Latest Food and Beverage articles

Horse burgers and fake fish: What does this mean for CSR?

1 March 2013 -

You’d have to have been living in a vegetarian paradise to have missed the horse meat scandal that’s been spreading across Europe and beyond. It seems that if you’ve eaten any “budget” processed beef within memory, you’ve probably unwittingly eaten some horse as well. Coming hot on the heels of the pony burgers is a new study from Oceana that reveals a whopping one third of all seafood in the United States is mislabeled, either out of malice or pure ignorance. Tilapia masquerades as pricey red snapper, and escolar – a fish that can cause oily, explosive gastric distress – is labeled as tuna.

The food safety issues might not be as apocalyptically horrifying as the ones revealed in Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, but it’s evident that our food system is far from perfect. Convoluted, international supply chains mean that it’s easy for fraudsters to game the system. Consumers can’t tell the difference; the deceit is so subtle that it takes DNA testing to tell fact from fiction.

Could there be a silver lining to these scandals? Clearly small, artisanal farmers, fishers and butchers stand to gain from increased public mistrust in Big Food. Yorkshire Meats in the UK and Niman Ranch in the US are examples of humane farmers who have an almost fanatical devotion to traceability. But what about bigger companies? Corporations need to take these scandals as the opportunity to get serious about traceability in their supply chain. Restoring confidence should not be a mere matter of more stringent DNA testing. Proving to consumers that they know their meat and their producers is vital to restoring public confidence. In this regard, companies with strong commitments to sustainability are well positioned to come out on top. Time for Lidl, Tesco and Albert Heijn to get serious about CSR!

Whole Foods Drops Hershey’s Scharffen Berger Chocolates Over Child Labor Abuses

13 October 2012 -

Whole Foods Market (NYSE: WFM) locations around the country will be removing one of  Hershey’s high end products– Scharffen Berger chocolate– from  shelves across the country by the end of the year due to Hershey’s failure to assure that the cocoa is sourced without the use of forced child labor.

Read the full article here.

In Defense of Genetically Modified Crops

13 June 2012 -

Genetically modified Bt crops get a pretty bad rap. The pest-killing Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) bacteria protein these plants are bioengineered to make has been accused of harming monarch butterflieshoney beesrats, and showing up in the blood of pregnant women.

Just one problem: None of that is true.

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Unilever’s Paul Polman: challenging the corporate status quo

11 June 2012 -

(The Guardian)

Paul Polman, the chief executive of consumer goods giant Unilever, is in a league of his own when it comes to being the leader a multinational company challenging the corporate status quo.

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Tiny corn could be the next big thing

11 June 2012 -

(Grist)

If modern baseball can teach kids anything about science, it’s that steroids make things huge. We’ve all seen players with tree-trunk sized arms blast baseballs out of ballparks thanks to steroid hormones that bulk up muscle cells.

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Lidl: On their way to sustainability

11 June 2012 -

(Fairfood)

The struggle for sustainable chocolate has been, and still is, a bitter fight. After ten years of unmet commitments in the cocoa sector the 10 campaign was launched on 22nd September 2011. 

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FDA rejects petition to ban BPA from food packaging

8 May 2012 -

(GreenBiz) By Leslie Guevarra

The controversial plastic-hardening chemical bisphenol A can continue to be used in food and beverage packaging in the U.S., despite studies that raise concerns about the substance, hormone disruption and long-term effects of exposure.

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Coca-Cola, Carbon Trust Investigate Personal Carbon Allowances

8 May 2012 -

(Environmental Leader)
A study by Coca-Cola Co. and The Carbon Trust that investigated how people might respond to personal carbon allowances found while easy-to-understand environmental information changed behavior, consumers were still reluctant to give up certain high-carbon choices in their lifestyles. The group this month published a white paper outlining the study and conclusions.

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McDonald’s ploughs £1m into growing greener farms

12 April 2012 -

(BusinessGreen)

Fast-food giant McDonald’s will today take a step closer to creating a greener supply chain, after announcing a major new programme designed to boost the sustainability of British and Irish farming.

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UK consumers go bananas for Fairtrade

5 March 2012 -

(Guardian) By Felicity Lawrence

Sales of fairly traded products have bucked the trend of decline in the UK retail market to grow by 12% in the last year. The value of Fairtrade products sold through shops reached £1.32bn in 2011, compared to £1.17bn in 2010, according to figures from the Fairtrade Foundation, as it launches its annual marketing fortnight on Monday.

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Ben & Jerry’s competition encourages sustainability

27 February 2012 -

(Edie.net)

American ice-cream giants Ben & Jerry’s have launched a new competition in a bid to encourage socially responsible entrepreneurs to give back to the environment and community.

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Stop & Shop Nabs $4m in Incentives for Lighting and ECMs

1 February 2012 -

(Environmental Leader)

Stop & Shop has cut costs and received over $4 million in utility incentives through use of efficient lighting and electronically-commutated motors (ECMs) at hundreds of stores and warehouses, the company has announced.

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Coffee chains urged to improve takeaway cup recycling

29 October 2011 -

(Greenwise) By Rebecca Smithers

Coffee shops are failing to make it easy for customers to recycle the estimated 2.5bn takeaway cups thrown away each year in the UK, a consumer group warned on Tuesday.

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Mars in ethical switch for Maltesers

28 September 2011 -

(Financial Times) By Louise Lucas

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Mars is batting aside concerns over rising input prices to add an additional $1.4m a year to the cost of making Maltesers by switching to ethically sourced cocoa.

From next year, UK Maltesers will all be Fairtrade certified, helping farmers receive a better price for their produce. The move follows Mars’s pledge two years ago that all cocoa used in the $10bn of chocolate products it sells each year will be sustainably sourced by 2020. At end-2010 the proportion stood at 5 per cent.
Read full article here: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/a7ae15b8-e91f-11e0-9817-00144feab49a.html#axzz1Z8wmi7d6

Facebook deal with Diageo fuels under-age drinking fears

22 September 2011 -

(The Guardian) By Sarah Boseley – September 20, 2011
A multimillion-dollar deal agreed between Facebook and drinks company Diageo will fuel the under-age drinking epidemic by exposing increasing numbers of young people to alcohol marketing, health experts are warning.

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Annual Report Card: Hershey, Trailing Behind Competitors, Gets “F” for Failing to Remove Child Labor from its Chocolate Production

19 September 2011 -

(CSR Wire) By Green America – September 13, 2011
A year has gone by since non-profit groups shined a spotlight on Hershey for its use of forced, child, and trafficked labor in its chocolate products. Twelve months later, the groups are saying that no progress has been made and that Hershey chocolate is still tainted by child labor.

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DEFRA Scraps ‘Sell-By’ Dates To Cut Food Waste

19 September 2011 -

(Environmental Leader) September 15, 2011
U.K. agency DEFRA has released updated guidance to help ensure the right date marks are used on food labels, to make it easier for shoppers to know when food is safe to eat.

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Starbucks’ Third Cup Summit Marks Progress, Challenges in Recycling

19 September 2011 -

(GreenBiz) By Tilde Herrera – September 9, 2011
We’ve been watching Starbucks’ moves over the last few years as it works toward an aggressive goal of making all of those familiar coffee cups that people use once and throw away reusable or recyclable. All too often, those cups end up in a landfill.

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Coke slakes oil thirst with sustainable packaging

15 September 2011 -

(BusinessGreen) September 13, 2011
All bottles could be made from recycled plastic and plant-based materials by 2020. Bottles made from a mixture of plant material and recycled plastic are the latest addition to Coca-Cola’s sustainable product line.

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Willie Nelson Covers Coldplay, Assists Chipotle’s Quest To End Factory Farms

5 September 2011 -

(Fast Company) By Morgan Clendaniel – August 31, 2011
In this charming music video from Chipotle, Willie sings about going “back to the start” of American farming, before animals were pumped with antibiotics and kept in factories.

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Cheese Waste Turned into Plastic

1 September 2011 -

(Environmental Leader) August 30, 2011
Researchers in Catalonia, Spain, have invented a process that turns cheese waste into recyclable plastic food packaging. This new plastic is made using whey protein – a by-product formed in the production of cheese – and is biodegradable.

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Consumers Willing To Pay More for Sustainable Apparel

29 August 2011 -

(Sustainable Life Media) By Bart King – August 18, 2011
Gargi Bhaduri, a doctoral student, and Jung Ha-Brookshire, an assistant professor of textile and apparel management in the College of Human Environmental Sciences at the University of Missouri, surveyed apparel consumers to find out if they were willing to pay a premium for products produced using sustainable and ethical methods.

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ConAgra Sued Over ‘Natural’ Claims

29 August 2011 -

(Environmental Leader) August 26, 2011
A law firm is inviting consumers to submit claims against companies using the term “natural” on their foods, as the attorneys pursue a class-action lawsuit against ConAgra.

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Coca-Cola and Nestle Waters on board for producer responsibility

25 August 2011 -

(EdieNet) August 22, 2011
Global beverage brands would support the extension of producer responsibility laws in the US to help boost bottle and can recycling rates, according to a new study.

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Breweries across the world strive to decrease beer’s water footprint

18 August 2011 -

(The Guardian) By Leon Kaye – August 16, 2011
Whether brewed in tiny microbreweries or mammoth bottling plants, beer is often a national icon, from Peja in Kosovo to OB in Korea. A global US$300 billion (GDP£187.5 billion) market, beer also has a huge water footprint, and is frequently brewed in regions hit by water scarcity.

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