Top 7 from 7: The key global food industry news of the past 7 days (Sept 24 – Oct 1)

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Top 7 from 7: The key global food industry news of the past 7 days (Sept 24 – Oct 1)
From Dr Pepper’s acquisition of CORE Nutrition and tighter standards for advertising to kids and the UK’s pledge to halve food waste by 2020, a lot has happened over the past seven days. Here’s a round-up of the top seven global food and beverage news items to get you updated!


1. Keurig Dr. Pepper $525 million acquisition of CORE Nutrition

The acquisition will give Keurig Dr. Pepper (KDP) a solid play into the premium water category​ where it is currently not as active, according to an expert.

Nick McCoy, co-founder and managing director of Whipstitch Capital and an advisor to CORE on the deal, said the decision to acquire CORE was an obvious one given the brand’s exponential growth and KDP’s gap in its portfolio for a premium bottled water brand.

“The health of the way that product is selling is so strong. Not only is it growing really rapidly but the velocity numbers are increasing really well and it’s very difficult to grow velocity when you’re growing that quickly,”​ McCoy said.

Bottled water is the #1 beverage product in the US (by volume) overtaking soft drink consumption with sales totaling $18.4bn in 2017, according to data from the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) and the Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC).

2. Food and beverage giants adopt tighter voluntary nutritional standards for advertising to children

All 18 companies that participate in the Council of Better Business Bureaus’ self-regulatory Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative​ have agreed to implement stronger Category-Specific Uniform Nutrition Criteria that apply to foods advertised to children 12 years and younger by Jan. 1, 2020.

The decision will require nearly half of the products currently marketed to kids to be reformulated or no longer marketed to consumers younger than 12 years.

CFBAI participants include the American Licorice Company, Burger King, Campbell Soup, Coca-Cola, Conagra Brands, Danone North America, PBC, Ferrero USA, General Mills, Hershey, Kellogg, Kraft Heinz, Mars, McDonald’s USA, Mondelez Global, Nestlé USA, PepsiCo, Post Foods, and Unilever USA.

The guidelines not only limit undesirable nutrients, but also seek to boost beneficial ones.

For example, the whole grain foods criteria has been revised to ensure foods contribute a “meaningful amount of whole grains,” according to CFBAI. As such, it is no longer enough simply to provide a half serving of whole grains to qualify. Rather, now foods must check this box as well as have at least a whole grain as the first ingredient, 50% whole grains by weight of the product or 50% whole grains by weight of grains, according to the revised guidelines.

The revised criteria also strive to boost beneficial nutrients by requiring more food groups in main dishes and meals and by limiting the nutrient-based qualification requirements to nutrients that the dietary guidelines for Americans identify as ‘under-consumed.’


3. Cell-based meat start-up Meatable claim competitive advantage

Dutch start-up Meatable​ has developed a production process, which its founders claim will give it a competitive advantage over rivals. The company recently raised $3.5m to help scale its slaughter-free cultured meat platform.

Meatable chief technology officer Daan Luining – who worked with Professor Mark Post on the world’s first cell-cultured burger in 2013 before joining New Harvest, an NGO funding academic research in cultured meat – told FoodNavigator-USA that Meatable is effectively reprogramming Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) from the blood of umbilical cords of cows so that they turn into [induced] pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) or ‘master cells’ that can differentiate into multiple cells types such as muscle and fat, and proliferate indefinitely.

Induced pluripotent stem cells behave like embryonic stem cells, but don’t come from embryos, and don’t require the slaughter or harm of any animal: "The collection method is truly non-invasive,"​ said Luining. "After the calf is born and the umbilical cord is detached, we cannulate one of the veins in the cord and collect the blood in a blood bag. From this blood we isolate cells in the lab."

After that, the blood cells are effectively 'reprogrammed' to a pluripotent state using technology pioneered by Shinya Yamanaka’s lab in Kyoto, Japan that was awarded the 2012 Nobel prize.

4. UK pledges to cut food waste by 50% by 2030

Food Waste © Getty Images Daisy-Daisy
© Getty Images / Daisy-Daisy

Ninety of the largest retailers, food producers, manufacturers and food service companies in the UK have signed to the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap​, thereby committing to cutting food waste by 50% by the end of the next decade.

Food waste currently costs the UK £20bn (€22.5bn) annually.

The roadmap covers the farm-to-fork supply chain and spells out actions large businesses will take to cut waste, both within their own organisations and to support suppliers. The Roadmap also looks at how businesses can engage with UK shoppers to reduce spoilage at a consumer level.

“The Food Waste Reduction Roadmap presents a huge opportunity for every business within the UK food and grocery industry to provide reassurance for shoppers. UK shoppers see industry food waste at the top of their priorities and by working together with the total food chain, we’re delighted to have secured a world first, with the UK leading the way in this important area,”​ said Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive of research and training charity IGD.

5. French MPs demand make processed and 'ultra-processed' food be made healthier

A French parliamentary report​ called for a raft of food-related measures, including setting maximum limits on salt, sugar and fat to caps on the number of additives used per product.

Currently 338 additives are authorized in processed foods in France. The committee wants to limit this to 48 – the same number allowed in organic food – by 2025 and to cap the number of additives used per category in the same product. Instead of allowing manufacturers to add three colors, four flavors and two emulsifiers to one food product, for instance, they would only be permitted one color, one flavor and one emulsifier.

“Considering the proven failure of voluntary commitment measures, [the committee proposes] introducing a regulation limiting the salt, sugar and trans fatty acid content of processed foods,” ​stated the report.


6. UAE consumers increasingly buying organic

Data from a YouGov survey found that 61% of consumers from the UAE buy organic food more than once in a month.

The survey, commissioned by Arla Foods​, also found that 38% of consumers said they have bought more organic food in the last 12 months compared to the previous year.

Fruit and vegetables (69%) formed the bulk of the UAE organic food market, followed by eggs (49%), dairy (40%), fish (36%), poultry (33%), red meat (29%), and cereals and bakery (30%).

“The organic food segment is gathering pace in the UAE, bolstered by consumers’ growing interest in health and wellness,” ​said Ann-Camilla Kjaempe, category director at Arla Foods.

7. Harvard distances itself from coconut oil 'poison' row

In response to a letter from India’s agricultural department, Harvard University is distancing itself from any direct connection with claims that coconut oil is 'pure poison'.

The prestigious university stated that the statements were "not [made] on behalf of the institution (Harvard)"​.

In an email from Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health Dean Dr Michelle Williams​ to Dr B. N. Srinivasa Murthy, Horticulture Commissioner of India, stated that Dr Karin Michels, who first gave the lecture describing coconut oil as ‘pure poison’, is not a ‘Harvard professor’.

“We are aware of media coverage of Dr Michels giving a talk in which she mentioned coconut oil,”​ wrote Dr Williams in the email, which was shared with our sister publication, FoodNavigator-Asia.

“Media reports have referred to Dr Michels as a ‘Harvard professor’. This is misleading. She has an appointment as an adjunct professor, which she retains because she will be mentoring a student.”

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