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Food and Beverage Ontario backs changes to province’s processing vegetable regulations

From Better Farming

An organization representing Ontario’s food and beverage manufacturers supports the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission’s efforts to change the province’s processing vegetable regulations.

Food and Beverage Ontario says the commission’s proposal supports the industry in addressing key elements raised by the Agri-Food Growth Steering Committee, which delivered advice in October 2015 to Ontario Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Minister Jeff Leal on how the agricultural industry can meet Premier Kathleen Wynne’s challenge. In 2013, she encouraged the industry to create 120,000 new jobs and double its annual growth rate by 2020.

According to the agriculture ministry website, during the past decade, Ontario’s agri-food sector had an annual growth rate of about one per cent a year.

The Food and Beverage Ontario letter signed by its board chair, Michael Burrows, says among the key steering committee recommendations the commission’s processing vegetable proposal supports are:

  • Increasing agri-food businesses competitiveness.
  • Enhancing activities to attract and retain agri-food investments, grow Ontario’s market share and encourage more exports.
  • Reducing regulatory burdens.
  • Identifying new opportunities for growth along the entire agri-food value chain.
  • Addressing growth barriers that hamper retaining and attracting new agri-food investments to Ontario.
Read the full article here.

University of Guelph researchers create allergen-detecting device

From the CBC

University of Guelph researchers have developed a portable device that can detect allergens in food in a matter of minutes.

Professor Suresh Neethirajan, director of the university’s BioNano Lab, said the wallet-sized device will save lives by making it easier for people to avoid the foods they are allergic to.

“If a consumer is interested in testing, he or she has to take a tiny, little bit of the food and put it in a plastic capsule, shake it for about 30 seconds, and then put the capsule into this wallet-shaped device,” Neethirajan said.

The detector then uses a LED light and a specialized camera to determine what, if any, allergens are present.

Neethirajan said the device will also be useful for those who are manufacturing or cooking food for sale, and for food safety inspectors.

Researchers have filed a patent for the technology and hope to have the device available for purchase in a couple of years.

Read the full article here.

Amazon is going to sell its own line of food

From ReCode

Amazon is going to start selling its own brands of snacks, diapers and detergent — a move lots of traditional retailers have already made. But Amazon isn’t a traditional retailer, so this move could be very meaningful for Amazon and its competitors.

The e-commerce powerhouse will soon begin selling its own packaged goods exclusively to Amazon Prime members under brands like Happy Belly and Mama Bear, the Wall Street Journal reports. Recode reported in February that Amazon was testing out the Mama Bear brand name.

Amazon already sells things like electronic accessories, office supplies and even clothing under a variety of its own brand names. Now it’s going all in on groceries and household products.

While some people will point out that so-called “private labeling” is nothing new — grocery stores and big-box retailers have been increasingly pushing their in-house brands — this is a much bigger deal. That’s because the growth in retail is all going to be online, and Amazon owns online. It already accounts for half of all sales growth in U.S. e-commerce.

Read the full article here.

Food Safety Testing Equipment Market is Bound to Generate 3,301.4 Million USD by 2020

From DigitalJournal

A new report, published by IndustryARC, estimates the market to $3,301.4 Million by 2020.

Safety Testing has become one of the keystones of food value chain to ensure quality food products and ultimately consumer health. There are various types of food raw materials available that are directly consumed or processed into other consumable items. The products that are dominantly monitored in the food safety testing market include dairy products and the meat & poultry industry. These products are highly susceptible to contaminant presence owing to their production and processing facility conditions. Following it are the fruits & vegetables that after harvesting requires a proper environment for their storage. Global food safety testing equipment market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 6.1% to reach $3,301.4 Million by 2020.

The nutritional facts or labeling on the food product has been prioritized recently. The initiation of organic food products, functional foods, GMO foods and other similar products in the market has made the labeling both a regulatory and marketing compulsion for food manufacturers. For example, ‘100% gluten-free and ‘zero cholesterol’ are some of the claims visible on many organic or functional food products. Product related information is increasingly being perceived by the consumer to make choices while buying a food product. Thus, the rising consumer demand for accurate labeling mandates efficient testing of food.

PCR equipment is the segment accounted for highest revenue in this market and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 7.5%. North America is the dominant market for food safety testing equipment and is estimated to reach $991.6 Million by 2021 at a CAGR of 4.6%.

Read the full article here.

Wal-Mart jumps into milk processing

From Alberta Farm Express

Wal-Mart said it will build a dairy processing plant in Indiana to supply private-label milk to about 600 stores, curtailing business with some suppliers in the retailer’s sole foray into food processing in the U.S.

The move comes with Wal-Mart’s profits weighed down by costs to increase wages and invest in its e-commerce operations. The retailer is also facing tough competition from Kroger and other national and regional grocery chains and has recently ratcheted up pressure on suppliers to help it lower costs.

Wal-Mart said it would build a more than 250,000 square foot milk processing plant in Fort Wayne, Ind., creating more than 200 jobs. Due to come online in the summer of 2017, the plant will supply milk to stores in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and northern Kentucky, the company said.

Eliminating intermediary suppliers would likely give Wal-Mart greater control over input costs and more closely align it with other grocery chains like Kroger and Texas-based H-E-B that have already set up their own milk processing plants. The shift also dovetails with Wal-Mart’s strategy of boosting its private-brand offerings as a way to better compete on price, though the company said it didn’t have any plans for additional milk or food processing plants.

Read more about dairy processing solutions from Tri-Mach Group here.
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This groundbreaking technology will soon let us see exactly what’s in our food

From the Washington Post

Imagine a scanner the size of a grain of rice, built into your phone. You go to the grocery store and point it at something you want to buy. If it’s an apple, the scanner will tell you what variety it is, how much vitamin C it has and how long it has been in cold storage. If it’s a fish, you’ll learn whether it’s really orange roughy or just tilapia being passed off as something more expensive. If it’s a muffin, the device will tell you whether there’s gluten in it.

Although you won’t be able to do it tomorrow, this isn’t some kind of distant Jetsonian vision of the future. I’ve held the rice-size scanner in my hand; it was built for only a few dollars. I’ve seen bigger, more robust versions of the scanner do the things that your smartphone will be able to do, probably during the administration of the president we’re deciding on right now.

Every substance reflects (and absorbs) light in a different way, and the graph of that reflected light is a kind of optical fingerprint. Except it’s better. Although the whorls and lines in our fingertips don’t say anything inherent about their owner (See that swirl? Doesn’t mean you’re smart.), the peaks and valleys of the optical fingerprint do. That peak there is vitamin C. That other one is sugar. This pattern means gluten.

Identifying a food and its characteristics based on the scan is a twofold job: First, you simply match the optical reading to a library of known objects; second, you read the topography of the graph to zero in on specific characteristics. The two together can tell you an awful lot about what you’re scanning.

Read the full article here.

Starbucks U.S. food waste plan has Canadian food banks ‘delighted’

From the CBC

A new plan by Starbucks to end food waste at its U.S. locations by donating all unused food to the needy won’t be coming to Canada just yet, but similar initiatives already exist on a local level — and the move by Starbucks may be part of a broader trend in the restaurant industry.

The coffee behemoth has dubbed its U.S. program FoodShare, and says it will use refrigerated vans to pick up unsold food from its 7,600 U.S. company-operated stores and distribute it through food banks. Starbucks claims the initiative will deliver almost 50 million meals by 2021 and help divert food waste from landfills.

Starbucks says it’s “looking into” formalizing a national Canadian program to eliminate food waste through food donations, but a spokeswoman said a timeline for such a program isn’t available. Still, some of Starbucks’ roughly 1,300 Canadian locations already donate food to local food banks.

In Toronto, distribution of food donations from local Starbucks — and many other restaurants — are co-ordinated by Second Harvest, a “food rescue” program that works to prevent waste and feed the hungry by recycling surplus food from restaurants, retailers and manufacturers.

Read the full article here.

Catching up on the French’s revolution

From the Toronto Sun

As Loblaws mops up a public relations mess in the ketchup aisle, local food advocates believe this may be the beginning of a movement powerful enough to regrow jobs in Ontario. Interest in local food and local food processing has moved beyond the realm of hardcore foodies, says Professor Sylvain Charlebois of the Food Institute of the University of Guelph

“There’s a collective awakening around how food processing is important to our economy,” Charlebois said. “When you look at manufacturing, we often forget that food manufacturing is the second largest economic sector in our province after automotive.

Customers put the squeeze on Loblaws after it announced it would pull French’s ketchup from its shelves, blaming poor sales. The Canadian food giant relented as politicians and social media questioned its patriotism.

Although an American company, French’s stepped in to buy Leamington tomatoes and Leamington-manufactured tomato paste after Heinz pulled out of the community in 2014, ending a century of Canadian ketchup-making tradition. While there’s a heated online debate over how much any product is Canadian — French’s ketchup is actually bottled south of the border — fellow Ontarians do depend on these jobs in a part of the province that has lost so much food processing and other manufacturing.

Learn more about fruit & vegetable processing solutions form Tri-Mach Group here.
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Parts of Canada, U.S. brand themselves ‘protein highway’

From the Toronto Star

Officials in three Canadian provinces and six northern U.S. states are launching an effort to brand the region as the potential provider of protein to the world. The “Protein Highway” project aims to encourage scientists to work together and share information on protein-rich crops, said Kevin Kephart, South Dakota State University’s vice-president for research and economic development. That could lead to research that would aid farmers and also help entrepreneurs take new food products to market, he said.

Canadian researchers David Gauthier and Larry Sernyk estimate the demand for animal protein will double by 2040 as the world’s population increases. That should result in more demand for high-protein plant products to feed the animals being raised for meat. More people also likely will need to get their protein from plants and fish.

High-protein crops such as lentils, dry beans and dry peas have great potential throughout the “Protein Highway” region, which encompasses Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta north of the border and the Dakotas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Montana and Iowa south of the border, the Canadian researchers said.

To learn more about protein processing solutions from Tri-Mach Group, visit our Meat/Poultry, Bakery, and Snack industry webpages.
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Could ‘resurrection plants’ be the future of food?

From the BBC

When she was a child, Jill Farrant, a molecular physiologist based at the University of Cape Town, came across an unusual plant. It seemed dead, yet when the rain fell from the sky, it sprung back to life. Her father didn’t believe her.

What Farrant saw was a “resurrection plant”, which can survive with no water for months to years. Seeing how quickly the plants recover is remarkable sight (Watch a timelapse in the video at 1:30).

Now Farrant hopes to tap these abilities to transform food production. Resurrection plants have many of the same genes in their roots and leaves as seeds, so now she is trying to work out how to switch those genes in wheat, rice and maize crops so that they can survive droughts. See her explain how in the video at the top of the page.

Watch the video from BBC here.