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Period: March 15, 2016 to April 15, 2016
Comment & Opinion or Companies, Organizations or Consumers or Controversies & Disputes or Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing or Earnings Release or Finance, Economics, Tax or Innovation & New Ideas or Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy or Market News or Marketing & Advertising or Other or People & Personalities or Press Release or Products & Brands or Research, Studies, Advice or Supply Chain or Trends

Technology Helps Irish Organization Distribute Surplus Food To The Needy

An Irish tech entrepreneur who is passionate about food waste developed a smartphone app and organization that links businesses that have surplus food with charities that will then redistribute it to the needy. Restaurants and grocery stores can upload the details of their donation on the Foodcloud.net app, which then sends a text message to organizations telling them where to pick up the food. Foodcloud has distributed almost 1.5 million meals since it was created, and is now facilitating distribution of a ton of food daily. In 2014, the FoodCloud partnered with Tesco to give all surplus food from its 146 stores to charities across Ireland.

"Irish entrepreneur's app solves waste of food by redistributing it to those most in need", Irish Examiner, January 08, 2016

French Food Waste Law Would Probably Not Work In The U.S.

The French annually discard 7.1 million tons of food. Two-thirds of that is from consumers, the rest from restaurants and grocery stores. A new law tackles part of the problem, at least, requiring grocery stores to donate unsold food to charitable organizations for redistribution. The U.S. has a similar food waste problem, though on a much larger scale: 21.5 million tons of food go uneaten while 14 percent of Americans “lack reliable access to food.” Though there are laws on the books to encourage food donation, there is nothing comparable to the new French law, and there may never be. A USDA official said such a law in the U.S. would create “a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food,” and “that’s not good for anybody.”

"Why the US May Never Pass a Food Waste Law Like France", Gizmodo, February 05, 2016

Salvage Food Store Has Had Its Share Of Hurdles To Overcome

A Kansas grocery store that sells only salvage foods and beverages at discount has proved beneficial to the local community, but has had some unique problems to overcome. The Bargain Barn’s shelves are filled with overstock items and products close to or a little past their expiration date that might otherwise end up in a landfill. So to keep its certification, the store must be inspected regularly by the state to make sure the food is safe. But that eases the concerns of some shoppers who worry that salvage food means spoiled food. In addition to inspections, the store faces the challenge of obtaining its food supply through bidding or contracting. State regulations prohibit buying locally produced goods, like eggs. But otherwise a full range of items is available, including gluten-free and international foods.

"Store sells salvage, discount food", Parsons (Kansas) Sun, February 17, 2016

Danish Store Sells Ugly, Expired Food At Deep Discounts

Danish supermarket WeFood has come up with a unique solution to the food waste problem that is particularly severe in developed countries because of aesthetic or food safety concerns. The store only stocks food that is past its expiration date, is misshapen or has other imperfections, or has damaged packaging. Food prices are 30 to 50 percent cheaper than at other stores. To accomplish its mission, WeFood has formed partnerships with local supermarkets and butchers, produce importers and manufacturers of organic granola bars. It also has the support of the government, which says Denmark has reduced food waste by 25 percent in five years.

"Past-prime food finds new life in new store", The Washington Post, February 27, 2016

Nonprofit, Corporate Collaboration Joins Fight Against Food Waste

Six months after the USDA and EPA spearheaded an initiative to reduce food loss and waste by half within 15 years, a nonprofit and corporate collaboration known as ReFED has joined the fight. The group has put forth a 27-step roadmap for the U.S. to reduce food waste 20 percent by 2026. The roadmap suggests eliminating sell-by dates and changing the composition of animal feed. Focusing heavily on prevention, the plan urges food companies, for example, to adjust packaging to discourage waste, selling smaller portions and designing packages to prevent food spoilage. The plan, which ReFED says would create thousands of jobs and save consumers billions of dollars, has the support of 30 organizations, including the Natural Resources Defense Council.

"This Could Be the Best Way to Solve America’s Food Waste Problem", Time, March 09, 2016

Tesco Makes Its Food Waste Pilot Project Official

Following a successful six-month, 14-store pilot program, British grocery chain Tesco has finalized a plan to donate all unsold food to 5,000 charities in an effort to eradicate food waste from its stores and distribution centers by 2017. During the test, the Community Food Connection program resulted in delivery of more than 22 tons of food to needy people – approximately 50,000 meals. The company acknowledged it had discarded more than 55,000 tons of food last year. The Tesco initiative follows a similar effort by the Morrisons grocery chain.

"Tesco to give all unsold food to charity after finalising deal", Independent, March 12, 2016

Non-GMO Trend Continues, Though Scientists Aren’t Sure GMO Foods Are A Threat

Claiming to be non-GMO – as some restaurants, grocery chains and food companies have at least partially done – is not only problematic, it’s increasingly difficult to defend from a scientific standpoint without proof that GMO foods present a threat to humanity. It’s problematic because GMO crops and animal feed are inescapable. Staunchly anti-GMO Chipotle had to finally admit its meat and cheeses come from GMO-fed cows. Whole Foods acknowledged “GMOs are ‘pervasive’ and can be found in 70 percent of packaged foods.” Meanwhile, the scientific community seems less hostile to the food industry’s growing application of GMO technology as it waits for some reliable evidence that GMO foods are safe – or unsafe.

"In defense of GMOs", Canadian Grocer, March 13, 2016

Campbell Soup Cans To Be Mostly BPA-Free By End Of 2016

Campbell Soup Co. began using cans made with acrylic or polyester linings in March, and has committed to eliminating all cans with bisphenol A (BPA) linings over the next year. The company said all varieties of Campbell's soups and gravies, Swanson broths and Spaghettios pasta products will be packaged in non-BPA-lined cans. It is on schedule to have three-fourths of its soup portfolio in non-BPA cans by December. BPA is a component in metal can coatings that protects food from direct contact with metal surfaces. Studies have found that the compound causes health problems.

"Campbell Soup to switch to BPA-free cans by 2017", Reuters, March 13, 2016

New York City Schools Serve Only Antibiotics-Free Chicken For Lunch

New York City's public schools have contracted with Somma Food Products to provide all 1,700 schools – 1.1 million students – in the system with 100 percent antibiotics-free, vegetable-fed ChickenTopia Drumstix for lunch. The city's Department of Education is one of six large urban school districts known as the Alliance that two years ago agreed that all school lunch chicken products must be sourced from humanely treated chickens raised with zero antibiotics of any kind and a vegetarian diet. Besides ChickenTopia, Somma Food Group's products include Merrywood Farms and Range Grass Fed Beef.

"New York City SchoolFood Launches Chickentopia 100% Antibiotic-Free, Vegetable-Fed Chicken from Somma Food Group", News release, Somma Food Products, March 17, 2016

Italy’s Food Waste Legislation Takes A Carrot, Rather Than A Stick, Approach

A legislative proposal to reduce Italy’s food waste – by a billion tons this year alone -- has passed the House and is likely to pass the Senate. The bill follows in the footsteps of a new law in France that makes it compulsory for large grocery stores and supermarkets to donate their unsold edible foods to charitable organizations for redistribution to the needy. The Italian version, however, uses a carrot rather than a stick in securing compliance. It provides large tax breaks for participants. The French law imposes stiff fines for discarding unsold food. A billion tons of food waste in 2016 would be twice the amount recovered in Italy last year.

"Italy to Rescue 1 Billion Tons of Food Waste a Year", Eat Drink Better, March 18, 2016

Starbucks FoodShare Program Will Donate All Unsold Food By 2021

Starbucks has been donating unsold pastries to charities since 2010 with the help of Food Donation Connection (FDC), a service provider that collects the food at the company’s 7,600 stores. Recently Starbucks announced a plan to donate ready-to-eat meals, including refrigerated perishables such as fruit cups and sandwiches, to food banks through its collaboration with FDC and a new partnership with Feeding America. In the first year, the Starbucks FoodShare program will provide nearly five million meals to individuals and families. The company will expand the program over the next five years to eventually rescue 100 percent of its food.

"Their Coffee Is Controversial, But Starbucks Gets Food Waste Policy Right", CityLab, March 24, 2016

California Could Be First State To Mandate Clearer Food Expiration Labels

A California lawmaker believes legislation he has proposed would help solve the food waste problem with one simple change. The bill would replace all the confusing expiration date phrases on food labels with two simpler notices. The confusing terminology – used by manufacturers and not regulated by the federal government – leads to waste of food that is still safely edible. Terms like "best by," "freshest by," and "sell by" would be replaced by ‘best if used by” and “expires on,” the latter indicating food should not be eaten after this date. Foods presenting a food safety problem would be determined by the California Department of Public Health.

"Food waste is target of legislation on expiration labels", SF Gate, March 24, 2016

Germany’s Agri-Minister Hopes To End Food Waste By 2030

Germany’s food and agriculture minister wants to end food waste he believes is due largely to confusing expiration dates on packages, but his plans are more ambitious than that. According to one study, Germans discarded 82 kg of edible food in 2012, mostly fruits and vegetables, pasta and bread. Christian Schmidt’s plan to end food waste by 2030 includes eliminating the “best before date” established by food manufacturers. Not an expiry date, it merely suggests how long the food will retain its specific taste, smell, color, consistency and nutritional value. Schmidt has also called for installing electronic chips in food packaging, such as yogurt cups, that show a color-coded scale indicating product aging. Schmidt’s agency has spent €10 million researching the technology.

"Germany plans ‘smart’ packaging to cut food waste", EurActiv.de, March 30, 2016

It Will Be A Slow Journey, But Antibiotics-Free Bandwagon Is Gaining Riders

Chickens fed antibiotics can live in cramped, unsanitary conditions without getting sick. They also tend to gain more weight. However, a highly vocal movement against antibiotic use in meat and poultry in the United States is inducing more producers to end the use of antibiotics. The goal is to protect consumers from a growing threat of antibiotic resistance as well as early puberty in children. Restaurant chains like Subway and McDonalds are demanding antibiotics-free meats. And poultry producers, including Tyson, Pilgrim’s Pride, Perdue Farms, and Foster Farms have all promised to mostly stop using antibiotics over varying time frames. It’s an uphill climb, however: 92 to 95 percent of food produced in the U.S. contains antibiotics.

"Movement Against Antibiotic-Treated Meat Gaining Momentum in the United States", Blog, Euromonitor International, March 31, 2016

Michigan Retail Chain To Transition To Cage-Free Eggs Over Coming Decade

Midwestern retail chain Meijer announced a commitment to all cage-free eggs in its stores by 2025. The company's current volume sales of cage-free eggs are “relatively low,” but the trend is in that direction. Meijer sells cage-free, free-range and traditional eggs, most of them sourced from farms in Michigan that have been working with the Meijer family for more than 50 years. Meijer (Grand Rapids, Mich.) operates 223 supercenters and grocery stores in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin.

"Meijer Announces Goal to Source Only Cage-Free Eggs by 2025", News release, Meijer, April 01, 2016

“Free From” Is Good, But It’s No Substitute For Unprocessed

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

"No amount of 'free from' labelling will make processed food good for you", The Guardian, April 02, 2016

Colorado Project Generates Methane Gas, Then Electricity, From Food Waste

Landfills are piled high with rotting food that emits methane gas. But a Colorado project is turning the methane gas produced by cattle dung and discarded food into electricity. The Heartland Biogas Project uses six holding tanks to store 1.7 million gallons of either food waste or manure slurry. “Digesters” turn the mess into a water-based sludge, some of which becomes compost. But the more interesting byproduct is methane gas, produced by anaerobic digestion of spoiled milk, old pet food and vats of grease mixed with beneficial bacteria. The gas is transported to an interstate pipeline and used to make electricity. Several problems are tackled in the process: putting a greenhouse gas to work generating renewable energy; diverting food waste from landfills, reducing harmful emissions; and creating jobs.

"How Colorado Is Turning Food Waste Into Electricity", National Public Radio, April 05, 2016

Walmart, Sam’s Club Pledge 100% Cage-Free Eggs Within Ten Years

Walmart and Sam’s Club announced a commitment to sourcing only cage-free eggs by 2025, though they hedged a little, saying the accomplishment of the goal depended on “available supply, affordability and customer demand by 2025.” In a statement the companies said the cage-free pledge supports their “aspiration” of achieving the “five freedoms” of animal welfare for farm animals in its supply chain,” announced a year ago. Besides freedom to express normal animal behavior, the others are freedom from hunger and thirst; discomfort; pain, injury or disease; and fear and distress. The company is requiring all of its egg suppliers to be certified and fully compliant with United Egg Producers (UEP) Animal Husbandry Guidelines.

"Walmart U.S. Announces Transition to Cage-Free Egg Supply Chain by 2025", News release, Walmart, April 05, 2016

New Butterball Ground Turkey Brand Made From Antibiotics-Free Birds

Turkey processor Butterball LLC announced a new line of ground meat made from birds never treated with antibiotics. The move puts Butterball in the rapidly expanding group of meat and poultry processors that are eradicating antibiotics from their animal husbandry schemes. Perdue Farms Inc. in February said it is transitioning to chicken and turkey products that use “no antibiotics ever.” Tyson Foods Inc., said it will eliminate antibiotics by September 2017. Butterball says its “Farm to Family” brand of antibiotics-free ground turkey is already appearing in grocery stores. It expects to generate $100 million in retail sales over the next three to four years from the product.

"Turkey Burgers Go Antibiotic-Free as Butterball Jumps on Trend", Bloomberg, April 09, 2016

Unilever CEO Paul Polman Calls On Business To Be More Proactive In Protecting Environment

Unilever CEO Paul Polman is calling on business to put more importance on long-term sustainability goals than profits. Polman said the cost of doing nothing about to protect the environment is becoming more expensive than action. With governments still hampered by debt following the global financial crisis of a decade ago, business must be willing to pay for developments promoting sustainability, the executive said. After his appointment as Unilever CEO in 2009, Polman proposed the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, which seeks to double the company’s revenue while reducing its environmental impact by half and sourcing 100 percent of raw materials from sustainable suppliers.

"Unilever chief Paul Polman urges the long view for business", The Australian, April 14, 2016

Companies, Organizations  

Tom's Of Maine Joins Hand With Recycling Firm TerraCycle To Reduce Landfill Waste

Tom’s of Maine partnered with recycling company TerraCycle to launch the #LessWasteChallenge campaign aimed at reducing the amount of trash sent to landfills. Consumers can help support the campaign by visiting the company’s website and committing to reduce their family’s household waste by one pound per week. Tom’s of Maine has been developing natural and sustainably produced personal care products for the past 45 years, the company said. Also, it aims to achieve zero waste to landfills by 2020 at its manufacturing facility in Maine.

"Tom’s of Maine Celebrates Earth Month with the #LessWasteChallenge Pledge to Inspire Less Waste Going to Landfills", MultiVu/PR Newswire, April 07, 2016

Natura Cosmetics And Symrise Receive UEBT Certification For 40 Ingredients From Amazon

Natura Cosmetics and Symrise Amazon said the Union for Ethical BioTrade has certified a total of 40 natural ingredients from the Amazon as ethically sourced from 14 supplier communities in the Brazilian Amazon. With the certification, which follows the UEBT’s announcement of its internationally recognized standard, Amazon-sourced ingredients, such as andiroba and maracuja oil, cupuacu butter, and acai pulp, can be used in national and international markets. Natura Cosmetics has always promoted and associated itself with Brazilian biodiversity; for example, its Ekos product line is based on Amazon ingredients sourced responsibly from local communities.

"Natura and Symrise obtain UEBT certification for 40 Amazon ingredients", Cosmetics Design , April 08, 2016

‘Natural’ Product Claims Can Be Murky

Wall Street Journal, March 29, 2016

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