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)
Through selective breeding and domestication of plants and livestock, the world’s food system has lost diversity to an alarming degree. Crops are monocultures and animals are single species. Journalist and author Dan Saladino argues it’s vital to the health of humanity and our planet to save these traditional foods.
“There’s an incredible amount of homogenization taking place in the last century, which has resulted in a huge amount of concentration of power in the food system but also a decline in the amount of biodiversity,” says Saladino, author of Eating to Extinction. “That agricultural and biological diversity is disappearing and it’s taken us thousands, millions of years for plant, animal evolution to get to this point.”
Saladino was a keynote speaker at The Fermentation Association’s conference FERMENTATION 2022, his first in-person talk in the United States since his book was released in February. A journalist with the BBC, Saladino was also an active participant in the event, attending multiple days’ worth of educational sessions. He called the conference “mind expanding.”
“I thought I knew about fermentation, when in fact I know very little,” Saladino said to the crowd in his keynote. “We’ve been bemused by the media reports that fermentation is a fad or fashion. What we know is that the modern food system in the last 150 years is the fad. It’s barely a blip in the context of our evolution as species, and it’s the way we’ve survived as a species over thousands of years.”
Eating to Extinction includes 40 stories of endangered foods and beverages, just touching on a fraction of what is happening around the world. To date, over 5,000 endangered items from 130 different countries have been cataloged by the Slow Food Foundation’s project the Ark of Taste.
During FERMENTATION 2022, Saladino centered his remarks around the endangered fermented foods he chronicled in his book – Salers cheese, skerpikjøt, oca, O-Higu soybeans, lambic beer, pu’erh tea, qvevri wine, perry and wild forest coffee. Here are some of the highlights of his presentation.
Salers cheese (Augergne, Central France)
Fermentation was a survival strategy for many early humans, a fact especially evident in the origins of cheesemaking. In areas like Salers in central France, villagers live in inhospitable mountain areas where it’s difficult to access food. In the spring each year, cheesemakers travel up the mountains with their cattle and live like nomads for months.
“It’s extremely laborious, hard work,” Saladino says, noting there’s only a handful of Salers cheese producers left in France. He marvels at “the ingenuity of taking animals up and out to pasture in places where the energy from the sun and from the soil is creating pastures with grasses with wildflowers and herbs and so on.”
Unlike with modern cheese, no starter cultures are used to make Salers cheese. The microbial activity is provided by the environment – the pasture, the animals and even the leftover lactic acid bacteria in the milk barrels. Because of diversity, the taste is rarely consistent, ranging season to season from mild to aggressive.
“The idea of cheesemaking is a way humans expand and explore these new territories assisted by the crucial characters in this: the microbes,” he adds. “It can be argued that cheese is one of most beautiful ways to capture the landscape of food – the microbial activity in grasses, the interaction of breeds of animals that are adapted to the landscape. It’s creating something unique to that place.”
Skerpikjøt (Faroe Islands)
Skerpikjøt “is a powerful illustration to our relationship with animals, with meat eating,” Saladino says. It is fermented mutton and unique to Denmark’s Faroe Islands. Today’s farmers selectively breed their sheep for ideal wool production, then slaughter the lambs for meat. In the Faroes, “the idea of eating lamb was a relatively new concept.” Sheep are considered vital to the farm as long as they’re still producing wool and milk.
Once a sheep dies or is killed, the mutton carcass is air-dried and fermented in a shed for 9-18 months. The resulting product is “said to be anything between Parmesan and death. It certainly has got a challenging, funky fragrance,” Saldino says.
But it contrasts traditional and modern food practices. Skerpikjøt is meant to be consumed in small quantities, delicate slivers of animal proteins used as a garnish. Contemporary meat is served in large portions and meant to be consumed quickly.
Oca (Andes, Bolivia),
In the Andes – “one of the highest, coldest and toughest places on Earth to live” – humans have relied on wild plants like oca, a tuber. After oca is harvested, it’s taken to the Pelechuco River. Holes are dug on the riverbank, then filled with water, hay and muna (Andean mint). Sacks of oca are placed in the holes, weighted down by stones, and left to ferment for a month. This process is vital as it leaches out acid.
“Through processing, this becomes an amazing food,” Saladino says.
But cities are demanding certain types of potatoes, encouraging remote villagers to plant monocultures of potatoes which are prone to diseases. The farmers end up in debt, buying fertilizers and pesticides to grow potatoes.
“For thousands of years, oca and this fermentation technique and the process to make these hockey pucks of carbohydrates and energy kept them alive in that area,” Saladino says. “It’s a diversity that is fast disappearing from the Andes.”
O-Higu soybeans (Okinawa, Japan)
The modern food industry is threatening the O-Higu soybean, too. It was an ideal soybean species – fast-growing, so it can be harvested before the rainy season and the arrival of insects.
“But by the 20th century, the soy culture pretty much disappeared,” Saladino says.
With World War II came one of America’s biggest military bases to Japan. U.S. leaders dictated what food could be planted on the island. Okinawa was self-sufficient in local soy until American soy was introduced.
Lambic Beer (Belgium)
Saldino explained that, after a spring/summer harvest, Belgian farmers became brewers. They used their leftover wheat to create brews unique to the region.
But by the 1950s and 1960s, larger brewers began buying up the smaller ones. Anheuser-Busch InBev now produces one in four beers drunk around the world.
“There [is] story after story of these distinctive, unique, small breweries disappearing as they are bought up or absorbed into this growing, expanding empire of brewing,” Saladino says. “It’s probably one of the most striking cases of corporate consolidation of a drink and food product.”
Saladino stressed not all is lost. He shared stories of scientists, researchers and local people trying to save endangered foods, collecting seeds, restoring crops and combining traditional and modern-day practices to preserve the world’s rare foods.
“There have been so many fascinating stories of science and research discussed over the last few days at this conference, and I think the existence of The Fermentation Association is exciting because it is bringing together tradition, culture, science, culinary skills, all of these things we know food is,” Saladino added. “Food is economics, politics, geography, anthropology, nutrition. What I’m arguing is that these clues or glimpses into the past for these endangered foods, they’re not just some kind of a food museum or an online catalog. They are the solutions that can help us resolve some of the biggest food challenges we have.”
If you still think of hot dogs and deep dish pizza as the icons of Chicago’s culinary scene, you need to think again. The so-called Capital of the Midwest is a hub of innovation in the food industry. Chicago has the largest food and beverage production in the U.S., with an annual output of $9.4 billion. Food startup companies in the region raised $723 million in venture capital last year.
“Chicago is one of the most diverse cities for eating,” says Anna Desai, Chicago-based influencer of Would You Like Something to Eat on Instagram. ”Our culinary scene is constantly elevating and evolving. We are always just a neighborhood or tollway away from experiencing a new culture and cuisine. I’m most excited when I find an under-the-radar spot or discover a maker who can pair flavors and ingredients that get you curious and wanting more.”
Desai started her blog in part because she wanted to champion the Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community in the Chicago food and beverage scene. “Food has long served as a cultural crossroad,” she adds, and Chicago’s multicultural cuisine exemplifies that sentiment.
Chicago is home to some of the most creative minds in fermentation, from celebrity chefs, zero waste ventures, alternative protein corporations and the world’s largest commercial kefir producer. There are dozens of regional and artisanal producers lacto-fermenting vegetables, brewing kombucha and experimenting with microbes in food and drink.
“Chicago is a great food city in its own right, so naturally there is a ton of talent in the fermentation space,” says Sam Smithson, chef and culinary director of CultureBox, a Chicago-based fermentation subscription box. “The pandemic’s effect on restaurants has also spawned a new wave of fermenters (ourselves included) that are looking for a path outside the grueling and uncertain restaurant structure to display our creative efforts. This new wave is undoubtedly community-motivated and concerned more with mutual aid than competition. There is a general feeling that we are all working towards the same goal so cooperation and collaboration is soaring and we are seeing incredible food come from that.”
Flavor is King
Flavor development is still the prime motivation for chefs to experiment with fermentation. A good example is at Heritage Restaurant and Caviar Bar in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood.
“Fermentation has been a cornerstone of the restaurant since its inception,” says Tiffany Meikle, co-owner of Heritage with her husband, Guy. “With the diverse cuisines we pull from, both from Eastern and Central Europe and East Asia, we researched fermentation methodologies and histories, and started to ‘connect the dots’ of each culture’s fermentation and pickling backgrounds.”
Menus have included sourdough dark Russian rye bread, toasted caraway sauerkraut, kimchi made from apples, Korean pears and beets and a kimchi using pickled ramps (wild onions). Heritage has also expanded their fermentation program to the bar, where they’ve created homemade kombucha, roasted pineapple tepache, sweet pickled fruits for cocktail garnishes, and kimchi-infused bloody mary mix.
“It’s fascinating to me that there are so many ingredients you can use in a fermented product,” says Claire Ridge, co-founder of Luna Bay Booch, a Chicago-based alcoholic kombucha producer. “People are really experimenting with interesting ingredients in kombucha…I have seen brewers do some of the wildest recipes and some recipes that are very basic.”
Chicago-based Lifeway Kefir is indicative of the innovation taking place in the city. Last year the company expanded into a new space: oat-based fermentation, launching a dairy-free, cultured oat milk with live and active probiotics.
“We’ve spent so many years laying the groundwork in fermented dairy,” says Julie Smolyansky, CEO. “Now we’re experimenting and expanding to see what’s over the next horizon, though we’ll always have kefir as our first love.”
Chicago is home for two inventive fermented alternative protein startups: Nature’s Fynd and Hyfé Foods. Both companies were born out of the desire to create alt foods without damaging the environmental.
“Conscious consumerism is a trend that’s driving many people to try alternative proteins, and it’s not hard to understand why,” says Debbie Yaver, chief scientific officer at Nature’s Fynd. The company uses fermentation technology to grow Fy, a nutritional fungi protein. “Fungi as a source of protein offer a shortcut through the food chain because they don’t require the acres of land or water needed to support plant growth or animal grazing, making fungi-based protein more efficient to produce than other options.”
Alternative foods outlasting the typical trend cycle is a challenge for companies like Nature’s Fynd. When grown at scale, Fy uses 99% less land, 99% less water and emits 94% fewer greenhouse gasses than raising beef. But, to make an impact, “we need more than just vegans and vegetarians to make changes in their diets,” Yaver adds.
Numerous companies are using fermentation as a means to eliminate waste. Hyfé Foods, another player in the alternative protein space, repurposes sugar water from food production to create a low-carb, protein-rich flour. Fermentation turns a waste product into mycelium flour, mycelium being the root network – or hyphae (hence the company name) — of mushrooms.
“[We’re] diverting input to the landfill and reducing greenhouse gas emissions at scale,” says Michelle Ruiz, founder. “Hyfé operates at the intersection of climate and health, enabling regional production of low cost, alternative protein that reduces carbon emissions and is decoupled from agriculture.”
Symmetry Wood is another Chicago upcycler. They convert SCOBY from kombucha into a material, Pyrus, that resembles exotic wood. Founder Gabe Tavas says Pyrus has been used to produce guitar picks, jewelry and veneers. Symmetry uses the discarded SCOBY from local kombucha brand Kombuchade.
Many area restaurants and culinary brands also use fermentation to preserve food for the long Chicago winters, when local produce isn’t available. Pop-up restaurant Andare, for example, incorporates fermentation into classic Italian dishes.
“Finding ways to utilize what would otherwise be waste products inspired our initial dive into fermentation. The goal is not just to use what’s leftover, but to make it into something delicious and unique,” says Mo Scariano, Andare’s CEO. “One of our first dishes employing koji fermentation was a summer squash stuffed cappellacci served with a butter sauce made from carrot juice fermented with arborio rice koji. Living in a place with a short grow season, preservation through fermentation allowed us access throughout the year to ingredients we only have fresh for a few weeks during the summer.”
Despite growing interest and increasing sales, fermenters face some significant hurdles.
Smithson at CultureBox says he sees that consumers are open to unorthodox, less traditional ferments. Though favorites like kombucha and sauerkraut dominate the market, “their share is being encroached on by increasingly more varied and niche ferments.” But getting these products to market can be a challenge. Small-scale, culinary producers are challenged by the regulatory hoops they need to jump through to legally sell ferments – especially unusual ones a food inspector doesn’t recognize.
“The added layer of city regulations on top of state requirements, sluggish health department responses, and inflexible policy chill the potential of small producers,” Smithson says. But he highlights the recently-passed Home-to-Market Act of Illinois as positive legislation helping startup fermenters.
Consumer awareness and education are also vital. “Many longstanding and harmful misconceptions on the safety and value of fermented products still exist,” Smithson says.
Matt Lancor, founder and CEO of Kombuchade makes consumer education a core part of marketing, to align kombucha as a recovery drink.
“Most mainstream kombuchas are marketed towards the yoga/crystal/candle crowd, and I saw a major opportunity to create and market a product for the mainstream athletic community,” he says. “We’re on a mission to educate athletes and the general public about these newly discovered organs [the gut] – our second brain – and fuel the next generation of American athletes with thirst quenching, probiotic rich beverages.”
Product packaging provides much of a consumer’s education. Jack Joseph, founder and CEO of Komunity Kombucha, says simplicity is key.
“People are more conscious of their health now, more than ever before,” he says. “So now it comes down to the education of the product and creating something that is transparent and easy for the consumer to digest.”
Sebastian Vargo of Chicago-based Vargo Brother Ferments agrees.
“Oftentimes food is considered ‘safe’ due to lack of microbes and how sterile it is,” he says. “Fermentation eschews the traditional sense of what makes food ‘safe’. We need to create a set standardized guide for fermented food to follow, and change our view of living foods in general. One of the brightest spots to me is the fact that fermentation is really hitting its stride and finding its place in the modern world, and I don’t see it going anywhere but up in the near future.”
The country of Kyrgyzstan is hoping to attract tourists by highlighting traditional kumis – fermented mare’s milk. Locals drink and bathe in the liquid for health benefits. Promotional films romanticize a visit to the Asian country, highlighting how one can experience the nomadic Kyrgyz lifestyle by sleeping in a mountain yurt near herds of horses.
“We decided to try it after hearing about saamal (another word for mare’s milk) and kumis from our friends who had visited Kyrgyzstan,” says Ibrahim al-Sharif, a tourist from Mecca, Saudi Arabia, in a CNN Travel article. “I cannot even describe its taste. There is nothing in Saudi Arabia that I would compare with it.”
CNN notes “milking a mare is far trickier than milking a cow.” A person must be big enough to reach their arms around the horse’s thigh. A milking is not done year round but in mid-May and mid-July, traditionally ending when the Pleiades star cluster appears.
Read more (CNN)
Humans have domesticated plants and animals since the early days of civilization, changing the life cycles, appearances and behaviors of crops and livestock. A new study shows humans have done the same to fermented products, selectively taming microbes. But as a result, microbial strains have evolved to where they can no longer survive in the wild.
“The burst of flavor from summer’s first sweet corn and the proud stance of a show dog both testify to the power of domestication,” reads an article in Science titled “Humans tamed the microbes behind cheese, soy, and more.” “But so does the microbial alchemy that turns milk into cheese, grain into bread, and soy into miso. Like the ancestors of the corn and the dog, the fungi and bacteria that drive these transformations were modified for human use. And their genomes have acquired many of the classic signatures of domestication.”
Humans have used selective breeding to produce the most desired traits in plants and animals – for example, making a plant less bitter or an animal larger. Thousands of years of domestication have changed DNA. Though microbes can’t be bred the same way, “humans can grow microbes and select variants that best serve our purposes.” It’s now left “genetic hallmarks similar to those in domesticated plants and animals: The microbes have lost genes, evolved into new species or strains and become unable to thrive in the wild.”
Scientists shared this research during two talks at Microbe 2022, the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Washington D.C. The talks – “Origins and Consequences of Microbial Strain Diversity” and “Microbial Diversity in Food Systems: From Farm to Fork”
– were convened by TFA Advisory Board members Benjamin Wolfe, PhD, ofTufts University, and Josephine Wee, PhD, from Penn State. They invited various academics to present their research on these topics.
Microbial Domestication in Cheese
Wolfe said the studies “are getting to the mechanisms” of how microbial domestication works. They reveal “which genes are key to microbes’ prized traits – and which can be lost,” continues the Science article. This work is critical to the future of food, as these microbe gene traits can shape fermented foods and beverages.
Presenters included Vincent Somerville, PhD, from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, speaking on the changing genomic structure of cheese cultures. He pointed out that bread yeasts have long been domesticated. They’ve lost so much of their genetic variation that they can’t live in the wild. Other microbes are “lacking clear evidence of domestication … in part because [their] microbial communities can be hard to study,” he said.
Somerville’s research revolves around a starter culture for a Swiss hard cheese. Bacterial cheese starters were created by early cheesemakers; in the 70s, samples of these cultures began being banked to ensure quality. But Somerville and his collaborators, after sequencing the genomes of more than 100 of these samples, found little genetic diversity, with just a few strains of two dominant species..
“The exciting thing from this work was having samples over time,” Wolfe said. “You can see the shaping of diversity,” with changes in the past 50 years hinting at the trajectory of change over past centuries.
Domesticated vs. Wild Aspergillus
John Gibbons, a genomicist at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, presented on Aspergillus oryzae, “the fungus that jump-starts production of sake from rice, and soy sauce and miso from soybeans.” Farmers cultivate A. oryzae, which reproduces on its own. “But when humans take a little finished sake and transfer it to a rice mash to begin fermentation anew, they also transfer cells of the fungal strains that evolved and survived best during the first round of fermentation,” the article reads.
Gibbons compared the genomes of A. oryzae strains with those of A. flavus, it’s wild ancestor. Human involvement in transferring the fungus has “boosted A. oryzae’s ability to break down starches and to tolerate the alcohol produced by fermentation.” The domesticated Aspergillus strains may have up to five times the number of genes used to break down starches compared to their ancestors.
“The restructuring of metabolism appears to be a hallmark of domestication in fungi,” he said.
Gibbons also found the genes of domesticated A. oryzae to have little variation. And some key genes have disappeared, “including those for toxins that would kill the yeast needed to complete fermentation — and which can make humans sick.” The article concludes: “Domestication has apparently made A. oryzae more human friendly, just as it bred bitter flavors out of many food plants.”
The gut microbiome is the “black box” of nutrition research, according to the new study “Rethinking Healthy Eating in Light of the Gut Microbiome.” We will never fully understand the science behind nutrition without understanding the bacteria living in the gut.
“Given the worldwide epidemic of diet-related chronic diseases, evidence-based dietary recommendations are fundamentally important for health promotion,” reads the study. “Despite the importance of the human gut microbiota for the physiological effects of diet and chronic disease etiology, national dietary guidelines around the world are just beginning to capitalize on scientific breakthroughs in the microbiome field.”
The study, published in the journal Cell, Host & Microbe, was conducted by researchers and scientists from Canada’s Department of Agriculture, Food & Nutritional Science; Ireland’s University of College Cork Centre for Vitamin D and Nutrition Research; and the APC Microbiome Ireland. It discusses “contemporary nutritional recommendations from a microbiome science perspective, focusing on mechanistic evidence that established host-microbe interactions as mediators of the physiological effects of diet.”
Though research on the microbiome and gut health has increased in the last decade, “there has been limited consideration of diet-microbiome-host interactions.” Researchers propose an “experimental framework that integrates the microbiome into nutrition research.”
Below are some of the challenges researchers found in creating a microbiome-focused diet.
More Fermented Food Research
Fermented foods are an excellent approach for microbiome restoration, the study notes. In individuals who have a diet rich in fermented foods, the organisms from the fermented foods are well-represented in their microbiota.
But more research is needed on fermented foods – especially non-dairy ones. Published studies link fermented foods to more favorable gastrointestinal health, lower risk of type 2 diabetes and cancer, increased microbiome diversity and weight management.
“Evidence from random control trials is extremely sparse, and fermented foods are just beginning to be recommended in dietary guidelines,” the study notes.
Lacking Dietary Guidelines
The study details different countries’ food recommendations and healthy eating guidelines in relation to the gut microbiome. Interestingly, though the regions have diverse food cultures, similarities were found: vegetables, fruit and grains should make up half a diet; whole grains should be prioritized over refined grains; animal protein and plant-based proteins should be consumed in small portions; foods high in sugar, salt and saturated fat should be limited or avoided.
But only one country – South Africa – mentions the gut microbiome.
Still, dietary guidelines are not a one-size-fits-all approach. There’s a greater need for personalized nutrition (also referred to as precision nutrition) because the gut microbiota is highly individualized. National dietary guidelines currently do not consider personalized nutrition.
As technology improves and microbiome sequencing increases, it’s possible a smart phone app could help the public monitor their diets, with recommendations personalized to their needs.
“Precision-nutrition approaches will depend on continued collaboration between nutrition and microbiome disciplines, and their population-wide implementation will require significant additional input from regulatory bodies, professional societies, and policymakers,” the study says.
Unknowns of Fermented Plant-Based Protein
There are “promising findings” regarding plant-based proteins’ interaction with the microbiome. Because these products are less digestible than animal-based proteins, they produce beneficial metabolites in the gut. However, the study points out more research is needed into these fermented alternative proteins that are fueling current innovation in alt meats.
Ancestral vs. Industrialized Diets
Modern diets – also known as industrialized diets – are far from those of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Ancestral diets included more plants, higher dietary fiber and fewer refined carbs and sugar. The chronic disease epidemic, researchers note, can be attributed to modern diets being “evolutionarily mismatched with human physiology.”
“Evolutionary considerations also lay the foundation for microbiome restoration strategies,” the study continues. “Although it will likely be impossible, and perhaps not advisable, to return microbiomes to their ancestral states, there is heightened interest in the development of microbiome restoration strategies that re-establish health-related functional characteristics.
The FDA has issued a response – or non-response – to concerns from the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA).
Last July, the FDA issued a federal, legal definition of yogurt. The new rule upset the IDFA. The association, which represents the nation’s dairy industry, said the FDA’s rule is so outdated and out-of-touch with yogurt makers that popular products could be removed from grocery store shelves. The IDFA objected to the FDA’s rule and submitted an appeal in July 2021 to modernize the yogurt standard of identity (SOI). In December, after not receiving a response, IDFA sent a letter to the FDA commissioner, reiterating the request.
FDA recently issued a “notice of stay” to the IDFA, effectively telling them to keep waiting for a final ruling.
“Yogurt makers have been waiting 40 years for the FDA to update and modernize the yogurt standard of identity,” said Michael Dykes, president and CEO of the IDFA. “Today, the FDA issued a notice telling us to keep waiting — and threw in a whole lot of uncertainty, to boot.”
Adds an IDFA press release: “While a stay is helpful at this stage, IDFA’s efforts to reform the yogurt SOI will continue into an inexplicable fifth decade.”
The FDA first issued a definition of yogurt in 1981. The IDFA has requested a modernized version for decades.
“IDFA remains deeply disappointed in the FDA process that led to the yogurt SOI final rule,” Dykes continues. “After 40 years since FDA first issued standards for yogurt, IDFA and our yogurt members are back to where we started several decades ago, beseeching the FDA to work with yogurt makers to make commonsense updates to a category that has been waiting more than four decades for modernization. Without standards that have been modernized, manufacturers are unable to meet consumer demands for innovative and nutritious yogurt products. With many significant provisions stayed, IDFA will continue to work on the yogurt SOI with an aim to ensure FDA continues to move forward in responding appropriately to IDFA’s objections in a timely manner.”
Read more (IDFA)
Adding fermented pickles to sour cream increases the health benefits of the cream, lowering cholesterol and increasing antioxidant properties, according to new research.
Scientists from the Poznań University of Life Sciences in Poland based their research on the French paradox, “the observation that… reduced heart disease is associated with a diet high in saturated fat and cholesterol.” They picked sour cream because of its high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol.
“The results also show that the health-promoting potential of sour cream is enhanced by the presence of metabolically active LAB,” continues the study, published in the Journal of Dairy Science.
The scientists note future work will revolve around characterizing the properties of specific lactic acid bacteria produced by spontaneous fermentation.
Read more (Medical and Life Sciences)
A new study found fermented dairy products reduce memory loss. The study, published in Nutritional Neurosciences, confirms there is a connection between the gut microbiome and the nervous system, known as the gut-brain axis
The adults in the test regularly consumed a dairy-based fermented drink, containing 25-30 billion colony forming units (CFUs). Drinking fermented dairy — like yogurt, kefir or fermented whey — “increased the presence of certain microorganisms in the gut and improved relational memory in healthy adults.”
Read more (Nutritional Neurosciences)
Changes in the global food system influenced the types of laws U.S. legislators passed in 2021. States are loosening the regulations on breweries and wineries, offering more government support to local restaurants, allowing the sale of homemade foods and cracking down on hidden fees from third-party food delivery services.
In our last newsletter, we shared the food and beverage laws passed in 20 states in 2021. The list below completes the balance of the country — Massachusetts to Wyoming.
HB21 — Allows temporary licenses for nonprofit charitable corporations. Allows alcoholic beverages sold to be donated at no charge to the license holder.
HD1331 — Provides that a license to operate a restaurant may be connected to other on-site premises, even if it is not a grocery store.
SB2475 — Extends to-go cocktail sales through May 1, 2022.
SB2603 — Sets minimum standards for the confinement of chickens, veal calves and pigs, and bans the in-state sale of products that don’t comply. Mandates cage-free conditions for egg-laying hens with welfare enrichments like perches, dust bathing areas, scratching areas and next boxes. The law also expands coverage to egg products and liquid eggs.
SB2841 — Reform state’s franchise laws, allowing a new qualified brewer for craft brewers. Allows craft brewers who produce fewer than 250,000 barrels annually to end their contract with a wholesaler. It repeals the state’s 1971 franchise law, enacted to protect in-state distributors from larger, out-of-state, foreign brewers, during a time when the craft beer industry did not exist.
HB4711 — Allows baseball stadiums at Michigan universities to serve alcohol.
SB49 — Allows wineries, breweries and distilleries to operate both an on-premise and off-premise tasting room at the same location.
SB141 — Allows small craft distillers to self-distribute up to 3,000 gallons per year of product to retailers. Also allows craft distillers to ship directly to consumers.
SB142 — Allows a small wine maker to self-distribute directly to retailers.
SB144 — Expands the definition of a mixed spirit drink to allow increased ABV percentage.
SB559 — Amends state liquor code to allow more entertainment complexes to receive liquor licenses; drops number of needed races from seven to two for a motorsports venue to qualify for a liquor license.
SB958 — Raises the sales cap for cottage food sales from $18,000 (formerly the lowest sales cap in the country) to $78,000.
HB562 — Allows online sales of cottage foods.
HB572 — Expands boundaries of resort areas where alcohol can be sold.
HB997 — Authorizes private retailers to obtain wholesaler permits for alcohol sales. Also removes the state’s Department of Revenue as a wholesale distributor of alcohol.
HB1091 — Amends code to increase the alcohol content for alcoholic products. Defines how much product can be produced and sold at a microbrewery.
HB1135 — Allows alcohol delivery from a licensed delivery.
HB1288 — Amends code to allow a charter ship to sell and serve alcohol.
HB537 — Allows online sales of cottage foods and removes the $50,000 sales limit on cottage foods.
HB574 — Prohibits inspectors of agricultural grounds or facilities to enforce laws of states other than MIssouri.
SB126 — Legalizes the permanent sales of to-go alcohol. Also expands the sale of alcohol in the state on Sundays.
HB79 — Provides regulatory clarity for how breweries produce fermented-style beverages, including any alcoholic beverages made by fermentation of malt substitutes, like rice, grain, glucose, sugar or molasses.
HB157 — Removes restrictions for alcohol licensing, allowing brewers and immediate families to both hold a license.
HB226 — Makes permanent the curbside delivery and to-go drink options for licensed retailers established during the Covid-19.
SB199 — Establishes the Montana Local Food Choice Act. The food freedom bill exempts certain homemade or cottage food products from food licensing and inspection regulations. It also expands the types of foods that can be sold.
SB247 — Allows colleges and universities in the state to serve beer and wine at sporting events.
SB320 — Legalizes the home delivery of beer and wine.
LB274 — Amends the Nebraska Liquor Control Act, making permanent licenses to sell to-go alcoholic beverages. Also allows craft breweries and wineries to sell alcoholic beverages at open-air farmers markets.
LB324 — Establishes the Independent Processor Assistance Program, improvising the Nebraska Meat and Poultry Inspection Law. Helps small locker plants make the transition to a federally-inspected facility.
LB396 — Adopts the Nebraska Farm-to-School Program Act, which establishes a structure to facilitate communication between farmers and schools.
SB297 — Requires the Council on Food Security to research and develop recommendations on community gardens and urban farms.
SB307 — Prohibits direct-to-consumer (DTC) shipping of alcohol from both in-state and out-of-state breweries, distilleries and retailers. In-state retailers can also make local deliveries from licensed wholesalers. However, DTC wine shipments will still be allowed.
SB320 — Requires food delivery services such as Uber Eats and DoorDash to disclose fees to consumers, breaking down what price is for food, taxes, delivery fee and commission charted to the restaurant. Restaurant committees are limited to 20% of a credit card processing fee during a state of emergency (like the Covid-19 pandemic).
HB226 — Gives state department of agriculture authority to stop the sale of any produce in violation of state agricultural laws.
HB345 — Establishes a license for wild mushroom harvesters. Allows state department of health and human services to fine people who distribute wild mushrooms without a license.
HB593 — Requires food delivery service to enter into an agreement with a food service establishment before offering delivery service from that restaurant.
SB66 — Allows takeout and delivery of alcoholic beverages.
SB125 — Eases certain regulatory restrictions for a number of beverage manufacturer licenses. Removes limitation on quantity of beer a beverage manufacturer may sell in a day to the public and allows direct-to-consumer shipping to consumers within the state.
SB155 — Allows restaurants to permanently expand dining into a shared space, like a sidewalk or street, with approval from local authorities. This temporary dining space was originally established during the Covid-19 pandemic.
AB1091 — Requires Division of Travel and Tourism to advertise and promote tours of breweries in the State.
AB1478 — Permits theaters with 50 seats or more to apply for liquor license.
AB5906 — Rescinds prohibition on return of certain items purchased from retail food stores during Covid-19 state of emergency. It also provides that future limitations on returns occur during declared public health emergencies.
SB673 — Establishes New Jersey’s first cottage food law (they were the only state in the U.S. without a cottage food law). Allows home-based producers to make food from home rather than a commercial kitchen. These producers must obtain a license every two years, cannot earn more than $50,000 a year and are limited by products that can be sold (though state permission can be granted for additional items).
SB3340 — Expands opportunities for restaurants, bars, distilleries and breweries to operate during the Covid-19 pandemic. Provides outdoor dining space and opens new permits for sales at farmers markets.
SB3364 — Allows certain liquor licenses to acquire alcoholic beverage licenses from a retail food store that is a bankrupt asset.
HM1 — Requests the New Mexico Department of Agriculture to study the economic benefits of regional mobile livestock slaughter units, which would make livestock slaughtering easier for small ranchers.
HB177 — Enacting the Homemade Food Act. Allows anyone in the state to start a cottage food business — and opens sales to be from home and online (cottage food sales were previously limited to events only).
HB255 — Allows restaurants to purchase a liquor license at a more affordable rate ($2,500-$10,000, depending on size) if serving alcohol with dinner. Also allows alcohol deliveries with food.
HB303 — Bans unlawful liquor incentives. No liquor licensee shall accept money or a gift of monetary value to influence the purchase or a certain brand of alcoholic beverage.
SB1 — Allows qualified state food and beverage establishments to claim a temporary gross receipts tax (GRT) deduction on sales of food and beverages from March 2, 2021 through July 1, 2021 as a stimulus incentive.
SB2 — Waives the annual liquor license fees for licensees, aiming to boost businesses hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
AB952 — Directs the commissioner of agriculture and markets and the commissioner of economic development to work with the state’s land grant university system to produce a report to provide advice, guidance and recommendations on improving the resiliency of the state’s farm and food supply. Also will provide guidance on the related supply chain logistics to address food shortages, food waste and the inability to get New York farm goods to markets that occurred as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the goal of creating permanent solutions beyond the state of emergency to reflect the changing wholesale, retail and consumer marketplace.
AB4613 — Creates a task force on improving urban and rural access to locally produced, healthy foods.
AB5386 — Establishes the New York Soil Health and Climate Resiliency Act to enhance and maintain the health and resilience of agricultural soils. The program will assist farmers in improving the health of their soil. It also establishes a climate resilient farming initiative to promote and encourage farmers to reduce the effects of farming on climate change and to adapt to and mitigate the impact of climate change by improving and maintaining water management systems and soil health.
AB7506 — Requires grease traps at food service establishments be designed to withstand expected loads and prevent unauthorized access, making them safer for the general public.
AB7207 — Authorizes and directs the commissioner of agriculture and markets to conduct a study on urban agriculture, including vertical farming, community gardens and urban farming.
SB1630 — Requires third-party food delivery services to have a valid agreement with a merchant before they advertise, promote or sell the merchant’s products on their platform.
SB2743 — Authorizes the issuance of a temporary retail permit by the state liquor authority to licensees located in a municipality having a population of one million or more persons.
SB6353 — Allows restaurants to utilize municipal spaces like sidewalks and streets for outdoor dining for another year. First granted under an executive order during the Covid-19 pandemic, the law makes restaurant use of public spaces to allow restaurants to recover from the pandemic.
HB4 — Extends ABC permit renewal payment deadlines for bars.
HB890 — Allows consumers to order online and pick-up alcohol from state Alcoholic Beverage Control stores, expands growler sizes from 2 to 4 liters, loosens rules for distillery tours and allows distillers to sell alcohol at festivals.
HB1284 — Modifies special event alcohol permit requirements to remove the rule that persons under 21 years of age must remain out of the area where alcohol is served.
HB1475 — Creates a $10 million agriculture diversification and development fund to provide loans and grants for value-added agriculture businesses in the state.
SB2220 — Moves the sale of Sunday alcohol sales to 8 a.m., the same as the rest of the days of the week in the state..
SB2321 — Allows microberies and taprooms to ship products in-state.
HB665 — Increases the amount a county or independent agricultural society receives for operating expenses from a county. Removes caps on junior club membership .
HB669 — Makes to-go alcohol sales permanent.
HB674 — Allows home delivery of alcohol, as long as the beverage is served in an original container.
SB102 — Sweeping liquor reform. Lowers the age for serving alcohol to 18, expands Designated Outdoor Drinking Areas spaces, clarifies that homebrewers are allowed to brew their own drinks, enter them in tasting competitions and share them at local club gatherings.
HB1032 — Creates the Homemade Food Freedom Act which provides for regulation and oversight for the production, transportation and sale of homemade food products. Now allows almost all types of baked, non-perishable and perishable foods. Also increases sale limits from $20,000 to $75,000, allows direct sales and allows shipment of non-perishable items.
HB2117 — Allows certain communication and interaction via social media by alcohol wholesalers, beer distributors and retailers.
HB2122 — Allows the sale of to-go cocktails, mixed drinks or single-serve wine in a sealed container for off-premise consumption.
HB2277 — Permits licensed alcohol retailers to offer different drink specials at various locations owned and operated under their license, like a happy hour.
HB2380 — Allows customers to self-pour their own beer, wine or mixed beverage from automated machines.
HB2726 — Allows Oklahoma small businesses to offer bottle service to their customers.
SB85 — Authorizes holders of multiple small brewer licenses to sell beer at multiple locations.
SB262 — Requires wine and spirit wholesalers to remit alcohol excise taxes when purchasing alcoholic beverages for sale within the state except for wine shipped by wineries possessing a Winemaker Self-Distribution License.
SB315 — Allows licensed distillers to sell spirits for on- or off-premise consumption on distillery property or in an area connected and controlled by the licensee.
SB385 — Allows retail spirits, wine and beer licensees to host alcoholic beverage tastings.
SB499 — Requires that customer receipts for alcoholic beverages purchased at catered, public and special events include a line item for the 13.5% tax collected.
SB760 — Allows multiple alcohol licensees to designate a common drinking area.
HB2111 — Changes name of “Oregon Liquor Control Commission” to “Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission.”
HB2264 — Alcohol reform bill. Allows Indian tribe or airline that holds full on-premises sales license to negotiate with Oregon Liquor Control Commission purchase price of distilled liquor for specified sales. Directs Oregon Liquor Control Commission to study alcohol. Changes definition of “malt beverage.” Allows nonprofit organizations to sell alcoholic beverages for up to 45 calendar days per year without license issued by commission. Allows holder of full on-premises sales license to sell, deliver and ship to consumers specified alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption. Allows holder of limited on-premises sales license to deliver and ship to consumers specific alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption. Allows holder of off-premises sales license to sell specified alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption. Allows holder of temporary sales license to ship specified alcoholic beverages to consumer. Repeals license application fee. Allows advertising by liquor store to be visible from outside store. Specifies that retail sales or distillery outlet agent’s deposit with commission is of check and cash receipts. Specifies wine containing more than 16% alcohol by volume is taxed at 10 cents per gallon. Requires manufacturer, purchaser and distributor of alcohol to retain records for three years.
HB2742 — Allows holder of off-premises sales license to sell factory-sealed containers of malt beverages that hold more than seven gallons.
HB2363 — Allows certain holders of temporary event licenses to sell specified alcoholic beverages for on and off-premises consumption at more than one location on licensed premises — or have up to three premises licensed under single temporary sales license and operate for up to 30 day.
HB2395 — Modifies single-use checkout bag prohibition in the state. Changes definition of “recycled paper checkout bag” to include bags that contain non wood renewable fiber.
HB2611 — Permits agricultural building to be used for uses other than uses set forth in definition of “agricultural building” if additional uses are incidental and accessory to defined uses, are personal to farm owner and farm owner’s immediate family or household and do not pose hazard.
HB3361 — Requires third-party food platform to enter into agreement with restaurant before arranging delivery of orders from food place or listing food place on application or website. Requires third-party food platform delivery service to receive written consent from restaurant before arranging for delivery or order from restaurant.
SB806 — Includes “fortified cider” in definition of cider. Allows holder of direct shipper permit to ship up to five cases of wine per month to Oregon residents. Deletes requirement that commission charge application fee for new licenses. Provides that the alcohol commission may allow applicant to defer or waive payment of annual license fee if Governor declares state of emergency.
HB425 — Allows a liquor licensee that has closed either permanently or for a long time to sell its liquor license.
HB427 — Gives establishments with liquor licenses a 15% discount (instead of 10%) on the purchase of liquor from the state stores for three years.
SB434 — Alters “sell by” and “best by” dates on milk. Allows processors to apply for Department of Agriculture approval to exceed the current 17 day limit.
HB5131 — Prohibits a food service establishment from providing a consumer with a single-use plastic straw, unless the consumer requests such a straw.
HB5214 — Eliminates the $10.00 fee requirement for businesses to obtain a sales tax permit.
HB5758 — Establishes the state’s first Cottage Food Law, but only allows farmers to sell homemade products.
SB142 — Allows the sale of alcoholic beverages on New Year’s Day by retail Class A licensees.
SB364 — Entitles dairy farms to the exemptions from taxation already granted to farmland, forestland and open space.
SB555 — Authorizes a Class B liquor license holder to sell to-go alcoholic beverages with take-out food orders (but rule will sunset on March 1, 2022).
SB788 — Prevents third-party food delivery services from using the likeness, registered trademark or any intellectual property belonging to the restaurant to falsely suggest sponsorship or endorsement without the restaurant’s consent.
SB619 — Allows more off-site tasting rooms in the state. Amends 1976 law affecting distilleries, breweries and wineries, to establish off-site “satellite locations” for sale of their products.
HB1109 — Updates state homebrew legislation to include cider as a permissible homemade alcoholic beverage. Allows (in limited quantities) for homemade alcoholic beverages permissible to be sold on licensed premises for certain events, and allows homebrewers to transport homemade alcoholic beverages from their household.
HB1121 — Deregulates the homemade or cottage food market. Repeals requirement that homemade canned goods must be inspected by a third-party authority for pH levels. Replaces lengthy warning that food wasn’t produced in a commercial kitchen and required allergen listing with a shorter summary. Allows sellers to sell their products through third parties without getting a good service license (as long as they aren’t making more than $150,000 a year).
HB1153 — Authorize the Board of Regents to contract for the design and construction of a new dairy research and extension farm on the campus of South Dakota State University, with equipment and furnishings.
HB306 — Extends the Tennessee dairy promotion committee to June 30, 2029.
HB1129 — Adds requirements for farmers to participate in herdshare programs, like maintain owner records, include warning labels on products and notify owners in case of contamination.
HB1514 — Reduces the population threshold (from 925 to 700) to make a municipality eligible to hold a referendum on the sale of alcoholic beverages.
SB17 — Allow breweries to self-distribute 1,800 barrels of beer throughout the state each year without having to go through a wholesaler.
SB269 — Authorizes a delivery service licensee to charge a fee based on a percentage of the sales of the alcoholic beverages or beer being delivered; limits the fee to no more than 10% of the price of each alcoholic beverage sold.
SB299 — Defines “food hall” for purposes of consumption of alcohol on the premises of a food hall; enacts certain requirements governing the operation of a food hall.
SB403 — Requires state to disclose certain information on contracts with wholesalers of alcoholic beverages.
SB591 — Authorizes a person or entity holding liquor license to sell or transfer their alcoholic beverage inventory to another licensee if they’re closing their establishment.
SB681 — Allows to-go alcohol sales for the next two years.
SB705 — Prohibits licensure as a winery direct shipper of in-state or out-of-state wine fulfillment houses.
HB1024 — Allows permanent sales of to-go beer, wine and mixed drinks for pickup and delivery food orders.
HB1276 — Allows restaurants to sell bulk foods directly to the public.
HB1518 — Loosens alcohol restrictions on Sunday mornings, allowing sales starting at 10 a.m. rather than noon.
HB1755 — Allows customers to take home unopened bottles of wine.
HB1957 — Sets new standards on what can be labeled as a Texas wine. If putting Texas on the wine label, winery must grow majority of grapes (75%-95%) within the state, county and/or vineyard on the label.
HR2002 — Recognizing June 2022 as National Dairy Month in Texas.
SB617 — Allows all food producers to sell food directly to consumers, not just farmers. Limits permit fees.
SB911 — Bans third-party food delivery service from using a restaurant’s trademark or charging a restaurant fees (unless agreed upon in writing). Also protects a restaurant from predatory food delivery services — allows a restaurant to be removed from the third-party delivery services listing if requested, and required third-party delivery services to provide consumers with a means to express concerns with their delivery. Gives restaurants the power to sue a third-party delivery service if it violates the terms. Also prohibits cities and counties from creating interfering regulations than what the state approved.
SB1226 — Allows brewpubs to legally host tastings.
HB94 — Legalizes microenterprise home kitchens, allowing home chefs to sell their homemade meals.
HB296 — Creates the Utah Soil Health Program.
SB137 — Gives the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control an additional $4.3 million to raise salaries for its retail clerks, warehouse workers, store managers and assistant managers up to market standards.
SB147 — Prohibits farm owners and operators in the state from confining egg-laying hens to enclosures. Must implement cage-free housing systems by 2025.
HB166 — Criminalizes theft of livestock.
HB218 — Expands raw milk sales for producers selling at farm stands and CSA’s in the states.
HB313 — Extends for two years the governor’s executive order to allow curbside pickup and delivery of alcohol.
HB434 — Establishes the Agricultural Innovation Board.
SB20 — Bans the sale of common items containing PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances used to make food packaging grease- and water-resistant). The bill takes steps to restrict harmful phthalate and bisphenol chemicals from food packaging.
HB1299 — Allows for the sale of to-go alcohol beverages until July 1, 2022.
HB1902 — Prohibits food vendors from using single-use expanded polystyrene food service containers. Requires chain restaurants to stop using such containers by July 1, 2023, and sets the date for compliance by all food vendors as July 1, 2025. A penalty will be inflicted of $50 a day for violators.
HB1973 — Allows nonprofits conducting online fundraisers to sell and ship wine in closed containers as part of a fundraising activity.
HB2068 — Establishes the Local Food and Farming Infrastructure Grant Program. The governor will award the grants based on infrastructure development projects that support local food production and sustainable farming.
HB2302 — Allows farmers markets to be treated as grocery stores during state of emergency and are allowed to remain open as essential businesses during a state of emergency declared by the Governor.
SB1188 — Establishes the Virginia Agriculture Food Assistance Program and Fund for Virginia farmers and food producers to donate, sell, or otherwise provide agriculture products to charitable food assistance organizations.
SB1193 — Establishes the Dairy Producer Margin Coverage Premium Assistance Program. Gives dairy farmers (with a resource management or nutrition management plan) the ability to receive a refund of their annual premium payment paid into the federal program.
SB1428 — Prohibits the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority from selling in government stores low alcohol beverage coolers not manufactured by licensed distillers.
SB1471 — Allows the Board of Directors of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority to increase the frequency and duration of outdoor events that sell alcohol. The laws are expected to provide flexibility to restaurants during COVID-19.
HB1145 — Allows the use of non wood renewable fiber in recycled paper carryout bags.
HB1480 — Allows sale of to-go alcohol products, including cocktail kits and growlers.
HB5362 — Ensuring the funding of agricultural fairs.
SB5022 — Enacts recycling requirements for plastic beverage containers. Bans polystyrene (EPS) products and sets-up opt-in requirements for dining establishments using single-use foodware.
SB5272 — Waives a one-time annual liquor license and cannabis license fee for those establishments for 12 months.
SB 51 — Requires dairy foods processed in the state to be added to the list of items to be purchased by state-funded institutions.
SB 58 — Creates the West Virginia Farm Fresh Dairy Act.
SB56 — Allows alcohol beverage retailers to make online or phone sales of alcohol beverages, to be picked up by the customers at a designated parking space that is not part of the retail licensed premises.
HB13 — Increases the amount of wine that a licensed out-of-state wine shipper may ship to any one household address. Allows Wyoming consumers to receive up to 12 cases of wine in a 12-month period (the former limit was four cases per year).
HB51 — Establishes grant program to meat processing facilities suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic.
HB54 — Focuses efforts and resources of the Wyoming Business Council on developing slaughter plant options for producers.
HB118 — Allows sale of eggs under the state’s Food Freedom Act.
HB156 — Allows winery permit holder to be issued an off-premise wine permit for a 24-hour period.
HB159 — Allows any liquor license holder — who then obtains an out-of-state shipper’s license — to ship alcohol to Wyoming households. Increases satellite permits for liquor manufacturers from one to two.
HB229 — Allows Wyoming ranchers the choice of selecting lawful forms of animal identification devices. Rejects USDA mandate to only use higher-cost RFID ear tags for livestock.