Will a meatless food industry featuring lab-grown meat, seafood substitutes, and insect protein be the future of food? Food giants from Tyson to Cargill are working to navigate a future where protein isn't dominated by traditional animal sources. At the moment, meat is still king.By some estimates, 30% of the calories consumed globally by humans come from meat products, including beef, chicken, and pork.That translates to staggering numbers of animals grown for food: there are over 30 million head of beef cows in the US, and 21 million pigs in Iowa alone.Together, the 7 largest meat companies combine for over $71B in market capitalization, with the largest, Tyson, boasting a $26B valuation.Meanwhile, startups using technology to engineer meat in labs or manufacture it from plant-based products are rising in popularity. Meatless food products from beef-free burgers to pea-based shrimp threaten the future of the meat giants.In addition to offering new products, these startups have the potential to upend all parts of the meat production process.Going forward, the meat value chain could be simplified dramatically, as the “clean meat” lab or factory could take the place of farms, feed lots, and slaughterhouses.
Public health officials have ordered a New Jersey company to cease and desist its illegal sales of unpasteurized, raw milk following confirmation that a woman who drank it was infected with antibiotic-resistant brucellosis. The New Jersey Department of Health issued cease-and-desist orders to Udder Milk on Friday, but did not post the news on is website until Monday. Neither the state health department nor the Udder Milk website indicated where the delivery business is located. No business entities named Udder Milk are listed with the New Jersey or New York secretaries of state offices.
Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) officially announced plans to build a dairy ingredients plant in Garden City, Kansas. In a ceremony at its 156-acre site in Garden City, representatives from the Cooperative were joined by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, city and state officials and the area’s dairy farmers to break ground on the facility. The state-of-the-art plant will produce whole, skim and nonfat dry milk powder, as well as cream, and is a partnership between DFA and 12 of its member farms in Southwest Kansas.
There doesn’t seem to be much of a slow season at Ferndale Market, but there’s most certainly a busy season. As Thanksgiving approaches, the feathers really fly. “It’s our time to make things happen,” said John Peterson, 37, who represents the third generation to raise turkeys his the family’s farm near Cannon Falls, Minn. John estimates they will sell about 30,000 fresh and frozen Thanksgiving turkeys this season, both straight off the farm and through retailers and restaurants across the Upper Midwest.The Peterson family has carved out a distinct niche for themselves among consumers seeking an alternative poultry product, raised on grass and without antibiotics and growth promotants.“They’re grateful that we’re doing it different,” John said. “Most consumers don’t really know where the frozen turkey in the grocery store came from and how it was raised.”People — hundreds of them a day in the weeks just before Thanksgiving — flock to the Petersons’ on-farm retail store, along U.S. Highway 52 between the Twin Cities and Rochester, Minn. They enjoy seeing exactly where their turkey was raised.
The International Poultry Council (IPC) disagrees with the recently approved World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines that recommend that the meat and poultry industries stop the routine use of antibiotics for growth promotion and disease prevention, the IPC said in a statement. The WHO on November 7 stated that over-use and misuse of antibiotics in animals and humans is contributing to the rising threat of antibiotic resistance, as it released its WHO guidelines on use of medically important antimicrobials in food-producing animals:However, IPC says that the WHO guidelines “inappropriately tie the hands of producers and limit their options" for antibiotics to prevent, control and treat diseases.
Eating “clean” is all about avoiding foods with additives, preservatives or other chemicals on the label. Considering the numerous studies linking certain foods with health ailments, clean eating makes sense, right? While it may seem well intentioned, Ruth MacDonald and Ruth Litchfield, professors of food science and human nutrition at Iowa State University, warn of the consequences in terms of food waste, safety and cost. Clean food advocates suggest avoiding foods with ingredients you cannot pronounce. MacDonald says several food manufacturers, restaurants and grocery stores have responded by removing additives to fit the definition of clean. The ISU professors say just because an ingredient or additive has an unfamiliar name does not automatically make it bad for you. The decision to remove additives appears to be driven more by market demand than consideration of the benefits these additives provide and the potential food safety risk, they said. Removing nitrates from deli meats and hot dogs is just one example.
A Fond du Lac cheese plant with 126 employees will be closed in seven months. Saputo, based on Montreal, announced Thursday it's closing the cheese manufacturing facility on East Scott Street next May.Saputo says it will save more than $5.5 million a year by moving the operations to a newly-built blue cheese factory in Almena in western Wisconsin, about 265 miles away.Employees will receive severance. Some will be offered a chance to work at other Saputo facilities, the company said.
The founder and CEO of Chobani has no regrets about moving his Greek yogurt company to south-central Idaho, a region embroiled in the national debate over refugee resettlement that spread to company boycotts by far-right bloggers and conspiracy theorists. “I hear the conversations here and there, but it’s a peaceful community that we all love,” said Hamdi Ulukaya, a Turkish immigrant. “It’s the home of Chobani.”Ulukaya spoke to The Associated Press before a Thursday announcement of a $20 million expansion of the company’s facility in the city of Twin Falls — the world’s largest yogurt plant — to serve as its global research and development center tackling how yogurt is made and consumed.It’s a project Ulukaya says he’s been planning for several years. As to what innovations the company plans for the 70,000-square-foot facility, Ulukaya isn’t sharing yet. He said the focus will be on offering natural and non-synthetic products.The project follows a series of expansion efforts by Chobani since opening its Idaho plant in 2012. The $450 million, 1 million-square-foot plant is the company’s second after Ulukaya started Chobani in New York. The company employs 2,000 workers, including 300 refugees.However, Chobani’s time in Idaho also has taken a darker turn as anti-immigrant advocates have seized on the company’s open stance on refugees. Fringe websites have falsely claimed that Ulukaya wanted to “drown the United States in Muslims.” Other websites, like Breitbart News, falsely attempted to link Chobani’s hiring of refugees to an uptick in tuberculosis cases in Idaho. To counteract the hateful rhetoric, Chobani sued right-wing radio host Alex Jones earlier this year, saying that Jones and his InfoWars website posted fabricated stories linking Ulukaya and the company to a sexual assault case involving refugee children in Twin Falls. Jones originally promised to never back down in his fight against the yogurt giant but eventually retracted his statements in a settlement.Ulukaya declined to comment on the Jones lawsuit but said the rise in anti-refugee sentiment has never delayed a project he wanted to pursue. And he says he is committed to being a welcoming company.“Don’t leave anyone out,” he said. “At Chobani, we believe in second chances.”During Thursday’s expansion launch, Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter praised Chobani’s impact on the community.“This new investment in Twin Falls reflects Chobani’s commitment to Idaho and to the people who have responded so positively to its corporate citizenship,” Otter said in a prepared statement. “Congratulations to all those who are contributing to Chobani’s growth, just as Chobani is contributing to ours.”
Nestlé announced that it will commit to sourcing only cage-free eggs across its entire global supply chain by 2025. This pledge comes almost two years after its U.S. division said it would switch to cage-free eggs for its food brands by 2020.It’s a big commitment. The Humane Society of the United States has noted that cage-free hens have a relatively better life than those condemned to painful confinement in a battery cage. Nevertheless, to many animal rights activists, cage-free is still a pretty dire existence. Nevertheless, the announcement coming out of Nestlé’s Switzerland headquarters demonstrates a growing trend: Food companies that ignore millennials do so at their own peril. “The wrath of millennials and other concerned consumers comes down especially hard on companies stuck behind the trend of improved animal welfare,” wrote Brett Cox for Entrepreneur earlier this year.Cox cited a 2015 study by the NGO World Animal Protection stating that 83 percent of millennials surveyed say they consider a company’s animal welfare policies when considering food purchases.
Chinese e-commerce firm JD.com announced it has signed a deal to import over $1.2 billion of U.S. beef and pork over three years. In a big win for Montana beef producers, the agreement includes a minimum commitment of $200 million in beef to be imported by JD from Cross Four Ranch and Montana Stockgkrowers Association members at fair market value over three years. It is estimated that JD’s purchase of Cross Four Ranch and MSGA beef will increase Montana beef export sales by as much as 40 percent in 2018.