known as pomace, into a landfill, it found a way to press it into different kinds of vegetable-based snack chips. It was a departure – actually quite a leap – for the juice company, but it has worked. It produces three chip varieties (greens, beets and roots). The most-popular green variety will soon be offered in three flavors: chipotle barbecue, (vegan) cheesy and wasabi. [Image Credit: © Forager Project ]
Rachel Cernansky, "With expanding chip line, Forager Project proves food waste can be a valuable resource", New Hope, May 01, 2017, © Penton Media
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Australian Charity Opens Supermarket Stocked With Unsold Food

May 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Australians too cash-strapped to pay for food can take advantage of food charity OzHarvest’s new venture, a “rescued food supermarket,” located in the Sydney suburb of Kensington. The supermarket’s shelves are stocked with donations of leftover perishable food from more than 2,000 commercial outlets. The organization only asks that people who take the free food pay what they can, even if it’s only donated services. Founded in 2004, OzHarvest distributes donated food to more than 8,000 charities. [Image Credit: © OzHarvest ]
Andrea Hogan, "OzHarvest Opens Australia’s First ‘Rescued Food Supermarket’", Australian Food News, May 01, 2017, © Australian Food News
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Coca-Cola’s Mexican Bottler Beats Competitors In Q1 Revenues

May 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Mexico-based Coca-Cola bottler Arca Continental sold 264.4 billion cases in Q1 2017, a 5.1 percent increase over same period last year, beating PepsiCo’s Mexican bottler Cultiba (4.1 percent increase) and Coca-Cola Femsa (3.7 percent increase). Arca’s revenues in the quarter totaled $737.36 million, up 14.3 percent over last year, compared to Cultiba’s increase of 9.2 percent and KOF's increase of 11.6 percent.
"Mexico: Arca Continental surpasses main competitors in Q1 2017", Esmerk Latin American News, May 01, 2017, © M-Brain
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Bai’s Success Based On “Unbelieving”

May 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Bai Brands, successful marketer of antioxidant infusion drinks, was built on notion of “unbelieving,” or challenging status quo, innovating with passion and purpose. Concept has helped it build big market following, and commensurate sales: $425 million so far this year, three times 2015 revenues. Company was bought by Dr Pepper Snapple last year for $1.7 billion. Latest project is web video series –premiered during New York’s Tribeca Film Festival – profiling people who embody Bai’s concept of unbelieving. 
Dale Buss , "Bai Watch: 5 Questions With CMO Michael Simon", Brandchannel, May 01, 2017, © Interbrand
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Smaller Portions Benefit Diners And Help Reduce Food Waste

April 30, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A new fast-casual, “farm fresh” eatery opened recently in Washington, D.C., that operates on a novel business model. It offers smaller portions – half sandwiches, half pizzas, etc. – to people looking for less than “a ton of food” when they dine. The co-owner of Unum in Georgetown – it has sister restaurants elsewhere in the U.S. – said half portions allow customers to create “more of a tasting-menu experience:” they get to try more dishes than the usual appetizer and entrée. Diners have more control over the number of calories they consume, as well and, as an added and significant benefit, send less uneaten food to the trash barrels. That means a reduction in food waste, which the USDA says affects 30 to 40 percent of the food supply.  [Image Credit: © UnumDC.com ]
Becky Krystal, "Why More and More Restaurants in D.C. are Offering Half Portions", The Washington Post, April 30, 2017, © The Washington Post
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Consumers’ Taste For Quick, Fresh Foods Plagues Packaged Food Giants

April 30, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Struggling packaged-food companies are finding it harder these days to secure retail shelf space as evolving consumer food preferences exert pressure on grocery stores. Fresh food, prepared hot meals, and foods from health trend-conscious start-ups are muscling out products from Kraft Heinz, Kellogg, and Mondelez. Store managers who need to maximize the return on shelf space say shoppers make the choices obvious: they are drawn, for example, to “steamy pasta” at the store’s deli counters rather than “a box of dried macaroni with powdered cheese.” Retail grocery chains all over the U.S. are building stores that emphasize in-store restaurants and fresh meals shoppers can take home over the traditional packaged foods that clog the center aisles.
Annie Gasparro, "Big-Name Food Brands Lose Battle of the Grocery Aisle", The Wall Street Journal, April 30, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Chinese Dairy Market Is Fluid As Consumers Move Away From Milk

April 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Competition among Chinese dairies is fierce in the $55.2 billion market as consumers expand their choices from milk – where the market is flatlining – to yogurt, cheese and plant-based milk. The head of R&D for China’s Want Want processed foods company expects the market for plant-based – i.e., soy, milk, etc. – to double to $8 billion this year as families choose healthier foods. Not surprisingly, the company will be introducing its own line of plant-based milks this year.  Meanwhile, domestic and foreign companies are buying into Chinese dairy farms and developing new dairy products to drive consumer interest.
"China's Dairies Rush to Plant-Based Milk as Latest Health Trend", Bloomberg Markets, April 28, 2017, © BLOOMBERG L.P.
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Looking For A Diet More Primitive Than Paleo? This One Promises The Moon

April 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The latest fad in the dietary category of “primitive eating” is even more primeval than the popular Paleo diet, with its emphasis on meats, fruits, vegetables, and good fats. Moon eating has its origins in Hawaiian observance of lunar cycles in various aspects of life, including farming, fishing and eating. Not to be confused with the ”whack-a-doodle” Lunar (or Werewolf) diet, the moon diet preaches consumption of organic, unprocessed foods locally grown or foraged, including ancient grains. That part is in tune with global food trends. The new wrinkle: timing the eating according to the phases of the moon that theoretically govern the human body and behavior according to monthly loops (think menstrual cycle).
Brandon Presser, "Tired of the Paleo Diet? Maybe it’s Time to Try 'Moon Eating'", Bloomberg Pursuits, April 28, 2017, © BLOOMBERG L.P.
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Chinese Restaurant Chain Sees Big Opportunity In U.S., U.K.

April 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A spicy soup chain based in Beijing plans to open 80 new restaurants this year, at least 10 of which will be outside China. Sichuan HaiDiLao, which offers free massages and manicures to customers waiting for service, already has an outlet in Los Angeles. It hopes to acquaint American and British diners with its specialty hotpots featuring steaming broths flavored with meat, vegetables and noodles. The idea is to introduce the world to genuine Chinese cuisine in much the same way U.S. food companies spread American eating styles. Because of prohibitive labor and other costs in the U.S., however, duplicating the company’s successful business model won’t be a simple task. But, says company chairman Zhang Yong, “As the Chinese economy grows and the world starts to put more focus on China, I believe there’s a chance for Chinese restaurants.” 
"This Restaurant Chain Wants to Bring Chinese Hotpot to the World", Bloomberg Pursuits, April 27, 2017, © Bloomberg L.P.
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