• Archives

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 21,919 other followers

  • Instagram

    Thank you to all who made it such a great experience for IFT at the Food Tech Summit & Expo this week!
#foodtechsummit2016 #foodscience #foodtechnology #foodindustry IFT member, Hector Vilches, CFS, presenting for IFT about trends in Mexico and Latin America at the Food Tech Summit & Expo to a packed room at booth #1134. The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is participating in the Food Technology Summit & Expo in Mexico City this week. Our first session, which was Marco Antonio Leon Felix discussing FSMA, was a packed house! We are at booth #1134, so make sure you stop by and come see us. 
#Foodexpo #foodscience #foodtechnology What a great day at the Lewis & Clark IFT 2016 Supplier's Night & Golf Scramble at the
Terra Blanca Winery & Estate Vineyard in Benton City, WA. Thank you to all who came and made it a successful outing!

A Wake-up Call for ‘Big Food’

grocerydecision_croppedYesterday afternoon, I snacked on chipotle-lime beef jerky while sipping a stevia-sweetened sparkling beverage. Last night, I cooked dinner for four with a meal kit delivered to my house. This morning, I skipped the cereal sitting dormant in my pantry and grabbed a high-protein nutrition bar from a local company for breakfast as I scrambled out the door. Like me, large swaths of consumers have fundamentally changed their food consumption habits, and small- and medium-sized manufacturers have taken advantage of those shifts to the detriment of established “big food” manufacturers.

As reported in A.T. Kearney’s “Is Big Food in Trouble?” report, the top 25 food manufacturers in the United States have ceded 300 basis points of market share to small- and medium-sized competitors since 2012—and have had anemic annual growth of 1.8%. Changes in consumers’ core values—amplified by social media, celebrity chefs, and a myriad of food experts—are rewarding small- and medium-size companies with annual growth rates of 11–15%. Continue reading

Will New Dietary Guidelines Shift Americans Toward Healthy Eating Patterns?

FoodMinds InfographicOn January 7, health professionals and policymakers heralded the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), updated to reflect current nutrition science. The DGAs provide evidence-based healthy eating principles for the public to reduce the risk of chronic disease and maintain a healthy weight. The document is published jointly by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) and Dept. of Health and Human Services (DHHS) every five years, and this newest edition will serve as a foundation for nutrition policy and programming through 2020.

According to a word content analysis conducted by FoodMinds, one of the most marked evolutions in the DGAs is the emphasis on overall healthy dietary patterns across the life span. To me, this holistic approach to healthy eating represents a shift in how we’re talking about nutrition and health. Continue reading

Vanilla: From Concern, to Crisis, to Creating Solutions

Vanilla BeansThis irony exists throughout the business world—when prices are low and supply is high, no one’s thinking, “Uh-oh, this is trouble,” but they should because underlying dynamics during such a market-favorable time can frequently turn the tide. Additionally, because these influences fly under the radar and work quietly amidst the noise made over low prices, when they hit, they can hit with major consequences.

This very dynamic was set in motion for the vanilla market five years ago. Prices reached a historic low, allowing food and beverage companies that use vanilla to enjoy a stable vanilla flavor cost of goods. While everyone was “riding the wave” of low-cost vanilla, the market forces behind the scenes for what we are seeing now were building. Continue reading

The Limbic System Wins—Or Does It?

The Gluten LieFood myths and beliefs are deeply rooted in people since they are connected to the emotional or limbic system of the brain. And research shows that rational arguments are often not taken into consideration when someone is embarking on a health change like dieting or purchasing products.

In the June Food Technology Food, Medicine & Health column, I discussed the importance of communicating science and how fragile the communication system is today. As one of my examples, I drew attention to Alan Levinovitz, author of The Gluten Lie. At first blush one might wonder why a philosophy and religion professor from James Madison University is writing about food and related behavior. However, upon further exploration, the connection between the two concepts—food behaviors (myths and beliefs) and religion—becomes apparent. Keep Reading

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.

Keep Reading

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