09 October 2022

Our September Roundup: plant-based news, ultra-processed foods and the rise in private labels

Investment from the USDA in Regenerative Agriculture with Danone, responding to the growth in private labels as a result of economic hardship, and new information about ultra-processed foods.

Christina Carè

Sevendots, London

4 minute read

Welcome back to another monthly roundup!

Italian plant-based foods go mainstream

From Italian Food News

Looking into the Italian plant-based market, this piece dissects the unique proposal being made by Italian plant-based products, including a high level of quality and various free-from claims – gluten-free, lactose free, no added sugar, cholesterol-free and diet-free to name a few. This is a great summary of what is happening in this sector, and includes mention of several classic Italian foods – such as pasta aimed at no-carb diets, and dairy free ice cream.

In short: A summary of innovation in the plant-based sector in Italy, covering new takes on classic Italian foods as well as the range of free-from products offered.

The best way to make your brand vulnerable to private label is to commodify it

From Marketing Week

In this piece, Mark Ritson examines the rise in private label purchases in the UK, as tough times hit consumers. Providing advice to manufacturers, he says:

Each economic squeeze pushes consumers to experiment with private label. And as they discover equivalent, sometimes superior, quality the presence of private label endures. It’s a pattern that we are about to witness once again and for British marketers a challenge they must somehow endure.

Sevendots Partner Eugenio Perrier had this comment:

Under current economic conditions, private labels are set for a new leap of growth, which will threaten brands. The only strategy for a brand to protect its position is to keep investing and make its proposition sharper and more meaningful. Leaning toward short term, tactical, price-driven approaches will only commoditize their offering, lose customers’ loyalty and accelerate their declining fate.

In short: Private labels grow in popularity as consumers face tough economic circumstances. How can brands hold ground? Mark Ritson advises brands to keep building  – clarify key brand benefits, associations and maintain ad spend.

Ultra-processed foods: it’s not just their low nutritional value that’s a concern

From The Conversation

This piece opens with the shocking statistic that in countries like the UK, US and Canada, ultra-processed foods account for over 50% of calories consumed. ‘Ultra-processed’ indicates foods that include various industrial ingredients like emulsifiers, thickeners, and artificial flavours. However, the negative impacts of ultra-processed foods are not solely due to their lack of nutritional value – two new studies show increased risk of dying prematurely from any cause, as well as a specifically greater risk of colon cancer. It was also found that the risks remained, even if the adults studied made up for the nutritional deficit elsewhere in their diet. How will health-conscious consumers respond to these discoveries? And how can brands respond?

In short: Ultra-processed foods have negative impacts beyond low nutritional value – they can harm consumers’ health outcomes more broadly. And yet, they still dominate calorie consumption in various territories.

Carbon A List and Partners Receive USDA Climate-Smart Grant

From AgWired

Danone has been awarded $70 million by the USDA Partnership for Climate Smart Commodities initiative. These funds have been awarded to help transform the farmer-to-consumer supply chain by implementing climate-smart projects and infrastructure investment. The project will include over 32,000 farm acres and help improve management of livestock, land and drive better overall agricultural systems, as well as growth in rural communities.

In short: The USDA has awarded $70 million to Danone to help fund the transition to Regenerative Agricultural practices.

Dutch City Becomes First In The World To Ban Meat Adverts In Public

From Plant Based News

The city of Harleem in the Netherlands has banned meat advertising in public, the first in the world. This is due to the link between meat production and climate change, and follows other initiatives by the county to address animal agriculture. Farmers have protested in response to government plans to reduce livestock herding in the past, and this news has also been met with backlash from the meat industry. However, new legislation will come into effect in 2024.

In short: Harleem becomes the first city in the world to ban meat advertising, in response to the connection between livestock farming and climate change.

Eco beauty company ‘appoints nature’ to its board of directors

From The Guardian

You probably heard about Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard giving away the company to a charitable organization dedicated to fighting climate change. But it wasn’t the only brand to dedicate nature a key beneficiary – UK company Faith In Nature, which sells soap and haircare, as well as household cleaners, has appointed a director to its board to represent nature itself. They will speak on behalf of the natural world. Beatrice Soncina, from our sister company The Red Flower Factory, had this comment on the news:

“Faith in Nature has decided to give Nature a say in their business decisions and they are sharing for free the entire legal process, so other companies can follow suit. I really hope this becomes a widespread practice among companies of all sectors!”

In short: Faith In Nature has appointed a new director who will speak on behalf of the natural world. Sharing their legal process, this UK-based company aims to demonstrate how the environment might form a key component of company decision making.


There you have it, the roundup from September. We hope this has helped you feel more up to date with what has been happening this month.

Want to share a piece that is inspiring you in next month’s roundup? Let us know on LinkedIn.

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