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Brexit, Pound Value, Put Pressure On Retail Grocery Prices

November 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Food retailers in the U.K. may be using Brexit and the drop in the pound to justify price hikes. Data collected by Mysupermarket.com show that U.K. supermarkets are charging a lot more for Unilever products than a year ago, and the trend is not slowing. Stores whose prices have risen include Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, and Tesco. But there is less evidence that Asda’s prices on Unilever products have risen very much, mainly because Asda, owned by Walmart, benefits from the U.S. retailer’s massive buying power. For its part, Unilever, which has consistently warned that Brexit would lead to price increases, said raising prices for retailers is “never done lightly” and it is absorbing most cost pressures itself.
Sean Poulter , "After Marmitegate, More Price Rises from Unilever: Firm Blames Impact of the Brexit Vote as Price of Products Including PG Tips and Persil Surges", Daily Mail, November 07, 2016, © Associated Newspapers Ltd.
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New Food Dyes Are Natural, But Tricky To Use

November 4, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Even after decades of FDA endorsement of artificial food dyes as safe, consumers in recent years have grown increasingly skeptical. Food companies have been listening. Many – including big firms like General Mills, Taco Bell, Kraft Heinz, and Mars – have begun using substitute dyes that are more natural, derived from fruits, vegetables, and spices. The FDA recently approved a request from Mars to use spirulina (blue-green algae) to create blue tones. Food technologists, however, are wrestling with the fact that natural colorings – from turmeric, beets, paprika, annatto seeds (from the achiote tree), etc. – are very heat- and acidity-sensitive, more expensive, and have to be used in larger quantities.
Maia Welbel, "Food Corporations Phase Out Artificial Colors", The Student Life, November 04, 2016, © The Student Life
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Company Says Its Clinical Trial Shows Its Product Reduces Fatigue

November 4, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A clinical study conducted by the maker of a nutraceutical ingredient shows that it is “effective against both physical and mental fatigue.” According to AstaReal (Burlington, NJ), the double-blind, placebo-controlled study of its product astaxanthin, published in a Japanese scientific journal, involved activities designed to mimic everyday mental fatigue and physical stress. Participants performed various timed calculations that evaluate concentration and mental clarity. They also pedaled a bicycle ergometer. Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) analysis showed that AstaReal astaxanthin significantly reduced symptoms of mental and physical fatigue compared to the placebo, the company claims.
"Clinical Study Shows AstaReal® Astaxanthin Effective in Reducing both Physical and Mental Fatigue", News release, AstaReal, November 04, 2016, © AstaReal Holdings Co., Ltd.
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Australian Community Group Hopes To Reduce Fruit Tree Waste

November 4, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
An organization in the Australian state of Tasmania says it is launching a regional harvest cooperative next fall to link fruit tree growers with volunteer pickers. The goal is to reduce waste associated with unpicked fruit. A representative of the Meander Valley Local Food for Local People said excess produce would be shared with harvesters and with charities. Workshops might also be held to process unsold fruit into jams, chutneys, juice, vinegar and dried fruit.
"Group aims to reduce wastage", The Examiner Newspaper, November 04, 2016, © Fairfax Media
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Sprouted Grain Bakery Acquired By Specialty Food Company

November 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Lancaster Colony will acquire Cudahy, Ohio-based wholesale bakery Angelic Bakehouse, which specializes in non-GMO sprouted grain baked goods. The company’s owners, who bought the 40-year-old Cybros bakery in 2009, will continue in their current roles at Angelic, and hope to participate in strong growth and expansion. A representative of specialty foods maker Lancaster Colony said the company is very happy with the purchase because of Angelic’s “terrific lineup of on-trend bakery products.”
Lori Fredrich, "Angelic Bakehouse Acquired by Ohio-Based Lancaster Colony", OnMilwaukee, November 03, 2016, © OnMilwaukee.com
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Whole Foods Market Posts Strong Sales Growth In FY 4Q 2016

November 2, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market, Inc., reported total sales grew to a record $3.5 billion for the fourth quarter ending September 25, 2016. During the period, comparable store sales declined 2.6 percent, with net income at $88 million, or 2.5 percent of sales for the quarter. According to the retailer, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization were $276 million, or 7.9 percent of sales, with return on invested capital at 13 percent. Cash flow from operations were at $352 million, with the company investing $195 million in capital expenditures. Also, the company returned $44 million in quarterly dividends to shareholders and repurchased $15 million, or 0.5 million shares, of common stock.
"Whole Foods Market Reports Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2016 Results", Whole Foods, November 02, 2016, © Whole Foods Market
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Major Management Restructuring At Whole Foods Market

November 2, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market is eliminating its co-CEO management structure in favor of a single chief, naming John Mackey to the position. Walter Robb will remain as co-CEO until the end of December. After that, he will remain a director and continue to serve as chairman of both Whole Kids Foundation and Whole Cities Foundation. The company also announced that CFO Glenda Flanagan will retire from the role after 29 years at the end of fiscal 2017 (Sept. 2017), but will remain an advisor.
"Whole Foods Market Announces Changes to Leadership; Eliminates Co-CEO Structure; Appoints John Mackey CEO ", News release, Whole Foods Market, November 02, 2016, © Whole Foods Market
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Celebrate Thanksgiving With A Croissant – Stuffed With Turkey Dinner

November 2, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Forget turducken, that Thanksgiving oddity comprising a deboned chicken stuffed into a deboned duck, then stuffed into a deboned turkey. Momofuku Milk Bar of New York City and Washington, D.C., has begun making available an entire Thanksgiving dinner, in miniature, in a croissant. The unlikely but fairly inexpensive treat – only $7 for stuffing-flavored bread packed with shredded turkey, gravy, and cranberry sauce – was a big hit last year. It will be available through Thanksgiving at all Milk Bar locations.
Aly Weisman et al., "A New York Bakery is stuffing an Entire Thanksgiving Dinner into a Croissant", Business Insider, November 02, 2016, © Business Insider Inc.
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Promotional Campaign Exchanges Store-Bought Bread For Fresh-Milled

November 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. company whose franchises make bread from fresh-milled whole grains recently launched a promotional campaign to spread the word about its products. The National Bread Challenge of Great Harvest Bread Co. coincided with National Bread Month (November). Consumers could bring in to any of 200 franchises on three specific days (ending on the 12th) a processed store-bought loaf of bread and exchange it for a free loaf of Great Harvest Bread. The company’s franchisees have been making bread from scratch from wheat berry grown on farms in Montana since 1976. Flour is milled in the bakeries every day, then kneaded by hand, baked and served fresh all day long.
"Bakery Franchise Announces “National Bread Challenge” in November", News release, Great Harvest Bread, November 01, 2016, © Great Harvest Bread
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New Products, Novel Marketing From Hormel Bacon

October 31, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Hormel unveiled new bacon products that include low-sodium sea salt and double smoked varieties. The new offerings come in 16-ounce single packs, 24-ounce stack packs and 9.5-ounce fully-cooked packs. The company says additional flavors in the “Black Market” family will be available soon. An innovative marketing gimmick involves the opportunity for users to experience the new products in virtual reality by visiting www.BlackLabelBacon.com on a smart phone and positioning the phone in front of their eyes.  The virtual reality experience includes a Dark Woods, a Volcano, a Salty Sea and the darkness of Outer Space where bacon can be purchased.
"Hormel Black Label Bacon Introduces the Black Market", News release, Hormel Foods, October 31, 2016, © Hormel Foods Corporation
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Low-GI Noodles On The Horizon

October 31, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Two companies involved in collagen-based ingredients and noodle manufacturing announced they are working to develop the first low-glycemic index (GI) noodles. Canadian noodle specialist Wing’s Food Products will test Holista CollTech’s bakery ingredient Panatura GI, which has been used successfully to make a low-GI bread. If the formula is validated by a Toronto nutrition research firm, the two companies will enter a formal commercial agreement to make and distribute the low-GI noodles in North America. Holista maintains facilities in Malaysia and Australia.
RJ Whitehead, "Holista CollTech Sets out to Develop World’s First Low-GI Noodles", FOODnavigator-Asia.com, October 31, 2016, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Another Chapter In The Long History Of Cupcakes

October 29, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Cupcakes have been around commercially since 1919, when the Hostess CupCake debuted. They became a national sensation in the ‘90s when gourmet versions appeared, but the trend faded in recent years, replaced at least somewhat by other innovative baked treats. But there is still a National Chocolate Cupcake Day, and to celebrate it, food writer Molly Bilinski shared her secret way to eat a cupcake: remove the wrapper, twist the bottom from the cake and place it on top. That puts the icing in the middle, forming a – less messy, icing in every bite – cupcake sandwich.
Molly Bilinski, "For a different way to enjoy a cupcake, make a sandwich out of it", Reading Eagle (Pennsylvania), October 29, 2016, © Reading Eagle Company
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Oh Dear, Bread And Beer – And Reduced Food Waste

October 28, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
About 44 percent of bread baked in the U.K. is thrown away, but efforts are under way to put otherwise wasted bread to better use. Adelie Foods, for example, is working with Hambleton Brewery’s Toast Ale to turn surplus bread from bakeries, deli’s, and sandwich makers into beer. Using an average of one slice of bread per beer, Toast Ale has turned out about 6,000 beers from 220 kg of bread donated by Adelie since August. It’s “a delicious solution to the problem of bread waste,” says Toast Ale’s Julie Prebble.
"Adelie Foods and Toast Ale join Forces to Fight Surplus Bread Waste", FoodBev Media, October 28, 2016, © FoodBev Media Ltd
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Dairy Proteins Decrease Risk Factors For Heart Disease

October 26, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
British researchers have determined in a clinical trial that whey protein supplements may have significant health benefits for regular people, not just bodybuilders. Participants in the study with mild hypertension drank two protein shakes a day for eight weeks. They decreased their risk of heart disease and stroke by as much as eight percent. They had lower blood pressure and cholesterol and healthier blood vessels. The study is good news for people who not only take whey protein supplements, but who eat or drink dairy foods rich in protein.
Ảgnes A. Fekete et al., "Whey Protein Lowers Blood Pressure and Improves Endothelial Function and Lipid Biomarkers in Adults with Prehypertension and Mild Hypertension: Results from the Chronic Whey2Go Randomized Controlled Trial", The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, October 26, 2016, © Fekete et al.
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The Cruffin Debuts In Philadelphia, Where Budino Thrives

October 26, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Philadelphians love the sweet Italian custard known as budino, usually served like pudding in small jars or ramekins, and chefs have been experimenting with variations on it for years. At first there was salted caramel budino, then frozen budino pops (on a stick), and budino-stuffed doughnuts rolled in salted caramel crunch. The latest incarnation is the salted caramel budino-stuffed cruffin from Barbuzzo's. Similar in concept to New York's famous cronut, it is a hybrid of the croissant and the muffin, stuffed with caramel budino pudding, topped with dark chocolate cookie crumbs and some fleur de sel (sea salt), all rolled in sugar.
Alex Tewfik, "Introducing Philly’s New Hybrid Dessert, the Salted Caramel Budino Cruffin", CNBC, October 26, 2016, © CNBC LLC
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Feeding The Homeless While Cutting Food Waste

October 26, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A grass-roots effort to feed homeless people in Los Angeles also benefits the environment by cutting food waste. Food Not Bombs cooks and serves gallons of stew and salads made from nearly 400 pounds of vegetables donated each week by Food Forward, which collects unsold fruits and veggies from farmers’ market vendors. Food Forward has streamlined and centralized food collection from farmers, weighing it and providing receipts for tax records. Since its founding seven years ago, the organization – it has 7,000 registered volunteers and 18 paid employees – has donated more than 25 million pounds of food to 150 local hunger relief agencies, feeding 1.3 million people a year.
Leilani Clark, "In Los Angeles, a Band of Food Rescuers is Getting Produce to the People", Civil Eats, October 26, 2016, © Civil Eats
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Fast-Food Giant Is Doing Well Financially, Despite Flat Traffic

October 26, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
After four straight years of declining traffic, McDonald’s Corp. is still trying to figure out how to lure more customers into its restaurants. The company nevertheless reported third quarter revenue and profit that beat estimates, thanks in part to increases – as much as 3.3 percent – in same-store sales in international markets, including the U.K. and Germany. But U.S. sales rose a mere 1.3 percent. Executives told a recent meeting of franchisees that building a sustainable business involves progress in three key areas: sales, guest counts and cash flow. “And today we are making uneven progress,” according to a memo summarizing the meeting. The biggest disappointment is progress in growing guest counts.
Leslie Patton, "McDonald’s Turnaround Fails to Get More Customers in Door", Bloomberg, October 26, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Nestle’s Refrigerated Pasta Brand Commits To Non-GMO Ingredients

October 25, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Refrigerated pasta and sauce brand Buitoni has committed to non-GMO ingredients, a move that parent company Nestlé says is the “next step” in a strategy of making their foods simpler, and more transparent to consumers. Buitoni’s products are already free of artificial colors and flavors, and are now certified as non-GMO by third-party verifier SGS. Nestlé said last summer it would only use "kitchen cupboard" ingredients that consumers "know and trust" in its Stouffers frozen meals, and would remove artificial colors, flavors, high fructose corn syrup and GMO ingredients from six of its ice cream brands in the U.S.
Katy Askew, "Nestle's Buitoni Removes GMOs", Just-Food, October 25, 2016, © just-food.com
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New Company Offers Personalized Nutrition Plans

October 25, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
An entrepreneur who was warned by a doctor that he was in dangerously poor health is launching a company that will help customers get back on track with a personalized nutrition plan. The $299 plan includes a blood test – you have to draw your own blood at home and mail it in – then analysis of 60 biomarkers, including amino acids, vitamin levels, blood sugar, and some genetic variants. The genetic information suggests how you may respond to diet. A metabolic rate "challenge" involves drinking a special milkshake and sending in more blood to determine response to fats, carbs and sugars. Lastly, the company provides a 30-minute consultation with a registered dietitian who offers nutrition advice (but not disease diagnosis).
Christina Farr, "This Startup Sells You Meal Plans Based On Your Nutrition Type", Fast Company, October 25, 2016, © Mansueto Ventures, LLC
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Supplement Makers Enter New Era Of Transparency, Nutritionally-Rich Ingredients

October 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Consumers increasingly demand not only greater effectiveness from dietary supplements but also greater transparency. Supplement makers, in turn, are benefiting from advances in nutrition science and recent botanical discoveries that make it easier to respond to those demands. Innovations affecting the industry include, for example, whole-food supplements and green powders that support health and wellness, enhance energy or promise vitality. In terms of bioavailability of nutrients, new liposome (fat) “bubbles” make it easy to deliver high levels of nutrients while bypassing destructive gastric juices and liver enzymes. Lastly, forward-thinking supplement makers are paying greater attention to transparency: origin of ingredients, nutrients within them, non-nutritive fillers, and even the brand’s business practices.
Todd Runestad, "Supplement Trendspotting", New Hope Network, October 24, 2016, © Penton
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Foodservice Beverage Maker Adds More Clean-Label Powdered Products

October 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Chicago-based Bevolution Group, maker of shelf stable and frozen foodservice beverage products, has unveiled four additions to its line of beverage mixes that are free from artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners. The Café Essentials brand of specialty drinks now includes powdered pumpkin spice, apple spiced chai, caramel, and cinnamon roll beverages. Café Essentials products span 39 frappe mixes, from organic, cocoa, chai, mocha, vanilla, and base flavors. All of the powdered drinks are clean label, containing no hydrogenated oils, and less fat and sugar.
"New Seasonal Flavors From Cafe Essentials", News release, Bevolution Group, October 24, 2016, © Bevolution Group
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Ugly Fruits, Vegetables Are Finally Making Their Way To Stores Instead Of Landfills

October 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The food industry is getting the message from both anti-waste activists and consumers that fruits and vegetables don’t have to be uniformly perfect cosmetically to be marketable. Throwing away imperfect produce, whether at the production, distribution, or retail levels, is a huge waste of money – $40 billion a year – considering the water, fertilizer, energy and other resources it takes to grow crops that are never eaten. But that’s changing now: it’s increasingly possible to purchase ugly, or “wonky,” produce at grocery stores where bargain-hunting shoppers enjoy the hefty discounts.
Beth Gardiner, "Food Industry Goes Beyond Looks to Fight Waste", The New York Times, October 24, 2016, © The New York Times Company
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Nutritious Profile Spurs Growth Of Mushrooms As Healthful Drink Ingredient

October 23, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Beverages made with mushrooms are becoming a booming market, according to industry watchers. Products include teas, powdered lemonade mixes, broth, and protein shakes. Their growing popularity is mainly due to people searching for alternatives to animal-based nutrition. Mushrooms are fat-free, low in calories, and rich in protein, fiber, and many essential vitamins and minerals. The king of the mushroom market right now is a variety known as reishi (left). Sales of reishi-based foods are up 91 percent for the 52 weeks ending September 4. But sales growth is also impressive for chaga (up 46 percent), cordycep (up 19 percent) and shiitake (up 26 percent).
Stephen Daniells, "Reishi Reigns! Mushroom Products Continue Impressive Growth in Food and Beverage Space", FOODnavigator-USA.com, October 23, 2016, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Walmart Invests $50M In China’s Big Online Grocery Retailer

October 21, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Just one day after Walmart and China’s JD.com revealed they would collaborate on three new online services, the U.S. retailer announced a $50 million investment in New Dada, the country's largest local on-demand logistics and grocery O2O e-commerce platform. The investment enables grocery delivery from certain Walmart stores. The earlier announcement focused on Sam’s Club and Global Imports stores on JD.com, and two-hour grocery delivery through New Dada, an independent joint venture of JD.com and Dada. New Dada has more than 25 million registered customers and provides local on-demand delivery in 300 cities in China. Walmart has 426 stores in 170 cities.
"Walmart Announces Strategic Investment in China’s largest on-demand logistics and O2O Grocery platform New Dada", News release, Walmart, October 21, 2016, © Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
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USDA To Publish Monthly Data On Cage-Free Egg Market

October 21, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The USDA has begun to issue a monthly report providing data on the cage-free egg market, including wholesale and retail prices, production estimates, flock size estimates for both organic and conventional cage-free eggs. Wholesale price data includes contract-traded and spot market egg sales. Retail price information covers large and extra-large cage-free eggs gleaned from the advertising materials of 29,000 U.S. grocers. Cage-free organic and conventional egg production data are based on flock size estimates coupled with egg laying rates. In related news, IKEA restaurants and foodservice provider Compass Group have committed to cage-free eggs, along with Six Flags Entertainment’s amusement parks by 2026.
"USDA Introduces New Report Covering the Cage-free Egg Market", News release, USDA, October 21, 2016, © USDA
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Starbucks To Expand Investment In Super-Premium Coffee Bars

October 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Starbucks is in a fight to dominate the emerging super-premium coffee shops market, dubbed the “third wave” coffee movement. It just announced plans to add Reserve coffee bars in up to 1,000 of its cafes over the next year. Over time it plans to open 1,000 cafes that would sell only the Reserve brand coffees. Its two biggest competitors in the market are Blue Bottle, known for exotic micro-lot coffees, and Intelligentsia, owned by a German holding company.
Lisa Baertlein, "Starbucks Plans New 'Reserve' Targets in Super-Premium Battle", Reuters, October 20, 2016, © Reuters
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Fusion Of Croissant With Bread Debuts In U.K.

October 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
British retailer Marks & Spencer has unveiled a union of the croissant and a loaf of bread dubbed the croloaf. The company says it’s practical because the croloaf is made with an all-butter pastry that keeps well for a few days. Each slice of the “perfect fusion of French and British breakfast” contains 114 calories. The croloaf retails at about $3.00.
Ellen Scott, "Marks & Spencer Launches the Croloaf – a Loaf of Bread Made of Croissants", Metro UK, October 19, 2016, © Associated Newspapers Limited
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Dannon To Award Two Research Grants For Microbiome Studies

October 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Yogurt company Dannon will award two $25,000 grants to fund undergraduate, graduate or postgraduate research into the impact of yogurt and probiotics on the human gut microbiome. The grant program is now in its fifth year, having awarded $100,000 to four postgraduate researchers in the previous four years. The company said earlier awardees have “made strides in the interdisciplinary fields of biology, health sciences, nutrition, yogurt and probiotics.” The program is accepting applications until February 15, 2017.
"Leading Yogurt Company Challenges Students to Unearth New Data on the Gut Microbiome, Yogurt and Probiotics with $50K Grant Program", News release, Dannon Company, October 19, 2016, © Dannon Company
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Are Marijuana Baked Goods And Other Edibles Profitable? Not Yet

October 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Turns out, the burgeoning cannabis market isn’t fueling tremendous profits among makers of marijuana-infused baked goods. According to industry experts, so-called cannabis edibles makers end up having to plow profits back into their businesses just to keep up with the mercurial regulatory environment. This despite the fact that edibles comprise as much as half of the marijuana sales in places like Colorado and Washington. Edibles include chocolate, candies, gummies, drinks and baked goods; baked goods are about 10 percent of the total cannabis market, which is expected to reach $27 billion by the end of 2016.
Douglas Yu, "Growing Against Regulations: Cannabis Edibles Industry’s Significant Profit Margins are yet to be Seen, Colorado Marijuana Bakers Said", BakeryAndSnacks.com, October 18, 2016, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Retail Grocers Need To Stay Focused On The Importance Of Innovation

October 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Many big food companies are working hard to innovate, constantly refreshing their product offerings, hoping to satisfy consumer appetites for new and exotic foods and flavors. Kraft Heinz, for example, recently added Aioli Mayonnaise and Korean Barbecue Sauce to its product line. But the problem, according to the Kraft Heinz Europe president, is that grocery retailers are putting limits on the array of products they offer shoppers, to the point that supermarkets are “in danger of becoming too ‘manicured’ and reminiscent of ‘libraries’.” Matt Hill said retailers should not lose focus on the need to innovate in the food industry.
Jennifer Faull, "Supermarkets Will Feel Like Dull Libraries if Bosses Don’t Support In-Store Marketing From FMCG Brands, Warns Kraft Heinz", The Drum, October 18, 2016, © Carnyx Group Ltd
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Report Looks At Trends In Consumption Of Some Key Nutrients

October 17, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
As the world wrestles with both malnutrition and diet-related diseases like obesity, a new Euromonitor report finds that alcohol has become a major source of calories and bread a major source of protein (as well as sodium). The main packaged sources of protein are baked goods, dairy, and processed meat and seafood, together providing 39 percent of the world’s protein. Packaged foods are the major source of calories in Western Europe, the U.S., Canada and Australasia, while fresh foods dominate everywhere else. Sugar continues to be a huge focus of health concerns, for good reason: packaged food, soft drinks, and fresh foods contribute an average of 73 grams – 18 teaspoons – of sugar a day per person. Alcohol is another major source of calories, but doesn’t get the attention that soft drinks do.
Sara Petersson, "Nutrition 2015 Key Findings: Bread is the Protein of Today and Alcohol Could Be the Sugar of Tomorrow", Report, Euromonitor , October 17, 2016, © Euromonitor International
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School District Chef Creates Healthful Baked Snacks For Students

October 17, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A school district chef in Arizona is using alternative – and healthful – ingredients to create tasty and nutritious baked goods for schoolkids. The treats she has developed – hummingbird cupcakes, olive oil lemon cookies, black bean brownies, etc.– all meet federal Smart Snack rules for schools. Shyla Larson replaces unhealthy ingredients with better options like applesauce, black beans and vanilla extract. These enhance the flavors while keeping sugar levels low and maintaining similar texture and consistency. The result? “Nothing but positive feedback,” says the administrative dietitian for the Tucson Unified School District.
Joanna DeChellis, "District Develops Low-Sugar Baked Goods amid New Guidelines", Food Management, October 17, 2016, © Penton
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Food Delivery Firm Just Eat Adds Former P&G Exec To Board

October 17, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Online food delivery company Just Eat has named former P&G marketing exec Roisin Donnelly to its board of directors. Donnelly, 54, spent 31 years at P&G, most recently as chief marketing officer for Northern Europe. She left the company in June and was replaced by Stefan Feitoza de Oliveira. Just Eat, which operates a global marketplace for online food delivery, has 15.5 million active users in 13 countries.
Barrett J. Brunsman, "Former P&G Marketing Chief to Help Run World’s Top Online Food-Ordering Firm", Business Journals, October 17, 2016, © American City Business Journals
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Philadelphia Prison System Becomes Thriving Example Of Sustainability

October 17, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In 2011, the National Institute of Corrections in the U.S. began to encourage prisons to pay closer attention to energy consumption, waste, and re-use, and to train prisoners for obtaining green jobs. One prison system that took the suggestions to heart was the Philadelphia Department of Prisons. It now operates a three-acre organic farm and food waste diversion program at one facility – once a construction site – that houses high-custody, long-sentence inmates. Workers on the farm are from a nearby minimum security prison. The Philadelphia mayor’s office says the program diverts 685 tons of food waste a year into compost, saving the city more than $40,000 in landfill costs.
Amy McKeever, "Philadelphia’s Prison System is Fighting Food Waste and Recidivism with an Organic Farm", Civil Eats, October 17, 2016, © Civil Eats
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Walgreens Customers Can Now Buy Online, Pick Up At Store, For Free

October 17, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Pharmacy chain Walgreens is following the lead of other big retailers by unveiling program that allows customers to buy online or on the phone and then pick up the purchase at a store. The new Ship to Store program, available at 7,600 Walgreens and Duane Reade stores, features free shipping with no minimum order requirement. Orders can be picked within one to three days of purchase. Online purchases can also be delivered to the home for free with a minimum order of $35.
David Salazar, "Walgreens introduces Ship to Store program", Drug Store News, October 17, 2016, © Drug Store News
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Gluten-Free Market Is Booming, For No Good Reason

October 14, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. sales of gluten-free foods hit $1.57 billion, in 2015, an increase of 11 percent from 2014. That’s a slower increase than the 81 percent in 2013, but still beats overall grocery sales growth of three percent. The explosion of gluten-free products is a “blessing” for celiac disease sufferers. The odd fact, however, is that only one percent of the U.S. population actually suffers from gluten intolerance. Surveys have found that the rest buy gluten-free foods because they believe they are “generally healthier” or will help them lose weight. About 25 percent of consumers think "gluten-free is good for everyone." Health professionals, however, say this is a misconception, and that those without a diagnosis of gluten intolerance don't need to avoid gluten.
Deena Shanker, "You Can Eat Gluten Again, America", Bloomberg, October 14, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Successful Pilot Project Leads To Deployment Of School Food Waste Program

October 14, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A pilot project conducted by foodservice giant Sodexo and partners in France, Italy, and the U.K., led to a 12 percent food waste reduction in six schools. The program kept 2.5 tons of food waste, or 4,500 meals, out of landfills. Sodexo said it would now deploy the International Food Waste Coalition’s “Skool” program in company sites, including school cafeterias, across Europe. Skool’s goal is to build a school food value chain without food waste, the company says. Sodexo and the IFWC partnered with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and LeanPath, a food waste measurement and reporting system, to create the Skool program.
"Sodexo Rolls out Skool Program Across Europe to Prevent Food Waste in Schools", News release, Sodexo, October 14, 2016, © Sodexo
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Tesco Settles Pricing Dispute With Unilever

October 14, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
UK retailer Tesco and Unilever have settled their pricing dispute caused by the drop in the pound's value following the country's vote to leave the European Union. Before settling the dispute, Tesco suspended sales of some Unilever products on its online store. Industry sources revealed that Unilever had demanded 10 percent increases in the prices it charges the country's big 4 supermarkets for a wide range of products.
James Davey and Martinne Geller , "Tesco, Unilever settle prices row after pound's Brexit dive", Reuters, October 14, 2016, © Reuters
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Unilever Posts Strong Sales Growth In 3Q 2016

October 13, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever reported sales grew 3.2 percent in the third quarter of 2016, compared with the same period in 2015. At constant exchange rates, sales increased 3.4 percent. For the first nine months of the year, sales grew 4.2 percent, with price up 2.8 percent and volume up 1.3 percent. Sales in emerging markets grew 7.2 percent, with price up 5.5 percent and volume up 1.6 percent. At constant exchange rates, sales rose 4.7 percent, while turnover, at current rates, dropped 1.8 percent.
"Unilever Trading Statement Third Quarter 2016", Unilever, October 13, 2016, © Unilever
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Swiss-Born Baker Shares His Techniques For Creating Unique Artisan Breads

October 12, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
An artisan bread chef recently shared recipes and techniques for making traditional and intricately designed breads from several cultures at a bread festival in Central Ohio. Ciril Hitz, born in Switzerland but now living in New England, specializes in bread sculpture and such unique techniques as stenciling designs – flowers for example – on loaves of bread. Hitz makes traditional yeast breads, but has also come up with a recipe for unleavened dough whose clay-like consistency allows sculpting into various shapes and colors. He has written two books and created several how-to DVDs that illustrate his personal formula for turning simple bread dough into intricate designs.
Lisa Abraham, "Lisa Abraham Commentary: Chef Puts the 'art' Into Artisan Bread", The Columbus Dispatch, October 12, 2016, © GateHouse Media, Inc. and Propel/DMG
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Tesco Removes Unilever Products From Online Store Following Price Dispute

October 12, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Tesco has removed dozens of Unilever brand products from its online store following a dispute between the companies over prices. Worsening tensions between suppliers and retailers, the disagreement highlights the adverse economic impact of the UK's exit from the European Union. Unilever has been working to raise the prices of products it supplies to the country's big 4 supermarkets by about 10 percent, claiming it needs to recover losses caused by higher cost of imported materials. Grocers, however, are opposing Unilever's demands for higher prices, saying some of the products are actually made in the UK.
"Tesco pulls Unilever goods from website over price row", Reuters, October 12, 2016, © Reuters
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National Advertisers Seek Multicultural Help In Improving Marketing

October 10, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The trade group that represents companies that spend a total of $300 billion a year on national brand advertising announced an alliance of senior “thought leaders” from the African American, Hispanic, Asian, and LGBT communities to develop a blueprint for multicultural marketing in the U.S. The Association of National Advertisers says the new Alliance for Inclusive & Multicultural Marketing (AIMM) would facilitate brand marketing to diverse racial and cultural groups. Among the specific goals of the AIMM: share multicultural marketing examples; drive ROI, primarily through marketing effectiveness; disseminate best practices of multicultural and diverse demographic segments; and through a robust communications program; and create unique marketplace experiences providing insights into the multicultural arena.
"ANA Forms New Multicultural Marketing Alliance", News release, Association of National Advertisers, October 10, 2016, © Association of National Advertisers
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Perdue Confirms It No Longer Raises Chickens Without Use Of Antibiotics

October 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Chicken supplier Perdue Farms says it has ended the routine use of antibiotics at all of its facilities, a process it began in 2007. It still uses antibiotics when chickens get sick, something that happens to about five percent of its flocks each year. Other poultry producers have promised to reduce antibiotics use, but Perdue has taken it a step further. It has eliminated not only human antibiotics, but also a class of antibiotics known as ionophores, which are toxic to humans. Other poultry companies that have committed to a no-antibiotics program include Tyson Foods, Foster Farms and Pilgrim's Pride. However, one producer, Sanderson Farms, has mocked the term "raised without antibiotics" as a worthless marketing gimmick.
Dan Charles, "Perdue Goes (Almost) Antibiotic-Free", NPR, October 07, 2016, © NPR
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Ardent Mills Displays Flour Innovations At Baking Industry Show

October 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Ardent Mills recently exhibited at a major baking industry exposition, where it featured some of its newest grain-based industry solutions. Among the showcased innovations were a line of clean label flours containing no bleach, bromate or other additives, grown and ground the old-fashioned way. The company showed an array of ancient grains and new heirloom wheats that included quinoa, organic spelt and triticale. Also displayed: sprouted wheat and new sprouted wheat blends, and new blends made with Sprouted Wheat Ultragrain High Performance that offer whole grain nutrition, gluten strength, higher absorption, and lower formula costs.
"Ardent Mills Introduces New Products, Highlights Portfolio of Premium Multi-Use Flour, Organic Flours and Grains at the IBIE Show in Las Vegas", News release, Ardent Mills, October 07, 2016, © Ardent Mills
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Amazon Settles On Flat Monthly Fee For Online Grocery Delivery Service

October 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The online grocery shopping service AmazonFresh is now cheaper for Prime members. The service, originally priced at $299 per year, later shifted to a $7.99 per delivery scheme, but is now being offered at $14.99 a month to Amazon Prime subscribers. AmazonFresh is now live in the Boston area, in addition to Baltimore, Seattle, major cities in California, the New York metro area, northern New Jersey, the Philadelphia metro, Northern Virginia, Stamford (Conn.), Trenton (N.J.) and London (U.K.). Customers can order by 10 a.m. for same-day delivery by 6 p.m., or order by 10 p.m. for delivery by 6 a.m. the following day.
Sarah Perez, "AmazonFresh Drops to $14.99 Per Month for Prime Members", Tech Crunch, October 06, 2016, © AOL Inc.
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Attitudes Toward Food Waste Need To Change, Entrepreneur Says

October 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
An activist and entrepreneur in the U.K. believes peoples’ attitudes toward food waste need to change soon.  Dawson Costa, founder of Rubies in the Rubble, says people need to realize that all food is treasure, not a cheap commodity that can be tossed out. Her company has been turning surplus fruits and vegetables into chutneys and relishes profitably for five years, despite a prevailing negative attitude. It’s important that people stop calling surplus food waste – she doesn’t know a better substitute word yet – because “it’s just natural.”
Rachael Sigee, "Rubies in the Rubble: Meet the Londoner Reinventing Surplus Fruit and Veg as Jams and Chutneys", Evening Standard, October 05, 2016, © Standard.co.uk or its licensors
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McDonald’s Joins Environmental Group In Promoting Sustainable Coffee Farming

October 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
McDonald’s has enlisted the help of Conservation International in reaching a goal of serving only sustainable coffee by 2020. The goal is a nod to the growing interest among consumers in knowing where their food comes from. But there’s a practical consideration as well: to make sure it has a sufficient supply of high-quality coffee for the long run. Helping coffee farmers furthers that goal. Conservation International’s mission is to transform the coffee industry, which has been under stress because of climate change and fungal disease. Sustainability is a key part of that mission.
Leslie Patton, "McDonald’s Is Moving to Sustainable Coffee in Latest Menu Change", Bloomberg Market, October 05, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Rapid Growth Creates Problems For Unique Silicon Valley Venture Blue Apron

October 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
An NPR reporter who interviewed 14 former employees of meal kit delivery service Blue Apron heard tales of violence and code violations at one of its main packing facilities in California. They described violence among staff members, police visits, telephoned bomb threats, evacuations, and threats of gun violence. The police in the city (Richmond) chalked up the problems to growth so rapid that security was lax or non-existent. And early on, hiring was handled by incompetent temp agencies. But perhaps the basic difficulty was that the Blue Apron facility is both a warehouse and a manufacturing facility involved in fresh food handling, packaging, and delivery – not a typical Silicon Valley start-up model at all.
"Meal Kits And Chaos: Report Reveals Unsavory Side Of Blue Apron Warehouse", National Public Radio, October 05, 2016, © npr
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Antimicrobial Packaging Becoming Major Weapon In Clean-Label Trend

October 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The clean-label movement in the food industry – which is partly a quest to get rid of unsavory chemical preservatives – is driving the growth of the in-pack antimicrobial market, as well as other “active packaging” technologies, according to a U.S. market research firm. The company studied the technologies being used today, and those in development, to meet clean-label shelf-life requirements and fend off specific pathogens. Lux Research looked at 35 systems, including Addmaster’s Biomaster silver ion technology. Linpac Packaging uses the technology in trays for meat, poultry and other protein to protect against various pathogens, but it is especially effective against campylobacter. Other technologies being considered include Wasauro allyl isothiocyanate from Mitsubishi-Kagaku and ethanol vapor generators.
Paul Gander, "Antimicrobial growth led by clean-label", Food Manufacture, October 05, 2016, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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School Systems Abandoning Bake Sales As Fundraising Vehicles

October 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The health and wellness trend is affecting a cherished tradition of the U.S. education system: school fundraisers. More and more school systems are rejecting junk food sales – cakes, cookies, brownies, etc. – and turning to other activities to raise needed cash. Among these are athletic events, including jog-athons and fun runs, to scratch up money needed to support programs ignored by the school system budget. A main reason for the trend is growing concerns about childhood obesity. But it is being driven by the availability of sophisticated social media-based marketing programs that bring in larger amounts of cash and don’t really need the help of parent volunteers.
"Fewer Bake Sales, More Fun Runs", Orange County Register (California), October 05, 2016, © The Orange County Register
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