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Period: January 15, 2017 to February 1, 2017
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

With Cheese Sales Off The Charts, Manufacturers Tackle Clean Label Concerns

Cheese is big business in the U.S., perhaps a reflection of the opinion that any food is better if topped with cheese. A dairy industry trade group says cheese sales in the U.S. reached $23 billion in 2015, and could hit $28 billion by 2020 – a hefty 24 percent growth rate over five years. So why do Americans consume an average of 34 pounds of cheese each year? High protein content, for one reason, and an increasingly positive attitude toward dairy fat. Cheese also tends to have high quality ingredients, is rich in calcium, comes in a wide variety of formats, is convenient as a snack, and is relatively affordable. Manufacturers are also paying closer attention to consumer demands for transparency in ingredient labeling – non-GMO and natural colors – especially when it comes to cheese-based snacks.

"Cheese strives for more transparency, clean label ingredients", Snack and Bakery, December 15, 2016

Cargill Adds New Emulsifier To Product Line With Unique Benefits

Deoiled canola lecithin is an emulsifier with some unique advantages for food manufacturers seeking to meet consumer ingredient demands. According to  Cargill, which just added deoiled canola lecithin to its product line, the ingredient is a versatile emulsifier and dispersing agent that can be used in chocolate and confectionery, bakery and convenience foods. Dispersibility, functionality, taste and color are comparable to soy and sunflower lecithin. Added advantages include the fact it is non-GMO option, may be used in organic products, and need not be declared as a major food allergen.

"Cargill introduces canola lecithin for label-conscious consumers", News release, Cargill, December 20, 2016

Burger King’s Parent Company Promises To Get Rid Of Antibiotics In Chicken

Restaurant Brands International, parent company of Burger King and donut chain Tim Hortons, has announced plans to reduce antibiotic use in its chickens. The company, which has been under pressure for months from public health advocates, has now updated the “responsibility” page of its website to explain the new commitment to curbing the use of antibiotics “deemed by the World Health Organization as ‘critically important’ to human medicine." The changes will be implemented in the U.S. this year and in Canada next year.

"Burger King, Tim Hortons to curb antibiotics used in chicken", Reuters, December 29, 2016

Taco Bell Commits To Cleaner Ingredients In Menu Items

Taco Bell announced that early this year it will remove all antibiotics used in human medicine from its chicken served in U.S. restaurants. By 2018 it expects to remove all preservatives and other additives from its food, and will serve only eggs from cage-free chickens, by 2018. The company reduced sodium content in its food by 15 percent in 2008, and now promises to reduce sodium by another 10 percent by 2025.

"Taco Bell Rings In 2017 With New Year’s Commitments", News release, Taco Bell, January 03, 2017

Produce Distributor Renames Its Vegetable Trimmings And Sells Them As “SparCs”

A Canadian company believes that renaming the edible trimmings of vegetable processing – carrot tops, snapped-off green bean stems, etc. – transforms them from trash to saleable food. In much the same way that slimehead fish were renamed orange roughy, vegetable trim was renamed “SparCs” (pronounced sparks), which is actually scraps spelled backwards with a little stylization. Produce and specialty foods distributor Baldor says its Fresh Cuts program offers pre-sliced, diced or otherwise prepared vegetable trimmings – branded as SparCs – that it has saved for human or animal consumption, and kept from the landfill. 

"How One Company Eliminated Food Waste: The ‘Landfill can no Longer be an Option.’", The Washington Post, January 05, 2017

Starbucks Puts Food Waste To Good Use In New Line Of Lattes

Starbucks has introduced a new latte line that not only tastes good but is eco-friendly. The new espressos are flavored with a syrup made from the husks of coffee cherries that are normally discarded when the beans are harvested. The company uses the syrup to flavor the Cascara line – the Spanish word means “husk” or “shell” – that is subtly sweet with hints of maple and brown sugar without being fruity. 

"Good to the Last Drop! Starbucks Unveils New Latte Made with the WASTE of a Coffee Plant - and It's Surprisingly Delicious", Mail Escapes, January 06, 2017

Jennie-O Sausage Is Now Leaner, Cleaner

Sausage-maker Jennie-O has changed the formulation of its turkey product to contain less fat (six grams) and less sodium. The company now claims the product is “all natural” with a “simple, clean ingredients” that include turkey, salt, sugar, spices and rosemary extract. In addition, the 110 calorie sausage is “minimally processed” and is free of BHT, BHA and other common preservatives.

"Jennie-O Introduces All Natural Turkey Sausage With Simple, Familiar Ingredients, No Preservatives", News release, Jennie-O, January 09, 2017

Indian Restaurant In Scotland Charges Fee For Wasted Buffet Food

New environmental rules in Scotland require food waste from large restaurants to be recycled. Private refuse services charge fees for emptying recycling bins. To keep the fees manageable, a Dundee Indian restaurant has begun charging customers who leave too much food on their plates after the all-you-can-eat buffet. The £2 per person fee is addded to the £14.99 price of the meal. Management of Taza Indian Buffet realized it was tossing away about 600 kg of uneaten food every week. Now, when customers are seated, they are given a menu and a measuring card with a four-inch square cut out of the middle to measure leftovers. The card explains that the £2 fee will be charged if leftovers don’t fit within the square. 

"Eat Up or Face a Fine! All-You-Can-Eat Indian Restaurant Starts Imposing Penalties on Diners Who Leave Too Much after Growing Tired of Throwing Away 600kgs of Leftovers a Week", Mail Online, January 11, 2017

LVMH Pushing To Make Its Operations More Sustainable

Even luxury brands are concerned about moving toward more sustainable production processes and LVMH has made significant progress. It has a corporate framework, LIFE (LVMH Initiatives for the Environment), that address nine environmental challenges. Its assessment takes a full life cycle perspective and each brand’s strategic plan now folds in a LIFE plan that includes five year actions and targets. One of the more innovative elements centers on the company’s carbon reduction strategy. It requires all of its brand houses to spend €15/ton carbon emitted on abatement or related research efforts. In the first year of the program the company invested some €6 million behind this effort. LVMH is communicating its sustainable credentials through using a distinctive symbol a “Butterfly Mark,” which is a first in the luxury industry.

"An Inside View of How LVMH Makes Luxury More Sustainable", Harvard Business Review, January 11, 2017

Startup Turns Unsold Fruits, Vegetable Into Hummus

A food waste-focused start-up is transforming leftover fruit and vegetables into a variety of flavored hummus products, and is using crowdfunding to pay for expansion into new markets. Hannah McCollum’s idea came when she noticed that current hummus products were bland and unhealthy, and tons of food was being wasted in the foodservice industry and in homes. She launched ChicP, which produces flavored dips using ugly or unmarketable vegetables rejected by supermarkets. The company offers several flavors, including banana and cocoa; beetroot, horseradish and sage; and carrot, ginger and turmeric. ChicP is using U.K. retailer Tesco's crowdfunding website to raise money to reach more retailers and suppliers in Europe and overseas.

"Waste Not, Want Not: UK Start-Up Turns Leftover Food into Hummus", FOODnavigator.com, January 11, 2017

Unilever To Use 100% Recyclable Plastic Packaging By 2025

Unilever said all of its plastic packaging will be fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. In the next three years, Unilever will be reducing the weight of its plastic packaging by 30%, a commitment given under its Sustainable Living Plan.  The company also announced it has renewed its membership to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) and will continue supporting the New Plastics Economy Initiative as part of its contribution to the Sustainable Development Goal 12 that focus on sustainable consumption and production. Unilever CEO Paul Polman called on the consumer goods industry to move towards a circular economy. Polman said the industry needs to do much more to help make sure plastic is managed responsibly and efficiently post-consumer use. According to EMF, only 14% of plastic packaging used globally is recycled, while 40% ends up in landfill and a third in fragile ecosystems.

"Unilever commits to 100% recyclable plastic packaging by 2025", Unilever, January 14, 2017

Grocery Chain Partners With Company That Sells “Wonky” Produce

A Midwestern grocery chain has decided its customers are ready for “ugly” – and cheaper – fruits and vegetables. All 242 stores in the Hy-Vee Inc. family have begun to sell what is sometimes called “wonky” produce that is usually discarded because it is misshapen. Hy-Vee is working with large produce company Robinson Fresh and will offer Robinson’s Misfits line of imperfect produce. Misfits produce is sold at a lower price, benefiting customers while helping to reduce produce waste.

"Hy-Vee introduces 'ugly' produce to fight food waste", News release, Hy-Vee , January 18, 2017

Europe’s Lawmakers Back Aggressive Approach To Recycling, Landfilling, Food Waste

The environmental panel of the European Parliament amended a draft legislative “waste package” to raise waste recycling from 44 percent to 70 percent and reduce landfilling to five percent. The Environment Committee also voted to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2030. Forty-two organizations in 15 countries support the aggressive new proposals; 47,000 people have signed petitions backing them.  The new targets would be legally binding among member countries. The committee’s package will be put to a vote by the full House at the March 13-16 plenary session in Strasbourg. 

"Campaigners Call on EU to Halve Food Waste by 2030", The Guardian, January 18, 2017

Head & Shoulders Introduces Shampoo Bottle Made From Recycled Plastic

Procter & Gamble said its Head & Shoulders haircare brand will start using a recyclable shampoo bottle made from up to 25 percent recycled beach plastic. Developed in partnership with recycling firms TerraCycle and SUEZ, the shampoo bottle will be launched in France in summer 2017 as a limited-edition Head & Shoulders packaging exclusive to Carrefour customers. Also, P&G said that by end of 2018, in Europe, more than 500 million bottles per year will include as much as 25 percent post-consumer recycled plastic.

"P&G’s Head & Shoulders Creates World’s First Recyclable Shampoo Bottle Made with Beach Plastic", Procter & Gamble, January 19, 2017

London Restaurant Chain Tests Produce Preservation Technology

A new technology that could cut down on food waste is being tested in a small chain of London restaurants. The innovation is essentially a small rectangular filter sheet that is placed on or next to fresh fruit and vegetables to absorb ethylene gas produced by ripening produce. (Ethylene is also used commercially to speed the ripening of green tomatoes, bananas, etc.) Canteen restaurants hopes the technology will extend the shelf-life of its produce and reduce the amount that is routinely tossed away after over-ripening.

"London Restaurant Canteen Trials New Food Waste Technology to Keep Food Fresher for Longer", Evening Standard, January 25, 2017

App Helps Volunteers Find, Deliver Salvageable Food Donations

Add to the list of technologies created to help reduce food waste an Uber-like app from a Pittsburgh, Pa.- based nonprofit known as 412 Food Rescue. Food Rescue Hero, available free on iTunes and Google Play, helps its 1,000 volunteer drivers (or walkers or cyclists) find salvage food considered unmarketable and deliver it to shelters and charities. Hero lists salvage opportunities at grocery stores and restaurants and the target charities who distribute the food, provides details on the donations, and lets volunteers pick the donation that works best for them. There is even a navigation system that guides volunteers to the pick-up locations and destinations. 

"412 Food Rescue Mobilizes Volunteers with Uber-Like App", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 25, 2017

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