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Period: January 1, 2019 to February 1, 2019
Comment & Opinion or Companies, Organizations or Consumers or Controversies & Disputes or Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing or Earnings Release or Finance, Economics, Tax or Innovation & New Ideas or Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy or Market News or Marketing & Advertising or Other or People & Personalities or Press Release or Products & Brands or Research, Studies, Advice or Supply Chain or Trends

Food Label Transparency Trend To Gather Momentum This Year

A report from Label Insight and the Food Marketing Institute finds that a majority of shoppers have transparency on their minds when grocery shopping: 86 percent would feel a higher sense of trust for food manufacturers and retailers that provided access to complete, “easy to understand” ingredient information. One solution is to use new methods like Smart Label, from Label Insight, to provide that information. According to Label Insight, transparency initiatives led by retailers will continue to spread in 2019. “Retailers will move beyond health and wellness as brand positioning by leveraging new approaches to data and omnichannel integration,” the data insight company said.

"Label Insight: Transparency trends to gain steam in 2019", FoodNavigator-USA.com, December 18, 2018

Report: The Emergence Of “Clean Packaging”

A report based on an online survey on packaging trends finds that “clean packaging” is the next step following clean label and clean processing. Evergreen Packaging says need to make their packaging protect taste, freshness, and nutrients; align with ingredients; be responsible; and share values. Consumers felt that packaging should protect flavor: packaging like steel cans, aluminium cans, and plastic bottles were most cited as altering product flavor. In terms of consumer values, the environmental responsibility interests of many grocery shoppers go much deeper than the package itself and the label information. In addition to environmentally-friendly products and packaging, many shoppers expect brands and retailers to demonstrate social responsibility as a company.

"2019 Food Packaging Trends: Clean Packaging", Food Industry Executive, December 18, 2018

Antibiotic Use Declining In Meat Industry, But Still Dangerously High

Though use of antibiotics important to human medicine is dropping in the livestock industry it is still dangerously high, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The FDA reported recently that such sales dropped 28 percent between 2009 and 2017. But the latest numbers also show the beef and pork industries remain high users of these drugs at 5.1 million pounds and 4.5 million pounds in sales respectively in 2017, compared to 590,000 pounds in the chicken industry. The NRDC called the downward trend “real progress,” but warned that “the American meat industry continues to have a drug problem.” A positive sign is that major beef buyer McDonald's announced it will reduce use of the drugs across its global beef supply chain, offering hope it will spark a wave of change.

"Antibiotic Sales For U.S. Meat Production Drop, But Use Remains High ", News release, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), December 18, 2018

Maine Lawmaker Knocks USDA’s GMO Labeling Scheme

Maine Democratic congresswoman Chellie Pingree, an organic farmer, says the USDA’s new standard for labeling genetic engineered food is "an insult to consumers." Genetically engineered food is often called genetically modified or "GMO" food by advocacy groups that support mandatory labeling. The USDA said last week that new labeling rules require "food manufacturers, importers, and certain retailers to ensure bioengineered foods are appropriately disclosed." Pingree says use of the unfamiliar term "bioengineered" will confuse consumers, and the USDA is essentially launching "a marketing campaign aimed at putting a positive spin on GMO food." She promises to fight the new standard as a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, which oversees USDA funding.

"Maine rep says new GMO labels aren't consumer friendly", Bangor Daily News, December 24, 2018

Obsession With Healthful Food Is A Real Eating Disorder

A little-known syndrome discovered two decades ago may win the distinction of becoming the eating disorder of the modern era. Orthorexia nervosa is defined as an unhealthy obsession with healthful eating. It often starts with a desire to eat "clean" whole foods in their natural state, but then hardens into a rigid eating style that can crowd out other activities and relationships. Though not yet recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), that will eventually change because it “is affecting a huge segment of the population,” according to one nutrition expert.

"Is Orthorexia the Eating Disorder for the Digital Age?", Vogue, January 01, 2019

Natural Antioxidants May Someday Replace Synthetics As Food Preservatives

Consumers increasingly want clean labels: no synthetic-sounding ingredients, only natural alternatives. Now Penn State scientists have discovered that a natural antioxidant found in grain bran could preserve food longer and replace synthetic antioxidants used by the food industry, once the kinks are worked out. The researchers studied compounds called alkylresorcinols (AR), produced by wheat, rye and barley to prevent mold, bacteria and other organisms from growing on the grain kernels. They extracted and purified ARs from rye bran, then studied how well ARs were able to preserve omega-3-rich oils in emulsions. Though not yet as effective as synthetic antioxidants like butylated hydroxytoluene, the researchers say they worked well enough to provide hope for the future.

"A 'bran' new way to preserve healthy food with natural ingredients", Penn State University, January 04, 2019

“Certified Non-GMO” Seems A Meaningless, Even Fraudulent, Marketing Claim

Because “distrust and fear sell,” marketers are getting away with charging premium prices for grocery items certified as “Non-GMO,” even though most of them never have or ever could contain genetically modified organisms. The “standard bearer” for the movement is the Non-GMO Project, which has stamped more than 50,000 products as GMO-free. But only ten GMO plant types are commercially available: apples, potatoes, corn, canola, alfalfa, soybeans, rainbow papaya, cotton, sugar beets, and summer squash. An egregious example of the marketing silliness is a 10-pound bag of The Good Earth Non-GMO Project Verified clumping cat litter, which sells for $18.99 on Amazon. Ten pounds of standard Arm & Hammer clumping cat litter costs about $5.30 at Walmart. That, according to the Missouri Farm Bureau, is “not just outrageous, it is deliberately misleading and fraudulent.”

"GMO-Free Marketing is Deliberately Misleading Consumers", Missouri Farm Bureau, January 07, 2019

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.

"Know What's GMO: Why Blockchain Will Build Faith In Food Labels", Forbes, January 08, 2019

C-Stores Add Healthful Snack Options To Their Product Lineups

Saddled for many years with a reputation as purveyors of junk foods, many convenience stores (C-stores) are now offering more healthful food and snack options, including produce, all-natural snacks and organic items. The industry is gradually adapting to a trend toward clean and transparent labeling that reveals where the food came from and tells the story behind it. According to industry observers, C-stores have an array of clean products to choose from (e.g., snacks like KIND bars and RXBARs, and SmartPop! popcorn). Consumers know they can find these options in grocery stores, so they now expect them in C-stores.

"How C-stores Can Answer the Call for Clean Label Foods & Beverages ", Convenience Store News, January 08, 2019

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.

"Lupins gain traction as human food", The West Australian (Perth, Australia), January 09, 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.

"Bellarise develops clean label egg wash replacer for North American bakers", BakeryAndSnacks.com, January 20, 2019

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