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British County Joins Big Food Companies In Fight Against Food Waste

September 15, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A British county is working with the local waste partnership to make food and drink production and consumption more sustainable. They have signed the voluntary 2025 Courtauld Commitment whose goal is to reduce the environmental impact of food and beverages from farm to table. The Hampshire County (U.K.) Council is working with the Integra waste organization to accomplish three key goals: a 20 percent reduction of food and drink waste; a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas intensity of food and drink consumed; and a reduction in the impact of water use in the supply chain. Food and drink companies in the U.K. and abroad – including grocery retailer Waitrose, food manufacturer Nestlė, and restaurant chain Pizza Hut – have all signed the Courtauld Commitment.
"Hampshire's War on Waste", News release, HantsWeb, September 15, 2016, © Hampshire County Council
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Target Not Becoming Full-Service Grocery Store, CEO Says

September 14, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Target Corp. does not want to become a full-service grocery store, according to company CEO Brian Cornell. Since 2014, when Cornell became the retailer's chief executive, the company has focused on several important categories, such as style, baby, children, and wellness, to help drive sales growth. Grocery is one of Target's important categories, accounting for 20 percent percent of its $74 billion annual revenue.
Khadeeja Safdar, "Target CEO Says Retailer Won’t Become Full-Service Grocer", The Wall Street Journal, September 14, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Whole Foods Market Opens Third 365 By Whole Foods Store

September 14, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market opened its third 365 by Whole Foods Market store in Bellevue, Washington. Smaller than the retailer's regular stores, the 30,000 sq ft store has lower operating costs and offers products at lower prices than its bigger counterparts. Through the retailer's Friends of 365 program, the store works with external suppliers to offer more foodservice options.
Stewart Samuel, "Third 365 by Whole Foods Market Opens", Retail Analysis, September 14, 2016, © The Institute of Grocery Distribution and IGD Services Limited
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Chickpea-Based Spaghetti Joins Banza’s Past Family

September 14, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Already noted for its high-protein chickpea-based boxed pastas, Banza has introduced spaghetti to its product line. The company’s offerings – penne, rotini, elbows, and shells, all made from chickpea flour – have twice as much protein, and four times as much fiber, as conventional wheat-based pasta. They also contain 40 percent fewer net carbs, are gluten-free, low glycemic, vegan, Kosher, and Non-GMO Project Verified. The products, which also include macaroni and cheese, are available at the company’s website (eatbanza.com) and on Amazon.com, as well as at HEB, Jewel-Osco, and ShopRite stores.
"Banza Launches Spaghetti Noodle, Giving Pasta Night a Healthy Twirl", News release, Banza, September 14, 2016, © Banza
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Community Fridge Provides Collection Point For Surplus Food In Quebec

September 14, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A community development organization in Quebec says a refrigerator it set up in the city of Sherbrooke collected four tons of surplus food from restaurants, farms, business and local citizens in just three months. Dubbed Frigo Free Go, the refrigerator is such a success that the Corporation de development économique communitaire (CDEC) expects to install others in the city. The collected food that was redistributed rather than wasted means a reduction of 9.4 tons of greenhouse gases, the equivalent four cars traveling 20,000 km a year.
"Frigo Free Go showing positive results", Sherbrooke Record (Quebec, Canada), September 14, 2016, © The Record (Sherbrooke)
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FDA Releases Funds To States To Help Farmers Comply With Food Safety Rules

September 13, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A year ago, the FDA issued final rules implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act. The rules established enforceable safety standards for produce farms and made importers accountable for verifying that imported food meets U.S. safety standards. It took a while but the agency is now making available to states financial aid to help them assist farmers in complying with the FSMA rules. FDA announced $21.8 million will be allotted to 42 states to help them plan, establish and enhance produce safety programs.
"States Get $21.8 Million from FDA to Help Farms Comply with Produce Rule", Food Safety News, September 13, 2016, © Food Safety News/Marler Clark
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Fast-Food Chains Say: Eat Tons Of Our Food, It’s Got Healthy Stuff In It

September 12, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The fast-food industry has launched a crusade to educate consumers about the wholesome ingredients they are serving up these days. Chipotle, McDonald’s, Sweetgreens, Panera, Wendy’s, etc., are all trying to convince health-conscious Americans that eating out is a healthful experience. However, it’s really not. A Canadian obesity expert says the campaign may be “well-intentioned” but it is still a marketing strategy that actually distracts from the fact that fast food is a major contributor to the obesity epidemic. Touting wholesome ingredients masks the real problem: people eat too much food too often at fast-food restaurants.
Candice Choi, "Big Food's Biggest Trend? Crusading Against Big Food", Associated Press, September 12, 2016, © Associated Press
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KFC Continues To Use Chickens Raised With Antibiotics

September 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Representatives of U.S. conservation and consumer groups never got to deliver their anti-antibiotics petition – with 350,000 signatures – to KFC executives in Louisville, Kentucky. But they were gratified to learn later that KFC parent company Yum! Brands is reviewing its position on the use of antibiotics in its chicken supply chain. Whether anything comes of that is impossible to predict. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health experts continue to warn that livestock and poultry use of antibiotics contributes to the pressing public health threat of antibiotics resistance. 
Lena Brook, "Over 350K Urge KFC to Change Chicken Antibiotics Policy", News release, Natural Resources Defense Council, September 11, 2016, © Natural Resources Defense Council
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Study Proves That Omega-3 Intake Can Cut Risk Of Diabetic Blindness By Nearly Half

September 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Older people with type 2 diabetes can reduce the risk of an eyesight-threatening condition known as diabetic retinopathy by eating a healthy diet and increasing their intake of omega-3 fatty acids, according to a study by Spanish scientists. Omega-3s are found in fatty fish like salmon and in nuts. The study gathered dietary data between 2003 and 2009 from 3,614 type 2 diabetics 55 to 80 years old. They were told to eat at least 500 mg of omega-3s a day, a target that can be achieved by consuming two meals of fatty fish a week. After six years of follow-up, it was found that the 2,611 participants who stuck to the omega-3 recommendation had cut their risk of diabetic retinopathy by 48 percent.
Emilio Ros et al. , "Dietary Marine ω-3 Fatty Acids and Incident Sight-Threatening Retinopathy in Middle-Aged and Older Individuals With Type 2 Diabetes: Prospective Investigation From the PREDIMED Trial. ", JAMA Ophthalmol., September 11, 2016, © American Medical Association
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Start-Up Sees Green Chickpea Products As Newest Superfood

September 9, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Seattle, Wash.-based start-up Vana Life Foods is presenting chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, in an entirely new way that it says is much more nutritious, healthier, and more convenient, a new “superfood.” The company harvests the chickpeas when they are green and naturally higher in protein, fiber and vitamins and minerals. The chickpeas are packaged in microwaveable “legume bowls” and sold in four varieties that include chipotle, black beans, sweet corn and chimichurri, and coconut and butternut squash. The products are available at Wegman’s and Whole Foods Market at $5 a pack.
Kacey Culliney, "Vana Life Foods CEO: We Will Make Green Chickpeas the Next Big Superfood", FOODnavigator-USA.com, September 09, 2016, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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General Mills Partners With British Nonprofit To Feed The Hungry, Reduce Food Waste

September 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
General Mills U.K. says it has been helping a nonprofit organization distribute food to hungry people while helping to reduce food waste. The company donated 31 tons of surplus food – Nature Valley bars, Old El Paso meal kits, Green Giant vegetables, Betty Crocker baking mixes, and Yoplait yogurt – to the U.K.-based organization FareShare. Its partnering with FareShare is in line with the strategic focus of the General Mills Foundation: promoting food secure communities and sustainable agriculture. General Mills UK has worked with FareShare for nearly ten years.
Monte Olmsted, "Tons of Surplus Food Reduce UK Hunger", Blog entry, Taste of General Mills, September 07, 2016, © General Mills Inc.
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Whole Foods’ Expansion Plan Is Heading In The Wrong Direction

September 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market’s aggressive expansion plan has led to the building of stores in neighborhoods and malls that don’t quite fit with the grocer’s upscale product line and image, or its market demographic. The company is steadily losing the natural-and-organic crowd to lower-priced competitors like Walmart, Trader Joe’s and Kroger. So it seems like a mistake to put new stores next to Dress Barns, Kmarts and Shoe Carnivals. Wall Street analysts say the grocer should be building stores where wealthy shoppers can afford expensive cuts of meat and exotic facial oils. With the grocer’s stock already down by 50 percent since 2013 and same-store sales slipping, expansion into lower-income neighborhoods “will trip them up” further, a Motley Fool analyst says.
Craig Giammona, "Wall Street Wants Whole Foods to Stick to the Quinoa Crowd", Bloomberg, September 07, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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“Dairy-Free” Tops List of Better-For-You Food Claims

September 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A national health food survey by Earth Balance finds that the top better-for-you food claim is dairy-free. Twenty-nine percent of survey respondents cited dairy-free as their favorite, followed by (at 28 percent) superfoods (e.g., chia, acai and quinoa), alternative snacks (e.g., gluten-free crackers, nut butters and Greek yogurt) and alternative oils (e.g., avocado, coconut and sunflower). Plant-based proteins, such as hemp hearts, lentils and spirulina, came in at 18 percent. Important considerations when shopping were buying local (37 percent), organic (33 percent) and non-GMO (30 percent). Foods most often consumed were green tea (33 percent), dairy alternatives (31 percent), kale (21 percent) and quinoa (16 percent). “Plant-based eating” was also shown to be a major trend.
"New Study Reveals More Americans Embracing Plant-Based, Organic and Non-GMO Foods", News release, Earth Balance, September 07, 2016, © Earth Balance
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Target Tries To Pump New Life Into Its Sagging Grocery Operations

September 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In an effort to jump start sluggish food sales, retailer Target is focusing on strengthening the grocery staff. The chain is building dedicated 10- to 60-person grocery teams – they will no longer work in other store departments – who are being trained in handling backroom inventory and interacting with customers. The changes have already been implemented in 450 stores and will be expanded to another 150 next month. The company is also hiring regional grocery directors who will each oversee 60 stores and report directly to headquarters. The new setup is a step in the right direction, according to analysts, but is unlikely to convince consumers that Target is the place to go grocery shopping.
Khadeeja Safdar, "Target Revamps Staffing for Grocery Business", The Wall Street Journal, September 07, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Whole Foods Adds Executive Muscle To Global Marketing, HR, Communications

September 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market may be gearing up for international expansion with the just announced addition of three “global vice presidents.” The three new top executives, who will be located at company headquarters in Austin, Texas, will handle global marketing, human resources, and communications. Sonya Gafsi Oblisk (formerly of Sam’s Club) will head up marketing, advertising and brand development efforts, including digital, brand marketing and customer relationship strategies. Martin Tracey (Starbucks) will manage human resources, including recruitment, compensation and benefits. Brooke Buchanan (Theranos) will head up public relations, internal communications and government affairs. Whole Foods has stores in Canada, the U.K., and 42 U.S. states.
"Whole Foods Market welcomes three new global vice presidents", News release, Whole Foods Market, September 06, 2016, © Whole Foods Market
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Kroger Now Selling Cheaper Cage-Free Eggs

September 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Kroger announced it will expand its cage-free egg offerings to include lower-priced own-label varieties in response to rising demand for eggs from humanely-raised chickens. A year ago only nine percent of eggs sold in grocery stores were from cage-free chickens. But that percentage is rising steadily as Kroger and dozens of other producers and retailers commit to cage-free eggs. Kroger has been selling cage-free eggs under its premium Simple Truth and Simple Truth Organic store brands. The new more affordable cage-free eggs will sell for about $2.49 a dozen, a dollar more than standard eggs.
Alexander Coolidge, "Kroger takes a crack at cage-free egg expansion", The Cincinnati Enquirer (Ohio), September 06, 2016, © Cincinnati.com
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UberEATS Gains Food Delivery Foothold IN Major Metros

September 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The Tampa Bay area of Florida is the latest big metro region to experience the launch of the UberEATS service. The new app is a unique expansion beyond the original ride request app and is devoted solely to delivering food to homes and offices. A lot of similar services – GrubHub, DoorDash, FoodNow, Foodler, Deliveroo, Doorstep Delivery, etc. –  are already in the market. But it’s far from saturated, because only ten percent of restaurants offer online food ordering. Current eating and dining trends suggest that the market will be expanding far into the future. The original UberEATS app was launched in 2014, and has since been superseded by the 2.0 version, with more restaurants, menu items, and delivery vehicles.
Laura Reiley, "UberEATS to Start Food Delivery in Tampa", Tampa Bay Times, September 06, 2016, © Tampa Bay Times
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Kroger Launches Own Line Of Affordable Cage-Free Eggs

September 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Retailer Kroger Co. launched the Cage-Free Eggs own-label line of affordable cage-free eggs. Kroger also sells cage-free eggs under the Simple Truth and Simple Truth Organic brands. Kroger announced in March 2016 its plan to sell only cage-free eggs by 2025. In 2015, 15 percent of the eggs sold by the company were cage free, compared with the industry average of 9 percent.
"Kroger Launches New Line of Affordable Cage-Free Eggs", Kroger, September 06, 2016, © Global Market Intelligence/The Kroger Company
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Knorr Hopes To Educate Consumers About Water Wasted In Food Production

September 2, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Consumers are increasingly aware of the need to conserve –  or at least not to waste –  water. But, according to the Unilever brand Knorr, much of the water wasted in the world is “hidden’ in food production. Water wasted in the production of common foods amounts to roughly 1,000 gallons a day per person at a time when as many as 500 million people globally face water shortages. To help combat this problem, Knorr launched a campaign with the Water Footprint Network (WFN) to encourage consumers to change food buying habits. The company has created a list of alternative food items with a lower water footprint, and is asking consumers to: limit food waste and buy food that is certified as sustainably sourced.
Hannah Furlong, "Knorr Campaign Asks Consumers to ‘Eat’ Less Water", Sustainable Brands, September 02, 2016, © Sustainable Life Media Inc.
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Saturated Ice Cream Market Still Has Room For Quality, Wholesomeness, Smaller Portions

September 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Market researcher Mintel has found that 92 percent of Americans have bought frozen treats of various kinds in the last six months, but 22 percent indicated they are buying less than before. Portion control is becoming a significant purchase consideration – 32 percent now buy single-serve products – and consumers are more concerned about quality. That means they are willing to pay more for ice cream that tastes better. A Mintel analyst says the saturated ice cream market leaves little room for expansion of the customer base. But there is an opportunity to promote products that communicate quality, health and wholeness, as well as smaller, snack-like portions.
"Less Is More: Americans are Eating Less Ice Cream but are Willing to Pay a Premium", News release, Mintel, September 01, 2016, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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Rollout Of Certified Organic Gatorade Coming Soon

August 31, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
PepsiCo is nearly finished test-marketing a USDA-certified organic version of Gatorade in some Kroger stores. It plans a rollout in a few grocery, natural and convenience stores over the next few weeks. To obtain the organic certification the company had to make sure G Organic Gatorade contained no artificial ingredients and had to refine its manufacturing process. Though the brand controls 70 percent of the sports drink market, it is facing heavier competitive pressure from challengers like coconut water, as consumers increasingly prefer more natural ingredients in foods and beverages. G Organic will be available in strawberry, lemon, and mixed berry flavors at a suggested retail price of $1.69 for a 16.9-ounce bottle, $0.50 more than the standard version.
Jennifer Kaplan, "Gatorade Goes Organic as PepsiCo Joins Natural-Product Push", Bloomberg, August 31, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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People Worldwide Want Healthier Foods, And Are Willing To Pay More For Them

August 30, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Nielsen global consumer research finds that seven in ten consumers worldwide consciously choose foods that will help them avoid obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. But consumers can’t achieve the goal of healthier eating without the help of food manufacturers, retailers and the medical community, Nielsen says. Consumers need foods formulated with good-for-you ingredients. Retailers need to stock shelves with right-priced healthful options. And the medical community needs to provide guidance on diets that ensure a healthy way of life. The survey also found that 68 percent of global respondents are willing to pay more for foods and drinks that don’t contain undesirable ingredients.
"Ingredient Inspectors: Consumers Embrace Dietary Diligence", News release, Nielsen, August 30, 2016, © The Nielsen Company
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Food Halls Find A Welcoming Home In Chicago

August 30, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Chicago, Ill., already a great city for dining out, is fast becoming acquainted with the food hall trend. Similar to fast-food food courts in shopping malls, food halls offer a high-traffic venue for artisanal and specialty cuisine purveyors, lively food stalls and upscale restaurants. The phenomenon reflects the influence of the Millennial generation that seeks casual but high-quality dining experiences. Everyone seems to benefit from food halls. Customers create their own dining and drinking events in a food market atmosphere, combining menu items from different vendors. Participating restaurants can strut their stuff before a broader audience while sharing overhead expenses with competitors.
Jay Kitterman, "Epicuriosity 101: Food Halls – a New Trend in Chicago Dining", The State Journal-Register, August 30, 2016, © Gatehouse Media, LLC
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Jersey Shore Bakery Scores A Hit With Scrapple Pie

August 28, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Grocery shoppers in the meat or deli department often notice – and mostly turn their noses up at – every day the refrigerated blocks of specially-prepared pork offal known as scrapple. An East Coast, Pennsylvania Dutch breakfast tradition, scrapple has become the best-selling pie flavor at Wards Pastry Shop in Ocean City, N.J. Owner Walter Hohman was looking for something new that might appeal to the Philadelphia crowd that heads to the Jersey Shore every summer. A friend suggested scrapple, and a pie sensation was created, despite some initial skepticism. The scrapple is prebaked, stuffed into a pie crust, topped with buttery streusel and baked. Hohman says his bakery sells more scrapple pie, at $4.50 each, than apple.
Jacqueline L. Urgo, "Scrapple Pie? No Kidding. It Outsells Apple in Ocean City", Philly.com, August 28, 2016, © Philadelphia Media Network (Digital) LLC
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Mushroom-Based Drinks Are A Growing Market

August 28, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Mushroom-based functional beverages have been used medicinally as therapies since ancient times. Companies that make flavored mushroom coffees and teas – based on the species lion’s main, chaga, reishi and cordyceps – today are seeing significant sales growth thanks to the perceived health benefits, especially among Millennials. Lion’s mane, for example, is said to improve memory, boost creativity and foster concentration. Unfortunately, these and other purported benefits of mushrooms, have not been proven to the satisfaction of European or U.S. regulatory bodies. So companies can’t make specific health claims in advertising or packaging.
Maria Mascaraque, "Mushroom Drinks Increasingly Trendy", Blog entry, Euromonitor International, August 28, 2016, © Euromonitor
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Days Seem Numbered For The Frozen Concentrated O.J. Market

August 28, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Fresh (not-from-concentrate) orange juice overtook the frozen concentrate market more than 30 years ago. Americans still drink about 1.4 million gallons of frozen concentrate each month, but that’s 17.7 million gallons less than fresh juice. Rampant disease –  the incurable citrus greening bacteria – in orange groves and tricky weather conditions have contributed to a supply problem. But the biggest trend is the fact that Americans don’t sit down for breakfast very much anymore, and they seem to prefer exotic tropical smoothies and energy drinks over orange juice. The result? A disaster for growers, juice processors, and orange juice futures traders.
Julie Wernau, "The Frozen Concentrated Orange-Juice Market Has Virtually Disappeared", The Wall Street Journal, August 28, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Tesco Sells Euphorium Bakery Chain To Soho Coffee, Samworth Brothers

August 26, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
UK retailer Tesco has agreed to sell Euphorium Bakery chain to casual dining operator Soho Coffee. Covered by the purchase deal are the four high-street stores of the bakery chain and its factory in Islington. Soho Coffee plans to continue operating the stores under the Euphorium brand. In another transaction, Tesco sold the bakery chain's Weybridge factory to long-time supplier Samworth Brothers.
George Macdonald et al, "Tesco Sells Euphorium Bakery a Year After Taking Full Ownership", Retail Week, August 26, 2016, © Webvision
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Unilever Commits To Equal Pay In White House Pledge

August 26, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever US announced has signed President Obama’s Equal Pay Pledge, which is a commitment to, among other actions, conducting an annual company-wide gender pay analysis. The company noted that its Sustainable Living Plan, a strategy for sustainable growth, it had adopted a framework for fair compensation across the organization. The company noted that it is at 49 percent “gender balance for managers and above.” The White House Pledge also includes a commitment to reviewing hiring and promotion processes and procedures to reduce unconscious bias and structural barriers, and embedding equal pay efforts into broader equity initiatives.
"Unilever signs White House Equal Pay Pledge", News release, Unilever, August 26, 2016, © Unilever
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Lawsuit: Use Of Glyphosate Disqualifies General Mills' Use Of The Term “100% Natural”

August 25, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
General Mills is misleading consumers by claiming that its Nature Valery granola bars are “made with 100% natural whole grain oats,” three nonprofit organizations allege in a lawsuit. In fact, the suit charges, the company’s granola bars contain traces of the herbicide glyphosate, the active ingredient in the weed killer Roundup. The suit was filed in Washington, D.C., under the District of Columbia’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act. The plaintiffs are asking a jury to find that General Mills’ “natural” claim is unlawfully deceptive and misleading and should be removed from the market. Participants in the suit are Moms Across America, Beyond Pesticides, and Organic Consumers Association with the Richman Law Group.
"Nonprofits Sue General Mills for False and Misleading Use of ‘Natural’", News release, Beyond Pesticides, August 25, 2016, © Beyond Pesticides
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Starbucks Battles Hunger – And Food Waste – With FoodShare Program

August 25, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The Starbucks restaurant chain, which announced an anti-waste initiative in March, says it has donated 300,000 meals to local food banks across the U.S. The FoodShare initiative was launched to fight food waste and hunger with the help of the Food Donation Connection and Feeding America. FDC workers pick up Starbucks' surplus food using refrigerated vans, and redistribute it to food pantries. In its first year five million ready-made meals will be distributed to charities and expects that number to increase to 50 million meals within five years. The company will expand the program from the current 1,150 Starbucks locations to all 7,600 by 2019.
Leanna Garfield, "Starbucks is Trying a New Initiative to Stop Wasting so Much Food", Business Insider, August 25, 2016, © Business Insider Inc.
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Spent Coffee Grounds Show Global Promise As Source Of Fiber And Proteins

August 25, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Most people toss their spent coffee grounds into the trash after brewing a pot. Some carefully save them to add to the compost pile for use in next spring’s vegetable garden. But what do food manufacturers do with the six million tons of spent coffee grounds used globally to make instant coffee? Scientists have explored their use in biofuels, composts, animal feed and enzymes. Now a Spanish study suggests that spent industrial coffee grounds could be a source of antioxidants, insoluble dietary fiber, proteins, essential amino acids and low-glycemic sugars that could be used in future baked goods. The researchers said use of spent coffee grounds as healthy food ingredient is “a contribution to the bio-economy and the reduction of the environmental impact of the coffee processing.”
Annie-Rose Harrison-Dunn, "Leftover Coffee Grounds: Unlocking 6m Tonnes of Unused Antioxidant Dietary Fibre", NUTRAingredients.com, August 25, 2016, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Viable High-Tech Solutions To Grocery Store Food Waste Disposal Do Exist

August 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Disposal of grocery store produce that is damaged, ugly, or otherwise surplus because of faulty buying, but cannot be donated, is a major economic and environmental problem. Produce decaying in landfills, for example – 35 percent of all landfill waste – is a major source of methane gas. A variety of emerging technologies can help solve the problem. But perhaps the best is so-called “Big Data.” A supermarket of any size that has access to real-time information and analytics tracking processes related to food disposal can better manage the amount and timing of what they order. This would ensure that most of the food brought into stores is destined for consumer refrigerators, not landfills. Meanwhile, unsold items are minimized and disposed of safely.
Frank E. Celli, "How Big Data Can Help Supermarkets Tackle Food Waste", Supermarket News, August 24, 2016, © Penton
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Stone Milling Of Flour: Ancient Technology Is Catching On Again

August 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A young Vermont couple who got hooked on selling bread baked with a friend’s home-milled flour now find themselves – and their bakery, Elmore Mountain Bread – in the vanguard of the burgeoning stone-milling movement. Grinding wheat between stones is an ancient technology, long since replaced by the roller milling process used by today’s industrial baking companies. Wheat ground by stone not only tastes better, it is more nutritious, advocates say. Unfortunately, it has a short shelf life, because the flour retains the wheat berry’s bran, endosperm and fiber- and omega 3-rich germ. If farmers can grow the right wheat for stone milling, it might mean better bread for consumers, and growing competition for Big Flour from regional bakers like Elmore Mountain.
Sujata Gupta, "Bread Grains: The Last Frontier In The Locavore Movement", National Public Radio, August 24, 2016, © npr
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Eco-Conscious Canadians Expand Use Of Vinegar To Household Care Arena

August 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Canadian consumers recognize the unique virtues of vinegar, both as a cooking ingredient and as a household cleaner and deodorizer. That recognition is reflected in a Nielsen finding that sales of all varieties of vinegar – white, balsamic, cider, etc. – rose 11 percent in the 12 months ending in July 2016 to more than $82 million. In addition, the number of households buying vinegar rose from 52.1 percent in 2012 to 57.5 percent this year. Vinegar makers and retailers also report an increase in spending per buyer to $8.33, up 10 percent over last year. Nielsen suggests that an increase in interest in ecofriendly cleaning solutions is contributing to vinegar’s rosy sales picture.
"Versatile Vinegar's Sales Are Growing In Canada", News release, Nielsen, August 24, 2016, © The Nielsen Company
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India’s Food Safety Regulator Announces Initiatives To Promote Safe Food

August 23, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has unveiled a set of initiatives to promote safe food in a variety of venues. The ten initiatives, launched on the anniversary of the Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006, will target homes, schools, offices, trains and railway stations, restaurants and religious facilities. FSSAI, for example, will provide a comprehensive guide to households and create a dedicated website for safe and nutritious food at home. It will  prepare a list of high fat, sugary and salty junk foods to ensure food safety and nutrition in schools. And it will require businesses that provide mid-day meals to be licensed by the FSSAI.
"FSSAI Announces Initiatives to Promote Safe Food Culture", The Economic Times, August 23, 2016, © Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.
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Bumble Bee Expands Clean Label, Traceability Programs

August 23, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Shelf-stable seafood company Bumble Bee announced that its line of solid white albacore tuna in water and oil has been Non-GMO Project Verified. The rest of its family of canned and pouch tuna products would be verified by the end of the year. As part of its “clean label” strategy, the company recently switched to sea salt in all of its canned tuna products. Bumble Bee said it’s committed to traceability of its seafood, noting that all of its tuna comes from wild caught fisheries. Its Trace My Catch website for tuna products was expanded to include salmon, sardines and clam products.
"Bumble Bee Moves TO Non-GMO Project Verified Tuna", News release, Bumble Bee, August 23, 2016, © Bumble Bee Seafoods
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UK Retail Market Posts Fastest Growth In August 2016 Quarter

August 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In the UK, the grocery market grew 0.3 percent during the 12-week period ending August 14, 2016, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Data from the market research firm's latest report showed the sunny weather drove sales growth for the frozen confectionery segment, with 23 percent, and chilled drinks, 10 percent. Promotional sales dropped to 37.7 percent of total grocery sales from more than 40 percent recorded in 2015. Aldi saw sales rising by 10.4 percent, with its market share also going up 0.6 percentage points to 6.2 percent. Tesco's sales dropped 0.4 percent, the slowest decline rate for the retailer in six months. Co-op's market share expanded to 6.6 percent, driven by the 2.8 percent increase in sales.
Fraser McKevitt, "Grocery market heats up while promotions cool", Kantar Worldpanel, August 22, 2016, © Kantar Worldpanel
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GMO Labeling Continues Though Federal Law Gives Companies Three Years To Comply

August 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Several big food companies are moving forward with their own GMO ingredient labeling initiatives as they await USDA rules implementing the new federal law. Some companies – Campbell, Mars, et al. – acted earlier this year to voluntarily comply with Vermont’s short-lived law (in effect on July 1 but superseded by the July 29 federal law). Campbell’s relabeled products were distributed nationwide, not just to Vermont. Though compliance with the federal law is not required for three years, Dannon has also committed to GMO labeling and to reformulating its product line by 2019 to include “fewer and more natural ingredients that are not synthetic and non-GMO.”
Julie Gallagher, "Big Food Companies Volunteer GMO Info", Supermarket News, August 22, 2016, © Penton
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Milk-Based Food Packaging Film Offers Major Potential Benefits

August 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
USDA scientists recently told fellow chemists about a food packaging material made from the milk protein casein. The packaging film is 500 times more effective at protecting food from oxygen, in addition to being edible, potentially nutritious, biodegradable, and sustainable. The milk-based film retards food spoilage and could prove to be an effective tool in the fight to reduce food waste “during distribution along the food chain." It would also reduce the use of plastic, a significant environmental benefit. The researchers expect the edible packaging will be on store shelves within three years.
Alex Whiting, "Eat Your Food Packaging, Don't Bin It – Scientists", Reuters, August 22, 2016, © Reuters
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Strong Technology And Supply Chain Provide Winning Formula For Target

August 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In the year since Mike McNamara took over the CIO job at Target, he realized that prioritizing the company’s 800 IT projects was Job One. He and his team whittled the “to do” list down to a hundred that represented Target’s top business objectives. These included enhancing the company’s online and in-store shopping experience, supporting small-format stores, modernizing the supply chain, and improving in-stocks. The result, according to McNamara, was “nothing short of sensational,” as the company reduced reliance on third party IT consultants from 70 percent to 30 percent, saving hundreds of millions of dollars. Stability and performance of key retail systems – i.e., cash registers and hand-held devices – have improved. McNamara believes that retailers with the strongest technology and supply chain  have the best chance of success.
"Target CIO: Prioritizing Stores, Digital, Supply Chain and Hiring Engineers", News release, Target , August 22, 2016, © Target Brands, Inc.
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U.K.’s Competition Regulator Says It Will Likely Okay A Hain Celestial Acquisition

August 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority has said it will likely accept a proposal from Hain Celestial that would allay the agency’s concerns regarding the American company’s acquisition of British firm Orchard House Foods. The CMA was worried about the impact of the acquisition on Britain’s fruit juice market. To dispel the concerns, Hain Celestial offered to sell its assets in the manufacture and supply of branded and own-label freshly squeezed fruit juice to retail and foodservice customers, except for one juice brand. The company said it would sell the assets to U.K. food and beverage firm Multiple Marketing Limited.
Dean Best, "Hain Celestial Ends Week with Sign of Optimism Over Orchard House Deal in UK", Just-Food, August 19, 2016, © just-food.com
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Could This Really Be Col. Sanders’ Secret Fried Chicken Recipe? Nephew Says “Yes”

August 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A nephew of Col. Harland D. Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame gave a Chicago Tribune reporter – and the world – what he believes is the original “finger lickin’ good” recipe of 11 herbs and spices. Although KFC officialy denied the recipe is authentic – it’s been a tightly kept secret for many years – 67-year-old Joe Ledington is pretty sure it’s the same ingredients he used to mix up every day for his uncle in Corbin, Ky., back in the 1960s before KFC became a corporate behemoth. Where was the recipe found? On a handwritten note on the back of a page of the Last Will & Testament of Joe’s Aunt Claudia, the Colonel’s second wife, who died in 1996.
Jay Jones, "KFC Recipe Revealed? Tribune Shown Family Scrapbook with 11 Herbs and Spices", Chicago Tribune, August 19, 2016, © Chicago Tribune
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Seafood Quick-Service Chain’s Mobile Campaign Explains Sustainability Efforts

August 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Fast-seafood chain Long John Silver’s has launched a social responsibility mobile ad campaign with a video on sustainability that highlights its primary menu items – 100 percent wild-caught Alaskan pollock and cod – and tells viewers about its continuous monitoring of Northern Pacific waters. Fishing quotas for the two fish species are regularly adjusted to ensure the species’ strength and survival. The two-minute video was filmed in Alaska and features narration alongside clips showing the state’s Pacific shores. Other videos in the campaign appearing on Vine, YouTube and Facebook, will discuss family and food quality.
Alex Samuely, "Long John Silver’s Highlights Corporate Sustainability With Snackable Mobile Videos", Mobile Marketer, August 19, 2016, © Napean LLC
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N.Y. Bagel Bakery Turns A Joke Into Frankenpastry

August 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
It started out as a New York Lottery ad spoofing hybrid pastries like the croissant-donut, known as the cronut. But when the owner of the Bagel Store in Brooklyn, creator of last year’s Instagram sensation the rainbow bagel, heard about the (apocryphal) muffin-bagel hybrid dubbed the mufgel, he decided to make it happen. The result is the limited edition tutti frutti muffin-bagel Frankenpastry that blends muffin batter, bagel dough and Fruity Pebbles cereal topped with Funfetti cream cheese. Not content with that work of bakery art, he has since created four more mufgel varieties.
Nicole Lyn Pesce, "Meet the Mufgel, the Muffin-Bagel Mashup from the Brooklyn Baker Behind the Rainbow Bagel Craze", NY Daily News, August 19, 2016, © NYDailyNews.com
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Walmart’s Stellar Online Sales Quarter Also Saw A Rise In Store Traffic

August 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
After several years, and billions of dollars in investment, Walmart is finally reporting an upbeat online sales picture. Second-quarter (ending July 31) online sales leapt 11.8 percent, after nine quarters of sluggishness. The encouraging sales report, observers say, was due to a mix of factors, including the roll-out of its Walmart Pay mobile app, expansion of free grocery pickup for online orders, and the launch of an Amazon Prime-like subscription service. But perhaps most encouraging was the fact that Walmart succeeded in boosting store traffic –  up 1.2 percent – while increasing online buying. The results prove the company’s strategic axiom: digital sales and store sales must be symbiotic.
Phil Wahba, "Here's How Walmart Is Reigniting Its E-Commerce Growth", Fortune, August 18, 2016, © Time Inc.
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Whitworths Develops Two Fruit-Based Bake Mix Add-Ins

August 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A British supplier of dried fruits and nuts has launched a family of baking mixes that combine “natural ingredients with tasty indulgences.” Whitworths’ Mix ‘n’ Bake products, available only at Asda stores beginning in September, come in two flavors: Choc Salted Caramel and Dark Choc Cherry. The mixes contain, in addition to chocolate or caramel, either apple pieces or cherry berries, cherry apple pieces, and raisins. The mixes are added to recipes for cookies, flapjacks, cupcakes or brownies. The company said the products were developed after extensive market research and a public vote on its social channels.
"Whitworths Launches Mix ‘N’ Match", The Food & Drink Industry Magazine, August 18, 2016, © Code Blue Group
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U.K. Unveils Details Of Plan To Deal With Childhood Obesity

August 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The British government has crafted a plan to fight childhood obesity that asks food and beverage manufacturers to voluntarily trim sugar levels by 20 percent within five years, and five percent in the first year. “Other levers” will be applied if the voluntary targets are not met. The plan includes a two-level sugar tax that treats sugar content of five grams per 100 milliliters differently from sugar content of eight grams per 100 milliliters. The plan does not include a ban on advertising sugary drinks. Lastly, the plan stresses exercise in school, calling for primary school children to get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day.
Becky Waller-Davies, "Sugar Tax Included In Strategy To Tackle Childhood Obesity", Retail Week, August 18, 2016, © EMAP PUBLISHING LIMITED
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Entrepreneurs To Introduce Vegan Cheese And Yogurt Made From Dairy Yeast

August 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A start-up company that acknowledges the often unacceptable vegan substitutes for milk, cheese and yogurt is working on an "animal-free dairy milk" that is somehow real milk without the involvement of a cow. One of the founders says the idea is to combine the best of a real dairy product with the best of a dairy substitute. Perfect Day milk is made from a dairy yeast that can be optimized to produce real milk proteins, including casein, the main protein in cheese. Supported by $4 million in venture funding, the company still hasn’t decided what its first product will be, but is leaning toward vegan yogurt or cheese, rather than milk, because “that’s where the real lack of alternatives is.”
Jessica Leber, "These Vegan Dairy Products Are Made From Milk—There Just Aren't Any Cows Involved", Fast Company, August 18, 2016, © Mansueto Ventures, LLC
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Nestlé SA Goes After International Chocolate Market Through Premiumization

August 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Market researcher Euromonitor expects world chocolate sales, which slumped 1.1 percent last year, will be no better than flat this year. To counter the trend, chocolate companies have begun targeting health-conscious chocoholics with premium products offering complex flavor profiles, organic ingredients and less sugar. Nestlé SA has been paying attention to the trend. It is trying to position some brands as premium offerings in certain markets. In Japan, a limited version of its mass-market KitKat wafers, wrapped in real gold foil, sells for $20. In March the company said it would invest $68 million over three years to make its Italian chocolate brand Baci Perugina fully international. To do that, it will sell six other Italian chocolate brands.
Saabira Chaudhuri, "Nestlé Seeks Bigger Piece of High-End Chocolate", The Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Walmart Reaps Benefits Of Investment In Ecommerce, Store Environment, And Employees

August 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Though some other big retailers – e.g., Target and Macy’s – are slogging their way through a period of sluggish store spending, Walmart is sailing along on prosperous seas. After investing billions of dollars into making its U.S. stores more efficient and pleasant, raising employee wages, and streamlining ecommerce operations, the company reports not only increased online sales but higher store traffic (assisted in part by lower gas prices). Walmart’s online sales rose faster than the previous quarter – the first time this has happened in nine quarters. For the quarter ended July 31, Walmart profits were up 8.6 percent, and revenue crept up by 0.5 percent to $120.85 billion.
Sarah Nassauer, "Wal-Mart Store Overhauls Help Boost Sales", The Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc
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