Some days it seems the promise of Big Data to revolutionize marketers’ understanding of our customers is as huge as the petabytes piling up at our servers. Each day countless observations, measurements, and transactions of all kinds are being appended to what we think we know about our customers. No doubt there is more to learn; insight that we will be able to extract from Big Data. But what else can we learn from the information we already have?
If you are responsible for managing a branded food or beverage business, have you fully tapped your brand’s archive of product innovation ideas and research? Have you checked your product launch assumptions against what has really happened with launches at your company before? I don’t think most of us have. There is a lot of Dormant Data that can help guide marketing decisions lurking in common drives, on desktops and stored in filing cabinet folders and videotapes. (read more…)
As a central conduit for food banks distributing to more than 61,000 shelters, pantries and soup kitchens, Feeding America sees food safety as paramount. Yet, while food safety is most often associated with safe handling and product recalls, increased awareness of food allergies and other dietary restrictions has substantially elevated the importance of monitoring donated food as it relates to product ingredients.
Working with tens of thousands of food products daily, Feeding America must rely on accurate product information to ensure the food it provides one in eight Americans is fresh, safe, nutritious and, in some cases, allergen-free. Food safety concerns and logistics carry even more weight for Feeding America when working with the highly perishable, ready-made foods frequently donated by restaurants. As a result, Feeding America takes a two-pronged approach to food safety: (1) utilizing standards-based data exchange to efficiently recall potentially unsafe products, and (2) capturing data points that will allow agencies to distribute food that meets consumers’ dietary restrictions. (read more…)
Antimicrobial food coatings have been around for decades and synthetic antimicrobials — such as sorbates, nitrates and sulfites applied directly to foods to keep them safe from bacteria — have become commercially popular in the past five years.
The next big step forward is developing food coatings made from natural edible substances, such as polysaccharides, essential oils, enzymes, proteins and lipids.
“Consumers don’t like to see things on ingredient labels they can barely pronounce,” said Carmen Gomes, assistant professor in the biological and agricultural engineering department at Texas A&M University.
Studies are ongoing, but there are manufacturing process challenges to solve before natural edible coatings can hit the market. Because food safety is such a concern to public health and safety, synthetic coatings will remain the industry standard until research and development is further along, said research analyst Aarthi Janakiraman, who recently authored an industry report on the science for Frost & Sullivan. (read more…)