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5@5: FDA calls CBD products 'illegal' | How 2018 became the year of vegan junk food

Each day at 5 p.m. we collect the five top food and supplement headlines of the day, making it easy for you to catch up on today's most important natural products industry news.

FDA cast shadow on hemp win, calling CBD products illegal

In a statement following the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill last week, FDA’s Scott Gottlieb has reaffirmed the agency’s stance that CBD is still as of yet a drug and is therefore illegal in food, beverages and supplements without approval from the agency. He went on to say that several parts of the hemp plant—namely hulled hemp seeds, hemp seed protein and hemp seed oil—are officially “safe as foods and won’t require additional approvals." Read more at The Chicago Tribune …

 

The year vegan junk food went mainstream

 

One of 2018’s best movements, according to Vox, was the “mass proliferation of vegan junk food.” We were inundated this year by delicious processed food products that just happened to be meat- and dairy-free. Countrywide fast food chains jumped in on the movement—White Castle, for example, began selling the uncannily meat-like Impossible Burger this year. These plant-based junk food companies were so influential largely because they made a concerted effort to market to meat-eaters through avoiding the accompanying shame that is so often embedded in vegan-labeled products, and by using terms such as “veggie-positive” and “plant-based” instead. Read more at Vox 

 

US holiday retail sales are strongest in years, early data show

According to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracks both brick-and-mortar and retail purchases, U.S. retail sales jumped five percent in the time between November 1 and December 24 from the prior year. Sales this holiday season were notably boosted by an increase in online purchasing with in-store pickup—the sector saw an impressive increase of 47 percent in sale. Read more at The Wall Street Journal …

 

There’s a little science to predicting food trends—but there’s a lot of guesswork, too

Overwhelmed by the amount of trend forecasts that crop up toward the end of every year? In this article, Maria Judkis delves into 2019’s food-related prognostications and addresses the skyrocketing amount of end-of-the-year product trend forecast lists that hit the internet each December. Read to learn about the difference between a trend and a fad, as well as to learn how most of these companies go about garnering their data.  Read more at The Washington Post  ...

 

Newcomers head for zero-calorie sweetener market

A Bay Area biotech firm may soon hold the key to an artificial sweetener with mass appeal. Because plant-extracted stevia sweeteners contain bitter tasting molecules, the firm will aim to produce the sweet-tasting molecule rebaudioside M from sugarcane syrup instead via fermentation with modified microbes. Although this market is arriving significantly after plant-derived stevia sweeteners established themselves in the market, proponents of sugarcane syrup-derived Reb M argue that “Taste will be more important than cost in appealing to food and beverage formulators. Read more at Chemical & Engineering News  

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