International

Former activist and scholars drive re-think on genetically modified crops

[17 September/ABC News] There will be an independent review into South Australia’s moratorium on genetically modified crops. Economist and Agriculture Policy Analyst Emeritus Professor, Kym Anderson, will look at the benefits and costs of the State’s moratorium. The South Australian Minister for Primary Industries, Tim Whetstone, said the previous extension of the moratorium was done...

Nestle’s personalized nutrition pilot taps AI, uses consumer DNA

[5 September/Food Dive] Nestle is piloting a personalised nutrition program called Wellness Ambassador in Japan. It contains artificial intelligence, DNA testing, and meal analysis to collect consumer data on diet and health. It would then tailor food products to meet the specifications. There were 100,000 participants in the program in Japan. They were able to...

Canned wine attracts new drinkers to traditional vintages

[4 September/Food Dive] According to statistics from Nielsen, canned wine is a USD45 million business. Sales had increased 43 percent between 2017 and 2018. Although the canned wine was becoming more popular, it was still not a significant part of the wine market. Canned wine sales made up only 0.2 percent of the market, while...

2M households could lose SNAP benefits if proposed changes in House Farm Bill go through

[6 September/Food Navigator] According to Mathematica Policy Research, proposed changes to the House Farm Bill could cost millions of U.S. consumers who have food insecurity. They could lose access to the benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. While the changes proposed to the Bill could extend the eligibility for the programme to 283,000 households,...

California prepares for a new war over soda taxes – and it could spill over into the 2020 election

[7 September/CNBC] A statewide sugar sweetened drink tax could be introduced in California. It would fight childhood obesity and dental disease. The secretary of state was seeking signatures for the 2020 ballot. It could raise USD2 to USD3 billion by 2023 to pay for public health programmes. Certain products would be exempt from the tax....

The Australian pig farm benefitting from employing people with autism

[10 September/ABC News] An Australian piggery was helping those with autism find work. SunPork Farms is part of an initiative called Autism and Agriculture which aims to develop career paths for people on the autism spectrum. Currently, only around 40 percent of autistic adults have jobs in Australia. The recruitment process had to change for...

GV Leads USD60m Series C for Benson Hill Biosystems to Focus on Health and Nutrition

[10 September/AgFunder News] Data led crop genetics discovery and gene editing platform, Benson Hill Biosystems, raised USD60 million in Series C funding in a round led by GV (previously Google Ventures). Its CropOS platform and a suite of breeding and gene editing tools were used to help improve the sustainability, nutrition, and flavour profiles of...

Can plant-based and lab-grown meat change the world?

[10 September/Food Dive] Impossible Foods CEO, Pat Brown, described to the Good Food Institute Conference how his company planned to save the world. He noted the reason he founded the company was to save the world from the biggest environmental catastrophe facing the planet, the destructive use of animals in food production. Scientists said if...

Coca-Cola CEO reveals rationale behind Costa acquisition – and outlines its strategy for conquering the coffee category

[3 September/Food Navigator] Coca-Cola announced its acquisition of Costa for $5.1 billion, being one of the world’s largest coffee chains. CEO, James Quincey, explained the reasoning behind the acquisition, Costa had 4,000 retail outlets across the UK and 30 other countries. Mr Quincey said coffee was a significant on-trend, fast-growing and profitable category and that...

Trump says Canada not needed in NAFTA deal, warns Congress not to interfere

[2 September/Reuters] President Donald Trump said Canada was not needed in the North American Free Trade Agreement, and warned Congress to not interfere with the negotiations or he would terminate the trade pact altogether. He added there was no political necessity to keep Canada in the new deal. He notified Congress of his intentions to...

Missouri becomes first state in US to regulate use of the word ‘meat’

[28 August/CNBC] Missouri became the first state in the U.S. to have a law that prohibits food producers to use the word meat to refer to anything other than animal flesh. This targeted manufacturers of fake or non-traditional meat. Violators could be fined $1,000 and imprisoned for a year. A similar argument was arising at...

Canada rejoins NAFTA talks as U.S. autos tariff details emerge

[28 August/Reuters] Mexico’s trade concessions on autos and labour rights were praised by Canada’s top trade negotiator. She re-joined NAFTA talks, and U.S. lawmakers warned that a bilateral U.S. and Mexico trade deal would struggle to be approved in congress. Automotive executives said the deal allowed Mr Trump to impose 25 percent tariffs on Mexican...

South Africa in a tiff over Trump

[23 August/EuroFruit] Some of President Trump’s tweets have caused concern in South Africa and have been condemned as an effort to divert attention from his own problems in the U.S. The South African Minister of Communications said that the issue of land was important to South Africa and its resolution was vital for the country....

Cannabis stocks get high as Diageo pursues deal

[27 August/Food Dive] According to Bloomberg, Diageo is in talks with at least three Canadian cannabis producers around a deal for a cannabis infused drink. Cannabis stocks rose after it was found Diageo was a potential investor. Tilray was up 11 percent, Canopy Growth Corp increased by more than 10 percent, and Cronos Group rose...

Wilde Chicken Chips believes it can crack into breakfast time

[23 August/Food Navigator] Wilde Chicken Chips have reached nationwide availability at Whole Foods and Sprouts stores in the US. The company is planning to release a new flavour early next year of the chicken based snack that its founder, Jason Wright, believed would make the chips a breakfast item. Meat snacks have boosted the salty...

Mushrooms may exert prebiotic, diabetic risk-lowering effect, suggests study

[22 August/Food Navigator] According to a study by the Pennsylvania State University, an 85 gram serving of white mushrooms could be enough to trigger a prebiotic, gut health boosting action that could reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes. The findings were from a study on mice and pointed to white button mushroom’s prebiotic effects...

French unhappy with flavour

[21 August/EuroFruit] A poll by the consumer association CLCV found that French shoppers were critical of the flavour of fruit sold in supermarkets. It found there was little correlation between price and intensity of flavour. Around 32 percent said they were content with the flavour of strawberries, and only 31 percent were satisfied with various...

The deadly African virus that’s killing China’s pigs

[23 August/Bloomberg] A swine disease is spreading across China. It has infected hundreds of animals and threatens the world’s largest pig industry. African swine fever has killed 340 pigs in Leqing city, meaning four Chinese province have now confirmed cases of the disease. African swine fever is a highly contagious viral disease that can be...

Almond worker shortage reaching crisis point as businesses struggle to house pickers, major grower says

[23 August/ABC News] According to Walker Flat Almonds Grower, Peter Cavallaro, Australia’s almond industry had a major worker shortage, which was pushing the industry to a crisis point. He said he had struggled to hire and maintain skilled and temporary workers due to the lack of accommodation in the area. He added they were looking...

A Dozen Cousins launches with the goal to balance culture authenticity, convenience and health

[20 August/Food Navigator] A Dozen Cousins founder, Ibraheem Basir, didn’t want consumers to have to choose between cultural products they grew up with and foods that were healthier for them. This is the driving force behind his decision to launch a natural food brand that blended recipes from his heritage with premium ingredients. He will...

Hormel sells its Nebraska processing plant to hog farmer cooperative

[17 August/Food Dive] According to Hormel, it will sell one of its pork processing plants in Nebraska to WholeStone Farms. WholeStone Farms is a newly formed cooperative comprising 220 Midwestern hog farmers. Neither company would disclose the sale price. The transaction is expected to close in December this year. It included a facility and a...

Starbucks debuts its first plant-based protein coffee

[14 August/CNBC] Starbucks will introduce a plant-based protein drink. It will offer a Protein Blended Cold Brew in almond and cocoa flavours. The drinks are made from pea and brown-rice protein. CEO, Kevin Johnson, said plant-based beverages, plant-based proteins are a choice than many consumers were moving towards. The drinks would be sold for USD5.95...

Flexitarianism is no fad, meat and dairy sector warned

[17 August/Dairy Reporter] Social media has fuelled interest in veganism and plant-based eating but it is not just a fad according to a report by UK’s Horticulture Development Board. Veganism was attracting a disproportionate amount of media attention since only 2 percent of the population was vegan. The trend is particularly prevalent amongst younger consumers....

Ancient grain millet has potential to tackle drought, obesity and malnutrition, researcher says

[18 August/ABC News] Millet is the ancient grain researchers hoped could help farmers battling dry conditions, while simultaneously tackling obesity and malnourishment. It is a cereal crop that is commonly grown for animal feed. Australian researcher, Joanna Kane-Potaka, wanted to change that. She said it survived on minimal water, in hot temperatures, and could be...