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From cheese to milk to butter, yogurt, and ice cream, dairy is found in many forms across the globe and is used and consumed in a multitude of ways throughout the world’s varying cultures.  Dairy plays an essential role as the base ingredient of many foods and is a major industrial product in many economies.  The main source of dairy comes from cows, which can be raised and bred in mass numbers to obtain product that satisfies the demand of the population.

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The food service industry is experiencing more changes than ever. Several decades ago, traditional food services were improved by food delivery apps. Now, a new method of food delivery is on the rise that will revolutionize this industry. Autonomous vehicles have been in the spotlight recently, from daily conversations to public debates. But who would have imagined for autonomous driving to step into the food industry first? Currently, auto manufactures from around the world are partnering with small startups to deliver food and groceries.

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One of the world’s favorite beverages and a major source of caffeine for many students and employees, coffee continues to be an integral factor in society’s daily routine.  According to Business Insider, coffee is the second most sought-after commodity in the entire world, with an industry that is worth over $100 billion across the globe.  In terms of exporting alone, the industry is valued at $20 billion and continues to be on the rise—on average, 500 billion cups of coffee are consumed on Earth every year.

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Chewing-gum—from the baseball diamond to office workplaces, over 100,000 tons of gum is chewed per year around the world.  Dating back to ancient times, different versions of gum have been used as a means of trade in Africa, stress relievers in Greece, and a construction material in Central America.  To this day, chewing-gum continuous to hold its position as a popular commodity on our planet.

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Who doesn’t love a good grilled cheese sandwich, bowl of ice cream, or a freshly grilled hamburger? All of these crowd favorites and more have been continuing to take a larger chunk of change out of the consumer’s pocket due to a global rise in food prices. Food prices reached a two-year high this past June due to the climb of meat, dairy and wheat prices internationally. There has been a growing demand for meat throughout the globe with beef being the fastest-growing meat category in Asia which in turn has let the U.S. begin shipping supplies to the Chinese market for the first time in 13 years. Analysts have estimated this could open up a multi-billion-dollar market for American producers in the coming decade. Also, butter has been the fasting growing in the dairy category, even leading to a severe butter shortage in France. (To learn more about “Buttergate” check one of our past blogs here) In the realm of all things wheat, cereal prices have skyrocketed due to the record-setting harvests of corn in South America this past year.

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Ice cream—the frozen dessert has become somewhat a staple of society’s diet, with countries across the globe indulging on and/or producing the dairy treat.  Ice cream is available for purchase at a wide variety of retailers—spanning from grocery stores to restaurants to street carts—and the variety is expanding each year with the additions of new flavors and consistencies like gelato.  Overall, the market is expected to be worth $97.3 billion by 2023.

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After a long day of rushing from work to the gym to taking their child to soccer practice, many individuals come home too exhausted to think about cooking which has created the epidemic of fast and prepackaged foods. This uptake in the use of single-use packaging has aided in creating our culture of convenience and waste. The UK alone produces about 170m tons of waste annually, and it can take some materials up to 450 years to break down and others are not biodegradable at all.

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The Fifth International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) Convention will take place Thursday, August 3rd through Saturday, August 5th, in Puebla, Mexico, along with the Latin American Coffee Summit. The mission of IWCA, which has 21 chapters around the world, is to empower women in the coffee industry who “face additional challenges due to gender inequality that often manifests itself into being excluded from training, education, and financing opportunities.” IWCA hosts events like the convention not only as a method to fund the non-profit organization, but also as an opportunity for women in the industry to network with each other, share their experiences, and gain valuable knowledge and skills.

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On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that China and the United States had signed a new trade agreement, named the U.S.-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue. The trade agreement is a result of ongoing negotiations between the two countries following a meeting between U.S. President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in April. This 100-day action plan contains 10-points to be implemented by both China and the United States. For the United States, the agreement is part of an ongoing attempt to cut the trade deficit with Beijing.

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Growing up, many kids turned to ketchup to go with every meal, from hot dogs to mac and cheese to scrambled eggs. Now, the condiment of choice has turned into Sriracha. In the past 16 years, the hot sauce market, specifically Sriracha sauce, in America has increase by 165%, which makes the market one of the fastest growing industries in the United States.

Sriracha is now becoming a global phenomenon with over 200 tons produced a week worldwide. David Tran, the creator of the spicy condiment, never trademarked his creation which has created more success for his name sake. Many imitations are produced in countries such as France, China, and Australia, which are sold alongside the original sauce produced by Huy Fong Foods.

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On March 1, over 1.5 million shopkeepers in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu started a mass boycott of Coca-Cola and Pepsi products, pulling the beverages off their shelves and replacing them with domestic soft drink brands. All of the involved vendors are members of the Tamil Nadu Traders Association, a retailers organization that directed the boycott toward United States-based soft drink brands. The Association cited two primary reasons for the boycott: PepsiCo and The Coca-Cola Company's exorbitant use of the area's groundwater, and the continued "meddling" by American organizations in Indian traditions.

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There is a world of opportunity for those seeking to export their food and agriculture products, considering that more than 70% of the world’s purchasing power is located outside of the United States. By tapping into these new markets before your domestic competitors, you will reap the benefits of having little to no competition, while possibly offsetting slow growth in your home market with the new increase in your company’s sales and profitability. Additionally, an enlarged customer base, as the result of expanding into foreign markets, can lead to your business hiring more employees and create economies of scale in production. Furthermore, diversifying the markets you sell to will help to mitigate the risk that often comes with expansion. For example, if your product sales tend to fluctuate seasonally, exporting can help to counterbalance drops in demand. Fortunately for companies seeking to export, the United States’ reputation for sound business practices and high quality goods appeals to foreign markets.

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Michigan’s economy is reinforced by the global export market, with food and agriculture exports creating a $3.2 billion industry and supporting over 20,000 jobs. Exports of consumer food products are growing three times faster than sales in the United States due to foreign consumers’ growing purchasing power and lower trade barriers. Exporting is an essential way for Michigan companies to increase sales and profits by tapping into a far greater consumer market.

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As harvest time approaches across Europe, many farmers are worried about how much revenue they will make this fall because of trade restrictions with Russia. These trade restrictions, a result of the ongoing conflict in the Ukraine, have had a large impact on European growers, who ship an estimated 5.2 billion euros worth of produce to Russian markets. With Russia’s embargo on European goods, farmers across the European Union are scrambling to find new markets to sell their goods, or risk large price reductions as a result of smaller demand.

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The international marketplace offers great opportunities to Michigan food companies who wish to increase sales. Worldwide, consumer food product exports are growing three times faster than U.S. sales. Though exporting can seem intimidating, Michigan food and agriculture companies can look to upcoming export assistance programs that are happening nearby in Grand Rapids and Canada as a way to enter export markets.

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The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is offering Michigan food companies multiple opportunities to exhibit within Michigan Pavilions at the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Show and the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show. The shows offer businesses a unique, helpful, and affordable way to showcase products under the Michigan name, known globally for outstanding quality. In previous years, over $600,000 in actual sales were reported with $3 million in anticipated sales!

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Brazil, a nation with incredible amounts of fertile land, is currently undergoing an economic boom in the agricultural industry. However, there is one problem. Two different people claim they own the land. The natives want their ancestral rights to the land, while the settlers who have been farming on them and boosting the Brazilian economy. There are 428 Indian land tracts fully registered and 178 that are in the process, but not registered yet. While the government decides what belongs to the natives and what doesn’t, there has been plenty of tension on the ground. At risk is the $124 billion industry (2011), one-fifth of the entire Brazilian economy.

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Back in February, a colleague of mine wrote a blog post regarding the European horsemeat scandal in which horsemeat was advertised as beef in supermarkets. He described the implications that this might have concerning the global supply chain. One quote of his that proved to be shockingly accurate was, “…that the recent events involving horsemeat are only the tip of the iceberg.” Yet another food safety scare has arisen in China, where people are getting served rat meat for dinner instead of the requested mutton meat. China has experienced other food scandals in recent years, mostly involving toxins detected in dairy products. These food scandals have resulted in increased international trade, especially with dairy products, and the much needed increase in food-safety regulation in China.

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For some, eating insects may seem unappetizing and unappealing, but it is estimated that 2.5 billion people worldwide eat insects on a regular basis.  Students from McGill University in Montreal, Canada believe they have come up with a solution to cut down on global poverty and hunger.  It involves distributing cricket-producing kits to impoverished populations around the world that will give these people a source of protein and potentially a source of income as well.  Simply, families could eat what they want and then sell the rest.

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Earlier this week, my colleague Kyle Brown asked the question “Isolated Issue or Global Supply Chain Problem?”  This question was addressing the recent uncovering that many of the products we believe to be 100% beef, actually contain a fair amount of horse meat.  It would seem that this question has been answered relatively quickly with a new Oceana report released yesterday. Oceana is an advocacy group for the world’s oceans that has sampled over 600 outlets in 20 states over a two year period in one of the most comprehensive food and health studies done in recent years.

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Food prices have certainly become a hot topic recently, and so has food quality. With oil spills, nuclear waste scares, and natural disasters constantly threatening the quality of the world’s food supply, businesses have to be more careful with what food they sell. Still the exporting of food seems to continue to increase. Fish exports in particular have seen a huge increase in global demand.

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It’s no secret that in these hard economic times companies worldwide have had to streamline processes and cut back on costs. These cut backs are starting to directly affect the value consumers are getting for their money. Now, due to rising global food prices, food and beverage companies are struggling more than most and having to cut back even more. Chips are mysteriously missing from bags, canned vegetables contain fewer ounces than before, and packaged goods of all types are seeing box size reductions. Even things like diapers are seeing shrinking package sizes. This is certainly not good news for consumers.

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In the past few years, there has been a lot of speculation on companies’ labor and environmental standards. Consumers are finding it more and more important to buy from companies that are responsible with their resources and that are careful not to exploit developing countries and low wage workers. Corporate responsibility is a term that is often used to describe these obligations that corporations have to workers and their families, to consumers, to investors, and to the natural environment. Since this has become more of a priority worldwide, it has exposed several companies that have taken advantage of workers and the environment in the past. Luckily, many companies are making a big effort to improve their standards.

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How many times were you told as a child that chocolate was not good for you? Hundreds?

Well now you can call your mom up and in a sweet, loving way let her know she may have been wrong. Not only is cocoa helping roughly 50 million people make a living, but new discoveries that cocoa may have cardiovascular health benefits is helping increase the demand for this little black bean.

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As wheat prices rise due to insufficient global supply, the big question is how concerned should we be about the high prices? Wheat is the latest agricultural commodity to raise costs. Wheat prices have risen 50% since last June, and prices are the highest since 1973. This is due to droughts and fires destroying crops in Russia, who is the third-largest wheat exporter in the world.

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Lately Africa has been attracting beer companies from around the world, as they look to start new ventures. Breweries interests have already begun in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Juba, Sudan. At the end of 2008, Africa produced 5% of the world’s beer supply, a number which has continued to grow since then. Although beer production has been popular in Africa since the 1990’s, companies have begun to increase their investments in the continent since African locals have struggled to be able to mass produce the product in the past.