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Food Prices to Rise 40 Percent, Study Says

Food Prices to Rise 40 Percent, Study Says

Could these prices increase over time?

OK, so not only is climate change killing off adorable polar bears (nooooo), but it's also messing with our food system?

A new study published in the journal Climate Change found that the overall effect of climate change could reduce food production by 0.5 percent by the end of the decade. Even scarier? Food production could decrease by 2.3 percent mid-century.

Price wise, this means that the cost of staple foods like sugar, wheat, and grains could increase by 40 percent. Fruits and vegetables could be 30 percent more expensive; rice, 20 percent.

The study took into consideration the effects of changes in precipitation, temperature, CO2, river flow, and land area. "Often the impacts of climate on food and water are treated separately, but really the interaction is very important as agriculture is one of the dominant consumers of freshwater," Dr. Andy Wiltshire, co-author, told Carbon Brief. An increase in carbon dioxide, one of the main sources of food, could help increase plant production, but a change in temperature would have a larger effect on depleting crops (see: droughts). So the future? Looking bleak. Let's all drive electric cars.

⟺ke' Sales Trick Customers at Major Stores, Study Says

It’s hard to resist a good sale. See something that’s 40 or 50 percent off and you may want to grab it before the price goes back to normal. Retailers know that.

But is that “sale” price really a special, reduced price?

Not always, according to a new study by the non-profit Center for the Study of Services, also known as Consumers’ Checkbook. They concluded that some well-known stores seemed to have perpetual sales on certain items, so the “discounted” price is really the regular price.

“We believe that whenever a store has something that’s offered at a sale price for more than half the time, they’re misleading their customers. And in the case of Sears and Kohl’s and often Macy’s, it’s almost all the time,” said Kevin Brasler, Checkbook’s executive editor. “They're using the illusion of deep discounts to keep people from shopping around.”

Sears and Macy’s challenge the group’s study and conclusions. Both companies told NBC News they comply with all laws and regulations and work hard to offer their customers good prices. Kohl’s did not return multiple requests for comment.

Processed Foods and Health

Processed foods are generally thought to be inferior to unprocessed foods. They may bring to mind a packaged food item containing many ingredients, perhaps even artificial colors, flavors, or other chemical additives. Often referred to as convenience or pre-prepared foods, processed foods are suggested to be a contributor to the obesity epidemic and rising prevalence of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. However, the definition of a processed food varies widely depending on the source:

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines a processed food as one that has undergone any changes to its natural state—that is, any raw agricultural commodity subjected to washing, cleaning, milling, cutting, chopping, heating, pasteurizing, blanching, cooking, canning, freezing, drying, dehydrating, mixing, packaging, or other procedures that alter the food from its natural state. The food may include the addition of other ingredients such as preservatives, flavors, nutrients and other food additives or substances approved for use in food products, such as salt, sugars, and fats.
  • The Institute of Food Technologists includes additional processing terms like storing, filtering, fermenting, extracting, concentrating, microwaving, and packaging. [1]

According to these standards, virtually all foods sold in the supermarket would be classified as “processed” to some degree. Because food begins to deteriorate and lose nutrients as soon as it is harvested, even the apples in the produce aisle undergo four or more processing steps before being sold to the consumer. That’s why in practice, it’s helpful to differentiate between the various degrees of food processing.

Types of food processing

A popular system to classify processed foods was introduced in 2009, called the NOVA classification. It lists four categories detailing the degree to which a food is processed: [2,3]

Unprocessed or minimally processed foods

Processed culinary ingredients

Processed foods

Ultra-processed foods

The NOVA system is recognized by the World Health Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization, and the Pan American Health Organization, but not currently in the U.S. by the Food and Drug Administration or USDA. NOVA has been criticized for being too general in its classification of certain foods, causing confusion. For example, yogurt may fall into more than one category: plain yogurt is minimally processed, but fruited yogurt with added sweeteners could be labeled either processed or ultra-processed depending on how much sweetener and other chemical additives are incorporated. NOVA also does not provide comprehensive lists of specific foods in each category, so the consumer is left to guess where each may fall.

Is processed food unhealthy?

There’s no doubt that at least some processed foods are found in most people’s kitchens. They can be time-savers when preparing meals, and some processed and fortified foods provide important nutrients that may not otherwise be obtained in a busy household or one that has a limited food budget. From a nutritional standpoint, processed and even ultra-processed foods can provide key nutrients. Some nutrients like protein are naturally retained throughout processing, and others like B vitamins and iron may be added back if they are lost during processing. Fruits and vegetables that are quickly frozen after harvesting can retain the majority of vitamin C.

Throughout history, foods fortified with specific nutrients have prevented deficiencies and their related health problems in certain populations. Examples include infant cereals fortified with iron and B vitamins to prevent anemia, milk fortified with vitamin D to prevent rickets, wheat flour fortified with folic acid to prevent birth defects, and iodine added to salt to prevent goiter.

Processing by certain methods like pasteurization, cooking, and drying can destroy or inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria. Additives such as emulsifiers preserve the texture of foods, such as preventing peanut butter from separating into solid and liquid parts. Other functions of processing include delaying the spoilage of food preserving desirable sensory qualities of food (flavor, texture, aroma, appearance) and increasing convenience in preparing a complete meal.

But food processing also has drawbacks. Depending on the degree of processing, many nutrients can be destroyed or removed. Peeling outer layers of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains may remove plant nutrients (phytochemicals) and fiber. Heating or drying foods can destroy certain vitamins and minerals. Although food manufacturers can add back some of the nutrients lost, it is impossible to recreate the food in its original form.

If you are deciding whether or not to include a highly processed food in your diet, it may be useful to evaluate its nutritional content and long-term effect on health. An ultra-processed food that contains an unevenly high ratio of calories to nutrients may be considered unhealthy. For example, research supports an association between a high intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. But some processed foods that contain beneficial nutrients, such as olive oil or rolled oats, have been linked with lower rates of these chronic diseases.

Decoding the ingredients list on a food label

  • The ingredients are listed in order of quantity by weight. This means that the food ingredient that weighs the most will be listed first, and the ingredient that weighs the least is listed last. [5]
  • Some ingredients like sugar and salt may be listed by other names. For example, alternative terms for sugar are corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, agave nectar, cane sugar, evaporated cane juice, coconut sugar, dextrose, malt syrup, molasses, or turbinado sugar. Other terms for sodium include monosodium glutamate or disodium phosphate.
  • If the food is highly processed, it may contain several food additives such as artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. Their ingredient names may be less familiar. Some preservatives promote safety of the food by preventing growth of mold and bacteria. Others help prevent spoilage or “off” flavors from developing. Examples that you may see on the label include:
    • Preservatives—ascorbic acid, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, tocopherols
    • Emulsifiers that prevent separation of liquids and solids—soy lecithin, monoglycerides
    • Thickeners to add texture—xanthan gum, pectin, carrageenan, guar gum
    • Colors—artificial FD&C Yellow No. 6 or natural beta-carotene to add yellow hues

    Ingredients used widely in the production of highly/ultra-processed foods such as saturated fats, added sugar, and sodium have become markers of poor diet quality due to their effect on heart disease, obesity, and high blood pressure. [6,7] It is estimated that ultra-processed foods contribute about 90% of the total calories obtained from added sugars. [4]

    • In 2015, the World Health Organization categorized processed meats as cancer-causing to humans. They defined “processed meat” as meat that has been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking, or other processes to enhance flavor or improve preservation. The statement was made after 22 scientists from the International Agency for Research on Cancer Working Group evaluated more than 800 studies on the topic. The evidence on processed meats was strongest for colorectal cancer, followed by stomach cancer. [8]
    • An analysis of the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study found that a higher intake of ultra-processed foods like processed meats and potato chips was associated with weight gain over 4 years. [9] Other studies suggest that the more that ultra-processed foods are eaten, the greater the risk of a diet lacking in important nutrients. An evaluation of the dietary intakes of 9,317 U.S. participants in an NHANES cohort found that higher intakes of ultra-processed foods were linked with greater consumption of refined carbohydrate, added sugars, and saturated fat. At the same time, intakes of fiber, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, and vitamins A, C, D, and E decreased. [10]
    • Another observational study among nearly 20,000 Spanish university graduates in the Seguimiento University of Navarra cohort found that higher consumption (more than 4 servings per day) of ultra-processed food was associated with a 62% increased risk of death from any cause compared with lower consumption (less than 2 servings per day). For each additional daily serving of ultra-processed food, there was an 18% increased risk of death. Based on their findings, the researchers noted the importance of policies that limit the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet and promote consumption of unprocessed or minimally processed foods to improve global public health. [11] Other cohort studies in France (NutriNet Santé) and the U.S. (NHANES) have also found that consumption of ultra-processed foods was directly associated with high all-cause mortality. [12,13]
    • In 2019, a randomized controlled trial looked at whether ultra-processed foods, as defined under the NOVA classification, might indeed cause people to eat more. Ten men and ten women were randomized to receive either an ultra-processed diet or unprocessed diet for 14 days, followed by 14 more days of the alternate diet. The diets were relatively equal in calories, sugar, fat, fiber, and other nutrients, and participants were allowed to eat as much or as little as they liked. The study found that participants ate about 500 calories more on the ultra-processed diet and also gained weight (about 2 pounds). [14] Most of the extra calories came from carbohydrate and fats, and the diet also increased their sodium intake. When the participants changed to the unprocessed diet, they ate fewer calories and lost the weight. According to appetite surveys, the diets did not differ in levels of hunger, fullness, and satisfaction, though participants tended to eat faster on the ultra-processed diet.

    The bottom line

    Food processing is a spectrum that ranges from basic technologies like freezing or milling, to the incorporation of additives that promote shelf stability or increase palatability. As a general rule, emphasizing unprocessed or minimally processed foods in the daily diet is optimal. That said, the use of processed foods is the choice of the consumer, and there are pros and cons that come with each type. The Nutrition Facts Label and ingredients list can be useful tools in deciding when to include a processed food in the diet. There is evidence showing an association with certain types of food processing and poor health outcomes (especially highly- or ultra-processed foods). This association applies mainly to ultra-processed foods that contain added sugars, excess sodium, and unhealthful fats.

    1. Weaver CM, Dwyer J, Fulgoni III VL, King JC, Leveille GA, MacDonald RS, Ordovas J, Schnakenberg D. Processed foods: contributions to nutrition. The American journal of clinical nutrition. 2014 Apr 2399(6):1525-42.
    2. Monteiro CA. Nutrition and health. The issue is not food, nor nutrients, so much as processing. Public health nutrition. 2009 May12(5):729-31.
    3. Monteiro CA, Cannon G, Moubarac JC, Levy RB, Louzada ML, Jaime PC. The UN Decade of Nutrition, the NOVA food classification and the trouble with ultra-processing. Public Health Nutrition. 2018 Jan21(1):5-17.
    4. Steele EM, Baraldi LG, da Costa Louzada ML, Moubarac JC, Mozaffarian D, Monteiro CA. Ultra-processed foods and added sugars in the US diet: evidence from a nationally representative cross-sectional study. BMJ open. 2016 Jan 16(3):e009892.
    5. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Food Labeling Guide: Guidance for Industry. January 2013.
    6. Tapsell LC, Neale EP, Satija A, Hu FB. Foods, nutrients, and dietary patterns: interconnections and implications for dietary guidelines. Advances in Nutrition. 2016 May 97(3):445-54.
    7. Poti JM, Braga B, Qin B. Ultra-processed Food Intake and Obesity: What Really Matters for Health—Processing or Nutrient Content?. Current obesity reports. 2017 Dec 16(4):420-31.
    8. Bouvard V, Loomis D, Guyton KZ, Grosse Y, El Ghissassi F, Benbrahim-Tallaa L, Guha N, Mattock H, Straif K. Carcinogenicity of consumption of red and processed meat. The Lancet Oncology. 2015 Dec 116(16):1599-600.
    9. Mozaffarian D, Hao T, Rimm EB, Willett WC, Hu FB. Changes in diet and lifestyle and long-term weight gain in women and men. New England Journal of Medicine. 2011 Jun 23364(25):2392-404.
    10. Steele EM, Popkin BM, Swinburn B, Monteiro CA. The share of ultra-processed foods and the overall nutritional quality of diets in the US: evidence from a nationally representative cross-sectional study. Population health metrics. 2017 Dec15(1):6.
    11. Rico-Campà A, Martínez-González MA, Alvarez-Alvarez I, de Deus Mendonça R, de la Fuente-Arrillaga C, Gómez-Donoso C, Bes-Rastrollo M. Association between consumption of ultra-processed foods and all cause mortality: SUN prospective cohort study. BMJ. 2019 May 29365:l1949.
    12. Schnabel L, Kesse-Guyot E, Allès B, Touvier M, Srour B, Hercberg S, Buscail C, Julia C. Association Between Ultraprocessed Food Consumption and Risk of Mortality Among Middle-aged Adults in France. JAMA internal medicine. 2019 Feb 11.
    13. Kim H, Hu EA, Rebholz CM. Ultra-processed food intake and mortality in the USA: results from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III, 1988–1994). Public health nutrition. 2019 Feb 21:1-9.
    14. Hall KD, Ayuketah A, Brychta R, Cai H, Cassimatis T, Chen KY, Chung ST, Costa E, Courville A, Darcey V, Fletcher LA. Ultra-processed diets cause excess calorie intake and weight gain: an inpatient randomized controlled trial of ad libitum food intake. Cell metabolism. 2019 May 16.

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    Healthy Recipe Cards and Food Boxes Provided to Low-Income Families Nationwide

    Herbalife Nutrition (NYSE: HLF) in partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, under the Nutrition for Zero Hunger initiative, today announced it will supply 48,000 sets of healthy snack and meal recipe cards as part of Feed the Children’s food boxes distributed to low-income families throughout the U.S. Similar to meal-kit services, the meal and snack recipes, designed by Herbalife Nutrition’s team of nutrition experts and registered dietitians, include affordable ingredients often included in food donation boxes.

    According to a recent global food insecurity survey , commissioned by Feed the Children and Herbalife Nutrition, under the Nutrition for Zero Hunger partnership, 73 percent of Americans have experienced food insecurity, or lack of available financial resources to feed a household, for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Meanwhile, 65 percent have also struggled to eat a diet that aligns with their national dietary guidelines. The survey included over 9,000 respondents from 21 countries.

    According to the food insecurity survey, Americans reported having a hard time following dietary guidelines due to the following barriers:

    56 percent struggle to store fresh foods during the pandemic, due to less frequent trips to the grocery store

    47 percent said healthy food is too expensive

    40 percent are not sure which foods fall into dietary categories

    34 percent do not have healthy food available in their area

    "In creating these recipes, we kept in mind the barriers that many people face when dealing with food insecurity," said Susan Bowerman, M.S., RD, CSSD, CSOWM, FAND, senior director Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training, Herbalife Nutrition. "Our team of experts are eager to continue working towards providing similar materials and resources to all of our Nutrition for Zero Hunger partners."

    The recipes align with the company’s nutrition philosophy and are also suitable for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients. This recipe card campaign intends to offer an educational resource to those suffering from food insecurity in the U.S. to make healthy meals and foster healthy behaviors for a better future. The cards will also be available for download through the Feed the Children corporate partnership page and Herbalife Nutrition’s Nutrition for Zero Hunger page.

    Each set of recipe cards, translated in both English and Spanish, will also include a QR code to a seven-question survey where beneficiaries will be able to provide feedback on ease of directions and simplicity of recipes and taste, and will also allow Feed the Children to track the use of recipes and any impacts on health and wellness.

    "We are excited to bring the nutrition expertise of Herbalife Nutrition to our beneficiaries through convenient materials that will provide education about how to prepare healthy meals. It is our hope that these recipe cards will encourage healthy cooking and nutrition habits that will benefit families for years to come," said Bob Thomas, Chief Corporate and External Relations Officer, Feed the Children. "We expect to learn a great deal from our beneficiaries when they share how they use these resources and what else we might be able to provide."

    For over 40 years, Herbalife Nutrition has been providing good nutrition to communities around the world. As a global leader in nutrition, Herbalife Nutrition, in partnership with leading nonprofit partners, is helping tackle the global challenges of hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition through Nutrition for Zero Hunger.

    If you are looking for food assistance, visit

    About Herbalife Nutrition

    Herbalife Nutrition is a global company that has been changing people's lives with great nutrition products and a proven business opportunity for its independent distributors since 1980. The Company offers high-quality, science-backed products, sold in over 90 countries by entrepreneurial distributors who provide one-on-one coaching and a supportive community that inspires their customers to embrace a healthier, more active lifestyle. Through the Company’s global campaign to eradicate hunger, Herbalife Nutrition is also committed to bringing nutrition and education to communities around the world.

    About Feed the Children

    At Feed the Children, we feed hungry kids. We envision a world where no child goes to bed hungry. In the U.S. and internationally, we are dedicated to helping families and communities achieve stable lives and to reducing the need for help tomorrow, while providing food and resources to help them today. We distribute product donations from corporate donors to local community partners, we provide support for teachers and students, and we mobilize resources quickly to aid recovery efforts when natural disasters strike. Internationally, we manage child-focused community development programs in 9 countries. We welcome partnerships because we know our work would not be possible without collaborative relationships. Visit for more information.

    About Nutrition for Zero Hunger

    Through Nutrition for Zero Hunger, Herbalife Nutrition is helping tackle rising global hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition. As a leader in the nutrition industry, we are committed to addressing this need through combined efforts for access to healthy nutrition and nutrition education. Nutrition for Zero Hunger aligns with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 2, which calls for bold action to end malnutrition in all its forms by 2030, as well as solutions to end global hunger and improve nutrition worldwide. The initiative addresses global hunger, food security and malnutrition through key commitments to ensure greater access, education and empowerment of healthy nutrition worldwide.

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    SEC approves Nasdaq proposal to allow IPO alternative to raise funds

    In a filing dated May 19, the SEC said Nasdaq's proposed rule change was consistent with the regulator's rules and regulations and could be beneficial to investors as an alternative to a traditional initial public offering. The move is a big breakthrough for the exchange operator that has been pushing for an alternative for companies to raise money. Reuters had reported in August that Nasdaq had filed with the SEC to change its rules to enable companies that debut on the stock market through a direct listing to raise capital.

    How Dovish Monetary Policy Affects Interest Rates

    The U.S. central bank, known as the Federal Reserve, has a dual mandate of managing inflation and promoting full employment. When Fed officials are said to be “dovish,” it means they are more interested in promoting job creation than in … Continue reading → The post How Dovish Monetary Policy Affects Interest Rates appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.

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    Why Nvidia Stock Jumped After Announcement Of Four-For-One Split?

    The stock is trying to settle above the $600 level.

    Why Do I Owe State Taxes?

    Filing taxes may not be your favorite financial chore but it is a necessary one to stay in the good graces of the IRS. Why do I owe state taxes is a question you might have if filing your return … Continue reading → The post Why Do I Owe State Taxes? appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.

    Nvidia Shares Jump After Announcing 4-for-1 Stock Split

    (Bloomberg) -- Nvidia Corp. shares jumped Friday after the graphics-chipmaker said it would split its shares 4-for-1 in an effort to make them more accessible to investors and employees.The split, in the form of a stock dividend, is subject to shareholder approval at the Santa Clara, California-based company’s annual meeting on June 3, Nvidia said in a statement Friday. The move, if approved, would increase the common stock to 4 billion shares. The shares jumped 3.1% as trading got underway in New York Friday.Currently Nvidia has about 622.4 million shares outstanding, valuing the company at $363.8 billion, based on Thursday’s closing share price of $584.50. The stock has gained 12% so far this year.If shareholders approve the plan, each Nvidia stockholder of record on June 21 will receive a dividend of three additional shares of common stock for every share held, to be distributed after the close of trading on July 19. Trading is expected to begin on a stock split-adjusted basis on July 20.More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

    Nvidia Gains on 4:1 Stock Split Amid Chip Shortage

    Nvidia sets 4-for-1 stock split, shares rise

    The company's stock, which was last up at over $600 in premarket trading, has gained nearly 12% this year after its value more than doubled in 2020. Stock splits can potentially attract retail investors who make small trades. Santa Clara, California-based Nvidia said stock holders of record on July 21 would receive dividend of three additional shares after the close of trading on July 19, with the stock trading on a split-adjusted basis beginning July 20.

    S&P 500 Price Forecast – S&P 500 Gives Up Early Gains

    The S&P 500 initially rallied on Friday to reach towards the 4200 level before pulling back again. At this point time, the market is likely to continue to grind away in order to build up the necessary momentum to break out.

    Daimler Disagrees With Tesla and VW’s Batteries-or-Bust View

    (Bloomberg) -- Daimler AG’s truck chief expects hydrogen-powered big rigs to play an important role in slashing emissions from the transportation sector despite the technological hurdles and skepticism raised by two prominent rivals.Focusing solely on battery-electric vehicles would be risky because of the scarcity of certain raw materials and challenges grids will have supporting wide-ranging charging networks for trucks and buses, Martin Daum, Daimler Truck’s chief executive officer, said in a phone interview.“We cannot afford to bank on just one technology to reach the climate goals,” Daum said. “The focus until 2025 will be 100% on battery-electric vehicles. Between 2025 and 2035, we’re going to need both battery-electric and fuel cell vehicles because the massively growing infrastructure requirements require a two-legged approach.”Fuel cells, which generate electricity from hydrogen and therefore eliminate the need to recharge batteries, have been touted for years as a potential alternative to combustion engines. But high costs and sparse fueling infrastructure have stood in the way of broader adoption and left the technology far behind battery-electric powertrains in the passenger-car market.Electrifying commercial vehicles is more complex -- they’re larger, heavier and used for everything from deliveries to supermarkets in urban areas to long-haul transport in remote areas. Daimler recently formed a joint venture with rival Volvo AB to jointly develop fuel cell stacks.Daimler’s DetractorsWhile prominent industry leaders including Tesla Inc.’s Elon Musk and Volkswagen AG’s Herbert Diess have repeatedly criticized fuel cells and argued battery power is the only way forward, Daimler and Volvo aren’t alone in seeing long-term potential.“Decarbonization of the energy mix represents the most profound shift in energy since the start of the industrial revolution,” Sanford Bernstein analysts led by Neil Beveridge said in a note to clients. “It is simply impossible to reach net zero by 2050 without hydrogen playing a major role.”Daimler’s truck division is the world’s largest maker of commercial vehicles and on track to be spun off from the Mercedes-Benz luxury-car operations this year. The split reflects the diverging technology trends between passenger cars and commercial vehicles. Both will need enormous investment in new technology to comply with stricter emissions standards.Daum, 61, mapped out more aggressive profitability targets on Thursday and objectives to generate the funds needed to navigate the industry’s transformation.“We want to be a resilient company that can avoid losses even in difficult years,” he said. The unit plans to list at the Frankfurt stock exchange later this year and could enter the country’s blue-chip DAX Index.Global PresenceDaimler boasts a truly global footprint that’s unique among commercial-vehicle manufacturers. While Volvo just trimmed its presence in Asia by selling its UD Trucks business in Japan, VW’s Traton SE unit is finishing its takeover of U.S. truckmaker Navistar International Corp. next quarter.Apart from Mercedes trucks, Daimler’s trucks and buses division comprises Fuso in Japan, BharatBenz in India, Setra in Germany and Freightliner, Thomas Built and Western Star in North America.The company has relied heavily on profits from Freightliner in recent years, as North America tends to generate much of the industry’s earnings. Executives said Thursday that boosting profitability at European operations will be a top priority and pledged to reduce personnel and material costs to become more competitive in the region.Asked whether Daimler may consider an acquisition of CNH Industrial NV’s Italian business Iveco, Daum said his focus is on the company’s own operations. “I don’t see the need for us to add an asset to our European business,” he said. “There are no plans for any structural changes.”More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

    Crypto Hedge Funds Buy the Dip in Bitcoin’s Week of Reckoning

    (Bloomberg) -- Felix Dian is in fighting spirits after this week’s crypto meltdown.Like many pros, the former Morgan Stanley trader says Bitcoin’s volatility actually shows why hedge funds are in the digital-currency game: To ride boom and bust cycles with diversified bets so clients don’t get killed at times like this.Something is working. His $80 million crypto-focused fund at MVPQ Capital is up 14% in May and has more than tripled in value this year. In contrast, Bitcoin has plunged almost 30% this month, cutting the advance for 2021 to 42%.“We had kept dry powder,” he said in an interview from London. He took advantage of Wednesday’s price collapse and bought Bitcoin when it was trading around $35,000.Crypto-Crash Autopsy Shows Billions Erased in Flash LiquidationsNot everyone’s been so lucky. Scores have seen their fortunes dashed this week in a cascade of selling across crypto markets. Investors spent some $410 billion buying up Bitcoin during this bull market, according to data from Chainalysis. When prices sank to $36,000 this week, $300 billion of those positions were at a loss.It’s left money managers wrestling with whether the digital currency, which is coming under new regulatory scrutiny in the U.S. and China, still has the makings of a serious asset class or will remain nothing more than a speculative bubble.Bitcoin hovered around $40,000 on Friday, trading up 1% as of 7:15 a.m. in New York. The token has lost 35% since hitting an all-time high of $63,000 in April.Charles Erith, who worked for 24 years in Asian emerging markets before jumping to crypto, said the speculative froth was flushed out this week. He bought Bitcoin as prices were plunging.“At $35,000, we felt it’s a reasonable level at which to be adding,” said Erith, who runs ByteTree Asset Management in London. “It’s obviously not regulated and it’s a very young asset, but I don’t think this is going to be a revisit of 2018.”Data from research firm Chainalysis shows professional investors used the crash as an opportunity to start buying at cheap levels, helping put a floor under the market. Big investors bought 34,000 Bitcoin on Tuesday and Wednesday after reducing holdings by as much as 51,000 bitcoin in the last two weeks, according to data from Chainalysis.“People that were borrowing money to invest, they were wiped from the system,” said Kyle Davies, co-founder at Three Arrows Capital in Singapore. His firm bought more Bitcoin and Ether as prices of the tokens tumbled this week.“Every time we see massive liquidation is a chance to buy,” he added. “I wouldn’t be surprised if Bitcoin and Ethereum retrace the entire drop in a week.”Over in Paris, Loan Venkatapen, founder of Blocklabs Capital Management, blames the recent rout on over-leveraged retail investors but says blockchain and the related technologies “are here to stay.”Unlike Davies, Venkatapen avoided Bitcoin, but bought Ether, Solana and other assets connected with the decentralized finance movement as they sold off.“Bitcoin is not dying, but we expect productive blockchain assets such as Ethereum or Solana to challenge Bitcoin dominance in the coming months,” he said.More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

    Investors shun tech, rush for inflation protection - BofA

    LONDON (Reuters) -Investors pumped money into inflation protection and dumped some tech stocks, BofA's weekly fund flow data showed on Friday, as U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers hinted at discussing tapering of government bond purchases "at some point". Gold funds attracted $1.3 billion, BofA said. Tech stocks are particularly sensitive to rising interest rate expectations because their value rests heavily on future earnings, which are discounted more deeply when rates go up.

    Gold Weekly Price Forecast – Gold Markets Break Down Trendline

    Gold markets have rallied quite nicely during the trading week, breaking above the downtrend line that I have drawn on the chart and even approached the $1800 level.


    The genus name for walnuts comes from the Roman phrase Jupiter glans, or "Jupiter's acorn," which shows you just how godly the Romans believed the nut to be. And still today, the meaty walnut is highly regarded for its nutritional awesomeness. In fact, a new scientific study suggests a handful of walnuts contains almost two times as many disease-fighting antioxidants as an equivalent amount of any other nut! As one of the best dietary sources of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, walnuts have proven particularly good for the heart. One Journal of the American College of Cardiology study found that consuming walnuts one or more times a week was associated with up to a 19% lower risk of total cardiovascular disease and 23% lower risk of coronary heart disease.

    Get the Benefits: High temperatures can destroy walnuts' volatile oils, while prolonged exposure to air can cause the nuts to become rancid. Buy walnuts raw and store them in an airtight container in the fridge (or freezer) for a heart-healthy snack that loves you back. See: 10 Foods You Didn't Know You Could Freeze, But Totally Should.


    Adults crave it, kids will eat it, even horses love it. What's the heart-healthy whole grain seventy-five percent of U.S. households have in their pantry? You guessed it: oatmeal. Oats are rich in a type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan and the anti-inflammatory compound avenanthramide—which, together, help prevent obesity-related health problems including heart disease and diabetes. One 10-year study in the American Journal of Public Health found that eating one serving of oatmeal (1 cup cooked) two to four times a week resulted in a 16 percent reduction in risk of type 2 diabetes. A daily bowl showed an even greater risk reduction of 39 percent. And a second study showed that three servings of whole grains per day, including oats, was as effective as medication in lowering blood pressure, reducing risk of heart disease by 15 percent in just 12 weeks. Need one more reason to trade in your Wheaties? A Colorado State University study showed that oats lower "bad" LDL cholesterol levels more effectively than wheat. And research in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition suggests oatmeal may be the most filling breakfast in the cereal aisle—resulting in greater and longer-lasting feelings of satiety than ready-to-eat breakfast cereal. For more, don't miss 7 Amazing Benefits of Eating Oatmeal.

    Get the Benefits: Steel-cut or rolled oats are the least processed, and will get you the most bennies for your buck the nutrition stats are almost identical, with steel-cut oats sitting just a tad lower on the glycemic index. And think beyond the breakfast bowl: use rolled oats as a swap for breadcrumbs, or pulse into flour for baked goods!

    The Real Costs (and Savings) of Healthy Eating

    How much more does healthy eating cost? In a 2013 study, researchers analyzed the data and came up with a rough answer: about $1.50 more each day per person. That’s the difference between a very healthy diet -- like one high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and fish -- and an unhealthy diet with lots of processed foods, meats, and refined (non-whole) grains.

    On the one hand, that extra cost can add up. For a family of 4, that would be about $2,200 more a year.

    But on the other hand, $1.50 a day may be a lot less expensive than you expected. It’s cheaper than your daily latte. And that doesn’t include the long-term financial savings of healthy eating, such as a lower chance of serious and expensive chronic diseases as you and your kids get older.

    #6: Manage Waste

    Keep record of all the waste your restaurant generates.

    Use a waste chart and write down any of the following:

    • Food returned because it was made incorrectly.
    • Food that was spilled in the kitchen or on the floor.
    • Food that was burned in the kitchen.
    • Extra portion sizes that get thrown away.

    By keeping track of this, you can keep better track of your inventory and manage your food cost percentage. Additionally, then you can do what you can to reduce the instances of waste.

    Food to the Rescue: Drexel Food Lab

    Each year, more than 10 percent of retail food—a total of about 43 billion pounds—goes unsold across the United States. 1 The vast majority of retail food loss consists of perishable items, such as baked goods, produce, meat, seafood, and prepared foods. Supermarkets lose approximately $15 billion each year in unsold fruits and vegetables alone, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). 2 In total, $218 billion worth of food is wasted in the United States each year, the majority of which is discarded by grocery stores, restaurants, food-service companies, or individuals at home.

    Grocery retailers and food wholesalers have historically viewed food waste as an unavoidable part of doing business or even as an indicator that a store is meeting quality control and full-shelf standards. Retailers generally encourage store clerks to remove blemished items and fully stock shelves at all times. 3

    “The reality as a regional grocery manager is, if you see a store that has really low waste in its perishables, you are worried,” says a former president of Trader Joe’s. “If a store has low waste numbers, it can be a sign that they aren’t fully in stock and that the customer experience is suffering.” 4

    The USDA estimates that in 2010, retail-level losses represented 10 percent of the available food supply, including 12 percent for fresh fruit and 10 percent for fresh vegetables. 5 However, losses vary for individual crops from year to year. In 2005 and 2006, losses varied from 0.06 percent for sweet corn to as high as 63 percent for mustard greens. 6

    The vast majority of discarded food ends up in landfills, where it decomposes and emits methane, which contributes to global warming. Meanwhile, millions of Americans face food insecurity. Just 30 percent of the food wasted each year in the United States would be enough to feed 50 million people their entire diet, highlighting the importance of channeling food that otherwise might be discarded to productive use. In light of this, Drexel University is working on ways to better distribute rescued food by developing simple recipes that incorporate commonly discarded produce. Based on this strategy, the Drexel Food Lab has built a creative business model to repurpose rescued food from grocery stores.

    Recipe for Success

    Founded in 2014, the Drexel Food Lab is a research group of faculty and students from Drexel University’s Culinary Arts and Food Science department. The group aims to solve real-world problems through recipe development, product development, and social entrepreneurship opportunities. In March 2014, the Drexel Food Lab partnered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Brown’s Super Stores, a Philadelphia-based supermarket chain, to identify priority items that could be used in creative recipes for use in shelters and other local hunger relief organizations.

    The Drexel Food Lab started by studying the most commonly wasted food items across Brown’s Super Stores’ 11 locations. In April 2015, the Food Lab sampled from 68,039 pounds of surplus food destined for compost, landfill, or donation, including 34,870 pounds (more than 50 percent) of highly perishable fresh produce. The Food Lab’s analysis found that 25 percent of the donated produce was unusable because of mold, bruising, or extensive browning by the time it reached the shelters.

    “Meats can easily be protected and frozen in their existing packaging before the marked sell-by dates, then distributed for defrosting right before cooking and serving at a shelter,” explains Jonathan Deutsch, a Drexel Food Lab participant and professor of Culinary Arts and Food Science. “However, it’s not easy to do the same with perishable produce.”

    The Food Lab found that another 8 to 10 percent of the remaining usable produce was undamaged, but comprised of a mix of specialty items, such as prickly pear cactus or kumquats, that were not recovered in high enough volumes to process cost-effectively. This reduced the total volume of usable food extracted from the sample to 22,665 pounds—33 percent of the original volume of surplus food, some of which could be used whole without any processing. 7

    Next, the Drexel Food Lab gathered feedback from local community shelters on the effectiveness of existing food donations. The feedback confirmed that shelters are unable to use approximately one-third of the most frequently donated product—fragile excess supermarket produce. 8 This produce can be bruised, overripe, or even moldy by the time it reaches shelters or it can be difficult to incorporate into a meal before becoming unusable. The Food Lab also found that shelters are hesitant to accept large volumes of bakery items, the second most frequently donated type of food, because many bakery items are not very nutritious. Making foods that are high in sugar or sodium content abundantly available to the food insecure may perpetuate the very types of inequities, such as lack of access to healthy food, that emergency feeding sites are struggling to overcome.

    Drexel identified a fundamental problem: a significant portion of excess produce was not usable and baked items were available in quantities greatly exceeding what was needed. In addition, if shelters are unable to serve donated food, they have to dispose of it, increasing their labor and disposal costs. The Drexel Food Lab realized that these foods could be turned into a valuable asset and that unless these donations could be repurposed into wholesome, desirable foods, disposal costs are being shifted from supermarkets to small nonprofit organizations. This unintentionally subsidizes businesses that are participating in food donation programs with the best of intentions.

    Informed by this research, the Drexel Food Lab developed simple, low-cost recipes for repurposing the most commonly donated produce and bakery items into value-added food products, such as veggie chips, jams, granola bars, and smoothie bases. Lab students designed the recipes to include ripe and sometimes bruised surplus produce like bananas, leafy greens, and sweet potatoes as bases.

    “We took unsold brown bananas, peeled them, and blended them with water to create a banana smoothie base,” says Deutsch. The smoothie base can easily be served at community shelters, or sold in supermarkets. “If some of the smoothie base is also sold at wholesale prices back to the grocery store, it could be sold at nearly double the cost of producing it and fund ongoing operations of any organization repurposing wasted food using our recipes,” adds Deutsch. “The simple, repurposed smoothie base, made from the store’s own bananas, would also replace the more expensive processed alternative made with high fructose corn syrup currently sold in food-service channels.”

    In mid-2015, the Drexel Food Lab tested its recipes at local shelters, such as Lutheran Settlement House and My Brother’s House, and received overwhelmingly positive feedback. To expand the scale and impact of this project, Drexel then began mapping out a replicable and profitable business model for repurposing excess supermarket food that would also support local jobs and entrepreneurs across the United States. This model could be implemented by food rescue organizations as a revenue generator, by community shelters for using items they might otherwise discard, or by grocery businesses as a new line in the prepared foods department.

    The business plan incorporates inexpensive or donated surplus food so that the price of final products can compete with those of popular foods in underserved, lower-income neighborhoods. For example, as an alternative to using donated produce, businesses could purchase surplus produce at a reduced price of .25 per pound and local workers could make it into value-added products. A percentage of these products can be donated to local shelters, with the rest sold back to the supermarket it came from or other community-based retailers. Drexel has found that a wholesale price averaging $2.00 per pound may be possible for a variety of foods, such as frozen desserts, snacks, and beverages. Drexel estimates that retailers could sell these final products for more than $4 each, generating approximately $90,000 in monthly gross revenue based on estimates of total usable donated food, enough to pay a wage that could support a family to several employees. 9 For supermarkets, this model could also reduce waste disposal expenses and create an additional revenue stream from selling healthy products, all while supporting local jobs that recycled wages back into the local economy.

    The Drexel Food Lab hopes its collection of recipes and its insights into viable business models will encourage food retailers nationwide to repurpose excess food into value-added products. To that end, Drexel is providing its expertise to a broad range of clients.

    “Helping our clients see the opportunities of repurposing food that was previously being discarded is an exciting challenge,” says Alexandra Zeitz, manager of the Drexel Food Lab. Drexel has helped retailers find new uses for healthy, high-quality food that previously had been going to waste. For example, through a collaboration with the food distributor Baldor Specialty Foods, Drexel developed applications for dried vegetable blends for culinary and food-service applications, such as a muffin that contains a full serving of vegetables, designed to be served in Boston public schools.

    Drexel has also worked with Philabundance Community Kitchen (PCK) to develop value-added products from surplus food. In a pilot program, PCK had workforce trainees produce Rescued Relish©, made from surplus food, at PCK’s food bank. PCK then distributed the product through three channels: donations, discounted sales at the food bank’s supermarket, Fare & Square, and sales at premium prices at co-ops and food stores with a good food mission. This allows PCK to generate revenue to cover some of its costs.

    To promote the Lab’s work, Deutsch and four colleagues published a research paper about the Food Lab’s business model in the July 2015 issue of Journal of Food and Nutrition Sciences.

    “An important way to address global food security is to make better use of the food already produced,” according to the report. This business model “could help relieve chronic hunger and address the cost barriers that prevent these important sources of healthy dietary nutrients from reaching lower-income people in the United States.” 10

    Researchers have found that, nationwide, produce is sold from 37,716 large supermarkets, from which 1.1 billion pounds of surplus produce is available annually that could be used as ingredients for producing high-value food products, according to the Food Marketing Institute. 12 12

    Track donated food and adapt recipes based on most commonly donated food. The Drexel Food Lab’s recipes have been a success thanks to the lab’s detailed research into Brown’s Super Stores food donations and analysis of waste in shelters. Organizations that donate food should regularly track the volume and types of food donated by location throughout the year so that recipes can incorporate the most frequently donated ingredients by season and donation source. Partnering with local grocers like Brown’s Super Stores and other large surplus food generators who are willing to openly share their data is critical to understanding what types of surplus foods are available for donation and value-added processing.

    Design simple-to-follow recipes. “[Drexel Food Lab’s recipes are] intentionally easy to prepare to preserve the natural health benefits of the produce and to help provide jobs for those in need,” explains Deutsch. “Combining recovered food with low-cost, easy recipes provides a stronger and more profitable business opportunity for more supermarkets, shelters, or other organizations to replicate.” Simple recipes also allow organizations to hire from a wider range of local workers who do not necessarily have kitchen experience but can contribute with minimal training.

    Use healthy, readily available, and low-cost ingredients to ensure recipes are replicable. Recipes should use inexpensive, readily available, and healthy ingredients so that they are universally accessible and affordable. Examples of ideal low-cost ingredients include water, rice, garlic, salt, and pepper.

    Integrate all partners connected to food donations to create a stronger model.&ldquoThe Drexel Food Lab approach considers food waste from the perspective of many local stakeholders in order to discover all possible economic, social, and environmental benefits,&rdquo says Deutsch. &ldquoBased on our ongoing research into the fate of wholesome fruits and vegetables discarded from grocery stores, we are encouraged that the economic opportunities may launch new methods to reduce all of the various impacts of food waste, while creating new sources of healthy foods and jobs where both are in high demand. This represents an expanded sustainability model sensitive to new elements of the food system that are linking nutrition to social, economic, and environmental development.&rdquo

    Consistent supply and effective distribution of recovered food at scale. “With a conservative estimate of a billion pounds of edible produce lost each year from retail sources alone based on Food Marketing Institute reports, the quantity of supply is not an issue,” says Deutsch. “However, arranging for distribution from supermarkets at a high-enough volume may limit the locations for higher-volume commercial repurposing.” To address this challenge, Drexel expanded beyond working with retailers to include wholesalers and distributors to obtain greater volumes of surplus produce.

    Supporting Roles for Cities

    Engage local businesses and community organizations. The Drexel Food Lab’s research and recipes are great resources that cities can promote to retailers and hunger relief organizations. The resources can contribute to a strategy for engaging local food retailers and other high-volume donation sources. This can lead to partnerships that increase the effectiveness of food donation systems and processes.

    Lead by example. Cities can review their own procurement practices for ways to increase the procurement of cosmetically imperfect foods, repurposed ingredients, and value-added items. By exercising their own purchasing power, cities can help drive market uptake of menu items that use surplus food.

    Expand food recovery and infrastructure capacity. Surveying local food assistance organizations about their food needs is a great way to identify gaps and opportunities. This can help cities and partner organizations develop strategies to fill the gaps and facilitate expanded food rescue.

    Understand the needs of donation recipients. Drexel’s direct collaboration with local shelters to understand their needs contributed to the development of practical resources that were relevant to the shelters’ needs. By gathering their feedback, Drexel was able to hone strategies to maximize the value and nutritional benefit of available foods.

    Focus on healthy and appealing recipe options. The Drexel Food Lab focused on developing healthy and appealing recipes and products. For example, in the past, some shelters and soup kitchens received and served blemished or overripe bananas that were healthy, but not appetizing. To both extend the life of the bananas and create a compelling food product, Drexel Labs developed a banana smoothie base that can be made from overripe bananas rescued from disposal. The smoothies can be easily transported to and served at community shelters as a better quality product than overripe or bruised bananas. In another example, Drexel Food Lab developed a relish using surplus vegetables that is both provided to shelters and sold at high-end food markets. By producing food from surplus that appeals to both premium and subsidized markets, Drexel Food Lab is tackling the stigma that can be associated with repurposed food items.

    About the Drexel Food Lab

    The Drexel Food Lab is an interdisciplinary research group within Drexel University’s Culinary Arts and Food Science department that aims to solve real-world problems with recipe and product development. It is made up of approximately 20 undergraduate and graduate students working on projects for the food industry, government, and nonprofit partners, as well as its own commercially viable products. The Food Lab is funded by philanthropy, contracts with private-sector partners, collaborative grants stemming from pro bono work, and revenue from developed food products.

    Drexel Food Lab Study of the Value of Excess Supermarket Produce for Reuse

    According to the Drexel Food Lab’s study of discarded Brown’s Super Stores produce, approximately one-third should be composted because it is excessively bruised or moldy, or is insufficient quantities of certain item to make sense to donate. Two-thirds of the discarded produce is recoverable for consumption.

    Sample Recipes from the Drexel Food Lab

    Iceberg Stir-Fry
    Ideal for repurposing wilted iceberg lettuce, disfigured carrots, and bruised onions

    • 2 cups rice, cooked
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
    • 1 carrot, julienned
    • 1 medium onion, sliced
    • ½ cup soy sauce
    • ¼ cup sugar

    In a sauté pan, heat oil. Add carrots and onion and sauté until soft. Add the iceberg lettuce and stir to combine with the onions and carrots. Add the rice, soy sauce, and sugar. Stir to combine and allow flavors to blend. Cook for 5 minutes and serve.
    Recipe developed by Drexel student Peter Schoemer

    Eggplant Stew
    Ideal for repurposing bruised peppers, eggplant, fennel, and tomatoes

    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 small onion, sliced
    • 1 clove of garlic, minced
    • 1 green pepper, sliced
    • 1 red pepper, sliced
    • 1 small bulb of fennel, cored and sliced thin
    • 1 small eggplant, diced into large pieces, about 2 cups
    • 1 sprig of rosemary
    • 2 cups canned, whole tomatoes (or fresh)
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    Add olive oil to a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add red and green peppers and fennel. Sauté until slightly softened. Add eggplant and cook for five minutes. Add tomatoes and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer stew for 15 minutes until thickened and eggplant is tender. Remove the rosemary sprig from the stew and serve immediately.
    Recipe developed by Drexel student Silvia Pinto

    Banana Ice Cream

    • 4 overripe bananas, peeled and frozen
    • ¼ cup milk or water
    • 1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar

    In a food processor, place frozen bananas, milk, and honey. Pulse until the bananas break down and become light and smooth. Pour ice cream into an airtight container. Freeze ice cream for 2 hours before serving.
    Recipe developed by Alexandra Zeitz, Drexel Food Lab

    Going organic: Here&rsquos the hit to your wallet

    Consumer Reports shopped at select grocers, comparing a market basket of conventional perishables and packaged goods with their organic counterparts. We sought identical brands and sizes, when available, and otherwise chose similar goods. We then calculated the unit price—that is, the cost per pound, per dozen, and so forth. Blank columns mean that both options weren’t available. The bottom row shows the average premium for the entire assortment of organic goods at each grocer.

    Food Trends Forecast 2021: Being Healthy In A Post Covid-19 World

    The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the frailties of the food world and its supply chain. For many people this has been the first time in their lives they went into our supermarkets and couldn’t buy toilet paper or flour or cow’s milk or their favorite brands and now, the latest shortages – frozen pizza and pepperoni! In some stores many shelves were bare and shoppers felt scared and shocked about the possibilities of having no food to feed their families.

    DUNKIRK, MARYLAND - MARCH 13: Shelves normally stocked with chicken and meats sit empty at a Giant . [+] Supermarket store as people stockpile supplies due to the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) March 13, 2020 in Dunkirk, Maryland. The U.S. government is racing to make more coronavirus test kits available as schools close around the country, sporting events are canceled, and businesses encourage workers to telecommute where possible. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

    We have a pandemic. We have an economic recession. We have global warming. As of October 1, 2020, we have over 44,000 wildfires in the United States that have burned at almost eight million acres and the fires are still spreading, according to the National Interagency Fire Center – and many of those acres are farmlands where our food is grown and livestock raised.

    In the face of the uncertainty of just how long the pandemic will last, or if there will be a stronger second (or third) wave as is being predicted, it is imperative that the food industry – from farm to fork – prepare strategies for the new future and understand the concerns, needs and emotions of shoppers. A survey conducted by Acosta found that if the pandemic does again force public lockdowns, 53% of Americans say they will stockpile groceries, hygienic products and school supplies, and that is an increase of 15% of respondents who said they stockpiled at the start of the pandemic.

    Our supermarkets responded quickly putting in place enhanced sanitation procedures, signage, minimizing in-store traffic and especially expanding fledgling e-commerce efforts all the while focused on building trust and confidence from their customers who remain deeply concerned about food availability amid rising prices coupled with a high unemployment rate.

    And at the same time, these retailers are trying to meet the needs of adults who are faced with working at home, while tending to the needs of their school aged children - who may be attending classes on line, or have limited school days, or wondering if their schools will even open – all the while trying to balance good eating habits with satisfying their families emotional needs. Forcing a new business model on supermarkets.

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    The shopping experience has changed dramatically which is why I sat down with (over Zoom of course) Markus Stripf, Co-CEO of Spoon Guru in the UK to produce this analysis and understand how the grocery world and consumers will be shifting their priorities.

    There is little doubt that Covid-19 has woken up Americans in many ways. The first is a new understanding of what and how they eat and how these foods and beverages have a significant effect on their stamina, strength and immunity to fight off viruses and other health abnormalities. Shoppers have changed how they are choosing their foods with a new yearning for reading labels, understanding what ingredients are in their foods, where there foods come from and which foods they should avoid.

    The International Food Information Council’s 2020 Food & Health Survey findings echo Stripf’s COVID-era analysis and prediction that the industry must build trust and help stressed households achieve their wellness goals.

    · 54% of all consumers, and 63% of those 50+, care more about the healthfulness of their food and beverage choices in 2020 than did in 2010 healthfulness is the biggest mover, more so than taste and price.

    · Active dieting has grown this year as they look at their scales and find their jeans a little too snug as they work from home, snack more often and indulge to feel emotionally more stable – to 43% of Americans, up from 38% in 2019 and 36% in 2018.

    · 18% of Americans use an app or health monitoring device to track their physical activity, food consumption or overall health 45% of users say it helps greatly 66% say it led to healthy changes they otherwise wouldn’t have made.

    · 26% of U.S. consumers snack multiple times a day, and another third snack at least once daily 38% say they replace meals with snacks (usually lunch) at least occasionally.

    · 28% of Americans eat more proteins from plant sources vs. 2019, 24% eat more plant-based dairy, and 17% eat more plant-based meat alternatives.

    · 74% of Americans try to limit sugar intake in 2020, down from 80% in 2019.

    Another trend coming out of Covid-19 is that a significant amount of Americans want to go back to a pre- Covid weight (and in some cases reduce their weight) as a major health goal. But the only way they will succeed, based on Spoon Guru’s prediction, will be based on a combination of three things: CAPABILITY, OPPORTUNITY and MOTIVATION.

    Capability is defined as the individual's psychological and physical capacity to engage in the activity concerned. It includes having the necessary knowledge and skills.

    Opportunity is defined as all the factors that lie outside the individual that make the behavior possible or prompt it.

    Motivation is defined as all those brain processes that energize and direct behavior, not just goals and conscious decision-making which we know every January 1 st are made with good intentions, and within 45 days are forgotten. It includes habitual processes, emotional responding, as well as analytical decision-making.

    It is these interactions that lead to behavior change and the food technologies that we spoke of earlier, are today’s tools and enablers that can support shoppers in achieving these goals.

    But here is the problem – the desire is there – but not the knowledge. Enter the insights shoppers can glean from retailers who fuel their search and apps across the globe using Spoon Guru. Four out of 10 millennial global consumers already say health claims on brands confuse them, according to the GlobalData research. Imagine the flood of questions that supermarket managers and their retail dietitians will be bombarded with when blends of supplements AND foods include proven immunity enhancers like Vitamins A, C, D, E and zinc appear on shelves.

    Life under the cloud of COVID-19 has intensified the search for immunity-strengthening foods and supplements. A GlobalData survey in June 2020 found that 80% of global consumers are understandably concerned about COVID-19, and 23% admit they’ve stockpiled more vitamins and supplements recently.

    Immune function ties with muscle health/strength as the #5 benefit health-motivated eaters seek from food International Food Information Council data shows from a survey of 1,011 U.S. adults fielded April 8-16, 2020. These health seekers cite immune function 40% of the time, a rate that trails only weight management (62%), energy (57%), and digestive (46%) and heart health (44%) as a food-centered objective.

    The reality of what we’ve seen during the pandemic is the return to comfort foods and familiar brands that made them feel calm and comfortable – brands with a long heritage that solidified their reputations for being safe and a sure bet – shoppers knew what to expect from them - and part of it was that they just plain tasted great. And they were on the shelves.

    One sector of the food business that experienced a huge benefit from the pandemic are comfort foods which has been a boon for those iconic food brands that have seen their sales decline over the past few years as shoppers shifted to smaller upstart brands that had more innovate recipes, more exciting flavors, healthier profiles with more sustainable and simple ingredients. People gravitated to the brands they knew, that they grew up with, those that their families bought for generations.

    This is an unbelievable opportunity for these iconic brands.

    The looming question is whether these brands will take advantage of this surge in sales, and new found hipness and awareness especially from the baby boomers who grew up on these foods to latter leave them as their awareness of ingredients and health concerns grew closer as they aged - and reformulate and reimagine their products to be healthier – and save their brands from oblivion.

    A survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Sensodyne toothpaste, found 74 percent of respondents said cooking has been a successful coping mechanism for them as they deal with the stress of being home. Forty-four percent of those surveyed said they have even learned a new recipe during quarantine and 32 percent have taken an online cooking class.

    Pre-pandemic, the average shopper visited a food store 2.3 times a week and spent on average about 20 minutes per shopping trip. Enjoying the aromas and colors of the produce department, sampling new products, learning how to prepare a new recipe and consulting with a retail dietitian led to enhanced and satisfying shopping experiences. Today we are lucky if shoppers come to the store even once a week.

    According to The Confidence Board Global Consumer Confidence Survey conducted in Q4 2019 (pre-COVID-19) 14% of consumers reported that they were worried about increasing food prices and 68% of consumers said they are cutting back on their food purchases.

    What will the future hold in 2021?

    Expect to see more plant based and plant forward foods. We will see a shift to more wholesome carbs from whole grains, ancient grains. Much more attention will be given to foods that contain Vitamin C and supplements to boost immunity. More blended foods – both made at home and bought ready made in sores building on the success of the Mushroom Council and James Beard Foundation’s blended burger success – the combination of mushrooms and ground beef – that is already being extended to other proteins and other vegetables. Think flexitarians versus vegans. It’s not about extremes – it will be the about balance between animal and plant protein.

    Our shelves will be overrun with new innovations that are designed to meet the needs of the pandemic shopper. Higher anxiety led to new products like PepsiCo’s new drink called Driftwell that is meant to help consumers relax and unwind before bed. The enhanced water drink contains 200 milligrams of L-theanine and 10% of the daily value of magnesium. This from a brand that was built on caffeine and high fructose corn syrup.

    Consumers aren’t just eating at home more but they’re also managing their health at home. Early research published in Nutrition & Dietetics in late June showed that telehealth in Australia keeps patients compliant with care regimens to improve health outcomes.

    The results are impactful:

    · When compared to a traditional group weight loss program, those engaged in a telehealth program lost similar amounts of weight over six months.

    · A meta-analysis found telephone-delivered nutrition counseling is effective in improving eating patterns of individuals with chronic conditions. Half of telephone programs in published literature are with individuals with diabetes, heart disease, cancer, chronic kidney disease and osteoarthritis.

    · A web-based study in seven European countries found that diet quality, as assessed by the Healthy Eating Index 2010, improved across the 3-month trial and was maintained for an additional 6 months – due to telemedicine.

    In the US, Kroger Health launched a telenutrition service that’s free, as long as the pandemic lasts, to help customers navigate the new normal.

    As part of its Food as Medicine platform, it offers:

    · Unlimited free virtual consultations with a registered dietitian via video chat, using the code COVID

    · Personalized support and plans for individuals and families

    · Management of food-related health issues

    Texas has the most uninsured adults and the third-most uninsured children in the U.S. according to Wallethub. So when grocer H-E-B launched telemedicine with the partner MDBox app in the summer of 2019, it was a welcome affordable solution. Walk-ins can have a video-chat doctor visit at the pharmacy counter within 30 minutes for less than $50.

    Technology, food technology has come a long way. No, I am not talking about the foods that are being created through Silicon Valley tech – I’m talking about the information and education that we can offer shoppers through technology.

    Packaging will contain more QR codes that can verify product and ingredient claims, DNA kits will continue to evolve well beyond where they are now – but the import of the shopper themselves will be paramount to their success. Viome, for example, a kit that focuses on gut health, produces two reports for a shopper one that focuses on what you should and should not eat, and the other focused on the traits in our bodies and what they mean. Each report is close to 100 pages – far to complex for the average shopper to understand or to follow. But take that kind of information and embed it within the shopping experience, easily and simply – and see what magic can happen. Viome has also just launched a new product - supplements based on your profile - personalized for your individual needs to help you ‘correct’ those gut related issues.

    One thing for sure is that the pandemic has brought families together to eat together, to communicate and spend more time together.

    The FMI Family Meals effort has long promoted the benefits to health and to society and the pandemic has given the effort more substance and reason to embrace. Here’s what we know:

    1. Eating together as a family helps kids have better self-esteem, more success in school, and lower risk of depression and substance-use disorders.

    2. Kids that learn to cook eat healthier as adults. If they learn by ages 18-23, they eat more vegetables, less fast food, and more family meals a decade later.

    3. Home preparation of more plant-based proteins such as dry beans and lentils, tofu, and homemade veggie burgers are helping shoppers discover that good nutrition can be delicious.

    4. People are eating more local foods in response to supply chain issues early in the pandemic.

    5. Changing mindsets about wellness now include self-compassion. Eating is one of the basic ways we care for ourselves. And disruptions in food and activity routines have people thinking about how they redefine wellness.

    The supermarket world is changing, and as we look around us – around the entire globe – we need to open our eyes and imagine what it possible – and understand that everything has changed and through smart food technologies we can improve the health and wellness of every shopper!