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App Helps Volunteers Find, Deliver Salvageable Food Donations

January 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Add to the list of technologies created to help reduce food waste an Uber-like app from a Pittsburgh, Pa.- based nonprofit known as 412 Food Rescue. Food Rescue Hero, available free on iTunes and Google Play, helps its 1,000 volunteer drivers (or walkers or cyclists) find salvage food considered unmarketable and deliver it to shelters and charities. Hero lists salvage opportunities at grocery stores and restaurants and the target charities who distribute the food, provides details on the donations, and lets volunteers pick the donation that works best for them. There is even a navigation system that guides volunteers to the pick-up locations and destinations.  [ Image credit: © 412foodrescue.org  ]
Dana Cizmas, "412 Food Rescue Mobilizes Volunteers with Uber-Like App", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 25, 2017, © PG Publishing Co., Inc.
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London Restaurant Chain Tests Produce Preservation Technology

January 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A new technology that could cut down on food waste is being tested in a small chain of London restaurants. The innovation is essentially a small rectangular filter sheet that is placed on or next to fresh fruit and vegetables to absorb ethylene gas produced by ripening produce. (Ethylene is also used commercially to speed the ripening of green tomatoes, bananas, etc.) Canteen restaurants hopes the technology will extend the shelf-life of its produce and reduce the amount that is routinely tossed away after over-ripening. [ Image credit: © It's Fresh ]
Francesca Gillett, "London Restaurant Canteen Trials New Food Waste Technology to Keep Food Fresher for Longer", Evening Standard, January 25, 2017, © Evening Standard Ltd.
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E-Retailers And CPG Manufacturers Need To Prepare For Strong Growth Now

January 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
E-commerce today accounts for only a small portion of consumer packaged goods (CPG) sales, with the food and beverage sector lagging somewhat behind non-food. But both sectors are set for strong growth, according to IRI. Over the next five years, CPG e-commerce will average 10 percent of industrywide sales. Digital is expected to play a major role in influencing that sales growth, and will drive as much as 77 percent of all retail sales generally, representing about $2 trillion. E-retailers are rapidly laying the groundwork for growth, with Amazon leading the way. Meanwhile, CPG manufacturers could grow online sales by up to 150 percent by building a strong online presence and earning shopper awareness.
"Build, Drive and Earn E-commerce Growth for Retail Success", Report, IRI Worldwide, January 24, 2017, © IRI Worldwide
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Sales Boost From All-Day Breakfasts At McDonald’s May Have Been Only Temporary

January 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
As same-store sales at McDonald’s sag, some observers conclude that all-day breakfasts are losing their drawing power, at least in the U.S. Earnings beat Wall Street estimates last quarter, but sales fell 1.3 percent. Does the giant fast-food company have an ace up its sleeve to pull financial performance out of a tailspin? Technology, including touchscreens and mobile ordering, may help. But analysts aren’t sure how long that will take to pay off, especially in the face of a nationwide restaurant slowdown. European financials are brighter: same-store sales ticked upward by 2.7 percent, easily beating analysts’ predictions of a 1.4 percent increase. Profit was $1.44 a share globally in the period, beating predictions by 0.03 percent. [ Image credit: ©  McDonald's ]
Craig Giammona, "McDonald’s All-Day Breakfast Push No Longer Fueling Growth", Bloomberg, January 24, 2017, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Pop-Up Restaurant At Selfridges To Offer Meals Created From Surplus Foods

January 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
U.K. department store Selfridges is operating a rooftop pop-up food waste restaurant for a month featuring “reinterpretations” of classic British foods like cabbage cores, cover crop sprouts and pork from waste-fed pigs. The restaurant, sponsored by U.S. consumer electronics firm Sonos and digital music provider Spotify, follows a format created by Manhattan chef Dan Barber. The temporary eatery will take surplus foods from farmers, fishermen, distributors, butchers, artisanal producers and retailers to create a full menu with daily specials. It will also serve special cocktails and offer a “tea experience” created by pastry chefs.
Emma Weinbren, "Selfridges to Launch Pop-Up Food Waste Restaurant Wasted", The Grocer, January 24, 2017, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Whole Foods Market Awards Media Planning Account To MediaCom

January 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market awarded its national media planning and buying account to MediaCom. Worth about $60 million, the account covers all aspects of media planning and buying, including search, social, and data. At least six agencies participated in the competitive review of the account.
Lindsay Stein, "Whole Foods Market Hires MediaCom for Media Planning, Buying", Advertising Age, January 23, 2017, © Crain Communications
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Hellman’s Fulfills Cage-Free Egg Pledge Three Years Early

January 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Mayonnaise maker Hellman’s, a Unilever brand, announced that after a reorganization of its egg supply chain – involving 331 million eggs annually – all of its mayonnaise and dressings brands are now made with eggs from cage-free hens. The change in U.S. brands comes three years ahead of the company’s commitment announced in 2010. It affects 170 million jars, 30 million squeeze bottles, and 1.3 million egg-laying hens annually. A Humane Society spokesman said “Hellmann's move shows just how in synch the company is with its customers."  [ Image credit: ©  Wikimedia Commons ]
"Hellmann's Mayonnaise And Mayonnaise Dressings Now Use 100% Cage-Free Eggs In The U.S.*, Three Years Ahead Of Schedule", News release, Unilever U.S., January 23, 2017, © Hellman's U.S.
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Cooking Some Foods At High Temps Can Be Dangerous

January 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Though studies in humans have been inconclusive, animal research has  provided enough evidence to prompt the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to caution that foods such as toast, biscuits, and pizza crusts, should not be cooked at high temperatures because of a cancer risk. Cooking such foods at temperatures higher than 120° C (248° F) creates a chemical compound called acrylamide. Mouse studies have shown that high levels of the compound can cause neurological damage and cancer. Also on the list of risky foods are chips, crackers, crisps, breakfast cereals, coffee, black olives, cereal-based baby foods, and root vegetables, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, turnips, swedes and parsnips that have been fried until dark brown or crispy.
"Eating Burnt Toast 'May Increase Cancer Risk'", Sky News, January 23, 2017, © Sky UK
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Advanced Store Shelf Technology Seeks To Personalize Shopping At Kroger Stores

January 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Supermarket chain Kroger has begun experimenting with in-store shelf-based sensor systems that detect shoppers via their smartphones and apply analytics technology to customize product offers. Dubbed the “digital shelf edge” project, the initiative is a facet of the company’s plan to automate and personalize shopping to battle online competition from Amazon.com Inc., Walmart’s Jet.com unit and others. E-commerce in traditional food and beverage stores accounted for $1 billion in sales in 2014, less than 0.2 percent of the $670 billion market. Sensors have been installed in 14 stores near the company’s Cincinnati headquarters.  [ Image credit: © ParentingPatch  ]
Kim S. Nash, "Kroger Tests Sensors, Analytics In Interactive Grocery Shelves", The Wall Street Journal, January 20, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc
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Whole Foods Plans To Open A 365 Store In Brooklyn

January 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Organic food retailer Whole Foods Market Inc. plans to open a 365 by Whole Foods Market store in Brooklyn. According to the company, the Brooklyn store would be the first in the Northeast. Whole Foods launched the store concept partly in response to public perception of the company as selling overpriced products.
Craig Giammona, "Whole Foods Plans to Bring Millennial-Focused Store to Brooklyn", Bloomberg, January 20, 2017, © BLOOMBERG L.P.
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Carrefour Reports Strong Sales Growth In 4Q And Full-Year 2016

January 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Carrefour reported total sales, including petrol, rose 3.7 percent to €27.9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016, compared with the same quarter of the previous year. Also, total sales grew 2.1 percent to €103.7 billion in the full year, compared with the previous year. Excluding petrol, the retailer posted total sales of €85.7 billion, an increase of 3.3 percent from the previous year. International sales rose 4.9 percent in the full year, with Other European Countries posting an increase of 2.0 percent, while Latin America showed a strong growth of 13.5 percent.
"Carrefour 2016 4th Quarter and Full Year Sales", Carrefour, January 19, 2017, © Carrefour
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Fructose Seems To Be The Sweetener That Increases Health Risks

January 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Glucose may deliver more calories than fructose, but fructose contributes more to weight gain and other health problems, according to a study in lab animals by Spanish scientists.Animals that were fed fructose in addition to their regular diet showed more markers of vascular disease and liver damage than the glucose group (and the control group). These markers included high triglycerides, increased liver weight, decreased fat burning in the liver (contributing to fatty liver disease) and impaired relaxation of the aorta, which affects blood pressure. The findings suggest that increased calories from sweeteners isn’t the only factor in long-term health risks. The type of sweetener may be more important in increasing risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases.  [ Image credit: © Fritzs  ]
Gemma Sangüesa et al., "Type Of Supplemented Simple Sugar, Not Merely Calorie Intake, Determines Adverse Effects On Metabolism And Aortic Function In Female Rats. ", American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology, January 19, 2017, © American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology
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Cookies Containing Galactagogues Have Become Big Business

January 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A first-time mother who was struggling to produce enough breast milk to feed her newborn was advised to eat cookies that contained extra galactagogues (i.e., ingredients that increase milk flow). The functional cookies worked, but weren’t particularly palatable, and that gave Jennifer Acuna a business idea. Several years later, the business she launched has been successful enough to move from her kitchen table near Harrisburg, Pa., to a 2,400 square-foot bakery. Lactation cookies, brownies, and granola laced with galactagogues have become serious business. Buy Buy Baby and Babies 'R' Us sell bake-at-home mixes. Common galactagogues include oats, flax meal, fenugreek, and brewer's yeast.
Matthew Wright, "Cookies and Milk: Meet the Kitchen Table 'Momtrepreneurs' Who Used Their Own Breastfeeding Woes to Corner the 'Lactation' Foods Market", Mail Online, January 19, 2017, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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Repulsive Smelling Durian Fruit May Be The Next Big Fad In N.Y. Eateries

January 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A Michelin-honored Malaysian restaurant in Manhattan is serving up a new dessert based on a “spiky, odiferous fruit” known as the durian. The problem with the fruit, found in Southeast Asia, is the smell, which has been compared to rotting garbage and even kerosene. But despite that, several N.Y. restaurants, cafes and bars are adding the fruit to their menus because of its flavor, which is sweet with hints of melon and onion. Salil Mehta, owner of Laut restaurant, says it is like a mix of mango and jackfruit. [ Durian fruit; image credit: © Wikipedia ]
Charles Passy, "Chefs No Longer Turning Up Their Noses at Pungent Durian", The Wall Street Journal, January 19, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Big Food Continues To Invest In Successful Avant Garde Startups

January 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The venture capital unit of General Mills led a $6 million Series D financing round that was closed by plant-based snack startup Rhythm Superfoods. 301 Inc. participated with other venture capital firms in an earlier funding round that raised $3 million. Rhythm, which makes nutrient-dense kale, beet, and broccoli chips, is benefiting from a trend among big food companies to set up venture capital units to invest in young companies that have succeeded in cultivating new food trends. 301 Inc. has also invested in plant-based food maker Beyond Meat; nut, milk, cheese, and yogurt seller Kite Hill; and cottage cheese maker Good Culture. [ Image credit: ©  Rhythm Superfoods ]
John Kell, "General Mills Boosts Investment in Kale Chip Startup", Fortune, January 18, 2017, © Time Inc.
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Will Korean Hot Sauce Replace Sriracha Anytime Soon?

January 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Regardless of whether gochujang becomes a hot new taste trend, a Wall Street Journal food writer highly recommends trying the Korean chili paste in a variety of dishes. One favorite is spreading a mixture of butter, honey and gochujang on biscuits, or under the skin of roast chicken. Or, mix mayo and gochujang (4:1 ratio) for a savory kick on beef or tuna burgers. According to Jane Black, gochujang – it’s made from dried red chilies, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, salt and a little sugar – is “thicker and richer than sriracha” and is “where that hot sauce was 10 years ago: going mainstream in a big way.”  [ Image credit: ©  ]
Jane Black, "Awesome Sauce: Why Gochujang Is a Gamechanger", The Wall Street Journal, January 18, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Grocery Chain Partners With Company That Sells “Wonky” Produce

January 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A Midwestern grocery chain has decided its customers are ready for “ugly” – and cheaper – fruits and vegetables. All 242 stores in the Hy-Vee Inc. family have begun to sell what is sometimes called “wonky” produce that is usually discarded because it is misshapen. Hy-Vee is working with large produce company Robinson Fresh and will offer Robinson’s Misfits line of imperfect produce. Misfits produce is sold at a lower price, benefiting customers while helping to reduce produce waste. [ Image credit: © Hy-Vee Inc.  ]
"Hy-Vee introduces 'ugly' produce to fight food waste", News release, Hy-Vee , January 18, 2017, © Hy-Vee Inc.
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Europe’s Lawmakers Back Aggressive Approach To Recycling, Landfilling, Food Waste

January 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The environmental panel of the European Parliament amended a draft legislative “waste package” to raise waste recycling from 44 percent to 70 percent and reduce landfilling to five percent. The Environment Committee also voted to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2030. Forty-two organizations in 15 countries support the aggressive new proposals; 47,000 people have signed petitions backing them.  The new targets would be legally binding among member countries. The committee’s package will be put to a vote by the full House at the March 13-16 plenary session in Strasbourg.  [ European Parliament; image credit: © Rama  ]
Rebecca Smithers, "Campaigners Call on EU to Halve Food Waste by 2030", The Guardian, January 18, 2017, © Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies.
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Muscle Milk Entrepreneurs Build Production Facility Devoted To Innovating Flavors

January 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The entrepreneurial team that created Muscle Milk has launched a venture to formulate healthful organic, natural and artificial flavors for the food industry. Flavor Insights has built a 110,000-square-foot manufacturing facility to produce powder, liquid and spray dry flavors. The California plant will work with customers to develop new products. The world market for flavors and fragrances is predicted to reach $37 billion in the next four years, up $10 billion from 2015. Food manufacturers are evolving to meet consumer demand for organic, safe and clean-labeled products.
"Creators of Muscle Milk Launch Flavor Insights to Drive Taste and Innovation in Functional Food and Beverage Products", News release, Flavor Insights, January 17, 2017, © Flavor Insights
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7-Eleven’s New Pizza Strategy: If You Put It On A Round Crust, They Will Come

January 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Some 7-Eleven stores will be offering ready-to-eat breakfast pizzas topped with “everyone’s favorite breakfast foods.” The breakfast pizzas feature a choice of smoked bacon, breakfast sausage, hickory-smoked ham, scrambled eggs, cheddar and mozzarella cheese, and peppered cream gravy on top of a biscuit crust. The novel pizzas will be sold in a two-slices-for-$2 offer, or as whole pizzas for $5.55. Pizzas have done well at 7-Eleven since they were introduced several years ago. The company expects that “a breakfast pizza will prove to be as popular with the a.m. crowd as our other pizzas are for lunch and dinner." [ Image credit: ©  7-Eleven ]
"7-Eleven Has Egg-cellent Idea, Adds Pizza for the Morning Crowd", PR Newswire, January 17, 2017, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Whole Foods Closing Last Three Regional Kitchens

January 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market (Austin, Texas) will close three East Coast regional kitchens that employ about 500 people. The affected workers in the facilities in Everett, Mass.; Landover, Md.; and metro Atlanta were given 60 days’ notice of the impending closures, which are part of an ongoing consolidation strategy. The company hopes to shift as many of the employees as possible to other jobs. The kitchens – they prepared a variety of ready-to-eat foods – are the last to be shuttered. Similar items are prepared in stores in other areas of the country or are supplied by vendors.  [ Image credit: © Whole Foods Market ]
Gary Dinges, "Whole Foods Closing 3 Regional Kitchens, Trimming 500 Jobs", Austin American-Statesman, January 17, 2017, © Cox Media Group
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Unilever To Use 100% Recyclable Plastic Packaging By 2025

January 14, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever said all of its plastic packaging will be fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. In the next three years, Unilever will be reducing the weight of its plastic packaging by 30%, a commitment given under its Sustainable Living Plan.  The company also announced it has renewed its membership to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) and will continue supporting the New Plastics Economy Initiative as part of its contribution to the Sustainable Development Goal 12 that focus on sustainable consumption and production. Unilever CEO Paul Polman called on the consumer goods industry to move towards a circular economy. Polman said the industry needs to do much more to help make sure plastic is managed responsibly and efficiently post-consumer use. According to EMF, only 14% of plastic packaging used globally is recycled, while 40% ends up in landfill and a third in fragile ecosystems. [Image credit © Nick White]
"Unilever commits to 100% recyclable plastic packaging by 2025", Unilever, January 14, 2017, © Unilever
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Chewing Gum Relieves Post-Operative Nausea – Study

January 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A clinical study conducted by an Australian researcher found that chewing gum significantly reduced nausea and vomiting among patients recovering from surgery. The group of 94 women post-surgery was evenly divided into two groups. Fifteen of the 47 women in the first group experienced nausea and were given spearmint chewing gum. Twelve chewed the gum while the rest were either too sleepy or did not want the gum. Nine of the 12 said their nausea went away within 10 minutes. Thirteen patients with nausea in the second group were given the drug ondansetron intravenously. Only five said the drug eased the nausea. The researcher said it was most likely the chewing action rather than the peppermint flavor of the chewing gum that relieved the nausea. [ Image credit: © Wrigley.com ]
"Chewing Gum is Highly Effective in Treating Post-Surgery Nausea", Science World Report, January 13, 2017, © Science World Report
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Asda Offers Cheapest Grocery Prices In UK, Which? Report Shows

January 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Asda is the UK’s supermarket with the lowest prices in 2016, according to a new Which? research from the Consumers’ Association. Per the report, Asda’s basket of 80 items, which include Dolmio sauch, Nescafe Gold Blend, and Warburton bread, cost an average of £154.14. Morrisons was the second cheapest at £160.19, followed by Sainsbury’s with £162.11 and Waitrose with £172.27. Results of the monthly comparisons also revealed that Asda was consistently cheaper than its rivals.
"Asda cheapest supermarket of 2016", Which?, January 13, 2017, © Which?
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Trends: How Bakeries Can Keep Bread The No. 1 Bakery Product, And Maybe Spark Sales

January 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
How can industrial and commercial bakeries take advantage of current consumer health and wellness – not to mention flavor – trends to boost the appeal, and sales, of bread? A baking trade publication interviewed several company managers of innovation, consumer insights, sales and marketing, and other experts to find out what trends may boost sales of fresh bread, which is a $13-billion-dollar business and still the largest bakery category, though sales have been lackluster. Among these hopeful trends/strategies: artisan breads, variety in flavor and provenance, clean label; super-premium, organic, gluten-free, non-GMO and nutritional supplementation; better-for-you in general, whole grains and seeds, both in and on loaves; upgrading of sandwich breads; gourmet burger buns (brioche and pretzels); and gourmet buns and rolls for sandwiches. [ Image credit: © Artisan bread ]
Douglas J. Peckenpaugh, "Strategies to Build Appeal into Breads, Buns and Rolls", Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery, January 13, 2017, © BNP Media
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Restaurants React To Demand For Gluten-Free Menus

January 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The demand for gluten-free foods continues to rise in the restaurant sector and, in fact, is spreading to segments like quick-service sandwich and other fast casual eateries. Demand is driven by the increase in the number of people diagnosed with gluten-related disorders. It is expected that gluten-free menu items among U.S. restaurants will double over the next three years to $24 billion, up from $1 billion in 2006 and $11.6 billion in 2015. Also of note: the gluten-free trend has spawned some interesting innovation, for example, the growth of rice and potato flour producers. Smart Flour Foods has used food history to find and produce food sources for gluten-free doughs sing ancient grains, such as teff.  [ Image credit: © Wikimedia Commons  ]
Shelly Whitehead, "Why Gluten-Free isn't a Dying Trend", Fast Casual, January 13, 2017, © Networld Media Group, LLC
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Unilever Indonesia Unveils Smaller Capex For 2017

January 12, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever Indonesia announced its plan to spend €115 million, or $120 million, to expand its factories in 2017. In 2016, the company spent Rp 2 trillion, or $150 million, an amount 20 percent higher than the 2017 figure, because the company needed to relocate to a larger headquarters. Unilever Indonesia operates nine factories across the country.
"Unilever Indonesia Cuts Capex for 2017", Jakarta Globe, January 12, 2017, © Jakarta Globe
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Filipino Cuisine Will Be All The Rage In 2017 In The U.S.

January 12, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Food trend watchers might be right at last about Filipino cuisine being the next big thing. Using Google as a key metric, searches for “Filipino food” have doubled since 2012. Searches for the term “lumpiang” – it’s a crunchy Filipino spring roll – have gone through the ceiling (up 3,350 percent). Food writer Kate Krater is certain Filipino food will be a phenomenon in 2017 for several reasons, including the fact that a “marquee restaurant” – Bad Saint in Washington, D.C. – landed in the No. 2 spot on Bon Appétit’s annual Best New Restaurant list for 2016. A high-profile chef (lvin Cailan) has become a Filipino food champion. And Filipino-style restaurants are popping up all over the U.S  [ Lumpiang frying, iImage credit: © BrokenSphere, Wikimedia  ]
Kate Krader, "Filipino Food Is the Next Big Thing—Again", Bloomberg Pursuits, January 12, 2017, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Indian Restaurant In Scotland Charges Fee For Wasted Buffet Food

January 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
New environmental rules in Scotland require food waste from large restaurants to be recycled. Private refuse services charge fees for emptying recycling bins. To keep the fees manageable, a Dundee Indian restaurant has begun charging customers who leave too much food on their plates after the all-you-can-eat buffet. The £2 per person fee is addded to the £14.99 price of the meal. Management of Taza Indian Buffet realized it was tossing away about 600 kg of uneaten food every week. Now, when customers are seated, they are given a menu and a measuring card with a four-inch square cut out of the middle to measure leftovers. The card explains that the £2 fee will be charged if leftovers don’t fit within the square.  [ Image credit: © Taza Indian Buffet  ]
Gavin Madeley et al., "Eat Up or Face a Fine! All-You-Can-Eat Indian Restaurant Starts Imposing Penalties on Diners Who Leave Too Much after Growing Tired of Throwing Away 600kgs of Leftovers a Week", Mail Online, January 11, 2017, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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A Rye Renaissance

January 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Rye flour is beginning to show up in a lot of American baked goods, including breads, doughnuts, pie crusts, cookies, and croissants. Rye is a flavorful and hearty grain, prized by farmers in New England, for example, where it has been used as a cover crop, and wheat is tougher to cultivate in the humid summers. It is a traditional bread grain in Europe, where each region is known for its individual breads. But rye dough is not conducive to industrial scale bread making, mainly because the dough is so sticky. Nevertheless, rye is gaining popularity, as evidenced by the number of cookbooks and bakeries that devote so much time to it. [ Image credit: ©  USDA/ARS ]
"Rye Is Rising: The Age-Old Grain Spices Up Baked Goodies", Thomson Reuters, January 11, 2017, © NDTV Convergence
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Startup Turns Unsold Fruits, Vegetable Into Hummus

January 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A food waste-focused start-up is transforming leftover fruit and vegetables into a variety of flavored hummus products, and is using crowdfunding to pay for expansion into new markets. Hannah McCollum’s idea came when she noticed that current hummus products were bland and unhealthy, and tons of food was being wasted in the foodservice industry and in homes. She launched ChicP, which produces flavored dips using ugly or unmarketable vegetables rejected by supermarkets. The company offers several flavors, including banana and cocoa; beetroot, horseradish and sage; and carrot, ginger and turmeric. ChicP is using U.K. retailer Tesco's crowdfunding website to raise money to reach more retailers and suppliers in Europe and overseas. [ Hummus party; image credit: © ChicP ]
Emma Jane Cash, "Waste Not, Want Not: UK Start-Up Turns Leftover Food into Hummus", FOODnavigator.com, January 11, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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New Versions Of Consumer Goods Sound The Death Knell For Older Products

January 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
New versions of consumer staples – alkaline batteries, bar soup, ground coffee, etc. – have led to the gradual decline in sales of the older versions. As consumer habits evolve, devotees of the older versions of staples – which may start to disappear from store shelves – may have to start stockpiling. IRI tracks sales on the older iterations of products, and here are some examples of the trend since 2011: margarine sales have fallen 24 percent as consumers turn to full-fat dairy products like butter; bar soap sales have dropped seven percent, as body wash sales surged; powder laundry detergent is down 47 percent, surpassed by pods, pacs, and liquids; single-serve coffee pods have pushed ground coffee sales down by eight percent; and frozen juice concentrate sales are down 37 percent as shoppers buy refrigerated brands or skip juice altogether.
Ellen Byron , "Last on the Shelf: How Products Dwindle Out of Favor", The Wall Street Journal, January 10, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc
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Grocery Shoppers In The U.K. Made Merry Indeed This Christmas

January 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
British grocery retailers finished off 2016 with a very merry Christmas season in which shoppers spent £480 million more in stores than in 2015, a record sales period, according to Kantar Worldpanel. A Kantar analyst said the numbers certainly look good in comparison to a weak Christmas 2015,and were buoyed by “strong consumer appetite for festive celebration after a turbulent year.” The 12 weeks that ended January 1, 2017, showed the fastest supermarket sales growth – up 1.8 percent – since June 2014. Typical household grocery expenditure for December reached £365 this year, which was about £52 more than the average month. [ Image credit: ©  Jonathan Thacker, Geograph.org.uk ]
Fraser McKevitt , "Checkouts ring up a record Christmas", News release, Kantar Worldpanel, January 10, 2017, © Kantar Worldpanel
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General Mills Runs First TV Ads In The U.K. For Snack Brand Fiber One

January 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Snack brand Fiber One has launched its first TV ad campaign in the U.K. The $1.2 million effort is scheduled to run for four weeks in January, considered the peak diet season. It is expected to reach seven million consumers. The television campaign will be supplemented with a sampling effort in Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s supermarkets that will put the product into the hands of at least 500,000 people. Fiber One snacks contain 90 calories, and are high in fiber and low in fat.
Leia Taing, "Fibre One Launches its First TV Advertising Campaign", The Food & Drink Innovation, January 10, 2017, © Food & Drink Innovation
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Chinese Consumers Are Adapting Priorities As China Changes

January 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
In an interview, Delon Wang, Manager of Asia Pacific Trends at Mintel, warned that the rapid growth seen in China’s consumer goods industry might slow as economic growth decelerates and the population adapts priorities to the new China, focusing for example on buzzwords like ‘ancient’ and ‘old’. Mintel’s Global New Products Database indicates that product claims including the word "ancient” on packaging grew 56% in the first half of 2016 within China’s beauty and personal care and food and drink and categories. Wang said that consumers are demanding authenticity, and they are increasingly concerned about health and the environment. Value remains another key attribute for consumers. More consumers are also looking at opportunities to be entrepreneurs themselves in a bid to improve financial security during turbulent economic times, and many are choosing subscription purchasing for their fitness and beauty items. Brand loyalty is highest among the middle-class consumers (68% versus 50% for consumers overall). Other factors at work within China include technological advance – such as the Internet of Everything and smart devices – and retail innovation and evolution, such as pop-up stores.
Natasha Spencer, "China’s cosmetics and consumer trends in 2017 part I: A change of pace", Cosmetics Design, January 10, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Kellogg Unleashes Barrage Of New Snack, Cereal, Frozen Products

January 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Kellogg has introduced 50 new products in its breakfast cereal, granola, toaster pastry, snack and frozen food lines. The company noted that many of the new products are made with natural flavors and colors, including Disney Princess cereal, Special K Nourish Bites and Nutri-Grain Bakery Delights crumb cake snacks, and all Eggo frozen breakfast products. Other new products include Special K Nourish granola, Cinnamon Frosted Flakes,Pop-Tarts coffee-inspired toaster pastries, Cheez-it Duoz Bacon & Cheddar crackers, five new flavors of Pringles LOUD crisps, and MorningStar Farms Veggie Bowls.
"Fun, Delicious, Nutritious: Kellogg Company Unveils Full Slate of New Products", News release, Kellogg Company, January 10, 2017, © Kellogg Company
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Aldi Continues To Deliver Grocery Value, Strong Sales

January 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Thanks in part to strong sales from its newly-launched premium product range, discount grocer Aldi reported a 15 percent increase in U.K. sales in December. The company opened 70 new stores in 2016, and plans to open 70 more this year. An industry analyst said shoppers are embracing value players like Aldi, which emphasizes value and quality, while bracing themselves for difficult economic times ahead. Analysts are expecting more conservative sales improvements from other grocery retailers, like Morrisons and Tesco, of about one percent. [ Image credit: © Rayon- Boissons, Wikimedia  Commons]
"Aldi reports record Christmas sales", BBC, January 09, 2017, © BBC
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Tesco Streamlines Distribution Network

January 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
British grocery chain Tesco is tightening and simplifying its distribution network, reducing the number of distribution centers (to 23 from 25) and bringing all warehouse operations handled by DHL and Wincanton in-house. The changes are part of the company’s two-year-old plan to “ensure Tesco is set up for the future in a rapidly changing retail sector.” The changes will create some redundancies, the company acknowledged, but will also create “new roles” in other parts of the network, including jobs at the Reading and Middlesbrough centers and colleague support roles in most centers. [ Tesco distribution center, Image credit:© Paul Anderson ]
 
"Tesco simplifies distribution operations", News release, Tesco, January 09, 2017, © Tesco PLC
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New DNA Editing Technology Is Sneaking Into The Food Chain

January 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Several companies are using a technology known as “gene editing” to tinker with DNA at exact locations and create crops that are more nutritious or more resistant to spoiling. Gene editing is not the same as genetic modification, so it is not covered by the federal law passed last year requiring labeling of food products containing GMO ingredients. The USDA has approved edited crops if the companies creating them show they do not introduce foreign genes from plant pests. The result is that hundreds of acres of gene-edited crops have already been grown in several states, without oversight or regulation. Companies active in plant gene editing technology include DuPont Pioneer and Calyxt, a subsidiary of Cellectis. Another company, Recombinetics, is applying the technology in farm animals. [Gene-edited soybeans; image credit: ©  Calyxt]
Kenneth Chang, "These Foods Aren’t Genetically Modified but They Are ‘Edited’", The New York Times, January 09, 2017, © The New York Times Company
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Canadian Shoppers Buying Less, Making Fewer Trips To Retail Stores, Study Shows

January 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Consumers in Canada are shopping less, with trips to the retail store per household dropping 2 percent in the year ending October 1, 2016, according to Nielsen. Data from the market research firm revealed 22 percent of Canadian consumers showed concerned about rising food prices. Results of a review of major channels in the country showed spending per trip for grocery and mass merchandisers dropped 1 percent from $51.6 and $63.3 to $51.2 $62.5, respectively. At present, consumers spend an average of $8,492 per year across all retail channels in consumer packaged goods.
"How Canadian Retailers Can Address The Shrinking Consumer Basket", Nielsen, January 09, 2017, © The Nielsen Company (US), LLC
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Jennie-O Sausage Is Now Leaner, Cleaner

January 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Sausage-maker Jennie-O has changed the formulation of its turkey product to contain less fat (six grams) and less sodium. The company now claims the product is “all natural” with a “simple, clean ingredients” that include turkey, salt, sugar, spices and rosemary extract. In addition, the 110 calorie sausage is “minimally processed” and is free of BHT, BHA and other common preservatives. [ Image credit: ©  Jennie-O ]
"Jennie-O Introduces All Natural Turkey Sausage With Simple, Familiar Ingredients, No Preservatives", News release, Jennie-O, January 09, 2017, © Jennie-O
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EFSA Safety Ruling Could Help Jumpstart Sales Of Antioxidant Compound

January 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A vitamin-like antioxidant compound found naturally in mushrooms and some beans and cereals has been approved by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for use in dietary supplements and fortified foods. The agency ruled that l-ergothioneine, also called EGT, is safe at dose levels of 30 mg a day for adults, and 20 mg a day for children, in food supplements, non-alcoholic drinks, cereal bars, milk, fresh dairy and chocolate. The ruling dispelled fears that the ingredient might increase susceptibility to diabetes mellitus, Crohn's disease or rheumatoid arthritis. Scientists say studies have shown that EGT is a powerful antioxidant that could have a major impact on extension of lifespan. With the EFSA safety ruling, EGT suppliers expect sales to pick up in 2017. [ Image credit: ©  Miranova Labs ]
Hank Schultz, "L-Ergothioneine Poised for Breakthrough in 2017, Experts Say", NUTRAingredients-USA.com, January 06, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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2017: The Year Of The Brand Chatbot?

January 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
2017 could the year of the chatbots for brands looking to automate consumer engagement. They reside within Messenger Services, like Skype and Facebook Messenger, as well as internal messenger services, like HipChat. They are becoming increasingly sophisticated with more user functionality, and as artificial intelligence becomes better understood, chatbots will be able to do even more, with development moving from what the bot builders believe consumers want to a machine-learned reflection of what they really want. Chatbots will proliferate and become an essential element of any integrated marketing campaign, supporting highly targeted campaigns delivered in the environment in which the consumer spends the majority of their online time.  
John Mccarthy, "What, Why and How: Chatbots for Brands", The Drum, January 06, 2017, © Carnyx Group Ltd.
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Starbucks Puts Food Waste To Good Use In New Line Of Lattes

January 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Starbucks has introduced a new latte line that not only tastes good but is eco-friendly. The new espressos are flavored with a syrup made from the husks of coffee cherries that are normally discarded when the beans are harvested. The company uses the syrup to flavor the Cascara line – the Spanish word means “husk” or “shell” – that is subtly sweet with hints of maple and brown sugar without being fruity.  [ Coffee cherries; image credit: © Jonathan Wilkins  ]
Carly Stern, "Good to the Last Drop! Starbucks Unveils New Latte Made with the WASTE of a Coffee Plant - and It's Surprisingly Delicious", Mail Escapes, January 06, 2017, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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Produce Distributor Renames Its Vegetable Trimmings And Sells Them As “SparCs”

January 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A Canadian company believes that renaming the edible trimmings of vegetable processing – carrot tops, snapped-off green bean stems, etc. – transforms them from trash to saleable food. In much the same way that slimehead fish were renamed orange roughy, vegetable trim was renamed “SparCs” (pronounced sparks), which is actually scraps spelled backwards with a little stylization. Produce and specialty foods distributor Baldor says its Fresh Cuts program offers pre-sliced, diced or otherwise prepared vegetable trimmings – branded as SparCs – that it has saved for human or animal consumption, and kept from the landfill.  [ Image credit: © Tim Jewett ]
Maura Judkis, "How One Company Eliminated Food Waste: The ‘Landfill can no Longer be an Option.’", The Washington Post, January 05, 2017, © The Washington Post
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Even Guys Are Getting Into Veganism

January 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Food and restaurant industry observers have noticed an upsurge in the number of men eating vegan. For example, the lunch crowd at a Philadelphia eatery that offers vegan alternatives to fast-foods like burgers and chicken sandwiches is mostly guys in suits. Male food bloggers, cookbook authors, and food personalities praise nutritional yeast and beet pepperoni, signaling some kind of culture shift. Lastly, the journal Appetite in 2015 published a study whose participants said they did not associate veganism with low levels of masculinity. Veganism is, in short, becoming a mainstream diet option for all.
Elisa Ludwig, "Vegan eating: More men are going animal-free", The Inquirer (Philadelphia), January 04, 2017, © Philadelphia Media Network (Digital), LLC
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Gen Z Is Techno-Savvy, But More Cautious, Conservative, Industrious

January 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A college marketing agency survey has determined that Generation Z, known as the first “digital natives,” easily adapts to new technologies, expects instant gratification of needs and desires, and yet is more cautious and disciplined in the face of economic uncertainty than one might expect. The Fluent survey of 501 college students found that Gen Z-ers: have jobs (75 percent), spend less time gaming, use cash less often, prefer in-store shopping (54 percent), tend to avoid cable TV and radio, increasingly cook for themselves, are hooked on social media to connect with friends or get news updates, and want to work for midsize companies when they graduate.
"Fluent College Student Survey Reveals Rising, Falling Trends among Gen Z; New Behaviors Reflect Social and Economic Realities", Marketwired, January 04, 2017, © Nasdaq, Inc.
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Research Suggests An Omnichannel Strategy Can Boost Traditional Retailer Sales

January 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
In a rare piece of good news for traditional retailers that have for years seen slow growth and share declines – digital channel sales rose 23% in 2015 and 26% of all online retail sales now go to Amazon – research published in Harvard Business Review suggests that an omnichannel approach can give them an advantage. Omnichannel strategies aim to engage shoppers through multiple touchpoints and provide a seamless shopping experience across digital and brick-and-mortar platforms. Retailers that do this well can differentiate themselves through providing a multi-channel experience pure-plays simply can’t.  Researchers found that omnichannel consumers, which are by far the majority (73% in this study), commonly interact with retailers in many different ways – in-store, online, on mobile. Importantly, these consumer spend some 4% more per shopping occasion than single-channel shoppers, while customers who used 4+ channels spent 9% more in the store, on average, when compared to those who used just one channel. They are also more loyal, as measured by repeat shopping trips and likelihood they’ll recommend a brand to family and friends. [Image credit © Zero Creatives]
Emma Sopadjieva et al., "A Study of 46,000 Shoppers Shows That Omnichannel Retailing Works", Harvard Business Review, January 03, 2017, © Harvard Business School Publishing
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Look For A Revival Of French Cooking In 2017

January 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Culinary textbook author Priscilla Martel predicts that French cuisine will gain in popularity in 2017. Calling it the “new golden age of French food,” Martel sees especially a resurgence of French bread and classic French pastries. Look for American versions of patisserie, including well-crafted viennoiserie, the formal name for croissants, Danish and other pastries made with buttery flaky dough.
Stephen Fries, "Stephen Fries: Predicting food trends for 2017, plus a recipe for congee", New Haven (Conn.) Register, January 03, 2017, © New Haven Register
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Taco Bell Commits To Cleaner Ingredients In Menu Items

January 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Taco Bell announced that early this year it will remove all antibiotics used in human medicine from its chicken served in U.S. restaurants. By 2018 it expects to remove all preservatives and other additives from its food, and will serve only eggs from cage-free chickens, by 2018. The company reduced sodium content in its food by 15 percent in 2008, and now promises to reduce sodium by another 10 percent by 2025. [ Image credit: ©  Taco Bell  ]
"Taco Bell Rings In 2017 With New Year’s Commitments", News release, Taco Bell, January 03, 2017, © Taco Bell Corp
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