HomeTechnologyArtificial intelligenceEgg rationing in retail, ICL and Proterra leverage AI for plant-based solutions

Egg rationing in retail, ICL and Proterra leverage AI for plant-based solutions

Nov 25, 2022 — In this week’s industry news, Nestlé and L Catterton have formed a partnership that focuses on the freshly prepared food sector. Danish Crown unveiled its latest investment for a new bacon factory in the UK and Lesaffre strengthened its presence in Australia. Meanwhile, Ecotone became the world’s top-ranking global food company in B Corp recertification, and a new report examined pig farming costs in 17 countries.

In short: Business relocations
British supermarkets are limiting the number of eggs consumers can buy. Major chains such as Aldi, Asda, Lidl, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons and Tesco are allowing customers to go home with only a few cartons of eggs as bird flu has hit producers hard. Farmers are calling for price increases to make ends meet, while other headwinds, such as high chicken feed prices and skyrocketing energy costs, are emerging.

The new partnership between Nestlé and L Catterton brings together Freshly and Kettle Cuisine, a manufacturer of fresh artisan foods for retail and foodservice customers. The combined company will focus on offering a broad range of fresh food products to customers in different regions and through different channels. L Catterton becomes the majority shareholder and Nestlé has a minority stake.

Danish Crown has announced a significant investment in a new processing facility in Rochdale, UK, to offer high quality, traceable pork products produced in a more sustainable way and to provide a critical supply of bacon for the UK market. Danish Crown will invest more than £100m (US$121m) in the processing facility which will use processing technology to cut and package bacon and gammon produced to UK welfare and food safety standards. Production is expected to begin in the second half of 2023 and once fully operational, the plant will produce more than 900 tons of bacon and gammon per week.

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ICL Food Specialties has joined forces with Protera Biosciences, an AI-driven food technology start-up and designer of novel proteins used to develop sustainable, highly functional, protein-based ingredients for food manufacturers. The partnership follows ICL’s investment in Protera in 2021 through ICL Planet Startup Hub, the vehicle ICL uses to invest in and collaborate with innovative foodtech and agritech companies globally. ICL and Protera will develop and commercialize sustainable protein-based ingredients using precision fermentation.

Lesaffre Australia Pacific has inaugurated a molasses extract factory at its production site near Melbourne and unveiled improvements to its Mortlake Sydney baking center, the showroom that trains customers, partners and employees in the art of bread making. For Lesaffre, the strengthening of its presence in the region illustrates the group’s desire to expand its geographic footprint globally and promote the by-products generated by its activity in a circular economy.

Hydrosol focuses on cost reduction amid high inflation and exploding energy prices. According to the German-based stabilization and texturing systems specialist, the volatile availability and price fluctuations in the raw material markets pose a huge challenge for the food industry. The company is looking for ways to reduce cost-determining raw materials in stabilization systems and to develop new systems on that basis. An example is ice cream. Locust bean gum is a trusted ingredient here thanks to its many functional properties. For example, it gives a slow, gentle melting and prevents the formation of ice crystals. It also gives ice cream a fuller mouthfeel and makes it creamier and “warmer”. Prices have come back down a bit after a huge jump in the spring, but locust bean gum still costs four times what it did a year or two ago.

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In short: sustainability efforts
Ecotone, active in the field of organic, plant-based and Fairtrade food, has released its latest sustainability report and action plan Food for Biodiversity. The report coincides with Ecotone’s B Corp recertification, making it the world’s top-rated global food company with 116.5 points – surpassing its previous score of 91.7 in 2019. The average score for B Corp ratings is 50.9, with a certification minimum of 80.

The European Financial Reporting Advisory Group has submitted the first draft of standards for mandatory sustainability reporting by large companies in the EU to the European Commission. This is important for consumers, as it means companies must publish comprehensive and comparable information about their sustainability, from environmental impact to workers’ rights. This will help investors and consumers to invest and source more sustainably and will contribute to meeting the EU’s sustainability goals.

In short: Other highlights
The African Development Fund Board of Directors has approved a $27.9 million grant to Ghana to develop agricultural value chains in the Savannah region. The subsidy increases climate-resilient production of corn, rice and soybeans, supports the poultry value chain and creates employment opportunities for women and youth. It will increase farmers’ incomes and support household nutrition, especially in more vulnerable female-headed households.

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board has published an annual report examining the cost of pork production in 17 countries. Pig production costs in selected countries have been updated with full-year data from 2021, showing that GB costs for domestic pigs have increased by 20% to £1.79 (US$2.17) per kg. All EU countries experienced an increase in production costs compared to 2020, with average costs reaching £1.50 (US$1.82) per kg of weight, a 6% increase in pounds sterling. The UK reference price of £1.50 (US$1.82) per kg was 7% lower in 2021 than the previous year, resulting in negative margins for the full year.

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By Elizabeth Green

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