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Smartphones Will Be The Pillar Of U.K. E-Commerce By 2020

February 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Smartphones are rapidly becoming the technological engine powering e-commerce in the U.K., according to a report from OC&C Strategy Consultants, Google and PayPal. Within three years, mobile purchases will account for two-thirds of e-commerce sales – £43 billion – up from £13.5 billion in 2016. Another £14 billion of online retail will involve a smartphone in product research and price comparison, meaning that 80 percent of all U.K. e-commerce by 2020 will be handled over a smartphone. But despite these forecasts, U.K. retailers lag behind U.S. and Asian competitors in terms of mobile readiness, the report notes.  [ Image credit: © Jason Howie  ]
Paul Skeldon, "Smartphone Shopping to Account for Two Thirds of UK E-Commerce by 2020, says Google, PayPal Study", Internet Retailing, February 10, 2017, © SJP Business Media
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McDonald’s Experiments With Fast-Food Versions Of Regional Favorites

February 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A TV chef in San Jose, Calif., helped McDonald’s develop a fast-food variation of a local sandwich – snow crab on sourdough – that features crab meat, seasoned mayo, romaine lettuce and tomato slices. The company said the new sandwich is part of an ongoing strategy to incorporate regional flavors in new menu items, at least in the greater San Francisco Bay area. McDonald’s called an earlier experiment – Gilroy Garlic Fries – an “overwhelming success.” If the snow crab trial is a similar triumph, the company will offer it in the rest of its 250 eateries in the area. [ Crab Sandwich, image credit: © McDonald's ]
"McDonald's Tests Crab on Sourdough", News release, QSR Web, February 10, 2017, © Networld Media Group, LLC
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Aldi Continues To Beat Back Resistance By Big U.K. Grocery Chains

February 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The U.K.’s big supermarket chains are resisting the successful invasion by German discount grocers Aldi and Lidl. Tesco Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons have all implemented strategies that sacrifice profit to fund price cuts, improve service, and retain market share. All say the price gap with the discounters has narrowed. But an Aldi exec says its own data show that “if anything, the price differential between Aldi and the big four is growing at the moment.” And Aldi is still growing sales .Industry data show Aldi has overtaken the Co-operative to become Britain's fifth largest chain with a market share of 6.2 percent. It has grown total sales by 12.4 percent, thanks in part to an aggressive store building program.   [ Image credit: © Wikimedia ]
James Davey , "Aldi still thriving in U.K., despite rivals' claims, says CEO", Reuters, February 10, 2017, © Reuters
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Candy Companies Should Get The E-Commerce Ball Rolling Now

February 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Candy makers need to develop an e-commerce strategy now to get a head start on developing relationships with online retailers that stock their product lines. A good example of how an early start reaps rewards is the German unit of Mars Chocolate, which has gained a lot of experience and insight since it launched a B2C website selling personalized M&M’s (MyMM.com) ten years ago. Confectioners should not be dissuaded by the fact that e-commerce accounted for only 4.4 percent of global FMCG sales last year. E-commerce is expected to account for nine percent of the market by 2025 ($150 billion). A Mars Germany exec says it’s a small share now but is “gathering speed so you need to act quite quickly in this area.”  [ Image credit: © Mars MyMMs.com ]
Oliver Nieburg, "E-Tail-Volution: Why Confectionery E-Commerce Strategies Shouldn’t Be Put on Hold", FOODnavigator.com, February 10, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Tesco Tests Program To Feed Bees With Discarded Sugar

February 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
British supermarket chain Tesco is testing a program to donate unmarketable split bags of sugar from stores in Cornwall and Devon to a beekeepers group. The stores are also donating surplus sugar from in-store bakeries. Since 2007, the bee population has declined by 33 percent in the U.K. because of pests, diseases and fewer wild flowers. Bees have a difficult time making enough honey to feed themselves during the fall and winter. Commercial beekeepers supplement the bees’ diet with a feed made from dissolved sugar. The waste sugar donated by Tesco stores will be used to help feed bees bred and reared by a bee improvement program based in Cornwall.
Rebecca Smithers, "Tesco's Plan Bee: Spilt Supermarket Sugar to Help Feed Hungry Honey Bees", The Guardian, February 09, 2017, © Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies
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N.J. Bakery Features Allergen-Free Treats

February 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A New Jersey bakery that features allergen-free baked treats has opened its flagship shop in Denville, announcing retail distribution arrangements with Whole Foods Market and ShopRite. Mo’Pweeze Bakery and Café says that its baked goods are free of the FDA’s top 8 allergens: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soybeans. The products are also sesame free and vegan.
Sarah Griesemer, "Allergen Free Bakery Opening in Denville", Daily Record, February 08, 2017, © www.dailyrecord.com
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Whole Foods Posts Record-High Sales For 1Q 2017

February 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market, Inc. reported total sales grew 1.9 percent to $4.9 billion for the 16-week first quarter ending January 15, 2017, compared with the same quarter in the previous year. Same-store sales, however, dropped 2.4 percent during the same period. According to the retailer, net income was $95 million, which was 1.9 percent of sales. EBITDA were $360 million, or 7.3 percent of sales, while diluted earnings per share were $0.30. Excluding charges, net income was $123 million, or 2.5 percent of sales, with diluted earnings per share at $0.39. EBITDA was 7.6 percent, with return on invested capital at 12 percent, the company said.
"Whole Foods Market Reports First Quarter Results", Whole Foods, February 08, 2017, © Whole Foods Market
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Green America Asks Mars To Do More Than Just Label GMO Products

February 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
An organization focused on a “green economy” is mobilizing its supporters to pressure candy maker Mars through an email campaign (GMO Inside) to remove genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from its human and pet foods. In 2016, Mars said it would remove artificial colors and begin listing GMO ingredients on human food packages. Green America congratulated Mars on these moves, but is now asking the company to do more than simply label GMOs. The organization maintains a chocolate scorecard on its website that shows which chocolate products are free of GMOs.  [ Image credit: © Evan-Amos, Wikimedia  ]
Max Karlin, "For Valentine's Day, Green America Urges Mars to Dump GMOs and Related Toxins", News release, Green America, February 08, 2017, © Green America
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Aldi To Remodel 1,300 Stores While Continuing Aggressive Store Expansion

February 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Discount grocery chain Aldi plans to spend $1.6 billion renovating and expanding its 1,300 U.S. stores to accommodate customer demand for modern, convenient shopping with “a focus on fresh items,” including produce, dairy and bakery products. Remodeled stores will have open ceilings, natural lighting and eco-friendly building materials, such as recycled materials, energy-saving refrigeration and LED lighting. The remodeling plan will go forward concurrently with the building of 650 new stores to reach its goal of 2,000 U.S. stores by the end of next year. [ Image credit: © Aldi Inc. ]
"Aldi Unveils $1.6 Billion Nationwide Store Remodel Plan To Enhance Customer Shopping Experience", News release, Aldi Inc., February 08, 2017, © Aldi Inc.
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Athletes Who Crave Sugar Can Now Enjoy Protein-Packed Decadence

February 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A sports and fitness food company has developed protein-rich snack cakes that also satisfy an athlete’s sweet tooth. Optimum Nutrition, known mainly for its protein powders, says its Cake Bites come in three flavors and provide 20 grams of whipped protein and five grams of sugar frosting, but only 250 calories. The snack cakes come in three flavors: birthday cake, red velvet and chocolate dipped cherry. [ Image credit: © Optimum Nutrition ]
"Have Your Cake And Protein Too: Optimum Nutrition Introduces Cake Bites", News release, Optimum Nutrition, February 08, 2017, © Optimum Nutrition
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Scientists Find Dangerous, Illegal Substances In Herbal Supplements

February 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A British chemist and a team of scientists who have been examining ways to detect illegal ingredients in herbal supplements have come up with some disturbing findings. Many over-the-counter supplements labeled as fully herbal often include potentially dangerous pharmaceutical ingredients not listed on the label. For example, the scientists found that weight loss supplements often contain sibutramine (once sold as Reductil). The substance was taken off the market in 2010 in Europe and the U.S. because of an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Another example: tadalfil and sulfoaildenafil were frequently found, but not listed on the label, in herbal supplements for erectile dysfunction. When taken with other medicines containing nitrates, they can lower blood pressure drastically and cause serious health problems.  
Michael J Walker et al., "A Review of Methods for the Simultaneous Detection of Illegal Ingredients in Food Supplements", The Journal of the Association of Public Analysts, February 07, 2017, © Association of Public Analysts
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Snyder’s-Lance Adds Organic Version To Pretzel Cracker Line

February 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Snack food manufacturer Snyder's-Lance, Inc., announced an addition to its Snack Factory Pretzel Crisp line. The company said the new Organic Original Pretzel Crisps, which will be available for a limited time nationwide, are also Non-GMO Project verified. Pretzel Crisps are the first flat-baked pretzel cracker. At 110 calories a preserving, the organic variety contain no saturated fat or trans fat, no cholesterol, preservatives, artificial flavorings or colors. [ Image credit: © Snack Factory ]
"Snack Factory Introduces USDA-Certified Organic Pretzel Crisps", News release, Snyder's-Lance, Inc., February 07, 2017, © Snyder's-Lance, Inc.
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Probiotic Findings Could Have Major Economic Benefits

February 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Japanese researchers have found that fermented milk containing a probiotic strain could help prevent the common cold in healthy middle-aged office workers. The 12-week study focused on upper respiratory tract infections (URTI). Participants who consumed Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota showed improvements in both immunological parameters and stress markers that are characteristic of the pressure of office work. The findings could have significant economic benefits: the Centers for Disease Control says that 22 million school days and 20 million workdays in adults are lost each year due to the common cold in the U.S. [ Image credit: Public domain, Pixabay ]
Stephen Daniells, "Probiotic May Reduce the Risk of Common Cold: Yakult Study", NUTRAingredients-USA.com, February 07, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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A Pasta-Rich Mediterranean Diet Is A Healthful Diet

February 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A pasta-rich diet is an indicator of a more healthful diet generally, according to a study presented at a recent scientific meeting. Pasta eaters tend to consume more minerals and nutrients like folate, iron, magnesium, and dietary fiber. All of these help reduce blood cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Because it is a low glycemic index food, pasta, a major component of the Mediterranean diet, also helps to manage blood sugar levels. Pasta consumption is also associated with less intake of saturated fat and sugar that adds calories but no essential nutrients.  [ Image credit: © Travis K. Witt, Wikimedia  ]
"Here's Why You Should Eat More Pasta", The Express Tribune, February 07, 2017, © The Express Tribune
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Foods Rich In Resistant Starch Offer Several Health Benefits

February 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Resistant starch, found in bananas, potatoes, grains, and legumes, is not digested in the small intestine and is therefore considered a form of dietary fiber. Over the last decade, resistant starch has been the subject of numerous studies showing it has a significant impact on post-meal blood sugar metabolism, satiety, and intestinal health. This new comprehensive review of these studies summarizes the effects of resistant starch consumption and looks at potential mechanisms of action that underpin them. One possible conclusion is that resistant starch foods may be particularly useful for managing diabetes. However, the British researchers found no evidence of an impact on other metabolic markers, such as blood pressure and blood lipids.  [ Peruvian potatoes, image credit: © Wikipedia ]
S. Lockyer et al., "Health effects of resistant starch. ", Nutrition Bulletin, February 07, 2017, © John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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Effective Social Media Involvement Of Super Bowl 51 Fans Stretched Ad Dollars

February 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Interactive ad strategy – use of live-streams, paid social advertising, and giveaways – were the hallmarks of successful social media and mobile campaigns for several Super Bowl 51 advertisers. Especially effective was PepsiCo’s Lady Gaga halftime show strategy for its Pepsi Zero soft drink, but Budweiser, casual dining chain Buffalo Wild Wings, and Snickers were also able to stretch their airtime ad dollars using social media. Pepsi sponsored a number of giveaways during the game in which football fans who were social media users could interact with Pepsi sites up to halftime. They were then given a chance to win merchandise by re-posting Pepsi’s tweets.   [ Image credit: © PepsiCo ]
Brielle Jaekel, "How Pepsi was One of Few to Leverage Mobile for Super Bowl LI", Mobile Marketer, February 07, 2017, © Napean LLC
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German Grocery Store Sells Only Wonky Produce, Expired And Surplus Foods

February 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A grocery store that sells only ugly or surplus food products, from vegetables to beer, has opened in the German city of Köln (Cologne). The founders of The Good Food grocery store are dedicated to the idea of eliminating food waste in the world. It is the first such store to open in Germany, and the third in the EU. The store is unusual for a couple of reasons. The food it sells was otherwise bound for landfills because it may be misshapen, or too large or too small, or past its sell-by date. This includes non-perishable products from big manufacturers. And there are no fixed prices: consumers decide how much the products are worth. [ Image credit: © The Good Food bei RTL Aktuell ]
Irene Banos Ruiz, "First German Supermarket Sells Waste Food Only", Deutsche Welle, February 06, 2017, © Deutsche Welle
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“Clean Food” Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

February 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
There are numerous definitions of the terms “clean food” and “clean label,” depending on who’s doing the defining. Bakery-cafe chain Panera Bread recently said all of its food is clean – meaning, no artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners or preservatives. But Clean Eating magazine says clean foods are more natural foods, in other words vegetables, whole grains, filtered water, sustainable lean meats and wild seafood. Taboo foods include refined foods like pasta and bread, preservatives, stabilizers, trans fats, certain vegetable oils, artificial sweeteners like aspartame, and food dyes. Industry research finds two-thirds of grocery shoppers want foods with fewer and simpler ingredients, which amounts to yet another definition of “clean label,” the biggest food trend of 2017, according to Innova.  [ Image credit: © 
Tara Duggan, "The "Clean Food" Trend — Defining it Gets Messy", The San Francisco Chronicle, February 06, 2017, © Hearst Corporation
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How Reckitt Benckeiser’s Startling Bid For Mead Johnson Could Pay Off

February 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Health and hygiene products marketer Reckitt Benckeiser’s bid for baby formula company Mead Johnson may be surprising, but it could also be a clever and potentially lucrative acquisition. RB already has a foot in the door of the nutrition business: in 2012 it purchased Schiff Nutrition (marketer of vitamin brands like MegaRed). And, according to U.K.-based investment firm Dividend Drive, there just aren’t any juicy acquisitions to be made in over-the-counter consumer healthcare. But the primary attraction of Mead Johnson is the fact that both companies have a strong presence in developing markets, particularly Asia and Latin America. Mead Johnson’s specialty – baby formula – is positioned for strong growth in Asia.
Dividend Drive, "Mead Johnson And Reckitt Benckiser: A Surprising Yet Inspired Bid From The British Consumer Giant?", Seeking Alpha, February 06, 2017, © Seeking Alpha
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Royal Ahold, Delhaize Grocery Brands Restructure To Focus On Local Markets

February 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The constituent companies of Royal Ahold Delhaize are embarking on a year-long restructuring program to strengthen their retail grocery brands – Giant Foods, Giant/Martin’s, Stop & Shop, Peapod, Hannaford, and Food Lion – by consolidating business support services while tailoring commercial strategies to local markets and communities. The more localized brand-centric strategies of Ahold USA and Delhaize America will include dedicated resources such as category merchandising, assortment, pricing, promotions, marketing and format teams. The parent company said the restructuring will be completed by early 2018. It also announced that the Stop & Shop New York Metro and Stop & Shop New England divisions will be consolidated.   [ Image credit: © Royal Ahold Delhaize ]
"Ahold USA and Delhaize America announce plans to further strengthen brands ", News release, Royal Ahold Delhaize, February 06, 2017, © Roral Ahold Delhaize
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Clean Label Frozen Treats May Lead To Sales Growth

February 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The food industry has gotten the message from consumers that sugary, nutrition-free and calorie-packed ice cream is no longer acceptable They are now making healthier, “yet still decadent,” frozen treats, says researcher Packaged Facts. Today there are a growing number of ice creams and frozen desserts that eschew soy, gluten, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, and genetically modified ingredients, not to mention much less fat and sugar. Some of the new products are organic. Consumers are apparently pleased with the results. Ice cream and other frozen treats are a mature market – 85 percent of households buy ice cream routinely. Sales have been steady in recent years. But Packaged Facts says the new attention being paid to clean label frozen desserts could spark a revival of sales growth. 
""Free From" Ice Cream Trending in $28 Billion Market", News release, Packaged Facts, February 06, 2017, © Packaged Facts
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Hometown Of “Mork And Mindy” Attracts Growing Number Of Foodie Entrepreneurs

February 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Boulder, Colo., -- the hometown of the late-1970s sitcom "Mork and Mindy" -- has become the ideal location for a new generation of food producers, mainly because it offers the right ingredients, packaging suppliers, and infrastructure for eco-conscious foodie entrepreneurs who are challenging Big Food. Among these startups – or, if you will, upstarts – are “clean” microwave popcorn maker Quinn Snacks, which moved west in 2011 from New York. Also Purely Elizabeth, Made in Nature and Good Karma Foods. They all moved to Boulder to take advantage of a “deep bench of food executives,” a food retail environment focused on innovation and experimentation, and the availability of investment cash. Another attractive feature: the burgeoning infrastructure of food brokers, distributors, and contract manufacturers.  [ Image credit: © Quinn Snacks ]
Stephanie Strom, "Foodies Know: Boulder Has Become a Hub for New Producers", The New York Times, February 04, 2017, © The New York Times Company
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Salmon-Stuffed Croissant Is A Social Media Hit

February 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A California restaurant has taken the croissant a step or two farther along the hybrid pastry evolutionary road with a concoction featuring smoked salmon, baked seaweed (nori), pickled ginger and wasabi. Aron Caddl, owner of Mr. Holmes Bakehouse of Los Angeles and San Francisco acknowledges that the pastry is “weird” but also “insanely delicious,” and an Instagram sensation. The California Croissant, which costs $5, is topped with a dry Japanese seasoning (furikake) and is served with a side of soy sauce. It will only be on the menu for a short time because, as Caddel admits, the chefs get bored.  [ Image credit: ©  Mr. Holmes Bakehouse ]
Carly Stern, "There's Something Fishy About this Pastry! California Bakery Sells SUSHI Croissants Filled with Salmon and Wasabi, which its Owner Describes as 'F***ing Weird' but 'Insanely Delicious'", Daily Mail Online, February 03, 2017, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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Metro Group Posts Steady Income For First Quarter FY 2016/17

February 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Metro Group said like-for-like sales grew slightly at 0.1 percent in the first quarter of financial year 2016/2017, a solid performance in a market full of challenges. According to the company, EBIT before special items remained at the previous year’s level, reaching €821 million during the quarter. EBIT after special items reached €733 million. In the previous year, the company reported EBIT after special items of €1,240 million, which included income from the sale of Metro Cash & Carry Vietnam. Media-Saturn’s online sales rose more than 25 percent, accounting for over 10 percent of the Metro’s total sales. Delivery sales rose 16.5 percent, accounting for 12.7 percent of total sales, the company said.
"METRO GROUP with stable sales and EBIT development", METRO GROUP, February 03, 2017, © METRO AG
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Government Food Consumption Report Shows Shifting Patterns Since The ‘70s

February 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A new USDA report based on U.S. food availability data (adjusted for food loss) shows that Americans are eating more of the major food groups today than in the 1970s. But within that broad conclusion are some interesting shifts and new patterns. The avocado supply, for example, is up by a whopping 1,342 percent and the lime supply is up 1,654 percent. How about a margarita with your guacamole? Mango consumption is up 3,200 percent, but grapefruit, oranges, peaches, and plums are down. (Apples, melons, and bananas are constant.) Broccoli and mushrooms are way up, though potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and lettuce are constant. Lastly, people are eating more fat, but less animal fat (lard and butter). Salad and cooking oils like canola and olive are up 248 percent. [ Image credit: © Wikipedia ]
Julia Belluz, "Americans are Eating Way More Fat. But it’s Not Butter.", Vox Media, February 02, 2017, © Vox Media, Inc.
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PepsiCo To Expand Beverage R&D Facilities In N.Y.

February 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
PepsiCo is negotiating with the town of Mount Pleasant, N.Y. (Westchester County), to expand its beverage research campus with a three-story, 122,000-square-foot R&D facility. The mayor of the town welcomed the news because the new facility would not only mean increased property taxes, it would provide employment. The town’s industrial development agency may grant the company sales and use tax exemptions on purchases of construction materials, as well as a partial real property tax abatement in the form of a payment in lieu of taxes agreement.
Aleesia Forni, "PepsiCo Planning R&D Expansion, Renovations in Mount Pleasant", Westchester County Business Journal, February 02, 2017, © Westfair Business Publications
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Saving Time Is Not The Only Reason Parents Buy Frozen Meals

February 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Prepackaged, processed frozen meals are popular among parents, despite the fact that they are high in calories, sugar, sodium, and saturated fat. A U.S. study has found that the main reason for their popularity is that they save time for busy moms and dads: 57 percent indicated that in a survey. But that wasn’t the only reason. Forty-nine percent of parents surveyed said they bought the frozen meals because their families liked them. One-third chose them because children could help prepare them, and 27 percent liked the cost savings. The findings, however, raise some concerns among nutritionists. Cooking frozen packaged meals means choosing fewer fruits and vegetables and fewer nutritious foods generally. It also means people are not developing cooking and meal-planning skills. 
Melissa L. Horning et al., "Reasons Parents Buy Prepackaged, Processed Meals: It Is More Complicated Than “I Don't Have Time”. ", Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, February 02, 2017, © Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior
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Fast-Food Packaging Is Loaded With Harmful Chemicals

February 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study that analyzed more than 400 samples of food packaging from 27fast-food restaurants found that much of the paper used was treated with chemicals used in stain-resistant products, firefighting materials, and nonstick cookware. Perfluorinated chemicals (PFC) were found in hamburger and sandwich wrappers, pastry bags, beverage cups and French fry containers. Fluorinated compounds called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were found in 56 percent of dessert and bread wrappers, 38 percent of sandwich and burger wrappers and 20 percent of paperboard. According to the researchers, PFC and PFAS get in the bloodstream, stay there and accumulate. “There are diseases that correlate to it, so we really don't want this class of chemicals out there," one scientist said. [ Image credit: © tom.arthur  ]
Laurel A. Schaider et al., "Fluorinated Compounds in U.S. Fast Food Packaging. ", Environmental Science & Technology Letters, February 01, 2017, © American Chemical Society
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Walmart Ups Ante In Fight With Amazon By Abandoning ShippingPass

February 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
To stay competitive with Amazon, Walmart is ditching its $49-a-year two-day shipping subscription, dubbed ShippingPass, and replacing it with free shipping for purchases over $35. In doing so, the retailer is acknowledging that free two-day shipping is now the standard in online shopping. The new strategy takes aim at Amazon’s highly successful Prime offer, which offers free two-day shipping for an annual $99 subscription fee. Data from Cowen and Company show that by November 2016, almost half of U.S. Internet users were living in a household with a Prime subscription. Some observers speculate that Walmart’s battle with Amazon will lead to even more tactical moves, such as deep discounting. [ Image credit: © Walmart ]
Yory Wurmser, "Walmart Challenges Amazon with New Shipping Plan", eMarketer, February 01, 2017, © eMarketer Inc.
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A Closer Look At Major Food Retailer, Restaurant Chain Clean Label Policies

February 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A consumer watchdog organization has analyzed the clean label initiatives of four big restaurant chains and nine supermarket chains finding that all have committed to excluding additives, such as synthetic food dyes and artificial sweeteners like aspartame. Except Whole Foods, the supermarket chains have limited their commitments to one or more lines of their house-brand products, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). Other findings: none of the clean label lists limit sodium or added sugars; all exclude many artificial ingredients that CSPI considers safe; and restaurant policies do not include “riskiest” beverage ingredients such as added sugars, artificial sweeteners, and synthetic food colors. One interesting CSPI observation: “clean label products are not necessarily healthful.” 
Lisa Lefferts, "Clean Labels: Public Relations or Public Health?", Report, Center for Science in the Public Interest, February 01, 2017, © CSPI
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For Consumers, Premium Signifies More Than Just A Higher Price

February 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A Nielsen survey finds that consumers globally are willing to spend as much as 20 percent more for the quality and performance of premium items in any CPG category. The result of this trend is that premium FMCG products in many countries often outsell less expensive products. For example, between 2012 and 2014, the premium segment grew 21 percent in Southeast Asia, which is more than double the rate of the mainstream and value tiers. Survey respondents indicated that premium doesn’t just mean higher price: only 31 percent said price defined premium. Instead, they said premium signifies exceptional quality and performance. [ Image credit: © Wikimedia ]
Rose Anthony, "Sales of Premium CPG Products Increase around the World", CPG Matters, February 01, 2017, © CPG Matters
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Hormel Investigates Pig Supplier Accused Of Animal Cruelty

January 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A video created by an animal rights group showing alleged cruelty to animals at an Oklahoma pig farm has spurred an investigation by Hormel Foods Corp., which buys meat from the farm. The company also suspended operations at the Maschhoffs farm. The two-minute video shows dozens of pigs and piglets confined in crowded spaces without benefit of veterinary care. Hormel said it would send third-party auditors to investigate the claims made by Mercy for Animals in the video. [ Image credit: © Hormel ]
S. Sangameswaran, "Hormel Stops Operations at Supplier Farm After Video Shows Animal Abuse", Reuters, January 31, 2017, © Reuters
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The Use Of Fiber In Future Foods, Including Beverages, Bakery And Confectionary

January 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Formulators of new foods, especially foods with higher levels of fiber, are facing several hurdles, as shown in a recent survey. First, consumers are fairly ignorant of how to get more fiber into their diets (25 percent), though they know they need more. They associate fiber with whole grains. They often assume that high-fiber foods don’t taste good (10 percent). The president of fiber supplier Beneo says formulators who choose the right fiber can enrich baked goods, dairy, cereals, confections and beverages, without sacrificing taste or texture. Fibers that will be increasingly used in the future include: resistant glucan (RG), hydrogenated resistant glucan (HRG), combinations of seaweed and starch, and chitosan, a polysaccharide derived from the chitin shells of shrimp and other crustaceans. [ Image credit: © U.S. FDA ]
Todd Runestad, "Designer Fibers will Expand the Market to New Categories", New Hope Network, January 31, 2017, © Penton
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Cauliflower-Based Pizzas: The Beginning Of The Reign Of Cauliflower In Processed Foods?

January 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A food company tightly focused on boosting the profile of cauliflower has launched a line of ready-to-cook, cauliflower-based frozen pizzas, available now at Whole Foods Market, Amazon.com, and Bristol Farms. According to Caulipower, the pizzas are made with real cauliflower, are nutrient-rich and gluten-free, and contain less sodium and sugar, and fewer calories than conventional pizzas. Cauliflower pizzas are the brainchild of CEO Gail Becker, whose two children were diagnosed with celiac disease. She was frustrated by the poor quality of available gluten-free pizzas. Caulipower pizzas come in four varieties: three-cheese, veggie, margherita and plain crust. [ Image credit: © Caulipower, Amazon.com ]
"Caulipower Launches First Nationally Available Line of Ready-to-Cook Cauliflower-Based Foods", News release, Caulipower, January 31, 2017, © Caulipower
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Company’s Cage-Free Eggs Showcased In Inflatable, Transparent Carton

January 30, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A Taiwanese egg company committed to cage-free eggs has developed a special packaging technology that showcases the health and freedom of its products. The new egg carton is made of a transparent PVC material that inflates to cushion individual eggs. The eggs from Happy Egg company are available in purse-shaped packs of three, or in individual packs decorated especially for local festivals and events, such as birthdays, Christmas and Chinese New Year. [ Inflatable egg carton, Image credit: © Packagingoftheworld.com ]
"Inflatable Egg Carton Promotes Cage-Free Eggs", Springwise, January 30, 2017, © Springwise Intelligence Ltd
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Fans Of Black Coffee Save A Lot Of Calories, Study Finds

January 30, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
About half of America’s 325 million people drink coffee or tea regularly, and many of them add sugar, cream, syrups or other caffeine-rich additives. A new U.S. study that analyzed 12 years of data from a national health and nutrition survey found that about two-thirds of the coffee drinkers and one-third of the tea drinkers put sugar, cream, flavorings or other calorie-rich additives in their drinks. The sample included 13,185 adults who reported drinking coffee and 6,215 adults who reported drinking tea in the 24 hours prior to being surveyed. People who drink black coffee consume an average of about 69 fewer total calories a day than those who add sweeteners, cream or other substances to their coffee. More than 60 percent of those calories come from sugar, the rest from fat. Tea drinkers tend to add fewer calorie-dense substances to their beverages.  [ Image credit: © http://www.pixelpusher.co.za   ]
R. An, Y. Shi, "Consumption of coffee and tea with add-ins in relation to daily energy, sugar, and fat intake in US adults, 2001–2012. ", Public Health, January 30, 2017, © The Royal Society for Public Health, Elsevier Inc.
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Tesco Promotes Yogurt Made With Wonky Fruit

January 30, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
U.K. grocery retailer Tesco has teamed up with organic dairy Yeo Valley to launch a new yogurt in its Left-Yeovers line containing wonky – but delicious – apples and custard. The Left-Yeovers yogurt range was created to prevent food waste by using surplus misshapen fruit from the Yeo Valley storerooms that would otherwise be taken to landfills. It also raises money by donating 10 p from each sale to food distribution charity FareShare. The initiative is part of Tesco’s strategy to reduce food loss “from farm to fork.”  [ Image credit: ©  Tesco PLC ]
"New Tesco and Yeo Valley partnership creates a yogurt with a mission", News release, Tesco, January 30, 2017, © Tesco PLC
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Nestle Changes Ingredients, And Marketing, Of An Iconic Beverage

January 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The latest evidence of Nestlé SA’s corporate makeover is a major change in the ingredients of its signature chocolate drink, coupled with a new marketing strategy. Evolving consumer tastes and preferences – away from sugary beverages, for example – have buffeted the company’s sales. It hasn’t met its six-percent annual sales growth target in years. So it is flexing its product research and marketing muscle to change directions for some brands. The company has significantly lowered the sugar content of Nesquik while boosting market share. In addition, the company reduced the size of the Nesquik bunny that appears on packages, and broadened its marketing focus beyond kids to athletes. [ Image credit: © Nestlé ]
Brian Blackstone, "Nestlé Seeks to Sweeten Nesquik Sales by Cutting Back on Sugar", The Wall Street Journal, January 27, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Kroger Hires Supply Chain Services Company To Manage

January 26, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Grocery retailer Kroger (Cincinnati, Ohio) has contracted with McLane Co., a supply chain services firm, to supply its 787 convenience stores, which include Loaf ‘N Jug, Turkey Hill Minit Market, Tom Thumb, Kwik Shop, and Quik Stop. McLane maintains a cold chain network, an expanded fresh foods program, and category management expertise.[  Image credit: ©  Kroger ]
"The Kroger Co. Moves C-Store Business to McLane Co.", Convenience Store, January 26, 2017, © Harbor Communications
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App Helps Volunteers Find, Deliver Salvageable Food Donations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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