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Hershey Raises Growth Forecast Again After Positive Third Quarter

From: Food & Beverage Media

Food Performance: How does Western Canada measure up?

From: Food in Canada

Food-borne illness outbreaks and food recalls tend to grab media headlines and consumers’ attention. Many Albertans will be familiar with the XL Foods meat recall, for instance. Overall, there are more than four million cases of food-borne illness per year in Canada. It leaves Canadians to question just how safe is our food. Canadians are also questioning the cost, health and availability of our food.

How well do Western provinces perform? In The Conference Board of Canada’s 2016 provincial food performance report card, Western provinces performed relatively well to their provincial peers. Indeed, Saskatchewan is head of the class among all provinces. The province excels with “A” grades in four of five categories: food safety, industry prosperity, household food security, and environmental sustainability. Its only “B” grade is awarded on the healthy food and diets category. B.C. is also among the top performers, Alberta received an “A” grade for household food security while Manitoba’s best grade was an “A” for food safety.

In 2015, the Conference Board produced an international food performance comparison of Canada’s food system to assess how the food system meets the needs of the population. The report card measures Canada’s performance against 16 OECD countries across the same five elements of the Canadian Food Strategy: industry prosperity, healthy foods and diets, food safety, food security and environmental sustainability. While Canada (along with Ireland) received the top grades in food safety, there is need for improvement, particularly in reporting on chemical risks in food consumption, conducting more frequent nutrition and dietary studies, food traceability and radiation standards in food.

Compared to most of our peers, Canadians generally choose healthy foods, as we consume lower-than-average intake levels of salt and saturated fats and have a diverse diet. However, Canadians’ health is somewhat compromised by higher levels of diabetes and obesity. Moreover, many Canadians bring home more food than they need generating relatively high levels of food waste and are comparable with other countries in terms of their knowledge and literacy about food.

When measured by affordability and price volatility, overall food availability on a national level is not at issue. However, there are localized problems of food access and prices, and at-risk populations (including indigenous people and single-parent households) continue to exist. Canada does not perform as well in other areas. For example, Canada has among the highest rates of both food waste and food losses in the world, and ranks behind all other countries for rates of greenhouse gas and ammonia emissions.

Canada’s industrial strengths in the food sector are its resource endowments, capital available to farms, crop production, and economic viability. However, the Canadian industry falls short of other countries in measures such as food innovation, livestock production, and representation among leading global food companies.The Conference Board of Canada’s 6th Annual Canadian Food & Drink Summit, taking place this December in Calgary, will explore Western Canada’s food performance. Topics of discussion will also include the Barton Report and the recommendations from the federal government’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth where agriculture was identified as having strong potential for substantial growth and export improvement. The Summit will also debate the Government of Canada’s National Food Policy and more.

The Summit will feature engaging sessions and an exciting lineup of leading food experts and experienced practitioners who will share best practices and insights with you on how to engage stakeholders and Canadians to take action, including on trade, inspiring food innovation stories from Alberta, healthier beverages, agri-food outlook, reducing food waste, the labour gap in agriculture, affordable diets, organic retail experience, the future of the grocery business, growing culinary experiences, beef and crop sustainability, and more.The goal is to advance Canada’s food performance. Food affects our lives, health, jobs, environment, and economy. Ensuring that our food is of high quality, affordable, healthy and safe to eat matters to every one of us. We hope you will attend the Summit and look forward to seeing you in Calgary on December 4-6, 2017.

Written by: Jean-Charles Le Vallée, PhD,  associate director Food Horizons Canada, The Conference Board of Canada.

Federal Government Invests in Canadian Livestock Health

From: Food in Canada

Guelph, Ont. – Canada’s federal government is supporting livestock health with an investment of $1.31 million.

In a statement, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) says the investment was made to the Canadian Animal Health Coalition (CAHC) “to help ensure the safe transportation of livestock, develop emergency management tools for the livestock industry and improve animal care assessments.”

Jennifer MacTavish, the chair of the CAHC, says in the statement that the organization appreciates the support. She adds that the funding will help “develop Canada’s Codes of Practice for the care and handling of farm animals and affiliated animal care assurance programs.”

The CAHC is a non-profit organization serving Canada’s farmed animal industry. The organization is a partnership of cross-sectorial organizations, all recognizing a shared responsibility for an effective animal health system.

The investment will be divided between four projects, as noted in the statement, including:

  • Up to $223,929 to develop a new livestock transport on-line certification program that will simplify, standardize and provide an opportunity for truckers, shippers and receivers to more easily access the training necessary to improve handling practices.
  • Up to $160,713 to update the Transportation Codes of Practice for the care and handling of farm animals during transport.
  • Up to $813,200 to develop an emergency management plan for the Canadian livestock industry to help mitigate, to respond to, and to recover from major hazard emergencies.
  • Up to $112,180 to revise the Chicken Farmers of Canada’s animal care assessment program to meet the new Code of Practice for hatching eggs, breeders, chickens and turkeys. The project will strengthen the poultry industry’s capacity to respond to ever increasing demand by markets to demonstrate effective animal care standards.

Canadian Researchers Discover Genetic Clue to Peanut Allergy

From: Food in Canada

Hamilton, Ont. – Canadian researchers, says the Allergy, Genes and Environment Network (AllerGen), have pinpointed a new gene associated with peanut allergy. In a press release (“New genetic clue to peanut allergy,” on Oct. 10, 2017), AllerGen says the discovery offers “further evidence that genes play a role in the development of food allergies and opening the door to future research, improved diagnostics and new treatment options.”

AllerGen is a national research network funded by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada through the Network of Centres of Excellence program. In the statement, AllerGen explains that “the gene, called c11orf30/EMSY (EMSY), is already known to play a role in other allergy-related conditions, such as eczema, asthma, and allergic rhinitis. This study is the first to associate the EMSY locus with food allergy, and these findings suggest that the gene plays an important role in the development of not just food allergy but also general allergic predisposition.”

The AllerGen researchers included Dr. Denise Daley, an associate professor at the University of B.C., Centre for Heart Lung Innovation at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver; and Dr. Ann Clarke, a professor at the University of Calgary, Cumming School of Medicine in Calgary, and adjunct professor at McGill University in Montreal. In the statement, Daley says that “the discovery of this genetic link gives us a fuller picture of the causes of food allergies and this could eventually help doctors identify children at risk.”

AllerGen says that an allergy to peanuts develops early in life “and is rarely outgrown.” Roughly one per cent of Canadian adults and between two and three per cent of Canadian children are affected. Symptoms can be severe to life-threatening. The co-first authors of the study included Dr. Yuka Asai, an AllerGen investigator and assistant professor at Queen’s University, and AllerGen trainee Dr. Aida Eslami, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of B.C.

In the statement, Eslami says the results of the study “suggest that EMSY could be a useful target for predicting and managing food allergy treatments in the future.”

Mars Canada Celebrates Official Opening of Bolton Food Plant Expansion

From: Canadian Packaging 

Mars Food has invested CDN$77 million in the 50,000-square-foot expansion of its Bolton, Ont. food plant to increase production of its ready-to-heat rice and grain products. Mars Food celebrated its official opening on October 11, 2017.

This expansion represents the single-largest capital expenditure in the history of Mars Food, and will the much-needed capacity having been designed for future growth. Most importantly, the state-of-the-art, LEED Gold-certified facility will add 37 new highly-skilled jobs.

The Bolton food plant expansion comes on the heels of a similar expansion of its chocolate facility located in Newmarket, Ont. Together, the two expansion represents a total investment of $147 million in 2017, greatly increasing the company’s presence in Ontario.

About Mars Food
Mars Food is a fast-growing food business, making tastier, healthier, easier meals for all consumers to enjoy. Headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, Mars Food is a leader in producing great tasting products such as: Uncle Ben’sDolmioSeeds of ChangeMasterFoodsSuzi WanEblyRoycoKan Tong, and Raris. Mars Food is a division of Mars, Incorporated.

About Mars Canada
Mars Canada is a subsidiary of Mars, Incorporated, a private family-owned business with more than 1,300 associates across the country. In Canada, Mars was established in the late 1940s and is known for some of the Canada’s best-loved brands, including Uncle Ben’sSeeds of ChangeMaltesersM&M’sPedigreeSnickersRoyal CaninWhiskas, and Excel. Mars in Canada comprises four business segments: food, chocolate, Wrigley and petcare. Mars Canada is one of Canada’s top 100 employers. For more information, visit www.mars.com/canada/en.

Manitoba Entrepreneurs Gathered for a Special Food Fight

From: Food in Canada

Winnipeg – Several food entrepreneurs gathered at a specialty shop gearing up for a fight. A food fight, that is. But not just any food fight. De Luca’s specialty grocery store was home to the Great Manitoba Food Fight in late September. In a press release, the Manitoba government explains that the competition is “open to companies that have developed but not fully commercialized a new food or beverage product.” The Food Fight  is presented by De Luca’s and Food & Beverage Manitoba. This year, four companies received awards to help them get their products out in the marketplace.

The winners were:

• Tall Grass Dill Pickle Vodka, from Capital K Distillery in Winnipeg, won the inaugural craft beer and spirit competition. Owner Jason Kang received a prize packaged valued at approximately $5,000.

• Little Bones, from Little Bones Wings in Winnipeg, won Gold in the food category. Owner Alex Goertzen received a prize package valued at approximately $13,000.

• Hemp Macaroons, from Piccola Cucina in Winnipeg, won Silver in the food category. Owner Pina Romolo received a prize package valued at approximately $7,000.

• Bilton and Stokkies, from Mr. Biltong Beef Jerky Company in Winnipeg, won bronze. Owner Jeremy Silcox received a prize package valued at approximately $4,000.

The release says the prize packages “will be tailored to each entrepreneurs’ needs and the expertise and resources needed to help move the product toward commercialization.” Some of the services could include recipe refinement, package design, marketing, workshops, trade shows, business management, food processing, or safety and handling.

The Great Manitoba Food Fight is sponsored by the Manitoba government and Food & Beverage Manitoba in partnership with De Luca’s.

Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated Acquires Distribution Territories And Manufacturing Facilities

From: Food Manufacturing 

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Oct. 02, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated (the “Company”) announced Monday that it entered into and completed transactions with The Coca-Cola Company to exchange distribution territory previously served by the Company in parts of southern Alabama, southwestern Georgia, southeastern Mississippi, northwestern Florida and in and around Somerset, Kentucky, and a manufacturing facility in Mobile, Alabama previously owned by the Company for distribution territory previously served by Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Inc. (“CCR”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Coca-Cola Company, in parts of Arkansas and two manufacturing facilities previously owned by CCR in Memphis, Tennessee and West Memphis, Arkansas, and to acquire additional distribution territory previously served by CCR in and around Memphis, Tennessee, including in portions of northwestern Mississippi and eastern Arkansas.

As part of the transactions, the Company acquired exclusive distribution rights in territory that includes the following major markets: Little Rock, West Memphis and southern Arkansas; and Memphis, Tennessee. The Company relinquished distribution rights in territory that includes Mobile, Leroy and Robertsdale, Alabama; Columbus, Sylvester and Bainbridge, Georgia; Ocean Springs, Mississippi; Panama City, Florida; and Somerset, Kentucky. The definitive agreements with CCR include the exchange and acquisition of distribution territory and manufacturing facilities described in the previously-announced letters of intent dated June 14, 2016 and April 11, 2017 between the Company and The Coca-Cola Company.

The Company also announced today that it entered into and completed a transaction with Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Inc. (“United”) to exchange distribution territory previously served by the Company in Florence, Alabama, south-central Tennessee and Laurel, Mississippi for distribution territory previously served by United in Spartanburg and portions of Bluffton, South Carolina. Piedmont Coca-Cola Bottling Partnership (“Piedmont”), a majority owned subsidiary of the Company, also entered into and completed a transaction with United to exchange distribution territory previously served by Piedmont in northeastern Georgia for the remainder of the distribution territory in Bluffton, South Carolina previously served by United. The definitive agreement with United includes the exchange of distribution territory described in the previously-announced letter of intent dated June 14, 2016 between the Company and United.

Premium Brands Acquires Another Ontario Meat Company

From: Food in Canada

Vancouver – Premium Brands Holdings Corporation has acquired another Ontario-based meat manufacturer.

In a press release, Premium Brands says Brampton, Ont.-based Skilcor Food Products is a leading manufacturer of cooked back ribs and other unique protein products. The company, which was established 50 years ago, has annual sales of approximately $27 million. On its website, Skilcor says it develops, produces and distributes value-added, portion-controlled, fully cooked meat products. It also distributes and is a broker for major national and private label brands.

The company operates out of a 34,000 sq.-ft. facility that was built in 2006. George Paleologou, Premium Brands’ president and CEO, says in the statement that the acquisition will help the company “strengthen” its presence in meat manufacturing and distribution. “It will not only expand our portfolio of products but will also give us specialized production capacity that will enable us to provide customers with premium quality differentiated protein solutions in the high growth ready-to-eat product category,” he says.

“In addition, Skilcor’s experienced and talented management team will further enhance the depth of our Protein Platform in central Canada.” The statement says the transaction will be funded through Premium Brands’ existing bank facilities and is expected to be immediately accretive to its annual earnings per share and free cash flow per share.

FDA Proposes To Extend Compliance Dates For Nutrition Facts Label Final Rules

From: Food Manufacturing

(FDA release; September 29, 2017) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is proposing to extend the compliance dates for the Nutrition Facts and Supplement Facts label final rule and the Serving Size final rule from July 26, 2018, to Jan. 1, 2020, for manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual food sales. Manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales would receive an extra year to comply—until Jan. 1, 2021.

The FDA is committed to making sure that consumers have the facts they need to make informed decisions about their diet and the foods they feed their families. The proposed rule only addresses the compliance dates. The FDA is not proposing any other changes to the Nutrition Facts Label and Serving Size final rules.

The agency is proposing to extend the compliance dates in response to the continued concern that companies and trade associations have shared with us regarding the time needed for implementation of the final rules. These stakeholders expressed concerns about their ability to update all products by the original compliance dates and the importance of obtaining clarification from the FDA on a number of technical issues relating to the final rules.

Pending completion of this rulemaking, we intend to exercise enforcement discretion with respect to the current July 26, 2018, and July 26, 2019, compliance dates.

Written or electronic comments on the extension of the compliance dates are being accepted for 30 days, beginning on October 2, 2017. The FDA is only accepting comments on the extension of the compliance dates.