This week, a plant that's nearly identical to marijuana is set to become legal to grow in the US.
Thanks to the US Farm Bill, which the House passed on Wednesday in a 369 to 47 vote, American farmers will be able to plant and harvest hemp, a strain of the same plant species from which marijuana originates. The bill passed the Senate Tuesday in an 87 to 13 vote, and President Donald Trump has indicated his support.
Hemp legalization has been a longtime goal of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, who believes it can help replace tobacco as a key crop for his state's farmers.
Read more here.
As our final event of the 2018 calendar, Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network partnered with Mintel, a CFBN member and leading market intelligence agency here in Chicago, for an event for local start-up companies. Hosted at their headquarters overlooking the river and across from the Merchandise Mart, the evening kicked off with a presentation by Mintel’s Director of Trends and Social Media Research, Gabrielle Lieberman and Director of Innovation and Insight, Lynn Dornblaser. The deep dive, titled "How Consumer Trends Drive Product Innovation" explored the channel of health and good for you products, and how brands are rethinking plastic and packing - and the impact of both of these changes on the international products market.
Companies then broke out into round-table conversations with analysts exploring the following content areas:
Using Packaging to Engage with Consumers
Shifts in Consumer Interest in Plant-Based Food & Drink
How On-Pack Product Positioning Statements Influence Consumers
Flavor Trends in Foodservice
Innovations in Beverages
Shifts in Consumer Perceptions of “Better for You” Food & Drink
Innovating for the i-Gen (ages 11-23): Emerging Trends in Food Preferences
Using Social Media to Connect with Consumers
The roundtable format, similar to a professional “speed dating” allowed companies to move amongst their five interest areas and have more in-depth, smaller group conversations about the content area. Companies also had the opportunity to submit samples to Mintel’s Purchase Intelligence tool that provides comprehensive customer feedback on the submitted products. The evening concluded with a bit of networking while Merchandise Mart’s light show played across the river for guests to enjoy.
Thank you again to our member, Mintel, for hosting this great event - we are looking forward to additional collaborations in 2019! And thank you to all of our members for your support and engagement at all of our 2018 events, stay tuned for more in the year ahead!
It’s a breezy evening and three young professionals are catching up for a quick cuppa at a popular outdoor café after work. The conversation ranges from the weather (excellent) and new places in town (the new, large microbrewery in the city’s northern parts) to music (Bob Dylan’s new album) and, of course, family and work (largely boring). When it’s time to order food, there is instant consensus – everyone is hunting for the healthiest options on the café’s menu. Multigrain bruschetta, perhaps? Salad? Yogurt parfait? Anything that doesn’t have sugar or carbohydrates will do.
Over the past five years, a whole host of health food start-ups have taken root in the country. And in just a short span of time, this ecosystem has already evolved to cater to—seemingly—every single conceivable health food need and fad.
Read more here
Emerging technologies are transforming how we produce, distribute, and consume what we eat by bringing food to people instead of bringing people to food. A new report by the Refresh Working Group featuring Food Tank, Google, the US Chamber of Commerce, and more than twenty other partners, called Refresh: Food and Tech, from Soil to Supper, highlights more than 20 digital platforms and artificial intelligence algorithms being adopted across the U.S. food supply chain by farmers, distributors, grocers, retailers, and consumers.
Today, AI and machine learning offer the opportunity to bring a greater level of certainty to the notoriously uncertain business of farming. By using the processing power of AI to collect and analyze multiple sources of data out in the field, farmers are working with analytical tools to make decisions and generate predictions about their yields. Craig Ganssle drew upon his military experience in radio and infrastructure systems with the United States Marine Corps to create FARMWAVE, an app that helps farmers identify plant pathogens, bugs, and weeds. It works by integrating with smartphone cameras, drones, machinery, and field sensors: all of the necessary components in creating the connected farm of the future.
Read more from FoodTechConnect here
Recent inquiries into the deaths of two British teenagers after eating sesame and peanut highlighted the sometimes tragic consequences. In August, a six-year-old girl in Western Australia died as the result of a dairy allergy.
The rise in allergies in recent decades has been particularly noticeable in the West. Food allergy now affects about 7% of children in the UK and 9% of those in Australia, for example. Across Europe, 2% of adults have food allergies.
At last, it’s here. After months of negotiations, Agriculture Committee leaders from the House of Representatives and Senate announced that they’ve reached an agreement, in principle, on the 2018 Farm Bill—a nearly trillion-dollar legislative package that sets out policies on a range of food and agricultural priorities, from crop subsidies to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps), for the next five years.
“We’re pleased to announce that we’ve reached an agreement in principle on the 2018 Farm Bill,” the lawmakers announced in a statement today. “We are working to finalize legal and report language as well as CBO [Congressional Budget Office] scores, but we still have more work to do. We are committed to delivering a new farm bill to America as quickly as possible.”
Lab-grown meat producers have already turned to big meat companies for funding. Now they could use the industry’s help in displacing regular meat on dinner plates.
According to Andrew Noyes, the head of communications for Just Inc., meat companies are discussing the possibility of helping cell-based meat producers with distribution and providing production facilities. Noyes’s San Francisco-based company already produces plant-based versions of foods such as mayonnaise, eggs and dressings, but is readying to sell its cultured meat -- an area that’s only now preparing to open up to commercial sales.
Read the full article from Bloomberg here
Today’s food system is rife with paradox. We have enough food in the world to feed every mouth, yet 821 million people go hungry every day. We lose or waste 1.3 billion metric tons of produce each year, yet half the global population does not eat a properly nutritious diet. Our food system depends on mitigating climate change, yet agriculture and land-use activities contribute about a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. Why?
These are the unintended consequences of our industrialized food system. Amidst structures optimized to maximize the production, movement and consumption of cheap, empty calories, we have created entrenched patterns that threaten our health and that of our planet.
Read more from Forbes here
If you’re looking to try trend du jour CBD (cannabidiol), the non-hallucinogenic chemical in marijuana, you’ve got a lot of options these days: the trendy ingredient is making its way into sparkling water, beer, candies, and even dog biscuits (okay, you probably won’t try the last one).
Companies big and small are hustling to take advantage of burgeoning consumer demand for CBD. Major beverage corporations like Molson Coors, Lagunitas, and Constellation Brands have all been developing drinks infused with the trendy ingredient. Even Coca-Cola is exploring ways to make use of CBD (though they won’t pull the trigger until the substance is legal throughout the U.S.).
Read more from The Spoon here
The brand will join the Kraft Heinz Springboard, a platform introduced earlier this year aimed at partnering with disruptive food and beverage brands.
Read more here
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