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Sustainable Business Insight Alert Archive

Have a look at some of our recent alerts. These give broad coverage of the industry - if you want something more specific create your own here.

<<12345678910>> Total issues:119

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January 01, 2017, to January 15, 2017

Natural Personal Care Products Gain Traction In Traditional Retailers, Benefit From Key TrendsNatural Personal Care Products

Non-toxic beauty is moving to the mainstream as strong sales growth – in 2015, natural and organic personal care grew 8 percent in natural retail – cause traditional retailers to make space available for natural products. It’s also gaining traction with high-end outlets as some natural products push into prestige, suggesting its penetration will continue to grow. New Hope identified nine important trends in natural personal care. These include a shift in consumer sentiment, with consumers increasingly buying natural products not because of what they avoid, but because of what they offer. Innovation and improvements now means naturals are making claims and offering benefits that consumers want.  Another important shift came with the FDA’s 2016 ban of triclosan and 17 other chemicals used in hand and body washes marketed as "antibacterial," which is causing some traditional products to reformulate, often in a naturals direction, shining a development light for other products.  Last, research is starting to show the potential of naturals. One example is growing understanding about how microbiomes matter, especially for skin health. Research is underlining the importance of gut health and ‘good bacteria’ on the skin in promoting healthy skin. Products with topical probiotics will emerge and could bring large benefits.

Consumer Magazine Assesses Current Food And Drink Trends

Food and nutrition experts at Consumer Reports evaluated food trends and advised on which should become a part of a healthy diet and which can be ignored. A few dark chocolate chips, for example, added to oatmeal or yogurt for breakfast once or twice a week could boost memory and concentration. But consumers should avoid calorie-packed chocolate cake, cookies, and brownies for breakfast. Jackfruit’s texture is similar to shredded meat. As a meat alternative, it is low in sugar but also very low in protein, And the ”pulled-pork” sandwiches made with jackfruit come with sugary sauces. The magazine looked at other food and beverage trends, including: plant waters (maple, artichoke, cactus, and cucumber); riced cauliflower; alternative pastas (chickpeas, lentils, other legumes); savory yogurts; fermented foods, “ugly produce;” purple foods; and power bowls.

Burt’s Bees Extends Product Line Into Functional Foods

Personal care company Burt’s Bees has entered the functional food market with protein shakes targeted at consumers seeking beauty from "the inside out." The company that has specialized for three decades in selling natural lip and skincare products has developed three protein shakes – Daily Protein, Protein +Gut Health with Probiotics, and Protein + Healthy Radiance with Antioxidant Vitamins A, C & E – that provide 15 grams of protein per serving from peas, rice, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, and oats. General Manager Jim Geikie said the move into functional foods “is a natural extension for us.” The shakes range in price from $29.99 to $39.99. Each contains 16-18 servings per tub.

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December 01, 2016, to January 01, 2017

Bai Brands Launches Low-Cal Sodas

Beverage company Bai Brands, partly owned by Dr Pepper Snapple Group, has launched five carbonated drinks sweetened with low-calorie stevia and erythnitol. The new five-calorie beverages gibe nicely with the beverage industry trend – pushed by health advocates – of no- or low-calorie products. The Bai Black line includes traditional soda flavors like cola, root beer and citrus. Bai also makes teas, flavored and enhanced waters and fruit-flavored carbonated drinks. Carbonated soft drink consumption in the U.S. fell to a three-decade low in 2015 on a per-capita basis, as health-conscious consumers reject sugary beverages. It’s really a case of running away – not from sodas – but from sugar.

More California Counties Create GMO-Free Zones

Counties in California that have enacted “GMO-free” growing zones now total nearly 14,000 square miles out of about 67,000 square miles devoted to farming in the state. The bans on GMO farming in the zones, which are appearing across the U.S. on a county by county basis, are backed by organic dairies, natural food co-ops and heirloom seed companies. The latest ban, opposed by the local farm bureau, came in a ballot measure in the November election in Sonoma County, Calif. The bureau said the measure was vaguely worded and would bar farmers from using any appropriate technology to fight pests and disease.

Traditional Organic Farmers Say Hydroponic Farming Can’t Be Organic

Can fruits and vegetables grown in soil-free systems – hydroponically or aquaponically – be certified as organic? The question is far from settled as an increasing number of big and small produce growers are turning to liquid-based farming. These growers say their methods are no different from soil farmers, and are actually more sustainable because they use less water. Traditional organic farmers, however, say organic means caring for the soil so that it contains proper nutrients and produces environmental benefits beyond growing plants. Both sides will present their arguments at a meeting of the National Organic Standards Board, which advises the USDA.

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November 01, 2016, to December 01, 2016

Natural Sweetener Could Give Stevia A Run For Its Money

New Orleans-based Swerve Sweetener is offering U.S. consumers an all-natural, zero-calorie sweetener suitable for baking and cooking – used cup-for-cup like sugar – without the bitter aftertaste of the sweetener stevia. The product, which sells for about $10 per 16-oz. bag, is made from a blend of non-GMO ingredients derived from fruits and vegetables. The company got a jump start in sales in 2007 when it began selling at a Whole Foods Market in Baton Rouge, La. It is now available in more than 4,000 retail stores and has posted $2 million in sales a year.

Ugly Fruits, Vegetables Are Finally Making Their Way To Stores Instead Of Landfills

The food industry is getting the message from both anti-waste activists and consumers that fruits and vegetables don’t have to be uniformly perfect cosmetically to be marketable. Throwing away imperfect produce, whether at the production, distribution, or retail levels, is a huge waste of money – $40 billion a year – considering the water, fertilizer, energy and other resources it takes to grow crops that are never eaten. But that’s changing now: it’s increasingly possible to purchase ugly, or “wonky,” produce at grocery stores where bargain-hunting shoppers enjoy the hefty discounts.

Nestle’s Refrigerated Pasta Brand Commits To Non-GMO Ingredients

Refrigerated pasta and sauce brand Buitoni has committed to non-GMO ingredients, a move that parent company Nestlé says is the “next step” in a strategy of making their foods simpler, and more transparent to consumers. Buitoni’s products are already free of artificial colors and flavors, and are now certified as non-GMO by third-party verifier SGS. Nestlé said last summer it would only use "kitchen cupboard" ingredients that consumers "know and trust" in its Stouffers frozen meals, and would remove artificial colors, flavors, high fructose corn syrup and GMO ingredients from six of its ice cream brands in the U.S.

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October 15, 2016, to November 01, 2016

Blue Apron’s Meal Kit Facilities Throw Away Far Less Food Than Grocers

The Blue Apron meal kit delivery company is managing to keep food waste to a minimum at its prep facility, according to a study by a nonprofit sustainability advocate. BSR found that Blue Apron trashed only 5.5 percent of its food, compared to the to the 10.5 percent thrown out by grocery stores. The organization also found that buyers of Blue Apron kits threw away only 7.6 percent of the meals, instead of the 24 percent usually thrown away after home cooking. The key reason for the company’s lower waste generation is the fact that it knows exactly how much food it needs for each kit.

Widespread Contamination Found In Baby Food Products

A new nonprofit watchdog organization has compiled a list of baby and toddler foods that are contaminated by harmful ingredients. The Clean Label Project’s list highlights the products that meet or exceed standards established by its medical advisors based on independent lab analyses. Eighty-one percent of the 628 tested products failed to meet the standards. Baby foods were tested for toxic and heavy metals – e.g., arsenic, lead, cadmium – pesticides, bisphenol A (BPA), antibiotics, food coloring and flavors, and other unwanted substances that do not appear on ingredient labels. Eighty percent of infant formulas and 60 percent of meat and dairy baby food jars contained detectable antibiotic residues. One-third of jars and meals tested had detectable pesticide residues.

Most Of The Top 25 Fast-Food Chains Flunk The Antibiotics Use Test

The Natural Resources Defense Council and other consumer advocates have flunked 17 of the top 25 fast food chains in the U.S. on the basis of antibiotics use in their menu items. Big name eateries that earned the F grade because of a lack of a strong policy on antibiotics use include KFC, Burger King, Starbucks, IHOP, and Little Caesars. The stars of the class, earning A’s, were Chipotle and Panera Bread. Subway and Chick-fil-A earned a B, while McDonald’s snagged a C+. The FDA discourages producers from using antibiotics routinely in feed to promote growth, but does not prohibit the practice. It also supports routine use in meat and poultry production for disease prevention. The ratings appear in NRDC’s “Chain Reaction” report.

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October 01, 2016, to October 15, 2016

Canadian Educators Tackle Waste Problem With “LItterless Lunch” Policies

Canadian school children who eat a disposable lunch – e.g., a Lunchable plus fruit juice or soda – generate about 67 lbs. of packaging waste in a school year. That adds up to 1,625 lbs. a year for a class of 25. To battle this problem, school boards are increasingly introducing “litterless lunch” policies that encourage parents to pack home-made sandwiches wrapped in cloth or reusable waxed paper, stainless-steel lunchboxes, and drinks in thermos flasks. It helps solve the waste problem, and saves families money. Parents can save over a dollar a day by sending their kid to school with a sandwich, a reusable water bottle, and fresh fruit or yogurt.

Lack Of Sustainability Plan Gets Malaysian Palm Oil Supplier In Hot Water

Three multinational food and personal care companies that are among the pillars of the global sustainability movement have dropped a Malaysian palm oil producer because it lacks a sustainability plan. Mars, Kellogg, and Unilever have all rejected IOI Group as an approved supplier until it comes up with an approved plan. IOI is one of the 10 largest suppliers of palm oil, a key ingredient in countless personal care and food products. The company has been accused of being a major contributor to deforestation in Indonesia. It is expected that delisting IOI as an approved palm oil supplier will have a major impact on the Malaysian economy.

Report Says Europe Making Progress Toward Food Waste Reduction

A coalition of executives from European governments, businesses, international organizations, and others has issued a report citing progress in reducing food waste but calling for greater efforts to cut it in half globally by 2030. That is the goal of the coalition, known as New Champions 123, which says food loss and waste worldwide are responsible for $940 billion in economic losses and eight percent of greenhouse gas emissions annually. Eighty-eight million tons of food are wasted each year in the European Union, an amount that could feed 200 million people. Among the Europe-based participants in Champions are executives of Tesco, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Nestlé, Sodexo Group, and Unilever.

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September 01, 2016, to October 01, 2016

Bumble Bee Expands Clean Label, Traceability Programs

Shelf-stable seafood company Bumble Bee announced that its line of solid white albacore tuna in water and oil has been Non-GMO Project Verified. The rest of its family of canned and pouch tuna products would be verified by the end of the year. As part of its “clean label” strategy, the company recently switched to sea salt in all of its canned tuna products. Bumble Bee said it’s committed to traceability of its seafood, noting that all of its tuna comes from wild caught fisheries. Its Trace My Catch website for tuna products was expanded to include salmon, sardines and clam products.

Starbucks Battles Hunger – And Food Waste – With FoodShare Program

The Starbucks restaurant chain, which announced an anti-waste initiative in March, says it has donated 300,000 meals to local food banks across the U.S. The FoodShare initiative was launched to fight food waste and hunger with the help of the Food Donation Connection and Feeding America. FDC workers pick up Starbucks' surplus food using refrigerated vans, and redistribute it to food pantries. In its first year five million ready-made meals will be distributed to charities and expects that number to increase to 50 million meals within five years. The company will expand the program from the current 1,150 Starbucks locations to all 7,600 by 2019.

Yumeshokunin Brings Water-Saving Toothbrush To Paris Exhibition

Yumeshokunin Co., Ltd.’s Misoka toothbrush is designed to conserve water, requiring only a cup of water per brushing session. Equipped with bristles covered with nano-sized minerals designed by the company, the toothbrush has sold 3 million units. Yumeshokunin will put the toothbrush on display at its exhibit at the 2016 Maison & Objet Paris trade show.

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August 01, 2016, to September 01, 2016

Dannon Rids Yogurt Brands Of GMO Ingredients, And Will Clearly Label GMO Products

Dannon unveiled yogurts under the Dannon and Oikos brands that contain no GMO ingredients. The company said it plans to transition all yogurt brands, including Danimals, to non-GMO content, and will also clearly label products still containing GMO ingredients. The next step in the process will come in 2017, when Dannon will ensure that the cows that supply milk for its flagship brands will be raised on non-GMO feed. The company will convert 80,000 acres of farmland to produce non-GMO crops

Stevia Producer Expands Agronomy Program

Stevia producer PureCircle said it will invest another $100 million in a program to create the world’s largest natural supply of stevia for the food and beverage industry. The PureCircle Agronomy Program hopes to expand stevia growing to 15 regions beyond China. The company said the expansion will result in a 10,000-hectare pipeline of stevia. The program is focused on sustainable agricultural expansion, R&D to create advanced stevia varieties, and training and support of farmers.

Take-And-Bake Pizza Chain To Serve Only Antibiotics-Free Chicken

National pizza-kit restaurant chain Papa Murphy’s announced it is beginning a transition to antibiotics-free, vegetarian-fed chicken in all of its 1,500 locations. The chain is also committed to removing artificial flavors and colors from its food by 2017. It is working to eliminate palm oil and high-fructose corn syrup from menu items by this fall. It has already eliminated monosodium glutamate from its offerings. Papa Murphy’s is the largest take-and-bake pizza brand in the U.S., and also offers salads, sides and desserts.

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July 15, 2016, to August 01, 2016

Walmart Hopes Its New Date Labeling Scheme Will Help Reduce Wasted Food

Walmart is changing the date labeling scheme on its food products to avoid consumer confusion over safe-to-eat dates. That confusion has led Americans to toss $29 billion worth of edible food into the trash every year. Walmart’s fix is to require suppliers of its own label Great Value products to use the same standardized date – “best if used by” – for non-perishable foods. The change began last year, and the company says 70 percent of its private label suppliers have already complied. The rest have until next month to comply. The Food Marketing Institute says most date labels aren’t meant to indicate safety, only when manufacturers believe products will go beyond peak quality.

Investors Needed To Help Build World’s First Pulse Waste Processing Plant

Australia’s Wimmera Development Association is looking for investors in a project to build a processing plant in Victoria that would convert pulse grain waste into protein powder. Besides creating jobs and providing a market for farmers’ leftover grain husk, the plant would help reduce food waste. The project received some funding from the state to look into the potential of such a plant, but is now seeking investors to carry the project forward. The powder made from pulse grain waste is 85 percent protein and could be used to make breakfast cereal, muesli bars, health foods, consumable protein powders and ready-made meals, according to project promoters.

Scientists Seek A Way To Use Nutrient-Rich Berry Pomace In Bread

The British government has awarded $291,000 to food scientists at the University of Huddersfield to work with a blackcurrant juice maker to come up with a way to turn the leftover pomace into food. Scientists believe the pomace – pulp, seeds, and stems – can be turned into an edible substance that can enrich the polyphenol and fiber content of bread, muffins, biscuits and breakfast foods. The Huddersfield scientists are working with British company Lucozade Ribena Suntory, maker of the Ribena blackcurrant drink brand. The company normally discards the pomace after making the juice.

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July 01, 2016, to July 15, 2016

L'Oreal Australia Partners With TerraCycle To Launch Recycling Program For Used Personal Care And Beauty Packaging

L'Oreal Australia said it has partnered with TerraCycle to recycle used personal care and beauty packaging through the FREE Beauty Products Recycling Program. Involving the company's Garnier, L'Oreal Paris, and Maybelline brands, the program will allow Australian consumers to recycle their personal care and beauty packaging by signing up for free. L'Oreal said the program is part of its Sharing Beauty with All sustainability initiative.

The Body Shop Launches Monkey-Themed Campaign On Tinder

Beauty retailer The Body Shop launched a marketing campaign on dating app Tinder to promote the company's Bio-Bridges program to protect endangered species. Reggie, a Red Shanked Douc monkey from Vietnam, serves as the brand's representative. Reggie's Tinder profile provides details about the Bio-Bridges program, which aims to restore wildlife corridors in damaged habitats and help endangered species reconnect, breed, and thrive.

Revlon Names Pamela Gill Alabaster Head Of Global Communications And CSR

Revlon, Inc. said it has appointed Pamela Gill Alabaster to manage the company’s Global Corporate Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility department. Alabaster’s responsibilities will include managing the beauty brand’s global internal and external communications, public affairs, and CSR programs and initiatives. She will report to Revlon president and CEO Fabian Garcia.

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June 15, 2016, to July 01, 2016

Cage-Free Eggs Trend Is Consumer-Driven, Based On Animal Welfare Concerns

The cage-free eggs trend is consumer-driven, according to industry experts who say sales in the category are steadily rising. The fact that egg-laying hens can move around more freely than their peers in conventional cages -- an animal welfare concern -- has no impact on the flavor or nutritional value of eggs. About 100 billion eggs are produced annually in the U.S. Of these, about 8.6 billion came from a cage-free environment. Within ten years that number will be more like 50 billion. The tipping points in the trend included a 2015 California law that required that eggs come from cage-free hens, and decisions by Walmart and McDonald’s to phase in cage-free-only eggs. In recent weeks, supermarket chains Price Chopper, Bargain Market, Market 32, HyVee, retailer Hampton Coffee (N.Y.) and restaurant chain Bojangles’ all announced a transition to cage-free eggs.

Lawsuit Accuses Kellogg Of Marketing “Whole Grain” Crackers Made With White Flour

Consumer watchdog Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has filed a federal lawsuit accusing Kellogg of allegedly falsely advertising a variety of its Cheez-It snack crackers as made with “Whole Grain.” CSPI said the crackers are actually made from refined white flour, not whole grain as claimed on the package. Whole Grain Cheez-It crackers “are nearly identical nutritionally to the Original version of Cheez-Its, providing a negligible one gram of fiber,” CSPI said. The plaintiffs are asking the court for injunctive relief to prevent Kellogg “from continuing to engage in deceptive marketing of Cheez-Its.”

NRDC Urges The Colonel To Stop Using Antibiotics In Chicken Production

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is urging KFC to stop using antibiotics in its chicken production. Seventy percent of the antibiotics used to treat human bacterial illnesses are given to mostly healthy pigs, chickens, cattle, and other livestock. That practice “promotes the growth of drug-resistant superbugs,” posing a serious threat to public health. Other big fast food chains – McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A, Subway and Taco Bell – are committed to eliminating antibiotics from poultry production. But KFC, with more chicken-based restaurants than any other chain and sales second only to Chick-fil-A, “has yet to get on board.”
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