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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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November 01, 2017, to December 15, 2017

Brexit Consequences Will Make It Too Expensive For Some To Eat Healthfully

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. 

Study Claims Sugar Lobby Suppressed Negative Findings On Sugar’s Health Impact

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.

Almonds Are The Healthful, Sustainable “Feel Good” Snack

Market opportunities are increasing for food ingredients that are not only healthful but ecologically beneficial by fostering sustainability in relation to humans, animals, and the environment. Ingredients that fall into that category are generally natural, GMO-free, sustainable, and ethical. One ingredient that satisfies these concerns is almonds, a snack people can feel good about. New snack product launches have again made almonds the number one nut for new product introductions in Europe. 

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October 15, 2017, to November 01, 2017

Judge: Plaintiff In Added-Sugar Suit Against Kellogg Has An Adequate Case

A federal judge in California has refused to dismiss a lawsuit against Kellogg, agreeing essentially with the plaintiff that most of the claims made by the company about the nutritional value and wholesomeness of its breakfast cereals seem to be refuted by the fact that they contain “excess added sugar.” Judge Lucy Koh dismissed five of the claims because she agreed they were essentially harmless advertising “puffery.” But she allowed claims regarding 24 other products to move forward because “these products contain at least one statement that the court found was not pre-empted, non-misleading, or puffery as a matter of law." The case is Hadley v. Kellogg Sales

USDA Says Its Organic Police Are Slacking Off

The inspector general of the USDA has found that agency officials tasked with monitoring imported foods labeled “USDA Organic” have been sleeping on the job, allowing, for example, millions of pounds of imported conventional soybeans and corn to reach U.S. grocery stores with bogus certified-organic labels. The audit of the Agricultural Marketing Service determined that the agency could not “provide reasonable assurance” that those items from abroad are actually “from certified organic foreign farms and business.” The inspector general suggested that the USDA needs to find a way to get the organic food-monitoring staff to do its job properly.

Judge Okays Agreement That Frees FDA To Enforce Menu Calorie Count Rules

The FDA will begin enforcing in May 2018 long-delayed regulations that require chain restaurants, grocery stores, and convenience stores to include calorie counts on menus. A federal judge in Chicago approved an agreement reached by the nonprofit law firm Earthjustice, representing the Center for Science in the Public Interest and the National Consumers League, and the Dept. of Justice, to stay further proceedings in the lawsuit filed by Earthjustice targeting the FDA’s delays in enforcing rules finalized in 2014. The agreement was reached after FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb on August issued a statement assuring the litigants that there will be no further delays or changes to the menu labeling rules. 

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September 15, 2017, to October 15, 2017

Cookie Industry Thrives As Consumers Look For Healthful, Artisanal Offerings

The cookie segment of the retail snacks and baked goods industry is offering strong differentiation that riffs on traditional recipes, adding innovative, crafted, more healthful options. Handheld treats are doing quite well overall, with cookie sales reaching $8.2 billion in the year that ended in March, an increase of 1.76 percent. The main drivers in the field include a consumer preference for artisanal or craft cookies that are less uniform in appearance and have a “homemade” appeal. Homemade suggests the use of familiar, healthful ingredients, including coconut oil, dark chocolate, whole grains, natural sweeteners (viz., honey and maple syrup), oats, peanut butter, nuts, raisins, and chocolate chips. Bottom line: consumers want to "eat less, but eat better."

Company Debuts Ancient Grain-Based Bar Line

Free-from food specialist Enjoy Life Foods, a Mondelez company, has introduced a line of grain and seed snack bars that combine three types of the ancient grain sorghum in four flavors. The company also unveiled new packaging that features the “unofficial shade of food allergy awareness,” teal – “a comforting color to those with food allergies.” The bars are high in protein, and made with popped-sorghum and gluten-free rolled oats. They are also palm oil-free and free from 14 allergens. They are available in 50-gram and 28-gram sizes, in banana caramel, cranberry orange, chocolate marshmallow and maple sweet potato flavors.

Bread Trends Affecting American Diets

Our shrinking world – fueled by international travel and near-universal access to the Internet – has meant increased sharing of information on a huge array of topics, including bread and other baked goods. Witness the U.S.-originated gourmet burger and upgraded bun that took off in Europe. Or the artisan bread trend that spread from Europe to the U.S. Other ideas that have emigrated include the interest in quality ingredients and clean label, and in unpackaged fresh bread products. Other ideas about bread and grain products that are being shared globally include interest in tortillas, flatbreads, matcha buns, Japanese milk bread, and classic European pastries like croissants and Danish. Keywords in the U.S.: healthful and flavorful.

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September 01, 2017, to September 15, 2017

Kind Expands Into Fruit Bite Market With Premium, All-Fruit Products

Snack bar company Kind LLC is entering the $2.3 billion fruit snacks market with gummy fruit bites containing no added sugar. As established food companies have struggled to grow, Kind has managed to ride the healthful snacks wave using natural ingredients and transparent packaging to $1 billion in annual sales. Kind’s fruit bites are made with real fruit – apples, strawberries, pineapples and mangoes – and only fruit. No other ingredients are listed on the packages. The products will be available nationally in coming weeks at the premium price of $4.99 a box. General Mills is the category leader, controlling about 21 percent of the market.

McDonald’s To Work Toward Antibiotics-Free Meat

McDonald's announced it will phase out use cattle and pigs raised with antibiotics important to human medicine. It has already begun phasing out antibiotics-raised chickens in its 14,000 U.S. restaurants and the 36,000 locations globally. Meat suppliers in the McDonald’s supply chain will still be allowed to use ionophores antibiotics because they are not used to treat humans.

Studies Shed Light On Health Benefits Of Eating Red Raspberries

Eight studies, both preclinical research and human clinical trials, that described the potential of raspberries to boost satiety, control blood sugar, and moderate inflammation, were presented earlier this year at the Experimental Biology conference. Clinical trial participants experienced improvement in glucose control and increased satiety while eating raspberries. Animal subjects in longer-term preclinical studies showed promising effects on the gut microbiota after red raspberry intake. Observations from animal and in vitro studies suggested that future red raspberry research might explore potential good effects on inflammation, obesity, and type 2 diabetes risk.

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August 15, 2017, to September 01, 2017

Food Scientist Welcomes Pasta’s Comeback

A Colorado State University food scientist laments the decline in popularity of pasta after some diet gurus demonized the word “carbohydrate” in the 1990s. Melissa Wdowik acknowledges there should have been some reduction in consumption of pasta: portion sizes had grown too large and unhealthful, especially when topped with fatty, salty sauces and gobs of Italian sausage. But pasta is inching its way back onto plates and menus, and that’s a good thing because it provides nutritionally rich, complex carbohydrates needed for brain and muscle health. Other benefits: enriched pasta is low in sodium, rich in iron and B vitamins; whole wheat pasta provides fiber and magnesium; bean-based noodles also offer fiber and minerals; and soba (buckwheat) noodles are a gluten-free source of antioxidants, carbs, fiber and minerals.

Nuts, Seeds Satisfy Consumer Demand For More Plant Protein In Baked Goods

Makers of snack and baked goods are keenly aware of scientific findings that underpin consumer demand for plant-based protein products. Nuts and seeds especially offer a healthful ingredient profile while enhancing flavor, visual interest, and texture. Snacks are purchased as an indulgence, but health and wellness, along with taste and convenience, are “creating an unstoppable momentum for seeds and nuts." Among the more popular of these ingredients are walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds. Gluten-free nut and seed flours are also gaining momentum – a good example is smooth-textured almond flour. Wheat flour blended with seed and nut flours delivers healthful multigrain bagels, breads, buns, and pizza crusts.

Health-Conscious Consumers Drive Trends In Bread, Sandwiches, Snacks

Key trends driving snack and bread sales include higher demand for premium artisanal, as well as more healthful, clean-label creations. Include better-for-you ancient grain, multigrain, whole wheat breads, brioche rolls and pretzel buns, flavorful asiago rolls and sriracha buns. Demand also high for international-inspired and ethnic items, like Vietnamese bánh mì sandwich and the Mexican torta. Bakery-café and sandwich shops are offering classic Old-World, rye bread, sourdough, and brioche; popular wrap-style sandwiches are giving way to new flatbread options, such as naan. Health-conscious consumers look for sprouted-grain breads, breads with clean ingredient lists, and breads and snacks made with alternative whole grains, such as buckwheat, oats, rye, and whole-kernel wheat.

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August 01, 2017, to August 15, 2017

Company Unveils Fish Oil Supplement Derived From Skate Livers

D&H Labs of Alachua, Fla., has launched a fatty acid-rich fish oil product derived from skate livers normally discarded when the catch is processed on New England coast fishing boats. It took two years to set up a small factory in Massachusetts to process the omega-3-rich livers into supplement-grade oil known as MassOMEGA. The ingredient naturally tests at a higher DHA and EPA concentration than the industry standard 18:12 oils. MassOMEGA is sold in several smaller health food stores in New England.

Direct-To-Consumer Distribution Of Vitamins: The Future Is Now

National Business Journal (NBJ) says vitamin supplement producers have embraced the trend toward direct-to-consumer distribution, now the largest sales channel for multivitamins. Use of vending machines and other novel modes of multivitamin delivery – could drone delivery be far off? – are gaining legitimacy. According to NBJ, new delivery technologies and formats could finally convince the federal government to allow multivitamins as a permitted purchase in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). At any rate, NBJ expects vitamin sales to surpass $15 billion by 2021, led by multivitamins.

Plant-Based Impossible Burger Is Best Alternative To Beef So Far

A Silicon Valley start-up is developing plant-based meat alternatives that cook and taste like red meat rather than bean-based or other vegetable alternatives. The mission of Impossible Foods dovetails neatly with consumer dietary trends that focus on eating more fruits, vegetables, grains and herbs, and reducing or avoiding animal protein. Products like the Impossible Burger, offered in more than 30 U.S. restaurants, contain water, textured wheat protein, coconut oil, potato protein, natural flavors, leghemoglobin (soy), yeast extract, salt, soy protein isolate, various vitamins, etc.  Mintel analysts visited Andrea’s in Las Vegas to taste-test three Impossible Burger sliders with Asian condiments and sauces. The verdict? It was not quite undetectable as a beef substitute, but was the “closest alternative” tasted so far.

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July 15, 2017, to August 01, 2017

Burger King: No More Human Antibiotics Use In Chicken Supply By 2019

Restaurant Brands International, parent company of Burger King and Tim Hortons, announced that it will end the use of antibiotics important to human medicine in its chicken supply by the end of 2018. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), 11 of the top 15 U.S. restaurant chains have now committed to some level of “responsible antibiotics use” for their chicken supplies. Nearly half of the U.S. chicken industry has either made a no-antibiotics commitment or is already using responsible practices, NRDC said.

Lax USDA Enforcement Of Organic Standards Is Hurting Small Organic Dairies

Amish farmers in a small town in Iowa have been practicing organic agriculture, including milk production, for nearly 20 years. Their livelihood is being endangered by big dairies that claim to be producing organic milk, but really aren’t. Organic milk is supposed to come from grass-fed cows. But big dairies supplement with grain, which boosts milk production. That in turn lowers the wholesale price of organic milk – by 33 percent over the past year –  which hurts the Amish dairies that follow organic standards strictly. As much as 15 percent of their milk is being sold at the same price as regular milk or just dumped onto the ground. A major part of the problem is lax enforcement of organic standards by the USDA, the small dairies charge. Even when the agency has caught big dairies violating the rules, there have been few if any fines.

Whole Grain And Sourdough Breads Really Are More Healthful

A recent clinical study concluding that white bread is just as nutritious as whole wheat had some serious flaws. It did not control for other foods eaten by participants. And it was sponsored by a company selling expensive personalized nutrition kits based on analysis of gut microbiomes. But many studies have shown that whole grain and sourdough breads offer a wide range of benefits. Whole grain breads tend to speed up metabolism, for example. Sourdough bread has a gentler effect on blood sugar than yeasted bread and makes nutrients more bioavailable. And thanks to sourdough’s fermentation process, good bacteria break down some grain components, including gluten, making sourdough bread easier to digest.

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July 01, 2017, to July 15, 2017

Millennials Push Beverage Makers Toward Clean Label

The Millennial generation is driving the clean label trend as they seek drinks that are authentic and healthful, in particular natural, organic and non-GMO. Their preferences are also driving a trend toward premiumization because Millennial consumers are willing to pay a higher price for these characteristics. The result is that beverage manufacturers are asking flavor suppliers for ingredients that reflect Millennial preferences, especially certified organic, non-GMO, natural – and “true-to-nature” – and allergen-free flavors to mention on their labels.

Lawmaker Attacks GMO Food Labeling Law Because Of “Massive Loophole”

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) issued a statement sharply criticizing recently passed federal legislation purportedly designed to make it easier for consumers to determine if their foods contain GMOs. The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard has a “massive loophole,” the congressman wrote, because it allows food companies to use an electronic label – a “QR code” – to disclose GMOs. Blumenauer said that means only people with “ample time” and smartphones that can read the codes can tell if there are GMOs in their food products. The USDA has asked for public comment on how to implement the law.

Customized Dietary Supplements, Thanks To 3D Printing Technology

A company funded by the MIT Sandbox Innovation Fund has figured out a way to use 3D printing technology to mix several ingredients and print customized dietary supplements. An example of the ingredient combinations – and one of the more popular among its test customers – is vitamin D, omega-3 and caffeine. The caffeine is released later in the day, “something a mass-produced pill cannot do,” one of the researchers said. The 3D technology permits small batches, which in turn permits personalization of a customer’s order after a dietary nutrient analysis. Other FDA-approved ingredients that the Multiply Labs technology can mix include calcium, iron, selenium, and zinc; vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, and folic acid.

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June 01, 2017, to July 01, 2017

It’s Official: McDonald’s Ice Cream Is Clean Label

McDonald’s has added its vanilla soft serve ice cream product to the list of menu items that no longer contain artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. The change began quietly last fall, and is now nearly completed at its 14,000 U.S. locations. Vanilla soft serve is used to make cones, McCafe shakes and McFlurry desserts – a total of about 60 percent of the desserts McDonald's serves. In addition, the chocolate and strawberry McCafe shake syrup no longer contains high fructose corn syrup; the whipped topping served on all three flavors of shakes is made with no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

Hydrox Sandwich Cookies Are Now Clean Label

Leaf Brands announced a clean-label improvement in its sandwich cookie brand Hydrox. A competitor of Mondelez’s Oreo brand, Hydrox now contains no artificial colors or flavors, no trans-fats or high fructose corn sweeteners, and is 100 percent non-GMO.  The company said the clean-label decision has meant higher production costs, without any change in retail price, but will be worth it because it will lead to “increased sales and consumer loyalty in the multi-billion-dollar cookie market.”

Peapod Fine-Tunes Customers’ Online Search Options

Online grocer Peapod’s smart shopping technology now has more search filters so shoppers can further refine selections based on personal dietary tastes and preferences.. In addition to common search filters like brand preference, price and sale specials, the company now offers 16 nutrition options, including non-GMO, sugar free, vegan, and vegetarian. The new filters were selected based on consumer food and nutritional trend data. For example, 42 percent of consumers read nutrition labels before purchasing, 33 percent of Millennials say they eat a meat alternative product every day, and sales of non-GMO products will hit $330 billion by 2019.

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May 15, 2017, to June 01, 2017

KFC Takes Big Steps Toward Clean Menu

Kentucky Fried Chicken announced that by the end of 2018 it will only purchase chicken raised without antibiotics that are  “important to human medicine” for its U.S. restaurants. KFC noted that its commitment extends beyond boneless chicken menu items to chicken-on-the-bone items. The company said the change involves complex planning, including collaboration with more than 2,000 family-owned farms in a dozen states. Recently, KFC committed to eliminating artificial colors and flavors from core products by the end of 2018. The menu will be free of all “food dyes” by the end of 2017 (excluding beverages and third-party products).

Fast-Food Companies Are Slow To Promise Antibiotics-Free Beef, Pork

McDonald’s and other fast-food chains have been reasonably quick in acceding to the growing consumer demand for antibiotics-free chicken. Not so much when it comes to beef and pork products, however, because eliminating antibiotics from cattle and pig husbandry is much more complex and expensive. Now the Benedictine Sisters of Boerne, Texas, have promised to attend the McDonald’s annual meeting to propose that the company set goals and timelines to phase out routine use of antibiotics in pork and beef. The nuns have reportedly been petitioning McDonald’s for years on the issue. The company says it is sympathetic to the concerns and "continues to work with farmers, producers and other purchasers of food animals to influence meaningful change.”

Mondelez Expands Promise Of Cage-Free Eggs Globally, With Exceptions

Snack maker Mondelez International said it is expanding its commitment to use only cage-free eggs beyond the U.S., Canada, and Europe to the rest of the world, with three major exceptions. The company promised cage-free eggs would be used in the U.S. and Canada by 2020, and in Europe and the rest of the world by 2025 The commitment, however, does not include Russia, Ukraine, or China, though it will establish timelines for those countries by next year.
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