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Food Trends Insight Alert Archive

Have a look at some of our recent alerts. These give broad coverage of the industry - if you want something more specific create your own here.

Food Trends

News and developments about food trends and food innovation
<<12345678910>> Total issues:159

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May 15, 2018, to November 01, 2018

FDA May Soon Update The Definition Of, And Permitted Ingredients For, Yogurt

The FDA is looking into the possibility of “modernizing” regulations governing the content and even the definition of yogurt. The dairy industry has been pushing to open up the yogurt standard as manufacturing practices and consumer tastes have changed. The FDA established a standard for foods labeled as "yogurt" in 1981 that limited the ingredients. But the industry objected; the following year the agency suspended enforcement of various provisions and allowed the addition of preservatives. A 2009 rule that was never finalized created a unified standard that allowed emulsifiers as well, but yogurt makers said the rule created confusion and left it open to lawsuits. Meanwhile, milk producers hope the FDA’s “modernized” standards will soon crack down on soy and almond drinks that call themselves "milk," which current standards say must come from a cow.

Suit Alleges Pret a Manger’s Baked Goods Contain Weed Killer Ingredient

Washington, D.C.-based non-profit Beyond Pesticides announced it is joining GMO Free USA and Organic Consumers Association in a lawsuit charging restaurant chain Pret a Manger with “deceptive marketing and sale of certain bread and other baked goods” as "natural food" though they tested positive for glyphosate. The lawsuit accuses Pret of exploiting consumers' preferences and willingness to pay more for products marketed as natural. A component of Roundup weed killer, glyphosate is patented as a chelator and an antibiotic, but is linked to adverse health effects including cancer, infertility, and non-alcoholic fatty liver and kidney diseases. The suit would have Pret fully disclose glyphosate in its products and reformulate them to be glyphosate-free.

FDA May Soon Require Non-Dairy “Milks” To Change Their Labeling

In what may be the first step toward changing the way plant-based dairy substitutes are labeled, the FDA is soliciting comments from producers and other experts on how consumers use the alternative “milk.” The agency wants to know whether American consumers understand how substitutes differ from cow’s milk in nutritional content and cooking performance. As sales of non-dairy substitutes like soy and almond milk National Milk Producers Federation asked the FDA to enforce what's known as a "standard of identity." The for milk reads, in part: "the lacteal secretion, practically free from colostrum” – the milk produced after giving birth – “obtained by the complete milking of one or more healthy cows." Companies and consumers have 60 days to respond to the FDA's questions.

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May 01, 2018, to May 15, 2018

Company’s New Snack Foods Are Certified Palm Oil Free

The production of palm oil has a devastating effect on the planet, according to Enjoy Life Foods, a large marketer of foods in the “free from” category that is committed to sustainability. It announced that it is the first U.S. food company to receive Palm Oil Free Certification for its newest product launches (Grain & Seed Bars and plant-based Protein Bites) from the International Palm Oil Free Certification Accreditation Program (POFCAP). The goal, according to the company, is to show that delicious foods can be created “without having to utilize an ingredient that increasingly more consumers are looking to avoid." Enjoy Life Foods’ portfolio of 70+ foods are also Non-GMO Project Verified, kosher, and free from 14 allergens. Nearly 90 percent are Certified Vegan.  

Avoid Processed Foods, Replace With “The Clean 20”

Processed foods – potato chips, snack cakes, frozen pizzas, etc. – may be tasty and convenient, but they are a major contributor to obesity and illness. Best-selling author Dr. Ian Smith says that transitioning away from processed foods to cleaner, more healthful edibles needn’t be difficult. In his new book, "The Clean 20: 20 Foods, 20 Days, Total Transformation," Smith lists the foods and the benefits of including them in our diets every day. They are: avocados, berries, cheese, chicken, chickpeas, eggs, kale, lemons, lentils, nuts, oatmeal, seafood, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turkey, quinoa,100 percent whole-grain or whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, and yogurt.

Hey FDA, It’s Time To Update Those Rules About Labeling Eggs

An organic and free-range egg company has petitioned the FDA to modify its regulations to allow eggs to be labeled as a healthy food. New Hampshire-based Pete and Gerry's Organic Eggs is puzzled that many sugary foods, such as toaster pastries and pudding cups, are allowed to market themselves as "healthy," but foods widely known to be nutritious, such as eggs, are not. In fact, the FDA’s stance on eggs is out of step with the thinking reflected in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, issued by the USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services (HSS). "Our goal with this petition is to encourage the FDA to bring outdated regulations in line with current nutritional science and general consumer awareness,” says CEO Jesse Laflamme.

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April 15, 2018, to May 01, 2018

Smoothie Chain Reformulates To Offer Clean Label Menu

Smoothie King has added two whole organic spinach variants to its menu, which already includes carrot and kale smoothie offerings. Vegan pineapple spinach smoothie and lemon ginger spinach smoothies contain fiber, potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C. The company has launched a Cleaner Blending initiative to remove added sugar, artificial flavors, colors and preservatives, added hormones in dairy, and GMO fruits and veggies from its offerings. In addition, the company has added in more whole fruits and vegetables. The company says it is on track to achieve its Cleaner Blending goals in more than 50 blends by the end of 2018.

Jennie-O Cleans Up Its Processed Turkey Line

Hormel Foods subsidiary Jennie-O has debuted 17 “on-trend turkey products,” including flavored turkey bacon, taco-seasoned turkey sausage, and uncured turkey breast franks. The franks are made with premium turkey breast and have half the fat of beef franks. They contain no artificial preservatives, colors or flavors, no added nitrites or nitrates, and are gluten free. The company’s other new products also boast of less fat and no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors.

Canyon Unveils New Bread Varieties In Longer Shelf Life Packaging

Gluten-free bakery Canyon Bakehouse has introduced new airtight bread packaging that extends the shelf life of loaves to 90 days. The Stay-Fresh Packaging line was launched with three variants: ancient grain, country white and deli white bagels. Last month it added Hawaiian sweet bread and honey oat bread. According to the company, after opening the bread should be consumed within five days. A "best by" date is printed on each closure tag. In addition to being certified gluten-free, Canyon’s baked goods are kosher and free from dairy, casein, tree nuts, peanuts, soy, and sesame. Available at conventional and natural grocery stores in the U.S., the suggested retail price of the bread is $5.49.

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April 01, 2018, to April 15, 2018

Company’s Non-GMO Wheat Varieties Contain 94% Amylose, Resistant Starch

Agricultural technology company Arcadia Biosciences of Davis, Calif., announced advancements in its high-fiber resistant starch development program. Its non-transgenic (non-GMO) wheat varieties contain as much as 94 percent amylose and resistant starch. It used advanced screening and traditional breeding techniques to accomplish this. The company also said these wheat varieties deliver enough dietary fiber to qualify for the FDA’s “Good Source” of fiber or “High in Fiber” designation on consumer packaging. Arcadia said the new wheat varieties will provide the health benefits of resistant starch and dietary fiber, “while satisfying consumer demand for clean-label, natural foods.” The company is working with a few CPG companies to develop more healthful formulations of existing products, using both enriched and whole wheat RS Wheat flour.

High-Fiber Wheat Product Inches Toward Commercialization

Minnesota-based consumer-focused food company Calyxt announced that its high-fiber wheat product was declared a non-regulated article under the “Am I Regulated?” process by a unit of the USDA. The company said this is its first consumer-centric wheat product, second wheat product, and seventh product overall to be given this designation. Calyxt’s powdery mildew resistant wheat was awarded the non-regulated status by the USDA in February 2016. Consumer demand for flavorful high-fiber foods has been strong because they have the potential to not only decrease the risk of food-related coronary heart disease and diabetes, but also to lower cholesterol and control weight gain. Calyxt believes that once its high-fiber wheat flour is commercialized – it could happen in 2020 or 2021 – it can be used by food manufacturers to make premium bakery and pasta products that allow consumers to reach their daily fiber requirement.

Time For Healthful, Natural Energy Beverages, Says Mamma Chia

The Mamma Chia beverage company, whose functional product range includes health and energy drinks made with chia seeds, is basing its marketing strategy on the belief that “the traditional energy drink space” – dominated by chemical- and sugar-laden drinks – “is ripe for disruption.” Consumers are demanding more healthful, natural beverages. Its recently-launched “clean energy beverages” combine chia seeds with caffeine from organic yerba mate and organic green coffee beans to deliver 2,500 mg of omega-3 and 90 mg of caffeine per serving. Chia seeds also add fiber, healthy fat, and protein to the beverages. CEO Janie Hoffman sees “endless opportunities” in chia-based drinks, “and we seek to create more.”

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March 15, 2018, to April 01, 2018

McDonald’s Sees Better Quality Chicken As Vehicle For Extending Growth Curve

McDonald’s, which is in the midst of a three-year growth period, is betting that offering “Better Chicken” will keep that growth bubbling along. The company’s plan is to upgrade the chicken items on its menu to achieve a premium status similar to Chik-fil-A. It has already implemented some customer-pleasing changes to its McNuggets and sandwich lines: it has promised to stop serving poultry with antibiotics; removed artificial preservatives from McNuggets; and launched Southern-style sandwiches and tenders coated in a crispy buttermilk breading. It’s a major shift for the decades-old burgers-and-fries company, whose customers see chicken as a healthier protein. "It's definitely a transformational era for McDonald's," said an analyst at Motley Fool. "Chicken is part of that."

New Plant-Based Burger’s Veggie Fats Sizzle On The Grill

California-based Don Lee Farms has begun distributing nationally its Organic Plant-Based Raw Burgers, made with beans and seeds, and certified organic, vegan, non-GMO and gluten-free. The burger is free from artificial ingredients or preservatives. According to the company, the burger “bleeds” organic beet juice and sizzles on the grill from organic vegetable-based fats. “It’s a burger made with plants, not with science,” said a Don Lee Farms spokesman.

Strict Clean Label Grocery Chain Introduces Thousand Hills Grazed Beef In Stores

Colorado-based Natural Grocers is introducing the “exceptional quality” Thousand Hills Lifetime Grazed beef, raised on family-owned U.S. farms, in its grocery stores in 19 states. Natural Grocers maintains strict clean label standards – stricter than USDA standards – for its beef suppliers, requiring all unprocessed, fresh and frozen meat to be humanely-raised without hormones, growth-promoting drugs, antibiotics or animal by-products. The company also “prefers” non-genetically modified feed. According to the company, the USDA allows meat to be labeled as 100-percent grass fed even if cattle are confined in feed lots and fed distillers’ grains, GMO alfalfa, and antibiotics.

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March 01, 2018, to March 15, 2018

Food Spoilage – Not Plate Waste – Is More Of A Problem In The Home

Researchers at Ohio State University have determined that people who on average left just three percent of their food on their plates when choosing their own meals left almost 40 percent behind when given a standard boxed-lunch type of meal. Plate waste at home was 3.5 percent higher when diners went for seconds or thirds. But the study’s lead author also noted that efforts to reduce food waste at home would be better directed toward other conservation tactics, like using up food before it spoils. Plate waste is a more serious problem at school cafeterias and event buffets.

Healthy Growth In Demand For Wheat Protein Forecast Through 2022

The growing U.S. baking industry and an increasing consumer preference for meat substitutes are contributing to healthy demand for plant-based protein, especially wheat protein, according to a market research report. Despite concerns about gluten intolerance, the market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.8 percent to reach $2.58 billion in the next five years. Other factors driving demand for wheat protein include the nutritional benefits for lactose intolerant and health- and fitness-conscious consumers, and increasing applications of wheat protein in varied end-user industries such as pet food and cosmetics.

Raw Pressery Juice Relies On Ethics, Innovation, Technology In Fast-Growing Market

In a recent interview, Sreejit Nair, sales director of India’s Rakyan Beverages, said its Raw Pressery juice brand is applying advanced technologies to maintain market leadership in clean-label, cold-pressed juices. The fruit-based beverage category has grown at a CAGR of more than 30 percent over the past decade, thanks to the rise of health-conscious beverage consumers looking to avoid preservatives, chemicals, sugar, and artificial colors. The company uses HPP (high pressure processing) technology to pasteurize its juices, made with fresh fruits and vegetables sourced from farmers across India and abroad. The pasteurization method extends the shelf life of the juices to 21 days. Robotics and inventory automation ensure proper warehousing. The supply chain is using digitization to control costs, quality, temperature, and time. The company is also working with technology developers to create heat sensing devices that help maintain chiller temperature. In terms of innovation, the company recently launched a cold-pressed almond milk in coffee, cacao, and turmeric flavors. This year it expects to introduce a grapefruit-flavored juice, and to extend its product line to both chilled and ambient retail shelves.

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February 15, 2018, to March 01, 2018

It’s Not Easy To Find Out Whether Meat Is Ethically Raised

Americans are eating 50 pounds more meat per person than they did in 1960. An increasing number of them want to be certain their meat was ethically raised. But that’s not easy to do. Labels like “all natural” or “free range” on meat packages are no help, and few many consumers are likely to visit farms to observe animal husbandry practices. That’s where independent third-party certification comes in. Whole Foods Market, for example, requires its fresh meat to be certified through the nonprofit Global Animal Partnership, a somewhat expensive procedure that involves regular farm audits. Other third-party organizations that assure customers that the meat they are eating was ethically raised include Animal Welfare Approved, Certified Humane, and American Humane Certified, as well as the Non-GMO Project and Where Food Comes From, Inc.

Panera Chides Competitors About Use Of Non-Clean Ingredients In Menu Items

Fast-casual restaurant chain Panera has set up a committee of food experts who can advise competitors on how to start using natural “clean” ingredients in their menu items. The experts who comprise Clean Consultant can also be hired by other restaurant chains to learn how to get more active in food policy issues. The feisty company has also begun marketing a revamped breakfast sandwich; asked the FDA to clearly define the term “egg;” and called out rivals Chick-fil-A and Starbucks for using additives in their egg sandwiches.

Calif. Dairy Introduces Non-GMO, Lactose-Free Milk Products

A family-owned California dairy says it has developed a non-GMO Project verified lactose-free milk for consumers who are lactose-intolerant and hoping to avoid genetically modified organisms in their food and beverages. According to Clover Sonoma, the product is available in whole milk, two percent reduced fat, one percent low fat and fat free, as well as a chocolate whole milk option. Nearly two-thirds of the U.S. population has a reduced ability to digest lactose, a condition caused by the body’s inability to produce enough of the lactase enzyme to fully break down the natural sugar lactose found in milk. 

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February 01, 2018, to February 15, 2018

Tyson Foods Invests In Another Alternative To Livestock-Sourced Protein

Meat producer Tyson Foods, which markets about 20 percent of the meat sold in the U.S., has invested in a company whose mission is to eradicate farm-raised protein. The company invested in Silicon Valley-based Memphis Meats, which is trying to grow meat from animal cells, through its venture capital arm, joining Cargill, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Atomico, and DFJ. Memphis Meats CEO Uma Valeti said he hopes his company will benefit from the Tyson and Cargill investments because of their deep knowledge of meat distribution. “They really understand how to scale up,” he says. “They’ll help us learn a lot about getting meat on the shelf.” Tyson has also backed Beyond Meat, which is attempting to replicate the taste of meat with plants. 

Nutritionist Argues That Pizza Makes A Better Breakfast Than Cereal

A registered dietitian nutritionist has posted a blog entry saying that a slice of pizza makes for a more healthful breakfast than a bowl of cereal. The two contain essentially the same number of calories, argues nutrition blogger Chelsey Amer, but pizza “packs a much larger protein punch, which will keep you full and boost satiety throughout the morning." She acknowledged that pizza isn’t really a health food, but compared to most sugary cereals, it’s more balanced, contains more fat and less sugar. Another nutritionist disagreed, noting that cereal provides important nutrients “to start your day off right." Keri Gans said “the right cereal that’s packed with fiber, may help lower cholesterol and control blood sugar," especially when topped with berries rich in vitamins. 

Spain Joins With Food Companies To Make Foods More Healthful

In a comprehensive initiative to make the country’s foods and beverages more healthful, the Spanish health ministry is working with food manufacturers, foodservice companies, and vending machine firms to cut levels of salt, sugar, and fat in more than 3,500 products within two years. The Spanish health minister called the move “a pioneering plan to improve the composition of food, promote the health of Spaniards and prevent chronic diseases.”

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January 01, 2018, to February 01, 2018

Ancient Grains Find A Modern Audience In U.S.

Today’s health-conscious consumers have taken foods considered staples in ancient civilizations – grains like quinoa, amaranth, farro, and spelt – and made them new again. Industry data show that case shipments to U.S. foodservices rose by double-digit rates compared to processed wheat grains. Shipments of highly popular quinoa rose 18.5 percent in the 12 months that ended in October 2017 compared to a year ago. Shipments of spelt and farro also increased by double digits. Consumers are turning to ancient grains because they are richer in protein, fiber, and vitamins than modern grains. But the increasing popularity among foodservice operators is also due to the fact that chefs appreciate their unique flavors. 

Dunkin’ Removes All Synthetic Dyes From Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts has removed all artificial dyes from its donuts in the U.S., almost a year before its original deadline. Calling the accomplishment ”an incredible milestone moment,” the company said it took years of research to make the transition to simpler donut ingredients and hopes to continue the trend with “innovative new flavors” in the months ahead. The company said it is on track to meet its end-of-2018 deadlines for removing synthetic dyes from its entire menu, including donut icings, fillings and toppings, and frozen beverages such as Coolatta frozen beverages, baked goods, breakfast sandwiches and coffee flavorings. Sister brand Baskin-Robbins is also working to remove synthetic dyes from its products.

“Naked Cakes” Skip The Frosting, But Not The Decadence

A minimalist trend is overtaking the cake-baking community: “naked cakes” shun frosting or fondant, but still manage to hold onto a certain sugar-rich decadence. The basic idea is to highlight the texture of the cakes themselves and the fillings between layers. They are embellished with fresh blooms, gum paste-molded flowers, edible pearls and gems, chocolate chips, crumbs, cookie dough, candy sprinkles, and fresh berries. The basic idea is to highlight the texture of the cakes and the fillings between layers. Christina Tosi, owner of the award-winning U.S. and Canadian bakery Momofuku Milk Bar, is said to have come up with the idea. But many other pastry chefs and bakers are featuring the desserts, including Martha Stewart and wedding resource The Knot. 

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December 15, 2017, to January 01, 2018

For One Maryland Baker, Breadmaking Is Closely Linked To The Soil

A Maryland baker is taking breadmaking beyond the mere mixture of water, flour, and yeast to the higher art of crafting delicious loaves only from ingredients grown organically by a local farmer. Jonathan Bethony’s “horse bread,” for example, is made with field peas, sorghum, millet, mustard seed, and camelina – all provided by an organic farmer, who grows only what he needs to keep his land healthy and ready to produce more traditional wheat. Bethony mills the grains at his bakery. He never sifts, so the nutritious oils and bran remain in his bread and pastries. Chef and author Dan Barber says Bethony’s somewhat spiritual techniques may seem old-fashioned, but they’re actually rather futuristic: “You’re basically looking at the Steve Jobs of bread.” 

Bakery Introduces Canada To The Flavor – And Eco-Benefits – Of Novel Grain

A Canadian bakery recently hosted a reception at which freshly baked loaves of a novel bread were tasted by guests. The bread was made with a perennial grain – the trademarked name is Kernza – that has been developed from a forage crop called intermediate wheatgrass. Researchers and bakers alike are excited about Kernza because it is a sustainable root-based grain that reduces the amount of soil tillage normally required by annual seed-grown grains. The flour used in the tasting reception was a blend of other grains, because Kernza’s gluten quality is poor. Kernza is being used on a small scale in the U.S. to make bread, crackers, designer beers, and even whiskey.

Clean Label Reformulation Made Easier With New Citrus Fiber Ingredient

The challenge for food companies trying to achieve clean labels is to reformulate using alternative ingredients that can withstand food processing conditions. New ingredients re needed to replace starches, gums, emulsifiers, and stabilizers. To help companies meet that challenge, Fiberstar, Inc., has developed a natural plant-based fiber ingredient that improves quality, texture, and health. Citri-Fi is a natural citrus fiber derived from citrus juicing and produced without chemicals, alcohols or other processing aides. The production process opens up the fiber to create high surface area to better hold water and improve emulsification. Comprising insoluble and soluble fibers, Citri-Fi is about 40 percent native pectin that can be activated to produce gelling properties.
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