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Articles from 2017 In January


Raisin Rack receives Pinnacle Award from Ohio Grocers Association

Raisin Rack Natural Food Market received the highly coveted Pinnacle Award presented by the Ohio Grocers Association on Jan. 18. The Pinnacle Award, based on operational excellence and significant contribution to Ohio’s food industry, is given annually to both a small operator and a large operator, according to a press release.

Raisin Rack was founded in 1978 in Canton, Ohio, in the living room of owners Don and Paulette Caster, and now has two locations—one in Canton and one in Westerville, Ohio. The owners pride themselves on providing natural products and healthy food options to consumers, as well as educational events. Both Raisin Rack locations offer organic juice and smoothie bars, as well as organic salad bars that consist of a variety of superfoods and other healthy options.

“The Caster family and their loyal employees have a long record of serving the communities of Westerville and Canton are most deserving of the Ohio Grocers Associations highest honor,” OGA President and CEO Kristin Mullins stated in the press release.

Congratulations to the Raisin Rack Natural Food Market! Pictured is Don Caster receiving the award from Mullins.

Dr. Michael Murray joins Enzymedica

Michael Murray, ND

Enzymedica Inc. is excited to announce that Dr. Michael Murray, author of more than 30 books, including The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, and an individual who has been recently named "The Voice of Natural Medicine" by Nutrition Business Journal, has joined the company as chief science officer.

According to Scott Sensenbrenner, CEO, "Dr. Murray is a true icon in the natural health movement and brings tremendous credibility, experience and passion to our company."

Dr. Murray will be critical to driving new innovations in product development for Enzymedica, as well as leading research efforts to create next-generation formulas that will be groundbreaking for the industry.  

In addition to his role with Enzymedica, Dr. Murray will be working closely with the Roskamp Institute in Sarasota, Florida. This nonprofit organization is performing cutting-edge research for organizations like the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense and the European Union. Roskamp is renowned for its team's research on Alzheimer's disease, Gulf War Illness and other complex diseases. Dr. Murray and the institute will be developing better answers for improving brain health, the human microbiome and digestion.

Enzymedica's strategic relationship with the Roskamp Institute gives it the resources and expertise critical for providing innovative, science-based natural products, furthering its contribution to digestive health. This close partnership is further demonstrated by Sensenbrenner, who serves on the board of directors of the Roskamp Institute.

Dr. Murray says, "I am thrilled to be part of the team at both Enzymedica and the Rosskamp Institute. It is a dream come true."

Sensenbrenner and Dr. Murray previously worked together in the 1990s at Enzymatic Therapy, which was later acquired by the German company Dr. Wilmarr Schwabe Pharmaceuticals.

Source: Enzymedica press release

 

Natural products people in the news: CRN promotes 3 | Lotus Foods cofounder receives Leadership Award for Citizenship

Salt of the Earth Ltd. has appointed David Hart as business unit director. He will report to the CEO and be responsible for global business of Mediterranean Umami, an all-natural sodium reduction solution. Hart has more than 12 years of international experience in food, functional food and health ingredients markets. He has held commercial positions in the industry since 2004, including at multinationals LycoRed and Frutarom. In his most recent position, he served as vice president of marketing at Qualitas Health, responsible for the creation of global sales and marketing infrastructure for Almega PL, an award-winning, plant-based omega-3 ingredient.

Ronald Pillsbury has joined UAS Labs, a leading manufacturer of probiotic supplements for the global market, as chief operating officer. His most recent endeavors have been specifically within the supplement industry, including the VP of operations for Pharmavite and most recently as the COO of NOW Foods. 

Earth Mama welcomes Guinevere C. Lynn as the vice president of sales. With over 20 years of sales experience and leadership, she brings a strategic approach along with a range of management talents applied to customer service, sales operations, strategic planning and innovative programs designed to serve the customer, the retailer and the distributor all at once. Previous to joining Earth Mama, Guinevere applied her talents at some of the best companies in our industry, Gaia Herbs, Vega and for 15 years Sun Chlorella.

Ken Lee, cofounder and co-CEO of rice company Lotus Foods, received the Specialty Foods Association Leadership Award for Citizenship at a ceremony during the Winter Fancy Food Show. Under Ken's leadership, Lotus Foods has established supply chains in four countries, with some of the most marginalized but innovative rice farmers practicing climate-smart growing techniques, while preserving the rich heritage of rice biodiversity. 

The Council for Responsible Nutrition has promoted three executives, effective immediately: Mike Greene has been promoted to senior vice president, government relations, from vice president; Nancy Weindruch to vice president, communications, from senior director, and Ingrid Lebert to senior director, government relations, from director.  

The sales team for Vital Essentials raw pet food company is expanding with the addition of Joey Weichmann as southwest regional manager. Prior to joining Vital Essentials, he led sales efforts for a regional firm based in Wisconsin. He also has experience in retail management with national department and grocery stores.

Natural Habitats USA Inc., a leading organic palm oil company, has relocated its headquarters to Boulder, Colorado, and announced three new additions to its growing team: Andy Thornton was appointed as COO of the Organic Animal Nutrition division of Natural Habitats USA; Adriane Pilcher was named as marketing director, Natural Habitats Group; and Nancy Schoemann is now logistics and administrative manager, Natural Habitats USA, Inc.

 

[email protected]: More grocers focusing on food sustainability? | Progress plateaus on cutting sugar consumption

sugary drink soda

Supermarkets look to sustainability as the next organic

Giant Food, a grocery chain with stores in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and Washington D.C., is testing a rating system called HowGood that communicates to shoppers the sustainability of fresh and processed food. Is it a sign that more retailers will turn their focus on sustainability? Read more at The Baltimore Sun...

 

Americans were making a lot of progress cutting back on sugary drinks. Now that's stopped.

After a decade of slowing sugary beverage consumption, declines have stalled, according to new CDC data. Unfortunately, consumption rates still way about the recommended limit. But why? Researchers aren't sure, but one guess is that perhaps Americans as a whole are drinking less soda but more of the new slew of ready-to-drink teas, coffees and energy drinks that are loaded with sugar. Read more at The Washington Post...

 

Top coconut water maker Vita Coco exploring sale - sources

Could it become part of PepsiCo? Or Coca-Cola? Or Dr Pepper Snapple? Vita Coco's parent company has reportedly hired JP Morgan to advise its sale, according to Reuters sources. It's got sales in 30 countries and is the leading coconut brand globally. Read more at Reuters...

 

Trump's nominee for Labor oversaw restaurants that violated labor regs

More than 100 food and agriculture organizations including Food Chain Workers Alliance and Friends of the Earth oppose Andrew Puzder becoming the next secretary of labor, and sent a letter to Capitol Hill urging senators to oppose his confirmation. In their letter, they express concern with his conflicts of interest and a recent investigation's findings that his company faced numerous violations for failing to pay minimum wage or overtime. Read more at Wisconsin Gazette...

 

Court rules against Monsanto, allows California to put cancer warning on Roundup

A judge ruled Friday that California can require Monsanto to label its popular herbicide, which contains glyphosate, as a possible carcinogen. But the judge has only made a preliminary ruling—she must still issue a formal decision. Monsanto sued the state in 2015. Read more at CBS Sacramento...

What does your store staff need to know about sleep supplements?

Photo credit: ThinkStock sleep supplements

By far, the top two health issues consumers are concerned about are sleep and lack of energy. And of course, the two are related.

In a consumer survey conducted by Nutrition Business Journal, more than 30 percent of survey participants indicated having issues with sleep or suffering from a lack of energy.

While OTC leader Zzzquil—a product spinoff of Nyquill—launched in 2012 and by 2015 became a $118 million brand, according to Statista, natural sleep aids are a combined $700 million play and estimated to rise to $800 million by 2020, according to NBJ.

The ingredient king remains melatonin—10 years ago, in a market one-third the size, melatonin enjoyed merely twice the sales as the second place valerian. Today, melatonin sales are five times that amount, while valerian’s sales are up only about 30 percent.

Although melatonin is the unrivaled king of sleep ingredients, its double-digit growth trajectory took a tumble to only about 7 percent in 2015, while combination herbs hit 10.7 percent in sales growth.

Other ingredients at play include homeopathics, 5-HTP, magnesium, hops and kava kava.

 

A checkup on large food brands’ clean label commitments

artificial ingredients

Nearly half of U.S. consumers look at the ingredient lists on foods before they purchase them—and many look for what’s not in the product as much as what is in it, according to a 2016 survey by the American Food Information Council Foundation.

And as consumers demand more healthful products with shorter, more familiar ingredient lists, large food companies, retailers and restaurants have introduced "clean label" policies that prohibit certain ingredients from their products.

Lisa Lefferts and her colleagues at the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest evaluated such programs at 13 companies—four major chain restaurants and nine major supermarkets—to see how they’re doing. In a new report, the organization, which conducts research and advocacy programs in health and nutrition, concluded that clean label programs are a “net plus for consumers” but have plenty of room to improve.

The good news

Not allowing certain ingredients in products has led companies to be more transparent about what is in their products. For example, Chipotle, Noodles & Company, Panera Bread and Papa John’s disclose complete ingredient and nutrition information on their websites. Some supermarket private label programs, including Ahold Delhaize’s Nature’s Promise, H-E-B’s Select Ingredients, Meijer Naturals and Target Simply Balanced, also provide ingredient and nutrition information online.

Some clean label programs also address production issues. Kroger’s Simple Truth brand, for example, has some organic products, and Supervalu Wild Harvest has a “free from” line as well as many organic items.

The not-so-good news

Many of these banned ingredient lists are extensive—Noodles & Company’s contains 74 items, for example, and Kroger’s Simple Truth advertises “free from 101”—but they all fall short in limiting amounts of sodium or added sugars allowed in products, CSPI says.

CSPI also notes that many of the lists are inflated because they include multiple names for the same chemical, or list ingredients that aren’t even approved by the government, like the artificial sweetener cyclamate. Others, like Safeway’s Open Nature line of products, are much more vague, listing terms like “no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives” that aren’t necessarily defined or meaningful.

All of the 13 lists evaluated by CSPI also included some ingredients that the organization rates as safe, such as modified food starch.

One big pitfall of restaurants’ clean label programs is that all four of the ones examined—Chipotle, Noodles & Company, Papa John’s and Panera—do not apply their programs to beverages, which are a leading source of synthetic dyes, brominated vegetable oil and artificial sweeteners. On the same note, every grocer included except for Whole Foods Market applies its clean label list only to one or a few of their private label brands.

To improve these programs, CSPI recommends that companies add limits to sodium and added sugars; ban additives that are unsafe, poorly tested or substitute for nutritious ingredients; and apply their banned ingredient lists to all products, including beverages.

“We applaud the companies with transparent clean label policies that eliminate worrisome ingredients, and call on companies that haven’t formulated their own policies to do so,” said Lefferts.  “Our hope is that this report provides all companies with some useful guidelines to ensure clean labels better serve public health, not public relations.”

See the full report here.

Women may be D deficient at the worst time

ThinkStock women vitamin D

When women drop birth control pills, their vitamin D levels may also drop, according to research from the National Institutes of Health. And while there’s no good time in life to be vitamin D deficient, lacking adequate levels of the vitamin is particularly dangerous during pregnancy, when women need more D to support the formation of the fetal skeleton.

"Our study found that women who were using contraception containing estrogen tended to have higher vitamin D levels than other women," the study’s author, Quaker E. Harmon, MD, PhD, of the NIH's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, said in a release from the Endocrine Society. “We could not find any behavioral differences such as increased time spent outdoors to explain the increase. Our findings suggest that contraceptives containing estrogen tend to boost vitamin D levels, and those levels are likely to fall when women cease using contraception.”

For the study, researchers analyzed data from the Study of Environment, Lifestyle & Fibroids, a study of reproductive health in nearly 1,700 African American women between the ages of 23 and 34. Researchers measured the vitamin D in their blood, and the women filled out questionnaires about contraceptive use, time outside and vitamin D supplements they might have taken. After adjusting for seasonal exposure to sunlight, the researchers found the use of contraceptive pills, patch or ring containing estrogen was associated with a 20 percent higher 25-hydroxy vitamin D level. That level dropped dramatically after they stopped using contraception.

"Our findings indicate women may run the risk of developing vitamin D deficiency just when they want to become pregnant," said Harmon. "For women who are planning to stop using birth control, it is worth taking steps to ensure that vitamin D levels are adequate while trying to conceive and during pregnancy." The study results were published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

5 food and beverage trends spotted at the Winter Fancy Food Show 2017

Superfruit boosters

It was pouring in San Francisco this past weekend, but inside the Moscone Center thousands were dry, happy and psyched to taste the newest gourmet products launching at the Winter Fancy Food Show. Hosted by the Specialty Food Association, this event was purportedly the largest in its 42-year history. From cheese and meat to beverages and grocery, New Hope Network put boots to ground on the show floor to spot several trends that stood out—and may have traction in the natural foods industry.

Here, find the top food and beverage trends we identified at the show.

Maple flavors

Robust, sweet and especially craveable during the colder months, maple made an appearance in myriad forms, from the pure tree sap in the form of maple water to floral-infused maple syrup and maple sugar.

Sap On Tap Maple Water with Yerba Mate
Go ahead, have a little caffeine with your slightly sweet maple water (the sap that flows directly out of the tree). Just maple water, yerba mate and yerba mate extract are in this USDA Organic bottle of goodness.

Runamok Maple Hibiscus Flower Infuse
Hailing from Vermont forests certified by Audubon Vermont as Bird-Friendly, this beautifully packaged bottle contains top-notch maple syrup infused with organic hibiscus flowers. In a word, it’s outstanding.

Raaka Maple & Nibs
Single-origin, organic cacao and organic maple sugar are a match made in heaven in this cool chocolate bar. Toasted cacao nibs deliver added crunch and nutty flavor.

Superfruit boosters


Tropical fruits are packed with antioxidants and fiber—but they’re not necessarily practical to eat fresh. (When was the last time your produce section carried fresh baobab or acerola berries?) Several neat brands utilized fruit powders to boost nutrition, flavor and texture of packaged goods. 

R.e.d.d. Mint Chocolate Superfood Energy Bar
It’s hard to believe that a nutrition bar tasting like the minty Girl Scout cookie staple contains a whopping 11 fruit powders, including acai berry, amla, goji berry, maqui, mangosteen and more. But it does!

Blue Planet Chocolate Baobab Superfruit Bites Baobab Peach Mango
Organic baobab fruit pulp powder boosts these chocolate rounds, which also include apple, peach and mango fruit concentrates. Chocolate coating drenches the entire fruit mash, making this one delicious nosh.

Teranga Baobab Love Potion
A brand new, tart beverage made with the pulp of the baobab fruit. This lip-smacking “Love Potion” also contains red hibiscus and a pronounced hit of mint. Teranga prioritizes conscious sourcing, too.

Herbs add value


From meal replacement beverages infused with maca to Ayurvedic spice “shots,” brands at Fancy Food added value and functional nutrition to beverages and condiments by including botanicals like maca, reishi mushroom, ashwagandha, licorice and more in consciously crafted natural products.

TruVibe Eat Clean Organic Superfood Meal Berries, Maca & Chia
TruVibe’s first foray into a beverage line was a success! Designed as a better-for-you, whole-food meal replacement, this 300-plus calorie drink contains a nourishing blend of organic juices, pureed strawberry, pureed blueberry, hemp seeds, reishi mushroom, chaga mushroom and maca.

Pranayums Daily Super Spice Shots
An interesting delivery system for spice blends, each packet has a masterful blend of Ayurvedic spices such as turmeric, black pepper, cardamom, ginger, licorice root, cinnamon and more for wellness. Sprinkle a packet into warmed almond milk, over oatmeal or add into stews or salad dressings.

Fire Brew Beet Energy Booster
This potent potion is made with red beets, cinnamon, raw organic apple cider vinegar and a litany of pungent add-ins like horseradish, onion, habanero pepper and garlic—time-tested ingredients that may boost immunity.

Holier-than-thou desserts


These new brands challenge the long-held assumption that an end-of-meal sweet treat is sinful. Rather, these products contains whole-food ingredients, consciously sourced add-ins and cleaner sweeteners to make them better options.

Snow Monkey Superfood Ice Treat Cacao
Less ice cream substitute and more post-workout treat, this rich, creamy frozen pint is made with a healthful blend of bananas, apple puree, maple syrup, hemp seed protein, cocoa powder, sunflower butter and acacia tree gum and guar bean gum. 5 grams protein and just 12 grams sugar (mostly from fruit) per serving.

Good King Cacao Whole Bean Love
We never realized how wonderfully whole cacao beans can satisfy intense chocolate cravings. Just a few of these shelled, spiced beans are enough for chocolate addicts. The "Love" version contains warming cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and cardamom. Bonus: They’re not too sweet, either.

Foodstirs Modern Baking Organic Chocolate Lovers Brownie Mix
A simple brownie mix elevated with consciously sourced ingredients and a slew of certifications. Here, Wholesome!’s Demeter USA-certified biodynamic cane sugar, organic wheat flour, Equal Exchange certified organic cocoa powder, organic sunflower oil, organic vanilla and sea salt comprise this mix. Add (preferably pasture-raised) eggs, non-GMO oil and water, and bake.

Frozen steps up


Not so much "speed scratch" as an easy way to experience delicious but hard-to-make specialty food items, we spotted ample innovation in the frozen food category. Here, ethnic foods made an appearance, as did novelty products perfect for appetizers or finger food.

Brazi Bites Brazilian Cheese Bread Cheddar & Parmesan
Delicious, gluten-free bites of cheese bread traditionally made with tapioca flour and found in Brazilian restaurants everywhere. Straight-forward ingredients like eggs, milk, tapioca, cheddar and parmesan cheese make a surprisingly delicious snack.

Grillies Halloumi Cheese
These are refrigerated, but the concept is the same. Designed to replace meat, Greek halloumi cheese provides a savory, creamy alternative for burgers and sandwiches of all ilk. Halloumi is traditionally grilled, roasted or fried, which adds crunch and toasty, roasty flavor to dishes.

Bantam Bagels The Classic
Most everyone loves the New York combo of bagels and cream cheese. Bantam Bagels are delightful bites of doughy bagel with a burst of velvety schmear inside, and come in classic flavor combos like poppy, onion, everything and even stuffed with strawberry or veggie cream cheese.

Shock and huh!? A look at the first week of the Trump administration

Seal of the president of the United States

Eight days into the Donald J. Trump era, it would be hard to find somebody ready to argue that the U.S. has not been fundamentally changed. From foreign policy to cultural issues and budget changes, the world is spinning on a different axis.

And that axis is sure to affect the supplement and natural products industries.

The consensus is that companies could see less regulation and less enforcement, but whether that is a golden ticket or an invitation to disaster remain to be seen. It’s early in the game but the game is being played at high volume on a fractured field.

We asked industry insiders to weigh in on the first week under Trump.

Randi Neiner, supplement industry consultant

I have many concerns. The major three are: 1. regulation favoring big corporations—big dollars—over small entrepreneurial businesses that are the life blood of our industry (will they still be able to compete?); 2. questionable import decisions that may threaten botanical raw materials  sourced from China and elsewhere; and 3. changes in labeling requirements—GMO, Organic, nutritional definitions and a lack of transparency that is not in the best interest of consumers or the companies doing things right and may encourage more "bad players." There will be opportunities and need for more self-regulation and certifications that are industry driven.

Steve Mister, Council for Responsible Nutrition

It’s still too soon to really assess the implications of the new administration on the supplement industry. We don’t have a nominee for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner yet; there are three vacancies at the Federal Trade Commission. These appointments will signal the directions of both agencies. In the meantime, the hiring freeze and regulatory moratorium have mixed implications for industry. At a time when the new Republican Congress seems likely to block any new onerous legislation on supplements, we still need an aggressive agency to address tainted products, blatant GMP violations and fraudulent marketing—items that are clearly illegal under existing law. That requires a robust ODSP [Office of Dietary Supplement Programs] at FDA. Additionally, the freeze on new regulations may be irrelevant since no new rules were imminent. The NDI guidance is unlikely affected because, with the comment period just closing in December, we are likely months away (at least) from the next version. In the meantime, we will live with uncertainty about the new labeling regulations and GMO labeling. Whether that’s worth the wait remains to be seen. The new Congress does present opportunities for FSA/HSA coverage and the inclusion of the multivitamin in SNAP. CRN looks forward to educating new members about the value of the industry—for better health and a strong economy. 

Karen Howard, Organic and Natural Health Association

This is not business as usual. The double-edge sword of  ‘no federal regulation’ affords protection (burdensome NDI guidance) and carries risk (increased assault for being under-regulated). Attacks on industry will not abate and pesky issues relating to consumer trust fan the fires. Opportunity exists in this pro-business environment. But know that Congress still attributes costs, not savings, to coverage of supplements. This is no time for any big, fat, happy industry to rest. Indeed we will soldier on and play by our outdated rule book. And, we must be strategically open to change. This could be the most opportune time to improve our regulatory paradigm. 

Jeff Nedleman, Strategic Communications LLC

A little more than a week into his Presidency, Donald Trump has stayed in character. His flurry of Executive Orders is big. Bold headlines without any substance. At best, they indicate an intent to shoot first and be thoughtful later. They beg the fact that Congress, not the President, holds most of the budgetary and legislative power to make the changes he wants. In short, we are in uncharted waters. The Devil is always in the details and details are out of stock. Fasten your seat belts, it is going to be a long, bumpy four years.

Scott Steinford, CoQ10 Association

Dietary Supplements, as an industry, has rarely found itself at the forefront of headlines or action in times of major news. It is evident the Trump administration has its sights set on larger agenda campaign items which will draw both attention and resources from the issues within our industry. It is hard to imagine how anything less than the major issues can be addressed, considering more limited resources for the people previously tasked to address our concerns. Decreased financial and human capital does not inspire aggressive, innovative or expedient outcomes by employees. While we should maintain vigilance it is not likely we are going to take the forefront for action in light of all other issues of precedence. 

Alan Lewis, Natural Grocers

The Trump administration may simply stop enforcing laws and regulations already on the books if it disagrees with them. In this vacuum, the state attorneys general, especially in California and New York, may greatly step up their own consumer protection enforcement against certain dietary supplement products and sales practices. And, the trial bar will begin a systematic assault on products making misleading or unsubstantiated claims, using class action lawsuits based on sophisticated science and market surveillance. Without rational and cohesive federal oversight the industry may end up defending itself from multiple adversaries who feel emboldened, even duty-bound, to act in its absence.

Sky Lininger, Health Notes

Federal agencies issue “guidance” documents that are non-binding, have no force of law, but impact industry. “Guidance” is issued without legislative action. One example is FDA’s “Draft Guidance on New Dietary Ingredients,” which they say will be finalized in 2017. Both the agency and industry have spent time and energy to read, respond, digest, and edit these documents. While all this is taking place, industry is uncertain about what the final guidance will be and how it will be interpreted and enforced. The President promises to cut Federal regulations by two-thirds, we will soon see how NDI Guidance and pending regulations (like FSMA) will fare.

Mark LeDoux, Natural Alternatives International

I do not believe the regulatory freeze will have a significant effect on much of our industry for the foreseeable future. The NDI rules are sort of in limbo, and it is doubtful that they will go to final status in this environment. However rules dealing with FSMA and registration requirements are already law. The same can be said for the new Nutrition Facts Panel, as those rules are already drafted and published.

The border tax could have a much more significant effect on our industry for materials and foodstuffs that are currently imported from foreign sources. When primary manufacturing of dietary supplement components transitioned from domestic and largely European sources to the Far East, predominantly China, prices dropped precipitously, and the US consumers and industry benefited from lower costs of input. If a border tax is implemented on imported raw materials, that could have an immediate and profound effect on the economics of the domestic business, and may foster the development of primary production of these compounds in the USA. Many base vitamins used to be produced in places like Nutley, New Jersey or Kankakee, Illinois—so we should not be surprised to see some enterprising entrepreneurs look for opportunities to provide vertical support to the U.S. supply chain without involving trans-oceanic freight costs of time and money.

For many years I, along with others in the industry, have advocated for more enforcement of the current regulations on the books. That would still be a welcome situation given the ongoing levels of non-compliance the FDA has been seeing for the past decade. New regulations that are gratuitously drafted and added onto current unenforced regulations give the appearance of pro-active effort, but in reality they only further complicate and clog the system with inaction.

[email protected]: Debate continues over A2 milk | Idaho sprouts foodie startups

Photo credit: ThinkStock Three quiet cows pasturing at green fields with blue sky background

The health battle behind America's next milk trend

Most of the milk stocked in grocery stores today can be characterized as A1. But in the 1990s, the research of Bob Elliott and Corran McLachlan in New Zealand suggested that A1—which refers to a certain characteristic of milk's most abundant protein, beta-casein—produces inflammatory compounds in the digestive system. So McLachlan and farmer-entrepreneur Howard Patterson founded the a2 Milk Company to breed more A2-producing cows, which produce milk that the research suggested was better for digestion. Despite skepticism from the industry, the company has today secured 12 percent of the dairy market in Australia and outsells organic milk. It's expanding into China, western Europe and the U.S. But there's still quite a bit of controversy around the science. Read more at The Atlantic...

 

These food startups aim to build on Idaho's food heritage

You may not think of Idaho as a foodie state, but consider this: Chobani operates the world's largest yogurt plant there, and organic baby food maker Happy Family Brands and meat company Agri Beef have a presence there. And now a new crop of food startups is popping up, like butter replacement maker Prosperity Organic Foods, Zacca Hummus and protein ice cream company Killer Whey! Read more at Idaho Statesman...

 

Farm to table: A bit tricky in winter, but in high demand

To meet the demand for local produce, farmers in colder parts of the country are using greenhouses and high tunnels to extend their growing seasons. Read more at WTOP...

 

Federal hiring freeze disrupts USDA's food safety testing

Regulators say the president's pause button for regulations and new hires will have minimal impact on provisions of the Food Safety Modernization Act, but it's unclear what impact it will have on other FDA activities. Over at the USDA, the Food Safety Inspection Service is reportedly experiencing a delay in results of lab tests. Read more at Food Safety News...

 

Freshii raises $125.35M in initial public offering

The Toronto-based fast-fresh restaurant has more than 240 stores in 15 countries and is known for its healthy menu which includes salads, juices and smoothies. Read more at BNN...