Top 7 from 7: The key global food industry news of the past week (July 24-30)

By Mary Ellen Shoup contact

- Last updated on GMT

Top 7 from 7: The key global food industry news of the past week (July 24-30)
National product rollouts such as Chobani’s ‘Hint Of’ range, ingredients made from unexpected sources, insect protein production at a commercial scale in Asia, as well as the heated discussion over labeling conventions for plant-based ‘milk’ were just a few of the topics that made headlines last week.

Read on to see the rest of the round-up of the top seven global and food and beverage news items from the past seven days.

USA

Labeling conventions on plant-based ‘milk’ products continues to be a war of words now turning to a more pointed discussion on the nutritional equivalency of plant-based ‘milk’ compared to dairy milk​.

In a statement by FDA commissioner Dr Scott Gottlieb, he referred to anecdotal reports of protein and vitamin deficiencies in children fed plant-based milks.

Gottlieb stated: “Because these dairy alternative products are often popularly referred to as ‘milk,’ we intend to look at whether parents may erroneously assume that plant-based beverages’ nutritional contents are similar to those of cow’s milk, despite the fact that some of these products contain only a fraction of the protein or other nutrients found in cow’s milk.”​​

The FDA is currently seeking comment from stakeholders and will post an additional request for information, targeting late summer or early fall,“with a specific set of questions pertaining to consumer awareness and understanding of the use of milk and other dairy terms on plant-based alternatives, with a focus on nutritional impact.”​​

After that, the agency will likely issue new guidance and a new compliance policy for the industry.

In other dairy news, Greek yogurt maker Chobani announced the national rollout of its Hint Of….​ low sugar, high protein Greek yogurt range in August after successful regional debuts in the Pacific, Northeast, and Florida markets.

The milder tasting yogurts – which use different cultures to Chobani’s core Greek range and are flavored with fruit varietals such as Alphonso Mango and Monterey Strawberry – do not contain any high intensity sweeteners (Chobani’s Simply 100 range, which was sweetened with stevia leaf extract, monk fruit, and sugar, was discontinued in spring 2017).

“The velocities of Hint are exceeding established low sugar brands, and the dollars per TDP ​​[total distribution points] is very good, so it’s very productive on shelf, and consumer feedback has been very positive,” ​​chief marketing and commercial officer Peter McGuinness told FoodNavigator-USA.

Lastly, in US meal kit news: After announcing its abrupt shutdown earlier this month, Los Angeles-based Chef’d has a new owner – HPP specialist, True Family Enterprises and its wholly owned subsidiary True Food Innovations (TFI) who acquired all Chef’d​ assets for an undisclosed sum last week.

In a follow-up interview with FoodNavigator-USA, TFI CEO said that as the new owner of Chef’d it is reaching out to all of its retail customers and “assuring them that product will be available again in the near future."​​

Europe

Switzerland-based Nestlé has been reworking its company structure, shedding some of its business and lowering taxes. For its H1 2018 results​, the company reported organic growth (not linked to acquisitions) of 2.8% driven by “increased momentum”​ in the US and China, but pulled down by a challenging environment in Europe.

The group confirmed its full year guidance, with organic sales growth expected to grow by 3%. 

In European-specific news, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that crops obtained by mutagenesis, a new plant breeding technique are GMOs because the techniques and methods of mutagenesis alter the genetic material of a plant in a way that does not occur naturally.

The ruling was somewhat of a surprise, reported by FeedNavigator​, as Advocate General of the ECJ, Michael Bobek, released a statement in January stating that organisms obtained by mutagenesis, in principles, are exempted from the GMO Directive.

The recent ECJ ruling has also received backlash from industry organizations such as the European Seed Assocation who described the decision as a serious blow to European agriculture​ and plant science.”

Asia

Moving over to Asia, DuPont Nutrition & Health announced the opening of its new innovation center in Japan​, the largest among any international ingredients company in the country. The facility, slated to open later this summer, will deliver cross-functional solutions to Japanese and Korean customers primarily in the bakery, beverage and dairy industries.

Thailand’s Crickey Lab Farm, established in March this year, is now producing commercial quantities of cricket flour – 3.5 million tonnes of it per month.

As FoodNavigator-Asia reports: “The incorporation of cricket flour into food products started in the US. While it is termed as flour, cricket flour, however, is not the main basic baking ingredient. Other conventional flours such as wheat flour and rye wheat are still required, and the addition of cricket flour is mainly to provide protein.

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