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California Start-Up Sells Protein-Rich Doughnuts

May 26, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A Silicon Valley start-up that wanted to provide a healthful protein snack in a form other than bars and shakes recently celebrated its first full year of selling protein doughnuts. The Dough Bar’s doughnuts, each containing 11 grams of protein plus other healthful ingredients, are marketed to “elite fitness competitors,” Cross Fit enthusiasts, and doughnut-loving dieters. The doughnuts can be purchased online or at a couple of Max Muscle stores in California. They are baked (not fried), then shipped within days to ensure freshness. Toppings and glazes are individually packaged.
"Protein-Packed Doughnuts: The Dough Bar Marks 1 Year of Ditching the Protein Bar for a Doughnut on June 10th", News release, The Dough Bar, May 26, 2016, © The Dough Bar
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Aldi’s Cage-Free Egg Decision Proves Controversial In Australia

May 25, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Despite criticism from egg producers in Australia, German retail grocery chain Aldi will spend the next ten years transitioning to cage-free eggs. Consumer pressure pushed the company to take the complicated, expensive and hopefully sustainable step. But egg producers ironically call the move a “slap in the face” to consumers who may not want to spend premium prices for cage-free eggs. Aldi’s decision will “hurt Australian egg farmers and can’t be justified on the basis of either science or consumer behavior.” One egg industry representative said Australian research shows that hen stress levels are similar across cage, barn and free range farming environments. Animal husbandry practices “have the greatest influence on hen welfare.”
"Aldi to phase out cage eggs", Food and Drinks Business (AU), May 25, 2016, © Yaffa
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Food Industry Is “Remarkably Sensitive” To Shifts In Consumer Preferences

May 25, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Market researcher Packaged Facts reports that the food industry is doing whatever it can to accommodate growing consumer demand for “free-from” foods. Five broad food avoidance concerns, or “constituencies,” were identified. These include allergies and intolerances, health and wellbeing, and humanitarian, environmental, and religious concerns. The result has been the creation and marketing of sugar-free, fat-free, low-carbohydrate, gluten-free, no artificial colors, flavors, antibiotics, preservatives or other questionable ingredients. Cage-free eggs is another facet of the trend. Some people in the avant garde of food reformulation may think changes are coming at a glacier pace, but “in fact, the industry is remarkably sensitive to shifts in consumer demands."
"Packaged Facts: Food Industry Committed to Meeting Consumer Demand for "Free-From" Foods", News release, Packaged Facts, May 25, 2016, © Packaged Facts
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New Food Nutrition Facts Labels Finalized

May 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The FDA finalized changes to food nutrition facts  labels on May 20, but gave food companies until July 2018 – smaller companies until 2019 – to begin using them. The agency kept the basic look (old and new labels shown at left), but increased the type size for “calories” (bold), “servings per container,” and the “serving size” declaration (bold). The actual amount, in addition to percent daily value, of vitamin D, calcium, iron and potassium is required. The label will include “added sugars” in grams, vitamin D (but not vitamin A or C), potassium, calcium, iron, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat (but not calories from fat), and daily values for sodium and dietary fiber. Serving sizes must be based on amounts of foods and beverages that people actually eat, not on what they should be eating.
Mary Clare Jalonick et al., "Makeover coming for food nutrition labels", Associated Press, May 20, 2016, © Associated Press
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Lawsuit Accuses Kellogg Of Marketing “Whole Grain” Crackers Made With White Flour

May 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Consumer watchdog Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has filed a federal lawsuit accusing Kellogg of allegedly falsely advertising a variety of its Cheez-It snack crackers as made with “Whole Grain.” CSPI said the crackers are actually made from refined white flour, not whole grain as claimed on the package. Whole Grain Cheez-It crackers “are nearly identical nutritionally to the Original version of Cheez-Its, providing a negligible one gram of fiber,” CSPI said. The plaintiffs are asking the court for injunctive relief to prevent Kellogg “from continuing to engage in deceptive marketing of Cheez-Its.”
"Lawsuit Targets Cheez-It “Whole Grain” Crackers, Which are Mostly Made of Refined White Flour", News release, Center for Science in the Public Interest, May 19, 2016, © Center for Science in the Public Interest
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NRDC Urges The Colonel To Stop Using Antibiotics In Chicken Production

May 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is urging KFC to stop using antibiotics in its chicken production. Seventy percent of the antibiotics used to treat human bacterial illnesses are given to mostly healthy pigs, chickens, cattle, and other livestock. That practice “promotes the growth of drug-resistant superbugs,” posing a serious threat to public health. Other big fast food chains – McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A, Subway and Taco Bell – are committed to eliminating antibiotics from poultry production. But KFC, with more chicken-based restaurants than any other chain and sales second only to Chick-fil-A, “has yet to get on board.”
Rhea Suh, "It’s Time for KFC to Kick Its Drug Habit", News release, Natural Resources Defense Council, May 19, 2016, © Natural Resources Defense Council
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Cage-Free Eggs Trend Is Consumer-Driven, Based On Animal Welfare Concerns

May 15, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The cage-free eggs trend is consumer-driven, according to industry experts who say sales in the category are steadily rising. The fact that egg-laying hens can move around more freely than their peers in conventional cages -- an animal welfare concern -- has no impact on the flavor or nutritional value of eggs. About 100 billion eggs are produced annually in the U.S. Of these, about 8.6 billion came from a cage-free environment. Within ten years that number will be more like 50 billion. The tipping points in the trend included a 2015 California law that required that eggs come from cage-free hens, and decisions by Walmart and McDonald’s to phase in cage-free-only eggs. In recent weeks, supermarket chains Price Chopper, Bargain Market, Market 32, HyVee, retailer Hampton Coffee (N.Y.) and restaurant chain Bojangles’ all announced a transition to cage-free eggs.
Orlan Love, "The cage-free hen movement has reached a tipping point in consumer preferences", The Gazette, May 15, 2016, © The Gazette
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Hormel Applies “Clean Label” Plan Across Its Product Line

May 13, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Hormel Foods Corporation’s new clean label initiative aims to simplify ingredient statements by removing or replacing artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors in many of its retail products without hurting flavor. The company says its Valley Fresh products, Compleats microwaveable meals, Always Tender meats and two side dishes were simplified. It is working to simplify ingredients for Hormel chili, Dinty Moore stew and SPAM products. Hormel says its Natural Choice meats were developed nine years ago with zero preservatives, no artificial colors or MSG, no nitrites or nitrates added, and no gluten.
"Hormel Foods Simplifies Ingredient Statements of Products", News release, Hormel Foods, May 13, 2016, © Hormel Foods Corporation
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Snack Company Claims Small Victory In Possibly Changing The FDA’s Mind

May 12, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
According to the CEO of a snack bar company, the FDA has agreed that nuts, despite the presence of saturated fats, could actually be a healthy ingredient in food products. In a March 2015 warning letter to KIND LLC, the FDA said “none of your products listed above meet the requirements for use of the nutrient content claim ‘healthy’ that are set forth in” the applicable regulation. The company says it achieved a small but significant victory when the agency later reversed at least part of its decision. Daniel Lubetzky says he’s not sure his company is going to put the healthy claim back on its packaging, because products continue to sell without it. He acknowledges some satisfaction, however, in getting his point across to the FDA. The agency announced earlier this month it plans to review its decades-old definitions of terms like “healthy” to better reflect current scientific and nutritional facts.
Dale Buss, "FDA’s Package Deal: 5 Questions with KIND Snacks CEO Daniel Lubetzky", BrandChannel, May 12, 2016, © Interbrand
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As Court Battles Rage Over GMO Label Law, Some Companies Quietly Comply

May 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Some food companies have made a big deal of their decision to comply with a Vermont law requiring GMO ingredient labeling. But unlike Mars, Campbell Soup, and General Mills, PepsiCo is adding the labeling with no fanfare. Consumers Union said it noticed cans of Pepsi in New Hampshire whose label said the soda was “Partially Produced With Genetic Engineering.” The same notice was also found on Lay’s potato chips bags. All of this is occurring against a backdrop of litigation as food trade groups struggle to prevent the Vermont law from taking effect on July 1. So far their efforts have been stymied in the courts, but it’s anyone’s guess how the issue will be resolved.
Chris Morran, "Pepsi, Frito-Lay Quietly Adding GMO Ingredient Labels To Some Foods", Consumerist, May 11, 2016, © Consumer Media LLC
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Purveyors Of Nutrition Information Are Changing America’s Mind About Food

May 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A survey of a thousand American adults discovered that many have changed their minds or behaviors about food and nutrition in the past year, to a great extent because of information obtained from news or other media. Sponsored by the Food Information Council, the survey found an average of 31 percent had changed their minds about at least one dietary component, “for better or worse.” Media information turned many people against enriched refined grains, saturated fat, added sugars, and low-calorie sweeteners. At the same time, the media helped persuade consumers of the healthfulness of whole grains, protein from plant sources, and natural sugars. Forty-four percent indicated that reading a book or article, or watching a movie or documentary, had altered their beliefs about diet.
"2016 Food and Health Survey", International Food Information Council Foundation, May 11, 2016, © International Food Information Council Foundation
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ConAgra’s Alexia Frozen Foods Moving Quickly Toward Non-GMO

May 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
ConAgra Foods said it hopes to have all of its Alexia brand frozen French fries and other frozen vegetable products GMO-free by the end of the year. According to a company spokesman, the Non-GMO initiative is already 90 percent complete. ConAgra acquired the Alexia brand in 2007, five years after Alexia was founded. Besides premium fries, Alexia markets gourmet potato side dishes and organic vegetables.
Eric Schroeder, "Alexia closes in on full Non-GMO Project verification", Food Business News, May 11, 2016, © Sosland Publishing Co.
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A New Lease On Life For Carb-Rich Pasta

May 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Nielsen has found that the popularity of pasta is once again on the rise. Sales, which have declined steadily for years, increased 2.9 percent in the year that ended in early April. Google  Internet search data confirm that interest in pasta ticked upward in 2015 as users are “experimenting with new recipes and sauces that can be prepared at home or picked up at the grocery store.” Google also noted that online searchers want to understand the differences between “certain types of pasta and their accompanying sauces.” U.S. sales of rigatoni and other “short-cut pastas” grew by 3.6 percent in the past year, according to Nielsen, and Google proclaimed it’s time for marketers “to refocus their attention on pasta.”
Venessa Wong, "Pasta Is Making A Comeback, Sales Rise After Years Of Decline", BuzzFeed News, May 11, 2016, © BuzzFeed, Inc
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Cage-Free Egg Movement Steams Ahead

May 10, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The Walt Disney Co.’s theme parks and cruise line, and the Florida-based supermarket chain Winn-Dixie, announced they are implementing a cage-free eggs sourcing policy much earlier than other hospitality chains, restaurants and food retailers. Disney said its plan will be completed by the end of 2016, while Winn-Dixie’s private-label eggs will be cage-free by 2017, the rest by 2025. Most companies that have announced cage-free egg policies are giving themselves as much as ten years to put them in place. In recent weeks, the following companies have announced a transition to cage-free eggs over various timetables: 7-11; Dollar General; Dairy Queen; N.Y.-based Tops grocery chain; Texas-based H-E-B grocery chain; C&S Wholesale Grocers (Keene, N.H.); and grocery retailer SpartanNash (Grand Rapids, Mich.).
"Disney and Winn Dixie will use cage free eggs only", Orlando Sentinel , May 10, 2016, © Orlando Sentinel
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Tortillas Dethrone Sliced White Bread As The Sandwich-Making King

May 10, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Perhaps it’s inevitable given recent demographic trends, but the tortilla has become the fastest-growing segment of the baking industry. The $12 billion-a-year phenomenon has deposed white sandwich bread as the top choice in America for making meat, vegetables, and condiments convenient to eat by hand. This has come about certainly because of the influx of Hispanic immigrants, but also because there has been “a lot of innovation in how tortillas are used and what they are being made out of,” according to a tortilla industry spokesman. Manufacturers have introduced more healthful whole wheat tortillas and low-carb/high-fiber tortillas. Consumers can find non-GMO, organic and gluten-free tortillas. Stores are also selling home-style tortillas and par-baked tortillas “for those who want a more authentic, made-from-scratch experience.”
Robert Rodriguez, "How did tortillas become the new white bread?", The Fresno Bee, May 10, 2016, © The Fresno Bee
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FDA Survey: Consumers Do Check The Food Nutrition Label

May 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
An FDA health and diet survey regarding the usefulness of food label nutrition information found that 78 percent check the label at least sometimes before purchasing, and 50 percent check it most of the time or always. The agency is putting the finishing touches on a new version of the ubiquitous nutrition facts label found on foods and beverages to help achieve the goal of reducing obesity and salt intake. Almost 90 percent of adults surveyed indicated they consumed more sodium than was healthy. Seventy-five percent said supermarket foods had more, or about the same amount of, sodium they did five years ago.
Chung-Tung Jordan Lin et al., "2014 FDA Health and Diet Survey", U.S. Food and Drug Administration, May 06, 2016, © Jordan Lin et al.
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Fast Food Fans Are Highly Exposed To Dangerous Chemicals

May 4, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A study that looked into whether eating fast food exposes people to harmful chemicals found fast foodies had 40 percent more harmful phthalates in their bloodstream. Phthalates are industrial chemicals used in making food packaging, tubing for dairy products, and other items used in the production of fast food. Grain and meat items were the biggest contributors to phthalate exposure. Studies have suggested that phthalates – also found in personal care products, toys, and perfume – can damage the reproductive system and may lead to infertility. The findings were based on U.S. data from 8,877 people who completed questionnaires about their diet in the previous 24 hours.
Susanna D. Mitro et al., "Recent Fast Food Consumption and Bisphenol A and Phthalates Exposures among the U.S. Population in NHANES, 2003–2010. ", Environmental Health Perspectives, May 04, 2016, © Mitro et al.
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Innovative Makeovers Rev Up Ice Cream Sandwich Market

May 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The dull but durable ice cream sandwich is suddenly hot, according to researcher Mintel, thanks to some imaginative innovation by gourmet ice cream sandwich businesses. Sandwich parlors and food stalls have popped up in New York, London and Chicago in recent years, creating a trend that caught the attention of food companies and mainstream retailers. Mintel says the revived appeal of ice cream sandwiches has to do with presentation: cookie or cake parts contrasting with an ice cream center, making the whole package perfect for social media sharing. Retailers are now selling Krispy Kreme’s Kool Krispy Sandwich, created by Pop Tarts and restaurant chain Friendly’s, Ben & Jerry’s new vegan ice creams, and Unilever’s new ice cream sandwich range.
Alex Beckett, "2016’s Hot Trend In Indulgence: Ice Cream Sandwiches", Blog, Mintel, May 03, 2016, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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Hershey’s Continues Simplifying Its Ingredients

May 2, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Following through on its 2015 promise to simplify the ingredients that go into its products, candy manufacturer Hershey’s has developed a new chocolate syrup that contains only five “simple” ingredients. Simply 5 Syrup contains cocoa, water, natural flavor from vanilla beans, cane sugar and cane syrup. It contains no high-fructose corn syrup, artificial preservatives or flavors, or GMOs. Since last year’s announcement, the company has simplified ingredients in more than 500 product SKUs, including the iconic Hershey's Kisses Milk Chocolates and Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bars.
"New Hershey’s Simply 5 Syrup Is Sweet And Simple With Just Five Ingredients", News release, The Hershey Company, May 02, 2016, © The Hershey Company
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Kellogg Unveils Line Of Snacks, Cereals With More Natural Ingredients

May 2, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Noting that it is listening to American consumers, Kellogg’s has unveiled several new versions of its breakfast cereals and snacks -- and expanded offerings under the Special K brand -- that contain simpler, wholesome, “recognizable ingredients.” Besides new varieties of Raisin Bran, “mash-up” Pop-Tarts with soda flavors (Crush Orange and A&W Root Beer), and new flavors of Cheez-It crackers, the products include granola and a new “crustless” breakfast quiche. One serving of microwaveable Special K Crustless Quiches provides 10 to 11 grams of protein in three flavors with eggs, chopped vegetables, quinoa and cheese. The company’s new snack bars contain no artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners. Also new: Eggo waffles with real berries and steel cut oats, Special K crackers with quinoa, and Morningstar sausages with quinoa and oats.
"Kellogg U.S. Brands Launch New Delicious Breakfast And Snack Choices", News release, Kellogg’s, May 02, 2016, © Kellogg Co.
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Japan Tests AI For Food Waste Reduction

April 28, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A Japanese weather services provider says it is determined to apply artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to reduce the 6.4 million tons of edible food that is thrown out annually. The Japan Weather Association (JWA), working with retailers, food producers and other companies, has developed a system that predicts food demand. It analyzes weather information, sales data, and other factors to project trends. Companies can use the information to scale back excess production and cut inventory losses. Included in the research is data on several dozen products, including cold ramen sauce, tofu, coffee and carbonated drinks. Adjusting production by using the data could reduce wasted noodle sauce by 40 percent and discarded tofu by 30 percent.
Kazuki Nagoya, "AI could solve Japan's food waste problem", Nikkei Asian Review, April 28, 2016, © Nikkei Inc.
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Chef Works To Ensure Bright Future For Coffee Flour

April 27, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A Seattle chef is convinced there’s a bright future for coffee flour, made from discarded coffee berry pulp. He has converted part of his restaurant’s kitchen into a sort of lab where he and colleagues test new formulations that use coffee flour to develop new applications beyond pastas, salad dressings, dips and batter. Thousands of tons of coffee fruit pulp – everything but the beans themselves – are thrown away each year. But Jason Wilson believes the waste product can not only be transformed into a valuable cooking ingredient, it can help raise the living standards of coffee farmers, benefit the environment, and boost the economies of coffee-producing countries. Coffee flour is the brainchild of Dan Belliveau, a former director of technical services at Starbucks.
Rebekah Denn, "Coffee flour: How innovators turned a waste product into a superfood", The Seattle Times, April 27, 2016, © The Seattle Times Company
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McDonald’s Cleans Up Its McNuggets Recipe

April 27, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
McDonald’s, which has acknowledged it failed to keep up with America’s changing food preferences, is turning over a new leaf. The company announced it is testing a reformulated Chicken McNuggets – without artificial preservatives – in restaurants in the Pacific Northwest. The company has not revealed details of the new recipe, but did say it is “simpler” and will please parents. The company’s sagging sales have picked up recently, thanks in part to its all-day breakfast strategy, but also to price hikes and to shuttering of underperforming restaurants. It did not say whether customer visits had picked up as well. The company hopes to launch the new McNuggets recipe in time for the Summer Olympics,
Peter Frost, "McDonald's plans to launch 'cleaner' Chicken McNuggets", Crain’s Chicago Business, April 27, 2016, © Crain Communication, Inc.
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Dannon Promises Greater Sustainability, More Natural Ingredients, Label Transparency

April 27, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Yogurt maker Dannon has pledged to farmers, retailers, and consumers that it will improve sustainable practices for its milk supply. It also promises greater transparency for its products as uses more natural – and fewer – ingredients. Improving its sustainable agriculture practices and technology will lead to better soil health, better water management, an increase in biodiversity, and a decrease in carbon emission. Moving to natural ingredients means fewer synthetic and more non-GMO over a three-year transition period. The company will ensure that by the end of 2017 any GMO ingredients will be clearly indicated on product labels.
"Dannon Announces Breakthrough Sweeping Commitment for Sustainable Agriculture, More Natural Ingredients and Greater Transparency", News release, Dannon, April 27, 2016, © Dannon
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Egg Marketers Need To Get The Health Message Across To American Consumers

April 27, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Sales of eggs in the year ended in February declined by 3.6 percent, the fourth year of declines in a row, according to Nielsen. This despite solid scientific evidence that eggs are an extremely healthful, and economical, addition to the diet. Nielsen suggests that to reduce sagging sales trends, egg farmers and retailers need to make obesity-conscious Americans aware of the benefits of eggs: high-quality proteins, vitamins, minerals, healthful fats and beneficial trace nutrients. If they can do that, “they may just see their sales spike in the future.”
"Cracked up – the latest on U.S. Egg sales", News release, Nielsen, April 27, 2016, © The Nielsen Company
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Start-Ups Prosper In “Clean Label” America At The Expense Of Big Food

April 27, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A cluster of Chicago-area start-ups is profiting from health-conscious America’s growing demand for foods and drinks that are less processed, contain few ingredients, and fewer artificial ingredients and fillers. Gluten-free baking company Simple Mills is prospering following the “clean label” trend, with its products now in 3,000 stores in the U.S., making it the third largest American baker by revenue. RXBar, which makes, an all-natural protein bar, grew by 300 percent last year and expects similar growth in 2016. These companies are increasing market share as big food producers struggle to reformulate familiar product lines without hurting texture or flavor.
"Small Startups Profit from Clean Label Movement", Specialty Food, April 27, 2016, © Specialty Food Association, Inc.
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Sustainability, Purity, Simplicity Are Dannon's New Watchwordsl

April 26, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Yogurt maker Dannon is requiring its milk suppliers to adhere to the company’s animal welfare standards and to improve and conserve soil. The new requirement is part of Dannon’s response to a growing consumer concern about the source and wholesomeness of food. Consumers increasingly seek fewer synthetic ingredients in their foods, want their food to be more pure, and want food animals treated humanely. A slew of new food companies represent fairly tough competition for Dannon – which sells a third of all yogurts in America – by touting the simplicity and purity of their products.
Stephanie Strom, "Yogurt Buyers Send Dannon Back to the Farm", The New York Times, April 26, 2016, © The New York Times Company
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Is It Ethical For Vegan Restaurateurs To Kill Cockroaches?

April 25, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Some vegan restaurant owners committed to humane animal treatment stretch their principles to include the obnoxious pests that plague their facilities. But it’s quite a dilemma. How, after all, do you keep your eatery compliant with public health rules without killing rats, cockroaches, and spiders? Die-hard animal rights restaurateurs can follow the guidance of PETA, which suggests using orange peels to ward off flies, bay leaves to discourage roaches, and peppermint oil-soaked rags to discourage rodents. Faced with the impracticality of those solutions, however, some end up compromising their principles – i.e., calling the exterminator – for the higher good: staying in business “as a way to put a dent in the dominance of the factory farm system.”
Kelli Kennedy, "Trapped! Vegan restaurants struggle with humane pest control", Associated Press, April 25, 2016, © Associated Press
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Canadians Are More Likely To Snack On Cheese Or Yogurt Than Milk

April 25, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Nielsen data show that Canadians are more likely to choose cheese or yogurt than milk as they shop for dairy products. Over the last 12 months, yogurt and cheese sales rose four percent. At the same time, milk sales declined by $25 million. The researcher said snacking trends are probably at the root of the shift. Canadians said cheese and yogurt were their favorite snacks in a recent survey. But milk remains the largest segment of the dairy market, and apparently container size matters. Sales of single-serve 250 ml milk containers grew 22 percent as sales of bottles of a liter or more declined.
"Milk Is Still The Big Cheese Of Canada's Dairy Aisle, But Perhaps Not For Long", News release, Nielsen, April 25, 2016, © The Nielsen Company
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Asia Is Serious About Handling Food Waste Efficiently

April 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
South Korea and other Asian countries are aggressively tackling their food waste problems. On the national level, South Korea’s food waste management system is part of a decades-old recycling effort created to ease pressure on landfills. Food waste is collected and recycled as animal feed or compost. Or people can buy a home food waste processor that turns table scraps into dried powder for fertilizer. Other countries serious about putting food waste to good use include: Japan (two million tons into animal feed, 0.6 million tons into animal feed, annually) and Taiwan (0.4 million tons a year into pig feed).
Chang May Choon, "South Korea cuts food waste with 'pay as you trash'", The Straits Times, April 24, 2016, © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd.
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Root-To-Stalk Cooking Helps Prevent Food Waste

April 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The realization that single-family households in Toronto, Canada, throw out about 275 kilograms of food scraps each year – 75 percent of which is composted by the city – led one cooking teacher and caterer to find a way to reduce food waste. One solution comes in the form of good old-fashioned root-to-stalk cooking of seasonal produce. For hygienic reasons, she discards only the much-handled outermost leaves of a cabbage. Everything else – except the pulpy core – is cooked. Chopped broccoli stalks are pureed for hummus, soups or stir-fries. Potato peels are roasted with olive oil and salt until they are as crunchy snack as potato chips. Other oft-discarded vegetable parts that can be put to good use include woody asparagus ends, dark green sections of leeks, and the stem ends of dill, parsley and cilantro.
Lois Abraham, "Vegetable scraps go upscale: Root-to-stalk chefs cook with kale ribs, potato peels", National Post, April 20, 2016, © National Post, a division of Postmedia Network Inc.
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Nestle Steps Up Efforts To Simplify Food Product Ingredients

April 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Accelerating its program to remove unpopular additives from its foods, Nestlé announced it will remove artificial flavors and colors from ice cream products sold in the U.S., including Dreyer's, Haagen-Dazs, and Skinny Cow. In addition, the company said it will modify remove high fructose corn syrup and genetically-modified ingredients from some of ice cream products. Nestlé last year removed artificial flavors and colors in ten chocolate candy brands in the U.S., as well as from DiGiorno pizza, while also reducing salt.
Corinne Gretler, "Nestle Axes GMO Ingredients and Additives in Some U.S. Ice Cream", Bloomberg, April 20, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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One Cereal Brand Gives General Mills Food Scientists A Bowlful Of Problems

April 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Food scientists at General Mills – which has promised to rid its cereal line of artificial flavors and colors – have succeeded with all but one brand. Turns out the marshmallows in Lucky Charms – blue moons, rainbows, pink hearts, yellow hourglasses and neon leprechaun hats – present a sticky problem. Each color change modifies the total flavor experience of a bowl of the cereal. The scientists have tested dozens and dozens of flavor and color combinations, so far with no luck. As food writer Chase Purdy notes, “The subtlety of Lucky Charms makes the task of achieving vibrant colors with muted flavor all the more challenging.”
Chase Purdy, "The scientists trying to rid Lucky Charms of artificial colors are baffled by the marshmallows", Quartz, April 19, 2016, © Quartz
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Foodservice Management Firm Collaborates To Cut Food Waste

April 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A multinational facilities and foodservice management company said it is collaborating with businesses, government agencies and nonprofits to achieve the Obama administration’s goal of reducing food waste in the U.S. by 50 percent within 14 years. Sodexo has developed a model that the foodservice industry can follow to cut food waste, free up landfill space and reduce methane gas emissions. The Zero Food Waste to Landfills scheme follows the guidance offered by the recent ReFED report, which outlines 27 strategies to halve food waste by 2030. Though one in five U.S. children are in danger of hunger, America spends $218 billion growing, processing, transporting and discarding food that is never eaten, the company said.
"Sodexo Commits to Zero Food Waste to Landfills", News release, Sodexo, April 18, 2016, © Sodexo
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Stonewall Kitchen Joins The GMO Label Movement

April 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Maine-based specialty food producer Stonewall Kitchen says it will be rolling out label changes for the products it makes that contain GMO ingredients in time for the July 1 implementation of Vermont’s strict GMO label law. The company says most (90 percent) of its product line is already non-GMO, but some products contain GMO corn or soy. These will get the new labels. The company said new products will be in compliance by June, and existing products will reach store shelves “on a rolling basis” as soon as possible after that. GMO-containing ingredients in Stonewall Kitchen’s products include corn meal, soya oil, corn starch and beet sugar.
"Stonewall Kitchen to Label Products With Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)", News release, Stonewall Kitchen, April 18, 2016, © Stonewall Kitchen
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USDA App Helps Consumers Reduce Food Waste At Home

April 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) estimates that 133 billion pounds of food in the available food supply – $161 billion worth – go uneaten each year. To help combat the enormous waste problem, the agency offers a free downloadable app called FoodKeeper for Apple and Android devices that helps consumers remember when food stored in the refrigerator, freezer, or pantry was purchased. It allows users to set up automatic notifications when products are nearing the end of their recommended storage date. The app also:  advises on storage methods that extend shelf life; discusses more than 400 food and beverage items; and offers cooking advice to eliminate foodborne bacteria.
Kristina Beaugh, "USDA Tips for Reducing Food Waste and Preventing Illness", News release, U.S.Department of Agriculture, April 18, 2016, © USDA
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Snack Products Make Good Use Of Edible Fruits Destined For Landfills

April 17, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Two British entrepreneurs have developed a way to take excess, but still fresh, fruit or fruit that is judged unsuitable for selling, and turn it into a healthy “fruit leather” snack. "Snact" comprises apples, bananas, mangoes, and other fruits that are blended, spread out and dried in a dehydrator for eight hours before being cut into small pieces. The bendable and chewy fruit snack is sold in 20-gram bags. Available flavors include apple and raspberry; apple and mango; and apple, blueberry and banana. According to the U.N., 45 percent of all fruit and vegetables produced globally ends up in landfills.
Shane Hickey, "The innovators: fruitful idea turns waste food into a tasty snack", The Guardian, April 17, 2016, © Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies
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Mars Follows Example Of Food Companies That Promise More Healthful Products

April 15, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Mars Food says it will reformulate some of its food products to make them more healthful, and will begin labeling some with guidance as to whether they should be eaten occasionally or can be eaten every day. The company acknowledged that some of its food products have more salt, added sugar or fat, and therefore should not be eaten daily. The company also plans to cut the amount of salt in its food 20 percent within five years, and reduce sugar in some sauces and light meals by 2018. Brussels-based Mars owns brands like M&Ms, Snickers, Wrigley’s, Dolmio, Miracoli, and Uncle Ben’s.
Henriette Jacobsen, "Mars Food tells consumers not to eat their products on a daily basis", EurActiv.com, April 15, 2016, © EurActiv.com plc
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Cage-Free Eggs: Growing Popularity, Huge Profit

April 14, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Researcher Mintel – noting the “fever pitch” of the movement among food producers, restaurants, and retailers toward cage-free eggs – reports that half of Millennials put the cage-free/free-range claim among their top five concerns. The claim is less important to Baby Boomers, only 40 percent of whom put it among their top five. Mintel notes that the companies on the cage-free bandwagon may be reacting to consumer demand, or to a genuine concern for animal welfare. But another possibility has more to do with dollars and cents. Though cage-free eggs only cost 15 cents more a dozen to produce, they sell at twice the price of conventional large eggs: an average of $2.99 a dozen, compared to $1.29.
Billy Roberts, "Cage-Free-For-All?", Blog, Mintel, April 14, 2016, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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Food Sniffing Tool Could Help Reduce Food Waste

April 14, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A new gadget linked to a smartphone app may help significantly reduce the £700 ($1,022) worth of food British households waste annually. The Foodsniffer ignores the use-by date and gets right to the “nose” of the matter, analyzing the gases emitted by foods and transmitting findings to the app. The gadget purportedly can let you know if food is fresh, needs thorough cooking, or is downright hazardous to your health. The $129 Foodsniffer was created by a Lithuanian inventor – a company slogan is “You can’t trust your nose! – who claims the device is 85 - 90 percent accurate.
Lauren O'Callaghan, "The END of wasted food? New gadget claims it can tell if your food needs binning", Daily Express, April 14, 2016, © Northern and Shell Media Publications
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Canary Seed Approved By Canada, U.S., For Human Consumption

April 13, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Saskatchewan farmers rejoice! The USDA and Health Canada have decided that high-protein, gluten-free canary seed is fit for human consumption. The upshot is that the seed, which is about the size of flax and sesame, can be used in energy and snack bars, cookies, muffins, crackers, breads, tortillas, and pastas. And sprinkled on hamburger buns and bagels. Besides protein, canary seed is rich in fatty acids and fiber. And it might make a good substitute for sesame seed, which is on the top ten list of allergenic seeds. Saskatchewan, by the way, is the top producer and exporter of canary seed.
Lois Abraham, "Health Canada approves canary seed for human consumption", The (Toronto) Globe and Mail, April 13, 2016, © The Globe and Mail Inc.
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Hotel Chain To Plant Vegetable Gardens At A Quarter Of Its Facilities

April 13, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
France’s AccorHotels announced it will try to reduce food waste in its 3,900 hotels by 30 percent by planting vegetable gardens at many of its facilities. The group said it generates 25-30 percent of its revenue by serving 150 million meals a year. It implement its plan by first determining how much food it is wasting. Restaurants will be required to weigh and record food that is discarded to best determine how to cut waste. The company said it is supporting “urban agriculture” by planting 1,000 vegetable gardens at its hotels over the next four years. The global chain includes the Pullman, Sofitel, Novotel, Mercure and Ibis hotel chains.
"Major hotel chain to grow vegetables at 1000 properties to cut food waste", The Guardian, April 13, 2016, via Agence France-Presse, © Agence France-Presse
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Start-Up Gets Venture Cash It Needs To Market Its Food Waste Solution

April 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A Redmond, Wash.-based start-up has raised more cash in a third financing round, bringing the total to $30 million, to support further development and marketing of a machine that reduces food waste by turning unsold and scrap food into a useful product. WISErg's machine, called the Harvester, is used by food stores to dispose of food waste. Customers include Whole Foods Market, Costco and PCC Natural Markets. The Harvester grinds food waste into a slurry that the company takes and processes into a fertilizer that can be used on organically grown crops. There are Harvesters in more than 20 locations in Seattle alone.
Rachel Nielsen, "From food waste to fertilizer: Redmond startup attracts $12.3M", Business Journals, April 11, 2016, © American City Business Journals
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Americans Ask Restaurants: Where’s The Healthful Food?

April 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A Mintel poll of American consumers found nearly half complaining that it is too tough to find healthful food at restaurants. And when they do find it, it tends to be too expensive (64 percent). Sixty-eight percent said restaurants should make it easier by indicating on menus which foods are more healthful. The problem is significant enough for 36 percent of those polled that they’d rather prepare healthful foods at home than try to find them at restaurants.
"Half Of Americans Agree That Finding Healthy Items At Restaurants Is Challenging", News release, Mintel, April 11, 2016, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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New Butterball Ground Turkey Brand Made From Antibiotics-Free Birds

April 9, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Turkey processor Butterball LLC announced a new line of ground meat made from birds never treated with antibiotics. The move puts Butterball in the rapidly expanding group of meat and poultry processors that are eradicating antibiotics from their animal husbandry schemes. Perdue Farms Inc. in February said it is transitioning to chicken and turkey products that use “no antibiotics ever.” Tyson Foods Inc., said it will eliminate antibiotics by September 2017. Butterball says its “Farm to Family” brand of antibiotics-free ground turkey is already appearing in grocery stores. It expects to generate $100 million in retail sales over the next three to four years from the product.
Megan Durisin et al., "Turkey Burgers Go Antibiotic-Free as Butterball Jumps on Trend", Bloomberg, April 09, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Walmart, Sam’s Club Pledge 100% Cage-Free Eggs Within Ten Years

April 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart and Sam’s Club announced a commitment to sourcing only cage-free eggs by 2025, though they hedged a little, saying the accomplishment of the goal depended on “available supply, affordability and customer demand by 2025.” In a statement the companies said the cage-free pledge supports their “aspiration” of achieving the “five freedoms” of animal welfare for farm animals in its supply chain,” announced a year ago. Besides freedom to express normal animal behavior, the others are freedom from hunger and thirst; discomfort; pain, injury or disease; and fear and distress. The company is requiring all of its egg suppliers to be certified and fully compliant with United Egg Producers (UEP) Animal Husbandry Guidelines.
"Walmart U.S. Announces Transition to Cage-Free Egg Supply Chain by 2025", News release, Walmart, April 05, 2016, © Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
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USDA Data On Organic Sector Show Healthy Growth

April 4, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Thanks to a newly launched organic database system that tracks and reports on certified organic operations, the USDA announced continuing double-digit growth in U.S. organic farming, ranching, handling and processing. The data collected from the constantly-updated Organic Integrity Database confirm that there are now 21,781 certified organic operations in the U.S. -- up 12 percent since 2014 -- and 31,160 around the globe. The total retail market for organic foods and other products is now valued at more than $39 billion here and more than $75 billion worldwide. The agency has invested a billion dollars in more than 40,000 local and regional food businesses and infrastructure projects since between 2009.
"USDA Reports Record Growth In U.S. Organic Producers", News release, U.S. Department of Agriculture, April 04, 2016, © USDA
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Canadians Say Rising Food Prices Are Making It Harder To Put Food On The Table

April 4, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A majority of working poor, middle-class and even higher-income Canadian consumers – nearly three out of five – say the rising cost of food is making it tougher to feed their families, an Angus Reid Institute poll finds. To deal with the problem, consumers are cutting back on meat purchases, buying cheaper brands, and choosing what they believe are less healthy but cheaper foods. Sixty-three percent of Canadians say the government has not paid enough attention to rising food prices, and 53 percent say the issue is “one of the most important” facing the country today.
"Rising food prices: Canadians – regardless of income level – say it’s getting harder to feed their families", Angus Reid Institute, April 04, 2016, © The Angus Reid Institute
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FDA Will Release Voluntary Salt-Content Goals This Summer

April 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Politico reports that voluntary goals for sodium levels in processed foods will be released this summer by the FDA, thanks to a lawsuit by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Having to reduce salt content makes some food companies nervous, because the ingredient gives breads, crackers and sauces “their trademark taste.” It’s likely, however, that the reductions would be phased in over ten years. The CSPI lawsuit should push the FDA to release the salt targets completed two years ago but kept under wraps. Excessive salt content in processed foods has been a bête noire of the Obama administration for years.
Helena Bottemiller Evich, "Obama's latest food crackdown: Salt", Politico, April 03, 2016, © Politico LLC
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“Free From” Is Good, But It’s No Substitute For Unprocessed

April 2, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Food writer Marion Nestle writes that it’s all well and good that the food industry is getting rid of bisphenol-A (BPA) from its packaging, and removing unnatural additives, artificial colors or flavors, high fructose corn syrup, trans fat, gluten and GMOs – or at least including GMOs on their labels. Products sell better, and companies make more money, when the labels proclaim “free from.” And consumers benefit “to an extent,” she says. But highly processed foods still contain a lot calories, and often excessive salt and sugar. People need to eat vegetables and other unprocessed foods. “No amount of subtraction from highly processed foods is going to change that,” she concludes.
Marion Nestle, "No amount of 'free from' labelling will make processed food good for you", The Guardian, April 02, 2016, © Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies
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