The Weekly: November 1, 2017

November 1, 2017

IFT Top Stories

FDA proposes to revoke claim that soy protein protects the heart
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced a proposal to revoke an authorized health claim for soy protein and heart disease. The agency has been responsible for evaluating health claims on packaged foods since 1990, and has to date only authorized 12 such health claims.

“For the first time, we have considered it necessary to propose a rule to revoke a health claim because numerous studies published since the claim was authorized in 1999 have presented inconsistent findings on the relationship between soy protein and heart disease,” said Susan Mayne, director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), in a statement on the agency’s website. “This proposed action, which has undergone a thorough FDA review, underscores our commitment to providing consumers with information they can trust to make informed dietary choices.”

While some evidence continues to suggest a relationship between soy protein and a reduced risk of heart disease—including evidence reviewed by the FDA when the claim was authorized—the totality of currently available scientific evidence calls into question the certainty of this relationship. In her statement, Mayne points to the fact that some studies published after the FDA authorized the health claim show inconsistent findings concerning the ability of soy protein to lower heart-damaging low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.

“Our review of that evidence has led us to conclude that the relationship between soy protein and heart disease does not meet the rigorous standard for an FDA-authorized health claim,” concluded Mayne.

If the rule is finalized, the FDA intends to allow the use of a qualified health claim as long as there is sufficient evidence to support a link between eating soy protein and a reduced risk of heart disease. A qualified health claim, which requires a lower scientific standard of evidence than an authorized health claim, would allow industry to use qualifying language that explains the limited evidence linking consumption of soy protein with heart disease risk reduction.

The proposed rule is open for comment for 75 days, at which time the FDA will consider the comments received along with the existing information to determine whether to proceed with final rulemaking. In the meantime, manufacturers will be allowed to keep the current authorized claim on their products until the agency makes a final decision.

In response to the FDA’s proposed rule, Ron Moore, farmer and president of the American Soybean Association (ASA), issued the following statement: “There is still evidence that shows eating soy protein can help reduce the risk of heart disease, and while we are of course disappointed that FDA is looking at moving the health claim for these products from ‘unqualified’ to ‘qualified,’ it’s important for consumers to remember that soy protein can be an important part of a heart-healthy diet … Moving forward, we hope that in its upcoming reevaluation of the available data, the FDA will focus on the many studies that show the heart-healthy benefits of a diet that includes soy protein.”

Susan Mayne’s statement

ASA statement

Ireland invests €8.8 million in National Food Innovation Hub
Ireland’s Taoiseach (prime minister) Leo Varadkar T.D. and Michael Creed T.D., minister for Ireland’s Dept. of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine have announced that the agency will fund the development of a new National Food Innovation Hub at the Teagasc Moorepark Campus in Fermoy. The €8.8 million of exchequer funding will be provided from the Dept. of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine’s Capital allocation in phases over the course of 2018 and 2019.

“Food Wise 2025 identified research, development, and innovation as key drivers of competitiveness in the agri-food sector,” said Creed. “In this context, it recommended collaboration between industry and the research community to advance research and new product innovation. The National Food Innovation Hub is key to implementing this strategic recommendation.”

The primary objective of the National Food Innovation Hub is to create a business innovation network involving dairy companies, Moorepark Technology, incubator companies, and public-private partnership based R&D programs with a research focus on food processing, quality, and nutrition. It involves constructing up to 12 customer application suites containing office and laboratory space, so that each company can have an on-campus presence to conduct new product development.

The National Food Innovation Hub will be directly linked to both the Teagasc Food Research Center and Moorepark Technology to engender close collaboration between the research centers and the companies located on the Moorepark campus. It is envisaged that this unique food cluster will stimulate intensive collaboration between companies and Teagasc researchers to create a platform for innovation, economic growth, and job creation.

“This is a strategically important project for Ireland’s agri-food sector, especially in the context of Brexit, which poses enormous challenges for the sector by virtue of its reliance on the U.K. market, and the associated challenges in developing new markets and value-added products,” said Creed. “It will also be a valuable tool to SMEs [small and medium-size enterprises], as it will provide an opportunity to engage in research activities in an affordable way, allowing companies to scale up by collaborating with highly skilled internationally renowned Teagasc food researchers.”

Press release

IFT Research Briefs

Flaxseed may reduce oxidative stress for patients with metabolic syndrome
Flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum L.) is a functional food that has attracted growing interest from researchers because it contains biologically active components such as dietary fibers, plant proteins, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and lignans, which play a beneficial role in the organism, enabling disease prevention. A study published in the Journal of Food Science evaluated the protective effect of flaxseed oil and flaxseed lignan secoisolariciresinol diglucoside against oxidative stress in rats with metabolic syndrome.

Studies have shown that flaxseed can reduce oxidative damage, including in patients with metabolic syndrome (MS), but some of the studies attribute these effects to flaxseed oil (FO) and its high ALA concentration, while other studies indicate that the antioxidant effects of flaxseed are due to the presence of its lignans, especially secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG). Thus, to clarify the component responsible for the antioxidant effects attributed to flaxseed in MS, the main objective of this study was to evaluate the comparative effects of FO and flaxseed lignan SDG on oxidative parameters in rats with this disorder.

The researchers assigned 48 rats to six groups: Groups 1 (control), 5 (FO), and 6 (SDG) received water and were treated daily orally with saline, FO, and SDG, respectively. Groups 2 (MS), 3 (MS+FO), and 4 (MS+SDG) received 30% fructose in drinking water for MS induction and were treated daily orally with saline, FO, and SDG, respectively. The researchers recorded the body weight of the rats weekly and, after 30 days, they collected blood for biochemical and oxidative analysis. In addition, they measured the rats’ systolic blood pressure (SBP) before and after treatment.

The researchers found that that treatment with a 30% fructose solution for 30 days is effective for MS induction and the oxidative stress is involved in the pathophysiology of MS induced by fructose-rich diets. Additionally, they found that FO and SDG prevented changes in SBP, lipids, and glucose. Flaxseed oil and SDG prevented oxidative damage to lipids, and only FO prevented oxidative damage to proteins associated to MS. Both FO and SDG improved enzymatic antioxidants defenses and reduced glutathione levels, which was greater with SDG. Total polyphenol levels were enhanced in groups that received SDG.

The researchers concluded that the “antioxidant effects attributed to flaxseed are mainly due to its high lignan content especially that of SDG, suggesting that this compound can be used in isolation to prevent oxidative stress associated with MS.”

Abstract

Americans support sugar tax to fund kids’ health programs
A majority of Americans support taxing sugary drinks to fund preschool and children’s health programs, a new poll from Politico and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has found. The results indicate a higher level of support than in past national polls, which have largely found that most Americans oppose soda taxes, even as they have gained in popularity as local officials look for ways to raise revenue. Past polling has measured public support for such taxes without tying them to programs like preschool.

The poll found that 57% of respondents supported taxing soda and other sugary drinks to raise money for preschool and children’s health programs and to help address the problem of obesity, while 39% opposed the idea and 4% either did not have an opinion or did not respond to the question. The poll was conducted just a month prior to the repeal of the sugary beverage tax in Chicago, which had only gone into effect in August.

In addition, the poll showed that Americans are deeply divided on many hot-button food policy topics, including whether to ban sugary drinks from the food stamp program and whether restaurants should be required to post calorie counts on menus. Taxing sugary drinks to fund education and health programs geared toward children was one of the only areas in the food policy sphere in which the survey found a clear majority. Another was on the question of whether able-bodied adults without young children should have to work to qualify for benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (74% in favor).

Respondents were divided into three groups of equal size on whether the federal government should be doing more on the regulatory front to combat the obesity epidemic and help people improve their diet: 31% said more should be done, 30% said the government ought to do less on this issue, and 36% said the level of regulatory involvement should stay the same.

Poll results

Politico article

Consumers hesitant to buy groceries online
According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll of American shoppers, most are fiercely loyal to local food stores, calling them better than online options. This raises questions as to how much Amazon’s $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Food will shake up the supermarket business.

The poll found that 75% of online shoppers said they rarely or never buy groceries online, according to the survey of nearly 8,600 adults from August 12 to September 1. Even among frequent online shoppers who make internet purchases at least weekly, almost 60% said they never buy groceries online or do so just a few times a year. In addition, the poll found that around 60% of all adults said their local food markets win on price, selection, quality, and convenience. Online sellers led in those categories with only around 3% of respondents.

Amazon has tried for years to grow its online grocery business, without making much of a dent. Its purchase of Whole Foods took its U.S. grocery market share from 0.19% to 1.4%, versus 14.46% for Walmart and 7.17% for Kroger, according to GlobalData Retail.

The Food Marketing Institute and Nielsen expect U.S. online grocery sales to grow from $20.5 billion, or 4% overall, in 2016 to $100 billion, or 20% overall, by 2025.

Reuters article

Mintel announces five global food, drink trends for 2018
Mintel, a market intelligence agency, has announced five key trends set to impact the global food and drink market over the coming year.

“In 2018, Mintel foresees opportunities for manufacturers and retailers to help consumers regain trust in food and drink and to relieve stress through balanced diets as well as memorable eating and drinking experiences,” said Jenny Zegler, global food and drink analyst at Mintel. “There also is an exciting new chapter dawning in which technology will help brands and retailers forge more personalized connections with shoppers, while enterprising companies are using scientific engineering to create an exciting new generation of sustainable food and drink.”

Mintel’s five trends for 2018 are:

Full Disclosure
Consumers require complete and total transparency from food and drink companies. Widespread distrust places pressure on manufacturers to offer thorough and honest disclosures about how, where, when, and by whom food and drink is grown, harvested, made, and/or sold. The need for reassurance about the safety and trustworthiness of food and drink has led to increased use of natural as well as ethical and environmental claims in global food and drink launches. In addition to more specific product details, the next wave of clean label will challenge manufacturers and retailers to democratize transparency and traceability so that products are accessible to all consumers regardless of household income.

Self-Fulfilling Practices
As more consumers find modern life to be hectic and stressful, flexible and balanced diets will become integral elements of self-care routines. Individual definitions of self-care and balance will reinforce the need for a variety of formats, formulations, and portion sizes of food and drink that present consumers with positive solutions—and treats—that can be incorporated into their customized and flexible definitions of health and wellness. Going forward, more consumers will be looking for ingredients, products, and combinations of food and drink that provide nutrition, physical, or emotional benefits that advance their priorities for self-care.

New Sensations
In 2018, the sound, feel, and satisfaction that texture provides will become more important for food and drink companies and consumers alike. Texture is the next facet of formulation that can be leveraged to provide consumers with interactive—and documentation-worthy—experiences. The quest for experiences will provide opportunities for multisensory food and drink that uses unexpected texture to provide consumers, especially the teens and young adults of the iGeneration, with tangible connections to the real world, as well as moments worth sharing either in-person or online.

Preferential Treatment
As technology helps to make shopping as effortless as possible, an era of targeted promotions and products is emerging. Motivated by the potential to save time and ideally money, consumers are sampling a variety of channels and technologies when shopping for food and drink, including home delivery, subscription services, and automatic replenishment. Companies and retailers can leverage technology to establish new levels of efficiency, such as customized recommendations, cross-category pairings, and resourceful solutions that save consumers time, effort, and energy. Opportunities exist for companies to tempt consumers by creating products, suggesting combinations of goods and other options across consumer categories that make shopping more efficient and affordable for customers.

Science Fare
In 2018, technology will begin to disrupt the traditional food chain as enterprising manufacturers aim to replace farms and factories with laboratories. While lab, cultured, or synthetic food and drink is only just emerging, technology could eventually be used to design food and drink that is inherently more nutritious, which could extend the consumer audience for scientifically engineered food and drink beyond environmentally conscious shoppers to reach consumers who are concerned about ingredient consistency, efficacy, and purity.

Press release

U.S. food prices remain flat or decrease
The latest price index report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that consumer prices recorded their biggest increase (+0.5%) in eight months in September. However, the food index
remained flat with a slight (0.1%) increase in September, the same increase as in August.

The index for food away from home rose 0.3%, while the index for food at home was unchanged in September after declining in August. Among the six major grocery store food group indexes, there were three increases and three declines. The index for nonalcoholic beverages increased 0.4% after falling 0.4% in August. The indexes for cereals and bakery products and for other food at home also increased in September.

The index for dairy and related products fell 0.6% in September following a 0.4% decline in August. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs also continued to fall, declining 0.4%. The index for fruits and vegetables fell 0.2%, with the fresh vegetables index declining 0.8%, but the index for fresh fruits rising 0.5%.

Over the last 12 months, the index for food at home rose 0.4%. The index for fruits and vegetables rose 1.2% over the period, the largest increase among the major grocery store food groups. The indexes for cereals and bakery products and for dairy and related products both declined slightly over the last 12 months. The index for food away from home rose 2.4% over the last year.

Consumer Price Index Summary

Half of food allergies in adults appear in adulthood
A study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, and presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting, suggests that almost half of all adults with food allergies had adult-onset food allergies.

“Food allergies are often seen as a condition that begins in childhood, so the idea that 45% of adults with food allergies develop them in adulthood is surprising,” said Ruchi Gupta, ACAAI member. “We also saw that, as with children, the incidence of food allergies in adults is rising across all ethnic groups.”

Researchers found the rate of adults diagnosed with shellfish allergies—the most common allergy among U.S. adults—has risen from 2.5% in 2004 to 3.6%. Adult tree nut allergies have increased to 1.8% from 0.5% in 2008.

“Our research also found that, among black, Asian, and Hispanic adults, the risk of developing a food allergy to certain foods is higher than for whites, specifically for shellfish and peanuts,” said food allergy researcher Christopher Warren, PhD candidate and study co-author. “For example, Asian adults were 2.1 times more likely to report a shellfish allergy than white adults, and Hispanic adults reported a peanut allergy at 2.3 times the frequency of white adults.”

Study

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IFT Company News

Saputo acquires Australian dairy business for $1 billion
Saputo has entered into an agreement to acquire the business of Murray Goulburn Co-Operative Co. Limited (MG), based in Australia for CDN$1.29 billion (approximately USD$1 billion). MG produces a range of high-quality dairy foods, including drinking milk, milk powder, cheese, butter, and dairy beverages, as well as a range of ingredient and nutritional products, such as infant formula. MG supplies the retail and foodservice industries globally with its flagship Devondale, Liddells, and Murray Goulburn Ingredients brands. Murray Goulburn has approximately 2,300 employees and operates 11 manufacturing facilities across Australia and China.

The acquisition of Murray Goulburn will add to and complement the activities of Saputo’s Dairy Division (Australia). By acquiring a well-established industry player, the company reinforces its commitment to strengthen its presence in the Australian market. Saputo intends to continue to invest in its Australian platform and contribute to the ongoing development of its domestic and international business.

For the 12-month period that ended June 30, 2017, MG had revenues of approximately CDN$2.5 billion (USD$1.94 billion) and adjusted EBITDA of approximately CDN$78 million (USD$60.4 million). The transaction, which is unanimously recommended by the Murray Goulburn board of directors, is subject to the approval of MG shareholders and customary conditions. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of calendar year 2018.

Press release

Hormel Foods buys Columbus Manufacturing for $850 million
Hormel Foods has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Columbus Manufacturing, a premium deli meat and salami company, from Chicago-based Arbor Investments for approximately $850 million. Columbus Manufacturing’s total annual sales are approximately $300 million with an expected growth rate in excess of 5%. This strategic acquisition positions Hormel Foods as a total deli solutions provider and enhances its other deli brands such as Hormel, Jennie-O, Applegate, and DiLusso.

“Columbus is capitalizing on one of the fastest-growing areas in the retail grocery store with premium, authentic products that are on-trend with today’s consumers who are looking for unique experiences, flavors, and products,” said Jim Snee, president and chief executive officer at Hormel Foods. “This acquisition significantly enhances our scale in the deli by broadening our portfolio of products, customers, and consumers. The synergies we can unlock with this acquisition are clear and I’m excited for the next evolution of our company.”

Columbus Manufacturing will continue to operate from Hayward, Calif. and will report into Hormel’s Refrigerated Foods segment. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the receipt of regulatory approvals in the United States.

Press release

Utz acquires Inventure Foods for $165 million
Utz, a privately held branded salty snack manufacturer, has agreed to acquire Inventure Foods, a specialty food marketer and manufacturer, for approximately $165 million. Under the terms of the merger agreement, an indirect subsidiary of Utz will commence a tender offer to acquire all the outstanding shares of Inventure’s common stock at a price of $4 per share in cash. The transaction, which was unanimously approved by the boards of both Inventure Foods and Utz, is subject to the receipt of certain regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. It is expected to close by the end of the fourth quarter of 2017.

Inventure Foods manufactures and markets better-for-you and indulgent categories under brand names including Boulder Canyon Foods, TGI Fridays, Nathan’s Famous, Vidalia Brands, and Bob’s Texas Style. Utz produces a full line of products including potato chips, pretzels, cheese snacks, corn chips, tortillas, veggie stix/straws, popcorn, onion rings, pork skins, and more. Its brands, which include Utz, Golden Flake, Zapp’s, Dirty Potato Chips, Good Health, Bachman, and Snikiddy, are distributed nationally and internationally.

“We are tremendously excited about the opportunity to acquire Inventure Foods,” said Dylan Lissette, CEO of Utz Quality Foods. “The company’s specialty snack food products and brands, as well as its geographic footprint, customer relationships, and distribution strengths, are highly complementary to our business and we look forward to continuing Inventure’s strong heritage of innovation in both healthy and indulgent snacking. We have also been extremely impressed with the team at Inventure, and look forward to working together going forward.”

Press release

Kraft Heinz expands animal welfare commitments for broiler chickens
Kraft Heinz has announced it will expand its current animal welfare commitments to include higher standards for treatment of broiler chickens in its U.S. supply chain. The company will work with its suppliers and the industry at large to achieve the following by the year 2024:

  • Source 100% of chicken via breeds approved by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) or Global Animal Partnership (GAP) for measurably improved welfare and quality of life.
  • Provide birds with more space to perform natural behaviors, including a stocking density no greater than 6 pounds per square foot.
  • Provide birds with better environments, including litter, lighting, and other enrichments that align with GAP’s environmental standards.
  • Implement a multi-step, controlled-atmosphere processing system.
  • Demonstrate compliance via supplier verification or third-party auditing, and communicate progress as part of regular sustainability reporting.

“When we issued our global animal welfare policy earlier this year, we underscored our commitment to the humane treatment of animals, and said we would prioritize continuous animal welfare improvements throughout our supply chain,” said Michael Mullen, senior vice president of corporate and government affairs at Kraft Heinz. “Today, we’re delivering on that promise by joining the food industry in an effort to advance the well-being of broiler chickens in our supply.”

Press release

Nestlé amplifies commitment to water conservation
Nestlé Waters has announced that it will strengthen its collaboration with the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) to certify 20 factories by 2020. The announcement is part of Nestlé Waters’ commitment to continuous improvement of its water stewardship practices, to address shared water challenges, and ensure the sustainability of water resources.

AWS is the first global water stewardship standard for measuring responsible water stewardship across social, environmental and economic criteria. In a rigorous certification process, independent bodies verify progress against 30 core AWS criteria.

Nestlé has already certified four Nestlé Waters bottling facilities in Sheikhupura, Pakistan, and in California (Ontario, Sacramento, and Livermore). It plans to certify additional sites in Africa, Asia, Canada, Europe, Latin America, and the United States.

“Collaborating with AWS is a new step on our water stewardship journey,” said Maurizio Patarnello, Nestlé Waters CEO. “It will allow us to engage further with local communities to secure the sustainability of the local water resources where we operate. By broadly implementing the AWS standard, we will pave the way and show that meaningful collaboration is possible for the future of water.”

Press release

Anderson Partners promotes Bloyd
Anderson Partners, an Omaha, Neb.-based advertising and marketing communications firm, has announced the promotion of Liz Bloyd to director of account service. Bloyd’s appointment further elevates the firm’s ability to deliver marketing programs that are strategically designed to drive sales, increase brand equity, and differentiate clients from their competition. Since joining Anderson Partners in 2012, Bloyd has served as an integral part of the team by facilitating strategic marketing plans and initiatives for clients. In her new role, she will continue to help clients achieve their marketing goals by overseeing the direction of the account service team. Bloyd is a member of the Institute of Food Technologists.

“This is an exciting time for Anderson Partners,” said Deb Murray, president of Anderson Partners. “As a company, we are dedicated to meeting the diverse marketing needs of our clients—and as a team, we keep getting stronger.”

Anderson Partners

IFSH names Beru, Petran 2017 award recipients
The Institute for Food Safety and Health (IFSH) at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) has awarded a 2017 IFSH Lifetime Achievement Award to Nega Beru, director, Office of Food Safety, at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FDA CFSAN). IFSH awards Lifetime Achievement Awards to individuals who have gone above and beyond expectations to help further the mission of IFSH.

“Dr. Nega Beru leads the largest office in FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, the Office of Food Safety. He has done an outstanding job of facilitating critical research at FDA and IFSH needed to advance knowledge in food safety, providing a basis for rational regulatory decision-making,” said Susan Mayne, CFSAN director. “He has also had a significant global impact in food safety through decades-long work with international standard setting bodies like the CODEX Alimentarius Commission. We are so pleased he is being recognized for his important contributions to improve public health.”

In addition, IFSH has awarded its 2017 IFSH Darsh Wasan Food Safety Award to Ruth Petran, vice president of food safety and public health at Ecolab. IFSH presents its annual award to recognize the achievements of an individual member in the field of food science and technology who has made outstanding contributions to food safety or nutrition across government, academia, and industry. Nominations are evaluated by a selection panel consisting of representatives from the FDA, IIT, and the food industry.

“Ruth Petran has done an outstanding job to advance public health throughout her years of work as an expert in food safety microbiology for industry, by her many service activities for professional scientific societies, by her writing, editing, and training activities, and by her participation in national and international food safety advisory groups,” said Mary Lou Tortorello, branch chief, food technology at the Division of Food Processing Science and Technology, FDA CFSAN.

Both Beru and Petran are members of the Institute of Food Technologists.

Press release (pdf)

IFT Regulatory News

Canada finds Soylent doesn’t meet ‘meal replacement’ requirements
In a letter published on his company’s website, Rob Rhinehart, founder and CEO of Rosa Foods, explained that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has informed the company that its Soylent meal replacement drink does not “meet a select few of the CFIA requirements for a ‘meal replacement.’” Rhinehart did not disclose what those requirements were and disagrees with the decision, saying that “these requirements do not reflect the current understanding of human nutritional needs.” The company said it would stop shipping its products to Canada “until this is resolved.”

“I want to reiterate that we are absolutely committed to working with Health Canada and the CFIA to resolve this as quickly as possible, but we don’t have enough information at this time to share any timing,” wrote Rhinehart. “In order to keep all of you fully up to speed on our progress, we will be sending out regular updates.”

Rhinehart’s letter

Canada’s requirements for a meal replacement

USDA seeks input on needs, opportunities in food, ag sciences
The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is soliciting stakeholder input on the emerging needs and opportunities in food and agricultural sciences. Through this initiative, “NIFA Listens: Investing in Science to Transform Lives,” stakeholders are invited to provide input to help ensure the strategic positioning and relevancy of NIFA’s investments in advancing agricultural research, extension, and education.

“NIFA Listens: Investing in Science to Transform Lives” focuses on garnering answers to two questions from stakeholders:

  • What is your top priority in food and agricultural research, extension, or education that NIFA should address?
  • What are the most promising science opportunities for advancement of food and agricultural sciences?

“Our aim is to get broad input from stakeholders across the food system, from producers to consumers, and scientists, institutions, and organizations,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director. “Individual and group input is welcome through any and all of our outlined submission mechanisms to ensure that our mission-critical investments in the agricultural sciences are indeed user inspired.”

There are four regional in-person listening sessions scheduled, two of which have already occurred (you can view the recordings for the October 19 and 26 sessions, by clicking the links below):

Each session is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. and end no later than 5 p.m. in the local time zone. The sessions will be webcast live, transcribed, and made available for playback.

In addition, written comments may be provided electronically through https://nifa.usda.gov/nifalistens or by emailing NIFAlistens@nifa.usda.gov until December 1. All submissions, regardless of the mode, are processed in the same manner. Feedback gathered throughout the initiative will be evaluated, along with input from NIFA employees, in the context of NIFA’s current science emphasis areas, to identify gaps in current portfolios and potential investment opportunities.

NIFA Listens

IFT IFT & Meeting News

IFT annual event moves to Chicago 2020–2030
We are pleased to share some exciting news with you. Due to overwhelming feedback from our annual event attendees, exhibitors, and IFT members, IFT’s Board of Directors has made the decision to move our annual event location to Chicago from 2020 through 2030. Chicago draws our largest audience of food industry professionals, making it the ideal location for optimal engagement. IFT strives to provide an annual event and Food Expo experience second to none for both its attendees and exhibitors. For these reasons, as well as the feedback received from you, our members, the IFT’s Board of Directors made this decision. Learn more.

IFTNEXT virtual event: Funding disruption in today’s food industry
November 14 | 12:00–1:30 p.m. CT | Free to Premier members
Stagnant sales revenues, the 3G effect, changing consumer preferences … the food industry is experiencing massive shifts. As a result, new and innovative entrepreneurial solutions are hitting the marketplace. Start-ups play a critical role in the research and development ecosystem, but which funding options are best for food start-ups and how do you get exposure to investors? In this virtual event, we will explore why now is a great time to consider entrepreneurship and provide breakouts with ideas for attracting major funding channels. Register today 

IFTNEXT is made possible through the generous support of Ingredion Incorporated, IFT’s Platinum Innovation Sponsor.

Take the iftevent.org survey
You are invited to participate in the IFT event website user experience survey. Your feedback and survey results will be used to help inform enhancements to the event website for IFT18. The surveys takes about 10 minutes to complete. Take the survey.

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