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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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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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