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Food Trends Insight Alert Archive

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Food Trends

News and developments about food trends and food innovation
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June 01, 2019, to September 15, 2019

Edelman Report Discusses Major Global Food, Beverage Trends

Global PR firm Edelman’s new food and beverage industry report highlights this year’s major trends. Demand for customization or foods and beverages, for example, has steadily increased over the past decade, but companies will need to protect consumer data used to develop personalized products. Companies are turning to “superpowders” to deliver health benefits. The powders are made from functional ingredients like ancient herbs, roots, and plants that contain collagen, adaptogens, ashwagandha, and turmeric. Companies are also developing FODMAP-friendly products that do not trigger uncomfortable digestive symptoms in susceptible people, especially those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Other key trends include: a rise in global tea consumption and the emergence of new tea flavors; the advent of a “sixth taste concept” (beyond sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami) called kokumi; and consumer demand for curtailed use of plastic, and increased attention to water usage and upcycling of food waste. 

Asia’s Gen Z Consumers Want Health Benefits, Exotic Flavors

Health-conscious Generation Z consumers in the Asia-Pacific region not only want natural health benefits from their beverages, they are also looking for new and “exotic” flavors and are willing to experiment. Research firm GlobalData says Asian-inspired infused beverages containing matcha, ginseng and guarana are “at the forefront of consumers' product purchase decision-making.” Brands hoping to tap into Asia's rapidly-developing markets are using combinations of "unique flavors and healthy ingredients" to sell soft drinks. An example is Suntory Beverage & Food's experiment with its Goodmood brand, a “water plus” drink with yogurt. The company is rolling it out across Asia, with well-received launches in Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Coca-Cola, meanwhile, has launched its Authentic Tea House range in six Asian markets, with more planned next year. The RTD teas contain no sugar, additives or preservatives; variants include Ayataka Japanese Green Tea, Da Hong Pao Oolong Tea. and Chrysanthemum Tea.

Consumer Interest In “Food As Medicine” Fuels Continued Growth Of Functional Beverages

About 25 percent of American consumers are attempting to manage a medical condition through diet – the concept of “food as medicine.” That fact is reflected in the growing number of innovative beverages that deliver functional nutrients via a grab-and-go drink. Beverage companies are catering to strong consumer interest in antioxidants, digestive health, and the as yet unproven benefits of cannabidiol (CBD). Other functional ingredients companies are experimenting with include: mushrooms, the ashwagandha herb and other adaptogens, turmeric, ginger, prebiotic fibers, and probiotics. Companies active in functional drinks include: Mamma Chia (Chia Prebiotic Squeeze and Chia Energy Squeeze); Remedy Organics (Golden Mind with omega-3 fatty acids and adaptogenic herbs); Kiito Inc. (plant protein drinks for keto dieters); Kitu Life Inc. (Super Espresso with caffeine, whey protein concentrate, and coconut MCT oil); Uptime Energy Inc. (L-theanine-based energy drink); Jade Leaf Matcha (tea latte in four functional formulations); and Dona Chai (carbonated beverages with functional ingredients).

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May 01, 2019, to June 01, 2019

Company Provides DNA Trace Back System To Assure Origins Of U.S. Food

A 2017 survey by Label Insights found that three-quarters of consumers would exchange their favorite food brands for ones that provide more in-depth product information beyond the physical packaging. With that in mind, Virginia-based Performance Food Group Company (PFG) has been working with European technology innovator IdentiGEN for 10 years to align supply chains, building the first complete DNA trace back system to the farm. The idea is to provide greater accountability, improve sustainability, ensure quality, and prevent fraud. For example, Braveheart Black Angus Beef, a premium Midwest-raised beef that is traceable back to its origins with DNA technology, has been added to the menus of 18,000 U.S. restaurants in 900 U.S. cities since its debut. The fastest growing part of PFG's protein program is fresh meat produced under PFG's proprietary PathProven program, PFG's assurance that the product is traceable, auditable, and meets a specific set of farming and processing standards established and controlled by PFG. 

U.S. Food Exporter Helps West African Farmers Get The Grain Fonio To Market

Brooklyn’s Yolélé Foods, which imports the sub-Saharan African grain fonio, is working with SOS Sahel to help farmers in the semi-arid region increase their productivity, improve the supply chain, and in turn enhance their livelihood. The farmers cultivate nutritious fonio – gluten-free, high in protein, iron, and fiber – on land that is sandy, rocky, and generally unfriendly to most crops, hard to process  without good equipment, and saddled with a fragmented supply chain. It’s difficult if not impossible to bring substantial quantities to the marketplace. But Yolélé Foods and SOS Sahel have spearheaded the creation of the first industrial scale mill in Dakar (Senegal) to efficiently process the grain and boost supply. "People should expect to find it on store shelves within the year," says a spokesman for Yolélé Foods. 

History Of Eating Disorders Predisposes People To "Clean Eating" Obsession

Researchers at York University's Faculty of Health (U.K.) say those who have a history of an eating disorder, obsessive-compulsive traits, dieting, poor body image, and a drive for thinness are more likely to develop a pathological obsession with healthy eating or consuming only healthy food, known as orthorexia nervosa (ON). Although eating healthy is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, for some people this preoccupation with healthy eating can become physically and socially impairing. The researchers reviewed studies published through the end of 2018 in two databases to determine the psychosocial risk factors associated with orthorexia nervosa. "When taken to the extreme, an obsession with clean eating can be a sign that the person is struggling to manage their mental health," they concluded (McComb et al., Appetite 2019)

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April 01, 2019, to May 01, 2019

Fast Food Restaurants Are Selling Roundup Herbicide With Their Entrees

Nonprofit foodservice industry watchdog GMO Free USA published a report detailing the results of food tests for glyphosate residue across fifteen popular fast food and casual restaurants in the U.S. A Panera Bread sample had the highest level of glyphosate of all 44 restaurant foods tested. The irony is that the company’s primary marketing claim is: "100 percent of our food is 100 percent clean." Other restaurants tested include Chili's Grill & Bar, Domino's Pizza, Dunkin' Donuts, IHOP, Le Pain Quotidien, McDonald's, Olive Garden, Outback Steakhouse, Papa John's, Pizza Hut, Pret a Manger, Subway, Taco Bell, and Whole Foods Market. Glyphosate has been linked to cancer, disturbances in the microbiome and the depletion of our bodies' ability to detoxify." A growing body of peer-reviewed science links glyphosate to numerous health harms at levels found in some restaurant foods tested. 

A La Mode Ice Cream Gets Rid Of All Artificial Flavors, Colors

Egg-free ice cream brand A La Mode of New York announced it is transitioning to all-natural ingredients while introducing a packaging update to the current upbeat and playful cartons, most notably including color changing spoons. The nut-, sesame- and egg-free line is being revamped with all-natural coloring and ingredients now available in pints and soon to be offered in cups and bars. The company also noted that its cartons will be fully recyclable in an effort to further A La Mode's mission to be fully sustainable.

Meat Companies May Be Misleading Consumers By Claiming Products Are “Natural”

Although American consumers want “all-natural” meats – with no antibiotics, hormones, or preservatives – the USDA says that in meats and poultry “natural” only means no artificial ingredients and minimal processing. Major meat companies, meanwhile, are catering to consumer desires by claiming or implying in advertising that their products are natural. Those claims are legal, as long as they follow USDA guidelines, even if they mislead shoppers. That was basically the ruling of the D.C. Superior Court when on April 8 it dismissed a lawsuit by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) alleging Hormel was misleading consumers. But in statements disclosed in the court filing, a Hormel executive said the same pigs it uses to make its famous Spam brand meat product are also used in Natural Choice pork products. Those pigs are often given antibiotics and are rarely allowed outdoors. An ALDF attorney said Hormel was engaged in “a massive attempt to manipulate and dupe the consumer to purchase something they have no intention to purchase.” 

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March 01, 2019, to April 01, 2019

Bimbo Says Its Arnold, Brownberry, and Orowheat Bread Is Now “Clean Label”





Bimbo Bakeries USA announced that one of its bakery brands is now being produced without artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, or other dubious compounds and chemicals. The company’s “No Added Nonsense” initiative was created to meet consumer demands for “clean label” baked goods with “simple, easy-to-recognize” ingredients, the company said. The Arnold, Brownberry, and Oroweat brand also removed monoglycerides, diacetyl tartaric acid esters of monoglycerides (DATEM), and high-fructose corn syrup from its whole grain line, which includes Oatnut, 100 percent Whole Wheat, 12 Grain, Healthy Multi-Grain and Health Nut. In previous years, the brand removed bromate, bleached flour, azodicarbonamide (ADA), SSL & CSL, and partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) from all breads.

Milk Producers Urge FDA To Enforce Legal Definition Of “Milk”

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) has filed a citizen petition with the FDA proposing that plant-based brands that do not match dairy counterparts nutritionally should use the term imitation (e.g., imitation milk); while those that do match dairy nutritionally should use terms such as substitute or alternative (e.g., yogurt alternative). The NMPF said dairy milk is a key source of nutrients, including vitamin D, a nutrient in milk that has virtually eliminated the disease known as rickets. The Federation says the FDA’s decades lack of enforcement of laws that limit the term milk to the lacteal secretions of cows has allowed marketplace chaos to grow exponentially. The Plant Based Foods Association, however, argues that requiring a disparaging word such as imitation on labels would violate the First Amendment. Moreover, the NMPF is trying to solve a problem that does not exist: consumers are not confused, and they are not being misled.

USDA, FDA To Jointly Regulate Cultured Meat Products

Federal agencies USDA and FDA will share regulatory oversight duties for culture meat production to ensure food safety and correct labeling practices. The FDA will oversee cell collection, cell banks, and cell growth and differentiation. During the harvest stage, regulation will shift to the USDA’s FSIS, which will oversee the production and labeling of human food products derived from the cells of livestock and poultry. The USDA said consumers trust the USDA mark of inspection to ensure safe, wholesome and accurately labeled products. The U.S. Cattlemen s Association (USCA) said it was encouraged by the joint regulatory oversight of cell-based meats, and pleased that FSIS will have pre-market labeling authority. The association, however, reiterated its stance that the term meat, and more specifically beef, refers to products derived exclusively from the flesh of a bovine animal harvested in the traditional manner. 

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February 01, 2019, to March 01, 2019

Dairy Co-op Demands That FDA Enforce Rules Regarding “Milk” Labeling


Wisconsin’s Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative has demanded that the FDA “no longer turn a blind eye to misleading labeling” of plant-based beverages as “milk.” In comments submitted to the agency, Edge called on the FDA to "take immediate action" to enforce existing regulations that define dairy foods as originating from cow's milk. The enforcement is “long overdue and increasingly important,” the co-op said. The FDA has asked for public input to help determine customers' understanding of the labeling and differences between dairy products and plant-based non-dairy products and the effects on purchasing decisions. The FDA says the input could affect any industry guidance it might issue.

USDA Issues Final GMO Food Labeling Rule

It took nearly three years, but the USDA in December issued the final rule implementing the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS) signed into law by President Obama in 2016. The NBFDS pre-empted state and local genetic engineering labeling requirements. The rule takes effect on February 19; implementation will be phased in over the next three years. The NBFDS requires food manufacturers, importers of food labeled for retail sale in the U.S., and some U.S. retailers to disclose foods and ingredients produced from foods that are or may be bioengineered. Disclosure can be through text, a symbol, electronic or digital link, or text message. For example, the text disclosure can say “bioengineered food” or “contains a bioengineered food ingredient” for a multi-ingredient food. 

Dangerous Chemicals Found In Foods Produced, Sold By Grocery Chains

Environmental organization network Friends of the Earth said that its testing found store and name-brand foods produced and sold by the top four U.S. food retailers contain residues of toxic pesticides linked to a range of serious health and environmental problems. The foods were purchased in 15 cities across the country by Friends of the Earth and a number of allies, including Environment Texas. Oat cereals, apples, applesauce, spinach and pinto beans from Kroger, Walmart, Costco, and Albertsons stores contained detectable amounts of glyphosate – key ingredient of the herbicide Roundup – organophosphates and neonicotinoids. The average level of glyphosate found in cereal samples (360 parts per billion) was more than twice the level set by scientists at Environmental Working Group for lifetime cancer risk for children. The average level of glyphosate found in pinto beans (509 ppb) was more than 4.5 times the benchmark.

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January 01, 2019, to February 01, 2019

Clean Label Egg Wash Replacer Now Available To N.A. Commercial Bakeries

California-based baking ingredients producer Pak Group has developed a product to help commercial bakeries consistently achieve the ideal glaze while still claiming products are clean labels. Bellarise Shine is a gluten- and dairy-free vegan egg wash replacer made from water, sunflower oil, pea proteins, dextrose and modified starch. It is non-GMO, vegan, dairy-free, and removes allergens from bread labels. The company says it is suitable for use in a wide range of applications, including croissants, brioche, buns and patisserie. The product will also help bakers avoid the highly variable cost of eggs, the company says. Bellarise Shine, which took the company a year to develop, is available now for customers in North America.

Australia Sees Profit Potential In Legume Known As Lupins




A growing number of companies in West Australia are capitalizing on the nutritional benefits of the legume seed of the lupinus genus, the popular flowering plants known as lupins. The seeds are gluten-free, low carb, and rich in protein, amino acids, and prebiotics (i.e., fiber). An example of the phenomenon is a former chef who has been making lupin granola for almost three years. He buys lupin flakes, mixes them with nuts, grains and seeds, and roasts them in a slow oven, creating a nutritious, tasty granola. The lupin granola is used as a base in protein bars and slices, and there's a chia pudding topped with it. Eighty-five percent of the world's lupins are grown in West Australia.

Blockchain Technology May Deliver Believability In Food Labeling

Food businesses use a lot of marketing and packaging gimmicks to convince consumers to buy their products. A large majority of Americans say they’ve felt tricked by the gimmickry. So how to build faith in food?  One solution would be to adopt a blockchain-based system that would provide a more accurate and trustworthy version of product labels, especially when it comes to claims about organic or non-GMO. Blockchain technology increases transparency and accountability in food supply chains and sets industry-wide standards. Manufacturers and wholesalers are already using it to track food. In the U.S., Walmart is working with IBM to streamline and improve its food safety system. European retail giant Carrefour is tracking chicken, eggs, and tomatoes from farms to grocery store shelves, and plans to expand that system to all their fresh products.

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December 15, 2018, to January 01, 2019

ShopRite’s Partnership With Perdue Produces Antibiotics-Free Fried Chicken

East Coast grocery chain’s partnership with Perdue Farms has led to the introduction of an eight-piece grab-and-go fried chicken item that promises “no antibiotics, ever” (NAE). The relationship with Perdue has also produced rotisserie chicken, roaster breast, and roaster leg quarters. The fried chicken is the company's newest style of NAE poultry that is hand-breaded, raised cage free and made fresh throughout the day. According to ShopRite, the products are priced at or below most conventional rotisserie and fried chicken offerings. ShopRite is the registered trademark of Wakefern Food Corp., a retailer-owned cooperative based in New Jersey and the largest supermarket cooperative in the U.S.

Carcinogenic Synthetic Flavors Ordered Removed From Food Products

The FDA has ordered the removal of six artificial flavors from food products because they cause cancer in animals at doses far higher than what a person would consume. The six flavoring substances include synthetically-derived benzophenone, ethyl acrylate, eugenyl methyl ether (methyl eugenol), myrcene, pulegone, and pyridine. The substances are being removed under the Delaney Clause of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The food industry has two years to comply, though the FDA believes the ingredients are safe in the trace amounts they are used. Neither the FDA nor the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association responded when asked for examples of products the six ingredients are used in. But they noted that the compounds have natural counterparts in foods like basil, coffee, grapes and peppermint, and that the action does not affect the naturally derived versions.

McDonald’s In The Vanguard Of Movement To Reduce Antibiotics In Beef

With a nudge from the Natural Resources Defense Council, McDonald's announced it has told its beef suppliers around the world to cut back on the use of antibiotics beginning in 2019. Implementation will begin with pilot projects in ten markets around the world, including in the U.S. McDonald’s is the first big burger chain to launch such a policy, though other fast food leaders – Chipotle, Panera, Subway – have either cut antibiotic use in their beef supplies or have committed to do so. A spokesman for the NRDC said: “Nobody in the world sells more burgers than McDonald's, and their actions can shape the future of the industry.” Forty-three percent of medically important antibiotics sold to the U.S. livestock industry go to the beef sector, compared to only six percent for chicken.

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November 01, 2018, to December 15, 2018

Beverage Trends For 2019: A Health And Wellness Teme

The predominant trend in the beverage industry in 2019 is meeting consumer demand for products that support mental, physical, and environmental health, according to beverage developer Imbibe. The trend is reflected in the array of ingredients featured in reformulated and newly-developed beverages, including collagen, MCT oil, mushrooms, and functional botanicals. Functional beverages will contain superfood ingredients like turmeric, activated charcoal, matcha, melatonin, and aloe vera. Demand for overall wellness will be seen in product launches that Improve sleep, energy, cognitive function, beauty, weight loss and gut health, and oral or cardiovascular health. Look for more products containing cannabidiol (CBD), as well as more plant-based products, like coffee creamers and “milks.” Color and functionality merge in ingredients like blue algae, beet, matcha, butterfly pea flower tea, and purple tea – all “Instagram-friendly.” Other sub-trends: globally-inspired flavors, interest in textures, and concern for sustainability. 

The Science Of Tasty Whole Wheat Bread Marches On

The mission of wheat geneticists and other grain professionals at the Washington State University Bread Lab is to breed wheat for whole wheat flour that actually tastes good and that people would actually want to eat, not just satisfy a dietary recommendation. Breeding wheat for flavor is something of a new concept. Wheat breeders usually aim for traits like right height for mechanized harvesting, right texture for mechanized baking, and high yield. In their search for flavor, the Bread Lab researchers have identified one new wheat – Skagit 1109 – that makes a reliably tasty whole wheat bread called the “Approachable Loaf.” A group of 40 bakers, millers, breeders, and others met this summer to test-bake the loaf they've been discussing and fine-tuning for the last two years – with satisfying results.

Some Very Popular Breads Feature Candy-Like Levels Of Added Sugar

Added sugars should account for no more than ten percent of the average daily calorie count – about 2,000 – for Americans. It’s easy to consume those 200 sugar calories, however, if you eat bread made by companies like Martin’s, Dave’s Killer Bread, Vermont Bread, Wonder Bread, the Cheesecake Factory, Udi, Pepperidge Farm, Arnold, and others. Two slices of Martin’s Potato Bread, for example, deliver more sugar (six grams versus 4.7 grams) than a Twizzler. A slice of Dave's Killer Bread’s Raisin' the Roof has six grams of sugar. The Cheesecake Factory's "Famous 'Brown Bread” has about the same amount of sugar as a nibble of its cheesecake. A sandwich made with Freihofer's 100 percent Whole Wheat Bread has the same amount of sugar as a Jolly Rancher. And so on. 

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May 15, 2018, to November 01, 2018

Fast-food, Restaurant Chains Wooing Millennials Spurn Processed Cheese

Fast-food and fast-casual restaurant chains bowing to the demands of the Millennial generation are spurning the century-old sandwich favorite processed American cheese – made with sodium citrate, calcium phosphate, natamycin, modified food starch, and milk – in favor of premium cheeses that contain no synthetic or artificial ingredients. Wendy’s, for example, offers asiago, AW's Canada locations use real cheddar, McDonald's replaced its Big Mac American cheese with a version that contains no artificial preservatives, and Panera Bread is now using a four-cheese combo of fontina, cheddar, manteau and smoked gouda to make its grilled cheese sandwich. The result is higher sales for the restaurants, and a significant drop in American cheese sales for the fourth straight year. U.S. sales of processed cheese, including brands like Kraft Singles and Velveeta are projected to drop 1.6 percent this year.

FDA Drops Seven Approved Flavoring Chemicals After Data Prove They Cause Cancer

Responding to two food additive petitions, the Food and Drug Administration has removed seven synthetic flavoring substances and flavor enhancers (adjuvants) from its list of approved ingredients because they have been proven to be carcinogenic. Data presented in one of the petitions submitted to the FDA by Breast Cancer Fund and nine other watchdog groups show that six of the synthetic substances caused cancer in laboratory animals under the conditions of the studies. The seventh synthetic flavor was dropped from the list because it is no longer used by industry. The six flavoring substances include synthetically-derived benzophenone, ethyl acrylate, eugenyl methyl ether (methyl eugenol), myrcene, pulegone, and pyridine. 

Bioengineering Company’s New Technology Delivers “Natural Preservatives”

Responding to consumer demands for simple and understandable food ingredient labels, manufacturers are looking to replace artificial preservatives. To help in that endeavour, Mass.-based bioengineering firm Conagen announced a “ready-to-go” technology that can create the “next generation of natural preservatives.” The fermentation technology produces a highly pure compound with significant anti-microbial effects and preservative functionalities. It is stable in various pH conditions, colorless with a slightly sweet taste, and water soluble. The company says the compound will be ready for commercial scale production in 2019, with regulatory approvals “on the way.”

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May 01, 2018, to May 15, 2018

FDA Menu Labeling Rules Take Effect, But Restaurants Should Do More

The FDA’s new menu labeling requirements, which went into effect on May 7, apply to restaurant chains with 20 or more locations. They must disclose the number of calories contained in standard menu items, and provide nutrition information, including total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, etc. A Virginia Tech food and nutrition policy expert called the FDA’s rules “an important first step.” But the restaurant industry, which has contributed to “poor diet quality, obesity and related chronic diseases," should voluntarily implement strategies to promote healthy foods and beverages. Specifically, the industry should improve the nutritional profiles of products to reduce calories, sodium and fat; and standardize and limit portion sizes to 600 calories for kids' meals and 700 calories for adult meals.

FDA Extends Nutrition Facts Label Compliance By 18 Months

The FDA has extended the compliance date for the rules regarding the Nutrition Facts, Supplement Facts, and Serving Size labels, from July 26, 2018 to January 1, 2020, for manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual food sales. The American Heart Association lamented the extension, calling it a “disappointment.” CEO Nancy Brown was encouraged, however, by the fact that several major food manufacturers decided to stick to the original July 2018 and 2019 deadlines. She noted that 29,000 foods on the market now have the revised Nutrition Facts labels containing “critical” information for consumers. She urged other food manufacturers to follow that example because “Americans should not only enjoy the food they are eating, they deserve to know what’s in it.”

USDA Issues Proposed GMO Food Labeling Rules For Public Comment

The USDA has issued proposed rules on the labeling of foods that contain “bioengineered” ingredients, a more neutral term than “genetically modified organisms” (GMO). The rules implement a federal law enacted in 2016 (National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, PL 114-216) that was a victory for backers of federal mandatory labeling, but also for opponents because it did not require all food companies to put readable information on packages. The law also barred states from writing their own mandatory labeling laws. The proposed rules allow small food manufacturers to inform consumers via websites or telephone numbers. Larger companies can use a label on packages, a symbol to be developed by USDA or bar codes, or other digital means scannable with smartphones. Public comment on the proposal is open until July 3; the final rules will be issued July 29.

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