- Panera Bread will launch delivery service at 34 New Jersey locations starting this spring. The company plans to hire hundreds of additional employees to deliver food, reported NJ.com Panera Bread's refrigerated soups exceeded $100 million in retail sales in 2017, growing nearly 27% for the year. The company attributes the growth to its commitment to 100% clean food. Its broccoli cheddar soup is the top seller across its restaurants and grocery retailers, reported St. Louis Business Journal
- The Trump Administration invited trade officials to develop a list of tariffs on Chinese products. The yet-to-be specified tariffs are designed to address what the administration believes are unfair Chinese trade practices. The EU and six other countries will be temporarily exempted from U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs. Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and South Korea would be exempted along with the EU from the 25% steel and 10% aluminum tariffs, reported BBC
- Meanwhile, China plans to impose tariffs on up to $3 billion worth of products from the U.S. to make up for losses caused by U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum products. The first category is expected to impose a 15% tariff, and involves $977 million in U.S. exports to China, including fresh fruit, dried fruit, nut products and ginseng. The second category proposes a 25% tariff covering almost $2 billion of U.S. exports to China, including pork and pork products and recycled aluminum, reported CNN
- An investor lawsuit against Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. was dismissed. The lawsuit claimed the company concealed food safety risks, causing its stock to drop after outbreaks of foodborne illnesses in 2014 and 2015. The judge ruled that while the outbreaks were cause for concern, the lawsuit failed to support its claim that Chipotle defrauded investors, reported Reuters.
- Amazon is searching for bigger Whole Foods Market locations that can serve as grocery stores and distribution centers for online orders, according to a person familiar with the matter. The company wants to convert parking lot areas into stalls for Amazon delivery contractors to load orders and has reportedly asked one of its landlords to create the stalls at some stores, reported Bloomberg. Amazon was granted a patent for a delivery drone that can respond to human gestures. Depending on a person's gesture, the drone can adjust its behavior that would distinguish the drone interacting with bystanders versus customers waiting on their doorsteps, reported Press Herald.
- ShopRite rolled out a line of Chef's Menu meal kits across its six-state footprint. All of the meals meet USDA-recommended dietary guidelines and have been approved by ShopRite's corporate and in-store dietitians, reported Progressive Grocer.
- Easter spending is expected to total $18.2 billion in 2018, with $5.7 billion of that being spent on food, according to data from the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. This year's spending is slightly less than the $18.4 billion spent in 2017, but the second-highest level on record, reported CBS Philly.
- Food trucks generated an estimated $2.7 billion in revenue in 2017, up from $650 million in 2014, according to a study of industry regulations released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. The study found the "most friendly" cities for food trucks are Portland, OR, Denver, CO, Orlando, FL, Philadelphia, PA, and Indianapolis, IN, while the "most challenging" are Boston, MA, Washington, DC, San Francisco, CA, Minneapolis, MN, and Seattle, WA, reported PBS.
- Sales of mushrooms jumped 9.7% in January 2018 when compared to the same period the previous year, according to the American Mushroom Institute. The institute notes mushroom producers are working to increase yields but supply cannot currently meet demand due to "The Blend" initiative to combine mushrooms with meat for burgers and other dishes, reported The Packer
- Sugar sweetened beverages could be linked to a higher risk of heart disease, according to a study presented at an American Heart Association meeting. The study indicated that adults over the age of 45 who drank an average of 24-oz. or more of sugar-sweetened beverages every day had more than double the risk of dying from heart disease over a six-year study period when compared to those who had 1-oz. or less per day, reported HealthDay
- More than a dozen Whole Foods Market executives and senior managers have left since Amazon acquired the chain, according to former employees and recruiters. People who have left include leaders of the bakery, produce, sustainability and local foods divisions. However, executives from both Amazon and Whole Foods claim the two companies share a customer focus, are fitting together well and have made great strides in the merger in a short time, reported The Wall Street Journal.
- About 45% of c-store consumers report purchasing breakfast at a convenience store at least once per month, according to Technomic's Q4 2017 Convenience Store Consumer MarketBrief. Sixty-five percent of 35- to 44-year-old c-store consumers report purchasing breakfast at least once per month, while 60% of 18- to 24-year-olds said the same, reported Convenience Store News
- Plant-based monounsaturated fats are associated with a lower risk of dying from heart disease and other causes than animal-based monounsaturated fats, according to a study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The researchers found people who ate a lot of plant-based monounsaturated fats, like those found in vegetable oils, avocados, nuts and seeds, had a 16% lower risk of dying compared to those with lower intakes, while those who ate a lot of animal fats had a 21% higher risk, reported Time.
- Monsanto Co. will fund Pairwise Plants, which aims to develop crops using gene editing technology. Monsanto will invest $100 million in Pairwise over the next five years to finance research on gene editing tools and Pairwise will research how to use the tools to alter commodity crops, including corn, soy, wheat, cotton and canola, exclusively for Monsanto, reported St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- The Trump administration aims to limit warnings labels on unhealthy food in the U.S., Mexico and Canada as part of the NAFTA negotiations, according to people familiar with the matter. Officials in Mexico and Canada are discussing adding easy-to-understand symbols that warn consumers of health risks, but the U.S. is reportedly moving to limit the ability of any NAFTA member to require consumer warnings on the front of packaged foods, reported The New York Times on the Web.
- McDonald's committed to cut greenhouse gas emissions 36% by 2030 from 2015 levels. To accomplish this goal the company will add LED lights and more efficient equipment, including grill and fryers. Additionally, McDonald's plans to make changes to beef production and has suppliers experimenting with paddock-style grazing practices, reported Bloomberg
- Atlantic Sapphire is constructing a $130 million facility to hatch, grow and process salmon in Homestead, FL. The company predicts annual output at the 380,000-sq. ft. center will be about 90,000 metric tons by 2027, or about 10% of the U.S. market, reported Bradenton Herald.
- Four in 10 U.S. consumers actively avoid MSG, despite multiple studies that have shown MSG does not produce numbness, weakness or heart palpitations as previously thought, according to the International Food Information Council. Other top ingredients consumers try to avoid include added sugars, sodium, preservatives and artificial colors and flavors, reported The Washington Post.
- A federal judge denied Post Foods' motion to dismiss the bulk of claims in a proposed consumer class action lawsuit alleging the company made false or misleading claims by advertising its sweetened products as "healthy." The judge ruled that while some of the company's labeling statements were true, they overall could still convey a false or misleading impression, reported Reuters.
- Ocean Spray asked FDA for permission to use a health claim that drinking cranberry juice reduces urinary tract infections for women. FDA decided it will not consider an authorized health claim, but will consider the statement for a qualified health claim, which requires a lower standard of scientific evidence and requires the company to use circumspect language, noting that the evidence is inconclusive, reported Washington Post.
- The best-selling item at the Amazon Go store has been chicken sandwiches, followed by meal kits and fresh fruit, according to the vice president of Amazon Go. One of the biggest challenges of the technology has reportedly been having the computers discern products that look similar, like a sugar-free drink versus the regular version, reported CBS News.
- The number of Americans drinking a daily cup of coffee is at the highest level since 2012, with demand continuing to get a boost from at-home consumption and gourmet drinks, according to the National Coffee Association. Almost 80% of those surveyed said they had had a cup of coffee at home the previous day, while coffee consumed at cafes and other out-of-home locations totaled 36%. Demand for gourmet coffee continued to get a boost from younger drinkers, with 48% of Millennials saying they had a gourmet cup of coffee the day before, reported Reuters.
- Scallop prices in the U.S. are poised to decline due to a potential increase in the amount fishermen are allowed to bring to shore. Fishermen have received slightly less money for scallops at the docks in recent years, falling to about $12 per pound in 2016, with consumers expected to start seeing that price drop in restaurants and grocery stores this year, reported Press Herald
- Spices may help convince high school students to eat more vegetables during lunchtime, according to a study from Pennsylvania State University and the McCormick Science Institute. When asked to choose between plain vegetables and vegetables seasoned with spice blends, students preferred the spicy versions for corn and peas, broccoli, vegetable dip, black beans with corn, and cauliflower. Most students surveyed said the taste, the serving size, and the food's appearance were very important characteristics of school meals, reported Reuters.
- For the legions of people wishing they could smell like they rubbed their heads in their breakfast, just like the glory days of their diaper-rocking youth, their day has come: Cheese- and bacon-scented hair products are real, and you can buy them now.
GRILLIANT IDEAS FOOD NEWS BLOG
Food News Snippets From Around The Globe! Check out our Blog for the NEWEST Stories In The Food World!