Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 28, 2013 11:27 AM
In what seems like impeccable timing, Nestlé CEO Paul Bulcke delivered a sustainability-focused keynote at the annual City Food Lecture in the U.K., ultimately challenging the accusations made about the company in a damning Oxfam report earlier this week.
The speech, which focused on the escalating perils of water scarcity, outlined that fresh water overuse poses a serious environmental, political and social hazard. Water is an issue near and dear to his heart, as the Swiss company is the world's No. 3 producer of bottled water, and looking to expand in water-constrained markets such as China.
“It is anticipated that there will be up to 30% shortfalls in global cereal production by 2030 due to water scarcity,” he said. “This is a loss equivalent to the entire grain crops of India and the United States combined.” What's more, he added, “We could produce what we produce today with half the water we use.”
In his address, Bulcke cited his company’s reduction of water usage by a third with 1,200 agronomists working with Nestlé to better manage its water use. Bulcke also commented that consumer acceptance of misshapen fruit and vegetables is necessary to cut waste of food products, as well as spoke out against the fuel industry for using food crops to create biofuels.
Bulcke also took the opportunity to further address the horse meat crisis affecting retailers such as IKEA and manufacturers in Europe, a crisis that compelled Nestle to pull some food products off store shelves last week. “Widespread fraud is being committed by a few across Europe. I understand that many consumers and many of you in the industry feel misled, I feel the same. This should not happen, it is unforgivable. We have let our consumers down.”Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 26, 2013 06:23 PM
The world’s ten biggest food and beverage giants no longer fit the bill when it comes to environmental policies and worker’s rights according to "Behind the Brands," the latest report from international agency Oxfam.
The “Big 10”—Associated British Foods (ABF), Coca-Cola, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Mars, Mondelez, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever collectively make $1 billion a day while exploiting millions of people who supply land, labor, water and commodities to make their products and live primarily in developing countries, Oxfam states.
The report notes that Coca-Cola products are consumed 1.7 billion times per day and 4,000 cups of Nescafé are consumed every second. The Big 10 represent roughly 10% of the world economy.
Oxfam’s report ranks the brands on seven metrics: Land (supply chains free of ‘land grabs’), Women (promotion of women’s welfare), Farmers (treatment and sustainability policies), Workers (fair treatment of agricultural workers), Climate (mitigating greenhouse gas emissions), Transparency (disclosure of information about products and ingredients point of origin) and Water (basic respect of human right to potable water).
“None of the ten biggest food and beverage companies are moving fast enough to turn around a 100-year legacy of relying on cheap land and labor to make mass products at huge profits, with unacceptably high social and environmental costs,” said Jeremy Hobbs, Executive Director Oxfam International. “No company emerges with a good overall score. Across the board all ten companies need to do much more.” Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 31, 2013 02:02 PM
In an unusual move by a major brand, CPG giant Nestlé responded this week to a $5 million U.S. class action suit over trans fats in its frozen pizza brands by posting a video on YouTube that pushed back against the claims.
The video, posted Wednesday on Nestle USA's corporate YouTube channel, was removed without explanation on Thursday (update: it's now back online).
The suit, filed by Katie Simpson of San Diego, Calif., claims that Nestle’s frozen pizza brands—DiGiorno, Stouffer’s, and California Pizza Kitchen—are a danger to public health because they contain trans fats. The ingredients are legal in U.S. packaged goods, though the state of California, New York City and Philadelphia have banned their use in restaurants.
"Katie has two young children and she likes to make pizza for them, and all kids love pizza," her attorney, Greg Watson, told ABC's Good Morning America. "It shouldn't have a toxic food additive that's been banned all around the world."Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on November 6, 2012 05:08 PM
For a while, the notion of regulating genetically modified organisms (better known as GMOs) included in food seemed like a good idea, and anti-Big Food advocates in California attracted a lot of support in a state where residents like to be on the cutting edge of just about everything. Calfornians have never minded serving as a bellwether on new regulatory initiatives that end up sweeping the rest of the country, such as automotive emissions.
But the closer today's vote on Proposition 37 loomed, the more that initial support of the idea waned. And this U.S. Election Day, even backers of the anti-GMO initiative seemed resigned to its defeat, although it's still being closely watched. (Update: Prop 37 was indeed defeated at the polling booth.)
What happened? Well, a combination of huge contributions by moneyed CPG brands battered Prop 37's drive to label GMOs in a massive advertising and PR blitz with a "No on 37" drive. And backers of the added regulation alleged dirty tricks by the competition as they sought to sway voters (despite scientific evidence to the contrary) that GMO-containing products are hardly the stuff of "Frankenfood" that really harms consumers.Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on September 17, 2012 01:11 PM
The vast majority of American consumers don't care whether their foods contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Food executives and think tanks will tell you that and cite, for example, how Indiana local bakery Aunt Nellie's bombed when it introduced a specifically labeled "non-GMO" bread a couple of years ago.
But California isn't most of America, with a more health-conscious outlook than most states. That's why mainstream food companies are in a hot and heavy contest against GMO opponents over Proposition 37, The Right to Know Genetically Modified Food Act, a piece of state legislation that, if passed in November, would require GMO-containing products to disclose that on labels, and make California the first state to mandate genetically modified food.
Similar to what happened to automakers after California took an extreme position on cutting emissions, essentially imposing that higher standard on cars sold all over the country, food and beverage companies are concerned that California will serve as a bellwether in GMO labeling regulation as well.
In a particular bind in this fight are the many mainstream food conglomerates that now own organic brands, which by definition don't include GMOs: Kellogg, owner of GMO poster brand Kashi; General Mills, owner of the Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen, Larabar and Food Should Taste Good brands; Coca-Cola, owner of Odwalla and Honest Tea; PepsiCo; and Dean Foods, owner of Horizon Organics.Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 25, 2012 01:09 PM
Greenpeace activists recently scaled the headquarters of the KFC headquarters building in Louisville, Kentucky to hang a giant banner with a Sumatran tiger saying: “KFC Stop Trashing My Home.” A second banner was deployed on the lake the KFC building, dubbed “the White House” due to its resemblance to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC, overlooks, bearing a similar message.
“We're here today to expose KFC's secret recipe. KFC customers worldwide will be horrified to learn that the fast food giant is using rainforests to make its packaging,” said Greenpeace Forest Campaign Director, Rolf Skar, about the protest action, which has gone global including a protest stunt in China and London this week. “The decisions being made here at KFC HQ are fuelling the destruction of some of the world’s last remaining rainforests, driving climate change and pushing the Sumatran tiger closer to extinction.”Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on March 16, 2011 01:00 PM
The tipster who sent us a link to this Lean Cuisine recall asks, "Most confusing recall I’ve seen — figure out the HOUR your plastic-contaminated Lean Cuisine spaghetti & meatballs was produced?" We're inclined to agree.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 7, 2010 10:22 AM
Funny what a few good decisions can do for a brand that’s struggling.
In the case of Celsius, the calorie-burning beverage, recent shifts on market positioning, advertising endorsements and distribution methods have reignited growth and led to a quadrupling of first-quarter revenues – and a seemingly brighter future in a market crowded with better-for-you beverages.
Celsius has reams of scientific studies which demonstrate that its proprietary formula, which includes green tea and chromium, actually burns calories to promote weight loss. For a few years, the Delray Beach, Fla.-based startup was in a market scrum with Enviga. But lately Celsius has acquired the momentum in that battle.Continue reading...