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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.

Mint flavors beyond gum? Suppliers tout NPD outside the traditional scope

21 Mar 2019 --- Mint, just like vanilla, is one of the flavors that you couldn’t imagine the world to be without. Mint flavors have long been known to “freshen-up” a range of categories and with mint tonalities continuing to delight consumers globally, this theme is likely to gain even further traction in 2019. Mint is still considered to fall within the realms of the most popular botanical ingredients. Gum is still primarily used for breath-freshening, which is the primary driver for mint. As consumers opt for natural botanicals, mint has become a front-runner for many innovative flavor concepts outside of the traditional chewing gum realm, however.

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.

“Tobacco tactics” used to boost sales of sugary drinks in children: BMJ report claims

19 Mar 2019 --- Tobacco companies transferred colors, flavors and marketing techniques – previously used to entice children as future smokers – to the sugar-sweetened beverages space, when they bought food and drink companies in 1963, according to a BMJ report. Led by researchers at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), the study draws from a cache of “secret documents” from the tobacco industry and marketing campaigns of drink brands by two the biggest tobacco companies: R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris.

Predicting quality: Dutch fruit and vegetable project boosts sustainable supply chain

19 Mar 2019 --- The latest techniques for improving the quality of fruit and vegetables in the post-harvest stage have been presented by experts from Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and Dutch association GroentenFruit House. GreenCHAINge Fruits and Vegetables is a four-year project aimed at encouraging the consumption of fruits and vegetables and boosting the sustainability of the supply chain, making them smarter and more focused on quality control. The results of the project include a model that can predict the quality of products after harvest, developing a camera that can measure and analyze the color and quality of fresh produce and a transport and storage conditioning system that cuts down on waste, according to the researchers.

Focus on US food and agri sector: Rabobank US to sell retail unit to Mechanics Bank for US$2.1 billion

19 Mar 2019 --- In line with its international food and agri focus, Rabobank will consolidate its agri-business activities across the US and complete the sale of its subsidiary Rabobank, National Association (RNA) to Mechanics Bank for US$2.1 billion. Last week, Rabobank signed documentation with Mechanics Bank and the transaction is expected to be completed later this year, subject to customary closing conditions. The total consideration amounts to approximately US$2.1 billion, including a material pre-closing dividend and a 9.9 percent stake in Mechanics Bank.