‘Act now!’: Food firms massively unprepared as US water risks reach boiling point

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
Immediate collective action among food companies, municipal actors and NGOs is needed to avert a water crisis that poses real short-term threats to the food
and agriculture sectors in the US, water risk experts have found.

The analysis from Morningstar Sustainalytics focused on the gigantic Ogallala Aquifer in the Great Plains region in the US and found water stresses like water depletion, old pipes, irrigation, droughts and polluted water were being exacerbated by widespread water mismanagement by food companies, farmers, government bodies, water utilities and others.

It found 69 out of 114 packaged foods companies (60%) operating in the Great Plains area had weak or non-existent water management practices. Another 49 of 114 firms (43%) in related food supply chains had similarly poor water stewardship records and plans.

Report co-author, Matthew Howard, VP of Water Stewardship at Milwaukee-based The Water Council, called on food firms to “act now to mitigate risks” with even basic measures such as fixing leaks, metering water use and “adding water aspects to existing management systems.”

General Mills and Tyson Foods were called out for leading the way in this kind of pragmatic water care. “Both companies have water stewardship programs to mitigate water-related risk, including water efficiency goals and actions, which will result in reducing freshwater use.”

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Industry embraces AI’s limitless potential

Think of any aspect up and down the food supply chain and the chances are artificial intelligence (AI) is being applied to make it function better in one way or another.

In formulation. In nutrient discovery. In crop and cultivar refinement. Better picking methodologies. Botanical profiling. Reduced food waste. Better distribution. Inventory control. Predictive retailer metrics. In dietary advice…the list goes on…

None of this is strictly novel – commercially applicable AI has been around for a decade or more. What is more novel in 2022 is the scale of use.

One thing is clear – AI has quickly become incredibly useful to the food industry and is fast becoming a cost-cutting and indispensable innovation driver.

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Lab-grown cocoa? Celleste Bio backs plant cell culture to solve ‘chocolate supply crisis’

Celleste Bio co-founder and CTO Hanne Volpin with the brown stuff she hopes to revolutionize. Pic: Lawrence Harris

Israeli start-up Celleste Bio is building momentum to disrupt the chocolate supply chain… by growing cocoa in a lab.

Formed in July, the firm has already attracted the interest of Big Chocolate with Mondelēz International onboard with undisclosed seed funding.

Other backers include food-focused venture capitalist, Barrel Ventures, Israeli agricultural co-op Regba Group and agri-food and medical tech VC, Trendlines.

Celleste Bio’s USP utilizes cell culture to grow high quality cocoa without the plant waste and devastated rainforests and primate populations in west African countries such as Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana where around 60% of the world’s cocoa is sourced.

“Why grow something where you use less than 1% of the entire biomass of what you are growing?” Celleste Bio co-founder and chief technology officer Hanne Volpin told FoodNavigator-USA. “And why grow a food we really don’t need on increasingly sparse arable land? We could collectively decide never to grow it again or we can get creative and look at alternatives."

“We don't have to wait until we have no more chocolate bunnies to solve that problem. And it turns out companies like Mondelēz International are interested in this for reasons both biological and environmental.”

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‘Super nut’? Indonesia’s ‘best kept secret’ wins EU novel food approval

Pic: Kawanasi
A previously obscure, nutrient-rich Indonesian nut is set to hit European shelves after winning EU novel foods approval that could also help protect under-threat kenari forests on the archipelago.

Kenari is primed for debut in the EU’s 27 member states after decades of use in mostly eastern and northern Indonesian islands but under a shadow as logging and mining activity threaten the very kenari forests from which the nuts are sourced.

The co-founders of the Indonesian firm Kawanasi Sehat Dasacatur, which lodged the just-approved EU submission in 2020, told Ingredients Network that aside from opening important European markets, the novel foods approval bolstered its intensifying lobbying of sector stakeholders and the Indonesian government to protect some kenari old growth forests.

“It is central to Kawanasi’s business core that we support the protection of the wild forest,” Felix Kusmanto and Debby Amalia King said ahead of a meeting this month with Indonesian government officials about expanding kenari tree preservation.

“The novel foods approval helps build our case for sure so we are very excited about what it means for protecting Indonesian kenari growth areas – and growing our business. It’s all about building the ‘kenari army’.”

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UpCircle seals €480,000 crowdfunding: We’re a ‘disruptor brand’ showing how upcycling in beauty can scale, says co-founder


Anna Brightman, co-founder of UpCircle, said the potential to expand into other repurposed ingredients was vast.
“When it comes to by-product ingredients, there is an endless supply,” Brightman told CosmeticsDesign-Europe. “We always like to remind ourselves that one-third of all food in the UK is wasted, yet nearly one-third of people have a skin care routine. That’s one huge opportunity to save the planet through skin care.”
Since 2016, UpCircle had already ‘saved’ 400 tonnes of its pioneer upcycled ingredient coffee, she said, and that was set to build further. “Based on our current rates of growth, it is estimated that this will rise to 1,000 tonnes in the next five years.”
Being in the circular beauty business did on occasion present supply chain challenges, Brightman said, noting the temporary, or in some cases permanent,
closure of coffee shops during COVID-19 lockdowns causing difficulties.
“Every repurposed ingredient that we work with has been taken from another industry,” she said. “This means that it needs to be processed in one way or another in order that it’s appropriate for use in skin care. More often than not, we’re the first beauty brand to be working with these ingredients at scale – so we’ve had to figure out our supply chain, manufacturing and general operational hurdles ourselves.
“Being a disruptor brand means that the path that you forge will always be bumpy,” she said.

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‘Galvanise’ business: British Beauty Week to celebrate ‘power of beauty’ post-COVID


Image by 0fjd125gk87 from Pixabay

The British beauty sector will parade its status as an economic powerhouse and potent transformer of lives at next month’s British Beauty Week, as the industry and world slowly moves past the COVID-19 pandemic once and for all.

More broadly, British Beauty Week aimed to,“raise awareness of the industry, galvanise the business and creators across the sector and celebrate the power of beauty,” British Beauty Council CEO Millie Kendall O.B.E told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.

“The industry has historically faced a lot of bias,” "We have been thought of as the industry that’s mainly about fluffy stuff girls like. Not taken seriously, economically and socially. Our impact on communities and our innovation and forward thinking business leaders have not been a focus for brand Great Britain.

A lot of focus is on music , fashion and film, which rightfully deserve global acknowledgment, but our industry has led the way in so many ways from Yardley, to Body Shop, Vidal Sassoon, John Frieda, Charlotte Tilbury, Pat McGrath."

“…But we have surpassed the first hurdle of being recognised as an economic superpower. Now we need to remind the public why they were so desperate to get a haircut after COVID or have their roots done or wear a lipstick again once we took the face masks off,"
she said.

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