Two-and-a-half years into the Covid-19 pandemic, state legislators continue to pass laws aiming to aid food businesses impacted by the pandemic. 

Bills passed in the 2022 legislative session further loosen the reins on the archaic alcohol laws that dominate state alcohol departments, permanently adopt formerly temporary laws aimed to help restaurants survive the pandemic, expand cottage food laws for the growing amount of home-based producers and help farmers by setting standards on the amount of local, farm-grown produce public institutions need to be purchasing.

More states are also aiming to become more green, banning PFAS food packaging, limiting single-serving utensils and requiring produce checkout bags to be compostable.

Below are the key food, beverage and food service laws passed in 2022. They are listed alphabetically in this article, Alabama through Maryland. We’ll feature the balance of the states — Massachusetts to Wyoming — in TFA’s next newsletter (January 25, 2023).

Alabama

SB22 — Allows retail establishments to serve wine for off-premise consumption, redacting the former bill that only allows for wine to be consumed on-site.

Alaska

SB9 — A comprehensive overhaul of the state’s 40-year-old alcohol licensing statute. Allows the state’s Alcohol Beverage Control Board (ABC) to issue licenses to government entities and tribal groups. The modernization eliminates bureaucratic red tape by extending tasting room operating hours, allows live concerts at taprooms and allows small communities to track mail and online alcohol sales to eliminate bootlegging.

HB298 — Establishes a task force on Alaska’s food systems and sovereignty.

Arizona

SB1248 — Deems it unlawful for a supplier to coerce a wholesaler to accept a delivery of beer that was not ordered or canceled. 

HB2660 — Updates liquor licensing procedures. 

California

AB 257 — Known as the Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act, it establishes the state’s first Fast Food Council to establish minimum standards on wages, working hours and health-, safety- and welfare-related conditions.

AB778 — Requires state institutions to purchase 60% California-grown food, in season. 

AB1825 — Standardizes regulations regarding shipment and transport of California fruit, nut and vegetables. 

AB2971 — Allows beer manufacturers to give up to five cases of retail advertising glassware to an on-sale retail licensee. 

SB490 — The Buy American Food Act. Requires all state public institutions that receive federal reimbursements for meals to only purchase food products grown, packed or processed in the United States.

SB793 — Allows the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to issue a music venue license that would allow the licensee to sell beer, wine and distilled spirits at the entertainment facility. 

SB 982 — Creates a certified organic apple program for apples grown in California.

SB 972 — Modifies the California Retail Food Code, allowing sidewalk food vendors to obtain public health permits. The new Compact Mobile Food Operation (CMFO) is defined as a non-motorized push-cart, stand, rack or display, pedal-driven cart or wage that must be cleaned and stored daily.

SB1013 — Adds wine and distilled spirits to the state’s recycling container redemption program.

SB1046 — Requires pre-checkout, produce bags in grocery stores to be reusable, recyclable or compostable.

SB1370 — Authorizes a theater company and a nonprofit radio broadcasting company that holds a license to sell and serve alcohol to also sell alcohol two hours before and one hour after the event.

Colorado

HB1017 — Increases the amount of alcohol beverages brought into the state that would be exempt from taxes.

Connecticut

HB5146 — Act Concerning Food Donation, makes it easier for supermarkets to donate their edible surplus produce or other food items to food relief organizations that are in need.

HB5271 — Extends temporary provisions put in place during Covid-19 for temporary outdoor food and beverage services.

SB187 — Increases maximum gross sales for cottage food operations from $25,000 to $50,000. 

Delaware

HB46 — Permits brewery-pub and microbrewery license holders to brew, bottle and sell hard seltzers and other fermented beverages made from malt substitutes. Formerly, license holders could not brew hard seltzers or other non-malt based products without obtaining a Federal Brewer’s Notice.

HB81 — Allows two or more microbreweries to share brewing equipment if the microbreweries maintain separate premises to sell their product to consumers and wholesalers.

HB98 — Allows importers to take orders from retailers any day including Sundays and holidays and process them for delivery.

HB143 — Removes taprooms from the list of establishments that a commissioner can refuse to grant an alcohol license to when there is an existing licensed establishment of similar type within a specified distance.

HB226 — Extends immunity from civil or criminal liability to those who donate food to nonprofit organizations. Includes those who donate perishable food and wild game. 

HB289 — Allows liquor stores, farm wineries, brewery-pubs, microbreweries, craft distilleries and wine auctions to provide curbside service. Sales are prohibited to intoxicated persons or persons under 21 years of age.

HB290 — Permanently removes the sunset provision of House Bill 1 that allowed food and drink establishments who suffered loss during the Covid-19 pandemic to continue selling alcoholic beverages in take-out, curbside or drive-through services — and to use outdoor seating for serving food and drinks.

HB427 — Allows persons 14 and 15 years old to be employed in places where alcoholic beverages are served, but not selling or serving alcohol. 

HB463 — Amends current alcohol law, allowing a person 18 years or older to enter a tavern or taproom to pick up a food order for delivery through a third-party delivery service. Also allows a person 18 years or older to work in a tavern or taproom selling or serving alcohol as long as they’re not preparing alcohol. 

SB46 — Amends current alcohol law, permitting wedding venues and other rental venues licensed as a bottle club to allow customers to bring alcoholic beverages 

SB304 — Corrects code related to the regulation of seeds sold in the state.

SB334 — Allows restaurants that sell ice cream containing up to 10% alcohol by volume to sell such ice cream without the requirement to purchase at least $10 of food.

Georgia

HB1175 — The Georgia Raw Dairy Act. Authorizes and regulates the production, handling, transporting and sale of raw milk and raw milk products for human consumption. It also provides standards for safety, cleanliness and health for such products and animals producing them.

HB1443 — Allows mobile food service establishments that have active permits to operate in the state state, not just the county of origin as the bill previously allowed.

SB396 — Renames Georgia State Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to the Georgia Grown Farm to Food Bank Program (F2FB). It requires food procured to be Georgia grown.

Hawaii

HB1568 — Requires public institutions to ensure a certain percentage of food purchased for public schools, youth campuses, public hospitals, public prisons and University of Hawaii system academic programs consists of fresh, local agricultural products. Requires an annual benchmark report from public institutions on their efforts.

SB335 — Requires the Hawaii Department of Agriculture to annually lease at least 50% of land leased or up for lease renewal to operations whose primary business is, or supports, local food production.

SB2331 — Expands the definition of “beer” under the state’s liquor tax and liquor regulatory laws to specify that the term includes an alcohol by volume of no less than 0.5% and alcohol seltzer beverages.

SB2992 — Establishes the Hawaii agricultural investment program to support local agricultural producers. 

SB2960 — Requires the Department of Agriculture to partner with Hawaii’s agricultural community to establish and implement a food safety certification training program to help small- to medium-sized farms comply with federal food safety certification mandates. 

SB3197 — Establishes a farmer apprentice mentorship program, encouraging young farmers in the state. 

SB 2664 — Protects agricultural lands that grow taro, a native crop to Hawaii. Fermented taro is used to make poi, a popular Polynesian dish.

Idaho

HB646 — Expands definition of alcoholic beverages to include mead, cider and other fermented fruit juice beverages for personal use and to provide for the use and storage of homemade beer, wine and other fermented beverages at licensed premises.

HB744 — Allows distillers to donate their own liquor to charity, previously an illegal act.

Illinois

HB209 — Creates the Latex Glove Ban Act, banning use of latex gloves for use in commercial food prep. 

HB2382 — Creates the Healthy Food Program Development Act, expanding access to healthy foods in eligible areas in the State by providing assistance to grocery stores, corner stores, farmers’ markets and other small food retailers. 

SB3838 — Amends the Food Handling Regulation Enforcement Act. Provides that a farmer who sells meat, poultry, eggs or dairy products from the premises of the farmer’s farm is exempt from licensing by the farmer’s local health department under specified conditions. Provides that local health departments may issue Farmers’ Market Retail Permits for the sale of products at farmers’ markets and at semi-permanent events.

Indiana

HB1149 — Expands the cottage food law by allowing all direct sales of almost all nonperishable foods made by home-based vendors (except acidified canned goods), including online sales and in-state shipping. Requires an individual who sells poultry, rabbits, and eggs at a farmers’ market or roadside stand to comply with certain requirements. 

HB1298 — Provides the alcohol and tobacco commission may not require physical separation between a bar area and a dining area in a food hall. Creates a temporary craft manufacturer hospitality permit that allows a craft manufacturer to participate in a convention, trade show, exposition or similar event on the licensed premises of a particular host permittee.

Iowa

HF2431 — Updates Iowa’s cottage food laws from “home bakeries” to “home food processing establishments.” Allows cottage food producers to sell most types of homemade food, including acidified canned goods, meat and poultry. Also allows cottage food businesses to sell online and ship products. Increases the sale limit for home food processors from $35,000 to $50,000.

SF2290 — Creates the Dairy Processing and Milk Production Innovation and Revitalization program, to aid the dairy industry in recovering from the pandemic and expand career opportunities and industry development in rural Iowa. Creates an artisanal dairy study to explore establishing an artisanal dairy processing program at a community college or university. 

SF2374 — Overhaul of Iowa’s liquor licensing classifications. Allows Class C liquor licenses to purchase up to five cases of beer, high alcohol content beer or canned cocktails at any retailer, every 24 hours. It also includes Sunday Sales privileges on all Class C licenses. Includes fines for third-party food delivery services that use a restaurant’s logo or menu without permission. Also changes how Iowans can redeem beer and soda cans and bottles to collect nickel deposits.

Kansas

SB2 — Allows consumption of beer, wine or other alcoholic liquor on the Kansas state fairgrounds. Increases the number of temporary permits an applicant may receive from four to 12 permits per year.

SB346 — Allows on-farm sales of raw milk, with a label identifying the product as unpasteurized. 

Kentucky

HB252 — Amends alcohol law to lower the minimum server age of employees to 18 and to exclude persons under the age of 20 from bartending.

HB500 — Modernizes Kentucky alcohol laws to aid the state’s thriving bourbon industry. Legalizes sales of barrel-aged and batched cocktails, a practice formerly not authorized in Kentucky since the alcohol was not poured from its original container. Authorizes private barrel selection events, allows distillers to sell exclusive bottles on-site at distillery gift shops, authorizes distilleries to open a satellite tasting room and allows distillers to offer complimentary samples and sell bottles at fairs, festivals and farmer’s markets. 

HR15 — A resolution recognizing March 22, 2022, as National Agriculture Day.

HR21 — A resolution recognizing October 12, 2022, as National Farmers Day.

HR31 — A resolution recognizing May 2022 as National Beef Month in Kentucky.

HR35 — A resolution recognizing June 2022 as National Dairy Month.

Louisiana

HB370 — Allows for self-distribution of beer or other malt beverages by in-state brewers.

HB523 — Allows licensed manufacturers or brewers of alcoholic beverages to host contracted private events at brewing facilities.

HB828 — Updates the state’s cottage food law, increasing the gross annual sales threshold under which a home-based preparer of low-risk foods may qualify for the protections of the statute known commonly as the cottage food law.

HB829 — Updates third-party alcoholic beverage delivery laws to clarify the delivery distance radius, necessary permits and penalties. 

HR 78 — A resolution asking Congress to require the Food and Drug Administration to fulfill its duties related to the inspection and testing of imported seafood and to support the Illegal Fishing and Forced Labor Prevention Act. Collaboratively, these efforts would help restore economic opportunities for Louisiana’s fishing industries, protect the health of consumers, and make the international seafood trade safer for workers

SB450 — Allows a licensed wholesaler to transfer beverages between microbreweries.

Maine

LD1503 — Prohibits the use of toxic “forever chemicals” called perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in various products, including food packaging and cookware.

Maryland 

HB 178 — Alters the definition of cottage food business to increase the cap on the annual revenues from the sale of cottage food products from $25,000 to $50,000.

HB275 — Prohibits a person from manufacturing, selling or distributing products with PFAS chemicals in the state of Maryland, including in food packaging.

SB569 — Extends the application dates of certain provisions related to certain holders of Class 4 limited winery licenses.

Korean ferments are gaining popularity amongst U.S. consumers, and Korean agriculture leaders are trying to increase exports of Korean-made fermented foods to the U.S. At the first Korean Fermented Food Forum this month in Washington D.C., industry leaders shared their expertise on the future of Korean ferments in the American market.

“If you’re going to look at and work with fermented foods, you really have to look at Korea because that’s where all the action is, that’s where all the good food is,” says Fred Breidt, PhD, microbiologist with the USDA (and a TFA Science Advisor). Breidt was the keynote speaker at the event. “It’s becoming more and more popular to use these kinds of foods for their tremendous flavors that they can impart to food products and their health benefits as well.”

The forum was sponsored by Korea’s Ministry of Agriculture and the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation (aT Corporation). It coincided with celebrations earlier that week for November 11 being designated as Kimchi Day being in Washington D.C. and Virginia. They join New York and California, which ratified Kimchi Day in the respective states in 2021. The aT Corporation is actively leading efforts for all U.S. states to designate a Kimchi Day.

“With the growing global popularity of Korean food, I am delighted and eager to promote awareness and educate consumers on the health benefits of kimchi and Korean fermented food products, such as kimchi, fermented soybeans, salted seafood and vinegar,” says Choon Jin Kim, president of the aT Corporation. He called kimchi “Korea’s staple fermented soul food. I believe the reason that Americans enjoy kimchi so much is that the many qualities of Korean fermented foods, such as its excellent nutritional value, health benefits and taste, are beginning to shine.”

Major Growth

Sales of Korean fermented foods are growing exponentially in the U.S. According to U.S. retail sales figures tracked by The Fermentation Association and SPINS data, kimchi increased in sales by 22% in 2022, totaling $37.56 million in sales. Sales of gochujang grew 8% in 2022, totaling $6.57 million in sales.

“It’s a wave that’s been coming for a long time,” said Rob Rubba, executive chef and partner at Oyster Oyster restaurant in D.C. “Where someone who was previously omnivore like myself, who is seeking depth of flavor in something you might not associate with a vegetable, you can achieve that through fermented foods.”

When asked why fermentation grew so much during the Covid-19 pandemic, Amelia Nielson-Stowell, TFA’s editor, says fermentation touches multiple global food movements. Fermented foods are healthy, natural, green, innovative, artisanal, flavorful and functional.

“Fermentation is not a trend, it’s the oldest food craft, it’s a traditional food art with history in every culture around the world and it’s absolutely having a resurgence here in the U.S.,” Nielsen-Stowell says.

She points out that, while kimchi grew 22% in sales this year, it’s increased market size to 16% of the fermented vegetables category. In 2021, kimchi sales grew 90%, but were only 7% of the fermented vegetables category.

“More brands tuned into kimchi’s popularity, so we’re seeing more market saturation,” Nielsen-Stowell says. “There’s huge opportunities for more Korean fermented foods here in the U.S.”

Kheedim Oh attribute’s part of kimchi’s success to Korean agricultural leaders. Oh, the chief minister of New York-based brand Mama O’s Premium Kimchi, says “We have to give credit to the Korean government and groups like the aT because the Korean government recognizes the soft power of promoting.”

When he began Mama O’s 20 years ago, there were few American-made kimchi companies. Now, “there’s like a new kimchi company everyday. I don’t think it’s going to stop because kimchi is the best food ever, it goes with everything.”

Julie Sproesser agrees. Sproesser, the Interim Executive Director of Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, says she’s seen Korean ingredients and Korean hybrid restaurants across the D.C., Maryland and Virginia areas increase in the last seven years. 

“It seems like it’s not an accident and not going anywhere,” she adds.

Today’s Science

During his presentation, Breidt shared an overview on Korean fermented foods, including kimchi, gochujang, ssamjang and doenjang.

Kimchi’s origin begins 11,000 years ago to the start of one of the world’s “first technologies invented” – pottery. Koreans discovered adding veggies with salt and water could preserve food during a time there was no refrigeration.

Scientists are continuing to learn about the significant health benefits of the probiotic-rich, lactic acid bacteria in fermented foods. Breidt says kimchi is especially beneficial because it has 10 million to 1 billion live lactic acid bacteria per gram. Through emerging genomic tools, science is now linking specific lactic acid bacteria strains in fermented foods to health benefits.

There are challenges to selling in the U.S. market, though. Briedt says many Americans like a lightly-fermented kimchi (with a pH in the high 3’s or low 4’s), but once fermentation has begun, it’s hard to stop unless it is refrigerated. 

“It’s difficult to get lightly-fermented kimchi that’s imported from somewhere else. You pretty much have to get it locally or near the source of where it’s being produced,” he says, noting because kimchi is a live, fermented product, it doesn’t travel well. “The flavors will change over time, and the evolution of these microbial communities is going to proceed unless you somehow sterilize the product, which is really counter to the whole idea of what excites people about kimchi.” 

The environmental factors around fermented vegetables must be meticulously monitored to produce a consistent product. Like the freshness of the ingredients, the correct size of the fermentation vessel, the cut of cabbage and the proper sterilization of cutting machines.

“Having access to high-quality products here I think is really boosting this, and it’s going to keep going as long as we continue those efforts,” Breidt adds.

The 2022 Korean Fermented Food Forum was the first, though it is expected to recur annually, coinciding with Kimchi Day. Jeanie Chang was the moderator of the forum, a licensed clinician who uses Korean dramas as a way to explore mental health through her Instagram, Noona’s Noonchi.

When The Fermentation Association began tracking industry news five years ago, we put a write-up in our newsletter when fermentation made a food publication’s new year “trend” or “best of” list. Today, as we analyze the 2023 lists, we’re finding it too overwhelming to write a story for each new trend list. Fermentation is dominating 2023. 

End-of-year lists often define which foods Americans will be obsessed with in the New Year. Umami-packed fermentation is also at the center of multiple larger trends. Today’s diners are looking for foods that are functional, intensely flavored, international, sustainable, aid gut health and combine sweet and savory.

Christopher Koetke, a global culinary expert and executive chef at Ajinomoto in Chicago, says he thinks there will “be even more of an explosion of fermented products,” reads an article in the Medium.

“As consumers continue to seek out new global flavor profiles, I anticipate 2023 will be the year that umami finally takes center stage,” Koetke says. “I expect to see umami not only in sauces, snack foods, and sandwiches, but branching out into more unexpected uses like desserts and cocktails.”

Interestingly, many of these food publications pointed to McCormick releasing a Miso Caramel Seasoning as evidence fermentation is propelling into the zeitgeist.  

Here’s a roundup of fermentation highlights:

“Here is another trend that’s been brewing (fermenting?) for some time. While fermented foods are certainly nothing new, their trendiness has been sneaking in and taking hold of us with things like kimchi and kombucha for the past few years. In 2023, we’re anticipating a bag wave of fermented foods will hit the shelves. This trend ties in deliciously with the “sweets plus” prediction, as many traditionally sweet flavors are expected to fuse with fermented flavors. We’ve begun to see this unusually tasty combination already in products like McCormick’s miso caramel seasoning, which launched just this year.”

  • The Manual, “Food Trends That Are About To Take Over 2023”

There’s no doubt that fermented foods like kimchi, kombucha, and tempeh have increased in popularity and what’s not to love about these foods?

They’re a mix of umami and sour flavors that are produced from natural fermentation — this just means they’re made by microorganisms — which yields complex, full flavors.

To get ahead of the trend, McCormick Foods, arguably one of the largest spice companies, has already launched a new blend named Miso Caramel Seasoning. You can even find a recipe for Miso Caramel Oatmeal Whoopie Pies on their website.

It’s possible that Covid-19 has helped boost fermented foods to its top position since these products often contain probiotics which can aid in digestive health, immunity, and overall wellness. Topics that have been on everyone’s mind in recent years amid a global pandemic.

  • The Medium, “Flavor scientists predict the biggest trends in foods for 2023”

“I’m going with fermented and the sour and umami flavors produced from it,” says Jan Matsuno, founder of Yumbini Foods and Mindful Food Consulting, when asked to peer into her crystal ball to predict a flavor trend set to make the biggest impact in the coming year. “Think kimchi, miso, beet kvass, pickles, beer, and kombucha.”

This ties in closely to the Sweet Plus trend, playing off the popularity of more complex flavors that often result from the fermentation process. In addition, as Matsuno points out, “fermented ties in squarely with Korean, the hottest ethnic cuisine around, and its use of tangy, spicy fermented vegetables.

“Natural fermentation also often uses probiotics, which are thought to increase gut biodiversity, improving digestive health and overall wellness, clearly desired by many consumers,” continues Matsuno. With COVID-19 spurring many to amp up their wellness initiatives, more consumers are looking to food and beverages to aid in their quest. According to Fuchs North America, fermented ingredients have seen rapid growth in both foodservice and retail, largely due to the perceived health benefits surrounding fermentation, along with a growing acceptance of sour flavors.

“Miso (fermented soybeans, rice, and sometimes other grains) is popping up in trendy online recipes all over,” says Matsuno. “Miso soup and salad dressing have been around for a long time. And the umami flavor of miso is a natural with vegetables, fish, and meats. But what about miso caramel, miso banana bread, or miso buttercream with spice cake?”

Pickling and fermenting preparations are having a moment. Not only do these preparations promote ingredient preservation and health connotations but they also allow for unique culinary experimentation. Expect pickling to extend to everything from proteins and french fries to herbs and nuts, while pickled ingredients, themselves, will top unexpected dishes. At the bar, pucker up with sour cocktails containing fermented, gut-healthy ingredients, such as kombucha, miso and sake. Lastly, look to menus to cite more specific preserving processes, such as lacto-fermentation (the use of bacteria to create lactic acid), to provide consumers with a level of scientific transparency.

“Getting creative and cross-utilizing foods is pertinent to mitigate food waste across the world – and it’s part of our culinary DNA. Our chefs will regularly experiment with banana peels to make plant-based bacon, convert potato peels into chips and garnishes, or even repurpose off cuts and trimmings to make mousses and rillettes, as well as using techniques like pickling, canning, and fermenting to extend product shelf life.” — Ana Esteves, vice president of hotel operations, Lindblad Expeditions

  • Food & Wine, “These Will Be the Biggest Travel Trends of 2023, According to Experts”

The “new Nordic” culinary movement spearheaded by Noma in Copenhagen helped cement pickling, preserving, and brining in fine dining, bringing the fermented flavors front and center. Koji, a Japanese product traditionally made from fermenting rice, barley, or soybeans — but it can also be made from other ingredients containing both starch and protein — plays a starring role in many of these restaurants. Koji is best known as the starter for miso, but now different flavor bases, ingredients, and approaches are coming into play as more chefs as well as bartenders are taking to the process as an appreciation for the flavors that come from fermentation is spreading across cultures, cuisines, and service categories.

Fermentation, in general, has soared in popularity over the past few years, and koji is the latest darling on the fermentation scene. Koji is a Japanese seasoning that is made by fermenting rice, barley, or soybeans. It is the starter base for miso, sake, and soy sauce, so clearly, it is an essential staple in Japan. The result of this type of fermentation brings up gorgeous umami flavors that will elevate any meal. So many snacks, dishes, and beverages can benefit from koji. 

Takamine Japanese whiskey has an eight-year-old koji spirit. Spirit Almonds have a koji salt almond snack, and amazake is a creamy koji rice drink you can make or buy. There are a plethora of recipes to try that incorporate koji. To get started, you can buy your own starter culture, or buy premade koji by Cold Mountain from MTC Kitchen or Marukome. Then, try your hand at cooking with koji.

  • Tasting Table, “17 Food And Beverage Trends To Look For In 2023”

The French baguette is as symbolic of France as the Eiffel Tower. The aromatic, golden, crusty bread has a deep flavor attributed to the long fermentation process.

And now the respected United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Cultural Heritage of Humanity list – which includes other cultural fermented foods and beverages like champagne, kimchi and tequila – includes the French baguette. Specifically, the “artisanal know-how and culture of baguette bread.” President of France Emmanuel Macron calls it “250 grams of magic and perfection in our daily lives.”

“The traditional production process entails weighing and mixing the ingredients, kneading, fermentation, dividing, relaxing, manually shaping, second fermentation, marking the dough with shallow cuts (the baker’s signature) and baking,” UNESCO wrote. “Unlike other loaves, the baguette is made with only four ingredients (flour, water, salt and leaven and/or yeast) from which each baker obtains a unique product.” 

The baguette is integral to the French way of life. More than six billion are baked every year in France, according to the National Federation of French bakeries. 

The traditional baguette is taken seriously in France. It was officially given the name in 1920, a law specifying its minimum weight (80 grams) and maximum length (40 centimeters). An annual competition outside the Notre-Dame cathedral awards the best baguette baker in the country with a yearlong contract to serve the Élysée Palace, where the president lives.

“When a baby cuts his teeth, his parents give him a stump of baguette to chew off,” said Dominique Anract, the president of the National Federation of French Bakeries and Patisseries announced at the French Confederation of Bakers. “When a child grows up, the first errand he runs on his own is to buy a baguette at the bakery.”

The group led the effort to get the baguette on the UNESCO heritage list. The country was considering nominating the baguette, Paris’ gray zinc rooftops or the Biou d’ Arbois wine festival.

The news comes during a tumultuous time for artisanal bread. France is losing 400 artisanal bakeries a year since 1970, from 55,000 (one per 790 residents) to 35,000 today (one per 2,000). It’s been a significant hit to France’s rural areas, as supermarket chains overtake traditional, local bakeries. 

French newspaper Le Monde points out that industrial bakeries are also putting mom-and-pop bakers out of business. Many consumers are swapping traditional baguette’s for modern favorites, like sourdough or burgers. Since 2017, sales of burgers in France have exceeded sales of jambon-beurre, the classic French ham baguette and butter sandwich.  

After UNESCO’s announcement, the French government announced a Bakehouse Open Day to “enhance the prestige of the artisanal know-how required for the production of baguettes” and support new scholarships and training programs for bakers.

French bakers were skeptical. Parisian bakers told the New York Times after the announcement that their fears of high costs of wheat and flour (due to Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine) would not be alleviated by the baguette’s new status.

“This UNESCO recognition is not what will help us get through the winter,” said Pascale Giuseppi, who was behind the counter of her bakery near the Champs-Élysées, serving a lunch rush for baguette sandwiches. “We still have bigger bills to pay.”

Read more (New York Times) & read more (Le Monde)

https://www.lemonde.fr/en/france/article/2022/11/30/french-baguettes-get-unesco-world-heritage-status_6006151_7.html

As Japanese consumers continue to swap beer, wine and cocktails over sake, the country’s national drink, industry experts think the doburoku sake variety could revive the dwindling sake market.

Doburoku is the catch-all term for sake that is unfiltered and gently carbonated. Described as rustic, cloudy and soupy, the drink’s brewing process doesn’t follow traditional sake rules. Brewers experiment with flavors, making it sweet or savory. It’s a “hyperlocal expression of soil and culture is its trademark,” reads an article on digital beverage publication Punch. Doburoku is typically unpasteurized, brewed in small batches.

There are only around 200 doburoku brewers in Japan, many who are farmers running small inns and restaurants. Only about two dozen of Japan’s 1,500 sake brewers make doburoku.

“At Heiwa Doburoku Kabutocho Brewery, the drink comes plain or aged, but also with unusual variations: dry-hopped, infused with matcha, mashed with persimmons, or blended with azuki beans, in part to tone down the alcoholic sharpness that many among sake’s detractors find off-putting,” continues the article. After fermenting the rice, koji and yeast for about two weeks, most of Heiwa’s doburoku is made in 7-liter pots in a backroom of the bar.

Norimasa Yamamoto, Heiwa Shuzou’s fourth-generation president, hopes to generate interest in sake by putting a “modern spin on the old-fashionred drink. …I’m hoping that, once you’ve tried doburoku, you’ll become curious enough about our rice fermentation tradition to delve into sake,” he says. 

Read more (Punch)

Poland Becomes Europe’s Kimchi Hub

The world’s largest kimchi producer – Daesang Corporation – is building their first European factory in Poland. 

Daesang is investing $10.6 million to build the Kraków facility. It is a joint venture – called Daesang ChPN Europe – with Polish food producer Charsznickie Pola Natury (ChPN), who specializes in fermented foods. It will be the Korean company’s 11th overseas production facility – one facility is in the U.S. and the others are in China. They plan to produce 3,000 tons of kimchi a year. 

“The Polish joint venture is yet another adventure for our attempts to globalize kimchi,” said Lim Jung-bae, CEO of Daesang. “We will do our best to promote the excellence and legitimacy of kimchi in Europe, following our efforts in the US.”

Kimchi is netting huge sales worldwide. Daesang dominates the export market – 60% of kimchi export sales are from Daesang. Their 2021 exports were $67 million, a 131% increase since 2016. European exports are increasing annually for the company at about 20%. The Netherlands and UK are the top European kimchi importers.

Read more (The Korea Herald)

“Dairy is Ripe for Innovation”

As the dairy industry continues to suffer from low sales, could fermentation help the industry meet changing consumer needs? Functional dairy products (like fermented dairy) and animal-free precision fermentation products are major consumer trends for the dairy industry to adapt.

Functional dairy products are “ripe for expansion,” said Brad Schwan, vice president of Archer-Daniels-Midland Company, said brands have to invest in alt protein technologies to feed the future tech-savvy generation. Fermented dairy – like yogurt, kefir and fresh cheese – are all functional dairy.Fifty-eight percent of global consumers perceive a connection between gut function and other aspects of well-being. Consumers are looking for dairy with simple ingredient lists. 

 “The gut microbiome is a key growth area for functional, tailored offerings, as more consumers are making the link between their gut, digestive health and overall well-being,” Schwan added. 

Consumers are looking for dairy with simple ingredient lists. They want their dairy to support pre- and post-workout goals, energy solutions, hydration, digestive support and immune function.

More consumers are embracing a mix of an animal- and plant-based diet. Fifty-two percent of consumers eat a flexitarian diet now.

Alt protein – once seen as a fringe biotechnology – is becoming more mainstream. Brad Schwan, vice president of Archer-Daniels-Midland Company, said brands have to invest in alt protein technologies to feed the future tech-savvy generation.

“While consumer acceptance of alternative solutions beyond plant proteins is still building, we foresee digital-natives Gen Z and Gen Alpha leading the way in the growing acceptance of novel methods and technologies,” he said in a report on global food trends. “Additionally, the dairy industry is ripe for more innovation in the coming year, through leveraging both new technologies…As consumers grow more accustomed to seeing novel proteins from unexpected places, the alternative dairy arena will flourish with new possibilities.”

Read more (Dairy Reporter)

Shark Tank’s Blunder

Fans are upset after investors on Shark Tank turned down a deal on Mama O’s Premium Kimchi. The exposure, though, netted some big sales for the Brooklyn-based fermentation brand.

Founder Kheedhim Oh and his mom Myung Oh appeared on the show’s 14th season, which aired in October. Oh pitched an investment of $250,000 for 10% equity in the company. But none of the five sharks – four who had surprisingly never tasted kimchi – took the deal. Though kimchi is exploding in popularity in the U.S. (sales increased 90% last year), it illustrates that education is still needed for kimchi to achieve mainstream acceptance in the American market.

“Honestly, I thought they would be more hip to what is actually going on in the world and the wave that fermented foods is having,” Kheedim (a TFA Advisory Board member) said in an interview with TFA. “I was generally just surprised about the lack of general knowledge or interest in fermented foods. The show has made my mission even stronger to help people eat a more Korean diet with kimchi being an important part of it.”

Despite their rejection of the first fermented food to appear on the show, Kheedim said Mama O’s received a nice sales bump from the show. After the show aired, Mama O’s netted four months of business sales in seven days. There was another bump in sales after supermodel Bella Hadid shared on Instagram stories how disappointed she was that the sharks passed on Mama O’s.

“I’m very grateful to Shark Tank because it was a great opportunity to help demystify making kimchi at home using the Mama O’s Homemade Kimchi Kit,” he added.

On the segment, Kheedhim shared his story of beginning the Mama O’s brand with just $50 and a skateboard. Today, Mama O’s sells various kimchi flavors, kimchi paste, kimchi sauce and the make-your-own kimchi kit. Eight years since launching, Kheedim has never used outside investors, always putting his own profits back into the business. Sales were $815,000 in 2021 and will reach an estimated $1 million in 2022. The sharks were impressed with the profits. It costs the company $2.65 a bag to make the kimchi, but it retails for $8.99. The wholesale kits cost $8.25 to make, but sell for $20.

Kheedim – who had to sign an NDA so can’t provide many details about the process – told TFA that he spent months perfecting the pitch, but the live Q&A did not go as smoothly as he wanted. He accidentally handed out his Super Spicy kimchi variety for sampling instead of the classic, milder flavor. He was planning to use the money to hire a production manager, increase broker coverage and fund the brand’s move this month to a larger production space in Queens, New York. 

Still, the show has been excellent exposure for Mama O’s. In addition to the sales bump, Mama O’s followers on social media increased and individuals and companies continue to reach out to Kheedim with business opportunities. 

During the episode, Kheedim told the sharks how “kimchi is a health food but more importantly it tastes incredible and not just with Korean food either” like hamburgers, hot dogs and mac and cheese.

“What’s makes our kimchi the best is our authentic korean mom recipe,” Kheedim told the sharks. 

Kheedim’s mom, Myung, 81, was a fan favorite. She shared how kimchi is an ancient superfood from korea, “naturally fermented and it is full of probiotics.” She also detailed how proud she is of her son, for being an “honest, hardworking entrepreneur who is passionate about kimchi.”

Ultimately, the sharks shared different reasons for not investing. Mark Cuban said he’s concerned Kheedim has been investing his own money back into the company. Lori Greiner says she loves kimchi but found Mama O’s “not investable.” Kevin O’Leary said, though he sees kimchi thriving in the health food space, “the hardest part of this is going to get people to actually try it.” Daymond John admitted he wasn’t “obsessed” with kimchi. Kendra Scott said she didn’t know what kimchi was. 

Fans were not pleased. They took to social media to voice their opinion.

“Many entrepreneurs come and go, but only some define the season. What a positive spirit to the pitch. Wishing you all the success.” @umang.thareja 

“You should have got the money. They are fools!” @lifebettergreen

“Sharks made a HUGE mistake by not investing. More people in America just need education on kimchi. You guys are going to kill it. Mama O was amazing.” @s.andersn 

The day after airing, Kheedim made an Instagram post with the Anthony Bourdain quote: “Americans want kimchi. They want it on their hamburgers. It’s like when Americans started eating sushi. A huge tectonic shift. That funk. That corruption of the flesh. That’s exactly the flavor zone that we are all heading towards.”

Of note: in 2018 during the show’s second season, the sharks did invest in the Kombucha Shop, a DIY kombucha-making kit.

Fermentation continues to top food trend lists, health movements and restaurant menus, influencing more curious consumers to buy fermented foods. But the average consumer remains fermentation clueless. 

“Fermentation is a really complicated subject and we’re just reaching the tip of the iceberg at this point when it comes to the research,” says Jenna Mills, account manager at Eat Well Global, a food and nutrition consulting agency. “A complicated subject like this is loaded and I feel that individuals and consumer know just enough to be confused.”

Five food professionals shared their thoughts on how to educate consumers about fermentation during a panel at FERMENTATION 2022. Panelists included: Mills, Shannon Coleman (associate professor and state extension specialist at Iowa State University), Matt Lancor (CEO and founder of Kombuchade), and Kirsten Shockey (author, educator and co-founder of The Fermentation School and TFA Advisory Board member). Amelia Nielson-Stowell, editor at The Fermentation Association, moderated.

Simple Messaging

The panelists agreed fermentation brands need to stop overcomplicating fermentation to the consumer, focusing on simple communication strategies. 

“I compare it to a small child asking where babies come from – a simple answer is enough,” says Shockey. “With fermentation, often, we’re ready to say that lactic acid bacteria come in and they’re eating carbohydrates and there are these metabolites and flavors involved. We’re ready to share all the details – and we’re met with a blank stare. People just often want to know what’s the difference between a pickle and a ferment.”

Shockey, who teaches at the women-run Fermentation School, says she’s felt pressure over the years to innovate her classes and teach new subjects. But, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic when more consumers focused on health and turned to fermentation, her most popular classes are still the basic fermentation 101. 

In a TFA survey last year, 70% of fermentation producers said a greater understanding of fermentation and familiarity with the flavors associated with fermentation would foster increased consumption of fermented foods.

Kombuchade is taking a unique approach to that education component, focusing on kombucha as a recovery drink. 

“I’m looking to make probiotics cool for athletes, much like Gatorade made electrolytes cool for athletes,” Lancor says. The science of food is typically a mechanical process: eat fats, carbohydrates and proteins for optimal energy and performance. “There’s actually a microbial fermentation process that’s helping to rebuild your muscles.”

Kombucha marketing is geared toward a yoga, enlightenment crowd, Lancor adds, only reaching a certain number of consumers. It doesn’t resonate with all consumers.

“The south side of Chicago guys that play on my rugby team, they were never going to grab that kombucha bottle off the shelf with that kind of messaging,” he says. “There wasn’t this message of probiotics can be used for performance or recovery or even understanding kombucha’s place within an athlete’s regimen.”

Communicating Science & Tradition

Fermented food brands are tasked with bridging the gap between science and consumer.

Consumers keep informed about food and nutrition trends through professional associations (69%), academic (67%) and dietitians and nutritionists (62%), according to a consumer insights survey by Eat Well Global

For 77% of consumers, the advice of dietitians and nutritionists impacts which foods they buy. Mills says healthcare professionals offer that counseling on how to incorporate fermented foods into the diet.

Don’t forget the ancestral wisdom, Shockey points out.  

“My one liner is we’ve evolved with these foods and you are here because your ancestors successfully fermented,” she says. Rather than educating that people should eat a tablespoon of sauerkraut a day to meet nutrition needs, “try to bring it into your world naturally.” Eat a mixture of ferments, with yogurt at breakfast or hot sauce at lunch and kimchi at dinner.

“We cannot put ferments into this box that must be eaten raw. That to me is a barrier. You should eat this in any way that feels right to you,” she says, adding ferments were traditionally eaten cooked in soups and stews. “But in our minds right now is the idea that we have to eat our probiotics raw. These foods have so many metabolites that are being created in production and they follow through in the cooking process.”

Challenges to Starting a Brand

Starting a fermentation brand can be an overwhelming task. Sandor Katz, fermentation author and educator, said in his keynote address at the FERMENTATION 2022 conference that education is a huge challenge for people launching new fermented products. 

“They often end up putting a lot of their energy into educating consumers,” he says. 

Coleman says state extension offices are an underutilized resource for new producers. Her office got into food preservation after noticing many Pinterest recipes that gave poor advice on food safety.

“Just about every extension program has some form of food preservation type of program that they are delivering to consumers and they want to help,” Coleman adds.

There are no universal standards for labeling, an obstacle for new producers.

“Labeling is such a sensitive issue because you can get into big trouble with the FDA,” Nielson-Stowell says, pointing out the U.S. Food & Drug Administration only has 12 approved health claims a brand can put on a label. “It also gets tricky putting ‘probiotic,’ ‘prebiotic’ or ‘postbiotic’ on a label. It’s not regulated and confusing to consumers.”

The International Scientific Association of Probiotics & Prebiotics (ISAPP) is pushing for -biotics to be a more protected term. According to ISAPP, only fermented food brands with a scientifically measured -biotic should but it in a label. Their health benefits must be documented. For example, yogurts often have defined probiotic strains on their labels.

Nielsen-Stowell recommends using “live cultures,” “live microbes” or “naturally fermented” instead. And make sure retailers know what that means.

“If you’re getting your set in store with a retailer, the retailer will be your biggest advocate. The retailer is going to be the one talking to the customers more than you. Educate them. Do they know why your product is better than your competitor’s product?” she adds.

Four consumers — three underage — filed a lawsuit alleging Tribucha Inc. misled them into buying non-alcoholic kombucha that contains twice the alcohol permitted for non-alcoholic beverages. 

The 30-page class action lawsuit contends Tribucha has been sold to “unsuspecting children, pregnant women, persons suffering with alcohol dependence issues, and a host of other people for whom alcoholic consumption may pose a grave and immediate safety and/or health risk.” The lawsuit says the North Carolina-based brand has a small disclaimer on the label stating that Tribucha “contains a trace amount of alcohol,” but an investigation proved otherwise. Plaintiffs used a lab accredited by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) to test the kombucha and found it is over 0.5% alcohol by volume, which classifies it as alcoholic.

The complaint continues: “Because Tribucha Kombucha does not include any warnings concerning the significant presence of alcohol, consumers, including Plaintiffs, are led to believe that the products are safe to consume when driving a car, operating machinery, and taking with potentially a deadly cocktail of incompatible medications.”

In 2010, Whole Foods and other retailers pulled kombucha off shelves as the TTB investigated whether alcohol levels in kombucha were higher than what was printed on the label. And since then, consumers — and even other brands — have filed lawsuits against various kombucha brands, alleging alcohol levels higher than indicated.

Kombucha can keep fermenting after it’s made, as the yeasts continue to eat sugars. Under current law, if kombucha leaves a processing facility at 0.4% ABV, but increases to over 0.5% by the time it’s placed on grocery store shelves, the brewer would have to pay federal alcohol taxes like a beer brand.

Kombucha producers fear constant repercussions from this law, says Hannah Crum, co-founder and president of Kombucha Brewers International (KBI), the trade organization for kombucha brewers.

Earlier this year, South Carolina’s Department of Revenue (DOR) categorized all kombuchas as alcoholic beverages. The state’s regulations set a maximum alcohol content for beverages but no minimum, so any fermented beverage with any alcohol content would be considered alcoholic. Since kombucha fermentation produces a trace amount of alcohol, a brewer would need to apply for a state alcohol license, and kombucha could not be sold to anyone under the age of 21. It contradicted the U.S. legal definition of an alcoholic beverage.

After kombucha industry leaders contacted the state’s DOR and the South Carolina Retail Association (SCRA) to share advice and resources, the regulation was amended to exempt kombucha. KBI’s leadership and legal counsel, along with producers Buchi Kombucha, GT’s Synergy Kombucha, Health Ade, Humm and Brew Dr. were involved.

Pending in Congress is the KOMBUCHA Act, legislation that would make kombucha beverages exempt from excise taxes intended for alcoholic beverages. The act proposes to raise the alcohol by volume (ABV) threshold for kombucha from its current level of 0.5% to 1.25%.

Reads a statement from KBI on the act: “These laws were never intended to make kombucha subject to taxes designated for beer. Passing the KOMBUCHA Act under the next appropriations bill will relieve this unnecessary burden on kombucha brewers. Only kombucha above that level (1.25%) will be subject to federal excise taxes when this Act becomes law.”

KBI has actively lobbied for the bill’s passage. Big kombucha brands (GT’s and Health-Ade) have actively supported the bill.