© Photos of Products Courtesy the brands

Clif Bar & Co. Goes to the Dogs

Emeryville, Calif.-based Clif Bar & Co. announced the launch of its Trailblazers Incubator in December. The group’s goal is “to deliver disruptive innovation and create sustainable business opportunities.”

The group’s first venture is Clif Pet, plant-based pet snacks. Dropping this year, the snacks will come in three flavors geared towards very good doggos.

“Just as Clif Bar was founded on disrupting the energy bar category nearly 30 years ago, the Trailblazers Incubator is built to consistently deliver our bold innovation agenda and accelerate our growth plan,” said Chief Innovation Officer Rizal Hamdallah. “In addition to a rapid, data-driven product development and go-to-market strategy, what makes our approach different is extending the loyalty of the Clif brand. By introducing Clif Pet, we will bring energy to the whole family.”

Incubator Senior Director Greg Lok said, “With more than 11 million U.S. households bringing a pet home during the last 18 months of COVID, the category is exploding and ripe for new offerings. What makes this launch unique is the combination of speed and discipline to bring an innovative, relevant product to market during a global pandemic.”

Del Monte Doubles Down

Expect to hear more about upcycled foods in 2022. Need evidence? Late last year, Del Monte Foods announced one of the industry’s first canned vegetable products to be certified by the Upcycled Food Association. The brand’s Blue Lake Petite Cut and Blue Lake Farmhouse Cut Green Beans are made with 100% upcycled and sustainably grown beans.

“Del Monte Foods is committed to producing healthy food that nourishes people and our planet,” said Greg Longstreet, president and CEO. “Having our green beans as the industry’s first canned vegetable product to be Upcycled Certified is a reflection of our team’s dedication to always ensuring that nutritious food reaches its highest and best purpose, while protecting our planet for future generations.”

According to the Department of Agriculture (USDA), food waste is estimated to represent 30-40% of the food supply each year. Millions of people globally don’t get enough food to eat each day, while food in landfills is a major producer of greenhouse gas emissions. It’s estimated that if 50-75% of food waste is reduced by 2050, up to 26 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions could be avoided, Del Monte said.

Doritos Gets Spicy

Millennials and Zoomers (Gen Z, y’all) like it hot. Capitalizing on the pop culture-bursting popularity of Cheetos Crunchy Flamin’ Hot snacks, Doritos is giving another classic the scorch-worthy treatment. The brand’s Flamin’ Hot Cool Ranch chips follow in the footsteps of its Flamin’ Hot Nacho and Flamin’ Hot Limon.

“Doritos is no stranger to bold — whether it’s bold flavor, bold experiences or our bold fans that embody the Flamin’ Hot attitude,” said Caio Correa, senior director of marketing, Frito-Lay North America. “With new Doritos Flamin’ Hot Cool Ranch, we took a legacy flavor that has been beloved for generations and injected it with a spicy new edge to bring consumers a tasting experience that’s on truly another level.”

Study Hall

Our Food Safety Virtual Conference in December covered a wide range of topics, providing an engaging opportunity for learning.

If winter’s doldrums are setting in and you’d rather not watch “Squid Games” again, tune in to our video archives at qualityassurance.com/videos to revisit our Dec. 2 Food Safety Virtual Conference.

The four-hour-plus conference is split up into digestible chunks, making it easy to jump in and out of sessions such as Yves Rey’s presentation on data digitalization and sharing. Rey, a consultant to food companies such as Danone, covered how and why digitizing data can be a big advantage and how to do it.

In a wide-ranging Q&A session, Neil Marshall, the former Coca-Cola global director of quality and food safety and current managing partner of Guv Consulting International, discussed managing during a crisis.

Later in the conference, Bruce Ferree, an independent trainer/consultant with Eurofins Laboratories, used the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to talk about the importance of employee hygiene.

Finally, Darin Detwiler, author, food safety advocate and professor of food policy at Northeastern University, took a look at the art of communicating with consumers. By stepping viewers through the different ways the media has covered food safety concerns, Detwiler paints a picture of what the future of food safety communications might look like.

The virtual conference also included messages from sponsors Emport and Nestle Quality Assurance Center Dublin.

Labor Daze

If you’re experiencing labor shortage issues, you can at least take solace in the fact that you aren’t alone. The following data is from our November 2021 online reader poll.