“I just don’t think there’s a need for one single, monolithic voice of the food industry. It no longer computes. … A lot of food companies are still trying to figure out what to do with changing tastes, and they’re all taking different paths.”

Michele Simon, Executive Director, Plant Based Food Association (Politico)

From the C-suite

At the core of The Intel Distillery is a constantly updated database of 1,500 of the most influential voices in food, beverage and agriculture. We capture content by and about them in order to paint an accurate picture of the latest happenings and trending topics in our fast-paced industry. This week, we noted several influential figures on the move along with media appearances from top-level executives at important food and beverage companies.

Food Waste

On October 14, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released its State of Food and Agriculture 2019 report. The report, which determined global rates of food waste, estimated 14% of the world’s food is lost after harvesting and before reaching retail. In response, prominent food media outlets published pieces on combating food waste, and food and beverage producers announced CSR initiatives to address the issue.

  • Food & Wine focused its reporting on the differences between food loss and food waste.
  • The Spoon highlighted harvesting as “the most frequently identified critical loss point for all types of food.”
  • The Wall Street Journal listed Mondelez International, Starbucks and Anheuser-Busch InBev as companies that are developing ways to cut down on waste by converting byproducts into new, viable food, beverage and textile products.
  • Triple Pundit encouraged companies to use data and technology to monitor waste levels, thus reducing operational costs in the long run.
  • Green Biz identified different ways to “halve food waste from corporate and institutional foodservice operations.”
  • The New York Timesfeatured a British firm that reimagined the standard economy meal tray in order to effect the three pounds of on-board waste that the average airline passenger leaves behind after a flight.

Worth Reading.

Some important points of view worth checking out this weekend.

The Food Industry’s Hep A Problem

In an opinion piece on Food Safety News, attorney Bill Marler called attention to food service workers’ role in the spread of Hepatitis A. As Marler points out, the CDC does not explicitly recommend food service workers be vaccinated. Still, the last three years alone included a death toll of 274 from 26,789 confirmed cases, 60% of which required hospitalization. Given the numbers, Marler encourages companies to make the vaccination mandatory.

Name Changer

Last week, Politico’s Helena Bottmiller Evich described a more fragmented food industry in the wake of the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s rebranding. The group recently reorganized following internal dissent and the exodus of several longtime members. For years, major food manufacturers unified under umbrella groups like the Grocery Manufacturers Association, but Evich says the pivot to smaller, more consumer-facing and issue-focused groups “signals the emergence of a new landscape for foodmakers, one in which there is no central, unified lobbying group representing the sector.”

Transparency: Live Feed

On October 17, Drovers columnist Dan Murphy griped about millennials and opined about transparency at livestock facilities: “Video footage from stationary cameras, like the images captured at public facilities, commercial buildings or ATMs, is totally believable. And affordable. So I would encourage each and every producer, feeder or livestock operator to install surveillance cameras at their facilities, if they haven’t done so already.”

Pretty in Pink

The Atlantic credited pink salt’s color and “Himalayan” branding — not its nutritional value — as the primary factors for the mineral’s newfound popularity on American grocery shelves. Sourced primarily from Pakistan, “pink salt might be pretty, but it wouldn’t have reached its current popularity without a significant boost from trendy notions of wellness.”


Media darling Wegmans is opening its first NYC store in Brooklyn. The Wall Street Journal confirmed an October 27 open date and captured the sentiments of a few nostalgic customers, “known as ‘Wegmaniacs,’ who insist the grocery store is much more than just a place to shop.” Grub Street elaborated, saying this is New York City’s “biggest [grocery] shake-up since Whole Foods arrived in 2004.”