Emily Little

Emily Little

Plans for the Resnick Center

Plans for the Resnick Center


Resnicks donate $50 million to UC Davis

Lynda and Stewart Resnick, cofounders of The Wonderful Company, have pledged $50 million to the University of California, Davis, to support sustainability research. The pledge will fund the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Center for Agricultural Innovation.

“Protecting and preserving our planet for the future means we must take bold steps and push the boundaries of what’s possible,” said Stewart Resnick in a press release. “This gift aims to help our greatest scientific minds rise to the great challenge of our time—the sustainability of our planet for future generations.”

The Resnick Center, which is expected to be constructed by 2026, will house classrooms, lab spaces, and a student center. The center will focus on five thematic research areas: innovative solutions for agricultural byproducts, maximizing water and energy efficiencies, developing next-generation technologies, increasing crop resiliency, and expanding access to nutritious food.

In addition to the innovation center, the pledge will also establish the Resnick Agricultural Innovation Research Fund, which will provide grants to promote cross-disciplinary research.

The Resnicks have invested more than $2.3 billion in philanthropic initiatives. Their privately held, $5 billion company has a stable of brands that includes FIJI Water, POM Wonderful, Wonderful Pistachios, and Landmark wines.

“Thanks to this historic gift from Lynda and Stewart Resnick, UC Davis will further expand its global reach, helping to shape the future of sustainable food production,” said Chancellor Gary S. May in a press release. “This gift demonstrates a continued commitment to innovative environmental stewardship and allows us to create science-based solutions that can be rapidly deployed while mitigating the impacts of climate change.”


© Melissa Kopka/iStock/Getty Images Plus


© Melissa Kopka/iStock/Getty Images Plus


Pastries, pies on a sweet growth path

The cakes, pastries, and sweet pies market is expected to grow by approximately $35 billion from 2021 to 2026, with a compound annual growth rate of 3.9%, according to a new report from Technavio.

Convenience-seeking millennials are stoking market growth, Technavio report writers hypothesize. This growing population demands products that are easy to eat on the go in order to accommodate busy schedules.

Cakes will be the largest contributor to this market’s growth, with cakes that are high in fiber, low in calories, and low in fat becoming more popular. Consumers are also increasingly interested in cakes that are sugar-free, gluten-free, or contain nutritious seeds and fruits. Technavio rates the cakes, pastries, and sweet pies market high in innovation and moderate in mergers and acquisitions.

The Asia-Pacific market is expected to expand the fastest, accounting for 35% of growth within the forecast period. The report attributes this to the increasing number of Western-style restaurants serving cakes, pastries, and sweet pies. In addition to China and Japan, the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom will be among the markets responsible for the greatest share of revenue, Technavio predicts.

Keeping the product development focus on healthy, natural cakes and sweets without compromising on taste, will drive market growth, Technavio suggests.

family eating

© recep-bg/E+/Getty Images

family eating

© recep-bg/E+/Getty Images


USDA strengthens WIC

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has increased funding and modernization efforts for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). This includes combined grants of $53 million funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

“We’ve got to do all we can to connect eligible mothers, infants, and children to the program and provide them with a positive, meaningful experience,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a press release. “These grants build on the USDA’s extensive efforts to strengthen the WIC program, make it easier and more convenient for participants, and use data and feedback from stakeholders to fulfill our commitment to serve them well.”

The WIC program provides federal grants across the United States for supplemental foods, health-care referrals, and nutritional education for low-income women and children at nutritional risk. Its services are commonly provided at county health departments, hospitals, mobile clinics, community centers, schools, and public housing sites.

With this new funding, the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service awarded three major grants: Community Innovation and Outreach Cooperative Agreement, Technology for a Better WIC Experience, and WIC Shopping Experience Improvement Grants. These grants will help the program reach more eligible women and children and improve the services they receive.

According to the USDA, fewer than three out of five of those eligible are currently enrolled in the WIC program. Participation rates are high among families with infants but drop as children get older.

deli sandwich

© BlakeDavidTaylor/E+/Getty Images

deli sandwich

© BlakeDavidTaylor/E+/Getty Images


Quantitative assessment of Listeria risk

Over 90% of all cases of the foodborne illness listeriosis in the United States between 1990 and 2020 were linked to deli meats, according to a research study published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology. The second most common food category linked to listeriosis was ready-to-eat salads, followed by ready-to-eat seafood, soft and semi-soft cheeses, and frozen vegetables.

The research, which comes from the University of Minnesota, used a quantitative risk assessment model to analyze the prevalence of Listeria monocytogenes in various foods. This pathogenic bacterium can cause invasive listeriosis.

While invasive listeriosis is rare, it can be potentially fatal, especially for those who are at increased risk, including the elderly, pregnant women, newborns, and those with underlying health conditions. According to the study, members of these at-risk population segments face a 10 to 10,000 times higher possibility of infection than the general population.

The researchers obtained data from published studies to estimate the prevalence of L. monocytogenes in retail food products in the United States and worldwide. Over a half-million samples were evaluated, 62.5% of which were from the United States. The bacteria was most prevalent in deli meats, both in the United States and worldwide, followed by soft and semi-soft cheeses, and ready-to-eat salads.

Using this data, the researchers hope that food manufacturers can mitigate the risk of Listeria contamination and reduce the number of invasive listeriosis cases. This will include lot-by-lot testing of products most susceptible to the bacterium.


New hires at Bell Flavors & Fragrances

Bell Flavors & Fragrances announced new hires and promotions to strengthen its sales and sensory/consumer insights teams.

Craig Dunlap will join as a global key account manager, merging his experience as a product development scientist and his business expertise.

Jared Hamill, with experience as a product development scientist with a focus on beverage creation, will join as a global key account executive.

Lydia Wang, who earned her MS in food science from the University of Guelph, will join Bell’s sensory team as a sensory scientist.

Megan Paul was promoted to the role of sensory scientist, where she will continue leading flavor panels to support key product development efforts.

Noor Abo Alzahb was promoted to sales project manager and will be responsible for management and growth of customer accounts.

David Banks was promoted to senior marketing director, where he will plan new marketing and branding objectives.


IFT notes the passing of Dr. Susan E. Duncan.

About the Author

Emily Little is an associate editor of Food Technology ([email protected]).
Emily Little