Pastry makers face balancing act when developing new products, flavors

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From a marketing perspective, consumers eat with their eyes. But for pastries, discerning consumers require a return on their investment for a pricey item. And that return is a great eating experience.

“The consumer really does read the ingredient legend and understands quality,” said Yianny Caparos, president, The Bakery Cos., Nashville.  “So, it’s not really a price-driven product; it’s a quality-first product.”

Americans are globally connected now more than ever. Before lockdowns swept the nation, many Americans were well traveled, and those who didn’t get on a plane relied on technology like social media to bring the world to their kitchen table. This has led to mature palates and higher standards.

“The baseline trend is that the American palate is evolutionary rather revolutionary,” said Haq Chaudary, chief commercial officer and general manager, Gold Standard. “It’s been a slow transition that has developed into consumer acceptance.”

So, what are the expectations in flavor innovation? If pastries are a comfort food, are people willing to branch out and try new things, or are they bound by what’s familiar?

For Gold Standard, it’s a little bit of both.

“Our path for the past year has been creating food that has a familiarity but also provides an extra bit of adventure or excitement,” Mr. Chaudary said. “Fusion foods have been successful because it’s having something familiar and something adventurous at the exact same time.”

This goes beyond adding chocolate to a blueberry Danish, he said. True fusion innovation creates something all its own.

“We’re looking at flavor combinations of fruit with a spicy component such as habanero or jalapeño with the sweet Danish dough,” said Tami Kulak, director of marketing and sales, Gold Standard.

And the company is experimenting with product crossover by incorporating elements of its Everything bagel into certain laminated pastry products.

Flavor innovation is also crossing platforms — and enjoying a bit of throwback — in the center store as items like Pop Tarts from the Kellogg Company, Battle Creek, Mich., introduce a Fruit Loops variety.

There’s also much to be said for the tried-and-true. Tom Vierhile, vice president, strategic insights, North America, Innova Market Insights, noted that one of the most successful varieties emerging in the center store is cheese.

“Looking at 2017 to the end of 2019, a couple of the top flavors are cream cheese and cheese,” he said, noting that in the pastry and sweet goods categories, product innovation with cream cheese varieties saw a 36% CAGR during that time frame.



Cargill launches first Asian chocolate manufacturing operation

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Consumer demand for chocolate products continues to grow steadily in the Asia market. To help the food industry meet this growing demand, Cargill is partnering with a local manufacturer in western India, to launch its first chocolate manufacturing operation in Asia. The facility is expected to begin operating mid-2021 and will initially produce 10,000 tons of chocolate compounds.

“Asia is a key growth market for Cargill. Opening a chocolate manufacturing operation in India allows us to increase our regional footprint and capabilities in Asia to better support the needs of our local Indian customers as well as multi-national customers in the region,” said Francesca Kleemans, managing director Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate Asia-Pacific in a statement. “It also demonstrates our commitment to supporting the local economy with the addition of 100 new manufacturing jobs.”

Customers can tap into Cargill’s R&D network of food scientists and experts located at Cargill’s state-of-the-art regional innovation centres in Singapore, Shanghai and India to collaboratively innovate with chocolate products that bring sensory experiences in terms of colours and flavours specific to regional and local tastes and consumption patterns. Customers also benefit from Cargill’s globally integrated cocoa and chocolate supply chain, risk management capabilities, and its renowned food safety and sustainability approach to cocoa and chocolate production.

“Combining local insights from our experience and long term presence as a food ingredient supplier in India with our global cocoa and chocolate expertise, we aim to become the leading supplier and trusted partner for our bakery, ice cream and confectionary customers in Asia, who will use our chocolate compounds, chips and paste to create products that will delight local palates,” added Kleemans.

Cargill established its cocoa presence in Asia in 1995 in Makassar, Indonesia, with a team designated to support trading and supply management of cocoa to Cargill processing plants in Europe and Brazil. In 2014, Cargill opened a cocoa processing plant in Gresik, Indonesia, to make premium Gerkens® cocoa products. With the addition of the new manufacturing plant in India, Cargill is well prepared to develop and scale up operational capabilities quickly to support future growth for our customers locally, regionally and globally.

Source: Cargill


Bakery challenges and trends

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In an interview with New Food’s Editor, Alison Ordonez, Head of Innovation at Roberts Bakery, discusses the effect of COVID-19 on the bakery, the challenges of repositioning a new snacks range from ‘on-the-go’ to ‘at home’, the importance of flavours, hygiene benefits of individual wrapped products, and future trends.

Q: How did COVID-19 affect bakeries like yourselves?

Since COVID-19 began, we have been through different phases at Roberts Bakery and responses have been carefully and thoughtfully governed by a nimble crisis management team which is still in place. The number one priority is our people and to make sure they are safe, but we are also trying to make working lives as stress-free as we can. The immediate panic-buying in the early days delivered unbelievably large volumes as we took the decision to keep supplying all of our customers – whether a small independent or a major multiple and everything in between.

Those who could, worked from home and are still mainly remotely based. Those that were in the bakeries – we have two sites in Northwich and Ilkeston – were protected in line with Government advice. We put in the right level of social distancing, used Perspex dividers when necessary and placed 2m markers on the floor in the bakery and in changing rooms. Deep cleans, hand washing, multiple hand sanitisation stations and rotas became the norm. Our on-site restaurant ‘Franks’ also provided free meals at the height of the pandemic for all our staff.

As a food manufacturer, we remain on high alert with many measures still in place, but we continue to pull together to maintain supply and keep our customers happy. We were aware throughout that we were key workers and playing our role in keeping Britain fed.

Q: Robert’s recently launched a set of breakfast inspired, healthy snacks which were originally intended as on-the-go bars, why did this vision change?

Pre-Covid the food-to go market was flying, forecasted to reach £23.5 billion by 2022.  Our new snacking range was originally developed with that ‘on-the-go’ consumer in mind, but when that market nose-dived, we quickly adapted to a new reality. The range is now being positioned for consumers who want convenient, fresh, fast, individually wrapped snacks at home, as well as those starting to re-join a recovering ‘on the go’ (OTG) sector. It’s still breakfast-inspired but has become a day-long offer; a tasty snack for any time of the day, location and occasion.

As we ease out of lockdown, there is an increased demand for better-for-you snacks that still offer escapism, without conflicting with health goals. We know that most shoppers are now trying to eat and drink more healthily. This new range meets their needs perfectly, being nutrient-rich snacks that taste great too.

As well as switching the focus to a new ‘at home’ snacking option, we have made it available locally through the continually growing convenience channel, as well as via milk doorstep delivery and from our own recently launched e-shop

We are playing now much more strongly to new post-lockdown needs with the new range in compostable packaging, using ‘real food’ bakery ingredients for taste, but less than 250 calories per snack.

Q: What challenges did this refocus offer you and how did you overcome them?

One of the main initial challenges was ensuring we could still work with our preferred supplier base on the snacking range as they were severely challenged by Covid. Once we had established this certainty of supply of materials and packaging, we worked with our customer base to really think about how best to introduce the new products and when the right time would be. This range is targeting breakfast, but, in reality, it is suitable for healthy snacking anytime, so we reviewed and critiqued our approach to help our customers communicate this. Changing focus also gave us a few more weeks to invest more time in familiarising ourselves with the new processes – this is the first time we have ever ventured into snacking production – and work on building a detailed scale up plan so we are ready for what we expect to be rapid growth in this new range.

Q: What inspired the flavours behind this new snack range?

The range mixes in real fruit pieces with a new range of flavours – raspberry, apple, cranberry, orange – and other tasty ingredients such as chia seeds, coconut, raisins, cinnamon, chocolate and coffee. We challenged ourselves to try different, more exotic flavour combinations that are new to the sector but work wonderfully well together. Our ‘Exploratory’ NPD team is always pushing boundaries and trying something new.

With this range we are building new categories within snacking, with combinations of cookie and brioche (the ‘Brookie’) and pancake and bagel (the ‘Pangel’), to create challenges to conventional tastes and looks of snacks with the hope to set new trends. That is our role as a next generation bakery.  The Porridge Loaf was definitely inspired by the need for ingredients to deliver a slower energy release to fuel activity – Roberts’ MD is a big cyclist – but to have them in a convenient, eat as you go (or cycle) format.

Q: In terms of what consumers are after, is it more indulgence treats or healthy snacks?

In our new snacking range, the healthy focus continues. We use real fruit pieces throughout and some include oats that are full of fibre and some have added protein, whilst keeping calories low – each containing less than 250 calories. Along with food security and the importance that it puts on individual wrapping, we believe shoppers will continue to look for tasty, health-boosting inspiration on shelf and direct from us.

Q: What kinds of ingredients influence a consumer’s purchasing decision?

When we started this project, our initial research told us that consumers looked for variety at breakfast alongside convenience, so that is why we have developed two distinct flavours across each product type.  We looked at the trends there and especially around breakfast, which has a heavy bias towards fruit pieces, so we really focused on that as a main message to consumers. Then we considered ‘next generation’ ingredients to offer a more modern breakfast twist, so introduced chia, coconut and coffee alongside the more traditional apple, cinnamon and raisin.

Q: We’re starting to see more individually-wrapped, single-use packaging due to health worries – how do you see this trend evolving given the focus on sustainable products?

The individual wrapping of the snacking range is definitely tackling shopper concern over handling unwrapped baked goods, which has resulted in severely reduced or no availability of the usual fresh baked loose offerings in store. Shoppers are avoiding unwrapped goods across the board. The fact that our range is also in compostable wrap aligns to our wider sustainability goals and gives consumer the ability to make a greener choice.

Q: In terms of the future what kinds of trends should we be aware of?

Although value is important, food sources and sustainability are well up the agenda now and there is a lot of evidence showing that, post-lockdown, shoppers are thinking more carefully about sustainability and how they can make changes for the better – for themselves, their health and the planet.  The resurgence in popularity of home delivered milk rounds during lockdown is showing no signs of slowing down and further supports good messages around being local, secure and convenient.  Our snacks are available with selected milk rounds.

Ingredients that give an immunity boost are in vogue, especially as children return to school and adults to the workplace, so shoppers are looking for food that helps provide protection. Our newly launched four-strong healthy bread range very much focuses on ingredients to drive nutritional, health boosting value. These include our new True Vitality Good for You Bloomer, which is full of super-foodie ingredients, including whole hemp seeds, brown rice flour, malted wheat flakes and zinc for a healthy immune system.  And Roberts’ Vit Hit 50 percent Wholemeal, 50 percent White loaf – a combination of half white flour, half wholemeal flour with the addition of seven vitamins and minerals, including Thiamine B1, Vitamin D, Vitamin B6, calcium, iron, niacin and folic acid.

As manufacturers we recognise there is a place for treats and also imaginative, good tasting healthier options. Regardless of COVID-19, the challenge remains for the bread and baked goods category to stay relevant and to entice existing and new customers to try something different.




Sara Lee to make Superior On Main bakery a nut-free facility

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Sara Lee Frozen Bakery announced today that the primary bakery producing Superior On Main® branded sweet baked goods is transitioning to operate as a peanut and tree nut free facility.

The bakery produces Éclairs, Brownies, Madeleines, Black & White Cookies, as well as everyday and seasonal Iced Cookies. This is the first major production announcement for Superior on Main® under the integration of this business into Sara Lee Frozen Bakery, following the acquisition in August 2019.

Starting this fall, the statement “Made in a Peanut & Tree Nut Free Facility” will be added to Superior On Main® ingredient labels for products made at this facility and will debut on its Harvest Holiday seasonal products. For all other remaining Superior On Main® products made at this facility, labels with the peanut and tree nut free facility statement will be phased in during the remainder of this year.

Approximately 10 million Americans live with allergies to peanuts and tree nuts, two of the most common allergens in the US.(1) “We received requests from both consumers and our retail partners for peanut and tree nut free products,” says Curt Coolidge, General Manager, In Store Bakery at Sara Lee Frozen Bakery. “We’re pleased that consumers looking for nut free products will be able to safely enjoy our delicious desserts.”

The bakery producing the Superior On Main® handheld pies will not transition to a nut free facility.



Japanese chocolate manufacturers, artisans and retailers unite to make sustainable chocolate the norm

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The Barry Callebaut Group, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products, hosted an exclusive virtual press event in Japan to announce its collaboration with local chocolate manufacturers, artisans, retailers, and wholesalers such as Morinaga, Yuraku Confectionery, FamilyMart Co., Ltd., G+ Spread, Le Chocolat De H, Chocolate Design and J.Maeda to make sustainable chocolate the norm for the Japanese market.

Since the global launch of Forever Chocolate, its plan to make sustainable chocolate the norm by 2025, Barry Callebaut has persistently pushed for systemic change to the cocoa and chocolate value chain worldwide and in Japan over the past few years. Amongst various efforts, the Swiss company has consistently championed for companies to be purpose-driven and to put sustainability at the heart of their business strategy. They have also led the introduction of Cocoa Horizons, one of its key sustainability programs, as an effective avenue for customers, also the mentioned above, to contribute directly to sustainability efforts in origin countries.

Increased focus on sustainability amidst COVID-19 pandemic

With the long-term shift towards sustainable chocolate because of its positive effects on economic, social and environmental change, several chocolate manufacturers in Japan have reaffirmed their commitment to produce sustainable chocolate even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In March this year, Yuraku Confectionery pioneered this move by announcing their transition to 100% sustainable chocolate in all their highly popular Black Thunder chocolate bars by 2025. In the coming weeks, leading confectionery maker in Japan, Morinaga, will also introduce its sustainable chocolate products that will be widely available in grocery shops and retailers across Japan. These successful partnerships with Barry Callebaut show it is possible to make a difference on a large scale.

Machiko Miyai, Director and Managing Executive Officer of Morinaga in Japan, said: “With escalating global awareness around environmental issues, as witnessed at the Davos Conference and the Australian wildfires, we were considering how we, as a manufacturer of chocolate, should tackle these issues through our business. At such a time, Barry Callebaut introduced the Cocoa Horizons program as a way for us to make chocolate that is good for the people who eat it, good for the people who make it, and good for the planet. So we decided to start using Cocoa Horizons cacao as the environmentally friendly source.”

Businesses and consumers are going back to the source

COVID-19-related disruptions, such as the impact on the livelihoods of cocoa farmers in Africa and Indonesia, have also brought focused attention on the preference of businesses to understand the source of their products. Hence, more chocolate manufacturers, artisans and retailers are turning to sustainability programs like Cocoa Horizons as it is the most direct and effective way to improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers, eradicate child labour, and protect nature.

Hironobu Tsujiguchi, Chocolatier from Le Chocolat De H, said: “I believe the ‘farm to bar’ approach is the basis for improving the quality of our creations. We need to tell consumers that a good tasting product begins with the growth and fermentation of raw materials at origin countries. Therefore it is important to be aware of where these ingredients come from and to find added value for the farm and the store.”

Barry Callebaut’s artisan customers such as Le Chocolat De H have long paved the way for sustainable chocolate through the company’s Gourmet product offerings. Under the finest Belgian chocolate brand Callebaut®, cocoa can now be traced back to the Cocoa Horizons farming communities in Ghana, Ivory Coast and Ecuador.

Consumers too, particularly of the Generation Z, are increasingly integrating their social and environmental concerns into their buying decisions. These consumers are mindful of their purchases and want to make social and ethical contributions through their everyday life.

Pascale Meulemeester, Managing Director for Barry Callebaut in Japan, said: “Our bold mission is to change the entire chocolate industry in Japan. We cannot do this alone, and we are not alone. The new Japanese consumers care deeply about our planet and its people and today, as we stand together to represent the chocolate industry in Japan, we are serious about sustainability. Together we will leave a legacy of change for generations to come.”

A 2019 consumer insights research[1] by Barry Callebaut revealed that more than 70% of Japanese consumers believe that sustainable chocolate products are more trustworthy, of better quality and in alignment with their values. In fact, 75% of Japanese consumers linked the purchase of sustainable chocolate products with a feel-good factor and more than 50% indicated that they would buy sustainable chocolate in the future.

Source: Yahoo


The FAO Food Price Index hits a six-month high

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» The FAO Food Price Index* (FFPI) averaged 96.1 points in August 2020, up 1.8 points (2.0 percent) from July and 2.1 points (2.2 percent June) higher than its level in the corresponding month last year. The August value, the highest since February 2020, represented an increase for the third consecutive month. While a weaker U.S. dollar provided support to international prices of most agricultural commodities, in August the price increases were more pronounced for sugar and vegetable oils with cereal prices also firming, though more modestly. By contrast, meat and dairy values kept steady near their July levels.

» The FAO Cereal Price Index averaged 98.7 points in August, up 1.8 points (1.9 percent) from July and 6.5 points (7.0 percent) above its value in the corresponding month last year. Among the major cereals, sorghum, barley, maize, and rice prices rose the most. Sorghum prices increased significantly for the second consecutive month, up 8.7 percent from July and 33.4 percent above the August 2019 level, mostly on the back of strong import demand from China. Barley prices also picked up strength, increasing by 3.2 percent month-on-month, reflecting a faster pace in exports from Argentina to China. Concerns over production prospects in the US following recent crop damages in Iowa pushed maize prices up by a further 2.2 percent in August. International rice prices also rose, after two months of successive declines, underpinned by seasonally tight availabilities and increasing African demand. In wheat markets, export prices rose, albeit slightly, as lower production prospects in Europe and increased buying interest started to push up prices towards the end of the month.

» The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index averaged 98.7 points in August, gaining 5.5 points (5.9 percent) month-on-month and reaching its highest level since January 2020. The third consecutive monthly rise mainly reflects firmer palm oil values and, to a lesser extent, higher soy, sunflowerseed and rapeseed oil prices. Increased international palm oil prices mainly reflect prospective production slowdowns in leading producing countries, which, combined with firm global import demand, are expected to result in reduced inventory levels. Meanwhile, soyoil values continued to rise amid better than anticipated uptake from the US biodiesel industry. Sunflowerseed oil prices were supported by robust import demand, notably from China, while continued supply tightness underpinned the further rise in rapeseed oil values.

» The FAO Dairy Price Index averaged 102.0 points in August, almost unchanged from July and up 1.7 points (1.7 percent) from the corresponding month last year. Quotations for both cheese and whole milk powder (WMP) fell due to reduced demand for spot supplies on expectations of ample export availabilities in Oceania in the new production season. By contrast, price quotations for butter increased as a result of tightening export availabilities in Europe due to a rise in internal demand while the August hot spell reduced milk production, which was already in its seasonal decline. Meanwhile, quotations for skim milk powder (SMP) increased, underpinned by steady global import demand for medium-term deliveries and reduced milk production in Europe.

» The FAO Meat Price Index** averaged 93.2 points in August, almost unchanged from its July value and down 9.1 points (8.9 percent) from the corresponding month last year. In August, quotations for bovine and poultry meat declined, caused by a weaker pace of import purchases, notwithstanding reduced slaughter of animals and processing in key producing regions. Meanwhile, price quotations for ovine meat fell due to weak import demand amid an influx of new season lamb supplies in Oceania. By contrast, pig meat prices rose after four months of consecutive declines, as imports by China surged while global supplies tightened somewhat due to lighter slaughter weight, coupled with prolonged plant shutdowns in some producing regions.

» The FAO Sugar Price Index averaged 81.1 points in August, up 5.1 points (6.7 percent) from July and 4.9 points (6.4 percent) higher than in August 2019. The latest month-on-month increase reflected the prospects of a reduction in production due to unfavourable weather conditions in the EU as well as in Thailand, the world’s second largest sugar exporter. Strong sugar import demand by China, driven by a sustained rise in domestic consumption, provided additional support to prices. However, expectations of a bumper sugar crop in India contained the extent of the price increase.

*Effective July 2020, the price coverage of the FFPI has been expanded and its base period revised to 2014-2016. For more details on this revision, please see the feature article of the June 2020 issue of the Food Outlook.

** Unlike for other commodity groups, most prices utilized in the calculation of the FAO Meat Price Index are not available when the FAO Food Price Index is computed and published; therefore, the value of the Meat Price Index for the most recent months is derived from a mixture of projected and observed prices. This can, at times, require significant revisions in the final value of the FAO Meat Price Index which could in turn influence the value of the FAO Food Price Index.

Download full dataset: Excel, CSV

Download full dataset: Excel


Continuous innovation in cake production

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Cake production represents a very creative side of the bakery industry. So, product innovations take place continuously.

“The changes are driven by the creativity of our customers, the ever-changing consumer demand and the availability of new technologies,” explains Luc Imberechts, owner of Bakon USA Food Equipment, citing as one example the possibilities offered by ultrasonic cutting of full sheets of cakes. “We are hearing more automation and the strong interest in our modular approach. We also see more attention to sanitation and to the ease of cleaning of our units, and also to the sanitary design.”

Image: Bakon USA Food Equipment

Image: Bakon USA Food Equipment

As the bakeries embrace more sophisticated automation processes, the industry is rapidly evolving and gaining higher efficiences – as well as improved profitability.

“We see more integration. So, we strongly believe that our modular approach offers real advantages to our customers,” Imberechts says. “The introduction of robotic arms to work in combination with the depositors offers more flexibility.”

During the International Baking Industry Exposition 2019 tradeshow in Las Vegas, Bakon introduced its new generation of Bakon Depositors under the name BD. The BD line is the result of Bakon’s global experience in depositing solutions, from piston depositors (single and multiple pistons) to gearwheel depositors and extruders.

“Our equipment is designed with standard well-known, high-quality components that are available on a worldwide basis. This is true for the pneumatic components – SMC Pneumatics – but also PLCs, integrated controls by Allen-Bradley,” he says.

The BD-3 is the table-top unit. This is the first unit an operator should buy when thinking of scaling up from the piping bag, Bakon recommends.

On the other end of the range, the BD-9 can work with a unique level of accuracy thanks to the servo-driven cylinder. The operator can program the unit with the full-color display. It can be equipped with Bakon’s cake decorator.

For more complex applications and when speed is crucial or extra flexibility is required, two units can work together or Bakon can add a robotic arm to the BD-9.  It can also be attached to a conveyor belt for a more automated approach.

Ideal for flowable products

Unifiller Systems, a global leader in portioning equipment and a subsidiary of the Linxis Group of Companies, recently introduced the iFill Depositor. The machine is intended for bakery and food producers looking to deposit large volumes – up to 31 ounces – in a single deposit, using a simple and compact depositor. Featuring an ergonomic 1-inch handheld nozzle with 5-foot food grade flexible product hose and a choice of two product cylinders, the iFill depositor pumps and portions product directly from any bowl or container.

Capable of up to 100 cycles a minute, the iFill depositor is ideal for flowable products without particulates. Customers who have purchased the equipment have been able to speed up production, increase yield, optimize their labor, and better manage their product waste.

“There are growing factors impacting the way food producers work,” explains Sonia Bal, director of marketing at Unifiller Systems. “Over the years, changes in minimum wage, fewer people entering the trades, and boomers transitioning to retirement have all led to the need for more automation. More recently, COVID-19 has demonstrated that businesses are heavily impacted when staff are difficult to retain due to health and safety concerns. The current pandemic has been eye-opening. Automating what was previously done by hand – for example, using the iFill for batter depositing – can simplify a business’ daily operations.”

The iFill includes optional attachments such as a pail shelf to keep product containers off the floor to avoid contaminants, and an optional pie wand for easy pie filling, even on the rack. Although Unifiller expects this new equipment to be used mostly for cake batters and pie fillings, the application possibilities are endless.



The International Cocoa Initiative calls for greater industry-wide action on child and forced labour

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The International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) has called for ‘a massive expansion’ of collaboration from the industry’s key players to reach out at risk children and adults who are vulnerable to forced labour within the sector, reports Neill Barston

As the child-protection organisation revealed to Confectionery Production in its lates 2021-26 strategy, its main goal remains increasing children’s and workers’ rights within core producing nations including Ivory Coast and Ghana, which account for two thirds of the supply chain serving the confectionery market.

According to ICI’s research, a total of one in three youngsters in the two key cocoa-growing nations is involved with some form of child labour, with a more limited problem relating to forced labour on a localised level, which the group said remained a notable problem within agricultural systems.  Wider industry studies have revealed that around two million children are affected by the overall issue of child labour within the West African nations.

Significantly, the organisation’s findings revealed that only between 10-20% of children in the entire cocoa chain are presently covered by monitoring and remediation measures, which it is aiming to reach a figure of complete coverage through the support of cocoa and confectionery manufacturers through a series of joint actions.

As previously reported, the cocoa sector has put forward a number of initiatives over the past 10 years on this core issue, ranging from groups including Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, through to company-led initiatives from Mars, Mondelez International, Barry Callebaut, Cargill, Olam and Tony’s Chocolonely.

In response to the situation, ICI, which has been operating in the region for over 13 years, has produced its latest strategy has established a roadmap to achieve its vision of thriving cocoa-growing communities within a dignified, sustainable and responsibly-managed cocoa supply chain, consisting of three key pillars.

These include: delivering responsible supply chains built on systems and services that responsibly and transparently prevent and remediate child labour and forced labour across the entire cocoa supply chain.

Secondly, to create a supportive enabling environment with local, national and international policies and laws, that inspire, motivate and obligate progress, from human rights due diligence legislation in cocoa-consuming countries, to policies that continue to advance access to quality education and social protection in cocoa-producing countries. Finally, ensuring coordinated approaches to support collaboration, alignment and accountability across the cocoa and chocolate industry, civil society, governments, and donors to maximise their collective impact is also considered of vital importance.

Increasing its operations

Together with its industry partners, including civil organisations and government, ICI has, over more than a decade, has made an impact on what remains an ongoing issue. Since 2015, its collective work has reportedly delivered improved child protection for over 380,000 children, as detailed in its annual report.

The organisation’s  Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation Systems and community development approaches have been proven to be effective at reducing child labour, with research and learning contributing to the continuous improvement of these efforts.

Through its new Strategy, ICI’s focus will pivot to three core areas: Innovation and learning: ICI will continue to test and evaluate new ways of tackling child and forced labour and will conduct research on root causes, effective policies and promising practices.

Technical advocacy: ICI will promote the knowledge and learning it generates, engaging in the development of policies and standards, supporting all stakeholders to align their actions for a more coordinated approach and mobilising resources to unlock investments required for the scale up of effective solutions.

Capacity and systems strengthening: ICI will provide time-limited operational support to its members and partners to set-up child labour and forced labour prevention and remediation mechanisms that can eventually be sustained without ICI’s support, strengthening national, corporate, civil society and community systems and helping them work together.
ICI expects that these efforts will inspire and deliver the required 100% coverage of human rights due diligence systems that prevent and remediate child labour and forced labour. 25% of the full supply chain will be covered by ICI’s direct work with its partners, while ICI will use its influence to drive collective efforts to cover the remaining 75% of the supply chain. This will positively impact the lives of 1.7 million children by 2025.

“This new strategy is ambitious. We are aiming to drive full coverage of child labour and forced labour risks across the cocoa supply chain in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, which involves reaching 70% more children than under our previous strategy,” said Nick Weatherill, ICI’s Executive Director. “While a significant undertaking that will require more actors to engage and all actors to invest more, we believe full coverage is possible building on the results of the past and on the collaborative energy in the sector.

“We can see that momentum is building for real change. Human rights due diligence legislation, for instance, is being increasingly applied to global supply chains, requiring more and more actors to implement the kind of approaches that ICI has developed with its partners. With ICI playing a catalytic role in refining, promoting and embedding these tools, and with all actors in the cocoa sector working together as part of a coordinated multi-stakeholder effort, we can bring our collective vision of thriving cocoa-growing communities to life.”



Bimbo Bakeries USA: Launches National Recycling Program

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Bimbo Bakeries USA Inc. (BBU), the largest baking company in the United States, has partnered with international recycling leader TerraCycle to make their bread, buns, bagels and English muffin bags in the United States nationally recyclable. As an added incentive, for every pound of packaging waste sent to TerraCycle through the Bimbo Bakeries USA Bag Recycling Program, collectors earn points that can be used for charitable gifts or converted to cash and donated to non-profit organizations of their choice.

«Because plastic bags, like those used in our packaging, are not recyclable today through household recycling streams, most end up in landfills. Expanding our partnership with TerraCycle enables consumers across the country to easily recycle our plastic bags from their own homes at no charge,» said Fred Penny, President, Bimbo Bakeries USA. «This was an important, immediate action for our company as we work toward our commitment of 100 percent sustainable packaging by 2025. As the first and only baking company to partner with TerraCycle, we have already recycled more than 5 million pounds of waste and look forward to enabling consumers to divert more millions of pounds of plastic from landfills.»

To recycle your empty bread, buns, bagels and English muffin bags, sign up on the TerraCycle program page, collect your packaging and mail it in using the free prepaid shipping label. All submitted packaging is cleaned and melted into hard plastic that can be remolded to make new recycled products.

«At TerraCycle, our mission has always been to eliminate waste, recycle the unrecyclable and use our innovative business solutions to minimize human impact on the planet,» said TerraCycle CEO Tom Szaky. «It’s through lasting partnerships like the one we enjoy with Bimbo Bakeries USA that allow us to fulfill our objective and help preserve the environment for future generations.»

The Bimbo Bakeries USA Bag Recycling Program is open to any interested individual, school, office, or community organization.



Ingredion Launches Fiber Ingredient for Low FODMAP Applications

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Ingredion has launched a dietary fiber in the US called Novelose 3490. The fiber, which originally launched in the Asia Pacific region, is certified Low FODMAP. The ingredient, along with its certified claim, enables food manufacturers to develop high-fiber bakery and snack products that satisfy consumer demand for digestive wellness.

“Dietary fibers continue to play an important role in digestive health,” says Carolyn Phillips, Ingredion’s market insights lead, North America. “Novelose 3490 dietary fiber provides manufacturers with an easy and affordable way to support a low FODMAP diet.”

FODMAP refers to Fermentable Oligo- Di- and Monosaccharides and Polyols – these are short-chain carbohydrates, which some experts say could trigger occasional digestive discomfort. Thus, a low FODMAP diet can be an effective way to help manage digestive wellness.

In 2018, Innova Market Insights reported a 21 percent average annual growth in new product launches carrying a fiber claim. Moreover, Kerry released a study in May that found “huge opportunities” for gut-health-promoting ingredients in foods that are not typically consumed for health purposes, such as muffins and pizza.

A range of snacks can easily be fortified with fiber for digestive-health positioning.

Novelose 3490 is an insoluble dietary fiber, classified as a ‘type 4 resistant starch’ (RS4), which can provide fewer calories when replacing a portion of the flour in baked goods. It is a tapioca-based, resistant starch that can be used in a wide variety of applications, such as breads, cookies, tortillas, cereals, bars and pastas and can replace up to 50% of flour used.

Furthermore, the dietary fiber is positioned as “being easy to use, process tolerant” and boasts a minimum total dietary fiber of 85%, which can add fiber to foods with little to no impact on texture, flavor and color.

In addition to the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recognition of Novelose 3490 as a dietary fiber, the ingredient has been certified by Monash University as a Low FODMAP Certified product in the US.

Research indicates that the low FODMAP diet is starting to gain popularity among consumers. Ingredion’s August 2019 quantitative study of more than 750 US participants revealed that 61% of consumers feel that a low FODMAP diet is good for overall health and wellness.

Products that receive low FODMAP certification are licensed to use the official Monash University Low FODMAP Certified seal – making it easier for manufacturers and consumers to identify ingredients and products that help support digestive health while following a low FODMAP diet.

“In recent years, Ingredion has expanded its ingredient bases to include rice, tapioca and potato in addition to corn,” says Aaron Edwards, Ingredion’s North America platform lead, starch texturizers. “This diversification allows us to offer our customers an extensive ingredient portfolio with unique features and benefits.”