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Unilever Plans Sale Of Brands To Appease Angry Shareholders

March 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever said it plans to sell a number of brands worth a total of at least ₤6 billion. Part of the company's efforts to placate shareholders frustrated with the company's rejection of Kraft Heinz's $143-billion takeover bid, the proposed sale will be followed by a range of cost-cutting and restructuring measures. While company CEO Paul Polman does not want to split the company into its food and personal care businesses, he is seen willing to get rid of under-performing brands.
Peter Evans and Daniel Dunkley, "Unilever lines up £6bn sale of Flora and Stork", The Sunday Times, March 19, 2017, © Times Newspapers Limited
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Retail Responds To Lower Profits By Dumping Some Stores, Revamping The Rest

March 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Retail chain CEOs are wondering what to do over the long term about declining store traffic and slipping profit margins. At the core of the problem, some analysts say, is the overheated expansion of brick-and-mortar outlets in the 1980s and 1990s. So far, the options seem to be: filing for bankruptcy (Gander Mountain) or closing stores (Macy’s, Sears). Money saved using these tactics can be applied toward reworking e-commerce operations. Other options include: online buying/store pickup, launching exclusive brands, keeping prices competitive, and installing gadgets and software to make better use of stores. The goal of today’s retail stores, one consultant says, is transformation by “leveraging existing resources.” [ Image credit: © Gander Mountain  ]
Khadeeja Safdar, "Retail Store ‘Bubble’ Has Burst and CEOs Search for Answers", The Wall Street Journal, March 18, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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3-D Pizza Printer Start-Up Gets Cash Injection

March 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A start-up company specializing in 3-D food printers has garnered $1 million in seed funding to launch a pizza printer this year. The founders of BeeHex adapted their original idea – a food printing system for astronauts – into a pizza dough printer. The company has mastered the technology – the printers use pneumatic systems, rather than traditional additive manufacturing technologies -- to move ingredients around. Retailers, restaurants, amusement parks and festivals serving food on site, would all benefit from 3-D pizza printers. The next step might be to expand into other baked goods. [ Image credit: © BeeHex ]
Lora Kolodny, "BeeHex Cooks Up $1 Million for 3D Food Printers that Make Pizzas", Tech Crunch, March 18, 2017, © AOL Inc.
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Nestle Expands Its Line of Ready-To-Drink Teas

March 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé Waters North America is delivering on its consumer research-based strategy to reformulate and revamp its Nestea bottled products, packaging, and marketing strategy. The company says the repositioning – adding, for example, fruit-flavored and “real-brewed” bottled versions to its powdered instant teas – will improve its profile in the 4.5 billion ready-to-drink tea category. The new bottled teas are also clean-label: no high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors or flavors, or GMO ingredients. They are sweetened with sugar and stevia extract, and contain only water, tea, rooibos plant and citric acid. They teas are packaged in transparent bottles with wider mouths and easier “grippability.” [ Image credit: © Nestlé Waters NA ]
"The New Nestea Hits Retail Shelves in the US", News release, Nestlé Waters NA, March 18, 2017, © Nestlé Waters NA
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County Food Waste Composting Program Saves Real Money

March 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Residents of a Massachusetts county are able to trade scrap food for compost in a program that includes seven towns. The scrap food is emptied into a dumpster at a transfer station, then trucked to a farm. Composting takes about four months, after which residents can buy it for use in organic gardens. The county learned years ago that trash disposal is expensive, so whatever can be composted or recycled saves the towns – and its citizens – money. It’s also a better option than home composting, which should not add animal products such as meat, bones, dairy, and fats like peanut butter and mayonnaise. Decomposing meats, fats and dairy smell bad and attract pests. And they produce anaerobic bacteria that interfere with normal composting. [ Image credit: © Franklin County Solid Waste Management District  ]
Aviva Luttrell, "Area Composters Encourage Making Good Use of Food Waste", The (Franklin County, Mass.) Recorder, March 17, 2017, © The Recorder
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Organic Bread Brand Provides Detailed Ingredient Source Info To Consumers

March 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Thirty-five-year-old Rudi's Organic Bakery, owned by Hain Celestial, has launched two breads that provide consumers detailed information about the source of the grain in each loaf. The traceability information comes thanks to a partnership with Community Grains, which gathers information from the local farmer suppliers. Community Grains monitors each step of flour production, from sourcing seed, growth through harvest, and preservation of nutrients and flavor with whole milling. The two new Rudi’s breads are certified USDA organic and use only organic cracked wheat, organic rolled oats and organic sunflower oil, all without genetically modified organisms (GMOs). [ Image credit: © Rudi's Organic Bakery ]
"Rudi's Organic Bakery® Launches New Traceable Organic Bread Line with Community Grains", News release, Hain Celestial, March 16, 2017, © Hain Celestial
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Unilever Shareholders Wanted Talks With Kraft Heinz, Survey Reveals

March 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever should have negotiated with Kraft Heinz instead of abruptly rejecting its $143 billion takeover bid, according to 53 percent of Unilever shareholders surveyed by stock brokerage firm Bernstein. Among shareholders who favored negotiations, the majority wanted a 40-percent premium to Unilever's share price, instead of the 18 percent offered by Kraft Heinz. Kraft Heinz promptly withdrew its offer following its rejection by Unilever.
Scheherazade Daneshkhu, "Unilever investors favoured talks with Kraft Heinz", The Financial Times, March 16, 2017, © The Financial Times Limited
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Decadence Plus Health: Formula For Success Of California Doughnut Shop

March 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A Sacramento, Calif., doughnut enterprise is expanding, thanks to its focus on healthy products. Dr. Bob’s Donuts & DoYos steams its doughnuts and tops them with hemp seeds and acai chia pudding, quite a departure from the sugary glazes so familiar to doughnut lovers. Other toppings including banana chia pudding and milled flaxseed and agave pumpkin seeds. Sugar glazes are available but are "made in a mindful way," The co-owner and chef of Dr. Bob’s says its success is based on the "growing market" of health-conscious consumers. [ Image credit: © Dr. Bob's Donuts & DoYos ]
Sonya Sorich, "Goodbye, Gluttonous Glaze: Healthy Doughnuts are coming to Folsom", Sacramento Business Journal, March 16, 2017, © American City Business Journals
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Meijer Expands Home Delivery Service Across Midwestern Market

March 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Retailer Meijer is expanding its home delivery service across the Midwestern market. Meijer's move follows the success of a test of the service in the Detroit area where more than 65,000 orders for home delivery were received by the company. Mejier, in partnership with Shipt, offers the membership-based service with $99 annual subscription fee and offers unlimited free grocery deliveries on orders worth more than $35. Meijer president Rick Keyes said the company learned many lessons from the Detroit test, including the demographic groups that used the service.
Dale Buss, "Groceries on Demand: 5 Questions With Meijer President Rick Keyes", Brandchannel, March 16, 2017, © Interbrand
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Purchase Of Thanasi Extends Conagra Brands Into Premium Meat, Seed Snacks

March 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Conagra Brands announced it is acquiring the protein-based snacking business Thanasi Foods, maker of Duke’s meat snacks and BIGS seed snacks in a transaction expected to close this summer. Conagra manages the Slim Jim meat stick brand and the DAVID Seeds brand. The Duke's product line includes Smoked Shorty Sausages and Steak & Brisket Strips. BIGS’s products include jumbo in-shell sunflower seeds, sunflower seed kernels and roasted pumpkin seeds. Conagra Brands CEO Sean Connolly said the purchase is part of a strategy to extend into “faster-growing, more premium segments” of the meat and seed snacks market. Financial terms were not disclosed. [ Image credit: © Conagra Brands ]
"Conagra Brands Enters Into Definitive Agreement to Acquire Thanasi Foods, Maker of Duke's® Meat Snacks and BIGS® Seeds", News release, Conagra Brands, March 16, 2017, © Conagra Brands, Inc.
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Technology That Creates Lab-Grown Chicken Meat Intrigues Big Food

March 15, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A San Francisco-area start-up says it has developed the first chicken product from lab-grown cells. If the technology catches on with Big Food – Tyson Foods calls the cultured-meat technology “a good long-term proposition” – it could solve a lot of problems associated with meat processing. It might reduce the need for land and facilities to grow cattle, pigs, and poultry; cut the waste produced in meat processing; and help eliminate the costs of grain, water and waste-disposal associated with livestock. (It would also make groups like PETA happy.) It’s not exactly a cost-effective process yet, though. Boneless chicken breasts cost an average $3.22 a pound in U.S. grocery stores. Memphis Meats, which uses stainless-steel bioreactor tanks to produce its chicken, says its technology yields one pound of chicken meat for around $9,000. [ Image credit: © Memphis Meats ]
Jacob Bunge, "Startup Serves Up Chicken Produced From Cells in Lab", The Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Low- Or No-Content Claims Mislead Food Shoppers About Nutritional Content

March 15, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
People should not assume that food package claims -- no salt, no fat, low fat, no sugar, etc. -- guarantee that the foods are nutritious. In fact, these claims hardly ever reflect the actual nutritional quality of food, U.S. researchers concluded. The findings come at a time when food regulators, producers, and interest groups debate nutrition claim rules for packaged foods and beverages. The study analyzed data that included more than 80 million food and beverage purchases from more than 40,000 households from 2008 to 2012. Products with the least nutritional value – high in calories, sodium, sugar or fat – were more likely to have low- or no-content claims. They concluded: “Claims may have differential utility for certain foods or nutrients and, in some cases, may mislead about the overall nutritional quality of the food.”
Lindsey Smith Taillie et al., "No Fat, No Sugar, No Salt . . . No Problem? Prevalence of “Low-Content” Nutrient Claims and Their Associations with the Nutritional Profile of Food and Beverage Purchases in the United States. ", Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, March 15, 2017, © Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
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Ferrero Acquires Fanny May Confectionery Assets From 1-800-Flowers

March 15, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Italian confectioner Ferrero International is acquiring the Fannie May confection brands of 1-800-FLOWERS.com, including Fannie May and Harry London chocolate brands, in an all-cash $115 million transaction. Ferrero will acquire all related assets and liabilities including Fannie May’s e-commerce business,79 retail stores located mostly in the Chicago area, as well as a factory, warehouse and distribution facility. As part of the deal, 1-800-FLOWERS will continue to sell Fannie May and Harry London chocolates through its e-commerce and wholesale channels, and will add some of Ferrero’s chocolate brands, including Nutella, Ferrero Rocher and Raffaello, to its offerings. [ Image credit: © Fannie May ]
"1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. Announces the Signing of a Definitive Agreement to Sell Its Fannie May Confections Brands, Inc. Business to Ferrero International S.A. for $115.0 Million", News release, 1-800-FLOWERS, March 15, 2017, © 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc.
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McDonald’s Enters The World Of Smartphone Food Ordering

March 15, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Hoping to win back the drive-in customers it lost over the past four years, McDonald’s is at last testing a mobile ordering app it is satisfied with. The company is showing off the technology in Chicago where a new high tech demo restaurant was built with a redesigned kitchen that speeds order flow. McDonald’s hopes to avoid the disasters Starbucks encountered when its app generated a flood of orders that overwhelmed stores and drove away impatient walk-in customers. The company says order automation will cut transaction times, reduce errors, and free up workers to deliver food to tables or to cars parked in mobile order spots.[ Image credit: © McDonald's Corp. ]
"McDonald’s Finally Has Mobile Ordering", Fortune, March 15, 2017, © Time Inc.
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Unilever Continues Review Of Operations To Find Ways To Boost Shareholder Returns

March 14, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Responding to what CEO Paul Polman called the “near-death” experience of Kraft Heinz’s recent failed takeover bid, Unilever is thoroughly reviewing operations to see where it can boost shareholder returns. The company is requiring division heads in all of its businesses – from ice cream to shampoo and deodorants – to to conduct the reviews. It is unlikely the company will untangle its food, home, and personal care businesses, but it could make medium-sized acquisitions  One area of concern is actually a strength: its low debt balance. The small amount of debt gave Kraft Heinz a strategy for financing the acquisition. Unilever could cut costs more deeply in low-growth businesses to boost profit. And it may sell its Flora margarine unit to Kraft Heinz. [ Image credit: © DFID - UK Department for International Development  ]
Scheherazade Daneshkhu, "Pressure is on Unilever to meet investor expectations", The Financial Times, March 14, 2017, © The Financial Times Limited
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People Who Eat Healthy Diet Don’t Benefit Much From Probiotic Supplements

March 14, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
New findings from Australian research suggest that supplementing a healthy diet with probiotics may do more harm than good. Rats in the study were fed either a healthy diet or one high in saturated fat and sugar, both with a probiotic supplement. The probiotics improved the bacterial make-up in the “grossly disregulated” digestive tract of obese rats eating the junk food diet. They also improved brain function: spatial memory loss was prevented. Not so for the rats on the healthy diet. The probiotics had almost no impact on microbial diversity and actually impaired recognition memory.
J. E. Beilharz et al., "Cafeteria diet and probiotic therapy: cross talk among memory, neuroplasticity, serotonin receptors and gut microbiota in the rat. ", Molecular Psychiatry, March 14, 2017, © Macmillan Publishers Limited
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Consortium To Accelerate Technology That Turns Plant Protein Into “Beefsteak”

March 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Several food companies, including Unilever, have formed a consortium with a Dutch university to advance a technology that transforms vegetable protein into a layered fiber structure that mimics the taste, texture, and appearance of beefsteak. The Plant Meat Matters consortium comprises Swiss flavor house Givaudan, French agri-food giant Avril, and plant protein supplier Ingredion. Wageningen University researchers developed the shear-cell technology that can use protein from soy, wheat, pea, rapeseed or corn. The consortium hopes to scale the technology to produce industrial quantities, and to make it available to industry as well as chefs and consumers. Global sales of meat substitutes increased from 163,000 tons in 2015 to 183,000 tons in 2016, according to Euromonitor. [ Image credit: © Beyond Meat, Wikipedia ]
Niamh Michail, "Plant Meat Matters: Unilever, Givaudan and Ingredion Invest in Vegetarian Steak", FOODnavigator-USA.com, March 13, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Cognitive Functions Improve Among Older Adults Who Consume Blueberry Powder

March 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers who tested the impact of consuming 24 grams of blueberry powder – about a cup of fresh Highbush berries – daily on older adults found measurable improvements in cognitive function among the blueberry group over the placebo group. The randomized 90-day test included 37 healthy men and women between the ages of 60 and 75. The researchers tested participants for balance, gait and cognition at baseline, and again at 45 and 90 days. The group that consumed the blueberry powder showed significantly fewer repetition errors compared to the placebo group in the California Verbal Learning Test (CLVT), which assesses verbal memory abilities.
M.G. Miller et al., "Dietary blueberry improves cognition among older adults in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial", European Journal of Nutrition, March 13, 2017, © Springer Verlag
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Baked Snack Makers Go Heavy On Indulgent, Healthful, Functional

March 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Thirty-one percent of Americans say they often try new snacks, both “decadent” and healthful, a fact that caught the attention of bakery manufacturers. Many new product introductions offer indulgent, as well as functional and clean label, snacks. New ingredients are all the rage. On the indulgent side are treats like warmable gooey bun bites (Cinnabon) and seasonal treats like Italian rainbow pastries repurposed as everyday Raindow CakeBites (Cookies United). Other snack innovations that popped up in 2016: wide use of once seasonal flavors like pumpkin spice; artisan offerings; “healthy” snacks made without wheat or gluten; smaller portion sizes; protein-packed snacks; indulgent cookie flavors; candy-laden cookies; functional cookies laced with caffeine, omega-3 fatty acids, or probiotics; and crackers made with almonds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, chickpeas, sweet potatoes, or ancient grains. [ Rainbow CakeBites, image © Cookies United ]
Tom Vierhile, "2017 Bakery Trends: Flavor and Function", Prepared Foods, March 13, 2017, © BNP Media
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Carrefour Spain To Go On Youth Hiring Spree In Spain To Boost Marketing Strength

March 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
French multinational grocery  retailer Carrefour says its Spanish unit will invest in youth employment to support its “omnichannel transformation” by hiring young people with sales experience, digital know-how, client service skills, and teamwork ability. About 4,300 jobs will be filled by integrating staff from stores acquired from Basque cooperative Eroski. The total of new “stable” jobs to be created in the country will be about 5,300 this year, bringing the company’s workforce in Spain to 49,000. [ Image credit: © Carrefour  ]
"Carrefour Spain to Create 5,300 'Stable' Jobs in 2017", European Supermarket Magazine, March 13, 2017, © European Supermarket Magazine
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Iowa Municipality Implements Curbside Food Waste Pickup Program

March 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Residents of Iowa City, Iowa, are now allowed to put food waste, including meat and eggs, as well as uncoated paper products, into 35-gallon waste bins – they hold up to 50 pounds – marked with special stickers for curbside pickup. Iowa City officials hope to divert some of the 18,000 tons of food waste that end up in city landfills to composting facilities. The town has been composting food waste since 2007, getting about 600 tons a year from various sources, including the University of Iowa dining halls and hospitals. Officials expect the new curbside program will add another 500 to 1,000 tons a year. [ Food waste bin, image credit: © City of Iowa City  ]
Erin Jordan, "Food Waste Joins Curbside Composting in Iowa City", The Gazette (Iowa City, IA), March 13, 2017, © The Gazette
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Antibiotics-Free Cattle, Pigs Could Be Next, But It’s More Complicated

March 12, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The antibiotics-free chicken movement may have caught on big in the U.S. – about half of chicken sold is free of antibiotics – it hasn’t spread to pork or beef. But that may change soon, as advocates pressure companies to reduce or eliminate antibiotics use in cattle, pigs, and turkeys. Tyson already plans to move in that direction, though it’s more complicated because, unlike in-house chicken production, food companies have to contract with beef and pork producers. And some, like Sanderson Farms, deny there’s a connection between antibiotics use in animal raising and increased resistance to antibiotics in humans. But industry analysts say they’re missing the point. Antibiotics-free meat offers a new way to sell pricier products. [ Image credit: © Wikipedia ]
"Antibiotic-Free Meat Gets a Foothold in US", The Express Tribune, March 12, 2017, © The Express Tribune
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Scientists Hope New Technology Will Replace Non-Recyclable Food Packaging

March 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
To replace non-recyclable plastic food packaging, researchers in Lithuania are developing cellulose-based packaging that would be biodegradable – turning into fertilizer within two years – anti-oxidative (keeping foods fresher longer), and antimicrobial to help reduce foodborne illnesses. To achieve these goals, they are testing active components of clove ethereal oil – a combustible liquid that is soluble in ether – that enriches packaging with anti-oxidizing qualities, keeping food fresh. They added ionic silver particles to the packaging, making it antimicrobial, more elastic and stronger. The researchers hope to commercialize their technology “in the near future.” [ Image credit: © Kaunas University of Technology ]
"Biodegradable Packages Will Keep Your Food Fresh", News release, Kaunas University of Technology, March 10, 2017, © Kaunas University of Technology (Lithuania)
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Rotisserie Chicken Chain Pledges Antibiotics-Free Chicken By March 2018

March 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Add Boston Market to the list of restaurant chains committed to serving only antibiotics-free chicken. The company says that by July 2017, 75 percent of its chickens will have been raised without the drugs; within a year all of its chickens will be raised without the drugs. Boston Market unveiled a “quality guarantee” in January that states it will serve all natural, fresh, whole chickens that are U.S.-farm raised without added hormones or steroids,100 percent antibiotic-free, MSG free, and gluten free. [ Image credit: © Boston Market ]
"Boston Market Commits To Serving 100 Percent Antibiotic-Free Rotisserie Chicken", News release, Boston Market, March 10, 2017, © Boston Market
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General Mills Subsidizes Commercial Development Of Western Asian Grain

March 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Breakfast cereal maker General Mills bestowed its imprimatur on a fairly obscure cousin of wheat when it announced it would buy a significant supply of wild triga, known commercially as kernza, for use in its Cascadian Farm organic food brand. A perennial plant originating in the Caspian Sea region, triga was domesticated by scientists in Kansas. General Mills also donated $500,000 to find good ways to commercialize the grain, perhaps touting its potential as a new superfood. Kernza has several cultivation advantages over wheat: its roots stretch 10 ft into the earth, locking in nutrients and water, anchoring the plant and protecting against erosion. But the fact that General Mills is backing it suggests it will show up someday on store shelves as a breakfast or snack food. [ Image credit: © The Land Institute ]
Chase Purdy, "Is Kernza the New Quinoa? The maker of Cheerios is Investing in the Experimental and Sustainable Grain", Quartz, March 09, 2017, © Quartz
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Gluten-Free Diet Increases Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

March 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A small percentage of Americans cannot tolerate the protein gluten (found in wheat, rye, and barley) due to Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. But a multibillion-dollar industry has sprouted up in recent years because many people believe eating gluten-free foods is healthier, though they are often less nutritious and more expensive. Harvard University researchers now report that gluten-free diets may actually be less healthful. In a 30-year observational study that took into account the potential effect of cereal fiber, individuals in the highest 20 percent of gluten consumption had a 13 percent lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in comparison to those with the lowest daily gluten consumption (less than four grams).
"Low gluten Diets may be Associated with Higher Risk of Type 2 Diabetes", American Heart Association, March 09, 2017, © American Heart Association, Inc.
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Carrefour Posts Solid Fiscal 2016 Financial Performance

March 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Despite continued softness in the French market, retailer Carrefour SA posted full-year earnings of $1.01 billion, close to the $1.15 billion that Wall Street analysts had expected. Full-year net sales were $80.7 billion, 2.7 percent higher than last year. The company did not change its full-year dividend. The group had said earlier this year that fourth quarter sales were 3.9 percent higher at $24.9 billion. Operating profits in France, which represents about 25 percent of its total profit, fell 13.4 percent to $1.1 billion. The company said performance in the food sector was good in all countries; sales growth was “excellent” in Brazil and “continued positive momentum” in Europe, “reflecting the relevance of the predominantly food-based multiformat model.” [ Image credit: © Carrefour ]
"Carrefour 2016 Full-Year Results", Earnings release, Carrefour, March 09, 2017, © Carrefour
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Great Brownies, Cookies, And A Progressive Hiring Policy

March 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
New York’s Greyston Bakery is launching a line of “grab-and-go” cookies baked without preservatives, and with cage-free eggs and fair trade sugar. Greyston is already famous for its brownies, which are the key ingredient in Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream. The new cookie line features Harvest Cookies and Chocolate Chunk Cookies, sold, like the brownies, exclusively at Whole Foods Market stores. Greyston is also noted for its impact on the community. The company has an open hiring policy: it hires people with barriers to employment, no questions asked. CEO Mike Brady says, “We don’t hire people to bake cookies, we bake cookies to hire people.” Its partnership with Whole Foods Market has created 20 full-time positions at the bakery, [ Image credit: © Greyston Bakery ]
Kerry Sesil, "Greyston Launches New Cookies at Whole Foods Market®, Expands Job Impact", Specialty Food Association, March 08, 2017, © Specialty Food Association, Inc.
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Indian Research Uncovers Health Benefits Of Baking With Coconut Flour

March 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Research by Indian scientists has found evidence that coconut flour would make a healthful substitute for wheat flour in baking. The researchers said coconut flour is gluten-free, rich in dietary fiber and protein, low in digestible carbohydrates, and may help prevent cancer, heart disease and diabetes. They said it can be added into oatmeal to slow the sudden increase in blood sugar. It can also be mixed with beverages, soups, hot cereals and be used for making cookies and biscuits (rusk).[ Image credit: © Bob's Red Mill ]
"Coconut Flour a Healthy Product, Say Researchers", Business Standard, March 08, 2017, © Business Standard Private Limited
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School’s Composter Teaches Environmental Lessons While Reducing Food Waste

March 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A school in Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) has installed a food composter that “digests” as much as 200 pounds of food waste a day – not including avocado pits and beef bones. Since November the small, quiet machine has processed 7,000 pounds, turning the waste into non-potable water. The Power Knot Liquid Food Composter uses food-grade plastic pellets with enzymes that help break down the food as it’s agitated in water. Major benefits of the machine: it has so far reduced the school’s trash disposal fees of about $1,400 by $300; it has kept a lot of food waste out of the landfill where decomposition would have created methane gas; and it teaches environmental lessons in recycling and ecology to the students. The water produced is drained away and can be used to water lawns and gardens. [ Liquid Food Composter, image credit: © Power Knot  ]
Sarah Peters, "How a Gardens School’s Lunch Leftovers are Being Converted to Water", PalmBeachPost.com, March 07, 2017, © Cox Media Group
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Renaissance Texan Keeps State's Chefs Supplied With Freshly-Milled Heirloom Flour

March 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A musician with cooking school training, restaurant management experience, and a flair for entrepreneurship has launched a business based on the observation that chefs in Texas want the freshest organic flour they can find for their breads and other creations. James Brown, founder of Barton Springs Mill, decided that if he could source organically-grown flour – he could – he’d create a mill that would supply fresh organic flour from several types of heirloom wheat berries daily to restaurants all over the state. He did that, too, and very successfully. All while pursuing his other jobs: director of worship at a Presbyterian church and director of a music series that specializes in all-but-forgotten composers. [ Image credit: © Barton Springs Mill ]
Addie Broyles, "Barton Springs Mill Turns Ancient Grains into Fresh Flour", My Statesman (Texas), March 07, 2017, © Cox Media Group
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Key Execs At Hain Celestial Given New Strategic Responsibilities

March 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Organic and natural products company Hain Celestial has moved several key executives into new positions that report directly to CEO Irwin D. Simon. Hain Celestial North America CEO John Carroll is the new EVP-Global Brands and New Business Ventures. He will oversee global branding, new ventures, M&A, and the Project Terra cost savings and divestiture program. Gary W. Tickle has been named CEO of Hain Celestial North America.  And Beena Goldenberg, CEO of the company’s Canadian unit, will head up the Cultivate Ventures platform dedicated to investing in lifestyle brands, smaller portfolio brands and concepts, and incubator opportunities. [ Image credit: © Hain Celestial ]
"Hain Celestial Announces Executive Appointments", News release, Hain Celestial, March 06, 2017, © Hain Celestial
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New Orleans Libraries Serve As Collection Points For Kitchen Waste

March 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Two public libraries in New Orleans offer residents the chance to dispose of their food waste – leftover vegetable peels and cuts, coffee grounds, etc. – by dropping them off to be picked up for composting by a local farm. The two libraries have collected more than a ton of food waste since the program was launched in January. Residents are asked to place the leftover scraps in paper bags or compostable bags, or in reusable containers, and freeze them before bringing them to the libraries. [ Image credit: © Alastair M. Robinson  ]
Ann Maloney, "Bring Your Food Waste to the Library for Composting: Yes, really", The New Orleans Times-Picayune, March 05, 2017, © NOLA Media Group
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Aldi To Use Alibaba Online Platform To Market German Brands In China

March 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Germany’s fast-growing discount grocery chain Aldi hopes to interest Chinese consumers in German food and beverage brands, especially wine, snacks and breakfast foods. With that goal in mind, the company will "soft launch" an online presence on Alibaba’s Tmall Global platform, followed by a full launch event in Shanghai on April 25. The Chinese venture is being managed by Aldi South, owner of Aldi U.S. and manager of the British chain. An Alibaba manager said the Chinese middle-class is increasingly interested in German products.
Victoria Bryan, "German discounter Aldi to start online sales in China", Reuters, March 03, 2017, © Thomson Reuters
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Kroger CEO “Disappointed” With 4th Quarter Profit

March 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Kroger posted a disappointing 4th quarter profit of $506 million (53¢ a share), down from $559 million (57¢ a share) last year. Sales were $27.6 billion, up 5.5 percent ($26.2 billion) from a year ago. Net earnings for fiscal 2016 totaled $1.98 billion, or $2.05 a share. Excluding the restructuring of some multi-employer pension obligations, adjusted net earnings for the year were $2.05 billion, or $2.12 a share (up from 2015’s $2.04 billion, or $2.06 a share. The company said it created 12,000 new supermarket jobs in 2016. CEO Rodney McMullen, noting that the company was “obviously disappointed” with 4th quarter profit, said further cost cutting would allow the company to reach its long-term EPS growth rate target of 8 to 11 percent. [ Image credit: © Kroger Co. ]
"Kroger Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2016 Results", Earnings release, Kroger, March 02, 2017, © The Kroger Company
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New Line Of Prepared Frozen Fruits, Vegetables Helps Reduce Food Waste

March 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
British supermarket chain Tesco has launched a range of prepared frozen produce designed to take the "fuss” out of cooking with unusual but antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, including pomegranates, watermelon, coconut and beetroot (beets). Sold in resealable packages are frozen diced beetroot and coconut, chunks of watermelon, and seeded pomegranate. The range will also help reduce food waste because consumers take what is needed and leave the rest in the freezer, Tesco says.  [ Image credit: © Tesco ]
"Tesco Addresses Food Waste with Fuss-Free Frozen Fruit", Food Ingredients 1st, March 02, 2017, © CNS Media BV
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Dunkin’ Donuts Parent Company To Replace Synthetic With Natural Colorings

March 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
As part of an ongoing plan to offer cleaner menu labels, the parent company of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins said it will replace artificial colorings in its foods with naturally-sourced colorings by the end of 2018. Dunkin' Brands Group said its doughnuts unit will remove synthetic colors from donut icings, fillings, toppings, frozen beverages, baked goods, breakfast sandwiches and coffee flavorings. Likewise, Baskin-Robbins will remove synthetic colors from all ice cream, syrups, sauces, sprinkles and beverages. In 2014, Dunkin' Brands revamped its new product development process to focus on reformulating products to simplify ingredient labels, and reduce sodium and sugar content without sacrificing flavor.
"Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins Plan to Remove Artificial Colorings from U.S. Menus by End of 2018", News release, Dunkin' Brands Group, March 02, 2017, © Dunkin' Brands Group
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Bottled Water Giants Partner To Speed Biomass-Based Bottle To Market

March 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
French food company Danone is partnering with Nestlė Waters and a young technology company to accelerate commercial use of a 100 percent sustainable and renewable bio-based plastic bottle. The two giants in bottled water are working with a Sacramento, Calif.-based startup known as Origin Materials, which developed the technology. Together, the NaturALL Bottle Alliance will develop and launch commercially a PET1 (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic bottle made from biomass feedstocks, such as previously used cardboard and sawdust. A major advantage is that it does not divert resources or land from food production. [ Image credit: © Steven Depolo ]
"Danone and Nestlé Waters Launch NaturALL Bottle Alliance with California Startup to Develop 100% Bio-Based Bottles", News release, Nestlé Waters, March 02, 2017, © Nestlé Waters
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Consumer Goods Forum Draws Closer To Meeting Goals In Latest Health And Wellness Report

March 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), a global network of business stakeholders from 70 countries with a mission to help accomplish health and wellness-related Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations by implementing Health and Wellness Resolutions, released its the fourth edition of its Annual Health and Wellness Progress Report. CGF noted progress in the Commitments signed by its members: the first commitment is for greater transparency in nutritional policies and product formulation and the second commitment is to implement better employee health and wellness programs. Of the companies that participated in the CGF survey over the last two years, 38% has met the first commitment and 66% achieved the second the commitment. The CGF notes that larger companies worldwide are demonstrating leadership in meeting their health and wellness goals and are inspiring other members to move forward. The report provides comprehensive information on the progress of health and wellness programs across the world. It reveals that some 2.3 billion people and 30,000 communities have been reached by H&W programs, with 1.3 million employees, 1.4 million H&W professionals and 386,000 schools participating in its implementation. Interestingly, some 180,000 products have been redesigned to align with the H&W resolutions of member companies. [Image credit © The Consumer Goods Forum]
"Health & Wellness Progress Report", The Consumer Goods Forum, March 01, 2017, © Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited
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Cage-Free Eggs Movement Marches On

March 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
General Mills has joined other food industry players – food manufacturers, foodservice companies, fast food chains, and retailers – in pledging to eventually source only cage-free eggs globally for use in its products. The company’s commitment will be fully implemented by 2025. The decision was praised by the cage-free campaign Open Wing Alliance initiated by The Humane League earlier this year. In related news, all 99 Cents Only Stores that sell eggs will offer a cage-free option at a competitive price. And Farmer Boys Restaurants said it has completed its transition to cage-free California eggs in all 89 locations. [ Image credit: © Wikimedia ]
Gill Hyslop , "General Mills reiterates cage-free egg commitment", Bakery and Snacks, March 01, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Nestle Adds Gluten-Free Production Capacity In New Zealand Factory

March 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé has expanded the production capacity of its factory in New Zealand (South Auckland) to make gluten-free noodles, seasonings, flavor boosters, recipe bases, gravies, sauces, soups and dessert mixtures. The company said the multimillion-dollar facility turns out products under the Maggi and Docello brands. Exports already total more than $60 million. Nestlé expects this total to expand significantly with the addition of gluten-free versions. About 0.7 percent of New Zealanders are diagnosed with celiac disease, for which a strict lifelong gluten-free diet is essential. [ Image credit: © Nestlé S.A. ]
"Nestlé Factory Investment in Gluten Free Production Opens Export Opportunities", News release, Nestlé, March 01, 2017, © Nestlé
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Amazon Anticipates Permission From India To Launch Produce Delivery Venture

March 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Amazon Fresh, a growing competitor of supermarkets in the U.S., U.K., and Europe, is waiting for foreign direct investment approval from the Indian government before launching a grocery delivery operation there. The company expects to be delivering produce, lentils, milk, and other staples sourced from local farmers. Amazon already sells fresh produce and dairy products through its Amazon Now venture in four Indian cities, though the food is sourced from local supermarkets.[ Image credit: © SounderBruce ]
Writankar Mukherjee, "Amazon Awaits FDI Approval to Deliver Groceries at Doorstep ", Economic Times, March 01, 2017, © Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.
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Toronto Festival Showcased Foods, Beverages Made From Landfill-Bound Ingredients

March 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A Toronto brewer has launched a food festival whose goal is to raise awareness of, and perhaps help reduce, the $31 billion in food wasted every year in Canada, nine percent of it in restaurants. The goal of the first Trashed & Wasted food festival, held in early March n Toronto, was to get people to rethink how they approach kitchen scraps. A secondary goal was to raise funds for a food collection organization that works with community agencies. At the festival, chefs created dishes from rescued food, while local brewers and distillers concocted beverages using ingredients that would normally be considered garbage. Another local craft brewery, for example, made a special beer for the festival using leftover bread from a Toronto bakery. [ Image credit: ©  Rainhard Brewery ]
Andrea Chiu, "Toronto Food Festival Seeks to Change How People Approach Kitchen Scraps", The (Toronto) Globe and Mail, March 01, 2017, © The Globe and Mail Inc.
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Grupo Bimbo Buys Columbian Frozen Bakery Company

March 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The global frozen bakery market is a high-growth area, thanks to increasing demand for “thaw-and-serve” and “bake-off” products that deliver convenience to consumers, bakeries, supermarkets and quick-serve eateries. Analysts forecast the segment to top $21 billion within three years at a CAGR of 8.5 percent from 2015 to 2020. So it’s no mystery why Mexico’s baked goods giant Grupo Bimbo (Mexico City) just bought Panettiere, a Columbian frozen bakery company. In addition to its frozen products, the company Panattiere sells puff pastry, sandwich rolls, muffins and soft bread. The acquisition allows Bimbo to “participate in the in-store and food service bakery channels” in Latin America, the company said. [ Image credit: © Scoictho, Wikimedia  ]
Douglas Yu, "Bimbo Acquires Frozen Bakery Brand Panattiere", BakeryAndSnacks.com, March 01, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Campbell Soup Says Its Four Platforms Will Ensure Future Growth

March 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Campbell Soup CEO Denise Morrison told consumer industry analysts recently that she and her company understand that the “future food world” will be complex and challenging, with unpredictable and unrelenting change. There will be both “opportunities and disruptions” caused by advancements in food, health and wellness, and technology. With that in mind, the company has established four platforms for growth: further developing its omnichannel strategy, especially e-commerce; focusing on affordable, high-quality, and even functional snacks; taking advantage of the future biometrics-based personalization of foods; and applying the concept of “limitless local” that embraces smaller and more regional farming and food production models. [ Denise Morrison, iImage credit: © Campbell Soup Company ]
Lynne Cooke, "Campbell Soup Outlines Four Platforms to Drive Growth", CPG Matters, March 01, 2017, © CPG Matters
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It’s Really Not More Expensive To Eat Healthful Foods

March 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Are poor diets and obesity the direct result of the unaffordability of healthful food? According to one analyst, the answer is no, though many people believe it. One reason for that is that some studies have looked at food prices on a price-per-calorie basis, which makes many high-calorie foods seem inexpensive. For example, a low-calorie yogurt would appear more expensive than an identical high-calorie yogurt even though their retail prices are the same. Christopher Snowdon says his report compares directly the prices of healthy and less healthy food substitutes and also compares them by “edible weight.” He found almost no difference between the price of regular food products and their healthier substitutes. Analyzing by edible weight, healthier supermarket food tends to be cheaper than less healthy food. [ Image credit: © Peg93, Wikimedia  ]
Christopher Snowdon, "Cheap As Chips", Report, The Institute of Economic Affairs, March 01, 2017, © The Institute of Economic Affairs
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Future Group Eyes Expansion Into Personal Care

February 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Future Group CEO Kishore Biyani said the Indian retailer will focus next on the personal care market, following its signing of a joint venture deal with organic products company Hain Celestial. To better focus on its core fashion and food businesses, and to ensure the success of the Hain venture, the company plans to sell its home furnishings unit HomeTown and close sportswear retail unit Planet Sports. [ Image credit: © Future Group ]
Priya Sheth, "Future Group will Target Personal Care Next: Kishore Biyani", Money Control, February 28, 2017, © e-Eighteen.com Ltd.
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Unilever Ghana Names Two New Directors

February 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever Ghana Limited said it has appointed Angela Peasah and Gladys Amoah as directors of the company. Peasah, a chartered accountant by profession, was named a non-executive director effective February 9, 2017. Amoah was named a director in charge of customer development in the country effective November 1, 2016.
"Unilever Ghana Appoints New Directors", Ghana News Agency, February 28, 2017, © Ghana News Agency
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Unilever Eyes Changes To Executive Pay System To Encourage Loyalty, Entrepreneurship

February 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever announced plans to revise its pay structure for the company's executives and directors that would encourage them to see themselves as owners of the business. Once approved by the shareholders at the company's annual general meetings in April 2017, the proposed revisions would be effective for three years. According to the company, the changes would focus more on “long-term employee share ownership and personal commitment.”
Martinne Geller, "Unilever Seeks Changes to Pay to Give Managers Owner's Mindset", Reuters, February 28, 2017, © Reuters
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Agri-Food Trade Deals Boost EC Economy, Jobs

February 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
An EC-sponsored study concludes that trade agreements have not only boosted agricultural exports, they have supported agri-food and other sector jobs. Agreements with Mexico, Switzerland, and South Korea increased exports by more than $1.3 billion and raised value-added in the agri-food sector by $787 million. The three agreements contributed to a record for total EU agri-food exports in 2016. The total reached $172 billion, up $1.8 billion on 2015. The biggest increases in annual exports were to the U.S. and China. “Trade deals, done right, are a force for good for our farmers and food producers,” said Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström. [ Image credit: © U.S. Customs and Border Protection ]
"Trade Agreements Boost EU Agri-Food Sector", Food Ingredients 1st, February 28, 2017, © CNS Media BV
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