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Food Waste Supermarket Flourishes In Denmark

September 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A Danish charity (Folkekirkens Nødhjælp) that earlier this year opened a supermarket in Copenhagen dedicated to selling surplus food says the project has been successful enough to open two more stores. Food and other items sold in the stores would normally be thrown away because they are past their sell by date or have other imperfections. The WeFood store collects items from a variety of suppliers and sells them at a 30 – 50 percent discount. The store is part of a Danish government initiative to reduce food waste – 700,000 tons a year – in the country.
Hazel Sheffield, "Denmark Plans Two More Food Waste Supermarkets Selling Surplus Produce", Independent, September 20, 2016, © Independent Digital News and Media Ltd.
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Widespread Contamination Found In Baby Food Products

September 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A new nonprofit watchdog organization has compiled a list of baby and toddler foods that are contaminated by harmful ingredients. The Clean Label Project’s list highlights the products that meet or exceed standards established by its medical advisors based on independent lab analyses. Eighty-one percent of the 628 tested products failed to meet the standards. Baby foods were tested for toxic and heavy metals – e.g., arsenic, lead, cadmium – pesticides, bisphenol A (BPA), antibiotics, food coloring and flavors, and other unwanted substances that do not appear on ingredient labels. Eighty percent of infant formulas and 60 percent of meat and dairy baby food jars contained detectable antibiotic residues. One-third of jars and meals tested had detectable pesticide residues.
"Clean Label Project reveals baby food brands with least contaminants", News release, Clean Label Project, September 20, 2016, © Clean Label Project
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Vietnam Tells Unilever To Pay Back Taxes

September 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Vietnam's General Department of Taxation has told Unilever Vietnam to pay tax arrears covering the period 2009 to 2013 when the company expanded its local business operations. According to GDT, the country's laws did not offer corporate income tax incentives to investors who expanded their business during the period. GDT, however, has accepted the company's request to exempt it from paying the related fine.
Kim Chi, "Unilever Vietnam Asked to Pay Tax Arrears", VietnamNet, September 19, 2016, © VIETNAMNET Bridge
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Blue Apron’s Meal Kit Facilities Throw Away Far Less Food Than Grocers

September 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The Blue Apron meal kit delivery company is managing to keep food waste to a minimum at its prep facility, according to a study by a nonprofit sustainability advocate. BSR found that Blue Apron trashed only 5.5 percent of its food, compared to the to the 10.5 percent thrown out by grocery stores. The organization also found that buyers of Blue Apron kits threw away only 7.6 percent of the meals, instead of the 24 percent usually thrown away after home cooking. The key reason for the company’s lower waste generation is the fact that it knows exactly how much food it needs for each kit.
Adele Peters, "Cooking With A Meal Kit May Waste 62% Less Food Than Grocery Store Ingredients", Fast Company, September 19, 2016, © Mansueto Ventures, LLC
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Feed The 5000 Anti-Food Waste Events Coming To The U.S.

September 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A British nonprofit environmental organization is taking its food waste awareness festivals to the U.S. this fall with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation. As part of its mission to end food waste at every level of the food system, Feedback will be sponsoring Feeding the 5000 events – begun in the U.K. but now conducted in more than 40 cities worldwide – in Portland, Me., Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and Denver, Colo., in October. At the events, free meals crafted entirely with surplus food are served to the public. In addition to demonstrating that surplus food is delicious, the events are meant to raise awareness among supermarkets and big businesses of the need to end practices that lead to food waste.
"Feeding the 5000 Events Spread Across America as Heat Rises in Fight Against Food Waste", News release, Feedback, September 19, 2016, © Feedback
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General Mills To Revamp Yogurt Business As Shoppers Turn To Organic, Greek Products

September 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
After spending a lot of time and money last year revamping its cereals business – discontinuing some brands, introducing new ones – General Mills is turning its attention to another ailing product line. Yogurt lovers have shown a strong preference for organic yogurt, and for thicker, low-carb Greek-style products, to the detriment of the sweet Yoplait brands. The company admitted to investors in July that the $2.8 billion Yoplait business needs refurbishing: U.S. sales fell seven percent in fiscal 2016, a major red flag after five percent growth in 2015. Look for more organic varieties in the future, for example. But Wall Street analysts doubt that customers looking for more natural and more nutritious yogurt will come back to Yoplait, which doesn’t sound very Greek to most shoppers.
Annie Gasparro, "General Mills Looks to Stir Up Yogurt Sales", The Wall Street Journal, September 18, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Unilever Plans To Expand Investments In Pakistan

September 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever plans to invest more in Pakistan, according to Jeannette Seppen, The Netherlands' ambassador to the country. During a meeting with Pakistan's Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Seppen also thanked the government for creating a business environment that is friendly for multinational companies.
Ali Zain, "Unilever planning further investments in Pakistan", Daily Pakistan, September 18, 2016, © Daily Pakistan
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Real Junk Food Project Repurposes Surplus Food In A Network Of Affiliated Cafes

September 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
While Britain’s lawmakers ponder possible legislation on curbing food waste, private organizations and entrepreneurs have taken matters into their own hands with some eye-popping success. The Real Junk Food project, founded only three years ago, maintains a 6,000-square-foot warehouse in the city of Leeds that collects between two and 10 tons of food daily from a variety of sources, including supermarket chain Morrisons. Food collected is then distributed to one of 30 Real Junk Food cafes around the city. There are 125 such cafes throughout the U.K., and in Israel and Australia, and is growing exponentially worldwide. The surplus food is sold to anyone for any amount they can afford, including donated labor and services.
Carole Cadwalladr, "The Real Junk Food Project: Revolutionising How We Tackle Food Waste", The Guardian, September 18, 2016, © Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies
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Lack Of Sustainability Plan Gets Malaysian Palm Oil Supplier In Hot Water

September 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Three multinational food and personal care companies that are among the pillars of the global sustainability movement have dropped a Malaysian palm oil producer because it lacks a sustainability plan. Mars, Kellogg, and Unilever have all rejected IOI Group as an approved supplier until it comes up with an approved plan. IOI is one of the 10 largest suppliers of palm oil, a key ingredient in countless personal care and food products. The company has been accused of being a major contributor to deforestation in Indonesia. It is expected that delisting IOI as an approved palm oil supplier will have a major impact on the Malaysian economy.
Edward Mungai, "How Sustainable Procurement Supports Business", Business Daily, September 18, 2016, © Nation Media Group
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Unilever Plans To Lay Off 100 Employees In Switzerland

September 17, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever is cutting its workforce in Switzerland by 100 jobs, due to its move to relocate logistics operations to Rotterdam. Scheduled to take effect in summer of 2017, the layoffs will affect a third of employees at the company's location in the country's northern canton of Schaffhausen.
"Unilever cuts 100 additional jobs in Switzerland", swissinfo.ch, September 17, 2016, © swissinfo.ch
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Canadian Educators Tackle Waste Problem With “LItterless Lunch” Policies

September 16, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Canadian school children who eat a disposable lunch – e.g., a Lunchable plus fruit juice or soda – generate about 67 lbs. of packaging waste in a school year. That adds up to 1,625 lbs. a year for a class of 25. To battle this problem, school boards are increasingly introducing “litterless lunch” policies that encourage parents to pack home-made sandwiches wrapped in cloth or reusable waxed paper, stainless-steel lunchboxes, and drinks in thermos flasks. It helps solve the waste problem, and saves families money. Parents can save over a dollar a day by sending their kid to school with a sandwich, a reusable water bottle, and fresh fruit or yogurt.
Charlie Sorrel, "With Litterless Lunches, Canadian Schools Try To Get Parents To Pack Zero-Waste Meals", Fast Company, September 16, 2016, © Mansueto Ventures, LLC
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USDA Unveils Nutrition Database On Branded Foods

September 16, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The USDA has launched a free online resource that contains nutrition details on more than 80,000 name brand prepared and packaged foods available at restaurants and grocery stores. The Branded Food Products Database was created for families, the food industry and researchers by the USDA with the help of the International Life Sciences Institute North America (ILSI North America), GS1 U.S., 1WorldSync, and Label Insight. The database has a user-friendly interface to make it easier for private food companies to add and update data. Common consumer health and nutrition apps may use the data to inform consumers on a phone or watch in real time while shopping or dining out.
"USDA Announces New Open Data Partnership for Public Health", News release, USDA, September 16, 2016, © USDA
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Composting Service Helps Consumers, Farmers, And The Environment

September 16, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A Massachusetts start-up is offering a composting service that benefits consumers, businesses, farmers, and the environment. Bootstrap Compost provides its customers with composting buckets with compostable liners and lids. The buckets are filled with fruit and vegetable scraps, then picked up by the company either weekly or biweekly. Once finished, the compost is taken to farms, but some is reserved for customers to use in their own gardens. Using a composting bucket saves the water that would be used to run food scrapes down a kitchen disposal, and makes household waste lighter, less smelly and easier to manage.
Emma R. Murphy, "Local Company Brings Easy Composting to Needham", Needham Wicked Local, September 16, 2016, © GateHouse Media, LLC
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Nissin Moves To Make Its Salty, Fatty Cup Noodles More Healthful

September 15, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Acknowledging healthful eating trends and consumer concerns about processed food ingredients, Nissin has reduced the sodium content of its Cup Noodles – to 45 percent of a person’s recommended daily salt intake from 60 percent – and eliminated artificial flavors and colors. The move follows on the heels of last year’s decision to enlarge the styrofoam cups and make them microwaveable. Nevertheless, the soup still contains more than a third of the saturated fat an adult should eat in a day.
Annie Gasparro, "Cup Noodles Dials Down the Salt", The Wall Street Journal, September 15, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Barry Callebaut Buys Mondelēz Belgian Chocolate Factory

September 15, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Swiss chocolate and cocoa products maker Barry Callebaut said it will buy the Mondelēz International chocolate factory in Halle, Belgium. Mondelēz will then supply Barry Callebaut with 30,000 tons of liquid chocolate. Barry Callebaut will in turn manufacture certain consumer products for Mondelēz that are already produced at the Belgian chocolate plant. The deal is expected to close by December; no financial details were disclosed.
"Barry Callebaut to Extend Strategic Supply Partnership with Mondelēz International in Belgium", News release, Barry Callebaut, September 15, 2016, © Barry Callebaut
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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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