When consumers make a trip to the grocery store, increasingly they are choosing private label products over similar brand name products. Over a two year period from 2013 to 2015, sales of store-brand products in supermarkets rose by 2% to total $62.5 billion in sales, according to P.L.M.A.’s 2016 Private Label Yearbook. Offering strong private label products to consumers equals increased sales and customer loyalty for retailers.

Following this trend, retailer interest in improving and monitoring private label quality has also grown exponentially. Retailers are focusing on ways to increase private label quality, starting with how they choose suppliers and following it up with a robust quality monitoring program. These monitoring programs serve to prevent customer complaints and create customer loyalty to the brand owned by that retailer.   Continue Reading

The beginning of the year brings a time to evaluate the previous year and set resolutions for the next twelve months. As you examine the internal processes at your facility, consider the environmental monitoring data that you put so much time and money into generating. How can you extract greater value from that data to improve your food safety program? Let’s resolve to go beyond reviewing “new” CoAs, updating a spreadsheet of “hot spots” and filing that information away where it’s unlikely to be reviewed again. Continue Reading

Writer G.K. Chesterton once suggested that, “Whenever you remove any fence, always pause long enough to ask why it was put there in the first place.” This advice seems particularly relevant to the current deregulatory environment in the United States. A 2017 Executive Order required federal agencies to eliminate two regulations for every new regulation, which resulted in the withdrawal or delay of 1,579 regulations. How might the removal of positive regulatory initiatives impact food safety, public health and your business in the new year? Continue Reading

As the science behind nutrition and athletic performance continues to be investigated, the impact of what athletes eat on their performance in their sport is becoming more important. Some nutrients need to be consumed in higher amounts in order to compensate for the increased workload of athletes and/or physically active people. For example, an athlete needs increased amounts of water to maintain adequate hydration status, which has a distinct influence on performance. It is also safe to say athletes expend a much greater energy load than the average person, so they require an increased amount of energy. Macronutrients — carbohydrates, fats and proteins — are energy sources that our bodies run on and help provide fuel during workouts. However, it is not just the amount of energy an athlete is consuming that matters, but the type of macronutrients that the energy is coming from that greatly influences how a person’s body will perform. Continue Reading

The infant formula market is growing rapidly as consumers decide to use powdered formulas as a supplement to, or in place of, breastfeeding. Formula typically serves as an infant’s sole source of nutrition, which poses unique challenges to infant food manufacturers. Because it serves as one of the only foods an infant consumes, it is vital to safeguard and protect infant formula against potential adulteration issues, whether that be physical, chemical or microbiological. Infant formula also contains more nutritional components than traditional foods, so the supply chain tends to be longer and more global than other commodities due to the procurement of many ingredients. Continue Reading

With the new Nutrition Labeling Regulation deadline quickly approaching, the addition of one small line is creating a lot of buzz – added sugars. When the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the changes to the Nutrition Facts Label in 2016, they included a requirement for the label to display added sugars, both in grams per serving and the percent Daily Value (%DV). Manufacturers have since been working to update their product specifications with added sugar values, companies are working to calculate the amount of added sugar in their products and consequently, consumers are beginning to see these values appear on the labels of the foods they eat. Although this new information is meant to help inform, both food manufacturers and consumers alike are unclear as to what counts as an added sugar and how much of it should be consumed. Continue Reading

Are you experiencing shelf-life issues or increased numbers of Listeria findings in a Ready-to-Eat foods environment? If so, you may want to take a deep dive into your equipment.

Largely, as a consequence of Listeria control efforts, most of us have at least a basic knowledge of hygienic equipment design. In truth, though, we often find inadequacies in the design of the equipment in our facilities, which are magnified with age and/or inadequate maintenance. Couple this with the widespread use of high-pressure water hoses and their ability to drive product residue, microorganisms and water deep inside equipment, and you have all the components needed to create a microbial growth niche. Continue Reading

The choice between eating a salad or a frosted donut may seem obvious in terms of nutrition, but for many of us, this can be a difficult decision. Despite our knowledge of the health benefits of fruits and vegetables, the majority of Americans are still failing to follow the federal dietary guidelines. In fact, a recently published study revealed that only 1 in 10 of American adults consume the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables (CDC, 2017). Continue Reading