PORT WASHINGTON, NY — Consumer market research firm NPD Group has made a few predictions about eating trends over the next five years. Healthy eating comes in at Number 4 on the list with a prediction that the category will overtake sweet snacks by 2018. Also, fresh end dishes and fresh ingredients play a key role in trends Number 1 and 2.
PORTLAND, OR — The health benefits of organic coconut oil and similar products have been making the news lately and that exposure is driving up demand. Capitalizing on the growing market, Portland, OR-based Trailblazer Foods, a manufacturer of private label and branded grocery items, introduced a line of certified organic products on July 1.
“There is a strong and growing demand in the U.S. for better-for-you foods,” said Rob Miller, CEO of Trailblazer Foods, “and coconut fits in with this trend: it’s a clean ingredient, natural and organic, and with no added sugar. By offering a complete line to our customers, grocers will be able to meet the needs of every type of consumer seeking coconut products, eliminating the reason to shop elsewhere.”
The West Coast company will manufacture a complete line of certified organic coconut products, including oil, virgin oil, milk, light milk, flour, sugar and unsweetened flakes, drawing on its relationship with coconut processors in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam.
DULUTH, GA — Organic baby food maker Sprout Organic Foods recently sold controlling interest in its firm to Greenwich, CT-based investment firm North Castle Partners, according to published reports.
Alison Minter, North Castle managing director, who was quoted in BakingBusiness.com, pointed to the potential growth opportunities in the organic baby food market as one reason for the investment:
“The organic baby food category is an attractive market with strong underlying fundamentals. Sprout is a strong brand that resonates with retailers and consumers, with a product portfolio that has meaningful competitive differentiation.”
Founded in 2008, Sprout manufactures and distributes organic baby food products created with certified organic ingredients and no preservatives, artificial colors, flavors or other additives, the company says.
NEVADA — With the Nevada Department of Agriculture board of directors voting to end the state’s organic certification program on June 30, 2016, local organic farmers are reviewing their options.
According to the Nevada Appeal:
On June 16, a gathering of growers, producers and sellers discussed the feasibility of a private certification program and whether it could be up and running before the program officially closes June 30, 2016. State organic certifications, however, will expire in March 2016, and growers and producers will have a three-month grace period before getting certified with a new organization.
Their options are complicated by the fact that there are no private certification firms located in the state, the paper says, and the expense of using out-of-state firms could drive up costs impacting the ability of small farms to remain competitive.
LOS ANGELES, CA — Healthy eating not only requires discipline but a little bit of planning. An automated nutrition and meal planning service from Los Angeles-based Eat This Much seeks to make that effort easier, especially for folks on the go, with the launch of its first app for the iPhone.
“There is a huge barrier between knowing how you want to eat and the iterating on the many steps required to accomplish your goals, such as calorie counting, getting the right groceries, and selecting recipes. Eat This Much takes all the hassle and monotony out of reaching your desired health outcomes,” said Louis Dementhon, Eat This Much CEO and Founder.
According to the company, it has over 180,00 users who have created over 13 million custom meal plans.
Founded in 2013, Eat This Much tailors meal plans to any diet, constantly adapting to users’ tastes and budget by accessing 200,000 foods and more than 1,500 curated recipes. Features also included on the app are the ability to track gluten-free, dairy-free or vegetarian diets, with suggestions for incorporating leftovers and preferred ingredients. The free iOS app can be downloaded from the App Store.
WATSONVILLE, CA — On the heels of news of recent investments in organic farming by companies like Clif Bar & Co. and General Mills, premium berry cooperative Driscoll’s, says it plans to expand production of organic strawberry nursery plants for its independent, USDA certified organic farmers.
“Since our first sales of organic berries in the late 1980’s, we’ve seen tremendous growth in our organic business due to increasing consumer market demand,” said Soren Bjorn, executive vice president. “We are committed to fully deliver on the spirit of the organic program across all our berries and see this process as a journey to an exciting future.”
According to Driscoll’s, its organic strawberry nursery began seven years ago, and is the only one certified by the CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers). With nearly 10 percent of organic strawberry production at its Watsonville and Salinas farms coming from certified plants, the company says it plans to expand the program to other berries in the coming years.
INDIANAPOLIS, IN — Much has been written about the benefits of coconut oil from beauty aids to health boosters, including weight loss and improved brain functions, just to name a few. According to published reports, scientific studies show that virgin coconut oil provides the most benefit.
One Indianapolis, IN-based company, Skinny & Co. Coconut Oil, says it makes the only 100 percent, virgin, raw coconut oil in the world. Their coconuts, harvested by hand in Vietnam, go through a cold-press extraction using the company’s dehumidifying Nutralock System process that removes moisture without using heat.
Founded by two brothers, Luke and Matt Geddie, the company exports coconut oil manufactured at its Vietnamese plant back to the States to be sold at its American headquarters run by their mother, Joy Reece.
MILAN, ITALY — The Milan Expo 2015, which opened May 1 and runs through October 31 in Milan, Italy, has already had its fair share of well-known visitors, including First Lady Michelle Obama. And many more visitors and tourists are expected during the next six months.
The main theme of this year’s Universal Exposition is “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.” The focus of the expo is on the future of the global food system as well as sustainability. The USA Pavilion expands on that thought with its supporting theme: “American Food 2.0: United to Feed the Planet,” highlighting the innovation in the American food market as well as environmental technology.
On June 9 in the USA Pavilion, Mark Freeman, the senior manager of Microsoft’s Global Employee Services, discussed the company’s urban farming program at its Redmond, WA, headquarters, which serves 40,000 meals daily. According to Freeman, 60 percent of its produce needs are sourced locally through relationships with area farmers. However, the company expanded on those efforts by launching an urban farming center to produce additional vegetables with hydroponic systems.
Up next at the USA Pavilion on Friday, June 19 is the “Urban Farming, Sustainability, and Nutrition” event featuring Will Allen, Urban Farmer, Founder and CEO of Growing Power; Nicolas Jammet, Co-CEO, Sweetgreen; and Dr. Risa J Lavizzo-Mourey, President and CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The movement for healthy living got a boost Tues. when the Obama administration declared artificial trans fats unsafe.
With its final determination, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave food makers up to three years to remove partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), the primary source of artificial trans fat.
The industry had already been moving in that direction in anticipation of the move. And food manufacturers have been required since 2006 to display PHO content on food labels, resulting in an approximately 78 percent decrease in trans fat consumption overall, the agency said.
“Studies show that diet and nutrition play a key role in preventing chronic health problems, such as cardiovascular disease and today’s action goes hand in hand with other FDA initiatives to improve the health of Americans, including updating the nutrition facts label,” said Susan Mayne, Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “This determination is based on extensive research into the effects of PHOs, as well as input from all stakeholders received during the public comment period.”
CHICAGO — Americans are becoming more conscious about what they eat and as a result the types of snacks consumed have evolved from classic junk food — candy bars and chips — to healthier snacks like fresh fruit, breakfast and sports bars as well as yogurt and protein drinks.
According to “The Future of Eating: Who’s Eating What in 2018” study from The NPD Group, an information service company, the consumption of healthy snacks has risen 14% over the past nine years and for the next several years will continue to be one of the fastest growing snack categories.
The healthy snack market is being propelled by consumers under the age of 48, which suggests that healthy food manufacturers have a golden opportunity to influence young consumers and create brand loyalty over the span of a lifetime.
The study also notes that “protein, natural, and no or less sugar are the health call-outs that consumers are most looking for when they eat a snack, which now may be in-between meals, at meals, or as a meal.”
“Snacking today is a prevalent behavior and there is an opportunity in every snack category for manufacturers to call out the specific health benefits from desirable ingredients to clean labeling,” said Darren Seifer, food and beverage industry analyst. “There is also a generational slant to each category to take into account when positioning and marketing snack foods.”