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The Wizard of Lightbulb Moments

The Wizard is constantly scanning industry news to maintain our trend forward stance. These “Lightbulb Moments” are quick insights on critical shifts in trends, research, and other happenings impacting food and beverage companies.

More than half of consumers shop at a store specifically for its private brand

Daymon found that consumers are continuing to reject the idea that national brands are best, with 85% saying that they trust private label and 81% saying that they buy private label product during every shopping trip, according to its 2019 Private Brand Intelligence Report.  Across all categories (food, household, pet, and personal care) private label dollar sales rose 4% in 2018 according to Nielsen Scan Data, nearly six times the growth of national brands.


Lightbulb Moment: The US is following in the footsteps of Europe which has a long history with private label.  Now that the quality is rising, the fact that there is not as much of a savings isn’t necessarily a deterrent.  Interested in understanding other consumer shopping behaviors? That’s where Culinary Tides, Inc. comes in.

Consumer fear of sugar is mounting – but is it deserved and what alternatives will consumers accept?

Roughly one-third of Americans believe sugar is the source of calories most likely to cause weight gain, prompting about 50% of consumers to look for the sweetening agent on the nutrition panel and ingredient deck and 46% to say they strongly want to reduce their consumption of sugar, according to research by Kerry.  In response, food and beverage manufacturers increasingly are calling out their sugar reduction efforts, resulting in a 14% increase in sugar-free claims from 2011 to 2015, and a 21% increase in no sugar added label claims and a 32% increase in low sugar claims, according to Cargill.  But just because consumers’ fear of sugar is mounting, doesn’t mean they are willing to sacrifice sweetness or sacrifice other ‘clean label’ values, such as a growing distaste for ‘artificial’ sweeteners and a desire for ‘natural’ ingredients – trapping manufacturers between a rock and a hard place.


Lightbulb Moment: The most exciting products coming out of this trend are the no sugar, no sweetener beverages like Spindrift and others.  I am so proud of Americans!  Want to know what else consumers are fearful of? That’s where Culinary Tides, Inc. comes in.

Cost, technology and regulations: Just how viable are cell-based meats?

It’s much hyped in the media and flavor of the month among investors, but how viable are cell-based meats as a ‘clean protein’ source to tackle global demand. None of these prototypes have moved into the commercial market yet.  High costs have been cited as a major reason for this.  A similar pattern was observed for Future Meat Technologies.  The report cited a company’s current production costs at $795 per kg of minced meat as of May 2018, but this was predicted to drop to $5.00 to $9.90) by 2020.  To meet commercial needs, companies are looking at developing ‘immortalized’ cell lines, which could involve GMO.  All challenges aside, the authors advocated for more customer education prior to market entry if the cell-based sector is to enjoy any sort of mainstream success.  It is unclear whether consumers will embrace the products.  Perceptions of unnaturalness and fear of unfamiliar foods could compromise adoption. 


Lightbulb Moment: With all of the obstacles – cost, production, consumer acceptance – is this another example of technology for technology’s sake? Just cause it can be done … should it? Interested in learning where this and other trends stand with consumers? That’s where Culinary Tides, Inc. comes in.

Study finds ‘healthy’ kid’s snacks could be contributing to growing obesity crisis

The team from the University of Glasgow examined 332 products from 41 different brands, including breakfast cereals, fruit snacks, fruit-based drinks, dairy products and ready meals, sold in seven major UK supermarkets between 2016 and 2017. They concluded that close to half the products (41.0%) were classified as less healthy.  Cereal bars were likely to be classified as less healthy, followed by breakfast cereals and fruit snacks.  Marketing methods They also noted the use of cartoon characters, toys and promotions (91.6%), nutrition claims (41.6%) and health claims (19.6%) were common marketing techniques.  The ‘one-of-five-a-day’ claim was also prevalent (41.6%); however, 103 of the products examined, or 75.4%, actually contained less than 80g of fruit and vegetables.  The study also revealed the sugar content was still high in fruit snacks (16.2g/100g), cereal bars (7.5g/100g) and breakfast cereals (8g/100g), despite Public Health England’s target to reduce sugar by 20% by 2020. 


Lightbulb Moment: This is a lawsuit waiting to happen…I can hear the sirens already.  Interested in learning the current snack trends that have legs? That’s where Culinary Tides, Inc. comes in.

Diets low in whole grains, fruit and nuts associated with 1 in 5 deaths

A suboptimal diet lacking in whole grains, fruit, nuts and seeds, vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids is responsible for more deaths than any other risk factors globally, according to the University of Washington’s Global Burden of Disease report, which tracked consumption trends of 15 dietary factors in 195 countries between 1990 to 2017, concluded that one in five deaths are associated with poor diet.  In 2017, this figure equated to 11 million deaths.  More than five million of these occurred among adults under 70 years of age.  In addition, poor diet was associated with 25 million of all disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) among adults during this time.


Lightbulb Moment: One of the reasons this study could be conducted is because of the years of vilifying grains and other carbs.  There is now enough of the population limiting their diets based on misinformation the promotion of key food categories as “the enemy” that are responsible for all your diet woes.  Want to learn how to promote when up against obstacles? That’s where Culinary Tides, Inc. comes in.

Social media influencers unfit for weight management advice

Researchers warns that social media influencers with weight management blogs may not offer credible or trustworthy advice…  A new study in the UK has assessed the underlying nutrition and weight management information provided by some of the most popular UK influencers.  The findings reveal that just one of the nine most popular UK bloggers studied met the researchers’ credibility indicators.  This misinformation can act to undermine efforts of evidence-based campaigns by public health organizations.  Also, if they are providing recipes that are high in calories but claim to help with weight loss – this might hinder any weight loss.


Lightbulb Moment: The same problem can be seen here in the USA.  If your company is in the habit of posting weight management or health advice, make sure you have an RD backing you up.  A lawsuit would favor the complainant.  Interested in how social media is influencing your trend? That’s where Culinary Tides, Inc. comes in.

Portion sizes ‘have sustained effect’ on children

New research in the US suggests young children are more greatly affected by portion sizes than previously anticipated.  Scientists from Pennsylvania State University conducted a study among preschool children aged between three and five years old.  First, they were served a baseline portion; then, in the other period, all the portions were increased by 50%.  The results indicate that increasing the portion size led to higher levels of consumption by both weight and energy.  The research suggests that previous thinking that young children will self-regulate their consumption until they have simply had enough food, could be wrong.


Lightbulb Moment: It will be interesting to see if these study results can be replicated.  And if so, that will be a sad day. Want to learn how this impacts child nutritional messaging? That’s where Culinary Tides, Inc. comes in.

Mississippi and South Dakota criminalize misuse of term ‘meat’

The new laws are similar to one passed in Missouri that is the subject of a federal lawsuit, while a Montana bill awaits the governor’s signature. Montana, Mississippi and South Dakota are the three latest states to pass legislation to prohibit labeling products that are not from a slaughtered animal as meat.  While Mississippi and South Dakota’s bills are now law, Montana’s bill is still awaiting the signature of Gov.  Steve Bullock. 


Lightbulb Moment: This law not only affects plant-based meats but potentially cell-based or lab-grown meat.  Let’s see if this goes the way of the “dairy” fight.  Want to understand the drivers behind the new laws? That’s where Culinary Tides, Inc. comes in.

Gen Z prefers Instagram when hearing from brands

90% of teens report using Instagram at least once a month, according to Piper Jaffray’s semiannual, “Taking Stock With Teens” survey.  Among the teens surveyed, 70% said they prefer brands to contact them about new products through Instagram, with Snapchat following as the preferred method for brand engagement at about 50%.  However, Snapchat is the favored social media channel, with 41% of those surveyed naming it as their favorite, compared to 35% for Instagram. 


Lightbulb Moment: Don’t expect Gen Z to follow in the footsteps of Gen Y.  They are the children of Gen X and so their personalities more closely resemble the independent thinking of Gen X than the herd behavior Gen Y exhibits. Want to know more about navigating Gen Z’s motivations? That’s where Culinary Tides, Inc. comes in.

FDA Schedules First CBD Public Hearing for May 31

The FDA has scheduled the first public hearing on cannabidiol (CBD) and at the same time announcing a handful of other steps to ease this emerging ingredient into regulation. But the agency also emphasized that CBD is not allowed in food or beverage products at this time.  CBD is a drug, according to the agency, and, like all drugs, must be studied carefully as it enters widespread use.  The public hearing will give interested parties the opportunity to provide the FDA with input relevant to the agency’s regulatory strategy, as well as the pathways by which appropriate products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds can be marketed, and how to make these legal pathways more efficient. 


Lightbulb Moment: The interesting thing about CBD is that the food industry does not seem to be phased by the fact that it is a drug, not an ingredient.  The food or beverage that it is formulated with must make a cohesive story.  For instance, to put CBD into an energy beverage would entirely defeat the purpose.  To prove efficacy to the FDA the marriage between CBD and product must make sense.  Do you have an approach to engage the FDA to legitimize the use of CBD in a product? That’s where Culinary Tides, Inc. comes in.

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