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Major food companies moving away from industrial image

Fortune's extensive and thorough report tracks the strategies and tactics Big Food companies are employing as they stave off the attack from start-up natural foods.

  • The top 25 US food and beverage companies have lost $18 billion in market share since 2009. 
  • In search of authenticity in the $1 trillion retail food business, consumers are moving away from the conventional packaged and processed foods in the supermarket middle isles, causing a 1% decline..
  • Research at Hershey indicates that 68% of global consumers want to recognize every ingredient on the label and 40% want as few ingredients as possible.
  • Just this week the maker of Spam (Hormel) bought organic meat provider Applegate.
  • Moving from “processed” to “cooked and prepared” from “recipes” rather than “formulas” is the new corporate mantra. Can new acquisitions and new models be effectively integrated into these older cultures?

 

“Special Report: The war on big food” by Beth Kowitt, Fortune, June 1, 2015

When McDonalds claims it is Farm to Table…

 

Alice Waters transformed the restaurant and food industry being the first to list the origins of the foods used at her restaurant, Chez Panisse. Now the practice of listing the farm, dairy, dory, summer camp, or vacation every morsel of food was a part of, in painful detail, may be an attempt to mask the important attribute – its taste. And after even McDonalds jumped into the act with a “Farm to Fork” campaign, is it not time for the provenance of the item take a back seat to the taste and flavor created from it?  

 

“Is it Time to Table Farm to Table?” by Corby Kummer, Vanity Fair Magazine, June 2015

The Colorado (Grand) River & Western US Droughts

 

 

In 1922, the Colorado River Compact apportioned 10%-20% more water for seven states than the river’s headwaters produce. Most of the water, originally fought over for gold mining, feeds the bread baskets of the Grand Valley, the Arizona plateau and California’s abundant Imperial Valley. How man has mangled the water usage (80% of which is used for agriculture) is fascinating. As an example, more efficient irrigation systems that improve crop yields end up decreasing available water down-stream. Take a journey down the entire length of the Colorado in this piece. It is a decidedly different trip than Major John Wesley Powell’s.

 

 

“Where the river runs dry” by David Owen, The New Yorker, May 25,2015

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