FoodNavigator-USA’s 10 most popular articles of 2015

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Image: iStockPhoto
Image: iStockPhoto

Related tags Almond milk Winter fancy food High-fructose corn syrup General mills

Gluten-free Cheerios, Soylent, trendspotting, the rise of veganism, and lawsuits: All of these made the top 10 most read articles on FoodNavigator-USA, but what was #1?

Everyday our award-winning team of journalists bring you only the most important news to help you to make the best decisions for your business. And we still published over 900 original articles this year, including text articles, video interviews and galleries.

Here, we review the top 10 most articles on the site in 2015.

#10 General Mills to roll out five gluten-free Cheerios this summer

Hailed by General Mills as probably the biggest news for Cheerios since its commitment to whole grain in every box, February’s announcement that five Cheerios products will be going gluten free was our tenth most-read article of the year.

The five products were rolled out in the summer, and included Original Cheerios, Honey Nut, Multi-Grain, Apple Cinnamon and Frosted.

The number one ingredient in Cheerios is whole grain oats, which do not contain gluten, but General Mills needed a proprietary method to remove the small amount of wheat, rye and barley from the oats that are inadvertently introduced at the farms where the oats were grown, or during transportation of the whole oats to the mill.

“This [proprietary method ] is something we have worked on developing for several years and this process takes place after the oats are delivered to our facility from the farm,”​ said Mike Siemienas, manager, brand media relations at General Mills.

Please click HERE​ to read the full article.     

#9 Soylent hits back at legal threat: ‘We display Prop 65 warnings'  

We cover a lot of legal cases on FoodNavigator-USA because the results have important implications and potentially set precedents for the rest of the industry.

Our ninth most-read article of 2015 focused on an alleged breach of California's Proposition 65 by LA-based Soylent.

Environmental activist group As You Sow filed a notice of intent to bring legal action vs Soylent alleging it breached California's Proposition 65 by failing to provide sufficient warning to consumers over lead and cadmium levels in Soylent 1.5.

In response, Soylent said it “[stood] by the quality and safety” of its meal substitutes.

Please click HERE​ to read the full article.

#8 Trendspotting at the Winter Fancy Food Show, gallery   

Winter Fancy Foods

Our team of journalists attends numerous conferences, trade shows and other events every year to bring you key insights into on-going and emerging trends.

The Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco in January showcased brands that are delivering something novel, or offering a new twist on an established category or trend, including SMÁRI organic Icelandic yogurt, Hope Foods’ dark chocolate hummus, Califia Farms’s almond milk based coffee creamers, and Snacks101, part of MJC Confections, with its 'the first baked popcorn'.

To see all of our trend picks from that event, please click HERE​.

We’re heading back there in January 2016, so expect more insights next month!

#7 Synbio sweeteners, pulses, rare sugars, wholegrain corn flour at IFT

In July, our team was at the IFT Annual Meeting and Expo in Chicago to cast their eyes over innovations in the food ingredients space.

Standing out to us were MycoTechnology’s Mushroom mycelium to naturally remove bitter compounds from foods and enhance their nutritional profile, Solazyme’s AlgaWise high oleic algae oils (available via Bunge) that boasted zero trans fat, low saturates and unprecedented levels of healthy monounsaturated fat, Parabel and Hinoman with alternative plant proteins derived from aquatic plants, and the next generation of stevia ingredients from Cargill.

To see all of our picks from IFT 2015, please click HERE​.

#6 Food & beverage packaging that punches above its weight

EPIC jerky

You were all very​ interested in the Winter Fancy Foods Show with our sixth most-read news of the year also came from that event.

Blake Mitchell, partner at food and beverage brand design firm Interact On Shelf, which works exclusively with grocery brands, told us that innovative packaging can really help smaller brands punch above their weight.

According to Mitchell, examples of brands that really do packaging well include SMÁRI organic Icelandic yogurt, Il Morso coffee and tea bars, EPIC meaty bars and bites, Flamous chips, Radicle Farm Co Salad, Marinelli's pasta sauce, and more.

Please click HERE​ to see the full list.

#5 Hershey in non-GMO and no high fructose corn syrup pledge       

Into the top 5, and the Hershey’s pledge in March to remove genetically-modified ingredients from Hershey’s Milk Chocolate and Kisses by the end of the year really captured your attention.

The company said it would swap GM sugar beet to cane sugar and would switch to a non-GM soy lecithin for the brands as it pledged to shift to “simple ingredients”.

It will also remove emulsifier polyglycerol polyricinoleate (PGPR) and artificial vanillin in the products.

Hershey said in a statement: “We are specifically looking to formulate new products and transition existing products to deliver on no artificial flavors, no synthetic colors, no high fructose corn-syrup and to be gluten-free.”

Please click HERE​ to read the full article.

#4 Food & beverage entrepreneurs, chickpea pasta to banana flour 

Coming in at number 4 was our April 14 gallery of some stand-out entrepreneurs in the food & beverage sector.

We profile a lot of entrepreneurs, and this particular gallery included Josh Caplan, founder of Tea of the People; Anders Eisner and Jesse Merrill, co-founders of Good Culture; Jody Levy, co-founder of World Waters (WTRMLN WTR); Bill Keith, founder of Perfect Bar; Kaiyen Mai, founder of Fusion Jerky; Austin Allan, founder of Tio Gazpacho; and Kate Weiler and Jeff Rose, co-founders of DRINKMaple; and many more.

Too see the full list, please click HERE​.

#3 Vegan is going mainstream, trend data suggests

The appeal and potential for vegan products is expanding beyond the small group of people who avoid animal products for ethical reasons to include the much larger base of consumers seeking healthier, cleaner foods, and our March 17 article looked at the rise of this sector.

We spoke with Eric Pierce, director of strategy and insights at New Hope Natural Media, the host of Natural Products Expo West, who said, “We are beginning to see a lot of opportunity [with vegan products] that might not have been obvious at the beginning.”

“The reason for the expansion appears to be the mitigation of the perception of vegan beyond its traditional stereotype of being all about animal welfare”​ to the extent that flavor and taste might be compromised, Pierce said.

Twenty-three percent of consumers still associated vegan products with animal welfare, but that is no longer the leading association, Pierce said. Rather, the association of vegan with health food took the top stop with 35% of consumers making the connection.

Please click HERE​ to read the full article.

#2 Almond milk only contains 2% almonds, claims lawsuit v Blue Diamond  

There was a lot of interest in this article, with over 36,000 readers clicking on the story, and it being shared almost 3,000 times across the social media platforms.

The news focused on a class action lawsuit vs Blue Diamond Growers, which alleged that consumers understand that almond milk must contain some water, but they would be surprised to learn that the leading brands contain just 2% almonds.

In the amended false advertising lawsuit*, filed in New York on July 14, plaintiffs Tracy Albert and Dimitrios Malaxianis argue that Blue Diamond falsely portrays its best-selling Almond Breeze almond milk as being made primarily from almonds, when - they allege - it contains only 2% almonds and is mostly made from water, sugar, carrageenan and sunflower lecithin.

[*The case is Tracy Albert and Dimitrios Malazianis et al vs Blue Diamond Growers filed in the southern district of New York, Case 1:15-cv-04087-VM]

Please click HERE​ to read the full article.

Dannon Triple Zero Oikos

#1 Brogurt alert! Dannon targets men with Oikos Triple Zero Greek yogurt 

And here we are: The most read article of 2015, with almost 40,000 views was our coverage of Dannon’s launch of its Oikos Triple Zero Greek yogurt to appeals equally to both men and women.

“Dannon is changing the current market where yogurt is disproportionately consumed by women as compared to men… With the goal of expanding its once predominantly female consumer, the brand will be exploring integrated partnerships with television networks with a high male viewership,” ​said the company.

The products were rolled out nationwide in January supported by an ad campaign featuring Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.

Please click HERE​ to read the full article.

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