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Period: May 15, 2017 to June 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

KFC Takes Big Steps Toward Clean Menu

Kentucky Fried Chicken announced that by the end of 2018 it will only purchase chicken raised without antibiotics that are  “important to human medicine” for its U.S. restaurants. KFC noted that its commitment extends beyond boneless chicken menu items to chicken-on-the-bone items. The company said the change involves complex planning, including collaboration with more than 2,000 family-owned farms in a dozen states. Recently, KFC committed to eliminating artificial colors and flavors from core products by the end of 2018. The menu will be free of all “food dyes” by the end of 2017 (excluding beverages and third-party products).

"KFC Announces Commitment to Eliminate Antibiotics Important to Human Medicine from its Chicken by End of 2018", PR Newswire, April 07, 2017

Fast-Food Companies Are Slow To Promise Antibiotics-Free Beef, Pork

McDonald’s and other fast-food chains have been reasonably quick in acceding to the growing consumer demand for antibiotics-free chicken. Not so much when it comes to beef and pork products, however, because eliminating antibiotics from cattle and pig husbandry is much more complex and expensive. Now the Benedictine Sisters of Boerne, Texas, have promised to attend the McDonald’s annual meeting to propose that the company set goals and timelines to phase out routine use of antibiotics in pork and beef. The nuns have reportedly been petitioning McDonald’s for years on the issue. The company says it is sympathetic to the concerns and "continues to work with farmers, producers and other purchasers of food animals to influence meaningful change.”

"McDonald's, Fast-Food Chains Find Antibiotic-Free Beef, Pork Hard to Deliver", Chicago Tribune, April 18, 2017

Mondelez Expands Promise Of Cage-Free Eggs Globally, With Exceptions

Snack maker Mondelez International said it is expanding its commitment to use only cage-free eggs beyond the U.S., Canada, and Europe to the rest of the world, with three major exceptions. The company promised cage-free eggs would be used in the U.S. and Canada by 2020, and in Europe and the rest of the world by 2025 The commitment, however, does not include Russia, Ukraine, or China, though it will establish timelines for those countries by next year.

"Mondelez Extends Global Commitment to Cage-Free Eggs", Biz Community, April 19, 2017

Juice Maker Creates Profit From Waste

The problem for the high-pressure processed juice maker was, What to do with all that leftover pulp? The Forager Project came up with a profitable solution that also helps reduce food waste. Instead of dumping the pulp by-product, also known as pomace, into a landfill, it found a way to press it into different kinds of vegetable-based snack chips. It was a departure – actually quite a leap – for the juice company, but it has worked. It produces three chip varieties (greens, beets and roots). The most-popular green variety will soon be offered in three flavors: chipotle barbecue, (vegan) cheesy and wasabi.

"With expanding chip line, Forager Project proves food waste can be a valuable resource", New Hope, May 01, 2017

Oscar Mayer Wieners Now Free Of Dubious Ingredients

Food giant Kraft Heinz announced that after listening to customers and “going to great lengths,” its Oscar Mayer Hot Dog brand is now free of processed meat by-products, added nitrates and nitrites, and artificial preservatives. The company also announced a summer ad campaign – a “massive summer mission” – touting a cleaner product with the same taste and the same price. Besides TV, print, digital, social and PR support, the ad campaign will feature six Wienermobiles, including one water-borne in New York Harbor, spreading the news across the country, visiting remote towns, including in Alaska.

"The Oscar Mayer Brand’s Most Iconic Product Undergoes Major Quality Improvements for the Love of Hot Dogs", News release, Kraft Heinz, May 01, 2017

Americans Want Humane Animal Treatment, Clarity When It Comes To Food

A recent survey of American consumers determined that a large majority want their beef, chicken, eggs, and dairy products free of growth hormones and GMO. But they are also concerned that animals that produce milk and eggs be raised humanely. The concern did not extend to animals raised for slaughter. The University of Illinois study also found that consumers were concerned that animals had not been given routine antibiotics; had been raised in a free-range environment; and had been grass-fed or raised on a vegetarian diet. They also said they wanted animal products certified as organic. The big takeaway from the study is that American consumers want clarity: They want to know what they’re eating.

"Consumers Now Demanding Their Meat Be Raised “Humanely,” Without Growth Hormones or GMOs, According to New Study", Natural News, May 02, 2017

Snack Company Intensifies Focus On Allergy-Free Products

Skeeter Snacks (Chicago, Ill.) has renamed itself the Safe + Fair Food Company to serve the 17 million Americans with food allergies. The company, which makes nut-free snacks sold in schools and on JetBlue flights, said its goal will be to develop food brands that are “safe, accessible, fairly priced and delicious.” The company recently acquired Mama Jess Organics, a maker of organic pasta and enchilada sauces, and is itself developing snacks and meals that further its mission of making it “easy and fun to be safe” from allergic food reactions.

"Passionate Entrepreneurs and Industry Veterans Launch the Safe + Fair Food Company", News release, Skeeter Snacks, May 03, 2017

Food Waste Repurposed Into Edible, Profitable New Products

The food waste problem is inspiring a lot of creative new product development these days. Among the ingenious products from socially aware entrepreneurs: Foxhole Gin, made with leftover grape skins, flesh and pips from winemaking; Toast Ale, made from surplus loaves of bread mashed into crumbs and mixed with malted barley, hops and yeast; ChicP hummus in four varieties made from discarded wonky fruit and vegetables; Hellmann's Ketchup, a new product made from imperfect discarded red and green tomatoes; Snacktivism snack bars made from excess fruit gleaned from London’s wholesale food markets; Spare Fruit premium crisps made from rescued wasted fruit; and Rejuce fruit and vegetable juices made from rejected produce that is transformed into flavors like Lime, Cucumber, & Mint, and Lemon, Beetroot & Ginger. 

"How food waste is fueling a new wave of NPD", The Grocer, May 06, 2017

Innovation Drives Fight Against Food Waste, Climate Change, Hunger

Megatons of wasted food ends up rotting in landfills daily, releasing harmful greenhouse gases, while 800 million people globally endure chronic hunger and malnutrition. A growing number of entrepreneurs recognize the connection between wasted food, hunger and climate change, and see an opportunity to deal with all three. Among the innovations they have developed: Demetra, a natural post-harvest treatment that extends fruit shelf life by retarding the ripening process; the Winnow smart scale helps commercial chefs cut waste by measuring just what they throw from the kitchen every day; and food tech startup RISE uses the spent barley by-product of beer production to make flour for bread, pizza, cookies and other baked goods.

"Coffee flour, beer pizza on menu as innovators fight food waste", Reuters, May 11, 2017

App Helps Companies With On-Site Catering Avoid Food Waste

An Irish software start-up that targets large companies with on-site catering operations says there are several benefits of using its Tabit app. The app allows employees to order food in advance, for example, from their workstations and avoid wasting time in queues. But a less obvious benefit for companies is the savings when employees are on vacation. Companies spend about $9 and $13 a day providing meals to staff, money – and food – that is wasted if an employee is on holiday (the meals are still produced). The Tabit app integrates with the HR department to avoid the waste, and it adds up when as many as 30 or 40 people are on vacation at the same time. “Multiplied by one or two weeks, that's a lot of money and a lot of potential waste," the company’s founder says.

"Tabit transforming corporates’ in-house food catering services", Irish Times, May 11, 2017

Knorr’s New Quick Meals Are Free Of Artificial Flavors, Preservatives

Unilever brand Knorr unveiled quick stovetop meals made without artificial flavors, artificial preservatives or gluten. Ingredients are grown on Knorr Landmark Farms and include “responsibly sourced” rice from Arkansas, dairy from the Midwest, and garlic from California. Knorr said its farmers are encouraged to adopt sustainable practices on their farms, such as improving soil quality, reducing water usage, and increasing biodiversity. New Knorr Selects meals include Four Cheese Risotto, White Cheddar Broccoli, Roasted Garlic Alfredo, Rustic Mexican Rice & Beans, Spinach & Artichoke and Asiago Cheese & Cracked Black Pepper.

"New Knorr Selects Bring Quality, Flavor and Convenience to the Table", News release, Unilever, May 11, 2017

L'Oreal Partners With Suez To Improve Sustainability And Resource Management

L'Oreal said it plans to improve water usage at some facilities and expand reuse and recycling of waste by improving materials recovery at all company sites. To help achieve this goal, L'Oreal will be working with sustainable resources management company Suez to develop processes that will enhance resource management at all industrial, administrative, and research centers in France and overseas. According to L'Oreal, its partnership with Suez will help the beauty brand achieve its objective of becoming a “circular economy,” integrating biodiversity, ecodesign, digitalization, and material reuse to its business operations.

"Like Other Cosmetic Giants, L’Oreal Chases ‘Circular Economy,’ Improved Water/Carbon Footprint", Environmental Leader, May 12, 2017

Tesco Keeps Excess Crops From Ending Up In Landfills

Unseasonable weather in the U.K. has spurred bumper crops of cauliflower, carrots, and small iceberg lettuces in danger of going unsold and clogging landfills. To help remedy the situation, retail grocery chain Tesco recently purchased thousands of heads of small lettuce from G’s Fresh, a supplier of salads and produce to retail food chains in the U.K. and Europe. As part of its Perfectly Imperfect initiative, Tesco is selling the small lettuces at deep discounts (29p a head as opposed to 50p). The program benefits G’s Fresh because the small lettuces are tricky to sell. Earlier in the spring, Tesco also bought 220,000 surplus cauliflowers and a million surplus carrots to take advantage of the excess crops while reducing food waste.

"Tesco buys thousands of small lettuces from G's to avoid waste", The Grocer, May 13, 2017

British Grocery Chain Seeks To “Rescue” Scorned Bananas

Sainsbury’s is dismayed that so many of its countrymen, who enjoy bananas fairly often – 30 percent eat at least one a day – nevertheless turn up their noses at – and usually bin – the fruits if they have imperfections like bruises, black marks, or green spots. It’s a serious problem: Britons trash about 1.8 million rejected bananas a day. As part of its £10 million Waste Less, Save More initiative, the company has launched pop-up “Banana Rescue” stations in its 500 stores to offer not only recipes for banana bread, but all of the hardware necessary to make it. That includes mixing bowls, blenders, baking tins and storage solutions.

"Sainsbury’s launches in store ‘Banana Rescue’ stations, giving new a-peel to bin-bound fruit ", News release, Sainsbury’s, May 15, 2017

Toronto Chef Seeks To End Food Waste And Hunger

Chef Jagger Gordon is on a dual mission – ending food waste and hunger – has opened a subsidized eatery that allows customers to pay what they feel they can afford. Gordon’s Soup Bar in Toronto (Ont.) is the direct beneficiary of his other program, Feed It Forward, that collects unsold, unused food otherwise bound for the landfill. Patrons not only pay for their own meal, if they can afford it they can contribute $2.50 extra. That buys a chip that goes in a jar to be redeemed by a needy patron. Is Gordon worried his system will be abused? Not at all: "If you are humble enough to come and utilize one of the chips for a meal, you've earned it."

"Subsidized eatery opening soon in Toronto", The Toronto Star, May 15, 2017

Unilever Names New VP Of Sustainable Business Development

Unilever has appointed Weber Shandwick's Benelux CEO Annick Boyen as vice president of sustainable business development and communications for Europe. Boyen, who has had a 22-year career with Weber Shandwick, will also manage Unilever's external affairs operation in Brussels. She will report to Sue Garrard, Unilever's global SVP of sustainable business development in the UK, and Europe president Jan Zijderveld.

"Annick Boyen Departs Weber Shandwick For Senior Unilever Role", The Holmes Report, May 18, 2017

Sustainable Living Brands Initiative Has Positive Impact At Unilever

Products that Unilever six years ago designated as “sustainable living brands” – they offer a strong social or environmental purpose – have proven to be generally more successful than the rest of its product lineup, the company says. They have grown 50 percent faster and delivered more than 60 percent of the growth in 2016. Eighteen ended up in Unilever’s top 40 brands. Most successful sustainable living products include Lifebuoy, Ben & Jerry’s, Dove and Hellmann’s, with high single- and double-digit sales over the past six years. CEO Paul Polman said the results show that “sustainability is good for business” because consumers want sustainable products. A Unilever-commissioned survey found that more than half of all consumers already buy or want to buy sustainably.

"Unilever’s Sustainable Living brands continue to drive higher rates of growth", News release, Unilever, May 18, 2017

Airport Donates Unsold Concession Foods To Needy

The Austin, Texas, airport has launched a program to salvage and share unopened, unsold concession foods with the 180,000 needy citizens of the city. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport’s Food Rescue Program has partnered with its concessionaires and with the nonprofit Keep Austin Fed to donate the food rather than sending it to the landfill. Begun in March, the program collected and donated more than 3,500 unsold food products in the first month, including sandwiches, salads, snack boxes and buns. The long-range goal of the program is to help reduce the 40 percent of food wasted in America.

"Unsold sandwiches, salads donated to Keep Austin Fed", News release, City of Austin (Texas), May 22, 2017

P&G Supports Campaign For Sustainable Forest Management In Carolinas

Procter & Gamble Company joined the American Forest Foundation, International Paper, and 3M Company to establish the Carolinas Working Forest Conservation Collaborative. Focusing on the Coastal Carolinas Plain, the campaign seeks to educate and work with family woodland owners to promote sustainable forestry, forest certification, improvement of habitats for endangered species, and conservation of bottomland hardwood forests in the region. As part of the initiative, the corporate partners will provide $285,000 to AFF to support the organization's forest sustainability efforts in North and South Carolina.

"3M, International Paper, P&G Team Up in the Name of Sustainable Forestry", Sustainable Brands, May 23, 2017

Canadian Grocers Use Smartphone App To Get Surplus Food To Consumers

Grocery retailers in Ontario, Canada, have partnered with the developer of an app designed to make it easier to sell unsold surplus food to consumers at big discounts. Flashfood app users are notified and can dial up deals on their phones for food that is three days to a month away from its best-before date. Users then pay using their phones and visit the Flashfood zones in the stores to pick up purchases. Grocery retailers Farm Boy and Longo say they have diverted kept more than 1,500 meals from landfills.

"Major Ontario Grocery Chains Set Precedent to Reduce Food Waste", News release, Flashfood, May 24, 2017

Companies, Organizations  

L'Oreal Haircare Brand Partners With TerraCycle For Chinese Recycling Program

Ultra Doux, L'Oreal's natural hair care brand in China, signed a partnership deal with recycling company TerraCycle. Started in the US in 2011, the recycling partnership makes Ultra Doux China's first brand to offer consumers a complete recycling solution for haircare packaging waste. Consumers or communities, by signing up for the program, can collect and send haircare packaging to TerraCycle for free.

"L’Oreal’s Ultra Doux Goes Green with TerraCycle", Marketing-Interactive, May 11, 2017

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