Business Bites: SupplySide East returns with expert insights on the future of food

A refreshing roundup: SupplySide East presents the newest food, beverage and nutraceutical advancements; USDA grants are greenlighting urban agriculture projects; California proposes a ban on specific food additives in schools; and more.

6 Min Read
SupplySide East 2023
Bryan Beasley Photography

At a Glance

  • SupplySide East 2024 takes place April 16-17 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, New Jersey.
  • Submissions for USDA grants for urban agriculture and innovative projects are due by April 9.
  • A California bill aims to ban potentially harmful food dyes and additives in public schools.

In this week’s Business Bites, cutting-edge nutrition meets sustainability and safety. From the vibrant, dynamic show floor of the upcoming SupplySide East event to the urban agriculture initiatives fueled by the U.S. Department for Agriculture (USDA), which are sending resources to the communities that need them most, we’re on the brink of transformative changes. Plus, on the West Coast, a California lawmaker has proposed a ban on certain food additives in public schools, setting a precedent that could ripple across the nation. Even better? One “bite” is about frozen cherry pie losing its standards of identity.

SupplySide East gears up for 2024 event

Are you an ingredient supplier or food and beverage manufacturer looking to learn more about what’s trending in the industry, as well as other important information regarding advancing your operations? Look no further than SupplySide East, which is only two weeks away. Taking place April 16-17 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, New Jersey, the annual event highlights the latest ingredients for supplements and functional food and beverage products. There will be a range of educational sessions offered to lend valuable insights, starting with two paid workshops on April 15. The first, “Empower and excel: Igniting leadership potential within and around you,” will take place 9:30 to 11 a.m. The second, “Mastering leadership and communication: A personalized approach to leadership,” will occur 1:30 to 3 p.m. Both workshops will feature insights from industry professionals Heather Fairman and Damian Johnson. Kicking off the first official day of the show will be an exciting education session, “Navigating the future: Adapting to evolving trends,” moderated by Sandy Almendarez, VP of content for SupplySide, from 9 to 11 a.m., where professionals can give deeper into today’s trending topics and how they apply to food, beverage and supplements. Later that day, from 3 to 4 p.m., Heather Carter, associate editor of Food & Beverage Insider, will moderate a lively roundtable discussion between industry professionals in the event’s only food-and-beverage-focused education session, “The key ingredient: Leveraging functional ingredients to power F&B products.” On April 17, from 1:15 to 2:15 p.m., Jon Benninger, VP of partnerships at SupplySide, will oversee a panel discussion with industry regulatory experts in “FDA, supplement regulation and the 2024 outlook.” To register for SupplySide East, click here.

food dyes

California lawmaker looks to ban food additives in public schools

On March 12, California State Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel introduced Assembly Bill 2316, which, if passed, will ban six food dyes and titanium dioxide from food products sold in the state’s public schools. In addition to titanium dioxide, the proposed ban includes:

  • Red No. 40

  • Yellow No. 5

  • Yellow No. 6

  • Blue No. 1

  • Blue No. 2

  • Green No. 3

Each of these chemicals has been linked to behavioral problems in kids, according to the Environmental Working Group. They’re also incredibly common additives. Titanium dioxide, for example, is used in candy, chewing gum, ice cream, frozen pizzas and more to create a smooth finish and brighten colors.

In 2023, Gabriel successfully authored the California Food Safety Act, which banned potassium bromate, propylparaben, brominated vegetable oil and Red No. 3 from California food products. Manufacturers have until Jan. 1, 2027, to reformulate their products in accordance with that law, so expect a similar timeline if this bill is passed.

urban farmer

USDA seeks applications for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Grants

Farmers, who are instrumental in providing produce and other items for use in global food products, can receive a helping hand from USDA. The organization is currently accepting applications for grants to support urban agriculture and innovative production until April 9. Part of USDA’s broad support for urban and innovative producers, these grants have invested more than $46 million in 186 projects nationwide since 2020. They are available to various groups, including nonprofits, schools, and local and tribal governments. There are two types of projects that can be awarded the grants: planning projects (targeting food access, education, business and startup costs for new farmers) and implementation projects (improving local food access or supporting infrastructure, emerging technologies and educational endeavors).

“This grant program has proven very popular and impactful in recent years, and we look forward to partnering with more communities nationwide to strengthen local food systems and increase access to healthy foods,” Terry Cosby, chief of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), which leads USDA’s Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (OUAIP), said. “These projects will add to the important work communities are doing to build food security in underserved areas.”

cherry pie

FDA revokes frozen cherry pie’s standards of identity

No, this isn’t a joke. Yes, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just revoked the standards of identity (and quality) for frozen cherry pies. But revoke is a harsh word, making it sound as if they’re banning the delicious red dessert entirely, so let’s dig into what this really means.

Apparently, the American Bakers Association petitioned FDA for this action because no other types of frozen fruit pies, regular fruit pies or even regular cherry pie have any kind of standards for identity and quality, which dictate the content and production of food products such as bread, fruit jams and juices, and others. After reviewing the available data, FDA decided these standards were no longer necessary to protect consumers against Big Cherry Pie. So, if you make frozen cherry pies, go nuts. Without adding actual nuts, of course. They’re an allergen. In other words, continue doing your due diligence so FDA doesn’t need to revoke this revocation.

UPM, Fazer swap plastic lamination for paper food packaging

Planet-friendly packaging is all the rage right now, and for good reason. A study published in Science Advances showed that, in 2016, the U.S. generated the most plastic waste of any country in the world, and these plastics pose a potential hazard to human life. They also, however, tend to be more affordable, flexible and durable than healthier alternatives. Now, a new UPM Specialty Papers and Fazer collaboration replaces traditional plastic packaging for Fazer’s Oat Rice Pies with a paper solution that reportedly has similar heat sealing and barrier properties. This solution, dubbed UPM Confidio, took more than two years to develop and is much easier to recycle than plastic. UPM claims that the recycling reject parameter of unprinted Confidio is approximately 1%, meaning that 99% of the paper can be used to create new products.

Natural Products Expo West 2024

Natural Products Expo West welcomes more than 65,000 global attendees, 3,300 exhibitors

This year’s event was held March 12-16 at the Anaheim Convention Center. With approximately 65,000 international attendees onsite, more than 3,300 exhibitors also traveled globally to showcase their latest innovations in food and beverage, supplements, personal care and lifestyle products. Hosted by New Hope Network, the highly anticipated annual gathering of the CPG and retail ecosystem attracted the largest collection of emerging and professional brands in the natural and organic industries. What’s more, 840 exhibitors joined the show this time around. Check out Food & Beverage Insider’s first-ever slideshow presentation, which spotlights 20 of the top products uncovered during the five-day event.

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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