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Food Science & Innovation Weekly News Round-up - Feb. 1 2019 Thinkstock/nito100

Food Science & Innovation Weekly News Round-up - Feb. 1 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.

Veganism and the pitfalls of ethical consumerism

Throughout 2018 it seemed awareness around environmental impacts of food rose to unprecedented levels. Though the year is young, 2019 does not seem to be reversing this trend at all. “Veganuary” is seemingly more popular than ever. And an increasing number of companies have announced vegan food choices. But is the mass adoption of vegan and vegetarian diets sufficient to actually have a positive environmental impact? Read more at Bright Green

Snack foods evolve to meet modern consumer needs

Once thought of as guilty pleasures, snack foods are now the go-to solution at every eating occasion for a nation of on-the-go consumers. A new report, the “Future of Snacking” from The NPD Group says Americans consumed nearly 386 billion ready-to-eat snack foods last year, with the vast majority of those eaten between main meals. Snack food growth is occurring at most times of the day, but seeing more use at meals and as meal replacements. The quickly changing category is expected to grow in the near term to embody wellness benefits, like snacks with more protein, portability, single-serve snack foods that fit into busy lives, and unique flavor mash-ups. Read more at Nutraceuticals World

What’s healthy at the grocery store? Shoppers are often confused, survey finds

Grocery shoppers don’t always know what is best for them. As one senior policy analyst puts it, “How are [consumers] supposed to know that ‘organic’ is backed by almost 100 pages of federal regulations and ‘natural’ doesn’t have any?” Health-oriented consumers are drowning in a sea of information from fitness professionals, nutrition bloggers, scientific studies and social media alike—and it’s causing notable shifts in behavior. For example, consumers are relying more on labeling to decide whether a given product is healthy, according to a new survey from the American Heart Association. Read more at NPR

Trend Report: The food you’ll eat in 2019

As 2019 emerges, a lot of innovative products, exciting flavors and original culinary practices are arriving on the shelves of supermarkets and in our plates, at different paces. Along with taste and quality, sustainability and respect of the environment will remain core values for consumers, impacting our food choices throughout the year. U.S.-based CC Helmsman Group offers its annual list of trends for 2019 including veggies spreads, cassava and plant-based cheese. Read more at Living It

People strongly against GMOs had shakier understanding of food science, study finds

A survey of 2,000 people in Europe and the U.S. found that participants who said they were most strongly against GMOs actually had the lowest test scores after answering a series of true or false science-related questions. The results of the survey were published in a recent article in the journal Nature Human Behavior. The peer-reviewed article notes, “Opponents of genetically modified food are not putting much stock in the study,” but this doesn’t change anything for the researchers, as the survey’s true intent was to examine the correlation of scientific knowledge and consumer behavior. Read more at NPR

Big consumer brands will take their packaging back

Among the three tenets of environmentalism “reduce, reuse, recycle,” almost all of the attention has been paid to recycling. But now some of the world’s largest consumer brands are trying to shift the focus to the second R, with a program that provides products in reusable containers that can be returned for a refund. It’s a move that harkens back to the milkman model of the 1940s. Called Loop, the packaging program will soon offer popular products from Nestlè, Unilever, Procter & Gamble and PepsiCo in reusable, returnable containers. Loop will collect a refundable deposit that will then be returned to consumers when they turn in their used containers. Read more at Bloomberg

Diets with lower carbon footprint are also healthier

Climate-friendly diets are also healthier, according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers at Tulane University and the University of Michigan examined the carbon footprint of what more than 16,000 Americans eat on daily basis and compared the climate impact and nutritional value of U.S. diets using real-world data about what Americans say they are eating. Overall, diets in the lowest impact group were healthier. What’s more, a companion study the researchers released earlier this year found that 20 percent of Americans accounted for almost half of U.S. diet-related greenhouse gas emissions. Read more at Nutraceuticals World...