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Cognitive Functions Improve Among Older Adults Who Consume Blueberry Powder

March 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers who tested the impact of consuming 24 grams of blueberry powder – about a cup of fresh Highbush berries – daily on older adults found measurable improvements in cognitive function among the blueberry group over the placebo group. The randomized 90-day test included 37 healthy men and women between the ages of 60 and 75. The researchers tested participants for balance, gait and cognition at baseline, and again at 45 and 90 days. The group that consumed the blueberry powder showed significantly fewer repetition errors compared to the placebo group in the California Verbal Learning Test (CLVT), which assesses verbal memory abilities.
M.G. Miller et al., "Dietary blueberry improves cognition among older adults in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial", European Journal of Nutrition, March 13, 2017, © Springer Verlag
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Baked Snack Makers Go Heavy On Indulgent, Healthful, Functional

March 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Thirty-one percent of Americans say they often try new snacks, both “decadent” and healthful, a fact that caught the attention of bakery manufacturers. Many new product introductions offer indulgent, as well as functional and clean label, snacks. New ingredients are all the rage. On the indulgent side are treats like warmable gooey bun bites (Cinnabon) and seasonal treats like Italian rainbow pastries repurposed as everyday Raindow CakeBites (Cookies United). Other snack innovations that popped up in 2016: wide use of once seasonal flavors like pumpkin spice; artisan offerings; “healthy” snacks made without wheat or gluten; smaller portion sizes; protein-packed snacks; indulgent cookie flavors; candy-laden cookies; functional cookies laced with caffeine, omega-3 fatty acids, or probiotics; and crackers made with almonds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, chickpeas, sweet potatoes, or ancient grains. [ Rainbow CakeBites, image © Cookies United ]
Tom Vierhile, "2017 Bakery Trends: Flavor and Function", Prepared Foods, March 13, 2017, © BNP Media
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Antibiotics-Free Cattle, Pigs Could Be Next, But It’s More Complicated

March 12, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The antibiotics-free chicken movement may have caught on big in the U.S. – about half of chicken sold is free of antibiotics – it hasn’t spread to pork or beef. But that may change soon, as advocates pressure companies to reduce or eliminate antibiotics use in cattle, pigs, and turkeys. Tyson already plans to move in that direction, though it’s more complicated because, unlike in-house chicken production, food companies have to contract with beef and pork producers. And some, like Sanderson Farms, deny there’s a connection between antibiotics use in animal raising and increased resistance to antibiotics in humans. But industry analysts say they’re missing the point. Antibiotics-free meat offers a new way to sell pricier products. [ Image credit: © Wikipedia ]
"Antibiotic-Free Meat Gets a Foothold in US", The Express Tribune, March 12, 2017, © The Express Tribune
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Rotisserie Chicken Chain Pledges Antibiotics-Free Chicken By March 2018

March 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Add Boston Market to the list of restaurant chains committed to serving only antibiotics-free chicken. The company says that by July 2017, 75 percent of its chickens will have been raised without the drugs; within a year all of its chickens will be raised without the drugs. Boston Market unveiled a “quality guarantee” in January that states it will serve all natural, fresh, whole chickens that are U.S.-farm raised without added hormones or steroids,100 percent antibiotic-free, MSG free, and gluten free. [ Image credit: © Boston Market ]
"Boston Market Commits To Serving 100 Percent Antibiotic-Free Rotisserie Chicken", News release, Boston Market, March 10, 2017, © Boston Market
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General Mills Subsidizes Commercial Development Of Western Asian Grain

March 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Breakfast cereal maker General Mills bestowed its imprimatur on a fairly obscure cousin of wheat when it announced it would buy a significant supply of wild triga, known commercially as kernza, for use in its Cascadian Farm organic food brand. A perennial plant originating in the Caspian Sea region, triga was domesticated by scientists in Kansas. General Mills also donated $500,000 to find good ways to commercialize the grain, perhaps touting its potential as a new superfood. Kernza has several cultivation advantages over wheat: its roots stretch 10 ft into the earth, locking in nutrients and water, anchoring the plant and protecting against erosion. But the fact that General Mills is backing it suggests it will show up someday on store shelves as a breakfast or snack food. [ Image credit: © The Land Institute ]
Chase Purdy, "Is Kernza the New Quinoa? The maker of Cheerios is Investing in the Experimental and Sustainable Grain", Quartz, March 09, 2017, © Quartz
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Gluten-Free Diet Increases Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

March 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A small percentage of Americans cannot tolerate the protein gluten (found in wheat, rye, and barley) due to Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. But a multibillion-dollar industry has sprouted up in recent years because many people believe eating gluten-free foods is healthier, though they are often less nutritious and more expensive. Harvard University researchers now report that gluten-free diets may actually be less healthful. In a 30-year observational study that took into account the potential effect of cereal fiber, individuals in the highest 20 percent of gluten consumption had a 13 percent lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in comparison to those with the lowest daily gluten consumption (less than four grams).
"Low gluten Diets may be Associated with Higher Risk of Type 2 Diabetes", American Heart Association, March 09, 2017, © American Heart Association, Inc.
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New Line Of Prepared Frozen Fruits, Vegetables Helps Reduce Food Waste

March 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
British supermarket chain Tesco has launched a range of prepared frozen produce designed to take the "fuss” out of cooking with unusual but antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, including pomegranates, watermelon, coconut and beetroot (beets). Sold in resealable packages are frozen diced beetroot and coconut, chunks of watermelon, and seeded pomegranate. The range will also help reduce food waste because consumers take what is needed and leave the rest in the freezer, Tesco says.  [ Image credit: © Tesco ]
"Tesco Addresses Food Waste with Fuss-Free Frozen Fruit", Food Ingredients 1st, March 02, 2017, © CNS Media BV
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Dunkin’ Donuts Parent Company To Replace Synthetic With Natural Colorings

March 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
As part of an ongoing plan to offer cleaner menu labels, the parent company of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins said it will replace artificial colorings in its foods with naturally-sourced colorings by the end of 2018. Dunkin' Brands Group said its doughnuts unit will remove synthetic colors from donut icings, fillings, toppings, frozen beverages, baked goods, breakfast sandwiches and coffee flavorings. Likewise, Baskin-Robbins will remove synthetic colors from all ice cream, syrups, sauces, sprinkles and beverages. In 2014, Dunkin' Brands revamped its new product development process to focus on reformulating products to simplify ingredient labels, and reduce sodium and sugar content without sacrificing flavor.
"Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins Plan to Remove Artificial Colorings from U.S. Menus by End of 2018", News release, Dunkin' Brands Group, March 02, 2017, © Dunkin' Brands Group
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Consumer Goods Forum Draws Closer To Meeting Goals In Latest Health And Wellness Report

March 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), a global network of business stakeholders from 70 countries with a mission to help accomplish health and wellness-related Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations by implementing Health and Wellness Resolutions, released its the fourth edition of its Annual Health and Wellness Progress Report. CGF noted progress in the Commitments signed by its members: the first commitment is for greater transparency in nutritional policies and product formulation and the second commitment is to implement better employee health and wellness programs. Of the companies that participated in the CGF survey over the last two years, 38% has met the first commitment and 66% achieved the second the commitment. The CGF notes that larger companies worldwide are demonstrating leadership in meeting their health and wellness goals and are inspiring other members to move forward. The report provides comprehensive information on the progress of health and wellness programs across the world. It reveals that some 2.3 billion people and 30,000 communities have been reached by H&W programs, with 1.3 million employees, 1.4 million H&W professionals and 386,000 schools participating in its implementation. Interestingly, some 180,000 products have been redesigned to align with the H&W resolutions of member companies. [Image credit © The Consumer Goods Forum]
"Health & Wellness Progress Report", The Consumer Goods Forum, March 01, 2017, © Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited
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Cage-Free Eggs Movement Marches On

March 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
General Mills has joined other food industry players – food manufacturers, foodservice companies, fast food chains, and retailers – in pledging to eventually source only cage-free eggs globally for use in its products. The company’s commitment will be fully implemented by 2025. The decision was praised by the cage-free campaign Open Wing Alliance initiated by The Humane League earlier this year. In related news, all 99 Cents Only Stores that sell eggs will offer a cage-free option at a competitive price. And Farmer Boys Restaurants said it has completed its transition to cage-free California eggs in all 89 locations. [ Image credit: © Wikimedia ]
Gill Hyslop , "General Mills reiterates cage-free egg commitment", Bakery and Snacks, March 01, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Campbell Soup Says Its Four Platforms Will Ensure Future Growth

March 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Campbell Soup CEO Denise Morrison told consumer industry analysts recently that she and her company understand that the “future food world” will be complex and challenging, with unpredictable and unrelenting change. There will be both “opportunities and disruptions” caused by advancements in food, health and wellness, and technology. With that in mind, the company has established four platforms for growth: further developing its omnichannel strategy, especially e-commerce; focusing on affordable, high-quality, and even functional snacks; taking advantage of the future biometrics-based personalization of foods; and applying the concept of “limitless local” that embraces smaller and more regional farming and food production models. [ Denise Morrison, iImage credit: © Campbell Soup Company ]
Lynne Cooke, "Campbell Soup Outlines Four Platforms to Drive Growth", CPG Matters, March 01, 2017, © CPG Matters
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It’s Really Not More Expensive To Eat Healthful Foods

March 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Are poor diets and obesity the direct result of the unaffordability of healthful food? According to one analyst, the answer is no, though many people believe it. One reason for that is that some studies have looked at food prices on a price-per-calorie basis, which makes many high-calorie foods seem inexpensive. For example, a low-calorie yogurt would appear more expensive than an identical high-calorie yogurt even though their retail prices are the same. Christopher Snowdon says his report compares directly the prices of healthy and less healthy food substitutes and also compares them by “edible weight.” He found almost no difference between the price of regular food products and their healthier substitutes. Analyzing by edible weight, healthier supermarket food tends to be cheaper than less healthy food. [ Image credit: © Peg93, Wikimedia  ]
Christopher Snowdon, "Cheap As Chips", Report, The Institute of Economic Affairs, March 01, 2017, © The Institute of Economic Affairs
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Company Launches Crisp Ingredient That Is 60 Percent Pea Protein

February 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Food ingredients supplier PGP International has launched a snackcrisp that is 60 percent pea protein. The new crisp is targeted at food manufacturers developing snacks and other foods that will meet consumer demand for protein and clean foods. The company says the new chip can be incorporated into cereals, snack bars, energy foods and confectionery. The company uses an advanced extrusion technology that ensures the chips contain high levels of protein but are free from hexane, a neurotoxic petrochemical solvent. The chips are gluten free, vegan, kosher, easily digested, and hypoallergenic for those intolerant to animal-based proteins or soy. [ Image credit: © PGP International  ]
"PGP International Launches New 60% Pea Protein Crisp", News release, PGP International, February 28, 2017, © PGP International
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Hershey To Cut 15 Percent Of Non-U.S. Workforce, Probably In China

February 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
In an effort to boost its operating profit to 23 percent within two years, Hershey Co. says it will cut 2,700 non-U.S. hourly workers, or about 15 percent of its global workforce. At the end of 2016, the company had 16,300 full-time and 1,680 part-time employees worldwide. Analysts expect many of the job cuts to occur in China. Overhead costs have climbed since Hershey acquired a candy company there in 2014, just as the country’s economy slowed and competitors began to set up shop. Like other confectioners, Hershey is struggling as the food preferences of U.S. consumers evolve. It has broadened its product line beyond candy in recent years, buying a beef jerky company and developing protein drinks. [ Image credit: © Hershey Co. / BusinessWire ]
Annie Gasparro, "Hershey Plans 2,700 Job Cuts to Boost Profits", The Wall Street Journal, February 28, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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EC Urges Schools In Member States To Help Curb Rising Childhood Obesity Rates

February 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The EurActive media network reports that the European Commission, responding to an alarming increase in childhood obesity rates, is calling on member states to take action in the procurement of healthy food for schools. The EC advises its members to focus on improving student eating behaviors in schools, where children eat at least one main meal a day. Better access to healthy food in schools would lead to development of better childhood dietary habits, lower rates of childhood obesity, and better school attendance and performance, the EC said. [ Image credit: © USDA ]
Hannah Black, "EU Urges Member States to Target Childhood Obesity in Schools", Report, EurActiv.com, February 24, 2017, © EurActiv.com plc
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Vitamin Start-Ups Pull Industry Into The 21st Century

February 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Half of all Americans take a daily vitamin or supplement. But, despite that, the vitamin industry has been slow to adapt to evolving consumer trends. Now, thanks to a blend of lifestyle branding, wellness influence, and retail convenience, the vitamin industry is advancing into the 21st century with numerous changes. Start-up Care/of, for example, last year launched customizable vitamin packs that offer "honest guidance and better ingredients." Users are quizzed about their age and lifestyle, then sign up for a $30/month subscription to a custom vitamin blend. The Ritual brand also offers vitamin blends by subscription, targeting Millennial women. The bright branding is vastly different from traditional supplements. Ritual's products contain few ingredients, and their sources are well-documented.  [ Image credit: © Ritual ]
"Vitamins Get a Makeover", Report, J. Walter Thompson Intelligence, February 23, 2017, © J. Walter Thompson Intelligence
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Children, Adolescents Not Getting Enough Grain-Based Nutrients, Study Concludes

February 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A new U.S. study based on data from 6,100 U.S. children and adolescents ranging from two to eighteen years old finds that this age group would benefit from grains that provide fiber, dietary folate, iron, B vitamins and vitamin A. Unfortunately, grains account for only 5.18 percent of the total diet in children and adolescents. But these foods account for a quarter of the daily requirement for dietary fiber, 40 percent of dietary folate, 34.8 percent of iron, 16.4 percent of vitamin A and 13.7 percent of magnesium in their diets. “Not meeting nutrient recommendations can stall childhood development, ranging from stunting growth to cognitive delays," one researcher said. [ Image credit: © GirlsHealth.gov  ]
"Researchers Find That Certain Grain Foods Provide Shortfall Nutrients to Children", News release, Grain Foods Foundation, February 23, 2017, © Grain Foods Foundation
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Doughnut Fries Catch On Big In Australia

February 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Yet another in the seemingly endless stream of doughnut hybrids – this time the “doughnut fry” – has become a major hit in Australia and on social media. The dessert (or snack or pastry) combines the sweetness of a doughnut with the shape of a French fry, according to an Australian food writer, who adds that it is “sending Australians wild.” The owners of The Doughnut Bar in Brisbane say they came up with the idea independently – similar treats are available in Europe and the U.S. – when they were looking for a bite-size snack that would be more appropriate than doughnuts for summertime munching. Doughnut fries are served with chocolate, caramel or raspberry dipping sauces. [ Image credit: © The Doughnut Bar  ]
Sinead MacLaughlin, "Do You Want Doughnut Fries with That? Mouthwatering Fast Food Hybrid is Now Available in Australia", Daily Mail, February 23, 2017, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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Tyson Foods Includes Antibiotics-Free Chicken In Its Sustainability Strategy

February 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Tyson Foods CEO Tom Hayes, who told analysts recently that his company’s purpose is to “raise the world’s expectations for how much good food can do,” announced it would sell only chicken raised with “no antibiotics ever” (NAE). The NAE commitment is part of the company’s overall, long-term “holistic” sustainability strategy that includes cutting down workplace injuries and illness by 15 percent, and seeking strategic alliances for scientific sustainability. The company also plans to continue auditing third-party chicken farms to ensure humane treatment of chickens. Tyson processes more than 41 million chickens a week on average.
"Tyson Foods Commits to Make Antibiotic-Free Chicken Products", Food and Business Review, February 23, 2017, © FBR
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Food Deliverer Thistle Launches Frozen Meal Kits For Infants, Toddlers

February 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Food delivery startup Thistle is launching meal kits for busy parents who want to make nutritious baby foods at home. The founders say available baby and toddler foods are not particularly nutritious, and even the healthier options are over-processed, pureed, watery, and don’t taste like real fruits or veggies. The vacuum-sealed, flash-frozen Thistle meal kits are steamed, pureed and spiced at home. The company specializes in organic, gluten-free plant-based ingredients, but also offers omnivore meals. The main competition is baby foods sold in boxes, pouches, and jars by grocery stores. But a few e-commerce companies deliver kid-friendly meals or meal kits to the home. Though 14 percent of consumers are buying food online (Nielsen), it remains to be seen what portion of the $30 billion baby foods and formula market will shift to e-commerce models.
Lora Kolodny, "Thistle Launches Meal Kits to Make Nutritious Baby Food at Home", Tech Crunch, February 23, 2017, © AOL Inc.
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Study Suggests That “All-Natural” Food Label Needs To Be Regulated

February 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers who used virtual reality technology to simulate a taste-test of peanut butter found that participants were not only swayed by the “all-natural” label, they were even more affected by a server emphasizing the label. The findings indicate the persuasive power of the label and the potential for its abuse. Two groups of participants tested two identical products, one of which was labeled “all-natural.” Both groups said the all-natural product was higher quality and more nutritious. But in one group, a server also stressed the all-natural ingredients of one product. An average of eight percent more in this group said they’d pay a higher price for it. The researchers said the findings provide evidence to the FDA that “the term natural be regulated so as to minimize consumer and manufacturer confusion.”
"Study Finds Consumers Willing to Pay More for 'All-Natural' Labeled Foods", News release, Phys.org, February 22, 2017, © Phys.org
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Parents Bestow BMI Tendencies To Their Children Genetically

February 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A British study has determined that between 35 and 40 percent of a child’s body mass index (BMI) – and as much as 60 percent in a very obese child – is inherited from their mother and father. The study analyzed height and weight data from 100,000 children and their parents in the U.K., U.S., China, Indonesia, Spain and Mexico. The intergenerational transmission of BMI was found to be constant at about 0.2 per parent – i.e., each child’s BMI is on average 20 percent due to the mother and 20 percent due to the father. The results were consistent across all countries, regardless of economic development stage, degree of industrialization, or type of economy. ]
Peter Dolton, Mimi Xiao, "The intergenerational transmission of body mass index across countries", Economics & Human Biology, February 20, 2017, © Elsevier B.V.
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Retail Food Chain Says All House Brands Are Non-GMO

February 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Natural and organic food retailer Earth Fare (Asheville, N.C.) announced that none of its 500 house brand foods contain genetically modified organisms (GMO). The decision to sell only non-GMO foods was made after considering numerous customer requests. Earth Fare’s product line is also free of high fructose corn syrup, artificial fats, artificial trans-fats, artificial colors, artificial preservatives, artificial sweeteners, bleached or bromated flour, antibiotics, and growth hormones. The chain also tries to incorporate locally produced fruits and vegetable, meat, beer and wine, dairy products, and specialty items. [ Image credit: © Earth Fare ]
"Earth Fare Unveils New Non-GMO Product Line, Continues Decades-Long Commitment to Healthy Food", News release, Earth Fare, February 17, 2017, © Earth Fare
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Food Manufacturers Simplify Safety And Quality Labels On Grocery Items

February 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The two largest trade groups for America’s grocery industry say they have adopted standardized, simplified, voluntary regulations to make product date labels clearer to the average consumer. The situation contributes to food waste because as many as 91 percent of consumers interpret a "use by" label (or no label at all) as a food safety warning and discard perfectly safe foods. Food manufacturers now use 10 different label phrases: for example, "expires on" and "better if used by." These would be replaced by just two: "use by" and "best if used by." “Use by” indicates when perishable foods are no longer safe to eat. "Best if used by" is a subjective guess regarding the date of optimum food quality: the point of peak flavor according to the manufacturer. Changes won’t be effective until July 2018. [ Image credit: © General Mills ]
Caitlin Dewey, "You’re About to See a Big Change to the Sell-By Dates on Food", The Washington Post, February 16, 2017, © The Washington Post
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“Guilt Free” Maybe, But Are Those PepsiCo Drinks And Snacks Healthful?

February 15, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
After PepsiCo reported that last quarter sales rose three percent for snacks and one percent for beverages, CEO Indra Nooyi told securities analysts that the company is betting that "positive" ingredients such as grains, fruits and vegetables will drive growth. The company calls foods with these ingredients “guilt free,” despite other questionable additives. Salty baked Lay’s potato chips are dubbed guilt free, as are Naked beverages, some of which are packed with sugary, fruit-based calories. Quaker’s 180-calorie "breakfast cookie" is loaded with fat and sugar along with the oats. Nooyi said 45 percent of PepsiCo’s revenues come from products designated “guilt free.” And despite pledges from Coke, Pepsi and Dr Pepper in 2014 to cut the number of calories from drinks by 20 percent by 2024, beverage-based calories declined by only 0.2 percent in 2015 – less than in previous years. [ Breakfast Cookie; image credit: © Quaker Oats Co. ]
Candice Choi, "Pepsico Sees Growth From "Guilt-Free" Items Like Baked Lay's", Associated Press, February 15, 2017, © The Associated Press
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America’s Need To Boost Fruit Consumption Is An Opportunity For Snack Makers

February 15, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The attitudes of American consumers toward their snacks are constantly evolving. Fading away are the days when snacks needed only to satisfy a sugar, salt or savory craving. A recent survey showed that 52 percent of respondents not only wanted nutritional benefits from snacks, they wanted health benefits beyond nutrition, including antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fruits and vegetables. Seventy-six percent of the U.S. population does not eat the recommended amount of fruits each day, a fact that suggests a market opportunity. Snacks can provide the benefits of fruit consumption: natural sugar, fiber, antioxidants, appealing flavors and attractive visuals. They can take advantage of the trends in unique or exotic fruits – for example heirloom apples and coffee fruit, a nutrient-rich byproduct of coffee production.
Maxine Weber, "Consumers Desire More Than Just Nutrition in Snacks", Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery, February 15, 2017, © BNP Media
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N.J. Bakery Features Allergen-Free Treats

February 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A New Jersey bakery that features allergen-free baked treats has opened its flagship shop in Denville, announcing retail distribution arrangements with Whole Foods Market and ShopRite. Mo’Pweeze Bakery and Café says that its baked goods are free of the FDA’s top 8 allergens: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soybeans. The products are also sesame free and vegan.
Sarah Griesemer, "Allergen Free Bakery Opening in Denville", Daily Record, February 08, 2017, © www.dailyrecord.com
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Green America Asks Mars To Do More Than Just Label GMO Products

February 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
An organization focused on a “green economy” is mobilizing its supporters to pressure candy maker Mars through an email campaign (GMO Inside) to remove genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from its human and pet foods. In 2016, Mars said it would remove artificial colors and begin listing GMO ingredients on human food packages. Green America congratulated Mars on these moves, but is now asking the company to do more than simply label GMOs. The organization maintains a chocolate scorecard on its website that shows which chocolate products are free of GMOs.  [ Image credit: © Evan-Amos, Wikimedia  ]
Max Karlin, "For Valentine's Day, Green America Urges Mars to Dump GMOs and Related Toxins", News release, Green America, February 08, 2017, © Green America
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Athletes Who Crave Sugar Can Now Enjoy Protein-Packed Decadence

February 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A sports and fitness food company has developed protein-rich snack cakes that also satisfy an athlete’s sweet tooth. Optimum Nutrition, known mainly for its protein powders, says its Cake Bites come in three flavors and provide 20 grams of whipped protein and five grams of sugar frosting, but only 250 calories. The snack cakes come in three flavors: birthday cake, red velvet and chocolate dipped cherry. [ Image credit: © Optimum Nutrition ]
"Have Your Cake And Protein Too: Optimum Nutrition Introduces Cake Bites", News release, Optimum Nutrition, February 08, 2017, © Optimum Nutrition
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Europe’s Soft Drink Makers To Lower Sugar Content Another Ten Percent

February 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Responding to evolving consumer preferences regarding sugar consumption, European soft drink manufacturers have agreed to cut sugar levels another ten percent within three years. The decision is also a response to pressure from Member States and the European Commission for coordinated product reformulation. UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe, which represents European makers of nonalcoholic drinks such as carbonates, fruit-based beverages and dilutables, announced the decision. UNESDA members say they will try various approaches to achieving the goal, including innovation, reformulation, using smaller pack sizes and encouraging consumers to choose low- and no-calorie drinks. UNESDA represents 80 percent of the European soft drinks industry by value.
Robin Wyers, "European Soft Drinks Sector Commits to Reduce Added Sugars by a Further 10%", Food Ingredients 1st, February 07, 2017, © CNS Media BV
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Online Weight Loss Support Forums Help Dieters Keep Up Their Spirits

February 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A Norwegian researcher who studied the diary of an online weight loss forum has determined that participants who are active in such groups, actually “confessing” to their diet failures, receive a form of “forgiveness” from other forum participants. In other words, the “self-blaming posts elicited absolutional replies.” The encouraging replies to reports of “challenges, problems and failures” seem to make the long and stressful road to shedding pounds a little easier to follow. In many cases, a dieter’s confessional post elicits a large number of responses because users support each other, and hope to get support when they need it. Researcher Ingeborg Grønning says: “Losing weight is a long process, you have to work hard and persistently to succeed. Encouragement from others helps keep spirits up.” [ Image credit: © BreakingMuscle.com ]
"Online Weight-Loss Groups Can Be Beneficial", Nutrition Insight, February 07, 2017, © CNS Media BV
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Snyder’s-Lance Adds Organic Version To Pretzel Cracker Line

February 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Snack food manufacturer Snyder's-Lance, Inc., announced an addition to its Snack Factory Pretzel Crisp line. The company said the new Organic Original Pretzel Crisps, which will be available for a limited time nationwide, are also Non-GMO Project verified. Pretzel Crisps are the first flat-baked pretzel cracker. At 110 calories a preserving, the organic variety contain no saturated fat or trans fat, no cholesterol, preservatives, artificial flavorings or colors. [ Image credit: © Snack Factory ]
"Snack Factory Introduces USDA-Certified Organic Pretzel Crisps", News release, Snyder's-Lance, Inc., February 07, 2017, © Snyder's-Lance, Inc.
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Probiotic Findings Could Have Major Economic Benefits

February 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Japanese researchers have found that fermented milk containing a probiotic strain could help prevent the common cold in healthy middle-aged office workers. The 12-week study focused on upper respiratory tract infections (URTI). Participants who consumed Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota showed improvements in both immunological parameters and stress markers that are characteristic of the pressure of office work. The findings could have significant economic benefits: the Centers for Disease Control says that 22 million school days and 20 million workdays in adults are lost each year due to the common cold in the U.S. [ Image credit: Public domain, Pixabay ]
Stephen Daniells, "Probiotic May Reduce the Risk of Common Cold: Yakult Study", NUTRAingredients-USA.com, February 07, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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A Pasta-Rich Mediterranean Diet Is A Healthful Diet

February 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A pasta-rich diet is an indicator of a more healthful diet generally, according to a study presented at a recent scientific meeting. Pasta eaters tend to consume more minerals and nutrients like folate, iron, magnesium, and dietary fiber. All of these help reduce blood cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Because it is a low glycemic index food, pasta, a major component of the Mediterranean diet, also helps to manage blood sugar levels. Pasta consumption is also associated with less intake of saturated fat and sugar that adds calories but no essential nutrients.  [ Image credit: © Travis K. Witt, Wikimedia  ]
"Here's Why You Should Eat More Pasta", The Express Tribune, February 07, 2017, © The Express Tribune
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Foods Rich In Resistant Starch Offer Several Health Benefits

February 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Resistant starch, found in bananas, potatoes, grains, and legumes, is not digested in the small intestine and is therefore considered a form of dietary fiber. Over the last decade, resistant starch has been the subject of numerous studies showing it has a significant impact on post-meal blood sugar metabolism, satiety, and intestinal health. This new comprehensive review of these studies summarizes the effects of resistant starch consumption and looks at potential mechanisms of action that underpin them. One possible conclusion is that resistant starch foods may be particularly useful for managing diabetes. However, the British researchers found no evidence of an impact on other metabolic markers, such as blood pressure and blood lipids.  [ Peruvian potatoes, image credit: © Wikipedia ]
S. Lockyer et al., "Health effects of resistant starch. ", Nutrition Bulletin, February 07, 2017, © John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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German Grocery Store Sells Only Wonky Produce, Expired And Surplus Foods

February 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A grocery store that sells only ugly or surplus food products, from vegetables to beer, has opened in the German city of Köln (Cologne). The founders of The Good Food grocery store are dedicated to the idea of eliminating food waste in the world. It is the first such store to open in Germany, and the third in the EU. The store is unusual for a couple of reasons. The food it sells was otherwise bound for landfills because it may be misshapen, or too large or too small, or past its sell-by date. This includes non-perishable products from big manufacturers. And there are no fixed prices: consumers decide how much the products are worth. [ Image credit: © The Good Food bei RTL Aktuell ]
Irene Banos Ruiz, "First German Supermarket Sells Waste Food Only", Deutsche Welle, February 06, 2017, © Deutsche Welle
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“Clean Food” Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

February 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
There are numerous definitions of the terms “clean food” and “clean label,” depending on who’s doing the defining. Bakery-cafe chain Panera Bread recently said all of its food is clean – meaning, no artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners or preservatives. But Clean Eating magazine says clean foods are more natural foods, in other words vegetables, whole grains, filtered water, sustainable lean meats and wild seafood. Taboo foods include refined foods like pasta and bread, preservatives, stabilizers, trans fats, certain vegetable oils, artificial sweeteners like aspartame, and food dyes. Industry research finds two-thirds of grocery shoppers want foods with fewer and simpler ingredients, which amounts to yet another definition of “clean label,” the biggest food trend of 2017, according to Innova.  [ Image credit: © 
Tara Duggan, "The "Clean Food" Trend — Defining it Gets Messy", The San Francisco Chronicle, February 06, 2017, © Hearst Corporation
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Clean Label Frozen Treats May Lead To Sales Growth

February 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The food industry has gotten the message from consumers that sugary, nutrition-free and calorie-packed ice cream is no longer acceptable They are now making healthier, “yet still decadent,” frozen treats, says researcher Packaged Facts. Today there are a growing number of ice creams and frozen desserts that eschew soy, gluten, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, and genetically modified ingredients, not to mention much less fat and sugar. Some of the new products are organic. Consumers are apparently pleased with the results. Ice cream and other frozen treats are a mature market – 85 percent of households buy ice cream routinely. Sales have been steady in recent years. But Packaged Facts says the new attention being paid to clean label frozen desserts could spark a revival of sales growth. 
""Free From" Ice Cream Trending in $28 Billion Market", News release, Packaged Facts, February 06, 2017, © Packaged Facts
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Hometown Of “Mork And Mindy” Attracts Growing Number Of Foodie Entrepreneurs

February 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Boulder, Colo., -- the hometown of the late-1970s sitcom "Mork and Mindy" -- has become the ideal location for a new generation of food producers, mainly because it offers the right ingredients, packaging suppliers, and infrastructure for eco-conscious foodie entrepreneurs who are challenging Big Food. Among these startups – or, if you will, upstarts – are “clean” microwave popcorn maker Quinn Snacks, which moved west in 2011 from New York. Also Purely Elizabeth, Made in Nature and Good Karma Foods. They all moved to Boulder to take advantage of a “deep bench of food executives,” a food retail environment focused on innovation and experimentation, and the availability of investment cash. Another attractive feature: the burgeoning infrastructure of food brokers, distributors, and contract manufacturers.  [ Image credit: © Quinn Snacks ]
Stephanie Strom, "Foodies Know: Boulder Has Become a Hub for New Producers", The New York Times, February 04, 2017, © The New York Times Company
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Salmon-Stuffed Croissant Is A Social Media Hit

February 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A California restaurant has taken the croissant a step or two farther along the hybrid pastry evolutionary road with a concoction featuring smoked salmon, baked seaweed (nori), pickled ginger and wasabi. Aron Caddl, owner of Mr. Holmes Bakehouse of Los Angeles and San Francisco acknowledges that the pastry is “weird” but also “insanely delicious,” and an Instagram sensation. The California Croissant, which costs $5, is topped with a dry Japanese seasoning (furikake) and is served with a side of soy sauce. It will only be on the menu for a short time because, as Caddel admits, the chefs get bored.  [ Image credit: ©  Mr. Holmes Bakehouse ]
Carly Stern, "There's Something Fishy About this Pastry! California Bakery Sells SUSHI Croissants Filled with Salmon and Wasabi, which its Owner Describes as 'F***ing Weird' but 'Insanely Delicious'", Daily Mail Online, February 03, 2017, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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Government Food Consumption Report Shows Shifting Patterns Since The ‘70s

February 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A new USDA report based on U.S. food availability data (adjusted for food loss) shows that Americans are eating more of the major food groups today than in the 1970s. But within that broad conclusion are some interesting shifts and new patterns. The avocado supply, for example, is up by a whopping 1,342 percent and the lime supply is up 1,654 percent. How about a margarita with your guacamole? Mango consumption is up 3,200 percent, but grapefruit, oranges, peaches, and plums are down. (Apples, melons, and bananas are constant.) Broccoli and mushrooms are way up, though potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and lettuce are constant. Lastly, people are eating more fat, but less animal fat (lard and butter). Salad and cooking oils like canola and olive are up 248 percent. [ Image credit: © Wikipedia ]
Julia Belluz, "Americans are Eating Way More Fat. But it’s Not Butter.", Vox Media, February 02, 2017, © Vox Media, Inc.
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Saving Time Is Not The Only Reason Parents Buy Frozen Meals

February 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Prepackaged, processed frozen meals are popular among parents, despite the fact that they are high in calories, sugar, sodium, and saturated fat. A U.S. study has found that the main reason for their popularity is that they save time for busy moms and dads: 57 percent indicated that in a survey. But that wasn’t the only reason. Forty-nine percent of parents surveyed said they bought the frozen meals because their families liked them. One-third chose them because children could help prepare them, and 27 percent liked the cost savings. The findings, however, raise some concerns among nutritionists. Cooking frozen packaged meals means choosing fewer fruits and vegetables and fewer nutritious foods generally. It also means people are not developing cooking and meal-planning skills. 
Melissa L. Horning et al., "Reasons Parents Buy Prepackaged, Processed Meals: It Is More Complicated Than “I Don't Have Time”. ", Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, February 02, 2017, © Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior
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Fast-Food Packaging Is Loaded With Harmful Chemicals

February 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study that analyzed more than 400 samples of food packaging from 27fast-food restaurants found that much of the paper used was treated with chemicals used in stain-resistant products, firefighting materials, and nonstick cookware. Perfluorinated chemicals (PFC) were found in hamburger and sandwich wrappers, pastry bags, beverage cups and French fry containers. Fluorinated compounds called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were found in 56 percent of dessert and bread wrappers, 38 percent of sandwich and burger wrappers and 20 percent of paperboard. According to the researchers, PFC and PFAS get in the bloodstream, stay there and accumulate. “There are diseases that correlate to it, so we really don't want this class of chemicals out there," one scientist said. [ Image credit: © tom.arthur  ]
Laurel A. Schaider et al., "Fluorinated Compounds in U.S. Fast Food Packaging. ", Environmental Science & Technology Letters, February 01, 2017, © American Chemical Society
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A Closer Look At Major Food Retailer, Restaurant Chain Clean Label Policies

February 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A consumer watchdog organization has analyzed the clean label initiatives of four big restaurant chains and nine supermarket chains finding that all have committed to excluding additives, such as synthetic food dyes and artificial sweeteners like aspartame. Except Whole Foods, the supermarket chains have limited their commitments to one or more lines of their house-brand products, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). Other findings: none of the clean label lists limit sodium or added sugars; all exclude many artificial ingredients that CSPI considers safe; and restaurant policies do not include “riskiest” beverage ingredients such as added sugars, artificial sweeteners, and synthetic food colors. One interesting CSPI observation: “clean label products are not necessarily healthful.” 
Lisa Lefferts, "Clean Labels: Public Relations or Public Health?", Report, Center for Science in the Public Interest, February 01, 2017, © CSPI
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The Use Of Fiber In Future Foods, Including Beverages, Bakery And Confectionary

January 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Formulators of new foods, especially foods with higher levels of fiber, are facing several hurdles, as shown in a recent survey. First, consumers are fairly ignorant of how to get more fiber into their diets (25 percent), though they know they need more. They associate fiber with whole grains. They often assume that high-fiber foods don’t taste good (10 percent). The president of fiber supplier Beneo says formulators who choose the right fiber can enrich baked goods, dairy, cereals, confections and beverages, without sacrificing taste or texture. Fibers that will be increasingly used in the future include: resistant glucan (RG), hydrogenated resistant glucan (HRG), combinations of seaweed and starch, and chitosan, a polysaccharide derived from the chitin shells of shrimp and other crustaceans. [ Image credit: © U.S. FDA ]
Todd Runestad, "Designer Fibers will Expand the Market to New Categories", New Hope Network, January 31, 2017, © Penton
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Cauliflower-Based Pizzas: The Beginning Of The Reign Of Cauliflower In Processed Foods?

January 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A food company tightly focused on boosting the profile of cauliflower has launched a line of ready-to-cook, cauliflower-based frozen pizzas, available now at Whole Foods Market, Amazon.com, and Bristol Farms. According to Caulipower, the pizzas are made with real cauliflower, are nutrient-rich and gluten-free, and contain less sodium and sugar, and fewer calories than conventional pizzas. Cauliflower pizzas are the brainchild of CEO Gail Becker, whose two children were diagnosed with celiac disease. She was frustrated by the poor quality of available gluten-free pizzas. Caulipower pizzas come in four varieties: three-cheese, veggie, margherita and plain crust. [ Image credit: © Caulipower, Amazon.com ]
"Caulipower Launches First Nationally Available Line of Ready-to-Cook Cauliflower-Based Foods", News release, Caulipower, January 31, 2017, © Caulipower
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Company’s Cage-Free Eggs Showcased In Inflatable, Transparent Carton

January 30, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A Taiwanese egg company committed to cage-free eggs has developed a special packaging technology that showcases the health and freedom of its products. The new egg carton is made of a transparent PVC material that inflates to cushion individual eggs. The eggs from Happy Egg company are available in purse-shaped packs of three, or in individual packs decorated especially for local festivals and events, such as birthdays, Christmas and Chinese New Year. [ Inflatable egg carton, Image credit: © Packagingoftheworld.com ]
"Inflatable Egg Carton Promotes Cage-Free Eggs", Springwise, January 30, 2017, © Springwise Intelligence Ltd
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Tesco Promotes Yogurt Made With Wonky Fruit

January 30, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
U.K. grocery retailer Tesco has teamed up with organic dairy Yeo Valley to launch a new yogurt in its Left-Yeovers line containing wonky – but delicious – apples and custard. The Left-Yeovers yogurt range was created to prevent food waste by using surplus misshapen fruit from the Yeo Valley storerooms that would otherwise be taken to landfills. It also raises money by donating 10 p from each sale to food distribution charity FareShare. The initiative is part of Tesco’s strategy to reduce food loss “from farm to fork.”  [ Image credit: ©  Tesco PLC ]
"New Tesco and Yeo Valley partnership creates a yogurt with a mission", News release, Tesco, January 30, 2017, © Tesco PLC
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Nestle Changes Ingredients, And Marketing, Of An Iconic Beverage

January 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The latest evidence of Nestlé SA’s corporate makeover is a major change in the ingredients of its signature chocolate drink, coupled with a new marketing strategy. Evolving consumer tastes and preferences – away from sugary beverages, for example – have buffeted the company’s sales. It hasn’t met its six-percent annual sales growth target in years. So it is flexing its product research and marketing muscle to change directions for some brands. The company has significantly lowered the sugar content of Nesquik while boosting market share. In addition, the company reduced the size of the Nesquik bunny that appears on packages, and broadened its marketing focus beyond kids to athletes. [ Image credit: © Nestlé ]
Brian Blackstone, "Nestlé Seeks to Sweeten Nesquik Sales by Cutting Back on Sugar", The Wall Street Journal, January 27, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Hellman’s Fulfills Cage-Free Egg Pledge Three Years Early

January 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Mayonnaise maker Hellman’s, a Unilever brand, announced that after a reorganization of its egg supply chain – involving 331 million eggs annually – all of its mayonnaise and dressings brands are now made with eggs from cage-free hens. The change in U.S. brands comes three years ahead of the company’s commitment announced in 2010. It affects 170 million jars, 30 million squeeze bottles, and 1.3 million egg-laying hens annually. A Humane Society spokesman said “Hellmann's move shows just how in synch the company is with its customers."  [ Image credit: ©  Wikimedia Commons ]
"Hellmann's Mayonnaise And Mayonnaise Dressings Now Use 100% Cage-Free Eggs In The U.S.*, Three Years Ahead Of Schedule", News release, Unilever U.S., January 23, 2017, © Hellman's U.S.
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