sustainability

Eat Your Wrapper: Edible Food Packaging Coming to Fast Food and CPG Brands

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 18, 2012 03:08 PM

Check out the trash collection area of any restaurant. The containers overflow with the remnants of packaging that once contained the food now found on the eatery’s tables and its customers' stomachs. More than 75 million tons of packaging waste found its way to landfills in the U.S. alone in 2010, Slate reports. A waste, but what's a person to do?

Help is on the way. Researchers are moving quickly toward creating edible packaging that consumers won’t have to throw away. A fast-food chain in Brazil, called Bob’s after founder (and tennis champ) Robert Falkenburg, wrapped its burgers in edible wrappers and encouraged its customers to just not bother unwrapping before eating during a one-day promotion earlier this month, AFP reports.

Bob’s — the country’s first fast-food chain, established in 1952 — was so successful at testing its edible packaging, at right, that not a single customer threw away the wrappings, according to PSFK. The Guardian, meanwhile, notes “two US companies (that) are currently vying to be the first to commercially exploit” this marketplace.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Big Tobacco Hit By FDA Slowdown, Wins Graphic Package Battle

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 14, 2012 03:01 PM

It has been more than a year and a half since pretty much any new cigarettes or tobacco products have hit store shelves in the United States. So Big Tobacco must be finally caving to the growing drumbeat against them from lawmakers and health advocates, right? Well, no.

The lack of new product is actually due to those dang lawmakers. America's tobacco watchdogs at the Food and Drug Administration are “taking extra care in reviewing new product applications for public health risks,” according to WWLP Massachusetts.

And it isn’t just new product that’s been affected, either. The slowdown has also affected such things as brand-name changes as well as shifts in packaging or filters. But don’t feel too bad for Big Tobacco. They are still making a boatload of cash annually and they also just won a big case before the federal appeals court on Wednesday. In that case, the tobacco companies won the right to not sell their products in packaging that would feature graphic warning images, such as diseased lungs, a man with a tracheotomy smoking, and the cadaver of a (former) smoker.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Australia Now Selling Shocking Cigarette Unpackaging in World First Roll-Out

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 3, 2012 01:27 PM

America's FDA keeps working toward forcing cigarette makers to encase their product in packaging with some incredibly nasty images in order to help consumers understand what could happen to them if they continue smoking. Australian health officials don’t have to wait anymore. 

Thanks to a world-first law that went into effect on Dec. 1st, nicotine lovers (and haters) in the land Down Under are now faced with images a gangrene-mangled limb and a skeletal cancer victim when they buy their cigarettes. The images, which caused an uproar when revealed last year, take up most of the pack’s packaging with the cigarette’s brand name (no logo) printed on the bottom quarter of the packaging, in plain text on an olive-toned blah background.

“They’re so horrifingly ugly that they are magnificent,” Fiona Sharkie, executive director of anti-smoking campaigner Quit Victoria, told Bloomberg. How horrifyingly ugly? Check out the grotesque warning images below.Continue reading...

chew on this

Burger King 55-Cent Whoppers for Burger's 55th Anniversary

Posted by Shirley Brady on December 3, 2012 11:01 AM

Burger King is celebrating the 55th anniversary of its Whopper hamburger with a whopper of a deal:

"Hurry in to any participating BURGER KING® restaurant nationwide from December 6th through December 9th, to enjoy an Original WHOPPER® Sandwich for just 55 cents, when you purchase any WHOPPER® Sandwich, including the new Wisconsin White Cheddar WHOPPER® or the spicy ANGRY WHOPPER®, available for a limited-time-only."

Also new to the menu for the iconic sandwich's 55th, which is being sold with retro packaging? Seasoned sweet potato cury fries. The fast food brand, which is testing home delivery, is inviting fans to submit their own Whopper moments on Facebook, as you can see in its new TV campaign below:Continue reading...

brands under fire

5-Hour Energy Takes a Shot From the FDA in Energy Drinks Deaths Probe

Posted by Dale Buss on November 15, 2012 05:22 PM

Competition from huge and established beverage brands hasn't been able to dent 5-Hour Energy's dominance in the energy-shot segment it created. And criticism of its elixirs by nutritionists and dietitians hasn't been able to slow its sales past the $1-billion-a-year mark.

But here's something that might take a bit of fizz out of 5-Hour Energy: The drinks have been cited in the deaths of 13 people in the last four years, according to reports received by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. The New York Times reported, "Since 2009, 5-Hour Energy has been mentioned in some 90 filings with the FDA, including more than 30 that involved serious or life-threatening injuries like heart attacks, convulsions and, in one case, a spontaneous abortion."

The energy shot made by a suburban-Detroit-based company, Living Essentials, has been associated with 92 "adverse-event reports" over that period, including 32 hospitalizations, an FDA spokeswoman told a number of publications. The death reports comprise open cases being investigated by the agency. The FDA stressed that there is no evidence linking the 5-Hour Energy brand to the deaths or hospitalizations, but that the agency continues to investigate the reports.

5-Hour Energy spokeswoman Elaine Lutz said in a statement that 5-Hour Energy takes "reports of any potential adverse event tied to our products very seriously" and that the company complied "with all of our reporting requirements" to the FDA. She also noted that the shots are intended for "busy adults" and that 5-Hour Energy is an effective dietary supplement and not a beverage or energy drink.Continue reading...

sip on this

Trio of New Red Bull Flavors Launching Exclusively at 7-Eleven

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 13, 2012 12:01 PM

More than 8 million YouTube viewers watched daredevil Felix Baumgartner plummet at the speed of sound from 24 miles above Earth to a lonely spot in New Mexico. And you can bet that every one of them – along with the zillions of others who watched or read about it after the fact – noticed the Red Bull logo plastered on his spacesuit thanks to the company’s major financial investment in making the space drop occur. 

It was a giant step (literally) for sports sponsorships, one that likely inspired more than a few of those watching at home to sample the brand. And now Red Bull is offering up a few more flavors to help folks feel a rush of their own (though not as likely as powerful as the one Baumgartner felt). However, if consumers want to have a taste of the new flavor and can’t wait till next spring when they are released on a wider scale, they’ll have to go to a 7-Eleven.

The convenience store chain has signed a deal to become the sole distributor of Red Bull’s first three flavor extensions, through the end of the year. The drinks, in red, silver and blue cans, will “provide the same energy and functional benefits of the original, but with the taste of sweet cranberry, fresh lime and fruity blueberry.”Continue reading...

chew on this

Californians Go to the Polls on Prop 37 GMO Labeling Battle

Posted by Dale Buss on November 6, 2012 05:08 PM

For a while, the notion of regulating genetically modified organisms (better known as GMOs) included in food seemed like a good idea, and anti-Big Food advocates in California attracted a lot of support in a state where residents like to be on the cutting edge of just about everything. Calfornians have never minded serving as a bellwether on new regulatory initiatives that end up sweeping the rest of the country, such as automotive emissions.

But the closer today's vote on Proposition 37 loomed, the more that initial support of the idea waned. And this U.S. Election Day, even backers of the anti-GMO initiative seemed resigned to its defeat, although it's still being closely watched. (Update: Prop 37 was indeed defeated at the polling booth.)

What happened? Well, a combination of huge contributions by moneyed CPG brands battered Prop 37's drive to label GMOs in a massive advertising and PR blitz with a "No on 37" drive. And backers of the added regulation alleged dirty tricks by the competition as they sought to sway voters (despite scientific evidence to the contrary) that GMO-containing products are hardly the stuff of "Frankenfood" that really harms consumers.Continue reading...

sustainability

What's Your Ology? Walgreens Launches Its Own Eco-Brand

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 6, 2012 12:02 PM

What brand doesn't want to look environmentally conscious and earth-friendly? And we're not just talking about the predicted rise in plug-in hybrid cars for Ford and Toyota or the recent increase in vegetarian and vegan businesses. Now mass-market pharmacy Walgreens is getting into the act.

The drug store chain this week launched its own Ology brand that features 25 environmentally friendly products, such as “tissues, toilet paper and paper towels made from bamboo and cane sugar husks instead of tree pulp” as well as “laundry detergent with fewer chemicals than regular brands, shampoos and conditioners for both children and adults, compact fluorescent light bulbs, and glass and all-purpose household cleaners,” according to Crain's Chicago Business.

"There's a growing trend of moms and households looking for safer products with fewer chemicals," Maurice Alkemade, Walgreen's VP of retail brands and global sourcing, told Crain's. "A lot of national brands are pushing to take out these chemicals, but we're the first affordable and widely available line to do it. We believe we can lead and own this platform."Continue reading...

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