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Food Science & Innovation Weekly News Round-up - March 1 2019

Food Science & Innovation Weekly News Round-up - March 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.

Cultured: A look at how foods can help the microbes inside us thrive

Katherine Harmon Courage wants us to think about digestion as a collaborative journey between us and our microbes. In her new book, Cultured: How Ancient Foods Can Feed Our Microbiome, she envisions digestion not as a simple what goes in must come out process, but as a series of encounters with varying microbial players that takes place in our gastrointestinal tract. Along the way, microbes digest the food we can't, and in return we give them a warm, well-stocked place to live. In this interview, she discusses the science behind how what we feed our microbes affects our health. Read more at NPR.org

Cargill plans to work with farmers on save-the-forest initiative

Cargill Inc., the world’s largest agricultural company, plans to provide more transparency on its supply chain to customers and climate change-wary consumers in response to global concerns over deforestation. The company has created a “sustainability hub” that will work with farmers in high-risk areas involving the crops expansion for soybeans, cocoa and palm oil. Cargill is also looking at ways to improve human rights issues through its business practices. Read more at Bloomberg/Quint

Opportunities in the natural sweetener market—a deep dive

Many consumers are monitoring their sugar intake and adhering to healthier diets, yet typically they are unwilling to sacrifice taste for calorie reduction. On-trend brands are turning to natural alternatives that deliver sweetness but also carry consumer associations of health benefits, such as fewer calories, lower glycemic impact and clean label attributes. Examples of natural sweeteners increasingly being used include stevia and stevia blends, monk fruit, coconut sugar, sugar alcohols, syrups, prebiotic fibers and honey. Learn about the thriving market in this deep dive report. Read more at NaturalProductsINSIDER….

U.S. soda taxes work, studies suggest, but maybe not as well as hoped

Several cities and at least one state have enacted soda taxes to raise money and fight obesity. And there's new evidence suggesting that these taxes do work — although sometimes not as well as hoped.
Researchers are now studying soda taxes to see how well they are meeting these objectives as well as trying to quantify the impact of soda taxes by looking at sales data from retail establishments, including grocery stores and convenience stores. Their findings suggest the taxes work, to a point. Read more at NPR.org

How operational sustainability can help food manufacturers face industry trends

In 2019, the food manufacturing industry is unpredictable and hyper-competitive, with new and continuing trends promising to have both small and seismic impacts on manufacturers’ operations. From the continued refinement of functional foods to a growing reliance on mergers and acquisitions to streamline companies’ operations, 2019 trends will demand that manufacturers reconsider their practices. Consumers are calling for alternative product development and even for alternative products altogether. None of these trends are entirely new, but to capitalize on them manufacturers must realize there is a different kind of operational sustainability that underpins their ability to leverage operations in response to these trends. Read more at Fooddive

Starchy foods and the connection to health and fitness

The popularity of adding resistant starch to people’s daily foods has increased considerably, but understanding of resistant starch and how it works is still muddled by many people. This article clarifies some of the confusion by explaining the differences between starch and carbohydrates, why some starches are indigestible, or resistant, and looks at some of the most common health benefits associated with resistant starch and the research supporting them. Read more at Bonner County Daily Bee

How to define clean label? There isn’t any one singular definition, says the Hartman Group

The ever-moving target of what qualifies a food as clean label among consumers can throw food marketers into dizzying spiral, however, there are a few constants that food brands and manufacturers can follow to appeal to consumers’ clean label ideal, according to market research firm the Hartman Group. There isn’t one singular definition, the  groups says, but fresh, real, and less processed are certainly words that consumers use interchangeably when they are seeking products with that clean ideal. Read more at Foodnavigator-usa.com