Unicorn floatation device floating in the ocean

Summer News Roundup

Denis Storey
August 29, 2018

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It’s been a busy summer for the food, beverage, and the consumer packaged goods business – and that’s with Congress making almost no headway with the Farm Bill.

This week, we decided to touch on a few things that have been making headlines for the past few months. 

Food Labeling Takes Orwellian Turn

A lawsuit over what can be called meat has put Missouri in the middle of the growing debate over substitute food products. 

Tofurkey, The Good Food Institute, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri have banded together to sue the Show-Me State over a new law that prevents food makers from labeling their product as meat if it didn’t come from a “harvested livestock or poultry.”

The lawsuit insists that “Plant-based meat products that use such terms like ‘deli slices,’ ‘burger,’ ‘sausages,’ or ‘hot dogs,’ with accompanying qualifying and descriptive language, clearly indicate that the products are plant-based and accurately convey to consumers the products’ ingredients.”

It’s just the latest skirmish in a growing battle over food labeling. Last year, the Good Food Institute petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over what could be called milk. The dairy industry argues that plant-based products should eschew the term, while food alternative manufacturers are fighting for their right to share the vocabulary as long as they clearly identify their ingredients.

Regardless of how these two battles shake out, this debate is far from over. In fact, as we stare at a future that promises lab-grown meat and dairy products, we can expect this fight to rage on for years to come.

Pumpkin What?

As Starbucks uncorks this year’s batch of pumpkin spice beverages – in August – one can’t help but wonder how much longer this can go on. For a while, apparently. Based on Nielsen’s numbers, sales of pumpkin-flavored goods hit nearly $489 million so far this year – a 16%  jump over last year – and the leaves haven’t even begun to change.

But are we just a bunch of basic baristas? The brainiacs at Wired might have figured out that there’s more to it than that. It’s a potent combo of caffeine, sugar, and salt that make up the siren song that lures so many consumers this time of year.

“A grande (16 oz) serving holds a whopping 40% of your daily value of saturated fat,” the magazine reported. “Add to that 240 mg of sodium (10% your daily value) and 50 grams of sugar (of which there’s no recommended daily value), and you get a reaction in your brain that mimics the rush from certain addictive drugs.”

Maybe Linus was on to something.

Mythical Menu Madness

Finally, speaking of ingredients outside of nature, unicorns seem to more popular than ever. Just don’t tell Professor Quirrell – or my daughter.

Ever since Starbucks (again, the culprit) rolled out the Unicorn Frappuccino last year, the mythical ingredient has found its way into an increasing number of products, from breakfast cereals to snack cakes. 

Target jumped into the fray earlier this year when it rolled out “Unicorn Magic,” its newest Market Pantry Brand ice cream flavor. Target describes it as “pink fruity ice cream with a sour blue swirl, frosting swirl and glitter candy bits.” 

If that’s not your thing, Halloween lovers can find Unicorn Horns, a fruit-flavored candy corn Brach’s unveiled earlier this year.

We’ll hold out until Buffalo Wild Wings finally introduces Pegasus Wings.

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