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Survey Puts Amazon, Google At Top Of Beloved Consumer Brands List

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 26, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
In a “challenging” food and beverage industry sales environment, PepsiCo has resorted to raising beverage prices to buoy volumes as it adapts to evolving consumer preferences. Despite the price hikes, beverage sales were level in the first fiscal quarter. The company’s strategy now is to emphasize products it calls “guilt-free,” including diet sodas and snacks with less sodium and saturated fat. It is also banking heavily on LIFEWTR, its entry into the booming premium bottled-water category. The brand competes with Coca-Cola Co.’s smartwater. Hopes are also high for a new line of unsweetened teas. A PepsiCo spokesman said the company plans “to have great products … where the consumer wants to go.” [Image Credit: © PepsiCo ]
Joshua Jamerson, "Pepsi Says Pricing Lifts Results", The Wall Street Journal, April 26, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Misconceptions Swirl Around Lidl As U.S. Debut Approaches

April 26, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A Kantar retail industry analyst reports that attenders at a recent chain drug store meeting had one topic on their mind: the pending arrival of the first 20 U.S. stores of the German small-format discount chain Lidl.  He was amazed at “the level of misinformation swirling around the retailer.” Potential competitors believe, for example, that Lidl operates down-market stores, targets low-income shoppers from poor areas, and competes mostly with other discounters of its ilk, such as Aldi. In fact, however, Lidl is a mid-market retailer; its stores are austere but pleasant and attractive; shoppers represent all income levels; it underprices competition by double-digit percentages on branded items and sells high-quality private label products; and competes successfully with supermarkets and supercenters.
Mike Paglia, "It's Time to Get Real About Lidl", News release, Kantar US, April 26, 2017, © Kantar, a WPP Plc company
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Europe’s Baby Food Makers Are Tuned Into The Market’s Evolving Preferences

April 26, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Because European parents of young children – babies and toddlers – are eager to feed their kids without fuss, the baby food they choose, and try themselves, has to taste good. Two-thirds of parents in Italy, Spain and Poland regularly taste baby food before feeding it to their kids, according to Mintel. A growing number of parents also make sure the products they buy are free of additives, preservatives, and excessive sugar. Manufacturers of baby foods marketed in Europe are in tune with their customers: more than half of new products (excluding milk and formula) launched in Europe last year claimed no additives or preservatives; 45 percent claimed no, low, or reduced sugar. That’s up from about 32 percent a year before. [Image Credit: © Plum Organics ]
Caroline Roux, "Baby Food Needs To Be Palatable For Parents Too", News release, Mintel, April 26, 2017, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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U.K. Supermarket Chain Launches Coffee Grounds Giveaway Program

April 26, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A Morrisons supermarket is giving away spent coffee grounds collected from its in-store café to its green thumbed customers. The grounds are bagged by the store, and there is no limit to the number a customer may take. Coffee grounds make great fertilizer, either in composting, or simply placed around plants in the garden. Grounds are rich in nitrogen, and encourage the growth of beneficial micro-organisms. They are also said to attract earthworms. Morrisons uses 316 tons of coffee beans to make 18 million cups a year in its cafés. The coffee recycling program will be expanded nationwide in late April.
"Used Coffee Ground Waste to Help to Fertilize Largs’s Gardens", Largs & Millport News, April 26, 2017, © A Gannett Company
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Two Smaller Breakfasts Fit Today’s On-The-Go Lifestyle

April 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Food makers and restaurants have discovered an interesting consumer eating trend: one breakfast isn’t satisfying enough. It seems that people grab a bite to eat as they leave home in the morning, then gobble down a second small meal at their desks or in the car. These meals are generally small, e.g., a bagel, a carton of yogurt, a yogurt drink, a portion of fruit, or a hardboiled egg. But not all the time. Food companies have caught on to the trend, concocting small meals that can be microwaved and eaten while driving or typing. The Jimmy Dean brand (Tyson Foods), for example, offers a line of microwavable hash browns stuffed with sausage, cheese, bacon or veggies especially for the “midmorning meal occasion,” something more than an enhanced coffee break.
Ellen Byron, "How Many Times Did You Eat Breakfast Today?", The Wall Street Journal, April 25, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Tyson Acquires Competitor AdvancePierre Foods For $4.2 Billion

April 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Huge conglomerate Tyson Foods said it is acquiring prepared foods competitor AdvancePierre Foods Holdings for approximately $4.2 billion, comprising $3.2 billion in stock and $1.1 billion in debt assumption. The offer price ($40.25 a share) amounts to a 31.8 percent premium on AdvancePierre’s closing stock price on April 5. Tyson says the acquisition is expands its portfolio of prepared foods and protein-based brands, “contributing to sustainable, long-term growth.” AdvancePierre produces ready-to-eat lunch and dinner sandwiches, sandwich components and snacks. According to Tyson, AdvancePierre’s portfolio fits Tyson’s strategy of expanding fresh-prepared foods for both out-of-home and in-home eating. It will also extend Tson’s operations in convenience and retail segments with “solutions that span all-day parts.” [Image Credit: © AdvancePierre Foods ]
"Tyson Foods to Acquire AdvancePierre Foods for 40 25 Per Share in Cash", News release, Tyson Foods, April 25, 2017, © Tyson Foods, Inc.
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Danish Supermarkets Look For Ways To Cut Food Waste In Half By 2030

April 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Although Danish holding company Dansk Supermarked says only 2.5 percent of the food it buys for its constituent grocery chains is discarded, that still adds up to more than 33,400 tons of mostly edible perishables a year. Seventy percent comprises fruit, vegetables and bread, a lot of which is converted to animal feed or biomass. The company hopes to change all of that, and cut food waste in half by 2030, with the help of new ideas, processes and technology. Its employees will dialogue with customers, suppliers, and organizations fighting against food waste. Customer support is certainly there, the company says: a survey found that 44 percent of Danes believe conquering food waste would go a long way toward reducing man-made climate change.  [Image Credit: © Dansk Supermarked ]
Stephen Gadd, "Supermarket Chain Ups its Efforts to Reduce Food Waste", CPH Post, April 25, 2017, © Online Post
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“Faster, More Agile” Company Is Goal Of Coca-Cola Cost-Cutting

April 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola still has no detailed plan for how it will spend money saved by cutting 1,200 jobs beginning this year, other than to say it will become “faster and more agile,” will re-invest at least of half of it, and will create value for shareholders. New CEO James Quincey says ongoing cost-savings program could save up to $3.8 billion. As to marketing, company is focusing more on non-soda products, including Smartwater, flavored water Vitaminwater, and dairy brand Fairlie.
John Kell, "Coca-Cola Is Cutting 1,200 Jobs as Growth Stalls", Fortune.com, April 25, 2017, © Time Inc.
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The Meal Kit Phenomenon Takes The World’s Kitchens By Storm

April 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
An alternative to fast food and traditional cooking has captured the attention of home cooks looking to serve fresh, nutritious meals that require little or no planning and very little preparation. For the past five years, meal kits have been purchased in grocery stores or delivered straight to the front door, globally or anywhere in the U.S. Examples of the phenomenon include Germany’s Hello Fresh, which delivers to 48 states and eight countries, and Blue Apron, which delivers nationwide. Locally produced kits, available at grocery stores and supermarkets, share one trait with those of the national companies: ingredients are fresh, take little time to cook – 25 to 40 minutes – and are convenient for weeknights or special occasions.  [Image Credit: © Blue Apron ]
Anne Kniggendorf, "What’s for Dinner? How About One of those New Grocery Store Meal Kits?", The Kansas City Star, April 25, 2017, © The Kansas City Star
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McDonald’s Continues To Ride The All-Day-Breakfast Wave To Profitability

April 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Despite warnings that the all-day-breakfast fad would peter out soon, McDonald’s continues to ride a wave of earnings prosperity thanks to the menu ploy. The fast-food giant reported a surprising global same-store sales hike of four percent during Q1 of fiscal 2017, and a 1.7 percent hike in U.S. same-store sales. McDonald's pointed to continued success of its all-day breakfast menu, as well as Big Mac and drink deals, as reasons for the better-than-expected gains. And, although top-line sales slid four percent during the quarter, profit grew eight percent to $1.2 billion. Earnings per share hit $1.47, easily beating the Wall Street consensus of $1.33. [Image Credit: © McDonald's ]
Maggie McGrath, "The McBreakfast Bump Continues: All-Day McMuffins Boost McDonald's Q1 Sales", Forbes, April 25, 2017, © Forbes Media LLC
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“Blessed” Panera Streamlines Food Ordering, Ramps Up Delivery

April 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Panera founder and CEO Ron Shaich says his company is “blessed” because it has not only applied the principle of “digital utilization” to streamlining the ordering process, its menu – soups, salads, sandwiches – is perfect for easy delivery to homes and businesses. This blessing has meant that the company can reduce the number of workers handling food, but has to hire 10,000 delivery people by the end of 2017, as it adds delivery services to as many as 40 percent of its eateries this year. The streamlining process, known as Panera 2.0, has meant changes across the board, including redesigned kitchens and reworked assembly lines, plus implementation of new ordering technology like digital kiosks.
Kate Taylor, "Panera is Replacing Cashiers with Robots — but it's Hiring Thousands of Workers for Another Task", Business Insider, April 24, 2017, © Business Insider Inc.
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Superfood Ingredients Provide Market Opportunity For FMCG Companies

April 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Superfoods rich in nutrients (i.e., antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, etc.) include kale, quinoa, strawberries, blueberries and chia seeds. They are growing in popularity in the U.S., thanks to the growth in information about them, according to Nielsen. Moreover, access to superfoods is on the rise, both in farmers’ markets and on retail grocery shelves. Superfoods can be found in the fresh produce section of stores, but they are also increasingly found as ingredients in food products in other store departments. Chia seeds, for example, can be found in 23 percent of grocery store product categories. Nielsen says this provides a marketing opportunity for food and beverage makers, and other FMCG manufacturers (e.g., soap and diet aids). [Image Credit: © Whole Foods Market ]
"Spring Superpower, Brought to You by Superfoods across the Store", News release, Nielsen, April 24, 2017, © The Nielsen Company (US), LLC
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With $8 Million War Chest, Chickpea Product Company Is Going To Market

April 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
As plant-based foods continue to capture the attention of consumers everywhere, a start-up focusing on chickpea products has garnered an $8 million investment from a team of venture companies, including an arm of Tate & Lyle. Nutriati announced that Tate & Lyle Ventures of the U.K. had joined U.S. firms Powerplant Ventures, NRV and Blueberry Ventures in the funding round that will provide the cash needed to get its products to market. Successful consumer testing has been completed, and it is expected that products will be commercialized within the next 9-12 months. The company’s organoleptic ingredient platform enables food manufacturers to create plant-based foods with previously unattainable taste, texture and nutritional profiles.
Robin Wyers, "Tate & Lyle Leads US$8 Million Investment in Chickpea Innovator Nutriati", Food Ingredients 1st, April 21, 2017, © CNS Media BV
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Company Recognized As Paragon Of Herbal Product Purity, Transparency

April 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Gaia Herbs of North Carolina has been a stickler for ingredient purity and transparency from the beginning, and so has avoided controversies that have plagued the rest of the herbal supplement industry. Founder Ric Scalzo was more of an herbalist than a capitalist when he launched the company in 1987, before talk of regulation and enforcement. For Scalzo, efficacy of herbal supplements could only be based on purity. The company already uses DNA testing to make sure the raw ingredients it sources are the real thing. That stringency has won the company copious praise from customers and industry organizations, as well as an award from the Nutrition Business Journal (New Hope Network) for supply chain transparency. [Image Credit: © Gaia Herbs]
Rick Polito, "Gaia Herbs Makes Transparency a Part of the Corporate Identity", New Hope Network, April 21, 2017, © Penton
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Virginia-Based Company Set To Launch Products Derived From Chick Peas

April 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A company that just received an $8 million shot in the arm in a venture capital funding round says its chickpea protein concentrates, and a high-protein chickpea flour, will be on the market by the end of 2017. Nutriati, Inc., says its products boast unique functional properties that permit development of applications in gluten-free baked goods to meat and dairy alternatives, ice cream and pasta. The Richmond, Va.-based company says it is test-marketing a beverage in the natural food channel, and several manufacturers are working with the flour and the protein concentrate. [Image Credit: © Nutriati ]
Elaine Watson, "Chickpea Protein in the Spotlight as High-Profile Investors Pump $8M into Nutriati", FOODnavigator-USA.com, April 21, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Whole Grains Once Again Shown Important To A Healthy Diet

April 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Thanks to research, dietary fat is almost back in style. But grains – even whole grains – continue to fight an uphill battle. That might change soon, though, as scientific evidence supporting the health benefits of whole grains continues to accumulate. A recent study by Tufts University scientists found that diet rich in whole grains led to a favorable energy balance compared to one heavy on refined grains. In other words, people eating whole grains burned more calories while absorbing fewer. They also showed better glucose tolerance. The conclusions jibe with U.S. dietary guidelines recommending that carbohydrates – including six ounces of whole grains – should comprise 45 to 65 percent of a healthy diet.
Amby Burfoot, "Despite the Anti-Carb Diet Fads, Whole Grains are Still Good for You", The Washington Post, April 20, 2017, © The Washington Post
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Feeding America Fights Hunger And Food Waste With New Technology

April 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A large food rescue and hunger relief organization has launched a novel technology that takes the complexity out of donating food. Feeding America’s free MealConnect platform identifies food that might have gone to waste – e.g., a small load of meat from a local butcher, a box of tomatoes from a farmers market, etc. – and, using a clever algorithm, directs the rescued food to the appropriate Feeding America food pantries and meal programs. Food businesses of all sizes can post surplus food on MealConnect. A $1 million grant from General Mills has helped develop the technology, and will also help support efforts to expand MealConnect to communities across the country. The Feeding America network serves 46 million people nationwide through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 pantries and feeding programs.  [Image Credit: © Feeding America MealConnect ]
"Feeding America Launches MealConnect Technology Platform to Help Reduce Food Waste and End Hunger", News release, Feeding America, April 20, 2017, © Feeding America
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Organic Condiments Maker Acquired By Unilever

April 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever has reached an agreement to acquire natural and organic condiments maker Sir Kensington’s for an undisclosed sum. Seven-year-old Sir Kensington’s (New York, N.Y.) has experienced strong growth over the past four years, producing mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise and a vegan mayo (Fabanaise) made from aquafaba, the liquid left over from cooking legumes like chickpeas. A Unilever spokesman said the acquisition “aligns perfectly with our global sustainable nutrition strategy.” The deal is expected to close within the next few weeks. [Image Credit: © Sir Kensington's ]
"Unilever to Acquire Sir Kensington’s", News release, Unilever, April 20, 2017, © Unilever
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Egg Yolks, Whites And, Yes, Shells – They’re All Good For You

April 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Eating food waste is a solution to the food loss problem that few people talk about. But one food writer says egg shells, usually tossed in the bin but also increasingly composted, can be processed at home and eaten. There are the obvious environmental benefits to that scheme, but there are also nutritional benefits. The main one being, of course, the essential nutrient calcium, in the form of calcium carbonate. The first step is to boil the shells to rid them of bacteria. Then bake them, grind them to a fine powder, and add to foods such as bread, pizza dough and spaghetti. But be aware that the average adult needs only one gram of calcium a day. More than that can be harmful. 
Zahra Mulroy, "The Reason Why You Should Be Eating Your Eggshells - and How to Prepare Them Safely", Daily Mirror, April 20, 2017, © MGN Ltd, part of Trinity Mirror Plc.
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It’s Not Really A Gluten Problem, Nutritionist/Author Says

April 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A former nutrition counselor – and current director of player development for the NBA’s New Jersey Nets – says it’s time to dial back the anti-gluten frenzy that has spawned a $16 billion industry. While acknowledging that people suffering from celiac disease – perhaps one percent of the U.S. population – do need to avoid gluten, the rest of us don’t. John Douillard’s book, Eat Wheat: A Scientific and Clinically Proven Approach to Safely Bringing Wheat and Dairy Back into Your Diet, suggests that processed foods in the American diet are the real cause of digestive problems, not wheat or gluten. He suggests, among other things, avoiding processed foods, and eating more fiber in the form of green vegetables, and starchy and protein-rich foods to get the digestive system back in shape.   [Image Credit: © John Douillard ]
"Anti-Gluten Frenzy vs. Pro-Wheat Comeback?", Orange County Breeze, April 20, 2017, © Orange County Breeze
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Unilever Posts Strong Revenue Gains In First Quarter Of 2017

April 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever PLC reported revenue jumped 6.1 percent to €13.3 billion in the first quarter of 2017, compared with the same quarter in 2016. According to the company, underlying sales rose 2.9 percent, higher than analyst forecasts of 2 percent. Underlying sales in emerging markets increased 6.1 percent, with price up 5.3 percent and volume 0.8 percent higher. Unilever said it has increased its quarterly dividend by 12 percent to €0.3585 per share.
"Unilever Trading Statement First Quarter 2017", Unilever, April 20, 2017, © Unilever
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British Retailer Begins Revamping, Closing Stores

April 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
British department store chain Marks & Spencer is closing six stores as part of its planned operational overhaul, but vows to find jobs for all 380 employees affected by the move. The company said last year that closings and store conversions were in the offing to trim the amount of floor space devoted to faltering clothing lines. Thirty full-line U.K. stores – they sell homeware, clothing, and food – will be closed, while 45 will become food-only shops. The company has had to face the reality that customer shopping habits are changing: people don’t do “one big shop” anymore, and they often buy online and pick up in store. Even with the closings, the company is launching new stores, with 34 food and two full-line shops employing 1,400 staff coming online in the next six months.
Zoe Wood, "M&S to Close Six Stores as it tries to 'Stay in Tune' with Shoppers", The Guardian, April 20, 2017, © Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies
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Like The Aroma Of Weed? You’ll Love These Non-Psychoactive Doughnuts

April 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
It sounds a little like alcohol-free beer. A bakery chain in San Jose, California, made doughnuts especially for the stoner holiday 420 that smell and even taste like marijuana edibles. Except they will not get you high. Instead of THC, the psycho-active ingredient in marijuana, the novel doughnuts contain cannabis-derived terpenes, the compound that gives marijuana that distinct aroma and flavor. Prepared by Guild Extracts, the terpenes are derived from the plant, processed into a liquid, and then infused into the frosting of the doughnuts. But because California has yet to figure out the rules for recreational marijuana use, only medicinal users were able to try the doughnuts on April 20.  [Image Credit: © The Guild ]
Brian Koerber, "These Doughnuts are Infused to Taste like Weed, but Won't Get You High", Mashable, April 20, 2017, © Mashable, Inc.
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For Now, Aldi Is Top Dog In The Discount Retail Grocery Biz

April 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Retail grocery analyst Planet Retail expects German food discounter Lidl to grow more robustly than competitor Aldi in the coming years, but it will not unseat Aldi as the global number one in discount food sales. Aldi’s sales in 2017 – including Aldi Nord and Süd – will total €83.3 billion ($89 billion), compared to Lidl’s €76 billion. But Lidl will catch up over the next five years. By 2022, both chains will be doing about €105 billion. The leveling out will take longer, Planet Retail says, because of Aldi’s strong, and growing, presence in the U.S., where Lidle is also beginning to establish roots. [Image Credit: © Aldi ]
"Aldi remains the number one worldwide discount store", FreshPlaza, April 20, 2017, © FreshPlaza
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Year-Old Chain Of Quick Food Stores Succeeds With Healthful Meals

April 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Convenience and nutrition are the watchwords of a rapidly-expanding chain of grab-and-go stores founded in Omaha, Neb., with outlets in Kansas, Missouri, Arizona, South Dakota, and Iowa. Eat Fit Go stores are based on a simple, but compelling, concept: fast packaged meals that are healthful. That means fresh, pre-portioned foods high in protein, low in sodium, mostly gluten-free and preservative-free, for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. The owners plan to open 100 more stores in 2017 – in Colorado, Georgia, Minnesota and Oklahoma – while introducing an e-commerce platform for home delivery. [Image Credit: © Eat Fit Go ]
Rachel Cernansky, "Grab-And-Go Model Fuels Fast Growth for Omaha-Based Health Food Store", New Hope Network, April 19, 2017, © Penton
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Companies Succeeding As “Upcyclers” Of Discarded Food, Processing Waste

April 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A food industry census conducted by the nonprofit coalition ReFED has found an “explosion” since 2014 in the number of new companies developing and marketing products from food -- and food processing -- waste. Eleven such companies existed in 2011, twice that two years later, and now there are more than five times that number (64 total). They’re selling fish cakes made with undesirable fish species, jams and other products made from ugly fruit, beer from stale bread, flour from discarded coffee fruit, chips from juice pulp, vodka distilled from leftover strawberries, and other “upcycled” products. According to the executive director of ReFED, when companies began to take a close look at how much food was being wasted, “the economics of food waste solutions began to look a lot more attractive.”  [Image Credit: © eatsecondsfirst.com ]
Caitlin Dewey, "The Hot New Trend in Food is Literal Garbage", The Washington Post, April 19, 2017, © The Washington Post
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Mondelez Expands Promise Of Cage-Free Eggs Globally, With Exceptions

April 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Snack maker Mondelez International said it is expanding its commitment to use only cage-free eggs beyond the U.S., Canada, and Europe to the rest of the world, with three major exceptions. The company promised cage-free eggs would be used in the U.S. and Canada by 2020, and in Europe and the rest of the world by 2025 The commitment, however, does not include Russia, Ukraine, or China, though it will establish timelines for those countries by next year. [Image Credit: © Humane Society ]
"Mondelez Extends Global Commitment to Cage-Free Eggs", Biz Community, April 19, 2017, © Bizcommunity.com
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Post Sees Wheetabix Acquisition As Vehicle To Expand Overseas

April 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Breakfast cereal maker Post Holdings expects its acquisition of the iconic British breakfast food Wheetabix to expand its presence in the U.K. and other international markets, including China. The $1.76 billion purchase is the latest in a series of buys the company hopes will balance the slack growth environment prevailing in the packaged foods industry. Post is acquiring Weetabix from Bright Food Group Co., a Chinese conglomerate, and from minority shareholder Baring Private Equity Asia. Bright has owned 60 percent of Weetabix since 2012, when Wheetabix was valued at $1.5 billion (including debt). Baring has owned the other 40 percent since 2015. Post has agreed in principle to create a joint venture with Bright and Baring to manage Weetabix’s China operations, which have not been able to boost market share for the whole-grain biscuit cereal in the region over the last five years.  [Image Credit: © Wheetabix.com ]
Ben Dummett, "Post Buying Weetabix in $1.76 Billion Deal", The Wall Street Journal, April 18, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Berkeley’s Excise Tax On Sugary Drinks Boosts Water Purchases

April 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
To discourage consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB), which have been linked to weight gain, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and tooth decay, Berkeley, Calif., in 2014 joined 20 countries in imposing an excise tax on sugary drinks. Researchers who studied the impact of the tax on SSB consumption found that prices increased, sales dropped by as much as 10 percent in some (but not all) places, and sales of untaxed drinks, especially water, increased by as much as 16 percent. The researchers found no evidence of higher grocery bills for consumers, loss of gross revenue per transaction for stores, or decreases in overall beverage sales for stores.
Lynn D. Silver et al., "Changes in Prices, Sales, Consumer Spending, and Beverage Consumption One Year After a Tax on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages in Berkeley, California, US: A Before-And-After Study", PLOS Medicine, April 18, 2017, © Silver et al.
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Fast-Food Companies Are Slow To Promise Antibiotics-Free Beef, Pork

April 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
McDonald’s and other fast-food chains have been reasonably quick in acceding to the growing consumer demand for antibiotics-free chicken. Not so much when it comes to beef and pork products, however, because eliminating antibiotics from cattle and pig husbandry is much more complex and expensive. Now the Benedictine Sisters of Boerne, Texas, have promised to attend the McDonald’s annual meeting to propose that the company set goals and timelines to phase out routine use of antibiotics in pork and beef. The nuns have reportedly been petitioning McDonald’s for years on the issue. The company says it is sympathetic to the concerns and "continues to work with farmers, producers and other purchasers of food animals to influence meaningful change.”
Samantha Bomkamp, "McDonald's, Fast-Food Chains Find Antibiotic-Free Beef, Pork Hard to Deliver", Chicago Tribune, April 18, 2017, © Chicago Tribune
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Coke Fine-Tunes Its “Share a Coke” Bottle Personalization Campaign

April 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola is tweaking its successful “Share a Coke” personalized packaging campaign this summer by adding surnames to beverage bottles. The campaign, launched in Australia six years ago and later in the U.S., spurred growth in sales volume for the first time since 2000. Personalization and customization were found to appeal to teens and millennials. First names were chosen from among the 250 most popular in 2014, and were expanded this year to include 77 percent of teen and millennial first names. For the latest campaign fine-tuning, Coke will draw from the 200 most common family names of people in the U.S. aged 13 to 34. [Image Credit: © Coca-Cola Company ]
E.J. Schultz, "Why Coke Is Adding Last Names to 'Share a Coke'", Advertising Age, April 18, 2017, © Crain Communications
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Hard To Swallow? Jiminy Cricket As A Dinner Entrée

April 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
It could be a sign of the long-overdue acceptance of insect-based foods – and entomophagy (bug eating) generally – by the Western world. Or not. It is a sign, however, that food experts are warming to the idea that crickets are a healthful, sustainable food ingredient. A group of Penn State University food science graduate students convinced judges in the Ag Springboard business pitch contest that the flavor and texture of pasta made with high-protein cricket flour closely resembled that of wheat pasta. The group won the $7,500 grand prize after also convincing judges that the flour was commercially viable. The product will compete with early entrants in the nascent market, including Bugsolutely Cricket Pasta and Chirps Chips (Six Foods), pitched successfully on the TV show Shark Tank. [Image Credit: © Bugsolutely ]
Jeff Muhollem, "Cricket-Fortified Pasta Pitch Wins $7,500 Ag Springboard Top Prize", News release, Penn State University, April 17, 2017, © The Pennsylvania State University
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