gourmet foods

A new report on the specialty food market presents a bounty of information on this broad and growing category. The report was based on consumer responses to a variety of survey questions about their buying and other habits. It defined specialty foods as those that are distinctive and of premium quality, often made by small or local manufacturers or having ethnic or exotic flavors.

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Washington, D.C.—Over 150 companies and organizations sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack calling for better oversight of the experimental field trials used to test genetically engineered (GE) crops. The action was spurred by the high-profile discovery in May of unapproved GE wheat in an Oregon farmer’s field.

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Columbia, MO—As certain types of synthetic nanoparticles have made their way into applications from water treatment to food packaging to pesticides over the past few years, a debate has ensued over the potential for contamination, and the health risks to humans in case it does occur. A recent study at the University of Missouri confirmed the presence of potentially toxic silver nanoparticles in pears and, in doing so, established a viable method for detecting such particles in food.

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News from industry food companies.

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With the June 2013 expansion of Amazon.com, Inc.’s AmazonFresh program to the Los Angeles market, the resurgent business model of home grocery delivery now seems to be a force with which the food retail world must contend. After fits and starts of success for the idea earlier in the Internet era, many more consumers appear to be interested in having at least some groceries, including organic produce, delivered to their doorstep by Web-based services.

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News from industry food companies.

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Monrovia, CA—Naked Juice Co., owned by PepsiCo, will be removing the term “all natural” from its fruit and vegetable juice smoothie products, after it chose to settle a class-action lawsuit for $9 million. By claiming its products are all natural and free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the lawsuit alleged, the brand was engaged in false advertising.

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A federal judge put the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the spot recently, asking the agency to decide whether genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can be present in food products labeled “natural.” The request from U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers put on hold a class action suit against Gruma Corp., which markets tortillas and other products under the Mission brand name.

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Phoenix, AZ—Sprouts Farmers Market, which operates over 150 stores and was the 2013 WholeFoods Retailer of the Year, officially set the terms of its initial public offering on the NASDAQ stock exchange. The company seeks to pay down $247.6 million in debt and other costs through the sale of 18.5 million shares, at prices ranging from $14–$16. The fully diluted market capitalization of the company at the midpoint of this price range would be $2.3 billion, according to the NASDAQ Web site.

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News  from industry food companies.
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