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USDA-Developed Rice Flours Are “Superior To” Wheat-Based Equivalents

June 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Scientists at the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service have developed – and patented – a special blend of rice flours that reduces oil absorption during cooking and are nutritionally and functionally “equal or superior to their wheat-based counterparts.” Maryland’s CrispTek LLC is now marketing rice flour-based brownie, cookie and muffin mixes under the brand name Choice Batter. The scientists who developed the technology that led to the rice flour blend – which can be used for grilling, baking and frying – say rice-based batters absorb 50 percent less oil than traditional wheat batters. In addition, they are naturally gluten-free, and free from common food allergens such as peanuts, dairy foods, soy, and from artificial colors, flavors and preservatives.
"New Rice Flour Mixes Available To Make Yummy Treats", News release, USDA, June 08, 2016, © USDA
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Dietary Supplement Formula Reverses Brain Cell Loss, Cognitive Decline

June 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A research team in Canada has created a dietary supplement from commonly available nutrients that reverses brain cell loss and cognitive decline. The team has been testing the concoction since 2000 in both normal and rapidly aging mice bred to experience severe declines in cognitive and motor function in only a few months. The mice lose more than half of their brain cells by one year of age, the human equivalent of severe Alzheimer's disease. The formula of 30 vitamins, minerals and other nutrients and nutraceuticals includes vitamins B, C and D, folic acid, green tea extract, and cod liver oil. It was fed to the mice daily over several months and completely eliminated the severe brain cell loss and cognitive decline.
J.A. Lemon et al., "A multi-ingredient dietary supplement abolishes large-scale brain cell loss, improves sensory function, and prevents neuronal atrophy in aging mice.", Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis, June 08, 2016, © Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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Euromonitor Starts Tracking Ethical Food Labeling, A Nearly $1 Trillion Industry

June 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Euromonitor has responded to the social media-driven trend toward ethical consumerism by creating a 26-market database, Passport Ethical Labels, that quantifies packaged food and beverage product labels by three categories: people/values, the environment and sustainability, and animal welfare. Consumers, of course, have no intention of stopping consuming because of concerns about the Indonesian rainforest, slaughter houses, chicken sheds, pig farms, dubious food additives, etc. They still want convenience, but also a less guilty conscience. The newest data show that the global market for ethical labels on branded packaged foods, soft drinks and hot drinks totaled $794 billion in 2015, three-quarters of which comprised environment- and /sustainability-related labels having mostly to do with recycling.
Simone Baroke , "Passport Ethical Labels – Key Findings", Blog, Euromonitor , June 08, 2016, © Euromonitor International
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New Partnership Will Help Determine Levels Of Food Waste In Countries

June 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Though 800 million people globally are malnourished, about a third of all food – approximately $940 billion worth each year – is lost as it moves from farm (or factory) to table. To help end this trend, a group of international organizations has partnered to launch a Food Loss and Waste Standard that will help businesses, governments, and other organizations to measure the problem. Organizations involved in the initiative include the World Resources Institute, the Consumer Goods Forum, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and others. The basic goal of the program is to help companies and countries find out how much food is lost or wasted, and where it occurs within their borders, operations or supply chains.
"First-Ever Global Standard to Measure Food Loss and Waste Introduced by International Partnership", News release, World Resources Institute, June 06, 2016, © World Resources Institute
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Unilever Works With Instacart To Promote Brands Online To U.S. Consumers

June 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever is working with grocery-delivery service Instacart to help promote its brands to online consumers in the US. Launched in 2015, Unilever's strategic partnership with Instacart has included experimenting with different types of digital promotions linked to online purchases and deliveries. Promotions include free-shipping offers, sampling, and Instacart Deals that offer customers instant redemption of digital coupons. Instacart has run more than 30 free-delivery campaigns for Unilever brands since summer 2015.
Dale Buss, "Unilever Leverages Participation in Online Grocery Shopping", CPG Matters, June 06, 2016, © CPG Matters
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Growing Frequency Of Food Allergies, Plus Health Concerns, Drive “Free-From” Market

June 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
There is a growing list of foods and food ingredients that people deem unhealthy or, for some, are actually allergenic. The food industry has responded by marketing packaged food products that are “free from” these ingredients, which include grain (especially wheat), dairy, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs, fish, and shellfish. These eight account for 90 percent of allergic reactions to food, which have been on the rise. The CDC says food allergies now affect approximately one in 13 children. The free-from trend has grown into a $190 million market, with sales in the year ending January 24 surging 26.5 percent in the combined conventional and natural channels. Gluten-free, meanwhile, by itself is a $25 billion market. Allergies don’t account for all these sales. Healthy people who buy free-from products account for a sizeable chunk.
Jenna Blumenfeld, "Free-from foods rise to the occasion", New Hope Network, June 06, 2016, © Penton
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Food Retailers, Manufacturers Back New Food Waste Reporting Protocol

June 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Swiss food manufacturer Nestle and British retail grocery chain Tesco have announced support for new international reporting requirements for food loss and waste. A Nestle representative called the reporting standards “a massive, global step in fighting food loss and waste.” The World Resources Institute (WRI) said food loss and waste globally costs $940 billion a year; food loss generates about eight percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Using the standard, countries and companies will be able to quantify how much food is lost and wasted and where. They will also be able to report on it credibly and consistently. Other major companies backing the standard individually, or through the Consumer Goods Forum, include Australia’s Woolworths and Unilever.
John Shepherd, "Nestle, Tesco back new world standard on food loss and waste", Just-Food, June 06, 2016, © just-food.com
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Heightened Environmental, Moral Awareness Leads To “Breakthrough Marketing”

June 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The food industry and its marketing/packaging units are taking serious notice of the raised health- and eco-consciousness of consumers. What has emerged from this attention is “unexpected, breakthrough marketing” that features, among other tactics, “origin stories” that may be tongue-in-cheek but still appeal to a desire for “authenticity” in edibles. Companies know that consumers are politically, morally and environmentally aware, so cage-free, grass-fed, fair trade, non-GMO, sustainably raised, locally grown, heirloom, and ancient are now important buzzwords in food marketing. Another facet of raised awareness is concern about food waste. So retail grocery chains tout donations to shelters and food kitchens, and celebrity chefs describe their stepped up activism. Chef Mario Batali recently published an e-book titled “Ugly Food: A Collection for Earth Day,” that urges home cooks and industry pros to embrace "cosmetically challenged produce" that usually ends up in landfills.
T. L. Stanley, "8 Food Marketing Trends You Need to Know About Right Now From culinary catwalks to whimsical wrappers", Adweek, June 05, 2016, © Adweek
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Restaurant Chains Claim Reductions In Antibiotics Use, But Who Really Knows?

June 4, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Several large fast-food restaurant chains have announced voluntary “free from antibiotics” policies thanks to pressure from consumers and consumer advocacy groups. But with limited information from the companies themselves, no agreed-upon standards, and no government regulation, how does a consumer really know whether his pizza is antibiotics-free? Each company is implementing the policy in its own way, some following, for example, USDA guidelines for reducing drug use in livestock production except in case of illness. But one fact remains clear: there's little evidence that agricultural use of antibiotics is dropping. The FDA reported in December that antibiotics sales for farm animals was up 22 percent from 2009 to 2014. International use is expected to rise 66 percent by 2030.
Deena Shanker, "Can You Really Know If That Pizza Is Antibiotic-Free?", Bloomberg, June 04, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Vegan Doughnut Is Actually 13 Treats In One

June 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A New York City vegan eatery recently introduced a variation on the doughnut that is anything but humble. The Cinnamon Snail’s version is the $7 Inception Doughnut, a colorful concoction comprising a maple and raspberry-filled base topped with two layers of ever-smaller “doughnuts”: actually three decorated ring-shaped cookies and nine Cheerios. The treat really is 100 percent vegan, but only available for a short time.
Sydney Mondry, "This Bakery Just Took Doughnuts to a New Level—and It's Only Around for a Short While", In Style, June 03, 2016, © Time Inc.
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Donsuemor Expands Line Of Madeleines

June 2, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The California-based Donsuemor bakery, which has been producing European specialty baked goods since 1976, announced an addition to its catalog at two recent industry trade shows. For the fall season the company is adding pumpkin spice madeleines, a Halloween season version of the little French cakes shaped like shells. The new version will join the family of traditional, dipped and lemon zest madeleines on store shelves in the fall. Donsuemor baked goods are available nationwide in stores such as Peet's Coffee, Costco, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, and Whole Foods Market.
Haley Gibbs, "Pumpkin Spice Madeleines Join Donsuemor Family for Fall Season", News release. Donsuemor, June 02, 2016, © Donsuemor
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Growth In World’s Muslim Population Ensures Halal’s Continued Prosperity

June 2, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The global halal market is growing rapidly. Deloitte estimates the market leapt past $1 trillion in 2015. Food accounted for 61 percent of halal trade, pharmaceuticals 26 percent, and cosmetics 11 percent. Western multinationals have customized products for the halal market, while new companies are developing innovative items. The main driver behind the surging market is the rapid growth in the global Muslim population, and the need to comply with Sharia restrictions on diet. But Sharia is not the only force driving halal’s growth. Halal certification is also seen as a mark of safer, healthier, higher-quality products. Described as the “organic option” for the 21st century, the designation appeals to both Muslims and non-Muslims, ensuring continued growth.
Jun Suzuki, "Asia's growing halal demand spurs innovation, profit", Nikkei Asian Review, June 02, 2016, © Nikkei Inc
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HUL Divides Foods & Refreshments Unit Into Two Businesses

June 2, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) has split the foods and refreshments (F&R) business into two separate units and has named Sudhir Sitapati exxecutive director, refreshments. He was also named to the management committee. Sitapati is currently  regional category vice president, refreshments (South Asia & Africa). Geetu Verma, who supervised foods and refreshments, will continue to look after the foods business as executive director and will stay on the management committee. According to the company, the reorganization will “enable sharper focus and help to fully leverage the growth opportunities in line with HUL’s ambitions.”
"HUL announces new appointment to Management Committee", News release, Hindustan Unilever, June 02, 2016, © Hindustan Unilever Limited
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Clever Technologies Turn Food Waste Into Eco-Fashion

June 2, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Turning food waste into fashion isn’t going to solve the huge global leftover food problem. But it will help a little, while teaching consumers about the importance of recycling, upcycling, and reusing food. Among the basic food-based clothing innovations being reported are: coffee grounds turned into fabric (Ecoalf’s process turns processed coffee grounds into a nano-powder that can be spun with polyester polymers into fabric); salmon skin into leather (Tidal Vision’s tanning process results in belts, wallets, and handbags); and coconut ash mixed with polyester makes coat insulation (Nau’s coconut-based fiber will possibly replace goose down and other clothing insulation).
Katherine Martinko, "How leftover foods are being turned into green fashion", TreeHugger, June 02, 2016, © Narrative Content Group
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Pet Care Fastest-Growing Home Care Segment Online, L2 Says

June 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Among the home care categories, the pet care industry was the fastest-growing segment in 2015 in terms of e-commerce, according to L2's 2016 Home Care report. Although still a fragmented market with no clear leader yet, online sales of pet care products grew 55 percent to reach $760 million during the year. Despite online retailers' level of sophistication, pet care brands did not excel in digital, the market research firm said.
Homa Zaryouni, "Pet Care Has Highest E-Commerce Penetration in Home Care", L2 Daily, June 01, 2016, © L2 Inc.
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Food Company Adapts To Vermont GMO Labeling Law

June 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Woodinville, Wash.-based Conifer Specialties, the maker of Fisher Scones, has decided to label its food products with information about the possibility of genetically modified ingredients. The move comes just a few weeks before a Vermont law requiring such labeling goes into effect on July 1. Conifer does not sell its three product lines – Fisher Scones, Canterbury Naturals and Crock-Pot Delicious Dinner – in Vermont. But CEO Mike Maher worries that lawyers may try to add Conifer to a class action lawsuit. The company will spend “in the six figures” to get its products non-GMO verified and, in the interim, to change packaging to acknowledge the possibility of GMO content.
Coral Garnick, "Maker of Fisher Scones to begin GMO labeling", Puget Sound Business Journal, June 01, 2016, © American City Business Journals
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Floating Farm Could Be Harbinger Of The Future Of Agriculture

June 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A Dutch building developer who specializes in floating structures is constructing a variation on the urban farm concept. The floating dairy farm will house 60 cows producing milk, cheese, cream, butter, and yogurt, and will demonstrate how self-sufficiency can be achieved on rivers and in harbors. Peter van Wingerden, director of Beladon, hopes to someday build fully floating, self-sustaining cities that will provide their own essential elements like clean water, energy, food, and waste management. The Floating Farm is expected to be finished in  Rotterdam's Merwe harbor in January 2017.
Adele Peters, "The World's First Floating Urban Dairy Farm Will Be Built In Rotterdam", Fast Company, June 01, 2016, © Mansueto Ventures, LLC
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Kraft Heinz Gets Ready To Redeem Warren Buffet’s Investment

May 31, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
After major moves to cut both operational and financing costs, Kraft Heinz stock is up 16 percent this year, outperforming the S&P 500 packaged food index, which is up 6.8 percent. Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway company invested $8 billion in the deal three years ago that ultimately created Kraft-Heinz, which has been paying him a nine percent annual dividend – $720 million. But that’s all about to end as Kraft-Heinz is getting ready to redeem Berkshire’s preferred shares to the tune of about $8.3 billion: “good news for Kraft-Heinz, but bad news for Berkshire,” as Buffet told investors recently.
Noah Buhayar, "Buffett Awaits $8 Billion of ‘Bad News’ With Kraft Heinz Payment", Bloomberg.com, May 31, 2016, © Bloomberg LLC
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CPG Companies' Ad Spending To Come Close To $6 Billion In 2016, Forecast Says

May 31, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Consumer packaged goods and consumer products companies in the US will spend $5.97 billion on digital advertising in 2016, an increase of 18.2 percent compared with 2015, according to eMarketer. Data from the report “The US CPG and Consumer Products Industry 2016: Digital Ad Spending Forecast and Trends” revealed the segment will account for 8.7 percent of total digital advertising spending in the country for the year. Although this industry is among the largest advertisers in the country, it pales in comparison with other industries when it comes to digital advertising spending.
"CPG Advertisers to Spend Nearly $6 Billion on Digital Advertising This Year", eMarketer, May 31, 2016, © eMarketer Inc.
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General Mills Recalls Flour Products After Reports Of Bacterial Illnesses

May 31, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
General Mills posted a notice on its website that it is recalling certain flour brands that may be contaminated with E. coli bacteria, though no consumers have reported any illnesses to the company.  Gold Medal, Wondra, and Signature Kitchens were mentioned in the notice. Customers of Safeway, Albertsons, Jewel, Shaws, Vons, United, Randalls and Acme were warned not to use the affected brands, which have best buy dates of August 23, 2016, to June 14, 2017. Federal and state officials are investigating 38 E. coli 0121 illness cases found in 20 states. About half said they had used flour or handled dough before getting sick.
Michal Addady , "E. Coli Outbreak Could Be Linked to General Mills Flour", Fortune.com, May 31, 2016, © Time Inc.
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Goth Foodies Jump On Black-Dyed Food Trend

May 31, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Food dyed black is capturing the attention of foodies around the globe, thanks to social media sites like Instagram. Included in the trend are macarons, macaroons, bread, burgers, cumin croissants, puffed rice crackers, ice cream, and hot dog and burger buns. Squid ink is one of the main dyes used to blacken food, but some chefs are using charcoal, black sesame, seaweed, or fulvic acid (a component of dirt). As the Daily Mail says, “Black food is taking over the world.”
Lauren Ingram, "Forget the rainbow craze, food is now going goth! New trend sees everything from ice-cream to burger buns dyed BLACK", Daily Mail, May 31, 2016, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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Chick Pea Flour Grows In Popularity In Era Of Restricted Diets, Allergies

May 31, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Garbanzo bean (chick pea) flour has been used in European and Asian cooking for centuries, but is now getting heightened attention because of its unique advantages in an era of dietary restrictions and food allergies. Foods made from the flour are gluten-free, rich in fiber, protein, and micronutrients like iron, folate and manganese. Dishes made with garbanzo flour include the crepe-like rounds called farinata (Italy) or socca (France) whose rich aroma suggests olive oil, black pepper and rosemary. In western India the flour is mixed with yogurt and water, then spiced with ginger, chili, turmeric and herbs and spices. The paste is simmered, cooled and spread into thin sheets, then cut and rolled into tight bundles.
Paul Stephen, "Dietary restrictions help bring new attention to chickpea flour", Star News Online, May 31, 2016, © Gatehouse Media, Inc.
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Pizza Hut To Remove Chemical Preservatives From Menu Items

May 31, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Responding to concerns voiced by consumers regarding artificial ingredients in their foods, Pizza Hut says it will eliminate even more questionable additives from its menu items. The company a year ago removed artificial flavors and colors from its pizzas. Now it says it will remove the antioxidants BHA and BHT (and other preservatives) from its meats and cheeses, as well as antibiotics from chicken, by next March. Though removal of GMO ingredients from foods has garnered more headlines (thanks largely to a Vermont law taking effect next month), other companies, including Kellogg and General Mills, have announced plans to remove BHA and BHT from their products.
Karen Robinson-Jacobs, "Plano-based Pizza Hut to ditch artificial preservatives as industry faces skeptical public", The Dallas Morning News, May 31, 2016, © The Dallas Morning News Inc.
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Nestle Partners With French Firm To Develop Infant Milk Allergy Test

May 31, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé Health Science is partnering with French company DBV Technologies to develop and market a patch-test tool to diagnose cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA) in infants, a difficult-to diagnose condition that affects as many as three percent of babies. Symptoms of the condition – eczema, reflux, constipation, diarrhea, crying, etc. – often mask CMPA. The new DBV diagnostic tool will be based on its Viaskin technology and will be designed to be ready-to-use and standardized. As a result of the partnership, Nestlé Health Science will have the exclusive worldwide commercialization rights for the tool.
"Nestlé Health Science collaborates with DBV Technologies to accelerate development of an innovative diagnostic tool for Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy", News release, Nestlé, May 31, 2016, © Nestlé
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French Company Simplifies Lunch Ordering, Delivery

May 30, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A French food delivery start-up is succeeding in Paris with a simplified business model. Nestor has its own chef staff that prepares a single meal – starter, entrée, dessert – each day. The “take it or leave it” system takes stressful decision-making out of ordering lunch. Nestor serves 1,000 meals a day, so far only to one section of Paris, but will soon expand to another heavily populated, busy business district known as La Défense. The price for lunch is about $17, and the average wait from order to delivery is 13 minutes.
Lulu Chang, "French workers are getting their lunch from Nestor, a new lunch startup", Digital Trends, May 30, 2016, © Designtechnica Corporation
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U.S. Turns Its Attention To Innovative Ways To Reduce Food Waste

May 28, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Retail grocers and entrepreneurs in the U.S. are following the lead of their colleagues in Europe who are endeavoring to reduce food waste by making it okay to buy “ugly” foods. Whole Foods Market and Giant Eagle, for example, have introduced malformed carrots, oranges with protruding navels, and blemished pomegranates in their stores to get customers used to the idea that ugly produce is edible and need not be dumped in the trash. Meanwhile, entrepreneurs are developing business ideas that focus on ways to recover edible but unappealing produce and distribute it to the needy. One company is working on ways to turn fresh, but unappealing, fish into healthful jerky. Food activist Danielle Nierenberg says, “A lot of the innovation is going to come from companies, and that is exciting,”
Dave Armon, "Gnarly Fruit Paves Way for Ugly Fish Jerky in Battle to Curb Food Waste", Blog, 3BL Media, May 28, 2016, © 3BL MEDIA, LLC
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New “Gig Economy” Has Pluses And Minuses For Workers, Businesses

May 28, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Euromonitor defines the “gig economy” – one of eight trends that together create the “New Consumerism” – as a work environment comprising short-term contracts, freelance and entrepreneurship. The gig economy is on the rise because it benefits employers and workers, delivering flexibility and efficiency. But the freedom it gives workers is offset by a lack of job and income security. In the emerging gig economy, businesses can save resources like office space and operation costs like benefits for permanent employees and training. They can also contract experts for specific projects rather than hire high-priced permanent staff. The downside is a less stable, less controllable workforce. Euromonitor says that could in turn undermine productivity and efficiency.
Lan Ha, "The New Consumerism: The Rise of the Gig Economy", Blog, Euromonitor International, May 28, 2016, © Euromonitor International
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Discounted “Wonky” Veggies Win Over British Grocery Shoppers

May 27, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
British supermarkets, including Tesco and Asda, are reporting greater acceptance of so-called “wonky” (ugly or misshapen) fruits and vegetables, thanks to significant discounting. Tesco launched an initiative called Perfectly Imperfect in March with misshapen potatoes and parsnips, extended it to apples and strawberries in May, and hopes to broaden the range to 15 to 20 produce lines.  A Tesco executive called the program a huge success, with sales having grown tenfold. Sales of Perfectly Imperfect strawberries account for 10-15 percent of total category sales. Besides increasing sales, the initiative has also led to increased crop utilization and reduced food waste. Tesco is now taking 95 percent of strawberries from its suppliers, up from 85 percent. Apple utilization is at 97 percent.
Ian Quinn et al., "Sales of new Perfectly Imperfect fruit & veg are 'flying' at Tesco", The Grocer, May 27, 2016, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Yes, The Finger Lakes Are Known For Wine, But Grape Pies Are The Big Attraction

May 27, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Home bakers in the tiny Finger Lakes (N.Y.) town of Naples make thousands of concord grape pies each year, with the heaviest volume during the autumn Naples Grape Festival. The region is known for its wine – there are 120 wineries in the area – but concord grapes work best in pie making. Grape pie remains a best-seller – 10,000 are baked and sold each year – and comes either with a crumb crust or a floating crust. One local grape pie maker sells 3,000 to 5,000 pies in the fall from tents or at local stores through Thanksgiving.
Katherine Rodeghier, "New York wine country sweet on grape pie", Chicago Tribune, May 27, 2016, © Chicago Tribune
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Bakery Creates Fritter Soaked With Hard Cider

May 26, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Hard cider maker Angry Orchard has partnered with a New York City bakery to create the Angry Fritter especially for National Doughnut Day, celebrated earlier this month. The Doughnut Project bakery specializes in merging unlikely ingredients – bacon, beets, olive oil, ricotta cheese, sesame seeds, black pepper, sea salt, etc. – and dough to create doughnuts with flavors inspired by the foods and cocktails of New York City. The Angry Fritter is made with crunchy apple slices and a special fritter dough infused with Angry Orchard hard cider.
"There's A Good Reason To Be Angry On National Doughnut Day: Angry Orchard and The Doughnut Project Introduce the Angry Fritter", News release, Angry Orchard, May 26, 2016, © Angry Orchard
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Wearable Food Waste May Help Solve A Global Problem

May 26, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Researchers in Hong Kong are working on a way to turn discarded food into clothing. The core of the technology is the use of a lactic acid fermentation to transform starchy food waste with high sugar content into spun fibers. The researchers say the fiber is not yet strong enough to make textiles out of it, but further study should solve that problem. Meanwhile, scientists around the globe are creating their own food-waste-to-clothing solutions: orange peels into textile fibers; “leather” from pineapple leaves; fabrics from fermented milk and wine; and even food waste buttons.
"Use the power of innovation to reduce food waste", South China Morning Post, May 26, 2016, © South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd.
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California Start-Up Sells Protein-Rich Doughnuts

May 26, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A Silicon Valley start-up that wanted to provide a healthful protein snack in a form other than bars and shakes recently celebrated its first full year of selling protein doughnuts. The Dough Bar’s doughnuts, each containing 11 grams of protein plus other healthful ingredients, are marketed to “elite fitness competitors,” Cross Fit enthusiasts, and doughnut-loving dieters. The doughnuts can be purchased online or at a couple of Max Muscle stores in California. They are baked (not fried), then shipped within days to ensure freshness. Toppings and glazes are individually packaged.
"Protein-Packed Doughnuts: The Dough Bar Marks 1 Year of Ditching the Protein Bar for a Doughnut on June 10th", News release, The Dough Bar, May 26, 2016, © The Dough Bar
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Soy Compounds Kill Antimicrobial-Resistant Food Germs Effectively, Safely

May 25, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Heavy use of chemical antimicrobial agents over the years has led to some strains of bacteria becoming resistant to them, rendering them largely ineffective. But a new Canadian study has found possible natural replacements for the synthetic antimicrobials. Soy isoflavones and peptides – key ingredients in cooking oils, cheeses, ice cream, etc. – may provide an effective way to eliminate microbial contamination in the food industry. The researchers used microfluidics and high-throughput screening to run millions of tests in a short period. Soy isoflavones are not only good at killing microbes, they are biodegradable, environmentally friendly and non-toxic.
Rekha Dhayakaran et al., "Investigation of the antimicrobial activity of soy peptides by developing a high throughput drug screening assay. ", Biochemistry and Biophysics Reports, May 25, 2016, © Dhayakaran et al.
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Aldi’s Cage-Free Egg Decision Proves Controversial In Australia

May 25, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Despite criticism from egg producers in Australia, German retail grocery chain Aldi will spend the next ten years transitioning to cage-free eggs. Consumer pressure pushed the company to take the complicated, expensive and hopefully sustainable step. But egg producers ironically call the move a “slap in the face” to consumers who may not want to spend premium prices for cage-free eggs. Aldi’s decision will “hurt Australian egg farmers and can’t be justified on the basis of either science or consumer behavior.” One egg industry representative said Australian research shows that hen stress levels are similar across cage, barn and free range farming environments. Animal husbandry practices “have the greatest influence on hen welfare.”
"Aldi to phase out cage eggs", Food and Drinks Business (AU), May 25, 2016, © Yaffa
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Food Industry Is “Remarkably Sensitive” To Shifts In Consumer Preferences

May 25, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Market researcher Packaged Facts reports that the food industry is doing whatever it can to accommodate growing consumer demand for “free-from” foods. Five broad food avoidance concerns, or “constituencies,” were identified. These include allergies and intolerances, health and wellbeing, and humanitarian, environmental, and religious concerns. The result has been the creation and marketing of sugar-free, fat-free, low-carbohydrate, gluten-free, no artificial colors, flavors, antibiotics, preservatives or other questionable ingredients. Cage-free eggs is another facet of the trend. Some people in the avant garde of food reformulation may think changes are coming at a glacier pace, but “in fact, the industry is remarkably sensitive to shifts in consumer demands."
"Packaged Facts: Food Industry Committed to Meeting Consumer Demand for "Free-From" Foods", News release, Packaged Facts, May 25, 2016, © Packaged Facts
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Food Stamps Help Walmart Fight Off Amazon

May 25, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Food stamps give Walmart a distinct advantage over online rival Amazon. Food-stamp users are not allowed to use the money to buy online. In 2015, almost 46 million people used food stamps, with almost all food-stamp funds spent offline. Also, in 2015, about $70 billion spent on groceries and other goods using the U.S. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture revealed. Data from the government showed the Super Stores category, which includes Walmart, accounted for 47 percent of dollars spent with food stamps although they represent only 7 percent of total number of stores accepting SNAP payments. In 2013, Walmart estimated it accounted for 18 percent, or about $14 billion and about 4 percent of the retailer's total US revenue, of all food-stamp spending in 2012.
Shelly Banjo, "Walmart's Fleeting Advantage Over Amazon", Bloomberg Gadfly, May 25, 2016, © Bloomberg L. P.
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Peapod Announces Three New Meal Kits

May 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Peapod.com partnered with food manufacturers ConAgra Foods, Inc., and Campbell Soup Company to offer three new meal kits. Available in select markets covered by the company, the meal kits feature pre-measured, pre-cut, and pre-washed ingredients. Aimed at families that need mealtime solutions delivered to their doors, the recipes are Buffalo Chicken Skillet by Ro-Tel and One Pan Chicken Curry by Campbell’s available in Chicago, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, and New York; and Zucchini Noodles with Fresh Veggie Primavera by Hunts available in Chicago, Indianapolis, and Milwaukee.
"Peapod.com Expands Meal Kit Offerings; Partners with Trusted Brands from ConAgra Foods and Campbell Soup Company", PR Newswire, May 24, 2016, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Grocery Chain Tests “Smart” Cameras In Fridges To Reduce Over-Buying

May 23, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
British retail grocery chain Sainsbury’s is pilot testing an interesting an interesting solution to food loss in the home. The company has selected 20 families in Derbyshire to try Bosch fridge-freezers fitted out with “smart” cameras that tell a consumer’s smartphone which foods they already have in the fridge at home. The six-month test, part of the company’s “Waste Less, Save More” initiative, is to determine whether the smart cameras will keep consumers from over-buying – and potentially wasting – food. The top five over-bought products, according to Sainsbury’s, are fruits, vegetables, milk, cheese and eggs.
"‘Smart’ fridge cameras allow Sainsbury’s shoppers to reduce waste", The Scotsman, May 23, 2016, © Johnston Publishing Ltd.
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Fresh-Milled Flour Could Be The Key To Restoring Bread’s Smudged Reputation

May 21, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A nascent trend in the world of bread making could help restore bread’s tarnished reputation. One of the main criticisms of bread is that industrialization of flour production – and especially the need to make grocery store bread shelf-stable – removes not only the nutrients that make it “a most wonderful food,” but the flavor as well. News reports from around the U.S., however, say bakeries have begun to produce bread made from fresh-milled flour that is “as tasty as it is non-threatening to our bodies.”
Rebecca Fishbein, "Fresh-Milled Bread Movement Might Make America's Bread Great Again", Gothamist, May 21, 2016, © Gothamist LLC
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Celebrated Bourbon-Laced Cake Is Named Alabama’s Official Dessert

May 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Alabama lawmakers recently approved an expensive (ingredients-wise), labor-intensive, and alcohol-laced cake as the official state dessert. Known as the Lane Cake, the multi-layered concoction was first described in an 1898 cookbook published by Alabama resident Emma Rylander Lane, and was mentioned several times in Harper Lee’s classic novel, “To Kill A Mockingbird.” The recipe calls for at least a dozen eggs: the whites for the cake layers and the yolks for the rich custard filling – spiked with bourbon or sherry – between layers, as well as chopped raisins, candied cherries, coconut and pecans. In “Mockingbird,” the character Scout said neighbor Maudie Atkinson’s Lane Cake was “so loaded with shinny (i.e., whiskey) it made me tight.”
Pat Kettles, "A boozy, old-school cake is now Alabama's official state dessert", The Anniston Star, May 20, 2016, © Annistonstar.com
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New Food Nutrition Facts Labels Finalized

May 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The FDA finalized changes to food nutrition facts  labels on May 20, but gave food companies until July 2018 – smaller companies until 2019 – to begin using them. The agency kept the basic look (old and new labels shown at left), but increased the type size for “calories” (bold), “servings per container,” and the “serving size” declaration (bold). The actual amount, in addition to percent daily value, of vitamin D, calcium, iron and potassium is required. The label will include “added sugars” in grams, vitamin D (but not vitamin A or C), potassium, calcium, iron, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat (but not calories from fat), and daily values for sodium and dietary fiber. Serving sizes must be based on amounts of foods and beverages that people actually eat, not on what they should be eating.
Mary Clare Jalonick et al., "Makeover coming for food nutrition labels", Associated Press, May 20, 2016, © Associated Press
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Lawsuit Accuses Kellogg Of Marketing “Whole Grain” Crackers Made With White Flour

May 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Consumer watchdog Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has filed a federal lawsuit accusing Kellogg of allegedly falsely advertising a variety of its Cheez-It snack crackers as made with “Whole Grain.” CSPI said the crackers are actually made from refined white flour, not whole grain as claimed on the package. Whole Grain Cheez-It crackers “are nearly identical nutritionally to the Original version of Cheez-Its, providing a negligible one gram of fiber,” CSPI said. The plaintiffs are asking the court for injunctive relief to prevent Kellogg “from continuing to engage in deceptive marketing of Cheez-Its.”
"Lawsuit Targets Cheez-It “Whole Grain” Crackers, Which are Mostly Made of Refined White Flour", News release, Center for Science in the Public Interest, May 19, 2016, © Center for Science in the Public Interest
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Luxe Pack New York 2016 Features Huge Lineup Of Packaging Manufacturers And Suppliers; Highlights Trends In Market

May 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Luxe Pack New York 2016 packaging industry event attracted more than 240 international packaging manufacturers and suppliers to its Pier 92 venue in New York City. Some of the industry trends highlighted during the event included the growing popularity of personalized packaging for mass-market products, growing use of raw materials for packaging, and the emergence of niche brands. Consumer demand for customized products and experiences is rising, with results of a SONAR survey for the retail report, Frontier(less) Retail, showing 66 percent of US millennials and 62 percent of UK millennials saying they would be more likely to visit a store that offers an interactive experience to choose or customize a product. Also, results of a 2015 Deloitte survey revealed 43 percent of 16–24 year old and 46 percent of 25–30 year old respondents prefer personalized goods and services.
Emma Chiu, "Luxe Pack New York 2016: Packaging trends", J. Walter Thompson Intelligence, May 19, 2016, © J. Walter Thompson Intelligence
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NRDC Urges The Colonel To Stop Using Antibiotics In Chicken Production

May 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is urging KFC to stop using antibiotics in its chicken production. Seventy percent of the antibiotics used to treat human bacterial illnesses are given to mostly healthy pigs, chickens, cattle, and other livestock. That practice “promotes the growth of drug-resistant superbugs,” posing a serious threat to public health. Other big fast food chains – McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A, Subway and Taco Bell – are committed to eliminating antibiotics from poultry production. But KFC, with more chicken-based restaurants than any other chain and sales second only to Chick-fil-A, “has yet to get on board.”
Rhea Suh, "It’s Time for KFC to Kick Its Drug Habit", News release, Natural Resources Defense Council, May 19, 2016, © Natural Resources Defense Council
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Boulangeries In Paris Find A Different Way To Make Gluten-Free Baguettes

May 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
It may seem unthinkable, but gluten-free baked goods, including bread, have begun to appear in the bakeries, cafes, and supermarkets of Paris. They are, however, a bit different from the gluten-free products selling in the U.S. In Paris boulangeries, bakers do not use food-grade gums, starches or preservatives, relying instead on natural wheat alternatives such as rice and buckwheat flours and different seeds. Unfortunately, however, the French version of gluten-free baking does not translate to one cherished delicacy. The multilayered croissant cannot be properly created without gluten.
Whitney Filloon, "Even Parisian Bakeries Are Going Gluten-Free", Eater, May 19, 2016, © Vox Media, Inc.
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Whole Foods Market Readies Opening Of First 365 Affordable-Organic Store In Los Angeles

May 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market Inc. plans to open its first 365 by Whole Foods Market , as part of the retailer's efforts to demonstrate that it can offer a cheaper option for consumers seeking healthy and sustainably produced foods. Aimed at helping revive sales, the affordable-but-healthy retail concept is designed to help Whole Foods compete in an organic food market that has gone mass-market. According to the company, the first 365 store will open in the Silver Lake section of Los Angeles on May 25, 2016.
Craig Giammona, "Whole Foods Is Ready to Convince You That It Can Do Cheaper", Bloomberg, May 18, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Legislation Seeks To Curb Food Loss By Standardizing Label “Use By” Dates

May 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
With the single exception of infant formula, there are no standardized U.S. guidelines for food expiration dates. New legislation introduced in the U.S. House and Senate aims to rectify that situation. The problem is that food manufacturers put “use by” dates on packages to ensure that the food is eaten or cooked when it is freshest and at peak quality. But consumers assume the food is no longer safe to eat after that date. So it gets thrown out – wasted – by the millions of tons countrywide annually. The new legislation is designed to reduce the confusion by establishing standard federal rules for label dates. The bills were introduced by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) and by Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine).
Heesun Wee, "Food waste bill targets confusing date labels", CNBC, May 18, 2016, © CNBC LLC
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Unilever Ghana Reports 26-Percent Revenue Gain In 2015

May 17, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever Ghana Limited reported revenue grew 26 percent to GH¢518,731,000 in 2015, compared with the previous year. Operating profit margin also rose by 1 percentage point to 9.7 percent. Profit before tax increased from GH¢634,000 in 2014 to GH¢47,643 in 2015, the company said. According to the company, revenue growth was driven by an improved portfolio mix, cost savings, and improved efficiencies.
Pius Amihere Eduku, "Unilever Ghana records 26 percent growth in 2015 profits", citifmonline.com, May 17, 2016, © citifmonline.com
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Interesting Food Trends Gleaned From Google Search Data

May 16, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Google has been keeping track of food trends, as reflected in online searches, for a long time. In its latest analysis of data collected between January 2014 and February 2016, the company reports that pasta is making a comeback: searches for macaroni, linguine and rigatoni are on the rise. And though consumers search often using the keyword gluten-free, searches for wheat-free bread and gluten-free cupcakes have dropped. As to cuisines, Vietnamese pho, Bibimbap, empanadas, and ramen topped the list of global dishes searched for.
Róisín Cameron, "Pasta in, Gluten-free Cupcakes out: Google Releases Food Trends", Specialty Food, May 16, 2016, © Specialty Food Association, Inc.
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Amazon Plans To Sell More Private-Label Products

May 15, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon.com Inc. plans to sell more private-label brands, including those of perishable foods, such as nuts, spices, tea, and coffee. After working for several years to develop private-label lines, the online retailer will start selling them as early as end of May or start of June 2016. Sales of store brands in the US reached $118.4 billion in 2015, up by about $2.2 billion from the previous year, data from the Private Label Manufacturers Association revealed.
Greg Bensinger, "Amazon to Expand Private-Label Offerings—From Food to Diapers", The Wall Street Journal, May 15, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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