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Food Trends Insight Alert Archive

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Food Trends

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

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May 01, 2017, to May 15, 2017

Berkeley’s Excise Tax On Sugary Drinks Boosts Water Purchases

To discourage consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB), which have been linked to weight gain, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and tooth decay, Berkeley, Calif., in 2014 joined 20 countries in imposing an excise tax on sugary drinks. Researchers who studied the impact of the tax on SSB consumption found that prices increased, sales dropped by as much as 10 percent in some (but not all) places, and sales of untaxed drinks, especially water, increased by as much as 16 percent. The researchers found no evidence of higher grocery bills for consumers, loss of gross revenue per transaction for stores, or decreases in overall beverage sales for stores.

Organic Condiments Maker Acquired By Unilever

Unilever has reached an agreement to acquire natural and organic condiments maker Sir Kensington’s for an undisclosed sum. Seven-year-old Sir Kensington’s (New York, N.Y.) has experienced strong growth over the past four years, producing mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise and a vegan mayo (Fabanaise) made from aquafaba, the liquid left over from cooking legumes like chickpeas. A Unilever spokesman said the acquisition “aligns perfectly with our global sustainable nutrition strategy.” The deal is expected to close within the next few weeks.

Company Recognized As Paragon Of Herbal Product Purity, Transparency

Gaia Herbs of North Carolina has been a stickler for ingredient purity and transparency from the beginning, and so has avoided controversies that have plagued the rest of the herbal supplement industry. Founder Ric Scalzo was more of an herbalist than a capitalist when he launched the company in 1987, before talk of regulation and enforcement. For Scalzo, efficacy of herbal supplements could only be based on purity. The company already uses DNA testing to make sure the raw ingredients it sources are the real thing. That stringency has won the company copious praise from customers and industry organizations, as well as an award from the Nutrition Business Journal (New Hope Network) for supply chain transparency.

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April 15, 2017, to May 01, 2017

Organic Food Ingredients Supplier Expands Into Sports Products

Organic and GMO-free food ingredients maker Garden of Life is expanding into sports nutrition with a line of pre- and post-workout protein powders and bars. The Sport line consists of five plant-based clean products that are USDA organic, Non-GMO Project Verified. Among the products are a pre-workout energy-boosting drink derived from organic coffeeberry, kale, spinach, beets, and whole-food vitamin B-12. The post-workout product is designed to reduce muscle soreness and support recovery after exercise. It consists of antioxidant-rich organic tart cherries, turmeric, goji berries, blueberries, organic apples and rooibos. 

Starbucks Unveils Gluten-Free Menu Items

One of the more fascinating phenomena in the food industry in recent years has been the transformation of gluten into a dirty word. A tiny fraction of Americans with celiac disease, a severe intestinal allergic reaction to gluten, needs to avoid the wheat protein. But a whole anti-gluten movement – and a multibillion-dollar industry – has arisen to accommodate people convinced that gluten is generally unhealthful. Researcher Technavio says the gluten-free food market is expected to grow at an annual rate of roughly 12 percent through 2021, Tecnomics advises food companies to go along: "if you're not speaking their language, you risk losing [them]." The latest company to “speak their language” is Starbucks, which is launching gluten-free food options – like the gluten-free smoked Canadian bacon and egg sandwich – in U.S. stores.  

Chipotle Continues To Rid Its Food Of Artificial Ingredients

Chipotle Mexican Grill announced it has eliminated all added colors, flavors and preservatives from the ingredients it uses to prepare its food, but not beverages. Chipotle says it’s the only national food chain to accomplish this. The company’s plan to eliminate artificial ingredients began two years ago with the decision to get rid of unnecessary additives in tortillas it uses to make burritos, tacos, and chips. The new flour tortillas are made using only flour, water, canola oil, salt and yeast. Corn tortillas used for the chips are made only with corn masa flour and water. The ingredients changes will be applied in all Chipotle restaurants in the United States.

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April 01, 2017, to April 15, 2017

Coconut Is Hot Now, But Some Predict It Will Go The Way Of Other Food Fads

Coconut has undergone a complete makeover in recent years in the eyes of consumers. They no longer worry about the fat content and, in fact, now believe it to be a healthful ingredient in many foods and beverages, including water, milk, flour, yogurt, oil and snacks. Coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index than ordinary sugar, so blood sugar spikes less when it is consumed. Coconut-containing product launches increased an average of 21 percent a year since 2012. But some industry observers say coconut will suffer the same fate as other food fads – remember kale and broccoli rabe? “It’s going to wane,” says one food consultant. “I don’t think everything coconut is tasty.”

Researchers Find Strong Link Between Healthy Bones And Green Tea

A Chinese analysis of data from 15 studies found that green tea (Camellia sinensis) and a key compound known as EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) tend to increase bone mineral density. However, the analysis of data from nearly 139,000 people stopped short of saying drinking green tea was linked to a reduced risk of fractures. The researchers suggest that the benefit of green tea regarding osteoporosis derives from its polyphenol content: as much as 40 percent of water-extractable polyphenols. Other teas contain much less. The researchers also suggest that green tea may act by boosting the creation of cells responsible for bone formation (osteoblasts) or suppressing cells that weaken bones (osteoclasts).

Americans Prefer Natural Therapies For Coughs, Colds – Survey

A survey of American consumers sponsored by a respiratory system dietary supplement brand finds that more than two-thirds of respondents prefer natural supplements to “synthetic, over-the-counter” products to ease coughing. Natural supplements were preferred because they tended not to induce drowsiness, according to Pohl-Boskamp, the makers of Myrtol 300. Sixty-nine percent of Americans said they have gone to work or school without taking cold meds to avoid drowsiness and stay clear-headed. Millennials up to age 35 said they were more likely to try a natural supplement to treat a cough or cold. Myrtol 300 is a blend of essential oils created in Germany and sold in Europe and elsewhere for four decades.

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March 15, 2017, to April 01, 2017

Retail Food Chain Says All House Brands Are Non-GMO

Natural and organic food retailer Earth Fare (Asheville, N.C.) announced that none of its 500 house brand foods contain genetically modified organisms (GMO). The decision to sell only non-GMO foods was made after considering numerous customer requests. Earth Fare’s product line is also free of high fructose corn syrup, artificial fats, artificial trans-fats, artificial colors, artificial preservatives, artificial sweeteners, bleached or bromated flour, antibiotics, and growth hormones. The chain also tries to incorporate locally produced fruits and vegetable, meat, beer and wine, dairy products, and specialty items.

Tyson Foods Includes Antibiotics-Free Chicken In Its Sustainability Strategy

Tyson Foods CEO Tom Hayes, who told analysts recently that his company’s purpose is to “raise the world’s expectations for how much good food can do,” announced it would sell only chicken raised with “no antibiotics ever” (NAE). The NAE commitment is part of the company’s overall, long-term “holistic” sustainability strategy that includes cutting down workplace injuries and illness by 15 percent, and seeking strategic alliances for scientific sustainability. The company also plans to continue auditing third-party chicken farms to ensure humane treatment of chickens. Tyson processes more than 41 million chickens a week on average.

Cage-Free Eggs Movement Marches On

General Mills has joined other food industry players – food manufacturers, foodservice companies, fast food chains, and retailers – in pledging to eventually source only cage-free eggs globally for use in its products. The company’s commitment will be fully implemented by 2025. The decision was praised by the cage-free campaign Open Wing Alliance initiated by The Humane League earlier this year. In related news, all 99 Cents Only Stores that sell eggs will offer a cage-free option at a competitive price. And Farmer Boys Restaurants said it has completed its transition to cage-free California eggs in all 89 locations.

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March 01, 2017, to March 15, 2017

German Grocery Store Sells Only Wonky Produce, Expired And Surplus Foods

A grocery store that sells only ugly or surplus food products, from vegetables to beer, has opened in the German city of Köln (Cologne). The founders of The Good Food grocery store are dedicated to the idea of eliminating food waste in the world. It is the first such store to open in Germany, and the third in the EU. The store is unusual for a couple of reasons. The food it sells was otherwise bound for landfills because it may be misshapen, or too large or too small, or past its sell-by date. This includes non-perishable products from big manufacturers. And there are no fixed prices: consumers decide how much the products are worth.

America’s Need To Boost Fruit Consumption Is An Opportunity For Snack Makers

The attitudes of American consumers toward their snacks are constantly evolving. Fading away are the days when snacks needed only to satisfy a sugar, salt or savory craving. A recent survey showed that 52 percent of respondents not only wanted nutritional benefits from snacks, they wanted health benefits beyond nutrition, including antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fruits and vegetables. Seventy-six percent of the U.S. population does not eat the recommended amount of fruits each day, a fact that suggests a market opportunity. Snacks can provide the benefits of fruit consumption: natural sugar, fiber, antioxidants, appealing flavors and attractive visuals. They can take advantage of the trends in unique or exotic fruits – for example heirloom apples and coffee fruit, a nutrient-rich byproduct of coffee production.

Food Manufacturers Simplify Safety And Quality Labels On Grocery Items

The two largest trade groups for America’s grocery industry say they have adopted standardized, simplified, voluntary regulations to make product date labels clearer to the average consumer. The situation contributes to food waste because as many as 91 percent of consumers interpret a "use by" label (or no label at all) as a food safety warning and discard perfectly safe foods. Food manufacturers now use 10 different label phrases: for example, "expires on" and "better if used by." These would be replaced by just two: "use by" and "best if used by." “Use by” indicates when perishable foods are no longer safe to eat. "Best if used by" is a subjective guess regarding the date of optimum food quality: the point of peak flavor according to the manufacturer. Changes won’t be effective until July 2018.

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February 15, 2017, to March 01, 2017

Restaurants React To Demand For Gluten-Free Menus

The demand for gluten-free foods continues to rise in the restaurant sector and, in fact, is spreading to segments like quick-service sandwich and other fast casual eateries. Demand is driven by the increase in the number of people diagnosed with gluten-related disorders. It is expected that gluten-free menu items among U.S. restaurants will double over the next three years to $24 billion, up from $1 billion in 2006 and $11.6 billion in 2015. Also of note: the gluten-free trend has spawned some interesting innovation, for example, the growth of rice and potato flour producers. Smart Flour Foods has used food history to find and produce food sources for gluten-free doughs sing ancient grains, such as teff. 

Hellman’s Fulfills Cage-Free Egg Pledge Three Years Early

Mayonnaise maker Hellman’s, a Unilever brand, announced that after a reorganization of its egg supply chain – involving 331 million eggs annually – all of its mayonnaise and dressings brands are now made with eggs from cage-free hens. The change in U.S. brands comes three years ahead of the company’s commitment announced in 2010. It affects 170 million jars, 30 million squeeze bottles, and 1.3 million egg-laying hens annually. A Humane Society spokesman said “Hellmann's move shows just how in synch the company is with its customers." 

The Use Of Fiber In Future Foods, Including Beverages, Bakery And Confectionary

Formulators of new foods, especially foods with higher levels of fiber, are facing several hurdles, as shown in a recent survey. First, consumers are fairly ignorant of how to get more fiber into their diets (25 percent), though they know they need more. They associate fiber with whole grains. They often assume that high-fiber foods don’t taste good (10 percent). The president of fiber supplier Beneo says formulators who choose the right fiber can enrich baked goods, dairy, cereals, confections and beverages, without sacrificing taste or texture. Fibers that will be increasingly used in the future include: resistant glucan (RG), hydrogenated resistant glucan (HRG), combinations of seaweed and starch, and chitosan, a polysaccharide derived from the chitin shells of shrimp and other crustaceans.

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February 01, 2017, to February 15, 2017

Will Korean Hot Sauce Replace Sriracha Anytime Soon?

Regardless of whether gochujang becomes a hot new taste trend, a Wall Street Journal food writer highly recommends trying the Korean chili paste in a variety of dishes. One favorite is spreading a mixture of butter, honey and gochujang on biscuits, or under the skin of roast chicken. Or, mix mayo and gochujang (4:1 ratio) for a savory kick on beef or tuna burgers. According to Jane Black, gochujang – it’s made from dried red chilies, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, salt and a little sugar – is “thicker and richer than sriracha” and is “where that hot sauce was 10 years ago: going mainstream in a big way.” 

Repulsive Smelling Durian Fruit May Be The Next Big Fad In N.Y. Eateries

A Michelin-honored Malaysian restaurant in Manhattan is serving up a new dessert based on a “spiky, odiferous fruit” known as the durian. The problem with the fruit, found in Southeast Asia, is the smell, which has been compared to rotting garbage and even kerosene. But despite that, several N.Y. restaurants, cafes and bars are adding the fruit to their menus because of its flavor, which is sweet with hints of melon and onion. Salil Mehta, owner of Laut restaurant, says it is like a mix of mango and jackfruit.

Nestle Changes Ingredients, And Marketing, Of An Iconic Beverage

The latest evidence of Nestlé SA’s corporate makeover is a major change in the ingredients of its signature chocolate drink, coupled with a new marketing strategy. Evolving consumer tastes and preferences – away from sugary beverages, for example – have buffeted the company’s sales. It hasn’t met its six-percent annual sales growth target in years. So it is flexing its product research and marketing muscle to change directions for some brands. The company has significantly lowered the sugar content of Nesquik while boosting market share. In addition, the company reduced the size of the Nesquik bunny that appears on packages, and broadened its marketing focus beyond kids to athletes.

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January 01, 2017, to February 01, 2017

Cool Cucumber Designated “Flavor Of The Year”

A growing demand for clean, healthy food and beverages is behind the popularity of cucumber flavor, according to fragrance and flavor company Firminich. The Swiss firm, which points to a growing trend of vegetables accepted as flavors and ingredients, named cool cucumber “flavor of the year” for 2017. There has been a 392 percent increase in the use of cucumber as a flavor globally between 2011 and 2016, appearing in potato chips, confection, yogurt, dumplings and more.

With Cheese Sales Off The Charts, Manufacturers Tackle Clean Label Concerns

Cheese is big business in the U.S., perhaps a reflection of the opinion that any food is better if topped with cheese. A dairy industry trade group says cheese sales in the U.S. reached $23 billion in 2015, and could hit $28 billion by 2020 – a hefty 24 percent growth rate over five years. So why do Americans consume an average of 34 pounds of cheese each year? High protein content, for one reason, and an increasingly positive attitude toward dairy fat. Cheese also tends to have high quality ingredients, is rich in calcium, comes in a wide variety of formats, is convenient as a snack, and is relatively affordable. Manufacturers are also paying closer attention to consumer demands for transparency in ingredient labeling – non-GMO and natural colors – especially when it comes to cheese-based snacks.

Cargill Adds New Emulsifier To Product Line With Unique Benefits

Deoiled canola lecithin is an emulsifier with some unique advantages for food manufacturers seeking to meet consumer ingredient demands. According to  Cargill, which just added deoiled canola lecithin to its product line, the ingredient is a versatile emulsifier and dispersing agent that can be used in chocolate and confectionery, bakery and convenience foods. Dispersibility, functionality, taste and color are comparable to soy and sunflower lecithin. Added advantages include the fact it is non-GMO option, may be used in organic products, and need not be declared as a major food allergen.

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December 15, 2016, to January 01, 2017

Ads For Naked Juice Are Clothed In Misleading Statements, Lawsuit Alleges

The nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest has joined with a New York law firm to sue PepsiCo in federal court for false and misleading advertising for their healthful juice line, Naked Juice. According to CSPI, Naked Juices says its products are packed with acai berry, blueberries, kale, and mango, but actually contain mostly cheap, nutrient-poor apple jor other juice. The company also claims on labels and in advertising that the juices contain “no added sugar,” implying that they are low in sugar. In fact, however, they are high in sugar, and PepsiCo does not tell consumers that the beverages are “not a low-calorie food” as the FDA requires. A 15 oz. bottle of Kale Blazer has eight teaspoons of sugar, mostly from orange and apple juice.

Bai Brands Launches Low-Cal Sodas

Beverage company Bai Brands, partly owned by Dr Pepper Snapple Group, has launched five carbonated drinks sweetened with low-calorie stevia and erythnitol. The new five-calorie beverages gibe nicely with the beverage industry trend – pushed by health advocates – of no- or low-calorie products. The Bai Black line includes traditional soda flavors like cola, root beer and citrus. Bai also makes teas, flavored and enhanced waters and fruit-flavored carbonated drinks. Carbonated soft drink consumption in the U.S. fell to a three-decade low in 2015 on a per-capita basis, as health-conscious consumers reject sugary beverages. It’s really a case of running away – not from sodas – but from sugar.

More California Counties Create GMO-Free Zones

Counties in California that have enacted “GMO-free” growing zones now total nearly 14,000 square miles out of about 67,000 square miles devoted to farming in the state. The bans on GMO farming in the zones, which are appearing across the U.S. on a county by county basis, are backed by organic dairies, natural food co-ops and heirloom seed companies. The latest ban, opposed by the local farm bureau, came in a ballot measure in the November election in Sonoma County, Calif. The bureau said the measure was vaguely worded and would bar farmers from using any appropriate technology to fight pests and disease.

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November 15, 2016, to December 15, 2016

Natural Sweetener Could Give Stevia A Run For Its Money

New Orleans-based Swerve Sweetener is offering U.S. consumers an all-natural, zero-calorie sweetener suitable for baking and cooking – used cup-for-cup like sugar – without the bitter aftertaste of the sweetener stevia. The product, which sells for about $10 per 16-oz. bag, is made from a blend of non-GMO ingredients derived from fruits and vegetables. The company got a jump start in sales in 2007 when it began selling at a Whole Foods Market in Baton Rouge, La. It is now available in more than 4,000 retail stores and has posted $2 million in sales a year.

Nestle’s Refrigerated Pasta Brand Commits To Non-GMO Ingredients

Refrigerated pasta and sauce brand Buitoni has committed to non-GMO ingredients, a move that parent company Nestlé says is the “next step” in a strategy of making their foods simpler, and more transparent to consumers. Buitoni’s products are already free of artificial colors and flavors, and are now certified as non-GMO by third-party verifier SGS. Nestlé said last summer it would only use "kitchen cupboard" ingredients that consumers "know and trust" in its Stouffers frozen meals, and would remove artificial colors, flavors, high fructose corn syrup and GMO ingredients from six of its ice cream brands in the U.S.

New Food Dyes Are Natural, But Tricky To Use

Even after decades of FDA endorsement of artificial food dyes as safe, consumers in recent years have grown increasingly skeptical. Food companies have been listening. Many – including big firms like General Mills, Taco Bell, Kraft Heinz, and Mars – have begun using substitute dyes that are more natural, derived from fruits, vegetables, and spices. The FDA recently approved a request from Mars to use spirulina (blue-green algae) to create blue tones. Food technologists, however, are wrestling with the fact that natural colorings – from turmeric, beets, paprika, annatto seeds (from the achiote tree), etc. – are very heat- and acidity-sensitive, more expensive, and have to be used in larger quantities.
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