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Period: March 1, 2016 to March 15, 2016
Comment & Opinion or Companies, Organizations or Consumers or Controversies & Disputes or Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing or Earnings Release or Finance, Economics, Tax or Innovation & New Ideas or Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy or Market News or Marketing & Advertising or Other or People & Personalities or Press Release or Products & Brands or Research, Studies, Advice or Supply Chain or Trends

McDonald’s To Eliminate Antibiotics From Its Chicken Supply Chain

McDonald’s USA has announced a commitment to sourcing only chicken not raised with antibiotics, and milk from cows never treated with the artificial growth hormone rbST. The new antibiotics policy, developed with the cooperation of sourcing farmers, supports the company's “Global Vision for Antimicrobial Stewardship in Food Animals,” introduced in 2003. The company said it hopes to implement the new antibiotics policy to its supply chain over the next two years. Instead of antibiotics, farmers who supply chicken to McDonald’s will use ionophores, an antibiotic not used for humans that helps keep chickens healthy.

"McDonald's USA Announces New Antibiotics Policy and Menu Sourcing Initiatives", News release, McDonald's, March 04, 2015

Kraft Goes Natural With Mac & Cheese Colors, Flavors

Kraft announced that beginning in January 2016 its original Mac & Cheese product sold in the U.S. will be dye-free and contain no artificial preservatives. Instead of synthetic dyes, the company will use paprika, annatto and turmeric to provide the familiar golden color. Another version of the product, Kraft Mac & Cheese Boxed Shapes, already sold in the U.S., contains no artificial flavors, preservatives or synthetic colors. The company says it took a while to introduce the new versions because they wanted to be sure there was no change in flavor. Kraft acted after an online petition gathered 365,000 signatures.

"Kraft Mac & Cheese shedding the dyes", Associated Press, Yahoo!, April 20, 2015

Panera’s “No No” Ingredients List Includes Artificial Colors, Flavors, Etc.

Panera bread has published a list of ingredients it either has removed or will remove from its bakery-café foods menus by the end of 2016 and replace with simpler ingredients. Included on the list are artificial colors and flavors, sweeteners and preservatives. The first menu items affected are salad dressings and salads, including the Strawberry Poppyseed & Chicken Salad and the Kale Caesar. The company said it consulted “third-party scientists and experts” to develop the so-called “No No List” of ingredients it plans to do without.

"Panera Bread Becomes First National Restaurant Company to Share List of Unacceptable Ingredients", News release, Panera Bread, May 05, 2015

Pizza Hut Reformulates Pizzas To Cut Artificial Ingredients, Trans Fats, Sodium

Yum! Foods subsidiary Pizza Hut says it is removing all artificial flavors and colors from its pizza line by the end of July. The company is working with suppliers to reformulate its menu following continuous testing to make sure flavors have been preserved. It has already gotten rid of hydrogenated oils (artificial trans fats) and MSG, and has cut sodium levels. Its Nutrition Bold Goal is to reduce sodium content in 20 percent of its pizzas to one-third of the daily recommended dietary allowance by the end of 2020.

"Pizza Hut Announces New Brand Standards For Ingredients", News release, Pizza Hut, May 26, 2015

Nestle Cuts Sodium Content, Artificial Flavors In 250 Snacks, Pizzas

Nestlé USA has promised to replace artificial flavors and reduce sodium content in 250 products across six brands of snacks and frozen pizzas in the U.S. Brands include DiGiorno, Tombstone, California Pizza Kitchen, Jack's, Hot Pockets and Lean Pockets. The company said it would also add “guidance tools” to food packages to educate consumers on portion sizes and the importance of a balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables. The goal of the changes is to help satisfy consumer demand for “convenient, great-tasting foods that have an improved nutritional profile." Earlier in the year the company announced it was eliminating artificial colors from some chocolate candies.

"Nestlé USA Removes Artificial Flavors, Cuts Sodium in Pizza, Snacks", Nestlé, June 02, 2015

Subway Says No More Fake Caramel Color In Its Roast Beef

Subway promises to remove artificial flavors, colors and preservatives from its sandwiches in North America by 2017. The company says the process of “ingredient improvement” has been ongoing for several years. An example is the removal of caramel color from roast beef and ham. It will remove the preservative proprionic acid and replace it with vinegar by 2016. Last year, the company acknowledged it was removing azodicarbonamide from its bread after an online petition noted the chemical was used to make yoga mats. The company’s chief marketing officer says use of simple ingredients is becoming a "necessary condition" to satisfy customers.

"Eat fresher? Subway also dropping artificial ingredients", The Big Story, June 04, 2015

Papa John’s Hops On “Free-From” Bandwagon

Following in the footsteps of fast-food competitors Chipotle, Panera Bread and Pizza Hut, Papa John’s International Inc. says it will spend a small fortune to remove as many as 14 disliked artificial ingredients from its menu items by the end of 2016. It has already eliminated monosodium glutamate (MSG) from salad dressings and trans fats from garlic sauce. On the new shun list are corn syrup, artificial colors and various preservatives used in dipping sauces for pizza and chicken poppers. Pizza Hut announced similar plans a month ago. The initiative will cost Papa John’s about $100 million a year.

"Papa John's spending $100M to clean up menu", MSN, June 30, 2015

Wild Harvest Says All Of Its Eggs Will Be Cage-Free By End Of Year

Wild Harvest, whose product line includes 300 items “free from more than 100 undesirable ingredients,” said it will only offer eggs from cage-free chickens by the end of 2015. The brand sells more than 38 million eggs a year under 12 product varieties (SKUs). Wild Harvest introduced an 18-count cage-free egg in 2015, along with a free-range, Non-GMO Project-verified 12-count egg package. Wild Harvest is one of the brands offered by the Supervalue family of private brands.

"Wild Harvest Announces Plan to Source 100 Percent Cage-Free Eggs by Year End", News release, Wild Harvest, August 05, 2015

Kellogg Cereals, Snacks To Be Free Of Synthetic Ingredients By 2019

Breakfast cereal giant Kellogg will phase out all artificial colors and flavors in its products by 2019. Paul Norman, president of the North American division of the company, told investors it has been working to remove artificial colors and flavors from its cereal and snack bar lines, and from the Eggo frozen foods as well. Half of Kellogg’s North American products are made without artificial flavors, he said, while 75 percent are made without artificial colors. Over the past year, the company has also introduced reduced-sugar Fruit Loops and Apple Jacks, and a line of mueslis and granolas with simpler ingredients.

"Kellogg to stop using artificial ingredients by 2018", USA Today, August 05, 2015

Grocery Chain Renames, Expands Its Natural, Organic Product Line

A Michigan-based retail grocery chain is combining its house organic and natural foods line under one brand name and says sit plans to expand the 225-product family to 325. Meijer says the products – including granola chips, coconut oil, macaroni and cheese, juice boxes and spices – will be branded “True Goodness” to reflect consumer desire for healthier options, especially less-processed foods. They will contain no artificial ingredients or hydrogenated oils. USDA certified organic items will not contain GMOs, growth hormones, antibiotics, conventional pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or ionizing radiation.

"Meijer expands and renames organic and all-natural line", Detroit Free Press, September 19, 2015

All Subway Meats Will Be Antibiotics-Free By 2016

Subway Restaurants has expanded its policy of using only antibiotic-free chicken in its sandwiches and meals to include all meats. The chain will transition to serving only protein from animals that have never been fed antibiotics across all of its 27,000 U.S. restaurants by early 2016. In June 2015, the company said it would remove all artificial colors, flavors and preservatives from its sandwiches, salads, soups and cookies in North America by the end of 2017.

"SUBWAY® Restaurants Elevates Current Antibiotic-Free Policy", News release, SUBWAY, October 20, 2015

Panera Says Four More Years Until 100% Cage-Free Eggs

Noting that it has been working for ten years to “reduce antibiotic use and confinement” of food animals in its supply chain, Panera Bread announced progress among pigs, poultry and beef cattle in 2015. However, it said its laying hens would not be cage-free for another four years. This year, pregnant pig sows would be 100 percent gestation-crate free; all chickens and turkeys used in sandwiches and salads would be raised without antibiotics; and 89 percent of beef cattle would be grass-fed and free range. CEO Ron Shaich said there was more work to do, but “we are within reach of a menu without antibiotics and unnecessary confinement.”

"Panera Bread says it will move to cage-free eggs by 2020", News release, Panera Bread, November 05, 2015

Hershey Kisses And Bars Transition To “Familiar” Ingredients

The Hershey Company announced that, for the 2015 holiday season, it was introducing Kisses and Chocolate Bars made with “simple ingredients” and without artificial flavors. The idea behind the move is to provide consumers with chocolate candies containing ingredients that are “familiar.” The new products are made with fresh milk from Pennsylvania farms, pure cane sugar, natural flavors, and cocoa beans “sourced responsibly from West Africa.” The packages for the simpler chocolates feature the SmartLabel, a mobile tool with a QR code providing product information such as nutrition facts, ingredients, and allergen alerts.

"Hershey’s Kisses Milk Chocolates and Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars with Simple Ingredients Roll Out This Holiday Season", News release, The Hershey Company, November 12, 2015

Dunkin’ Donuts Promises 100% Cage-Free Eggs Within Nine Years

Dunkin’ Donuts has clarified and strengthened its commitment to using only cage-free eggs in its U.S. menu. Earlier this year it said it would source ten percent of the eggs used in its breakfast sandwiches from cage-free sources by the end of 2016. In December, the donut chain and the Humane Society of the U.S. announced that the company would serve only cage-free eggs by 2025. The company also promised to “map” its worldwide egg supply chain to see whether it is feasible to transition to 100 percent cage-free eggs globally.

"Dunkin' Donuts, With The Humane Society Of The United States, Announces Timeline For Sourcing 100 Percent Cage-Free Eggs", News release, The Humane Society of the U.S., December 07, 2015

Nestle Expects To Use Only Cage-Free Eggs By 2020

Nestlé announced it will use only cage-free eggs in its food products within five years. The company uses 20 million pounds of eggs a year to make three brands of ice cream, Toll House cookie dough, Buitoni pasta, lean Cuisine and Stouffer’s breakfast foods. The move to using exclusively cage-free eggs isa response to consumers, the company says, that establishes “a precedent for farm animal welfare." Nestlé is also developing pilot projects with suppliers and the World Animal Protection group to create a roadmap for sourcing cage-free eggs in Europe and elsewhere.

"Nestlé to Use 100% Cage-Free Eggs for All U.S. Food Products by 2020", News release, Nestlé, December 22, 2015

Costco Promises To Sell Only Cage-Free Eggs

Costco announced plans to sell only cage-free eggs. According to Costco, the retailer expects to sell more than 1 billion cage-free eggs in calendar year 2016. It added that while in 2006, only 2 percent of the eggs it sold were cage-free, the figure now stands at 26 percent. Costco said it will take time before all the eggs it sells are cage-free; however, the Humane Society of the United States commended the company and said it believes Costco can achieve that goal quickly.

"After months of pressure, Costco commits to a cage-free egg supply", Quartz, December 28, 2015

Campbell’s Supports Mandatory GMO Food Labeling

In a letter to employees, Campbell’s CEO Denise Morrison explained why the company supports mandatory national labeling of products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and why it proposes that the federal government provide a national standard for non-GMO claims on food packaging. In addition to the fact that 92 percent of consumers say they want GMO ingredients listed on food labels, the “Campbell’s purpose” requires the company to acknowledge that people want to know what’s in their food “so they can feel good about the choices they make, for themselves and their loved ones.” Campbell’s also promises to set the standard for food transparency.

"Why We Support Mandatory National GMO Labeling", News release, Campbell Soup Company, January 07, 2016

Subway’s Newest Sandwich To Feature Antibiotics-Free Chicken

The Subway sandwich shop chain has introduced a new menu item that features chicken raised without antibiotics. Rotisserie-style chicken also contains no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. The company has also committed to serving only eggs from cage-free layer hens by 2025. Subway said it had a difficult logistical problem with its rotisserie-style chicken at first: finding enough suppliers of antibiotics-free poultry to meet the chain’s needs. The problem was solved, however, and beginning April 1, the company will begin serving all-white meat chicken strips that will also be free of artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and antibiotics.

"Subway Sandwich Shop Introduces New Rotisserie-Style Chicken Raised without Antibiotics", News release, Subway, February 26, 2016

NRDC Praises Perdue, Subway For Antibiotics Policies

The Natural Resources Defense Council said it was pleased to find that both chicken producer Perdue Farms and sandwich shop chain Subway have fully committed to eliminating antibiotics. According to the NRDC, Perdue “leads the chicken industry’s welcome conversion toward antibiotics stewardship.” Two-thirds of the company’s chickens, and more than half of its turkeys, are now raised without antibiotics. The NRDC is seeking wider adoption of third-party verification programs that assure consumers that companies are transparent about their stewardship claims. Third-party verification would also build confidence that animals raised without antibiotics are living in “high welfare conditions.”

"Perdue, Subway move full steam ahead on antibiotics use commitments", Switchboard Blog (NRDC), February 26, 2016

Ohio Food Maker Schwan To Switch To Cage-Free Eggs By 2020

The Schwan Food Company, maker of Freschetta and Red Baron frozen pizzas, said it will transition to 100 percent cage-free eggs by the end of 2020. The move will include all foods containing eggs sold by subsidiaries Schwan’s Home Service, Inc., Schwan’s Consumer Brands, Inc. and Schwan’s Food Service, Inc. The Ohio-based company consulted with animal-welfare experts and its suppliers about the future cage-free egg supply. It said its plans will depend on the availability of certified cage-free eggs.

"The Schwan Food Company Announces Five-Year Transition Plan for Cage-Free Eggs", News release, Schwan Food Company, February 29, 2016

Rubio’s Simplifies Ingredients In Its Western U.S. Eateries

Mexican restaurant chain Rubio’s, based in California, said it is extending its quality ingredients program beyond sustainable seafood, handmade salsas and guacamole, and fresh produce. The company – which already uses no artificial sweeteners, FD&C colors, MSG or hydrogenated oils – plans to serve only all-natural chicken without antibiotics and bacon without added nitrates or nitrites. It is looking into adding sustainable, wild-caught salmon, beef raised without antibiotics, and flour tortillas made with simple ingredients. Rubio’s operates 194 restaurants in California, Arizona, Colorado, Utah and Nevada.

"Rubio’s Restaurants Reveals Latest Commitment to Food Quality", News release, Rubio's, March 06, 2016

Herbalife Seeks Innovative Entrepreneurs In The Snack Bar, Supplement Business

Multi-level diet supplement marketer Herbalife says it is once again giving companies an opportunity to become partners by sponsoring a product pitch event. At the May meeting, companies will tout their innovative product proposals in four main areas: meal/snack food bars; non-egg-based breakfast food/snack powder mixes; new delivery formats (e.g., chewables and orally-dissolving products); and plant nutrients and botanical ingredients. A similar meeting in 2014 led to four finalists being selected as partners from 120 proposals. Their products have already been launched or are in the final preparation stages.

"Herbalife seeks companies willing to pitch innovative ingredients, products", NUTRAingredients-USA.com, March 07, 2016

Coke Cakes Endure In The Southern States

A 1960s ad slogan proclaimed that “Things go better with Coke.” In the South, those things include cake recipes, like the chocolate-flavored Coca-Cola cake (a staple at Cracker Barrel restaurants). Both professional and home bakers have added Coca-Cola – only the sugar-sweetened variety works – to their recipes since the 1950s, usually substituting the 130-year-old beverage brand for milk, oil or other liquids in the cake’s batter. A dash of it is also used to moisten a confectioner’s sugar-based icing. A new recipe circulating on the Internet offers simplicity with debatable results: cake mix, can of Coke, cup of yogurt, and a can of fruit. The quick version, however, lacks one key trait: the “reward” of baking something from scratch.

"Coke meets cake: The real thing shines in soda-spiked sweets", Star News Online, March 08, 2016

Accelerating Innovation The Unilever Way

Unilever has partnered with crowdfunder Indiegogo to collaborate with aspiring entrepreneurs seeking money to fund innovative ideas. Through its innovation platform Unilever Foundry, the company adds the possibility of crowdfunding investment to help speed development of solutions to sustainability challenges presented by Unilever brands. Ideas for solutions will be considered by the Indiegogo community and then shown to a panel of Unilever experts. The best will have an opportunity for an Indiegogo funding campaign, and further support from Unilever.

"Unilever Foundry And Indiegogo Launch Crowdfunding Partnership To Accelerate Innovation", News release, Unilever, March 09, 2016

Nestle Takes Steps To Globalize Its Premium Chocolate Strategy

Researcher Euromonitor says Nestlé’s launch of premium Turkish chocolate brand Damak, and increased investment in Italian brand Baci Perugina, indicate a shift in strategy away from mass brands. In addition, the company wants to increase its footprint globally, especially in the U.S., China and parts of Europe. The best example of the strategy is the investment in Baci Perugina, which encompasses €60 million for the first three years. Potential markets for its premium gift-type chocolates include Brazil and India, though the company faces stiff competition from Mondelez and Ferrero.

"Nestlé Reimagining Confectionery Unit by Creating Brand Leadership", Blog, Euromonitor International, March 10, 2016

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