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Food prices surge as drought exacts high toll on crops
The Wall Street Journal (subscriber story)
Surging food prices for food staples from coffee to meat to vegetables are driving up the cost of groceries in the U.S., pinching consumers and companies that are still grappling with a sluggish economic recovery.

Related articles:
  • Inflation remains tame despite jump in food costs (The Associated Press via USA Today)
  • Milk costs most in history on huge demand for US dairy exports (Bloomberg)

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    Wal-Mart quietly opens first convenience-grocery-quick-serve concept
    The City Wire
    After more than a year of planning, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. opened its first "Walmart to Go" convenience-store format in Bentonville, Ark., Saturday, with the grand opening set for March 19. The small store is a hybrid format: part traditional convenience store, part grocery, part quick-serve restaurant.
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    Has food stamp enrollment finally peaked?
    The Wall Street Journal
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, reported that 46.8 million Americans received SNAP benefits in December. That is a lot of people, but it's also the lowest number of Americans to receive benefits since June 2012.

    Related: Malloy raps Boehner on food stamp criticism (The AP via The Wall Street Journal)

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    Will 2014 GOP success equal 2016 victory?
    The Hill
    A year after trying to make sense of their 2012 losses, the GOP is gearing up for big 2014 wins. Senate control looks within their grasp, and Republicans aren't in any danger of losing the House, but their optimism could be shortsighted.

    Related articles:
  • Rising economic unease a downside for Democrats (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Reince Priebus predicts 2014 GOP 'tsunami' (Politico)
  • Democrats should play offense on Obamacare (The Washington Post)

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    Democrats face turnout problem, dissatisfaction in ranks leading to midterms
    The Washington Post
    If President Barack Obama's campaign was known for anything in 2012, it was its voter mobilization operation, said to be the most sophisticated ever assembled in a presidential campaign — which makes David Plouffe's recent comments all the more telling for Democrats as they look nervously toward the November elections.

    Related articles:
  • Top Democrat dismisses GOP's predictions about 2014 (USA Today)
  • Democratic legacies on line in 2014 (Politico)

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    Mitch McConnell touts clout
    The Wall Street Journal
    In Washington these days, politicians are far more likely to tout themselves as one of the people than to flaunt their power. But Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the Senate, is building his re-election campaign around precisely that concept: Vote for me — I'm powerful.
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    Lawmakers ask USDA to revise Salmonella action plan
    Law 360 (subscription required)
    Two Democratic representatives have asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture in a letter dated Thursday to delay a proposed plan to address Salmonella outbreaks in the meat industry and reconsider its planned response, saying the plan's efficacy has not been confirmed.
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    Opinion: Did fast food industry play Nobel economists for suckers?
    Los Angeles Times
    The restaurant industry's opposition to a higher minimum wage is hardly a secret — it's one of the top issues on the lobbying agenda of the National Restaurant Association. The mystery is why the industry seemed so loath to reveal its role in a round-robin letter signed by more than 500 economists, including four Nobel laureates, calling the proposed minimum-wage hike to $10.10 an hour a "poorly targeted anti-poverty measure."
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    The reality of food terrorism
    Food Safety Magazine
    A 2013 report from the CDC confirms that E. coli and other foodborne pathogen outbreaks have not decreased over the past two decades. Their comprehensive, 10-year study documents 67,752 reported illnesses connected to 13,405 food-related outbreaks reported during the 10-year period of 1998–2008. Other groups, such as the World Health Organization, have used studies of foodborne pathogen outbreaks to address our needs in this post-9/11 world.
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    ACLU, PETA cite free speech in lawsuit against Idaho 'ag gag' law
    Reuters
    The American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho on Monday asked a federal judge to strike down a state law it says violates constitutional rights to free speech by banning the documentation of animal abuse at livestock operations.
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    Jeff Bridges helps launch breakfast campaign
    Politico
    Oscar winner Jeff Bridges shared the morning meal with Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe and students at a classroom in Little Rock Monday to launch Breakfast After the Bell. Part of the No Kid Hungry campaign started by Share Our Strength, a D.C.-based nonprofit, the effort encourages schools to move breakfast from cafeterias to classrooms, allowing more children to take advantage of the federally subsidized offering.
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    NGOs call for more transparency over food in EU-US trade talks
    EurActiv
    Civil rights groups in the European Union and the United States have urged their representatives to make the negotiating texts for a mooted trade deal between the two blocs publicly available, out of concern they may loosen standards.
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    Quiznos and Potbelly: A tale of 2 sandwich chains
    Fortune
    The two restaurant chains offer nearly identical products: toasted subs made fresh. So how have they ended up on opposite ends of the food chain in the fast food industry?

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    Gluten-free, millennial habits: Trends or fads?
    Food Business News
    Three speakers from three professional viewpoints took the stage at the Research Chefs Association's annual Culinology Expo last week to dissect trends and fads.

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    First lady has food industry in a frenzy
    National Journal
    Michelle Obama's push for better nutrition is bringing sweeping changes that could result in multibillion-dollar shifts in how the government and consumers spend money on food.

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    Inside the secret lab making food taste better
    Bloomberg
    Some 90 percent of the products on grocery store shelves have added flavors in them. Bloomberg's Rachel Crane got an inside look at how International Flavors and Fragrances creates many of these flavors you know and like.
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    FooDS tracks top trends for food firms
    Food Production Daily
    Market research from Oklahoma State University delivers data on consumer preferences and behavior to help food manufacturers plan for future production.
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    5 areas to focus on when vetting your supply base
    Jack Ori
    Business managers must make rigorous examination of their supply bases a regular part of their routine. Failure to vet the supply base regularly can lead to unnecessary risks; businesses could end up losing money or running afoul of federal or international trade and business laws.
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    Tyson decides against closing Denison plant
    Des Moines Register
    Cattle producers hailed Tyson Foods' decision last week to keep open its beef processing plant in Denison, Iowa, but analysts question whether the Arkansas-based company will be able to stick to that decision as supplies shrink in the months ahead.
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    Sunland organic peanut butter plant to be auctioned Thursday
    Food Safety News
    What began 18 months ago with the recall of organic peanut butter involved in a Salmonella outbreak will end later this week when the shuttered Sunland Inc. processing plant goes on the auction block.
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    Independent ranchers still in limbo from Rancho Beef recall
    Food Safety News
    Independent ranchers are struggling in the wake of the Rancho Beef recall, but BN Ranch is seen as the leader of the pack, and therefore the one with the most to lose. Owner Bill Niman estimates the ranch is currently holding on to 100,000 pounds of frozen grass-fed beef that he cannot ship. By conservative estimates, that beef was destined to make the ranch at least $300,000.
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    Nestle's China business chief departs
    The Wall Street Journal (subscriber story)
    The head of Nestle's China business is leaving to join a medical charity, a departure that comes as sales sputter in the Swiss food giant's second-biggest market.
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    CAGE 2014: Kraft upbeat amid 'unprecedented' change
    just-food (subscriber story)
    Kraft Foods Group has expressed optimism it can prosper despite what its CFO Teri List-Stoll called the "unprecedented" change affecting the U.S. grocery sector.
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    Navigating common food label myths
    WTOP
    The intent of food labels is to inform consumers on the various ingredients in a food item. Many people go to the store in search of "good" foods, yet wind up bringing home foods that are anything but good for the body.
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    Allergies on the rise; operators respond
    Food Safety Magazine
    Over the past few years, the dining landscape for restaurateurs, foodservice operators and even grocers has substantially changed. Gluten-free eating is at record levels, due to both trend and necessity.
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    Health check: Is fresh food always the best choice?
    The Conversation
    Foods that have been preserved by freezing, canning or drying are certainly not in vogue but this doesn't mean they're nutritionally inferior. Preserved foods are often a nutritious, cheap and convenient alternative to fresh produce.
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    Want a cookie? Play Tetris instead
    Reuters
    Playing a game of Tetris can reduce the strength of food and nicotine cravings, according to a new study.
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    Foods rich in omega-3 may not protect heart, study finds
    Bloomberg
    Eating food high in fish oils such as omega-3 doesn't reduce the risk of heart disease, raising questions about national guidelines promoting the fats as beneficial for cardiovascular health, researchers found.
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    Upcycling food waste into fertilizer
    Triple Pundit
    You've heard of recycling leftover food scraps into a soil amendment for farms, but now a California startup is transforming food waste from grocery stores into a fertilizer that can compete with conventional nitrogen-based soil conditioners that leach chemicals into groundwater, rivers and oceans.
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    Supermarkets fighting losing battle with e-commerce in China
    Want China Times
    The growing popularity of e-commerce in China has now taken business away even from traditional supermarkets, whose annual gross margins have posted annualized declines, according to the Beijing Youth Daily.
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    Meyer: Food conveyors are getting leaner and cleaner
    Food Production Daily
    Regulations and food firms alike are causing conveyor manufacturers to step up their game in the sanitation department.
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    Food science and technology research helps ensure safer global food supply
    Phys.org
    Foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella are becoming more prevalent in the spice trade, so Monica Ponder, an assistant professor of food science and technology at Virginia Tech, is researching exactly why and how they thrive.
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    Getting portion controlled packaging under control
    Food Production Daily
    Consumer demand is rising for portion controlled packs, but do existing packaging machines have everything under control?
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    Food manufacturing topics take center stage at Foodex
    Food Manufacture-UK
    Broadcaster and former politician Michael Portillo will join a stellar cast of industry experts for more than 20 live events at the Foodex show next week to debate key industry challenges and developments.
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    DuPont at Interpack 2014: Added functionality
    Packaging Europe
    At its presentation for Interpack 2014, DuPont will highlight joint developments with plastics processors and leading machinery manufacturers that offer possibilities for saving energy, materials and costs while boosting sustainability.
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    TRENDING ARTICLES
    Missed our previous issues? See which articles your colleagues read most.

        Food tribes: Making up the rules as we go (The Vancouver Sun)
    10 facts about the changing fast food industry (Medical Xpress)
    Find nutritious meals in the frozen aisle (The Boston Globe)

    Don't be left behind. Click here to see what else you missed.


     

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    Colby Horton, Executive Vice President of Publishing, (469) 420-2601
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