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The U.S. Organic Food Market: From Niche to Mainstream

Infographic courtesy of Walmart

Infographic courtesy of Walmart

The U.S. organic food market has grown significantly and changed dramatically since its birth during the 1970s as a counterculture movement. Its growth rate slowed during the recession then rose back into double-digits in 2011. In 2012, organic food sales for at-home consumption totaled $26.3 billion (Wohl, 2014) and comprised over 4% of total U.S. food sales for at-home consumption (Greene, 2013). Produce and dairy products are the dominant categories, accounting for 43% and 15% of total organic sales in 2012 (Greene, 2013), respectively. The Nutrition Business Journal is projecting that the organic food market will exceed $60 billion by 2020 (Wohl, 2014).

According to the Hartman Group, health concerns are prominent in consumers’ reasons for buying organic foods and beverages. Six of the top 10 motivations were (in descending order): “safer for me,” “avoid pesticides,” “avoid GMOs,” “avoid growth hormones,” “for nutritional needs,” and “safer for my children.”

In 2012, mass market retailers, such as Walmart and Target generated 46% of U.S. organic food sales, while 44% of the sales were attributable to natural and specialty retailers. After being sold to Whole Foods in 2007, the former natural foods chain, Wild Oats, has reinvented itself as a food processor providing high-quality products that are affordable and easy to shop for. Its current organic product lines include canned beans and tomatoes, condiments, cookies, milk, vinegar, pasta sauce, grains, nuts, soups, spices, salads, and pre-packaged sandwiches. Now, Wild Oats is partnering with Walmart to supply a subset of these products to the big-box retailer at reduced prices. Meanwhile, Target has re-organized its displays by aggregating certain natural, organic, and sustainably-focused products to make it easier for consumers to find such items (Wohl, 2014). Keep Reading

Potential Buyers for Hostess Brands: Retailers vs. Food Companies

Twinkies On November 20, Hostess announced that mediation with its bakers union had failed and that the 82-year-old company would proceed with liquidation plans. The good news is that the company’s iconic brands, such as Twinkies and HoHos, may not be gone for good. There may be multiple buyers of the individual product brands under the Hostess umbrella or there may be a single buyer who acquires them all. But rest assured, they will be sold because they have real market value. Estimates are that the combined sale of Hostess could be worth over $2 billion.

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In Defense of Food Science and Technology

The title of a recent article in Food Technology (December 2011, pp. 32–37) on “Cleaning up Processed Foods” should trigger negative reactions for any food science and technology professional. Although the title may be an attempt at being provocative, the implications of this title for an article published in Food Technology are very serious. In a societal environment with the image of processed foods being questioned almost daily, communications from IFT should contribute to a better understanding of food processing. Keep Reading

Audio Interview: What Consumers Around the World Will Want from Food Companies in 2020

On March 28 and 29, IFT will be holding its annual Wellness conference in Rosemont, Ill., offering attendees unbiased perspectives, news about emerging trends, and information on how other organizations within the food industry are penetrating the health and wellness sector. Recently, Kelly Hensel, Digital Media Editor at IFT, spoke with Linda Eatherton, Partner and Director of Global Food & Nutrition Practice at Ketchum, who will speaking at the conference’s closing session about what consumers around the world will want from food companies in 2020. Linda joined Ketchum in 2001 to lead the firm’s worldwide Food & Nutrition Practice. Prior to that, she served as the Vice President of Public and Industry Communications for Dairy Management Inc.

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Five Food Trends for 2012 and Beyond

Food TruckOn the food front, Americans may be finally accepting that we are what we eat and start walking the walk. Even our new taste for Nordic cuisine is fueled, perhaps, by images of the lean, robust, and outdoorsy. But what other things are trending on the food front for 2012–13? Keep Reading

Food Science, Technology Contribute to Feeding A Growing Population: Audio Interview Part 2

Part 2 of the audio interview between Kelly Hensel, Digital Media Editor at IFT, and John Floros, Head of the Department of Food Science at Pennsylvania State. In this segment John explains the challenges we face to feed a population which is expected to reach 9 billion people by 2050. In addition, he addresses consumers’ negative perceptions of processed foods, and finally, he shares some tools that he believes are currently being underutilized that may help improve our efforts to feed a growing population. John has worked in the food processing industry, was on the faculty at Purdue University, and since 2000 he has been leading the . He is widely published, is currently a Member of the Science Board for the Food & Drug Administration, and a Fellow and Past President of IFT.

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Food Science, Technology Contribute to Feeding A Growing Population

On October 16, the world will celebrate World Food Day, which is designed to increase awareness and motivate year-around action to alleviate hunger. In 2010, IFT published a Scientific Review discussing the importance of food science and technology in feeding a growing population. Recently, Kelly Hensel, Digital Media Editor at IFT, spoke with one of the main authors of the review, John Floros, to discuss this important global issue. John has worked in the food processing industry, was on the faculty at Purdue University, and since 2000 he has been leading the Department of Food Science at Pennsylvania State University.  He is widely published, is currently a Member of the Science Board for the Food & Drug Administration, and a Fellow and Past President of IFT.

John FlorosJohn Floros
Professor of Food Process Engineering and Packaging
Head of the Department of Food Science
The Pennsylvania State University

*Update: As of Aug. 1, 2012, Floros is Dean of College of Agriculture and director of K-State Research and Extension at Kansas State University

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Budget Cuts Affecting the Future of Food Science

While it has recently been reported that enrollment is up in food science departments across the United States, it is also a fact that budget cuts are seriously affecting the food science programs at universities. The funding bases to support research are decreasing from all of the traditional sources. Why is this important to IFT members and food science/technology professionals? It is important because the entire base for educating the next generation of Food Science B.S. entry-level employees is tied to universities being successful in recruiting and retaining faculty who will be teaching and mentoring these students. In order to retain faculty at universities, success in garnering external funding is critical to promotion. Without receipt of research funding, our assistant professors will not be promoted and new Ph.D. and postdoctorals will be discouraged in following the academic career pathway. Keep Reading

Menu Labeling Not Likely to Shrink Waistlines

We all like to eat out. Nearly half of all food dollars go to food prepared outside the home. From fine dining to fast food to takeout, we spend a lot of money eating out. Americans’ prodigious restaurant habit has fattened the coffers of dining establishments in addition to our waistlines. Some people see a connection between the two trends. They believe that displaying the calories of each menu item will convince us to pick the leaner foods. Keep Reading

Top 5 Stories for 2010

Food Technology’s Senior Editor and ingredients guru, Don Pszczola has published a list of the Top 10 Stories of 2010 in the Community section of ift.org. As an IFT member (login required) you can access his complete list in his blog—IngredienTalk. Here, Don shares with you an excerpt of the list. These are based solely on his opinions and observations as a food writer. The list appears in order of significance, once again the choices based on Don’s own views. Do you agree with Don’s top 5? What other stories from 2010 had an impact on your career?

http://www.google.com/reader/ui/3523697345-audio-player.swf

Without further wait, (and with a flourish of drums), here is the top 5 from the list. Keep Reading

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