Food News Today transcripts for June 29th, 2011

July 01, 2011

Are consumers ready to have mobile wallets? What shoppers know about biotech foods and what’s up with all these unhealthy food holidays? For June 29th 2011.

 Good Morning, immediately following Food News Today, we continue with a live discussion in our chat room below. Please sign in and join us. Food News Today is sponsored by ConAgra Foods, who shares with me the desire to provide the most current, interesting and unbiased food news.

 Later on in the broadcast we take a look at food holidays - which one is your favorite?  Type it in the chat below and lets discuss.

 Food prices have really increased this week - on the SupermarketGuru facebook page in response to a question about coffee prices, Marianne Brunelle Cramer said, "I love Dunkin Donuts coffee but they raise their price every other month. I no longer buy their coffee."  The price of corn, coffee and more are continuing to increase and the consumer response we are hearing on a daily basis is similar to Marianne's. 

 In Xtreme Retail today we take a look into the wallets of shoppers and imagine just how those leather status symbols are about to be replaced - by their cell phones.  Most of us think nothing of having our paychecks deposited electronically in our bank account. So why are we hesitant to pay our supermarket electronically? There is much buzz these days about the Google Wallet and NFC (near field communication). Back a few years ago it was all about Pay by Touch - using fingerprints to pay instead of using a credit card. That failed and I wanted to find out if the latest payment technologies have a better chance for success, and if Americans are adopting and adapting to this technology. We head via Skype to chat with Andrew Eisner, Director of Community and Content for Retrevo, one of the largest consumer electronics review and shopping sites in the world, to discuss their latest Pulse Report, an ongoing study of tech industry trends. This online study of over 1,000 individuals takes a look at electronic payments.

Thanks Andrew...

In consumer research, we continue on our technology discussion, but this time it is about the technology being used to produce our foods. The latest IFIC Food Technology Study finds that shoppers support biotech in making our planet more sustainable.

According to a study by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation, consumer support is strongest for biotech when considering benefits that resonate, such as environmental and sustainability benefits.  The study shows that awareness of food biotechnology remains relatively stable compared to previous years, and it is not a top of mind concern for consumers.  

Seventy-seven percent of consumers said they would be likely to purchase foods produced through biotechnology for their ability to reduce pesticide use; 80% would purchase bread, crackers, cookies, cereal, or pasta products containing wheat grown using plant biotechnology if they were produced sustainably to feed more people using fewer resources.

When asked to rank aspects of sustainable crop production in order of importance, consumers’ top three choices are sustainable methods that help grow more food on less land (69%), reduce the amount of pesticides needed to produce food (65%), and produce plants that use water more efficiently (62%). 

Overall health benefits also contributed toward improving consumer perceptions about food technology. The majority of consumers are somewhat or very likely to purchase produce modified by biotechnology in order to provide more healthful fats like omega-3s (76%), avoid trans fat (74%), or make them taste better/fresher (67%). 

The study found that the explanation of technological benefits contributes to positive consumer awareness on the subject.   


And we must ask if Food Festivals, are sending the right message - in consumer trends today we take a look at what has become a PR bonanza! A special day, and event, for a special food - with the hope of getting on national television and on the front page. 

Whether it’s national hot dog day or pickle day there is a food festival for every taste, perhaps it is a celebration, but more often than not, it becomes little more than a PR stunt.  If you were to celebrate every food holiday, the plate of the dietary guidelines wouldn’t do you any good. What were you doing last Saturday and Sunday? I bet you were rejoicing and celebrating National Strawberry Parfait Day and National Chocolate Pudding Day. The majority of these food holiday’s are not setting people on track for healthy eating. I suggest that food holidays should be about promoting the seasonal fruits and vegetables and educating Americans on the benefits of healthy eating. Do we really need any more excuses to satisfy our sweet tooth?   Today is National Almond Buttercrunch day… now how are Americans supposed to react to that, when many nutritionists wouldn’t even consider the combination food, just empty calories and nutrient poor. 

 Just a few of the 40 holidays celebrated this past month of June included National AppleSauce Day, National Black Cow Day - which is actually a Root Beer float, and National Indian Pudding Day.  If you feel like you've missed out this month on all the celebrations, don't worry, tomorrow is National Ice Cream Soda Day.  I can't wait to see what July brings. Lets take all this effort and money and redirect it to celebrating the foods that are actually good for us - and just maybe limit them to one a month? so that someone will actually care?

For Food News Today, I’m Phil Lempert, thanks for joining us. If you have a colleague in retailing, the media or a blogger who would like to also receive our advance email - please send them to to sign up. Next week’s stories will be in your Tuesday email.