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“Green Blushing”: Companies Think Twice About Publicizing Sustainability Initiatives

May 17, 2010: 03:56 AM EST
Growing environmental concern is causing many companies to embark on green initiatives but many are reluctant to publicize their sustainability projects, an unwillingness media has labeled “green blushing” (the opposite of “green washing”). Michael Dunn, director of OgilvyEarth at Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide says that these companies prefer to talk about their environmental initiatives once the details are in place, reducing the chance that they will be criticized by green groups. Joe Baladi, CEO of BrandAsian, believes that a company’s sustainability efforts are not closely coordinated with their communications group, hence the failure to publicize worthwhile causes. The key to publicizing these projects, he says, is to make sure that the right message reaches the public in a coordinated manner.
Asiya Bakht , "What are the benefits of hiding environmental initiatives aka ‘green blushing’?", Media.asia, May 17, 2010, © Haymarket Media Limited
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The Prince of Wales Explores Ways to Bring Organic Food to the Masses with Asda

May 8, 2010: 06:35 PM EST
Prince Charles has met with Asda’s chief operating officer to discuss how less well-off shoppers can be convinced to purchase organic food. A spokesman said the Prince is passionate about widening the appeal of organic food and that he is devoted to the idea that it should not be confined to the wealthy. Prince Charles’s organic brand, Duchy Originals, was taken over by Waitrose in 2009 after its profits fell by 80 percent to less than £60,000. Although freed from Duchy Originals the Prince remains motivated: in a recent interview he said "What people don't seem to understand is the hidden costs in environmental damage when pesticides and chemicals are used. And if more people converted to organic systems then the prices would come down."
Richard Eden, "Prince of Wales shops at Asda for organic bargains", Telegraph, UK, May 08, 2010, © Telegraph Media Group Limited
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Organic Farm In UAE Shows What Can Be Accomplished In The Desert

April 29, 2010: 11:26 PM EST
Only few farms in the United Arab Emirates produce organic foods such as baby food, fruits, vegetables and breakfast cereals. But that should change soon. The government wants 3,000 hectares (7,413 acres) eventually set aside for organic farming. But organic farming in the UAE is not an easy proposition. Nazwa Organic Farm has been around for awhile and was recently certified by the government. It has overcome numerous obstacles, but it still manages to deliver organically grown crops to 170 customers twice a week at reasonable prices. Crops grown without chemicals must be harvested, transported and marketed quickly or they will spoil in the hot and humid UAE climate. The farm uses 50,000 gallons of well water a day, and spends $6,800 a month on electricity for its giant air-conditioned greenhouses.
Nadeem Hanif, "Organic at its best: Green and clean", Gulf News, April 29, 2010, © Al Nisr Publishing LLC
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EFSA Continues Scrutiny Of EU Health Product Claims

April 29, 2010: 10:15 PM EST
Major changes in EU laws and regulations have affected the food industry, and more are on the way, according to a Euromonitor International briefing. The process began with “extremely protracted” new rules on nutrition and health claims and fortification in 2007. New organic legislation followed in 2009. The next several years will see an overhaul of general food labeling legislation that will have a significant impact on all food manufacturers. The European Food Standards Authority in October 2009 rejected more than two thirds of generic health claims submitted under the regulation. The biggest surprise was the rejection of 170 clinically-studied probiotic strains because they were not sufficiently characterized. Next on the EFSA’s agenda are long overdue nutrient profiles and a website listing of approved and rejected health claims.
Ewa Hudson, Head of Health & Wellness Research, Euromonitor International, "EFSA Dictates New Directions for EU Health Products", Nutraceuticals World, April 29, 2010, © Rodman Publishing
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Companies Need To Make A Healthy Society A Business Priority

April 13, 2010: 08:12 PM EST
Businesses should be paying close attention to the fact that health has emerged as a critical socioeconomic and personal issue that rivals concern for the environment. A recent study of 15,000 people in 11 countries found that protecting the public's health was as important as protecting the environment among nearly three-fourths of respondents. Scientific and technological breakthroughs have made it easier to protect and improve the nation’s health, but threats – aging, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, poor management of chronic diseases, bad behavioral choices – continue to reduce the quality of life, endanger economic development and put pressure on the sustainability of the planet. Some companies like General Electric have already begun to make health part of a “holistic strategy” that joins business outcomes with the common good.
Nancy Turett, "Health Is The Next Green For Business", Forbes.com, April 13, 2010, © Forbes.com LLC™
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Puma To Shift From Cardboard To Eco-Friendly Packaging For Its Sneakers

April 13, 2010: 03:00 AM EST
Puma, the third largest sporting goods supplier after Nike and Adidas, is to stop using shoe boxes for its sneakers in 2011. Instead, Puma will use “cardboard frames wrapped in reusable shoe bags” that will reduce its carbon-footprint and save 8,500 tonnes of paper. It will also save about 60 percent of the water and energy used in the production and transport of the new eco-friendly packaging. Though the company does not expect to incur savings with the new packaging, it argues it should take a lead as a responsible company that cares for the planet and hopes that other retail companies will follow suit.
"Puma saying goodbye to shoe boxes ", Reuters, April 13, 2010, © Thomson Reuters
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FDA Reviewing Triclosan For Possible Harmful Impact On Humans

April 8, 2010: 03:14 AM EST
In light of recent animal studies of triclosan and consumer concerns the US FDA indicated it is reviewing available scientific evidence on the ingredient’s safety. Animal studies show triclosan can disrupt hormonal activities while bacteria studies suggest it can help make bacteria resistant to antibiotics. The Environmental Protection Agency classifies triclosan as pesticide, yet at this point there are no data that showing that triclosan is harmful for humans and some studies show it can have beneficial effects. The ingredient is used in a range of popular products, including in Procter & Gamble's Old Spice and Gillette’s shaving creams, Henkel AG's Dial soap products and Colgate-Palmolive's toothpaste.
"Triclosan: What consumers should know ", U.S. Food and Drug Administration, April 08, 2010, © U.S. Food and Drug Administration
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Unilever Takes Tough Stance With Palm Oil Producer, PT Smart

April 7, 2010: 01:45 AM EST
The world’s largest palm oil buyer Unilever, will only resume purchasing palm oil from PT Smart, a Sinar Mas subsidiary, if the company is cleared after an investigation over allegations of illegal practices, or shows it has taken steps to ensure it is a sustainable provider. According to a Greenpeace report, Sinar Mas, Indonesia’s top producer of palm oil, is responsible for “widespread deforestation and peatland clearance” which contributes to increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the devastation of rain forests. This led Unilever to cancel their $32 million yearly contract with Sinar Mas. Unilever and PT Smart together appointed two independent auditors, Control Union Certification and British Standard institute, to investigate validity of the environmental allegations. Nestlé, another palm oil buyer, has stopped buying from Sinar Mas while Cargill, a large agribusiness company, is threatening to remove the company from their supplier list due to the allegations.
Yayat Supriatna , "Unilever to resume buying CPO if Sinar Mas cleared", Reuters, April 07, 2010, © Thomson Reuters
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Consumer Group Urges FDA To Act On “Slack Fill”

April 5, 2010: 05:50 AM EST
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CPSI), a US nutrition and food consumer group, is calling for the Food and Drug Administration to stop food companies selling food packages that contain a large proportion of air, a practice known as “slack fill”. Federal rules already exist to restrict slack fill to situations where air in the package is unavoidable – through settlement or to help protect the contents – but the CPSI believes that manufacturers are using it as a trick to make consumers think they are getting more for their money. The watchdog also argues that slack fill has an environmental cost, unnecessarily taking up space in shipping containers and trucks.
"CSPI Calls on FDA, State Attorneys General to Crack Down on “Slack Fill”", Center for Science in the Public Interest, April 05, 2010, © Center for Science in the Public Interest
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Organic Food Market In India Withstands Inflation And Recession

April 2, 2010: 10:52 PM EST
Organic food in India looks to have managed continuous growth last year despite the economic recession, price inflation and the fact that that it is priced up to 80% higher than regular food products. Organic retailers in Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad disclosed a growth of more than 20% while a chain of organic food establishments in New Delhi, Mumbai, and Dehradun did not report any slowdown. Also in Chennai, another organic store continues to serve a hundred customers daily. Organic food accounts for less than 5% of India’s food market and is typically purchased by wealthier consumers that can still afford to pay a premium, largely shielding the market.
Swati Anand, "Inflation no worry for organic food", Times of India, April 02, 2010, © Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.
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UK Policymakers Take Note: Organic Business Is On The Mend

April 1, 2010: 04:21 AM EST
According to a report by the UK’s Soil Association, organic business, like all other business, has felt the recession’s negative impact. But there is cause for optimism. Overall, organic sales may have dropped 13 percent, but organic milk and baby food sales defied the trend, posting increases of one percent and 20.8 percent respectively. Organic health and beauty product sales soared by 33 percent to $55 million. Organic farmland increased by nine percent over 2008. Organic sales show a possibility of “modest growth” (two to five percent) this year. But more work needs to be done. In particular, lawmakers need to be reminded of the environmental benefits of organic farming: converting all UK farmland to organic production would have the same environmental impact as taking a million cars off the road.
"Organic Market Report 2010", Soil Association, April 01, 2010, © Soil Association
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US EPA Adds BPA To Chemical Concern List, Possible Impact On Food Packaging

March 28, 2010: 11:36 PM EST
US-based Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will investigate the potential harmful effects of chemical bisphenol A (BPA) on human health and the environment. BPA, widely used in the manufacture of consumer and industrial products, is believed to have adverse effects on animal reproduction and development as well as the endocrine system. The US Food and Drug Administration previously raised concerns about BPA’s potential impacts, adding it would look at ways to cut BPA exposure in food packaging. EPA will investigate BPA’s effect on water supply and on growth, reproduction, and development of aquatic organisms and wildlife. EPA will also include BPA in its chemical concern list. EPA is authorized under the Toxic Substances Control Act to list chemicals that may present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment.
"EPA to Scrutinize Environmental Impact of Bisphenol A", EPA, March 28, 2010, ©
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Italian Chocolate Maker ICAM Expands Private Label Manufacturing Business In N. America

March 23, 2010: 10:30 PM EST
With U.S. consumers now “very sensitive to chocolate product quality,” ICAM (Lecco, Italy) hopes to boost its North American private label chocolate making business with a Los Angeles sales office operating under the Agostini Chocolate brand. The U.S. sales team will offer North American retailers and consumer brand companies an array of different stock and custom choices for developing premium chocolate products. Noting that American retailers are selling a lot of premium organically-produced chocolates from ”unique cocoa origins,” ICAM believes its high quality, organic, chocolate products produced from single origin and Fair Trade cocoa beans will flourish. The Agostini factory, which produced almost 7,000 tons of private label products in 2009, has strong Equal Partner relationships with key cocoa producing countries Ecuador, Peru and the Dominican Republic.
"Agostoni Private Label Chocolate Now in U.S.", Natural Products Marketplace, March 23, 2010, © Virgo Publishing, LLC
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USAID And Coca-Cola Extend Partnership To Tackle Global Water Issues

March 22, 2010: 04:30 AM EST
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Coca-Cola have added another $12.7 million to their joint investment in the Water and Development Alliance (WADA), an organization devoted to solving global water problems. WADA will use the new funding to help maintain eight new multi-year programs battling water-related challenges throughout sub-Saharan Africa. The additional money invested – the total is now $28.1 million since 2005 – WADA now supports 32 projects in 22 countries in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, according to the two organizations, which noted that more than a billion people worldwide lack safe drinking water and 2.6 billion lack access to basic sanitation.
"THE COCA-COLA COMPANY AND USAID EXPAND GLOBAL WATER PARTNERSHIP", PR Newswire, March 22, 2010, © PR Newswire
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Emerging Nutricosmetics Industry Moving Forward With Superfruit-Based Skin Care Formulas

March 22, 2010: 04:07 AM EST
The successful use of so-called superfruits in natural products has caught the attention of the personal care and beauty industries, where the phenomenon is known as “nutricosmetics” or “beauty from within.” Anti-aging and beauty products that are ingested rather than topically applied increasingly include superfruit-derived ingredients, whose benefits are supported by scientific research. One company, for example (derma e), is using formulas based on: pomegranates to help prevent wrinkling and reduce free radical damage; grape seed oils to improve sun-aged skin; and cranberry oils to fight free radicals and hydrate skin. An industry executive cautioned, however, that companies need to hold superfruit-based products to the same high quality standards as other personal care products: including “sustainable harvesting, identifiable and researched phytochemical profile testing, and quality assurance compliance.”
Alissa Marrapodi , "Beauty Fruits—Superfruits for Skin Care", Inside Cosmeceuticals, March 22, 2010, © Virgo Publishing, LLC
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Natural & Organic Products Europe Show Set For April 11-12

March 22, 2010: 03:15 AM EST
More than 500 European manufacturers and suppliers of functional foods will be showcasing new products, brand improvements, and redesigned packaging at the Natural & Organic Products Europe show from April 11-12 at London’s Olympia. According to show organizers, a wide variety of innovative natural and organic products will be featured during the free two-day event. Among the expected highlights: a new concentrated organic beetroot stamina shot from James White Drinks; a homegrown, all natural chewing gum made with Black Mitcham peppermint from Peppersmith; artichoke tea from Natur Boutique; new organic and natural snacks from Infinity Foods; and Glee Gum, an all-natural, gluten-free chewing gum from Natural & Organic Products Europe. Registration information can be found at www.naturalproducts.co.
"Functional Foods - Trade show highlights at Natural & Organic Products Europe 2010", CisionWire, March 22, 2010, © Cision
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Current Nutrition Issues Present Opportunities – And Threats – To The Dairy Industry

March 19, 2010: 01:37 AM EST
The dairy industry could benefit significantly from – or be harmed by – today’s food and nutrition trends. It is critical to “educate” the public and health professionals about the health benefits of dairy in each instance, according to a dairy industry group. Some connections to health are easier to draw. On the issue of obesity, dairy is well-positioned because of low-fat milk. Likewise, dairy stands to benefit from research that is recasting the negative image of saturated fats, and examining the satiety-inducing effects of dairy-based protein, such as whey. But there are more ominous threats to the industry: efforts to trim sodium, fat and sugar content, or restrict their intake by school children; expansion of vitamin D fortification to other foods; and efforts to encourage increased consumption of plant-derived nutrients.
"Food and Nutrition Issues Likely to Impact the Dairy Industry in the Next 1 to 3 Years", American Dairy Products Institute, March 19, 2010, © American Dairy Products Institute
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Determined Organic Food Marketers Face Uphill Battle Overcoming Chinese Skepticism

March 18, 2010: 10:55 PM EST
Though taking different approaches to the problem, home-grown Chinese organic food entrepreneurs and big grocery chains are battling the same tough obstacle in the huge Chinese food market: skepticism about the price and authenticity of organics. France's Carrefour strategy is to spend money educating shoppers on health benefits, while Beijing Organic and Beyond Corp. is earning trust “one customer at a time” with quality products. But it’s a tough sell. Prospective customers haven’t forgotten recent news of milk tainted with melamine or toxic cowpeas. Organic food labels are often confusing to consumers (“non-polluting food,” “green food,” etc.). And the premium prices are frequently prohibitive: middle-income Chinese shoppers intrigued by the health benefits of organics still balk at prices three to five times higher than non-organic choices.
Niu Shuping and Tom Miles, "Organic food sales a tough slog in China", Reuters, March 18, 2010, © Thomson Reuters
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Natural Products Industry Needs To Toughen Its Standards For Use Of “Natural” Label

March 19, 2010: 04:30 AM EST
The term “natural” – which unlike “organic” is not strictly defined by any federal or state agency – is being applied to so many questionable products that consumers should ignore it, says green advocate Dianne MacEachern. A voluntary standard developed by the natural products industry is a “step in the right direction,” she says, but it doesn’t go far enough. The Natural Products Association (NPA) standard says naturals cannot contain phthalates and formaldehyde or synthetic colors and flavors, nor can they be processed with harsh or toxic chemicals. But there are key problems: the standard is voluntary, it ignores a product’s life cycle, and was developed without input from consumers or independent scientists. Besides fixing those problems, a tougher NPA standard should ban antibacterials and be popularized via the media, MacEachern advises.
Diane MacEachern, "The Problems with 'Natural' Products -- and How to Fix Them", GreenBiz.com, March 19, 2010, © Greener World Media - GreenBiz.com®
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Solazyme Puts Algae To Work In Fuel Oil, Nutritional Ingredients, Cosmetics Markets

March 18, 2010: 04:41 AM EST
About 200 companies are trying to profit from the fact that algae can produce oil from sunlight and carbon dioxide, but one firm seems to be far ahead of the pack. Well-financed privately-held Solazyme is also well-diversified – thanks to genetic engineering and a tank-based production technology – delivering a wide array of algae-derived products in large volumes for three market segments: fuel oils, nutritional ingredients and cosmetics/nutraceuticals. The U.S. Navy is a major fuel customer. Food supplement makers are buying its protein-rich microalgae powder. Unilever has agreed to incorporate its algal oil in personal care products. Biofuels experts see a bright future for the company because, in an era of increasing environmental and foreign oil supply concerns, Solazyme’s fuels are U.S.-sourced and boast a carbon footprint better than diesel or gasoline.
Marc Gunther, "Fuel, Vitamins, Soap Help Solazyme Algae Stand out from Pond Scum", GreenBiz.com, March 18, 2010, © Greener World Media - GreenBiz.com®
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PepsiCo Tests Greener Fertilizers To Reduce Tropicana’s Carbon Footprint

March 11, 2010: 03:14 AM EST
Concerned about the fairly large carbon footprint – thanks to nitrogen-based fertilizers – of its Tropicana orange juice, PepsiCo has contracted with two companies to develop greener plant foods. So far, they have come up with two possibilities that are being tested at one of PepsiCo’s Florida orange farms. Each reduces the need for natural gas during production. One, based on calcium, gets rid of nitrous oxide emissions entirely. The other is based on locally-sourced organic, renewable, emission-reducing raw materials like biofuels. PepsiCo will conduct a long-term study of the two green fertilizers to make sure crop yield isn’t hurt over the long run. If successful, and if PepsiCo implements the new fertilizers systemwide, they “could have a major impact on U.S. farming and the corporation itself.”
Bryan Walsh , "Tropicana: Trying to Make a Greener Orange Juice", Time.com, March 11, 2010, © Time Inc
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Big Head Start Plus State Subsidies Drive Organic Farming Growth In Czech Republic

March 10, 2010: 02:43 AM EST
Despite problems like government red tape and higher production costs, organic farming and processing in the Czech Republic are growing steadily enough to be deemed a substantial success. The number of organic farms hit 2,689 in 2009, accounting for 400,000 hectares, or 9.38 percent of total farmland, according to industry researcher Bioinstitut. The country’s organic agriculture track record going back to 1980 gave it a head start over other EU states, of course, but a doubling of government subsidies between 2006 and 2008 was the major shot in the arm. And organic farmers have reason to be optimistic about their economic future: most supermarkets in Prague, for example, carry organic products. A side benefit: innovative farming methods are teaching lessons that could have a long-term environmental impact on the country.
Philip Heijman , "Organic farmers seeing growth", Prague Post, March 10, 2010, © Prague Post, spol. s.r.o
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Grocery Manufacturers And Retailers Commit To New Sustainability Initiative

March 4, 2010: 02:16 AM EST
Building on the original 2005 Courtald Commitment, the British Government’s waste watchdog, Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), has launched the second phase. The 28 founding signatories of Courtald Commitment 2 include manufacturers, like Unilever and Heinz, as well as retailers, such as Tesco and ASDA. The new initiative, with a 2012 deadline, is targeting three main areas for groceries: reducing the carbon impact of packaging by 10%, cutting household food and drink waste by 4%, and reducing product and packaging waste along the supply chain by 5%. WRAP claims that the first phase reduced packaging by some 500,000 tonnes between 2005 and 2009. Tesco has announced trials using plastic bottles for its store-brand spirits and lightweight glass wine bottles. The second phase extends the scope to the impact of product waste throughout the supply chain and to waste from households. In 2009, WRAP introduced the ‘Love food hate waste' campaign, designed to encourage a reduction in the £10bn of food households throw out each year.
Joe Thomas, "Tesco, Unilever and Heinz among brands to pledge sustainability commitment", marketingmagazine.co.uk, March 04, 2010, © Haymarket
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EU Organic Farming Area Increased By 7% From 2007 To 2008

March 1, 2010: 04:05 AM EST
The most recent figures from Eurostat show the organic farming area in the 27 European Union countries increased 7% from 2007 to 2008, and now stands at 7.8 million hectares. Spain, which has the largest organic land at 1.3 million hectares, also had the highest growth of 33%. Other countries with fast growing organic land are Bulgaria, 22%; Slovakia, 19%; Hungary, 15%; and Greece, 14%. Italy is the only EU27 country where the area dedicated to organic farming fell, by 13%. These recent data confirm a longer term trend; from 2005 to 2008, the total organic area for the EU25 grew 21%. According to the statistics, in 2008 organic land was used mainly for pastures and meadows (44% of fully converted area in the EU27 except Germany), arable crops (37%) and permanent crops (10%).
"Organic area up by 21% in the EU between 2005 and 2008", Eurostat Press Office, March 01, 2010, © Eurostat
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H&M Expands Commitment To Sustainability With Organic Skincare Products

February 25, 2010: 01:16 AM EST
Swedish clothing and cosmetics retailer H&M is expanding its commitment to organic products and sustainability with a new family of skincare offerings. Shower gel, body scrub, body lotion, hand cream and lip balm containing organic ingredients certified by Ecocert will begin appearing in the company’s 2,000 stores worldwide in March. Fragrances will be combinations of raspberry and melon or lavender and mint, while ingredients will include organic apple juice, sunflower and almond seed oils, jojoba and beeswax. The company says sustainability is a top priority: it plans to boost organic cotton use in its clothing lines by 50 percent a year until 2013.
"H&M to launch organic skincare range", Premium Beauty News, February 25, 2010, © Premium Beauty News
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Walmart To Reduce Its GHG Emissions By 20 MN Tons By 2015

February 25, 2010: 01:11 AM EST
In a mark of its commitment to sustainability goals, Walmart announced it is to remove 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its global supply chain by the end of 2015, an amount estimated at 1.5x of the company’s total global carbon footprint over next five years. Walmart will work with a series of external advisors - PricewaterhouseCoopers, ClearCarbon Inc., the Carbon Disclosure Project and the Applied Sustainability Center (ASC) – in a detailed review of its processes and product lines. Part of the effort will involved estimating lifecycle GHC emissions for product categories and targeting the highest emitters. The company says it will work with suppliers to help achieve its goals. Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund said that Walmart’s move “…transform a vast supply chain here at home, and around the world.”
"Walmart Announces Goal to Eliminate 20 Million Metric Tons of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Global Supply Chain", Walmart.com, February 25, 2010, © Walmart Stores
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Consumer Goods Companies and Online Ad Networks Target Green Moms

February 25, 2010: 01:20 AM EST
Consumer goods advertisers and marketers are increasingly targeting “green moms”, a consumer segment that The Social Studies Group has further broken down in to a number of subcategories: “super greens”, “mainstream greens”, “simple lifestyle mamas”, and other subcategories. Brand loyalty remains to some extent, but moms are willing to give up their usual brands to make more eco-friendly purchases. This trend has been picked up by online ad networks, which are creating verticals dedicated to the green sub-market generally and green moms in particular, who are seen as particularly interested in green issues, partly because they want to maintain the health of their children but also because they care about social issues. They are also seen as market influencers. It seems likely that more manufacturers will use these green-focused online ad verticals to communicate the green nature of their products, just like Clorox has for its Green Works natural cleaning products and detergents. It is promoting a "30 Days to Natural" challenge on green moms sites.
Kate Kaye, "Marketers See Green in Growing 'Green Moms' Audience", ClickZ, February 25, 2010, © Incisive Interactive Marketing LLC
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Hellmann’s Light Mayonnaise Goes 100% Cage-Free Eggs

February 24, 2010: 02:01 AM EST
Unilever has indicated that its Hellmann’s Light Mayonnaise in the US is going to use 100% certified cage-free eggs, with products now moving into stores. In time, Hellmann’s intends to shift all its mayonnaise products to cage-free eggs as a consistent supply becomes available. Unilever claims its move is the largest such arrangement to date in the package foods industry, representing 3.5 million pounds of eggs annually. All the eggs will be ‘American Humane Certified’ through a program administered by the American Humane Association (see http://thehumanetouch.org/).
Press Release, Unilever, "Hellmann's(R) Launches New Light Recipe With 'Cage-Free' Eggs", PR Newswire, February 24, 2010, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Walmart Canada Plans 35 To 40 More Supercenters And Sustainable Energy Distribution Center In 2010

February 23, 2010: 01:07 AM EST
Walmart Canada indicates it will add 35 to 40 supercenters in 2010, adding to its 317 established stores. Part of the expansion will include the company’s first sustainable refrigerator distribution center in Balzac, Alberta, that will cost $115 million, be 60 percent more energy-efficient than the company’s traditional refrigerated distribution centers and pilot fuel cell technology.
"Walmart Canada to open 35 to 40 supercentres in 2010", Canada News Wire, February 23, 2010, © CNW Group Ltd.
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Scientists Develop Cheaper, Greener Plastic For Food Packaging, Other Applications

February 18, 2010: 06:57 AM EST
Scientists have long sought a renewable, easily biodegradable plastic that could be produced cheaply and efficiently and used in food packaging, etc. Now scientists in the U.K. have come up with what could be the answer. Biodegradeable plastics do exist – polylactide is the best known – but production and disposal are energy intense and expensive. The new plastic uses a polymer made from sugars known as lignocellulosic biomass, derived from cheap non-food crops such as fast-growing trees and grasses. And, because the sugars are oxygen-rich, the plastic absorbs water and degrades to harmless products: consumers can toss them on a compost heap with other natural waste.
EPSRC Press Office, "Compostable plastics have a sweet ending", Press release, February 18, 2010, via EurekAlert, © U.K. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
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Georgia Conference Highlights Growth And Challenges Of Organic Farming

February 16, 2010: 07:16 AM EST
A recent conference sponsored by Georgia Organics celebrated the tremendous growth and future opportunities in organic and sustainable farming, but also shed light on some problems that need to be addressed. For example, the number of organic growers in Georgia has more than doubled in recent years, and certified organic acreage has increased 900 percent. But organic farming constitutes only one percent of total vegetable production and 80 percent of what Georgians spend on food every year goes to out-of-state producers. Other problems: getting locally-grown food products to market, complying with costly, burdensome safety regulations, and relying too heavily on nonrenewable energy sources.
Melissa Link, "Conference highlights organic foods", Online Athens Banner-Herald, February 16, 2010, © OnlineAthens • Athens Banner-Herald
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Agriculture Needs To Change Dramatically As The Globe Warms, Population Grows

February 11, 2010: 09:03 AM EST
Comprehensive changes in how the world produces its food and fiber are needed to deal with the threatening prospects of climate change and population growth, U.S. scientists say in a report that warns of a "critical need to get beyond popular biases against the use of agricultural biotechnology." Also needed is more investigation of aquaculture’s potential and how to boost agricultural production in dry and salty areas. Global warming will change crop disease patterns and trigger powerful, periodic floods. But conventional breeding and genetic engineering can generate new varieties of existing food crops that can better adapt to environmental disturbances.
Nina Federoff, Pamela Ronald, "Radically Rethinking Agriculture for the 21st Century", Science, February 11, 2010, © American Association for the Advancement of Science
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Organic Is Healthy, And Not Just For The Rich, Says Organic Industry

February 4, 2010: 01:52 AM EST
Organic foods are not only expensive, they offer no nutritional advantage, critics say. Excuse me? Isn’t that a crippling double whammy? Maybe, but it’s also a perception held by British consumers and the UK government: organic is seen to be elite and for just a wealthy segment of the population, an idea that irks organic farmers, and the organic industry in general, says the Soil Association. One factor undermining consumer perception of organic food is a 2009 Food Standards Agency report that claimed they offer no nutritional benefits. The organic industry is concerned. A decade of growth in which organic sales grew over 20% annually stopped abruptly in 2008 as consumers looked for less costly options. To fight back, the organic industry is looking to educate consumers on the benefits, claiming that while organic options are pricier, they are also healthier and greener.
William Surman , "Soil Association rejects elitist image", Farmers Guardian, February 04, 2010, via The Soil Association, © UBM Information Ltd.
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Sara Lee To Market Eco-Friendly Version Of Its EarthGrains Bread

February 1, 2010: 09:08 PM EST
Hoping to tap into a market of consumers concerned about the environment but frugal as well, No. 2 U.S. bread maker Sara Lee says it will begin using Eco-Grain wheat, grown using less fertilizer and land than ordinary wheat, in its wide-pan EarthGrains bread. Containing about 20 percent Eco-Grain wheat, the new variety will cost the same as the regular 24-ounce loaf of EarthGrains. Marketers say many consumers are concerned about the environment, but not enough to pay premium prices for organic bread. According to this Reuters report, Sara Lee also plans to incorporate Eco-Grain wheat in its EarthGrains thin buns.
Brad Dorfman, "Sara Lee looks to green bread to boost EarthGrains", Reuters, February 01, 2010, via Reuters, © Thomson Reuters
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More Food Rules From Michael Pollan: "Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual"

February 1, 2010: 01:03 AM EST
Michael Pollan's latest book, "Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual", lays out in simple terms the dos and don'ts of food shopping and eating. His previous works have gained a lot of attention, notably his advice to "Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much" and commentators wonder what impact his new book will have. Pollan's book has 139 rules and runs from basic advice (avoid “processed concoctions") to eating tips (eat only at a table, never in front of the TV; never by advertised foods...). His core refrain is to get the most natural ingredients possible - “If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.” - and, perhaps most important, cook what you eat.
JANE E. BRODY, "Rules Worth Following, for Everyone’s Sake ", New York Times , February 01, 2010, via New York Times , © The New York Times Company
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Monsanto Research Lab To Focus On Enhancing Flavor, Nutrition Of Vegetables

January 28, 2010: 09:43 PM EST
Monsanto is establishing research facilities at the North Carolina Research Campus as part of a collaborative effort in nutrition, agriculture and biotechnology to speed development of more nutritious foods with better flavor. Monsanto will focus on the taste and nutritional composition of vegetables, and enhanced nutrition in food-focused row crops such as soybeans. "We hope that by developing produce varieties with fantastic flavor and real nutritional benefits, people will enjoy eating more fruits and vegetables and be healthier," a Monsanto exec said. Only 29 percent of adults eat the recommended three to five servings of vegetables per day.
"Monsanto to Establish Facilities at North Carolina Research Campus to Accelerate Research and Development of Flavorful, Nutritious Food", PR Newswire Association LLC, January 28, 2010, via Monsanto Company, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Food Makers Should Pay Special Attention To Four Key Consumer-Driven Trends

January 26, 2010: 08:05 AM EST
Food and industrial ingredients company Tate & Lyle says food manufacturer should take note of four key consumer-driven purchasing trends in 2010. For example, private label “premium options” with healthy and high quality ingredients appear to be seducing shoppers away from national brands – 47 percent of consumers have switched to store brands – as consumers continue to watch spending. Other trends that will affect food maker product lines: Americans are more sensitive to environmental impact; they want convenience foods that are affordable and nutritious; and they are eating more gluten-free products, even without suffering from celiac disease.
EmailWire.Com, "2010 Food & Beverage Trends", Earth Times, January 26, 2010, © www.earthtimes.org, The Earth Times
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Australia Sees Big Bakery Industry Potential For Its Tiny Chia Plant

January 25, 2010: 04:02 AM EST
Australia’s six-year-old Chia Company recently completed a national supply partnership with Bakers Delight to provide the obscure ancient grain to 650 bakeries in Australia and New Zealand. Chia, whose tiny seed is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fiber, protein and antioxidants, is being grown in Western Australia as part of the Ord River Irrigation project, a $415 million state-federal partnership. According to FoodWeek Online, the Chia Company and the bakery network expect Chia production to double in 2010, and industry value to hit $20 million in five years. So far, 95 percent of Australian Chia seed is exported.
"Super seed emerging at super speed", FoodWeek Online , January 25, 2010, © Octomedia pty ltd
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Dairy-Based Food Packaging Wraps Offer Green Alternative To Polymers

January 25, 2010: 10:51 AM EST
Most food packaging today is made of multilayer films – thin, continuous sheets of synthetic, petroleum-based polymers – the manufacturing of which contributes to the world’s waste disposal problem. Biobased packaging offers a green alternative, and one option being explored centers on dairy ingredients, according to a chapter in a new USDA book. The chapter focuses on films made from dairy proteins, especially those based on casein and whey from milk. But casein presents a challenge: while an excellent barrier to oxygen, carbon dioxide, and aromas, it is a weak barrier to moisture. So research is focused on improving casein’s water-vapor-barrier properties.
Peggy Tomasula, "Using Dairy Ingredients to Produce Edible Films and Biodegradable Packaging Materials (chapter title)", Dairy-Derived Ingredients: Food and Nutraceutical Uses (book title), January 25, 2010, © Woodhead Publishing
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Research Firm Identifies High-Impact Food Product Trends For 2010

January 25, 2010: 02:33 AM EST
Despite the continuing worldwide financial downturn, new food product launches in 2009 accelerated from the sluggish pace of 2008. Looking ahead to 2010, a Dutch research firm has pinpointed ten new product trends likely to have a major impact on the market. At the top of the list: consumer preference for simpler, more natural foods, including natural sweeteners; growing interest in locally-sourced, sustainable and fairly-traded products; increased skepticism about functional food claims; and the emergence of consumer interest in foods with immune-boosting ingredients such as antioxidants and probiotics. Other trends: cooking at home, extreme-flavored foods, authentically regional foods, functional foods promising energy, and foods “free” of troublesome ingredients (such as gluten).
Presentation, Innova Market Insights, "Ingredients in Action Top 10 Trends for 2010", Food Ingredients First, January 25, 2010, © CNS Media BV
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Survey Sheds Light On Canadian Attitudes Toward Food Purchasing

January 19, 2010: 08:51 PM EST
A survey of 25,000 Canadian consumers has unearthed four key trends in attitudes toward food shopping. The recession, for example, is keeping Canadians indoors, with 73 percent cooking more at home and 47 percent saying they have purchased more private label/in-store brands versus premium and name brands. Eighty-eight percent of Canadians feel that food and nutrition can help prevent illness, and 83 percent want foods that are healthier. Environmental accountability is important, as well, with 82 percent believing that companies are exploiting eco-friendly claims. The BrandSpark survey determines winners of the 2010 Best New Product Awards among 144 products.
"7th Annual Best New Product Awards Reveals Key Insights into the Minds of Canadian Consumers", Brandspark International, January 19, 2010, via Brandspark International, © CNW Group Ltd
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Europe’s LeanGreenFood Network To Advance Sustainable Production Technologies

January 13, 2010: 09:38 AM EST
Based on the precept that food production must be sustainable and socially responsible, scientists from several European countries – Greece, Spain, France, Denmark, and the Netherlands – have created LeanGreenFood, an EU financed scientific network that will train food scientists in sustainable technologies and processes. The network will help educate young food scientists to rethink established food processes and use new technology. Enzyme technology, for example, can be used to extract and process ingredients in food based on natural sources, such as starch, pectin and proteins. The goal? Improved yields of biomasses, decreased water and energy consumption, less chemical use.
Lars Holm Rasmussen, "Lean green food -- sustainable food production", Press release, January 13, 2010, © University of Copenhagen
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Monsanto’s SDA Omega-3 Soybeans On The Verge Of Commercialization

January 6, 2010: 07:22 PM EST
Among Monsanto’s eleven R&D pipeline projects advancing toward the marketplace is one with “direct consumer dietary benefit,” the company announced. SDA omega-3 soybeans, which are at the phase that directly precedes commercialization, offer a sustainable, land-based source of the omega-3 fatty acid that converts to the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acid EPA found in fish oil, the company says. Thanks to a Generally Recognized As Safe notice from the FDA, food companies can test the oil from SDA omega-3 soybeans in food products for future launch. Monsanto’s R&D pipeline also includes other soybean projects, as well as canola and cotton projects.
"Monsanto Announces Record 11 Project Advancements in Annual Research and Development Pipeline Update", Press release, Monsanto, January 06, 2010, © Monsanto Company
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Nordic Naturals’ Effervescent Fish Oil Promises Fast Absorption Of Omega-3s

January 5, 2010: 03:00 AM EST
The “plop, plop, fiz, fizz” concept, usually associated with an effervescent antacid brand, has now been applied to omega-3 fish oil. U.S. company Nordic Naturals recently introduced Omega-3 Effervescent, an orange-flavored, water-soluble drink mix packaged in single-serving packets delivering 500 mg of EPA and DHA, plus 1200 IU of vitamin D3. According to the company, the product contains arctic cod liver oil, which has high DHA content and naturally occurring vitamins A and D. The company says the effervescent technology allows absorption of omega-3s into the bloodstream in as little as 15 minutes, much faster than other fish oil supplements.
"Fish oil supplement now available in water-soluble drink", The Medical News, January 05, 2010, © The Medical News
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Gazing Into The Food And Beverage Industry Crystal Ball: Status And Trends

January 4, 2010: 04:56 AM EST
Noting that the food and beverage industry really comprises nine interconnected sub-industries, the editors of FoodProcessing.com recently looked into their crystal ball to forecast the future of each separate subcategory: bakery and bread, beverages, breakfasts and cereals, confectionery, dairy, frozen foods, fruits and vegetables, meat and poultry, and salty snacks. For example, they expect whole grains, fiber, added calcium, organic, all-natural, HFCS-free, and gluten-free products to do well in 2010. And because see-sawing milk prices is the major issue in dairy – which impacts other food categories – industry execs have a simple wish for 2010: stable, rational prices for raw milk.
Diane Toops, News & Trends Editor, and Dave Fusaro, Editor in Chief , "Look Into the Future: The State of Food & Beverage Industry", FoodProcessing.com, January 04, 2010, © Food Processing
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Review Of Scientific Studies Finds Organic Foods Safer And Healthier

January 1, 2010: 12:05 AM EST
An exhaustive French review of scientific studies has found that organically grown food – whether from plants or animals – is safer and more nutritious than conventionally grown. Organic food contains almost no pesticide residues; organic vegetables contain half as many nitrates; and levels of harmful mycotoxins (from molds) on organic cereals are comparable to conventional cereals. Regarding nutrition, organic plant foods have more dry matter, minerals (iron and magnesium) and antioxidants such as phenols and resveratrol. Organic animal products have more polyunsaturated fatty acids. The author proposes several “improvements [in] organic production to achieve sustainable food production for humans in the near future.”
Denis.Lairon, "Nutritional quality and safety of organic food. A review", Journal Agronomy for Sustainable Development, January 01, 2010, via Journal Agronomy for Sustainable Development, © INRA, EDP Sciences
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Entrepreneurs Needed To Advance Flour-Making Potential Of Distillers Corn Grain

December 21, 2009: 09:25 AM EST
An Indian doctoral candidate studying in the U.S. is determined to transform food-grade, dried distillers corn grain (DDG) – which is 40 percent dietary fiber and 36 percent protein and currently used as animal feed – into an inexpensive, nutrient-packed flour for making the Asian flat breads known as chapathi and naan. The student’s adviser, who has been studying DDG for two decades, believes the grain has “limitless possibilities” for making nutritional flour, and could find a market in the U.S., Asia and India. He says the next step is to find entrepreneurs willing to take a chance in a down economy.
Sowmya Arra, "Fortifying Chapathies an Asian Whole Wheat Unleavened Flat Bread Using Corn Distillers Dried Grains", Press release, December 21, 2009, © South Dakota State University
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School Bottled Water Supplier Nestlé Waters Canada Wages “Battle Of The Bans”

December 17, 2009: 03:15 AM EST
Nestlé Waters Canada executive John Challinor recently carried the company’s battle against the growing number of school system bans on bottled water to a local Canadian school board meeting. He expressed his agreement with a recommended rejection of a proposed ban on bottled water in the district’s schools because of environmental and other concerns. A ban on bottled water – a growing trend among Canadian school districts – would not lead to greater consumption of tap water and would not reduce plastic bottle litter in schools because “most students and staff will simply opt for another beverage in a plastic container.”
"Nestlé Waters Canada Pleased Ban On Bottled Water In Schools Rejected ", Guelph Now Local News, December 17, 2009, © Now Media Inc.
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Unilever Exec Discusses Indian Food Industry Trends, Priorities, Challenges

December 9, 2009: 03:09 AM EST
A Hindustan Unilever exec told a food industry meeting in India recently that sustainable sourcing, return-to-nature (recycling), organic farming, healthy processed foods, natural flavors and consumer convenience were the main trends in the health food market. His company’s priority is to take advantage of innovations in health and wellness food products to enhance health, meet families’ nutrition requirements, promote physical and mental well-being, and use fewer additives and artificial ingredients. Key challenges in India to food makers in India, he said, include regulatory issues, the supply chain, lack of consumer communication, and building trust and credibility.
Hasan Mulani, "Experts discuss innovations and trends in food & beverage sector", FnBNews.com, December 09, 2009, © Food & Beverage News
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China Approves GMO Rice, Corn As Safe To Grow And Use

December 1, 2009: 02:40 AM EST

China, which produces 31 percent of the world’s rice and 20 percent of the corn, has approved home-grown, genetically modified strains of the two staples that will yield pest- and herbicide-resistant crops to boost food supplies. The country had only approved GMO cotton for large-scale production, according to this Bloomberg report, but potential water and farmland shortages are forcing a re-evaluation of policy. According to a market researcher, trial planting, marketing and public acceptance of the crops are necessary before mass-production and commercialization take place. Nevertheless, the Chinese agricultural ministry called it “an important achievement for domestically researched GMO technology.”

Feiwen Rong , "China’s GMO Rice, Corn Approval May Boost Food Supply (Update2) ", Bloomberg News, December 01, 2009, © Bloomberg L. P.
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