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Period: October 1, 2018 to November 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

Land O’Lakes Launches Digital Tool To Help Farmers Get More Sustainable

Land O'Lakes SUSTAIN is to launch Truterra Insights Engine, an interactive digital platform to help farmers and food companies measure their sustainability in real time. The platform combines agronomic expertise and technical capabilities from several contributors, including the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, and combined with other tools can help farmers measure the economic and environmental benefits of their sustainability efforts. It also helps them identify farm management options. The company claims Truterra Insights Engine is better suited to farmers since it was created by a farmer-owned cooperative.

"Land O'Lakes SUSTAIN debuts first-of-its-kind digital platform to support farmer-led stewardship", PR Newswire, September 24, 2018

Suit Alleges Pret a Manger’s Baked Goods Contain Weed Killer Ingredient

Washington, D.C.-based non-profit Beyond Pesticides announced it is joining GMO Free USA and Organic Consumers Association in a lawsuit charging restaurant chain Pret a Manger with “deceptive marketing and sale of certain bread and other baked goods” as "natural food" though they tested positive for glyphosate. The lawsuit accuses Pret of exploiting consumers' preferences and willingness to pay more for products marketed as natural. A component of Roundup weed killer, glyphosate is patented as a chelator and an antibiotic, but is linked to adverse health effects including cancer, infertility, and non-alcoholic fatty liver and kidney diseases. The suit would have Pret fully disclose glyphosate in its products and reformulate them to be glyphosate-free.

"Nonprofits Sue Pret A Manger for Deceptive Marketing of Foods as 'Natural'", PR Newswire , September 25, 2018

FDA May Soon Update The Definition Of, And Permitted Ingredients For, Yogurt

The FDA is looking into the possibility of “modernizing” regulations governing the content and even the definition of yogurt. The dairy industry has been pushing to open up the yogurt standard as manufacturing practices and consumer tastes have changed. The FDA established a standard for foods labeled as "yogurt" in 1981 that limited the ingredients. But the industry objected; the following year the agency suspended enforcement of various provisions and allowed the addition of preservatives. A 2009 rule that was never finalized created a unified standard that allowed emulsifiers as well, but yogurt makers said the rule created confusion and left it open to lawsuits. Meanwhile, milk producers hope the FDA’s “modernized” standards will soon crack down on soy and almond drinks that call themselves "milk," which current standards say must come from a cow.

"'Yogurt' to get more modernized definition in U.S.; Industry wants greater liberty to use term in food labels", The Associated Press, September 25, 2018

McDonald’s Removes Artificial Preservatives, Flavors, Colors From Menu Items

Hoping to attract more health-conscious consumers to its restaurants, McDonald's is getting rid of the artificial ingredients in its menu items. Seven classic burgers – the hamburger, cheeseburger, double cheeseburger, McDouble, Quarter Pounder with Cheese, Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese, and Big Mac – will no longer contain artificial preservatives, flavors or colors. The changes apply to the bun, the cheese, and the sauce, but not to the pickles. Ingredients eliminated include the artificial preservative calcium propionate from buns and the preservative sorbic acid from its American cheese. Th company is also removing potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, and calcium disodium EDTA from the Big Mac Special Sauce without "sacrificing that signature taste."

"McDonald's removing artificial additives from its burgers", CNN Money, September 27, 2018

FDA May Soon Require Non-Dairy “Milks” To Change Their Labeling

In what may be the first step toward changing the way plant-based dairy substitutes are labeled, the FDA is soliciting comments from producers and other experts on how consumers use the alternative “milk.” The agency wants to know whether American consumers understand how substitutes differ from cow’s milk in nutritional content and cooking performance. As sales of non-dairy substitutes like soy and almond milk National Milk Producers Federation asked the FDA to enforce what's known as a "standard of identity." The for milk reads, in part: "the lacteal secretion, practically free from colostrum” – the milk produced after giving birth – “obtained by the complete milking of one or more healthy cows." Companies and consumers have 60 days to respond to the FDA's questions.

"U.S. Explores Renaming Almond Milk in Victory for Dairy Industry", Bloomberg, September 27, 2018

Nestlé USA Forms New Partnerships With Innovative Food Start-Ups

Nestlé USA announced three new partnerships with innovative food start-ups as part of the TERRA Food & Agriculture Accelerator founded by RocketSpace and Rabobank. The partnerships are with with Jackson's Honest, Miyoko's and Here, each of which is “creating on-trend foods focused on plant-based nutrition, simple labels and fresh ingredients.” Chicago-based Here Foods turns fresh produce ingredients grown by independent farmers into products like cold-pressed juices, spreads, dips, and salad dressings. Jackson’s Honest sells more than 20 Non-GMO Project verified snacks, including potato chips, tortilla chips, and grain-free puffs cooked “low and slow” in organic coconut oil. Miyoko Creamery makes non-dairy cheese, butter, and other products from organic nuts, legumes, and other plant-based ingredients.

"Nestlé USA Partners with Start-ups Disrupting the Healthy Snacking and Plant-based Foods Categories", PR Newswire, October 03, 2018

Belgians Adopt Food Nutrition Labeling Scheme Developed In France

The Belgian government has introduced a voluntary scheme for front-of-pack nutritional labeling that is now being implemented by the country’s grocery retailers. The Nutri-Score scheme was developed by the French government and put in place in France a year ago. The system was designed to inform consumers about the nutritional quality of a product by using color coding associated with letters from A to E. Five levels range from the most nutritionally favorable product (class A) to the least (class E). U.S exporters to Belgium will not have to comply with the scheme if they don’t want to. Two large retail chains, Ahold Delhaize and Colryut, have committed to applying the scheme by the end of 2018.

"Belgium Adopts Nutri-Score for Front of Pack Nutritional Labeling", USDA Foreign Agricultural Service , October 03, 2018

FDA Drops Seven Approved Flavoring Chemicals After Data Prove They Cause Cancer

Responding to two food additive petitions, the Food and Drug Administration has removed seven synthetic flavoring substances and flavor enhancers (adjuvants) from its list of approved ingredients because they have been proven to be carcinogenic. Data presented in one of the petitions submitted to the FDA by Breast Cancer Fund and nine other watchdog groups show that six of the synthetic substances caused cancer in laboratory animals under the conditions of the studies. The seventh synthetic flavor was dropped from the list because it is no longer used by industry. The six flavoring substances include synthetically-derived benzophenone, ethyl acrylate, eugenyl methyl ether (methyl eugenol), myrcene, pulegone, and pyridine. 

"FDA Removes 7 Synthetic Flavoring Substances from Food Additives List", USFDA, October 05, 2018

Kroger Fund Food Waste Prevention Curriculum For El-Sec Students

Grocery chain Kroger has joined a Zero Hunger | Zero Waste partnership with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to prevent and recover food waste in U.S. elementary and secondary schools. WWF, whose WIld Classroom provides an environmental curriculum for teachers and parents, is expanding the curriculum with the help of a $400,000 grant from Kroger’s foundation to focus on promoting food conservation education and best practices. The Food Waste Warrior Toolkit, a classroom-friendly curriculum that aligns with USDA and state educational standards, turns the school cafeteria into a classroom to inspire students to become Zero Heroes by making a lifelong commitment to reduce food waste. The free toolkit was tested in Washington, D.C., using resources from science, math, ecology, conservation, and sustainability.

"Kroger Partners with World Wildlife Fund to Educate Students About Responsible Food Practices", PR Newswire, October 08, 2018

Austin’s Eateries Must Recycle Unsold Food – Or Compost It

Austin, Texas, has barred its restaurants from trashing unsold made-to-order and other processed foods, the city’s Universal Recycling Ordinance (URO), whose goal is greater sustainability, requires eateries to compost food scraps or give them away. Food enterprises covered by the new law include restaurants, shops, and farm markets that serve made-to-order food, as well as places that prepare and process food. Employees of these establishments are required to receive training in handling the waste. The ordinance also covers dirty or used paper, like cardboard, paper towels and napkins; flowers, and landscape trimmings from restaurant plants and gardens. Violators can be fined as much as $2,000. According to a local government study, 37 percent of materials sent to landfills is organic and could be donated or composted.

"US city bars restaurants from throwing away food waste", World Economic Forum , October 12, 2018

Kiwi Scientists Figure Out How To Convert Fermented Plant Pulp Into Flour

New Zealand scientists have developed a technology that transforms pinot noir grape – and other plant – fermentation by-products into zero-waste, gluten-free, vegan, low-carb, low-fat, fiber- and nutrient-rich flour. Greenspot Technologies has successfully created flour from pinot noir, sauvignon blanc, apple, beetroot, orange, carrot and parsnip pulp. The sophisticated fermentation process was developed in the research labs of the University of Auckland. The key to the process is the conversion of sugars in the pulp into nutritious protein. The flours can be used to make bread, snack bars, protein bars, biscuits, vegan products, pasta, pizza, or as a dietary supplement. The start-up is using an investment of $782,700 to spread the word in France.

"Could this zero waste, gluten-free, vegan, low-carb NZ pinot noir flour be the next superfood?", Stuff.co.nz, October 16, 2018

Cold Plasma Technology: Future Food Could Easily Be Made Mold-Free

Plant scientists in Australia are testing the use of cold lightning plasma technology to extend the life of fruits and vegetables by keeping them mold-free. Food passes under a cold “flame” plasma, similar to lightning in a storm, that kills bacterial, fungal and viral contaminations. Plant scientist Kirsty Bayliss says the technology could result in a higher yield, greater revenue, and a chemical-free product that is more attractive to buyers. She has worked extensively with strawberry and avocado growers, treating mold and extending shelf life. "We've had avocados that are three weeks after harvest and are still fresh," she says, adding that the next major step for the technology is to create a company and garner investment.

"Cold lightning keeps food fresh", Daily Business Alerts (Australia), October 19, 2018

Target Is Testing App That Highlights Foods Nearing “Best Used By” Dates That Sell At A Discount

A Canadian start-up that developed a food waste app is being tested at select Target stores in the Midwest and with the Loblaw (Canada) grocery chain. The Flashfood app pinpoints food close to the "best used by" or expiration dates so that users can pay via the app and then pick up the deeply discounted food at the store. Flashfood takes a cut of each sale. Stores benefit by selling food that would otherwise be tossed into the dumpster, and consumers benefit by getting lower-priced food that is still perfectly edible. Target’s goal is to reduce overall retail waste by 70 percent by 2020, and is moving forward with strategies that include waste-stream audits and an in-store tracking program to prevent wasted food at some of their stores,

"App aimed at cutting food waste wins pilot at select Target stores", Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN), October 21, 2018

German Airport Foodservice Company Tests Surplus Food Distribution App

The foodservice subsidiary of Munich Airport is testing an app that lets airport visitors, passengers, and employees order surplus food from the airport’s eateries at discount prices. The food is available for pickup between 8:00 pm and 9:30 pm every day. The first restaurant at Munich Airport to join the Allresto pilot project is Surf & Turf in the Munich Airport Center (MAC). A Danish start-up created the "Too Good To Go" app – its goal is to avoid food waste, save money, and foster sustainability – which is now running in nine European countries.

"Munich Airport announces partnership with "Too Good To Go"", Travel Daily News, October 22, 2018

No Longer Discarded, Experimental Spuds Head To Oregon’s Food Banks

Until recently, the batches of experimental potato varieties grown at an Oregon agricultural research facility were deemed unsuitable for commercial sale and carted off to landfills. But thanks to a partnership between the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center and the Walchli Farms potato processors, most of the potatoes will go now to the Oregon Food Bank to be distributed to community food pantries across the state. The endeavor involves many hands: donated labor and equipment to harvest the potatoes; trucks provided by a trucking company; donated processing, washing, and packaging; and storage provided by a local farmer. The total haul surpassed 100,000 pounds of potatoes.

"Local partnership sends surplus potatoes to food banks", Capital Press, October 23, 2018

Using, Rather Than Tossing, Surplus Foods Saves A Lot Of Money For Family Of Four

A Boston globe writer who decided earlier this year to spend more time with her children says she needed to trim grocery costs to make up for lost income.  By cutting food waste – using instead of throwing away things like wilted celery and cherry jar syrup – she got her monthly grocery bill down to about $420. That’s considerably less than a “liberal” grocery budget of $1,016, and $100 less than what the USDA calls a “thrifty” plan of $520 for a four-person family with young kids. At a time when the average American family wastes about $1,600 in food a year, Elspeth Hay says preventing food waste wasn’t really a chore this summer: “frugality tasted more like freedom.”

"How to reduce food waste and live frugally", The Boston Globe, October 24, 2018

Companies, Organizations  

Australian Coca-Cola Unit Commits To Full Recyclability By 2025

Australia’a Coca-Cola Amatil has promised that all bottles, cans, plastic wrapping, glass, and cardboard will be fully recyclable by 2025 and compliant with the National Packaging Targets announced by Federal Environment Minister Melissa Price. The company will also focus on removing unnecessary single-use packaging through improved design, innovation or the implementation of recycled alternatives. The recently announced packaging targets include 70 percent of Australia’s plastic packaging to be recycled or composted by 2025 and 30 percent of packaging to be made from recycled content.

"Coca-Cola Amatil to make all packaging recyclable by 2025", Packaging Gateway, September 28, 2018


Coca-Cola Introduces Smart Vending Machine In China

As part of its World Without Waste program, Coca-Cola in China unveiled the new VenCycling vending machine that features facial recognition and voice interaction and allows customers to return packaging for recycling. The company said the machine has AI LEDs and two “eyes,” one that dispenses beverages and one that collects used bottles and cans. When customers return used cans or plastic bottles to the machine, they receive credits on their smartphones for beverages or products made from recycled plastics.

"Coca-Cola’s new vending machine lets consumers recycle packaging", FoodBev Media, October 01, 2018

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