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Nestlé’s Resignation From GMA Is A Sign Of Major Trouble In The Food Industry

November 26, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Big Food’s grip on Washington policymaking may be loosening amid grumbling over its handling of the evolving preferences of American food and beverage buyers. The latest sign of turmoil arose when Nestlé dropped out of the big lobbying group Grocery Manufacturers Association over disagreements about how to handle food industry trends, including the stagnation of iconic brands, as younger shoppers and moms look for more healthful, more transparent food products. But, though GMA says it is adapting to consumer trends, Politico’s interviews with industry leaders found that “complacency and a lack of leadership at GMA are also to blame.” [ Image credit: © GMA  ]
Helena Bottemiller Evich et al., "The Big Washington Food Fight", Politico, November 26, 2017, © Politico LLC
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Reports Illustrate Magnitude Of Food Waste Problem In U.S.

November 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Two new reports make the case that an “outrageous amount of food is wasted in our cities,” and could instead be redirected to feed the hungry. Data from the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Rockefeller Foundation show that 68 million more meals annually could potentially be donated to people in need across New York City, Denver, and Nashville. The reports provide detail on how much food is wasted in the home, how cities could increase food donations to the poor, and how food waste problems could be tackled at a city level nationwide. The NRDC also published case studies of innovations by government agencies, nonprofits and private companies that seek to address hunger, reduce waste, and create jobs.  [ Image credit: © Wikipedia  ]
Kate Kiely, "Two-Thirds of Food Wasted at Home in Three Major U.S. Cities is Edible", Natural Resources Defense Council, November 25, 2017, © Natural Resources Defense Council
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Unilever Starts Process Of Looking For New CEO

November 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever is working with executive search consulting firm Egon Zehnder International to search for current CEO Paul Polman's successor. Although the company has yet to officially announce a possible date for Polman's retirement, some unnamed sources expect the veteran executive to leave in about 18 months. According to Sky News, Egon Zehnder is helping Unilever's board of directors prepare for a formal search process.
Mark Kleinman, "Dove-maker Unilever paves way for exit of veteran CEO Polman", Sky UK, November 23, 2017, © Sky UK
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“Free-From” Food Company Unveils Two New Product Lines

November 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A Chicago-based company dedicated to providing food that is safe for people with food allergies has added two new product lines to their non-GMO, clean label portfolio. The Safe + Fair Food Company has announced the launch of two free-from brands: the Kid’s Stuff, and Good to Give. The Kid’s Stuff products, available in boxes of 36 for $14.99, are clean label and nut-free, made with whole grains and without GMOs, artificial ingredients or trans fats. Products include Abby’s Chocolate Chip Cookies and Remy’s Cinnamon Grahams. The Good to Give brand, priced between $1.99-$2.99, includes desserts, meals and snacks also made with clean ingredients, are nut-free, and free from artificial flavors and colors. The brand includes Brownie Mix, Pancake and Waffle Mix, Granola Cereal, etc. [ Image credit: © Safe + Fair Food  ]
"Two New Clean Label Brands Arrive in US", Sweets & Savoury Snacks World, November 22, 2017, © Bell Publishing
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Study Claims Sugar Lobby Suppressed Negative Findings On Sugar’s Health Impact

November 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
After years of believing that foods containing fat were the major cause of a raft of health problems, scientists and consumers now know that sugar is the real culprit. But the decades-old misperception was not an accident. It was fostered by the sugar industry, which suppressed research as long as 50 years ago that would have rung the alarm bell. A new study reveals that the Sugar Association buried its own scientific findings on the harmful effects of table sugar on rodents in the 1960s. Two studies, known as Project 259, funded by the sugar lobby proved that sugar-eating mice were at greater risk for strokes, heart attacks, and heart disease. The Sugar Association never published the results, but claims now that the reasons were circumstantial. [ Image credit: © National Health Service/UK  ]
Hilary Brueck, "Big Sugar Buried These Concerning Health Studies 50 Years Ago", ScienceAlert, November 22, 2017, © ScienceAlert Pty Ltd.
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Restaurants Can’t Ignore Customers Looking To Avoid Certain Foods

November 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Big restaurant chains are swerving from their standardized approach to foods and beverages to better serve customers trying to avoid gluten and dairy. Customers with food intolerances or allergies, or who are following avoidance diets, have become a market simply too large to ignore. Starbucks, for example, now sells a hot chocolate drink made with steamed almond milk. California Pizza Kitchen offers a gluten-free cauliflower crust for those who don’t eat wheat-based foods. Industry research has found that lactose comes in third, after high fructose corn syrup and GMOs, as America’s most-avoided ingredients. Gluten and wheat came in at No. 7. [ Image credit: © Starbucks  ]
Zlati Meyer, "Starbucks, Other Chains Cater to Customers Who Avoid Dairy, Gluten", USA Today, November 21, 2017, © USA Today
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Top Coca-Cola Execs Discuss The Impact Of Culture Change On Innovation

November 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
At its recent investors day meeting, Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey and other top executives outlined for analysts how the company is changing its corporate culture to reflect shifts in consumer beverage and health trends. It is revamping e-commerce strategy, focusing on nutrition, and diversifying away from core soft drinks. Analysts were given examples of innovative international products in various markets and examples of incubating innovation and geographic scaling. Chief Growth Officer Francisco Crespo defined categories of innovation, including explorer brands (e.g., Honest Tea) that then graduate to challenger brands, and eventually to leader brands. Consumer-driven innovation is reflected in a growing presence in natural, craft, organic, and premium sparkling categories, and extension of the Coke brand to include Coca-Cola Coffee in Japan and Australia.
Dale Buss, "Coca-Cola Investor Day Outlines New Beverages, New Approach", BrandChannel, November 21, 2017, © Interbrand
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Start-Up Introduces Probiotic Beverages

November 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A U.K.-based startup has introduced two probiotics drinks in citrus and raspberry flavors that deliver live bacteria and vitamins to support a healthy gut. Alive Biome’s mission is to provide beverages that could help solve many of the diseases and conditions that have been linked to an undernourished microbiome, the human gut’s collection of billions of beneficial bacteria. The drinks come in 375 ml water bottles, with a cap that safely stores the probiotics, vitamins, and botanicals. Twisting the cap releases the ingredients into the bottle when the consumer is ready to imbibe.
"Alive Biome launches new probiotic drinks with live bacteria", FoodBev , November 21, 2017, © FoodBev Media Ltd
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London Tests Buses Powered By Coffee Beans

November 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Some of London’s buses are being powered by a biofuel made with 20 percent coffee oil. The concoction provides a cleaner, more sustainable energy solution for buses across London's network by decreasing emissions, according to collaborators Royal Dutch Shell and bio-bean, which has pioneered the use of coffee grounds as a source of clean-burning fuel, including bio-mass pellets and briquettes called Coffee Logs. Bio-bean founder Arthur Kay says the bus fuel initiative is an example of what can be accomplished “when we start to reimagine waste as an untapped resource."  [ Image credit: © Wikipedia  ]
"Shell, Bio-Bean and Coffee-Drinkers Collaborate to Help Power London's Buses", News release, Royal Dutch Shell, November 20, 2017, © Royal Dutch Shell
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Brexit Consequences Will Make It Too Expensive For Some To Eat Healthfully

November 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Great Britain’s Food Foundation says Brexit-related ramifications like unfavorable exchange rates, tariffs, and higher labor costs will make it too expensive for lower income families to afford healthful quantities of fruits and vegetables. The Brexit impact could add £158 ($212) a year to the amount a family of four spends on fruits and vegetables, especially if they try to meet the five-a-day eating target. The thinktank recommends: an expanded healthy food voucher system; increased production of homegrown fruit and vegetables; new measures to secure seasonal labor for farms; capital grants to farmers to expand production; and guidance to ensure British-grown fruit and vegetables are prominent in meals served in schools, hospitals, and jails.  [ Image credit: © Swiss Banking Lawyers ]
Patrick Butler, "Five-A-Day Eating Targets 'Will Be Unaffordable for Millions after Brexit'", The Guardian, November 20, 2017, © Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies
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Christina Minardi To Help Manage Whole Foods’ Integration With Amazon

November 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Former Northeast regional president Christina Minardi was promoted to executive VP of operations for Whole Foods Market. As a regional president, Minardi was responsible for 40 stores in three states. Minardi will now lead four regions and help with the integration with Amazon. Her new responsibilities will include re-imagining the customer experience and driving e-commerce initiatives.  [ Image credit: © Christina Minardi / Twitter ]
"Whole Foods Market Names Christina Minardi Executive Vice President of Operations", News release, Whole Foods Market, November 17, 2017, © Whole Foods Market
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Flatbread Baker Says Its Top Seller Is Soy-Based Greek Style Variety

November 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A family-owned N.J.-based artisanal flatbread maker that produces 50 kinds of flatbreads says its best seller is the Greek lifestyle soy-based flatbread with twice the protein and half the carbs of regular bread. Thirty-year-old Kontos Foods, which specializes in hand-stretched flatbreads, serves the foodservice and retail markets. The Greek lifestyle flatbread, which fits well in a Mediterranean-style diet, contains seven grams of protein per 5.6 ounce serving, is non-GMO and 100 percent vegetarian, and contains no preservatives or trans fats.  [ Image credit: © Kontos Foods  ]
Gill Hyslop, "Kontos Foods Keeps Med tradition on Trend in the US", BakeryAndSnacks.com, November 17, 2017, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Coca-Cola Adapts Marketing Expertise To The E-commerce Experience

November 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola, which knows a thing or two about driving store traffic, is using that knowledge to enhance its e-commerce tactics in a world where customers are increasingly likely to purchase beverages using an online cart rather than a grocery store cart. To that end, it is improving the appearance of its digital store shelves,” integrating with voice technologies like Amazon Echo, and adding impulse buy options to click-and-collect pickup lockers. The idea behind these changes is to focus on current customers to drive digital sales, with the help of grocers and other online partners. It is also experimenting with direct-to-consumer marketing.
Jennifer Kaplan, "Coca-Cola Bid for Amazon Shoppers Means Boosting Digital Lineup", Bloomberg Technology, November 17, 2017, © Bloomberg Finance L.P.
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U.K. Trademark Filing Signals Imminent Launch Of Amazon Meal Kits

November 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Amazon has filed for a trademark for a meal kit slogan at the U.K.’s Intellectual Property Office. The slogan – “We Prep. You Cook” – echoes a similar slogan used in the U.S. Amazon’s meal kits were launched in the U.S. and retail at $15.99 to $19.99. The U.K. trademark filing signals an imminent launch of the product, according to industry watchers. [ Image credit: © Amazon.com  ]
Ben Stevens, "Amazon’s Meal Kits Set to Hit UK as Patent Filed", Retail Gazette, November 17, 2017, © Retail Gazette
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Coca-Cola Seeks Patent For Process That Naturally Protects Produce From Browning

November 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola has applied for a patent with the World Intellectual Property Organization that would protect its discovery of a natural way to prevent “enzymatic browning” of fruit and vegetable juice that negatively affects color, taste, flavor, and nutrition. Browning is the result of oxidation of phenolic compounds by polyphenol oxidase. The company accidentally discovered a way to use the cherry-like fruit acerola to reduce browning and hopes to patent the process.
Kacey Culliney, "Juice Joy: Coca-Cola Files Patent on ‘Unexpected’ Acerola Find", FOODnavigator-USA.com, November 16, 2017, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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PepsiCo’s Indian Bottler Drops Plans To Sell Competing Salty Snack

November 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Following discussions with PepsiCo, Indian bottling company RJ Corp shelved plans to sell salty snacks under the Kaabuli brand, which competes directly with PepsiCo’s Kurkure snack brand. RJ Corp, PepsiCo’s largest bottler, has a noncompete agreement with PepsiCo in the beverage market. However, “both companies leverage synergies across the former’s retail and hospitality ventures,” according to The Economic Times.
Ratna Bhushan, "RJ Corp withdraws plans to launch salty snacks under Kaabuli brand", The Economic Times, November 16, 2017, © Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd
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Postsecondary Schools Will Collaborate In Training Food Waste-Conscious Chefs

November 15, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Philadelphia’s Drexel University is collaborating with other colleges and universities to develop a curriculum whose mission is to reduce food waste in restaurants by training educators to inspire and teach culinary students to minimize food waste. Of the $218 billion in food waste – 63 million tons – annually, a third is wasted by restaurants and commercial foodservice businesses. The Drexel project is supported by the James Beard Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, and will involve other schools, including New York University, the Academy of Culinary Arts, Boston University, and Colorado State University.  [ Image credit: © Drexel University  ]
Emily Storz, "Training the Next Generation of Chefs and Culinary Professionals to Reduce Food Waste", News release, Drexel University, November 15, 2017, © Drexel University
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Traditional Bread Making Cited As Hot Food Trend For 2018

November 15, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Among the hot trends in food innovation cited by the Specialty Food Association for 2018 is the rise of traditional bread in the era of gluten-free options. The traditional side of bakery has been elevated by the same “sourcing and fine-tuned production processes” applied to proteins and vegetables. The SFA says bakers are using local grains, milling the day before baking, and incorporating long proofing times. The bread-baking community is, in fact, “re-inventing what good bread means.” Other hot food trends include increased use of plant-based foods, the rise of upcycled food products as a way to combat food waste, and the spread of Filipino cuisine.  [ Image credit: © The Spruce.com  ]
"What's Hot in Food for 2018?", News release, Specialty Food Association, November 15, 2017, © Specialty Food Association
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Millennials Will Drive Growth Of Frozen Foods, ConAgra CEO Says

November 15, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Conagra is betting that frozen foods will continue to grow – dollar sales were up two percent over the last 12 months – as Millennials try to save money and time, and still eat healthfully. The company has launched several new products within its frozen food brands, including Healthy Choice, Banquet, and Marie Callender's. Although the company does not say how much it spent on the revamp of those brands, the investment seems to be paying off. All three have posted sharp gains after the new lines were launched. The company also introduced new products under the Frontera and Alexia. CEO Sean Connolly said ConAgra’s next target is likely to be snack foods.  [ Image credit: © Healthy Choice.com  ]
Angelica LaVito, "Conagra's Bet on Frozen Food Appears to Be Paying Off", CNBC, November 15, 2017, © CNBC LLC
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U.K. Bread Waste Activists Turn Toast Into Propaganda

November 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST

A campaign by a London newspaper inspired two advertising professionals to get serious about food waste, especially the wasteful disposal of uneaten bread. They developed a campaign of their own called Edible Leaflets in which they “toast facts on how to waste less onto slices of bread and give them out in London.” The idea was to inscribe fun facts or slogans about food waste on the bread and hand them out on the streets of the city. The toasted slices offered crumbs of wisdom like “1 in 3 slices binned,” “1 slice for every human on earth,” “never too old to make croutons,” and “feed me to the ducks,” all designed to “get people’s attention by tackling the problem” – wasted bread – “in a fun way.”  [ Image credit: © Edible Leaflets  ]

Victoria Stewart, "Meet the Duo Tackling London's Food Waste Problem Head-On with Edible Leaflets", Evening Standard, November 13, 2017, © Standard.co.UK
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Entrepreneurs Hope Cookie Dough Café Will Uplift Depressed Neighborhood

November 12, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A 24-year-old Detroit native has teamed up with his sister and a friend to launch an edible cookie dough café next spring, if they can raise the $400,000 start-up investment.from a mix of loans, accelerator grants, and private investments, They see their venture breaking even after a couple of years, while serving as a "beacon of hope" in a depressed Detroit neighborhood. Café patrons will be able to create their own treats from any of five dough bases and more than 50 mix-ins. Scoops of dough  will begin at $5 each, and mix-ins will be $0.50.  [ Image credit: © CenterCutCook.com  ]
Tyler Clifford, "Team Plans Cookie Dough Cafe to Help Boost Detroit Neighborhood", Crain’s, November 12, 2017, © Crain Communications, Inc.
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USDA, U.S. Pork Producers, Slam WHO Guidelines On Antibiotics Use

November 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The World Health Organization says that reductions in the use of antibiotics in food animals would reduce antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the meat production chain by as much as 39 percent. WHO recently published guidelines that proposed ending the use of antibiotics in food animals for disease prevention and growth promotion. Specifically, the organization proposed complete restriction of use of all classes of medically important antimicrobials in food-producing animals for prevention of infectious diseases that have not yet been clinically diagnosed. USDA acting chief scientist Chavonda Jacobs-Young said the new guidelines “are not in alignment with U.S. policy and are not supported by sound science.” The National Pork Producers Council also expressed strong disagreement with WHO’s guidelines.  [ Image credit: © Sintef  ]
P. Scott Shearer, "WHO Proposes Ending Antibiotics for Prevention in Food Animals", National Hog Farmer, November 10, 2017, © Penton
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Onsite Digestion Machine Could Help Restaurants Convert Food Waste To Power

November 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A start-up company that was spun off from a British university has developed a prototype of an onsite anaerobic digestion machine that uses microbes to convert restaurant and hospital food waste to biogas. The gas can then be used to create electricity for heat or power. The U.K. has more than 200 anaerobic digestion plants, but this is the first onsite solution. The entrepreneur who developed the prototype and launched the company out of her doctoral research is seeking the funding needed to commercialize the project within a year.  [ Image credit: © IntelliDigest  ]
"University Spin-Out Turns Food into Electricity", Heriot-Watt University, November 10, 2017, © Heriot-Watt University
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French Baker Defends His $29 Brioche Loaf

November 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The owner of a French bakery that opened recently in San Francisco defends his expensive offerings as the “real deal,” and the same amount charged in any big city. Les Gourmands, owned by baker Sylvain Chaillout, sells a $29 brioche loaf, which some social media commenters castigated. Chaillout noted that the high prices help pay for the bakery’s 18-month paid apprenticeships for bakers-in-training, which start at $14 an hour. And the brioche? A San Francisco Chronicle reporter called it “sweet, rich and buttery.” [ Image credit: ©  Les Gourmands  ]
Michael Mcgough, "Pricey or ‘Ripoff’? Recently Opened San Francisco Bakery Sells $29 Loaf of Bread", The Sacramento Bee, November 10, 2017, © SacBee.com
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Successful Innovators Embrace Failure

November 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
While many top executives pay li[p service to the virtues of innovation and creativity, they fear mistakes, missteps, and disappointments. Creativity and innovation disappear. People and organizations need to keep learning as the world changes, or they will stop growing and evolving. One of the reasons for the success of companies like Netflix, Amazon.com, and Coca-Cola, is that their leadership embrace failure as a learning and innovation tool. Coke CEO James Quincey, for example, recently told his executives to shed their fear of failure – remember the “New Coke” fiasco? – so they could really ramp up innovation. “If we’re not making mistakes,” Quincey said, “we’re not trying hard enough.”
Bill Taylor, "How Coca-Cola, Netflix, and Amazon Learn from Failure", Harvard Business Review, November 10, 2017, © Harvard Business School Publishing
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Bezos Aide Steve Keller To Helm Amazon’s Delivery, Grocery, Store Ventures

November 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos has given a longtime aide responsibility for Prime Now, AmazonFresh, as well as the $13.5-billion Whole Foods Market acquisition and brick-and-mortar book and convenience stores. The idea, according to observers, is to facilitate changes across the rapid-delivery and grocery-delivery operations, and the physical facilities. Steve Kessel [left] spent several years managing Amazon’s digital ventures, including books and music. His teams developed the Kindle e-reader Fire tablet in late 2011. After a four-year sabbatical, he returned in 2015 to oversee efforts to reimagine the in-store experience. [ Image credit: © Amazon.com ]
Laura Stevens, "Amazon Puts Whole Foods, Delivery Units Under Bezos Lieutenant", The Wall Street Journal, November 09, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc
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Au Bon Pain Reunites With Panera Bread

November 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Soup and sandwich restaurant chain Panera Bread has purchased 304-unit cafe/bakery company Au Bon Pain, which was once spun off from the Panera business by founder Ron Shaich. JAB Holding Co., a family-held European company, purchased publicly-held Panera earlier this year for $7.5 billion and took it private. JAB owns the coffee brands Keurig Green Mountain, Peet’s Coffee, and Caribou Coffee, and last year paid $1.35 billion for the Krispy Kreme Doughnuts chain. Shaich will step down as Panera CEO in January. [ Image credit: © Wikipedia   ]
Tiffany Hsu, "Panera Bread Buys Au Bon Pain, Adding to JAB’s Breakfast Empire", The New York Times, November 08, 2017, © The New York Times Company
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Ahold USA Earns Perfect Survey Score On LGBT Workplace Equality

November 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Ahold USA, the parent company of supermarket chains Stop & Shop, Giant, and Martin’s, as well as the grocery shopping/delivery company Peapod, received a perfect score on the 2018 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. The national benchmarking survey and report evaluates corporate policies and practices lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) workplace equality. The high score earned Ahold USA the designation as a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality.” [ Image credit: © HRC ]
"Ahold USA Earns Top Marks In 2018 Corporate Equality Index", News release, Ahold, November 09, 2017, © Ahold
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Foods Meet FDA Pesticide Residue Standards That May Be Badly Out Of Date

November 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The FDA reported that almost all domestic food, and 90 percent of imported food, it had tested was free of pesticides residues. Foods tested included almonds, fish, milk, soybeans, apples, cabbage, etc. Pesticide chemical residues were higher than federal tolerance levels in less than two percent – 15 out of 835 – of domestic food samples and less than 10 percent of import samples. However, the FDA tolerance levels may be too low, since they are usually set for healthy adult males, and they are years out of date anyway. They should be higher for pregnant women and children, according to the Pesticide Action Network, which advocates buying organic foods when possible.[ Image credit: © Wikipedia  ]
Susan Salisbury, "Pesticides in Our Food Supply: What the Latest FDA Report Found", Palm Beach Post, November 08, 2017, © Cox Media Group
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Restaurant Nutritional Labeling To Arrive In May 2018

November 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
After numerous delays over eight years, the USDA has issued guidance on the implementation of the Obama-era law – part of the Affordable Care Act – requiring nutritional menu labeling. The guidance is intended to provide more flexibility to restaurants, convenience retailers, and pizza chains by offering more options for labeling calories on their menus. Restaurants could place a single placard a buffet bar, for example, instead of labeling each item individually. The controversial requirement, set to take effect in May of this year, was delayed again by the Trump administration. The new implementation date is May 2018. [ Image credit: © restaurant.org  ]
"FDA Is Moving Forward With Menu-Labeling", NACS, November 08, 2017, © NACS
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Starbucks To Offer Princi Foods In Its Reserve Roastery Locations

November 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Starbucks Coffee Company has opened the first Princi bakery and café location in the U.S. at its Reserve Roastery in Seattle, which opened in December 2014. The Princi bakery offers freshly-baked Italian food based on artisan baker Rocco Princi’s recipes. Princi also operates six bakeries in Milan and in London’s Soho neighborhood. The company said Princi will become the exclusive food offering in new Reserve Roastery locations, including Shanghai, opening next month, Milan in late 2018, and later in New York, Tokyo, and Chicago. [ Image credit: © Starbucks   ]
"Starbucks Brings Renowned Italian Princi Bakery to the U.S. Inside Seattle Reserve Roastery", News release, Starbucks, November 07, 2017, © Starbucks Corporation
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Hain Celestial‘s 1st Quarter Delivered “Solid” Gains In Sales, Profit

November 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Organic and natural products company Hain Celestial posted a healthy first quarter 2018 net sales increase of four percent to $708.3 million. Gross margin rose 250 basis points to 18.6 percent, and operating income soared 129 percent to $31.5 million. Diluted earnings per share was $0.19, while adjusted diluted EPS was $0.23. CEO Irwin D. Simon called the results "solid with improved net sales growth and profitability” and met expectations across all business segments. [ Image credit: © Hain Celestial ]
"Hain Celestial Reports First Quarter Fiscal Year 2018 Financial Results", News release, Hain Celestial, November 07, 2017, © Hain Celestial
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Aldi Customers Using The Venmo Payment App Can Donate Meals To Needy

November 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Discount grocery chain Aldi has partnered with the PayPal Venmo payment app to donate Thanksgiving meals to Feeding America. The meals are automatically donated every time a Venmo user adds a Turkey Hand Thanksgiving emoji on the payment screen. Feeding America annually provides meals to more than 46 million people through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs. Germany-based Aldi operates 1,700 stores in 35 U.S. states. [ Image credit: ©  Aldi ]
Chantal Tode, Robert Williams, "Aldi Partners with Venmo for Emoji-Based Holiday Giving Campaign", Mobile Marketer, November 07, 2017, © Industry Dive
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Coca-Cola EP Says Quarterly Revenue Drop Was Anticipated

November 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The CEO of Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) said the company had expected the 1.5 percent drop in third quarter revenue year-over-year, noting that operating profit still rose 2.5 percent. Total revenue in the quarter was $3.5 billion (€3 billion) with operating profit reaching $547 million (€470 million). Damian Gammell said the company remains focused on driving profitable revenue growth, expanding its portfolio, and continuing to invest in the business by improving sales force capabilities, evolving routes-to-market, reducing low-value promotions, and leveraging digital caabilities. For the full 2017 financial year, the company sees diluted earnings per share in the range of $2.44 (€2.10) to $2.48 (€2.13).
"Coca-Cola European Partners Sees Revenue Drop 1.5% in Q3", European Supermarket Magazine, November 07, 2017, © European Supermarket Magazine
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New Packaging Technology Extends Shelf Life Of Baked Goods

November 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A new packaging technology is now being used by a German baking company to provide ready-to-serve cakes without the need for cold chain, freezers, or defrosting by the consumers. The technology, developed by Constantia Flexible, comprises a sealed aluminum container that keeps the cakes at ambient temperature for a full year without artificial preservatives. Bäckerei Stiebling, which is bringing its Cakees business to the U.S., says the alufoil containers are resistant to the baking process and can be sealed airtight instantly after the baking process.  [ Image credit: © Bäckerei Stiebling  ]
Jenny Eagle, "Cakees Sees Geographic Expansion Thanks to Ready-To-Serve Cake Container", BakeryAndSnacks.com, November 07, 2017, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Amazon Closes Two Whole Foods Stores In UK

November 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon said it plans to close two Whole Foods stores in the UK. Included in the shutdown list are the stores in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, and in Giffnock, East Renfrewshire, cutting the number of Whole Foods store in the country down to seven. About 150 people work at the two stores.
Ashley Armstrong, "Amazon closes two UK Whole Foods stores just two months after completing its £10.7bn takeover", Telegraph, November 06, 2017, © Telegraph Media Group Limited
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Whole Foods’ Top Trends In Beverage Ingredients And Formats

November 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Floral-flavored beverages are among the top food trends for 2018 spotlighted by the global buyers at Whole Foods Market. Whole flowers and petals like lavender, rose, hibiscus, and elderflower have made their way into lattés, cocktails, and sparkling waters. Powders like matcha, maca root and cacao offer an alternative to coffee. Functional mushrooms, including reishi, chaga, cordyceps, and lion’s mane star, are showing up in bottled drinks, coffees, smoothies, and teas. Plant-based ingredients and proteins (e.g., pili nuts, peas, bananas, macadamia nuts, pecans) are being used in nut milks and yogurts. Last but not least: flavored sparkling waters include plant-derived options from Sap! (made with maple and birch) and sparkling cold brew from Stumptown. “Mocktails” are being made with Topo Chico and Whole Foods fizzy waters.
"Whole Foods Market Reveals Top Food Trends for 2018", News release, Whole Foods Market, November 06, 2017, © Whole Foods Market
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Calif. Dairy Industry Says Non-GMO Milk Is Really A “Non-Issue”

November 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Despite criticism that smacks of mockery, a San Francisco Bay-area dairy is now selling milk labeled “non-GMO,” claiming that cows producing it had never eaten grains containing genetically modified organisms. Clover Sonoma dairy has been in the vanguard of the movement to purify dairy products by removing or keeping out troubling additives like growth hormones. Its cattle feed has been organic for two decades. But organic milk is expensive. So it devised a cheaper way to ease consumer concerns by adopting the non-GMO labeling. Industry experts, however, say it’s a non-issue. "It's really trying to market a distinction without a difference," said the president of the National Milk Producers Federation, whose "peel back the label" campaign is trying to shed some light on the topic. A UC-Davis animal genomics scientist said, “It's like unicorn-free milk. There aren't any GMOs in milk anyway." [ Image credit: © Wikipedia  ]
Geoffrey Mohan, "Labeling Milk Non-GMO Baffles Experts", Arkansas Online, November 05, 2017, © Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
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British Chefs Donate Waste For Composting, Then Growing Produce For Restaurants

November 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A self-styled “food waste farmer” is teaching British chefs to rent plots of land, donate their waste food for composting, then grow crops for use by their restaurants. About ten London chefs are renting 1,100-square-foot gardens owned by Indie Ecology, which are worked by farmers to organically grow whatever fruits, vegetables, and flowers the chefs want. The goal of former chef Igor Vaintraub is to help transform the way chefs think and act about their impact on nature and the environment.  [ Image credit: © Vermont Compost Company  ]
"Plotting to convert waste into taste", The Sunday Telegraph (London), November 05, 2017, © Telegraph Media Group Limited
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An Expanding Global Population Requires Smarter Agriculture, Food Engineering

November 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
As world population grows by 83 million people annually, by 2030 there will be a billion more people to feed on planet Earth. That can’t be accomplished without some serious innovation in food production and agriculture. The solution entails advanced technology and "precision agriculture" – digital solutions and advanced data analytics – that would boost crop production efficiency and improve yields, cuts costs, and increase crop resilience. Use of drones and robotics would reduce labor and energy intensity with remote, automated crop monitoring. Another way to expand the food base is by engineering meat protein that tastes like the real thing but requires much less land to produce than beef.  [ Image credit: © Whole Foods Market  ]
Alison Coleman, "From Plantburgers to Cutting Food Waste: How to Feed the Next Billion", Raconteur, November 05, 2017, © Raconteur Media Ltd.
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Italian Fashion Company Adopts Food Theme As It Partners With Pasta Maker

November 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana has partnered with Italian pasta maker Pastificio di Martino to produce a limited-edition tin of pastas accompanied by a D&G-designed apron. Just 5,000 of the tins will be available worldwide, only a fifth of which will be sold in the U.S. Pastificio di Martino, based in Naples, produces more than 9,000 tons of pasta a day from 100 percent Italian durum wheat. Dolce & Gabbana has designed the packaging for three of Pastaficio’s 125 shapes: spaghetti, the tubular paccheri, and penne mezzani rigate. In September, D&G’s line of food-oriented outfits walked the runway at the Paris show for its spring 2018 collection.  [ Image credit: © Pastificio di Martino ]
Kate Krader, "Dolce & Gabbana Is Now in the Pasta Business", Bloomberg Pursuits, November 03, 2017, © Bloomberg Finance L.P.
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Not Clear If “Pimple Cupcakes” Video Boosted Bakery’s Business

November 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A video made by an Oklahoma baker and shared on Facebook has garnered 42 million views. The video shows one of her “pimple cupcakes” being squeezed and “popped,” as yellow pus-like filling squirts out the top. The video has been called disgusting and hilarious, but no matter what, it is always fascinating. The popularity of the footage – 300,000 shares on Facebook – has led to requests from around the world for orders. But the baker has balked at global shipping, and has apologized to potential customers. She said it would be “reckless” to try shipping cupcakes without knowing how to protect them from being “mushed.” Really? Noted Kansas City Star food writer Lisa Gutierrez: “Like that’s the worst thing she’s ever done to a cupcake.”  [ Image credit: © The Kansas City Star ]
Lisa Gutierrez, "Eeeew! Millions are Fascinated by this Popping Pimple Cupcake Video", The Kansas City Star, November 03, 2017, © The Kansas City Star
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Food Donations Up 20 Percent In Italy Since 2016 Food Waste Law

November 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Italians are donating 20 percent more food to charities since the enactment of a law designed to curb food waste, a politician says. The law, which went into effect in September 2016, expanded the types of foods that could be donated beyond products with a long shelf life. Cooked food, fruits and vegetables, much of it sourced from produce markets, cruise ships, and sporting events. can now be donated to the needy, said Maria Chiara Gadda.  [ Image credit: © Forgotten Harvest  ]
"Donations Up 20% after Food-Waste Law", ANSA, November 03, 2017, © ANSA
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It’s Official: Hydroponic Cultivation Is Organic

November 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Organic farmers are hopping mad over a recent 8-7 decision – a final ruling, in fact – by the National Organic Standards board that vegetables grown hydroponically do not violate the principles of organic farming. The farmers argue that organic farming is all about “soil health, regenerating the soil,” and not about growing vegetables in nutrient-filled fluids. Hydroponic farmers, however, say their methods are more environmentally sound. Tomatoes, for example, can be grown with three to five gallons of water per pound of production. Growing tomatoes in open fields can use up to 37 gallons of water. Open field cultivation "uses more water, more land, destroys more natural habitat. I mean, what is the true essence of organic?" The government-appointed board advises the USDA on rules for the organic industry.  [ Image credit: © NDSU  ]
Dan Charles, "Hydroponic Veggies Are Taking Over Organic, And A Move To Ban Them Fails", National Public Radio, November 02, 2017, © npr
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Stagnant Indonesia Economy Could Drive Unilever To Tinker With Product Portfolio

November 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A PT Unilever Indonesia executive said a stagnant business environment tends to increase the cost of living and push middle-class consumers toward smaller, cheaper products. More affluent consumers, however, continue to buy premium-priced goods. Consumer research in Indonesia shows that the composition of high-income, middle-income, and low-income consumers is now 10 percent-40 percent-50 percent, respectively. The middle-income segment could decline, however, if the stagnant environment persisted. Anticipating that, Unilever would “need to change our portfolio."  [ Image credit: © Unilever Indonesia   ]
Anton Hermansyah, "Middle consumer segment shifts to lower-value goods", The Jakarta Post, November 02, 2017, © PT. Niskala Media Tenggara
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VCs In India Continue To Target Beverage Firms

November 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Venture capital firms in India continue to invest heavily in food and beverage companies because they’ve had good results backing, developing and selling off their projects. Recent activity has included a $6 million investment by Sequoia Capital, Saama Capital, and DSG Consumer Partners in Rakyan Beverages, which produces organic cold-pressed juices under the RAW Pressery brand. A prime example of successful beverage company investment is Verlinvest, which backed Glaceau Smartwater, selling it to Coca-Cola for $4.2 billion, and the $300 million Vita Coco coconut drinks company.
Ranju Sarkar, "RAW Pressery to Beer Cafe: VCs are Betting on Consumer Food", Business Standard, November 02, 2017, © Business Standard Private Limited
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Dietary Supplement/Ingredient Maker’s Products Certified Glyphosate-Free

November 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
An independent research organization has certified dietary supplement and ingredient maker MegaFood’s entire product line glyphosate residue free. Glyphosate is the main active ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup, and is used as a weed killer in commercial agriculture and in home gardens, public parks and schools. Natural foods company MegaFoods produces its line of 44 FoodState vitamins, minerals, and other dietary supplements from farm-fresh whole foods. The glyphosate-free certification was granted by the Detox Project. [ Image credit: © Roundup  ]
"MegaFood Becomes First Supplement Brand to Have Its Entire Line of Products Certified Glyphosate Residue Free", MegaFoods, November 02, 2017, © MegaFoods
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Danone Russia Tests Selling Dairy Products Online

November 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Danone’s Russian division has launched a test website to sell dairy and baby food products online. The Tema, Prostokvashino, Activia, and Actimel (drinkable yogurt) brands will be offered on milkdirect.ru with a minimum purchase of $8.68, and free delivery within 30 km of the Moscow Automobile Ring Road (MKAD). Industry experts say at least a thousand orders a day are required for profitability. Danone plans similar projects in the U.S. and France.
"Russia: Danone launches online store", Esmerk, November 01, 2017, © Esmerk Oy
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Australian Scientists Create Machine That Turns Unsold Produce Into Healthy Snacks

October 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Scientists at Australia’s national science agency CSIRO have developed an extrusion machine that can turn agricultural food waste into healthy snacks, cooking ingredients, soup premixes, etc. Powders produced [left] can be used in smoothies, dips, sauces, spreads, pasta, noodles, or bakery items. Growers could use the machine to generate a secondary income line by turning unharvested produce – e.g., broccoli or carrots – that might otherwise be left on the field into high-value food ingredients or healthy snack products, scientists said. According to CSIRO, the machine is ready for commercialization; the agency is demonstrating it to growers to determine the level of interest. [ Image credit: © Chloe Smith / The Weekly Times  ]
Lyndal Reading, "Food Waste: Excess Crops Become Base for Healthy Snacks", The Weekly Times, October 31, 2017, © The Herald & Weekly Times Pty Limited
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U.S. Consumers Need To Know About Benefits Of Unrefined Whole Grains

October 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Australia’s Freedom Foods Group is on a mission to educate American consumers about the benefits of unrefined whole grains, the kind it uses to make its range of Barley+ breakfast muesli products and snack bars. According to the company, the highly refined carbohydrates in the American diet not only do not deliver nutritional benefits like a healthier gut, they increase the risk of disease. Kroger Supermarkets in the U.S. is selling the Barley+ range, with distribution expanding in both the U.S. and Australia. The toasted muesli collection is available in three flavors: cranberry and nuts, pink lady and macadamia muesli, and maple and nut. They retail for $6.49.  [ Image credit: © Freedom Foods  ]
"Carbs are Not the Enemy: Natural Foods Company Believes They Are The Secret to Gut Well-Being", News release, Freedom Foods Group, October 31, 2017, © Freedom Foods Group
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