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Period: June 15, 2016 to July 1, 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

Cage-Free Eggs Trend Is Consumer-Driven, Based On Animal Welfare Concerns

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

"The cage-free hen movement has reached a tipping point in consumer preferences", The Gazette, May 15, 2016

Lawsuit Accuses Kellogg Of Marketing “Whole Grain” Crackers Made With White Flour

Consumer watchdog Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has filed a federal lawsuit accusing Kellogg of allegedly falsely advertising a variety of its Cheez-It snack crackers as made with “Whole Grain.” CSPI said the crackers are actually made from refined white flour, not whole grain as claimed on the package. Whole Grain Cheez-It crackers “are nearly identical nutritionally to the Original version of Cheez-Its, providing a negligible one gram of fiber,” CSPI said. The plaintiffs are asking the court for injunctive relief to prevent Kellogg “from continuing to engage in deceptive marketing of Cheez-Its.”

"Lawsuit Targets Cheez-It “Whole Grain” Crackers, Which are Mostly Made of Refined White Flour", News release, Center for Science in the Public Interest, May 19, 2016

NRDC Urges The Colonel To Stop Using Antibiotics In Chicken Production

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is urging KFC to stop using antibiotics in its chicken production. Seventy percent of the antibiotics used to treat human bacterial illnesses are given to mostly healthy pigs, chickens, cattle, and other livestock. That practice “promotes the growth of drug-resistant superbugs,” posing a serious threat to public health. Other big fast food chains – McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A, Subway and Taco Bell – are committed to eliminating antibiotics from poultry production. But KFC, with more chicken-based restaurants than any other chain and sales second only to Chick-fil-A, “has yet to get on board.”

"It’s Time for KFC to Kick Its Drug Habit", News release, Natural Resources Defense Council, May 19, 2016

Food Industry Is “Remarkably Sensitive” To Shifts In Consumer Preferences

Market researcher Packaged Facts reports that the food industry is doing whatever it can to accommodate growing consumer demand for “free-from” foods. Five broad food avoidance concerns, or “constituencies,” were identified. These include allergies and intolerances, health and wellbeing, and humanitarian, environmental, and religious concerns. The result has been the creation and marketing of sugar-free, fat-free, low-carbohydrate, gluten-free, no artificial colors, flavors, antibiotics, preservatives or other questionable ingredients. Cage-free eggs is another facet of the trend. Some people in the avant garde of food reformulation may think changes are coming at a glacier pace, but “in fact, the industry is remarkably sensitive to shifts in consumer demands."

"Packaged Facts: Food Industry Committed to Meeting Consumer Demand for "Free-From" Foods", News release, Packaged Facts, May 25, 2016

Wearable Food Waste May Help Solve A Global Problem

Researchers in Hong Kong are working on a way to turn discarded food into clothing. The core of the technology is the use of a lactic acid fermentation to transform starchy food waste with high sugar content into spun fibers. The researchers say the fiber is not yet strong enough to make textiles out of it, but further study should solve that problem. Meanwhile, scientists around the globe are creating their own food-waste-to-clothing solutions: orange peels into textile fibers; “leather” from pineapple leaves; fabrics from fermented milk and wine; and even food waste buttons.

"Use the power of innovation to reduce food waste", South China Morning Post, May 26, 2016

Discounted “Wonky” Veggies Win Over British Grocery Shoppers

British supermarkets, including Tesco and Asda, are reporting greater acceptance of so-called “wonky” (ugly or misshapen) fruits and vegetables, thanks to significant discounting. Tesco launched an initiative called Perfectly Imperfect in March with misshapen potatoes and parsnips, extended it to apples and strawberries in May, and hopes to broaden the range to 15 to 20 produce lines.  A Tesco executive called the program a huge success, with sales having grown tenfold. Sales of Perfectly Imperfect strawberries account for 10-15 percent of total category sales. Besides increasing sales, the initiative has also led to increased crop utilization and reduced food waste. Tesco is now taking 95 percent of strawberries from its suppliers, up from 85 percent. Apple utilization is at 97 percent.

"Sales of new Perfectly Imperfect fruit & veg are 'flying' at Tesco", The Grocer, May 27, 2016

Colgate's Factories Here And Overseas Reflect Sustainability Commitment

As part of its Sustainability Strategy, Colgate has built a factory in Ho Chi Minh city (Vietnam) that is certified under the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. According to USGBC, the new factory, which makes toothbrushes, will help Vietnam move toward a more sustainable future. The company recently opened a LEED-certified plant in India that manufactures oral care products. Colgate has 10 LEED-certified facilities in the U.S. and abroad, with 11 more underway whose goal is to reduce use of natural resources and curb harmful greenhouse gas emissions. The program calls for eventually reducing deforestation to zero and promoting use of renewable energy.

"Colgate-Palmolive strives to become a leader in sustainable building practices around the world.", Green Standard, May 30, 2016

Pizza Hut To Remove Chemical Preservatives From Menu Items

Responding to concerns voiced by consumers regarding artificial ingredients in their foods, Pizza Hut says it will eliminate even more questionable additives from its menu items. The company a year ago removed artificial flavors and colors from its pizzas. Now it says it will remove the antioxidants BHA and BHT (and other preservatives) from its meats and cheeses, as well as antibiotics from chicken, by next March. Though removal of GMO ingredients from foods has garnered more headlines (thanks largely to a Vermont law taking effect next month), other companies, including Kellogg and General Mills, have announced plans to remove BHA and BHT from their products.

"Plano-based Pizza Hut to ditch artificial preservatives as industry faces skeptical public", The Dallas Morning News, May 31, 2016

Floating Farm Could Be Harbinger Of The Future Of Agriculture

A Dutch building developer who specializes in floating structures is constructing a variation on the urban farm concept. The floating dairy farm will house 60 cows producing milk, cheese, cream, butter, and yogurt, and will demonstrate how self-sufficiency can be achieved on rivers and in harbors. Peter van Wingerden, director of Beladon, hopes to someday build fully floating, self-sustaining cities that will provide their own essential elements like clean water, energy, food, and waste management. The Floating Farm is expected to be finished in  Rotterdam's Merwe harbor in January 2017.

"The World's First Floating Urban Dairy Farm Will Be Built In Rotterdam", Fast Company, June 01, 2016

Clever Technologies Turn Food Waste Into Eco-Fashion

Turning food waste into fashion isn’t going to solve the huge global leftover food problem. But it will help a little, while teaching consumers about the importance of recycling, upcycling, and reusing food. Among the basic food-based clothing innovations being reported are: coffee grounds turned into fabric (Ecoalf’s process turns processed coffee grounds into a nano-powder that can be spun with polyester polymers into fabric); salmon skin into leather (Tidal Vision’s tanning process results in belts, wallets, and handbags); and coconut ash mixed with polyester makes coat insulation (Nau’s coconut-based fiber will possibly replace goose down and other clothing insulation).

"How leftover foods are being turned into green fashion", TreeHugger, June 02, 2016

Restaurant Chains Claim Reductions In Antibiotics Use, But Who Really Knows?

Several large fast-food restaurant chains have announced voluntary “free from antibiotics” policies thanks to pressure from consumers and consumer advocacy groups. But with limited information from the companies themselves, no agreed-upon standards, and no government regulation, how does a consumer really know whether his pizza is antibiotics-free? Each company is implementing the policy in its own way, some following, for example, USDA guidelines for reducing drug use in livestock production except in case of illness. But one fact remains clear: there's little evidence that agricultural use of antibiotics is dropping. The FDA reported in December that antibiotics sales for farm animals was up 22 percent from 2009 to 2014. International use is expected to rise 66 percent by 2030.

"Can You Really Know If That Pizza Is Antibiotic-Free?", Bloomberg, June 04, 2016

Food Retailers, Manufacturers Back New Food Waste Reporting Protocol

Swiss food manufacturer Nestle and British retail grocery chain Tesco have announced support for new international reporting requirements for food loss and waste. A Nestle representative called the reporting standards “a massive, global step in fighting food loss and waste.” The World Resources Institute (WRI) said food loss and waste globally costs $940 billion a year; food loss generates about eight percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Using the standard, countries and companies will be able to quantify how much food is lost and wasted and where. They will also be able to report on it credibly and consistently. Other major companies backing the standard individually, or through the Consumer Goods Forum, include Australia’s Woolworths and Unilever.

"Nestle, Tesco back new world standard on food loss and waste", Just-Food, June 06, 2016

Euromonitor Starts Tracking Ethical Food Labeling, A Nearly $1 Trillion Industry

Euromonitor has responded to the social media-driven trend toward ethical consumerism by creating a 26-market database, Passport Ethical Labels, that quantifies packaged food and beverage product labels by three categories: people/values, the environment and sustainability, and animal welfare. Consumers, of course, have no intention of stopping consuming because of concerns about the Indonesian rainforest, slaughter houses, chicken sheds, pig farms, dubious food additives, etc. They still want convenience, but also a less guilty conscience. The newest data show that the global market for ethical labels on branded packaged foods, soft drinks and hot drinks totaled $794 billion in 2015, three-quarters of which comprised environment- and /sustainability-related labels having mostly to do with recycling.

"Passport Ethical Labels – Key Findings", Blog, Euromonitor , June 08, 2016

Home System Turns Organic Waste Into Useable Biogas

An Israeli company is marketing a device that turns food and organic waste – meat, fish, fats, oils, dairy, used kitty litter, etc. – into clean cooking gas. The easily assembled HomeBiogas sells for less than a thousand dollars, runs without electricity, and creates a byproduct that can be used as fertilizer. The daily gas output from the bacteria-driven digester is equivalent to about six kilowatt-hours of energy – enough gas for about three hours of cooking. It can also be used for lighting, or for heating water using devices that work with low-pressure biogas.

"This Machine Turns Your Food Waste Into Gas For Cooking", The Huffington Post, June 13, 2016

British Research Project To Develop New Gels From Surplus Potatoes

Several British universities and research institutes will benefit from a $3.7 million grant supporting development of personal care gels, creams and other products from discarded starchy vegetables like potatoes. The food industry throws away millions of tons of vegetables that are unsold for one reason or another each year. Also contributing to the problem are surplus supply and processing waste. The researchers will investigate how nature’s catalysts –  enzymes – can be used to make starch-based gels using nanoscale fibers. The new gels could be used across the pharmaceutical, beauty, home product and food industries. Participating in the research are the University of East Anglia, the John Innes Center, the University of Bath, and the University of Exeter. 

"£2.8 million project to make new types of gel from waste food", News release, University of East Anglia, June 16, 2016

Smartphone App That Tracks Food Shelf Life Wins Sustainability Contest

A smartphone app designed to reduce global food waste and improve how people consume food has won a contest whose goal is to help launch a new sustainable product or service in the food and beverage industry. According to its creators, the Foodfully app could save consumers as much as $600 a year on groceries by keeping track (from shopping receipts) of food purchases, especially shelf life and spoilage dates. The competition, which received 140 applicants, was sponsored by Net Impact, a global network of “aspiring change agents,” and supported by Campbell Soup Company and General Mills.

"Food Waste App Takes Top Prize in the Forward Food Competition", 3BL Media, June 22, 2016

Food Waste Has Become A “Platform For Commerce”

A growing number of entrepreneurs in the U.S. see profit opportunities in the 40 percent of the food supply that ends up in the trash. “Food waste,” says The New York Times, “is now a platform for commerce.” Among the latest ventures: Back to the Roots (sells mushroom- growing kits using coffee grounds}; EcoScraps (turns food waste into gardening products); Cerplus (links farms with waste produce to wholesalers); Harvest Power (processes organic waste into mulch and fertilizer); Food Cowboy (app connects rejected truckloads of fresh foods to charities}; and Liquid Environmental Solutions (processes waste water and used cooking oil). Some of these companies have been able to bootstrap their enterprises, but others have garnered millions in venture capital cash to get their businesses up and running.

"New Crop of Companies Reaping Profits From Wasted Food", The New York Times, June 24, 2016

Companies, Organizations  

Beiersdorf Says 18 Percent Of 2015 Sales Came From Sustainably Made Products

Beiersdorf said 18 percent of its sales in 2015 came from products with significantly reduced impact on the environment. Data from the company's Sustainability Review 2015 showed Beiersdorf aims to continue offering high-quality, safe, and reliable products made from materials from environment-friendly sources. Based on the company's sustainability targets for 2020, Beiersdorf seeks to reduce carbon dioxide emission by 30 percent.

"Sustainability Review 2015", Beiersdorf, June 07, 2016

Lush Cosmetics Launches Campaign In Australia To Save Great Barrier Reef

Lush Cosmetics partnered with activist group GetUp! to launch a campaign calling for action on climate change. Timed ahead of Australia's federal election on July 2, 2016, the campaign will involve the beauty retailer's 29 stores across the country handing out election cards highlighting major political parties' platforms regarding global warming and protecting the Great Barrier Reef. Protecting the environment is the present generation's responsibility for the coming generations, according to Lush Cosmetics director for Australia and New Zealand, Peta Granger. Granger also said the company, with more than 400 employees and over $36 million in annual sales, was founded by animal and environmental activists.

"Why Lush Cosmetics has launched a federal election campaign with GetUp! to try to save the Great Barrier Reef", SmartCompany, June 24, 2016

CEO lines up Unilever goals with society

Business Day Live, June 24, 2016

Why Sustainable Development Makes Good Business Sense

Business and Sustainable Development Commission, June 29, 2016

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