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Anytime Breakfasters Prefer McDonald’s, Subway, IHOP

August 17, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
People who love to eat breakfast more than once a day – a category known as “breakfastarians” -- say their favorite breakfast eatery is McDonald’s. A year-long online survey by a brand perception research service found that 41 percent of adults (over 18) think of McDonald’s, which has dominated breakfast dining for years, as they ponder their next meal. Subway came in second among the anytime breakfast crowd at 34 percent, followed by IHOP (32 percent), Burger King (27 percent) and Starbucks (26 percent). Denny's, Dunkin' Donuts, Wendy's, KFC and Chick-fil-A rounded out the top 10. According to researcher NPD Group, breakfast is the only U.S. restaurant meal time that is growing in terms of visits, and the competition among fast-food and fast-casual eateries is ferocious.
Lisa Baertlein, "McDonald's No. 1 choice for 'Breakfastarians': poll", Reuters, August 17, 2015, © Thomson Reuters
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Customizable-Pizza Joints Attract Customers – And Investors

August 17, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
If you’re a pizza lover and haven’t heard the names Pieology, Blaze Pizza or PizzaRev, chances are you will soon. The rapidly growing pizza chains, born in California and spreading like tomato sauce on a discus of dough, are just a few of the companies specializing in customizable – or “build your own” – pizzas. The concept is luring not only lots of customers but high-profile individual investors and restaurant chains, including Chipotle. One of the hottest categories of fast-casual dining, build-your-own pizza joints are thriving because they use high-quality, fresh ingredients, they’re made in house, and the dough is always fresh, never frozen. Another key to success: they offer custom-built pies at $10 or less with unprecedented speed – usually within five to ten minutes.
Robert Gray, "Customizable pizza is a piping hot trend", FOX News, August 17, 2015, © FOX News Network, LLC
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Baked Goods Volumes Stagnant, Held Back By Bread

August 16, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
The value of the global baked goods market continues to grow, though volume is stagnant, thanks to bread’s “lackluster performance,” according to Euromonitor. Buoying baked goods generally are smaller categories such dessert mixes and frozen baked items. The global market will reach $339 billion in value this year, a five percent growth rate. The researcher notes that snack products such as cakes and pastries are showing healthy growth. But, a global shift in consumer tastes from carbs to protein-rich foods “does not bode well for packaged baked goods manufacturers” who are fighting to stay profitable as retailer space consolidates further.
Pinar Hosafci, "What's New in Baked Goods in 2015?", Report, Euromonitor International, August 16, 2015, © Euromonitor International
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Florida Grocery Chain Goes Full Tilt Into Online Cake Ordering

August 14, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Florida-based Publix Super Markets is now offering cakes on their Web site that can be picked up at any of their 1,103 stores in six states. The company does not offer wedding cakes as part of the service, because of their intricacy. But customers can order “decadent dessert cakes" or "special-edition cakes" online. Industry analysts say the idea of ordering online has been tried and abandoned a couple of times by Publix and other grocers for logistical reasons. But now retail chains are feeling competitive pressure to provide online ordering convenience as Internet retailers like Amazon.com tiptoe into food ordering and delivery.
John Ceballos, "Publix adds cakes to online ordering service", The Ledger, August 14, 2015, © TheLedger.com
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New Kashi Breakfast Products Are Suited To Emerging Consumer Food Preferences

August 14, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Kellogg-owned Kashi has introduced a couple of new breakfast cereals that tie in with its strategic focus on health and sustainability and dovetail with the latest consumer food trends. The company believes its “Overnight Muesli” and “Organic Promise Sweet Potato Sunshine” will appeal to shoppers who are into “scratch cooking” – the new muesli has to soak overnight to be eaten – and trends toward tradition and authenticity. That means that “good” food is less processed, more natural, traditional and old fashioned. A Mintel analyst said cereals companies have been trying to revive sales by using unusual grains, like quinoa and chia. Of Kashi’s sweet potato-based product, the analyst says, “Why not veggies, too?”
Kacey Culliney, "Kashi develops 'overnight oats' cup and sweet potato cereal", BakeryAndSnacks.com, August 14, 2015, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Science Is Building A Case Against Fructose

August 12, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Though some governmental agencies – the European Food Safety Authority, for example – have given the seal of approval to fructose as a healthful ingredient, a growing body of evidence suggests that the sugar may someday go the way of trans fats. There has been solid evidence for many years now that trans fatty acids (TFA) adversely affect cardiovascular health. A fructose study published in 2014 found that it does not harm insulin production, but does increase cholesterol and triglycerides after eating. A newer study reported that added sugars, especially fructose, are fueling the obesity epidemic and the rise of type 2 diabetes. Lastly, a June 2015 study reported that fructose stimulates overeating because it does not create a satiety response as effectively as glucose.
Simone Baroke, "Is Fructose the new Trans Fats?", Euromonitor International, August 12, 2015, © Euromonitor International
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Insight For Grocery Stores: Millennials Are A Unique Breed Of Shopper

August 11, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A market research report finds that Millennials are more “spontaneous and adventurous” than older generations when it comes to buying foods and beverages. That spontaneity has had a major impact on the retail grocery industry, leading to revamped grocery stores and new grocery shopping formats. But to further attract Millennials, stores need to focus their marketing on carefully tailored, personalized communications (i.e., via mobile devices) that emphasize convenience and affordability. Forty-nine percent of Millennials said household budget limitations are the top restraint on grocery shopping.
"Spontaneous and Flexible Eating Habits Point to the Future of Grocery Shopping", News release, MSLGroup report, "Food Shopping in America", August 11, 2015, © MSLGroup
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Vegan Cinnamon Roll Bakery Takes Its Success Formula Nationwide

August 11, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A four-year-old bakery that won major funding ($200,000) on an entrepreneurial TV show announced a deal with a franchising agent and commitments from 25 franchisees. Hugely popular California-based Cinnaholic Vegan Bakery specializes in vegan cinnamon rolls that can be customized with 30 flavors and toppings. An Atlanta Franchise Group spokesman said it got involved with Cinnaholic because it is riding the trend away from “cheap sweets into gourmet desserts,” and a growing preference for quality over quantity. The first franchise locations will open in Southlake, Texas, and Ocean City, Md., to be followed by shops in Las Vegas, Anaheim and Dallas. 
"Vegan Gourmet Bakery Cinnaholic set to Open 25 Locations", News release, Cinnaholic Vegan Bakery, August 11, 2015, © Cinnaholic Vegan Bakery
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Go Ahead, Researchers Say, Skip Breakfast To Lose Weight

August 10, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Researchers, nutritionists and even governments have bought into the hypothesis that skipping breakfast leads to a waterslide-fast descent into obesity. The notion probably gained traction because many scientists relied heavily on observational studies linking breakfast skipping to weight gain, ignoring evidence from randomized controlled studies. Researchers at a New York City hospital, however, recently conducted a small clinical trial. Three groups of participants ate either a bowl of oatmeal, a bowl of cornflakes, or nothing at 8:30 every morning for four weeks. The only group that lost weight by the end of the study was the group that skipped breakfast. The researchers hope their findings might have an impact on upcoming federal nutritional guidelines.
Peter Whoriskey, "The science of skipping breakfast: How government nutritionists may have gotten it wrong", The Washington Post, August 10, 2015, © The Washington Post
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China’s App-Based Food Delivery Industry Is Booming

August 9, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Startup food delivery companies backed by big investors like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. have tapped into a vibrant market in China, as diners increasingly choose to order in. The app-based startups are providing stiff competition for struggling KFC and McDonald’s that have for years maintained armies of bike- or motorcycle-riding food couriers. New companies like Ele.me and Meituan Waimai that use mobile apps achieve economies of scale by partnering with thousands of Chinese restaurants and other food outlets. In 2014 the startup bike courier companies delivered $15.7 billion worth of food, a 54 percent increase over 2013, according to one research firm.
Laurie Burkitt, "In China, Fast-Food Fight Turns to Delivery", The Wall Street Journal, August 09, 2015, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Wild Harvest Says All Of Its Eggs Will Be Cage-Free By End Of Year

August 5, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Wild Harvest, whose product line includes 300 items “free from more than 100 undesirable ingredients,” said it will only offer eggs from cage-free chickens by the end of 2015. The brand sells more than 38 million eggs a year under 12 product varieties (SKUs). Wild Harvest introduced an 18-count cage-free egg in 2015, along with a free-range, Non-GMO Project-verified 12-count egg package. Wild Harvest is one of the brands offered by the Supervalue family of private brands.
"Wild Harvest Announces Plan to Source 100 Percent Cage-Free Eggs by Year End", News release, Wild Harvest, August 05, 2015, © Wild Harvest
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Kellogg Cereals, Snacks To Be Free Of Synthetic Ingredients By 2019

August 5, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Breakfast cereal giant Kellogg will phase out all artificial colors and flavors in its products by 2019. Paul Norman, president of the North American division of the company, told investors it has been working to remove artificial colors and flavors from its cereal and snack bar lines, and from the Eggo frozen foods as well. Half of Kellogg’s North American products are made without artificial flavors, he said, while 75 percent are made without artificial colors. Over the past year, the company has also introduced reduced-sugar Fruit Loops and Apple Jacks, and a line of mueslis and granolas with simpler ingredients.
"Kellogg to stop using artificial ingredients by 2018", USA Today, August 05, 2015, © USA Today / Gannett
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Artisan Pasta Competes With Bread At “Kneading Conference”

August 4, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
At the “Kneading Conference” in Maine recently, more than 200 foodies learned about the best ways to grow and use grains, not only for artisan bread making, but also for artisan pasta making. Former chef Steve Gonzalez taught attenders how to make fresh, small-batch pasta, a hot topic at the conference. Gonzalez’s growing Sfoglini Pasta Shop in Brooklyn, N.Y., supplies gourmet restaurants all over the city with custom whole grain penne, rigatoni, seasonal pastas (e.g., chili pepper fusilli and radiatore made with spent malt from The Bronx Brewery) and organic variations. The executive director of the conference validates the trend, noting that pasta is “a new frontier and in many ways more versatile than bread.”
Kathleen Pierce, "At Skowhegan’s Kneading Conference, ‘Pasta is the new frontier’", Bangor Daily News, August 04, 2015, © Bangor Publishing Co.
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Eating Spicy Foods Reduces Risk Of Death

August 4, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Using data compiled from half a million people, Chinese scientists conducted an observational study that found that regularly eating spicy foods reduces the risk of death from cancer, ischemic heart disease and respiratory disease. Earlier studies had shown that fresh chilies, which contain capsaicin, have anticancer, anti-inflammatory and antihypertensive effects. The researchers followed a total of 487,375 participants aged 30 to 79 who completed a questionnaire about their health and consumption of spicy foods, red meat, vegetables and alcohol. During follow up, frequent consumption of spicy food was linked to a 14 percent reduced risk of death.
Jun Lv et al., "Consumption of spicy foods and total and cause specific mortality: population based cohort study", The British Medical Journal, August 04, 2015, © BMJ Publishing Group Ltd
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Egg Shortage Has Food Industry Scratching Around For Suitable Substitutes

August 3, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Food manufacturers are looking for economical, sustainable egg substitutes to make up for a potential 12 percent drop in the hen population due to avian flu. The egg shortage is affecting consumer pocketbooks, but the biggest impact is on the food industry, where it has doubled prices, with no relief in sight. Ingredient firms are offering soy options to manufacturers that make cookies, cookie dough, pancakes, muffins and cakes; pasta; vegetarian meat alternatives; sauces, dressings and dips; and breading and binding for meat and seafood. Soy options are also available for use as foaming and oil-binding agents to replace egg whites. The main benefits: lower cost, stable pricing, sustainability, vegan, long shelf life and greater food safety.
Denice Cabel, "Avian Flu Forces Manufacturers to Find Egg Replacements", Asia Food Journal, August 03, 2015, © Contineo Media Pte Ltd.
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Dietary “Patterns” Figure Prominently In Upcoming Guidelines For Americans

August 1, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A nutritional advisory panel has taken a different stance in its recommendations to the federal government for the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Rather than offer advice on individual foods and nutrients, the committee based its recommendations on general dietary practices that correlate with positive health outcomes. What’s important is “the totality of diet” because we eat complex meals with combinations of foods and nutrients. The panel focused on three dietary patterns: the healthful U.S.-style, the healthful Mediterranean-style, and the healthful vegetarian. The three encourage a high intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, legumes and nuts; moderate intake of low-fat and nonfat dairy products and alcohol; and low intake of red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened foods and beverages, and refined grains.
Lily Dayton, "For new dietary guidelines, U.S. panel looks at the whole plate", Los Angeles Times, August 01, 2015, © Los Angeles Times
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Antibiotics Use On German Animal Farms Needs To Be Strictly Controlled

July 31, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Though antibiotics use in German animal husbandry has been declining -- 15 percent less in 2014 than in 2013 – the practice has nevertheless led to some serious safety issues, specifically an increase in multi-resistant pathogens. Experts say the medications being used on German animal farms, particularly reserve antibiotics that encourage animal fattening, are important to human health and should not be on farms at all. The German government needs to impose binding reduction targets for antibiotic use, deadlines for implementing the measures and stronger controls. If such actions are not taken, within three decades 10 million people worldwide could die of infection from pathogens that are resistant to most antibiotics.
Nicole Sagener , "Antibiotics on animal farms spread deadly pathogens, experts warn", EurActiv.com, July 31, 2015, © EurActiv.com PLC
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Bakery’s “Breaking Bread” Tour Hopes To Spur More Family Meals

July 29, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A consumer survey conducted by a California artisanal bread bakery finds that a large majority (92 percent) of Americans say eating a quality meal – “breaking bread” – with friends and family is a great way to stay connected in an era of “on-the-go” lifestyles. Only a third say they eat dinner at a table with family without distractions. La Brea Bakery hopes to reverse that trend by introducing “top-of-the-line artisan creations” in several U.S. cities this summer. The idea is to present fresh recipe ideas for families and provide “opportunities to connect over bread.” The Cross-Country Breaking Bread Food Truck Tour will stop at various community events and grocery stores in eight cities, providing samples of La Brea breads and other foods, along with special offers.
"New Survey Reveals Americans Want To Spend Quality Time Together Over A Good Meal", News release, La Brea Bakery, July 29, 2015, © La Brea Bakery
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Obesity Pill My Not Be Too Far Off

July 27, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
British researchers have developed a molecule that mimics exercise by convincing cells that their energy supply has been depleted. As tested in mice, "compound 14" triggers a series of events in the cell, first inhibiting an enzyme called ATIC which plays a central role in insulin signaling in the body. With ATIC blocked, the “master regulator” of metabolism – ZMP – builds up in cells. They then increase their glucose update and metabolism, exactly what happens during exercise. The scientists hope to test the compound for safety and efficacy in humans, and then develop a therapy – a pill, perhaps – that would target obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Ariana Eunjung Cha, "Scientists have synthesized a new compound that ‘mimics’ exercise. Could a workout pill be far behind?", The Washington Post, July 27, 2015, © The Washington Post
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Starbucks Adds Local Food Items To Its Menu

July 9, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Starbucks is the latest to latch on to a food trend that is rippling through the restaurant industry. Following the lead of chains like McDonald’s, Shake Shack and Firehouse Subs, Starbucks is incorporating locally sourced foods into its menu. In the Washington, D.C., area, for example, Starbucks patrons can buy sweet potato cakes from Delectable Cakery, which also has partnerships with Nordstrom, HoneyBaked Hams and Wegman’s. A few Starbucks stores in New York City have worked out a deal with Bantam Bagels, which provides stuffed bagels from its lone store in Manhattan’s West Village. Industry watchers say the local partnerships give the big chain some local, upscale nuance that appeals to millennials.
Ethan Lascity, "Starbucks is testing a completely new food strategy", Business Insider, July 09, 2015, © Business Insider Inc.
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Southern Farmers May Drive Revival Of Colonial-Era Wheat Variety

July 8, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
“Heirloom grain” isn’t yet a part of the foodie vernacular the way heirloom apples and tomatoes are, but it may be only a matter of time. Scientists are excited about one variety of heirloom wheat whose origins trace back to the South in the eighteenth century. Purple straw hasn’t been commercially produced in more than 40 years, but researchers who have acquired some seeds and begun cultivation and flour milling believe they have found a “national treasure.” In the South especially, they predict purple straw -- high in protein, low in gluten – will find a home in whiskey distilleries and bakeries that specialize in cakes and biscuits.
Hanna Raskin, "Plotting purple straw wheat’s comeback, one biscuit at a time", The Post and Courier, July 08, 2015, © The Post and Courier, an Evening Post Industries company
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Oreo Jumps On “Slim Snack” Bandwagon

July 6, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
The $3 billion a year (global sales) Oreo cookie brand is shrinking in size, cream filling amount and calories. Sporting what Mondelez calls a “sophisticated” look that it hopes will appeal to former Oreo lovers, the popular treat will be available in mint, classic, and “golden” flavors. The rebranding effort follows in the wake of other rebranded (smaller, more savory) snacks, including Ritz's Crisp & Thins, Triscuit's Thin Crisps and Kraft's Wheat Thins. Analysts don’t see the trend slowing any time soon, and Mondelez hopes the slimmer Oreo will give the company a badly needed shot in the arm. Its North American cookie business wilted in the first three months of 2015.
Brennan Weiss, "Oreo, world’s top-selling cookie, targets ‘lapsed users’ with slimmed-down variation", The Washington Times, July 06, 2015, © The Washington Times, LLC
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Will Growing Interest In Almond Foods Be Dampened By Rising Prices?

July 6, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
The four-year drought in California is having a major impact on the price of protein-rich almonds –$4.50 a pound now, up from $3.30 a year ago – just as the tree nut has surged in popularity as a substitute for peanuts in a variety of products. Analysts say a fear of peanut allergies and an interest in healthier nut spreads are driving the surge. Sales of so-called specialty nuts, including almonds, have more than doubled in the U.S. in the last four years (to $449 million), while peanut butter sales have dropped by 4.1 percent. “There’s a little peanut-butter fatigue,” says a Bloomberg analyst who notes that people are willing to try different nut-based foods. This despite the fact that almond foods are now much pricier than peanut foods.
Leslie Patton, "Almond Prices Surge as Sales Boom Collides With Drought", Bloomberg Business, July 06, 2015, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Papa John’s Hops On “Free-From” Bandwagon

June 30, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Following in the footsteps of fast-food competitors Chipotle, Panera Bread and Pizza Hut, Papa John’s International Inc. says it will spend a small fortune to remove as many as 14 disliked artificial ingredients from its menu items by the end of 2016. It has already eliminated monosodium glutamate (MSG) from salad dressings and trans fats from garlic sauce. On the new shun list are corn syrup, artificial colors and various preservatives used in dipping sauces for pizza and chicken poppers. Pizza Hut announced similar plans a month ago. The initiative will cost Papa John’s about $100 million a year.
"Papa John's spending $100M to clean up menu", MSN, June 30, 2015, © Microsoft
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Americans Love Sandwiches -- And Trying New Varieties

June 30, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Eight of 10 Americans say they’ve eaten at least one sandwich in the last seven days, and are more likely to eat a homemade sandwich (83 percent) than a food service sandwich (62 percent). Sandwiches, whether homemade or non-homemade, are perceived as healthier than burgers and other menu items. But that doesn’t mean sandwiches have no cachet. Both the ingredients and the breads used are getting more varied and sophisticated – thanks to culinary restaurant trends – and present opportunities for marketers. Innovative ingredients include smoked pork, pork belly, sopressata, as well as new sauces. Bread options have moved beyond plain white and whole wheat to include French baguettes, Texas toast, ciabatta, and brioche.
"Report: Whether at Restaurants or at Home, the Sandwich Endures as a Favorite Food", News release, Packaged Facts, June 30, 2015, © Packaged Facts
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Will New Variety Of Rice Flour Mitigate World Famine?

June 29, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Japanese researchers have developed a new type of rice flour that may someday rival wheat flour and help alleviate global famine. The researchers tinkered with the amount, structures and properties of rice seed storage proteins, finally determining that a deficiency in one protein (PDIL 1;1) improved the rice flour dough and bread. The new dough is more elastic, less sticky, holds bubbles during fermentation and baking, and retains shape as it inflates. The bread made from the dough has a more flexible texture after baking. The researchers are experimenting with breeding PDIL 1;1-deficient rice plants under a variety of climactic conditions.
"Improving rice flour to aid food poverty", Phys.org Science X network / Society for Experimental Biology, June 29, 2015, © Phys.org Science X network / Society for Experimental Biology
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Greenhouse Conditions Affect Wheat, And Bread, But Not For The Better

June 22, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Australian researchers studying the effect of elevated carbon dioxide – as in global warming – on wheat, lentils, canola and field peas have made some interesting, and ominous, discoveries. The Australian Grains Free Air CO₂ Enrichment facility (AgFace) in Victoria has determined that wheat and canola grown in a carbon dioxide-rich environment grow faster and produce higher yields, but contain less protein. In addition, the ratio of different types of proteins in wheat is also changed, affecting the elasticity of dough and how well a loaf rises. "We don't understand completely why that's the case," one researcher says.
Nicky Phillips, "What climate change will do to your loaf of bread ", Sydney Morning Herald, June 22, 2015, © Fairfax Media
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Europeans Seem To Know That Not All Carbs Are Created Equal

June 17, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
An increasing number of consumers in Europe know that a low-glycemic diet is beneficial to health, according to a study sponsored by functional ingredients maker Beneo. The research, conducted in the U.K., Germany, and Spain, explored attitudes about carbohydrates, sugars and low-glycemic foods and their role in managing blood sugar. Consumers know that carbs are an essential fuel for the body. They know the difference between “good” and “bad” carbs, and that different types of carbs have different effects on the body. They are aware, for example, that whole grain, fiber, complex carbohydrates, and slowly digestible and slow-release carbs are “good.”
"Consumer research reveals improved understanding of the benefits of low glycemic nutrition", NewHope360.com, June 17, 2015, © Penton
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Company Unveils Line Of “Free-From” Baking Mixes

June 17, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A “free-from” food company will launch to retailers in August a line of ready-to-use bake mixes that are gluten-free, non-GMO, and free of the top eight food allergens. The mixes from Enjoy Life Foods (Schiller Park, Ill.) are also kosher and halal certified, made with ancient grains (including Ethiopian teff), plant proteins and a probiotic “enhancement.” The baking mixes are available at $8.49 each now at the Enjoy Life online store. Varieties include pancake/waffle, pizza crust, brownie, muffin, and all-purpose flour.
"Enjoy Life Foods debuts new line of functional allergy-friendly baking products", NewHope360.com, June 17, 2015, © Penton
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FDA To Food Companies: Three Years To Get Rid Of Trans Fats

June 16, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
After taking a close look at all of the available evidence from scientific studies, the FDA has told food companies to rid their products of all partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), the main source of harmful trans fats in the American diet, within three years. The agency in 2013 made a preliminary ruling that PHOs were not “generally recognized as safe,” then considered all public comments on the proposal. The three-year compliance period will give companies time to reformulate products without PHOs or petition the FDA for special exemptions from the ban. After three years, “no PHOs can be added to human food unless they are otherwise approved by the FDA,” the agency said.
"FDA takes step to remove artificial trans fats in processed foods", News release, USFDA, June 16, 2015, © USFDA
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Whole Foods Will Begin Opening “Streamlined” Stores Next Year

June 11, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market, saddled by a reputation as being too expensive (“Whole Paycheck” or "Whole Foods Markup") and facing stiff competition from specialty grocers and big box retailers, in 2016 will begin opening smaller “streamlined” stores offering lower-priced private-label natural and organic products. The company hopes the new stores, to be called 365 by Whole Foods Market, will appeal to younger shoppers looking for more affordable fresh and locally-sourced foods. The new business unit, located in Austin, Texas, will be headed by Jeff Turnas, a 20-year Whole Foods Market employee.
"Whole Foods Market introduces 365 by Whole Foods Market™", News release, Whole Foods Market, June 11, 2015, © Whole Foods Market
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Subway Says No More Fake Caramel Color In Its Roast Beef

June 4, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Subway promises to remove artificial flavors, colors and preservatives from its sandwiches in North America by 2017. The company says the process of “ingredient improvement” has been ongoing for several years. An example is the removal of caramel color from roast beef and ham. It will remove the preservative proprionic acid and replace it with vinegar by 2016. Last year, the company acknowledged it was removing azodicarbonamide from its bread after an online petition noted the chemical was used to make yoga mats. The company’s chief marketing officer says use of simple ingredients is becoming a "necessary condition" to satisfy customers.
Candice Choi, "Eat fresher? Subway also dropping artificial ingredients", The Big Story, June 04, 2015, © The Associated Press
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Nestle Cuts Sodium Content, Artificial Flavors In 250 Snacks, Pizzas

June 2, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé USA has promised to replace artificial flavors and reduce sodium content in 250 products across six brands of snacks and frozen pizzas in the U.S. Brands include DiGiorno, Tombstone, California Pizza Kitchen, Jack's, Hot Pockets and Lean Pockets. The company said it would also add “guidance tools” to food packages to educate consumers on portion sizes and the importance of a balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables. The goal of the changes is to help satisfy consumer demand for “convenient, great-tasting foods that have an improved nutritional profile." Earlier in the year the company announced it was eliminating artificial colors from some chocolate candies.
"Nestlé USA Removes Artificial Flavors, Cuts Sodium in Pizza, Snacks", Nestlé, June 02, 2015, © Nestlé
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Major British Retailer To Enrich Bread Products With Vitamin D

May 30, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
U.K. retailer Marks and Spencer has begun adding vitamin D to its entire line of packaged bread and rolls. The products are prepared using a vitamin D-rich yeast that has been exposed to UV light. The decision came after the company surveyed 2,476 of its customers, finding that 78 percent wanted vitamin D enrichment of food. In addition, health experts have expressed fears about the rise in rickets cases among British children due to vitamin D deficiencies. Marks and Spencer is the only retailer so far to offer vitamin D-enriched bread.
"Vitamin D to be added to M&S bread", BBC, May 30, 2015, © BBC
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Pizza Hut Reformulates Pizzas To Cut Artificial Ingredients, Trans Fats, Sodium

May 26, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Yum! Foods subsidiary Pizza Hut says it is removing all artificial flavors and colors from its pizza line by the end of July. The company is working with suppliers to reformulate its menu following continuous testing to make sure flavors have been preserved. It has already gotten rid of hydrogenated oils (artificial trans fats) and MSG, and has cut sodium levels. Its Nutrition Bold Goal is to reduce sodium content in 20 percent of its pizzas to one-third of the daily recommended dietary allowance by the end of 2020.
"Pizza Hut Announces New Brand Standards For Ingredients", News release, Pizza Hut, May 26, 2015, © Pizza Hut, Inc.
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Traces Of Monsanto Herbicide Discovered In South Africa’s Bread, Maize Meal

May 19, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Governments around the world are moving to restrict, or outright ban, the use of a herbicide known as glyphosate because research has shown it to be carcinogenic in animals, and there is evidence it is harmful to humans. The Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden have all banned or limited glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer. But glyphosate use in South Africa has been growing: the country has been slow to act on health warnings, there is almost no regular monitoring, and the herbicide continues to show up in bread and maize meal. Half of South Africa's maize crop and all of its soy crop are genetically modified, which means glyphosate has to be used in cultivation.
Shaun Smillie, "Toxins in your bread", Times Live (New Zealand), May 19, 2015, © Times Media Group
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U.K. Bakery Company Adapts To Buying Habits: No More Loaves Of Bread

May 18, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
The Greggs retail bakery chain – the largest in the U.K. – has made a business decision that has shocked customers. Despite what the Website says about the availability of “freshly baked” loaves of white or malted sliced bread in its stores, the company has mainly refocused toward the food-to-go market. So most of the bread Greggs sells now is in sandwiches. The company says a few of its high-demand outlets still sell loaves of bread. But it has found that its customers mainly shop for take-out foods, and tend to buy loaves of bread at supermarkets. A spokesman said “customer shopping habits and needs are changing, and [we] have adapted accordingly.”
Alexander Ward, "Greggs – a bakery – has actually stopped selling loaves of bread", The Independent (U.K.), May 18, 2015, © Independent.co.uk
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Sliced Bread Makers In The U.K. Buffeted By Ill Winds

May 10, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Several trends have combined to make life miserable for British makers of sliced bread. Health-conscious shoppers are choosing fresh-baked and whole-grain breads over packaged sliced loaves. There’s been a 14 percent drop in packed school lunches. The price war among retail supermarket chains has pushed the price of premium manufactured loaves downward. As a result, the U.K. bread market has declined $190 million. The upside of this phenomenon has been the easing of food prices for cash-strapped shoppers. Bread prices have dropped an average of 15p ($0.24) for a large loaf.
Luke Heighton, "Traditional sliced bread makers in crisis as consumers opt for healthier alternatives", The Telegraph (U.K.), May 10, 2015, © Telegraph Media Group Limited
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Panera’s “No No” Ingredients List Includes Artificial Colors, Flavors, Etc.

May 5, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Panera bread has published a list of ingredients it either has removed or will remove from its bakery-café foods menus by the end of 2016 and replace with simpler ingredients. Included on the list are artificial colors and flavors, sweeteners and preservatives. The first menu items affected are salad dressings and salads, including the Strawberry Poppyseed & Chicken Salad and the Kale Caesar. The company said it consulted “third-party scientists and experts” to develop the so-called “No No List” of ingredients it plans to do without.
"Panera Bread Becomes First National Restaurant Company to Share List of Unacceptable Ingredients", News release, Panera Bread, May 05, 2015, © Panera Bread
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Drop In Average Grain Consumption Worries Nutritionists In Australia

May 3, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Consumption data collected in 2014 from 3,031 Australians (aged 2 to 70 years) indicate a serious decline in eating bread, white pasta and noodles, since 2011, apparently due to the increasing popularity of paleo and gluten-free diets. The study found that six percent of Australians now eat no grains at all, and intake of grains on average has dropped from six to four servings a day. Dietitians are concerned because a decline in grain consumption means Australians could be missing out on vital fiber and nutrients (iron, B vitamins).
Sue Dunlevy, "Paleo diet and gluten-free fad behind 30 percent fall in grain consumption in three years", News Corp Australia Network, May 03, 2015, © News Limited
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Big Food Suffers As Shoppers Seek Healthier, Or Cheaper Processed, Eats

May 2, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Processed food is taking a beating in the U.S., as are its makers, thanks to pressure from policymakers, “real food” advocates, and fussier, more price-conscious, consumers. Shoppers are growing more disenchanted with Kraft macaroni and cheese, McDonald’s burgers and fries, and other former staples of the American diet. The result is tough times for food makers. Last month Kraft announced it was removing the orangey food dye from its mac and cheese, then reported stagnant sales and a 16 percent drop in profit. McDonald’s hired a new CEO to fix its falling sales, but the bleeding continues. To make matters worse, consumers who don’t care about the ingredients are switching to store brands of processed foods to save money.
"Slimming down", The Economist, May 02, 2015, © The Economist Newspaper Limited
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New Hybrid Pastries Require Imagination, Flavor Knowledge -- And Texture Analysis

April 29, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Since the invention – and phenomenal success – of New York pastry chef Dominique Ansel’s “cronut” hybrid, bakers have been experimenting with innovations that might capture the same amount of consumer attention, and cash. The result is a “steady stream” of launches: the “duffin” (doughnut/muffin), “townie” (tart/brownie), “brookie” (brownie/cookie), “macanut” (macaroon/doughnut), etc. Stable Micro Systems Business Director Jo Smewing takes a close look at how the textural properties of hybrids are analyzed and how major bakeries are tweaking texture analysis equipment to “ensure consistent production and quality control.” Beyond that, success is simply a matter of a vivid imagination and a knowledge of flavors.
Jo Smewing, "Industry Insider: Texture Technology for Hybrid Bakes", Foodmanufacturing.com, April 29, 2015, © Advantage Business Media
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Tyson Chicken To Be Antibiotic Free Within Two Years

April 28, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Tyson Foods announced it will end the use of antibiotics in its chicken products by September 2017. The decision is a reflection of a more health-conscious attitude among food companies, which are using less antibiotics and other artificial ingredients in their products. Market researcher IRI said dollar sales of antibiotic-free chicken – about 11 percent of total chicken sales -- were up 25 percent in the year ending January 25. Organic chicken sales were up 33 percent in the same period. Tyson is the largest seller of chicken in the U.S.
Benjamin Snyder, "Tyson is making a very big change to its chicken", Fortune, April 28, 2015, © Time Inc.
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Yogurt Needn’t Be Sweet: Just Ask The Rest Of The World

April 26, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Americans are used to eating sweet yogurt, larded with fruit, sugar, or even candy. Mintel reports that seven of the top ten yogurts and yogurt drinks launched between 2010 and 2014 were fruit flavored, while the rest were plain, vanilla or honey. But a large part of the world eats savory, garlicky and even spicy versions of yogurt, using them as sauces, dips and other cooking ingredients. Food writer Cheryl Sternman Rule says the U.S. is slowly waking up to the versatility of yogurt, thanks to immigrants from Israel and the Middle East, Africa, the Mediterranean, and South Asia. For example, two shops in New York City sell shallot yogurt and a lightly salted yogurt in original and tangy flavors. It’s not surprising: the owners of the shops are from Iran and Lebanon.
Cheryl Sternman Rule, "The not-so-secret truth about yogurt the rest of the world already knows", The Washington Post, April 26, 2015, © The Washington Post
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As Demand For Teff Soars, Ethiopia Struggles With Some Major Problems

April 25, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Worldwide demand for teff, an Ethiopian staple grain touted as a new superfood, has made the commodity almost prohibitively expensive for indigenous Ethiopians, and has caused major problems for Ethiopia itself. The flat round bread known as injera, made from teff, used to cost $0.02, now $0.19, putting a strain on the 29 percent of the population that live on $2 a day. Fewer people dine out, many skip breakfast, eating only a midmorning snack, then an injera-based meal later. The Ethiopian government walks a tightrope, trying to meet burgeoning global demand for native teff – grown by 6,000 farmers – while feeding its own people. Compounding the problem: teff remains a low-yield crop, thanks to a lack of research, and a consequent reliance on ancient farming methods. Though teff is grown worldwide, the Ethiopian variety is considered the best.
James Jeffrey, "Global craving for ancient Ethiopian grain offers opportunities, pitfalls", Aljazeera America, April 25, 2015, © Al Jazeera America, LLC.
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Clues Everywhere Prove The Heightened Popularity Of Veganism

April 23, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A sure sign that the vegan diet is making serious inroads into America’s consciousness is the fact that more and more sports nutrition products are vegan. The Vega line of meal replacement bars and shakes has grabbed shelf space in the sports nutrition aisles, along with pea protein products like Garden of Life, PlantFusion and Pisane. Other definite signs of the infestation of vegan: researchers and food companies developing better plant-based substitutes for ingredients; celebrities investing in vegan meal delivery services; the expanding number of vegan restaurants; the increasing number of vegan food festivals; and Ikea serving vegan meatballs.
Rachel Cernansky, "6 signs the vegan diet has gained mainstream traction", NewHope360.com, April 23, 2015, © Penton
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Hot Cereal Sales Are Hot In Germany

April 20, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Hot cereals in Germany are experiencing a major uptick in consumption and market value, thanks to the search by younger Germans for healthier breakfast choices. According to Mintel, the share of hot cereals -- porridge, oatmeal and instant hot oat products -- in that country rose to 21 percent of total breakfast cereal launches. That’s up from just a three percent increase five years ago. Consumption of hot cereals in 2014 was 52,000 tons, compared to 40,000 tons in 2011. Retail market value in 2014 was €70 million, up €18 million from 2011. Hot cereal sales grew at a CAGR of 10 percent, from €52 million in 2011 to €70 million in 2014.
"Sales Of Hot Cereals In Germany Grows By 12,000 Tonnes In Three Years", Report, Mintel, April 20, 2015, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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Kraft Goes Natural With Mac & Cheese Colors, Flavors

April 20, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Kraft announced that beginning in January 2016 its original Mac & Cheese product sold in the U.S. will be dye-free and contain no artificial preservatives. Instead of synthetic dyes, the company will use paprika, annatto and turmeric to provide the familiar golden color. Another version of the product, Kraft Mac & Cheese Boxed Shapes, already sold in the U.S., contains no artificial flavors, preservatives or synthetic colors. The company says it took a while to introduce the new versions because they wanted to be sure there was no change in flavor. Kraft acted after an online petition gathered 365,000 signatures.
"Kraft Mac & Cheese shedding the dyes", Associated Press, Yahoo!, April 20, 2015, © The Associated Press
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Food Safety “Traffic Light” Placard System Approved For Restaurants In Calif. County

April 16, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A new program to inform restaurant patrons in San Mateo County (Calif.) of the results of a facility’s most recent food safety inspection has won approval by the county board. The program, which will begin a training period soon and will take effect next year, requires restaurants to post a placard that uses familiar traffic signal colors to show whether the facility passed its last safety inspection (green), received a provisional pass (yellow), or failed (red) and will be closed until problems are fixed. The placard system affects 3,000 permanent food facilities, including restaurants, mobile food trucks, bakeries, schools, licensed health care facilities, and some convenience stores.
"California County Approves Restaurant Food Safety Placard Program", Food Safety News, April 16, 2015, © Food Safety News
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Cook-At-Home Meal Kits For The Consumer Who Likes Cooking, Not Shopping

April 15, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Though cook-at-home meal kits have advantages and disadvantages, they are “here to stay,” says CPG Matters editor John Karolefski. Related to the online grocery shopping/delivery trend, meal kits are also ordered online, where Web sites show enticing photos of the food. The meal kit service shops for the groceries, then delivers pre-measured ingredients, recipes, and cooking instructions. The mainly dinner meals average $10 to $12 per plate, though some specialty and organic meals can cost as much as $30. Advantages: large portions; fresh food, locally sourced, even organic; precise ingredients (no waste). Disadvantages: lots of prep work; badly proof-read recipes; usually no nutrition info.
John Karolefski, "Can Cook-at-Home Meal Kits Prosper?", CPG Matters, April 15, 2015, © CPGmatters
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