Oser Communications Group

Gourmet News December 2013

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SNEAK PEEK: SPECIAL: MARKETWATCH: Winter Fancy Food Show Year in Review Cutlery SEE PAGE 20 SEE PAGE 15 SEE PAGE 21 GOURMET NEWS ® T H E B U S I N E S S VOLUME 78, NUMBER 12 DECEMBER 2013 n $7.00 SPECIALTY RETAILERS n Fruit Center Marketplace: Come for the Produce and Stock Up on Everything Else PAGE 11 GROCERY & DEPARTMENT STORES n Supermarkets Compete with Nearby Restaurants for Customers Shopping for Prepared Foods PAGE 12 SPECIALTY DISTRIBUTORS & BROKERS n F O R T H E G O U R M E T I N D U S T R Y Federal Food Safety Workers Back on Job as October Partial Government Shutdown Ends Food experts warn more problems could arise if longer shutdowns occur BY JAZMINE WOODBERRY Federal food safety workers are back to business as usual following the partial government shutdown in October. However, with the possibility of another shutdown looming in early 2014, food safety experts worry that shutdown fever could potentially put the safety of the nation's food supply at risk. In October, the U.S. Department of Agriculture furloughed more than 1,200 food safety employees, keeping just a small contingent of meat, poultry and egg inspectors on board. The shutdown spurred the Food and Drug Administration to suspend some food safety measures, including import and manufacturer inspections. Despite the furloughs, the USDA kept essential food safety workers in place throughout October. In just the few weeks during which the federal government was shut down, these workers pushed out a number of important warnings, including the Oct. 4 announcement that certain cartons of Turkey Hill Fudge Ripple and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup ice creams and Moose Tracks Stuff'd Frozen Dairy Dessert were possibly contaminated with metal shavings, as well as the Oct. 5 announcement that random tests of bell peppers produced by Orange County Produce LLC came up positive for salmonella. The USDA also announced on Oct. 10 that Minnesota-produced batches of Safeway Snack Artist BBQ Potato Chips were also being recalled, after it was found that milk was not declared as an ingredient on the packaging. These announcements reveal the importance of food safety workers in protecting U.S. consumers, as well as the inherent danger in furContinued on PAGE 6 US Foods Announces 2013 Vendor of the Year Award Winners PAGE 13 SUPPLIER BUSINESS n N E W S P A P E R Gluten-Free Cracker Line an Extension of What PARTNERS, A Tasteful Choice Company is About: Quality, Nutrition and Taste PAGE 14 News..............................................4 Ad Index .......................................23 Smorgasbord................................23 www.gourmetnews.com Resolve to Freshen Up Your Shelves See what's hot and stock your shelves for 2014, with products and contacts in 24 specialty food categories, including gluten-free and vegetarian. SEE INSERT As Japanese Exports Rise, U.S. Retailers Are Offering Wealth of Asian Eats BY JAZMINE WOODBERRY As more consumers reach for private label and specialty food offerings and the Japanese product craze continues, Japanese exports are more in demand in this country than ever before. This offers a unique opportunity to both distributors and suppliers abroad as well as to retailers here in the United States. And both sides are taking advantage of the trend. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants his country to transform its reputation for high quality and high priced foods into a boon for Japan's economy. He is promoting an increase in exports of in-demand products to hungry consumers around the globe. Right now, vehicles and electronics are among the nation's top exports, but the Japanese specialty food industry is working hard to add gourmet edibles to this list. Abe is hoping to double Japanese exports over the next seven years. He also hopes to help Japanese farmers generate a greater portion of their revenues Continued on PAGE 8 Industry Leaders Question Efficacy of Food Date Labeling System BY LUCAS WITMAN According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, a staggering one-third of worldwide food supplies is wasted each year. This means that approximately 1.3 billion tons of food worth $750 billion was wasted in 2013. With 3.5 million children worldwide dying of malnutrition each year and global hunger afflicting 1 billion people, industry leaders are pushing to reduce food waste and distribute surplus foods to those who can most benefit from them. In the United States, food in- dustry leaders argue that a major cause of food waste is the disposal of perfectly edible products due to confusion about shelf life. In September, the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, in collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council, released "The Dating Game: How Confusing Food Date Labels Lead to Food Waste in America," a study criticizing how foods on grocery store shelves are dated and offering some prescriptions for remedying the problem. According to the report, misinterpretation of food date labels costs the U.S. food in- dustry money, squanders important natural resources and contributes to hunger and malnutrition across the country. The study cites several root causes driving confusion about shelf life. First and foremost among these is a lack of binding federal standards when it comes to date labeling. Packages carry an array of labels indicating "use by," "sell by," "best before" and "expiration" dates, but retailers and consumers are often unclear precisely what these dates mean, and how safe it is to consume the product inside. In short, there is no standard, reliable way to determine if food is expired or edible. In addition, the study argues that simply by placing date labels on products, it limits the capacity to redistribute packaged foods to those in need. This is because it is often illegal to redistribute pastdate foods, regardless of edibility. The study offers a number of prescriptions for how the U.S. food industry can avoid the confusion inherent in the current date labeling system. First, "sell by" dates should be made invisible to Continued on PAGE 8

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