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Sustainability for the Big Guys & Lots of Eggs: CPG News, Week of Dec 14-18

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December 18, 2020
by Veronica Drake
2 Minutes

New Products & Partnerships

As an answer to increased demand from fans of the brand to expand offerings, Boxed Water Is Better will release four new flavors of their wildly successful boxed water line, set to hit shelves in Q1 of next year.

DTC hair care brand Function of Beauty has entered its first retail partnership with Target, signing a one-year deal to offer their shampoo and conditioners on Target’s website and in stores in what will be the brand’s first brick-and-mortar retail experience.

Ocean Spray introduced a product made with upcycled cranberry seeds to its portfolio, supporting their goal for a zero-waste supply chain while containing more fiber than chia seeds as well as zinc and magnesium. 

Bay State Milling’s new product has made baking supplies functional, debuting a high-fiber flour that behaves and tastes like the all-purpose variety but with five times the fiber content, aimed at Americans not getting enough of the nutrient in their normal daily diet (AKA 95% of us). 


Funding & Acquisitions

Whole Earth will buy the top organic sweetener brand in North America, Wholesome Sweeteners, for $180 million, the companies announced in a statement. 

Food conglomerate Post Holdings is set to acquire egg product producer Almark Foods for an undisclosed amount in a transaction that is expected to be finalized in the first quarter of 2021.

Egg Innovations LLC announced that it acquired Peckish brand for an undisclosed amount, advancing the former’s presence in the ethical egg category.

Israeli startup Remilk, producer of animal-free dairy products, closed an $11.3 million funding round this week, with plans to use the money to expand its production and distribution capabilities. 


The CBD and Hemp Slump

Sales for food and beverage products containing hemp or CBD are down 75% so far this year compared to 2019, according to the New Hope Network/Nutrition Business Journal. Makers of products with these ingredients shouldn’t fret yet, however, as experts say there is still room for growth, especially in the RTD drink and bars section. Perhaps the biggest obstacle currently faced by the industry is the FDA’s ruling that CBD cannot legally be used in foods, since it has already been approved for use in a prescription drug. CEO and co-founder of Caliper Foods, Justin Singer says that sometimes brands can get around that restriction by labeling them as containing hemp instead, which opens up more opportunities for retail partnerships. “I still think RTD is an untapped category,” Mr. Singer said. “The idea that RTD beverages have reached their limit in independent grocers and convenience stores is laughable. This is a massive opportunity still waiting.”


Ethical Grey Areas

A study published in Plos One has found that 13% of research articles published in top nutrition journals in 2018 were backed by the food industry, with 56% of such articles drawing conclusions that favor the involved companies. For articles without involvement from the food industry, the rate of findings that favored business interests dropped to just 10%. While the separation of science and business is a necessary component of independent studies, lead author for Plos One and public health data scientist Gary Sacks notes that the influence of food industry involvement is not always obvious. 

Within the food industry, processed food manufacturers were the group most likely to be involved with studies, while the occurrence is not as high for other sectors. The recurring theme in research articles with such involvement is that many of them take stances that either conclude that there are health benefits to a certain product, or undermine evidence that a product poses any health or safety concerns. Several examples of this have been seen in recent years, with Coca Cola trying to influence the WHO’s global campaign to end obesity by advocating for exercise rather than diet, and another occurrence several years later when the CPG giant made their funded research groups sign agreements that their studies could be shut down by the company without reason.

While these ties have led to a distrust between consumers and the research groups that they rely on to provide factual information, public opinion may discourage companies from becoming too involved in any scientific arenas. Studies have shown that consumers are willing to switch brands to support corporations that are honest and transparent, acting as a financial incentive for companies to respect the trust given to them by their customers to stay in shoppers’ favor.


Sustainability's Moment

There have been several new events in the world of sustainability and CPG this week, making for some eco-friendly and innovative news.

Mars Food announced that through their partnership with packaging company Amcor, the two will develop the industry’s first microwaveable rice pouch that is 100% recyclable, set to launch in mid-2021 to limited markets.

Nestlé will invest in Timeplast, a sustainable packaging startup that is working to minimize the impact of toxic chemicals released into the environment from improperly recycled plastic packaging. While the investment amount was not disclosed, the two announced that they will form a new operation, TPN Alliance Polymers, that will hopefully bring an option to the market that can decrease plastic pollution within the current recycling system. This collaboration comes not long after Nestlé announced their goal of hitting 50% PET plastic across its portfolio by 2025.

A group with some of the top names the CPG industry, including Mondelez, P&G, and Unilever, has pledged to adopt a set of rules related to improving the recyclability of their plastic packaging by 2025. Packaging for the group’s products makes up 10% of the world’s global plastic packaging market, making this move hugely impactful for the sustainability efforts that the CPG industry as a whole is aiming to make.

Good Reads

What's selling in 2020's holiday season, by Caroline Jansen, Retail Dive

The future is not what it used to be: How digitization will revolutionize the food system, by René Lammers, Food Dive

Why Kraft Heinz leaders say their new strategy will drive growth beyond the pandemic, by Megan Poinski, Food Dive

Consumers Are Learning That Cooking Isn’t That Hard, Says McCormick, by Paul Hiebert, Adweek

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