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Period: August 1, 2018 to September 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

Australian Retailers Broadcast Their Environment-Friendly Credentials

In Australia, supermarkets are using their environment-friendly efforts as marketing tools. Retailers are also using their “green credentials” to position themselves against their competitors and shield themselves from the bad PR effects of news reports about pollution-related disasters. For example, in April 2018, Woolworths announced it will stop using single-use bags across the country by end of June. Ikea Australia said it will buy back and resell used furniture, a practice it has been doing in other countries. As more companies make environment-friendly claims, they face the risk of consumers becoming skeptical about their corporate social responsibility efforts and, consequently, the brands being damaged.

"Green is the new black: why retailers want you to know about their green credentials", Inside Retail, July 02, 2018

US Foods Cleans Up Four Of Its Product Lines

U.S. Foods Holding Corp. announced that four of its product lines will be produced with clean label profiles. The Metro Deli, Rykoff Sexton, Chefs Line, and Stock Yards Exclusive Brand products will be made with simple, more recognizable ingredients by avoiding, removing or replacing ingredients and food additives found on the company’s new “Unpronounceables List.” The list comprises more than 80 ingredients the company will avoid using in more than 1,000 of its Exclusive Brand products. Product ingredient labels across the four best-quality Exclusive Brands will now be free of ingredients such as artificial flavors, artificial (FD&C) colors, high-fructose corn syrup, disodium guanylate, sodium benzoate, and monosodium glutamate.

"United States : U.S. Foods Introduces Clean Labels Across Four of the Company’s Exclusive Brands", Business Wire , July 13, 2018

Coca-Cola UK Presents List Of Features Of Ideal Deposit Return Scheme

Coca-Cola European Partners has revealed the characteristics of what the company believes is a deposit return scheme that is workable and likely to succeed in the UK. According to the company, a DRS for recycling cans and bottles should be “easy for public to recycle and no penalty for doing the right thing and should have “good financial management and fraud control.” Also, the company said a good DRS should have a “common approach covering the whole of Great Britain” and should be managed by a “not-for-profit management company.”

"Coca-Cola sets out its view on what constitutes a good deposit return scheme", REB Market Intelligence, July 16, 2018

IKEA Says To Remove All Single-Use Plastics From UK And Ireland Stores By October 2018

Furniture retailer IKEA said it plans to remove all single-use plastic straws from its stores in the UK and Ireland by October 1, 2018. Part of the company's efforts to do away with single-use plastics in all its operations by 2020, the move will see IKEA stop selling or offering plastic straws in all its restaurants, stores, and online shops. Earlier in 2018, IKEA updated its People Plant Positive policy, which seeks to stop the use of single-use plastics.

"IKEA sets October 2018 deadline for plastic straw ban", BusinessGreen, July 17, 2018

Which? Study Shows A Third Of Plastic Packaging Used By UK Retailers Hard To Recycle

Results of an analysis by Which?, a consumer group, revealed that as much as 29 percent of plastic packaging used by UK retailers is non-recyclable through the usual collection schemes or hard to recycle. Results of the study of packaging used for 27 everyday private-label products sold by 10 leading retail chains showed Lidl had the lowest percentage of easily recyclable packaging at 71 percent. Morrisons topped the results with 81 percent of tested products with packaging considered widely recyclable.

"One-third of UK supermarket plastic is not easily recyclable, analysis shows", The Guardian, July 19, 2018

Major Beverage Makers Start Compliance With Indian State Maharashtra's Buyback Rules For PET Bottles

Leading beverage companies in India have started printing buyback values on plastic bottles of products sold in the state of Maharashtra. Part of their efforts to comply with the state's new regulations and to help control plastic pollution, buyback schemes allow consumers to return used plastic bottles and get paid based on buyback values indicated on the bottles. While the scheme is likely to be adopted by other Indian states, some industry observers there is a need for a unified, holistic approach to dealing with plastic pollution.

"Plastic ban impact: Coke, Pepsi, Bisleri start printing buyback value on PET bottles", Economic Times, July 20, 2018

Nippon Paper Group Develops Earth-Friendly Paper Packaging Material

Japan-based Nippon Paper Group said it has developed a new type of paper packaging material designed to help reduce plastic pollution. According to the company, it is receiving an increasing number of orders for the paper, which can be used as packaging for various food products. Designed as a replacement for plastic packaging, the material is processed to keep products, such as potato chips and cereals, fresh.

"Companies work to reduce plastic waste", NHK World - Japan, July 22, 2018

Aramark Aims To Reduce Or Remove Plastic Straws From Facilities It Serves

Food service company Aramark said it plans to reduce the use of plastic straws and plastic stirrers and provide environment-friendly alternatives at food and dining facilities it serves. Aramark, which manages food service operations for various locations, including schools, convention centers, and arenas, across the US, said the reduction will depend on the location. According to the company, it plans to have 100-percent removal of plastic straws from parks and residential dining halls of colleges and universities.

"Food Service Giant Aramark Is Phasing Out Plastic Straws", Fortune.com, July 24, 2018

Just Eat Tests Seaweed-Based Sachets Developed With Skipping Rocks Lab

Online food-ordering company Just Eat has partnered with packaging technology firm Skipping Rocks Lab to develop a sachet made from seaweed. Part of the company's efforts to cut the volume of plastics used by its restaurant partners in the UK, the seaweed-based sachets can be composted and are environment-friendly. According to Just Eat, the company will test the sachet for six weeks with The Fat Pizza in Southend, and determine the possibility of introducing the packaging to its 29,000 partner restaurants. 

"Just Eat trials seaweed sachets as alternative to single-use plastics", edie.net, July 24, 2018

Bulldog Launches Shower Gel In Environment-Friendly Refill Box

UK-based men's grooming company Bulldog has announced the launch of the Original Shower Gel Refill Box. To be sold exclusively at Whole Foods from August 2018 and on the company's online store, the product contains the equivalent of 25 bottles of shower gel. This is to help reduce plastic packaging waste, the company said.

"Bulldog’s new refillable product reduces plastic waste by 85%", Cosmetics Design Europe, July 24, 2018

Next Major Food Trend Could Be “Allergen-Free”

Companies that sell foods that claim to not only be gluten-free but free of other ingredients that trigger allergic reactions expect solid growth over the coming years. Chicago’s Enjoy Life Foods, for example, saw an opportunity when the U.S. FDA designated eight common food allergens, including peanuts and gluten. The company has seen double-digit growth every year since 2011. No one is really tracking the allergen-free market yet, so there are no reliable measures of it. But the rate of anaphylactic reactions to food increased 377 percent between 2007 and 2016. Another company, Safe + Fair, says its chocolate chip cookie is free of nuts, but does contain wheat, egg and soy. The company, which recently completed a $10 million Series C funding round, is developing a line of nut-free cookies and crackers called Skeeter Snacks.

"Allergy-Free: The Next Gluten-Free?", NACS, July 24, 2018

Georgia Tech Scientists Develop Environment-Friendly Plastic-Like Packaging Material

Georgia Tech researchers have developed a new type of material that can be used for packaging like plastics, without the latter's harmful impact on the environment. According to an article published in the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, the new material consists of layers of cellulose nanocrystals from wood pulp and chitin nanofibers, which can be derived from shells of crabs and shrimp. Fully compostable, packaging made from this material can also keep food fresher longer, the researchers claimed.

"How crabs and trees could soon replace plastic", Mother Nature Network, July 25, 2018

Plastic Straws Become Main Target Of Anti-Plastic Pollution Campaigns

Despite their relatively small share of the total count of plastic pollutants, plastic straws have a significant impact on the environment. Plastic straws have captured a huge share of anti-plastic pollution efforts and attention. After a video depicting their harmful impact on wildlife became viral, several companies, including Starbucks, Ikea, and Hilton Hotels, announced plans to stop using plastic straws. Several factors amplify the effects of plastic straws on the environment and implications for efforts to control plastic pollution. For example, they can easily slip through the “cracks” of recycling processes because of their characteristics, such as being small and lightweight, and consumers mistakenly believe they are recyclable because they are made of plastic.

"How Plastic Straws Slip Through the Cracks of Waste Management", Wired.com, July 26, 2018

Hormel Removes Carrageenan From Line Of Natural, Organic Deli Meats

Hormel’s Applegate brand of natural and organic meats announced it has eliminated the controversial ingredient carrageenan from its deli meat products after consumers complained about it.  Carrageenan is a sulfated polysaccharide derived from seaweed that is used as a thickener and stabilizer in foods. The USDA now allows the use of carrageenan in natural and organic foods. Hormel also requires a no-antibiotics policy on the farms that produce meats for its Applegate products.

"Applegate Does Deli Better with Ingredient and Packaging Updates ", Hormel Foods Corporation, July 26, 2018

Bakey's Sells Eco-Friendly Edible Spoons And Forks To India And The World

India-based Bakey's developed and sells environment-friendly, edible spoons and forks. Developed in 2010, Bakey's cutlery is the first of its kind and is made from millet, rice, and wheat flours. According to company founder and directing manager, Narayana Peesapaty, Bakey's cutlery was developed in response to pollution caused by plastic spoons and forks. Peesapaty said he was also concerned with the health effects of plastic utensils, with research showing chemical components in plastic products can leach into food. Some environmentalists, however, have expressed doubts about the product's environment-friendly features. 

"Cutlery you can eat: One company's approach to the plastic pollution problem", CBC News, July 29, 2018

NRDC: Beef, Pork Producers, Fast-Food Chains, Should Reduce Antibiotics Use

The Natural Resources Defense Council is happy that poultry producers and fast-food chains are weaning themselves from chickens raised with human antibiotics, but wonder why beef and pork are ”another story.” Progress in the chicken industry is “in stark contrast” to what’s happening with pigs and cattle. In fact, according to the NRDC, pretty much the same amount of medically important antibiotics is sold for use in pigs as for use in treating sick people in the U.S. But pork producers in many countries raise pigs without routine use of antibiotics. Beef producers represented by the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB) – which also includes fast-food chains – are also falling short when it comes to antibiotics use. “It is time to clean up antibiotic use practices behind the beef and pork served on [fast-food] menus,” the Council said.

"More Chicken Antibiotics Pledges; Where's the Beef & Pork?", Natural Resources Defense Council , July 30, 2018

Kraft Heinz Commits To Environmentally-Friendlier Packaging By 2025

The Kraft Heinz Company has committed to making its packaging 100 percent recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025, and it will also work towards reducing the amount of packaging. The CEO, Bernardo Hees, said that the company needs to look at how its greenhouse emissions are generated throughout the supply chain, and not just from direct operations. The initiatives are a part of its ‘Growing a Better World’ program it announced in 2017.

"Kraft Heinz announces 100 percent of packaging will be recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025", Fox News, August 01, 2018

Morrisons Steps Up Fight Against Single-Use Plastic By Removing Cucumber Sleeves

UK supermarket chain Morrisons is responding to the call for less single-use plastic in packaging by removing the plastic sleeves on cucumbers, although the Cucumber Growers’ Association claims that the shrink-wrap keeps the cucumber hydrated and helps prevent it being damaged. Removing the sleeve reduces shelf life by two days to five. The move only applies at the moment to whole cucumbers sourced from the UK and Netherlands. Mini and pre-cut cucumbers will also retain their plastic covering. The move follows other initiatives from the chain, including replacing plastic bags in the produce aisles with brown paper bags, and selling at a discount reusable containers on its fresh meat and fish counters.

"Morrisons removes cucumber plastic sleeves to reduce waste", The Grocer, August 07, 2018

Aldi In Australia Justifies Its Use Of Fruit And Veg Packaging

With more and more attention being focused on single-use plastic, Aldi in Australia has been forced to explain its use of plastic packaging for fruit and vegetables. The company says its down to its focus on cost efficiency, by making the checkout process easier, but it is working to minimize the use of plastics. However, some shoppers have responded by removing the packaging at the tills. Aldo also said it keeos the items fresher and avoids customers handling the food. It added that “over the coming years our customers can expect to see changes in our stores that reflect our commitment to protecting the environment.” 

"Revealed: The reason why Aldi wraps its fruit and vegetables in plastic – and it's all to do with speeding things up at the checkouts", Daily Mail Australia, August 09, 2018

Retailers Back The New Zealand Government’s Ban on Single-Use Plastic Bags

New Zealand retail companies have added their support to Government plans to ban single-use plastic bags. The Countdown chain was the first to commit to stopping by the end of this year, and more chains have joined the list of those making similar commitments. Foodstuffs, which includes a number of supermarket banners, such as Pak'nSave and Liquorland, will stop providing single-use bags from January 2019. Steve Anderson, managing director, said the Government’s plans level the playing field, but the company will ensure every customer is offered an affordable alternative.

"Saying bye to plastic: What Kiwi shops say about Government's plan to ban single-use plastic bags", Nzherald.co.nz, August 10, 2018

After Whole Foods, Former co-CEO Tackles The Food Waste Problem

Former Whole Foods Market co-CEO Walter Robb has joined the boards of two companies focused on reduction of food waste. Robb left the company when Whole Foods was sold to Amazon and has since become an investor, mentor and adviser to FoodMaven, a digital platform company that sells oversupplied and imperfect food to restaurants at a significant discount, and to Apeel Sciences, which extends the shelf life of produce using a natural coating. Both companies give grocers tools to address the mismatch between supply and demand, Robb says. He also says he’s a fan of upcycled products such as Renewal Mill's okara flour, made from a by-product of soymilk production, and Regrained's Supergrain+, made from spent distiller grains.

"Whole Foods' Walter Robb Is Taking On Food Waste", Forbes.com, August 10, 2018

Edible Cutlery From Bakeys Is Attracting Criticism…From Environmentalists

Bakeys, a dining ware manufacturer in India, has come under criticism from environmentalists for its edible cutlery, made from sorghum, rice, and wheat flours. Although they can be eaten - they reportedly taste like crackers - they will also decompose in a few days. The company raised $280,000 through Kickstarter, the crowdfunding platform, but critics have highlighted the environmental damage from producing, packaging and transporting the products, and that a better solution would be for consumers to carry reusable cutlery when they go out.

"Company Met With Criticism After Launching Edible Utensils To Fight Plastic Waste", Plant Based News, August 11, 2018

Lush And Change Please Team Up To Offer Free Drinks In Reusable Cups

Lush, the vegan beauty brand, has opened a pop-up coffee shop called #carrythecup in Beak Street, in Central London. It has partnered with Change Please, a social enterprise that helps London’s homeless, to raise awareness of single-use plastic. Lush is providing free drinks, including tea as well as hot and iced coffee, in reusable cups. The pop-up is open from mid-August for four weeks. The initiative follows its 2017 launch of the Bath Oil Box, a biodegradable container from recycled coffee cups to store bath bombs.

"Lush draws attention to single-use plastics with new London pop-up", Cosmetics Business, August 13, 2018

Consultancy Says Businesses, Governments Should Partner On Food Waste

According to a report by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), aggressive action by companies, agricultural players, governments, and others can significantly reduce a global food waste problem expected to hit 2.1 billion tons – worth $1.5 trillion – through 2030. Five key drivers of the problem include: lack of awareness by consumers and others; inadequate supply chain infrastructure; supply chain inefficiency; a lack of collaboration within the food value chain; and poorly designed tax and regulatory policies. The report suggests 13 concrete initiatives companies can take to help combat the problem, addressing a major societal challenge while delivering business value.

"A Coordinated Global Offensive Can Reduce Annual Food Loss and Waste by $700 Billion", The Boston Consulting Group, August 19, 2018

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