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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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Unilever Nigeria Reports Strong Sales Growth in 2015

March 25, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever Nigeria Plc reported sales grew 6.2 percent to N59.2 billion for the year ending December 2015, compared with N55.7 billion from the previous year. Sales grew 36.3 percent to N16.52 billion in the fourth quarter of 2015, compared with the same quarter of 2014. Profit after tax for the full year, however, dropped 51 percent from N2.4 billion in 2014 to N1.19 billion in 2015. For the fourth quarter of 2015, profit after tax jumped 78.3 percent to N1.05 billion, compared with the same quarter of the previous year.
"Unilever PAT run rate improves significantly", The Nation, March 25, 2016, © Vintage Press Limited
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Starbucks FoodShare Program Will Donate All Unsold Food By 2021

March 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Starbucks has been donating unsold pastries to charities since 2010 with the help of Food Donation Connection (FDC), a service provider that collects the food at the company’s 7,600 stores. Recently Starbucks announced a plan to donate ready-to-eat meals, including refrigerated perishables such as fruit cups and sandwiches, to food banks through its collaboration with FDC and a new partnership with Feeding America. In the first year, the Starbucks FoodShare program will provide nearly five million meals to individuals and families. The company will expand the program over the next five years to eventually rescue 100 percent of its food.
Jessica Leigh Hester, "Their Coffee Is Controversial, But Starbucks Gets Food Waste Policy Right", CityLab, March 24, 2016, © The Atlantic Monthly Group
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Hear Ye, Bread Lovers! Time To Rejoice

March 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
An article on the website GroundReport.com posts a list of restaurant trends as well as “fresh, healthy dishes” and ingredients that will gain popularity in 2016, including poke (“po-kay”), hot ice creams, seaweed, ube (purple yam), fermented foods, etc. Of special note, however, was the declaration that “the no-carb Atkins craze is over.” Ignoring the fact that the Atkins diet is actually more of a low-carb (especially low processed carb) plan than a no-carb plan, the article does have good news for the bread industry: “the triumphant return of bread is upon us.” Toasts, bagels and flatbreads featuring ancient grains and wholesome ingredients are all reasons for bread lovers to celebrate.
Sreejan Niyogi, "Healthy Food Trends of 2016 That Will Influence Your Diet", Ground Report, March 24, 2016, © GroundReport
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While Preparing For Restaurant Opening, N.Y. Chef Pursues Secondary Agenda

March 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Chef Adam Leonti is testing recipes at the Brooklyn Bread Lab as he awaits the much-anticipated opening of the Williamsburg Hotel, which will house his new restaurant. Leonti is especially focused on grain at the Lab, a bakery that is shifting purpose into an experimental kitchen, café and educational facility. But Leonti has a somewhat hidden agenda. He also is determined to change public opinion on bread, especially the key protein ingredient in bread dough, gluten. Milling his own flour on site, he wants to prove at the Lab that gluten is not really an enemy as long as it is used with old-school techniques and proper ingredients, including seasonal grains like “Turkey” wheat from Kansas and other rare grains.
Emily Elyse Miller, "Against the grain: Brooklyn Bread Lab's experimental baking is a real raising agent", Wallpaper, March 24, 2016, © Wallpaper.com
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As Fresh Produce Prices Climb, Canadian Shoppers Flock To Frozen Food Aisles

March 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Canadian grocery shoppers are spending more time, and money, in the frozen food section of their supermarkets, thanks to a falling Canadian dollar and rising fresh produce prices. The result is an impressive 3.5 percent increase ($188 million) in sales over last year. Frozen produce is selling especially well, with fruit sales up 11 percent and vegetables up eight percent. Frozen produce, according to Nielsen, is a way to eat more healthful foods without having to worry about waste. Also selling well in this era of limited free time and more convenience are frozen (family size) dinners and premade meat patties. Sales of these items have increased two percent and 18 percent, respectively.
"What's Heating Up In The Frozen Food Section?", News release, Nielsen, March 24, 2016, © The Nielsen Company
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Unilever Africa Chief Says Company To Stay In Nigeria For The Long Haul

March 23, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever Africa remains committed to investing and supporting economic growth in Nigeria, according to company president Bruno Witvoet. Speaking at a CEO Forum in Abidjan, Witvoet said he believes Nigeria’s economy is improving. He expressed his hope that the government would address the country’s foreign exchange situation, resolving issues posed by allowing black market rates to exist alongside official rates.
"We are committed to Nigeria’s economic growth – Unilever", The Nation, March 23, 2016, © The Nation Nigeria
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California Could Be First State To Mandate Clearer Food Expiration Labels

March 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A California lawmaker believes legislation he has proposed would help solve the food waste problem with one simple change. The bill would replace all the confusing expiration date phrases on food labels with two simpler notices. The confusing terminology – used by manufacturers and not regulated by the federal government – leads to waste of food that is still safely edible. Terms like "best by," "freshest by," and "sell by" would be replaced by ‘best if used by” and “expires on,” the latter indicating food should not be eaten after this date. Foods presenting a food safety problem would be determined by the California Department of Public Health.
Tara Duggan, "Food waste is target of legislation on expiration labels", SF Gate, March 24, 2016, © Hearst Communications, Inc.
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Metro Tests InFarm's Modular Farming Technology

March 23, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
InFarm partnered with retailer Metro to evaluate its modular self-contained farm in a supermarket in Berlin. According to InFarm, the indoor farming technology is efficient enough to make the cost of operating a vertical farm affordable on a micro scale. Designed to make the most of available space, the technology enables the growing of produce in a single area. Some of the advantages offered by the system include elimination of transportation, storage, and refrigeration costs, as well as reduction in water and fertilizer use.
Adele Peters, "At This Supermarket, The Produce Section Grows Its Own Produce", Fast Company, March 23, 2016, © Mansueto Ventures, LLC
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More Retail Grocery Chains Transitioning To Cage-Free Eggs

March 23, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Several retail food chains announced they are switching to cage-free eggs. The latest group includes Bashas’, The Fresh Market, and Aldi. Bashas’ will be completely cage-free by 2017 because it is “the right thing to do,” says CEO Edward Basha. The Fresh Market’s store brand of eggs are already cage-free, but it will switch to cage-free for all of its eggs within four years. Aldi says it will offer a cage-free egg choice by the end of the year, but has set 2025 as the target date for 100 percent cage-free eggs in stores.
"Bashas', Fresh Market, Aldi commit to cage-free eggs", Supermarket News, March 23, 2016, © Penton
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Shoney’s Commits To All Cage-Free Eggs By 2025

March 23, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Nashville, Tenn.-based restaurant chain Shoney's has committed to serving only cage-free eggs in its 150 restaurants by 2025. The company said it is working with its suppliers “to back the brand's dedication to the humane treatment of animals” and figure out a smooth implementation. "This is about a movement, not a trend," said CEO David Davoudpour, who acquired Shoney's in 2007. Shoney’s serves 50 million eggs a year. Other companies that recently announced a transition to cage-free eggs include restaurateur HMSHost, egg producer Pasco's Oakdell, grocery retailer SuperValu, PepsiCo, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, snack maker Snyder's-Lance, Walmart, Otis Spunkmeyer, and grocery chain Giant Eagle (Pa.).
"Shoney's Makes Commitment to Serve Only Cage-Free Eggs", News release, Shoney's, March 23, 2016, © Shoney's
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Unilever Will Expand Production Capacities In Russia, Company Chairman Says

March 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever plans to expand its manufacturing capacities in Russia in the long term, according to chairman Michael Treschow. Speaking at the 2016 Boao Forum for Asia in China, Treschow said, however, that his company is not relocating production facilities from China to Russia. Operating in Russia since 1992, Unilever operates four large manufacturing locations in the country. It manufactures dressing, tea, and home and personal care products in Saint Petersburg, food and ice cream in Tula and Omsk, and cosmetics in Ekaterinburg.
"Unilever plans to scale up production capacities in Russia in long term — chairman", TASS, March 22, 2016, © TASS
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ConAgra Joins Other Food Companies In Complying With Vermont GMO Label Law

March 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Add ConAgra Foods Inc. to the growing list of food companies that are doing what they can to comply with a Vermont GMO label law in the absence of judicial intervention or federal action. ConAgra will change its labels on all GMO products distributed across the country to comply with the Vermont law that goes into effect in July. Kellogg Co., General Mills Inc., Mars Inc. and Campbell Soup Co. have also announced nationwide compliance with Vermont’s law because it’s too expensive to make packaging changes for just one state. Most companies would prefer to have a comprehensive federal standard, but the U.S. Congress is not likely to come to an agreement on the issue any time soon.
Annie Gasparro, "ConAgra Going Nationwide With GMO Labeling", The Wall Street Journal, March 22, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Little Vermont’s GMO Labeling Law Has Big Impact On Food Manufacturers

March 21, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Another major food producer has decided to change its food labels in anticipation of a strict Vermont law targeting GMO ingredients. Candy company Mars Inc. will add GMO labels to products that contain genetically modified organisms to comply with the law, enacted in May 2014, that is due to take effect in July unless stopped by lawsuits. Other companies, including General Mills and Campbell Soup, are also complying with the law, implementing label changes on a nationwide basis, not just in Vermont. And like those other companies, Mars says it is acting to keep costs down and in a spirit of transparency, though it does not believe GMOs present a threat to the health of consumers.
Annie Gasparro, "Mars to Add GMO Labels to Products", The Wall Street Journal, March 21, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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“Macaronut” Debuts Amid Flurry Of Internet Publicity

March 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A competitive New York City pastry chef has created and popularized, with the help of foodies on social media, yet another hybrid baked treat. The “Macaron Donut” – or “macaronut” – has been featured on TV, food blogs, and Instagram, driving it viral on the Internet. Chef Francois Payard did not stand by idly, waiting for the phenomenon to develop, however. He sent free samples to “online influencers.” The macaronut comprises a strawberries-and-cream filling sandwiched between a pink macaron shell and a strawberry dough bottom. Confetti sprinkles top it all off. The treat was officially launched this month at Payard’s city patisseries at $5 each.
Lyanne Alfaro, "How one wacky NYC donut went viral", CNBC Make It., March 19, 2016, © CNBC LLC
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Citing Vermont Law, General Mills Bites The GMO Labeling Bullet Nationally

March 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
General Mills executives last month expressed hope that a bill establishing a national standard for GMO food labeling would pass the U.S. Congress. Instead the bill died in the Senate, leaving the company and many others to deal with a Vermont law that requires labeling taking effect on July 1. Similar statutes could also also pop up in other states. Though the company believes GMO foods are safe, it would be enormously expensive to relabel products for only one state “without significantly driving up costs for our consumers,” said Chief Operating Officer Jeff Harmening. Newly relabeled General Mills products, noting GMO ingredients, will begin to reach grocery stores over the next few weeks.
Craig Giammona, "General Mills Will Label GMO Food Amid Stalemate in Congress", Bloomberg Business, March 19, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Italy’s Food Waste Legislation Takes A Carrot, Rather Than A Stick, Approach

March 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A legislative proposal to reduce Italy’s food waste – by a billion tons this year alone -- has passed the House and is likely to pass the Senate. The bill follows in the footsteps of a new law in France that makes it compulsory for large grocery stores and supermarkets to donate their unsold edible foods to charitable organizations for redistribution to the needy. The Italian version, however, uses a carrot rather than a stick in securing compliance. It provides large tax breaks for participants. The French law imposes stiff fines for discarding unsold food. A billion tons of food waste in 2016 would be twice the amount recovered in Italy last year.
"Italy to Rescue 1 Billion Tons of Food Waste a Year", Eat Drink Better, March 18, 2016, © Sustainable Enterprises Media, Inc.
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Scientist Improves Health Profile Of Bread Using Anthocyanins

March 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A food scientist in Singapore pondered some of the nutritional and health drawbacks of white bread. It digests too fast, for one thing, causing a spike in blood sugar. Its starch content is also digested too rapidly, leaving people hungry for more. All of this links white bread to obesity and related health issues. Zhou Weibiao’s solution to this problem was to add anthocyanin extract derived from black rice. A chemical reaction with the starch enzymes turns the bread purple, but the anthocyanins also slow digestion speed by 20 percent and are rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants. And the bread is made entirely of natural compounds.
Jenni Marsh, "Purple bread: A new superfood?", CNN, March 18, 2016, © Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
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General Mills Calls For National GMO Food Labeling Policy

March 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In a company blog, General Mills Chief Operating Officer Jeff Harmening says he is disappointed that there is still no national policy on labeling of foods with genetically modified organisms. It’s true that many consumers want to know which foods contain GMOs, so the company has created a public database of GMO foods. This despite the fact that “every major health and safety agency in the world agrees that GMOs are not a health or safety concern.” But a national policy on labeling is still needed, because Vermont requires it or companies can be slapped with stiff fines. Harmening insists, nevertheless, that General Mills will not retool its packaging for one state only, a move that would drive up costs for customers everywhere.
Jeff Harmening, "We need a national solution for GMO labeling", Blog, General Mills, March 18, 2016, © General Mills Inc.
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Waitrose Continues Grow And Sell Gardening Program For School Kids

March 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
UK retailer Waitrose relaunched its “Grow and Sell” program, which encourages school children to grow vegetables and other crops. On its fourth year now, the program gives away “Grow and Sell” kits, with each kit containing seeds for species, such as basil, beetroot, lettuces, and snap peas. In addition to encouraging children to learn about where food comes from, the program also helps them develop entrepreneurial skills. As part of the program, participating children are encouraged to sell their produce outside their local Waitrose stores.
Carolyn Robertson, "Waitrose relaunches 'Grow and Sell' gardening kit scheme", The Grocer, March 18, 2016, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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“Grain-Free” May Be A Smarter Marketing Claim Than Paleo

March 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A Whole Foods Market employee with the title of “forager” recently toured a natural food products expo in California, discussing items that form the avant garde of food trends. Among the innovations – e.g., full-fat foods, veggie-flavored yogurts, organic kefir, etc. – were foods that promised to be “grain-free,” a new term that may supplant “gluten-free” and “Paleo” on packages. Sampling a grain-free granola made from bananas, cashew butter and seeds, Elly Truesdell said the term was better marketing and just plain “smart,” now that Paleo is “losing some steam.”
Stephanie Strom, "From Kefir to ‘Cucamelons,’ Sampling the Next Wave of Natural Foods", The New York Times, March 18, 2016, © The New York Times Company
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New York City Schools Serve Only Antibiotics-Free Chicken For Lunch

March 17, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
New York City's public schools have contracted with Somma Food Products to provide all 1,700 schools – 1.1 million students – in the system with 100 percent antibiotics-free, vegetable-fed ChickenTopia Drumstix for lunch. The city's Department of Education is one of six large urban school districts known as the Alliance that two years ago agreed that all school lunch chicken products must be sourced from humanely treated chickens raised with zero antibiotics of any kind and a vegetarian diet. Besides ChickenTopia, Somma Food Group's products include Merrywood Farms and Range Grass Fed Beef.
"New York City SchoolFood Launches Chickentopia 100% Antibiotic-Free, Vegetable-Fed Chicken from Somma Food Group", News release, Somma Food Products, March 17, 2016, © Somma Food Products
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Whole Foods Announces Plans To Stop Selling Fast-Growing Chickens

March 17, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market Inc. said it will stop selling industry-standard chickens bred to grow fast. Expected to be completed by 2024, the move will include replacing flocks at chicken farms that supply the natural and organic retailer’s stores with breeds, such as Red Ranger and Naked Neck. These breeds grow to marketable size about 23 percent slower than industry-standard chickens.
Jacob Bunge, "Whole Foods Shifts to Slower-Growing Chickens", The Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Non-GMO, Organic Claims Led New Food Launches In 2015

March 17, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The Mintel database of new food product launches shows a distinct upward trend in organic and non-GMO claims in recent years that include “everything from gluten-free to prebiotics.” Nearly 14 percent of U.S. retail food products launched in 2015 made organic claims, up from 11 percent the year before. The claim that has begun to resonate more and more with American food companies and consumers is non-GMO: 16 percent of new products declared they were non-GMO in 2015, up 10 percent from and three percent in 2012. Other popular food claims in 2015’s product launches were allergen-friendly (up from 23 percent to 26 percent), and vegan claims (up from five percent to seven percent).
Elaine Watson, "Mintel GNPD data: 15.7% of new US food/bev products made non-GMO claims in 2015 vs 2.8% in 2012", NUTRAingredients-USA.com, March 17, 2016, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Coffee Can Be A Major Brain Stimulator – After A Good Night’s Sleep

March 17, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
New research shows that caffeine works best when a person is rested, not sleep-deprived or sleepy. Caffeine clogs the body’s adenosine system, which is a sort of brake that allows the brain to switch off and fall asleep. Drinking coffee when well-rested blocks adenosine, allowing stimulation of brain chemicals such as dopamine. This doesn’t happen after a long work day because those chemicals have been largely used up. That’s why a cup of coffee is most beneficial in the morning, or after a nap. It heightens creativity, boosts typing and data processing speed, and eases mathematical computation. Studies also show caffeine intake, at the right times and in the right doses, may also increase longevity, reduce cognitive decline in men, and even help with Alzheimer’s in mouse models.
Seth Porges, "How to Transform Your Coffee Into a Wonder Drug", Bloomberg Business, March 17, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Will Coca-Cola Benefit From Alliance With Filtered Milk Producer?

March 17, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola has taken a minority stake in Chicago-based dairy cooperative Fairlife, betting on the future popularity of milk that is filtered, high-protein, low-sugar and lactose-free, a kind of “designer milk” that costs more than organic and is twice the price of conventional milk. With soda sales sagging, Coca-Cola has been experimenting with beverages that can be presented as healthier.  Another dairy producer is also offering milk that claims health benefits. The regional Dean Foods brand DairyPure sells milk that is hormone- and antibiotics-free. Fairlife should benefit considerably from its partnership with Coke, which has a huge distribution network and access to hundreds of thousands of U.S. supermarket shelves.
Shruti Singh et al., "Coke Thinks Designer Milk Could Be a Billion-Dollar Brand", Bloomberg Business, March 17, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Chipotle May Relax Some Emergency Measures, As Food Safety Crisis Eases

March 16, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Chipotle Mexican Grill, beset by food safety breakdowns since last summer, may scale back or get rid of some of the emergency measures it implemented to stem the crisis. It has been precooking beef to ensure destruction of E. coli bacteria, for example, and using high-resolution DNA-based testing to detect pathogens. It has also shifted preparation of some produce items to a central kitchen. But now, as sales and share price begin to climb, the company may reduce pathogen testing while keeping other safety procedures in place, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing “people familiar with the matter.”
Jesse Newman, "Chipotle Weighs Stepping Back From Some Food-Safety Changes", The Wall Street Journal, March 16, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Grain Combos Improve Nutritional Profile, Texture Of Baked Goods

March 16, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
USDA food scientists who experimented with the ancient grain amaranth, blending it with oats, whole wheat and chia seeds, say they’ve come up with more healthful, yet still tasty, sugar cookies. Both amaranth and chia contain the essential amino acid lysine. Blending amaranth with beta-glucan-rich oats results in a cookie that could help lower blood cholesterol. Blending an oat bran concentrate and whole wheat flour with finely ground chia may prove even more beneficial. Because chai seeds are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, baked goods made with the chia-oats-wheat mixture not only have improved texture, they could help lower blood cholesterol and prevent coronary heart disease.
Sandra Avant, "Ancient Grains Make Healthful, Tasty Cookies", News release, USDA, March 16, 2016, © USDA
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Organic Dairy Backs Mandatory GMO Labeling

March 14, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Stonyfield Organic, a U.S.-based organic dairy owned by France’s Danone group, has gone on record as supporting mandatory GMO labeling of food products. Parent company Danone has not yet publicly supported GMO labeling, but has also not “donated to campaigns trying to block it,” according to a Stonyfield spokesman. The U.S. Senate on March 16 defeated legislation formally known as the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, passed by the House last summer. Opponents of the bill, however, refer to it as the “deny Americans the right to know,” or DARK, Act. It would have preempted states, including Vermont, from requiring the labeling of GMO foods, instead implementing a voluntary system.
Katy Askew, "Danone's Stonyfield backs mandatory GMO labelling - Expo West", Just-Food, March 14, 2016, © just-food.com
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Start-Up Bets Big On Demand For Single-Serve Tortilla Machine

March 14, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A Swiss company that started in 2012 hopes to launch its one product – a “Keurig-like machine” for making tortillas – sometime next year. In the meantime Flatev is raising money, and getting its manufacturing and distribution ducks in a row. The basic mission, according to founder Carlos Ruiz, is to merge the “delicious taste of Mexico with the immediacy of technology.” The product is similar to a single-serve coffee machine except that it uses pods of dough with a 60-day shelf-life made from purely organic, non-GMO dough flour, no artificial preservatives, colors or flavors. It creates “the perfect tortilla” with all of the goodness of the homemade variety, the company says.
"Interview: Flatev to offer fresh tortillas at the push of a button", FoodBev Media, March 14, 2016, © FoodBev Media Ltd
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Non-GMO Trend Continues, Though Scientists Aren’t Sure GMO Foods Are A Threat

March 13, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Claiming to be non-GMO – as some restaurants, grocery chains and food companies have at least partially done – is not only problematic, it’s increasingly difficult to defend from a scientific standpoint without proof that GMO foods present a threat to humanity. It’s problematic because GMO crops and animal feed are inescapable. Staunchly anti-GMO Chipotle had to finally admit its meat and cheeses come from GMO-fed cows. Whole Foods acknowledged “GMOs are ‘pervasive’ and can be found in 70 percent of packaged foods.” Meanwhile, the scientific community seems less hostile to the food industry’s growing application of GMO technology as it waits for some reliable evidence that GMO foods are safe – or unsafe.
Chris Sorensen, "In defense of GMOs", Canadian Grocer, March 13, 2016, © Rogers Media Inc.
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Apollo Global Management Closes In On Deal To Acquire Fresh Market

March 13, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Apollo Global Management is close to completing a deal to acquire specialty grocery retailer Fresh Market. Expected to be worth more than $1.3 billion, the deal would highlight Apollo Global Management’s confidence in its ability to turn around companies in the highly competitive grocery market in the United States. Apollo Global Management’s cash offer of $28.50 per share helped it win in an auction for the retailer.
"Apollo Global Nears Deal to Acquire Fresh Market", Fortune, March 13, 2016, © Time Inc.
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Campbell Soup Cans To Be Mostly BPA-Free By End Of 2016

March 13, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Campbell Soup Co. began using cans made with acrylic or polyester linings in March, and has committed to eliminating all cans with bisphenol A (BPA) linings over the next year. The company said all varieties of Campbell's soups and gravies, Swanson broths and Spaghettios pasta products will be packaged in non-BPA-lined cans. It is on schedule to have three-fourths of its soup portfolio in non-BPA cans by December. BPA is a component in metal can coatings that protects food from direct contact with metal surfaces. Studies have found that the compound causes health problems.
Ramkumar Iyer, "Campbell Soup to switch to BPA-free cans by 2017", Reuters, March 13, 2016, © Thomson Reuters
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Tesco Makes Its Food Waste Pilot Project Official

March 12, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Following a successful six-month, 14-store pilot program, British grocery chain Tesco has finalized a plan to donate all unsold food to 5,000 charities in an effort to eradicate food waste from its stores and distribution centers by 2017. During the test, the Community Food Connection program resulted in delivery of more than 22 tons of food to needy people – approximately 50,000 meals. The company acknowledged it had discarded more than 55,000 tons of food last year. The Tesco initiative follows a similar effort by the Morrisons grocery chain.
Caroline Mortimer, "Tesco to give all unsold food to charity after finalising deal", Independent, March 12, 2016, © independent.co.uk.
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Nestle Takes Steps To Globalize Its Premium Chocolate Strategy

March 10, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Researcher Euromonitor says Nestlé’s launch of premium Turkish chocolate brand Damak, and increased investment in Italian brand Baci Perugina, indicate a shift in strategy away from mass brands. In addition, the company wants to increase its footprint globally, especially in the U.S., China and parts of Europe. The best example of the strategy is the investment in Baci Perugina, which encompasses €60 million for the first three years. Potential markets for its premium gift-type chocolates include Brazil and India, though the company faces stiff competition from Mondelez and Ferrero.
Lianne Van Den Bos, "Nestlé Reimagining Confectionery Unit by Creating Brand Leadership", Blog, Euromonitor International, March 10, 2016, © Euromonitor
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Instacart Gains Firmer Foothold In Whole Foods’ World

March 10, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The 18-month, 17-city partnership between Whole Foods Market and the Instacart delivery service has been successful enough that the two companies are extending it. They will launch services in ”several” metropolitan areas this year, beginning with Orange County, Calif., and Baltimore, Md. The companies also expect to create new e-commerce and delivery solutions, while adding more stores that offer the Instacart delivery option. The extended relationship means Instacart is Whole Foods’ largest online ordering and delivery partner.
"Whole Foods Market and Instacart announce new markets, growth plans", Whole Foods Market, March 10, 2016, © Whole Foods Market
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Colorful Bagels Are The Internet’s Latest Food Fad

March 10, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
It may not be a tsunami yet, but it is a wave gathering strength on the Internet. A Brooklyn-based baker has been churning out rainbow-colored bagels for 20 years, but a video featuring the treats that went viral turned the Bagel Store into an instant social media sensation. Demand for Scott Rossilo’s rainbow bagels forced him to close the shop for a few days so he could “catch his breath.” Rossilo describes himself as a “passionate bagel artist” whose product line includes the croissant bagel (or cragel), the bacon-egg-and-cheese bagel, the French toast bagel, and “a host of other hybrids.” Though Rossilo trademarked the “rainbow bagel” name, it has not prevented copycats from popping up all over New York City and beyond.
Karen Graham, "Brooklyn shop's Rainbow bagels have become the latest food craze", Digital Journal, March 10, 2016, © digitaljournal.com
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FDA Urges Food Industry To Help Reduce Possibility Of Acrylamide Exposure

March 10, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The FDA’s new non-binding guidelines covering acrylamide – a suspected carcinogen produced during high-temperature cooking of some foods – urge companies to take a close look at their products and try to figure out how to reduce the amount of the chemical. The guidelines are directed at growers, manufacturers, and food service operators, offering steps to reduce acrylamide. The guidance covers raw materials, processing practices, and ingredients pertaining to potato-based foods such as French fries and potato chips; cookies, crackers, breakfast cereals, toasted bread and other cereals-based foods; and coffee. All are sources of acrylamide exposure.
"FDA Issues Final Guidance for Industry on How to Reduce Acrylamide in Certain Foods", News release, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, March 10, 2016, © U.S. FDA
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Accelerating Innovation The Unilever Way

March 9, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever has partnered with crowdfunder Indiegogo to collaborate with aspiring entrepreneurs seeking money to fund innovative ideas. Through its innovation platform Unilever Foundry, the company adds the possibility of crowdfunding investment to help speed development of solutions to sustainability challenges presented by Unilever brands. Ideas for solutions will be considered by the Indiegogo community and then shown to a panel of Unilever experts. The best will have an opportunity for an Indiegogo funding campaign, and further support from Unilever.
"Unilever Foundry And Indiegogo Launch Crowdfunding Partnership To Accelerate Innovation", News release, Unilever, March 09, 2016, © Unilever
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Slavonic-Style Donuts Are A Traditional, If Uncommon, Gulf Coast Delicacy

March 9, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
One popular Gulf Coast treat does not descend from French, Cajun, Creole, or Spanish cuisines. The pusharata donut’s origins stretch back to the Balkans, specifically a region of Croatia known as Slavonia. The batter is made with flour, sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon, then filled with grated apples, oranges, lemons, and raisins. The batter is shaped into balls, fried in hot oil, cooled, then covered with a powdered-sugar glaze. It’s a time-consuming process, but well worth it. A word of warning: eat them the same day they are made or “they will turn as hard as a baseball," Biloxi Mayor Andrew "FoFo" Gilich said.
Jeff Clark, "Pusharata-making is alive and well on Coast", Sun Herald, March 09, 2016, © The Sun Herald
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Researcher Sees Bright Market Future For Seaweed Products

March 9, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Mintel is expecting big things for seaweed-flavored foods and beverages, in Europe at least, based on what’s been happening in the past five years. The researcher found that seaweed-flavored food and drink launches more than doubled in the period from 2011 to 2015, making Europe the “second most innovative” global region – after Asia/Pacific – when it comes to such launches. Seaweed remains a niche product in the Western world, but Mintel says it “it could become the next superfood,” thanks to the fact it is rich in natural vitamins, minerals, and plant-based protein. Fifty-eight percent of German consumers have either tried or would like to try algae as a protein source. Forty-four percent of Britons felt the same.
"Seaweed-Flavoured Food And Drink Launches Increased By 147% In Europe Between 2011 And 2015", News release, Mintel, March 09, 2016, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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Nonprofit, Corporate Collaboration Joins Fight Against Food Waste

March 9, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Six months after the USDA and EPA spearheaded an initiative to reduce food loss and waste by half within 15 years, a nonprofit and corporate collaboration known as ReFED has joined the fight. The group has put forth a 27-step roadmap for the U.S. to reduce food waste 20 percent by 2026. The roadmap suggests eliminating sell-by dates and changing the composition of animal feed. Focusing heavily on prevention, the plan urges food companies, for example, to adjust packaging to discourage waste, selling smaller portions and designing packages to prevent food spoilage. The plan, which ReFED says would create thousands of jobs and save consumers billions of dollars, has the support of 30 organizations, including the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Justin Worland, "This Could Be the Best Way to Solve America’s Food Waste Problem", Time, March 09, 2016, © Time Inc.
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General Mills To Double Organic Acreage By 2019

March 9, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
General Mills says it is doubling farm acreage devoted to organic agriculture to 250,000 acres by 2019, when it expects sales of its organic and natural products will reach $1 billion. The company has increased organic acreage by 120 percent since 2009, making it one of the top five organic ingredient purchasers in North America. It has also been on a buying spree since 2000, acquiring natural and organic brands that totaled $675 million dollars in sales last year. Brands include Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen, LÄRABAR, Liberté, Mountain High, Food Should Taste Good, Immaculate Baking, and Annie’s.
"General Mills to double organic acreage sourcing to meet growing demand for natural and organic foods", News release, General Mills, March 09, 2016, © General Mills Inc.
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Coke Cakes Endure In The Southern States

March 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A 1960s ad slogan proclaimed that “Things go better with Coke.” In the South, those things include cake recipes, like the chocolate-flavored Coca-Cola cake (a staple at Cracker Barrel restaurants). Both professional and home bakers have added Coca-Cola – only the sugar-sweetened variety works – to their recipes since the 1950s, usually substituting the 130-year-old beverage brand for milk, oil or other liquids in the cake’s batter. A dash of it is also used to moisten a confectioner’s sugar-based icing. A new recipe circulating on the Internet offers simplicity with debatable results: cake mix, can of Coke, cup of yogurt, and a can of fruit. The quick version, however, lacks one key trait: the “reward” of baking something from scratch.
Paul Stephen, "Coke meets cake: The real thing shines in soda-spiked sweets", Star News Online, March 08, 2016, © Gatehouse Media, Inc.
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Herbalife Seeks Innovative Entrepreneurs In The Snack Bar, Supplement Business

March 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Multi-level diet supplement marketer Herbalife says it is once again giving companies an opportunity to become partners by sponsoring a product pitch event. At the May meeting, companies will tout their innovative product proposals in four main areas: meal/snack food bars; non-egg-based breakfast food/snack powder mixes; new delivery formats (e.g., chewables and orally-dissolving products); and plant nutrients and botanical ingredients. A similar meeting in 2014 led to four finalists being selected as partners from 120 proposals. Their products have already been launched or are in the final preparation stages.
Hank Schultz, "Herbalife seeks companies willing to pitch innovative ingredients, products", NUTRAingredients-USA.com, March 07, 2016, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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USDA Awards $6.8 Million Through School Breakfast Program

March 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of its school breakfast initiative, the USDA announced grants of up to $6.8 million to support competitive Team Nutrition Training in schools and child care sites. The grants will help sustain the implementation of the healthier meals made possible by the bipartisan Healthy Hunger-free Kids Act of 2010. Participation in school breakfast programs has increased by almost 27 percent since the law was enacted. More than 14 million students eat school breakfasts each day. Grants awarded through the program are used to conduct and evaluate training, nutrition education, and technical assistance supporting USDA nutrition standards for snacks and meals, such as school breakfast.
"USDA Celebrates 50 Years of School Breakfast, Offers $6.8 Million in Grants to Support Healthy School Meals", News release, USDA, March 07, 2016, © USDA
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Rubio’s Simplifies Ingredients In Its Western U.S. Eateries

March 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Mexican restaurant chain Rubio’s, based in California, said it is extending its quality ingredients program beyond sustainable seafood, handmade salsas and guacamole, and fresh produce. The company – which already uses no artificial sweeteners, FD&C colors, MSG or hydrogenated oils – plans to serve only all-natural chicken without antibiotics and bacon without added nitrates or nitrites. It is looking into adding sustainable, wild-caught salmon, beef raised without antibiotics, and flour tortillas made with simple ingredients. Rubio’s operates 194 restaurants in California, Arizona, Colorado, Utah and Nevada.
"Rubio’s Restaurants Reveals Latest Commitment to Food Quality", News release, Rubio's, March 06, 2016, © Rubio's
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Salad Restaurant Chain Implements Million-Dollar “Fresh First” Policy

March 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Texas-based salad restaurant chain Salata said it is spending a million dollars to upgrade its ingredients under a new “Fresh First” policy. The company is using only antibiotic-free chicken, real butter, premium ingredients, no artificial additives, and cage-free eggs. It also plans to reformulate its protein marinades to reduce sodium levels, and switch to organic tea for all iced tea selections. In addition, the company will only sell sodas that contain no high fructose corn syrup at its 50 corporate and franchised locations in Texas, Southern California and Illinois.
"Salata Announces 'Fresh First' Clean Ingredients Commitment In 2016", News release, Salata, March 06, 2016, © Salata
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