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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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Australian-Style Bakery Opens In Arizona

April 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A native Australian is accomplishing a lifelong dream by opening a bakery in Scottsdale, Ariz., that features traditional “Aussie” baked goods. Prepared daily and presented in hot and cold display cases, the Great Australian Bakery sells meat pies, pasties (various ingredients encased in a puff pastry), sausage rolls and pastries. The bakery celebrated its grand opening with a 50-percent-off sale on all of its entrees, which together offer a “true taste from the land down under.”
"The Great Australian Bakery is Celebrating Their Opening with Half-Off Pies, Pasties and Sausage Rolls", News release, Great Australian Bakery, April 07, 2016, © Great Australian Bakery
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Hindustan Unilever Faces Rising Competition From Local Rivals; Likely To See Revenue Take A Hit

April 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Hindustan Unilever Ltd.’s margins could be hurt by growing competition from local companies, such as Patanjali Ayurved Ltd., as well as by rising prices of raw materials, according to market analysts. Almost 45 percent of HUL’s brand portfolio is being threatened by rival products from Patanjali, according to analysts from ICICI Securities Ltd. This prompted the brokerage firm to lower its earnings forecast for HUL by 3 percent for financial year 2016–2017 and by 7 percent for 2017–20018. In 2014–2015, HUL reported a net profit of Rs. 4,315 crore, with total revenue of Rs. 30,170 crore.
Sapna Agarwal, "HUL’s margins seen coming under pressure", Livemint, April 07, 2016, © HT Media Ltd
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Sainsbury’s Ends Price-Matching Coupon Scheme In Favor Of Lower Prices

April 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
British retail grocery chain Sainsbury's is no longer giving shoppers a refund coupon when its products are more expensive than of a competitor's. The company said the money saved by ending the “Brand Match” program will be used to reinvest in key everyday products “that matter most” to customers, including chicken, bread, cheese, fresh produce and household cleaning items. The idea behind Brand Match, launched five years ago, was to mitigate the consumer perception that Sainsbury’s was too expensive. The move to drop the program follows adjustments to similar price guarantee schemes by competitors Tesco, Morrisons and Asda.
"Sainsbury's Ends Brand Match In Favor Of Lower Regular Prices", Retail Analysis, April 07, 2016, © The Institute of Grocery Distribution and IGD Services Limited
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Whole Foods Market Seeks To Widen Target Market With 365 Store Concept

April 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market’s plan to launch its 365 by Whole Foods Market store concept is part of the retailer’s efforts to expand its customer base. With the first store scheduled to open on May 25, 2016, in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, the stores will feature a product assortment the company said is developed toward “greater efficiency.” Compared with a regular Whole Foods store, the 365 stores will have a smaller floor space of about 30,000 square feet. Although 365 stores will offer more affordable prices, Whole Foods aims to have the smaller stores have much in common with the regular stores, such as high-quality meat and seafood and an emphasis on offering a wide collection of produce.
Sarah Halzack , "What to expect from Whole Foods' new, low-price grocery chain", The Washington Post, April 07, 2016, © The Washington Post
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Super-Modern Cupcake Bakery Offers Highly Customizable Products

April 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Though the retail cupcake space is crowded, and there’s been some falloff in consumer demand recently, some entrepreneurs in Atlanta feel they have the key to cupcake success. Using innovative, patent-pending baking technology, and high-quality ingredients, Create Your Own Cupcake is able to offer more than a thousand flavor combinations customizable on the spot or online for home delivery. The high-tech bakery looks like a creative studio, and includes separate gluten and gluten-free facilities. Premium packaging and advanced technology guarantee fast turnaround.
"Create Your Cupcake Launches in Atlanta With Craveable Sweets On-Demand", News release, Create Your Own Cupcake, April 06, 2016, © Create Your Own Cupcake
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Carb-Packed Foods Are Still America’s Favorites

April 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Though low-carb diets remain popular in the nutrition and fitness communities, they are not particularly favored among American consumers, who love their carbs. That does not bode well for anti-obesity initiatives. Using data collected from the 2014 American Community Survey and Dun and Bradstreet, the FindTheHome search engine found the most popular foods in every U.S. state. The search engine assumes that the restaurant types with the highest density per 100,000 people are the most popular. Pizza is the fan-favorite in most states, followed by baked goods and Mexican food. A typical example is Pennsylvania, population 12.8 million. Its most popular restaurant styles are pizza, bakeries, sandwich shops, and Chinese food, in that order.
"The Most Popular Food in Every State", The Berkshire Eagle (Pittsfield, Mass.), April 06, 2016, © Digital First Media
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Hindustan Unilever Is Business-School Students' Favorite Workplace, Nielsen Study Reveals

April 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Hindustan Unilever Limited was recognized as the number 1 Employer of Choice, according to the most recent Campus Track Business School Survey by Nielsen. Results of the survey of 2016 graduating batch of business school students in the country revealed HUL has retained the “Dream Employer” status for the seventh year in a row. Other recognition received by HUL include number 1 ranking for marketing and number 1 FMCG in finance. Factors that helped HUL become the respondents’ favorite workplace include the company’s positioning as a “school for CEOs,” which highlights the company’s approach to developing talent and leaders in-house.
"HUL is the 'No.1 Employer of Choice' in India for fifth successive year", Hindustan Unilever, April 05, 2016, © Hindustan Unilever Limited
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Organic Beef, Milk Shown To Be More Nutritious Than Conventional

April 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
British researchers and colleagues from around the world reviewed scientific studies on milk and meat, finding that organically grown products contained more beneficial nutrients, especially omega-3 fatty acids. The data showed that organic milk and meat have more desirable fat profiles, and could raise omega-3 fat intake by 50 percent without increasing calories and undesirable saturated fat. They also showed lower levels of myristic and palmitic acid in organic meat and a lower omega-3/omega-6 ratio in organic milk. There were also higher levels of fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin E and carotenoids, and 40 percent more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in organic milk. Organic cattle raising involves more outdoor grazing and low concentrate feeding than conventional raising.
Carlo Leifert et al. , "Higher PUFA and omega-3 PUFA, CLA, a-tocopherol and iron, but lower iodine and selenium concentrations in organic bovine milk: A systematic literature review and meta- and redundancy analysis. ", British Journal of Nutrition, April 05, 2016, © Cambridge University Press
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Walmart, Sam’s Club Pledge 100% Cage-Free Eggs Within Ten Years

April 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart and Sam’s Club announced a commitment to sourcing only cage-free eggs by 2025, though they hedged a little, saying the accomplishment of the goal depended on “available supply, affordability and customer demand by 2025.” In a statement the companies said the cage-free pledge supports their “aspiration” of achieving the “five freedoms” of animal welfare for farm animals in its supply chain,” announced a year ago. Besides freedom to express normal animal behavior, the others are freedom from hunger and thirst; discomfort; pain, injury or disease; and fear and distress. The company is requiring all of its egg suppliers to be certified and fully compliant with United Egg Producers (UEP) Animal Husbandry Guidelines.
"Walmart U.S. Announces Transition to Cage-Free Egg Supply Chain by 2025", News release, Walmart, April 05, 2016, © Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
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Colorado Project Generates Methane Gas, Then Electricity, From Food Waste

April 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Landfills are piled high with rotting food that emits methane gas. But a Colorado project is turning the methane gas produced by cattle dung and discarded food into electricity. The Heartland Biogas Project uses six holding tanks to store 1.7 million gallons of either food waste or manure slurry. “Digesters” turn the mess into a water-based sludge, some of which becomes compost. But the more interesting byproduct is methane gas, produced by anaerobic digestion of spoiled milk, old pet food and vats of grease mixed with beneficial bacteria. The gas is transported to an interstate pipeline and used to make electricity. Several problems are tackled in the process: putting a greenhouse gas to work generating renewable energy; diverting food waste from landfills, reducing harmful emissions; and creating jobs.
Luke Runyon, "How Colorado Is Turning Food Waste Into Electricity", National Public Radio, April 05, 2016, © NPR
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USDA Data On Organic Sector Show Healthy Growth

April 4, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Thanks to a newly launched organic database system that tracks and reports on certified organic operations, the USDA announced continuing double-digit growth in U.S. organic farming, ranching, handling and processing. The data collected from the constantly-updated Organic Integrity Database confirm that there are now 21,781 certified organic operations in the U.S. -- up 12 percent since 2014 -- and 31,160 around the globe. The total retail market for organic foods and other products is now valued at more than $39 billion here and more than $75 billion worldwide. The agency has invested a billion dollars in more than 40,000 local and regional food businesses and infrastructure projects since between 2009.
"USDA Reports Record Growth In U.S. Organic Producers", News release, U.S. Department of Agriculture, April 04, 2016, © USDA
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Canadians Say Rising Food Prices Are Making It Harder To Put Food On The Table

April 4, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A majority of working poor, middle-class and even higher-income Canadian consumers – nearly three out of five – say the rising cost of food is making it tougher to feed their families, an Angus Reid Institute poll finds. To deal with the problem, consumers are cutting back on meat purchases, buying cheaper brands, and choosing what they believe are less healthy but cheaper foods. Sixty-three percent of Canadians say the government has not paid enough attention to rising food prices, and 53 percent say the issue is “one of the most important” facing the country today.
"Rising food prices: Canadians – regardless of income level – say it’s getting harder to feed their families", Angus Reid Institute, April 04, 2016, © The Angus Reid Institute
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FDA Will Release Voluntary Salt-Content Goals This Summer

April 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Politico reports that voluntary goals for sodium levels in processed foods will be released this summer by the FDA, thanks to a lawsuit by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Having to reduce salt content makes some food companies nervous, because the ingredient gives breads, crackers and sauces “their trademark taste.” It’s likely, however, that the reductions would be phased in over ten years. The CSPI lawsuit should push the FDA to release the salt targets completed two years ago but kept under wraps. Excessive salt content in processed foods has been a bête noire of the Obama administration for years.
Helena Bottemiller Evich, "Obama's latest food crackdown: Salt", Politico, April 03, 2016, © Politico LLC
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“Free From” Is Good, But It’s No Substitute For Unprocessed

April 2, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Food writer Marion Nestle writes that it’s all well and good that the food industry is getting rid of bisphenol-A (BPA) from its packaging, and removing unnatural additives, artificial colors or flavors, high fructose corn syrup, trans fat, gluten and GMOs – or at least including GMOs on their labels. Products sell better, and companies make more money, when the labels proclaim “free from.” And consumers benefit “to an extent,” she says. But highly processed foods still contain a lot calories, and often excessive salt and sugar. People need to eat vegetables and other unprocessed foods. “No amount of subtraction from highly processed foods is going to change that,” she concludes.
Marion Nestle, "No amount of 'free from' labelling will make processed food good for you", The Guardian, April 02, 2016, © Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies
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FDA Takes Steps To Reduce Infant Exposure To Arsenic In Baby Food

April 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The FDA has issued a “draft guidance“ to the baby food industry proposing a limit of 100 parts per billion for inorganic arsenic in rice cereal, the main source of arsenic exposure in infants. Because of their small size, babies under the age of one consume about three times more rice – relative to their weight – than adults. FDA testing found that most infant rice cereal being sold today either meets or approaches the proposed limit. Manufacturers can produce infant rice cereal that meets or is below the proposed limit by sourcing rice with lower inorganic arsenic levels, the agency said.
"FDA proposes limit for inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereal", News release, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, April 01, 2016, © U.S. FDA
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Michigan Retail Chain To Transition To Cage-Free Eggs Over Coming Decade

April 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Midwestern retail chain Meijer announced a commitment to all cage-free eggs in its stores by 2025. The company's current volume sales of cage-free eggs are “relatively low,” but the trend is in that direction. Meijer sells cage-free, free-range and traditional eggs, most of them sourced from farms in Michigan that have been working with the Meijer family for more than 50 years. Meijer (Grand Rapids, Mich.) operates 223 supercenters and grocery stores in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin.
"Meijer Announces Goal to Source Only Cage-Free Eggs by 2025", News release, Meijer, April 01, 2016, © Meijer
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UCT Unilever Institute Of Strategic Marketing Collaborates With Ipsos To Study Middle Class In Sub-Saharan Africa

April 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
UCT Unilever Institute of Strategic Marketing partnered with market research firm Ipsos to conduct a multi-city study aimed at gathering information on the middle class in sub-Saharan Africa. Expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2016, the research project will include qualitative, quantitative, and ethnographic methodologies. Also, the study will use mobile qualitative solutions that would enable researchers to stay in touch with respondents as they go about their daily lives. Topics to be covered by the study include education, income, health, insurance, and entertainment.
"Ipsos and UCT Unilever Institute of Strategic Marketing partner to uncover the potential of the sub-Saharan Africa middle class", Bizcommunity.com, April 01, 2016, © Bizcommunity.com
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Kroger Signs Strategic Partnership Deal With Lucky's Market

April 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Kroger Co. said it has entered into a strategic partnership with specialty grocery store chain Lucky’s Market. As part of the deal, Kroger has made a significant investment in Lucky’s Market, which focuses on selling natural, organic, and locally grown products. Established in 2003, Lucky’s Market operates 17 stores in 13 states. Its store format, “Organic for the 99%,” highlights its selection of natural and organic food products.
"Kroger & Lucky's Market Announce Strategic Partnership", Kroger, April 01, 2016, © SNL Financial LC/The Kroger Company
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Unilever Reports Slower Profit And Sales Growth In Indonesia In 2015

March 31, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever Indonesia reported its net profit increased 2 percent to Rp 5.85 trillion, or $428.75 million, in 2015, a growth rate significantly lower than the 7.5 percent profit gain in 2014. Net sales grew 5.7 percent to Rp 36.5 trillion, compared with around 12 percent in the previous year. Export sales dropped 8.86 percent to Rp 1.86 trillion, while domestic sales grew 6.6 percent to Rp 34.6 trillion.
Farida Susanty, "Unilever sees slower growth in 2015 as economy ‘not conducive’", The Jakarta Post, March 31, 2016, © PT. Niskala Media Tenggara
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It Will Be A Slow Journey, But Antibiotics-Free Bandwagon Is Gaining Riders

March 31, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Chickens fed antibiotics can live in cramped, unsanitary conditions without getting sick. They also tend to gain more weight. However, a highly vocal movement against antibiotic use in meat and poultry in the United States is inducing more producers to end the use of antibiotics. The goal is to protect consumers from a growing threat of antibiotic resistance as well as early puberty in children. Restaurant chains like Subway and McDonalds are demanding antibiotics-free meats. And poultry producers, including Tyson, Pilgrim’s Pride, Perdue Farms, and Foster Farms have all promised to mostly stop using antibiotics over varying time frames. It’s an uphill climb, however: 92 to 95 percent of food produced in the U.S. contains antibiotics.
Emily Balsamo, "Movement Against Antibiotic-Treated Meat Gaining Momentum in the United States", Blog, Euromonitor International, March 31, 2016, © Euromonitor
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PepsiCo Pulls North America Businesses Under One Executive

March 31, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
PepsiCo has done some organizational reshuffling in the wake of Tom Greco’s departure as CEO of Frito-Lay North America (FLNA). The company said it has pulled together its three North America businesses – FLNA, North America Beverages (NAB) and Quaker Foods North America – under Albert Carey, who will be CEO of North America. Carey has been with the company for 35 years, serving in various senior roles across snacks, beverages and food service. Kirk Tanner will be the new president and COO of NAB, and Vivek Sankaran will be president and COO of FLNA.
Eric Schroeder, "PepsiCo reshuffles management team", Food Business News, March 31, 2016, © Sosland Publishing Co.
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Germany’s Agri-Minister Hopes To End Food Waste By 2030

March 30, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Germany’s food and agriculture minister wants to end food waste he believes is due largely to confusing expiration dates on packages, but his plans are more ambitious than that. According to one study, Germans discarded 82 kg of edible food in 2012, mostly fruits and vegetables, pasta and bread. Christian Schmidt’s plan to end food waste by 2030 includes eliminating the “best before date” established by food manufacturers. Not an expiry date, it merely suggests how long the food will retain its specific taste, smell, color, consistency and nutritional value. Schmidt has also called for installing electronic chips in food packaging, such as yogurt cups, that show a color-coded scale indicating product aging. Schmidt’s agency has spent €10 million researching the technology.
Nicole Sagener, "Germany plans ‘smart’ packaging to cut food waste", EurActiv.de, March 30, 2016, © EurActiv.com plc
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Del Monte Removes BPA Packaging, GMO Ingredients

March 29, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Del Monte Foods announced it is eliminating bisphenol-A (BPA) from its food cans and removing all GMO ingredients from its foods. The company, which produces fruit, vegetable, and tomato products, said the moves are a response to consumer preferences. All Del Monte cans will be converted to non-BPA linings beginning with fresh pack production in May and running through October. The company’s foods have always been non-GMO, but some added ingredients for sweeteners or flavorings have come from genetically modified crops like corn or soybeans. These GMO ingredients will be eliminated this year.
"Del Monte Foods Announces Conversion to Non-BPA Packaging and Increases Non-GMO Vegetable, Tomato and Fruit Cup® Product Offerings", News release, Del Monte, March 29, 2016, © Del Monte
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Walmart Launches Campaign Against Hunger

March 28, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart launched its “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” Omnichannel fundraising campaign to help finance the fight against hunger. Working with five suppliers representing some of the leading food companies in the United States, Walmart will offer three ways for shoppers to help fight hunger and support families in need of assistance. Running until April 25, 2016, the campaign will let shoppers help by purchasing, with suppliers donating $0.09 to Feeding America for every participating product purchased; online acts of support; and donating at the register.
Gina Acosta, "Walmart goes omnichannel against hunger", Chain Store Age, March 28, 2016, © Chain Store Age
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Private Labels Are Growing Part Of CPG Market, Study Reveals

March 28, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In the United States, 32.2 percent of shoppers said they are currently buying more private-label brands, with only 6.6 percent of them saying they plan to return to name brands, according to a 2016 edition of “The Checkout” study. Results of the survey revealed 11.9 percent of respondents said they are buying fewer store brands, while 17.4 percent are buying more private labels and will keep on buying them. Also, 8.2 percent of respondents said they are buying more store labels and plan to buy even more. Data also revealed a decline in consumer perception of name brands as offering more new products, varieties, and innovations, from 56 percent of respondents in 2010 to 45 percent in 2015. Among African-American consumers, more are likely to prefer name brands, with respondents saying they are more likely to perceive name brands as of higher quality than their private-label counterparts. Results of the study offers some insights for marketers and retailers, including the fact that private labels are here to stay, consumers see private labels as inexpensive options with good-enough or comparable quality, and that African-American shoppers offer a potential area for growth.
"New Checkout Study: Private Label", Shopper Culture, March 28, 2016, © The Integer Group®
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