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Egg Marketers Need To Get The Health Message Across To American Consumers

April 27, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Sales of eggs in the year ended in February declined by 3.6 percent, the fourth year of declines in a row, according to Nielsen. This despite solid scientific evidence that eggs are an extremely healthful, and economical, addition to the diet. Nielsen suggests that to reduce sagging sales trends, egg farmers and retailers need to make obesity-conscious Americans aware of the benefits of eggs: high-quality proteins, vitamins, minerals, healthful fats and beneficial trace nutrients. If they can do that, “they may just see their sales spike in the future.”
"Cracked up – the latest on U.S. Egg sales", News release, Nielsen, April 27, 2016, © The Nielsen Company
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Black Flies Are Critical Component Of Company’s “Cradle To Cradle” Strategy

April 27, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A small Vancouver, Canada, company has formed an unlikely partnership in the cause of reduced food waste. Enterra feeds clouds of black flies tons of so-called pre-consumer food. The flies turn the waste dough, stale bread, unsightly or expired fruits and vegetables, etc., into protein and fat-rich larvae. This, in turn, becomes a basic component of the meal or fertilizer used by fish and livestock farms, as well as grain growers. It’s all part of a concept, or movement, known as “cradle to cradle," in which environmental  innovators figure out how to cycle waste materials ordinarily headed for the landfill back into manufacturing processes. In Enterra’s case, closing that loop involves insects: “mother nature's cleanup crew."
John Lorinc, "Circular economy on the rise, but Canada lags on repurposing waste", The Toronto Globe and Mail, April 27, 2016, © The Globe and Mail Inc.
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PepsiMoji Campaign Expands For The Summer

April 26, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
PepsiCo is expanding its PepsiMoji campaign for this summer to take advantage of the fact that emojis have become “a truly universal language” useful for keeping the brand active on smartphones. The campaign will comprise a hundred five-second TV ads, an interactive Times Square billboard, and a half billion PepsiMoji bottles of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Pepsi MAX. The company has created hundreds of proprietary emoji characters applying themes like food, sports, travel, and music. The idea is to spark surprising Pepsi-related conversations and “shareable moments,” the company said.
"Pepsi Unveils All New Emoji Collection So Fans Can #SayItWithPepsi", News release, PepsiCo, April 26, 2016, © PepsiCo
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Start-Ups Prosper In “Clean Label” America At The Expense Of Big Food

April 27, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A cluster of Chicago-area start-ups is profiting from health-conscious America’s growing demand for foods and drinks that are less processed, contain few ingredients, and fewer artificial ingredients and fillers. Gluten-free baking company Simple Mills is prospering following the “clean label” trend, with its products now in 3,000 stores in the U.S., making it the third largest American baker by revenue. RXBar, which makes, an all-natural protein bar, grew by 300 percent last year and expects similar growth in 2016. These companies are increasing market share as big food producers struggle to reformulate familiar product lines without hurting texture or flavor.
"Small Startups Profit from Clean Label Movement", Specialty Food, April 27, 2016, © Specialty Food Association, Inc.
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Rhode Island Bakery Succeeds With Only One Product: Portuguese Muffins

April 26, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Family-owned Central Bakery in Tiverton, R.I., has been producing a unique breakfast bread known as bolo levedo – and only bolo levedo – since 1967. An import from Portugal’s Azores Islands, bolo levedo resembles an English muffin, but lacks the nooks and crannies, and is spongier and sweeter. Thriving Central Bakery supplies the delicacy (known locally as the “3 Meal Muffin”) to area supermarkets and to notable chefs around the country who use the bread for burger and sandwich buns.
Ann Trieger Kurland , "From a family’s garage to the hands of celebrity chefs: a Portuguese muffin’s unlikely journey", Boston Globe, April 26, 2016, © Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC
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Gleaning Not Only Reduces Food Waste, It Broadly Benefits Communities

April 26, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Gleaning is a well-established agricultural practice that involves collecting and sharing excess farm produce that did not make it into the commercial food distribution pipeline. AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer Julie Schubert describes what she learned in her nine months of service in Vermont, participating in the gleaning process. The biggest takeaway is the realization that gleaning is all about the community relationships among farmers, volunteers, collection sites, and ultimately the people receiving healthful fruits and vegetables. In the Rutland community alone in 2015, the Farm and Food Link’s Glean Team gathered and distributed 36,500 pounds of produce – nearly $60,000 worth – from 29 local farms.
Julie Schubert, "Harvest Watch - Vista View: What It Means To Glean", Rutland Herald (Vermont), April 26, 2016, © Rutland Herald
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Louisiana “Deaux Boys” Are A Newly Invented Cousin Of Po’ Boy Sandwiches

April 26, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The Live Action Deli in Lafayette, La., has come up with a twist on the traditional po’ boy sandwich that replaces the French bread with an oversized glazed doughnut. Dubbed the “deaux boy,” the sandwiches can be filled with boudin (sausage made from pork liver and heart meat), bacon, fried chicken, cheese and even peanut butter and jelly. Where did the idea for deaux boys come from? The creators said, “We're basically just fat boys who love doughnuts and wanted to start a trend."
Megan Wyatt, "Only in Louisiana! The doughnut po' boy", wwltv.com, April 26, 2016, © WWL-TV
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Sustainability, Purity, Simplicity Are Dannon's New Watchwordsl

April 26, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Yogurt maker Dannon is requiring its milk suppliers to adhere to the company’s animal welfare standards and to improve and conserve soil. The new requirement is part of Dannon’s response to a growing consumer concern about the source and wholesomeness of food. Consumers increasingly seek fewer synthetic ingredients in their foods, want their food to be more pure, and want food animals treated humanely. A slew of new food companies represent fairly tough competition for Dannon – which sells a third of all yogurts in America – by touting the simplicity and purity of their products.
Stephanie Strom, "Yogurt Buyers Send Dannon Back to the Farm", The New York Times, April 26, 2016, © The New York Times Company
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Juice Industry May Have A Profitable Way To Use Leftover Pulp

April 26, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Scientists and grad students at Washington State University have figured out a way to put carrot pulp to good use. The pulp, or “pomace,” that is left over after carrots (and other fruits and veggies) are juiced can be added to cornstarch and used to expand snack foods, making them “puffier.” The researchers found that a five percent concentration level worked best. Mixing in the pomace not only increases the volume, it adds fiber and beta-carotene without affecting the flavor. An added bonus? It creates a use for a processing byproduct at a time when juice production is on the rise.
Scott Weybright, "Reducing waste while improving snack nutrition", News release, Washington State University, April 26, 2016, © Washington State University
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Is It Ethical For Vegan Restaurateurs To Kill Cockroaches?

April 25, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Some vegan restaurant owners committed to humane animal treatment stretch their principles to include the obnoxious pests that plague their facilities. But it’s quite a dilemma. How, after all, do you keep your eatery compliant with public health rules without killing rats, cockroaches, and spiders? Die-hard animal rights restaurateurs can follow the guidance of PETA, which suggests using orange peels to ward off flies, bay leaves to discourage roaches, and peppermint oil-soaked rags to discourage rodents. Faced with the impracticality of those solutions, however, some end up compromising their principles – i.e., calling the exterminator – for the higher good: staying in business “as a way to put a dent in the dominance of the factory farm system.”
Kelli Kennedy, "Trapped! Vegan restaurants struggle with humane pest control", Associated Press, April 25, 2016, © Associated Press
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Canadians Are More Likely To Snack On Cheese Or Yogurt Than Milk

April 25, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Nielsen data show that Canadians are more likely to choose cheese or yogurt than milk as they shop for dairy products. Over the last 12 months, yogurt and cheese sales rose four percent. At the same time, milk sales declined by $25 million. The researcher said snacking trends are probably at the root of the shift. Canadians said cheese and yogurt were their favorite snacks in a recent survey. But milk remains the largest segment of the dairy market, and apparently container size matters. Sales of single-serve 250 ml milk containers grew 22 percent as sales of bottles of a liter or more declined.
"Milk Is Still The Big Cheese Of Canada's Dairy Aisle, But Perhaps Not For Long", News release, Nielsen, April 25, 2016, © The Nielsen Company
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Unilever Reaches 2 Million Followers On LinkedIn

April 25, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever said its corporate page on the professional social networking site LinkedIn has reached 2 million followers. According to the company, it is the first FMCG firm to achieve the milestone, which can help Unilever to recruit potential employees who share its sustainability goals. Unilever said more than 84,000 of its employees are active users of the professional social networking platform.
"Why our 2 million followers on LinkedIn are worth celebrating", Unilever, April 25, 2016, © Unilever
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Asia Is Serious About Handling Food Waste Efficiently

April 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
South Korea and other Asian countries are aggressively tackling their food waste problems. On the national level, South Korea’s food waste management system is part of a decades-old recycling effort created to ease pressure on landfills. Food waste is collected and recycled as animal feed or compost. Or people can buy a home food waste processor that turns table scraps into dried powder for fertilizer. Other countries serious about putting food waste to good use include: Japan (two million tons into animal feed, 0.6 million tons into animal feed, annually) and Taiwan (0.4 million tons a year into pig feed).
Chang May Choon, "South Korea cuts food waste with 'pay as you trash'", The Straits Times, April 24, 2016, © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd.
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Advocates Of A Streamlined Lifestyle Feel The Hate From Purists

April 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Bloggers who write about their daily efforts to reduce household waste to zero are not immune from criticism. Purists of every stripe lambaste Kathryn Kellogg and other millennial women for not following the right kind of sustainable lifestyle, whether it be veganism or anti-toilet paperism. But despite all the hate mail, Kellogg and other followers of zero-waste gurus like Bea Johnson, author of “Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Your Waste,” persevere in their quest. Kellogg’s trash for the past year – everything that was not recycled or composted – fits in an eight-ounce jar. That’s a far cry from the average three pounds of trash produced by every American every day.
Leilani Clark, "Zero-waste bloggers: the millennials who can fit a year's worth of trash in a jar", The Guardian, April 22, 2016, © Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies
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Unilever Uses IT To Perform Better In Everything It Does

April 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever has applied information technology in everything the company does, including how it interacts with consumers, conducts research and development, product development, and marketing, according to chief information officer Jane Moran. As a CIO, Moran has driven the company’s focus on efforts to create and enable a flexible workforce, as well as provide employees equipped with the latest tools to stay connected and capable of collaborating with colleagues across the globe. In 2015, Unilever’s IT department also focused on improving core business services, achieving 99.8 percent uptime on core IT environment. By improving efficiency, the company was able reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 190,000 tons and cut related costs by €180 million annually.
"CIO 100: Unilever - Jane Moran, CIO", CIO, April 22, 2016, © IDG
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Southern California Bakery Creates The Ultimate Milk And Cookies Treat

April 21, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Somehow it doesn’t seem like a concept that needs refinement: milk and cookies. But the Dirty Cookie bakery in Tustin (Orange County), Calif., created a variation that just might take off. It is the cookie shot, basically a dense cookie made with organic flour, coated by hand with premium Belgian Chocolate, then formed into a “shot glass” that is filled with flavored milk. The shot glass part comes in three flavors: chocolate chip, cookies and cream, and red velvet. But there are special flavors: pumpkin, s’mores, matcha, lavender-lemon, and caramel apple. The “milk” can be house-made Madagascar vanilla cream or chocolate cream, both made from either organic whole milk or almond milk.
Eloise Kirn, "A bakery in California came up with a creative way to serve milk and cookies", Business Insider, April 21, 2016, © Allure Media
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Unilever Announces Membership Changes To Its Board Of Directors

April 21, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever announced several changes to its board of directors at the company’s 2016 annual general meeting in London. John Rishton was named chairman of the board’s Audit Committee, with Nils Andersen, Judith Hartmann, and Mary Ma as committee members. Ann Fudge was elected chairman of the Compensation Committee, with Vittorio Colao, Marijn Dekkers, and Strive Masiyiwa as members. Also, Louise Fresco was named chairman of the Corporate Responsibility Committee, while Feike Sijbesma was elected chairman of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee.
"UNILEVER N.V. and UNILEVER PLC: Notification of changes to membership of Board Committees", Unilever, April 21, 2016, © Unilever
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Root-To-Stalk Cooking Helps Prevent Food Waste

April 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The realization that single-family households in Toronto, Canada, throw out about 275 kilograms of food scraps each year – 75 percent of which is composted by the city – led one cooking teacher and caterer to find a way to reduce food waste. One solution comes in the form of good old-fashioned root-to-stalk cooking of seasonal produce. For hygienic reasons, she discards only the much-handled outermost leaves of a cabbage. Everything else – except the pulpy core – is cooked. Chopped broccoli stalks are pureed for hummus, soups or stir-fries. Potato peels are roasted with olive oil and salt until they are as crunchy snack as potato chips. Other oft-discarded vegetable parts that can be put to good use include woody asparagus ends, dark green sections of leeks, and the stem ends of dill, parsley and cilantro.
Lois Abraham, "Vegetable scraps go upscale: Root-to-stalk chefs cook with kale ribs, potato peels", National Post, April 20, 2016, © National Post, a division of Postmedia Network Inc.
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New Formats, Lifestyle Choices Transform German Coffee Drinking Habits

April 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Market researcher Mintel finds that nearly half of German consumers want a coffee shop experience, but without the expense. To achieve that they are drinking more coffee at home, often choosing easy, convenient specialty coffee capsules or pods offering a diverse array of flavors. Half of German consumers feel the coffee brewed from the capsules is as good as that bought in a coffee shop. Younger “on-the-go” Germans are turning to ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee shops to get their morning caffeine jolt: two in five Germans aged 25 to 34 say they are interested in these offerings. But the desire for the real coffee shop experience is still strong enough in Germany for Starbuck’s to open several cafés within Rewe super- and hypermarkets this year.
Julia Buech, "Hot Demand For “Coffee Shop Experience” At Home In Germany", Blog, Mintel, April 20, 2016, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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Fruit Wash Extends Shelf Life Of Bananas, But Has A Major Drawback

April 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Ohio-based Biowish Technologies has developed a wash for fruits and vegetables that not only preserves products longer, it is biodegradable and certified organic (at least in the State of Washington). Tests conducted on bananas in India showed that the wash keeps them green nine days longer than conventional wash. That’s quite an advancement for retail grocers, but perhaps not so much for banana farmers. To remain competitive, they have to commit to buying and using the product. Though it boosts a farmer’s yield and reduces waste, “it also puts you in bed with a single vendor.”
Charlie Sorrel, "This Organic Fruit Wash Keeps Bananas Green For Weeks", Fast Company, April 20, 2016, © Mansueto Ventures, LLC
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Several Trends Driving Growth In MENA Region's Beauty And Personal Care Market, Study Reveals

April 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In the Middle East and North Africa region, 46 percent of Arabs believe that chemicals in cosmetics are toxic, according to “The Future 100: MENA Trends and Change to Watch in 2016” report by Innovation MENA Group. This belief is driving the trend among consumers to adopt natural beauty products, including those sold by global brands Naturisimo and Lush. Data from the study, which also highlighted trends in other market segments, such as technology, travel and hospitality, and retail, also revealed a growing trend among beauty brands involving the use of superfood ingredients to create products and recipes. Another trend in the beauty and personal care segment identified by the study involves the expansion of standard beauty treatments to include the use of biological elements, biological body fluids, and biological waste.
Mennah Ibrahim , "Future 100: MENA Trends and Change to Watch in 2016", JWT The Innovation Group, April 20, 2016, © The J. Walter Thompson Group
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Nestle Steps Up Efforts To Simplify Food Product Ingredients

April 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Accelerating its program to remove unpopular additives from its foods, Nestlé announced it will remove artificial flavors and colors from ice cream products sold in the U.S., including Dreyer's, Haagen-Dazs, and Skinny Cow. In addition, the company said it will modify remove high fructose corn syrup and genetically-modified ingredients from some of ice cream products. Nestlé last year removed artificial flavors and colors in ten chocolate candy brands in the U.S., as well as from DiGiorno pizza, while also reducing salt.
Corinne Gretler, "Nestle Axes GMO Ingredients and Additives in Some U.S. Ice Cream", Bloomberg, April 20, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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PepsiCo’s Quaker Brand Debuts “Supergrain” Cereals, Granola

April 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
PepsiCo’s Quaker brand is unveiling two “supergrain” hot breakfast cereal and granola products. In the cereals line, Honey Almond and Apples & Cinnamon contain oats, barley, rye, flax and quinoa in a pouch. Each serving contains 7 grams of protein from grains, whey and seeds, five grams of fiber and 3 - 4.5 grams of total fat per serving. The granola products (Cinnamon Apple Walnut and Blueberry Pecan) contain fruit pieces and nuts, oats, wheat, flaxseed, quinoa, sunflower seeds, amaranth and barley. Supergrains Instant Hot Cereal and Real Medleys Supergrains Granola are available at grocery stores throughout the U.S. now.
"Oat Expert Quaker Brings New And Delicious SuperGrain Varieties To The Breakfast Table And Beyond", News release, PepsiCo, April 20, 2016, © PepsiCo, Inc.
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Unilever Nigeria Posts Strong Revenue Growth In 1Q 2016

April 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever Nigeria reported revenue grew 12 percent to N16.78 billion in the first quarter of 2016, compared with N14.9 billion in the same quarter of 2015. Profit after tax jumped 76 percent to N1.05 billion from N590 million, while profit before tax rose 64 percent to N1.42 billion from N860 million. Gross profit grew to N6.03 billion from N5.06 billion in 2015, the company said. Gross margin improved by 33.95 percent in 2015 to 33.95 percent in 2016, while EBIT margin rose from 10.88 percent in 2015 to 11.37 percent.
Goddy Egene, "Nigeria: Unilever Finally Turns the Corner", AllAfrica, April 20, 2016, © AllAfrica
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Unilever Spends 24 Percent Of Ad Budget On Digital Media

April 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever spent 24 percent of its total advertising budget on digital media in the first quarter of 2016, compared with 20 percent in the same quarter in 2015. In digitally advanced markets, such as the United States and China, that number goes up to almost 50 percent. Unilever, the second-biggest spender on advertising in the world, after rival Procter & Gamble, spent $8.3 billion on advertising in 2014, according to AdAge.
"Unilever now spends quarter of ad budget on digital", Net Imperative, April 20, 2016, © Digital Strategy Consulting Ltd.
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One Cereal Brand Gives General Mills Food Scientists A Bowlful Of Problems

April 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Food scientists at General Mills – which has promised to rid its cereal line of artificial flavors and colors – have succeeded with all but one brand. Turns out the marshmallows in Lucky Charms – blue moons, rainbows, pink hearts, yellow hourglasses and neon leprechaun hats – present a sticky problem. Each color change modifies the total flavor experience of a bowl of the cereal. The scientists have tested dozens and dozens of flavor and color combinations, so far with no luck. As food writer Chase Purdy notes, “The subtlety of Lucky Charms makes the task of achieving vibrant colors with muted flavor all the more challenging.”
Chase Purdy, "The scientists trying to rid Lucky Charms of artificial colors are baffled by the marshmallows", Quartz, April 19, 2016, © Quartz
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USDA Scientists Develop Wheat Variety Without Discoloration Enzyme

April 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A USDA scientist and his colleagues have developed a variety of wheat without an enzyme that causes browning in apples, black spots in avocados and the undesirable gray discoloration that occurs in hard white wheat products like fresh noodles, fresh and frozen breads, and refrigerated biscuits. High levels of polyphenol oxidase put U.S. hard white wheats at a competitive disadvantage with wheats from Australia in the Asian markets. The scientists screened 3,000 wheats for polyphenol oxidase, mated those with low levels of the enzyme, and came up with breeding lines with near-zero levels of polyphenol oxidase. They developed a wheat with no polyphenol oxidase: good news for the milling industry and exporters of wheat products.
Sandra Avant, "New wheat line eliminates discoloring in foods", Phys.org, April 19, 2016, © Phys.org
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McCormick Acquires Australian Chilled Herb Maker

April 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Spices and seasonings maker McCormick has purchased all of the shares of Australia’s Botanical Food Company, a manufacturer of packaged fresh herbs. Annual sales of the Gourmet Garden brand are about $53 million and growing at a double-digit rate. McCormick plans to drive sales of the  brand by expanding global distribution and marketing. The company paid $114 million in cash for Botanical Food, which was founded in 1999 in Queensland.
"McCormick & Company Acquires Botanical Food Company, a Global Leader in Chilled Convenient Herbs", News release, McCormick & Co., April 19, 2016, © McCormick & Co.
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Foodservice Management Firm Collaborates To Cut Food Waste

April 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A multinational facilities and foodservice management company said it is collaborating with businesses, government agencies and nonprofits to achieve the Obama administration’s goal of reducing food waste in the U.S. by 50 percent within 14 years. Sodexo has developed a model that the foodservice industry can follow to cut food waste, free up landfill space and reduce methane gas emissions. The Zero Food Waste to Landfills scheme follows the guidance offered by the recent ReFED report, which outlines 27 strategies to halve food waste by 2030. Though one in five U.S. children are in danger of hunger, America spends $218 billion growing, processing, transporting and discarding food that is never eaten, the company said.
"Sodexo Commits to Zero Food Waste to Landfills", News release, Sodexo, April 18, 2016, © Sodexo
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Stonewall Kitchen Joins The GMO Label Movement

April 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Maine-based specialty food producer Stonewall Kitchen says it will be rolling out label changes for the products it makes that contain GMO ingredients in time for the July 1 implementation of Vermont’s strict GMO label law. The company says most (90 percent) of its product line is already non-GMO, but some products contain GMO corn or soy. These will get the new labels. The company said new products will be in compliance by June, and existing products will reach store shelves “on a rolling basis” as soon as possible after that. GMO-containing ingredients in Stonewall Kitchen’s products include corn meal, soya oil, corn starch and beet sugar.
"Stonewall Kitchen to Label Products With Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)", News release, Stonewall Kitchen, April 18, 2016, © Stonewall Kitchen
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USDA App Helps Consumers Reduce Food Waste At Home

April 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) estimates that 133 billion pounds of food in the available food supply – $161 billion worth – go uneaten each year. To help combat the enormous waste problem, the agency offers a free downloadable app called FoodKeeper for Apple and Android devices that helps consumers remember when food stored in the refrigerator, freezer, or pantry was purchased. It allows users to set up automatic notifications when products are nearing the end of their recommended storage date. The app also:  advises on storage methods that extend shelf life; discusses more than 400 food and beverage items; and offers cooking advice to eliminate foodborne bacteria.
Kristina Beaugh, "USDA Tips for Reducing Food Waste and Preventing Illness", News release, U.S.Department of Agriculture, April 18, 2016, © USDA
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Snack Products Make Good Use Of Edible Fruits Destined For Landfills

April 17, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Two British entrepreneurs have developed a way to take excess, but still fresh, fruit or fruit that is judged unsuitable for selling, and turn it into a healthy “fruit leather” snack. "Snact" comprises apples, bananas, mangoes, and other fruits that are blended, spread out and dried in a dehydrator for eight hours before being cut into small pieces. The bendable and chewy fruit snack is sold in 20-gram bags. Available flavors include apple and raspberry; apple and mango; and apple, blueberry and banana. According to the U.N., 45 percent of all fruit and vegetables produced globally ends up in landfills.
Shane Hickey, "The innovators: fruitful idea turns waste food into a tasty snack", The Guardian, April 17, 2016, © Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies
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Amazon Finds It Hard To Beat Up Rivals In Grocery Industry

April 17, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon’s grocery delivery service, AmazonFresh, has failed to grow as fast as the company hoped and market analysts expected. In contrast, the company’s Amazon Prime loyalty program and Amazon Web Services online storage service have become multi-billion-dollar brands and boosted market value to almost $300 billion. Its inability to offer delivery prices lower than those offered by rivals and geography prevent Walmart from expanding its grocery delivery business beyond the largest urban centers. Wal-Mart Stores, which claims to have a store within a 5-mile radius of 70 percent of Americans, is expected to maintain its hold on the number 1 position in the grocery trade, the only market segment it outperforms Amazon.
Jeremy Bowman, "Amazon still can't crack the grocery industry", Business Insider, April 17, 2016, © Business Insider Inc.
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Chefs Take Fried Bread To New Heights

April 17, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Fried bread in various forms is available all over the globe, but a Hungarian street snack known as lángos has foodie hearts here in the U.S. all aflutter. Lángos starts as a ball of dough infused with potato that is flattened and fried till crispy, then topped like a pizza. But the variations are probably endless. The chef at a San Francisco restaurant enhances his version with smoked salmon, "ranch" kefir, and fennel fronds.  A New York City chef uses Yukon gold potatoes, then decorates with Cabot cheddar cheese, grated broccoli, scallion, sour cream, and radish.
Robin Raisfeld et al., "Even Splashy New York Restaurants Can’t Resist the Appeal of Fried Dough", Grub Street, April 17, 2016, © New York Media LLC
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Mars Follows Example Of Food Companies That Promise More Healthful Products

April 15, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Mars Food says it will reformulate some of its food products to make them more healthful, and will begin labeling some with guidance as to whether they should be eaten occasionally or can be eaten every day. The company acknowledged that some of its food products have more salt, added sugar or fat, and therefore should not be eaten daily. The company also plans to cut the amount of salt in its food 20 percent within five years, and reduce sugar in some sauces and light meals by 2018. Brussels-based Mars owns brands like M&Ms, Snickers, Wrigley’s, Dolmio, Miracoli, and Uncle Ben’s.
Henriette Jacobsen, "Mars Food tells consumers not to eat their products on a daily basis", EurActiv.com, April 15, 2016, © EurActiv.com plc
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Unilever Says 1Q 2016 Revenue Performance Hurt By Currency Fluctuations, Deflation

April 14, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever reported underlying sales grew 4.7 percent in the first quarter of 2016, compared with the same quarter in the previous year. Sales growth slowed from 4.9 percent recorded in the fourth quarter of 2015, with the company blaming weaker volumes and deflation for the decline. According to the company, currency fluctuations reduced quarterly revenue by 7 percent.
Thomas Buckley, "Unilever Finds Growth More Elusive as Sales Meet Estimates", Bloomberg, April 14, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Unilever Posts Strong Sales Growth For 1Q 2016

April 14, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever reported sales grew 4.7 percent in the first quarter of 2016, with emerging markets sales expanding 8.3 percent, compared with the same quarter in the previous year. Sales in terms of volume rose 2.6 percent, and in terms of pricing, 2.0 percent. According to the company, turnover dropped 2.0 percent to €12.5 billion during the quarter, with a negative currency impact of 7.1 percent. Also, the company announced its quarterly dividend was raised 6 percent to €0.3201 per share.
"UNILEVER TRADING STATEMENT FIRST QUARTER 2016", Unilever, April 14, 2016, © Unilever
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Cage-Free Eggs: Growing Popularity, Huge Profit

April 14, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Researcher Mintel – noting the “fever pitch” of the movement among food producers, restaurants, and retailers toward cage-free eggs – reports that half of Millennials put the cage-free/free-range claim among their top five concerns. The claim is less important to Baby Boomers, only 40 percent of whom put it among their top five. Mintel notes that the companies on the cage-free bandwagon may be reacting to consumer demand, or to a genuine concern for animal welfare. But another possibility has more to do with dollars and cents. Though cage-free eggs only cost 15 cents more a dozen to produce, they sell at twice the price of conventional large eggs: an average of $2.99 a dozen, compared to $1.29.
Billy Roberts, "Cage-Free-For-All?", Blog, Mintel, April 14, 2016, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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Unilever Says 1Q 2016 Report Reflects Volatile Market

April 14, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever said sales in Europe declined 0.6 percent in the first quarter of 2016, compared with the same quarter of the previous year. According to the company, the slower growth was due to the impact of Eurozone deflation and aggressive price discounting. Underlying sales increased 4.7 percent during the quarter, boosted by the 8.3 percent increase in sales in emerging markets. Unilever CEO Paul Polman said the market remained volatile, with sales growth “weakening across emerging markets and negative in Europe.”
Angela Monaghan, "Unilever warns of fragile consumer market", The Guardian, April 14, 2016, © Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies
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Food Sniffing Tool Could Help Reduce Food Waste

April 14, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A new gadget linked to a smartphone app may help significantly reduce the £700 ($1,022) worth of food British households waste annually. The Foodsniffer ignores the use-by date and gets right to the “nose” of the matter, analyzing the gases emitted by foods and transmitting findings to the app. The gadget purportedly can let you know if food is fresh, needs thorough cooking, or is downright hazardous to your health. The $129 Foodsniffer was created by a Lithuanian inventor – a company slogan is “You can’t trust your nose! – who claims the device is 85 - 90 percent accurate.
Lauren O'Callaghan, "The END of wasted food? New gadget claims it can tell if your food needs binning", Daily Express, April 14, 2016, © Northern and Shell Media Publications
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Unilever CEO Paul Polman Calls On Business To Be More Proactive In Protecting Environment

April 14, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever CEO Paul Polman is calling on business to put more importance on long-term sustainability goals than profits. Polman said the cost of doing nothing about to protect the environment is becoming more expensive than action. With governments still hampered by debt following the global financial crisis of a decade ago, business must be willing to pay for developments promoting sustainability, the executive said. After his appointment as Unilever CEO in 2009, Polman proposed the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, which seeks to double the company’s revenue while reducing its environmental impact by half and sourcing 100 percent of raw materials from sustainable suppliers.
Damon Kitney, "Unilever chief Paul Polman urges the long view for business", The Australian, April 14, 2016, © News Limited
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General Mills Touts Progress In Sustainability, Healthful Foods

April 13, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In a corporate progress report, General Mills says it has made significant headway in its plan to sustainably source all of its 10 “priority ingredients” – about half of its yearly raw material purchases – by 2020. The company also noted progress in delivering more healthful foods. It has lowered sodium and sugar content (in cereals and yogurts) and reformulated some products in response to consumer preferences. It eliminated artificial colors and flavors in its cereals and added gluten-free products. It also said it is now “the third-largest U.S. natural and organic food producer.”
Eric Schroeder, "General Mills encouraged by progress on health and wellness goals", Food Business News, April 13, 2016, © SOSLAND PUBLISHING CO
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Canary Seed Approved By Canada, U.S., For Human Consumption

April 13, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Saskatchewan farmers rejoice! The USDA and Health Canada have decided that high-protein, gluten-free canary seed is fit for human consumption. The upshot is that the seed, which is about the size of flax and sesame, can be used in energy and snack bars, cookies, muffins, crackers, breads, tortillas, and pastas. And sprinkled on hamburger buns and bagels. Besides protein, canary seed is rich in fatty acids and fiber. And it might make a good substitute for sesame seed, which is on the top ten list of allergenic seeds. Saskatchewan, by the way, is the top producer and exporter of canary seed.
Lois Abraham, "Health Canada approves canary seed for human consumption", The (Toronto) Globe and Mail, April 13, 2016, © The Globe and Mail Inc.
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Hotel Chain To Plant Vegetable Gardens At A Quarter Of Its Facilities

April 13, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
France’s AccorHotels announced it will try to reduce food waste in its 3,900 hotels by 30 percent by planting vegetable gardens at many of its facilities. The group said it generates 25-30 percent of its revenue by serving 150 million meals a year. It implement its plan by first determining how much food it is wasting. Restaurants will be required to weigh and record food that is discarded to best determine how to cut waste. The company said it is supporting “urban agriculture” by planting 1,000 vegetable gardens at its hotels over the next four years. The global chain includes the Pullman, Sofitel, Novotel, Mercure and Ibis hotel chains.
"Major hotel chain to grow vegetables at 1000 properties to cut food waste", The Guardian, April 13, 2016, via Agence France-Presse, © Agence France-Presse
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Start-Up Gets Venture Cash It Needs To Market Its Food Waste Solution

April 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A Redmond, Wash.-based start-up has raised more cash in a third financing round, bringing the total to $30 million, to support further development and marketing of a machine that reduces food waste by turning unsold and scrap food into a useful product. WISErg's machine, called the Harvester, is used by food stores to dispose of food waste. Customers include Whole Foods Market, Costco and PCC Natural Markets. The Harvester grinds food waste into a slurry that the company takes and processes into a fertilizer that can be used on organically grown crops. There are Harvesters in more than 20 locations in Seattle alone.
Rachel Nielsen, "From food waste to fertilizer: Redmond startup attracts $12.3M", Business Journals, April 11, 2016, © American City Business Journals
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Turning Used Coffee Grounds Into Gold

April 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A former British architecture student has found a way to turn used coffee grounds into flammable bricks that can be used as fuel for wood-burning stoves, at the same time reducing food waste. The technology involves removing the oil from the grounds – collected from coffee shops, retailers, airports and coffee factories – then compacting them. The coffee bricks then burn without any coffee aroma. So far, Bio-bean has dealt with companies that spend a lot of money to transport and then dump the used grounds in landfills. The company picks up the waste grounds, processes them, and sells them back to their clients as cheap fuel. Bio-bean feels consumers will also save a lot of money burning coffee ground briquettes rather than conventional charcoal, wood, or coal.
Rebecca Burn, "This fuel made from old coffee will launch in the summer, at half the price of wood", The Telegraph, April 11, 2016, © Telegraph Media Group Limited
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Western Companies Need To Really Understand Chinese Consumers Before Expanding Into China

April 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Western companies planning to expand into China should strive to understand Chinese consumers, including cultural differences and attitudes that influence their buying decisions, in order to improve their chances for success. Results of a survey of more than 4,000 Chinese consumers revealed a growing sense of patriotism among millennials; Chinese millennials define superbrands as those brands that are “relevant across many aspects of consumers’ lives;” and Western brands should also focus on the country’s rural regions as potential markets. Also, Chinese women tend to be nationalists and put significant emphasis on relationships with other women; and there is a growing trend among millennials focusing on desire for self-expression.
"Why Western businesses need a profound rethink on China", Landor, April 11, 2016, © Landor Associates
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Americans Ask Restaurants: Where’s The Healthful Food?

April 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A Mintel poll of American consumers found nearly half complaining that it is too tough to find healthful food at restaurants. And when they do find it, it tends to be too expensive (64 percent). Sixty-eight percent said restaurants should make it easier by indicating on menus which foods are more healthful. The problem is significant enough for 36 percent of those polled that they’d rather prepare healthful foods at home than try to find them at restaurants.
"Half Of Americans Agree That Finding Healthy Items At Restaurants Is Challenging", News release, Mintel, April 11, 2016, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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New Butterball Ground Turkey Brand Made From Antibiotics-Free Birds

April 9, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Turkey processor Butterball LLC announced a new line of ground meat made from birds never treated with antibiotics. The move puts Butterball in the rapidly expanding group of meat and poultry processors that are eradicating antibiotics from their animal husbandry schemes. Perdue Farms Inc. in February said it is transitioning to chicken and turkey products that use “no antibiotics ever.” Tyson Foods Inc., said it will eliminate antibiotics by September 2017. Butterball says its “Farm to Family” brand of antibiotics-free ground turkey is already appearing in grocery stores. It expects to generate $100 million in retail sales over the next three to four years from the product.
Megan Durisin et al., "Turkey Burgers Go Antibiotic-Free as Butterball Jumps on Trend", Bloomberg, April 09, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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High-Protein Mac & Cheese Product Debuts

April 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A Charleroi, Pa., pasta maker has launched a line of high-protein macaroni and cheese products made with semolina wheat, vegetable proteins and “real cheese.” The Quality Pasta Company line includes macaroni and cheese, deluxe shells and cheese and individual macaroni and cheese microwaveable cups. Each contains 20 grams of protein per serving, about twice the protein in national brands. The Muscle Mac product comprises all-natural, GMO-free semolina wheat pasta enriched with vegetable protein and cheese with no synthetic dyes, colors, flavors, partially hydrogenated oils or trans-fats.   
Debbie Szwast, "Quality Pasta Company Launches Muscle Mac™ Macaroni & Cheese", News release, Quality Pasta Company, April 08, 2016, © Quality Pasta Company
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