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Period: February 15, 2017 to March 1, 2017
Comment & Opinion or Companies, Organizations or Consumers or Controversies & Disputes or Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing or Earnings Release or Finance, Economics, Tax or Innovation & New Ideas or Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy or Market News or Marketing & Advertising or Other or People & Personalities or Press Release or Products & Brands or Research, Studies, Advice or Supply Chain or Trends

Restaurants React To Demand For Gluten-Free Menus

The demand for gluten-free foods continues to rise in the restaurant sector and, in fact, is spreading to segments like quick-service sandwich and other fast casual eateries. Demand is driven by the increase in the number of people diagnosed with gluten-related disorders. It is expected that gluten-free menu items among U.S. restaurants will double over the next three years to $24 billion, up from $1 billion in 2006 and $11.6 billion in 2015. Also of note: the gluten-free trend has spawned some interesting innovation, for example, the growth of rice and potato flour producers. Smart Flour Foods has used food history to find and produce food sources for gluten-free doughs sing ancient grains, such as teff. 

"Why Gluten-Free isn't a Dying Trend", Fast Casual, January 13, 2017

Government Food Consumption Report Shows Shifting Patterns Since The ‘70s

A new USDA report based on U.S. food availability data (adjusted for food loss) shows that Americans are eating more of the major food groups today than in the 1970s. But within that broad conclusion are some interesting shifts and new patterns. The avocado supply, for example, is up by a whopping 1,342 percent and the lime supply is up 1,654 percent. How about a margarita with your guacamole? Mango consumption is up 3,200 percent, but grapefruit, oranges, peaches, and plums are down. (Apples, melons, and bananas are constant.) Broccoli and mushrooms are way up, though potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and lettuce are constant. Lastly, people are eating more fat, but less animal fat (lard and butter). Salad and cooking oils like canola and olive are up 248 percent.

"Americans are Eating Way More Fat. But it’s Not Butter.", Vox Media, February 02, 2017

Clean Label Frozen Treats May Lead To Sales Growth

The food industry has gotten the message from consumers that sugary, nutrition-free and calorie-packed ice cream is no longer acceptable They are now making healthier, “yet still decadent,” frozen treats, says researcher Packaged Facts. Today there are a growing number of ice creams and frozen desserts that eschew soy, gluten, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, and genetically modified ingredients, not to mention much less fat and sugar. Some of the new products are organic. Consumers are apparently pleased with the results. Ice cream and other frozen treats are a mature market – 85 percent of households buy ice cream routinely. Sales have been steady in recent years. But Packaged Facts says the new attention being paid to clean label frozen desserts could spark a revival of sales growth. 

""Free From" Ice Cream Trending in $28 Billion Market", News release, Packaged Facts, February 06, 2017

A Pasta-Rich Mediterranean Diet Is A Healthful Diet

A pasta-rich diet is an indicator of a more healthful diet generally, according to a study presented at a recent scientific meeting. Pasta eaters tend to consume more minerals and nutrients like folate, iron, magnesium, and dietary fiber. All of these help reduce blood cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Because it is a low glycemic index food, pasta, a major component of the Mediterranean diet, also helps to manage blood sugar levels. Pasta consumption is also associated with less intake of saturated fat and sugar that adds calories but no essential nutrients. 

"Here's Why You Should Eat More Pasta", The Express Tribune, February 07, 2017

Online Weight Loss Support Forums Help Dieters Keep Up Their Spirits

A Norwegian researcher who studied the diary of an online weight loss forum has determined that participants who are active in such groups, actually “confessing” to their diet failures, receive a form of “forgiveness” from other forum participants. In other words, the “self-blaming posts elicited absolutional replies.” The encouraging replies to reports of “challenges, problems and failures” seem to make the long and stressful road to shedding pounds a little easier to follow. In many cases, a dieter’s confessional post elicits a large number of responses because users support each other, and hope to get support when they need it. Researcher Ingeborg Grønning says: “Losing weight is a long process, you have to work hard and persistently to succeed. Encouragement from others helps keep spirits up.”

"Online Weight-Loss Groups Can Be Beneficial", Nutrition Insight, February 07, 2017

Europe’s Soft Drink Makers To Lower Sugar Content Another Ten Percent

Responding to evolving consumer preferences regarding sugar consumption, European soft drink manufacturers have agreed to cut sugar levels another ten percent within three years. The decision is also a response to pressure from Member States and the European Commission for coordinated product reformulation. UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe, which represents European makers of nonalcoholic drinks such as carbonates, fruit-based beverages and dilutables, announced the decision. UNESDA members say they will try various approaches to achieving the goal, including innovation, reformulation, using smaller pack sizes and encouraging consumers to choose low- and no-calorie drinks. UNESDA represents 80 percent of the European soft drinks industry by value.

"European Soft Drinks Sector Commits to Reduce Added Sugars by a Further 10%", Food Ingredients 1st, February 07, 2017

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