Dairy retail sales soar on pre-pandemic levels in UK
08 Feb 2022 --- Throughout the global COVID-19 pandemic, FoodIngredientsFirst is dedicated to bringing its readers all the latest and most relevant industry updates. Visit this news feed for the coronavirus-related information and insights you need to guide your business through this challenging period. [Last updated: 08/02/22 10.30 [CET]
Supermarket sales of all dairy products remain higher than pre-pandemic, with an extra 302 million liters of milk bought last year compared to 2019. According to the UK’s Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), all dairy categories in 2021 – including milk, cheese, butter, cream and yogurt – remained significantly elevated versus pre-pandemic. However, none could reach 2020’s record performance during the lockdown. In 2021, cheese volumes increased by 13.2% compared to 2019, with specialty and continental leading the way with 27% more products sold in-store. Cheddar accounted for 49% of the total volumes and was 11% up on 2019. While butter volumes were down 1.8% last year, the category enjoyed significant growth compared to pre-pandemic levels, with volumes increasing 16.5%. While spreading remains key, butter has benefitted from more scratch cooking and baking.
Cream experienced the smallest decline on 2020 levels, with retail volumes down just 0.5%, but the most elevated performance compared to 2019 – up 21.3%, increasing its use in savory cooking. Yogurt saw the lowest lockdown boost out of the dairy categories, with volumes down 1.6% year-on-year and gains of only 4.3% in 2019. The category suffered from the loss of take-out lunch boxes and a reduction in promotions. However, although a much smaller category, yogurt drinks have the opportunity for growth.
Amcor reveals that eight in ten European shoppers have changed the way they consume meat or meat alternatives since the pandemic outbreak, with 50% eating more meat alternatives. The research included interviews with 1,000 meat alternative shoppers across the UK, Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands, investigating how the plant-based food sector’s growth – coupled with the ongoing pandemic – has affected consumer shopping habits and their corresponding attitudes to packaging… Read more
The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has produced a new report to explore the impact of COVID-19 and Brexit on the UK foodservice sector and how long it could take to recover. With “Plan B” lockdown restrictions lifted, restaurants and pubs are looking to recoup some of the losses that resulted from a drastic reduction in footfall since the outbreak of the pandemic – leading to a decline in sales of red meat out-of-home. AHDB data shows signs of a recovery with spending on food eaten out-of-home and the frequency of visits to pubs and restaurants, up year-on-year.In its new report, “Foodservice 2021: Recovery, Challenges and Opportunities”, AHDB’s retail insight team analyzed the takeaway, delivery and eating-out markets to uncover what opportunities there are to aid recovery and how lockdowns impact meals and the performance of beef, lamb and pork categories. The report looks at challenges for the sector including prospects from continued working from home, evolving health and dietary needs and the digitalisation of the foodservice sector.
The latest research shows that on-the-go breakfast was most affected by lockdown, down 30%. Dinner was the least impacted. Quick service restaurants were the only foodservice channel to see growth for the 52 weeks ending September 5 instigated by a rise in takeaways, with 89% of quick service restaurant meals eaten at home.
From TikTok, online food shopping, and snacking, to eating for health and immunity, the latest data reveals a wave of change resulting from the pandemic, according to the latest Pollock Communications and Today's Dietitian "What's Trending in Nutrition" survey. This provides an in-depth look at the trends for 2022 and beyond, as well as a flashback to the past decade, and collects data from nutrition experts. Nutritionists agree that the shift from low-carb to high-fat diets, like the ketogenic diet, is the most surprising change from the past decade, followed by plant-based eating. Rising in popularity over the years and accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, health and immunity will be the biggest trend in the next decade that will shape changes in the food industry and continue to fuel an era of food innovations. Due to COVID-19, most nutritionists also say online food shopping is here to stay and consumers continue to snack more as a result of working from home and seeking comfort from food.
More and more children could be turning into “fussy eaters” after a bout of COVID-19, according to smell experts at the UK’s University of East Anglia and Fifth Sense, the charity for people affected by smell and taste disorders. The recommendations are that these young patients undergo taste and smell “therapy” to offset these conditions. This is because they may be suffering parosmia – a symptom where people experience strange and often unpleasant smell distortions… Read more
As reports of food shortages continue to come out of Xi’an, the Chinese authorities are pledging to resolve the problems which have led to difficulties for city residents struggling to find essential food items. Xi’an residents have been locked in their homes as COVID-19 restrictions have been tightened, shops shuttered, and some food supplies running low.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has welcomed a US$10 million contribution from the US to its COVID-19 response efforts to help counter other challenges that threaten human, animal and environmental health, including future pandemics. In a letter to FAO, the US State Department said the funding is intended to support the agency’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Program, part of its broader One Health program. More specifically, the funding aims to help strengthen national and international One Health systems through enhanced multi sectoral early warning, risk assessment and risk reduction, and the progressive management of emerging and endemic zoonotic and high impact animal and plant pests and diseases, including those with epidemic and pandemic potential. “We thank the Government of the United States of America for its generous support to FAO’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Program and One Health Tripartite risk assessments at national levels,” FAO Director-General QU Dongyu says. “A science-based One Health approach across agri-food systems is critical for early warning and prevention of zoonotic diseases.” The contribution from the US will benefit countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Near East.
Caterers and restaurants saw a significant boost to public trust in the past year because of the pandemic, according to a new survey of trust in the food industry-funded by EIT Food. They see increased public trust due to the COVID-19 outbreak across six project countries, including the UK. Food manufacturers also see increased trust due to the COVID-19 outbreak among the public as they help avoid pandemic supply chain issues. The UK sees an overall increase in trust in food system actors due to COVID-19, with farmers once again topping the list. Meanwhile, consumers are hungry for initiatives to improve trust in the food industry, with blockchain-driven transparency tech topping the list of suggested options. The survey was carried out across six countries including the UK, Spain, Italy, Finland, Poland and Israel.
As the world continues to grapple with the effects of COVID-19, the health of the planet is moving into the spotlight for a plethora of reasons. There is now a general acceptance that planetary health is everyone’s shared responsibility, and companies, brands and consumers all have a role to play. FoodIngredientsFirst speaks to key suppliers who address Innova Market Insights’ number one trend for the forthcoming year… Read more
North American meat and poultry producers hit hard by market volatility and critical gaps in the labor pool have welcomed a new influx of investment to help fuel their businesses and propel COVID-19 pandemic recovery. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued US$32 million in grants to 167 meat and poultry slaughter and processing facilities in a bid to prop up food supply chains… Read more
Global consumer demand for plant-based products has increased since the onset of COVID-19, research by Palsgaard has revealed, highlighting that four in ten consumers were inspired to purchase more plant-based products because of the pandemic. The emulsifier and stabilizer specialist commissioned extensive consumer research into the plant-based market, focusing specifically on three categories: milk alternatives, dairy-free yogurts and frozen desserts… Read more
According to a new Rabobank report, global meat producers face a “leadership test” as the COVID-19 disruptions affecting food markets continue to pose challenges. Notably, animal protein supply chains face four areas of cost inflation pressures in animal feed, labor, energy and freight. Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst on the specifics of these market conditions – including details on industry’s recovery from African swine fever and outbreaks of avian influenza – is Justin Sherrard, global strategist for animal protein at Rabobank… Read more
In its fourth-quarter 2021 outlook, Beyond Meat says the company’s operating environment continues to be affected by near-term uncertainty related to COVID-19 and its potential impact, including on demand levels, labor availability and supply chain disruptions. Management's outlook assumes reasonable containment of COVID-19 infection rates both in the US and abroad. The guidance for the fourth quarter of 2021 is net revenues in the range of US$85 million to US$110 million. This forecast comes as Beyond Meat shares took a dive after the company signaled slowing demand at restaurants and grocers. Sales of its plant-based meat decreased in fast-food chains in the third quarter during the grips of the Delta COVID-19 variant, which led to a reduction in menu offering in some cases.
Global food trade has shown resilience to disruptions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, rapidly rising food commodities and energy prices pose significant challenges for poorer countries and consumers, who spend large shares of their incomes on these basic necessities, FAO says in its new Food Outlook… Read more
In its financial overview of fiscal year 2020/21 (ended August 31), Barry Callebaut Group has surpassed its pre-COVID-19 levels of 2018/19. With a 6.5% volume growth, the chocolate and cocoa giant business has evidently outpaced the underlying global chocolate confectionery market (+1.8%). The confectionery titan saw its profit grow faster than sales volume, amounting to CHF 1,147.2 million (US$1,257.3 million), compared to the previous year. It reports that healthy volume growth of 4.6%, to over 2 million metric tons, particularly in Gourmet & Specialties, had a positive impact on the mix… Read more
Kerry has revealed its Botanicals Collection Zero 2.0, pegged by the company as an enhanced next-generation range of high-quality, authentic botanical extracts – containing 0% ethanol – designed specifically for the global rapid-growth low- and no-alcohol beverage arena. “Confined to their own homes and increasingly concerned of the effects of food and drink on their minds and bodies, COVID-19 became the perfect incubator for the growth of the low- and no-alcohol consumption,” says Kerry… Read more
The Crop Trust and the Secretariat of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture have launched an emergency reserve to provide a financial lifeline to gene banks under threat, in an effort to secure future food supplies and crop diversity. The reserve will provide urgent funding to gene banks in low and middle-income countries to respond swiftly in emergencies spurred by climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic or political instability… Read more
In a new report, Kerry explores consumer insights around mental well-being and functional beverages. According to the taste and nutrition company, the COVID-19 pandemic has catapulted drinks with added health benefits into the spotlight, as F&B formulators examine ways to stay ahead of the competition. Pressingly, 40% of consumers have reported experiencing stress “during much of the previous day,” and Kerry addresses this with its beverage innovation… Read more
Consumers are increasingly concerned about their health and what they eat and this focus is expected to remain for the years ahead, bolstered by the changes caused by the onset of COVID-19. That is according to Canada-based flavors and ingredients manufacturing company Embassy Ingredients, who envisions the latest trends predicted to boost the bakery sector in 2022. Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Ritika Mehrotra, marketing coordinator, expects to see continued growth and interest in plant-based, clean label bakery solutions and new spice and fusion flavor trends… Read more
COVID-19 has underlined the need for greater vigilance to new threats from animal diseases. Addressing this critical priority, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has upgraded its global animal disease information platform, the EMPRES-i+ system. The new web-based system is redesigned to better support countries in identifying, mitigating and even forecasting severe animal diseases, like African Swine Fever (ASF)... Read more
Flavor and fragrance titan Givaudan has unveiled an ashwagandha infusion, tapping into the COVID-19-induced megatrend for mood-enhancing F&B products. The liquid extract enables easier formulation into functional foods and beverages with improved solubility and taste, taking the ingredient beyond supplements. FoodIngredientsFirst sits down with Mieke Acda, product manager natural and nutrition at Givaudan, to discuss “the rising star of Ayurveda,” which has been increasingly adopted by social media influencers… Read more
Despite supply chain challenges, raw material price hikes and the ripple effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, the stabilizers market is seizing the opportunity to innovate with more NPD on the horizon. Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, CP Kelco and Palsgaard reveal imminent ingredient launches and examine the latest trends and dynamics impacting the space… Read more
COVID-19’s knock-on effects have rippled through the F&B industry, with dairy being no exception. FoodIngredientsFirst speaks to key suppliers, who underscore a shift in consumer behavior toward sustainability and healthier products, with immunity and convenience noted as key concerns… Read more
Tyson Foods has hit back at the US government after the administration raised concerns about rising meat prices while pledging to scrutinize meat processors amid “dramatic consolidation of the industry.” An official White House briefing details how the US has recently faced higher meat prices, specifically beef, pork and poultry. The administration says it is taking action to enforce antitrust laws, boost competition in meat processing and push back on “pandemic profiteering” that hurts consumers, farmers and ranchers nationwide… Read more
Sales of UK food and drink to non-EU countries were up 13 percent, accounting for 46.6 percent (£4.3 billion (US$5.9 billion)) of all UK food and drink exports in the first half of 2021, driven by a return to growth in China, Singapore, Australia, Japan and the Gulf region. This increase means non-EU exports are now almost back to pre-COVID levels, according to the Food and Drink Federation. In other non-EU markets, including Central and South America, sales to some countries have doubled since H1 2020. The fastest-growing major export markets in the region were Colombia, Mexico, Chile and Brazil… Read more
Concerns over the global coffee supply are escalating as Vietnam, a key producer of robusta – the bitter-tasting bean used in instant coffee and some espresso blends – is in lockdown. The Vietnam Coffee-Cocoa Association, as well as other trade organizations, are urging the government to ease the COVID-19 restrictions. They want to avoid further delays to shipments and related costs… Read more
British meat producers are scrambling to plug labor gaps that have deepened in the wake of Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic. Suppliers are now looking to hire prisoners as an approach to bolster industry’s dwindling workforce. FoodIngredientsFirst speaks to the UK’s leading meat processing associations for a firsthand account of the compounded impacts of the ongoing crisis… Read more
Chicken restaurant Nando’s has been forced to temporarily shut around 40 outlets in the UK after running short of its staple fare: Peri-Peri chicken. Nando’s is reportedly lending some of its staff to its suppliers to help “get things moving” in the supply chain after shortages hit some Nando’s restaurants. Nando’s says it shut down outlets because of staffing issues at its suppliers’ factories and an HGV lorry driver shortage. “The UK supply chain is having a bit of a [night]‘mare right now,” the restaurant chain tweeted in response. “This is having a knock-on effect with some of our restaurants across England, Scotland and Wales.” The Nando’s website further states it sometimes changes its delivery areas based on demand, consequently encouraging customers to order their Peri-Peri chicken via foodservice agency Deliveroo.
Canada’s leading food and beverage processing associations have come together to invest in a first national supply chain platform to help strengthen its food security. Protein Industries Canada is spearheading the Food Convergence Innovation (FCI) Canada – Food and Beverage Supply Chain Project in collaboration with local F&B companies and institutions. The project focuses on creating a national, sector-wide platform with enterprise-to-enterprise connectivity capabilities… Read more
Australian premium packaged fruit company SPC will mandate that all of its staff must be fully vaccinated by the end of November to gain entry to any company location. The measure will ensure the health and well-being of all staff and the broader community, says SPC, as it “recognizes the significant threat the COVID-19 Delta variant poses to both the business and the broader Australian community.” All SPC staff, including casual and permanent staff as well as contractors, must have at least the first dose of the vaccine scheduled by September 15, 2021, with the first dose administered by the end of October. Any visitors to an SPC site will also be required to be vaccinated, says a company statement.
Irish food and drink businesses are experiencing inflationary pressures across most cost headings due to a combination of external macro factors, including Brexit, COVID-19 pressures, supply chain constraints and raw material inputs. This is according to new analysis by Food Drink Ireland (FDI), the Ibec group representing the food and drink sector. FDI surveyed member companies last month to assess the extent and impact of input cost increases. The survey found that the majority of food and drink companies experienced substantial increases across a range of inputs over the last 12 months… Read more
During the course of last year, COVID-19 drove above normal retail purchasing for Land O’Lakes. This year, the US-based agricultural cooperative reported year-to-date net sales totaling US$8.0 billion with net earnings of US$236 million, a year-over-year increase of 9 percent in net sales and 99 percent in net earnings. This year’s earnings for Q2 were driven by strong performance in Crop Inputs with higher volumes and favorable product mix in Crop Protection, and improved margins in Crop Nutrients. Dairy Foods earnings were below the elevated levels experienced in the second quarter of 2020, as consumers increased retail purchases at the start of the pandemic. Still, overall performance in retail dairy remained solid. Dairy also benefitted from strong performance in Foodservice as restaurants, and other institutions continued to reopen across the country.
In the first half of 2021, Symrise performed “outstandingly well.” As pandemic-related pressures eased, the company’s sales and earnings increased substantially. Product solutions for beverages and food also developed dynamically because falling case numbers for the coronavirus fueled out-of-home consumption, according to Symrise CEO, Dr. Heinz-Jürgen Bertram. “Although the pandemic will persist, we are very confident for the coming months following the good first half of the year, and we are more confident about our performance in the future. We are therefore raising our forecast for the organic sales target, as well as for the profitability target,” he says... Read more
Fair Trade USA announces new commitments and product launches in the second quarter of 2021; as workers and vulnerable populations continue to struggle with the impacts of the climate crisis and new COVID-19 variants, businesses are executing on environmental, social, and governance criteria with increasing urgency and vigilance. And consumers are holding them accountable more than ever, according to Fair Trade USA. One in three consumers feel fair trade is essential to their purchase, and retailers that use the Fair Trade Certified seal on their products see sales lift by 3.3 percent on average. And with deeper storytelling around the meaning of fair trade, sales can increase up to 134 percent. Conscious consumerism continues to encourage brands and retailers to make significant commitments to social equity and transparency. Increasingly, businesses are turning to fair trade as a holistic partner for social compliance and responsibility, adds the organization.
Tyson Foods requires its team members at US office locations to be fully vaccinated by October 1, 2021. All other team members must be fully vaccinated by November 1, 2021, subject to ongoing discussions with locations represented by unions. This action makes Tyson Foods the largest US food company to require COVID-19 vaccinations for its entire workforce. Almost half of Tyson Foods’ US workforce has been vaccinated, and coronavirus infection rates among team members remain low, according to the company.
DSM is targeting further growth for its nutrition offerings following “very good” H1 2021 results. Personalization and bioscience will continue to be a significant focus, as well as increasing its sustainability credentials with a more ambitious carbon reduction program. However, COVID-19 is continuing to impact the results, with one knock-on effect being falling birth rates emerging as a factor behind “soft” sales in the Early Life Nutrition business… Read more
The snacking market is being pulled in a multitude of directions – indulgence versus health, novelty versus comfort, and plant-based versus animal-based. Experts from Symrise, Almond Board of California and Lallemand Bio-Ingredients speak to FoodIngredientsFirst about the mixed impact of COVID-19 and the rise of snackification… Read more
Some food industry supply chain workers will now be exempt from self-isolation rules that have led to the so-called “pingdemic” that has been accelerating across Britain this week. In the wake of growing concerns about empty supermarket shelves, the UK government has introduced a new daily testing scheme that will allow many food workers to continue working, regardless of vaccination status… Read more
Honey, alcohol and horse meat fraud has been rife during the pandemic, flags Europol & Interpol. In addition, major infringements on alcoholic drinks led to seizures of 1.7 million liters of beverage products, while illegal horse meat was also targeted during a joint operation… Read more
Unilever declares a “strong performance” in its half-year 2021 results, highlighting a boom in its e-commerce business and steady growth in its Foods & Refreshments segment. Despite sales not yet returning to pre-pandemic levels, innovation and marketing in ice cream brands Ben & Jerry’s and Magnum have produced double-digit growth. The results come during a time of cost inflation and volatility caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has restrained turnover for food sales in most markets… Read more
The demand for natural solutions that are safe, transparent and sustainable is driving innovation within the natural preservation space. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored food safety in general while tackling food waste and extending shelf life remain cornerstones of natural preservations. However, other key factors push the demand for natural preservation solutions, technologies and techniques such as authenticity, convenience and nutrition. FoodIngredientsFirst examines the latest developments and talks to key industry players for their views… Read more
With less than 10 years until the 2030 deadline for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), governments need to step up their efforts to meet global food security and environmental targets, according to a new report released today by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Although progress towards the SDGs is expected to be made in the coming decade – assuming a fast recovery from the global COVID-19 pandemic, and stable weather conditions and policy environments – the past year of disruptions from COVID-19 has moved the world further away from achieving the SDGs. This calls for urgent attention to the factors and forces driving performance in agri-food systems.
Convenience retailers plan to keep Covid safety measures in place, even if the government further eases lockdown measures in England from July 19. Prime minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce further easing of lockdown measures in England coming into effect on July 19. Reports have suggested that the legal requirement to wear facemasks indoors in public places and on transport will be removed and replaced with advisory guidance. It is also anticipated that the one-meter rule will go, being replaced with advice for businesses and hospitality to mitigate the risks.
Consolidated sales of €670 million (US$792 million) generated in 2020 were lower than expected and could not build on the good turnover of the previous year, says German ingredients supplier, the Uelzena Group. In the reporting year, sales were influenced by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the company’s five main product groups experienced difficult market conditions. The Instant Beverages division, in particular, was severely affected by the lockdown across Europe. Sales in the main product groups dropped by about 17,000 metric tons, with only milk powder recording an increase in sales of nearly 1,700 metric tons...Read more
Kerry has revealed that 49 percent of consumers now consider sustainability when buying food and drink and that their understanding of the issue is evolving from environmental and social responsibility. The new sustainability research shows that consumers’ expectations are evolving rapidly, says Kerry. The survey of over 14,000 consumers across 18 countries uncovers key consumer associations with sustainability and is one of the most extensive surveys of this type ever to be undertaken. The importance and consumer focus on sustainability has grown dramatically following the COVID-19 pandemic...Read more
The COVID-19 pandemic has permanently boosted consumer interest in immune health, according to Innova Market Insights. In addition, the market researcher notes that younger generations are expressing greater concern for protection against future pandemics and the threat posed to physical and mental well-being. This suggests a potential for long-term consumer interest in immunity...Read more
According to European Freeze Dry, the return of many workers to the office on a more regular basis has already stimulated sales of on-the-go meal pots. The freeze dry specialist sees rising demand for ingredients used in on-the-go meal pots, from instant noodle pots to quinoa salads, with inquiries increasing by 30 percent since offices started to reopen in spring. Across Europe, workers are returning to offices with more consistency, with UK government data showing 60 percent of workers are now back in their regular workplace. The return of office workers has also led to increased city center footfall and demand for ready-to-eat on-the-go food, says European Freeze Dry.
New research conducted on behalf of Beneo shows that the pursuit of health amid the pandemic will influence the energy product market. Consumers demand healthier alternatives to boost their struggling energy levels. The survey consisted of 5,000 consumers across Spain, France, Germany, Poland and the UK. Improving mental well-being, overall mood and physical energy levels were some of the most important health aspects that gained momentum due to the pandemic. Almost one in three consumers in Europe have been juggling with feeling tired and a lack of energy during the pandemic. Half of those surveyed said they have been looking for food and drink products to help them make it through the day. This figure rises even more among younger adults (18–34-year-olds), with eight out of ten young European consumers seeking out energy-boosting products (increasing to 85 percent in the UK). During a pandemic, the demands of parenting have also left their mark, with seven out of ten European consumers with children saying they have turned to food and drink to boost their energy levels (growing to 82 percent in the UK). As well as fatigue being an increasing issue, the pandemic has also made people more aware of the fragility of health and the need to look after themselves.
More than ever before, consumers are linking their diet and their health, with 63 percent making an increased effort to eat and drink healthier in the future because of the pandemic. Also, staying fit and active and having a balanced diet have been major concerns during the pandemic, and two in three consumers now see a healthy diet is key to controlling their future health. A common way of boosting energy is via energy drinks, which have a broad appeal. However, in light of the current trends, many consumers are looking for products in these categories with healthier attributes, more natural ingredients or benefits of sustained energy.
“This survey quantifies the trend we have seen play out throughout the pandemic. The safeguarding of mental health and physical energy has now become key to European consumers. This higher interest in health and nutrition also links itself to an increased focus on preventative health, where blood sugar management can play a role,” says Myriam Snaet, Head of Market Intelligence and Consumer Insights at Beneo. “What is particularly interesting about this study is the significant size and diversity of the target group that is more interested in claims relating to balanced blood sugar levels. With such a broad appeal for healthy lifestyles, manufacturers who incorporate the balanced sugar, Palatinose, into their products will be well set to make the most of this trend both today and in a post-pandemic world.”
McDonald’s plans to hire around 20,000 workers in the UK and Ireland as lockdowns ease. The fast-food chain plans to open 50 new restaurant franchises over the next year as part of a major expansion drive. The recruitment campaign comes as the UK government changes its COVID-19 guidelines.
Deliveroo will notify customers through its app and website to let them know if surge testing is happening in their area to strengthen the UK government action to tackle rising cases of variants of concern across the country. This new tool means that notifications will be visibly targeted when customers are using the Deliveroo app in areas where the new COVID-19 variant is known to be spreading fastest. These are areas where the local authority is offering surge testing, including regions where additional support packages are in place, including for testing, tracing and self-isolation. After the checkout stage of placing their order on the app, messages will be displayed to customers, and they will be advised to visit their local authority’s website to find out more information on where surge testing is being offered in the area. The Deliveroo app banner will also link to the government’s website with more information on how people can get tested.
Epogee, a developer of EPG – the ingredient that eliminates most calories from fat – has revealed its ingredient is now a key component in Gatsby Chocolate’s latest line of better-for-you chocolate bars. Tom Burrows, CEO and president of Epogee Burrows, tells FoodIngredientsFirst that COVID-19 is impacting consumer behavior… Read more
Exports of food and drink to non-EU markets topped sales to the EU in the first quarter of 2021, with EU sales falling by 47 percent compared with Q1 2020 due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and changes in the UK’s trading relationships… Read more
Chobani is disrupting the yogurt space with a major US launch that sees the dairy specialist eliminate the sugar in milk. The strained yogurt expert has developed what it considers an “industry first” and potentially game-changing innovation with novel sugar reformulation at its core. Yogurt sales, in general, have also spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic as healthy yet indulgent home snacking picks up, as has a greater focus on gut health… Read more
While sustainability and planetary health are key considerations for the modern, conscious individual, there can be regional differences among what consumers are specifically concerned about. Innova Market Insights highlights that priorities for eco-centric consumption are highest in Eastern and South American markets. At the same time, in Europe, the health of the planet is of “almost equal concern to the health of the population.” This sentiment is evidenced even at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has put health in sharpened focus. It was particularly upheld among consumers in France and Germany... Read more
Reaffirming chocolate’s universal appeal, a new survey from Cargill has revealed most US consumers indulge in a chocolate-flavored treat every day. And the pandemic is playing its part in this… Read more
Israeli-based start-up Imagindairy is milking new technology to leave the cow out of the dairy equation. Using precision fermentation, the company is ready to unveil its fast-to-market, highly functional animal-free dairy proteins. Imagindairy started operations at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, building its first applications lab in the home kitchen of one of its employees, a single parent who needed a solution that would allow her to work on development while tending her homeschooled children… Read more
According to research conducted by Kerry, over 60 percent of consumers have increased their focus on food safety following the outbreak of COVID-19. In light of World Food Safety Day today, Kerry has also revealed that it’s ramping up its efforts on safety and preservation following a heightened awareness from consumers… Read more
Health and agri-food systems must be strengthened and improved to counter the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and to avoid a global food crisis, the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), QU Dongyu, has said. “Beyond jeopardizing human health, the pandemic is also disrupting our agri-food systems that are the core to our health and life,” the FAO Director-General told world leaders at the virtual Global Health Summit of the G20. “We need to take immediate action to avoid a global food crisis with long-term impacts.” The Summit was co-hosted by the European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, and Italian Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, as Italy holds the current chair of the G20. In addition, the leaders of the G20 countries, heads of international and regional organizations, private enterprise and global health bodies were invited to share lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Snacking and eating occasions are becoming more prevalent. According to Glanbia Nutritionals, several factors contribute to the increase in snacking, including cultural shifts, more regular snacking amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the upending of usual food rituals. Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Tara Bane, EMEA marketing manager at Glanbia Nutritionals, says the diversity and accessibility of cuisines and foods have sparked interest for consumers keen to develop their palate and quench their curiosity… Read more
Asia and the Middle East have helped boost red meat exports from the UK in what has been an incredibly challenging start to the year, according to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB). With Brexit and COVID-19 impacting shipments of beef, lamb and pork to Europe during the first three months of 2020, markets outside the EU have helped bolster trade. While exports of beef to non-EU countries have dropped, shipments of pig meat, including offal, have risen in both volume and value, increasing 31 percent to 63,000 tons, worth over £110 million (US$156 million) – up 42 percent compared to the same period last year. Sheep exports to non-EU countries also rose 30 percent in volume and 46 percent in value, worth £6.6 million (US$9.3 million) to the sector.
Trade was particularly helped by increased demand from Asia and the Middle East – both are areas of strategic growth for AHDB, having recently engaged representatives in the regions to support and facilitate trade development for levy payers. AHDB Head of Asia Pacific Jonathan Eckley said the Far East remains a key market for red meat exports from the UK, and AHDB is continuing to identify opportunities in new and existing markets to help boost trade. Demand for UK pork was also evident in the Philippines, with the value of shipments increasing four-fold compared to the same period last year – bringing a £10 million (US$14.2 million) boost to the sector. Exports to South Korea also grew and were valued at £2.5 million. Sheep exports, including offal, to Kuwait, increased ten-fold in the first three months of the year, and shipments to Ghana more than doubled.
TikTok’s top food trend is cloud bread, according to new data from Jack and Beyond. The social media platform’s arm for food trends, FoodTok, has risen in popularity amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with many more consumers sharing their kitchen skills since spending more time at home. “With more and more young people turning to social media as a source of inspiration for recipes, it is important to think about what this can do for the food industry as we know it,” Sophia Zimmer, head of customer service at online cake shop Jack and Beyond tells FoodIngredientsFirst… Read more
A global shortage of rice flour is likely to lead to price increases across a wide variety of everyday food staples. The severe shortage and soaring prices have been created by a “perfect storm” of factors in key supplier nations, namely the uprising in Myanmar and the COVID-19 crisis in India, as flagged by the UK-based ingredients supplier Eurostar Commodities. Rice flour is one of the most important and commonly used ingredients featuring in baby food, desserts, soups, stews, coatings and batters. It is also an important ingredient in gluten-free products… Read more
Occasions are changing, and along with them, so too are flavor choices. According to Innova Market Insights, the need for indulgence is no longer limited to snacking and after-dinner treats. As a result, the market researcher sees a rise in indulgent breakfast foods and flavors. Innova Market Insights’ latest report – entitled Flavors by Occasion – reveals that the likes of cakes and cookies prove popular indulgent flavors at breakfast.The report highlights that indulgent flavors see the strongest growth in foods commonly eaten at breakfast, such as cereals, bread and dairy. Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Héctor Parra, consumer and market insights team coordinator at Innova Market Insights, explains how the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted higher levels of comfort eating, putting indulgent flavors in the spotlight… Read more
The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) returns with its annual dairy innovation competition focused on advancing excellence in functional dairy product development. The Real California Milk Excelerator, the third edition of the CMAB dairy product innovation competition with innovation consultancy VentureFuel, will award up to US$650,000 in prizes for new dairy products that support performance and recovery benefits. With consumers prioritizing personal health and wellness in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the competition will seek out early-stage start-ups that utilize California’s abundant supply of sustainably sourced California milk… Read more
US-based Wixon Inc is spotlighting the growing demand for comfort food with a Mexican twist. According to the company, Mexican flavors and dishes are “incredibly popular with US consumers,” and this geographical reach is expanding. Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Ryan Kukuruzovic, corporate chef at the company, shares his insights on the growing appeal for ingredients and dishes originating from Mexico. They come as the COVID-19 pandemic pushes up demand for comfort food… Read more
A huge number of Brits have reduced the amount of animal products they’re consuming since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to research by The Vegan Society. A new survey that focused on changing consumer habits over the last 12 months has found one in five (20 percent) people have reduced the amount of meat they are eating, while 12 percent say they’ve minimized their eggs and dairy intake. Seven percent of respondents revealed they have cut down on all three, meaning that one in four (25 percent) have actively cut back on some form of animal products since the first lockdown. It also found that more than a third (34 percent) are spending more time with their companion animals, and 32 percent are thinking more about their personal impact on the planet.
US-based biotech company Jellatech is tapping into the growing demand for collagen and gelatin ingredients without the use of animals. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the start-up says there is a significant demand for healthier and more sustainable ingredients. Animal-based collagen and gelatin ingredients are commonly found in confectionery, cakes and ice cream applications. With a boom in demand for plant-based foods, there is an increasing demand for innovation without animals… Read more
Chocolate remains the top snack of the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly 90 percent of US consumers purchasing some form of chocolate candy within the last three months. Flavorchem, a US-based supplier of cocoa-based ingredients, has revealed that comfort, sensory experiences and plant-based claims are driving the demand in the chocolate confectionery space. As rising attention is placed on the importance of mental and emotional health, confectionery is already well-positioned as a “feel good” category that provides consumers with a sense of comfort… Read more
Following shareholder pressure, Tesco has pledged to boost sales of healthy foods between now and 2025 with a major new reformulation program. Hailed as a landmark victory for shareholder activism on health issues, the retailer now plans changes to promotions and pricing to remove barriers to buying healthy food, and further expanding its plant-based ranges, with new plant protein products. ShareAction has led a coalition of seven institutional investors, putting pressure on the retailer to step up its health commitments. The shareholders, including Robeco and JO Hambro, argued that supermarkets promoting unhealthy food were a significant driver of the UK’s obesity crisis, which has been a key factor in the UK’s high COVID-19 mortality rate… Read more
Flavor and color manufacturer Gold Coast Ingredients is expanding its manufacturing capabilities to the east coast of the US. Gold Coast’s two facilities, including manufacturing and R&D, will remain in Los Angeles, California, while the company purchases a third facility in Gilbert, Pennsylvania. Gold Coast Ingredients reacts to ongoing transit delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Gold Coast’s President, James Sgro, explains: “We strive to improve our manufacturing process, transit times, and costs for our loyal customers. We have committed to our customers’ continued success by adding a manufacturing and distribution facility in the Poconos region of Pennsylvania, reducing transit times to one to two days within a 1,000-mile radius.”
At its new facility, the company will produce liquid, powder, and spray-dried flavors. Gold Coast PA will also have a full quality control lab and application center, opening up new employment opportunities in Pennsylvania. Gold Coast PA is projected to open this summer.
According to an international group of smell experts, steroids should not be used to treat smell loss caused by COVID-19, including Prof Carl Philpott from the University of East Anglia. Smell loss is a prominent symptom of COVID-19, and the pandemic is leaving many people with long-term smell loss. But a new study shows that corticosteroids - a class of drug that lowers inflammation in the body – are not recommended to treat smell loss due to COVID-19. Instead, the team recommends ‘smell training’ – a process that involves sniffing at least four different odors twice a day for several months.
Smell loss expert Prof Carl Philpott from UEA’s Norwich Medical School says: “The huge rise in smell loss caused by COVID-19 has created an unprecedented worldwide demand for treatment. Around one in five people who experience smell loss as a result of COVID-19 report that their sense of smell has not returned to normal eight weeks after falling ill.”
While indulgence plays a significant role in the bakery sector, new demands ranging from reformulation to clean labels are pushing bakery toward innovation. Experts also tell FoodIngredientsFirst that taste is key, with unusual flavor combinations gaining greater popularity as consumers look for a way to shake off day-to-day monotony driven by the COVID-19 pandemic… Read more
The immunity trend has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen a renewed focus on immunity since the beginning of the global outbreak early last year. SternVitamin addresses consumers’ growing demand for immune health with the help of micronutrient premixes that can be incorporated into everyday food and beverages, such as plant-based alternative drinks and ice cream… Read more
Chinova Bioworks recently celebrated its fifth anniversary and is now focused on rapidly scaling up manufacturing for its clean-label upcycled mushroom extract that functions as a natural preservative. Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, the company’s co-founders share insights on the company’s proprietary ingredient, branded as Chiber. They say the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated the need for Chiber… Read more
Export volumes of the UK’s top tier food and drink exports – whiskey, chocolate and cheese – saw a decline amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, industry watchers report buoyancy for pork and breakfast cereal sales during the first year of the global crisis. Santander UK and the Food and Drink Federation’s (FDF) Industry Report reveals that Britain’s exports fell by 9.7 percent in 2020 compared to 2019, with the total value falling to £21.3 billion (US$29.7 billion)... Read more
The appeal of frozen foods for convenient and time-saving meals remains the primary driver of sales for this category throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In this segment, meals-for-one and luxury-branded ready meals are prominent among the most in-demand positionings. In frosty dessert highlights, ketogenic ice cream pops are tapping into the consumer ethos for well-being. Among new ingredient launches, functional starches from Cargill and American Key Food Products (AKFP) are aiding freeze-thaw tolerance and stability… Read more
An estimated 334,000 COVID-19 cases are attributable to meatpacking plants, resulting in US$11.2 billion in economic damage, according to a new study led by a researcher at the University of California, Davis. It found that beef- and pork-processing plants more than doubled per capita infection rates in counties that had them. Chicken-processing plants increased transmission rates by 20 percent. The study looked specifically at large meatpacking plants generating more than 10 million pounds per month. Researchers said both the economic impact and infection rate estimate are conservative. The study – published in the journal Food Policy – looked at infection rates within a county and did not account for cases that might have been contracted at a meatpacking plant but spread to other counties. "Similarly, our study likely understates true economic losses," says lead author Tina Saitone, a livestock and rangeland economics cooperative extension specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at UC Davis. The study looked at lost wages and mortality and did not include long-term health care costs or costs for measures to protect worker safety. "While we did see an initial ramp-up in cases attributable to meatpacking facilities, over time infection rates were the same per capita as counties without them, partly because meatpacking plants implemented a lot of protocols to protect employees," adds Saitone.
A variety of factors can drive county-level COVID-19 transmission rates. Saitone said the research controlled for those potential drivers, such as the number of nursing homes or correctional facilities in a county. It also considered stay-at-home orders and other regulations, population density, demographics, economic factors and health characteristics. The study looked at infections within 150 days after the first documented COVID-19 case in each county. Increased COVID-19 transmission rates have prompted some critics to call for a smaller, more geographically dispersed industry to make it less susceptible to a pandemic and massive disruptions in the food supply chain. Researchers caution that such a move would come at a price, adding costs to a system designed to eliminate them and ultimately increasing food prices. Economists instead suggest research and investigation into the automation and technological innovations that made the poultry segment of the industry more resilient to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Givaudan's Q1 business review, the company's Taste & Wellbeing segment reported good growth driven by packaged foods, dairy, savory, sweet goods, snacks and beverages. In the first three months of 2021, the flavor house recorded overall sales of CHF 1,674 million (US$1.8 billion), an increase of 7.7 percent on a like-for-like basis and 3.4 percent in Swiss francs. "I am very pleased with the strong start that we have made to 2021, in what continues to be a very uncertain environment related to the COVID‑19 pandemic," says CEO Gilles Andrier. "We have seen continued strong demand across the parts of our business which are less impacted by the COVID‑19 pandemic and improving conditions in the parts of our portfolio which have been more affected.".... Read more
Lockdown measures in the UK ease today as pub gardens, restaurants with outdoor spaces and other foodservice outlets reopen to the public following months of closures.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people live, work and socialize, accelerating demand for innovation, as retailers, consumer goods, and travel companies shift from reacting to the crisis to reinventing products and services, according to findings of a new global survey from Accenture. After a year of lockdowns, 95 percent of survey respondents said they made at least one change to their lifestyle that they expect will be permanent. Working from home, changing travel patterns, and a growing desire to shop locally are challenging industries to fundamentally rethink how they cater to the pandemic-adapted consumer. The latest survey of more than 9,650 people in 19 countries supports Accenture’s previous findings that many changes in behavior will likely be long-term.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, consumers have been drawn to comfort foods. They are discovering that healthier reformulations of sweet treats are a way for them to indulge without the feelings of guilt that arise. FoodIngredientsFirst speaks to ingredient suppliers in the dessert space, who shed light on the balancing act for both indulgence and health… Read more
Global food and agri-business Olam International Limited has published its 2020 Annual Report, outlining the company’s financial and non-financial performance for the year. Key highlights include how Olam made significant progress on its Reorganization Plan to unlock and maximize long-term sustainable value via carve-out, IPO and concurrent demerger of Olam Food Ingredients (OFI) and pursue similar strategic options for Olam Global Agri (OGA). “2020 was one of our strongest years on record as we delivered operational earnings growth of 36.0 percent to USS$677.8 million even as we contended with the COVID-19 pandemic. We also made significant progress on our transformational Reorganization Plan to unlock and illuminate the current value of our business and develop new strategic pathways that drive sustainable growth for the Group,” Sunny Verghese, Co-Founder and Group CEO of Olam… Read more
The US's plant-based food market grew almost twice as fast as the total retail food market, which increased 15 percent in 2020 as COVID-19 shuttered restaurants and consumers stocked up on food amid lockdowns. Overall, the meat-free sector grew by 27 percent, bringing up the total US plant-based market value to US$7 billion… Read more
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers are proactive in addressing health concerns. As a result, the ice cream sector sees a shift in demand for formulations with functional ingredients, Kerry reveals. Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst ahead of the US International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) Ice Cream Technology Conference, Shannon Coco, strategic marketing director for Food at Kerry North America, says brands are using ingredients that have a “health halo.”... Read more
Environmental and personal health trends are driving the confectionery segment. Spurred by COVID-19, the importance of immunity is coming to the fore while sustainability is top-of-mind for companies keen to up their transparency game. On top of this, indulgence, taste and texture boost confectionery NPD as manufacturers seek better for “people and planet” ingredients, processes and methods… Read more
During the pandemic, lower-cost recipes are needed to ensure sufficient food supplies at affordable prices. Hydrosol is addressing this need with solutions targeting cost-effective applications of dairy, deli and meat and sausage products. For toppings for hot dogs, pasta or convenience products, the German supplier offers a stabilizing system for making spreadable cheese analogs for squeeze tubes. The system gives a creamy mouthfeel even with just 20 percent cheese content, and the products can be eaten hot or cold. For toppings for hot dogs, pasta and convenience products, it offers a stabilizing system for making spreadable cheese analogues that gives a creamy mouthfeel with just 20 percent cheese content, for hot and cold formats. Reduced-cost mayonnaises and bread spreads are further categories for which Hydrosol has developed economical formulations, including a sandwich spread with a reduced fat content of 40 percent and ambient storage. Cost-conscious solutions for ketchup and other types of red sauces include reducing tomato content while adding stabilizers and plant fibers, the company notes.
Freshly, the Nestlé-owned US meal delivery service has launched Chef’s Special by Freshly, a new menu of limited-edition meal collaborations from renowned global chefs. Consumers can enjoy destination dining for a night at home with ready-to-eat cuisine from chefs Jet Tila, Kwame Onwuachi, Sean Brock and Kristen Kish. The launch comes as the at-home eating market continues to gain popularity amid the COVID-19 pandemic… Read more
According to a new study in the journal Trends in Food Science & Technology, current food classification systems for processed foods lack consistency and consensus, often leading to confusion and debate even among scientists, according to a new study in the journal Trends in Food Science & Technology. Researchers from the UK University of Surrey and the European Food Information Council (EUFIC) reviewed over 100 scientific papers to examine if different criteria exist in developing classification systems for processed foods and, if so, what distinguishes them. Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Christina Sadler, senior manager at EUFIC and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Surrey, says processed food classification systems are currently being used in research, dietary guidelines and product development. Recent surveys suggest that consumers increasingly prioritize health in their purchase decisions compared to before the pandemic, notes Sadler… Read more
Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC) reported stable year-on-year net sales, at US$33.6 billion, amid weathering the COVID-19 pandemic. Among notable highlights over the COVID-19 period, the merchant and processor of agricultural commodities invested in disruptive technologies through its corporate venture capital program “LDC Innovations,” in the creation of Covantis, focused on digitizing international trade. LDC also entered into a definitive agreement to sell the business and assets of port refiner Imperial Sugar Company to U.S. Sugar, a privately held agri-business based in Clewiston, Florida, US… Read more
Agriculture absorbs the bulk of the financial losses and damages wrought by disasters which have grown in frequency, intensity, and complexity, says FAO in a new report. At no other point in history have agri-food systems confronted with such an array of new and unprecedented threats, including mega fires, extreme weather, unusually large desert locust swarms, and emerging biological threats like the COVID-19 pandemic. These hazards not only take lives but also devastate agricultural livelihoods and inflict cascading negative economic consequences at the household, community, national and regional levels that can endure for generations, a new report says.
COVID-19 has had a serious impact on the restaurant industry globally, with more than half of the brands in this year’s Brand Finance Restaurants 25 2021 ranking declining in brand value and the total value of the world’s top 25 most valuable restaurant brands dropping from US$162.1 billion in 2020 to US$153.9 billion in 2021. Many governments responded to the pandemic's outbreak by closing or severely curtailing the restaurant industry's activities, meaning many brands had to undertake a complete overhaul in operating practices, with a renewed focus on drive-through, mobile ordering, and meal delivery services. Starbucks has retained the title of the world’s most valuable restaurant brand for the fifth consecutive year, despite recording a 6 percent drop in brand value to US$38.4 billion. The chain - which has over 30,000 stores globally, about half of which are in the US - used the pandemic to further differentiate itself from rivals and has adapted to focus on speed and convenience in its service. This includes ramping up the pace of the construction of ‘drive-thru’ stores, a renewed focus on a loyalty rewards scheme, and further integration of digital technology across the business – all of which are reflected in a surge in drive-through and mobile orders, accounting for 90 percent of all orders in the US in Q3 of last year.
“The restaurant sector has shown remarkable adaptability in the face of unforeseen and challenging circumstances brought about by COVID-19,” says Richard Haigh, managing director, Brand Finance. “The efforts to refocus on at-home dining and the investment in digital presence have inured many of the biggest brands from far more dire consequences. The pace of vaccine distribution - particularly across the US and the UK - means there are signs of hope yet for the restaurant sector, with many customers eager to return to socializing and dining together.”
The 15th Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM-15) - the governing body of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) - began meeting today to set standards to curb the spread of plant pests and review the state of plant health and protection worldwide. Jari Leppä, minister for Agriculture and Forestry of Finland, said that “Humanity is facing a number of existential challenges. [...] It would certainly be my dream that in 30 years’ time the year 2020 would not only be remembered for the COVID-19 pandemic, but also as the beginning of a new international consciousness about One Health, including plant and environmental health. The COVID-19 pandemic is proving that prevention is always better than the cure, and this applies to the health of humans, animals and plants." The last 14 months have jeopardized access to affordable and nutritious food, but the IPPC ePhyto Solution, for example, has allowed countries to exchange electronic phytosanitary certificates throughout the pandemic and assured the continuing safe trade of plants.
The UK has delayed its post-Brexit border checks on certain EU goods by six months to give businesses more time to prepare for the transition's full impact. In the food sector, health certificates on imports such as meat and milk will be pushed back from next month to October. The government claims that the new timetable will be helpful to firms recovering in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Physical checks have the potential to be among the most troublesome and cause the most delays if systems are run badly,” Tom Holder, press and communications lead at the British Retail Consortium (BRC), tells FoodIngredientsFirst… Read more
UK Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick has written to local authorities about government measures to support hospitality businesses to reopen safely as part of the COVID-19 recovery. This includes plans to extend pavement licenses for a further 12 months, making it easier and cheaper for pubs, restaurants and cafes to continue to make al fresco dining a reality with outside seating, tables and street stalls to serve food and drinks.
Tyson Foods is offering free, onsite COVID-19 vaccinations this week to thousands of frontline team members in Arkansas, where 20 percent of the company’s US workforce is based, as well as Kansas and North Carolina. The vaccines are being provided in conjunction with Matrix Medical and local health departments in each of the three states, where food processing workers are among the priority group now eligible for vaccination.
An estimated 931 million metric tons of food, or 17 percent of total food available to consumers in 2019, went into the waste bins of households, retailers, restaurants and other food services, according to new UN research conducted to support global efforts to halve food waste by 2030. Food waste prevention is also a primary area for inclusion in COVID-19 recovery strategies… Read more
Tesco has set a target to increase sales from healthier products in the UK to 65 percent by 2025. The move is in line with an anticipated shareholder resolution regarding expanded nutritious offerings, to be voted on at Tesco’s Annual General Meeting in June. The upcoming resolution will the first health-based resolution to be filed at a UK-listed company, reflecting rising investor concerns with companies’ health impacts in light of the COVID-19 crisis… Read more
The U Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has reacted to the UK’s budget announcement with concern over the lack of support for the F&B industry as Britain recovers from the COVID-19 crisis… Read more
Kerry expects the functional beverage market to gain traction and see a surge of NPD targeting consumers who are approaching health holistically due to the COVID-19 threat. This is based on new Kerry research, which found that 65 percent of functional beverage consumers are more worried about their health since the start of the pandemic… Read more
The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, George Eustice MP, encourages food, drink and environmental services industries to test their staff for coronavirus by registering for free testing kits provided by the government. In a letter to the F&B industry, he hails food, drink and environmental services industries as the “hidden heroes of the pandemic.” He also stresses how these organizations must operate as smoothly and as safely as possible during recovery. These tests are for staff who cannot currently work from home. Only businesses registered in England can apply for free testing. A new survey by London-based global AI food technology start-up, Spoon Guru, reveals how UK consumers embrace diets that are healthy for the planet and healthy for themselves. The study shows that COVID-19 is changing eating habits for one in five (22 percent) of Britons, highlighting the growing trend for conscious eating and the intrinsic link between eating healthily and eating sustainably.
A quarter (24 percent) are actively choosing more sustainable food options to tackle global warming; 22 percent are following a more eco-conscious diet to address animal welfare; and 25 percent are eating more sustainably to tackle eco issues due to agriculture expansion. The findings also show that the planet’s well-being is mirroring a similar focus on our own health.
A new report from Sustain member the Food Foundation, released as part of the #EndChildFoodPoverty campaign spearheaded by UK footballer Marcus Rashford, provides further evidence that the pandemic has had a devastating impact on the UK’s most vulnerable populations. It also highlights that the problem of household food insecurity continues to be at crisis levels. Headline statistics from the report include how food insecurity remains higher than pre-covid levels affecting an estimated 4.7 million adults (9 percent of households) over the last six months. This compares to pre-Covid levels of 7.6 percent. Fifty-five percent of those experiencing food insecurity (an estimated 2.5 million adults) said it was because they did not have enough money for food, 31 percent said it was due to isolation, 23 percent said it was lack of access and supply, and 8 percent cited other reasons in the last six months.
Beyond Meat has struck two high-profile deals with fast-food giants McDonald’s and Yum! Brands, the corporation that operates KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. The moves will see plant-based products proliferating fast-food menus as the tie-up accelerates the co-development of chicken, pork and egg products as part of a plant-based platform. Beyond Meat’s CEO, Ethan Brown, calls this moment a “tipping point” in terms of plant-based meat’s cultural relevance. Simultaneously, Beyond Meat posted a larger-than-expected quarterly loss, partly due to weakened restaurant sales because of COVID-19’s impact on the foodservice sector… Read more
According to a UN report, 370 million children in 199 countries and territories were suddenly deprived of school meals when schools closed due to the pandemic. That meal was, for many, their only nutritious food of the day. David Beasley, WFP Executive Director, highlighted the importance of what’s been lost: “That one meal a day is often the reason hungry children go to school in the first place. It’s also a powerful incentive to make sure they’ll come back after lockdown ends. We need to get these programs running again – even better than before – to stop COVID from destroying the futures of millions of the world’s most vulnerable children,” he says. To that end, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) will build a coalition to support governments scale up their school meal programs, working with development agencies, donors, the private sector and civil society organizations.
Gwyneth Paltrow has come under fire from Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director for NHS England, following her unproven advice on specific diets, “intuitive fasting,” and consuming kombucha kimchi can help with long covid symptoms. The criticism came after the US actress and founder of the Goop brand blogged about her own personal experiences, citing Goop’s products. Prof Powis urged influencers such as Paltrow (who has had COVID-19 and says she’s suffering from longer-term symptoms) against spreading misinformation and that her long covid “solutions” were not the same as NHS recommendations.
Much has been said over the last 12 months, heralding the positive health impacts of a plant-based diet, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Aside from reducing meat and dairy for environmental reasons, immunity has come to the fore. Consumers are increasingly seeking better-for-you food and beverages that will naturally boost their health and well-being… Read more
The Food and Drink Federation has reacted to yesterday’s changes to England’s lockdown restrictions by highlighting the lack of focus on a “return to normality” for food and drink manufacturers supplying the hospitality and foodservice sectors. The UK-based organization also calls for significant extensions to the nation’s furlough and credit insurance schemes to support hard-hit F&B manufacturers. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans to reopen schools, shops and gyms in England in a phased approach as part of the government’s COVID-19 roadmap. Johnson also outlined his four-step strategy that could see restrictions lifted by June 21, but only if strict conditions are met… Read more
After more than a year since the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a global health emergency, the US Department of Agriculture, the US Food and Drug Administration and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to underscore that there is no credible evidence of food or food packaging associated with or as a likely source of viral transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus causing COVID-19. The agencies stress their confidence in the safety of the US food supply, which remains steadfast. “Consumers should be reassured that we continue to believe, based on our understanding of currently available reliable scientific information, and supported by overwhelming international scientific consensus, that the foods they eat and food packaging they touch are highly unlikely to spread SARS-CoV-2,” says a statement.
Tyson Foods is providing an additional incentive for frontline workers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. The company, which already offers free, on-site COVID-19 vaccinations at its US plants, has announced it will also compensate workers for up to four hours of regular pay if they are vaccinated outside of their normal shift or through an external source.
Kerry Group has posted its business performance for the year ended December 31, 2020, with a group revenue of €7.0 billion (US$8.5 billion). Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, chilled meals were impacted by reduced consumer impulse purchases, while frozen meals benefited from increased retailer stocking in the fourth quarter… Read more
Dutch beer giant Heineken has announced plans to cut approximately 8,000 jobs. The news comes amid a sharp drop in sales during to the COVID-19 pandemic, with Heineken chief executive Dolf van den Brink saying that 2020 had been a year of “unprecedented disruption.” Some of the job losses will be at the Amsterdam head office. Bars and pubs have been closed all over the world over the last 12 months. South Africa has also imposed temporary bans on alcohol sales. The company is the world's second-largest brewer, with Heineken being Europe's top selling lager. It also owns the Tiger and Sol brands.
The 34th session of FAO’s Committee on Fisheries (COFI34) ended its week-long meeting recently with its members endorsing the first-ever Declaration for Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture, urging stronger action to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and stressing the importance of recovering from impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Declaration outlines a global vision for fisheries and aquaculture, while highlighting the sector’s essential contributions in the fight against poverty, hunger and all forms of malnutrition. This is central to implementing the 2030 Agenda and making agri-food systems more inclusive, resilient and sustainable, a global concern that will be discussed at the UN Food Systems Summit in September.
With people in Asia and around the world set to celebrate Lunar New Year, CropLife Asia is urging for a greater appreciation of regional growers and their critical contributions to food production - helping ensure food security across Asia and making available many of the ingredients to dishes enjoyed during this festive time of year. “Lunar New Year is a time when we reflect, spend more time with friends and family, and enjoy the delicious foods of the season,” says Dr. Siang Hee Tan, CropLife Asia Executive Director. “In the midst of the ongoing global pandemic, it all takes on greater meaning. The time spent with loved ones and eating the foods we savor will be that much more enjoyable and memorable. In the midst of this year’s gatherings, I hope we can also take time to think of and thank our farmer heroes. The men and women we depend on for the food we eat during this holiday and throughout the year have been hit hard by COVID-19. They drive food security for Asia in the midst of a growing number of challenges and obstacles.”
Tyson Foods is piloting a new Matrix Medical Network program that assesses, addresses, verifies and monitors the effectiveness of the company’s efforts to protect workers from COVID-19. More than a dozen Tyson Foods plant locations, including some of the company’s largest facilities, are participating. Six have already received safety verification, and seven more are in the process of being assessed. The program is designed to help verify and monitor that businesses are taking appropriate measures to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
As insect food and feed markets are forecast for growth this year, the International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF) speaks with FoodIngredientsFirst about the advantages of entomophagy, COVID-19 challenges and how European insect producers have managed to recover faster than expected… Read more
Big game day will look very different this year as COVID-19 influences eating. Eager as ever to snack their way through Super Bowl Sunday, consumers are predictably turning to traditional chicken wings as a comforting classic. Meanwhile, the pandemic is driving up home deliveries, vegan offerings are gaining traction, and key brands in food will be airing commercials during the country’s biggest sporting event of the year… Read more
Unilever has released its 2020 financial results pinning overall underlying sales growth of 1.9 percent. There were gains for Food & Refreshment, which edged up driven by Hellmann’s mayonnaise and Unilever’s plant-based brand The Vegetarian Butcher.
Foods & Refreshment underlying sales grew 1.3 percent, but Food Solutions declined by 30 percent as out-of-home consumption channels were heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown measures… Read more
The first-ever extensive study on fresh produce e-Commerce highlights the growing share of agricultural suppliers with direct marketing to consumers. It also reveals how online sales of fresh produce have been shooting up throughout the COVID-19 pandemic… Read more
Fisheries and aquaculture are of critical importance for global agri-food systems transformation as well as recovering from the COVID-19 crisis, the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), QU Dongyu, says today addressing the opening of the 34th session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI). This is the only global inter-governmental forum where FAO members meet to review and consider the issues and challenges related to fisheries and aquaculture. It is being held virtually for the first time. In his remarks, Qu noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the fisheries and aquaculture sector through changing consumer demands, market access and logistical problems related to transportation and border restrictions. He also highlighted that fisheries and aquaculture are essential for the world economy to build back better from the COVID-19 crisis. "The potential of a modern aquaculture to grow and feed the world is extraordinary," Qu said, noting that 10 percent of the world's population relies on the fisheries and aquaculture sector for their livelihoods, mostly small producers that need support.
Chocolate is no longer just a sweet treat, with the ingredient now appearing in applications from meat and bread to alcoholic beverages. The COVID-19 pandemic has also given a new twist to this space as people turn to cocoa’s mood-boosting properties… Read more
Mondelēz International gained market share during the COVID-19 pandemic, noted the multinational when reporting its Q4 and full-year 2020 results. This came on the same day that the European Commission launched an antitrust investigation to assess whether Mondelēz International has restricted competition in a range of national markets for chocolate, biscuits and coffee... Read more
European growth investors Pymwymic and StartLife have joined forces to offer assistance to high-potential start-ups in the agri-food tech space, beginning at the pre-revenue phase. The project aims to smoothen the transition between each vital stage in early business development. Given today’s COVID-19 climate, the partnership flags that emergent solutions aiding industry’s sustainable food system transition continue to face critical shortages in start-up investment… Read more
A new EIT Food report reveals that consumer trust in the food sector has increased over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, yet the majority of consumers do not think that some factions of the food industry are working in the public interest… Read more
Symrise has revealed its sales figures for the financial year 2020, in which organic sales grew by 2.7 percent. According to the German flavor house, organic sales growth was “slightly below the targeted range of 3 to 4 percent” due to a cybersecurity attack in December 2020, which temporarily caused significant disruptions to business operations. “Symrise maintained a very solid performance in a market environment impacted by the coronavirus pandemic,” says Dr. Heinz-Jürgen Bertram, company CEO… Read more
With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting daily choices, more consumers are turning to plant-derived proteins, hailed as better for the planet and better for personal health. With this in mind, the protein space has been propelled even further into the spotlight… Read more
Greens have suddenly become extremely popular among UK consumers because of the COVID-19 lockdown and the ever-increasing trend toward plant-based and vegan eating. Famously despised by children down the ages, greens are making a comeback, having finally shaken off their loathsome image, notes retailer Tesco… Read more
Agrana Fruit has released its 2021 global consumer trends for the F&B sectors, with plant-based, gut health and immunity themes running throughout. With increased screen time, eye health has also come into focus, according to the company. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated several consumer trends, and others have slowed down. Agrana Fruit says the changes brought about by COVID-19 have hugely impacted the food and nutrition sector, and the changes will also be seen beyond 2021… Read more
At the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture in Berlin, FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu, appealed for a creative and integrated approach to agri-food systems to drive recovery from COVID-19 and achieve a sustainable world. Innovative solutions in agri-food systems helped households and countries contain disruptions in food supply chains during the COVID-19 pandemic, and more will be required to "build back better and build back greener," he said today. Innovation occurs on the technology frontier but also in policymaking and business models, he emphasized, while speaking at a virtual high-level panel on how to help strengthen the sustainability of food systems and prevent future pandemics. FAO organized the event as part of the week-long Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) in Berlin.
Examples of innovation supported agri-food systems include green channels connecting fresh food producers with urban centers, e-commerce solutions deployed across the spectrum of agri-food systems, and workarounds that have assured the functioning of food safety practices amid widespread restrictions on the movement of people triggered by the COVID-19 emergency. During the first UK lockdown of 2020, self-reported food waste levels in the country fell by 34 percent – the sharpest fall on record. That is according to figures from Zero Waste Scotland and the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), who have partnered with researchers from the University of Leeds to examine UK food waste and consumer behavior during and after lockdown periods… Read more
Chr. Hansen has revealed its Q1 results, highlighting strong organic growth. With this, the company is on track to execute its 2025 strategy. “Our first quarter came in quite strong on a relatively easy comparable from Q1 last year, with good performance across our business, especially within Health & Nutrition. We were able to win new business, launch new products in Food Cultures & Enzymes and drive upselling in key markets such as cheese – all despite the difficulties of COVID-19,” says Mauricio Graber, company CEO… Read more
Norway’s exports of seafood jumped 7 percent in volume to the US in 2020, as retail sales increased during restaurant shutdowns. This increase in volume amounts to a 3 percent uptick as measured in Norwegian krones (NOK), despite a difficult COVID-19 environment that challenged logistics and restaurant traffic. Most notably, frozen salmon fillets to the US increased 48 percent by volume and 40 percent by value in 2020.
The Norwegian Seafood Council, which reported the figures, attributes the increase in Norwegian seafood consumption to consumers looking for healthy, balanced meals for their families. “Norwegian seafood has responded to many of the strongest growth trends in consumer behavior, such as an increased focus on value-based choices related to health and sustainability,” says Renate Larsen, CEO of the Council. Larsen further points out that this increase could have long-lasting effects, as many more consumers have now learned to make fish and shellfish at home. Overall, Norway exported 2.7 million metric tons of seafood worth NOK105.7 billion (approximately US$11.3 billion) in 2020. This is the second-highest value ever for the Scandinavian country.
With the UK in its third national lockdown, research has revealed that only 53 percent British consumers of are strengthening their immune systems with fruit and vegetables. Despite 82 percent claiming to be actively taking steps to fortify their immunity and two-thirds (66 percent) of Brits paying more attention to their health, only 17 percent have given up sugary foods; the same proportion has ditched fast food; more than half (59 percent) aren’t taking vitamins to fortify their bodies; one in five (19 percent) are still unaware of what vitamins they should be taking.
The nationwide study, commissioned by Spoon Guru, showcases how UK consumers are attempting to stay healthy. The top foods Brits are choosing to support their immunity are citrus fruits (48 percent), bananas (46 percent), apples (and other stone fruits) (42 percent), tomatoes (41 percent), fresh juices (39 percent), nuts (38 percent), salads (38 percent), eggs (35 percent), grapes (33 percent) and milk and dairy products (31 percent).
The British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) is again calling on the UK Government to follow the example of America’s Centre for Disease Control and the World Health Organization guidance and place frontline workers in meat factories on the list of early vaccine recipients. The risk of a more rapid spread of the virus among key workers, coupled with the expected disruption of food supplies at UK ports as the full effects of Brexit begins to unfold, poses a severe challenge to the industry and the smooth running of the nation’s food supply chain.
Nick Allen, CEO of BMPA, explains: “As the new coronavirus variant takes hold across the whole of the UK, we are hearing widespread reports of rapidly rising absences in the food supply chain. In some cases, notably in the supermarket sector, companies are seeing a tripling of staff having to take time off work through illness or enforced self-isolation”. Given the specialized nature of the meat processing industry, if absences go above a certain level, it becomes impossible for a plant to continue operations. If this starts happening, plants would be forced to close entirely, and a sizeable chunk of food supply would disappear from supermarket shelves.
With consumers prioritizing their health, the Almond Board of California (ABC) says almonds can help manufacturers address evolving demands for clean label, healthy and versatile ingredients from sustainable supply chains. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 marked a global step-change. The day-to-day lives of consumers dramatically changed which has been especially visible in food and beverage choices, says ABC… Read more
Four months after its launch in Thailand, a health drink fortified with curcumin extracted from the turmeric plant's root stalks, has found its way on to the shelves of more than 15,000 modern trade retail outlets and almost 500,000 mom and pop stores in the US nationwide, offering liver function and other benefits attributed to curcumin. Branded as 'QminC', the preservative-free health drink is sold in 150 ml glass bottles with a retail price of Baht 25 (approximately US$ 0.83) per bottle.
The shutdowns of bars, restaurants and cafés across the globe has led to certain foodservice providers to think of creative ways to repurpose their venues for common aid. Craft brewer BrewDog is now in talks with the UK’s Minister For Vaccine Deployment Nadhim Zahawi and First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon to convert all BrewDog bars into vaccination centers across the nation. “We have waiting areas, huge refrigerators and people who can help organize,” says the company’s CEO James Watt. Additionally, the brewer is offering a commemorative beer to everyone who is vaccinated at a BrewDog location.
With restrictions around COVID-19 keeping people at home during the day and in search of easy meal options, convenience has made its way back onto the priority list. That is according to Mike Wystrach, founder and CEO of Freshly, a US-based meal delivery company. He predicts industry will see a spike in creative, affordable and nutritious ready-to-eat meals that will make the microwave 2021’s “most valuable kitchen appliance.” Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, he details: “Microwave meals are making a comeback during the healthy-at-home food revolution. While single-serving prepared foods have never gone away, over the past few decades, attention to health, nutrition and the effects of overeating processed food have stigmatized them as a low-quality, unhealthy last resort for many people... Read more
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) will purchase an additional US$1.5 billion worth of food for nationwide distribution through the Farmers to Families Food Box Program. In total, USDA has distributed more than 132 million food boxes in support of American farmers and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The BEAMitup project, funded by the European consortium EIT Food, has launched a survey to collect the experiences and needs of agri-food companies, identify best practices and develop new solutions that allow the sector to work safely during and after the pandemic. One of the greatest challenges of the pandemic, originating from SARS-CoV-2 virus, is to guarantee the safety of workplaces, especially in the agri-food sector, avoiding that outbreaks lead to business disruption and, for some, even the active spread of the virus through raw materials or finished products, such as for frozen foods or meats.
The issue is important not only in terms of public health risk but also from a trade balance perspective, with several cases of coronavirus contamination found on food packaging and surfaces. BEAMitup, a joint project between SwissDeCode (CH), Microbion (IT), IATA CSIC (ES) and the University of Helsinki (FI), was launched to monitor the practices adopted by companies to ensure rapid identification and management of outbreaks and resilience after their containment.
Moreover, by developing new detection tools, the project will help companies quickly and efficiently detect contamination on working surfaces, raw materials and finished products from SARS-CoV-2 and other microorganisms that could threaten food safety and business operations. Companies in the agri-food sector wishing to participate in the survey can do so here: survey.
A new report from the Food vulnerability during COVID-19 research project examines four critical responses to food insecurity during the pandemic: school food replacements, emergency financial support, emergency food and the shielding grocery box scheme. The research projects' second report, Monitoring responses to the risk of rising food insecurity during the COVID-19 crisis across the UK, presents the initial findings on these four significant responses:
- School food: replacements for food ordinarily provided in school, including breakfast and free school lunches, put in place when schools closed during the national lockdown.
- Emergency finance: Cash-based responses provided through existing and new state-provided schemes in each of the constituent countries. Also, emergency grants are provided through third sector organizations.
- Emergency food: Adaptations made by charitable emergency food providers to assist people facing economic barriers to food access.
- Shielding grocery box scheme: national programs providing weekly food boxes to people who were shielding who had no other means of accessing food.
The report presents multiple insights for the ongoing response to food vulnerability during COVID-19 and lessons for policy and practice in the longer term. This report follows the first report from the project, which mapped the range of national programs and policies intended to enhance access to food for people at economic and physical risk of food insecurity in the UK between March and July 2020.
More than 40 countries have now banned arrivals from the UK because of mounting concerns over a new, more transmissible mutation of the new coronavirus. However, health officials there stress that there is no evidence it is more deadly or that it would not respond in the same way to the vaccines cleared for emergency use.
“The bottom line is that we need to suppress transmission of all SARS-CoV-2 viruses as quickly as we can,” World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said press briefing. “The more we allow it to spread, the more opportunity it has to change,” he added. In early 2021, US$4.6 billion in additional funding will be needed to purchase COVID-19 vaccines for at least 20 percent of low and lower middle income countries, according to the WHO chief. “This will ensure health workers and those at highest risk of severe disease are vaccinated, which is the fastest way to stabilize health systems and economies and stimulate a truly global recovery,” he said.
Gaps will start to appear on UK supermarket shelves within days if transport ties with mainland Europe are not quickly restored, the UK’s two biggest grocers warned on Monday. Freight from France is being disrupted due to a broader suspension of travel links with Britain to curb a new faster-spreading strain of COVID-19. The French government has closed its border to arrivals from Britain for 48 hours, which means no lorries can leave Dover’s English port, the main gateway to Europe. Tesco and Sainsbury’s both said if the disruption continued, food supplies would be impacted. “If nothing changes, we will start to see gaps over the coming days on lettuce, some salad leaves, cauliflowers, broccoli and citrus fruit,” said Sainsbury’s.
Tesco highlighted the same products, apart from broccoli. British supermarkets face record Christmas demand due to COVID-19 restrictions on the hospitality industry and travel, and there were fears the transport crisis could trigger panic buying. Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged Britons to shop normally and said French President Emmanuel Macron was keen to resolve the crisis within hours. Though large queues snaked around supermarkets across the UK on Monday, food retailers said they had not seen any significant customer buying behavior changes on Monday.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, EHL Ingredients has noted significant shifts in demand for its products, which it supplies under its Lähde brand to the food industry. Dried ginger is one product that is currently in short supply from China, resulting in supply chain delays and shortages. “There have also been shortages of other products from China such as garlic, sunflower seeds and rice. We put this down to labor shortages in the region, disruptions to distribution channels, and a poor ginger harvest this year,” explains Tasneem Alonzo, joint managing director, Lähde brand by EHL Ingredients.
“We have experienced disruptions to the supply chain as logistics and shipping have both been affected by the on-going Coronavirus situation. We are sourcing ginger from an existing supplier in India and working hard to fulfill orders with our customers and to keep prices stable.”
“We are seeing the effects of this shortage in the bakery sector in particular, as ginger is a key ingredient in many baked goods at this time of year. There has been an increase in small bakery businesses offering home delivery baked goods, and home baking are also still going strong in the UK due to lockdowns and tier restrictions, so we do expect there to be shortages to cover these demands from the UK purchasers,” she comments.
The European Commission (EC) developed its Farm to Fork strategy to ensure the EU’s food supply and food security in the event of future crises. Building on lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and other events, the EC plans to develop a set of procedures to be followed in times of crisis. This consultation is targeting operators in the food supply chain and their associations; other stakeholders in food supply chain operations; consumers and consumer groups; Member States’ representatives and competent authorities; international organizations and third countries; and the scientific community and policy support bodies... Read more
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated The Coca-Cola Company’s restructuring efforts, with the soda giant now planning to cut 2,200 jobs globally, including 1,200 in the US. This closely follows the company’s October announcement of its plans to slim down its portfolio, as part of a strategic review... Read more
Asda is putting additional Covid safety measures in place to protect colleagues and shoppers during the busy Christmas shopping period. There will be extra security workers on the doors of all 421 larger superstores between December 19-24 to help manage access. This is in addition to the Asda Safety Marshals currently on duty at the front of every store. Asda’s virtual queuing app ‘Qudini’ is now available in all UK superstores allowing shoppers to wait in the comfort of their cars for a slot if the store is busy. Automatic counting technology has been installed in Asda’s 100 busiest stores to control access and help customers to socially distance. A protective antimicrobial coating is being added to customer “touch points” in stores such as fridge and freezer handles and the checkout areas, The coating, which provides a protective film that helps to kill bacteria and viruses, is also being applied to all basket and trolley handles. There will be new point of sale signage to remind customers to respect social distancing and to shop solo if they can to ease congestion.
We are still seeing major social and economic consequences of the worldwide COVID-19 epidemic, and the Dutch agricultural sectors are no exception. There have been many (potential) threats and uncertainties in recent months, but what is the actual impact of the coronavirus crisis on the Dutch agricultural sector? Researchers from Wageningen Economic Research have been involved in analyzing the consequences from the beginning of the crisis. They share their findings in the report titled The impact of the corona crisis on the Dutch agricultural complex.
Amid a tide of renewed interest in fermented foods, US-based GLK Foods, a manufacturer of sauerkraut, talks to FoodIngredientsFirst about the health benefits of fermentation and the expansion of the technique in the plant-based arena. The company’s president and owner, Ryan Downs, emphasizes that industry is at a pivotal moment with respect to fermentation and its health benefits. While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to threaten global public health, Downs also notes our bodies may be more susceptible to illnesses than our ancestors… Read more
Consumer appetite for health-fortifying offerings has risen over the last year and has been accelerated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “In Tune with Immune” is now pegged as one of Innova Market Insights’ Top Trends for 2021, reflecting how immunity and health will steer the development of functional ingredients in the coming years… Read more
The challenges of food security have been made more acute by COVID-19, and they’ve driven applications for Olam’s bi-annual prize in support of transformational development and delivery of agriculture solutions around the world. A majority of the early entrants have come from Africa-based scientists, academics, and entrepreneurs. Olam says that applications are welcomed from academic or research institutions, civil societies and the private sector, and can focus on any region, environment, crop or part of the agricultural supply chain. Based on past years' experience, Olam expects an even greater number of applications to arrive before submissions are due on January 11, 2021. Finalists will receive publicity support which can help in funding and other activities, and the winner will receive a US$75,000 grant. “The Olam Prize couldn’t be timelier,” explains Sunny Verghese. Olam's co-founder and Group CEO. “Unlike other research awards, it recognizes clear evidence of ideas that are already being tested or have the potential for rollout in the near-term, with the intention of funding and supporting impact on food availability, affordability, adequacy, and accessibility over the long-term.”
Fonterra Co-operative Group has narrowed its 2020/21 forecast Farmgate Milk Price range, reported a solid start to the 2021 financial year and reconfirmed its forecast earnings guidance. As a result of strong demand for New Zealand dairy, the Co-op has narrowed and lifted the bottom end of the forecast Farmgate Milk Price range from NZD $6.30 - $7.30 per kgMS (US$4.41 - US$5.12) to NZD $6.70 - $7.30 per kgMS (US$4.70 - US$5.12). Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell also talks about the impacts of COVID-19… Read more
The appetite for pizza is increasing during COVID-19, leading to NPD in the space. Ornua Ingredients Europe has unveiled a new range of pizza cheeses within its Spinneyfields brand. The Spinneyfields Consistent Shred Pizza Cheese is developed to deliver consistent quality with less waste, as well as ideal coverage, melt and stretch… Read more
Barry Callebaut has slashed its overall footprint by 8.1 percent in the last year, from 8.5 million to 7.8 million metric tons of CO2e. The chocolate and cocoa giant also outlines other significant ambitions for the coming years, including new targets to completely eradicate child labor by 2025 while boosting upward economic momentum for farmers. “If anything, the COVID-19 pandemic is underlining the importance of sustainable supply chains and the relevance of our Forever Chocolate ambition,” says Antoine de Saint-Affrique, CEO of the Barry Callebaut Group… Read more
A survey of 5,000 consumers across ten European countries details the lasting impacts of lockdown measures during the COVID-19 pandemic upon food purchasing and consumption. The most considerable behavioral shifts were identified in the way people shop, with nearly half of consumers reporting an increase in online shopping (45 percent); bulk purchases (47 percent); and carefully planned shopping trips (45 percent), according to EIT Food, Europe’s food innovation initiative supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)… Read more
Consumers associate taste with different holidays and celebrations, notes flavor company, Silesia. This year, well-known and established tastes will provide consumers with a feeling of security as they escape into their comfort zone – especially during the COVID-19 pandemic… Read more
Alongside probiotics, fermented foods and beverages are gaining traction thanks to their strong link with prebiotics, a type of fiber that stimulates the growth of gut bacteria. FoodIngredientsFirst speaks to Pieter Spanjers, the newly appointed CEO of SVZ, on the supplier’s formulations in fermented food tech alongside other fruit- and vegetable-based ingredient developments. He also discusses the impacts of COVID-19 on the business... Read more
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and a subsequent increase in label-conscious consumption, many retail brands have continued or even accelerated their reformulation and development programs. FoodIngredientsFirst speaks to key manufacturers on the topic of strategies to clean up label declarations while improving nutritional functionalities in F&B formulations and meeting the heightening label regulations across Europe… Read more
Global leaders have called for urgent action to transform agri-food systems to make them more sustainable and resilient in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and other crises and ensure that everyone has access to affordable, healthy and nutritious food. The discussion took place at a Special Seminar on Food and Nutrition, organized by FAO, entitled Urgent call for agri-food systems transformation to achieve healthy diets for all.
A new World Economic Forum report details the potential transmission of COVID-19 through food. In mid-September, China suspended importing fishery products from Indonesia due to contamination in the outer packages. A month earlier, China also reported frozen chicken wings imported from Brazil have traces of the virus as well as frozen prawns from Ecuador. Meanwhile, China has reported around 10 cases of SARS-CoV-2 in the frozen products or its packaging. The news from China about the possibility of COVID-19 transmission through frozen products has prompted the New Zealand government to track down the virus in frozen goods.In August, after more than three months having zero new cases, New Zealand found a positive case. The lady, in her 50s, had no record of overseas travel nor local transmission indication. Most international food safety authorities state that there’s no evidence of COVID-19 transmission through frozen foods. Even so, the organization advises that food producers and consumers should be vigilant and follow COVID-19 protocol such as washing hands using soap under running water for at least 20 seconds before and after touching frozen food. Also, producers should not prepare or package food if they are sick.
Meanwhile, Ulrick & Short has announced it is accelerating NPD in key sectors after a spike in demand from manufacturers following the COVID-19 pandemic and increases in government regulation. Consumer demand for ethical, healthy and clean products is now greater than ever, the company stresses. The extra resources will develop their ingredient portfolio in applications such as nutritionally enhanced beverages, meat substitutes, vegan bakery and performance foods. This focus comes off the back of recent ingredient launches such as their egg replacer for vegan bakery goods and a low flavor, high solubility protein for beverages.
QU Dongyu, director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, has called on G20 members to address the impacts of COVID-19 on agri-food systems by boosting farmers productivity, scaling up social protection mechanisms and investing in digital innovation, among other measures. "It is essential for the G20 to keep working on preventing this health crisis from becoming a global food crisis," he said. Speaking at the G20 Leaders' Summit hosted virtually by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qu acknowledged the concrete efforts made so far by G20 members to keep food supply chains alive and food trade flowing amid the pandemic, and encouraged countries to continue using trade "to boost farmers' productivity, income and sustainability." He stressed the importance of leaving no one behind by supporting the most vulnerable people and countries to have access to vaccines not only for human beings but also for animals as well as affordable safe and nutritious foods.
The shifts in consumption occasions has been one of the notable changes in consumerism in 2020. That is according to Agrana Fruit, who recently published its latest trendblog, “Seek Control,” focusing on the at-home consumption of snacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Agrana Fruit’s latest Consumer Megatrends have revealed that, with increasing complexity and uncertainty in the world, consumers seek to control anything they can… Read more
Specialty nut expert La Morella Nuts, part of the Barry Callebaut Group, has revealed a global expansion after decades of experience in Mediterranean Nut Craft in Spain. The company is tapping into the growing need for healthier indulgence and plant-based products globally, which was on the rise even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic… Read more
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted consumer behavior and what is demanded in the realms of F&B. In line with this, Comax Flavors has revealed its 2021 Flavor Trends in four distinct categories which have been influenced by the ongoing health crisis. With consumers being at home more than ever, they are going back to basics, returning to breakfast, and finding comfort in baking and cooking… Read more
Kerry has released a research white paper highlighting trends in protein snack bar development. The taste and nutrition company addresses this rapidly expanding market as consumers continue to seek new ways to boost their nutrition through snacking. “Snackification” – the movement toward snacking versus eating specific meals – was already on the rise before COVID-19, with consumers paying much more attention to the nutritional value of snacks. Since the offset of the pandemic, however, consumers have naturally started to feel more vulnerable. This, in turn, has accelerated a desire to incorporate healthier foods into their diets as a means of supporting long-term health goals, says Kerry… Read more
Responding to the UK Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, The Food and Drink Federation’s Head of Climate Change and Energy Policy, Emma Piercy, welcomes Boris Johnson’s ambitious plan, which captivates the wide-ranging efforts needed to take effective action to achieve Net Zero and deliver a green economic recovery. “As the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, the food and drink industry is absolutely committed to a green recovery post-COVID-19 and achieving the Government’s net-zero carbon target by 2050,” she says. “We have identified a clear pathway, but the changes required to manufacturing processes and energy supply systems are so significant, businesses will need clear direction and support in partnership with Government and other stakeholders to make that transition. We now look forward to the imminent publication of the Energy White Paper.”
Frito-Lay has announced the latest edition of its US Snack Index survey, revealing how shopping, cooking and snacking trends have changed this year and what’s anticipated to have a lasting impact in 2021 and beyond.
Consumers are expecting their celebrations to look different compared to last year, with half planning to shop for their holiday groceries through an online retailer, up from just 15 percent in 2019. The majority of consumers – 63 percent – plan to use cooking at home as a way to stay entertained in the coming months.
“Consumers have shifted their behavior with 58 percent snacking more since COVID-19, and shopping through new channels with online adoption up 40 percent,” says Mike Del Pozzo, senior vice president of sales and chief customer officer, Frito-Lay North America.
“This holiday season, we expect to see more small gatherings and a move away from potlucks, which means more families purchasing the whole meal.”
Kerry also believes the COVID-19 pandemic will significantly affect the format and essence of flavor profiles in 2021 and beyond. In line with this, consumers are expected to foster a practice of exploring exotic flavors and cuisines as they try to escape “pandemic fatigue,” says Coralie Garcia Perrin, global strategic marketing director for Sweet Taste at Kerry… Read more
Global trade in food products has proven remarkably resilient during the pandemic, with developing countries even managing to increase export revenues, according to a new report published today by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Data available through June “suggest strong, albeit not complete, the resilience of the global food markets to COVID-19 shocks,” the semi-annual Food Outlook says in a special feature on recent trends in food import bills and export earnings.
“The global food import bill for the whole of 2020 may even exceed that of 2019,” says Josef Schmidhuber, co-author with Bing Qiao – both FAO economists – of the chapter. “There is, however, a noticeable shift away from high-value food items to staples.”
Developing countries have demonstrated notable “vivacity” in buoying global food trade flows, the analysis shows. Their export earnings in the first half of 2020 rose by 4.6 percent compared to the same period of the previous year, while those of developed countries declined. That is partly explained by the sharpest drops occurring for beverages, fish and meat, the demand for which is more responsive to the declines in household incomes triggered by the global contracting economy.
Prebiotic inulin fiber maintains its popularity for food and beverage NPD and is expected to see further growth as the COVID-19 crisis drives demand for immunity-boosting formulations. This is according to Eric Neven, commercial managing director, functional fibers at Beneo, who explains to FoodIngredientsFirst that the pandemic has heightened focus on immune health... Read more
The UK government has positively responded to the National Food Strategy and announced nearly £400 million support for families and their children during the school holidays and a boost to Healthy Start. Over 30 charities, led by the Food Foundation, formed a consortium to provide evidence needed to persuade the government to do the right thing.
So far, this is what has been achieved:
- £170 million (US$224.8 million) Covid Winter Grant Scheme to support children, families and the most vulnerable over winter
- Holiday Activities and Food program to be expanded, covering Easter, Summer and Christmas in 2021
- Healthy Start payments set to rise from £3.10 (US$4.10) to £4.25 (US$5.62) a week from April 2021
- A suite of measures represents a long-term plan to help tackle poor health, hunger and education.
In fiscal year 2019/20 the Barry Callebaut Group saw its sales volume decline by 2 percent to 2,095,982 metric tons, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, sales volume in the chocolate business took a hit of 2.1 percent... Read more
Unite the union has called on Sainsbury’s to redeploy its 500 members whose jobs on deli, fish and meat counters are under threat, following the supermarket’s announcement that it is cutting 3,500 jobs. Unite said that it was ‘deeply disappointed’ by the news affecting its members working on these counters, which have been closed since the first lockdown in March and called for urgent talks to explore redeployment opportunities within Sainsbury’s supermarkets. It is understood that the redundancy notices for the counter staff will be issued in March next year and come into effect in May 2021.
Chr. Hansen is monitoring how COVID-19 is changing consumer behavior, and helping brands navigate their way through the new reality, take advantage of new opportunities, and innovate with color. As mass disruption caused by the pandemic continues to have a profound impact on our “new reality,” Chr. Hansen has been tracking trends and how they have evolved under COVID-19 as well as trends that have emerged under the crisis… Read more
InnovoPro has secured US$18 million from investors, including Rabobank, as part of a second funding round. The deal, led by Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), comes as consumers demand healthier and more sustainable clean label plant-based solutions. The Rabo Food & Agri Innovation Fund, part of Rabobank’s investment arm Rabo Corporate Investments, joined InnovoPro’s series B funding as the global food ecosystem continues to evolve in response to the COVID-19 pandemic… Read more
A coalition of UK health professionals is calling for a food tax to be levied on all food producers according to their products’ carbon footprint. Should industry fail to take voluntary action, the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change (UKHACC) argues that the levy must be enforced on food with a heavy environmental impact – such as beef and dairy – by 2025. “COVID-19, painful though it is, could pale into insignificance compared to the turbulence created by climate change and the collapse in biodiversity,” stresses Henry Dimbleby, independent lead of the National Food Strategy, a member of the coalition… Read more
Most Dutch people did not change their diets during the first COVID-19 lockdown, but more overweight and obese people said they ate less healthily, and higher-educated people also ate more unhealthy food during this period. These are the conclusions of research carried out at Wageningen University & Research (WUR). Researcher Dr. Maartje Poelman of the Department of Consumption and Healthy Lifestyle carried out in-depth analyses of research on eating patterns and food purchases conducted by the Netherlands Nutrition Centre among 1,030 people five weeks into the first lockdown (from April of this year). Despite the pandemic’s far-reaching impact on daily life, a majority did not change their eating habits during the first lockdown. Most people indicated that they did not eat differently (83 percent) or buy or order other food (73.3 percent). This shows how fixed our eating habits are and how difficult they are to disrupt. However, the in-depth analyses did reveal interesting socio-demographic patterns among those who did change their eating behavior. More overweight and obese people said they had trouble making healthy food choices. WUR also noticed that women indicated that they found it harder to make healthy choices more often than men.
As the UK gears up for a second lockdown later this week (November 5) and with many people struggling to feed themselves and their families, Sainsbury’s has revealed a £5 million (US$6.4 million) fund to fight hunger this winter. Sainsbury’s is inviting customers to donate food and other essential products or cash in-store and online and match every donation, doubling every customer’s contribution. The retailer will donate up to £4 million (US$4.1 million) to local charities and communities between December 1-14, and together with the help from its customers, could raise to and beyond £8 million (US$10.3 million) for charity.
Economic recovery from the pandemic requires more nations to focus more intently on sustainable agriculture, according to Jim Collins, Corteva Agriscience CEO, speaking during the Climate-Positive Agriculture in a Post-COVID World session at the virtual Financial Times Global Food Systems Summit. “For those in agriculture, the days of thinking about sustainability as just part of our business are over. Sustainability is our business. We can better serve those who benefit from the global food chain by re-evaluating every aspect of our business through the prism of sustainability.” Collins shared the path Corteva Agriscience has set forth to meet its own sustainability goals, defined in the company’s 2030 Sustainability Strategy. The company’s 14 goals, to be achieved over the next ten years, are built around four key pillars: Goals to benefit farmers; Goals to benefit the land; Goals to benefit communities and Goals for the company’s operations.
Royal DSM reports a “solid first nine months in a challenging COVID-19 environment,” with a continuing robust performance in Q3, despite significant adverse foreign exchange effects. According to the company, group sales stable and adjusted EBITDA was down by 3 percent. Nutrition sales increased by 4 percent and organic sales were up 5 percent. Overall, the adjusted net profit was down 8 percent to €544 million (US$636 million). Total group net profit was €453 million (US$529 million)... Read more
Nestlé USA has acquired Freshly, a chef-cooked meal delivery service, in a deal valuing Freshly at US$950 million, with potential earnouts up to US$550 million contingent on the successful growth of the business. The move comes as the at-home eating market gains popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nestlé purchased an approximate 16 percent stake in Freshly in 2017 as a strategic move to evaluate and test the burgeoning market… Read more
Indulgence remains that “little bit of magic” craved by consumers as the world grapples with the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, simultaneously health and nutrition are top-of-mind for consumers, and according to Bunge Loders Croklaan (BLC), this desire to blend health with indulgence is becoming even more prevalent. Seeking comfort through food is a major trend gaining traction around the world as lockdowns continue… Read more
Symrise has continued its profitable growth course in Q3 despite COVID-19-related challenges, increasing its sales in the first nine months of 2020 by 5.9 percent to just over €2.7 billion (US$3.1 billion). The Flavor segment was driven by trends toward cooking and eating at home as changes in consumer behavior due to the pandemic continued throughout the third quarter.... Read more
The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) has approved more than US$7 billion in payments to agricultural producers in the second round of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. CFAP 2 provides financial assistance to help absorb some of the increased marketing costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. “America’s agriculture communities are resilient, but still face many challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These payments will continue to help this critical industry recoup some of their losses from ongoing market disruptions and associated costs,” says Sonny Perdue, US Secretary of Agriculture. “This program builds upon the over US$10 billion disbursed under the first round of CFAP. Agricultural producers who have been impacted by the pandemic since April 2020 are encouraged to apply for assistance.” Since CFAP 2 enrollment began on September 21, FSA has approved more than 443,000 applications.
Most consumers will pay more for food and beverage products containing sustainably produced ingredients, research by Palsgaard has shown. The emulsifier specialist surveyed over 600 people in Mexico, Singapore, UK and the US. It found that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the importance they place on price but has not detracted from their focus on environmental issues. Three quarters (75 percent) of respondents believed food companies have a lot of responsibility for protecting the environment, with 23 percent believing they have a little. More than nine in ten (92 percent) said it was important that the ingredients in the products they buy are produced sustainably, with 49 percent saying it was very important.
Eighty-two percent said they would be willing to pay more for a food product containing sustainably produced ingredients. Nearly half (46 percent) would pay over 5 percent more, and 17 percent would pay over 10 percent more. Environmental issues were found to be of particular concern to younger consumers. For 18-24-year-olds, climate change was the ethical issue food companies should take most seriously. Jakob Thøisen, Palsgaard’s CEO, said: “We always believed that carbon neutrality was the right path to take from an ethical point of view. As this research shows, it also makes sound business sense. Consumers, especially younger ones, are increasingly focused on reducing their carbon footprints and will reward food manufacturers who share that commitment.”
The research also provides new insights into the effects of COVID-19 on food purchasing decisions. Over half (55 percent) of consumers said the price of products had become a more important factor since the pandemic, while 42 percent said it had made no change, and only 3 percent said it had become less critical.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on society and especially on young people. Youth unemployment is again on the rise. In the Middle East and North Africa, for example, almost one out of three young people is unemployed. Efforts are needed now more than ever to support young people and avoid a ‘lockdown generation’. Against this backdrop, Nestlé and the Alliance for Youth have announced that they will create 300,000 new job and training opportunities for young people across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa by 2025. Despite the pandemic, Nestlé and its 300 alliance partners are committed to continuing their efforts to provide young people with their first jobs, apprenticeships and traineeships. Moreover, the Alliance for Youth also wants to equip the young generation with the right digital and green skills to shape tomorrow's society.
Covid-19 has placed dairy’ front and center’ in UK consumers’ daily lives – with most products seeing an uplift in retail sales during the lockdown. With people looking for emotional support and little ‘pick-me-ups’ due to the pandemic, more consumers have been turning to dairy in food and drink, leading to a significant increase in grocery spend on everything from butter to cheese. According to the latest Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) data, mozzarella was the biggest winner of the cheese category during lockdown – with a 48 percent uplift in volume sales compared to last year. More people were cooking pizza from scratch at home. Overall, cheese has performed well, with retail volumes up 16.5 percent in the 24 weeks to September 6. During the same period, butter was up 23.6 percent, with cream stealing the show at 31.8 percent. However, due to category size, milk accounted for three-quarters of the volume growth.
Unilever has reported an underlying sales growth of 4.4 percent in the third quarter of this year as at-home eating occasions were sustained at elevated levels. The Hellmann’s brand showed growth with its vegan version now available in 30 markets, while in-home sales of ice cream also grew, offsetting loses felt in the out-of-home ice cream market… Read more
UK retailers Waitrose and Co-op have revealed their plans to reduce prices on own-label products in the run-up to Christmas. The news is expected to be well-received by many this year, with the coronavirus pandemic financially burdening the British economy… Read more
Nestlé’s buoyant sales in e-commerce sales, convenience foods and health ingredients contributed to organic growth of 3.5 percent in the first nine-months of this year. Total reported sales decreased by 9.4 percent to CHF 61.9 billion (US$68.4 billion), reports the Swiss food giant… Read more
“Transparency Triumphs” leads Innova Market Insights’ Top Ten Trends for 2021, with a spotlight on emergent technologies like invisible barcodes and near-field communication technology that help brands convey creative product storytelling. In other spotlighted F&B product themes, the sustained plant-based revolution is branching out into more sophisticated alternatives. At the same time, COVID-19’s influence over omnichannel eating and bolstered interest in immunity-elevating offerings remains prominent… Read more
There has been a surge in consumer demand for Bag-in-Box wines this year, according to new data, partially caused by changing behavior due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Research by packaging leader Smurfit Kappa in collaboration with Wine Intelligence, found that Bag-in-Box wine attracted 3.7 million new consumers in France and the UK during the past six months. The survey analyzed monthly wine drinkers’ behavior in France and the UK, who have increasingly moved to drinking and entertaining at home due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Today, food waste is a significant issue in current food systems. Cities have emerged as crucial actors in the global food security geography, according to the Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change (CMCC) Foundation. The news comes as there has been an increase in food loss and waste due to movement and transport restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic… Read more
Shortly after announcing plans to slim down its portfolio as part of a strategic review earlier this month, The Coca-Cola Company is set to retire a range of underperforming beverages from its global portfolio by December 31. Among these brands are TaB diet soda and Coca-Cola Life in the US market. Plans to streamline the company’s beverage lineup were underway well before the COVID-19 outbreak, but the pandemic promoted leadership to move faster. Ongoing COVID-19 supply chain challenges and shifting shopping behaviors prompted the company to fast-track its plan… Read more
Danone is planning a shakeup of its portfolio and underperforming assets, starting with an immediate review of its strategic options for Argentina and for its plant-based Nutritional products brand, Vega. “Our Q3 results reflect how much the COVID-19 world and its cohort of sanitary measures, border closures, uncertainty in consumer sentiment and some structural changes affect our business,” details Emmanuel Faber, chairman and CEO of Danone… Read more
Over half of the world’s population – 60 percent – are worried about the food they eat, and 51 percent are concerned about the safety of the water they drink. That is according to the first-ever Lloyd’s Register Foundation World Risk Poll, highlighting the global state of food safety in 2020. The findings have been shared today in light of World Food Day, which comes as the world continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. It has exposed the fragility of the world’s agri-food systems, threatening to push millions more into hunger and has made many global consumers rekindle their appreciation for food security… Read more
European F&B associations threatened or hit by US tariffs as part of the Airbus trade dispute are jointly calling upon the EU and US to de-escalate this conflict through negotiated solutions. The coalition flags that it “no longer can afford to foot the bill for such unrelated disputes.” The problems have been exacerbated in light of the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 crisis, worsened by recent restrictions and localized lockdowns across Europe… Read more
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the way we eat is going through a paradigm shift focusing on at-home cooking and families seeking an array of nutritional dishes to break away from mundane mealtimes. And now, an AI-powered Twitter recipe tool that helps users pair the groceries in their fridge, reduce food waste and come up with personalized recipe recommendations has been launched. It could be a source of inspiration for the growing trend of at-home cooking… Read more
Lifestyles and behaviors continue to evolve due to COVID-19, and these changes are influencing food and flavor choices. FoodIngredientsFirst speaks with players in the flavors and functional ingredients space, as they share insights on overall wellness during the pandemic… Read more
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic loss of human life worldwide and presents an unprecedented challenge to public health, food systems and the world of work, says a joint statement by ILO, FAO, IFAD and WHO. The economic and social disruption caused by the pandemic is devastating: tens of millions of people are at risk of falling into extreme poverty, while the number of undernourished people, currently estimated at nearly 690 million, could increase by up to 132 million by the end of the year. Millions of enterprises face an existential threat. Nearly half of the world’s 3.3 billion global workforces are at risk of losing their livelihoods, it says. Informal economy workers are particularly vulnerable because most lack social protection and access to quality health care and have lost access to productive assets. Without the means to earn an income during lockdowns, many cannot feed themselves and their families. For most, no income means no food, or, at best, less food and less nutritious food.
UK supermarket chain Tesco saw a surge in its first-half year profits as a result of doubled online orders during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the government’s push to encourage out-of-home dining through its Eat Out to Help Out scheme, British consumption patterns leaned toward ordering in. As lockdown and quarantine measures rippled through the UK earlier this year, at-home eating was the order of the day… Read more
A new report by animal charity The Humane League UK shows meal kit companies are taking action on chicken welfare with the sector witnessing unprecedented success during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the charity criticizes Amazon Fresh and Ocado for “dragging their heels”, claiming that they “urgently need to step up.” Vicky Bond, Managing Director of The Humane League UK, says: “We are delighted to see meal kit companies recognizing the importance of safeguarding the welfare of chickens in their supply chains. But it’s disappointing that the big players in online retail, Ocado and Amazon Fresh, aren’t making this a priority despite making millions from the pandemic. They urgently need to step up and take action to eradicate the extreme suffering these sensitive and intelligent animals endure.”
The UK Food and Drink Federation's (FDF) latest report shows that exports of food and drink in the first half of the year fell for the first time since 2015. The data shows that when compared to the same period last year, exports had fallen by 13.8 percent, to £9.7 billion (US$12.5 billion). The FDF says this is clearly linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. Exports to all but three of the UK’s top 20 export markets fell, with sales to China (+0.3 percent), Canada (+6.7 percent), and Norway (+46.9 percent) seeing growth during the first half of the year… Read more
The COVID-19 crisis has changed the food innovation landscape as well as the consumer marketplace, according to Firmenich flavors president Emmanuel Butstraen, who explains how Firmenich has quickly responded to a changing environment. This comes as the company reveals the “world’s first” AI-created flavor – a lightly grilled beef taste for plant-based meat alternatives… Read more
At the global event marking yesterday as the first International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and their partners urged everyone to do more to reduce food loss and waste or risk an even greater drop in food security and natural resources. Some 690 million people today are hungry and three billion cannot afford a healthy diet. Hunger has been on the rise for the past five years, and the COVID-19 pandemic is threatening the food and nutrition security of up to an additional 132 million of people. On top of that, the world is faced with an ecosystem decline and the consequences of climate change.
“Yet, food continues to be lost and wasted. This year we have witnessed an increase in food loss and waste as a result of movement and transport restrictions due to the pandemic,” says the FAO. “COVID-19 aside, however, each year about 14 percent of the world's food is lost before even reaching the market. Food loss is valued at US$400 billion annually - about the GDP of Austria. On top of this comes food waste, for which new estimates are coming out early 2021. When it comes to environmental impact, food loss and waste generate eight percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.”
Cell-based protein technology is making waves in the seafood category with Shiok Meats announcing its US$12.6 million Series A funding round. The fiance will go toward building a “first-of-its-kind” commercial pilot plant from which the Singapore-based business Shiok plans to launch its minced shrimp product in 2022… Read more
Health and income of seasonal laborers in the sesame sector in Ethiopia are at immediate risk, due to COVID-19 and measures taken to prevent the spread of the virus. This year, sesame production will be much lower, resulting in a loss of millions of dollars in export revenues. These are some of the outcomes of rapid sector assessments by Wageningen University & Research, carried out with stakeholders in Ethiopia. The assessments point to the need for urgent action, which may help to prevent the situation from becoming worse. The coronavirus crisis has caused some permanent shifts in the sales channels for fruit and vegetables with produce growers and processing companies worldwide looking for ways to adapt to these changes. They are also concerned about a looming recession. Those are the key findings from new research conducted by vegetable breeding company Rijk Zwaan based in De Lier, the Netherlands, among its chain partners and specialists.
The Louis Dreyfus Company has reported a strong first-half performance, enduring global challenges and navigating market uncertainty, while ensuring essential food and feed supply chain continuity during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic… Read more
Rijk Zwaan says it's sharing these market insights as its keen to help them adapt to the current changes in the world, such as through product/market diversification or through investment in more efficient digital processes or mechanization. The research reveals that finding sufficient labor is a major challenge for growers, as is creating a safe place to work. The vegetable breeding company is therefore investing in vegetable varieties that are aligned with these new needs, such as thanks to a long shelf life, an appropriate size for meal kits and/or suitability for mechanical harvesting.
As the Brexit transition deadline looms, European agri-food groups are reiterating how a failure to reach a deal on future EU-UK trade relations will result in “a devastating double whammy” for farmers, agri-food businesses and traders who are already struggling to cope with the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ahead of the ninth round of negotiations taking place next week, European stakeholders – including FoodDrinkEurope, Copa-Cogeca and CELCAA, the European Liaison Committee for Agricultural and Agri-Food Trade – have joined forces to renew their concerns over the lack of progress regarding the future trading landscape between the EU and UK… Read more
COVID-19 has driven up demand for at-home food deliveries, making it currently one of the most rapidly evolving areas of foodservice. The line between retail and restaurant channels is rapidly blurring and food brands are looking to branch out of traditional platforms to sustain consumer engagement. Kerry’s latest analysis underscores the influence of shifting meal ordering occasions over the F&B landscape, while the rise of “dark kitchens” and new smart delivery technologies are helping pandemic-impacted brands adapt and power through… Read more
Climate Week 2020 is in full swing with F&B players joining forces with leaders of various industries to steer the charge in responsible sourcing, food security and climate resilience. In line with the event, Nestlé and Walmart launched a new “forest positive” coalition, while Firmenich forged new business partnerships to scale-up measurable climate action and biodiversity. Meanwhile, ADM spoke out on the heightened sophistication of sustainability reporting… Read more
The UK’s Food and Drink Federation (FDF) says Prime Minister’s Boris Johnson’s announcement regarding the latest coronavirus restrictions for the hospitality and foodservice sector is a potentially fatal blow to manufacturers who specialize in supplying the hospitality sector. Many pubs and coffee shops will not be able to trade profitably under these new rules and will have to close again, with further threats from enforced closure due to local or national lockdowns. Those businesses and their suppliers also now face losing their furlough lifeline, says FDF's chief executive, Ian Wright. “We encourage government to heed the recommendations of the Treasury Select Committee and consider a targeted extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for the hospitality sector and its manufacturing supply chain. With a vaccine and end to social distancing, these 'squeezed middle' businesses will thrive again. By extending their support through this unprecedented but limited period, these businesses can play a full part in building a jobs-rich recovery beyond the pandemic, preventing the unnecessary economic damage of business closures and the scourge of long-term unemployment,” he says.
Preventing the mortality and ill health consequences of COVID-19 infection poses a huge and on-going challenge in Ireland and among the farming community over the coming months. A study by a research and knowledge transfer team from Teagasc and the National Centre for Men’s Health, Institute of Technology, indicates that the farming population is highly vulnerable to COVID-19 due mainly to their older age profile and poor health status. The study entitled ‘Essential and Vulnerable: Implications of COVID-19 in Ireland’ has been published recently in the Journal of Agromedicine. Lead author, Dr. David Meredith, Teagasc Rural Economy and Development Programme stated that while there are greater numbers of older people in the rural and farming population and, generally, they are in poorer health which makes these communities vulnerable to COVID-19 infection. Continuing to adhere to the public health guidelines associated with hand washing, wearing masks and limiting close contacts are critical to keeping these communities safe, Teagasc stresses.
Two years into the World Health Organization’s (WHO) ambitious effort to eliminate industrially-produced trans fats from the global food supply, the Organization reports that 58 countries so far have introduced laws that will protect 3.2 billion people from the harmful substance by the end of 2021. But more than 100 countries still need to take action to remove these harmful substances from their food supplies. Consumption of industrially-produced trans fats is estimated to cause around 500,000 deaths per year due to coronary heart disease. “In a time when the whole world is fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, we must make every effort to protect people’s health. That must include taking all steps possible to prevent noncommunicable diseases that can make them more susceptible to the coronavirus, and cause premature death,” says WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Our goal of eliminating trans fats by 2023 must not be delayed.”
In light of COVID-19, Africa Agriculture Insight (www.africaagricultureinsight.com) has developed a marketing and sales contingence platform for the banking sector, NGOs, government development Institutions and universities, private equity firms, qualified farmers, manufactures, suppliers, dealers, producers and contractors, plus their representative bodies and distributors in South Africa and throughout the African continent. It’s also geared toward farm managers, supervisors, engineers, buying/procurement heads of departments, to continue trading without physical visitations to minimize the coronavirus disease spreading globally.
Responding to the latest ONS Retail Sales Index figures which showed a 4.1 percent increase in overall sales (retail sales excluding fuel), Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, says: “It is clear that the retail industry is entering a period of fragile recovery, with August showing the third consecutive month of growth. However, the recovery remains a mixed bag, with high growth in online sales while city center shops suffered as a result of low footfall. BRC-KPMG data shows that food, computing, furniture and TVs have all sold well, driven by home working, while fashion, beauty and footwear have remained below pre-coronavirus levels. With further lockdowns looming, the Government must provide clarity on the impact it will have for shops. Retailers have invested hundreds of millions making stores safe and secure for customers during the pandemic; this includes perspex screens, social distancing measures and additional hygiene measures. As such, retail remains a safe space for consumers, even under local lockdowns” she adds.
The pandemic’s economic impact has been particularly deep for women and disadvantaged families, leaving many vulnerable to food insecurity, a new World Bank Group analysis stresses. The bank is helping India immediately scale-up cash transfers and food benefits, using a set of pre-existing national platforms and programs, providing social protection for essential workers involved in COVID-19 relief efforts, and benefit vulnerable groups migrants and informal workers, who face high risks of exclusion.
The disruption of the dairy supply chain due to the coronavirus has presented significant challenges for the entire US food and agriculture system for processors and producers alike. Prices here have “quickly recovered” and now hover at near pre-COVID-19 levels. This is attributed to US government interventions to address food insecurity and action by dairy cooperatives and other milk handlers to reduce milk supply and inventory excess, notes the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA)... Read more
The world was already off track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even harder both to achieve the Goals and to monitor progress where it is being made, according to a new report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. "We need better data to better understand the path we need to take to get to our destination," says FAO Chief Economist Maximo Torero. "Knowing more about where we are and how slowly or quickly we are moving will help us focus our efforts and actions to target interventions to achieve SDGs." The unprecedented global health crisis, with associated economic and social impacts, is "making the achievement of these SDG targets even more challenging," according to the report, "Tracking progress on food and agriculture-related SDG indicators 2020".
Fonterra is pivoting its approach to provide more children with dairy nutrition amid COVID-19. The New Zealand farmer-owned co-op will expand its KickStart Breakfast program, which is open to all schools, all ages and deciles across the country. In turn, the co-op plans to wrap up its Fonterra Milk for Schools program, which supplied milk for primary school-aged children, by the end of this year. CEO Miles Hurrell calls the action part of a “holistic approach to reach more people.” During lockdown earlier this year, close to one million servings of Fonterra Milk for Schools products were redirected to food banks, charities and other partners. Coming together with NZ Food Network allows for continuation of the project, the co-op states. KickStart Breakfast already reaches more than 1,000 schools. Together with its partner Sanitarium and the Ministry of Social Development, Fonterra aims to add 200 schools to the project country-wide.
Director-General QU Dongyu of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) presented priority areas for the organization and G20 countries to support global agri-food systems. The statement took place at the G20’s Agriculture and Water Ministers meeting, hosted virtually by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
QU called for countries to be vigilant. “Global food markets are well supplied. However, as the global economy struggles to recover, access to food will be negatively affected by income reductions and loss of jobs.” FAO’s latest assessment suggested that the pandemic could add up to 132 million people to the ranks of undernourished people in the world in 2020. FAO has estimated that almost 690 million people were undernourished in 2019. Other important priorities highlighted by the director-general include the importance of uninterrupted trade, reducing food waste, sustainable water management, controlling transboundary animal diseases and fighting antimicrobial resistance.
Lockdown restrictions have led to “significant changes” in the UK’s consumption habits, according to new research from Olam Cocoa. Rather than reaching for old favorites, more people are turning to healthier snacks and plant-based foods – many for the first time.“Our research suggests consumers’ priorities on how they spend their money are shifting,” Wouter Stomph, product development and innovation expert at Olam Cocoa, tells FoodIngredientsFirst... Read more
As part of the EU’s efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology is proud to announce the EIT Crisis Response Initiative results: €60 million awarded to 207 innovation projects and ventures from 32 countries. As part of the “Pandemic Response Projects,” 62 new innovation projects bringing together 212 partners from 25 countries are developing solutions directly tackling COVID-19 related challenges. The “Venture Support Instrument” is supporting 145 start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs from 23 countries that have been enormously impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, responsible for the EIT says: “The €60 million provided by the EIT Crisis Response Initiative is part of the EU’s comprehensive response to the COVID-19 crisis, including substantial support to innovation. Thanks to the EIT, 62 innovation projects and 145 entrepreneurs have been given the support they need to contribute tangible products and services in the face of the pandemic. Their projects are deploying rapid solutions, equipping us with new technologies to help combat the virus and save lives. The EIT Community’s efficient mobilization is a valuable contribution to Europe’s efforts to overcome this pandemic.”
The Vitafoods Virtual Expo has kicked off, spearheading the event with a seminar on the impact of COVID-19 on the F&B landscape in North and South America. A “new type of consumer” is emerging, according to presenters from Barclays... Read more
The new chief scientific advisor at the US division of Layn Natural Ingredients has warned that anxiety over COVID-19 will be the main focus next year. Jim Roza, speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, highlights how consumers are seeking ingredients that support anxiety, sleep, stress and immunity because of the pandemic... Read more
NHS Highland has announced the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases within the Grantown community has increased by two to 33, 30 of these are linked with Millers of Speyside abattoir. Dr. Tim Allison, Director of Public Health, says: “Work continues in following up contacts and appropriate advice is being given to those we have identified. The investigation so far is showing that the majority of these confirmed cases are linked with Millers of Speyside abattoir. While it is good news that there is no significant community transmission, it is important that we do not become complacent and continue to follow the national guidance to keep you and others safe.”
As part of efforts to boost the overall health and wellness of its workforce, Tyson Foods, is partnering with Marathon Health to pilot seven health clinics near company production facilities. The clinics will give Tyson team members and their families easier access to high-quality healthcare and, in most cases, at no cost. The clinics will provide primary and preventive care, including health screenings, lifestyle coaching and health education, as well as behavioral health counseling. This move by Tyson comes as the company is also in talks to close its Wrexham facility in the UK. A statement sent to FoodIngredientsFirst says that Tyson Foods is “exploring options including discontinuing the operations or selling the Wrexham facility. “Putting this proposal forward was a very difficult decision. It was based on a combination of factors including our ability to generate profitable growth and our need to adapt to shifting customer needs. We are currently consulting with our team members in Wrexham about the proposal to discontinue operations on 30 September 2020,” it says.
COVID-19 pandemic-related global logistics and supply chain challenges have prompted dairy producer Arla to maintain an agile outlook for this year. In the first half-year, the multinational cooperative’s global branded sales volumes grew an “unprecedented” 10.4 percent. The company reports robust performance across its regions, notwithstanding pandemic difficulties including an impacted foodservice business. Looking ahead, it is further preparing for Brexit and recession-related hurdles… Read more
The 2 Sisters Food Group is reopening its poultry processing factory in Coupar Angus, Scotland, from today. Working closely with the incident management team, NHS Tayside and the local authority, the company has been working hard during the temporary closure to supplement its existing COVID-19 control measures to keep all colleagues safe. “While it is important to ensure our measures on-site are robust and working, we believe it is also critically important for our people to understand their obligations away from the factory in the local community, which our initial analysis suggests has played a significant role in the transmission of the virus,” says a statement. In addition to a series of enhanced measures, colleagues will also receive training and best practice guides on issues ranging from transport arrangements, conduct in the community, to keeping Covid-safe in a shared household. “We expect every colleague to take personal responsibility for their behaviors outside of work,” 2 Sisters stress.
KFC has admitted that it’s long-established “Finger Lickin' good” slogan should be ditched amid the COVID-19 crisis. It has been around for 64 years, but KFC now believes that in light of the pandemic its slogan “doesn’t feel quite right” and it will be pressing pause on using it in advertising channels "for a little while.” The slogan may return “when the time is right," adds KFC.
Greencore has released an update to the situation at its Northampton facility in the UK. “While production at our Northampton facility has ceased the site has undergone a thorough deep-cleaning process. A small number of colleagues who have completed their self-isolation periods are now beginning to return to the site, and production is therefore gradually restarting on a limited basis. This process is, of course, being carried out in close consultation with the Department of Health & Social Care, Public Health England and other government bodies.” The company also confirms that all colleagues who have been required to self-isolate during August and September at the site and are contractually on Statutory Sick Pay will receive 80 percent of their basic pay.
For decades United Airlines served its Premium Nut Mixes in First Class in ramekins. And for the last two years, it was produced by an Arlington, Texas, woman-owned, family-run business, GNS Foods. When COVID-19 hit, the airline removed the nuts from all of its flights, saying that it was reducing contact between passengers and its flight staff. As a result, GNS Foods has a 30,000 pounds+ excess of the nuts. "Not only are we left with bags of mixes, we are also left with the raw ingredients and ingredient contracts from the suppliers. We were asked to maintain United's costs on their mixes for one year. In order to do that, we had to sign raw ingredient contracts for one year,” says Kim Peacock, owner of GNS Foods. "Now we're left with these contracts. If nut prices rise, then you can sell the contract at a profit. Unfortunately, that's not what happened. Nut prices fell, and the raw ingredient suppliers are looking to us to make up the difference. The other question is, 'Where to go with all of these nuts?" Peacock says GNS Foods has no choice but to sell the nut mixes under the Elite Status Airline Nut Mixes at near cost prices in its retail store and online at www.GreatNuts.com.
In consultation with the Department of Health & Social Care, Public Health England and other government bodies, UK-based Greencore has temporarily ceased production at its Northampton facility as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in the Northampton area and at the site. This decision will allow all remaining colleagues at the site to self-isolate as a precautionary measure, and has been taken as part of the region’s ongoing efforts to reduce the spread of the virus and keep our colleagues safe, says the company. “We have moved a proportion of production from the Northampton facility to other sites within the Greencore network, and are working with the affected customer to help mitigate any shortfall,” says a statement. “We have been in constant contact with PHE East Midlands, Northamptonshire County Council, Northampton Borough Council, and other government bodies, who have been hugely understanding and supportive of our response. We will continue to work closely with them to bring the site back safely into production as soon as possible, as colleagues who are self-isolating begin to return.”
Tesco is creating 16,000 new permanent roles to support the exceptional growth in its online business. These jobs are in addition to the 4,000 permanent jobs already created since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The roles will include 10,000 pickers to assemble customer orders and 3,000 drivers to deliver them, plus a variety of other roles in stores and distribution centers. The supermarket expects the majority of these roles to be filled by colleagues who joined on a temporary basis at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but who now want to stay with the business permanently. In April, Tesco became the first UK retailer to fulfill one million online grocery orders in a week. Tesco now serves nearly 1.5 million customers a week online, up from around 600,000 at the start of the pandemic. As the supermarket’s online business continues to grow, the number of new roles may increase further in the coming months, notes the retailer.
At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute (FCCI) and cacao academy set out to help partner organizations in cacao farming communities address the new reality of fully remote teaching and learning – a move that many organizations had not planned for. This included the launch of FCCI Cacao Academy, a collaborative digital cacao farmer peer-learning platform, to support cacao farming households and agricultural extension programs to quickly address the challenge of providing training when facing social distancing requirements. Between June and August, the FCCI Cacao Academy team designed and produced the first phase of digital learning content to be delivered to 600 farming households in Nicaragua, with additional materials in development for delivery to communities in the Dominican Republic and Colombia through the end of the year. This represents a US$100,000 investment made by FCCI and partners in helping fellow educators ensure learning continuity.
In the past fortnight, three employees at a Fyffes facility in Coventry UK, were feeling unwell and got tested for COVID-19 and those tests came back positive. Between 3 August and 14 August, the company confirmed a further 11 positive cases among its employees which led to a temporary shut down. “Through contact tracing, Fyffes management identified a further 26 employees; we asked them to self-isolate. We informed the local authorities straightaway who have provided immediate assistance. With their support we tested the remaining 182 employees and we can now confirm that 22 out of 182 test results have come back testing positive for the virus. The employees who tested positive are asymptomatic. The original three employees who were feeling unwell have recovered fully,” says a company statement. “Although the majority of results came back negative, as a precaution we suspended normal operations for 48 hours. The site has reopened for normal business activity as of today,” it adds.
Maple Leaf Foods says its continuing its rigorous safety efforts at its Brandon, Manitoba, Canada, plant to prevent workplace transmission amid the recent COVID-19 cluster occurring in the community. The plant continues to operate safely, and Public Health experts have said on numerous occasions that there is no evidence of workplace transmission occurring at the plant, notes the company. “Operationally, Maple Leaf Foods has temporarily suspended pork exports to China on a voluntary basis due to recent protocols adopted by the Chinese government for Canadian processors. The protocol requires any plant reporting a COVID-19 positive case suspend exports to China temporarily,” a company statement says. The company has also has been impacted by short-term increases in absenteeism, but believes this is a short-term situation and “not a material financial event, given the diversity of the Company's markets.”
Instinctif Partners is launching Covid-19Optic which allows organizations to instantly benchmark their current pandemic response and preparedness for any future disruption. Covid-19Optic uses a simple, secure online questionnaire system to quickly and effectively quantify an organization’s current status in eight key areas including Covid-19 crisis response, employees and wider workforce, operations and supply chain, brand, reputation, and positioning, strategy and planning, as well as digital, communications and social media, IR and financial resilience and regulatory compliance and government engagement. “By helping organizations assess the effectiveness of their pandemic response so far and pinpoint strategic gaps or tactical areas to improve, Covid-19Optic helps businesses learn from the experience and prepare for any further disruption to come,” says Victoria Cross, Managing Partner of Instinctif Partners’ Strategic Advisory Services team.
In recent months, many established food businesses have diversified into food delivery, takeaway, or online sales to continue operating. Anecdotal evidence also shows an increase in people cooking from home and selling food locally or online. The UK Food Standards Agency has developed the “Here to Help” guide for small food businesses such as restaurants, takeaways and coffee shops, to make the hygiene processes and requirements they must follow clear as they develop new ways of working. “COVID-19 has been an extremely challenging time for the food industry, with many businesses changing the way they trade to survive,” says Michael Jackson, Head of Regulatory Compliance at the FSA. “It remains really important for businesses to understand the possibility of additional food safety risks as a result of the changes they have made and the steps they must take to protect their customers.”
When the global COVID-19 pandemic hit Indonesia in March, smallholder coffee farmer Sayanah from Juku Batu Village in Banjit had not even heard of the virus, much less on how to prevent its spread to his family and community. Indonesia is the fourth-largest producer of coffee in the world, with 90 percent produced by small-scale farmers who depend on it for their livelihoods. Sayanah is one of over 10,700 of these farmers - who sell coffee to food and agri-business Olam International - to benefit from sensitization, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and essential supplies following a concerted effort by Olam and its global coffee customers, Italian coffee manufacturer Lavazza, Nespresso and Canada-based Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee. Sensitizing rural villages and farming communities on COVID-19 prevention has also been a priority for Olam’s teams on the ground to help curb the spread of the virus, says the company.
Northampton Borough Council and Public Health Northamptonshire are working with Greencore in Northampton, in the UK, following the discovery of an outbreak of COVID-19. Public Health England has been providing support to colleagues at Greencore in managing the outbreak. This has been supplemented by support from the local Infection Prevention and Control team and Northampton Borough Council’s environmental health colleagues, according to a statement. “It is evident that Greencore has highly effective measures in place and they continue to work extremely hard to exceed the requirements needed to be COVID-19 secure within the workplace,” it says. “As a result of the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the Northampton area, we decided to start proactively testing all of the colleagues at our Northampton site. We can confirm that a significant number of colleagues have tested positive for the virus and are now self-isolating.”
US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue says that additional commodities will be covered by the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) in response to public comments and data. Additionally, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is extending the deadline to apply for the program to September 11, and producers with approved applications will receive their final payment. After reviewing over 1,700 responses, more farmers and ranchers will have the opportunity for assistance to help keep operations afloat.
Even with the social impacts of COVID-19, hard seltzers have remained one of the top alcoholic beverage choices for small backyard barbecues, pool-side hangouts and at-home relaxing,” explains Megan Byrnes, Marketing Manager at Gold Coast Ingredients… Read more
Ireland’s largest trade union, Services Industrial Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU), has called for the acceptance of a charter fully outlining adequate COVID-19 prevention procedures at Irish meat plants following a meeting between union and industry representatives in Dublin today. It was agreed to jointly seek a meeting with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
A swift switch to e-commerce has saved healthy snack start-up Olly’s during the COVID-19 pandemic after 40 percent of its monthly revenue disappeared due to grounded airlines and canceled rail services. Founded in his parents’ kitchen three years ago, a love of olives inspired Olly Hiscocks to create the world’s first, unpasteurized, olive snack pouch. He quickly went from selling them at a local market to supplying major airlines and over 8,000 global stocking points. Due to growing demand for nutritional snacks, Olly had just decided to expand his company’s portfolio to include nuts and pretzels when the pandemic hit. Forced to furlough staff in order to stay afloat, Olly’s sought advice from the Department for International Trade about sourcing new exporting opportunities to compensate for the loss of business. This resulted in the company pivoting its effort towards e-commerce with impressive results – monthly online sales are up 800 percent. In July Olly’s also secured a contract with a distributor for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and signed a deal with Middle Eastern supermarket retailer Spinneys. The company is currently expanding into Australia, as well as Wholefoods in the US.
The hard seltzers market is marked for dramatic growth, despite setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is according to global ingredients manufacturer Treatt who has named 2020 categorically “the year of the hard seltzer.” Before the novel coronavirus hit, these light, ready-to-drink (RTD) alcoholic beverages were set to take off at festivals, parties and in the travel sector, according to the company. While the canceling of large summer gatherings may have delayed growth in the sector, Treatt asserts that the strong health appeal of hard seltzers across geographical and gender demographics will drive continued expansion in the category… Read more
Protein from upcycled rapeseed waste, temperature-sensitive labeling, automated kitchen tech and a natural preservation alternative, are among the standout F&B concepts set to earn a share of EIT Food’s €5.4 million (US$6.4 million) investment fund. The European financing initiative plans to target 13 “high-impact” agri-food start-ups during the COVID-19 pandemic. At such a time when funding is challenging to come by, the consortium aims to help invigorate the R&D climate for newcomers with mainstream potential… Read more
As the US meatpacker faces the demands and disruptions from the COVID-19 outbreak – which has let to major testing at its operations amid positive results from the workforce – Tyson Foods has named a new Chief Operating Officer. Dean Banks will succeed Noel White as CEO, while maintaining the role of President, effective October 3, 2020. White, who led Tyson through a period of unprecedented volatility and uncertainty when he assumed the CEO role in 2018, will remain with Tyson in a new role as Executive Vice Chairman of the board of directors.
Farmers are set to receive a growing number of requests to share data from governments and companies who are increasingly relying on data analysis for policymaking and strategy. This is underscored by RaboResearch, the market analysis arm of Rabobank, in a recent report highlighting how uncertainties among farmers and companies about data privacy may lead to opportunity costs in ambitions to scale up agri-food business efficiencies. Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, analyst Wesley Lefroy says that COVID-19 has provided a “robust use case” to demonstrate the potential of new value propositions from data sharing... Read more
Ingredion has released its results for the second quarter of this year, highlighting how it has managed to pivot its business with virtual solutions to adjust to fluctuations in consumer demand due to COVID-19. Q2 and year-to-date net sales were down from the year-ago period, primarily driven by sales volume declines in North and South America… Read more
Soft drinks bottler Coca Cola HBC has revealed a drop in H1 profits, driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and the closures of restaurants and other hospitality venues. Net profit declined to €124 million (US$146 million) during this period, compared to €195 million (US$230.9 million) a year earlier. The company also reported net sales revenue of €2.83 billion (US$3.35 billion) in the six months ended June 26, compared with €3.35 billion (US$3.96 billion) a year ago. As the market reopens, the company expects profits to recover… Read more
Fears of a sharp COVID-19-related drop in Irish farm incomes in 2020 seem to have been averted following a gradual recovery in commodity prices and the provision of additional supports to the sector, according to a Mid Year Outlook for 2020 produced by Teagasc economists. The Irish agri-food sector has been grappling with the impact of the pandemic and farmers are relatively powerless in the face of market disruption. As the extent of COVID-19 emerged in the spring of 2020, it appeared that its impact on the agricultural incomes could be quite severe. Given the challenges presented to the sector by the virus, assistance for the beef sector has come through additional government supports and in the dairy sector via price stabilizing payments from milk processors, says Teagasc. “Fears about the extent of commodity price reductions have abated in recent weeks, with a recovery in dairy and beef prices taking place more quickly than had been anticipated. There has been a more rapid emergence from the strict lockdown in Europe, though the risk of a resurgence of the virus and possible return to restrictions on economic activity in Europe remains. Were a second wave of the virus to occur, then commodity prices could again come under pressure,” it notes.
The timing of the European Safety Authority’s (EFSA) assessment of the safety of dietary sugars has been revised due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the review of the exceptionally high volume of scientific information being considered. A public consultation on the draft scientific opinion is scheduled to take place in the middle of 2021 with final adoption coming before the end of the same year. EFSA’s nutrition experts are attempting to set a tolerable upper intake level for total/added/free dietary sugars if the available data allow it. Otherwise, other values could be used to characterize the risk. “Our scientific advice will help national authorities to establish recommendations on the consumption of dietary sugars and to plan food-based dietary guidelines,” the EFSA says.
Tesco will be extending its improved payment terms for its smaller suppliers until the end of January 2021. Nearly 2,000 suppliers will continue to have their invoices paid immediately, instead of the usual 14 days. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, smaller suppliers have been among the hardest hit in the food industry, says Tesco, and this extension of the retailers improved payment terms will mean small businesses will continue to be supported throughout the busy Christmas period and beyond.
Dairy commodity markets in major producing regions have generally weakened from the COVID-19 pandemic. Specific factors, such as the reactivation of the foodservice sector continue to influence prices, creating diverging trends. This is the latest industry assessment by Maxum Foods, outlined in its Global Dairy Commodity Update. Fundamentals are likely to steadily worsen in the coming months as milk supply expands faster year-on-year and demand slows as the recession takes hold... Read more
Tyson Foods is launching a new monitoring program and expanding its occupational health staff, including a new chief medical officer position, to protect its workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The comprehensive COVID monitoring strategy was designed with the assistance of outside medical experts and includes ongoing, data-driven COVID testing of workers without symptoms, as well as those who exhibit certain symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has the virus. Tyson Foods has been using ‘Testing as a tool’ to protect workers and has already having tested nearly a third of its workforce. However, the company plans to test thousands of workers every week across all of its facilities. Tyson Foods has created a chief medical officer position and plans to add almost 200 nurses and administrative support personnel to supplement the more than 400 people currently part of the company’s health services team.
Taste and nutrition supplier Kerry outlines recovery from the COVID-19 impact in its recently issued Interim Management Report 2020. The group reports revenue of €3.4 billion (US$4 billion), which decreased by 4.3 percent versus the same period last year, reflecting an overall volume reduction of 6 percent. During the pandemic, the company highlights a number of accelerated key consumer trends, including health and immunity enhancement, natural authentic cooking and sustainable plant protein, while many consumers reverted to “center-of-store” offerings… Read more
As COVID-19 continues to impact consumers and businesses worldwide, Nestlé has delivered substantial organic growth and improved margins in the first half of the year. The company reported strong growth in Dairy and Coffee-at-Home segments, while frozen and vegetarian foods also gained momentum. Water and Confectionery categories suffered a decline overall. With consumer behavior evolving faster than ever, Nestlé says it is adapting to a new reality… Read more
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has unveiled a comprehensive platform to aid global reduction of food loss and waste. This comes as the UN agency and partners call for increased efforts and gear up for the first International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste on September 29. The FAO stresses that the onset and spread of COVID-19 have further exposed the vulnerabilities of current food systems and the need for resilience… Read more
Food manufacturer 2 Sisters Group has welcomed the UK government’s £2 billion (US$2.6 billion) “Kickstart Scheme”, a fund to create a wave of new jobs for young people. They will be aimed specifically at people aged 16 to 24 who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment, and 2 Sisters says it wants to speak to all potential recruits in the 18-24-year-old age bracket. The news comes as the business currently has 300 jobs available at its UK poultry business, the majority of roles of which are spread across its two large processing sites in Scunthorpe in Lincolnshire and Willand in Devon. 2 Sisters add how the COVID-19 pandemic has brought multiple challenges for the business, including an initial surge in demand for products, combined with a higher-than-usual absence rate due to the number of colleagues who need to be shielding or self-isolating, therefore creating an urgent need for extra workers.
Belgian social enterprise enVie has been fighting back against food waste by making healthy soups from fresh surplus vegetables supplied by Belgian farmers, to help vulnerable people access healthy food during the Covid-19 pandemic. The ethical organization also promotes job creation by giving long term unemployed people opportunities to return to work. In reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic, enVie, alongside various other organizations, launched the ‘Robin Food’ project to transform food surpluses into healthy sustainable foods that are made accessible to vulnerable people and families during the crisis. The project created a greater and more urgent demand for labels for enVie’s soup bottles.
The Greencore Group says it continues to manage through this challenging trading environment by focusing on its three priorities – keeping our people safe, feeding the UK, and protecting our business. The organization, supply chain, commercial relationships and production network have remained resilient during this testing period, a company Q3 2020 Trading Update notes. Reported Group revenue was £240.6 million (US$312 million) in Q3, a decrease of 34.1 percent on the prior year, primarily reflecting the impact of COVID-19 on food to go categories during the period. On a pro forma basis revenue decreased by 36.0 percent in the quarter.
“COVID-19 has had a dramatic and volatile impact on UK food consumption patterns in the period. The Group has partnered closely with its customers to develop and re-activate product ranges as they reopen formats and channels,” says the company. Year to date, the Group’s reported revenue was £953.3 million, a decrease of 10.6 percent on the prior year, again reflecting the impact of COVID-19 on performance at the end of Q2 and during Q3. On a pro forma basis, Group revenue decreased by 12.4 percent.
Specialists in freeze-dried food for long-term crises are calling on the UK government to follow the examples set in other European countries and make sure the country is prepared for the next emergency. Experts at Fuel Your Preparation believe a state of preparedness, including storing food, is the key to getting through another crisis such as the COVI-19 pandemic. The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, the MSB, is Europe’s foremost innovator in population preparedness, to enable citizens to “prepare themselves.” In Germany, national policies cover a range of measures to prepare for an emergency, including “the stockpiling of food supplies so that you are personally prepared for an emergency.”
COVID-19 is driving growth in fresh fruits and vegetables, juices and nectars in China, India, and Indonesia, according to a March consumer survey conducted by Innova Market Insights. Personal health, as well as the health of family and friends, are the top concerns across all three countries, reveals the market researcher. This has led to changes in consumer behavior, which could have a major industry impact… Read more
Netherlands-based Wageningen University & Research and partners have identified major food systems challenges that emerge as COVID-19 measures take hold and affect food security. Country assessments, unique in their syntheses of grounded in-country data and outcomes validated by country expert panels, reveal deep immediate impacts in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kenya and Mali. In all countries women and youth face widespread loss of income, increasing the vulnerability of families in access to food. Current planting seasons are under pressure due to a lack of inputs and labor. Also, the availability of fresh and perishable foods that are key to healthy diets is declining, they note.
Nestlé is expanding the use of augmented reality technology to provide remote support to its production and R&D sites and to connect with suppliers. This comes as travel continues to be restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Swiss food giant and external providers are using remote assistance tools to connect with people at factories and other facilities around the world, increasing efficiency across operations and allowing experts to simultaneously support multiple projects… Read more
FrieslandCampina has reported a strong start to the year with first-quarter results above last year, but in the second quarter it expects major impact from the COVID-19 pandemic on operations and results. Pressures were most notable due to a strong decline in out-of-home sales, lower basic dairy prices, and a fall in infant nutrition sales in Hong Kong due to closed borders with China. This was partially offset by higher profit for Consumer Dairy and Ingredients… Read more
Tate & Lyle has published its Q1 trading statement for July 2020 noting the Group’s performance in the first quarter reflected the impact of lockdowns on out-of-home consumption in North America and Europe, partially offset by resilience from in-home consumption. Having seen fluctuating demand patterns in April and May, demand improved in both divisions in June as lockdowns started to ease. The full extent of the pandemic’s impact remains unclear. In Food & Beverage Solutions, revenue was £232 million (US$295 million), 1 percent higher benefiting from good price and mix management and 9 percent growth in New Products revenue. Volume was 2 percent lower as reduced demand for ingredients used in food and drink consumed out-of-home (representing 15 percent to 25 percent of revenue) outweighed stronger demand for packaged and shelf-stable foods for consumption in-home. In North America, revenue for the quarter was 2 percent lower due to reduced demand for out-of-home consumption, particularly in the foodservice sector. North America returned to revenue growth in June as lockdown restrictions eased.
In Europe, Middle East and Africa revenue was in line with the comparative period reflecting solid demand for in-home consumption. In Asia Pacific and Latin America revenue was 8 percent higher reflecting good revenue growth in Asia Pacific as China emerged from lockdown, while in Latin America revenue grew modestly. Meanwhile, sucralose revenue was £39 million (US$49.5 mn), 1 percent lower reflecting softer demand for products consumed out-of-home, particularly beverages.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, EHL Ingredients has noted significant shifts in demand for its products, which it supplies under its Lähde brand to the foodservice sector. Most notably, customers have reduced or canceled orders for items such as pine nuts and almonds, and secured more supplies of store cupboard essentials including flours, rice, lentils and kidney beans, as well as popular spices and dried herbs such as black pepper, coriander, cumin, paprika and oregano… Read more
Linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, Givaudan’s Flavour division experienced a shift in demand from foodservice and alcoholic beverages into established products in categories such as Juice Based Beverages, Culinary Solutions, Nutritional Bars, Savoury and Snacks. This is in line with the company’s strong performance of high growth markets, which saw overall sales rise by 4 percent, and Flavour Division sales increased 3.6 percent (both on a like-for-like basis). According to the company, there was “excellent performance in parts of the portfolio that were not impacted by the pandemic.”
Good growth was achieved across most product segments and geographies, with a particularly strong performance in household, health and personal care segments within the Fragrance division, as well as in packaged foods, savory, snacks and nutraceuticals in the Flavour division… Read more
SIAL Paris 2020 (which was scheduled for Oct 18-22) has been canceled in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The next biennial show will now be Oct 15-19, 2022, according to organizers. “To enable such an international event to take place during this pandemic-hit period, we put together a multitude of initiatives to safeguard individual and collective safety and maintain the quality of business exchanges and inspiration,” says a statement from the SIAL Paris team. “However, the latest developments in the state of affairs worldwide and the uncertainties arising from them have led to a substantial shift in opinion among our audiences that we have consulted in recent days, with a majority now wishing to see the event postponed,” it says. “To guarantee food professionals an experience that lives up to their expectations, SIAL Paris is therefore postponed to 2022.”
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has launched the Hand-in-Hand geospatial platform with a large and rich set of data on food, agriculture, socioeconomics, and natural resources to help strengthen evidence-based decision-making in the food and agriculture sectors. The platform is a crucial tool for all efforts to build back better and create more resilient food systems post-COVID-19, says FAO, as it boasts over one million geospatial layers and thousands of statistics series with over 4,000 metadata records, bringing together geographic information and statistical data on over ten domains linked to food and agriculture. These include food security, crops, soil, land, water, climate, fisheries, livestock, and forestry. It also includes information on COVID-19's impact on food and agriculture.
ADM recently joined other key flavor and fragrance players to sign up to the new Sustainability Charter, as part of its long-term journey to raising awareness, measuring progress, and ultimately contributing to achieving real change within the industry. Alison Taylor, VP Chief Sustainability Officer at ADM, speaks with FoodIngredientsFirst about the Charter’s significance and how industry must unite in making sustainability a core part of their businesses, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic… Read more
The functional properties of plant-based foods, such as taste, texture, and appearance, are common pain points for consumers. Limitations and physicochemical constraints of plant-based ingredients often present difficulties in tailoring with other formulation components and ingredients. Targeting these challenges, Motif FoodWorks, a US-based ingredient company, is making moves in its ingredient discovery and design. Michael Leonard, Chief Technical Officer, says it will be “instrumental in solving some of the biggest functionality and nutritional challenges in plant-based food.” He also discusses how the company continues to navigate the coronavirus pandemic… Read more
A new partnership between five European companies and research institutions is receiving funding from the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT Food) to build a diagnostic platform to improve the on-site testing capacity of the food industry. The platform will help food companies to quickly detect the presence of Coronavirus on food processing surfaces. A key component of the platform is to deliver faster results, in less than one hour… Read more
There is a fundamental and often-overlooked connection between pandemics such as the current COVID-19 crisis and our animal-based food system, says a major new report published today. The Food & Pandemics Report, produced by ProVeg International, identifies the eating and farming of animals as the single most risky human behavior concerning pandemics and calls for urgent changes to the global food system to prevent future outbreaks. The report has drawn support from inside the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)... Read more
Freshfel Europe has announced its support of the EU’s plans to revise its Trade Strategy, an essential move to ensure the EU is ready to tackle the growing challenges impacting fresh fruit and vegetable trade, particularly in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis. In particular, the sector urges the European Commission to enhance the assertiveness of its approach to trade policy, especially regarding tackling sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) barriers, which are deeply impacting the ability of the sector to exploit its full potential to trade, it says. This is necessary to ensure EU exports of fruit and vegetables revert current negative trends experienced since the Russian embargo (loss of 22 percent in their volume since 2014) and successfully diversify and gain access to new attractive markets despite the uncertain international trade environment.
The UK government is making face coverings mandatory in shops and supermarkets from July 24. “Our strategy is to protect the NHS, get the virus down, and keep the virus down, while restoring as much of normal life as possible and our tactic is to replace national lockdown with ever more targeted local action as we work hard to defeat this virus once and for all,” says Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock.
FAO has unveiled its new comprehensive COVID-19 Response and Recovery Program, aimed at preventing a global food emergency during and after the COVID-19 pandemic while working on medium to long-term development responses for food security and nutrition. The agency is calling for US$1.2 billion in initial investment to support the needs of the new program. In line with the UN approach to "build back better" post-COVID-19, and in pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the new program aims to mitigate the immediate impacts of the pandemic while strengthening the longer-term resilience of food systems and livelihoods.
Consumers are increasingly aware of what they eat and drink, now more so than ever following the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. That is according to Biorigin, a Brazilian ingredients company specializing in yeast and natural ingredients using biotechnological processes. With IFT’s virtual trade show kicking off this week, FoodIngredientsFirst spoke with Helena Branco, Biorigin’s Global Food Application Specialist, highlighting the key themes surrounding “a mindful world” and how the plant-based sector continues to boom with innovation… Read more
UK restaurants and other establishments serving food for on-premises consumption can now sign up for a new government initiative aimed at protecting jobs in the hospitality industry and encouraging people to safely return to dining out. The Eat Out to Help Out registration service went live this morning on GOV.UK, allowing businesses to join the scheme announced last week by Rishi Sunak MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer. Restaurants, bars, cafes and other establishments who use the scheme will offer a 50 percent reduction, up to a maximum of £10 (US$12.62) per person, to all diners who eat and/or drink-in throughout August.
Frozen food sales have surged amid the COVID-19 lockdown period as consumers frequently turn to the freezer for a variety of meal occasions. Players in the space are tapping into new opportunities in functional ingredients, ready meal solutions and color-preserving clean label agents. Meanwhile, sustainability in frozen foods is elevated through new eco-centric packaging models… Read more
Biorigin and Zilor have published the 7th edition of the Zilor-Biorigin Sustainability Report, which reveals values such as integrity, safety and accomplishments of their teams in light of current global challenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In the last two-year period, Biorigin has increased its business competitiveness and profitability. Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Emerson de Vasconcelos, Biorigin’s CEO, highlights the company’s environmental sustainability targets for the company year… Read more
Lantmännen’s forecast for the annual harvest of grain, oilseed crops and pulses amounts to 6.1 million metric tons in total, which is lower than the company’s bumper harvest from the previous year but slightly above the five-year average. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how crucial Swedish agriculture and a functioning food chain are for Sweden’s ability to be self-sufficient and the Swedish harvest is the basis for this, according to the agricultural cooperative headquartered in Stockholm… Read more
The Barry Callebaut Group saw its good growth momentum of the first six months impacted by COVID-19 with volumes declining in the third quarter (ended May 31, 2020) by 14.3 percent, reports the company. This led to an overall decline in the Group’s sales volume of 1.3 percent to 1,568,878 tons in the first nine months of fiscal year 2019/20. Sales volume in the chocolate business declined by 14.1 percent in the third quarter, leading to a slight decline of 1.4 percent for the first nine months. Global Cocoa volumes were down 14.6 percent in the third quarter and about flat for the nine-month period under review (0.7 percent). In June the Group saw a gradual sales volume recovery, as governments started to lift their COVID-19 measures. These early signs of recovery are visible both in Food Manufacturers and Gourmet & Specialties, albeit at a different pace, the company notes. “As anticipated in April, COVID-19 lockdowns across the globe impacted our sales volume in the third quarter, and herewith the good momentum of the first six months of fiscal year 2019/20.
"Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the precautionary measures we put in place early on allowed us to preserve business continuity and maintain a high service level for our customers worldwide, while protecting the health of our employees and the communities we operate in,” says Antoine de Saint-Affrique, CEO of the Barry Callebaut Group. “We expect to emerge from the crisis with even closer relationships with our customers and suppliers, with fresh insights into innovative ways of doing business and a solid financial basis.
The UK Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has announced the FDF Awards 2020. The annual awards honor the dedication and commitment of those working in the industry, however this year they also shine a light on workers' efforts that have ensured the country has been fed in the last few months through the COVID-19 pandemic. In light of the coronavirus crisis, FDF is celebrating individuals from across the food and drink industry who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes during the pandemic with a Hidden Heroes Award… Read more
As the out-of-home dining sector has been put on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic, stakeholders in the traditional meats sector have taken action to raise livestock consumption. To this end, the first phase of a UK-wide campaign encouraging consumers to increase their lamb consumption is set to launch this month. Backed by prominent meat sector organizations, the “Make It Lamb” initiative comprises videos, radio sponsorship and digital and social advertising, as well as local news partnerships… Read more
A growing number of consumers are concerned about the environmental and ethical issues impacting today’s world. According to research by Innova Market Insights, air pollution, animal cruelty and ocean pollution are the three most important concerns, with response rates of more than 60 percent. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is flagged by the market researcher as fueling consumer sentiments that unified action is required across global communities, which is having a knock-on effect on product development in the F&B industry… Read more
Food Standards Scotland is making consumers aware that there may be an increased risk of food crime during the COVID-19 outbreak. While most of Scotland’s food industry remains legitimate and has adapted well to the current circumstances, there are a small minority of individuals willing to cut corners and take advantage of the pandemic, it notes. The Scottish Food Crime and Incidents Unit (SFCIU) is aware that COVID-19 circumstances has created a factor or motivation in recent reports of food crime.
Rabobank has signed a new partnership agreement with the FAO to help targeted rural communities benefit from more inclusive, sustainable food systems, especially within the context of the COVID-19. It also envisages jointly exploring the use of innovative financial instruments to bridge financing gaps in emerging markets and to promote sustainability in food systems investments. FAO and Rabobank will work with key food and agriculture sectors on a series of projects designed to help lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, improve land and water use, and empower smallholder farmers to address the challenges of climate change and reduction of food losses. The collaboration will begin with a review of the dairy sector in two pilot countries, India and Kenya, to reduce food losses in the sector and promote a transition to more sustainable food systems. The dairy sector has an important role to play in food systems transformation, as it contributes to food security and nutrition and provides livelihoods for several actors along the food value chain. Though dairy production also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, it holds huge potential for improvement.
Rabobank is well-placed to assist in designing such interventions, notes FAO. “COVID-19 has shown us that our food systems need a ‘new normal’,” says Berry Marttin, Board Member of Rabobank. “We need to identify and analyze finance gaps and debate short and long supply chains. We must focus on innovative ways to reward sustainability investments, such as implementing ‘nature costing’, a pricing structure that reflects food’s environmental impact.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all areas of the F&B industry, reshaping shopping habits, diets, and leading to shifts in purchases and what people consume. One key area which has been having a moment is the soups and sauces category. Classic and nostalgic flavors are coming to the fore, while limitations on travel have boosted creativity and culinary events in the home. FoodIngredientsFirst speaks with key suppliers for sauce and soup ingredients, who highlight the flavors which are pegged for success, as well as the trends which are driving NPD in the sector… Read more
With the need for food assistance on the rise due to the global pandemic, Chobani is donating all profits from a new limited edition charity flavor to Feeding America, a nationwide network of food banks that provides food to people in need.
2 Sisters has reopened its poultry processing factory in Llangefni, Wales, after temporarily suspending operations for 14 days so the company could ensure safety following an outbreak where more than 200 workers tested positive for COVID-19. “We have spent this time working closely with our partners including the Welsh Government, Public Health Wales, the Health and Safety Executive, Anglesey County Council, the Food Standards Agency, and Unite the Union and we thank them for their support at this challenging time,” says a company statement. “We are more than aware of our responsibility in the community to ensure we act with care and keep everyone as safe as possible. Swiftly closing our factory was only the first step in doing this, and over the past two weeks we have left no stone unturned in our pursuit of ‘best in class’ Covid-19 measures,” it says. The company also notes that “While it is far too early to say how and why the virus spread, at this stage we are leaving no room for doubt by briefing our people on the new measures.”
Chr. Hansen is now exploring strategic options for the potential sale of its Natural Colors business. In its Q3 financial results, the Danish ingredients supplier further highlights that COVID-19 impacts on revenues in Q3 were cited as a net positive. It further reports organic revenue growth of 7 percent in this quarter, with an improved momentum compared to the same period of the previous year in segments of Food Cultures & Enzymes (8 percent), Health & Nutrition (12 percent) and Natural Colors (1 percent), increasing the groups’ organic revenue growth in the first nine months of 2019/20 to 5 percent… Read more
The impact of Covid-19, unusually dry weather and uncertainty surrounding the UK’s future trading relationships are all explored in this year’s Agri-Market Outlook from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) which has released its latest outlook based on the most up-to-date intelligence, combining feedback and insight from experts across the agri-food industry. This fourth Agri-Market Outlook analyses farming prospects sector by sector for the coming 12 to 18 months and explores the longer-term impact of economic and policy drivers on industry. It also includes a focus on how consumer buying behaviors are impacting the sectors, building in retail and foodservice trends. Also, for the first time, it goes into greater depth on future demand predictions in light of Covid-19.
DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences (N&B) has launched a new eco-centric brand designed for the co-creation of plant-based beverages, dairy alternatives, meat, fish and seafood – Danisco Planit. Meat shortages throughout the COVID-19 pandemic are noted by company executives as having an upswing effect on the appetite for meatless offerings. As this grows more prominent, the diversification of products is now key for meat and dairy alternatives producers to retain this viability, the company notes… Read more
A move by Tesco to help UK and Irish beef farmers by taking top quality steaks destined for now shut high street restaurants is proving a major success with shoppers. The closure of restaurants and pubs because of COVID-19 hit beef farmers across the UK and Ireland and left many with surplus stock that they were finding hard to shift. For stricken beef processors, the best solution would have been to freeze the meat but that would have seriously devalued their stock. Tesco offered to help suppliers and since putting these cuts of beef on discounted sale has seen demand for steaks rocket by 40 percent on the same time last year.
Almost 1,500 innovators from 44 countries applied for the European Institute of Innovation & Technology €60 million Crisis Response Initiative. The funds have now been unlocked by the EIT Governing Board to ensure critical support swiftly reaches entrepreneurs. This will allow high-impact start-ups, scale-ups, and SMEs to benefit from additional funding under the ‘Venture Support Instrument’; and will enable the launch of new innovation projects tackling COVID-19 related challenges as part of the ‘Pandemic Response Projects’. By deploying a rapid response mechanism, all EIT Crisis Response activities will be completed by the end of 2020 to help Europe recover.
Tyson Foods says that 291 workers at its Noel, Missouri plant have tested positive for COVID-19, following a batch of tests that were carried out earlier this month on approximately 1,142 workers. The company notes that 249 of those who tested positive showed no symptoms of having contracted the virus.
The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) has transitioned its annual event and food expo to a virtual platform due to COVID-19. In line with this move, the US Dairy Export Council (USDEC) has released resources on this platform concerning topics ranging from the latest research on protein processing, “globally inspired” fusions, sustainable ingredient solutions and other milk-based innovations. Through its sessions, the association also spotlights global product trends ranging from novel beverages, appetizers and dessert formulations that activate dairy ingredients to deliver on flavor and nutrition… Read more
Outbreaks of COVID-19 among food production workers may worsen the pandemic’s disproportionate effects on people of color and increase underlying health, economic, and social disparities, according to an analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). Numerous COVID-19 outbreaks in meat and poultry processing plants erupted not long after cases emerged in the US. On May 1, a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that 19 states had reported 4,913 cases and 20 deaths among approximately 130, 000 workers at 115 meat and poultry processing facilities, says KFF. In the KFF analysis, Samantha Artiga, MHSA, and Matthew Rae, MPA, MPH, examined key characteristics of the 3.4 million people who work in US food production industries, including meat and poultry processors, seafood producers, fruit and vegetable producers, crop production, and other food manufacturing businesses. Their goal was to identify those who are affected by risks posed by COVID-19 and consider the health and financial implications of the pandemic to these workers and their communities.
A new European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions (EFFAT) report identifies the appalling working, employment and housing conditions affecting thousands of meat workers in many countries across Europe as the reasons why meat processing plants have become vectors for the spread of COVID-19. The EFFAT study outlines the effects of coronavirus on the meat sector and provides an overview of the work arrangements and business practices pursued by meat companies to cut costs and escape employer liability, says EFFAT. It paints a bleak picture of a sector in need of urgent and serious reform, while highlighting instances of good practice as evidence once again of the crucial role for collective bargaining in setting decent labor standards and ensuring fair competition.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed to a wider audience issues that EFFAT and its affiliates have been calling out to the EU Institutions and national governments over many years. In many ways it is sad that something as tragic as coronavirus had to happen to raise awareness of the systemic issues affecting the meat sector, such as the abusive sub-contracting which has so harmed numerous workers, especially in Germany,” says EFFAT General Secretary Kristjan Bragason. “Let us hope that policymakers agree that there is no time to waste. We encourage the upcoming German presidency of the European Council to seize the moment and support EFFAT’s proposals for improving the conditions for workers and eradicating labor exploitation in the meat sector.”
Exploitative working conditions, overcrowded accommodation, up to 16 hour-working days, low pay, illegal wage deductions and job insecurity are just some of the injustices facing meat workers in Europe, according to EFFAT. The sector has also long depended to a large extent on migrant and cross-border workers – from inside the EU and from third countries – who are often the subject of unequal treatment and abuse. Inevitably, COVID-19 has exacerbated many of these issues, leading over the last few weeks to numerous meat processing plants becoming vectors for the spread of the virus.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the speed at which it developed has had a profound effect on day-to-day life. While it is too early to understand the full impact of the new normal, it’s increasingly clear that many of the changes to consumer behaviors that have resulted from life under lockdown could be here for some time. This change is particularly true when it comes to food and beverages. FoodIngredientsFirst speaks with the Almond Board of California and Innova Market Insights who flag the undeniable changes shaping F&B categories as we know them. At the same time, personal health and immunity-boosting ingredients stay top of mind… Read more
AAK has released a statement detailing how the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a negative impact on demand and earnings within most industries that it serves. “In response, we are optimizing our cost base in affected segments without jeopardizing our long-term capabilities and strategic initiatives,” a statement says. “In spite of the short- to mid-term impact from the pandemic, we see no reason to adjust our view on the strong favorable underlying long-term trends in our markets and we continue to remain prudently optimistic about the future”, says Johan Westman, President, and CEO. “However, to support our long-term ambition, we have decided to accelerate the optimization of our structure.”
“The planned initiatives, including mainly global workforce reductions and procurement savings, are fully in line with our strategic direction to optimize our Bakery, Dairy and Foodservice businesses and will also fund strategic investments in other segments, for example, Plant-based Foods”, says Johan Westman. Therefore, AAK has initiated structural measures including cost items affecting comparability of about SEK 200 million, which will be reported in the operating profit in the second quarter of 2020. Approximately 35–40 percent is expected to impact cash flow. These measures will generate annual savings of about SEK 150 million and are expected to reach full run-rate by the second half of 2021.
A new report published by the United Nations (UN) calls upon governments and other actors to undertake urgent measures to radically transform food systems, to ensure endemic food security and nutrition. This comes ahead of the 2021 Food Systems Summit, which will convene world leaders on the burgeoning issue. The COVID-19 pandemic makes this situation even more urgent. The report, entitled Food security and nutrition: building a global narrative towards 2030, is based on the analysis of food security and nutrition concepts, outcomes, drivers, and critical policy directions that are vital for meeting Sustainability Development Goals (SDG) 2 targets and the entire 2030 Agenda… Read more
The European Council has adopted a regulation that allows Member States, as an exceptional measure, to pay up to €7,000 to farmers and up to €50,000 to small and medium enterprises (SME's) active in processing, marketing, or development of agricultural products. The aim is to make use of available funds under existing rural development programs to provide support to farmers and SME's worst-hit by the COVID-19 crisis and to address the liquidity and cash-flow problems stemming from the closures of shops, markets and restaurants.
With many consumers’ travel plans this summer being curtailed, Kerry has seen a rise in “geo-based taste desires.” People unable to travel will want to experience the taste of other national cuisines to give them a sense of being away, according to the taste and nutrition company. “International flavors will include tropical notes such dragon fruit, mangosteen, natsumikan, citrus, yuzu, matcha and acai,” Coralie Garcia-Perrin, Global Senior Strategic Marketing Manager for Kerry, tells FoodIngredientsFirst, underscoring that the unexpected events of 2020 have led to an “interesting phenomenon in the world of flavors.”... Read more
Diageo, maker of Guinness, has announced a new global program to support pubs and bars to welcome customers back and recover following the COVID-19 pandemic. "Raising the Bar" will be a two-year program available from July.
Lockdown measures are being reintroduced in Germany as the COVID-19 outbreak linked to the Tönnies meatpacking plant deepens. More than 1,300 workers from the factory in the North Rhine-Westphalia state have now tested positive. The local lockdown in the area will last until June 30 and is a precautionary measure, according to German authorities. Health experts are reacting to the localized COVID-19 outbreaks in an abattoir in Germany (see June 18) and a food factory in England and Wales. Around 100 workers at two factories that supply food to hospitals, shops and restaurants have tested positive with Public Health Wales confirming 58 cases at the 2 Sisters chicken factory in Llangefni on Anglesey. Another 38 workers have tested positive at Rowan Foods, which makes food for supermarkets. “Apart from the US, where massive issues in meat plants occurred with COVID-19 forcing many closures, the food processing industry have shown that the measures put in place to protect workers have been very effective,” says Prof Chris Elliott, Director of the Institute for Global Food Safety, Queen’s University Belfast. “Investigations are underway to ascertain if there are any commonalities between the issues that have emerged in the plants in Wales and Germany.”
Dr. Michael Head, Senior Research Fellow in Global Health at the University of Southampton, adds: “The COVID-19 pandemic is characterized by bigger and sometimes more serious outbreaks in institutions such as care homes and hospitals. Meat processing plants are an unfamiliar environment for many of us but there have been numerous large outbreaks recorded in these settings. “While refrigeration may be a contributory factor to the spread of the virus, the key factors are likely to be the number of people close together in indoor conditions. Some of these factories have onsite or nearby accommodation where there are several people in each dormitory, they may be transported on a bus to the site of work, and they will be indoors together all day. Levels of adherence to measures such as washing hands is uncertain and there is unlikely to be widespread use of PPE,” he notes.
To help meet the continuing high demand for hand sanitizer, ADM is significantly increasing production of industrial alcohol at its Clinton, Iowa, corn processing complex. “ADM is one of the largest corn processors in the world, and our scale and flexibility give us the capability to substantially scale up production on short notice to meet shifts in market demand like we are seeing today,” says Chris Cuddy, President, Carbohydrate Solutions. “We’ve already increased production at our Peoria, Illinois, facility to help address the continued growing need for industrial alcohol, and adding additional capacity at our Clinton facility will help us continue to deliver the supply our customers need.” ADM’s corn wet mill in Clinton can produce a wide variety of industrial products as well as food and feed ingredients to meet changing customer needs. The new industrial alcohol capacity will be available on an on-demand basis to help ensure reliability of supply across the country.
While the spread of COVID-19 has threatened the income of independent oil palm smallholder farmers in Indonesia due to low fresh fruit bunch (FFB) prices, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified farmers have found that the sale of RSPO Credits has provided the additional funds and support needed to see them through this difficult time. Senior Advisor of the Sustainable Palm Oil Farmers Forum Indonesia (Fortasbi), Rukaiyah Rafik, says that in addition to low FFB prices, farmers felt the pinch as both palm oil mill and manufacturing activities remain sluggish due to large scale social restrictions, yet fertilizer prices remain high. “As many independent smallholder farmers do not have the means to transport their FFBs to a mill, they rely on a “middle man” or intermediary business to provide this service, but the restriction in activities and movement due to COVID-19 has impacted their primary source of livelihood as they’re unable to sell or transport their FFBs to a buyer. The pandemic also affects fertilizer stock and input for the farmers’ plantation as well as food prices,” he says.
A ‘bounce back’ plan of trade measures for the agriculture, food and drink industry has been announced by the UK government to help support businesses that have been impacted by coronavirus. The package of measures is designed to turbo charge UK food and drink as the world recovers from coronavirus. The plan will provide unprecedented help for SMEs and allow them to capitalize on trade agreements being negotiated by the Department for International Trade (DIT) with Japan, US, Australia and New Zealand. Designed in conjunction with business and the devolved administrations, the plan will be driven jointly by Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and DIT. The measures will support producers, manufacturers and agri-tech companies across the food supply chain, from farm to fork.
MEPs have increased the crisis support that EU states should soon be able to pay to farmers and agri-food SMEs from the EU rural development fund. The emergency measure, approved in the Parliament by 636 votes in favor to 21 against, with 8 abstentions, will allow EU Member States to use EU money remaining from their rural development programs to pay out a one-off lump-sum in compensation to farmers and small rural businesses particularly affected by the COVID-19 crisis. This targeted liquidity support from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) should help them stay in business. The compensation payable to the worst-hit farmers could be as high as €7,000 (US$7,846). The ceiling for the support for agri-food SMEs should remain at the level of €50,000, in line with the European Commission’s original proposal.
Tyson Foods has released the results of facility-wide testing for COVID-19 at its locations in Benton and Washington Counties, where nearly 95 percent of team members who tested positive for the virus did not show any symptoms and otherwise would not have been identified. Tyson has put in place a host of protective steps in collaboration with local health and government officials and the company is also pursuing community outreach efforts to educate team members on the risk factors associated with COVID-19 to ensure they can stay safe not only at work but also at home. Beginning in early June, the company carried out onsite testing at its Berry Street, Chick-N-Quick, Tyson Distribution Center, Tyson of Rogers, Randall Road, Fayetteville, Springdale Growout, Gas Company, ITC Hatchery and Johnson Road Mill facilities. Of the 3,748 team members who were tested onsite, 481 or 13 percent tested positive – of whom 455 or nearly 95 percent were asymptomatic – with wide variations among the percentage of positive cases at these facilities. This is in addition to 212 positive cases among team members. As of June 19, Benton and Washington Counties have reported a 6 percent and 18 percent positive rate among individuals tested, respectively.
In a joint approach with national partners rolled out in May 2020, Wageningen Centre for Development, part of Wageningen University & Research has launched an important synthesis on the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on the seed sector in Ethiopia, Myanmar, Nigeria and Uganda, informing stakeholders in other low and middle-income countries facing similar challenges with insights and options to act. The rapid assessments conducted showed variations in the stages in the COVID-19 pandemic in the four countries and in the type of measures that each government was taking to control the spread of the virus. Also, the timing of the growing season of each country’s primary crops differed. These variations provide a setting for learning lessons on the different contexts and stages of the crisis, government measures, social and economic responses and their impact on the seed sector and options on how to respond to specific challenges.
Milk Specialties Global, a North American producer of dairy protein ingredients, affirms that all of its plants are operating and COVID-19 only minimally impacts the company. It continues to ship and export normally. The company has released a statement outlining the work with its supply chain partners, and given that the situation is extremely fluid, flagging that it will continue to engage in thorough contingency planning. Milk Specialties Global’s strong biosecurity programs that it follows for food safety also work as a protection against this virus, the company states.
In light of the current Covid-19 cases, the 2 Sisters Llangefni site, in the UK, has temporarily suspended production for 14 days due to an outbreak with 51 recorded cases. “We will not tolerate any unnecessary risks – however small – for our existing loyal workforce at the facility,” says the company. 2 Sisters – which supplies food to major supermarkets such as Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Morrison's, Sainsbury's and Waitrose has – has worked in close collaboration in the past week with Public Health Wales, Anglesey Council, the Health & Safety Executive, FSA and the Unite union who have all offered advice, scientific knowledge, and support. “Our sole focus now is to ensure we support all our colleagues through this time and look forward to operating safely and securely in 14 days,” the statement adds.
The COVID-19 pandemic has left a wide-sweeping mark on the global meatpacking sector, with the Germany-based Tönnies Group’s plant also being the latest in a string of slaughterhouse outbreaks. In the coronavirus tests of the company’s Gütersloh district facility, four out of five tested positive. This has prompted the immediate closure of Tönnies’s facility for an indefinite period… Read more
Over 20 organizations from across the 'farm-to-fork' supply chain in the UK are warning that food and drink suppliers to the hospitality and foodservice sector risk being overlooked as the government considers how to re-open the industry following the pandemic. Those businesses in the 'squeezed middle' have not been given the same level of Government assistance as the businesses they supply, despite being as hard hit by the overnight closure, they say. The report – Maintaining Post-COVID-19 Capacity in Hospitality and Food Service Supply Chain Businesses – 'The Squeezed Middle' has been produced by the FDF-convened Food and Drink Industry Roundtable. Research undertaken for the report shows that fewer than half of food and drink manufacturers have applied for Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) or Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) support. Concerns over incurring additional debt and associated interest payments were cited as the main reason. At the same time, many companies are facing up to 50 percent of their customer base delaying payment or not paying outstanding invoices.
Food Union, a global dairy production and distribution group, has launched an e-commerce distribution service in four European countries, delivering ice cream, dairy products, pastry and frozen food directly to customers. Food Union will now deliver fresh high-quality products straight from production in Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Denmark. The company’s consumer behavior analytics models and established door-step-delivery systems in Norway and Denmark allowed for rapid development and expansion of the new e-commerce distribution system in other markets. “COVID-19 has done more to change consumer habits and behavior than any event in modern history. We’re moving rapidly to demonstrate operational agility, create new delivery services, and meet our customers’ needs. We know we can bolster our brand and build trust by ensuring consumers enjoy their favorite products safely and quickly,” says Normunds Staņēvičs, Food Union Group CEO Europe.
FoodDrinkEurope welcomes the election of Marco Settembri, Nestlé CEO for Europe, Middle East and North Africa, as its new president, taking over the presidency at a crucial time for the food and drink industry – Europe’s largest manufacturing sector – as it looks to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, face the challenges of Brexit and help the EU meet its ambition to deliver more sustainable food systems, and become climate-neutral by 2050. Settembri says he is looking forward to tackling the challenges ahead.
Due to the coronavirus crisis, vegetable growers and processing companies in countries such as the UK, Spain, Italy and Germany are looking to accelerate their transition to mechanical harvesting. Although the biggest focus is on leafy vegetables, growers of other crops are also interested in increasing the level of automation, according to interviews conducted by vegetable breeding company Rijk Zwaan among its European chain partners.
US consumers have turned to grain foods as a source of comfort and certainty during COVID-19. That is according to Christine Cochran, Executive Director of Grain Foods Foundation (GFF), who highlights how trends around nostalgia, home baking and convenience have been focalized over the past few months. “Notably, bread and pasta have been another popular category of food to purchase and consume throughout the pandemic,” she tells FoodIngredientsFirst… Read more
German consumers are bucking the trend for healthier nibbles, with indulgence claims being the single most important influence on snack purchase decisions in the country. This is according to Innova Market Insights, which reveals indulgence claims are named by more than a quarter of respondents, putting it ahead of naturalness and nutritional considerations when it comes to choosing snacks. However, health claims are starting to slowly but surely enter the market, despite COVID-19 triggering a shift toward comfort food… Read more
For many consumers, this summer will be mostly spent at home. Yet it doesn’t mean the flavors of summer cannot be explored to their highest potential. The summer months are known for vibrancy, boldness and, most of all, fun. In F&B flavor trends, these are presented through innovative taste sensations and exciting combinations. Despite quarantine restrictions many consumers are experiencing due to the pandemic, experiential enjoyment will be a fundamental driver in the world of flavors…Read more
Food markets will face many more months of uncertainty due to COVID-19. The agri-food sector is likely to show more resilience to the pandemic crisis than other sectors, according to a new report released by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The Food Outlook report provides the first forecasts for production and market trends in 2020-2021 for the world’s most traded food commodities – cereals, oil crops, meat, dairy, fish and sugar. “The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been felt – at varying degrees – across all food sectors assessed by FAO. While COVID-19 has posed a serious threat to food security, overall, our analysis shows that from the global perspective, agricultural commodity markets are proving to be more resilient to the pandemic than many other sectors. That said, owing to the size of the challenge and the enormous uncertainties associated with it, the international community must remain vigilant and ready to react if and when necessary,” says Boubaker Ben-Belhassen, Director of the FAO Trade and Markets Division.
The strain that COVID-19 has put on global food chains has exposed the inherent weaknesses in approaches to mitigating its sudden impact. Forward-looking industry representatives across the UK have published a “path to recovery” to guide businesses during this challenging period. The proposals, endorsed by over 30 British F&B organizations, outline steps that government and industry can take to “future-proof” the sector, while urging policymakers to acknowledge the UK’s negative balance of trade in food...Read more
Tyson Foods announced the results of facility-wide testing for COVID-19 at its Berry Street poultry facility in Springdale, Arkansas, US. Of the 1,102 team members who worked at the facility and were tested onsite from June 4 to 6, 199 tested positive, only one of whom showed symptoms. The other 198 individuals who tested positive did not show any symptoms and otherwise would not have been identified. This is in addition to 48 positive cases identified at Berry Street by the Department of Health or when seeking care through their own health care providers.
A report released by the Peas Please initiative highlights that UK vegetable production fell by 12 percent between 2017 and 2018, the lowest level of domestic horticulture production for over 20 years. The new report, Veg Facts: in Brief, by the Peas Please initiative, found that the UK supplies just 52.7 percent of vegetables, with the majority of imported vegetables coming from Spain and the Netherlands. New research from the SHEFS consortium also shows that the UK is now very dependent on fruit and vegetables on countries that are at risk of climate change, making supply chains less resilient. Under lockdown, 25 percent of households with children are worried about accessing enough fruit and vegetable, with Veg Facts: in brief showing that even before COVID-19, a third of children under 11 years were eating less than one vegetable portion a day.
Edge Price & Promo – part of global insights firm Edge by Ascential – has highlighted that UK supermarket Sainsbury’s increased its promotions by 18 percent in the past week, now running 13 percent more promotions than it did in January, signally a “return to normal” for the retailer following the pandemic. Also, Morrisons (7 percent) and Waitrose (8 percent) have continued to increase their promotional levels in the past week. Tesco, meanwhile, has also increased promotional levels by 11 percent – just 20 percent below levels seen in January. Further analysis shows all supermarkets saw moderate increases in availability, but Sainsbury’s had the most significant growth, with 4.3 percent of its full range of products returning to shelves. The most out of stock products were health and vitamins (+1.4 percent) and frozen pastry and dough (+3.2 percent). Moreover, the items that had the highest fall in availability compared to the previous week were frozen breakfast (-5.6 percent), and frozen burgers and meatballs (-4.1 percent).
Across the fruit and vegetable ingredient industry, COVID-19 has led to unprecedented challenges. Due to the pandemic’s impact in the key growing region of Almonte, Spain, SVZ, producer of liquid fruit and vegetable ingredients, has accumulated an enormous surplus of fresh zucchinis, which will be unable to be processed in the usual way. Committing to sustainable business practices, SVZ aims to reduce waste wherever it can – and, with its strong links to farmers and growers in the region, the company has decided to donate the vegetables for free to local communities. By working closely with regional organizations and municipalities, including the Huelva Red Cross, the surplus zucchinis are now being distributed to food banks, public kitchens and less affluent neighborhoods within the province. With southern Spain’s economy significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, SVZ is playing just a small part in helping alleviate some of the pressure these communities may feel.
Three northern Dutch provinces and the Northern Netherlands Alliance (Samenwerkingsverband Noord-Nederland, SNN) have offered a grant of €1 million (US$1.1 million) for innovative COVID-19 solutions. The submitted projects are highly varied: A total of 22 proposals were submitted by northern entrepreneurs, researchers and care institutions. After the evaluation, five projects were awarded the grant, with Dutch international starch manufacturer Avebe being among the finalists. One of the projects is now also looking into whether potato components could have an inhibiting effect on viruses such as COVID-19.
Shelf-stable seafood and chicken manufacturer StarKist is continuing its partnership with Feed the Children. The 2020 partnership officially launched on June 9 with donations of food and hygiene boxes, including StarKist’s products as well as additional bags of laundry detergent, vitamin water, protein bars and other assorted ready-to-eat snacks delivered to Light of Life Rescue Mission. The distributed product, estimated to weigh several thousand pounds, will benefit approximately 1,600 individuals. “We’re grateful for our partnership with Feed the Children during this unprecedented time,” says Andrew Choe, StarKist President and CEO. “No child should go hungry in this country, but we know the need is great. We've all seen the effect COVID-19 has had on communities and together we hope to help those in need, especially during this pandemic.”
Although the COVID-19 pandemic could push nearly 50 million more people into extreme poverty, this and other dire impacts of the crisis can be avoided if countries act immediately to shore up global food security, stresses the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres. For his latest policy brief on the pandemic, Guterres focused on the need to safeguard everyone’s access to food and adequate nutrition in the present and the future. As the Secretary-General pointed out, millions were already grappling with hunger and malnutrition before the pandemic. While there is more than enough food in the world to feed everyone, more than 820 million people still do not get enough to eat and these numbers will doubtedly rise, Guterres maintains. Meanwhile, some 144 million children worldwide under the age of five are stunted, meaning they are too small for their age, mainly due to malnutrition. Guterres added that even in countries with abundant food, COVID-19 risks disrupting food supply chains. “Our food systems are failing, and the COVID-19 pandemic is making things worse,” he underscores.
The European Commission has awarded nearly €166 million (US$187.5 million), via the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator Pilot, to 36 companies set to combat the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, over €148 million (US$167 million) will be granted to another 36 companies set to contribute to the recovery plan for Europe, bringing the total investment from Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation program, to €314 million (US$354.6 million) in this round. The selected 36 companies that will contribute to the fight against the coronavirus will work on pioneering projects, such as the expanded production of bio-decontamination wipes; development of ventilation monitoring systems that provide first aiders with real-time feedback on the quality of the ventilation given to the patient; development of an antibody platform to treat severe cases of infection; among others. Furthermore, 139 companies tackling the coronavirus that could not receive funding in this round due to budget limitations have received the newly introduced COVID-19 Seal of Excellence, in recognition of the value of their proposal and in order to help them attract support from other funding sources.
Migrant workers can be vulnerable to abuse and exploitation during migration and employment due to factors including unethical recruitment, migration status, fear of deportation, or the inability to find alternative employment, particularly during the current COVID-19 crisis. As of June 8, the International Organization for Migration is publishing new, pioneering guidance for Member States on the regulation of international recruitment and protection of migrant workers. The Montreal Recommendations on Recruitment: A Roadmap towards Better Regulation provides clear guidance to policymakers on how to protect migrant workers during recruitment, migration and employment. It is designed to help develop comprehensive, multi-faceted approaches to promote ethical recruitment, enhance transparency and accountability, and improve the migration and employment outcomes for all stakeholders.
Convenience retailers and shop workers have rejected calls for the relaxation of Sunday trading laws amid reports that the UK government is considering a relaxation in the wake of COVID-19. According to these reports, regulations could be suspended for a year, with the move supported by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak. “The majority of the public favors the existing Sunday trading regulations, which strike the right balance between the needs of shop workers, consumers, high streets, small shops and supermarkets. Changing the current laws would serve only to displace trade from the local shops that have been keeping communities going during this pandemic,” says James Lowman, Chief Executive for Association of Convenience Stores (ACS). “At no point has a change to Sunday trading regulations been considered and with good reason. To upset the balance that has been struck on opening hours on Sundays would put small shops at risk, with increased costs but no guaranteed benefits for their larger counterparts,” he details.
Nudge Rewards, a communications platform for frontline employees in the US, has announced that Dippin’ Dots, a Kentucky-based producer of ice cream, yogurt, sherbet and flavored ice, has deployed the former’s mobile communication platform across franchise locations. The move aims to equip frontline employees to keep up with the intense demands of COVID-19 training, as well as ramping up new hires. As locations reopen across several states, operational complexities are presented by a variety of physical formats, including stores, kiosks, and pushcart stands. Keeping track of franchisees’ operating status, local regulations and new and existing frontline employees presents an unprecedented set of challenges, in addition to the implications of rapid training and reinforcement required for staff.
Tyson Foods has announced the results of COVID-19 testing of team members at its Texas poultry facility. The company conducted onsite testing of 1,212 team members from May 27 to May 29, during which it identified 17 positive cases, none of whom showed symptoms and otherwise would not have been identified. This is in addition to 94 positive cases identified since March among team members tested by the Department of Health or when seeking care through their own health care providers. Of the total 111 team members who have tested positive, 87 have been through their required absence and have now returned to work. Team members who test positive receive paid leave and may return to work only when they have met the criteria established by both the CDC and Tyson.
Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, the number of people working remotely at Coca‑Cola HBC has increased fourfold. The measures the company put in place to improve its systems capabilities and cybersecurity have allowed it to adapt to the new way of working with no disruptions. Investment in technology innovations before COVID-19 also helped Coca-Cola HBC to support its business and people to tackle the challenges of a new reality.
A new dairy response fund will open for applications on June 18, Farming Minister Victoria Prentis from the UK Government has confirmed. With some dairy farmers facing financial difficulties and excess milk due to the coronavirus outbreak, the new fund will provide up to £10,000 each to help those dairy farmers need support to sustain their business. Recognizing that dairy farmers have fixed costs of production, which some may have struggled to meet during the coronavirus outbreak, farmers in England who have experienced 25% price losses in April and May will be able to apply for a single payment from the fund. This funding, which will be paid out from July 6, will help farmers maintain production capacity without impacts on animal welfare, following reduced demand for milk products as restaurants, bars and cafes have closed. Qualifying farmers can apply for support to cover up to 70 percent of their losses due to coronavirus disruption across April and May, up to a total amount of £10,000 (US$12,500) each.
A UK plant-based meat company has seen a 33 percent increase in plant-based bacon sales during the British lockdown. The company, THIS, has reported sales of 1.2 million slices of bacon since lockdown began. Andy Shovel, Co-Founder of THIS, says, “Our bacon looks, smells and tastes like bacon. Except it isn't bacon, it's better.” Discussing the health benefits of THIS Isn't bacon rashers, Dr. Magda Robinson also comments: “The nutrition is vastly superior to bacon – I'm especially impressed at the extremely low levels of fat and saturated fat and the much lower levels of salt. The high protein content makes it very filling. Being nitrite and nitrate-free means that it won't increase the risk of bowel and stomach cancer like processed meat does.” The bacon butty may be Britain’s best-loved sandwich. However, a recent study conducted by The Vegan Society has found that one in five consumers in the UK have reduced their meat intake during the COVID-19 pandemic. Piggybacking on plant-based lifestyles, 43 percent of UK consumers claimed that their dietary switch was down to health, environmental, or animal rights reasons.
Campbell Soup has released its third-quarter results for fiscal 2020, highlighting favorable gains in its meals and beverage segment, which enjoyed tidal sales of soup pushed up by shifting consumer purchasing behavior due to the COVID-19 pandemic… Read more
Farmer sentiment concerning the pandemic improved slightly in May after falling sharply in both March and April, according to the Ag Economy Barometer launched by Purdue University and agriculture commodities marketplace CME Group. The index was up 7 points from April to a reading of 103, but it remained nearly 40 percent below its all-time high of 168 set in February 2020… Read more
Tyson Foods has revealed the results of facility-wide testing for COVID-19 at its Storm Lake, Iowa pork factory. Limited production will resume today following a temporary halt during which additional deep cleaning and sanitizing was conducted. Of the 2,303 team members who work at the facility and were tested, 591 tested positive, more than 75 percent did not show any symptoms and otherwise would not have been identified. The total comprises 58 individuals tested by the Department of Health or when seeking care through their health care providers and an additional 533 who were tested onsite from May 18 to 21. Team members who test positive receive paid leave and may return to work only when they have met the criteria established by both the CDC and Tyson. In all, 186 team members who tested positive have been through their required absence and have now returned to work. The Storm Lake facility is among more than 40 production facilities in the US, where Tyson is rolling out advanced testing capabilities and enhanced care options onsite to team members in partnership with Matrix Medical, a clinical medical services company, and other partners.
Agrocorp International, a Singapore-headquartered integrated agricultural commodity and food solutions provider, has received a US$50 million sustainable borrowing base facility from Dutch development bank FMO and Rabobank to enhance food supply chains in developing markets. The facility is pegged as a fruitful development given the current COVID-19 pandemic, which has challenged global food supply chains, especially in emerging markets. It has been impacted by reduced food production and rising prices... Read more
New research from Meatless Farm has revealed that 65 percent of British consumers feel anxious about visiting a restaurant, pub or bar when they reopen following the pandemic. The company’s “We Will Meatless Again” campaign kicks off this week, which includes a new digital hub for chefs and operators. It offers valuable advice and commentaries from chefs, experts and environmental health officers throughout the reopening phase... Read more
The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Qu Dongyu, has appealed to donors for $100 million in urgent aid to ease the plight of desperate farmers, herders, fishers and their families in Yemen. Qu said that even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Yemen was on the verge of catastrophe. According to the 2020 Global Report on Food Crises, nearly 16 million people were affected by acute hunger even before the pandemic began – over half of the country's entire population. “Millions of people are unable to meet their basic needs,” the Director-General says. “Farmers, fishers and herders have been hit hard by the conflict and the resulting economic decline.”
Pernod Ricard has welcomed the opening of bars and restaurants across France and announces it is a partner of the “1000 Cafés” initiative. As one of the founding members of the platform, “J’aime mon Bistrot” (I Love my Local), throughout this crisis, Pernod Ricard has been doing its utmost to support one of the most affected sectors of the pandemic. At the same time, the group has produced almost 2.5 million liters of pure alcohol globally to manufacture hydroalcoholic gel and transform some of its plants into direct producers of hand sanitizer. The group has decided to accelerate its support for the “1000 Cafés” initiative created by Groupe SOS, chaired by Jean-Marc Borello. This project aims to facilitate the continuation of the opening of 1,000 cafés in 1,000 towns of fewer than 3,500 inhabitants across France. The Group will contribute via financial grants and help these 1,000 new café owners get set up. This commitment will also involve sharing with the managers of the “1000 Cafés” tools developed to promote responsible sales to make each of these new establishments irreproachable in this area. This training will be led directly by Groupe SOS, based on its experience already gathered in some cafés.
A package of UK aid worth £160 million (US$200.5 million) will help fight coronavirus and address the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has announced. Even before the pandemic, Yemen was already experiencing the largest humanitarian crisis globally, with more than 24 million people, over 80 percent of the population, requiring some form of assistance. Nearly a quarter of Yemen’s districts have no doctors and only half of the country’s health facilities are still functional, with 20 million people lacking any access to medical care. The UK’s package, from the Department for International Development (DFID), will help to tackle the spread of COVID-19 in Yemen and expects to provide over 700,000 medical consultations, train 12,000 healthcare workers to work safely in a COVID-19 environment and provide a much-needed boost to nearly 4,000 health centers to continue offering existing health services. The funding also aims to provide support to at least 300,000 vulnerable people each month to help them buy food and household essentials, treat 40,000 children for malnutrition and provide one million people with an improved water supply and basic sanitation.
The US FDA has taken additional action to help ensure widespread access to hand sanitizers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumer and health care personnel safety is a top priority for the FDA, and an essential part of its mission is to protect the public from harm. To that end, the federal agency has updated its guidance to provide additional clarification on the manufacturing and compounding of certain alcohol-based hand sanitizer products to help ensure that harmful levels of impurities are not present in ethanol used in hand sanitizer. Early on during the public health emergency, as demand for alcohol-based hand sanitizer had dramatically increased, the FDA issued temporary policies to provide flexibility to help meet this demand and to help get supply quickly to where it was needed, whether it was for health care professionals or individuals and their families.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has kicked off the 11th annual government-wide Feds Feed Families (FFF) campaign, which encourages employees from all federal departments and agencies to give in-kind contributions – food, services and time – to food banks and pantries. This year’s campaign highlights a summer of giving in June and July, along with seasonal reminders to donate throughout the year. The 2020 campaign focuses on online donations and virtual food drives, while also guiding in-person donations and events as appropriate.
COVID-19 is causing a financial strain on charities worldwide. Since the lockdown in the UK, The Vegan Society’s Senior Management Team and trustees have been carefully monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on the society’s work and income. As a result, the charity has paused some of its work and placed some staff on the Job Retention Scheme (JRS) to secure the society’s future. At The Vegan Society, much of the company’s income is generated by licensing the Vegan Trademark to businesses to confirm that their products are suitable for vegans. Over recent weeks, The Vegan Society has seen a drop in its income as enterprises have felt the pandemic’s impact. As with most charities, its most expensive expenditure is skilled and committed staff. The support offered by the JRS means that The Vegan Society will be able to protect jobs and the work that it has planned to promote veganism. The Vegan Society also decided to freeze all but the most essential of recruitment.
Tyson Foods has announced the results of facility-wide testing for COVID-19 at its Sherman, Texas, case-ready beef and pork facility. Of the 1,604 team members who work at the facility and were tested, 326 tested positive. The total comprises 211 individuals tested by the Texas Division of Emergency Management with the National Guard onsite May 13 and 14. The additional 115 were tested when seeking care through their health care providers. Team members at Tyson’s Sherman facility have access to daily clinical screenings, nurse practitioners and enhanced education. Tyson has also placed a host of protective steps that meet or exceed CDC and OSHA guidelines for preventing COVID-19. These include symptom screenings for all team members before every shift, providing mandatory protective face masks to all team members, as well as a range of social distancing measures including physical barriers between workstations and in break rooms.
With Africa being the largest cocoa producing region globally, Barry Callebaut continues to source and process chocolate ingredients, while prioritizing the safety of employees and following the coronavirus precautionary measures introduced by the African government. Jo Thys, Vice President for Cocoa Africa at Barry Callebaut, explains how the company is rapidly addressing changing situations and enabling smooth transitions from workplace to home office… Read more
New data released by the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) shows US retail sales of plant-based foods have considerably outpaced total food sales during the pandemic, demonstrating that more consumers are turning to plant-based foods amid the crisis. Moreover, sales of meat alternatives are showing strong growth while growth of animal meat sales is slowing. PBFA analyzed the retail sales of total plant-based foods and several fast-growing categories: plant-based meats (compared to animal meats), plant-based cheese, tofu and tempeh, over a 16-week period ending April 19. Retail plant-based food sales, like other retail food sales, experienced a significant spike in mid-March during peak panic buying. During this time, plant-based foods were up a staggering 90 percent when compared to last years’ sales. Throughout the four weeks following peak panic buying, total plant-based foods sales grew at 27 percent, which is 35 percent faster than total retail food, the PBFA reveals. Meanwhile, plant-based meat retail sales were up 148 percent more than last year, spiking at 50 percent over the peak panic buying of animal-based meat. Over the four weeks following, plant-based meat sales continued to grow at a rate of 61 percent, over twice as fast as animal-based meat, during the same period.
Almost three quarters of consumers worldwide plan to eat and drink healthier as a result of the pandemic, according to Beneo. While taking into consideration the opportunity to tailor NPD amid shifting consumption patterns, the company is having to adapt various aspects of its business to a post-coronavirus reality. The ability to process new information arriving at short intervals and to derive concrete and targeted measures remains crucial throughout the pandemic, and after... Read more
The second World Food Safety Day (WFSD) will be celebrated on June 7 to draw attention and inspire action to help prevent, detect and manage foodborne risks. Following the first celebration of the event in 2019, this year’s WFSD reinforces the call to scale up food safety made by the Addis Ababa Conference and the Geneva Forum in 2019 under the umbrella of “The Future of Food Safety.” Food safety is a shared responsibility between governments, producers and consumers. This sentiment has been echoed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, as agri-food players have spoken out on a general feeling that disruptions in the global supply chain have posed some serious consequences related to this issue... Read more
COVID-19 has prompted global industry to make unprecedented shifts in business, as outlined by F&B stakeholders in a recent webinar hosted by Food ingredients (Fi) Europe. Various modules within the food industry now require urgent reassessment to safeguard production. The speakers examine the foodborne risk of the novel coronavirus, while further assessing the virus’ impact on global product recalls. As emphasized in the presentation, there remain myriad supply chain challenges linked to the virus, which are unrelated to its risk of contamination through food… Read more
High-end UK grocer Waitrose has launched a special “best of British” cheese selection box, in aid of its smallest British artisan cheese suppliers, that will be available at all of its 251 stores that have cheese counters. With Covid-19 seeing more consumers shopping quickly in-store or shopping online, the move is designed to help small scale artisan cheesemakers, who normally rely on the cheese service counters for business. The newly created box is another example of the supermarket’s efforts to adapt during this challenging period and find new ways to market products supplied by its smallest cheese producers, many of which have relied on its continued business throughout Covid-19. The box will be filled with five of Waitrose’s most popular British artisan cheeses, including Westcombe Cheddar, Sussex Charmer, Yorkshire Blue, Cornish Yarg & Rosary Garlic & Herb Goat’s Cheese.
The UK Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has published analysis showing that in the first quarter of 2020, food and drink exports fell by over £700m (US$855.3 million) (-12.7 percent) compared to the same period in 2019. Sales to the EU were hit the hardest, with total value falling by 17.4 percent compared to 2019. This decrease was largely driven by the immediate impacts of COVID-19, including the closure of hospitality and travel sectors, which has meant a loss of sales into restaurants, cafés, bars and the out-of-home sector across Europe.
While sales to the majority of the UK's top markets declined, demand has been more resilient from other nations, including Singapore, Canada and Norway, which each saw sales growth of more than 10 percent. The performance of the top ten products has been mixed, with whiskey, cheese, gin, wine, beer and breakfast cereals declining in value and volume. Conversely, salmon and pork saw over 10 percent value growth. The first quarter of the year also saw a fall in the value of branded food and non-alcoholic drinks exports of 9.1 percent. Sales to all EU nations among the UK's top ten branded goods export markets decreased in Q1 2020; almost one-third of branded exports are now going to non-EU countries, a 4.5pp increase on Q1 2019.
ZEA Worldwide, developer of BrandGraph, the platform for social media intelligence, released its first annual look at influential brands within the cold cereal category. The 2020 report provides analysis of over 439 million social media posts generated by more than four million online influencers from May 1, 2019 to April 30, 2020. Based on IZEA’s independent analysis, Kellogg’s Rice Krispies garnered the top spot for share of voice (SOV), which is based on volume of both organic and sponsored social media content created by influencers.
It is understood that around 340 meatpacking workers at the BRF plant in southern Brazil have tested positive for COVID-19. In a company statement, BRF say that 6.6 percent of its 5,132 workers at the Concórdia plant, which processes poultry and pork, in Santa Catarina state are affected. All BRF plants in Brazil remain open.
The Vion Food Group has taken additional measures in relation to coronavirus contamination. Recent reports from the Dutch-German company reveal 45 positive COVID-19 tests on around 600 employees. However, this has risen to 147 and some test results are still pending. More than half of the employees affected live in Germany due to the slaughterhouse's proximity to the border. Workers from the Vion plant were sent into domestic quarantine last week and the slaughterhouse was temporarily closed.
Tyson Foods has announced the results of facility-wide testing for COVID-19 at its Temperanceville, Virginia poultry facility. Of the 1,282 team members and contractors who work at the facility and were tested, 257 tested positive, the majority of whom did not show any symptoms and otherwise would not have been identified. The total comprises 79 individuals who were tested by the Department of Health or when seeking care through their own health care providers and an additional 178 individuals who were tested onsite from May 5 to May 7. Team members who test positive receive paid leave and may return to work only when they have met the criteria established by both the CDC and Tyson.
The Temperanceville facility is among an initial group of more than 30 production facilities in the US where Tyson is rolling out advanced testing capabilities and enhanced care options onsite to team members in partnership with Matrix Medical. The company is prioritizing communities with a higher prevalence of COVID-19 and will assess additional needs based on significant risk factors and access to testing. As it is doing at the Temperanceville facility, Tyson says it will disclose test results at other plants to health and government officials, team members and stakeholders.
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf brand has unveiled its limited edition "Heroes at Heart" Coffee and Tea Blends created to thank our US nurses and first responders working so hard during the pandemic. One dollar of each sale benefits organizations including the American Nurses Foundation's Coronavirus Response Fund, which primarily provides direct financial support and mental health resources for all nurses, as well as California Fire Foundation, California Peace Officers' Memorial Foundation and the 100 Club of Arizona.
The US Department of Agriculture’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), will provide up to US$16 billion in direct payments to deliver relief to US farmers and ranchers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Research by Symrise indicates that consumers are adapting their food buying habits to meet the changing rules and requirements in the wake of the pandemic. It also suggests that several new behaviors may continue with restrictions being lifted further. Symrise specifically monitored Asian markets like China and South Korea, the first two countries exiting the first acute COVID-19 wave, focusing on the ways consumers order, prepare and consume food during lockdown, and how their habits evolve afterwards. Symrise consistently “decodes” market trends, collecting, connecting and analyzing the various data points to build relevant and impactful insights. With Asia leading the corona curve, the taste specialists have examined and evaluated the most affected markets in China and South Korea. They have looked into how the current pandemic has influenced consumer behavior and what this might have the potential to stay – either for a while or longer. Together with its food and beverage customers, Symrise is translating these “decoded insights” into market relevant solutions. The findings show a clear trend towards takeaway, online grocery shopping, home-cooking and a focus on transparency.
The National Milk Producers Federation welcomes the US governments supporting dairy in USDA’s US$16 billion agriculture payments plan, but stresses that current aid levels will be insufficient to meet the needs of milk producers and other agricultural sectors facing massive disruption from the coronavirus crisis. NMPF will continue to work with administration officials and members of Congress to achieve adequate aid for all dairy producers, whose projected losses of US$8.2 billion, based on USDA data, place them among the hardest-hit US agricultural commodities. “This federal dairy assistance is critically needed as the nation’s dairy farmers face an unprecedented market collapse,” says Jim Mulhern, CEO of NMPF, the largest US dairy-farmer organization.
Gumtree Jobs has joined forces with the UK Food and Drink Federation (FDF), who represent the interests of the UK's biggest manufacturing sector, to link displaced job seekers with employers in their local area. Gumtree Jobs will help FDF members in their search for flexible and longer-term workers with transferrable skills to fill in-demand roles, including warehouse and logistics, food processing and packaging and distribution. The partnership comes as millions of people across the nation have lost their jobs since COVID-19 lockdown restrictions were put in place. Members will be able to create bespoke, geo-targeted listings and display campaigns for the specific jobs advertised and, with millions of people visiting the wider Gumtree platform to look for things they need locally every month, roles will be seen by a much broader audience.
ADM and Hospital de Sagunto, one of the largest medical centers in the Valencia region, have partnered for a clinical trial into the effects of using a food supplement containing live microbial strains to promote gut microbiome balance and help improve health functions related to outcomes for COVID-19 patients in high-risk groups. Dr. Xavier Cortés, gastroenterologist at Hospital de Sagunto, communicated with medical staff in China who had observed that many COVID-19 patients had exhibited abnormal changes in their gut microbiome. The reports indicated that a significant percentage of infected people experienced gastrointestinal problems in the early stages of the illness, similar to the trend he observed in Spain.
This trend is particularly prevalent in elderly patients, who tend to have lower levels of beneficial bifidobacterial content in their gut microbiome. Following his assessment, a decision was made that an interventional trial should be conducted to evaluate the effects of providing standard medication to elderly COVID- 19 patients, along with a live microbial supplement to help support gut health and immune function.
The US Department of Agriculture and the US Food and Drug Administration says it’s carried out the next step so that US consumers have access to a safe and robust food supply. A new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) now prevents interruptions at FDA-regulated food facilities, including fruit and vegetable processing. This is an important preparedness effort as we are approaching peak harvesting seasons when many fruits and vegetables grown across the U.S. are sent to be frozen or canned, according to Mindy Brashears, Ph.D., USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety, and Frank Yiannas, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response.
PepsiCo and its philanthropic arm, The PepsiCo Foundation, has launched an initiative to provide increased medical and economic aid to communities of color across the country. The US$7 million initiative is a comprehensive project to support immediate relief and long-term recovery, says a statement.
Nestlé has joined more than 150 major multinationals in urging governments around the world to align their COVID-19 economic aid and recovery efforts with the latest climate science. By signing this statement, supportive companies reaffirm their science-based commitments to achieving net-zero carbon emissions. They also call on governments to prioritize a faster and fairer transition from a grey to a green economy. The statement comes as governments around the world work on packages to help recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and as they prepare to submit enhanced national climate plans under the Paris agreement. The initiative intends to unite businesses and governments in recovering better and delivering the greatest positive impact for people, prosperity, and the planet. Nestlé is accelerating its actions to tackle climate change and has committed to net-zero emissions by 2050. Plans to achieve this goal include restoring farmland and forests, increasing the use of renewable energy, and reformulating products that have a better environmental footprint and contribute to a balanced diet. Nestlé will publish a roadmap, including interim targets consistent with the 1.5°C path.
Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) has reduced the recommended price points for its range of price-marked packs (PMPs) across its colas portfolio with 1.75l bottles of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar – including cherry and vanilla-flavored variants – and Diet Coke are now available in a £1.75 PMP, and 1.5l bottles of Coca-Cola Original Taste and Coca-Cola Cherry are now available in a £1.95 PMP, enabling retailers to take advantage of the growing trend towards consumption within the home amid the pandemic. Sales of larger pack formats have increased in recent weeks, as shoppers want volume and good value for money when buying drinks to enjoy at home instead of on-the-go.
The International Dairy Foods Association, the National Milk Producers Federation and the US Dairy Export Council are jointly urging the US government to ensure high-quality, nutritious US dairy products are made available to international neighbors in need. The US has an abundance of dairy available, even during this difficult time and these organizations want to provide a lifeline for regions where food is needed, while also giving US dairy farmers an outlet for a glut of dairy products. US dairy farmers are facing some of the steepest losses of all major US agricultural producers – potentially US$8.2 billion, based on a comparison of current USDA projections with pre-crisis estimates. US dairy supplies available for international distribution remain ample, making targeted food-aid shipped worldwide a promising avenue for helping populations struggling with localized hunger and the coronavirus crisis.
Following more than 600 cases of coronavirus cases at Irish meat processing plants, the Irish services, International, Professional, and Technical Union (SIPTU) is urging a meat industry taskforce to be set up. There are growing concerns about the spread of COVID-19 at meat factories and the trade union stresses that further measures are urgently needed to contain the spread of the virus. “There is an urgent need for a taskforce involving all meat industry stakeholders to be set up by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. A sector specific strategy is long overdue for the meat industry to tackle the threat posed from Covid-19. Workers in meat plants are employed in close proximity to each other and this has almost certainly been a conduit for the spread of the virus. The living conditions of the many low paid workers in the industry is another contributory factor," says SIPTU Manufacturing Division Organiser, Greg Ennis. “A collective approach, encompassing elements of the recently agreed ‘Return to Work Protocol’ and other additional measures must be tailored for the meat industry to prevent a potentially disastrous situation emerging in plants across the country. The meat industry has become another front line in the fight against the virus and must be prioritized.”
Olam Cocoa has announced a package of support to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and important medical supplies to cocoa farming communities tackling COVID-19 across Central and West Africa. Farming cooperatives, hospitals and health centers will receive much-needed equipment including face masks, surgical gloves, hand sanitizer, thermometers and hands-free washing stations. Vulnerable communities will also receive food parcels to help cocoa farming families who are struggling with the rising price of basic food staples as a result of the pandemic. In Nigeria, where the cost of some staples has almost doubled during the crisis, Olam Cocoa has already distributed 9,600 boxes of food.
The European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) Food has launched two funding opportunities to support the European agri-food sector through the COVID-19 crisis. One call will support start-ups and scale-ups with high-impact and growth potential that have been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and the other will help accelerate impactful projects that address business and consumer needs throughout food systems in Europe… Read more
In an updated coronavirus communication, Jungbunzlauer says it continues to monitor the development of the pandemic very closely. “Currently, we expect no impact on our general ability to supply products to our valued customers due to these developments. We are experiencing, however, a strong demand from our customers and, consequently, had to communicate longer lead times for selected products,” it says.
Lesaffre’s charity program, ECHO, launched at the beginning of 2019, will see its budget quadruple in 2020. In addition, the group has decided to make numerous donations of sanitary equipment and to provide significant financial support to Emmaüs Défi and the French federation of Food Banks. Over the course of the year, Lesaffre will be providing global support in France and around the world to the tune of over €2 million (US$2.1m).
The UK Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) has contacted all agricultural labor sites in the south of England and Wales to provide farmers with ongoing support during the coronavirus pandemic. Advice on how to spot the signs of labor exploitation and where to report concerns has been issued ahead of the GLAA visiting farms directly over upcoming weeks to give further guidance to the industry. This engagement activity ties in with the temporary licensing scheme established by the GLAA for the food production sector in March. Temporary licenses are currently being granted to businesses operating within the wider labor supply industry who wish to support GLAA license holders to feed the nation. Phase two of this operation will see GLAA investigators conduct welfare visits to ensure that farmers are getting the help that they need and that their workers are not at risk of exploitation.
ITS has opened up capacity in its flavor factory to manufacture hand sanitizer due to nationwide shortages related to COVID-19. Mike Bagshaw, Founder of ITS says: “It’s not in our nature to sit back, we are constantly reacting to the world around us. It was a real no brainer move, we already had access to key ingredients and all the equipment needed. It’s been great to see so many other companies join the fight.”
The UK Foods Standards Agency has issued advice to manufacturers about reopening and adapting food business during COVID-19. Sector guidance has been provided to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely in the food sector during the pandemic. The UK government has extended its furlough scheme until the end of October. The scheme sees workers receive 80 percent of their salaries (up to £2,500). The extension came as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson began to ease lockdown measures and urged people to go back to work if they can.
Meanwhile, in the UK, the continued closure of bars, restaurants and the foodservice scene continues to boost the eat-at-home market with retailers being the biggest beneficiaries. Eating more at home is no longer an exception, it has become the rule and consumers have been stocking on their pantries and fridges accordingly. A new survey by TransferWise shows that UK shoppers are spending £21.52 (on average) every time they visit a supermarket during lockdown which is a 60 percent increase. However, there are discrepancies across the UK with shoppers in Belfast spending £27 per trip while those in Northamptonshire spend £11 per visit. Londoners spend £17.33 per trip, according to the findings, and those living in Manchester spend £17.07.
Tyson Foods has completed facility-wide testing for COVID-19 at its Portland, Maine poultry plant, where limited production resumed last week. Of the 403 team members and contractors who work at the facility, 51 tested positive, including 31 individuals who did not show any symptoms and otherwise would not have been identified. Team members who test positive receive paid leave and may return to work only when they have met the criteria established by both the CDC and Tyson. The Portland facility is among an initial group of more than 30 production facilities in the Us where Tyson is rolling out advanced testing capabilities and enhanced care options on-site to team members in partnership with Matrix Medical, a medical clinical services company, and other partners. The company is prioritizing communities with a higher prevalence of COVID-19 and will assess additional needs based on clinically significant risk factors, CDC guidance, and access to testing.
As consumers increasingly turn online for their food and beverage needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, PepsiCo has launched PantryShop.com and Snacks.com, two direct-to-consumer websites where shoppers can order an assortment of PepsiCo's food and beverage brands. On PantryShop.com, consumers can order specialized bundles containing PepsiCo's top-selling, pantry favorites from brands like Quaker, Gatorade, SunChips, and Tropicana, within categories such as "Rise & Shine," "Snacking," and "Workout & Recovery." These pantry kits have been thoughtfully curated based on affinity research and are designed to meet consumers' 'new normal' such as working and exercising from home and homeschooling. They are easily accessible through a mobile-optimized ordering experience. The multi-product pantry kits are priced at US$29.95 and US$49.95. PantryShop.com was developed completely in-house leveraging end-to-end capabilities built from the ground up by PepsiCo's eCommerce team. On Snacks.com, consumers can choose from more than 100 of their favorite Frito-Lay products from a variety of iconic brands like Lay's, Tostitos, Cheetos, and Ruffles, as well as dips, crackers, nuts and more. New items will continue to be added in the coming months as the site is customized to meet consumer preferences.
In advance of investor discussions this week, General Mills is providing an update on its performance and outlook for the fiscal year ending May 31, 2020. To date, all General Mills manufacturing and distribution facilities have continued to operate without significant disruption related to COVID-19. In March, the company experienced an unprecedented increase in consumer demand for food at home, particularly impacting its North America Retail and Europe & Australia segments, as consumers stocked up in response to local shelter-in-place restrictions. While the magnitude of increased at-home food demand moderated in April, it remained significantly elevated compared to pre-COVID-19 levels. In contrast, the company has seen a substantial decline in away-from-home food demand since the onset of the pandemic. These trends are expected to be a significant headwind on business results in its Convenience Stores & Foodservice segment, driven primarily by the restaurant and education channels, and, to a lesser extent, in its Asia & Latin America segment. Globally, at-home food represents approximately 85 percent of General Mills net sales and away-from-home food represents the remaining 15 percent.
General Mills has raised its financial expectations for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020 to reflect stronger than anticipated at-home food demand in March and April, with an expectation that trends will moderate in May but remain significantly ahead of pre-COVID-19 levels. The company expects fourth-quarter organic net sales to increase double digits versus the prior year, led by strong growth in North America Retail and Pet. Fourth-quarter constant-currency adjusted operating profit is expected to grow faster than organic net sales, reflecting benefits from operating leverage, partially offset by increased costs related to COVID-19. As a result, the company now expects to exceed each of its previous full-year fiscal 2020 guidance ranges of 1 to 2 percent organic net sales growth, 4 to 6 percent growth in constant-currency adjusted operating profit, and 6 to 8 percent growth in constant-currency adjusted diluted earnings per share.
The COVID-19 pandemic has a large and decisive impact on public health and generates major consequences for social relationships, economic development, and food systems. Also, it fuels discussions on desired levels of globalization and ways we deal with natural resources. Considering the overarching effects, it is important to recognize major dilemma’s for post-COVID-19 agri-food policies for (a) choosing appropriate instruments and incentives, (b) maintaining an adequate balance between different policy domains, and for (c) weighing the importance of different societal objectives. This is according to Ivo Demmers, Wageningen University & Research (WUR) director Food Security and Valuing Water Program, and Ruerd Ruben, WUR professor Impact Assessment for Food Systems. They are focusing on four food system dimensions that are most critical for outlining the (likely) impact of COVID-19 induced changes on agri-food systems’ performance and outline the main challenges that have to be addressed during the post-COVID-19 recovery period. These dimensions refer to food production and employment, food markets and trade, food consumption and diets, and food policies.
Tyson Fresh Meats, the beef, and pork subsidiary of Tyson Foods, Inc, has resumed limited production at its Waterloo, Iowa facility. The facility has enhanced safety precautions and protective social distancing measures installed throughout the plant.
There is a growing sentiment around the world that crucial food industry stakeholders including producers, farmers, and processors are bearing the brunt of safely maintaining food security, an “essential” response to the pandemic. Despite a series of government handouts, many feel “in crisis” and on the verge of collapse, arguing that aid packages fall short of mitigating the level of financial support needed to safely sustain the food supply chain during these unprecedented times. Canada’s agri-food industry is the latest sector to voice concerns, slamming the government’s recent CA$252 million aid package as inadequate… Read more
European Freeze Dry, which produces freeze-dried ingredients and meals from its factory in the UK, has donated 250kg of freeze-dried produce, equivalent to 1,250kg when rehydrated, to FareShare and The Salvation Army to distribute to families struggling to feed their families during the pandemic. The product was surplus from a previous order and has been diverted from becoming a waste product to create 2,650 meals.
Smithfield Foods is restarting operations in Sioux Falls, South Dakota after receiving positive confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that the company is in full compliance with all CDC and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidance. The company will take a phased approach to resuming its operations. The harvest floor will reopen on May 11, and the company anticipates that the facility will be fully operational by late May. Testing, which is being administered by the State of South Dakota, is available to all Smithfield employees prior to returning to work. To date, over 2,000 employees have been tested. More tests will be conducted in the coming weeks as the company slowly ramps up its operations.
The Sioux Falls facility, which has been closed for more than three weeks, is one of the largest pork processing facilities in the country, representing four to five percent of US pork production. It supplies nearly 130 million servings of food per week, or about 18 million servings per day, and employs 3,700 people. More than 550 independent family farmers supply the plant. Meanwhile, Smithfield Foods is also beginning the process of retooling its Virginia plant, installing equipment that will allow it to service additional domestic customers. Going forward, the plant will produce fresh pork, bacon and the company’s iconic Genuine Smithfield Ham for the US retail, foodservice and industrial channels. The facility currently services a number of domestic customers in addition to multinational markets including China, Korea, Mexico and Vietnam. The company does not anticipate any layoffs as a result of the modifications, it says.
More than one million boxes of essential food have now been delivered to those at highest risk across England, with more than 290,000 boxes being distributed every week and 330,000 delivered in the last week, Communities Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP says. He hails the efforts of everyone involved in surpassing this milestone for the government-led program, including national food distributors, Brakes and Bidfood, who have been delivering packages directly to clinically vulnerable people’s doorsteps. The shielding program, an unprecedented package of support for those most at risk from coronavirus, has seen government partner with the food industry and local councils to deliver a program on a scale not seen since the Second World War.
DSM has started manufacturing nose swabs for the first time to help overcome a shortage of COVID-19 test kits in the Netherlands. DSM will produce sufficient swabs to meet the entire country’s testing needs for the next three months. DSM is donating the 11 tons of material required to make the swabs as well as its local processing expertise. The swabs normally used in the Netherlands are produced in Italy and China but because of a global shortage, and to be less dependent on international supply chains, the Dutch Health Ministry asked if DSM could manufacture this vital equipment.
US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has written to meat processing companies outlining expectations for the implementation of the executive order signed last week to keep factories open during the pandemic. “USDA expects state and local officials to work with these critical meat processing facilities to maintain operational status while protecting the health of their employees,” Secretary Perdue says. “Meat processing facilities are critical infrastructure and are essential to the national security of our nation. Keeping these facilities operational is critical to the food supply chain and we expect our partners across the country to work with us on this issue.”
In its Interim Report (January-March 2020), Raisio has detailed how the nature of its operations changed during the quarter as a result of the pandemic and “took on a very tactical approach aimed at maximizing our supply capability,” says President and CEO Pekka Kuusniemi. “Demand shifted strongly to retail sales as demand in the foodservice sector declined rapidly due to operational difficulties experienced by the sector’s customers. Grain-based products were of particular interest to consumers stocking up during March and, at the same time, the retail business focused on ordering large volume products as a means of surviving the logistical challenges presented by the period of increased demand. We also focused the volumes within our own supply chain and managed, I believe, to do an excellent job keeping up with the changes in demand brought on by the exceptional circumstances,” he says.
Divisive dairy demonstrations are taking place tomorrow across Europe as producers protest against the European Commission’s “misguided” way of mitigating the milk crisis. Instead of coordinated production cuts at EU level to rebalance oversupply in the market and mitigate coronavirus-related market volatility, the EC is offering private storage subsidies to producers to alleviate price pressures on producers who could then save quantities of milk powder, butter and cheese. This has angered some in the sector leading to a series of protests which will see milk powder sprayed across fields as “symbolic” action. However, others have differing views, flagging the food waste element of these types of actions… Read more
Ingredients supplier Ingredion has reported its results for the first quarter 2020, highlighting undisrupted demand for its products amid COVID-19. The company notes a US$18million rise in capital expenditures at the start of this fiscal year following its investments, which include the pending acquisition of stevia producer PureCircle. Moving ahead, the company expects robust demand for traditional packaged food products in light of the pandemic… Read more
Grain Farmers of Ontario has urged the federal government to increase and widen its agriculture support quickly. It says that the announcement of US$252 million in funding directed to food processors, beef, pork, and dairy farmers is too targeted and leaves out too many groups that are suffering losses because of the COVID-19 pandemic, including Ontario grain farmers.
The US Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue welcomes the announcement that agricultural producers, for the first time, are now eligible for the Small Business Administration (SBA)’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance programs. “US farmers, ranchers, and producers need the same help that other US businesses need during this unprecedented time,” he says. SBA’s EIDL portal has been closed since April 15. However, the Agency is able to now reopen the portal, in a limited capacity, as a result of funding authorized by Congress through the Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act, providing additional critical funding for farmers and ranchers affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The US National Milk Producers Federation has expressed its appreciation to the USDA for including US$120 million of cheese and butter among US$470 million in Section 32 food purchases – a program that provides additional support for producers in need. The purchases are scheduled to occur in the next two months. “These Section 32 purchases will help both Americans who need high-quality nutritious food as well as US dairy farmers who are experiencing unprecedented losses from the COVID-19 national emergency,” says Jim Mulhern, CEO of NMPF, the largest US dairy-farmer organization. “The purchases will provide important and needed support to the dairy supply chain.”
Working in the home office has become a new norm with flexible workplaces taking over from conventional office workstations. This makes food a new challenge, according to Bernhard Habicht, Culinary Advisor at Moguntia Food Group, who tells FoodIngredientsFirst that “when it comes to meals, the speed and ease of convenience and comfort food is welcome.”... Read more
Following delays to the publication of the European Commission’s Farm to Fork strategy, FoodDrinkEurope (FDE) has set out five tests that it believes the strategy must pass if it’s to deliver truly sustainable food systems in light of COVID-19. FDE urges the Commission, which is due to publish the strategy later this month, to reflect and incorporate its recommendations which include preserving Single Market principles and trade, reaching carbon neutral targets, helping small to medium-sized businesses, stimulating green innovations and facilitating healthier and sustainable living… Read more
While trading in March showed limited impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, the lockdowns in place in many countries across the world throughout April have led to some significant changes in demand patterns for Tate & Lyle’s products, the company reports. Bulk sweetener volume was 26 percent lower from reduced out-of-home consumption as bars, cinemas, restaurants and sporting events were either shut or cancelled. Meanwhile, Primary Products volume was significantly impacted by the first full month of lockdown in the US. Industrial starch volume was 9 percent lower reflecting reduced demand for paper and packaging following the closure of schools, offices and a general decline in economic activity. Commodities were also impacted as ethanol prices decreased sharply.
Kellogg's has revealed that it is delaying its Incogmeato brand launch in light of the coronavirus outbreak. CEO Steven Cahillane flags that given the current situation, the company remains focused on supplying the market with food. However, delaying the launch of the Incogmeato brand could hinder plant-based growth, with meat-free launches having been in the spotlight since the pandemic. Kellogg's was planning to launch the first wave of products before the summer grilling season began… Read more
Tesco has updated UK consumers of its efforts to boost its online grocery shopping during the pandemic. Before the crisis started, about 7 percent of grocery sales were delivered to homes (that’s about one in every 15 households). Tesco served about 35 percent of this market segment. Now, the retailer picks around 90 percent of online orders from its stores. To increase our capacity for deliveries and Click+Collect, Tesco closed stores overnight – allowing more time to prepare orders – and recruited 12,000 new colleagues to pick these orders, and 4,000 new drivers to deliver them. As a result of these changes, the supermarket has increased the number of online orders every week from 590,000 in the first week of the crisis, to over one million this week and expects to increase this further to 1.2 million slots in the next two weeks. “In the last six weeks, we’ve built a grocery delivery business which is probably the biggest in the world, but we know we need to do more – and we will,” a statement says.
Tyson Foods is partnering with clinical services company Matrix Medical Network to deploy medical clinics within its meat factories to help ensure the safety and health of the workforce and contractors as the company begins to reopen some facilities. This comes shortly after President Trump signed an executive order effectively forcing meat facilities to remain open during the pandemic following several temporarily closures by key players that led to concerns over meat shortages. Several factories have been severely impacted by worker absenteeism, positive COVID-19 cases, widespread testing and social distancing measures which have been impacting production. Matrix will provide testing, medical support and clinical screening. The first deployment of mobile medical clinics will be on-site at Tyson Foods facilities in Louisa County, Iowa; Waterloo, Iowa; and Logansport, Indiana, Pasco, Washington and several other locations to be determined.
ADM has reported its financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2020. “Even amid the challenge of COVID-19, the team is doing a great job advancing our important work to make ADM a better company. There are many unknowns, and ADM isn’t immune from some of the negative effects of this pandemic, but we are confident in the ability of our great team to shift to whatever our customers need, and continue to deliver nutrition around the globe,” says Chairman and CEO Juan Luciano. Ag Services & Oilseeds delivered strong results that were in line with the year-ago period. Carbohydrate Solutions results were lower than the first quarter of 2019. The Starches and Sweeteners subsegment, including wet mill ethanol results, was down year over year, largely due to about US$50 million in negative mark to market impacts on forward sales of corn oil, much of which could reverse over the balance of the year. Human Nutrition businesses, including flavors, specialty ingredients and health & wellness, delivered strong performance and growth across the broad portfolio. Increased sales revenue in North America and EMEAI flavors, continued sales growth in alternative proteins, and additional bioactives income helped drive improved results.
The BASF Group says it is showing resilience amid the coronavirus crisis with its diversified portfolio and financial solidity. BASF Group’s sales in the first quarter of 2020 increased by 7 percent compared with the prior-year quarter to €16.8 billion (US$18.4bn). However, there is high uncertainty about future economic developments in 2020 and concrete statements on the development of sales and earnings in 2020 cannot be made at present. “The first quarter of 2020 was not a normal quarter. The same will be true for the second quarter and likely for the entire year,” says Dr. Martin Brudermüller, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE. “The coronavirus has turned the world upside down. Owing to the very challenging macroeconomic environment, there is great uncertainty in the markets, making reliable planning nearly impossible at the moment.”
Tyson Foods, which has been hit by coronavirus outbreaks like other meat factories across the US sector, is doubling bonuses, increasing short-term disability coverage and is also implementing additional health screening measures. The move comes shortly after President Trump signed an executive order which forces US meat plants to remain open during the pandemic. This came after several factories, including Tyson Food facilities, were temporarily closing down due to high absenteeism and to get a handle on COVID-19 testing among the workforce. The company is now offering US$120 million in “thank you bonuses” for 116,000 US frontline workers and truckers, up from the US$60 million announced in early April. The company is moving up the first $500 bonus payment to early May. The second $500 bonus will be paid in July. Team members who cannot come to work due to illness or childcare will continue to qualify, but bonus eligibility will depend on attendance. “This pandemic is ever-evolving, and the decision to make these changes reflects our desire to continuously explore new ways of supporting our team members through this crisis,” says Mary Oleksiuk, Executive Vice President.
Ebro reports that its turnover is up 22.5 percent to €845 million (US$919m) with large contributions from rice and pasta sales as consumers turned to the foods during the coronavirus outbreak. The company’s net turnover was boosted by the good performance of its brands, extension of its consolidated group to incorporate Tilda and increased demand from mid-March. Tilda contributed €54 million (US$58.7m) to that figure. “In Europe, the outbreak of COVID-19 in mid-March led to substantial sales growth in our branded products during the first week of self-isolation, with peaks of over 100 percent, although it leveled off over the following weeks. These spikes were especially sharp in Spain, Italy and France,” says the company. “Demand also soared in North America with growth rates of around 90 percent. We found it difficult to meet that increased demand in some products, for which we were close to maximum capacity. The Rice Division was able to deal with this situation thanks to adequate stocks.”
Apart from the effects of the coronavirus, the trends observed in earlier quarters continued in the categories of Aromatic, Instant and Microwave rice in North America, and in the premium segment in Europe. The division posted a turnover of €483.7 million (US$526m). In Ebro’s pasta division, the outbreak of COVID-19 also brought increased demand in March, with growth rates of almost 90 percent in Europe and Canada, and slightly lower growth in the US because self-isolation began later. Ebro focused its production on core products to meet the sharpest peaks. There has been less demand for fresh pasta, especially in the Horeca channel. The division posted a turnover of €380.8 million (US$414m).
ADM has partnered with Sazerac Company, the largest producer of distilled spirits in North America, to help increase Sazerac’s production of hand sanitizer and support efforts to fight COVID-19. ADM is providing industrial ethyl alcohol to Sazerac, which is producing, packaging and distributing hand sanitizer to some of the world’s largest organizations in healthcare, government, military, retail, distribution, airline, pharmacy, and banking industries. “Increasing volumes of ethyl alcohol to support the critical need for hand sanitizer is an important way for ADM to step up and help right now,” says Chris Cuddy, President, ADM Carbohydrate Solutions. Additionally, ADM is donating nearly 10,000 1.75 liter bottles of Sazerac’s hand sanitizer to healthcare and long-term care facilities in Decatur, Illinois, through ADM’s social investment program ADM Cares, to help address local needs.
Uelzena Group is charting a safe course through the pandemic and the dairy group considers itself well prepared for the current challenges posed by COVID-19. The impact on the business will be felt from the second quarter, however, the group intends to retain its long-term investment strategy to secure its future, according to a company statement. The Uelzena Group processes raw milk ingredients from more than 800 milk producers to make milk powder, butter, cheese and sweetened condensed milk. The operations of milk collection and processing are therefore crucial to the financial stability of the cooperative members, the milk producers and for the company itself. Measures introduced immediately to secure the availability and production capacity of all other raw materials and production areas of the group, have also ensured customer supply, it says.
Speaking about how markets have considerably changed and the impacts of lockdown in many countries is changing the global demand for food substantially, the Group says that domestic consumption has risen sharply. However, the consumption of food outside of the home (e.g. at restaurants, canteens) has virtually ground to a halt. “This means lost sales in the business divisions that supply the bakery trade and the foodservice sector, whereas the industrial business with dairy ingredients continues to receive a good number of orders,” it adds. The production of instant beverages at the Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, site had to be significantly reduced and short-time working introduced. In addition, the prices for milk powder and butter are coming under pressure, which means a decline in sales is expected for the second quarter of the year according to Managing Director Bernd Gewecke.
As the world learns to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, eating behaviors are already changing. The global population is projected to reach more than 9.8 billion by 2050, and with this comes the challenge to secure sustainable, nutritious and plant-friendly food supplies. With the interest in cell-cultured seafood making waves and the acceptance of “meat” grown in a lab taking off, could the COVID-19 crisis boost further progression in this burgeoning sector? FoodIngredientsFirst speaks with innovators in cell- and plant-based seafood, as the pandemic shines a light on new ways of consuming fish and meat, in a way which is deemed better for the planet and provides a flexible alternative during times of crisis. Many of the key players in this space also predict significant funding of companies in this sector throughout the year, with a sharpened focus on speed to market… Read more
Amid escalating fears of a potential meat shortage, the US Drug and Administration (USDA) is implementing an Executive Order issued by US President Trump to make sure meat and poultry factories around the country stay open, despite widespread concerns over the spread of coronavirus within the meat processing sector. US meat producers have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic as several plants have been temporarily closed amid the outbreak of COVID-19 among their workforces… Read more
UK consumers are facing inflated food prices for ambient and fresh products, with the latest retail data revealing these have peaked since last June. Despite rising costs, food prices remain relatively low as a more significant price drop in other sectors was recorded, according to the BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index for April 2020. The sector is gradually recovering from a significant dip in March sales following the initial COVID-19 outbreak in Europe… Read more
Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) launched new efforts today as part of its virtual summit, PHA10: Accelerating a Healthier Future: The COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund, which will bring hundreds of thousands of servings of fresh produce to communities in need during the coronavirus pandemic, in partnership with the Produce Marketing Association and with support from Novo Nordisk, has begun.
Beef Farmers of Ontario, Grain Farmers of Ontario, Veal Farmers of Ontario, and the Ontario Sheep Farmers are asking the Premier and the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to immediately move to fully fund the Ontario Risk Management Program (RMP) to help over 50,000 Ontario farmers continue to deliver food amid the pandemic. COVID-19 impacts have exacerbated the challenges already faced by Ontario’s grain and livestock farmers who are in crisis without access to sufficient safety net support that programs like RMP provide. COVID-19 has amplified financial challenges facing family farms and induced market and production disruptions that threaten the food supply and viability of farm operations, the Grain Farmers of Ontario says.
Market forecasts of global citrus sales point to robust figures, albeit while the farming and juicing industries shoulder a financial burden brought on by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. FoodIngredientsFirst speaks to UK-headquartered citrus player and flavor ingredients provider Treatt to examine how consumer demand for health-fortifying foods is pushing up demand for vitamin C-rich fruits… Read more
Kemin Industries has assisted local hospitals in Italy and provided additional recognition to its essential employees who've continued working during the country's lockdown. Italy was one of the first countries in Europe to be affected by coronavirus and has been under lockdown since March 9. Certain industries and businesses, including Kemin, were permitted to continue operating, as they are considered essential. Kemin's essential employees in Italy and San Marino have continued their critical work during the lockdown. In recognition of their commitment to Kemin, the company gave a 50 percent salary increase to its team members who were required to be physically present at Kemin facilities.
Bartek is contributing over US$15,000 to Hamilton Food Share, a food bank initiative. In addition to feeding those in need, the company recognizes the frontline healthcare professionals, elderly, and others exposed to COVID-19 are at great risk and in need of personal protective equipment.(PPE) Bartek has also donated over 1,000 masks to Hamilton Health Sciences, which is the donation hub distributing PPE to hospitals and other critical care facilities.
Marks & Spencer has completed steps to secure liquidity for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis and to underpin the recovery strategy and accelerated transformation in 2021. It is planning for the Clothing & Home business to be severely constrained during lockdown and highly uncertain trading conditions in a prolonged exit period. In the absence of a clear basis for forecasting, the company’s scenario planning and stress tests are based on materially subdued trading for the balance of 2020 in Clothing & Home. M&S says it benefits from having a strong food business and the transition to Ocado supply is on track to proceed in September to form a multi-channel food operation. However, it notes that food trading has been adversely affected by lockdown due to the closure of cafes and slowdown in travel and some city center locations. “We have therefore taken steps to maximize liquidity for the likely duration of the crisis and recovery period beyond,” it says.
Smithfield Foods has suspended operations at its Monmouth, Illinois, US, facility from today after a “small portion” of its 1,700 employees tested positive for COVID-19. The Monmouth plant represents approximately three percent of US fresh pork supplies and also produces bacon. This comes as the US meat industry is facing mounting challenges as coronavirus spreads throughout the sector, leading to concerns of an impending meat shortage. Smithfield noted that it has been proactively and aggressively tackling COVID-19 by implementing processes, protocols and protective measures throughout its operations and remains “wholly committed” to protect its team members from COVID-19 in the workplace. At the same time, it stressed that the inherent nature of meat processing, which is labor intensive, assembly line style production, makes social distancing particularly challenging. The company will continue to arm its team members with personal protective equipment like masks, which are stocked and in use at every single one of its facilities around the US. Smithfield has implemented thermal scanning companywide and installed plexiglass and other physical barriers on production floors and in break rooms.
Fragmented supply chains as a result of COVID-19 are driving businesses with a global footprint to consider alternative routes for maintaining the status quo in trade. Among these measures are a shift of focus toward local sourcing, pivoting to direct sales and the erection of alternative manufacturing facilities. FoodIngredientsFirst speaks to F&B players in this latest report examining how businesses are changing gears to overcome hurdles in today’s compromised trading climate… Read more
Good Food Institute (GFI) Director of Corporate Engagement Alison Rabschnuk flags that plant-based brands have experienced some negative impacts on their business amid the global crisis. “It may take that sector a long time to recover,” she claims. Despite a surge in plant-based products launching, the outbreak spells uncertainties for the booming sector, according to the GFI. Meanwhile, European plant-based players Heura and fiid speak out about the unprecedented changes the global crisis has brought on, flagging the pandemic as “an inflection point,” and highlighting how consumers are seeking comfort in meat-free products, respectively… Read more
Since the UK lockdown came into force, almost everyone in the country will have experienced some effect on what and how they eat. Restaurants have closed and free time at home has increased. Meanwhile, many people have less money to spend after losing income, and some foods have become harder to find in shops due to stockpiling and stretched supply. Sustainability activist group Hubbub wanted to know what effect these changes have had on eating habits. To find out, they polled 2,000 people across the UK. Forty-three percent of respondents said they are worried about the extra cost of providing food for their household. Conversely, a quarter of respondents said they are buying better quality food as a result of saving money on eating out or other expenses. At the same time, results indicate many people are appreciating the value of food more, with some evidence that people are enjoying cooking more and finding more time to eat with their family or housemates. Forty-eight percent said they are throwing away less food. Reasons include planning meals more carefully (51 percent) and using leftovers (41 percent).
British grocer Marks & Spencer is championing British farming and pledging support for its family of nearly 10,000 farmers across the UK as they face ever-growing challenges during these exceptional times. M&S is launching a six-week campaign – spanning TV, social and in-store – that puts the efforts of British farmers and growers at the forefront for customers and highlights its ongoing commitments to sourcing meat, farmed fish, poultry, dairy and fruit, veg and horticulture from farmers across the country.
US meat producers have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic as several plants have been temporarily closed amid the outbreak of COVID-19 among their workforces. This is leading to fears that the US is on the brink of a meat shortage as the meat sector grapples with the difficulties of operating plants within social distancing parameters and dealing with large-scale testing and worker absenteeism. Yesterday, Tyson Foods closed its Washington beef facility while employees undergo testing for the virus. This follows other closures at Tyson’s pork plants and a multitude of meat factories around the country. Meanwhile, there are an estimated 5,000 meatpacking workers and 1,500 food processing workers directly impacted by the virus, including some deaths… Read more
ADM has announced managing ethanol production throughout its US corn processing network to focus on cash flows and to divert corn grind to other products that are in higher demand, such as alcohol for hand sanitizer. ADM is temporarily idling ethanol production at the company’s corn dry mill facilities in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Columbus, Nebraska. The company has notified approximately 90 employees in each facility that they will be furloughed in the coming weeks. The anticipated length of the furlough is currently four months, but the timeframe is dependent on market conditions and could change, ADM notes. ADM has also reduced the ethanol grind at its corn wet mill plants and rebalanced grind to produce more industrial alcohol for the sanitizer market and industrial starches for the containerboard market to better align production with current demand. “These are very difficult decisions in a very challenging time, and unfortunately, the current market conditions and the low consumer demand for gasoline at this time have greatly impacted the entire ethanol industry,” says Chris Cuddy, President, Carbohydrate Solutions.
Tyson Fresh Meats, the beef and pork subsidiary of Tyson Foods, Inc, plans to indefinitely suspend operations at its Waterloo, Iowa, pork plant this week. The facility, the company’s largest pork plant, has been running at reduced levels of production due to worker absenteeism and will stop production mid-week until further notice. The facility’s 2,800 team members will be invited to come to the plant later this week for COVID-19 testing. “Protecting our team members is our top priority and the reason we’ve implemented numerous safety measures during this challenging and unprecedented time,” says Steve Stouffer, Group President of Tyson Fresh Meats. “Despite our continued efforts to keep our people safe while fulfilling our critical role of feeding American families, the combination of worker absenteeism, COVID-19 cases and community concerns has resulted in our decision to stop production. “The closure has significant ramifications beyond our company since the plant is part of a larger supply chain that includes hundreds of independent farmers, truckers, distributors and customers, including grocers,” Stouffer said. “It means the loss of a vital market outlet for farmers and further contributes to the disruption of the nation’s pork supply.”
Affected Waterloo team members will continue to be compensated while the plant is closed. The timing of resumption of operations will depend on a variety of factors, including the outcome of team member testing for COVID-19. Tyson Foods’ other meat and poultry plants currently continue to operate, but some are running at reduced levels of production either due to the planned implementation of additional worker safety precautions or worker absenteeism.
Unilever has revealed its results for the first quarter of 2020, which show flat underlying sales with a volume growth of just 0.2 percent. The Foods & Refreshment segments’ underlying sales declined 1.7 percent, with large volume declines in ice cream as the seasonal sell-in for out-of-home consumption in key markets was heavily impacted by lockdowns and the reluctance of distributors to commit to buying ice cream stock with an uncertain holiday and tourism season... Read more
Glanbia has published a coronavirus update as part of its Q1 2020 interim management statement which details how the Group has traded well due to good consumer demand for its products and ingredients, which are predominantly sold in retail end markets. Strong demand in North America offset weaker demand in International markets where the challenges posed by COVID-19 had a greater impact, in particular, on Glanbia Performance Nutrition’s (GPN) route-to-market. The Group put in place business continuity planning teams to protect the health and safety of employees, continue supply of food and maintain the Group’s strong financial position, it notes. Glanbia had a good first quarter of 2020, growing revenues by 17 percent, says Siobhán Talbot, Group Managing Director. “This was underpinned by good volume growth in both GPN and Glanbia Nutritionals in the period. Overall demand in our key end markets was positive in the first quarter, however, greater volatility in consumer shopping behavior was evident in recent weeks arising from COVID-19 and due to uncertainty of duration and impact of this pandemic, full-year 2020 financial guidance is withdrawn.”
Austrian flavorists at Esarom are predicting what the world will taste like following the pandemic. According to the company, what consumers eat and drink can be skewed and influenced by availability and cost, two factors underscored during these challenging times. Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Susanne Winter, Marketing Manager at Esarom highlights how health and well-being have become “critical” topics following the global crisis with the idea of immune-system boosting products coming to the fore. She also flags how flavors that ignite the senses offer excitement and comfort in uncertain times... Read more
Despite a surge in plant-based products, the coronavirus pandemic is spelling out uncertainties for the plant-based boom, according to the Good Food Institute (GFI). “Plant-based brands whose primary focus was in the foodservice sector, especially institutional foodservice like schools and business cafeterias, have experienced very negative impacts on their business. It may take that sector a long time to recover,” says Alison Rabschnuk, GFI Director of Corporate Engagement... Read more
In the wake of the pandemic, 22 million US children have lost access to the nutritious school meals they depend on, according to estimates from No Kid Hungry, a national anti-hunger organization. Nestlé Pure Life, a Nestlé Waters North America brand, is supporting the program with a US$1 million contribution to help ensure families remain fed and hydrated during the crisis. As part of this collaboration, Nestlé Pure Life helped build and is raising awareness of No Kid Hungry’s Free Meal Finder – a new online resource that helps families find free meals near them.
Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc., the beef and pork subsidiary of Tyson Foods, Inc. has announced that it will resume limited operations at its pork plant in Columbus Junction, Iowa, after being idle for two weeks due to COVID-19 concerns. “Our first priority is protecting our team members while they fulfill their critical mission of feeding families across the country during this challenging time,” says Tyson Foods President Dean Banks. “We plan to increase production at Columbus Junction gradually, with the safety of our team members top of mind.” The Columbus Junction pork plant, which produces fresh, boxed pork for shipment to foodservice and retail customers around the world, is an important market outlet to hundreds of independent pig farmers in the region. Tyson Foods’ other meat and poultry plants continue operations, with some running at reduced levels of production either due to the planned implementation of additional worker safety precautions or worker absenteeism. The company has suspended production for a day at some locations for additional deep cleaning and sanitization, it notes.
Industry’s pandemic-related concerns now include the collateral impact of agricultural labor shortages and adverse protectionism policies in trade. FoodIngredientsFirst speaks to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on its latest report exploring how the ongoing crisis may continue to exacerbate existing conditions in what it calls “food crisis countries.” Creating a better understanding of ongoing crises and related vulnerabilities is now critical and urgent for all stakeholders in the agri-food chain... Read more
In a statement to its business partners, Lactosan A/S has issued an update about coronavirus-related measures and actions being. “We are closely following the guidelines issued by the Danish government and Danish Health Authorities in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak to reduce the risk of an infection spreading further in Denmark. All actions are taken to help secure the safety of our employees as well as secure continuous operation of our production sites and supply of products to our customers and distribution partners to the extent possible under the extreme conditions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak,” it says. The company adds that it is in close contact with its our raw material suppliers as well as forwarding agents to closely monitor the situation as both continental as well as intercontinental shipping lanes and container/trailer availability are temporarily affected by the outbreak and virus containment initiatives.
ADM has announced a partnership with Médecins Sans Frontières (also known as doctors without borders) to support emergency response to the ongoing pandemic. The partnership sees ADM providing a US$ 50,000 donation through ADM Cares, the company’s social-investment program and is part of a wider commitment to help various organizations including the WHO and other regional organizations involved in the ongoing crisis. The financial aid will be used to fund several emergency responses including the support to nursing homes for the elderly, providing technical support and medical trainings and advice to healthcare sectors, and assisting other vulnerable people, such as the homeless and migrants. Weaknesses within global trade processes have come to fore due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Blockchain is now being leveraged to help address two primary industry challenges related to COVID-19 – the speed of trade and curbing the actual spread of disease. FoodIngredientsFirst catches up with James Green, Chief Marketing Officer of Singapore-based dltledgers, to further examine how the “urgent need” for the digitization of cross-border trade is brought to the fore during the pandemic... Read more
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to have a pronounced negative impact on dairy sectors around the world, the UK government will temporarily relax elements of competition law to support the dairy industry through the outbreak. This will mean farmers can work together to minimize waste of milk, and use it to make other essential dairy products. Competition rules to allow retailers, suppliers and logistic services to work together have previously been relaxed and while this has already allowed the dairy industry to redirect some of their supplies to retailers, this latest move will allow further collaboration between dairy farmers and producers so they can avoid their surplus milk going to waste... Read more
In a statement to its customer, GNT has outlined what it’s doing to support them during the coronavirus pandemic. “As a food ingredient company, we fully recognize that we have a responsibility to ensure consumers have access to the products they need,” says the company. “We are therefore committed to keeping our production facilities running, and maintaining an uninterrupted supply to our customers. That’s why, at the beginning of all this, we established a coronavirus crisis team.” GNT also stresses that, as a family business, it is also very mindful of the health and safety of its employees. The workforce is, wherever possible, working from home. “With the support of our crisis team and all our dedicated staff, we have been able to put effective controls and safeguards in place while ensuring compliance with international and local health authority requirements. We continue to monitor the situation closely and will take further action as and when necessary. Our ability to supply customers is underpinned by the significant investment we have made in inventory. This has always been a fundamental element of our business model, together with our direct supply-chain control. It has never been more important than right now and provides the platform for us to ensure continuity of supply to our valued customers throughout the pandemic.”
Olam Cocoa details how its navigating challenges within the cocoa supply chain. It’s critical to minimize potential disruptions as the delivery of some ingredients is at risk of being stunted by lockdowns and quarantine measures, which could leave the cocoa sector in turmoil. At the same time, plant-based innovation comes to the fore and Olam expects growth in the snacking segment as consumers turn to at-home cocoa-based ‘comforts’ like baked goods and confectionery... Read more
Supply chain pressures brought on by the pandemic have been flagged alongside concerns of growing protectionism in Europe’s agri-food sector by UK F&B stakeholders. The industry bodies are collectively urging world governments to ensure that import and export markets are kept open during COVID-19. They stress that the local industry cannot operate in isolation during this critical time... Read more
Chocolate and cocoa products giant, the Barry Callebaut Group, is bracing itself for the potential impacts of coronavirus on its business by drawing on a €1 billion (US$1.09 bn) credit facility to shore up liquidity. The manufacturer says it has not experienced any major disruption to its production operations, however, due to uncertainty in the financial markets, it has taken a precautionary decision to draw the full amount of its Revolving Credit Facility (RCF)... Read more
Nestlé in the UK & Ireland has been working together with its two Trade Unions, GMB and Unite, since the beginning of the pandemic on important issues around employee safety, working conditions and maintaining supply. “There is no greater priority for me than assuring the health and safety of our workers and particularly those who are still leaving home to come to work in our factories, our distribution centers and across our supply chain to deliver for the nation. We will continue to keep employee welfare at the very top of our agenda,” says Nestlé UK & Ireland CEO, Stefano Agostini.
With urgent need for both food donations and volunteers stemming from COVID-19, General Mills – in partnership with Feeding America – has announced two new initiatives to help address these challenges. General Mills facilities will manufacture and donate US$5 million worth of product to Feeding America food banks, while the company will create an option for employees to work at food-related charities in the Twin Cities while retaining their regular pay.
To help feed families during this time of need, Sargento Foods Inc. is donating US$2 million in cheese to Wisconsin’s anti-hunger leader, Hunger Task Force and its membership organization the Hunger Relief Federation of Wisconsin.
Biolan says it continues to guarantee the quality and food safety in the different markets, supplying its products, in a “responsible and coherent way.” The resources invested by Biolan in the last year have had a fundamental role in this, mainly in the digital transformation, providing connectivity both to our products and to the different areas that compose Biolan,” says the company. “This is allowing us to face efficiently the management of our activity in front of this world crisis caused by the COVID-19, giving support to our customers, suppliers, always preserving the security of the group that integrates Biolan.”
The EU dairy sector is slipping into a deepening crisis. As the demand for milk and milk products has significantly dropped because of the crisis, produced milk volumes can no longer be absorbed. "The reduced demand must be met with a temporary reduction in supply as well, to get the market out of its very dangerous state of imbalance," underlines Erwin Schöpges, President of the European Milk Board. "Dairy farmers are therefore calling on European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski to activate voluntary production cuts immediately."
UK retail sales have declined 4.3 percent over a span of five weeks during the coronavirus crisis, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC)-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor for March 2020. This is the sharpest decline since 1995, and as the British government enforced lockdown measures, a stark contrast in sales before and after the restrictions were put in place became evident. However, the initial period of lockdown and quarantine measures led to an “unprecedented surge” in demand for food. This was evident at the time when supermarket shelves were stripped as panic buying spread around the country... Read more
High-end UK grocer Waitrose has detailed several initiatives it has launched to support its most vulnerable suppliers during the pandemic. It is supporting British producers and farmers with all of its fresh and frozen beef, chicken, pork, eggs, and milk is 100 percent British sourced. Waitrose is providing £200k to the most vulnerable global farming communities within its food supply chain. This will help provide much needed social distancing advice as well as sanitation kits and food parcels for the communities that grow, pick and pack produce sold in Waitrose stores. Waitrose was already committed to paying all of its smallest suppliers within seven days. Buying teams are working with the many family-run businesses that provide local produce to their stores, ensuring they have a platform to sell their products.
Globally, The Coca‑Cola Company and The Coca‑Cola Foundation together with Coca‑Cola HBC and all other bottling partners are providing a US$120 million support package focused on the people and organizations engaged in the frontline fight against COVID-19. Each of its markets is making a significant donation primarily to the Red Cross but also to other NGOs to support frontline work or to purchase medical equipment. Applications for funding have been approved for Nigeria, Greece, Cyprus, Austria, Serbia, Poland, Croatia, Romania, Russia, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Ireland and Ukraine with other markets to follow. In Italy, the first European market to experience the full force of the crisis, together with The Coca‑Cola Company and Coca‑Cola Italia, the company has already given €1.3million (US$1.4m) to the Italian Red Cross.
Nestlé has joined forces with IFRC (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent) in response to IFRC's emergency appeal on special efforts against the spread of coronavirus. Nestlé will donate food, medical nutrition products, and bottled water; implement available logistics capabilities from its out-of-home business to support IFRC needs in different countries; donate 10 million CHF (US$10.3m) to IFRC for immediate distribution in countries where it is most needed and match 1: 1 of all donations to IFRC made by its staff.
While the ongoing pandemic spurs a cataclysm of supply chain challenges, the global crisis is also pushing businesses toward previously unexplored digital solutions. Key agri-food suppliers Cargill and Agrocorp have teamed up with Rabobank to pilot blockchain for faster cross-continental commodity trading in five days, initially focusing on wheat. The concept of blockchain as a tool to combat coronavirus-related challenges is coming to the fore through this new partnership. Touted as one of the most promising sectors for blockchain, cross-border commodity trading allows for real-time monitoring by multiple parties, dispenses with data concerns and simplifies the exchange of documents in a digital, secure and decentralized manner. It could also be a key way to continue operations within the global constraints of the pandemic… Read more
Dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic has topped the recent corporate agenda for all sectors, including the food and beverage industry. Netherlands-headquartered Corbion, supplier of lactic acid and its derivatives, among other ingredients, has been heavily impacted from the outset. FoodIngredientsFirst speaks with Corbion CEO, Olivier Rigaud, who discusses the measures the company is taking to counter the spread of the virus. With operations on four continents, the company acted quickly to isolate employees, secure the supply chain and find solutions to shortages in necessary products... Read more
MEPs on the Agriculture Committee and Commission are debating support for EU farmers to deal with COVID-19 including ways to help them supply food during the pandemic. The debate will focus on measures proposed by the European Commission so far, including loans or guarantees at favorable conditions to cover operational costs of up to €200,000 (US$218,088) and reallocating unused agriculture funds to fight the effects of the COVID-19 crisis in rural areas. The Commission also proposed to cut the number of physical on-farm checks and to increase, from mid-October, advances of direct payments and rural development payments. MEPs are also set to quiz Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski on how he intends to secure cross-border access for farmers to all necessary production inputs, including feed and plant protections products, and how he plans to ensure that some sort of cross-border movement for seasonal workers is allowed during the ongoing harvest season.
The Food Standards Agency, Food Standards Scotland and representatives of the UK meat industry, have released a statement as a joint UK meat industry response to coronavirus. The pandemic has caused unprecedented impacts on the everyday lives of people in the country with the meat industry bearing its share of the significant consequences, it says. “As the country navigates the COVID-19 challenges, and the rapidly changing situation, we recognize the great disruption and uncertainty this emergency has created for many in the meat sector. In particular, there are thousands of key food workers who selflessly continue to work every day on the front line. They have our deep and sincere thanks for their commitment to maintaining the nation’s food supply. Together, we are taking steps to ensure they are kept as safe as possible while they undertake these vital roles. As regulators and industry bodies, we share many common aims: being committed to producing safe food, protecting consumers, and ensuring high animal welfare standards.”
As part of BASF’s “Helping Hands” campaign in the fight against the pandemic, the company is donating 100 million protective masks to the Federal Republic of Germany. The company is also donating one million masks to the State of Rhineland-Palatinate. The masks will be purchased in China and prepared for shipment to Germany.
In an exclusive interview with FoodIngredientsFirst, Prova executives are highlighting a series of measures taken to secure supply, protect the workforce, manage stocks, handle logistical challenges and firm up sourcing by supporting Madagascar-based vanilla growers... Read more
Smithfield Foods, Inc. has closed its Sioux Falls, South Dakota, US, until further notice. The plant is one of the largest pork processing facilities in the US representing four to five percent of US pork production. It supplies nearly 130 million servings of food per week, or about 18 million servings per day, and employs 3,700 people. More than 550 independent family farmers supply the plant. “The closure of this facility, combined with a growing list of other protein plants that have shuttered across our industry, is pushing our country perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply. It is impossible to keep our grocery stores stocked if our plants are not running. These facility closures will also have severe, perhaps disastrous, repercussions for many in the supply chain, first and foremost our nation’s livestock farmers. These farmers have nowhere to send their animals,” says Kenneth M. Sullivan, Smithfield President and CEO. “Unfortunately, COVID-19 cases are now ubiquitous across our country. The virus is afflicting communities everywhere. The agriculture and food sectors have not been immune. Numerous plants across the country have COVID-19 positive employees. We have continued to run our facilities for one reason: to sustain our nation’s food supply during this pandemic. We believe it is our obligation to help feed the country, now more than ever. We have a stark choice as a nation: we are either going to produce food or not, even in the face of COVID-19,” he concluded.
In preparation for a full shutdown, some activity will occur at the plant today to process product in inventory, consisting of millions of servings of protein. Smithfield will resume operations in Sioux Falls once further direction is received from local, state and federal officials. The company will continue to compensate its employees for the next two weeks and hopes to keep them from joining the ranks of the tens of millions of unemployed Americans across the country.
As part of the UK Government's collaborative response to supporting key infrastructure throughout this difficult time, Defra is making £3.25m (US$4m) available through the Resource Action Fund administered by WRAP. The COVID-19 Emergency Surplus Food Grant will be delivered in three phases. Phase 1: WRAP has approached a target list of small redistribution organizations who have previously applied to the fund to ascertain their immediate need for potential funding support. Phase 2 provides funding opportunities for small surplus food redistributors and is now open. Phase 3 is aimed at medium-to-large operators and is now open.
Thousands of people in the UK are applying for fruit picking and farm-based jobs as those who have been temporarily displaced amid the coronavirus crisis COVID-19 are seeking work in other sectors. The uptick in interest comes as a time when Britain is facing a shortage of fruit and vegetable pickers because of travel restrictions on workers from overseas. As in other countries, the UK is witnessing a surplus of labor with so many people furloughed from their normal jobs.
With the global health crisis driving school closures across the country, children who rely on school for food have missed nearly 608 million meals to date. Because students urgently need support to meet their nutrition needs during this time of crisis, PepsiCo and the company's philanthropic arm The PepsiCo Foundation has announced the launch of Give Meals, Give Hope. This initiative will help connect children in need with critical food through a fundraising campaign with No Kid Hungry, a national campaign working to ensure every child gets three meals a day during the pandemic and afterward.
The Kraft Heinz Company is postponing its in-person Investor Day planned for early May to support safe, social-distancing initiatives and will reschedule it at an appropriate time and place – ideally in the second half of 2020 once travel and meeting restrictions are lifted. Senior leaders from the company plan to share their long-term vision and priorities for the business in-person with analysts, investors and media, and unveil in more detail the new strategic plan and go-to-market structure for the business that is currently being put into place. “We have been developing a powerful new strategy, transforming our capabilities and making needed investments in the business for months,” says CEO Miguel Patricio. “Our strong execution in the face of this crisis reflects the exceptional progress our people have been making. We have also been looking forward to sharing our new vision and long-term growth framework in-person with investors and all our external stakeholders. But given the current, unprecedented COVID-19 challenge, we believe it is better for Kraft Heinz, our shareholders and our customers that we continue our single-minded focus on getting our products from our plants to stores and onto consumers’ tables,” he adds.
The Food Standards Agency (England Wales) has issued a statement noting the importance of the meat sector to the food supply chain, which has “never been more apparent, and the vital role of those working in it has never been more evident. “We are hugely grateful for the cooperation from industry and individual businesses we have had in responding to the COVID-19 outbreak and this collaboration will be even more important in the coming weeks and months,” it says.
The International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF) - the umbrella association of the European insect sector - has reiterated its commitment towards more resilient and sustainable food supply systems in light of the coronavirus crisis. The pandemic has visible implications on the well-functioning of agriculture and other sectors directly involved in food production activities (e.g. declining agricultural workforce or heavily disrupted supply chains) - including on insect production sector, it says. “We wish to highlight the importance of classifying insect farming as an ‘essential activity’ by national public authorities. The functioning of innovative food-producing systems, providing high-quality solutions for the food and feed chains, has to remain a priority in times of crisis”, says IPIFF President Antoine Hubert. He also urges the European Commission to publish the ‘Farm to Fork’ Communication. “Indeed, this strategy could be very helpful in identifying preliminary priorities on how to best respond to food security challenges resulting from major crises, such as pandemic events. In our view, the development of new protein sources, such as insects, is part of the solution in the transition towards more resilient and sustainable food production systems’, Hubert concluded.
The outbreak is creating fluctuations and unexpected increases in demand for some foods and ingredients. In the UK specifically, a wave of panic buying and stockpiling food products disrupted the food supply in previous weeks with an obvious shortage of eggs and flour, suggesting that many consumers are trying their hand at baking from home. FoodIngredientsFirst speaks with key suppliers from the sector who note that traditional Easter celebrations are being eschewed. Additionally, fluctuations in demand for ingredients could lead to unforeseen impacts in supply chains in the coming months… Read more
The growing financial burden being carried by the European fresh fruit and vegetable sector is being flagged by representatives of the farming sector working to sustain productivity amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The EU’s fresh produce association, Freshfel, is the latest industry body in a string of agri-food organizations calling out to central government for aid. Freshfel Europe is urging new support measures to secure the supply of fresh produce to consumers over the coming summer months and further into the latter half of 2020… Read more
The outbreak and spread of COVID-19 and the subsequent measures implemented by governments to contain it have resulted in the abrupt closure of the majority of the continent’s food services. This, in turn, is having a devastating impact on a multitude of sectors hit hard by the sudden and steep decline in demand. And now, Europe’s dairy and livestock sectors have spoken out about “deteriorating” market conditions. Producers and their cooperatives are demanding urgent action from the European Commission including calls for extraordinary measures to mitigate the crisis emerging within the agri-food industry... Read more
Kemin Industries has announced a US$1 million bonus program for essential employees during the pandemic. North America employees in manufacturing, laboratory research and other essential on-site roles will receive special bonus payments as Kemin is part of a "Critical Infrastructure Sector" as outlined by the US Department of Homeland Security, permitting the company to continue operating with exemption during shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders. "Our work is vital to the world's food supply and we have continued operating and producing ingredients to make sure that our customers – companies that are keeping grocery stores stocked – have what they need to keep their products safe, healthy and available to consumers," says Dr. Chris Nelson, President and CEO, Kemin. "We could not do this without the many individuals who show up to work every day, seven days a week, even as they manage the same uncertainty and stress surrounding us all during this unprecedented time." Many of the essential jobs include handling inventory and equipment, production, research requiring a laboratory, security, facilities, process transactions. Kemin has also implemented other bonus programs to support teams in Europe, China and Singapore.
Tyson Foods Inc has suspended pork processing at its Iowa plant following more than two dozen workers tested positive for COVID-19. “Our meat and poultry plants are experiencing varying levels of production impact, due to the planned implementation of additional worker safety precautions and worker absenteeism. For example, out of an abundance of caution, we have suspended operations at our Columbus Junction, Iowa, pork plant this week due to more than two dozen cases of COVID-19 involving team members at the facility,” says a statement from CEO Noel White. “In an effort to minimize the impact on our overall production, we’re diverting the livestock supply originally scheduled for delivery to Columbus Junction to some of our other pork plants in the region.” The company is also implementing additional ways to promote more social distancing in its plants which includes erecting dividers between workstations or increasing the space between workers on the production floor, which can involve slowing production lines. “We’re working hard to protect our team members during this ever-changing situation, while also ensuring we continue fulfilling our critical role of helping feed people across the country,” White says.
Distributor of specialty chemicals and food ingredients IMCD N.V. has announced that it will accelerate publication of its Q1 trading update to April 20 (originally scheduled for May 7). IMCD also postpones its Annual General Meeting of Shareholders. “For the purpose of informing the market as early as possible in these unprecedented times, IMCD will expedite the publication of its Q1 trading update. IMCD did not observe a material adverse impact by COVID-19 on its first-quarter results. With circumstances, however, developing rapidly, and the duration of the COVID-19 crisis being unpredictable, it is difficult to quantify the impact in the months to come. IMCD continues to monitor market conditions and the impact of COVID-19 on its business closely.”
Since its outbreak in China, the unprecedented coronavirus crisis has had a deep impact on the functioning of global markets and supply chains, and the citrus sector is not an exception, stresses the World Citrus Organisation (WCO). Amid the global outbreak, the world citrus community has stepped up efforts to ensure the continuous supply of high-quality citrus fruit, particularly important as consumers seek out Vitamin C to boost nutrition and contribute to a healthy immune system… Read more
The rapid spread of COVID-19 and efforts to contain it are generating growing concerns that food insecurity, malnutrition, and poverty may escalate, particularly among marginalized people in the developing world, says new analysis. To build more resilient, climate-smart and healthy food systems that help people withstand these types of shocks policymakers must prioritize making them inclusive, according to the 2020 Global Food Policy Report, released by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). “Food systems provide opportunities to improve food and nutrition security, generate income, and drive inclusive economic growth, but even in prosperous times too many people are excluded from fully participating in them and securing these benefits,” says Johan Swinnen, Director General of IFPRI. “In times of crisis like today, inclusion is an even greater imperative for protecting the most vulnerable.”
Barry Callebaut plays a critical social role in continuing to produce food products during these challenging times, notes the company. Governments across the globe have reiterated the importance of keeping the food supply chains intact. By keeping its factories running, requiring inputs from its suppliers, including from cocoa farmers, and continuing to supply customers, Barry Callebaut contributes to a functioning supply chain. In cocoa origin countries this means that the company is working to ensure that operations do not put employees or cocoa farmers at risk and do not contribute to the inadvertent spread of coronavirus. Barry Callebaut continues to purchase and deliver cocoa, process cocoa in origin, and ensure, as much as possible, the economic viability of the cocoa supply chain. The company notes that its critical to support the livelihoods and income of cocoa farmers while protecting their health and their family’s health. Barry Callebaut complies with the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, local regulations and government directives on COVID-19.
The coronavirus pandemic is so far having little impact on the global food supply chain. However, that could change for the worse – and soon – if anxiety-driven panic by major food importers takes hold, the World Food Programme (WFP) has warned. According to the agency’s latest analysis, if large importers were to lose confidence, it could prompt panic buying and disrupt markets… Read more
Despite the challenges posed by coronavirus, the International Food Additives Council (IFAC) is highlighting that the safety and quality of the global food supply remains strong, and that food additives continue to play a vital role in maintaining the quality of foods in the home pantry… Read more
Anticipating mounting difficulties for fruit and vegetable growers and their cooperatives linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, Copa and Cogeca is urging the European Commission to adopt the Community aid scheme in this sector. The agricultural group asked for exceptional measures to be put forward and the administrative management rules of the operational program to be adjusted. There are already serious disruptions to demand for certain types of production (strawberries, vegetables, etc.), from specific regions or for certain customers, note the organization. The marketing of fruit and vegetables, as well as the delivery of produce destined for the processing industry, may become more complicated as a result of growing problems in the availability of labor, the transportation of goods and input, the movement of people, and changes in demand and consumption.
The impacts of COVID-19 are presenting Worlée NaturProdukte with “enormous challenges”, reports the company which features a portfolio of spices, fruits, vegetables, herbs and tea. In order to protect employees and maintain operations with certain restrictions, the Hamburg-based company has taken comprehensive measures and precautions. Employees who cannot use mobile working due to their job, e.g. in production, warehousing or logistics, are deployed on a rotation principle, separated as far as possible or requested to maintain a minimum distance in order to reduce the risk of infection and to interrupt possible chains of infection. “Even if the food industry, as a systemically important sector, can currently continue to fulfill its social mission in the crisis, it remains to be seen how the corona crisis will continue to impact global supply chains and our company. Thanks to the measures that have been defined, Worlée NaturProdukte is currently able to secure the flow of goods to the extent necessary,” says a company statement.
Dairy demand has been dwindling for some time, in part due to a consumption shift toward plant-based alternatives – and now, as the coronavirus threatens an unprecedented recession and exacerbates price pressures, experts forecast the global milk market is to take another hammering. Dean Foods is the latest prominent dairy player to file for bankruptcy, while the European milk industry is calling for financial aid to help their already struggling sector shoulder ongoing market disturbances... Read more
Healthy eating is as important as social distancing in the fight against COVID-19, food policy experts from UK universities warn Government. Professors Tim Lang of City, University of London, Erik Millstone of the University of Sussex Business School and Terry Marsden of Cardiff University, are urging ministers to launch an urgent mass public messaging campaign promoting how healthy eating can boost the body’s immune system against the threat of the novel coronavirus. The experts warn that the Government has ceded too much decision-making on food controls on the supplies and prices of food items to the leading food retailers. Instead, it should take responsibility for ensuring that foods of highest nutritional and immunological value are available to all and in particular to the most vulnerable. The experts have previously warned that the government should make preparations for rationing, fresh fruit and vegetable supplies in the UK, as those foods may become scarce, given of the devastating impact of the COVID-19 in the UK’s main suppliers, namely Italy and Spain.
The COVID-19 crisis has had a disastrous effect on the hospitality and non-food retail sectors with hundreds and thousands of workers suddenly at risk of being made redundant or placed on furlough. To address this, the UK’s Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has begun a 16-week partnership with job recruitment app, Syft, offering a 'lifeline' with potential job opportunities across the food and drink supply chain. Syft is a flexible staffing platform, connecting fully verified workers with extensive experience in the warehousing, driving, and logistics sectors. They are also GLAA licensed to supply food packaging and processing roles to help the FDF's members continue to meet unprecedented demand during the COVID-19 outbreak. FDF and Syft are hoping the collaboration will quickly help as many people as possible return to employment.
FAO’s Chief Economist, Maximo Torero Cullen, maps the ways the world can mitigate shocks to agriculture and food systems during the coronavirus crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has put the world on a crisis footing, with unprecedented actions to restrict movements and plans for radical deployment of public funds to combat the threat posed by a novel coronavirus that knows no boundaries. Success will entail coherent and robust plans for our food systems, he says. “Global food trade has to be kept going. One of every five calories people eat has crossed at least one international border, up more than 50 percent from 40 years ago. Low and middle-income countries account for around a third of the world's food trade, which provides very significant contributions both to incomes and welfare. Countries that depend on imported food are especially vulnerable to slowing trade volumes, especially if is happening as their currencies decline,” he says.
UK-based supplier of herbs, spices and dried goods, EHL Ingredients has noted a shift in demand for its products, which it supplies under its Lähde brand, during the coronavirus pandemic. According to Managing Director, Tasneem Alonzo, in the past week, there has been a sharp rise in kitchen cupboard staple products such as rice, flours, lentils, grains and bakery ingredients which have been shipped out to retailers and manufacturers across the country. EHL is also anticipating a shortage of products from China including garlic, ginger and sunflower seeds... Read more
Givaudan says today that amid the continued COVID-19 challenges, it remains committed to ensuring any impact on its business is minimized so that it can continue to play its role as part of the supply chain for essential items which include food products and beverages, as well as cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing supplies. The company has also established the Givaudan COVID-19 Communities Fund to enable Givaudan sites to support local communities that have been affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Givaudan is donating at least CHF 1 million (US$1 million) to this fund.
The Board of Directors of AAK proposes to postpone the decision on the dividend for 2019 – the dividend proposal for 2019 was SEK 2.10 per share. As a supplier of ingredients to the crucial food supply chain, AAK says it has a very important role to play right now. All of the company’s production plants around the world have strong contingency plans in place to secure operations and inbound/outbound logistics so that food manufacturers can maintain their production of food products, it says.
To date, AAK has not experienced any material business disruptions. Food supply will remain essential and a top priority going forward. However, the volatility and uncertainty in every step of the supply chain have increased within all industries that AAK serves, the company notes. “AAK has a robust foundation with a strong financial track record and a solid balance sheet. However, as an additional precaution due to the current situation, the Board of Directors of AAK proposes to postpone the decision on the dividend for 2019,” says a statement. “With AAK’s solid financial position our assessment is that the previously proposed dividend could still be justified,” says Georg Brunstam, Chairman of the Board. “However, the Board of Directors is of the opinion that a resolution on dividend should be made at an extraordinary general meeting later this year when the effects of the coronavirus pandemic have become clearer and market conditions hopefully have stabilized.”
Australian conglomerate Wesfarmers has entered into an underwriting agreement with two lead managers to sell 5.2 percent of the issued capital of Coles Group Limited.As a result of the group’s interest falling below 10 percent, the Relationship Deed agreed with Coles at the time of the demerger will terminate and Wesfarmers will no longer have the right to nominate a director to the Coles Board. As part of the transaction, Wesfarmers has also agreed to retain its remaining shares in Coles for at least 60 days from completion of the sale, subject to customary exceptions.
Wesfarmers Managing Director Rob Scott says that the significant and unprecedented events of the past few weeks have highlighted the importance of balance sheet flexibility to support the group in a range of economic circumstances. “We have been pleased with the performance of Coles since the demerger and the very important role that Coles is providing, and will continue to provide, to Australian households during the COVID-19 crisis,” Scott notes.
Soft drinks manufacturers, AG Barr, says it has adopted strict safety, hygiene and two-meter social distancing measures – direct delivery teams, for example, are now traveling in separate vehicles and are not entering customer premises – for staff who work in key production and delivery role. “The food and drink sector has been identified as having an essential role to play and, along with other food and drink businesses, we are working closely with the government to support them, helping to keep shop shelves well-stocked,” says Chief Executive Roger White.
“For the time being our sites remain operational and we are grateful to our dedicated employees, and partners, who are ensuring we play our part in sustaining the food and drink supply chain,” he adds.
Jungbunzlauer has issued a coronavirus communication stressing how it is monitoring the development of the pandemic continuously. “Currently, we expect no impact on our general ability to supply products to our valued customers due to these developments,” a company statement reads. “We are, however, experiencing a very strong demand from our customers for products produced in our plant in Marckolsheim, France and, consequently, had to communicate longer lead times for our Lactics and Gluconates product lines.”
In addition to the restrictions imposed by the authorities of its four production site countries, located in Europe (Austria, Germany and France) and in Canada, Jungbunzlauer is taking additional precautions at its sites, to keep employees healthy and safe. In terms of product safety, the company says that based on the current situation there is no expected impact on the quality or food safety of Jungbunzlauer products. “Our products are manufactured by fermentation or are either derivatives (salts, esters) or mixtures of our substances obtained by fermentation. The carbohydrate source for our fermentation is corn glucose syrup, produced locally from corn sourced in the area or neighborhood countries. Fermentation broth is heat-treated prior to inoculation. After fermentation, products undergo several steps of purification, heat treatment and double crystallization among them.” Jungbunzlauer does not source any significant raw materials, chemicals or packaging supplies from China and does not expect any bottlenecks in raw material supply or in its production capacities.
Roquette, a company specializing in plant-based ingredients, has adapted one of its pilot lines at its site in Lestrem, France, to manufacture a hydro-alcoholic disinfectant solution. Production started last week and the first shipment has now been sent, free of charge, to the Lille University Hospital Center, to the French Blood Donors Organization and to other local health facilities, in coordination with the “Hauts-de-France Regional Health Agency” and the local authorities. While this type of solution is not usually produced by Roquette, the company adjusted one of its R&D pilot units in Lestrem and obtained the required regulatory approvals to produce the hydro-alcoholic solution. Roquette will produce 5,000 L per week as a first step allowing the company to continue operations to ensure the supply of plant-based ingredients.
In light of the surging number of nationwide lockdowns and border restrictions spanning the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Asia’s F&B industries are growing increasingly concerned about food security. Regional associations are now calling upon governments to ensure the unhindered production and supply of food and beverages as each country tries to contain the outbreak of COVID-19. They warn that if severe restrictions are imposed by countries in response to the coronavirus pandemic, they will cause a ripple effect on the regional food supply chain... Read more
Ronald Kers, the CEO of 2 Sisters Food Group, one of Britain’s biggest food manufacturers, makes a direct urgent appeal for new workers as his company deals with unprecedented demand brought on by the coronavirus outbreak in the UK. Kers posted a video on social media after the company decided to launch its first-ever nationwide recruitment campaign due to the level of vacancies across all its businesses. Privately-owned 2 Sisters employs 20,000 people in the UK and Europe, processes one-third of all chicken consumed in the UK and is the largest ready-meals producer and makes Fox’s Biscuits and other bakery goods. “Getting food to people has never been so important. As we come together as a country to fight the coronavirus, we need everybody’s help to keep our factories running,” he said in the video.
Free From Functional & Health Ingredients (FFFHI) and Free From Packaging (FFP), which were planned to take place at the RAI Amsterdam from June 24-25, will be postponed to November 24-25 2020. Meanwhile, the third edition of ProWine Asia (Singapore) scheduled for July 13-16, 2020 will be postponed to March 2-5, 2021. According to Ronald Holman, Event Director for FFFHI and FFP, the health and safety of the growing Free From community is a number one priority and this was not a decision that was made lighty… Read more
A new way to “walk” down the grocery aisle was highlighted by Florida-based tech company, LifeStyles in 360, which aims to help and support as many people as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers can now shop “in store” from their homes thanks to virtual reality (VR) technology, paired with a white-glove delivery service... Read more
European supply chains have been increasingly dealing with bottlenecks and disruptions caused by the sweeping pandemic. And as more countries go into lockdown and quarantine measures are in place across the continent, industry bodies underscored that the entire food and drink industry (including finished products, ingredients, packaging and transport) must be regarded as “essential.” The workforce cannot stay at home if the food supply chain is to remain fully functional… Read more
The 2020 Sweets & Snacks Expo, originally scheduled for May 18-21, 2020, in Chicago, has been canceled. It joins a growing list of trade show disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Restrictions and recommendations on mass gatherings continue to build in cities and states across the US. In light of the situation, guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Confectioners Association says canceling the show “was the only path forward.”... Read more
Manufacturer of ingredients for the bakery, patisserie and chocolate sectors, Puratos, and Belgian start-up Bakeronline joined forces to help businesses increase service to customers while facing the COVID-19 outbreak. As more customers face social distancing, solutions that allow them to adhere to government lockdowns and social distancing are becoming more popular and more strained. Puratos and Bakeronline are allowing businesses to launch their online webshop platform for free. This supports governments’ efforts to fight the spread of the virus while helping customers in isolation to continue accessing nutritious and wholesome food... Read more
FoodDrinkEurope identified five urgent actions to help ease food supply pressure in these troubling times, urging the European Commission to take immediate action. The recommendations include greater support for the food sector workforce, recognizing the entire food supply chain as “essential,” unblocking transport bottlenecks, supporting struggling businesses and facilitating global trade... Read more
Leading food policy experts from several UK universities warned Britain’s supplies of fresh fruit and vegetables, which predominantly come from Spain and Italy, could be severely disrupted by the coronavirus crisis. They also explain how supermarkets’ move to “just-in-time” supply chains has severely dented their resilience to cope during this unprecedented time. The UK Government needs to enact rationing immediately to prevent food shortages exacerbating the crisis, they warn... Read more
Mondelēz International US pledged to keep its food supply going, protect its employees and support communities impacted by COVID-19. This includes enhanced benefits and support for its US workforce, the hiring of additional colleagues and a global commitment to donate US$15 million to community partners advancing COVID-19 relief efforts in the US.
Unilever announced a wide-ranging set of measures to support global and national efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. Unilever will contribute €100 million to help the fight against the pandemic through donations of soap, sanitizer, bleach and food. The company will also offer €500 million of cash flow relief to support livelihoods across its extended value chain, through early payment for its most vulnerable small and medium-sized suppliers, to help them with financial liquidity and extending credit to selected small-scale retail customers whose business relies on Unilever, to help them manage and protect jobs.
Rabobank analysis said the outlook for global poultry in 2020 will be materially affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Even during the economic slowdown, poultry demand may yet stand to benefit among other animal-based proteins due to its price competitiveness. Meanwhile, a further drop in Asian pork production due to African swine fever (ASF) is expected this year, which the report outlines could lead to potential growth in local poultry production and international trade if rising supply chain challenges can be managed... Read more
In light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the export market for the types of fish caught by British fishers is drying up. Sustainable Fish Campaign Coordinator Ruth Westcott, from Sustain, highlights the importance of securing the livelihoods of fishermen, as they struggle to sell their catch to businesses and restaurants in Europe... Read more
The EU says it is one step closer to expediting essential freight and transport workers through “green lanes,” following the support from EU Transport ministers. Green lanes would give priority to the transport of essential goods such as food as well as medical and protective equipment. The call for the special routes among other proposed guidelines comes following several Member States’ implementation of national measures to close borders to slow the spread of COVID-19... Read more
The UK government is temporarily relaxing elements of competition law as part of a package of measures to allow supermarkets to work together to feed the nation amid the COVID-19 outbreak. The move allows retailers to share data on stock levels, cooperate to keep shops open or share distribution depots and delivery vans. It is also aimed at allowing retailers to pool staff with one another to help meet demand... Read more
Bühler has postponed its interpack trade show in Düsseldorf, Germany, until next year. As businesses across the globe turn to digital solutions to sustain productivity, the Switzerland-headquartered supplier is organizing a virtual interpack event (May 11 to 15) under the motto “creating food sensations,” with digital showrooms, chats and webinars to present its latest technologies and developments... Read more
Restrictions on the movement of people, goods, services and containment measures, such as factory closures, due to COVID-19 have cut manufacturing and domestic demand sharply in China. In light of the pandemic, experts forecast that the global clampdown on the circulation of goods and citizen’s mobility will continue to weigh down upon world markets, should they persist. Already in Europe, industry stakeholders have begun voicing concerns about prolonged trade bottlenecks caused by tightened border control... Read more
The European fresh fruit and vegetable sector is ramping up measures to ensure a continuous and diverse supply of fresh produce as demand spikes during the pandemic. However, the closure of border crossings in Europe is causing complications and has delayed some operations in the fresh produce supply chain. The sector is urging public authorities to allow for the “fast-tracking” of perishable produce to guarantee timely supply... Read more
UK food retailers have written a joint letter to shoppers in the wake of coronavirus to reassure them about the extra steps being taken and calls on them to be considerate in the way they shop, discouraging stockpiling and panic buying. Over the last few days, many British supermarkets have been running out of items because of coronavirus-linked stockpiling... Read more
“We are currently facing obstacles and restrictions on container transport routes, rail and road freight, ports and terminals, such as blockades, plant closures by manufacturers and suppliers, disinfection requirements and quarantine restrictions,” the Managing Directors of Bösch Boden Spies say in a joint statement. The Germany-headquartered supplier underscores that the market is confronted with hundreds of “blank sailings” (the failure of a ship to sail or the omission of a planned port of call) on all trade lanes, resulting in a significant shortage of capacity and a global unbalance in equipment... Read more
COVID-19 concerns contribute to World Food Price dip in February... Read more
Natural Products Expo West postponed amid COVID-19 concerns... Read more
COVID-19 update: Food excellence may “fall into the eye of the hurricane,” say Italian industry reps... Read more
Coronavirus: Beer sales slump in China as entertainment venues remain on lockdown, says Carlsberg... Read more
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