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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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South African Government Says No To Genetically Modified Potatoes

October 20, 2009: 03:01 AM EST
An application by a South African group to supply genetically modified potatoes to farmers was rejected by the government. The Agricultural Research Council’s SpuntaG2 potato is engineered with a gene from a bacteria that kills a common crop-damaging pest known as the tuber moth. Restaurants and food retailers were opposed to the GM potatoes because they fear negative consumer reaction. Some opposed to the application said tuber moths were not as bad a problem for farmers as the lack of water and fertilizer, while others said it is still not known whether genetically modified foods are safe for human consumption.
Tamar Kahn, "Government rejects ‘super spuds’", Business Day, October 20, 2009, © BDFM Publishers (Pty) Ltd.
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Federal Government Reaches Out To Produce Industry To Promote Food Safety

October 6, 2009: 06:55 AM EST
The Obama administration’s food processing watchdogs – the Food & Drug Administration and the Dept. of Agriculture – are not only working more closely together to ensure food safety, they are stepping up efforts to involve the produce industry itself, including small and organic farmers, and state and local food safety officials. To signal the importance of the issue as a national priority, the USDA recently sent a top produce marketing expert to the FDA for a six-month stint focusing on food safety. “We are pulling together all our best resources," said chief U.S. health official Kathleen Sebelius.
DAN FLYNN , "USDA Sends Produce Expert to FDA", Food Safety News, October 06, 2009, © Marler Clark
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Joint Venture Firm Building Cereal Innovation Center In Switzerland

October 2, 2009: 03:52 AM EST
A joint venture between Swiss food maker Nestlé S.A. and General Mills Inc., has begun construction of an innovation center in Orbe, Switzerland, to develop breakfast cereals that feature better nutrition along with freshness, taste and texture. The joint venture, known as Cereal Partners Worldwide S.A., is the second largest cereal manufacturer in the world, with US$2.8 billion in 2008 sales and is strategically focused on nutrition, health, and wellness. The new center, slated to be completed in mid-2010, is being built with sustainability and low environmental impact in mind.
"New Innovation Centre to accelerate research on breakfast cereal solutions ", Nestle, October 02, 2009, © Nestle
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U.S. Government, General Mills Collaborate To Boost Small African Agribusinesses

September 28, 2009: 08:33 AM EST
A public-private partnership spearheaded by the U.S. government will attempt to enhance the ability of about 200 small and medium-sized mills and food processors in 15 sub-Saharan African countries to produce affordable, good-quality, nutritious, and safe food. With a potential value of $21 million, the partnership of General Mills, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Pres. Obama’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) could also benefit an estimated 1.6 million smallholder farmers who supply these businesses. Food scientists, process engineers, and operations managers from project partners will work to make the African agribusiness operations more efficient.
"PEPFAR, USAID and General Mills Partner to Improve Food Processing in Africa ", USAID, September 28, 2009, © USAID
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UK Government Should Provide Guidance To Food Industry On Healthy, Sustainable Diet

September 15, 2009: 11:21 AM EST
The first report of the UK’s new Council of Food Policy Advisors recommends that the government provide consumers information on a healthy diet as well as offer guidance to the food industry on how it can help create a more sustainable food system. In what is seen as a worrying trend, Government figures reveal that UK self-sufficiency in fresh fruit halved between 1988 and 2007 to just above 10 per cent. At the same time, self-sufficiency in fresh vegetable production fell by 20 per cent to 55 per cent and continues to fall. The panel called on the government to create an “overarching vision” and cross-government strategy whose priorities would include an environmentally sustainable diet and a strategy for increasing the country’s production of fruits and vegetables. Chief Executive of the Fresh Produce Consortium, Nigel Jenney, said UK growers had a ‘significant opportunity’ to increase the sustainable production of indigenous crops.
William Surman, "Benn’s food policy advisers target fruit and veg", Farmers Guardian, September 15, 2009, © UBM Information Ltd.
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Filipino Firm Succeeds Through Passion, Innovation, And Consumer Choice

September 7, 2009: 04:16 AM EST
The management of Pascual Laboratories in the Philippines says the company owes its success to a generations-old passion for providing innovative, reasonably priced personal care products developed through careful research. Its OraCare mouthwash, for example, does not contain alcohol, which dries the mouth and causes bad breath. Likewise, its toothpaste contains no sugar. An asthma and cough medicine, Ascof, is an all-natural herbal product. But whether it offers chemical-based branded or generic medications, or natural options, this report says, it’s the company’s passion for the health of Filipinos that is its driving force.
Anne Jambora, "FROM ALL FILIPINO FIRM: Sugar-free toothpaste, affordable drugs", Philippine Daily Inquirer, September 07, 2009, © INQUIRER.net
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Scientist’s Work Advances Potential Of Cotton Seeds As Major Source Of Food Protein

September 4, 2009: 10:36 AM EST
A Texas biotechnologist has solved a key problem blocking the use of cotton seeds as a source of food protein. He was able to engineer the cotton to reduce a toxic substance known as gossypol to levels tolerable for human consumption, yet high enough elsewhere in the plant to ward off pests and disease. For every pound of fiber, cotton produces about 1.6 pounds of seed, which is about 22 percent protein. "The entire cotton industry has a vested interest in expanding the uses of the cotton plant," said an exec from Cotton, Inc., a funder of the research.
Kathleen Phillips, "Safe seed - Researchers yielding good results on food cotton in field", EurekAlert, September 04, 2009, via EurekAlert
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Burt’s Bees: Using New Social Media To Advance A “Caring” Product Line

September 1, 2009: 01:31 AM EST
Natural personal care products company Burt’s Bees has never been aggressive in its advertising, preferring not to “push” products with TV or newspaper ads. Instead, it educates like-valued consumers at the point of sale and on the Web site, a form of “pull” marketing that reflects a “culture of caring,” according to the author of this case study. So Twitter and Facebook, the new social media – and especially their “openness, dialogue, creativity, the sense of caring” – fit perfectly. And if company growth – 18% last year – is any measure, it’s working very well indeed.
Dori Molitor, "Burt’s Buzz", Hub Magazine, September 01, 2009, © Marketing Hub
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Unilever Links Sustainability Initiative With Coupon Marketing

September 1, 2009: 02:04 AM EST
Front-of-store recycling machines in grocery stores on the U.S. east and west coasts are being tested as a coupon distribution vehicle for soap packs in a program that uniquely couples a green initiative with a promotional campaign. When shoppers deposit recyclable beverage containers in a Tomra of North America “reverse vending” machine as they enter the store, coupons for Unilever’s Lever 2000 soap packs are printed out. The idea is to award the coupons just as consumers begin their shopping experience. “We expect to see strong conversion from this program," said a Unilever marketing exec.
"Unilever, Tomra Launch Front-of-Store Promotion That Makes Use of Recycling Machines as Advertising and Couponing Vehicles", PR Web, September 01, 2009, © Vocus PRW Holdings, LLC.
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UK Supermarket Chain Gives “Green” Light To Carbon Footprint Labels On Milk

August 17, 2009: 08:22 PM EST
UK supermarket heavyweight Tesco says it is making it easier for its customers to buy “green” by sticking “carbon footprint” labels on its own-label non-organic milk. The company says its market research has found that many of its customers increasingly understand the term “carbon footprint” and would buy products with a lower footprint. The company says it is also researching cattle feed to find formulas that reduce methane from cows, a major source of carbon emissions in the dairy industry.
Rebecca Smithers, "Tesco becomes UK's first retailer to display carbon footprint on milk", guardian.co.uk, August 17, 2009, © Guardian News and Media Limited
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“Sorry,” Cadbury Tells NZ Customers: Replacing Coca Butter With Palm Oil Was A No-No

August 17, 2009: 02:53 AM EST
Cadbury New Zealand has apologized to its Kiwi customer base for substituting palm oil, a common cooking oil in Asia that is high in beta carotene and saturated fats, for cocoa butter in its dairy milk chocolate. The company had apparently made the switch for environmental reasons, but customers turned out to be palm oil-intolerant and demanded a return to the use of coca butter. “At the time, we genuinely believed we were making the right decision, for the right reasons,” a Cadbury spokesman said. “But we got it wrong ... I am really sorry.”
Bill Bruce, "Cadbury Dairy Milk returns to Cocoa Butter only recipe ", Cadbury New Zealand, August 17, 2009, © Cadbury Ltd
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Would Addition Of “Green” Information To Product Labels Amount To “Overload”?

August 12, 2009: 02:57 AM EST
The British government is considering a proposal to add environmental impact information to food packages to supplement the nutritional information provided. The idea would be to give eco-conscious consumers background on production chemicals, packaging procedures, treatment of animals, and the distance the product journeyed to market. Advocates say such labels should be provided on products marketed as “green.” But skeptics argue that unless such labels clarify product content, they risk being burdensome and confusing. It might just “lead to information overload,” said a Yoplait representative.
Camille Alarcon, "Green labelling could overwhelm shoppers with data", Marketing Week, August 12, 2009, © Centaur Communications
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UK Government, Food Companies Urged To Adopt Sustainability In Food Production

July 13, 2009: 11:05 AM EST
Advocates of a sustainable food supply chain are increasing their pressure on the UK government and the food industry to take more decision action to achieve that end. The pressure seems to be having some impact: a House of Commons committee and a government advisory panel are set to release findings and recommendations. Another commission has already fashioned a seven-point plan for achieving sustainability. The chairman of the advisory panel urged government, industry and consumers to accept “low input, sustainable healthy diets.”
Rick Pendrous , "Pressure mounts for more sustainable food chain", Food Manufacture, July 13, 2009, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Whole Foods Markets Joins Non-GMO Project

July 7, 2009: 10:49 AM EST
Whole Foods Market’s private label products will be verified by the Non-GMO Project to show they meet defined standards for the presence of genetically modified organisms. The Non-GMO Project’s Product Verification Program (PVP) is the first in the US to scientifically test products against the standards. Organic producers are required by law to meet Federal standards, but there are no labeling requirements. The Non-GMO Project is a collaboration of manufacturers, retailers, processors, distributors, farmers, seed breeders and consumers. The Natural Grocery Company, The Big Carrot Natural Food Market and Good Earth Natural Foods were early partners in the scheme, which now includes Eden Foods, Organic Valley, Lundberg Family Farms, Nature’s Path Organic and United Natural Foods, Inc.
"Whole Foods Market® Partners with Non-GMO Project to Label Company’s Private Label Food Products Using New Third-Party Standard", Whole Foods, July 07, 2009, © Whole Foods Market IP, L.P.
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Carrefour to Cull Plastic Bags from Stores in Spain

June 29, 2009: 02:08 AM EST
Carrefour has announced that it will stop using plastic shopping bags in all of its stores in Spain by the end of this year. It is apparently the first supermarket chain to take this step. Shoppers will now be offered reusable “long life” bags, but Carrefour has not disclosed cost details, raising doubts about how successful the move will be in today’s cost-conscious environment.
"Carrefour to remove plastic bags from all Spanish stores", Barcelona Reporter, June 29, 2009, © Barcelona Reporter
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Wisconsin Wants to Limit Dishwasher Phosphorous to 0.5 Percent

June 23, 2009: 05:42 AM EST
Wisconsin is debating a measure to limit the amount of phosphorous in dishwasher soap. The state Assembly proposes a 0.5 percent maximum, to come into effect by July 2010. Eco-activists say phosphorous runoff can increase weed and algae growth in fresh water. The proposal is supported by Procter and Gamble. Republicans have questioned the need for the new requirement.
"Wis. Assembly set to pass dishwasher soap bill_06-24-09", Chicago Tribune, June 23, 2009, via Associated Press , © Associated Press
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Highland Spring Relaunches In Bid for First Place

June 18, 2009: 10:06 AM EST
Highland Spring is promoting its latest brand makeover through its relationship with tennis star Andy Murray and its organic credentials. It also has sponsorship arrangements with the Lawn Tennis Association, Visit Scotland and London Irish rugby union club. Highland Spring has top spot in the UK’s carbonated water market, at 15.1 percent, but Danone Water’s Evian is the overall market leader, with Highland Spring at number two. The relaunch is being boosted with poster and press campaigns featuring scenes from famous films.
Joe Fernandez, "A natural thirst for first place", Marketing Week, June 18, 2009, © Centaur Communications Ltd
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More Americans Grow Their Own Food in the Recession

June 15, 2009: 09:59 AM EST
More Americans are growing their own vegetables and other food as the recession bites and they have to cut down on food bills. Seed nurseries across the nation report a huge rise in sales of up to 75 percent over 2008. Part of the increase is due to disease outbreaks such as E.coli and salmonella. Many of the customers are in their 20s and 30s and almost all are men. Wal-Mart Stores reports an increase in seed sales of up to 30 percent, matched by rises in seed-starting supplies and herbs.
Adrian Higgins, "Demand For Vegetable Seed On The Rise", Washingtonpost.com , June 15, 2009, © The Washington Post Company
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Mainstream Struggles to Find Right Wellness Formula

June 1, 2009: 10:42 AM EST
Mainstream retailers are trying to emulate the success of “greentailing” – specialist outlets operating in the wellness lifestyle category, such as Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s – but are having difficulty getting the formula right. Several ventures have failed, including Ike's Farmers Market (set up by Bashas' Supermarkets) and Supervalu’s Sunflower Markets. Some conventional retailers are having some success by integrating “wellness” products in their mainstream aisles, others by setting up “boutique” corners with green products. However, smaller stores have a lot of promise, so the drive is still on to create successful “stand alone” wellness outlets. There is probably no “one-size-fits-all formula” says Chuck Cerankosky, retail analyst with FTN Midwest, Cleveland. Location and knowing your customers may be the key.
"Slimming Down ", Supermarket News, June 01, 2009, via http://www.lexisnexis.com, © Penton Media, Inc.
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Recession Frugality May Become Ingrained, Pundits Say

June 1, 2009: 09:19 AM EST
Frugality may be here to stay, according to a number of commentators. The view is backed by research: between one third and one half of consumers say they will continue their money-saving strategies even after the recession ends, according to retail consulting firm Retail Forward. Consumers were beginning to place more emphasis on value and relationships before the recession hit, and this will continue, as will the desire to “do good” with purchases, for example by buying “environmentally friendly” products. Heavy discounts are here to stay, say some retailers, including Home Depot. Some voices, however, say that people adapt quickly, and will return to pre-recession habits as the economy improves.
Nat Ives, "Marketers Fear Frugality May Just Be Here to Stay_06-01-09", AdAge.com, June 01, 2009, © Crain Communications
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Boom in Naturals Offers Scope for Multinationals

June 1, 2009: 06:24 AM EST
Marketers across the spectrum are pulling out all the stops to ensure their products are “green”, to capitalize on surging consumer interest in natural products. Major companies such as Unilever and Colgate are well positioned to take advantage of growth in the sector, riding on the backs of niche players who developed the market, says Carrie Mellage, director of Kline & Company’s Consumer Products practice. But it might not be a smooth path. The natural ingredients market is characterised by concerns about efficacy, traceability, authentication of ingredients, regulatory issues and ambiguity in the definition of “natural”, according to Dr. Lakshmi Prakash, Ph.D., vice president of innovation and business development, Sabinsa. Joshua Onysko, founder and chief executive officer of Pangea Organics, says it is “rare to find an organic or natural product that actually stands up to its claims”. Global standards have yet to be agreed, meaning consumers can be confused because countries, and even companies, have differing definitions of “organic” and “natural”.
Melissa Meisel, "Green Is the New Black", Happi.com, June 01, 2009, © Rodman Publishing / HAPPI
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Organic “Bioneers” Respond to Market Downturn

May 29, 2009: 12:50 PM EST
The global recession is hitting organic products as consumers cope with reduced spending power and the level of industry investment declines. This year could be the first in more than a decade where growth is in single-digits only. The UK market appears to be one of the hardest hit, recording 2 percent growth in 2008. Consumers are also demanding more from organic products, including ethical sourcing, traceability, the carbon footprint, sustainability and corporate social responsibility. “Bioneers” (organic food pioneers) are responding in numerous ways in a trend now tagged as “Organic Plus”. Strategies being employed include ethical and fairtrade sourcing, investing in the poorest (and often war-ravaged) parts of the world, offsetting carbon emissions, ensuring that products can be traced to the grower, more emphasis on sustainability, and more wide-ranging certification.
"Global Organic Market: Time for Organic Plus Strategies...", Organic Monitor, May 29, 2009, © Organic Monitor
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100-Calorie Packs Lose Steam as Dieters Turn to Satiety

May 26, 2009: 10:28 AM EST
Satiety may be replacing calorie control as the next big trend in dieting. Consumers are turning away from 100-calorie packs, amid concerns about price, efficacy, taste and sustainability. IRI says sales of 100-calorie packs are down, and Datamonitor says the segment “has run out of steam”. Food analyst Phil Lempert says “newly frugal consumers have figured out how to measure out 100-calories by themselves”. There is also increasing evidence that the low-cal packs aren’t effective for weight control: people tend to eat more smaller packs, and show more restraint when snacking from a full-size package. The dieting trend is now also moving toward satiety, based around consuming more protein to make people feel full for longer, but this may itself be slowed because protein products tend to be more expensive.
Elaine Wong , "100-Calorie Packs Pack It In", Brandweek, May 26, 2009, © Nielsen Business Media
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North Korean Toothpaste also Treats Bites, Eczema and Burns

May 25, 2009: 07:45 AM EST
A natural toothpaste that helps to prevent paradentitis, periodontitis and caries, and can be used on insect bites, eczema and burns, has been developed in North Korea (DPRK). The paste is made from microelements that treat stomatitis, and includes 10 pharmaceuticals made by traditional methods. According to an article published in North Korea, the toothpaste “increases salivation so as to immediately disintegrate and absorb carbohydrate, removes mouth smell and stimulates the digestion, thus keeping the mouth clean and making people feel fresh”.
"Natural Toothpaste with Special Remedial Result Developed in North Korea (DPRK) _05-26-09", Mathaba, May 25, 2009
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Interview with Michael Pollan covering Food Rules and the Food Movement

May 14, 2009: 03:26 PM EST
In this wide ranging interview with Leonard Lopate, Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food and a range of articles about the food business, discusses food rules and the rise of the food movement in the US.
"Food Rules with Michael Pollan", May 14, 2009, © WNYC Radio
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EU Worries over Detergent Phosphates

May 13, 2009: 04:01 AM EST
The EU is gearing up to restrict phosphates in detergents in 2009, following a study in Spain that the chemicals are causing worse eutrophication (excessive and unwanted organism growth in fresh water) than previously thought. Norway wants to lower the maximum permissible phosphorus content of household dish washing detergents from 3.8 to 0.2 per cent. Other EU countries have already adopted or are planning further phosphate restrictions.
"EU to consider further phosphate detergent controls", ENDS Europe, May 13, 2009, © Haymarket
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American Academy of Environmental Medicine Warns Against GMO Foods

May 8, 2009: 05:14 AM EST
In a review of studies, The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) finds a range of concerns and warns against the possible dangers of using genetically modified organisms (GMOs). For example, lab studies conducted on animals show a very high mortality rate for those fed with GM soy and GM cottonseed compared to the control subjects fed with natural foods. AAEM finds that “…it is biologically plausible for Genetically Modified Foods to cause adverse health effects in humans” and is advising physicians to educate their patients about possible risks. AAEM is also calling for, amongst other things, a moratorium on GM foods.
"Genetically Modified Foods", American Academy of Environmental Medicine Website, May 08, 2009, © American Academy of Environmental Medicine
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US Organic Product Sales Reach $25 Billion

May 6, 2009: 07:29 AM EST
US sales of organic products, both food and non-food, were $25 billion in 2008, 17 percent higher than 2007, but the slowest growth rate since 2004, according to the Organic Trade Association. Organic food sales grew 16 percent to $23 billion, while non-food grew by 40 percent to reach $2 billion. Organic food now accounts for 3.5 percent of all food sales in the US. High quality retailer store brand organic products are being sought after by consumers, according to J.D. Power and Associates.
Tanya Irwin, "Study: Organic Products Selling Strong Despite Economy", Marketing Daily, May 06, 2009, © MediaPost Communications.
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Tesco Ramps up Carbon Footprint Label

May 4, 2009: 07:26 AM EST
Tesco is aiming to extend its carbon labeling system to all private label products. One hundred products now have the label, which displays the amount of greenhouse gases produced during a product's lifetime. Surveys show that almost all customers are trying to reduce their carbon footprint while two-thirds understand the term “carbon footprint” and look for a product with a low carbon footprint if it is convenient and just as cheap to buy.
Isobel Drake, "Tesco expands use of carbon label on grocery products", Australia Food News, May 04, 2009
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P&G Looks to New Deodorant to Increase Sales

May 1, 2009: 04:29 AM EST
Procter and Gamble is pinning its hopes on a new men's deodorant to complement the Old Spice brand and together rack up $1 billion in sales. Ever Clear is said to contain ingredients that do not leave a residue. Old Spice has 25 percent of the US market with $250 million a year in sales. Men's deodorant sales totaled about $1 billion in the US in 2008.
Evan West, "Smells Like a Billion Bucks", Fast Company, May 01, 2009
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Native American herbs in New Soap Range

April 29, 2009: 08:56 AM EST
As the swing to organic and non-toxic ingredients in personal care continues, a Colorado company is using Native American herbs in its liquid soap and hair lotion range. Native Wisdom uses ingredients such as yucca plant, honey, blueberry, acai, shea butter, and pomegranate. The products are safe for children and do not contain any potentially harmful commercial chemicals.
Mindy Sink , "Native Wisdom wisely makes their body care products locally", Examiner.com, April 29, 2009
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New Natural Hair Products for Expectant Mothers - Oh Baby!

April 21, 2009: 07:29 AM EST
NINE Naturals has released Oh Baby!, natural hair tonics for expectant mothers that are free of chemicals such as parabens, phthalates, sulfates, which the DEA say can pose health risks to babies. The company says that the shampoo and conditioner contain a maximum of nine ingredients, compared with 25 for most shampoos.
"Oh Baby! The Newest in Healthy Hair Care for Mom-to-Be Hits Shelves Late April", PRWeb, April 21, 2009
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US Wal-Mart Goes for Full Eco-friendly Packaging by 2025

April 19, 2009: 07:18 AM EST
Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer is aiming to become one of the greenest, with all its 4,100 US stores aiming to reuse or recycle all their discarded packaging by 2025. Among the methods being discussed are promoting the habit of reusable bags by customers and reusing oil. The group buys from more than 60,000 suppliers worldwide and expects its eco-packaging policy will cut waste by 5 percent. It already recycles 180 million pounds of materials a year. The British division expects to achieve full recycling by 2010.
Dominic Rushe, "Walmart aspires to be jolly green giant", Times Online (UK), April 19, 2009, © Times Newspapers Ltd
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Green Still In Vogue Despite Downturn

April 17, 2009: 05:48 AM EST
Green marketing is still among the top priorities for companies wanting to keep their noses above water as consumers themselves struggle to stay afloat. Going green often costs companies more than sticking to the tried-and-true, but 50 percent of companies surveyed recently by the American Marketing Association (AMA) and Fleishman-Hillard say they think that economic realities will boost the trend to go green. More than that (58 percent) plan to pay more attention to sustainability opportunities in future. They think the Obama administration’s policies will encourage sustainability, but they’re also divided on whether or not consumers will pay more for green projects and products – 49 percent say no, 40 percent say yes. Just over 40 percent say they plan to increase green marketing. Despite this, only about one-third of businesses embrace even the most popular green strategies, such as recycling and electric energy efficiency. Another new report, “Clean Energy Trends 2009,” from Clean Edge, says that green industry sales will “flatline” or even fall in 2009, and that some green-tech companies will fail this year.
Todd Wasserman , "Is Green Still Golden? ", eMarketer, April 17, 2009, © eMarketer Inc
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98% of Green Claims Misleading, says Watchdog

April 17, 2009: 06:56 AM EST
Greenwashing appears to be a “growth industry” in North America, according to a recent analysis of product claims. Environmental marketing firm TerraChoice says that only about 1 percent (25 of more than 2,000) products were “indisputably sin free”. The rest employed misleading environmental ads or claims – referred to as “greenwashing” in environmental circles. Cleaning products, cosmetics and children's toys and products are the most common suspects, says TerraChoice, which has a contract to oversee Environment Canada's EcoLogo certification program. Lack of proof, vague language and "hidden trade-offs" are the most common transgressions of guidelines introduced last year by the Competition Bureau of Canada. Companies are also implying they have third-party certification by using official-looking logos and badges. The guidelines don’t require third-party certification. In some cases, as with claims for "bisphenol-A free", there is no independent certification scheme.
Catherine Porter, "Eco-friendly labelling? It's a lot of 'greenwash'; 98% of product claims fail 'sin-free' test, marketing experts say ", The Toronto Star, April 17, 2009, © Toronto Star
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Subway Writes Key Message into “Chuck” Script

April 16, 2009: 07:57 AM EST
Subway has broken new ground in product placement on TV shows by having one of its key phrases written into the script of NBC’s “Chuck”. The sandwich has featured in a previous episode, but this is the first time it has been referenced in the script as well. Subway has a deal with NBC universal that gives it access to a number of shows, and uses an independent firm to handle the placements. The “Chuck” placement goes “far beyond just a logo placement or a product placement. It's more about the messaging," according to Tony Pace, chief marketing officer of Subway’s consumer marketing arm, the Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust. Frank Zazza, CEO and founder of iTVX, a firm that measures the effectiveness of product placements, says companies want to go beyond passive placement to get the most out of the exposure it offers them. But they face the risk of over-exposure, causing viewers to switch off from both the message and the program.
"Subway Places More Than Just Product in NBC's 'Chuck'", AdAge, April 16, 2009, © Crain Communication
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Food Channel’s Top 10 Trends Cover all the Bases

April 16, 2009: 01:48 PM EST
The Food Channel has picked its 10 top trends for 2009, working with the World Thought Bank and the International Food Futurists. Home cooking, particularly “slow and unattended”, tops the list, followed by food “communities”, both online and including a return to functions such as potluck dinners and cooperative buying. Green and fair trade considerations round out the top three. Consistent with these themes are eating locally at number four and too much information on labels and more use of “gluten free” claims at five. Sixth spot goes to more bioengineered and genetically modified foods, seemingly at odds with the clean, green and home-based trends topping the list. An increase in “food philanthropy” at seven and concerns over food security (eight) return to the “caring” theme of the top five. Ninth spot goes to a widening gap between “luxury beverages” and a “daily fix” of a favorite but cheaper brew, with globalization and variety sitting at 10, seemingly at odds with the higher-placed eat-local theme. As an outside runner, look for “underground” restaurants, promoted by word of mouth and possibly also on the move, based in trailers.
"The Food Channel's Top Ten Trends for 2009", The Food Channel® , April 16, 2009, © Food Channel, LLC
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New Hair Shampoo Tackles Yeast Formation

April 16, 2009: 05:21 AM EST
Procter & Gamble has launched a shampoo targeted specifically at the root cause of dandruff, yeast formation. The company says half the world's population suffers from dandruff, which irritates the scalp and causes itching which in turn leads to hair damage. Hair Endurance, part of the Head&Shoulders range, is also designed to protect hair from rough treatment and the wrong kinds of soap.
"Head & Shoulders launches Hair Endurance, protecting men from the root cause of hair loss", Eyeofdubai.com, April 16, 2009, © Fourth Dimension
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Mouthwash Demonstrates the Power of Packaging

April 11, 2009: 03:47 AM EST
Triumph Pharmaceuticals has demonstrated the power of packaging with its new-look SmartMouth presentation. The selling point for the mouthwash is that it provides 12-hour cover, compared with only one or two hours provided by major competitors such as Listerine and Scope. But this key message was lost in a clutter of words, color, and motifs on a package that simply blended in with the rest. Triumph, owned by a family of dentists, called in Obata, a St. Louis design firm, to take a fresh look at how the product could be positioned where it belonged – in the premium category. The result was a package that can be described as crisp and clean – just like the product – getting key messages across to buyers simply and effectively. “Fresh, dignified, competent” was one consumer’s reaction to the new package.
Becky Ebenkamp , "Smart New Package For a SmartMouth", Brandweek, April 11, 2009, © Nielsen Business Media
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Special Deals Now Normal in Shoppers’ Eyes

April 9, 2009: 03:44 AM EST
Special offers have become an accepted and expected part of everyday shopping, says Buckingham Research. The market research agency surveyed 512 people online, and found that 89 percent expect to find special offers when they shop. Four percent said they would not patronize a store that didn’t offer specials, such as discounts, two for the price of one, or buy two, get three. Nearly one-third said special offers were “standard” as shops try to entice customers through their doors. Another 18 percent said special offers were now normal. The same number said they always look for a good deal and expect special offers when they shop, and 16 percent said they expected special offers in response to their own monetary and economic concerns. Three-quarters of this group cited the economic downturn as a reason for expecting specials.
"Shoppers ‘now expect special offers as standard’ ", Netimperative, April 09, 2009, via Buckingham Research , © Buckingham Research
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Shampoos Designed to Appeal to Generation Texters

April 7, 2009: 04:47 AM EST
Two stay-at-home moms in Edwardsville, Il., have launched a hair care line specifically for the text generation, according to a media release. Totally Texty targets scalp and “head smell” problems for kids aged from 8 to 19. The product names are common text terms: ddg (drop dead gorgeous) for girls, and ytmn (you’re the man now) for boys. Both are backed by a website providing information on common scalp and hair problems. The shampoos are free of sodium laurel sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate and parabens, and the bottles are recyclable.
"New Hair Product Line Addresses Common Scalp Conditions of Teens and Tweens", PRWeb, April 07, 2009, © Vocus PRW Holdings, LLC.
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Household Cleaning Chemicals Are Being Identified, Disclosed

April 1, 2009: 05:20 AM EST
Some makers of household cleaners in the US are disclosing the chemicals in their products. SC Johnson and Clorox are identifying most of their ingredients while Seventh Generation, which has long been disclosing the ingredients in its eco friendly products, is now explaining the scientific and technical names. Consumer groups and eco-activists say that many ingredients could cause breathing and chest problems and should be listed on labels rather than only on websites. One chemical is monoethanolamine, which has been linked to asthma. Federal laws mostly do not require ingredients to be listed, although some dangerous chemicals used in commercial and institutional applications have to be disclosed as professional cleaners deal with much greater quantities. Congress is considering whether to make a law giving the Environmental Protection Agency the power to declare if a chemical is safe. Consumers are buying more eco friendly cleaning products, which earned $64 million in 2008, according to Mintel.
Anjali Athavaley, "Household Products Start to Come Clean on Ingredients ", Wall Street Journal, April 01, 2009, via Wall Street Journal, © Dow Jones
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Superfruits for Hair Care

April 1, 2009: 04:30 AM EST
Superfruits are being used in a new line of hair shampoos from Vogue International. Said to be free of sulphates and parabens, the products combine superfruits with other varieties of fruit that have high vitamin and antioxidant content.
Melissa Meisel, "Drink Up! ", Happi.com, April 01, 2009, © Happi, Inc.
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“Ethnic” Hair Care Expected to Become Growth Market

April 1, 2009: 04:05 AM EST
Natural and organic with a focus on maintaining and restoring hair health are the drivers in a burgeoning “ethnic” hair care market in the US, says Veronique Morrison, director of education for Mizani, now owned by L’Oreal. Packaged Facts estimated that ethnic-specific hair care products topped $1.2 billion in 2008, 4.6 percent more than in 2007. “Consumers want visibly shiny viable, healthy looking hair,” says Morrison.The biggest sector in the US is the African-American market, which also uses relaxers, weaves, wigs and extensions. Media focus on new US First Lady Michelle Obama is expected to help keep the spotlight on healthy hair.
Christine Esposito, "Ethnic Hair Care: A Healthy Segment", Happi.com, April 01, 2009, © Rodman Publishing / HAPPI
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China Stops Coca-Cola's Bid for Fruit Juice Brand

March 19, 2009: 07:56 AM EST

Coca-Cola's £1.7bn bid to acquire Huiyan, the largest pure juice brand in China, has been halted by the country's new anti-monopoly laws brought in to meet nationalist demands. Coca-Cola has over half of the Chinese fizzy drinks market but just 10% of the fruit and vegetable juice sector. The European Chamber of Commerce in China is seeking an explanation for the deal being blocked.

Ed Kemp, "Coca-Cola bid to dominate Chinese juice market derailed", marketingmagazine.co.uk, March 19, 2009, © Haymarket
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Whole Foods Commits To Sustainable Palm Oil

February 24, 2009: 04:17 PM EST
In an boost for the Rainforest Action Network's campaign to end unsustainable palm oil production, Whole Foods Market signed on, expressed concern about for current practices and called for a change in the US market. Palm oil is used widely in many cosmetic and consumer goods and unsustainable practices are blamed for deforestation in Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and the Amazon rainforest. Whole Foods Market joins 37 other food, cosmetic and consumer goods companies and two organic palm oil suppliers who have signed a Rainforest Action Network (RAN) pledge to seek more sustainable ways of sourcing palm oil.
"Whole Foods Market® Supports End to Unsustainable Palm Oil", Rainforest Action Network, February 24, 2009, © Rainforest Action Network
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