Weekly Roundup: Sustainability issues remain in cocoa, Insights on European plant-based dairy revealed
09 Dec 2022 --- This week in industry news, Layn Natural Ingredients opened its new European Facility in a move to boost its research, innovation and sustainability efforts. Sustainability issues within global cocoa supply chains were flagged by the 2022 Cocoa Barometer, which says that initiatives will fall short until companies begin paying more for sustainable cocoa. Meanwhile, the Fast Company recognized Upcycled Foods among pioneers in the upcycled food movement.
In brief: Business moves
Layn Natural Ingredients has opened its new European office within the Savona Sustainability Campus of the University of Genova in Italy. The new location is also home to several other large corporations, governmental energy providers, and start-ups dedicated to renewable energy and other environmental solutions. The campus provides opportunities and collaboration for research, connection and exchange of ideas through shared lab spaces, internship programs and R&D opportunities.
After announcing a fund-raising of €26.5 million (US$27.8 million) last April and the opening of its R&D center and pilot industrial site in the Greater Paris region in June, plant-based meat alternatives start-up Umiami is heading east to establish its first production site in Duppigheim, France. From the second half of 2023, the 14,000 meters squared building will house the first factory capable of large-scale production of all cuts of meat and fish exclusively from plants. Based on a “unique” and patented technology, Umiami will produce 7,500 metric tons per year per production line in the operational phase. The factory will eventually be able to produce up to 22,000 metric tons of plant-based meat and fish alternatives.
With foreign bodies in food and drink products continuing to cause product recalls across the industry, Campden BRI is seeking partners to help with new research that aims to improve the range of foreign bodies detected in food. Trials have been designed to evaluate the potential of new technologies for detecting a range of foreign bodies in various foods. Campden BRI’s future technology and insights lead Danny Bayliss, who is jointly heading the project, reflected on the limitations of current detection technologies across the industry, including metal detectors, X-ray detection and optical sorting.
In brief: Sustainability highlights
Endemic sustainability issues within global cocoa supply chains, including child labor and deforestation, will continue unless efforts are coupled with paying a higher farmgate price for cocoa, according to the 2022 Cocoa Barometer. The report finds that a combination of public policies, private sector purchasing practices and agricultural solutions are needed. The Barometer shows that there remains a wide range of problems facing families in cocoa communities. These include child labor, gender inequality, infant malnutrition, lack of access to education, insufficient healthcare facilities and sanitation. Environmental issues such as deforestation and climate change remain a growing concern.
The European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) has injected an €890 million (US$94.8 million) investment in activities tackling global challenges across Europe, delivered by eight of its Knowledge and Innovation Communities. The largest EIT funding round to date targets European innovation in the areas of climate, digitization, food, health, sustainable energy, advanced and sustainable materials, manufacturing and urban mobility. In addition, the EIT is also awarding a €6 million (US$6.3 million) start-up grant to its newest Knowledge and Innovation Community, EIT Culture & Creativity, set to become fully operational by the end of 2023.
California Prune Board has outlined its latest round of sustainability initiatives, which are aimed at supporting the environment and local communities while “future-proofing” its business. The US state is renowned for its farming industry and has been recognized as an early adopter of climate-friendly practices. In the Sacramento and San Joaquin plum orchards, California prune growers use research, innovation and technology to conserve water and energy and lessen their carbon footprint.
In brief: Plant-based research
In its latest research, olam food ingredients (ofi) has pinpointed plant-based dairy’s potential across five European countries. Interest in plant-based products still continues to grow, showing high potential for plant-based products as something “new and complementary” to European diets. According to the company, 61% of consumers consume more plant-based products than two years ago, and 58% expect it to increase in the coming two years. Meanwhile, dairy alternatives specifically are carving out an identity beyond being a mere substitute. Two-thirds (67%) of consumers see plant-based dairy as complementary to dairy products and as an opportunity to try something new (65%).
In brief: Recognition and awards
Wheyward Spirit, a “first-of-its-kind” distilled specialty spirit bringing sustainably sourced, upcycled whey from domestic diaries into the alcohol industry, has officially been carbon-neutral certified by Carbonfund’s Carbonfree Product Certification Program. The Carbonfree Product Certification will help further Wheyward Spirit’s commitment to sustainability and the environment.
In other moves for a circular food economy, Upcycled Foods Inc has been named an upcycled food leader by the Fast Company in its second annual “The Next Big Things in Tech” list. Recognized as one of four innovators in the Food & Agriculture sector, winners are selected because they’re reaching key milestones to have a proven impact in the next five years. Recognized as one of four innovators in the Food & Agriculture sector, winners are selected because they’re reaching key milestones to have a proven impact in the next five years.
Wellness brand Aduna – a specialist in African superfoods – has been certified as a B Corp. The B Corp verification process, administered by the not-for-profit organization B Lab, measures a company’s social and environmental impact. To become a certified B Corporation, companies thoroughly review their performance, operations and business model on their workers, customers, communities and environment. To certify, they must score at least 80 points on the B Impact Assessment; Aduna scored 102 points.
In brief: Ingredient launches
American Key Food Products (AKFP) is expanding its tapioca product line by introducing native waxy tapioca starch. Sourced from AKFP’s Asian production partner, native waxy tapioca starch is a gluten-free, clean label and non-GMO ingredient high in amylopectin that possesses a unique combination of functionalities that make it an effective stabilizer, thickener and emulsifier. Native waxy tapioca starch creates viscous pastes with a soft and elastic texture in frozen foods, as well as transparent fruit fillings. This starch is an effective emulsifier in low-fat dressings. It also creates a glossy appearance while providing a smooth mouthfeel in low-fat yogurt. Native waxy tapioca starch is also useful in various applications, including baked products such as cheese breads and waffles and other applications requiring improved shelf life.
By Elizabeth Green
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