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Period: September 15, 2018 to October 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

General Mills Drops “Natural” Claim For Granola Bars

General Mills will no longer claim on its Nature Valley granola bars that they are 100 percent natural, according to a news report. The company recently settled a 2016 lawsuit that said that oats used in the bars contained the herbicide glyphostate, the active ingredient in the Monsanto product Roundup that has been connected to cancer. Tests by an independent lab found .45 parts per million glyphosate in the Nature Valley products. The company reportedly settled instead of going through "the cost and distraction of litigation" and instead will focus on making sure products have 100 percent whole grain oats.

"General Mills drops '100% Natural' on Nature Valley granola bars after lawsuit", USA Today, August 24, 2018

Perdue To Begin Offering Lower-Priced Organic Chicken Products

Maryland-based Perdue Farms announced its Simply Smart Organics chicken products – including frozen and refrigerated whole grain, gluten-free, and lightly breaded nuggets, strips and tenders – will be available next month at about half the cost of other organic brands. The company says the new organic products will be more affordable relative to other similar products, without compromising organic standards, convenience or taste. The line of chicken products can already be found in stores, but beginning in October they’ll carry the USDA certified organic seal. U.S. sales of organic broiler chickens were up 78 percent in 2016 from the previous year, totalling $750 million, according to the USDA.

"Perdue organic chicken line targets affordability", Salisbury Daily Times, August 28, 2018

Methane Producer To Build $120M Food Waste Digester In Philadelphia Area

Renewable methane producer RNG Energy Solutions has formed a joint venture with Philadelphia Energy Solutions, operator of the huge South Philadelphia refinery complex, to build a $120 million digester to convert more than 1,100 tons of food waste daily into methane gas. To be built on 22 acres of vacant land at the refinery, the Point Breeze Renewable Energy Project would take two to three years to permit and to build. The biogas project would divert food wastes from landfills, reducing the escape of methane from decomposing landfill waste into the atmosphere. The facility would produce three million cubic feet of gas a day. There is a strong market among owners of truck fleets and municipal buses for renewable methane to satisfy green-energy targets.

"Philly refiner plans $120M plant to convert food scraps to fuel for trucks and buses", Philadelphia Inquirer, August 28, 2018

Online Retailer In U.K. Sells Wonky Beef Cuts To Reduce Waste

Selling misshapen or “wonky” fruits and vegetables at a discount is a well-established practice, but now healthy eating firm MuscleFood.com has launched a discounted wonky steaks program, selling odd shapes and sizes of two beef cuts from just $1.30 each to reduce food waste. The British company is selling the imperfect steaks in packs of 10, 20, or 30 that weigh from 3.5 ounces to 6.5 ounces each. A $39 pack of 30 works out to be $1.30 each for rump steaks; a $44 sirloin pack is $1.56 per steak. The company says the meat is free-range and grass-fed and the same quality served in restaurants. Eateries reject the cuts as too big or too small and usually end up grinding them into mincemeat.

"Healthy eating brand launches the U.K.'s first 'wonky' rump and sirloin steaks that are too imperfect for restaurants from just £1 Each", MailOnline, August 31, 2018

Rockefeller Grant Funds Baltimore Food Waste Initiative

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh announced that the Rockefeller Foundation has awarded the city $200,000 to launch a long-term plan in partnership with the Natural Resources Defense Council to reduce food waste over the next 20 years. Baltimore becomes the second city, after Denver, to participate in the pilot initiative. The city’s sustainability agency will hire a full-time director to oversee the program for two years. The agency will award grant money to local organizations already working on food waste and composting. The program will also receive technical assistance form the NRDC. The main goals of the program are: reducing food waste by educating consumers about their role; boosting food recovery by working with grocery stores, hotels, restaurants and farmers markets to gather surplus food and distribute it to communities; and launching composting pilot programs.

"Baltimore launches plan to reduce food waste with funding from Rockefeller Foundation", Baltimore Business Journal, September 05, 2018

N.Y. State Allocates $2M For Pantries, Municipalities To Combat Food Waste

The N.Y. State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will award $2 million in grants to food pantries and other emergency food relief organizations as part of a comprehensive effort to reduce food waste and increase food waste recycling. Non-profit emergency food relief organizations are eligible to receive funding to purchase equipment such as refrigerators for fruits and vegetables and staff expenses that result in increased collection and distribution of food. Funds may also be used to promote the reduction of wasted food, increase food donation efforts, and to increase food scraps recycling through the construction of composting facilities or other means. Grant funding totaling $800,000 will be made available for emergency food relief organizations; $1.2 million is slotted for municipalities.

"DEC Announces $2 Million In Grants For Local Food Rescue Organizations And Municipalities To Increase Food Donation And Food Scraps Recycling", New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), September 06, 2018

How Companies Are Working To Meet Demand For “Free From” Foods

As American consumers increasingly seek out foods that are “free from” gluten, antibiotics, pesticides, and genetic modification – sales of which are poised to grow 15 percent by 2022 – food manufacturers are taking extraordinary measures to ensure they are meeting that demand, changing the way they procure, process, and package food. General Mills Inc., for example, which was forced recall gluten-free Cheerios – oats do not naturally contain gluten – because wheat flour got into a facility in California. The company built a special eight-story sorting plant to make sure gluten particles from neighboring fields did not end up in their oat-based cereals.

"`Free-From' Foods Are Changing the Way Your Meals Are Produced", Bloomberg News, September 09, 2018

Starbucks Establishes Framework For Building, Operating “Greener Stores”

Starbucks Coffee Company announced a commitment to build and operate 10,000 “Greener Stores” around the world by 2025. The company will follow a “Starbucks Greener Stores” framework of comprehensive performance criteria for the new stores. The company also said it would audit all existing stores in the U.S. and Canada using the framework criteria, which will be shared with other retail businesses. The framework will be co-developed by experts, including World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and will be audited and verified by SCS Global Services, a third-party verification organization that also oversees Starbucks Coffee and Farmer Equity (CAFE) Practices. CEO Kevin Johnson said, “Simply put, sustainable coffee served sustainably is our aspiration."

"Starbucks Announces Global Greener Stores Commitment", Starbucks, September 13, 2018

New Facility In Upstate N.Y. Will Reclaim, Convert Food Scraps Into Energy

A solid waste manager in the upstate New York city of Utica says about 14 percent of the 169,000 tons of municipal waste that ends up in a local landfill is food scraps. But Bill Rabbia believes there’s a better way to deal with discarded leftover food from restaurants and homes than dumping in the landfill. Construction is scheduled to begin next month on a $3.4 million facility with equipment that can separate food scraps from wrappers, packaging, utensils, etc., then turn it into a “slurry” that will end up in Oneida County’s anaerobic digester. There, in an oxygen-free setting, microorganisms break down biodegradable material and turn it into a gas – such as methane – that can be transformed into energy. 

"Project under way to recycle food waste in Oneida, Herkimer counties", Utica Observer-Dispatch (N.Y.), September 16, 2018

Arkansas’ Food Companies Make Progress In Battle To Cut Food Waste

Food waste in manufacturing and packaging costs corporations $2 billion each year – in addition to $15 billion for farmers – while dumping 52 million tons of waste into landfills. In the state of Arkansas, food and beverage industry companies are taking steps to eradicate food waste. Tyson Foods this summer launched bite-sized chicken crisps, dubbed ¡Yappah!, made with upcycled chicken breast, rescued carrots, and celery puree from juicing, or malted barley from beer brewing. Walmart has introduced a technology that focuses on tracking the freshness of produce as it travels from farm to wholesaler to retailer to table. Eden’s sensors measure and report temperature, moisture and metabolite data used to assess carton-level freshness and shelf life based on FDA standards. And ConAgra Brands says it achieved an 81.7 percent landfill diversion rate in 2017 corporate-wide.

"How one state is fighting food waste", Brandpoint Content, September 17, 2018

“Waste Bread” Incorporates Unsold Sourdough Loaves Into New Ones

A British bakery has developed what it calls Waste Bread, made by crushing unsold loaves, rolls, and bloomers (London-style white bread) to make a porridge. A new batch of sourdough then incorporates the porridge.  Gail’s Bakery’s 43 sites in London, Oxford, and Brighton will introduce the sourdough in October at a price of $5.50 a loaf. The co-founder of Gail’s said the process took nine months to perfect because it is so complicated, but it is worth the effort because it continues the company’s commitment to sustainability and reduction of food waste.

"U.K. bakery chain has developed a sourdough made from surplus loaves to cut down on food waste", BakeryAndSnacks.com, September 25, 2018

British Grocers, Producers, Hotels Commit To Food Waste Reduction Roadmap

A British charity dedicated to waste reduction and sustainability has launched a Food Waste Reduction Roadmap with the cooperation of government, large food retailers, food producers, manufacturers, and hospitality and food service companies. The Roadmap encompasses the food supply chain from field to fork, and outlines the actions large businesses will take to address food waste in their own operations, among their suppliers, and with consumers. The first major milestone on the Roadmap, set for September 2019, is to have fifty percent of the U.K.'s largest 250 food businesses measuring, reporting, and acting on food waste, with all 250 companies doing so by 2026. 

"A World First: U.K. Food Industry Commits to a Landmark Roadmap to Halve Food Waste", Waste and Resources Action Program (WRAP), September 25, 2018

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