What should we call cell-cultured meat? The winner is...

Getty Images lab-grown-meat.jpg

What’s in a name? If you ask The Good Food Institute (GFI), an organization that recently conducted a study on terminology referring to meat made from animal cells, a lot. That’s why it’ll be adopting the term “cultivated meat” moving forward.

“The results of our research indicate that ‘cultivated meat’ is the best fit for neutrality, understandability and appeal,” says GFI media and communications manager Maia Keerie. The winning terminology had to meet a variety of additional benchmarks, like enable existing meat industry stakeholders to join the conversation, have the potential to be applicable in a regulatory context, and resonate with and empower consumers to make informed decisions about their meat options. “Neutrality and understandability are necessary but not sufficient,” Keerie adds. “Appeal is critical. Without consumers, there is no market. Without a market, we cannot transition to a more sustainable, healthy and just food system.

GFI whittled down an initial list of over 400 names down to four finalists: cultured (which already has meaning in seafood), cell-based (which faces technical hurdles, since all meat is cell-based), cell-cultured (unappealing to focus groups), and cultivated. While Keerie explains that this term is less well-known than “cultured” or “cell-based,” the concepts surrounding “cultivated meat” (“cultivating meat,” “meat cultivators,” etc.) are already widely in use. Plus, nearly every participant responded positively to it.

Though the industry has been using a wide range of terms to describe cell-based meat, GFI believes that now is the time to align. In an effort to assist, it developed three tools: a narrative framework to explain cellular agriculture to the general public, a visual analogy that illustrates the parallels between cellular agriculture and other forms of food production and an analysis of the benefits and challenges of different names. “We believe this framework will help the public understand what cultivated meat offers them as individuals, and what it makes possible for our food system,” Keerie says. “We invite everyone to draw from this work as it is useful to them, and we hope others will begin to use the cultivation language.”

Supplement industry news and updates – October 2019



Dietary supplement use reaches all-time high

In its 20th year, the CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements reveals the highest overall dietary supplement usage to date, with 77% of Americans reporting they consume dietary supplements. Check out the breakdown of who’s taking what.

Inside the Bottle defines the supplement industry of tomorrow

With consumers becoming increasingly empowered to take control of their health, being a responsible company is more important than ever. In the supplement industry, this is about elevating best practices, understanding potential lightning rod issues and telling a positive story. Check out the latest Inside the Bottle research findings on top consumer concerns—and how to stay in front of them.

Nutrition bars now a $5.5B category

Nutrition bars continue to dominate as they reach $5.5 billion and draw a steady stream of investment activity. Here, Nutrition Business Journal’s senior analyst discusses why this category is still hot—and how to raise the bar. 

Missed Expo East’s The Suppdate—An Overview of What's New in Supplements and Nutrition? We’ve got you covered

This exploration of the U.S. dietary supplement market at Natural Products Expo East dug into the latest quantitative analysis and comprehensive industry tracking from a variety of perspectives, from supplier to brand to retailer. Here’s what you may have missed from the session.

Inside the Bottle unites companies from across the supplement supply chain to advocate for a transparent, collaborative supplement industry that supports consumer health empowerment.  


At GNC, net income increases as sales decline slows in third quarter

At GNC, net income increases as sales decline slows in third quarter 2019

Reporting a smaller net loss and increased net income during the third quarter,  GNC executives sounded positive Thursday morning about the company’s future.

The global supplements corporation said adjusted net income increased $1 million, to $3.1 million, compared with the third quarter of 2018.

 “For the third quarter in a row, operating income from our largest segment—the U.S. and Canada—increased compared with the corresponding period of  2018,” said Chief Financial Officer Chief Financial Officer Tricia Tolivar. The third quarter ended Sept. 30.

Consolidated revenue for the quarter was $499.1 million, down from $580.2 million a year ago, the company reported. Factors causing that decrease included the transfer of business to the two new joint ventures regarding Nutra manufacturing and businesses in China; the closure of company-owned stores; lower sales in the U.S. and Canada; and lower revenue from franchised stores in the international market.

For the third quarter of 2019, GNC Holdings Inc. also reported:

  • Same-store sales—including e-commerce—in the United States and Canada dropped 2.8%. In the second quarter, sales had dropped 5.4% compared to the previous year.
  • E-commerce sales grew 12% and made up 8.6% of revenue in the United States and Canada, compared with 7.2% a year ago.
  • Revenue in the U.S. and Canada was $444.7 million, down $31.8 million from the same quarter in 2018.
  • Net loss of $2.4 million, compared with $8.6 million net loss in 2018.

“We feel good about our strategy to improve our global brand and improve our operating performance,” CEO Ken Martindale said during the call.

Some business media have suggested that GNC’s partner in China, Harbin Pharmaceutical Group, plans to take the company private, but this issue was not raised during the call. However, Martindale and Tolivar both discussed the company’s success at lowering its debt and its ongoing attempts to restructure its remaining debt.

Since early 2018, GNC has reduced its debt $440 million and lowered its net total leverage ratio to 3.6x from 5.0x, Martindale said. With assistance from a board of directors committee, the executives have been meeting with “current and potential debt and equity holders,” he explained. These sources are in the United States and Asia, according to the earnings release.

“We believe we are closing in on a longer-term resolution for our capital structure,” Martindale said.

The company ended its third quarter with $190 million liquidity and, year-to-date, the company’s free cash flow is $87 million. Adjusted EBITDA is $166 million.

5@5: 'Certified cocoa' uses child labor, harms forests | Amazon ships expired food


Chocolate companies sell ‘certified cocoa,’ but some of those farms use child labor, harm forests

Emerging research and interviews are tarnishing the reputation of the leading organization responsible for policing standards in the global cocoa industry, a Dutch organization called Utz. Mars, Nestle, Hershey and other leading chocolate companies have essentially been duping consumers by relying on Utz’s subpar auditing of cocoa production facilities. Reports from former employees say that auditors are occasionally bribed or threatened with violence, and investigations of several cocoa villages in the Ivory Coast showed little evidence of their being kept up to standard by Utz. Read more at The Washington Post

Amazon is shipping expired food, from baby formula to old beef jerky, scaring consumers and putting big brands at risk

Food sellers on Amazon currently account for 58% of merchandise sold, but Amazon Marketplace’s recent tendency to ship expired food products is driving away consumers. Experts blame loopholes in Amazon’s technology and logistics system for the missteps, and consumer safety advocates only expect the problem to worsen as the platform grows. Read more at CNBC

Diversifying crops is good for the planet. But can it be good for farmers’ wallets?

The Sustainable Food Lab and the Practical Farmers of Iowa are collaborating with companies such as PepsiCo and Target to promote sustainable farming practices, such as water conservation and crop diversification. But the time and money, not to mention the education, that farmers must invest in these eco-friendly projects is proving to be a serious barrier to widespread adoption. Read more at NPR

Waiting on the Cosmic Crisp apple drop

The Cosmic Crisp apple is slated to reach shelves beginning Dec. 1, and its marketing platform has been robust and active in the past few months. However, the GMO apple that “the world has been waiting for” faces an oversaturated market and established consumer preferences; if it can live up to all that U.S. farmers hope it will be remains to be seen. Read more at Eater

By 2025, 43M children under the age of 5 will be overweight

Childhood obesity is skyrocketing—the proportion of children between the ages of 5 and 19 who are overweight almost doubled from 2000 to 2016 according to a recent report from UNICEF. The organization attributes this in part to an increase in globalization of commerce, as multinational food companies can now target and market to a bigger audience than ever before. Read more at New Food Economy

7 retail and CPG predictions from Nielsen for 2020 and beyond

Retail technology

Nielsen today announced its predictions for technology, consumer packaged goods (CPG) and retail for 2020 and the decade ahead from Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo. Built on the most holistic and predictive view of consumer purchasing habits, Nielsen anticipates that 2020 will represent an inflection point for trust and transparency, 5G and time to purchase in the U.S. retail and consumer landscape.

Its high-level predictions include the following:

1. Privacy concerns and misinformation will threaten brand credibility. 

Trust in today’s society is at a low point—yet consumers still expect that brands know them and cater to them. Privacy legislation would not solve every issue of truth and transparency. Big brands will have to confront and counteract the consequences of social network attacks, such as activists using deepfake to destroy the credibility of a brand. Trust underpins the privacy, misinformation tug of war, and the torch must be carried by both businesses and consumers. 

2. Transparency will be tomorrow’s brand currency. 

Brands across all industries will have an opportunity to deliver on the “Healthy for Me & Healthy for We” expectations consumers have. Interest in what was previously considered ‘behind-the-scenes’ information about a company’s operational footprint will become mainstream topics of conversation. This will tee up opportunities for companies across industries to grow trust and authenticity while delivering on the need for urgent action on climate change.

3. Manufacturers will produce locally to win globally. 

With the winds of protectionism, trade wars, slower overall growth and increasing effects—and awareness—of climate change, we’re entering a new era in consumerism. With the duel impetus of tariffs and consumer alignment with locally sourced products and waste reduction, manufacturers will face increased pressure to produce locally, import fewer goods and search for economic differentiation. Supply chains will continue to be reimagined to deliver on consumers’ increasing desire for sustainable products.

4. Smart supply chains will anticipate and react to consumer demands. 

As retailers increasingly focus on owning the supply chain from start to finish and further blur the line with manufacturers as they grow their private label brands, the industry will gradually shift to more granular, end-to-end supply chain analytics. Brands and retailers who win the 2020s will succeed not based on their front-end pricing and promotion analytics, but the granularity and end-to-end depth of their data science.

5. 5G will revolutionize the Internet of Things for retail. 

With 5G, the Internet of Things finally becomes a mainstream reality, providing end consumers with access to more data at their fingertips with virtually no response delay—so they’re less limited in their ability to come to an informed decision on the retailers and brands they want to work with. Meanwhile, 5G will transform smart packaging and delivery, through applications like smart sensors that can collect real-time data to ensure viable internal package conditions for food and medications. 

6. Time and trust will dictate consumer relationships with retail. 

Increasingly frictionless commerce in both a click and brick world will change the game for retail. From pop-up shops with cashier-less payment to automated warehouses in urban centers, fusing the overall consumer experience with smarter, intuitive tech is the future, as consumers require zero resistance from discovery to assessment to shopping to payment to fulfillment. Speed and convenience will drive behavior—and every millisecond reduced is a battle won.

7. Try-before-you-buy will come into consumer homes. 

There’s a push-and-pull between the in-store experience and the convenience of shopping at home. Augmented reality (AR) technologies will improve, and 5G will indirectly reduce barriers to entry, based on the shift to cloud and enablement of smartphones to be AR devices. Yet AR can also improve the brick-and-mortar experience with special in-store promotions accessible via smartphones. As such, mobile, AR-based buying will reach a critical mass—and up the ante for brick-and-mortar to keep consumers coming back with experiential benefits.

“The true value of today’s emerging technologies has remained in the hype cycle for much of retail and CPG, but the dawn of a new decade will see a rapid acceleration in meaningful use cases,” said Jeanne Danubio, President, Nielsen Connect, North America. “From the transformative effect of 5G to the increase in frictionless commerce—all underpinned by trust and transparency—the consumer landscape will become increasingly complex. We are eager to continue providing our clients with the data to decide, thereby shaping a smarter market for our clients, in 2020 and beyond.”

Source: Nielsen