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Period: June 1, 2017 to July 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

State Governments Target Hunger, Food Waste, Environment

As debates rage at the national level over healthcare, immigration policy, and other issues, state governments are tackling more mundane local problems like food waste, hunger, and environmental protection. California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont already have laws on the books that restrict the amount of food and other organic waste (e.g., soiled and compostable paper and yard waste) that can be dumped in landfills. Maryland, New Jersey and New York are pondering similar laws. States are offering tax breaks to farmers and small businesses that donate food rather than throw it into the landfill. They are also limiting the liability of food donors, and standardizing “use by” labels so consumers don’t toss food that is still edible. It’s a significant endeavor: one in seven Americans suffers from “food insecurity,” defined as “limited or uncertain access to adequate food.”

"States Try to Reduce Food Waste with New Laws", SF Gate, May 22, 2017

Food Sharing Service In English Village Hopes To Expand

The founder of a community fridge in a Hampshire village in England was pretty surprised to find how people from as far away as Germany were interested in her idea, and eager to get her advice. The community fridge in Botley is the fourth in the U.K. to offer food sharing, a concept that not only reduces food waste, it helps people in need. Riki Therivel’s “nice way for neighbors to share food” has become so popular that families regularly use it. Retail grocer Tesco drops off food twice a week as well. It’s providing such a useful service to the community that its temporary home at a local church has become permanent, though the fridge hopes for a larger facility in a shopping center.

"Community Fridge a 'Huge Success' and Could Move into West Way Centre", The Oxford Times, May 30, 2017

Peapod Fine-Tunes Customers’ Online Search Options

Online grocer Peapod’s smart shopping technology now has more search filters so shoppers can further refine selections based on personal dietary tastes and preferences.. In addition to common search filters like brand preference, price and sale specials, the company now offers 16 nutrition options, including non-GMO, sugar free, vegan, and vegetarian. The new filters were selected based on consumer food and nutritional trend data. For example, 42 percent of consumers read nutrition labels before purchasing, 33 percent of Millennials say they eat a meat alternative product every day, and sales of non-GMO products will hit $330 billion by 2019.

"Peapod Expands Nutrition Filter Options To Help Shoppers Make Mindful Food Decisions Even Faster", News release, Peapod, May 31, 2017

When Flies Pig Out, China Reduces Its Food Waste Problem

China, with 1.4 billion of people, has a serious food waste problem. A farm in Sichuan province in the southwestern region of the country is working on it, however, using the larvae of black soldier flies – maggots – to devour mountains of leftover meat, vegetables and fruits. The larvae can eat twice their weight in food refuse. On average, one kilogram of maggots can eat two kilos of garbage in four hours. Not bad considering that each person in the country throws away almost 30 kilograms of food every year. And it’s a sustainable system: the farm processes the maggots into a high-protein animal feed and their feces into an organic fertilizer.

"In China, Maggots Help Deal With Food Waste Problem", AFP Relax News, May 31, 2017

Increasing Concern, Confusion, About Animal Welfare In U.S. Food Industry

Animal welfare – i.e., housing, handling, feeding, and slaughter – in the food industry is a major concern of American consumers, according to a market researcher. The concern stems from worries about food safety: there is a belief that animals raised under healthy conditions will produce meat and poultry that is safer, better tasting and more nutritious. But consumers seem to be confused about some product claims. For example, only 19 percent said they understood the terms ”grass-fed” or “certified humane.” A third said they are well-informed about claims such as hormone-, steroid-and antibiotic-free, cage-free, free-range, pasture-raised, and certified humane. Nevertheless, two-thirds agreed that humane treatment of animals raised for food should be a societal concern and a regulatory issue.

"Animal Welfare in U.S. Food Industry Both Helped and Hindered By Consumer Misconceptions", News release, Packaged Facts, June 01, 2017

S.C. Firm Provides Food Waste Pickup, Composting Service

A South Carolina company that specializes in commercial food waste collection and composting is extending its services to households in Spartanburg and Greenville. Atlas Organics offers a weekly service in which households pack their food waste into sealable bins for pickup ($24 a month), or drop it off themselves ($14 a month). Atlas takes the waste to its site at a local landfill and turns it into compost. Subscribers to the compost service receive a monthly delivery of high quality compost in return – for free. Subscribers can feel good about helping the environment and “putting your waste to work."

"Upstate Company Offers Solution to Food Waste Problems at Home", Greenville Online, June 01, 2017

Charitable Food Distributions On The Rise In Great Britain

The U.K. is experiencing an upsurge in charity food distribution, according to a report by the country’s largest food bank network, Trussell Trust. The network handed out 1.2 million food parcels to families and individuals in need from 2,000 pantries in 2016-2017, the ninth consecutive annual rise. But Trussell is not the only food distribution operation in the U.K. The Independent Food Aid Network (Ifan) says at least 651 grassroots food banks operate independently of Trussell. They include small voluntary groups that distribute only a few food parcels a week, to larger charitable operations that hand out thousands of parcels each year. A Labour Party MP said the figures “show the tide of hunger sweeping the U.K.”

"Report Reveals Scale of Food Bank Use in the UK", The Guardian, June 04, 2017

Wholesale Baker Kangaroo Brands Says Its Flatbread Sandwiches Are Clean Label

Milwaukee, Wis.-based Kangaroo Brands announced that its Sandwich Bros. of Wisconsin frozen sandwiches are now made with all natural flatbread pockets filled with 100 percent Angus beef, antibiotic-free chicken, all natural Jones sausage and Wisconsin Cheese. The company also noted that the sandwiches contain no “bad stuff,” like artificial flavors, trans fats, or high fructose corn syrup. The frozen, handheld breakfast and snack sandwiches are sold nationwide to grocery stores, club, convenience stores, and mass merchandisers, as well as foodservice, military and private label customers.

"Sandwich Bros. Sandwiches Now Made With All Natural Flatbread Pockets", IChainnel, June 09, 2017

After Trump Spurns Paris Accords, Coca-Cola Renews Commitment To Green Policies

Coca-Cola was one of several Atlanta, Ga.-based companies that announced renewed commitment to their energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction policies in the wake of President Trump’s spurning of the 2015 Paris accord in early June. Trump ignored a strongly worded letter signed by 30 CEOs and published in The Wall Street Journal on May 10 that urged the president not to reject the Paris agreement. The letter said dropping out of the pact would create “strong potential for negative trade implications.” Signers included James Quincey of Coca-Cola, and top executives of General Electric, HomeDepot, Delta Airlines, and others.

"Atlanta companies double down on clean energy following Trump announcement", Atlanta Business Chronicle, June 09, 2017

Gleaning Program Reduces Food Waste, Feeds The Needy

Farmers often end up with a surplus of edible produce, either because of intentional over-production, or because much of the crop is too ugly for retail grocers. In 2016, a survey in Vermont found that 14.3 million pounds of vegetables and berries grown each year never reach the dinner plate. To help solve that problem, volunteers at the Healthy Roots Collaborative Gleaning Program collect the surplus from the fields, transport it to 18 charitable distribution centers, and share it with needy families. The program plans to double the amount of gleaned produce from two counties during the 2017 growing season to 20,000 pounds.

"Summer Gleaning", St. Albans Messenger (Vermont), June 13, 2017

Wienermobile Hits The Road To Showcase Nitrate-Free Dogs

After a year of experimenting, Kraft’s Oscar Mayer brand of hot dogs announced it has gotten rid of added nitrates and nitrites. The only remaining traces of those compounds are found naturally in celery juice, an ingredient used in processing. The product also contains no artificial preservatives or by-products. To make sure Americans know about the changes, Oscar Mayer has launched a summer Wienermobile campaign. The hot dog-shaped vehicles, driven by “HotDoggers,” will travel the U.S. distributing samples.

"Oscar Meyer Teaches an Ol' Dog New, Nitrate-Free Tricks", QSRWeb, June 15, 2017

Don’t Want To Eat Ugly Carrots? Then Drink Them!

Two Australian entrepreneurs have come up with a spirited answer to the problem of ugly carrots. Often discarded, either by farmers or grocers, the wonkier of the orange roots end up in the landfill or as animal feed. But two farmers’ wives – their husbands’ Queensland farms produce 350 million carrots a year – have turned the unwanted cracked, marked, or just weird looking ones into vodka. With technical advice from a local winemaker, the two learned to reduce the carrots to "a sort of carrot soup stock" when it is distilled. The stock is then infused through a shiraz grape base. Each bottle contains 20 percent carrot. “We tell people to garnish their drinks with carrot sticks," Alice Gorman said.

"Carrot Vodka the Latest Approach to Reduce Food Waste by Spirited Vegetable Growers", ABC, June 19, 2017

Marks & Spencer Experiments With Laser-Coded Fruits, Vegetables

British retailer Marks & Spencer has begun selling avocados labeled with lasers. The idea is to eliminate the need for paper stickers, and save 10 tons of paper and glue annually. M&S hopes other retailers will adopt the technology, not only for labeling avocados, but other fruits and vegetables. The lasered label includes the shop logo, best before date, country of origin and barcode entered at checkout. The intense light of the laser discolors only the top layer of the fruit, and does not affect the fruit itself. 

"Avocados with Laser-Printed Labels Go On Sale at M&S in Bid to Cut Paper Waste", The Telegraph, June 20, 2017

Large Firms Tell How They Eradicated Forced Labor In Supply Lines

The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) has published a report containing case studies from 12 member companies describing how they got rid of forced labor in their supply chains. CGF says forced labor is an endemic social problem in global supply chains and cannot be solved by one company alone. The Cola-Cola Company, Unilever, Nestlé S.A. and Tesco all shared their experiences in dealing with the global $150 billion problem.

"Industry giants unite to eradicate forced labour in global supply chains", Food Navigator, June 22, 2017

Greenpeace Targets Coca-Cola – And Plastic Bottles – In Social Media Campaign

Greenpeace has launched a Twitter initiative that turns Coca-Cola’s summer marketing campaign into an anti-plastic bottle promotion. The organization blames Coca-Cola, among other plastic bottle users, for clogging the waterways and shores of the world.  Coke’s summer campaign puts exotic beach locations on its bottles – the very same containers “that are polluting the beaches and rivers of many of these holiday hotspots.” Greenpeace is asking followers to photograph Coke bottles found on shores or in the water and Tweet the images using two special hashtags as a way to get Coke “to stop choking our oceans.”

"Coca-Cola’s marketing strategy = a gift for the End Ocean Plastics campaign", Greenpeace.org UK, June 22, 2017

Chefs Show That So-Called Ugly Produce Is More Than Just Edible

Thirteen chefs from around the U.S. recently tackled a food waste-related challenge: how to transform 300 pounds of wonky or ugly produce – otherwise bound for the landfill – into enticing and delicious appetizers, salads, main dishes, sides and desserts. Their cache of dreadful edibles included purple cauliflower, cherries, shiitake mushrooms, pears, fingerling potatoes, shallots, kale and carrots, all salvaged from local farms. The dinner the chef teams prepared was the highpoint of a three-day sustainability "boot camp" run by the James Beard Foundation.  The organization is on a mission to cut the estimated 571,000 tons of food waste generated annually by U.S. restaurants and food service providers by one third.

"Is It Really So Offal? 'Ugly Food' Boot Camp Entices Chefs and Diners", National Public Radio, June 23, 2017

Market News  

Beauty Industry Leaders Keep Supporting Paris Agreement Despite US Departure

L'Oreal, The Estee Lauder Companies, Unilever, and other leading cosmetics and personal care companies still support the Paris Agreement, despite U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to remove the country from the climate change deal. Prior to Trump's announcement, beauty and personal care companies were calling on the president to remain committed to the deal, which strengthens the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

"Beauty industry stands up for Paris Climate Agreement, despite US plans to back out", Cosmetics Design, June 06, 2017

Press Release  

Companies Partner To Provide Crop Insurance To At-Risk Coffee Farmers

Nespresso is partnering with an insurance consortium to develop pilot crop insurance program for climate-dependent small coffee farmers in Colombia. Coffee and insurance markets do not always provide risk transfer mechanisms for the long-term security of small coffee farmers. The objective of the pilot insurance program from Nespresso and Blue Marble Microinsurance, a consortium or eight insurers, is to enhance farmers' welfare, address supply chain risk, and incentivize investment in coffee growing regions.

"Nespresso And Blue Marble Microinsurance Announce Partnership And Plan To Launch Pilot Crop Insurance Program For Smallholder Coffee Farmers In Colombia", News release, Blue Marble Microinsurance, May 25, 2017

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