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Food Science & Innovation Weekly News Round-up - Jan. 25 2019 Thinkstock/nito100

Food Science & Innovation Weekly News Round-up - Jan. 25 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.

New 'planetary health diet' can save lives and the planet, major review suggests

An international team of scientists, the EAT-Lancet Commission, is tackling the problem of ensuring sustainable food production to prevent further damage to the planet amidst population growth. In its first report, the commission has developed the "planetary health diet" which recommends cutting red meat and sugar consumption in half while upping intake of fruits, vegetables and nuts. The diet is purported to prevent up to 11.6 million premature deaths without harming the planet, says the recent report in the medical journal The Lancet. Read more at CNN

Are healthy snacks actually good for you?

The market for people who wouldn’t eat potato chips outright, but would if they could feel good about it, is now enormous. This helps explain the boom in “healthy” chips, pretzels and other CPG products that are typically only marginally better “nutritionally speaking” than the regular versions. Most consumers do admit, if pressed, that these products aren’t genuinely healthy. Given the buzz around plant-based eating, there is a case for reinventing the chip using nutritionally aware marketing that allows shoppers to avoid the guilt associated with junk food outright. Read more at Vox

Cargill outlines plan to end cocoa deforestation

Global cocoa company, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate, has outlined a plan to eliminate deforestation from its cocoa supply chain. Christened the “Protect Our Planet” plan, the program establishes concrete actions that the company will take to achieve 100 percent cocoa bean traceability and includes a commitment of “no further conversion” of any forest land in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire for cocoa production. The company announced its expanded efforts, noting its recognition that there is considerable urgency to address climate and deforestation challenges. Read more at Graphic... 

Six high protein foods that are healthier than beef

Americans are obsessed with protein. It is considered the cornerstone of any healthy diet because it helps people feel full and builds muscle. But most Americans eat too much protein every day, according to federal estimates—and they’re going especially overboard with animal proteins, namely red meat. Research is now linking diets heavy in red and processed meats with many chronic diseases, including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. But swapping beef for protein-rich plants, such as beans, peas and nuts, has big benefits not just for health, but also for the environment, according to a recent World Economic Forum report. From algae to insects, here is a list of some of the healthier options. Read more at Time

Few consumers say plant beverages should be called milk

A new survey from the dairy industry shows that just one in five U.S. adults say plant-based beverages should be labeled “milk.” Even when limited to buyers of plant-based beverages, only 41% say they should be labeled as “milk.” A dairy industry group says the findings underscore its position that the plant-based food and beverage industry is exploiting consumers’ beliefs that plant-based beverages have as much or more protein than dairy. Read more at DairyHerd

Consumer pushback against plastic will spur manufacturers to seek new packaging in 2019

The fast and furious dismissal of straws by food services and consumers in 2018 was merely the beginning of the end for single-use plastic packaging. Analysts with Euromonitor International predict the trend will accelerate in 2019 prompted by growing awareness of the environmental impact of “ubiquitous plastic packaging” which makes up 63 percent of global packaging for food, beverage, beauty, home care and pet products. Read more at FoodNavigator USA

The Microbiome Diet: Can it restore your gut health?

The Microbiome Diet is one of the newest among many trendy weight loss diets. Created by Dr. Raphael Kellman, a board certified physician and specialist in gut health, the three-phased program is based on eating and avoiding certain foods in the hopes of restoring gut health. The diet also claims to offer other benefits, such as a faster metabolism and weight loss. But does it really work? Learn about the supporting science, details of how the diet works, and foods to embrace or avoid. Read more at Healthline

The craving for plant-based protein has Beyond Meat and its rivals thinking big for 2019

Consumer appetite for plant-based protein, driven by health, environmental, and animal welfare concerns, will only get bigger this year with fast food chains, fast casual restaurants and supermarkets now offering these meat alternatives. Despite the growing demand, the plant-based meat category is still small and represents only 2 percent of the U.S. meat industry, but experts say plant-based proteins are no longer just a meat replacement; it’s now a category of its own. Just as the plant-based nondairy milk category has increased market share significantly, plant-based meat stakeholders see their segment capturing a similar market share. Read more at Forbes