Margaret Malochleb

Margaret Malochleb

Snack and laptop

Snack bars held the largest share in the organic snacks market in 2019, driven by the demand for small-serving, convenient food that fits in with busy lifestyles. © AntonioGuillem /iStock/Getty Images Plus

Snack and laptop

Snack bars held the largest share in the organic snacks market in 2019, driven by the demand for small-serving, convenient food that fits in with busy lifestyles. © AntonioGuillem /iStock/Getty Images Plus

Organic snacks market positioned for growth

The global organic snacks market is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.1% from 2020 to 2027, to reach $19.3 billion, according to a new report by Grand View Research. With the growing number of health-conscious consumers, the popularity of organic foods has risen throughout the world.

In 2019, North America accounted for over 40% of global revenue, driven by U.S. and Canadian consumers’ growing awareness of health. During the forecast period, Asia Pacific is expected to register the fastest CAGR (14%), fueled by rising demand for organic foods in emerging Asia Pacific countries, as well as changes in lifestyle and diet and growth in income.

Based on product type, snack bars held the largest market share in 2019 at more than 15%, supported by increased consumption of morning snacking options and demand for healthy, small-serving food, which has become a convenient source of nutrition for millennials and other consumers with busy schedules.

By distribution channel, online retailers are predicted to experience the fastest growth during the forecast years with a CAGR of 14.9%. Increased smartphone usage, low-cost internet provision, and changes in consumer buying behavior due to the pandemic are driving online growth.

Taco Bell debuts new restaurant concept

With a focus on digital evolution, Taco Bell plans to introduce a new restaurant concept that will build upon the popularity of drive-thru and expand the quick-service restaurant experience. Taco Bell Go Mobile, which will debut in the first quarter of 2021, will allow customers to order ahead through the brand’s mobile app for a frictionless experience.

Five features will characterize the Go Mobile restaurant experience:

• Minimization. With a footprint of about 1,325 square feet, the new concept is considerably smaller than the average 2,500-square-foot Taco Bell restaurant.

• Dual drive-thru. Two drive-thru lanes will be available, including a priority pickup lane with rapid service for customers who order via the Taco Bell app.

• Synchronized digital experience. Go Mobile restaurants will use smart technology integrated with the Taco Bell app to detect when customers arrive and suggest the quickest route for a seamless pickup experience.

• Curbside pickup. Customers will have the option to receive their order via contactless curbside pickup.

• Bellhops. Tablet ordering will be offered in drive-thrus and curbside pickup, both of which will be operated by a concierge service of team members known as bellhops.

Mike Grams, Taco Bell president, global chief operating officer, described the Go Mobile concept in a company statement as “not only an evolved physical footprint, but a completely synchronized digital experience centered around streamlining guest access points. For the first time, our guests will have the ability to choose the pickup experience that best fits their needs, all while never leaving the comfort of their cars.”

Fruit and veggie waste could benefit the gut

Fruit and vegetable powders have gained popularity as a way to add antioxidants such as polyphenols and carotenoids to diets, either by direct consumption or as a food ingredient. Noting that the healthful compounds are also present in fruit and vegetable by-products, researchers reporting in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry extracted powders from blueberry and persimmon waste and converted them into nutritious food ingredients.

During simulated digestion of the powders, the scientists observed that the release of antioxidants was affected by a number of factors, including type of powder, drying method, fiber content, and type of fiber. For example, freeze-drying preserved more anthocyanins, but they were also more easily degraded during digestion than those in air-dried samples.

After the powders were added to a fecal slurry, the researchers conducted a mock colonic fermentation, sequencing the bacteria present before and after fermentation. Incubation with the fruit powders increased the presence of several beneficial bacteria, with some experiencing increased growth with one powder compared with the other. The findings indicate persimmon and blueberry waste powders could be used in food formulations to help increase carotenoid and anthocyanin content, which could positively impact gut health.

Vegan ice cream launches have doubled

Ice cream has always held wide appeal as a sweet treat, and recent research from Mintel Global New Product Database shows that launches of vegan ice cream have made up 7% of all launches in the past 12 months, more than double the 3% of five years ago.

Texture, mouthfeel, and an indulgent experience are all important factors that influence purchasing decisions, and Mintel research indicates an increased focus on the textural qualities of plant-based ice cream, with products featuring chunky textures from nuts, cookie pieces, toffee pieces, and cookie dough chunks growing from 2% to 13% over the past four years. Flavor is another area of innovation, with chocolate accounting for 26% of innovation during the past 12 months, followed by vanilla (11%) and coconut (9%).

Kate Vlietstra, Mintel Global Food & Drink analyst, noted in a press release that plant-based ice creams are exploring indulgent options to show that vegan products can compete with traditional ice creams when it comes to flavor combinations. “The makeup of plant-based ice cream will evolve, incorporating new ingredients from the world of plant milk such as quinoa and other seeds. Oats are expected to feature in more dairy-free ice creams, following on from the popularity of oats in plant-based drinks,” she explained.

Pregnant woman

A recent analysis of current evidence on caffeine-related pregnancy outcomes concluded that there is no safe level of caffeine consumption for pregnant women.
© vladans/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Pregnant woman

A recent analysis of current evidence on caffeine-related pregnancy outcomes concluded that there is no safe level of caffeine consumption for pregnant women.
© vladans/iStock/Getty Images Plus

 

No safe level of caffeine for pregnant women

A recent study of current evidence on caffeine-related pregnancy outcomes concluded that there is no safe level of caffeine consumption for pregnant women or those trying to conceive. The analysis, published in BMJ Evidence Based Medicine, refutes current guidelines from health authorities in the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States, which establishes a safe level of caffeine consumption at 200 mg per day.

Jack James of Reykjavik University analyzed 1,261 peer-reviewed articles on caffeine and caffeinated beverages and their link to pregnancy outcomes. He narrowed the group down to 48 original observational studies and meta-analyses that reported results for miscarriage, stillbirth, low birth weight and/or small for gestational age, preterm birth, childhood acute leukemia, and childhood overweight and obesity.

A total of 42 separate findings were reported in 37 observational studies; of these, 32 found that caffeine significantly increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes and 10 found no or inconclusive associations. Caffeine-related risk was reported with moderate to high levels of consistency for all pregnancy outcomes except preterm birth.

Eleven studies reported on the findings of 17 meta-analyses, and in 14 of these, maternal caffeine consumption was associated with increased risk for miscarriage, stillbirth, low birth weight and/or small for gestational age, and childhood acute leukemia.

Although observational studies cannot establish causation, James points out that the results could be affected by factors such as recall of caffeine consumption, maternal cigarette smoking, and pregnancy symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, which are likely to reduce caffeine intake.

He concludes that there is “substantial cumulative evidence” of an association between maternal caffeine consumption and diverse negative pregnancy outcomes, adding that current recommendations concerning caffeine consumption during pregnancy require “radical revision.”

About the Author

Margaret Malochleb, Associate Editor, produces content for the News, New Products, Books, and IFT World departments and researches and writes feature articles on a variety of topics.
mmalochleb@ift.org
Margaret Malochleb