Guilt-free chocolate? Fair trade and organic claims may boost sales, study suggests

25 Mar 2019 --- Ethical labels such as “fair trade” or “organic” influence consumer choices positively, according to a new study from the University of Göttingen, Germany. The researchers highlight that “ethical” claims seem to significantly impact purchasing decisions because they make consumers “feel good,” for supporting sustainable supply chains. However, ethical labels influence purchasing decisions only when they are known and easily recognized by consumers, while unknown labels are perceived as confusing, according to the authors.

“The future is snacking”: Mondelēz partners with food incubator The Hatchery Chicago

25 Mar 2019 --- Mondelēz has partnered with The Hatchery Chicago, a non-profit food business incubator, as it ramps up its efforts to meet growing snacking demands. The newly announced partnership is one of several investments Mondelēz is making as part of SnackFutures, the company’s innovation and venture hub aimed at unlocking snacking opportunities around the world.

LATAM bakery boost: Corbion to acquire Granotec do Brazil in US$45 million deal

25 Mar 2019 --- Corbion is planning to buy Granotec do Brazil, a specialist in functional blends for the Brazilian bakery industry, in a deal worth US$45 million. This acquisition is aligned with Corbion’s objectives as part of its “Creating Sustainable Growth” strategy, notes Corbion CEO, Tjerk de Ruiter, who says that part of the attraction is the company’s state-of-the-art manufacturing and R&D facilities. He believes that the move to buy the “top-three Brazilian bakery ingredient player” will provide an excellent platform for growth for Corbion’s South America bakery solutions business.

Cracking up: Brazil-based Grupo Mantiqueira launches plant-based egg alternative

25 Mar 2019 --- South America’s largest egg producer has debuted a plant-based egg in response to the continued demand for plant-based foods. Thinktank company the Good Food Institute (GFI) Brazil, has been working with Grupo Mantiqueira, a Brazil-based egg producer, which has launched N.Ovo, made from pea starch and plant protein. The launch comes at a time when egg replacements are seeing significant market growth, as consumers are increasingly looking for tasty, healthy, more sustainable sources of protein and retailers and restaurants are searching for ways to elevate either stagnant or declining egg sales.

In the sweet mix: Blends that mimic sugar’s functionality will be key in reformulation, says expert

22 Mar 2019 --- Replacing sugar is technologically challenging because its functionality is not only related to the sweetness perception but also to the texture, making the overall sensory experience broader than just about sweetness. This is according to Stefano Renzetti from Wageningen University & Research (WUR) Department of Food Sciences and Agrotechnology.

“Fertile ground” for agri-food innovation: Israeli start-ups secure US$800m investments within 5 years

22 Mar 2019 --- Investments in the Israeli agri-food start-up sector have boomed from 2014 to 2018, raising almost US$800 million in funding over this period. This is according to a recent investing report from venture capital (VC) platform AgFunder. Due to the country’s location and unfriendly desert climate, agricultural practices prove challenging. Yet, Israel, rising to the occasion, is proving “fertile ground” for agri-food innovation and the start-ups that drive it.

FDA proposes new funding across multiple aspects of US food safety systems

22 Mar 2019 --- Thanks to innovations in technology and the new requirements of the US Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), there are now “ample opportunities to strengthen public health and bring innovative food products to consumers than perhaps at any other time in history.” This is according to outgoing FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. and Deputy Commissioner Frank Yiannas. As part of the President’s 2020 Budget, the FDA has proposed new funding across multiple aspects of US food safety systems and are seeking to invest in preventing problems by solidifying the agency’s tools under the FSMA.

Brexit breathing space: Short delay gives industry more time but is it merely a stay of execution?

22 Mar 2019 --- While the food industry may technically have that little bit more time for Brexit preparations following last night’s events, confusion still remains over exactly what will happen next. EU agri-food chain players continue to underscore the need for certainty.

Weekly Roundup: Morrisons signs up to Arla UK 360 program, Ruby chocolate crowdsourced platform created

22 Mar 2019 --- This week in business news, UK retailer Morrisons signed up to Arla UK 360 farm standards program as part of a push to drive successful supply chains. Bühler joined the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, in the hope of making an impact on global corporate sustainability and mobility solutions of the future. Nordzucker is investing €100 million (US$114 million) in Swedish sugar production and a crowdsourced platform for Ruby chocolate has been created, whereby consumers can share and discover brands and artisans showcasing new Ruby applications.

PureCircle’s “next generation” stevia leaf sweeteners get nod of approval in Singapore

21 Mar 2019 --- Stevia sweeteners specialist PureCircle has been given the green light for expanded use and applications of its “next generation” stevia leaf sweetener, Reb M, in Singapore, opening up opportunities for food and beverage companies seeking zero- and low-calorie options. Chicago-headquartered PureCircle has ramped up its capacity to supply plant-based and non-GMO certified Reb M to keep pace with the growing global demand for stevia.

Healthier indulgence? Adult beverage company expands vegan and gluten-free offerings

21 Mar 2019 --- BOM BOM Brands, a premium cream liqueur brand from wellness-focused beverage company Sippwell Spirits, is continuing its expansion plans by entering Florida and California with a new regional office in Miami, Florida. BOM BOM’s flavors, Coco Mochanut and Nilli Vanilli are currently available and the brand’s latest flavor, Fully Baked, is expected to follow shortly.

Leading the whey? Arla Foods Ingredients highlights safety standards behind its protein solutions

21 Mar 2019 --- Arla Foods Ingredients is seeking to highlight its quality and food safety processes, through a new campaign to demonstrate the “high standards behind its range of whey protein solutions.” To guarantee food safety at every step of the supply chain and production process, the company says it applies some of the most rigorous standards in the industry.

Spearheading sustainability: Alpro-WWF pilot project seeks science-based targets for land, water and soil

21 Mar 2019 --- Plant-based food and drink producer Alpro and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) have undertaken a pioneering study developing ways for companies to boost sustainability within their supply chains. The project applies science-based targets for Alpro’s almond and soy drink supply chains that go beyond carbon emissions to develop targets for water, land use, soil nutrients, and biodiversity. The findings give insight on how other companies can reduce their specific environmental footprints based on the earth’s actual capacity, rather than general sustainability principles.

Catering to Chinese tastes: Targeted supplier investments reach out to adventurous consumers

20 Mar 2019 --- Major suppliers are eyeing new growth opportunities that specifically target Chinese tastes. Investment announcements and facility expansions from Firmenich, Wacker and Agrana in the past week, suggest that a more adventurous Chinese consumer is being targeted. A 2018 Innova Market Insights survey found that two-thirds of Chinese consumers agreed with the statement “I love to discover new flavors.” Over 60 percent agreed that they “love to discover flavors from new cultures.” A surprisingly large 21 percent said that “the crazier the flavor, the better.”

Asda-Sainsbury’s merger: £1bn in price cuts promised as retailers battle to convince competition regulators

20 Mar 2019 --- UK retail giants Sainsbury’s and Asda have pledged £1 billion (US$1.3 billion) in price cuts and grocery savings if they are allowed to merge. Both supermarkets are making big promises in a bid to persuade the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to rethink its “extensive competition concerns” over the planned merger which would permanently reshape the UK grocery market to create ‎a more powerful rival to Tesco, the UK’s current market leader.

Red-fleshed kiwifruit goes on trial in New Zealand, Zespri seeking feedback

20 Mar 2019 --- Zespri International, the world’s largest marketer of kiwifruit, has introduced a red kiwifruit on limited release in supermarkets across New Zealand as part of a nationwide sales trial. The new fruit is still some way off from full commercialization and Zespri is looking for feedback from consumers and retailers about the taste, color, shelf-life and storage handling of the distinctive red fruit.

“Disrupting US F&B categories”: Chobani unveils latest Spring Incubator class

20 Mar 2019 --- Chobani has unveiled the members of its Spring Incubator 2019 class, including eight food and beverage start-ups that the company says are “disrupting and improving mainstay food and beverage categories in the US.” According to Chobani, the Spring 2019 class bring together a diverse mix of backgrounds, perspectives and culinary inspirations.

“Creating sustainable value chains” is key, says Orkla report

20 Mar 2019 --- Norwegian branded consumer goods giant Orkla ASA has published its annual report for 2018, including the group’s sustainability report, which focuses on how the company creates sustainable economic growth by developing products and solutions that are good for people and the environment. The report explains how Orkla is seeking to create sustainable value chains and inspiring consumers to adopt a healthy diet and examines the company’s switch to sustainable production and generally making sustainability an integral part of company business. The publication of the sustainability report comes at the same time as CEO of the Norwegian food company, Peter Ruzicka, announces that he will step down from his role this May.

Brexit and food: Impact on ingredients and start-ups could be particularly profound, notes industry chief

19 Mar 2019 --- UK business has failed to make its case in the Brexit process, which could have a detrimental impact on the thriving start-up atmosphere in the UK. While there will be some opportunities that can be taken in the event of Brexit, the ingredients sector could be particularly hard hit. This is according to Ian Wright, CEO of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) who spoke to FoodIngredientsFirst at the International Food & Drink Event (IFE) show in London, yesterday.

Could the best burger be plant-based? Moving Mountains founder seeks to flip consumer expectations

19 Mar 2019 --- Growing consumer and retail interest is providing ample opportunity for food & beverage suppliers to benefit from the plant-based craze currently sweeping the globe. Still, industry investment in raw materials and well as company tenacity to continuously up the ante in terms of quality are vital in sustaining this trend. This is according to Simeon van der Molen, Founder of Moving Mountains, who spoke with FoodIngredientsFirst about successfully marketing plant-based offerings to audiences well beyond vegan consumers, as well as the future of the growing meat alternatives category.