Tag Archives: FoodIssues

Survey Finds Shoppers Define “Local” as Being Within 100 miles

The third annual A.T. Kearney survey of U.S. shoppers’ local food-buying habits finds that local food has made the leap from a “hot” consumer trend to a central growth driver for grocery retailers and restaurants. Two years ago, when A.T. Kearney conducted its first study of local food-buying habits, merely offering local food was a differentiator for retailers. In 2015, participation in the local food category is table stakes and merchandising excellence in the category is critical for growth.

For this year’s study, A.T. Kearney surveyed more than 1,500 U.S. shoppers who indicate they are the primary shopper or share shopping responsibility in their households. The report summarizes the findings of the study and provides retailers with specific recommendations for growing their share of the local food market.

Randy Burt, A.T. Kearney partner and co-author of the study, noted, “The ‘locavore’ movement has taken root. Consumers—especially women and young people—have come to expect not only high-quality local meat, seafood, and produce, but also jams, ice cream, and bread. Forward-thinking retailers and restaurants with a distinctive definition of local and a focus on marketing and merchandising fresh, high-quality products at the right price will capture a long-term advantage in this growing market.”

Survey findings include:

  • “Local food” has been redefined. Almost all consumers have coalesced around a stricter definition of local: 96% now describe local food as products grown or produced within 100 miles from the point of sale—up from 58% in 2014.

  • Access to local food is no longer the primary roadblock to increasing local food sales; only 27% of consumers say products are not available. However, about half say they are not buying local because of a lack of clear advertising/in-store signage.

  • 93% of respondents associate local with “fresh,” which is the primary purchasing factor for grocery consumers.

  • Regardless of the category, 78% of consumers are willing to pay a premium of 10% or more for local food, up from 70% in 2014.

  • Demand for local food is expanding beyond produce, meat, and seafood. More consumers say local is also an important attribute for prepared foods and dry groceries. For canned and jarred products, local increased in importance from 5% in 2014 to 13% in 2015; for prepared foods, the jump was from 10% to 23%; for bread, the increase was from 9% to 18%.

The online survey was conducted in May 2015 and included 1,519 U.S. respondents. Sixty% of the respondents were women, and all were older than 18. Household, income, age, and urbanization characteristics were representative of the U.S. population as a whole. For a copy of the full report, “Firmly Rooted, the Local Food Market Expands,” visit www.atkearney.com.

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Blue Moon Sued Over Craft Beer Marketing

A California man plans to amend his lawsuit alleging that MillerCoors deceived consumers by marketing its Blue Moon beer as a craft brew.

Evan Parent, of San Diego, originally sued MillerCoors in April. He claimed that he purchased Blue Moon in 2011 and 2012 believing that he was sipping craft beer instead of a product owned by one of the largest brewers in the world.

Meat Processor Recalling 167,427 Pounds of Ground Beef

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A meat company based in Nebraska is recalling 167,427 pounds of ground beef that might be tainted with E. coli bacteria.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Sunday that All American Meats Inc. is recalling the meat that was sold to retailers nationwide. No illnesses have been linked to the beef.

The recalled meat was produced on Oct. 16, and it was sold in either 60-pound or 80-pound packages.

All the meat that is being recalled had a sell-by date of Nov. 3 and establishment number 20420 in the USDA inspection stamp.

Ecola Seafoods Inc. Issuing Voluntary Recall on all Canned Salmon and Tuna Because of Possible Health Risk

ECOLA Seafoods Inc. of Cannon Beach, Oregon is voluntarily recalling all canned salmon and tuna with any code starting with “OC” because it has the potential to be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium which can cause life-threatening illness or death.  Consumers are warned not to use the product even if it does not look or smell spoiled.

Kroger Withdraws Unrefrigerated Caramel Apples Due to Potential Food Safety Risk

CINCINNATI (PRNewswire) — The Kroger Co. on Thursday announced its decision to withdraw from sale unrefrigerated caramel apples that have been pierced with dipping sticks due to new scientific evidence that the product, if left unrefrigerated, may be at risk for listeriosis.

No illnesses have been reported in connection with these products. Kroger made its decision out of an abundance of caution after reviewing a study published online by the American Society of Microbiology.

World Food Day 2015: Building Resilient Societies and Breaking the Cycle of Rural Poverty in the Sahel and West Africa Region

WFDOusman Tall, Sahel and West Africa Club (SWAC) Secretariat

The official programme marking World Food Day takes place today at the Universal Exposition in Milan, under the theme, “Social Protection and Agriculture: Breaking the Cycle of Rural Poverty”. This theme underscores the role of social protection in ensuring that food and other basic needs of the most vulnerable individuals and households are addressed. Furthermore, embedded in this theme is the assertion that social protection programmes tied to productive activities, such as agriculture, are the most sustainable approach to eradicating poverty and achieving food and nutrition security. This has considerable implications for Sub-Saharan Africa, where poverty is pervasive in rural areas.

Sub-Saharan Africa, especially the Sahel and West Africa region, is one of the poorest and most food-insecure regions in the world. Out of the 25 poorest countries in the world, 23 are in Sub-Saharan Africa with 11 of them in the Sahel and West Africa Region. It has the world’s fastest growing population, where 65% of countries are classified as low-income countries and over half of the population is living below the poverty line.[1] To address the high levels of food insecurity and poverty, a number of social protection initiatives have been put in place, including national social protection strategies in some countries. In 2014, the European Union alone assisted 1.7 million food-insecure people and 580 000 malnourished children in the Sahel.[2] This has provided a strong argument and a basis for a pro-smallholder agricultural intervention in rural areas in the Sahel and West Africa region.

Most Recent Food Insecurity Situations in the Sahel and West Africa Region (click for full size)

food-insecurity-sahel-west-africa

© Map produced by CILSS/Agrhymet. Source: Regional analysis of the Cadré harmonisé (CH), Bamako, 22-23 June 2015.

Linking social protection programmes with economic activities, productivity, ownership and long-term sustainability is important. Tackling risk and vulnerability and at the same time ensuring pro-poor growth through investments in social protection programmes lead to greater inclusive growth.[3] These should be the guiding principles in the design and implementation of social protection programmes. However, most social protection initiatives and interventions in the region are project-oriented, mainly addressing poverty and food insecurity during times of crisis. With the persistent nature and recurrence of crises in the region, there is a need to go beyond interventions during crises, to build the resilience of the most vulnerable populations in adapting – in a sustainable manner – to these emerging and recurrent crises.

Cognisant of this and at the invitation of the EU, stakeholders of the Sahel and West Africa region and their Technical and Financial Partners (TFPs) met in Brussels on 18 June 2012 to discuss the root causes of the recurrent food and nutrition crises in the region, which were weakening the livelihoods of the most vulnerable households. To tackle these problems, which are multiple and complex, the stakeholders agreed on a long-term collaborative effort that gave birth to the establishment of the Global Alliance for Resilience (AGIR) – Sahel and West Africa. AGIR is not a new policy or program, but a kind of framework or approach that seeks to channel the efforts of stakeholders in the region towards a common results-focused framework based on a shared definition of resilience: “The capacity of vulnerable households, families and communities and systems to face uncertainties and risk of shocks as well as to recover and adapt in a sustainable manner”.

Just ten days after the World Food Day Programme, the Sahel and West Africa Week will be celebrated at the 2015 Universal Exposition in Milan from 26-30 October. Organised by the Sahel and West Africa Club and its Members and partners, the Week will provide an opportunity for stakeholders to exchange best practices and shared solutions on issues such as food insecurity, malnutrition, poverty and resilience. AGIR stakeholders will meet to assess progress made since 2013 when 17 countries adopted the AGIR Regional Roadmap and committed themselves to its implementation. Consistent with the Roadmap, countries have organised national inclusive dialogues and are developing their own National Resilience Priorities (NRP-AGIR).

Through the NRP-AGIR, countries are fostering the improvement of social protection for the most vulnerable by strengthening food and nutrition programmes and improving their governance systems. They are also targeting income generating activities, especially through the agricultural value chains, in order to increase productivity and access to food for vulnerable segments of the population. These interventions are in recognition of the fact that the rural sector in the region is dominated by poor agricultural households that are faced with uncertainties as a result of numerous factors, ranging from socio-economic and political factors to natural disasters, such as flood, drought and pest infestation.

It is obvious that with the many uncertainties and the recurrent nature of crises in the region, livelihoods will continue to be affected, with individuals, households and communities becoming more vulnerable. To break this cycle, strengthening the resilience of the most vulnerable segments of the population should be at the core of every social protection programme in the region. This is a fundamental priority of the Alliance. AGIR recognises that the state has an essential obligation in providing a framework to build resilience, and that this requires long term strategic planning based on existing national policies and programmes.

The strength of the Alliance lies in the fact that it is co-ordinated through the Food Crisis Prevention Network (RPCA). Created in 1984, the RPCA has acquired remarkable experience in not only managing but preventing crises in the region. The Network benefits from a strong level of regional ownership, operating under the political leadership of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), with the co-facilitation of the Permanent Inter-State Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) and the SWAC Secretariat, and brings together all stakeholders working in the region. Through the Network, there is now broader co-operation among technical and financial partners, especially those working on food and nutrition security, poverty, social protection and resilience. At the occasion of World Food Day, the SWAC Secretariat, in collaboration with ECOWAS, UEMOA and CILSS, is launching today a film dedicated to the RPCA which raises awareness about the Network’s achievements and future challenges.

Finally, the AGIR objective of “zero hunger” (to completely eradicate hunger and malnutrition in the region) in 20 years is consistent with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal 2: “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.” To achieve this objective, there is a need for all stakeholders to reaffirm their commitment to the implementation of the AGIR Regional Roadmap, especially at a time when the Sustainable Development Agenda has been endorsed by Heads of States at the United Nations General Assembly. There is no better place for AGIR stakeholders to reaffirm their commitments than at the Universal Exposition in Milan during the Sahel and West Africa Week.

Useful links

[1] Food security in focus: Sub-Saharan Africa 2014. The Economist Intelligence Unit 2014

[2] ECHO Factsheet – Sahel: Food & Nutrition Crisis – May 2015

[3] Promoting Pro-Poor Growth: Social Protection-OECD 2009,

 

Group Calls On Companies To Eliminate Common Flour Additive

An advocacy group this week urged dozens of companies to end their use of potassium bromate in food products over its alleged links to cancer.

A review by the Environmental Working Group found 86 products that included potassium bromate, which the group said is used to strengthen dough, help bread rise and improve color following baking.

We need global policy coherence in trade and investment to boost growth

Investment Forum

Gabriela Ramos, OECD Chief of Staff and Sherpa to the G20 @gabramosp

Mounting fears of another slowdown in the global economy call for bolder policy responses. Trade and investment are a case in point.

The latest WTO forecasts suggest 2015 will be the fourth year running that global trade volumes grow less than 3%, barely at—or below—the rate of GDP growth. Before the crisis, trade was growing faster than GDP. In addition, global flows of foreign direct investment (FDI) remain 40% below pre-crisis levels. If we are to achieve the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals agreed in New York in late-September, and underpin broad-based improvements in living standards, we need to reignite these twin engines of growth and we need to do it for the ultimate goal of improving people’s prospects and wellbeing.

Trade and investment have always been intertwined in business, but they have never quite come together in policymaking. In a world of Global Value Chains (GVCs), characterised by the fragmentation of production processes across countries, the interdependencies between trade and FDI are sharper. Technological improvements, reductions in transport and communications costs, and regulatory developments allow firms to combine multiple channels–- imports, FDI, movement of business personnel, licenses — to optimize their international business strategies. Businesses do not think in terms of trade or investment, but in terms of maximizing expected profitability. On the contrary, policymakers have long addressed trade and investment on separate tracks. In the face of new economic realities, policymakers need to up their game.

The symbiosis between trade and investment is more complex than ever before. Multinational enterprises (MNEs) play a key role in this relationship, with their activities driving a large share of world trade. The decision of a firm to invest in a foreign country is influenced by the ease with which it can sell its products, but also by how easy it is to source inputs from its affiliates (intra-firm trade) or independent suppliers (extra-firm trade) abroad. Hence, trade barriers become indirect barriers to investment. In addition, “world factories” make emerging trade patterns more complex, as not only goods and services cross borders, but capital, people, technology, and data do too. Without a transparent framework, it is also difficult to upgrade and upscale responsible business conduct.

Services are an increasingly critical node in the relationship between trade and investment. The WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) explicitly recognizes this by defining FDI in services as one of the four ways in which services can be traded (mode 3, or ‘commercial presence’). This reflects how trade and investment interact with one another. Clearly, services will be central in any further efforts to liberalize investment and to improve the business environment. The OECD FDI Regulatory Restrictiveness Index shows that investment barriers are overwhelmingly in the services economy. Reforms in backbone services, notably digital services, transport, and logistics are key to unclogging GVCs. Domestic reforms to allow for more competition in the service sectors is also a source of growth and equality. Moreover, there is untapped potential in services value chains that could be realized if services markets were opened further. The OECD Services Trade Restrictiveness Index (STRI) provides a tool for identifying these barriers and measuring their costs, in order to prioritize and sequence reforms.

There is still no global set of rules governing investment and trade, however. Apart from GATS, two other WTO agreements—TRIMS and SCM–cover aspects of FDI, but they are not comprehensive. The OECD Codes are also a reference on capital flows, but does not address the link with the trade dynamics. The void has been filled with a complex network of nearly 3,000 bilateral investment treaties (BITs) of different quality and with different coverage.. Investors and States need certainty. A uniform regime would help, providing a consistent interpretation of the rules that apply to investment flows, taking into account the interest of all stakeholders. We urgently need a clear, coherent and coordinated approach at multilateral level. Multiplying the number of BITs further muddies the water and moves us further away from the multilateral ideal. A better way forward may be to start consolidating and replacing BITs on the road to a comprehensive multilateral framework. We also need to take a hard look at investment dispute settlement mechanisms, transparently addressing stakeholders’ legitimate concerns.

Replace BITs with what? Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs) are already providing some closer policy linkages. Over 330 RTAs contain comprehensive investment chapters, reflecting more advanced thinking of how trade and FDI interact in the real economy. These agreements also cover ‘deep integration’ disciplines that are essential to investments, such as movement of capital, business persons, intellectual property rights, competition, state-owned enterprises, and anti-corruption. New generation RTAs are not perfect, but they are taking us several steps forward in addressing the services-trade-investment-technology nexus. Being regional, however, they are not applied uniformly at a global level, and create their own overlaps and incoherence. It would therefore be useful to create clearer rules for co-existence among RTAs and mega-regional blocs. Above all, it is important to foster information-sharing on emerging practices from these negotiations, so that good practices can be diffused more widely and uniformly, and provide a pathway for multilateral convergence. In this way, RTAs and mega-regionals can become the building blocks of an integrated and truly multilateral trade and investment regime.

We are at a critical juncture, both economically and politically. The global economy needs a helping hand for recovery from the global financial crisis and to give people the improvements they expect in their daily lives. At the same time, we have both an opportunity and obligation to upgrade the policy framework to meet the changing reality of how trade and investment are conducted across the world, to enhance policy coordination, and to ensure that both have a positive impact on people’s well-being. Mega-regional agreements like TTIP and TPP are on track to deliver new frameworks over the coming months. These can be stepping stones towards the future of global trade and investment rules. As these mega-regional deals approach the finish line, the 10th WTO Ministerial in Nairobi in December is an opportunity to break the current impasse in the Doha Round. Finally, all of this is taking place as we enter a new “Post-2015” era with the new SDGs, where trade and investment are expected to do more of the heavy-lifting in global development.

Against this backdrop, the G20-OECD Global Forum on International Investment (GFII), being held on 5 October 2015 in Istanbul, back-to-back with the meeting of G20 Trade Ministers, will bring together the trade and investment policy communities—along with the business community–to reflect on the main axes of a pragmatic strategy to enhance the international regime for investment, including through closer links with trade. The agenda cannot be delayed: trade and investment decisions must go hand-in-hand in policy, just as they do in global business.

Useful links

G20-OECD Global Forum on International Investment

OECD work on International Investment Law

OECD work on Regional Trade Agreements

OECD work on Global Value Chains

OECD work on Trade Facilitation

 

Kraft Heinz Expands Kraft Singles Recall

NEW YORK (AP) — Kraft Heinz is expanding a recall of Kraft Singles products, saying a problem with the packaging film affects 10 times as many cases as it first thought.

The company recalled 335,000 cases Thursday because a thin strip of packaging film may stick to the slice after the wrapper has been taken off, creating a choking hazard. Kraft Heinz recalled 36,000 cases on July 31 for the same reason.