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Period: October 15, 2017 to November 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

Judge: Plaintiff In Added-Sugar Suit Against Kellogg Has An Adequate Case

A federal judge in California has refused to dismiss a lawsuit against Kellogg, agreeing essentially with the plaintiff that most of the claims made by the company about the nutritional value and wholesomeness of its breakfast cereals seem to be refuted by the fact that they contain “excess added sugar.” Judge Lucy Koh dismissed five of the claims because she agreed they were essentially harmless advertising “puffery.” But she allowed claims regarding 24 other products to move forward because “these products contain at least one statement that the court found was not pre-empted, non-misleading, or puffery as a matter of law." The case is Hadley v. Kellogg Sales

"Kellogg Can’t Duck Class Action Over Cereal Labels", Courthouse News, August 15, 2017

USDA Says Its Organic Police Are Slacking Off

The inspector general of the USDA has found that agency officials tasked with monitoring imported foods labeled “USDA Organic” have been sleeping on the job, allowing, for example, millions of pounds of imported conventional soybeans and corn to reach U.S. grocery stores with bogus certified-organic labels. The audit of the Agricultural Marketing Service determined that the agency could not “provide reasonable assurance” that those items from abroad are actually “from certified organic foreign farms and business.” The inspector general suggested that the USDA needs to find a way to get the organic food-monitoring staff to do its job properly.

"USDA Warns That Millions of Pounds of Fake ‘Organic’ Imports Are Pouring Into U.S.", Grub Street, September 20, 2017

Restaurants Struggle To Find Antibiotic-Free Beef, Pork

It’s complicated, according to fast-food chains that would like to sell more antibiotic-free pork and beef products. A lot more of the chains – 14 of the top 25 – have committed to serving antibiotic-free chicken, and would like to expand to pork and beef, but it’s not easy, according to an advocacy group report. Because cows and pigs live longer, they are more likely to need antibiotics to treat sickness. On top of that, the beef and pork supply chain is huge compared to that for chickens. The advocacy groups gave Panera and Chipotle "A" grades for efforts to curb antibiotic use in most of the meat they serve. At least two million Americans become sick and 23,000 die every year from antibiotic-resistant infections, according to the CDC. 

"Restaurants Make Gains in Antibiotic-Free Chicken, But Not on Beef, Pork", Chicago Tribune, September 27, 2017

Judge Okays Agreement That Frees FDA To Enforce Menu Calorie Count Rules

The FDA will begin enforcing in May 2018 long-delayed regulations that require chain restaurants, grocery stores, and convenience stores to include calorie counts on menus. A federal judge in Chicago approved an agreement reached by the nonprofit law firm Earthjustice, representing the Center for Science in the Public Interest and the National Consumers League, and the Dept. of Justice, to stay further proceedings in the lawsuit filed by Earthjustice targeting the FDA’s delays in enforcing rules finalized in 2014. The agreement was reached after FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb on August issued a statement assuring the litigants that there will be no further delays or changes to the menu labeling rules. 

"FDA Agrees to Enforce Menu Labeling Rule in May 2018", Center for Science in the Public Interest, September 27, 2017

Airline Reclassifies Unopened Snacks, Beverages As Safe For Future Use

In a bid to not only save costs but also reduce food waste, Air New Zealand has launched a program to recycle sealed and unopened beverages and snacks. Project Green, a collaboration of the airline, its catering partner, and the Ministry for Primary Industries, allows reclassification of unopened in-flight food and beverage products so they can be redistributed on future flights. So far more than 40 such products are included in the reclassification scheme. In the first month, the airline diverted 266,000 plastic cups, 480 kg of sugar packets, and 3.5 tons of bottled water from landfills – 13 tons total.

"Air New Zealand Recycling Unopened Snacks Instead of Sending Them to the Dump", New Zealand Herald, October 04, 2017

P&G To Launch Fairy Bottle In UK Made Of Ocean And Recycled Plastic

Procter & Gamble is cooperating with TerraCycle to develop a new Fairy Ocean Plastic Bottle made from 100% recycled plastic and ocean plastic that will be launched in the UK in 2008. The company expects to make 320,000 bottles, the largest production run of recyclable dish soap bottles in the world made using ocean plastic. The project aims boost P&G’s sustainability and to drive awareness of the issue of ocean plastic pollution, inspire consumers to participate in beach clean-ups and recycle household waste. 

"Procter & Gamble launches new Fairy Ocean Plastic bottle made from 100% recycled plastic and ocean plastic", Procter & Gamble, October 05, 2017

San Francisco Grocery Delivery Service Uses AI To Cut Food Waste

San Francisco Bay Area food delivery service Farmstead, powered by artificial intelligence (AI) technology, sources and delivers exact amounts of food in less than an hour in an effort to cut grocery industry food waste. Farmstead’s AI software helps customers select food items from a “carefully curated array of local farm produce and grocery products.” AI calculates and predicts users' habits to know exactly how much food to order from local sources daily, weekly, seasonally, and annually. Customers can choose one-hour, same-day and weekly services. Customers who are part of a weekly eco-optimized delivery route, their order is delivered for free. Otherwise delivery is $3.99; one-hour delivery is $4.99.

"Farmstead Launches Nation's First Sustainable Digital Grocer in San Francisco", News release, Farmstead, October 05, 2017

Nissin Reformulates Top Ramen Products For Health-Conscious Noodle Buyers

Instant ramen maker Nissin Foods said consumer demand for simpler, more healthful food products was the force behind its decision to reformulate its Top Ramen product line with less salt, no added monosodium glutamate (MSG), and “fewer artificial ingredients.” The company says the reformulation – the initiative is dubbed “Noodle Zen” – means an improved nutritional profile without loss of “great taste” or a price increase. Specifically, the products now have 15 percent less sodium, no added MSG, and no artificial flavors. 

"Nissin Foods Top Ramen Finds Noodle Zen with Updated Recipe", News release, Nissin, October 09, 2017

Cargill Launches Native Starches As “Clean Label” Food Ingredients

Food and agriculture multinational Cargill has launched a line of functional native starches to be used as “clean label” food and beverage ingredients. The new starches, offered under the SimPure brand, are designed to provide greater processing tolerance, and longer shelf life and storage stability. The ingredients will allow food manufacturers to meet consumer demand for “label-friendly products with great taste and texture," the company said. SimPure 99560, the first product in the SimPure portfolio, can replace modified starches in frozen-ready meals, without compromising taste, texture, or appearance.  

"Cargill Introduces SimPure Functional Native Starches to Address Consumer Demand for Label-Friendly Products", News release, Cargill, October 10, 2017

Many British Shoppers Would Choose Supermarkets Based On Food Waste Practices

A survey by British charity Tearfund found that three quarters of consumers said they would be more likely to shop at supermarkets if they knew the stores reducing food waste, and a third said they definitely would. In fact, eighty percent said they would consider changing where they shopped for food if their store wasn’t doing enough to curb waste. As part of the organization’s Renew Our World campaign, thousands of people have taken an online pledge to waste less food at home and urge their supermarket to play their part too.

"Four Out Of Five People Would Consider Changing Supermarkets over Food Waste", News release, Tearfund, October 16, 2017

EU Guidelines Set Priorities For Preventing, Eliminating Food Waste

The European Union’s new food waste guidelines target food donation to reduce spoilage and help poor people gain greater access. Nearly one-quarter of Europeans – 119.1 million people – in 2015 were at risk of poverty or social exclusion; 42.5 million of these were not able to afford a quality meal every second day. The idea behind the guidelines is to limit the generation of surplus food at each stage in the food supply chain (i.e., production, processing, distribution, and consumption). If this cannot be accomplished, the guidelines suggest, then edible food surplus should be redistributed for human consumption “where safe to do so.”

"Europe Puts Food Waste in the Spotlight", FOODnavigator.com, October 18, 2017

Clean Snacking Trend Will Boost U.S. Candy Market

Researcher Packaged Facts forecasts a comeback for the sluggish U.S. candy market, thanks to the commitment by the industry’s biggest players to “clean snacking.” Both Hershey and Mars have announced commitments to “responsible ingredient sourcing” and “natural flavors.” Sales of candy products in the U.S. will surpass $41 billion by 2020, about 60 percent of which will come from chocolate candy sales. Packaged Facts defines “clean snacking” as a “balanced approach to nutrition” that includes snacks and sweets in moderation.

"Nestlé, Hershey, Mars’ Shift to Clean Snacking Fuels US Candy Market Rebound: Packaged Facts", ConfectioneryNews.com, October 24, 2017

NRDC Pinpoints Sources, Amounts Of Food Waste In Three U.S. Cities

New Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) research explores how much food is being wasted in Denver, Nashville, and New York City, as well as where and why food is discarded, what types of food are wasted, and how much of that food was potentially edible. NRDC says food is the largest component of waste sent landfills in the U.S. –  nearly 22 percent. Organic solid waste in landfills generates the global warming pollutant methane. But it also indicates how much water, land, energy, money, labor, and other resources are being wasted in growing, processing, distributing, and storing that food. For the study, NRDC collected data from each city’s restaurants, food wholesalers, food manufacturers, grocers, and hotels. Six hundred households kept track of discarded food for a week.

"What, Where and How Much Food Is Wasted in Cities", Blog entry and report, Natural Resources Defense Council, October 25, 2017

Big Food Agrees To Clarify Food Expiration Labels

Fifty of the biggest players in the food industry, led by Campbell, Walmart, Kellogg, and Nestlé, are changing their expiration labels exclusively to “Use By” over the next three years. That means that by 2020, consumers will not have to deal with confusing labels that say “Sell By,” “Display Until,” or “Best Before.” The companies, all members of the Consumer Goods Forum Board, unanimously approved the change after concluding that confusing labeling that leads to premature disposal is one of the leading causes of food waste around the world. About 40 percent of food that is bought in the U.S. is thrown out often unnecessarily. About 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted annually around the world, contributing to eight percent of greenhouse gases.

"Walmart and Nestlé are spearheading a Massive Change in Food Expiration Dates", Business Insider, October 26, 2017

Companies, Organizations  

Nestle Bolsters Commitment To More Eco-Friendly Water Usage

Seeking to quell environmental criticism of its water packaging and transport practices, Nestlé SA announced it is strengthening ties with the Alliance for Water Stewardship, whose certification process involves committing to improve water usage and gather data on water collection. The AWS will monitor whether 20 sites meet its standards on water use by 2020. Four of Nestlé’s water bottling plants in Pakistan and California are AWS-certified. Bottled water competitor Danone recently said it plans to make Evian the first major carbon-neutral spring water brand.

"Nestle Seeks Sustainable Label for More Water-Bottling Sites", Bloomberg , October 25, 2017

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