Top 7 from 7: The key global food industry news of the past week (July 17-23)
“An almond doesn’t lactate… we have a standard of identity for milk and I intend to enforce that,” said commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Dr. Scott Gottlieb at the Politico Pro Summit in Washington last Tuesday, echoing sentiments he made during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing in April.
His statement was welcomed by the National Milk Producers Federation, a US trade group which claimed the FDA has in the past turned a blind eye to alleged violations of its own standards of identity.
“This is an indication that the NMPF’s requests for action by the agency are being heard,” said president and CEO Jim Mulhern.
In other news – is the meal kit category poised for longevity? Chef’d ceased all operations and issued layoff notices to its employees last week, even though in March this year it was the meal kit category leader, based on data from market research firm IRI.
But its former SVP advised observers not to brush off the category just yet. Nielsen data reveals that meal kits grew three times faster than any other food channel with total sales last year at $2.2bn, and that one-fourth of the US population would consider buying a meal kit.
European sales of dairy have declined and sales of dairy alternatives lag behind the US, according to a survey conducted by Cargill, shared at the Institute of Food Technologists convention in Chicago last week. They surveyed more than 5,200 grocery shoppers in 13 countries to notice trends in yogurt, flavored milk, ice cream, and dairy alternative purchase behavior.
In France, members of parliament have made a raft of suggestions that could see the country introduce stricter food safety checks.
The suggestions came after a probe sparked by a Salmonella agona outbreak that sickened 38 babies in France, as well as two infants in Spain and one in Greece. French dairy giant Lactalis was forced to recall products in more than 80 countries after the source of the contagion was traced to infant formula produced at its Craon facility.
The Chinese dairy market has been growing rapidly across categories in the past two years, according to market research firm Innova market Insights. From 2016 to 2017, it grew by 44%. Broken down, cheese increased by 688%, milk and milk drinks grew by 48%, spoonable yogurt by 36% and drinkable yogurt by 25%.
Across the sea, a Japanese lab-grown meat firm, Integriculture, raised ¥300 million (around US$2.6m) to make products affordable for the mass market. According to Integriculture, producing 100g of clean meat by existing cell culture methodology today will cost several million yen.
Finally, at the Dubai Central Laboratory in the UAE, researchers got the green light to study a method that can extend food shelf life.