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Period: November 1, 2016 to December 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

Natural Sweetener Could Give Stevia A Run For Its Money

New Orleans-based Swerve Sweetener is offering U.S. consumers an all-natural, zero-calorie sweetener suitable for baking and cooking – used cup-for-cup like sugar – without the bitter aftertaste of the sweetener stevia. The product, which sells for about $10 per 16-oz. bag, is made from a blend of non-GMO ingredients derived from fruits and vegetables. The company got a jump start in sales in 2007 when it began selling at a Whole Foods Market in Baton Rouge, La. It is now available in more than 4,000 retail stores and has posted $2 million in sales a year.

"Sweet idea: New Orleans-Based Swerve Offers Consumers an All-Natural Sugar Substitute", The Advocate, October 02, 2016

Ugly Fruits, Vegetables Are Finally Making Their Way To Stores Instead Of Landfills

The food industry is getting the message from both anti-waste activists and consumers that fruits and vegetables don’t have to be uniformly perfect cosmetically to be marketable. Throwing away imperfect produce, whether at the production, distribution, or retail levels, is a huge waste of money – $40 billion a year – considering the water, fertilizer, energy and other resources it takes to grow crops that are never eaten. But that’s changing now: it’s increasingly possible to purchase ugly, or “wonky,” produce at grocery stores where bargain-hunting shoppers enjoy the hefty discounts.

"Food Industry Goes Beyond Looks to Fight Waste", The New York Times, October 24, 2016

Nestle’s Refrigerated Pasta Brand Commits To Non-GMO Ingredients

Refrigerated pasta and sauce brand Buitoni has committed to non-GMO ingredients, a move that parent company Nestlé says is the “next step” in a strategy of making their foods simpler, and more transparent to consumers. Buitoni’s products are already free of artificial colors and flavors, and are now certified as non-GMO by third-party verifier SGS. Nestlé said last summer it would only use "kitchen cupboard" ingredients that consumers "know and trust" in its Stouffers frozen meals, and would remove artificial colors, flavors, high fructose corn syrup and GMO ingredients from six of its ice cream brands in the U.S.

"Nestle's Buitoni Removes GMOs", Just-Food, October 25, 2016

New Food Dyes Are Natural, But Tricky To Use

Even after decades of FDA endorsement of artificial food dyes as safe, consumers in recent years have grown increasingly skeptical. Food companies have been listening. Many – including big firms like General Mills, Taco Bell, Kraft Heinz, and Mars – have begun using substitute dyes that are more natural, derived from fruits, vegetables, and spices. The FDA recently approved a request from Mars to use spirulina (blue-green algae) to create blue tones. Food technologists, however, are wrestling with the fact that natural colorings – from turmeric, beets, paprika, annatto seeds (from the achiote tree), etc. – are very heat- and acidity-sensitive, more expensive, and have to be used in larger quantities.

"Food Corporations Phase Out Artificial Colors", The Student Life, November 04, 2016

Australian Community Group Hopes To Reduce Fruit Tree Waste

An organization in the Australian state of Tasmania says it is launching a regional harvest cooperative next fall to link fruit tree growers with volunteer pickers. The goal is to reduce waste associated with unpicked fruit. A representative of the Meander Valley Local Food for Local People said excess produce would be shared with harvesters and with charities. Workshops might also be held to process unsold fruit into jams, chutneys, juice, vinegar and dried fruit.

"Group aims to reduce wastage", The Examiner Newspaper, November 04, 2016

Bakery Waste Is A Major Problem In The U.K.

One of the biggest sources of food waste in the U.K. is the baking industry. Waste is not only costly, it generates a lot of negative publicity. The country’s Waste and Resources Action Program (WRAP) estimates the bakery, cake and cereals manufacturing sector generated 90,000 tons of avoidable waste in 2014 and 2015. That's about 10 percent of food manufacturing's total avoidable waste. Baked goods manufacturers are developing ways to cut waste. For example, foodservice and own-label supplier Fosters Bakery reworks a percentage of leftover dough back into the next batch, sells unsold bread loaves as breadcrumbs, and turns food waste into animal feed at £40 a ton. Nevertheless, the bakery still generates about £100,000 a year of food waste.

"A waste of dough", British Baker, November 11, 2016

Consumers Are Not To Blame For The Bulk Of U.K. Food Waste

Environmental author and Feedback founder Tristram Stuart told a British legislative panel that blaming consumers for most of the country’s food waste – more than 50 percent – is “bogus.” Stuart, testifying with other activists before the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, said that data from higher up the food chain is either nonexistent, or “self-generated” and unaudited. There has been no reliable measurement of food waste in manufacturing, in supermarkets or on farms. No one has thought to monitor fish wasted at sea or edible offal in slaughterhouses. Stuart and colleagues called for mandatory reporting of corporate food waste data, similar to the information volunteered by grocery retailers Tesco and Sainsbury's.

"Figures Blaming Shoppers for Food Waste are Bogus, MPs Told", The Grocer, November 15, 2016

Majority Of Food Retailers Are Working To Reduce Food Waste

Nearly three-fourths (71 percent) of food retailers who responded to an industry survey indicated that they were “aggressively investing” in ways to improve food donations to charities that feed the hungry. Retailers are also investing in areas related to food waste recycling (67 percent), food waste reduction (63 percent), and food waste disposal (58 percent). Within these areas, companies are devoting capital and employee time on improving food waste measurement and tracking. The survey was sponsored by the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, which includes the Food Marketing Institute. The FWRA analyzed food waste among U.S. food manufacturers, retailers, and restaurants.

"Food Waste Initiative Suggests Food Retail Industry Making Significant Reduction Efforts", Food Marketing Institute, November 16, 2016

Cadbury Commits To Fairtrade’s Sustainable Cocoa Farming Initiative

British confectioner Cadbury and sustainable farming advocate Fairtrade announced expansion of a partnership whose goal is to help more cocoa farmers and their communities globally through the Cocoa Life program. Cocoa Life is a $400 million sustainable cocoa farming program that will launch in the U.K. and Ireland in 2017. It will target 200,000 cocoa farmers and one million people in Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Indonesia, the Dominican Republic, India and Brazil. Mondelēz International, parent company of Cadbury, will invest $400 million over ten years to 2022. Cadbury products will carry the Cocoa Life logo on the front of pack beginning next year.

"Cocoa Life Sustainability Programme Expands to Cover Cadbury Chocolate through New Partnership with Fairtrade", News release, NASDAQ, November 17, 2016

British Grocery Chain To Use Special Packaging To Improve Potato Shelf-life

Sainburys will soon be using special packaging that keeps potatoes from turning green and bitter. The fully opaque and breathable bags prevent exposure to light, the main cause of greening. Too much light triggers the release and buildup of a chemical known as solanine. Potatoes are the most commonly wasted vegetable in the U.K., where 730,000 tons are trashed by households annually. Sainsburys is certain the new packaging will improve the shelf-life of spuds. The new packaging is one of the food waste solutions under the company’s “Waste less, Save more” initiative.

"New Sainsbury’s Packaging Tackles Potato Discolouration", Packaging News, November 17, 2016

Food For All App Eases Access To Surplus Restaurant Meals

The Food for All project, funded by a Kickstarter campaign, has developed an app that eases the purchase of surplus restaurant food, helps reduce food waste, and saves consumers money. Food for All is based on a simple premise: people should be able to buy cheaply the unsold food prepared by restaurants, cafeterias, fast food eateries, and caterers – which together toss out more than 43 billion pounds of food annually. The app allows people to search for the closest restaurants that have available food; reports the price set by the restaurant (usually 50 to 80 percent cheaper); and tells the time when the food can be picked up (usually at closing or shift-end).

"An app that allows you to buy food restaurants did not sell by the end of the day, up to 80% cheaper.", News release, Food for All, November 20, 2016

L'Oreal And Unilever Sign Open Letter On Climate Change

Over 300 companies operating in the US have signed an open letter to world leaders in support of the Paris Agreement on climate change. Signatories include L’Oréal USA, Seventh Generation, and its new owner, Unilever. The companies fear that ignoring low-carbon imperatives will jeopardize the economy’s growth prospects, and they pledge to help meet the commitments of the agreement. The letter is partly a way of bringing President Elect into the climate change debate in response to signals that Donald Trump will appoint advisors that deny climate change. The letter, posted on lowcarbonusa.org, says that the Paris Agreement will encourage the investment in low-carbon technology required to deliver clean energy and prosperity for everyone.

"In an open letter to Donald Trump, cosmetic and personal care corporations stand up for Paris Climate Agreement", Cosmetics Design, November 21, 2016

Juice From “Wonky” Fruits Is Good For Consumers And The Environment

Ugly, misshapen fruit – deemed unsaleable by producers and grocers – is being diverted away from British landfills and into recyclable bag-in-box containers by a new company known as Wonky Fruit. The short-term goal of the British company is to save 300 tons of malformed fruit by April 2017 and turn it into “the most sustainable juice brand in Europe.” If successful, the initiative would reduce fruit waste by 70 percent. According to the company, its low carbon footprint juice boxes do not require refrigeration, and are compact and easy to transport and store. The juice itself is all natural, free of “nasties” such as powders, oils, infusions, or acids.

"Cardiff, United Kingdom: Wonky – Drinks that Give Wonky Fruit a Chance! Help us to Save 300 ", News release, Wonky Fruit, November 21, 2016

After Reports Of Food Waste, Meal Delivery Firm Fires Co-Founder

The co-founder of a San Francisco-based meal delivery start-up was replaced as CEO after news reports that the company wastes money on marketing and makes more food than customers use – as much as 16 percent wasted. Munchery denied it wasted food, noting that it was proud of the fact that any unsold food is donated to charities for redistribution to the poor. Nevertheless, the company replaced co-founder Tri Tran with new CEO James Beriker, a former chief executive of Simply Hired.

"Munchery CEO Replaced as it Grapples with Reports it Wastes 16% of Food Made", Business Journals, November 22, 2016

“Pay As You Feel” Food Waste Market Opens In U.K.

The U.K.’s first “food waste market” in Leeds stockpiles and sells edible food discarded by supermarkets because of expired “sell by” dates. Needy shoppers purchase the food on a “pay as you feel” basis, with money or work. The Real Junk Food Project, which operates cafés around the world on the same basis, opened the grocery, and hopes to replicate it all over the country. New food waste markets are planned for the English cities of Sheffield and Bradford.

"UK’s First Food-Waste Supermarket Opens near Leeds", Eco-Business, November 23, 2016

Slow Moving Tesco Will Finally Remove Microbeads From Own-Branded Products

Acknowledging that it has been slow to react to growing worries about microbeads in personal care and household products, Tesco announced it will phase them out from all its own brand products before year-end. Ten of its personal care products and 10 household products will be affected. Tesco claims it is responding to growing consumer concerns over long-term environmental impact that microbeads have in oceans and ecosystems generally. It is encouraging suppliers to use natural alternatives, such as ground coconut shells that can be effective in face scrubs, or removing microbeads entirely. UK ministers indicate that microbeads (actually tiny pieces of plastic) will be banned from personal care products by the end of 2017. It is currently unclear if other categories will be affected. [ Image credit (C) Tesco plc ]

"Tesco to phase out microbeads from its products by end of 2016", The Guardian, November 24, 2016

Advanced Technologies Can Help Consumers, Businesses Avoid Food Waste

Research data suggest that a large amount of the £17 billion of food waste generated in the U.K. annually could be avoided if consumers and businesses behaved differently. Newly developed technologies can help with behavior change. The Wrap charity says 58 percent of the 1.9 million tons of surplus food created by industry is avoidable, and emerging tech solutions could play a major role. British trade publication The Grocer outlines eight of the “most exciting innovations solving food waste.”  Among them: an app that allows businesses to share information about their surplus food with registered charities; a robotic “chef” that boosts efficiency and precision in food production; and a tech solution called Winnow that foodservice operations can use to track and monetize food wasted in their kitchens.

"How is New Technology Tackling Food Waste?", The Grocer, November 24, 2016

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