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Food Science & Innovation Weekly News Round-up - Aug. 16 2019

Food Science & Innovation Weekly News Round-up - Aug. 16 2019

Each week we collect the top stories and latest news in food trends and production, making it easy for you to stay current on science and innovation.

Plant-based diet may prevent diabetes

Researchers from the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston have said sticking to a plant-based diet could help lower risk of type 2 diabetes. The researchers, in a new paper published in the journal, JAMA Internal Medicine, suggested that the link between plant-based diets and type 2 diabetes was more beneficial when only healthy plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts, are included in daily diet, as opposed to refined grains, starches and sugars. They found that eating a plant-based diet is associated with a 23 percent reduction in diabetes risk. Read more at PunchNG

To tackle climate change we need to rethink our food system

The way we produce, consume and discard food is no longer sustainable. That much is clear from the newly released United Nations climate change report, which warns that we must rethink how we produce our food—and quickly—to avoid the most devastating impacts of global food production, including massive deforestation, staggering biodiversity loss and accelerating climate change. While it’s not often recognized, the food industry is an enormous driver of climate change, and our current global food system is pushing our natural world to the breaking point, the researchers noted. Read more at New Hope Network

Cargill survey reveals consumer attitudes about agriculture

Cargill recently conducted a “Feed4Thought” study, which surveyed consumers in the U.S., China, Mexico and Spain. The study aimed to further understand how consumers view farmers and ranchers, and the results are illuminating. Through this global study, Cargill found consumers had a very hard-to-satisfy wish list for food producers. The study suggests that there are assumptions about how farmers treat the land and animals. And there is a lot of negative and false information out there that makes effectively advocating for the farming industry a very difficult task. Read more at Beef

Consumer demands drive sustainable sourcing, packaging

The public’s pulse on environmental issues—including the depletion of natural resources and increase in food waste—continues to drive demand for sustainable products, according to “Global Trends Impacting Packaging Machinery,” a 2018 report from the Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies (PMMI). As a result, the number of innovative foods that are sustainably sourced and packaged has grown. In addition, heightened corporate social responsibility, firmer regulations and heavier taxes related to the protection of the environment are driving investment in solutions that optimize the use of resources and minimize environmental distress, according to PMMI’s report. Read more at Food Engineering News

Lawsuits are protecting the rights of companies like Beyond Meat to call their products ‘burgers’ and ‘hot dogs’

As demand for plant-based meat and dairy alternatives booms, so does legislation around how such products can be labeled in grocery stores – and lawsuits protecting the free speech rights of companies that make them. In nearly half of the states, bills have been announced or passed that would monitor how products derived from plants are labeled when sold to consumers. A number of the labeling laws try to make it illegal to use words like “milk,” “burger” and “rice” to describe anything made from plants. States argue that it is misleading, but the ACLU and Plant Based Foods Association argue that these laws violate first amendment rights to free speech. Three cases that combat such laws are currently pending in Arkansas, Mississippi and Missouri. Read more at Business Insider

Consumers not sweet on sugar, according to social media conversations

“Sugar’s big, but not beloved,” according to The State of Sugar, a recent report from Social Standards. The report analyzed 5.5 million worldwide social media conversations about sweeteners and found that sugar is still the most talked-about sweetener and consumers have consistently lower positive attitudes about sugar than about alternative sweeteners. Consumers’ favorite sweeteners were xylitol, coconut sugar and monk fruit. Read more at Food Industry Executive