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Food Science & Innovation Weekly News Round-up - Dec. 2 2019

Food Science & Innovation Weekly News Round-up - Dec. 2 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.

What happens when the nation’s largest school district goes meatless once a week?

The current population of the United States: 327.2 million. The number of students attending New York Public Schools: 1.1 million. The number of meals the system serves each day: 1 million. And, the number of those meals with meat on Mondays? Zero. In March, NYC announced that for the 2019-2020 school year, the city’s more than 1,800 public schools would join Meatless Monday, a global movement promoting healthy people and the environment by swapping meat for veggies, just one day a week. Read more at The Hill

Reformulating with less or no sugar in the clean label era

The demand for clean label products is creating new market segments and opportunities for food manufacturers. These opportunities, however, come with a challenge: Consumers want ‘simple’ formulations with ‘natural’ ingredients, but those terms have different meanings for different people, and evolve over time. Clean label is still an elusive concept. A typical example of this challenge is finding suitable replacements for sugar, one of the most vilified ingredients, which is also very difficult to substitute. Sweetness is just one of sugar’s functions in a recipe: It also provides bulk, color, flavor and mouthfeel. Andrea Tolu explores the role of sugar in the clean label era, and hears from food technologist Raphaëlle O’Connor for her expert view. Read more at New Food Magazine

Eat Greener: A call for sustainability in U.S. dietary guidelines

During development of the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, scientists on its advisory committee tried unsuccessfully to add a focus on sustainability. The committee member who spearheaded the effort, Miriam Nelson, professor emerita at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, recently spoke at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health about the urgent need to consider the health of the environment in nutrition policy. The global food system makes a significant contribution to climate change, according to Nelson, and consequently jeopardizes the availability and healthiness of staple foods. Read more at HSPH News

Functional foods at the forefront

Mainstream brands are catering to consumer desire for functional benefits in food and beverages. Shoppers are seeking snacks or drinks that promote digestion, heart health, brain benefits and more. A recent example comes from Tyson Foods, Inc., which launched a line of refrigerated snack bites formulated with ingredients such as turmeric, probiotic cultures, prebiotic fiber and collagen protein. The Coca-Cola Co. is capitalizing on demand for beverages with functional benefits by launching nationwide next year, Coca-Cola Energy, which features a “cola-forward taste” with 114 mg of caffeine per 12-oz serving, plus B vitamins and guarana extracts. Read more at Food Business News

Shifting trends serve beverage opportunities

Today’s empowered consumers are choosing to engage with brands and issues that resonate most with them. Research shows that 71% of consumers choose to buy goods or services based on their trust in the brand, while 82% trust brands that develop innovations that have a positive impact on their lives and the world. Beverage brands are at the center of this evolution. In recent years, the beverage market has experienced a significant shake-up as consumers look for more than just a thirst quencher. Responding, the beverage sector has increased its range of products which help sustain busy, active, health-conscious lifestyles. Read more at QSR Magazine

Cargill announces investments in Ghanaian cocoa industry, farmer communities

Cargill has announced a $13 million investment in the expansion of its cocoa processing site in Tema, Ghana to increase production capacity by 20%. Cargill has also committed $3.4 million to Ghanaian community sustainability programs and cocoa traceability efforts in Ghana. These programs will enhance the safety and well-being of children and families in cocoa farming areas and provide a more transparent, traceable cocoa supply chain for customers and consumers, according to Cargill chief executive, David MacLennan. Read more at Joyonline

Consumer trends to watch for in 2020

Trends toward health and wellness, plant-based and clean label will continue next year, but the need for businesses to innovate is greater than ever, according to new research from MMR. Tomorrow’s consumer is being shaped by a number of “macro forces” that food businesses cannot ignore, including shortened attention spans due to social media use, the rise of single-serve options and conscious consumption. Read more at Foodnavigator