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Widely Used Food – And Paint – Additive Damages Intestinal Lining

February 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Long-term exposure to the common food additive titanium dioxide reduces the small intestine’s ability to absorb nutrients like iron, zinc, and fatty acids. It also harms enzyme functions while increasing inflammation signals. The additive – found in numerous foods, including chewing gum and bread, and used in paints, paper, plastics, and some sunscreens – is inert and not toxic, according to the U.S. researchers who conducted the study using a small intestine cell model. But it reduced the number of absorptive projections (microvilli) that line the small intestine, slowing metabolism. Titanium dioxide is also used in toothpastes, chocolate, donuts, and skimmed milk.
Zhongyuan Guo et al., "Titanium dioxide nanoparticle ingestion alters nutrient absorption in an in vitro model of the small intestine. ", NanoImpact, February 22, 2017, © Elsevier B.V.
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Unilever Eyes Steps To Boost Shareholder Value After Saying No To Kraft's $143-Billion Bid

February 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever said it plans to conduct a strategic review aimed at improving shareholder value, after the consumer-goods giant rejected a proposed takeover by Kraft Heinz Co. Unilever shares gained 5.7 percent in London, back to the levels immediately following Kraft's announcement of its $143 billion bid. According to market observers, Unilever's strategic review could bring about a breakup of the company or an increase in its merger-and-acquisition activity.
Thomas Buckley and Ruth David, "Unilever Reviewing Options for Change After Kraft Bid Fails", Bloomberg, February 22, 2017, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Vitamin D Prevents Colds, Flu, Especially Among The Vitamin D Deficient

February 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A meta-study led by British scientists finds strong evidence that vitamin D supplementation can actually reduce the occurrence of acute upper respiratory infections. It is well known that the vitamin D is essential for healthy bones and muscle, but there has been doubt about its disease prevention powers. In this study, researchers analyzed pooled data from 25 clinical trials involving 10,993 patients in 14 countries. Vitamin D prevented colds and flu in some trials, but not others. The data showed that vitamin D supplementation worked best in people with the lowest vitamin D levels. Daily or weekly supplementation, rather than more widely spaced doses, also provided the best protection. [ Vitamin D-rich cod liver oil capsules image credit: © Wikipedia ]
Adrian R Martineau et al., "Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data. ", BMJ, February 22, 2017, © Martineau et al.
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Canadian Grocery Delivery Service Offers New Ben & Jerry’s Treats Daily

February 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever is using a Canadian grocery delivery service to introduce two dairy-free Ben & Jerry’s frozen dessert flavors: P.B. & Cookies and Coffee Caramel Fudge. Toronto-based Urbery began offering the new flavors before their official store release late last month. A pint of the non-dairy dessert sells for $9.99, and regular flavors sell for $8.99. Urbery’s $4.99 delivery fee is waived if customers order three or more pints. The desserts are purchased on a dedicated website that offers daily delivery between 5 and 10 p.m. in downtown Toronto within 30-45 minutes. [ Image credit: © Ben & Jerry's ]
Chris Powell, "Ice Cream, On-Demand", Canadian Grocer, February 21, 2017, © EnsembleIQ
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Supermarket Bakeries Ride The Crest Of The Fresh Breakfast Trend

February 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
In-store bakeries in supermarkets have one key advantage over other food channels like c-stores and quick service restaurants: their products are baked fresh each morning. Freshness is what attracts foodies and others looking for a unique breakfast experience. Norwalk, Conn.-based Stew Leonard’s bakers, for example, turn on the ovens at its five stores at 3 a.m. every day to make French butter croissants, apple cider doughnuts, and hand-shaped bagels that are boiled and hearth-baked. Currently trendy is anything mini-sized, including mini-croissants and mini-muffins, but also higher grain products like bran muffins and trail mix muffins. In-store breakfast bakery revenue, including sales of bagels, muffins, doughnuts, cinnamon rolls and coffee cake, were up 2.8 percent during the 52 weeks ending December 31, 2016, according to Nielsen.
Julie Gallagher, "In-Store Bakeries Compete for Morning Share", Supermarket News, February 21, 2017, © Penton
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Food Waste Trends Need To Be Reversed To Ensure Global Food Security

February 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A study by British researchers concluded that reducing food waste in production and consumption would improve global food security – i.e., the goal of universal access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food. People should be encouraged to eat fewer animal products because around 1.1 billion tons of harvested crops are used to produce 240 million tons of meat, milk and eggs. People should be encouraged to eat only what they need to have adequate nutrition: currently people eat ten percent more food than needed. Nine percent of food produced is thrown away or left to spoil. Half of food produced is lost to inefficiencies in production and consumption. Unless the trends are reversed, greenhouse gas emissions will increase, water supplies will be depleted, and food security will decline. [ Image credit: © Foerster Wikimedia ]
Peter Alexander et al., "Losses, inefficiencies and waste in the global food system", Agricultural Systems, February 21, 2017, © Alexander et al.
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Mondelez Invests In High-Growth Channels And Products

February 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
N.J.-based snack maker Mondelez International's strategy is to boost its presence in high-growth channels like e-commerce, discounters, convenience stores and traditional trade. To build its e-commerce snacks business, it is spending heavily on capabilities, infrastructure and broadening the online product portfolio. The effort is working: net revenues in e-commerce grew more than 35 percent last year. More specifically, the company is investing in what it calls its “power brands” – namely, Oreo, Milka and belVita – which account for 70 percent of global revenues. The effort is paying off: last year those brands grew organic net revenue at twice the rate of the company overall and continue to outpace category growth, according to Chief Growth Officer Tim Cofer.
Jeff Gelski, "Mondelez Sees Opportunity in 'power Brands,' E-Commerce", Food Business News, February 21, 2017, © SOSLAND PUBLISHING CO.
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Campbell Soup Sales, Profit Slide In 2nd Quarter

February 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Campbell Soup Co. posted $205 million in profit – $0.33 a share – in its fiscal second quarter, ended January 29, 2016. Profit was down 61 percent ($0.85 a share) from the same period last year. Net sales were $2.171 billion, a decline of one percent from the second quarter last year. Operating income during the first six months of fiscal 2017 of Campbell’s Global Biscuits and Snacks business was $247 million, a drop of three percent from the first half of fiscal 2016. Sales were $1.351 billion, up one percent. CEO Denise Morrison, noting her disappointment in second quarter sales, said she was nevertheless encouraged by the performance of several Campbell businesses, including Pepperidge Farm snacks, mainly Goldfish crackers and Milano cookies. But sandwich bread sales, including Pepperidge Farm brands, were down. [ Image credit: © Pepperidge Farm ]
Josh Sosland, "Sandwich Bread Sales under Pressure at Pepperidge", BakingBusiness.com, February 17, 2017, © Sosland Publishing Co.
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Retail Food Chain Says All House Brands Are Non-GMO

February 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Natural and organic food retailer Earth Fare (Asheville, N.C.) announced that none of its 500 house brand foods contain genetically modified organisms (GMO). The decision to sell only non-GMO foods was made after considering numerous customer requests. Earth Fare’s product line is also free of high fructose corn syrup, artificial fats, artificial trans-fats, artificial colors, artificial preservatives, artificial sweeteners, bleached or bromated flour, antibiotics, and growth hormones. The chain also tries to incorporate locally produced fruits and vegetable, meat, beer and wine, dairy products, and specialty items. [ Image credit: © Earth Fare ]
"Earth Fare Unveils New Non-GMO Product Line, Continues Decades-Long Commitment to Healthy Food", News release, Earth Fare, February 17, 2017, © Earth Fare
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Waitrose Supermarket Chain Is In The Avant Garde Of Food Waste Handling

February 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
British supermarket chain Waitrose has been a pioneer in preventing and repurposing food waste. Five years ago it stopped sending waste to landfills. Surplus food that can’t be donated to charities is used to generate electricity. And it sells wonky (misshapen or ugly) produce at a discount. The chain has taken the program another step forward: its new fleet of delivery trucks runs on fuel made from food leftovers. The company’s ten eco-friendly trucks can travel 500 miles on the food-waste fuel, which is cheaper than diesel and emits about 70 percent less carbon dioxide. Waitrose chose waste-based gas after researching biodiesel (too expensive) and electricity (batteries too heavy, recharge time too long)
Adele Peters, "These Grocery Delivery Trucks Are Powered By Food Waste", Fast Company, February 17, 2017, © Mansueto Ventures, LLC
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Tough Times Ahead For America’s Agricultural Suppliers?

February 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Small-town stores and co-ops that for decades have supplied seed, fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides to farmers, may be in for a rough patch. Farmers are beginning to catch on to the financial benefits of shopping online, even if they have to forego the expert advice of local suppliers. Several trends have contributed to this phenomenon, not the least of which is that broadband is now available to 63 percent of rural residents. Online ag-suppliers like Farmers Business Network have much lower overhead expenses than brick-and-mortar suppliers, so prices are lower. Delivery of supplies, even in huge amounts, is now economically and technically feasible. A surplus of commodities has driven down crop prices and farm incomes, forcing farmers to shop for better deals. And they are finding them online. One Illinois farmer last year spent $26,000 on the Internet on herbicides for his corn and soybean fields, about half of what he usually spends at a local farmers’ co-op. [ Image credit: © Farmers Business Network ]
Jesse Newman et al., "E-Commerce for Farmers: Shopping Online for $26,000 of Herbicides", The Wall Street Journal, February 16, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Strong Performance For Unilever Indonesia In 2016

February 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever Indonesia achieved a 9.8 percent in net revenue growth in 2016 along with a 9.2 percent in net income. Revenue increased from Rp 36.5 trillion in 2015 to Rp 40 trillion last year, with its home and personal care business segment accounting for 69 percent of total sales. Unilever Indonesia chief financial officer Tevilyan Yudhistira Rusli said the company's overall business performance had been “quite outstanding” and is supported by their product innovation, including last year's launch of Molto and Sunsilk brands. Unilever Indonesia has set aside €115 million for factory expansion, mostly for production of home and personal care products. [Image credit © Unilever]
"Unilever Indonesia's Net Income Surges 9.2% in 2016", Jakarta Globe, February 16, 2017, © Jakarta Globe
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Study Shows One Formulation Of Curcumin Has Medicinal Potential

February 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Turmeric, the root spice that gives curry its yellow color, has long been used in Chinese and Indian cuisine, and in herbal medicines. Western science has verified that turmeric has antioxidant, anti-cancer, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetic properties. It contains natural polyphenols called curcuminoids, of which curcumin is the main component. Using curcumin as a medicine is problematic, however, because it is not readily absorbed into the intestines, and is quickly metabolized and eliminated from the body as waste. In this clinical study involving 12 people, American and Australian scientists tested four different formulations of curcumin. They found that one – “CW8” – significantly improves absorption of curcumin into the bloodstream, making it a strong candidate for medicinal use.
Martin Purpura et al., "Analysis of Different Innovative Formulations of Curcumin for Improved Relative Oral Bioavailability in Human Subjects", European Journal of Nutrition, February 16, 2017, © Purpura et al.
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Food Manufacturers Simplify Safety And Quality Labels On Grocery Items

February 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The two largest trade groups for America’s grocery industry say they have adopted standardized, simplified, voluntary regulations to make product date labels clearer to the average consumer. The situation contributes to food waste because as many as 91 percent of consumers interpret a "use by" label (or no label at all) as a food safety warning and discard perfectly safe foods. Food manufacturers now use 10 different label phrases: for example, "expires on" and "better if used by." These would be replaced by just two: "use by" and "best if used by." “Use by” indicates when perishable foods are no longer safe to eat. "Best if used by" is a subjective guess regarding the date of optimum food quality: the point of peak flavor according to the manufacturer. Changes won’t be effective until July 2018. [ Image credit: © General Mills ]
Caitlin Dewey, "You’re About to See a Big Change to the Sell-By Dates on Food", The Washington Post, February 16, 2017, © The Washington Post
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Hain Celestial Expands Premium Soup Offerings In U.K. With Acquisition

February 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Organic and natural food marketer Hain Celestial is expanding its presence in the premium soup market in the U.K. with the acquisition of Yorkshire Provender Limited. The company’s premium branded soup and other products are sold in retailers, on-the-go food outlets and food service providers. Hain owns the New Covent Garden Soup Co. and Cully & Sully brands in the U.K. In 2016 Yorkshire Provender (North Yorkshire) had approximately £6 million ($7.5 million) in net sales and is expected to be accretive to Hain Celestial's (Lake Success, N.Y.) earnings in fiscal year 2018. [ Image credit: © Yorkshire Provender ]
"Hain Celestial Announces Strategic Acquisition", News release, Hain Celestial, February 16, 2017, © Hain Celestial
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Kroger Recognized For Inclusive Corporate Buying Practices

February 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A company that provides an online platform for entrepreneurial B2B networking and education has ranked the Kroger Co. eighth on its top 50 list of corporate buyers who offer multicultural products and services. Omnikal, once known as Diversity Business, says Kroger was chosen by two million minority- and women-owned business owners. Omnikal.com is a division of Computer Consulting Associates, Inc. [ Kroger headquarters, Cincinnati, Ohio; Image credit: © Derek Jensen ]
"Kroger Named a Top 10 American Company for Inclusion", News release, Kroger , February 16, 2017, © The Kroger Company
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“Guilt Free” Maybe, But Are Those PepsiCo Drinks And Snacks Healthful?

February 15, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
After PepsiCo reported that last quarter sales rose three percent for snacks and one percent for beverages, CEO Indra Nooyi told securities analysts that the company is betting that "positive" ingredients such as grains, fruits and vegetables will drive growth. The company calls foods with these ingredients “guilt free,” despite other questionable additives. Salty baked Lay’s potato chips are dubbed guilt free, as are Naked beverages, some of which are packed with sugary, fruit-based calories. Quaker’s 180-calorie "breakfast cookie" is loaded with fat and sugar along with the oats. Nooyi said 45 percent of PepsiCo’s revenues come from products designated “guilt free.” And despite pledges from Coke, Pepsi and Dr Pepper in 2014 to cut the number of calories from drinks by 20 percent by 2024, beverage-based calories declined by only 0.2 percent in 2015 – less than in previous years. [ Breakfast Cookie; image credit: © Quaker Oats Co. ]
Candice Choi, "Pepsico Sees Growth From "Guilt-Free" Items Like Baked Lay's", Associated Press, February 15, 2017, © The Associated Press
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America’s Need To Boost Fruit Consumption Is An Opportunity For Snack Makers

February 15, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The attitudes of American consumers toward their snacks are constantly evolving. Fading away are the days when snacks needed only to satisfy a sugar, salt or savory craving. A recent survey showed that 52 percent of respondents not only wanted nutritional benefits from snacks, they wanted health benefits beyond nutrition, including antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fruits and vegetables. Seventy-six percent of the U.S. population does not eat the recommended amount of fruits each day, a fact that suggests a market opportunity. Snacks can provide the benefits of fruit consumption: natural sugar, fiber, antioxidants, appealing flavors and attractive visuals. They can take advantage of the trends in unique or exotic fruits – for example heirloom apples and coffee fruit, a nutrient-rich byproduct of coffee production.
Maxine Weber, "Consumers Desire More Than Just Nutrition in Snacks", Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery, February 15, 2017, © BNP Media
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College Student Has Big Plans For Her Family Farm’s Waste Mushrooms

February 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A British university student with a passion for profitably managing family-owned farms is pushing forward her idea to turn waste woodland mushrooms into a premium beer. Harriet Livesey, whose family's farm grows the mushrooms, recently won a scholarship she will use to start a business that – in addition to making beer – will train farmers to be “business-minded:” specifically, how to diversify, develop, progress, and make the most of their resources profitably. The scholarship will support her financially as she launches her own enterprise brewing artisan shiitake beer from waste mushrooms. She will need to carry out primary market research, attend brewery courses, research micro-brewing processes, identify market trends, and design and develop her brand. [ Image credit: © Pam Brophy  ]
Fiona Dryden, "Student Hoping Mushroom Beer Idea Takes Off", Leicester Mercury, February 13, 2017, © Local World
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Tesco Moves To Make Sure Promo Prices Are Updated

February 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
UK retailer Tesco is making sure that prices on stores’ on-shelf promotions are up to date. Tesco took the step following a story by an undercover reporter broadcast by the BBC Inside Out TV program. According to the reporter, promotional offers at two-thirds of Tesco stores visited had prices were out of date and not honored at the checkout. Also, some stores failed to remove old labels on the shelves even after reporters told them of the discrepancies.
Ian Quinn, "Tesco Orders Promotion Checks after Damning BBC Probe", The Grocer, February 13, 2017, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Reckitt Benckiser Plans To Buy Mead Johnson Nutrition Company

February 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC said it plans to buy Mead Johnson Nutrition Company. Total value of the proposed acquisition deal is $17.9 billion, or $90 per share in cash, valuing Mead Johnson’s equity at $16.6 billion. Including Mead Johnson’s net debt, the deal is expected to help RB become a global leader in the consumer health market.
"Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc to Acquire Mead Johnson Nutrition Company", Reckitt Benckiser, February 10, 2017, © Reckitt Benckiser Group plc
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Smartphones Will Be The Pillar Of U.K. E-Commerce By 2020

February 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Smartphones are rapidly becoming the technological engine powering e-commerce in the U.K., according to a report from OC&C Strategy Consultants, Google and PayPal. Within three years, mobile purchases will account for two-thirds of e-commerce sales – £43 billion – up from £13.5 billion in 2016. Another £14 billion of online retail will involve a smartphone in product research and price comparison, meaning that 80 percent of all U.K. e-commerce by 2020 will be handled over a smartphone. But despite these forecasts, U.K. retailers lag behind U.S. and Asian competitors in terms of mobile readiness, the report notes.  [ Image credit: © Jason Howie  ]
Paul Skeldon, "Smartphone Shopping to Account for Two Thirds of UK E-Commerce by 2020, says Google, PayPal Study", Internet Retailing, February 10, 2017, © SJP Business Media
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McDonald’s Experiments With Fast-Food Versions Of Regional Favorites

February 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A TV chef in San Jose, Calif., helped McDonald’s develop a fast-food variation of a local sandwich – snow crab on sourdough – that features crab meat, seasoned mayo, romaine lettuce and tomato slices. The company said the new sandwich is part of an ongoing strategy to incorporate regional flavors in new menu items, at least in the greater San Francisco Bay area. McDonald’s called an earlier experiment – Gilroy Garlic Fries – an “overwhelming success.” If the snow crab trial is a similar triumph, the company will offer it in the rest of its 250 eateries in the area. [ Crab Sandwich, image credit: © McDonald's ]
"McDonald's Tests Crab on Sourdough", News release, QSR Web, February 10, 2017, © Networld Media Group, LLC
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Aldi Continues To Beat Back Resistance By Big U.K. Grocery Chains

February 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The U.K.’s big supermarket chains are resisting the successful invasion by German discount grocers Aldi and Lidl. Tesco Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons have all implemented strategies that sacrifice profit to fund price cuts, improve service, and retain market share. All say the price gap with the discounters has narrowed. But an Aldi exec says its own data show that “if anything, the price differential between Aldi and the big four is growing at the moment.” And Aldi is still growing sales .Industry data show Aldi has overtaken the Co-operative to become Britain's fifth largest chain with a market share of 6.2 percent. It has grown total sales by 12.4 percent, thanks in part to an aggressive store building program.   [ Image credit: © Wikimedia ]
James Davey , "Aldi still thriving in U.K., despite rivals' claims, says CEO", Reuters, February 10, 2017, © Reuters
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Candy Companies Should Get The E-Commerce Ball Rolling Now

February 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Candy makers need to develop an e-commerce strategy now to get a head start on developing relationships with online retailers that stock their product lines. A good example of how an early start reaps rewards is the German unit of Mars Chocolate, which has gained a lot of experience and insight since it launched a B2C website selling personalized M&M’s (MyMM.com) ten years ago. Confectioners should not be dissuaded by the fact that e-commerce accounted for only 4.4 percent of global FMCG sales last year. E-commerce is expected to account for nine percent of the market by 2025 ($150 billion). A Mars Germany exec says it’s a small share now but is “gathering speed so you need to act quite quickly in this area.”  [ Image credit: © Mars MyMMs.com ]
Oliver Nieburg, "E-Tail-Volution: Why Confectionery E-Commerce Strategies Shouldn’t Be Put on Hold", FOODnavigator.com, February 10, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Tesco Tests Program To Feed Bees With Discarded Sugar

February 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
British supermarket chain Tesco is testing a program to donate unmarketable split bags of sugar from stores in Cornwall and Devon to a beekeepers group. The stores are also donating surplus sugar from in-store bakeries. Since 2007, the bee population has declined by 33 percent in the U.K. because of pests, diseases and fewer wild flowers. Bees have a difficult time making enough honey to feed themselves during the fall and winter. Commercial beekeepers supplement the bees’ diet with a feed made from dissolved sugar. The waste sugar donated by Tesco stores will be used to help feed bees bred and reared by a bee improvement program based in Cornwall.
Rebecca Smithers, "Tesco's Plan Bee: Spilt Supermarket Sugar to Help Feed Hungry Honey Bees", The Guardian, February 09, 2017, © Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies
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N.J. Bakery Features Allergen-Free Treats

February 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A New Jersey bakery that features allergen-free baked treats has opened its flagship shop in Denville, announcing retail distribution arrangements with Whole Foods Market and ShopRite. Mo’Pweeze Bakery and Café says that its baked goods are free of the FDA’s top 8 allergens: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soybeans. The products are also sesame free and vegan.
Sarah Griesemer, "Allergen Free Bakery Opening in Denville", Daily Record, February 08, 2017, © www.dailyrecord.com
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Whole Foods Posts Record-High Sales For 1Q 2017

February 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market, Inc. reported total sales grew 1.9 percent to $4.9 billion for the 16-week first quarter ending January 15, 2017, compared with the same quarter in the previous year. Same-store sales, however, dropped 2.4 percent during the same period. According to the retailer, net income was $95 million, which was 1.9 percent of sales. EBITDA were $360 million, or 7.3 percent of sales, while diluted earnings per share were $0.30. Excluding charges, net income was $123 million, or 2.5 percent of sales, with diluted earnings per share at $0.39. EBITDA was 7.6 percent, with return on invested capital at 12 percent, the company said.
"Whole Foods Market Reports First Quarter Results", Whole Foods, February 08, 2017, © Whole Foods Market
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Green America Asks Mars To Do More Than Just Label GMO Products

February 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
An organization focused on a “green economy” is mobilizing its supporters to pressure candy maker Mars through an email campaign (GMO Inside) to remove genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from its human and pet foods. In 2016, Mars said it would remove artificial colors and begin listing GMO ingredients on human food packages. Green America congratulated Mars on these moves, but is now asking the company to do more than simply label GMOs. The organization maintains a chocolate scorecard on its website that shows which chocolate products are free of GMOs.  [ Image credit: © Evan-Amos, Wikimedia  ]
Max Karlin, "For Valentine's Day, Green America Urges Mars to Dump GMOs and Related Toxins", News release, Green America, February 08, 2017, © Green America
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Aldi To Remodel 1,300 Stores While Continuing Aggressive Store Expansion

February 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Discount grocery chain Aldi plans to spend $1.6 billion renovating and expanding its 1,300 U.S. stores to accommodate customer demand for modern, convenient shopping with “a focus on fresh items,” including produce, dairy and bakery products. Remodeled stores will have open ceilings, natural lighting and eco-friendly building materials, such as recycled materials, energy-saving refrigeration and LED lighting. The remodeling plan will go forward concurrently with the building of 650 new stores to reach its goal of 2,000 U.S. stores by the end of next year. [ Image credit: © Aldi Inc. ]
"Aldi Unveils $1.6 Billion Nationwide Store Remodel Plan To Enhance Customer Shopping Experience", News release, Aldi Inc., February 08, 2017, © Aldi Inc.
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Athletes Who Crave Sugar Can Now Enjoy Protein-Packed Decadence

February 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A sports and fitness food company has developed protein-rich snack cakes that also satisfy an athlete’s sweet tooth. Optimum Nutrition, known mainly for its protein powders, says its Cake Bites come in three flavors and provide 20 grams of whipped protein and five grams of sugar frosting, but only 250 calories. The snack cakes come in three flavors: birthday cake, red velvet and chocolate dipped cherry. [ Image credit: © Optimum Nutrition ]
"Have Your Cake And Protein Too: Optimum Nutrition Introduces Cake Bites", News release, Optimum Nutrition, February 08, 2017, © Optimum Nutrition
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Scientists Find Dangerous, Illegal Substances In Herbal Supplements

February 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A British chemist and a team of scientists who have been examining ways to detect illegal ingredients in herbal supplements have come up with some disturbing findings. Many over-the-counter supplements labeled as fully herbal often include potentially dangerous pharmaceutical ingredients not listed on the label. For example, the scientists found that weight loss supplements often contain sibutramine (once sold as Reductil). The substance was taken off the market in 2010 in Europe and the U.S. because of an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Another example: tadalfil and sulfoaildenafil were frequently found, but not listed on the label, in herbal supplements for erectile dysfunction. When taken with other medicines containing nitrates, they can lower blood pressure drastically and cause serious health problems.  
Michael J Walker et al., "A Review of Methods for the Simultaneous Detection of Illegal Ingredients in Food Supplements", The Journal of the Association of Public Analysts, February 07, 2017, © Association of Public Analysts
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Snyder’s-Lance Adds Organic Version To Pretzel Cracker Line

February 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Snack food manufacturer Snyder's-Lance, Inc., announced an addition to its Snack Factory Pretzel Crisp line. The company said the new Organic Original Pretzel Crisps, which will be available for a limited time nationwide, are also Non-GMO Project verified. Pretzel Crisps are the first flat-baked pretzel cracker. At 110 calories a preserving, the organic variety contain no saturated fat or trans fat, no cholesterol, preservatives, artificial flavorings or colors. [ Image credit: © Snack Factory ]
"Snack Factory Introduces USDA-Certified Organic Pretzel Crisps", News release, Snyder's-Lance, Inc., February 07, 2017, © Snyder's-Lance, Inc.
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Probiotic Findings Could Have Major Economic Benefits

February 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Japanese researchers have found that fermented milk containing a probiotic strain could help prevent the common cold in healthy middle-aged office workers. The 12-week study focused on upper respiratory tract infections (URTI). Participants who consumed Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota showed improvements in both immunological parameters and stress markers that are characteristic of the pressure of office work. The findings could have significant economic benefits: the Centers for Disease Control says that 22 million school days and 20 million workdays in adults are lost each year due to the common cold in the U.S. [ Image credit: Public domain, Pixabay ]
Stephen Daniells, "Probiotic May Reduce the Risk of Common Cold: Yakult Study", NUTRAingredients-USA.com, February 07, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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A Pasta-Rich Mediterranean Diet Is A Healthful Diet

February 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A pasta-rich diet is an indicator of a more healthful diet generally, according to a study presented at a recent scientific meeting. Pasta eaters tend to consume more minerals and nutrients like folate, iron, magnesium, and dietary fiber. All of these help reduce blood cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Because it is a low glycemic index food, pasta, a major component of the Mediterranean diet, also helps to manage blood sugar levels. Pasta consumption is also associated with less intake of saturated fat and sugar that adds calories but no essential nutrients.  [ Image credit: © Travis K. Witt, Wikimedia  ]
"Here's Why You Should Eat More Pasta", The Express Tribune, February 07, 2017, © The Express Tribune
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Foods Rich In Resistant Starch Offer Several Health Benefits

February 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Resistant starch, found in bananas, potatoes, grains, and legumes, is not digested in the small intestine and is therefore considered a form of dietary fiber. Over the last decade, resistant starch has been the subject of numerous studies showing it has a significant impact on post-meal blood sugar metabolism, satiety, and intestinal health. This new comprehensive review of these studies summarizes the effects of resistant starch consumption and looks at potential mechanisms of action that underpin them. One possible conclusion is that resistant starch foods may be particularly useful for managing diabetes. However, the British researchers found no evidence of an impact on other metabolic markers, such as blood pressure and blood lipids.  [ Peruvian potatoes, image credit: © Wikipedia ]
S. Lockyer et al., "Health effects of resistant starch. ", Nutrition Bulletin, February 07, 2017, © John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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Effective Social Media Involvement Of Super Bowl 51 Fans Stretched Ad Dollars

February 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Interactive ad strategy – use of live-streams, paid social advertising, and giveaways – were the hallmarks of successful social media and mobile campaigns for several Super Bowl 51 advertisers. Especially effective was PepsiCo’s Lady Gaga halftime show strategy for its Pepsi Zero soft drink, but Budweiser, casual dining chain Buffalo Wild Wings, and Snickers were also able to stretch their airtime ad dollars using social media. Pepsi sponsored a number of giveaways during the game in which football fans who were social media users could interact with Pepsi sites up to halftime. They were then given a chance to win merchandise by re-posting Pepsi’s tweets.   [ Image credit: © PepsiCo ]
Brielle Jaekel, "How Pepsi was One of Few to Leverage Mobile for Super Bowl LI", Mobile Marketer, February 07, 2017, © Napean LLC
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German Grocery Store Sells Only Wonky Produce, Expired And Surplus Foods

February 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A grocery store that sells only ugly or surplus food products, from vegetables to beer, has opened in the German city of Köln (Cologne). The founders of The Good Food grocery store are dedicated to the idea of eliminating food waste in the world. It is the first such store to open in Germany, and the third in the EU. The store is unusual for a couple of reasons. The food it sells was otherwise bound for landfills because it may be misshapen, or too large or too small, or past its sell-by date. This includes non-perishable products from big manufacturers. And there are no fixed prices: consumers decide how much the products are worth. [ Image credit: © The Good Food bei RTL Aktuell ]
Irene Banos Ruiz, "First German Supermarket Sells Waste Food Only", Deutsche Welle, February 06, 2017, © Deutsche Welle
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“Clean Food” Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

February 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
There are numerous definitions of the terms “clean food” and “clean label,” depending on who’s doing the defining. Bakery-cafe chain Panera Bread recently said all of its food is clean – meaning, no artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners or preservatives. But Clean Eating magazine says clean foods are more natural foods, in other words vegetables, whole grains, filtered water, sustainable lean meats and wild seafood. Taboo foods include refined foods like pasta and bread, preservatives, stabilizers, trans fats, certain vegetable oils, artificial sweeteners like aspartame, and food dyes. Industry research finds two-thirds of grocery shoppers want foods with fewer and simpler ingredients, which amounts to yet another definition of “clean label,” the biggest food trend of 2017, according to Innova.  [ Image credit: © 
Tara Duggan, "The "Clean Food" Trend — Defining it Gets Messy", The San Francisco Chronicle, February 06, 2017, © Hearst Corporation
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How Reckitt Benckeiser’s Startling Bid For Mead Johnson Could Pay Off

February 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Health and hygiene products marketer Reckitt Benckeiser’s bid for baby formula company Mead Johnson may be surprising, but it could also be a clever and potentially lucrative acquisition. RB already has a foot in the door of the nutrition business: in 2012 it purchased Schiff Nutrition (marketer of vitamin brands like MegaRed). And, according to U.K.-based investment firm Dividend Drive, there just aren’t any juicy acquisitions to be made in over-the-counter consumer healthcare. But the primary attraction of Mead Johnson is the fact that both companies have a strong presence in developing markets, particularly Asia and Latin America. Mead Johnson’s specialty – baby formula – is positioned for strong growth in Asia.
Dividend Drive, "Mead Johnson And Reckitt Benckiser: A Surprising Yet Inspired Bid From The British Consumer Giant?", Seeking Alpha, February 06, 2017, © Seeking Alpha
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Royal Ahold, Delhaize Grocery Brands Restructure To Focus On Local Markets

February 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The constituent companies of Royal Ahold Delhaize are embarking on a year-long restructuring program to strengthen their retail grocery brands – Giant Foods, Giant/Martin’s, Stop & Shop, Peapod, Hannaford, and Food Lion – by consolidating business support services while tailoring commercial strategies to local markets and communities. The more localized brand-centric strategies of Ahold USA and Delhaize America will include dedicated resources such as category merchandising, assortment, pricing, promotions, marketing and format teams. The parent company said the restructuring will be completed by early 2018. It also announced that the Stop & Shop New York Metro and Stop & Shop New England divisions will be consolidated.   [ Image credit: © Royal Ahold Delhaize ]
"Ahold USA and Delhaize America announce plans to further strengthen brands ", News release, Royal Ahold Delhaize, February 06, 2017, © Roral Ahold Delhaize
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Clean Label Frozen Treats May Lead To Sales Growth

February 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The food industry has gotten the message from consumers that sugary, nutrition-free and calorie-packed ice cream is no longer acceptable They are now making healthier, “yet still decadent,” frozen treats, says researcher Packaged Facts. Today there are a growing number of ice creams and frozen desserts that eschew soy, gluten, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, and genetically modified ingredients, not to mention much less fat and sugar. Some of the new products are organic. Consumers are apparently pleased with the results. Ice cream and other frozen treats are a mature market – 85 percent of households buy ice cream routinely. Sales have been steady in recent years. But Packaged Facts says the new attention being paid to clean label frozen desserts could spark a revival of sales growth. 
""Free From" Ice Cream Trending in $28 Billion Market", News release, Packaged Facts, February 06, 2017, © Packaged Facts
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Hometown Of “Mork And Mindy” Attracts Growing Number Of Foodie Entrepreneurs

February 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Boulder, Colo., -- the hometown of the late-1970s sitcom "Mork and Mindy" -- has become the ideal location for a new generation of food producers, mainly because it offers the right ingredients, packaging suppliers, and infrastructure for eco-conscious foodie entrepreneurs who are challenging Big Food. Among these startups – or, if you will, upstarts – are “clean” microwave popcorn maker Quinn Snacks, which moved west in 2011 from New York. Also Purely Elizabeth, Made in Nature and Good Karma Foods. They all moved to Boulder to take advantage of a “deep bench of food executives,” a food retail environment focused on innovation and experimentation, and the availability of investment cash. Another attractive feature: the burgeoning infrastructure of food brokers, distributors, and contract manufacturers.  [ Image credit: © Quinn Snacks ]
Stephanie Strom, "Foodies Know: Boulder Has Become a Hub for New Producers", The New York Times, February 04, 2017, © The New York Times Company
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Salmon-Stuffed Croissant Is A Social Media Hit

February 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A California restaurant has taken the croissant a step or two farther along the hybrid pastry evolutionary road with a concoction featuring smoked salmon, baked seaweed (nori), pickled ginger and wasabi. Aron Caddl, owner of Mr. Holmes Bakehouse of Los Angeles and San Francisco acknowledges that the pastry is “weird” but also “insanely delicious,” and an Instagram sensation. The California Croissant, which costs $5, is topped with a dry Japanese seasoning (furikake) and is served with a side of soy sauce. It will only be on the menu for a short time because, as Caddel admits, the chefs get bored.  [ Image credit: ©  Mr. Holmes Bakehouse ]
Carly Stern, "There's Something Fishy About this Pastry! California Bakery Sells SUSHI Croissants Filled with Salmon and Wasabi, which its Owner Describes as 'F***ing Weird' but 'Insanely Delicious'", Daily Mail Online, February 03, 2017, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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Metro Group Posts Steady Income For First Quarter FY 2016/17

February 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Metro Group said like-for-like sales grew slightly at 0.1 percent in the first quarter of financial year 2016/2017, a solid performance in a market full of challenges. According to the company, EBIT before special items remained at the previous year’s level, reaching €821 million during the quarter. EBIT after special items reached €733 million. In the previous year, the company reported EBIT after special items of €1,240 million, which included income from the sale of Metro Cash & Carry Vietnam. Media-Saturn’s online sales rose more than 25 percent, accounting for over 10 percent of the Metro’s total sales. Delivery sales rose 16.5 percent, accounting for 12.7 percent of total sales, the company said.
"METRO GROUP with stable sales and EBIT development", METRO GROUP, February 03, 2017, © METRO AG
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Government Food Consumption Report Shows Shifting Patterns Since The ‘70s

February 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A new USDA report based on U.S. food availability data (adjusted for food loss) shows that Americans are eating more of the major food groups today than in the 1970s. But within that broad conclusion are some interesting shifts and new patterns. The avocado supply, for example, is up by a whopping 1,342 percent and the lime supply is up 1,654 percent. How about a margarita with your guacamole? Mango consumption is up 3,200 percent, but grapefruit, oranges, peaches, and plums are down. (Apples, melons, and bananas are constant.) Broccoli and mushrooms are way up, though potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and lettuce are constant. Lastly, people are eating more fat, but less animal fat (lard and butter). Salad and cooking oils like canola and olive are up 248 percent. [ Image credit: © Wikipedia ]
Julia Belluz, "Americans are Eating Way More Fat. But it’s Not Butter.", Vox Media, February 02, 2017, © Vox Media, Inc.
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PepsiCo To Expand Beverage R&D Facilities In N.Y.

February 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
PepsiCo is negotiating with the town of Mount Pleasant, N.Y. (Westchester County), to expand its beverage research campus with a three-story, 122,000-square-foot R&D facility. The mayor of the town welcomed the news because the new facility would not only mean increased property taxes, it would provide employment. The town’s industrial development agency may grant the company sales and use tax exemptions on purchases of construction materials, as well as a partial real property tax abatement in the form of a payment in lieu of taxes agreement.
Aleesia Forni, "PepsiCo Planning R&D Expansion, Renovations in Mount Pleasant", Westchester County Business Journal, February 02, 2017, © Westfair Business Publications
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Saving Time Is Not The Only Reason Parents Buy Frozen Meals

February 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Prepackaged, processed frozen meals are popular among parents, despite the fact that they are high in calories, sugar, sodium, and saturated fat. A U.S. study has found that the main reason for their popularity is that they save time for busy moms and dads: 57 percent indicated that in a survey. But that wasn’t the only reason. Forty-nine percent of parents surveyed said they bought the frozen meals because their families liked them. One-third chose them because children could help prepare them, and 27 percent liked the cost savings. The findings, however, raise some concerns among nutritionists. Cooking frozen packaged meals means choosing fewer fruits and vegetables and fewer nutritious foods generally. It also means people are not developing cooking and meal-planning skills. 
Melissa L. Horning et al., "Reasons Parents Buy Prepackaged, Processed Meals: It Is More Complicated Than “I Don't Have Time”. ", Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, February 02, 2017, © Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior
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Fast-Food Packaging Is Loaded With Harmful Chemicals

February 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study that analyzed more than 400 samples of food packaging from 27fast-food restaurants found that much of the paper used was treated with chemicals used in stain-resistant products, firefighting materials, and nonstick cookware. Perfluorinated chemicals (PFC) were found in hamburger and sandwich wrappers, pastry bags, beverage cups and French fry containers. Fluorinated compounds called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were found in 56 percent of dessert and bread wrappers, 38 percent of sandwich and burger wrappers and 20 percent of paperboard. According to the researchers, PFC and PFAS get in the bloodstream, stay there and accumulate. “There are diseases that correlate to it, so we really don't want this class of chemicals out there," one scientist said. [ Image credit: © tom.arthur  ]
Laurel A. Schaider et al., "Fluorinated Compounds in U.S. Fast Food Packaging. ", Environmental Science & Technology Letters, February 01, 2017, © American Chemical Society
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Walmart Ups Ante In Fight With Amazon By Abandoning ShippingPass

February 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
To stay competitive with Amazon, Walmart is ditching its $49-a-year two-day shipping subscription, dubbed ShippingPass, and replacing it with free shipping for purchases over $35. In doing so, the retailer is acknowledging that free two-day shipping is now the standard in online shopping. The new strategy takes aim at Amazon’s highly successful Prime offer, which offers free two-day shipping for an annual $99 subscription fee. Data from Cowen and Company show that by November 2016, almost half of U.S. Internet users were living in a household with a Prime subscription. Some observers speculate that Walmart’s battle with Amazon will lead to even more tactical moves, such as deep discounting. [ Image credit: © Walmart ]
Yory Wurmser, "Walmart Challenges Amazon with New Shipping Plan", eMarketer, February 01, 2017, © eMarketer Inc.
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