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Bloomberg reports that Smithfield Foods, the largest pork producer on the planet, is getting into the plant-based protein business, “launching a new line of soy-based products under its Pure Farmland brand, including burgers, meatballs and breakfast patties.”

The story suggests that this is a case of Smithfield playing catch-up - not just with consumer tastes, but also with competitors: “Tyson Foods has announced it will offer a burger made of half beef and half pea protein, while Perdue Farms is launching ‘Chicken Plus’ nuggets made from a blend of chicken, cauliflower and chickpeas.”

All of these companies, Bloomberg points out, are “watching the success of Beyond and Impossible, are trying to cash in on the rise of the ‘flexitarian’ lifestyle --consumers who aren’t avoiding meat entirely, but want to reduce their consumption by replacing it with other plant-based options. The plant-based category could capture as much as 10% of the global meat market in ten years, reaching $140 billion, according to a recent report from Barclays.”

Fast Company writes about how Coca-Cola-owned Dasani is rolling out a new machine that dispenses water and seltzer … but only if you bring your own bottle. It is, the story says, part of the company’s plan “to reduce its plastic waste footprint.”

The story says that the machine, called PureFill, “is one of 100 that Dasani is rolling out to test as one approach to deal with the problem of plastic waste, of which it is a major contributor … It’s part of a handful of new strategies that the company announced today it is trying to reduce plastic waste. This fall, it will start selling Dasani in aluminum cans in the Northeast, expanding to other regions next year, followed by aluminum bottles. Aluminum cans are more likely to be recycled than plastic bottles, and are made from more recycled material.”

Fast Company concedes that “it’s not clear how much this can begin to replace traditional bottled water, since public drinking fountains already exist and sales of bottled water continue to rise, despite growing awareness about plastic pollution … But if marketing drove the demand for bottled water in the first place - making a little-used product ubiquitous late in the 20th century - it’s possible that marketing could also help change habits.”

• The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) announced that Tanya Triche Dawood, vice president and general counsel for the Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA), has been named as the 2019 Donald H. MacManus Award recipient for “her extraordinary achievements in public and regulatory affairs.” The award was presented yesterday at FMI’s annual State Issues Retreat.
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