Panera Bread Eliminates 150 ‘Unacceptable Ingredients’

Earlier this month, Panera Bread Co. announced that they are removing 150 ingredients from its food offerings. On May 5 released a lengthy list of ingredients that will be removed from or will never appear in its menu items, claiming to be the first national restaurant chain to do so. The company also announced its own clean- label salad dressings. Among the ingredients being eliminated are high-fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils and every major non-nutritive sweetener except stevia and monk fruit. Generally, the list bans artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives. According to founder and CEO Ron Shaich, “Last year we unveiled our Food Policy to hold ourselves accountable to long held values and set the future vision for our menu.” The entire list is: Acesulfame K (Acesulfame Potassium) Alum (Aluminum Ammonium Sulfate/Aluminium Potassium Sulfate) Aluminum Calcium Silicate/Bentonite (Calcium Aluminosilicate, Calcium Silicoaluminate, Sodium Calcium Silicoaluminate) Ammonium Chloride Artificial Colors (Synthetic and Certified FD&C) Artificial Flavors Aspartame Astaxanthin Autolyzed Yeast Extract Azo Dyes Azodicarbonamide Benzoic Acid Benzyl Alcohol/Benzoyl Peroxide(Synthetic only) BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene) Bromated Flour Brominated Vegetable Oil Caffeine (Added, not naturally occurring) Calcium Bromate Calcium Peroxide Calcium Sorbate Canthaxanthin Caprocaprylobehenin Caramel Color (Classes II-IV) Carboxymethyl Cellulose Carmine/Cochineal DATEM(Diacetyl Tartaric Acid) Diacetyl/Acetoin Dipotassium Sulfate Disodium Guanylate (GMP) Disodium Inosinate(IMP) EDTA (Calcium Disodium EDTA/Disodium Dihydrogen EDTA) Esters of Fatty Acids Ethoxyquin Fat Substitutes (Sucrose Polyester, Microparticulated Whey Protein Concentrate) FD&C Colors Glycerides(Mono & Diglycerides, all forms) Glycerol Ester of Wood Rosin High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolyzed Soy or Corn Protein Lard L-Cysteine (Cystine) Maltodextrin Monosodium Glutamate/Sodium Glutamate (Added MSG, not naturally occuring) Neotame Nitrates/Nitrites (Added, not naturally occuring) Parabens (all) Partially Hydrogenated Oils/Artificial Trans Fat Polydextrose Polysorbates (all) Potassium Benzoate Potassium Bisulfate Potassium Bromate Potassium Lactate Potassium Sorbate Proprionates (Calcium, Sodium) Propyl Gallate Propylene Glycol Propylene Glycol Alginate Saccharin (Calcium Saccharin) Salatrim Silicones/Siloxanes (Methyl Silicon, Dimethylpolysiloxane) Artificial Smoke Flavor Sodium Benzoate Sodium Diacetate Sodium Erythorbate Sodium Lactate Sodium Lauryl Sulfate Sodium Metabisulfite Sodium Phosphate/Trisodium Phosphate Stannous Chloride Sucralose Sucroglycerides Sulfites (Added, not naturaly occurring) Sulfur Dioxide Tertiary Butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) Theobromine(Added, not naturally occurring) Titanium Dioxide Triacetin/Glycerol Triacetate Vanillin   Shaich also said, Panera is scheduled to have the ingredients discontinued by the end of 2016. For more than a year, Panera’s culinary team has...

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GMO Labeling Regulations 

In May of 2014, Vermont became the first state to require GMO labeling. Last week, Fooddive.com reported that Vermont’s Attorney General Bill Sorrell had adopted regulations to require labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients statewide. The new rules won’t go into effect until July of 2016, to give all concerned adequate time to comply. According to reports from the Associated Press, there have been months of public outreach and comments from producers, retailers and consumers, and after approval by the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules. The GMO labeling movement has seen differing opinions across the nation from various groups since it began years ago. Last March, The USDA had a two-day summit on the GMO issue, and a House Committee on Agriculture hearing heard six witnesses speak about the futility of mandatory GMO labeling. So far, legistlation seems to be maintaining parity in states that are addressing this issue. Alaska and Idaho are debating it now also. The public opinion is shifting and the industry is responding accordingly. Last November, Colorado voters defeated a bill to require GMO labeling. At this stage, only three states – Connecticut, Maine and Vermont – have approved legislation that would require that genetically-modified foods be labelled. Similar efforts are under way in several other states. None yet have been put in...

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Food Manufacturing Jobs Forecast

Fierce competition has led food manufacturing plants to invest in technologically advanced machinery to become more productive. The new machines have been applied to tasks as varied as packaging, inspection, and inventory control, but the processing of animal products remains a labor-intensive activity that is resistant to automation efforts. As a result, employment will decrease for some machine operators, such as packaging and filling machine operators and tenders, while employment growth is expected for industrial engineers and industrial machinery mechanics, who are responsible for the design or repair and maintenance of new equipment. Computers also are being widely implemented throughout the industry, streamlining administrative functions, but also requiring that all workers, including production workers, develop technical skills and a comfort level in reading and understanding digital readouts and instructions. This will result in decreased employment for administrative support workers, such as order clerks, but increasing the demand for production workers, such as food batch-makers who have excellent technical skills. Food manufacturing firms will be able to use this new automation to better meet the changing demands of a growing and increasingly diverse population. As convenience becomes more important, consumers increasingly demand highly processed foods such as pre-marinated pork loins, peeled and cut carrots, microwaveable soups, or ready-to-cook dinners. Such a shift in consumption will contribute to the demand for food manufacturing workers and will lead to the development of thousands of new processed foods. Domestic producers also will attempt to market these goods abroad as the volume of international trade continues to grow. The increasing size and diversity of the American population has driven demand for a greater variety of foods, including more ethnic foods. The combination of expanding export markets and shifting and increasing domestic consumption will help employment among food processing occupations to rise over the next decade and will lead to significant changes throughout the food manufacturing industry. Job growth will vary by occupation but will be concentrated among production occupations—the largest group of workers in the industry. Because many of the cutting, chopping, and eviscerating tasks performed by these workers have proven difficult to automate, employment among handworkers will rise along with the growing demand for food products. Hand-working occupations include slaughterers and meat packers and meat, poultry, and fish...

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Strong 2015 Outlook for Food Manufacturers

According to Credit Suisse, the 159 year old Swiss finance giant, lower gas prices, industry changes and other factors should help the retail food sector in 2015. Robert Moskow, an analyst with Credit Suisse, said the benefits of lower prices and an overall healthier economy will be more broadly enjoyed by all demographics in 2015.” Moskow said that lower gas prices may not point to more sales for the packaged foods sector, based on 34 years of government data. He said when gas prices go down people eat out more often, and when gas prices rise, people tend to look for grocery savings. “While not a game-changer for U.S. food,” he continued, “we believe that the stronger economic backdrop will improve fundamental performance in 2015, especially in relation to the unusually weak 2014. “Lower gas prices, a positive adjustment in SNAP benefits, and the slow but continuous improvement in employment should help improve consumer confidence, especially among lower-income consumers who have yet to enjoy any of the benefits of the broader economic recovery,” Moskow said. “Wal-Mart estimates that the SNAP cutbacks at the end of 2013 represented a 0.7% drag on its food sales in 2014, and lower gas prices are likely to boost U.S. disposable income by at least $80 billion. These factors aren’t game changers, but they certainly must come as a relief for manufacturers and consumers alike.” Other trends in the food manufacturing sector include grocers seeking to expand private label and store brands to entice value-seeking shoppers. On the high-end, Moskow predicts more consumers transitioning to organic foods while they also demand more transparency in labeling and a move toward healthier...

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5 Advantages of Using an Executive Search Firm

If you have a high level position that you are trying to fill, here are 5 major advantages to using an Executive Search Firm. 1. Time: What is yours worth? After sorting through hundred of resumes, most of which do not match your needs, you may be wondering if there’s not a better way. A good Executive Search firm will only bring you 3-5 candidates who have been researched, interviewed, and screened for success. So, how much is your time worth? 2. Passive candidates are not looking High level “A” players are out there, but they may be unaware of your opportunity because you’ve chosen job boards or postings on your website. You need an executive search firm to get their attention and engage them on why your opportunity is one they should consider. 3. Get the best talent available Why settle for just those that responded to your advertising. Job postings can be effective for certain roles but they only reach active candidates. Often the best candidate is the one currently working for one of your competitors, and they aren’t looking at your postings. 4. You get what you pay for And you pay for what you get. A good candidate will pay for themselves. Using an executive search professional to seek out the best talent will usually provide a return on investment much higher than simply hoping that person who applied will work out. 5. Your company is unique – so should be your candidate. A good Executive Search firm will approach your search with a fresh viewpoint. It’s not about how many resumes one has. It’s about finding a talent that will assist your company’s success, and knowing where to quickly locate and bring that talent to you. For more information about executive searches for the food manufacturing industry, contact The Performance...

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5 Food Industry Trends for 2015

According to Todd Allsup, VP, Food & Beverage Facility Services, Stellar Group, Inc., there are five trends in the food industry that we should see in 2015.  Stellar is an worldwide architecture, engineering, construction and mechanical services firm that creates food and beverage processing plants, refrigerated warehouses, distribution centers and other food industry systems. Here is a quick summary: 1. Innovations to Lower Food Costs Pressures are rising for food manufacturers to lower their product costs. They are trying to find New products, new ideas that can help maintain profitability, and modifications to product categories. Food manufacturers are also on the hunt for more cost-effective means of manufacturing, standardizing equipment and exploring automation to minimize labor costs. 2. Healthier Foods There’s been increasing interest in organic and natural foods by the public. For manufacturers this means reevaluating equipment types and how materials are processed. The handling is different for these products, impacting how lines are set up and operated. If a bakery is gluten free, for example, the processing is entirely different than if you were to use standard ingredients due to concerns over ingredient separation and cross contamination. 3.Energy Efficiency Energy efficiency has been popular mainly due to a shift by consumers who are concerned with the environment and what they’re putting into their bodies. By reducing energy consumption, food manufacturers are reducing costs and increasing profits. 4. China Market With its large and rapidly growing middle class, China now represents a major new market for large food and beverage companies. Because U.S. companies have respected reputations regarding food safety and product quality, Chinese consumers are willing to pay premiums for their products. Many multinational companies are now capitalizing on this opportunity to move into the Chinese market. 5. Refrigeration Strategy Due to its damage to the atmosphere, food manufacturers must phase out R-22 refrigerants and move toward natural options such as CO2 by the year 2020. Right now, food manufacturers are making plans for the shift. There are new technologies and developments emerging around refrigeration and distribution such as skid-mounted refrigeration systems that use CO2 instead of...

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