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Period: May 1, 2018 to June 1, 2018
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

Over 40 Firms Form UK Plastics Pact, Promising To Cut Single-Use Plastic Packaging

Over 40 firms, responsible for over 80% of plastic packaging on products sold in the United Kingdom, have joined the government and several trade organizations in establishing the UK Plastics Pact, led by sustainability group WRAP. The agreement lays out a set of pledges undertaken by firms to reduce plastic pollution over the next seven years. It promises to eliminate single-use plastic packaging, including 2025 goals to make 100% of packaging recyclable or compostable, to recycle or compost 70%, and to use 30% recycled material in plastic packaging. The pact signatories include Coca-Cola, Asda, Procter & Gamble, and Marks & Spencer. Environmental groups including Friends of the Earth and Ellen MacArthur Foundation expressed their support. 

"Companies sign up to pledge to cut plastic pollution", BBC, April 26, 2018

Starbucks Hopes To Trim $75M In Food Waste by 2020

Starbucks Corp. is losing $500 million a year on waste in its more than 8,000 company-operated U.S. stores, but hopes to cut that by 15 percent ($75 million)over the next year-and-a-half through greater efficiency. The company says its business model – “strict product quality requirements” plus “product availability” – always results in some waste. Food discarded because after the expiration date, and lost sales associated with a lack of inventory, are part of the costs. During Starbucks' fiscal second quarter, it cut waste costs by focusing on “outlier stores” that had high waste as a percentage of sales. It also improved training on the process of pulling .

"Wasted food, other items cost Starbucks $500 million a year", Puget Sound Business Journal, April 27, 2018

Coca-Cola PH Donates Used Bottle Caps To Water Accessibility Initiative

Coca-Cola Philippines has started recycling used plastic bottle caps to make rubber gaskets for water ram pumps. The firm's bottling partner, Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines, has already delivered over 65 kilograms of high-density polyethylene and 625 kilograms of polypropylene caps to Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation, which was developing a cost-efficient and easily-maintained ram pump model. The scrap bottle caps will be used to manufacture ramp pump spare parts. This is part of Coca-Cola's Agos Program, a water accessibility initiative that makes use of hydraulic ram pumps and gravity to supply water to upland communities without the need for electricity or fossil fuel.

"Coca-Cola backs plastic recycling", Manila Standard, May 03, 2018

USDA Issues Proposed GMO Food Labeling Rules For Public Comment

The USDA has issued proposed rules on the labeling of foods that contain “bioengineered” ingredients, a more neutral term than “genetically modified organisms” (GMO). The rules implement a federal law enacted in 2016 (National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, PL 114-216) that was a victory for backers of federal mandatory labeling, but also for opponents because it did not require all food companies to put readable information on packages. The law also barred states from writing their own mandatory labeling laws. The proposed rules allow small food manufacturers to inform consumers via websites or telephone numbers. Larger companies can use a label on packages, a symbol to be developed by USDA or bar codes, or other digital means scannable with smartphones. Public comment on the proposal is open until July 3; the final rules will be issued July 29.

"GMO labeling moves one step closer to reality, but what will it look like?", Food Dive, May 04, 2018

Dutch Restaurants Thrive on Sustainability, Re-Purposing, Zero-Waste

Restaurants in The Netherlands, particularly in the capital Amsterdam, are showcasing innovative and accessible sustainability projects that focus on zero-waste practices and creative reuse of buildings and materials. Moer Restaurant, for example, is housed in a former Michelin tire shop; its serving pans are made from old train tracks. It has replaced the traditional buffet table piled high with bound-for-the-bin meats, cheeses, and pastries with a buffet of all-organic offerings, including juices from Dutch orchards, dairy and egg products from a local farm, and homemade granola and breads made with grain and beer waste from brewery Gulpener. The Instock restaurant uses only surplus food for ingredients and wastes nothing. It gets unused food from Albert Heijn, the country's largest supermarket chain. There is so much discarded but edible food that the restaurant has set up a wholesale distribution center to serve other restaurants.

"Doing good, deliciously: Sustainable dining in Amsterdam", The Washington Post (published in the Toronto Star), May 05, 2018

Japanese Entrepreneurs Tackle Food Waste Problem With Smartphone Apps

According to Japan’s agriculture ministry, 6.46 million tons of untouched food were discarded in 2015. Japanese entrepreneurs, however, are making progress using technology to tackle this crticial food waste issue. Among the advanced solutions are online services that link restaurants with consumers wishing to buy food at lower prices that would otherwise be discarded. An example is Shifft Inc., which launched the Reduce Go smartphone app service last month to offer registered users economic benefits by allowing them to pick up food directly twice a day from restaurants and food outlets for $18 (¥1,980) a month. About 25,000 users have signed up for the free version of the app, while 32 restaurants, bars, and shops in Tokyo and its environs have signed on to the food giveaway.

"Tokyo-based startups look to link consumers with restaurants to curb food waste", The Japan Times, May 05, 2018

Ecover Opens “Rubbish Café” Pop-Up

Ecover, a household cleaning brand with green positioning, opened a pop-up café that aimed to educate consumers about single-use plastic by inviting them to swap their plastic for a free meal in the “Rubbish Café”. It was part of the brand’s "Let's Live Clean” campaign, to raise brand awareness and also recognition of the problem of single-use plastics. It ran for two days in early May in London’s Covent Garden.

"Ecover uses 'Rubbish Cafe' to educate consumers on clean living", Campaign Live UK, May 08, 2018

Sen. Casey‘s Bill Would Reimburse Farmers For Food Donation Costs

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.) introduced the Farm to Food Bank Act of 2018 (S. 2824) to establish food recovery networks in each state that would incentivize farmers to donate their produce directly to food banks to be distributed to the needy. The bill would authorize assistance to farmers and ranchers by reimbursing them for the costs to produce, harvest, pack, process, store, or transport to foodbanks food that is safe for consumption but lacks access to a retail market or supply chain. The bill is a response to the fact that food is often discarded on the farm if considered "ugly," overproduced, market conditions are unfavorable, or if an existing contract or retail market is lost. According to Feeding Pennsylvania, the commonwealth produces an abundance of fresh and nutritious food, yet 1.7 million residents struggle with hunger every day, 500,000 of whom are children.

"Casey Looks to Fight Hunger, Address Food Waste", Sen. Bob Casey, May 10, 2018

Eat17 Escalates The Fight Against Single-Use Plastic

Eat17, the eco-friendly retail and restaurant chain, is joining the battle against single-use plastic, introducing paper straws and bamboo cups in its restaurants. It is also bringing in refillable stations in its Bishop’s Stortford store for a range of products, including organic milk, wine, nuts, cereals and grains, and also washing up liquid and laundry detergent. It expects to roll the stations out to other stores during the year. Eat17 said the moves align with customers looking to become more eco-friendly and cut down on single-use plastics and pre-packaged food.

"Eat17 introduces initiatives to cut plastic waste", Talking Retail, May 15, 2018

Successful Australian Start-Up Sells Snap Frozen Unwanted Berries

An Australian couple committed to reducing food waste in their region have created a company that puts so-called “wonky” (i.e., miscolored, misshapen, or otherwise unsold) fruits rejected by supermarket chains to good use. They maintain a warehouse where they and their small staff snap freeze raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and blackcurrants. Stuart and Allison McGruddy say they wanted to help berry growers manage any oversupply and reduce the waste. In 2016 found a niche market for safe and quality frozen berries, restoring public faith in the product after food scares associated with imported berries. The berries are carefully hand-picked, washed and frozen on the same day before being packaged into transparent zip-locked pouches. The berries arrive at the buyer’s door packed in dry ice.

"Couple put the freeze on berry growing waste", Moreton Life, May 16, 2018

Companies Start To Adopt World’s First Plastic-Free Packaging Mark

A ‘plastic-free’ Trust Mark has been launched to advise shoppers on the material used to package food and drink, as part of initiatives to cut the use of plastic in packaging. It was created by environmental group A Plastic Planet. Iceland is the first British retailer to adopt it, and it plans to use on its own-label products as part of its pledge to stamp out single-use plastic packaging by 2023. Beverage brand Teapigs will also display the Trust Mark on its packaging, and Dutch supermarket chain Ekoplaza is another early-adopter. It is the first retailer to build plastic-free aisles in its supermarkets. 

"World’s first plastic-free mark will help shoppers choose eco-friendly products", The Telegraph, May 16, 2018

Food Industry Paper Reports On Progress In Fight Against Waste Since 2016

After the British food waste experts at Wrap reported on the enormity of the problem, trade newspaper The Grocer in 2016 launched an editorial campaign to double the amount of edible food being redistributed, to lobby for governmental fiscal incentives to curb waste, and to encourage greater engagement and cooperation in the food industry. Wrap had reported that 1.9 million tons of edible food was being wasted annually, some by grocery stores, but the most by producers who left ugly but otherwise perfectly good produce in the fields to rot. A lot of edible food – 525 million meals – could have been donated to serve the hungry but wasn’t. Since the launch of the campaign, there have been some major changes in the U.K. food and beverage distribution system, particularly in the areas of redistribution; commitment by retailers, suppliers, trade bodies, and campaigners to waste reduction; and increased transparency about waste policies and practices in the food industry.

"Reversing the rot on food waste: two years of our campaign", The Grocer, May 26, 2018

Market News  

Keeping Coke Relevant In Nepal

Coca-Cola’s country director for Nepal Ambuj Deo Singh says Coke has remained pretty much the same during its 132-year history but has also managed to be relevant in his country, and in many others. Relevance, he notes, comes from talking to consumers about their needs “in the language that they want us to speak.” An example is the recent ad campaign (“Coke Kham Russia Jam”), which “relates to everyone here in Nepal” because it is associated with momo (a type of dumpling). Coca-Cola is also associated with the festival of Dashain, celebrating human relationships. Singh says the company is planning to introduce new products, such as juices, in the near future. Plans also include making Kinley available nationwide and expanding the distribution base.

"‘Staying locally relevant under global vision is Coca-Cola’s mantra for success’", Onlinekhabar, May 10, 2018


UK Plastics Tax May Reduce Single-Use Plastic, But Efforts Must Be Coordinated

Introducing charges or taxes on plastics might reduce single-plastic usage in the United Kingdom. However, in response to a HM Treasury consultation on the proposals, the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) wants to ensure that any initiatives avoid duplicating policies and the costs associated for both businesses and consumers. In particular, the ACS has asked HM Treasury to consider the interaction with the current Packaging Recovery Notes System and the work being undertaken to reform it. 

"ACS responds to consultation on single-use plastics", Talking Retail, May 18, 2018

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