The Impact of Walmart Mandating Blockchain Technology

Walmart/ Sam’s Club leads the pack again when it comes to food safety and innovation. From requiring vendors to be GFSI compliant over ten years ago, to the innovative use of Retail Link enable its vendors to manage mammoth and fast-moving inventory levels, Walmart has always been a frontrunner in implementing the use of the latest technologies.

Back in May, we wrote a blog on how blockchain technology would revolutionize the food industry. That time has come… The big dog is wagging its tail once again.

Last Monday, Walmart announced that they are going to require suppliers who provide leafy green vegetables to submit and upload data to the blockchain through their IBM Food Trust Network by January 31, 2019. Other suppliers will have to join the blockchain by September of 2019.

Blockchain technology would provide complete end-to-end traceability, as well as allow for transparent, tamper-proof data. With this year’s E. coli outbreak in romaine lettuce that made over 200 people fall ill — and five people lost their lives — Walmart’s proactive thinking is good thinking whose time has come.

This new technology is the future of the supply chain and will have an impact across the entire food industry. Before blockchain, it would typically take about seven days to trace the source of an infected food supply. With blockchain, it takes a mere 2.2 seconds. This will substantially reduce the likelihood that an infected food will ever reach a consumer, and if it does, allow a much faster and more accurate recall when issues arise.

The conversion to blockchain would offer more than food safety advantages, experts say. Blockchain would speed up payment of contractors, help companies learn what products have the best shelf life and give consumers a glimpse into how a crop was grown and harvested during a time when they are demanding to know more about their food.

Blockchain technology is definitely the way of the future, but with Walmart/ Sam’s Club’s blockchain move, adoption definitely got moved to the Fast Lane.

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How the Desire for Clean-Label, High-Protein and Low-Sugar Products is Changing the Dairy Industry

The desire for products featuring clean ingredients has completely taken over every sector of the food industry, including the dairy industry. Although cow’s milk has seen a decrease in sales over the past few years, cheese, ice cream and yogurt sales have seen a steady increase. With the popularity of low carb, high-fat diets on the rise, it doesn’t appear that this trend will be changing any time soon.

Having a clean-label means more than just simplifying the list of ingredients in a product. Consumers want to purchase from companies that have transparent business practices, and they have no problem paying for it. Sustainability, ethical production and food safety are just a few of the things consumers look for when they are going to purchase a product. Companies are having to figure out ways to simplify formulations of their products that include ingredients that consumers know and trust, but also provide the shelf life and functionality needed for packaged products.

Dairy products are chock-full of protein and calcium. This makes dairy nutrient dense and popular among the health-conscious consumer. Although plant-based products are popular alternatives, they cannot compete with the nutrients that are packed into dairy products. Whole-fat milk and yogurts are increasing in popularity again and almost all of the cheese (92 percent) that was sold last year was regular fat. Greek yogurts are full probiotics. People know these healthy bacteria can aid in helping digestion while regulating the number of bacteria in the gut. Because of the rise in probiotic popularity, companies like Kemps are even adding probiotics to their milk.

Ice creams and other frozen treats may be an indulgence, but all levels of consumers continue to purchase these delicious treats. Low-sugar, high-protein options, like Halo Top, have completely taken over the market through their use of social media marketing and low-calorie count. Brands like Archer Farms by Target are making similar products to compete with Halo Top. By making the entire pint of ice cream less than 300 calories, and throwing that information on the front label, it is easy to see why Halo Top, and other similar companies, have seen rapid growth.

Cheese is a staple in almost every American home. You can find everything from exclusive artisan goat cheese with blueberry and vanilla to string cheese for your child’s lunch right at your local grocer. Because of diets like The Ketogenic Diet, whole-fat cheese has seen an increase in popularity. Protein snacking kits, like the Oscar Mayer P3 Learn More

5 Delectable Cheeses Made Right Here in America

Cheesemakers from all over the United States are making quite a name for themselves. American cheese is no longer thought of as the yellow piece of processed cheese individually wrapped in plastic, but finely crafted cheeses are being created in almost every state of the country. With fewer regulations on cheese than that of those from the Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) in Europe, this allows American cheesemakers to create new recipes and invent all-new, unique cheeses. Here are five cheeses made right here in the U.S.A that will absolutely make your mouth water!


Fresh Mozzarella – BelGioioso, Wisconsin (FRESH)

This cheese is crafted in Wisconsin from fresh, local milk made only a few short hours after milking. This allows the cheese to be very fresh, flavorful, soft and delicate. Although this company produces large batches of their prize-winning Mozzarella, BelGioioso still has a “down home” feel and the family-business tradition is still there. BelGioioso Mozzarella is perfect sliced up in a Caprese salad or layered into your favorite pasta dish.


Bluebird – The Grey Barn & Farm at Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts (Aged for at least 60 days)

Made on a Martha’s Vineyard farm in Massachusetts with a small herd of 37 cows, Bluebird has the essence of the land it was made on: it’s creamy and fudgy, with a rustic, yet barny flavor and a slight touch of sea breeze. Many blue flavors are extremely sharp, but this one hosts a mellower vibe. Another difference, this blue cheese has a natural rind and comes in a block shape. According to their website, “Bluebird pairs well alongside a nice malty beer or melted atop a beautifully grilled steak.”


Pleasant Ridge Reserve – Uplands Cheese Company, Wisconsin (Aged 12 to 18 Months)

Pleasant Ridge Reserve is a cheese made only in the summer months, while the cows are grazing on fresh pasture. This Wisconsin native cheese is made in the tradition of Alpine cheeses, like a Gruyere or Beaufort. The summer milk is leaner and has more water content which provides a sweetness to the cheese and a natural, washed rine. According to Uplands’ website, “this resulting complexity – very rich and salty, with a long, fruity finish – makes Pleasant Ridge one of the most distinctive a Learn More

Proteins of all Kinds are being Packed into Every Day Foods

Proteins are sought after more than ever by all demographics. Whether you are on the Ketogenic diet (a high-protein, fat based diet ), or a vegetarian/ vegan looking to sustain yourself with a variety of plant-proteins, proteins are being packed into everything from meals to drinks to bite-sized snacks.


Living in a fast-paced society, it may feel like you are always on the move. Having the opportunity to sit down and eat a proper meal may simply not be an option. Protein bars and shakes from brands such as Quest and Pure Protein have been popular with athletes for years. Those brands pack a ton of protein into their products, but they are can have a high caloric intake for the average adult, and are not vegetarian/vegan-friendly. Newer brands, such as Kind, have products packed with real food, wholesome ingredients and fewer calories than other similar brands. This makes them perfect to fuel adults who don’t have time for lunch or just need an extra mid-day boost. Their products are also vegetarian-friendly. Sorry vegans, but they do use honey as a sweetener.


Beef jerky has one of the highest protein counts, topping that charts at a mighty 30-40 grams per 100 grams. Talk about a lot of protein. As previously mentioned in our blog about meats, companies are constantly coming out with new flavors and variety packs filled with things besides jerky to satisfy protein cravings. Because beef jerky is shelf-stable and easily accessible by being available everywhere from gas stations to organic grocers, it is still one of the top ways to get your protein in on the go.


As for plant-based options, chickpeas are high in protein and very versatile. Many recipes are available online to make things like hummus, curries or stew our of chickpeas, but they can also be eaten plain, hot or cold. With about seven grams of protein per one-half cup, chickpeas are a great alternative for meat in sandwiches or wraps for vegetarians and vegans alike.


Quinoa is a particularly important food to consume, especially if you do not eat meat. Most plant-based products do not contain all essential amino acids, but quinoa does and is considered a complete protein. Complete proteins are made up of the nine essential amino acids that we cannot produce on our own. Protein makes up your tissues, muscles and organs, whil Learn More

Americans STILL Love Their Meats

As plant-based proteins and lab-cultured meats continue to see a surge in awareness and sales, it appears as though meat, the actual animal kind, is still booming in popularity. According to the USDA, American farmers and meat packers produced 103 billion pounds of red meat and poultry last year (2017). Thanks to a stronger economy, 2018 is projected to have the biggest increase in meat production in over 20 years, up a whopping 3.8 percent!

Cheap grain products could be what is fueling the rise in meat and poultry sales. With animal-feed costs down, it is more affordable to feed larger herds than it was only a few years ago. With meat-centered diets, like the Ketogenic and Paleo diet, consumers are focused on having a high-protein, low-carb intake. Because of this, there has been a major increase in meat snack sales. Companies like Oberto, Golden Island and Jack Link’s are creating new products to supply the demand for more easily accessible, shelf-stable proteins. International, exotic flavorings are being added to beef jerky, meats are being added to trail mixes to satisfy high-protein cravings and new meat and cheese pairings are coming in snack packages to cure those snack-time cravings.

Summer is here and as hot as ever all across the nation, companies are ready for everyone to go outside and get to grilling with all new flavors of pre-packaged hamburgers, pre-seasoned poultry and steaks and hot dogs made with REAL meat. Turkey burgers, turkey bacon and turkey dogs have all seen a slight increase in sales in recent years. With less fat than regular burgers, bacon and hot dogs, turkey is a prime choice for those who are seeking to watch their weight but still enjoy to indulge in grilling favorites. Companies have heard the complaints of “tasteless turkey” and have changed the flavor profile of their products to taste more like the beloved pork bacon, beef hamburgers and classic hotdogs by creating wood-smoked turkey bacon, seasoned turkey burgers and deliciously flavored turkey dogs.

Meat sales are projected to break records in 2018, new products are being launched regularly to keep up with diet trends and grain prices are lower than ever. The future of the meat industry in America looks very promising. So go grab yourself a juicy steak, burger or whatever, pop it on the grill and cook yourself up a nice slice of America this summer.


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Is Brand Loyalty a Thing of the Past?

Brick-and-mortar stores once had brand loyalty beyond compare. Consumers cherished their favorite stores and looked forward to strolling the aisles during weekly shopping trips. Families were devoted to a single store and either shopped at Publix, Walmart, Albertsons or another grocer close to home. With Amazon Prime now delivering perishables and other food items, and delivery services like Shipt allowing consumers to order groceries from different stores to have them delivered to their homes for a small fee, brick-and-mortar grocers are starting to see an impact on brand loyalty. Almost 40% of consumers stated that they would not mind if their favorite grocer closed, they would just go shop somewhere else.

With all of these new technologies available to order groceries and other items directly online, how are brick-and-mortar stores going to compete with a conglomerate like Amazon? One thing that keeps people coming back to their favorite grocer is customer service. Publix and Wegmans, for example, are known for their outstanding customer service. Greeting customers as they enter and exit the store, offering to help load bags into customers cars and hosting food sampling events with easy to prepare meals are just a few of the ways that these companies go out of their way to treat their customers like family. Publix will also order anything that they do not carry at one particular store if you just ask.

Another way brands can maintain a dedicated customer base is by having loyalty or reward programs. Loyalty cards allow customers who sign up for their program to get coupons through their email and get direct discounts in store. A good example of this is CVS. For years, their ExtraCare card gives direct discounts in stores and offers ExtraBucks or cash off their next purchase. Stores like Walmart also offer a Savings Catcher on their phone app. By scanning your receipt into the app, Walmart will check their competitor’s prices and give you the difference directly online on a Walmart gift card if they find a better deal.

Getting customers to the store, keeping them inside long enough to make purchases and creating good relationships will build the emotional connections brick-and-mortars need to rebuild brand loyalty. Utilizing the loyalty and rewards programs offered will allow brands to have a fighting chance to stay in business as the Amazon Prime and online delivery craze continues to sweep the nation. While there is no easy way to bring customers into these supermarkets, companies can still thrive by maintaining solid relationships with their customers by continuing to provide deals and services only available in stores.


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