Business Bites: French court halts ban on meaty labels for alt-meat

This week’s news smoothie: A French court halts a decree banning meaty terms for faux meat products; USDA allocates $40.3 million to improve food access across America; a nonalcoholic wine infused with cannabis-derived terpenes can reportedly elevate your mood; and more.

6 Min Read
plant-based meat

At a Glance

  • Meat lobbyists called labels with words like “steak” on meat alternatives “cultural hijacking.”
  • A sparkling, nonalcoholic wine promises “pure delight without the intoxicating effects.”
  • USDA is allocating millions in grants to 75 local organizations across 20 states and Washington, D.C.

This week, we have nonmeat meats you can’t call “meat,” wine with cannabis and coffee without beans. Never tell us Business Bites doesn’t keep things interesting! This collection of stories roams from coast to coast, highlighting the latest United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) investments in underserved communities around the country. We’ll also travel to France, where meat lobbyists continue to attempt to control labeling for products that aren’t even theirs. And if you regret missing the 4/20 holiday, CannaVinus might be the beverage for you.

French court suspends ban on “steak,” other terms for alternative meats

France may be hosting the 2024 Summer Olympics, but it’s also still hosting some off-kilter ideas about alternative meats. In February, the French government decreed that terms like “steak” would no longer be allowed on the packaging for alt-meat products such as veggie burgers. Now, a top French court has issued a ruling suspending the decree, questioning its legality. The ban will remain suspended until the Court of Justice of the European Union can respond.Reportedly, this ruling came about due to bickering food companies. The meat and dairy industries have long complained about animal-derived terms on alternative products, stating that such labels would confuse consumers and even calling it “cultural hijacking” (at least they didn’t go with “appropriation” — yikes). In 2020, the European parliament rejected this idea for meats, yet alt-dairy products still can’t use “milk” or “butter” per a 2017 ruling. Can’t win ‘em all.

CannaVinus

Premium Blend unveils nonalcoholic wine with terpenes found in cannabis

The date April 20, known to cannabis aficionados as 4/20, is a “holiday” celebrated globally in the cannabis culture. As such, many brands have created products to pay homage to the annual celebration, including low- and no-alcohol company Premium Blend, which recently introduced CannaVinus, a nonalcoholic adult sparkling wine beverage. The dealcoholized wine, made using a base of Spanish sparkling wine, contains natural terpenes found in cannabis, such as pinene, caryophyllene and limonene. The chemical compounds, also naturally present in various spices and plants, have been scientifically proven to possess anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory activities, as well as therapeutic properties, mirroring the beneficial aspects of cannabis. This lends sensory-enhancing ingredients to CannaVinus that “deliver pure delight without the intoxicating effects,” according to company reps. The nonalcoholic beverage also incorporates natural plant ingredients like mint (Mentha) and elderberry (Sambucus), which are scientifically proven to have health-improving effects.

“CannaVinus was born out of a vision to offer consumers the perfect zero-proof sparkling wine pairing for cannabis users that can uplift their mood in social settings and enhance the overall experience,” Gino Santos, co-founder of Premium Blend, said.

apple on cracked soil

USDA funds 75 local organizations to expand food financing in underserved communities

“No matter where you live across America, you should be able to get affordable, fresh and healthy food,” Xochitl Torres Small, deputy secretary of USDA, said.

In pursuit of this goal, USDA has partnered with Reinvestment Fund, a nonprofit dedicated to equitable resource management. Reinvestment Fund has identified 16 public-private partnerships, representing 75 local organizations across the country, to receive $40.3 million in grants under the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) Local & Regional Healthy Food Financing Partnerships Program. This program aims to expand access to healthy and inexpensive foods in 20 states and Washington, D.C.

For example, on one side of the country, this funding will enable the Atlanta Food Access Investment Initiative to perform a food retail gap analysis and help retailers invest in combatting food deserts in Atlanta. On the other side of the nation, the Pacific Northwest Resilient Food Systems Partnership will use funding to build resilient food systems that improve access to healthy foods for underserved communities. Click here to check out the other partnerships.

Atomo Coffee and Bluestone Lane partner for nationwide beanless espresso rollout

The inventor of beanless espresso has big news. Atomo Coffee is joining forces with Aussie-inspired coffee chain Bluestone Lane to roll out beanless espresso in 58 locations nationwide.

What is beanless espresso? Apparently, Atomo Coffee replicated 28 molecular compounds found in conventional coffee, upcycled from date seeds, sunflower, guava, lemon and other leftover superfoods. How was this not included in our recent upcycled beverage slideshow?

“Atomo’s delicious because it is coffee,” Ed Hoehn, COO of Atomo Coffee, said. “Our espresso also has the same great aroma as conventional coffee but offers a cleaner caffeine experience — derived from green tea — with lower acidity and higher antioxidants.”

The company also partnered with HowGood, an independent research firm that validated Atomo’s environmental gains: This espresso has 83% less carbon emissions and uses 70% less farmland than conventional coffee.

worker spraying insecticide

IFIC study shows consumers are concerned about pesticide use in fruit, vegetable production

Consumers are increasingly interested in what’s healthy for people and the planet, and new research from The International Food Information Council (IFIC) proves that. The 2024 IFIC Spotlight Survey: Public Perceptions of Pesticides & Produce Consumption revealed most Americans are seriously concerned with how food is grown in the United States — particularly fruits and vegetables. More specifically, 91% of Americans consider how their food is grown when making food and beverage decisions. When considering how food is grown, the two top concerns are keeping food safe (70%) and the use of pesticides (60%), with other factors like environmental sustainability, nutritional content, use of agricultural technology, animal welfare and farm worker welfare also of importance.

Though the majority of pesticides used on imported foods and those grown nationwide have been deemed safe by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), some that are used are under scrutiny. More than half (60%) of Americans who are concerned with pesticide use believe consuming foods grown with them are bad for their health. More importantly, almost three-quarters (71%) avoid purchasing/consuming vegetables, and more than half (59%) avoid purchasing/consuming fruits when concerned about pesticide use.

“Low intake of fruits and vegetables by Americans is not a new phenomenon — it’s been chronically low for decades,” Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, president and CEO of IFIC, said. “This research highlights gaps in not only consumer understanding of pesticides, but also how harmful misinformation can further widen the fruit and vegetable consumption gap in the U.S. and around the world.”

sustainable packaging

FoodChain ID launches Sustainable Packaging Services

Are you a food manufacturer looking to stay up to date with trends, regulations and information about sustainable packaging? Tech company FoodChain ID, which provides insights and expertise to more than 30,000 food, beverage, ingredient and dietary supplement companies globally, recently launched Sustainable Packaging Services, a regulatory library that can help achieve this goal. The suite of products and expert-guided services was created to help food and cosmetic brands — and their supply chains — meet market demands for sustainable packaging. The new platform combines new and existing services that allow manufacturers to monitor and respond to changing global regulations on sustainable packaging — a trend that is gaining traction in the industry. Developed with help from the company’s Customer Advisory Board, comprised of CPGs, it features sustainable packaging trends, sustainable packaging reports and digests, a regulatory library sustainability module, a packaging compliance solution and sustainable packaging expertise.

“FoodChain ID’s Sustainable Packaging Services addresses the need for brands and manufacturers to understand regulations and emerging issues, as well as access subject matter experts for packaging compliance,” Conor Kearney, CEO of FoodChain ID, said.

About the Author(s)

Heather Carter

Associate editor, Food & Beverage Insider

With over a decade of diverse professional experience under her belt, Heather has journeyed from the bustling world of local news reporting to the intricate realms of trade publishing. She has covered a wide array of topics, ranging from architecture and design to the food and beverage industry.

During her illustrious career, Heather also ventured into the realm of public relations, where she gleaned invaluable insights into the art of strategic communication and brand storytelling. Yet, her heart has always been anchored in the vibrant world of F&B, a passion deeply ingrained in her roots as the daughter of a seasoned chef. She has always held a profound appreciation for the role food plays in shaping cultures and connecting people.

With each story she tells, Heather seeks to illuminate the profound impact of food and beverage on people’s lives, celebrating its ability to evoke emotions, foster connections and weave the fabric of our shared human experience.

As Food & Beverage Insider's associate editor, she co-publishes a weekly news column, Business Bites, which showcases the latest industry news, highlighting key business updates, food and beverage innovation, industry events and more. Some of her other articles touch on important topics, such as ultra-processed foods, plant-based foods primed to change the food landscape, international flavors and ingredients, as well as better-for-you CPGs. She also frequently covers top trends at various industry events and has moderated first-of-their-kind education sessions at Informa events.

She can be reached at [email protected].

Scott Miller

Staff writer, Food & Beverage Insider

Scott Miller brings two decades of experience as a writer, editor, and communications specialist to Food & Beverage Insider. He’s done a little of everything, from walking a beat as a freelance journalist to taking the Big Red Pen to massive technical volumes. He even ran a professional brewing industry website for several years, leveling up content delivery during an era when everyone had a blog.

Since starting at Food & Beverage Insider, he’s written pieces on the price of greenwashing (and how to avoid it), debunked studies that served little to no purpose (other than upsetting the public) and explained the benefits of caffeine alternatives, along with various other stories on trends and events.

Scott is particularly interested in how science, technology and industry are converging to answer tomorrow’s big questions about food insecurity, climate change and more.

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