Next week, FERN is headed to Austin, where I’m moderating two panels at SXSW! One of them — The Future of Big Food: What’s at Stake? — will take on big questions about where Big Food companies are headed. As eaters increasingly want transparency about ingredients, healthier options, and more sustainable packaging, where does that leave manufacturers? And will new labeling regulations shift the grocery environment? (No paywall)
Pamela Bailey, the chief executive of the Grocery Manufacturers Association for nearly a decade, announced she will retire later this year. Bailey said the GMA board "continues to engage in the reinvention process to build the association of the future," so "it is best they do so in concert with their leader of the future."
A Washington heavyweight among food industry trade groups, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, has lost two additional members who are long-time titans in the sector, Hershey and Cargill, reported Politico.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association, a giant among trade groups, is beginning to bleed members, with Nestlé the latest foodmaker to pull out, says Politico. "Complacency and a lack of leadership" at GMA are a factor, along with the hurly-burly of competing for sales in an evolving marketplace, it says.
The average business saves at least $14 for every dollar spent on reducing food waste, according to a new study by Champions 12.3, a coalition of governments, retailers, research organizations and advocates determined to reach the UN’s global goal of cutting food waste at the producer and consumer levels in half by 2030. Some of the group's heavy hitters include Kellogg Company, Sodexo, WRI, and Tesco, a popular UK chain of supermarkets.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association says it will "vigorously pursue its options to correct" the record-setting $18 million fine levied on it by a Washington state judge for violating campaign finance laws in the 2013 state referendum on labeling GMO foods.
Two decades into the era of agricultural biotechnology, the Senate passed, 63-30, a bill that requires foodmakers nationwide to say if their products contain GMO ingredients. The bill, which also pre-empts state GMO food-labeling laws, now goes to the House for action one week before Congress adjourns for the summer.
Vermont will stand alone among states when its first-in-the-nation GMO-food-labeling law takes effect on July 1. Some food companies already have changed their labels nationwide to assure compliance with the Vermont law and a spokeswoman for Senate Agriculture chairman Pat Roberts said, "We hope to have something ready very soon" to preempt state labeling.
The FDA called on foodmakers and restaurateurs to reduce sharply the amount of salt in their products to help Americans avoid high blood pressure and the risk of chronic illness. The food industry balked, saying it already has low-salt products on sale and that the science on healthy salt levels was not as clear as the government says.
The updated Nutrition Facts label "is going to make a real difference in providing families across the country the information they need to make healthy choices," said First Lady Michelle Obama. The new label, to be in full use by July 2018, prominently lists the number of calories in a serving, expands serving sizes in line with U.S. eating patterns, and for the first time shows how many grams of sugar are added to foods during processing.
Consumers will not be allowed to sue over companies' failure to label GMO foods until next summer, Vermont legislators decided, with the state's first-in-the-nation label law taking effect July 1.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson of Washington State "will seek damages running in the millions of dollars over [alleged] money laundering" in the 2013 referendum on labeling GMO foods, reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
With five major U.S. food companies saying they will label their products for GMO ingredients, Gary Ruskin, the co-director of U.S. Right to Know, says the food-industry coalition against labeling "is fracturing."
A third major food company, Mars Inc., says it will put GMO labels on its products nationwide and pointed to Vermont's first-in-the-nation labeling law as the impetus.
General Mills will join Campbell Soup in alerting consumers when its products contain GMOs, but the companies are on opposite sides of the GMO-labeling issue.
A Washington State judge ruled that the food industry broke campaign finance laws by concealing the source of millions of dollars of funding that was used to defeat a statewide referendum on GMO food labeling.
Half of Americans consider factors such as health and wellness, safety, social impact, and transparency when buying groceries, says a food-industry study. The "evolving drivers" of food purchases mean taste, price and convenience - the longtime standbys - no longer are predictive.
The Coalition for Safe Affordable Food, the food-industry group that promotes genetically modified foods, may be running uphill with its criticism of actress Gwyneth Paltrow on social media.