May 13, 2013
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IFDA News

On April 29, Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) visited US Foods in Bismarck, ND. US Foods Division President Vicki Gordon provided an overview of the foodservice distribution industry and a tour of the warehouse. After the meeting Rep. Cramer, a congressional freshman, participated in a town hall style meeting with US Foods employees. Issues discussed ranged from health care reform to the Keystone pipeline. IFDA is happy to assist IFDA members in setting up visits with your elected officials. Please contact IFDA at (703) 532-9400 and ask to be connected with IFDA Government Relations.

Operator News

PepsiCo will begin testing "Pepsi Touch Tower 1.0" as part of a series of new fountain rollouts, according to Beverage Digest. The device is a small counter-top unit with a digital touch screen. Rather than the half a dozen or so picks consumers had in the past, this device will offer nearly 100 possible flavor combinations, including as many as eight PepsiCo brands. PepsiCo has been testing the unit overseas since last year, and the U.S. test will run in Denver restaurant chain Garbanzo Mediterranean Grills, reported Advertising Age. Full Story (Paid Subscription Required)

McDonald's is considering putting breakfast on the all-day menu, not long after Wendy's earlier this year ended its national breakfast experiment. Breakfast accounts for 25% of McDonald's business and has been one of the biggest opportunities for the restaurant industry - the only area of growth in the past decade, according to NPD. And consumer trends in food, including the desire for speed, convenience, portability and more-healthful, fresher options, are driving chains such as Denny's and even Pinkberry to cash in on the $50 billion restaurant-breakfast category, reported Advertising Age. Full Story (Paid Subscription Required)

Two New Jersey restaurant development companies are betting on Colorado-based chain Noodles & Company, which they think is poised to do for pad thai and penne rosa what Chipotle Mexican Grill did for burritos, or what Panera Bread did for soup-and-sandwich combos. The first New Jersey location of Noodles, a chain of 331 restaurants with one of the fastest growth rates in the fast-casual dining category, opened in East Brunswick, reported The Record. Full Story

Retail News

H&S Properties Development plans to push its Baltimore, MD Harbor East development east across Central Avenue with an expanded Whole Foods Market, reported The Baltimore Sun. Full Story

Industry News

Oscar Mayer is planning to bring bacon hot dogs to market just in time for Memorial Day. Pieces of bacon are mixed in with turkey, chicken and other pork products. Bacon is still sizzling as one of the most popular ingredients in food; some 44% of U.S. consumers eat at least some bacon in every two-week period, an all-time high, according to NPD research cited by Oscar Mayer, which is owned by Kraft Foods Group, reported Advertising Age. Full Story (Paid Subscription Required)

Retail sales of white granulated sugar increased 15% during the past three years to reach $1.69 billion in 2012, according to data from Information Resources Inc. (IRI). In the same period, sales of several artificial sweeteners including Splenda, Sweet'N Low, and Equal are down, reported MarketWatch. Full Story

Health News

Food consumed may affect levels of sleepiness or alertness during the day, according to a new, small study. Researchers assessed the daytime sleepiness/alertness levels of 31 healthy, non-obese people, aged 18 to 65, who were normal sleepers. Then they looked at the meals they ate. Higher fat consumption was associated with increased daytime sleepiness while higher carbohydrate intake was linked with increased alertness. There was no relationship between protein consumption and sleepiness or alertness, reported HealthDay. Full Story

For people with celiac disease, an accurate diagnosis and proper diet are essential for good health, experts say. Celiac disease is an intolerance to the protein gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye. When people with celiac disease eat gluten-containing foods, the lining of their small intestine is damaged and can eventually be destroyed, which prevents adequate absorption of nutrients and leads to other health problems, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. About one of every 141 Americans has celiac disease, reported HealthDay. Full Story

Washington News

The Supreme Court ruled an Indiana farmer infringed on Monsanto's patent for planting soybeans that were genetically modified by Monsanto without buying them from the agribusiness company. The unanimous decision, written by Justice Elena Kagan, found "patent exhaustion does not permit a farmer to reproduce patented seeds through planting and harvesting without the patent holder's permission." The farmer had been paying Monsanto for the company's Roundup Ready seeds when he planted his main crop in the spring, but seed purchased from a local grain elevator containing the genetically modified varieties was found to have infringed on the company's patent, reported NPR. Full Story

USDA will conduct an environmental review of new genetically modified corn, soybean and cotton seeds from Monsanto and Dow Chemical. The department needed to conduct more detailed studies before approving the seeds because they "may significantly affect the quality of the human environment." The seeds in question are engineered to withstand applications of 2,4-D and dicamba herbicides by farmers. Dow developed 2,4-D-tolerant corn, originally planned for sale to farmers this growing season, as well as 2,4-D-tolerant soybeans. Monsanto developed the dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton, reported The Wall Street Journal. Full Story (WSJ Subscription Required), USDA Statement

The Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) Fresh Products Division merged with the Processed Products Division to create the Specialty Crops Inspection Division. The Specialty Crops Inspection Division will provide nationwide inspection, certification and auditing services for fresh and processed fruits, vegetables, and other products on a "user fee" basis to facilitate trading of agricultural products on international, interstate and intrastate levels, according to AMS. Full Notice

The draft "Interagency Risk Assessment-Listeria monocytogenes in Retail Delicatessens" was made available by FSIS and FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. Full Notice, Draft Assessment

The lobbyist for grocers including Kroger and Safeway is calling on President Obama to curtail a U.S. health law provision that mandates the companies display the calorie content of all their foods. The Food Marketing Institute stated Obama should step in before the FDA puts the new rules into effect, intervening as he has with other provisions of the Affordable Care Act that carry unintended consequences. The proposed rule is unpopular among some restaurant chains such as Domino's Pizza that complain about the cost of new signage and grocers that statethe diversity of their products creates a logistical nightmare. The industries have backed legislation that would limit the rules to only provide the data online in some cases, and apply the labeling only to stores with more than half their revenue from food prepared on site, reported Bloomberg.com. Full Story

Market News

Shipping and wholesale markups are the biggest factor behind the high prices of Indian mangoes in the U.S., according to ERS analysis. Wholesale prices of Indian mangoes, for example, are five to six times higher in the U.S. than prices of varieties from Mexico and Brazil. USDA Report

Pushed along by hot April weather, the first California apricots of the season arrived in markets a little early - about a week ahead of normal. "Availability will be very limited right now," stated the president of the Apricot Producers of California. These early-bird apricots tend to be tart. The main harvest will arrive from Stanislaus County right before Memorial Day. Supply should stay strong throughout June, reported The Sacramento Bee. Full Story (Free Registration Required)

Florida has consistently ranked among the top three states in watermelon acreage for the past five decades. And for the past two decades, watermelon growers in Florida and the U.S. have experienced a small boom in consumption as Americans turn to more fruits and vegetables as part of a healthier diet. While the long-term trends for Florida watermelons look good, the 2013 growing season was anything but. An unusually cold March may cut watermelon production in Central to South Florida in half, reported The Lakeland Ledger. Full Story (Free Registration Required)

Tomatoes grown around LED lights in the winter can significantly reduce greenhouse energy costs without sacrificing yield, according to a Purdue University study. Energy costs drive up prices for producers who might want to grow tomatoes in greenhouses in states that have winters inhospitable to growing food. Greenhouses must be heated, and shorter, overcast days require costly lighting. Researchers experimented with light-emitting diodes, which are cooler and require far less energy than traditional high-pressure sodium lamps used in greenhouses. They got the same yield with high-pressure sodium lamps and LED towers, but the LEDs used about 25% of the energy of traditional lamps, reported Western Farm Press. Full Story

 

 

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