US Midwest drought drives up costs and concerns


By Maureen Aylward

With the drought in the US Midwest continuing, we asked our Zintro experts about the repercussions and impacts for the agricultural economy in the US and globally as food prices rise.

As the worst drought in recent history sweeps across the US, its seismic impacts are reflected in soaring prices of corn and soybean in the past few weeks not only domestically but across the globe as well, says Raghavan Sampathkuma, an expert in agribusiness and agrimarketing. “As one of the major players in global agricultural production and trade, the US has greater and far-reaching impact in three fronts: food, feed and fuel,” he says.

Sampathkuma says that as other parts of the globe, including Europe and the Black Sea region, are experiencing tormenting weather patterns affecting wheat yields, it would not be surprising to see the world witnessing another crisis similar to 2008 that caused social and political unrest in many countries. “Lower global estimates of production and trade of wheat is bound to affect the world’s poorest as most of them depend on food aid. As the US is one of the major contributors to the global food aid, it would become increasingly difficult for it to balance its commitments,” he says. “The triple A’s of food (availability, affordability and accessibility) are important for all, but extremely critical for the economically weakest sections. Food security for two-thirds of the world’s population living in the developing world will become the biggest worry for those governments forcing them to take knee-jerk policy reactions such as export bans that may further distort the global trade.”

As the drought causes a significant reduction in yield and production of corn and soybean, the key inputs for animal feed, it pushes up food prices including meat and dairy products worldwide, notes Sampathkuma. “As this troubles the consumers, it equally affects the profitability of the industry. The worst affected will be the countries that are heavily dependent on US corn. In South East Asia, Vietnam imports over a million and a half tons of corn and any increase in the prices of US corn will impact the country’s livestock sector that is growing at about 9 percent annually. China’s insatiable appetite fuelled by its growing meat consumption will only worsen the crisis as it is another major importer of US corn,” he explains.

In regions like India, the fast growing animal protein sector will be facing a huge challenge to optimize their feed costs as domestic corn prices have risen by at least 15 percent in tandem with the prices in the US, says Sampathkuma. “Soybean prices also reflect similar upward trends in the domestic markets. Being highly-sensitive to feed costs, the livestock sector will be forced to substitute cheaper grains in place of corn causing prices of ingredients such as sorghum and other coarse cereals to rise. This may prompt the Indian government to announce a blanket ban on food exports including corn to stabilize the domestic prices,” he says.

Rising corn prices are sure to push up demand for other feed stocks for producing ethanol and will cause a surge in their prices. “The intense competition between food and fuel will result in global grain prices reaching a new high and trigger interest among the speculative investors who are waiting to jump in and cash in on the crisis. However, learning from the food crisis in 2008, the world could handle the crisis-like situation better,” he says.

Donald Nordeng, an expert in risk and sustainability, says there are several impacts:

1. Immediate and future price increases for commodities: corn, soybeans. “The model for this is the ethanol debacle. Drought in Australia, Brazil, Canada or China will radically affect food prices,” Nordeng says.

2. China is now a major importer as is Indonesia. “These economies are expanding and are larger than they were in 2007 with a bigger impact on prices than in 2007,” he says.

3. India’s inability to boost grain production. “While China and India are seen as mainly rice producing countries, in fact many areas in both rely on wheat for their staple. Wheat areas are gradually being eroded by heat in the US and will impact production,” Nordeng explains.

What do you think?

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Obesity epidemic in the US: What to do?


By Maureen Aylward

One third of Americans are overweight and nearly a third of people under 20 are obese. We asked our Zintro experts to discuss the current leading ideas, approaches, or policies that are being developed to address the obesity epidemic in the US.
Sandra Ham, an expert in epidemiology and obesity, says that the obesity epidemic requires a systems approach because its causes and solutions are interrelated across multiple sectors of society including the food system, schools, the built environment, and healthcare system. “The environment in the US is obesogenic, meaning that it is easier to become obese than to maintain a healthy weight because unhealthy foods are cheaper than healthy foods and physical activity has been engineered out of everyday life, Ham says. “Current leading ideas and approaches target some key interactions between policy, the physical environment, social environment, healthcare system and individual behavior.”

Ham says that childhood obesity is the primary target for several reasons:

  • Overweight and obese kids are more likely to become obese adults than to become healthy weight adults.
  • Research is showing that some obesity-related diseases including type 2 diabetes are more severe and difficult to manage when they occur in youth versus adults.
  • Kids who adopt healthy habits for eating and physical activity are more likely to continue those habits throughout their lives.

“One strategy is to empower youth to make healthy choices that affect their environment. Farm-to-school programs purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers to serve for school breakfasts and lunches. Kids learn about sustainable and local agriculture while also learning how to choose to eat a healthy diet that includes locally-grown foods,” Ham says. “The potential long-term benefits go beyond healthy weight—youth may become more educated consumers with a taste for farm-fresh produce that supports the local and regional economy.”

Another strategy Ham suggests is to promote healthy eating at the policy level. “The USDA recently revised the minimum nutrition standards for school breakfasts and lunches and is working on standards for snack foods and beverages that are sold in schools outside mealtimes,” she says. “The aim of these policies is to make schools a safe haven from the obesogenic food environment where it is easier for kids to choose to consume healthy foods and beverages than junk foods and sugar-loaded beverages.”

David Koivuranta, an expert in corporate health and wellness, says that quite often the focus is on looking outside ourselves for a solution to weight problems; however, the cause or the source of the obesity epidemic is actually inside of us. “It relates to physical, chemical and emotional stress from our environments that are creating a chronic stress response in our bodies. Because of this, our nervous systems and endocrine systems are stuck in habits and patterns that suppress the immune systems, digestive systems, and reproductive organs. This sets the stage for weight gain that cannot be lost until these underlying problems are addressed,” he says.

Koivuranta explains that a return to lifestyle choices that promote optimum physical, chemical, and emotional well being on a maintenance level will foster an environment in the body that can not only decrease body fat and increase lean muscle, but also heal chronic illnesses and diseases. “There is hope and there is a step-by-step process to get it done. Society can benefit, but it will take a a paradigm shift from our crisis care model of health care to one of prevention and proactive choices that meet our expectations of health, happiness and prosperity in life.”

Karen Russell, a registered dietetic technician and health coach, thinks the obesity epidemic has gotten out of hand. “Diabetes is also on the rise in the US. I see overweight men and women along with their children. The only way to stop this epidemic is to make changes in how we shop, cook and eat,” she says. “Dieting is the old way of doing things and is a negative approach that is temporary most of the time. Dieting is restrictive and unbalanced.

Russell suggests a more positive approach, which is to incorporate small changes in the ingredients used in recipes. “People benefit from learning what to do step by step so changes can be made to live the right way without deprivation or starving. Also getting rid of inflammatory foods so that the digestive system can function at it’s best is best practice and can lead to losing weight,” she says.

What do you think?

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Obesity epidemic in the US: Lifestyle changes needed


By Maureen Aylward

One third of Americans are overweight and nearly a third of people under 20 are obese. We asked our Zintro experts to discuss the current leading ideas, approaches, or policies that are being developed to address the obesity epidemic in the US.
Mangesius, an expert in systems biology, says that the world has an over-nutrition problem, and the root cause of the obesity problem is that the supply of food has evolved faster than our bodies’ ability to process the excess food intake. “Glucose is the fuel of life, and glucose metabolism evolved over hundreds of millions of years, but humans have evolved over an infinitesimally shorter time period,” he says. “The human mind, always seeking more efficient solutions, found new ways to satisfy the body’s nutritional needs, and the result is an exponential increase in food choices and a matching decrease in physical activity.”

Mangesius says that everything we eat or drink that contains nutrients will sooner or later send glucose into the blood (compartment), and the blood will take glucose to each and every cell (which can be thought of as a bunch of other compartments). “Like everything else in the body, the amount of glucose in the blood is tightly regulated, not only day by day, but second by second; that is to say, any excess glucose produced by processing the food we eat in the digestive system must be stored,” he says. “Carbohydrates currently dominate human nutrition and most engineered foods contain refined sugars which, unfortunately in terms of their dynamics of turning into glucose, provide the fastest glucose bio-availability and thus are the leading cause of excess.”

The body is a 24/7, complex appliance that needs less power than a laptop, says Mangesius, yet is unbelievably efficient: it keeps the body moving, brain thinking, heart pumping five liters of blood, the temperature is maintained, food is processed and digested, and so on. “Because it is so amazingly efficient, your body only has a very limited ability to consume the excess energy: one can easily consume a meal that is much larger than the body needs, but one simply cannot do enough physical exercise to restore the balance within a reasonable time interval afterwards,” he explains. “When too much energy is available from food, but too little energy is consumed through physical activity, the body stores the difference as fat at every step of the metabolic processes. These excess fat deposits have led to the current world-wide epidemic of obesity, pre-diabetes, and type 2 diabetes, plus the huge increases in the incidence of type 1 diabetes. The long term cure must find its foundation in a different approach to nutrition.”

Eileen Enright, a holistic health coach, says that the ultimate approach is not to dwell on calories, carbs, fats, and proteins or create lists of restrictions or good and bad foods; instead, it is to foster the belief that nutrition can create a happy, healthy life in a way that is flexible, fun and rewarding. “I work with clients to reach their health goals in areas such as achieving optimal weight, reducing food cravings, increasing sleep, and maximizing energy. As we work together, clients grasp a deeper understanding of the food and lifestyle choices that work best for them and implement lasting changes that will improve their energy, balance and health,” she says. “It’s easy to overlook all of the things that contribute to our sense of nourishment and fulfillment. It’s not just the food we eat, but all of the other factors present in our daily lives: healthy relationships, a fulfilling career, regular physical activity, and a spiritual awareness. All of these factors are essential forms of nourishment, and when these “primary foods” are balanced, what you eat becomes secondary.”

What do you think?

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Seeking Experts to Work on Food Industry Consulting Projects


Zintro  is a “Search and Connect Engine” that makes it easy for clients (expert-seekers) to find and connect with experts for projects (ranging from one half hour phone consults to multi-month on-site engagements). Some of the uses include:

▪   To engage in phone consults with experts for primary market research or to get challenging business or technical questions answered
▪   To source consultants or vendors for projects
▪   To identify candidates for full-time employment

Zintro has over 40,000 experts (browse) across every single industry sector. These experts have opted-in to receive system-matched inquiries from our almost 15,000 clients. Over 1,000 inquiries come in every month.

Zintro currently has numerous open projects related to Food Industry.  A few of these projects are included below.  Click on the links below to see more detail about the projects

A SMALL SAMPLE OF ACTIVE  PROJECTS:

Edible Oil Production and Sales

Looking for an ex-executive with senior experience within the specialty edible oils market within the USA, specifically knowledge of industry practice concerning production, refining, sales, distribution, etc, on a national level. Specific knowledge related to Sunflower, Safflower and other specialty food oil markets is preferred. The right individual would consult initially, with potential to transition to a management role with a well-funded integrated Ag start-up….more

Expert in procurement for fast food restaurants to testify about how these restaurants join together for purchasing cheese….more

Food Import

We have a family business in China, selling 20+ kinds of rices and beans, 10+ mushrooms and pine nuts to retailers. We’re planning to prompt our products to the US market, starting from California. I would like to 1st. understand the market 2nd. hire someone to prompt to distributors.
I’m based in the San Francisco bay area….more

I am looking for someone to provide us with advice on the Refrigeration for food industry, myself and my partners are looking in to buying part of a Danish company engaged in the manufacturing of a CSC (Cooling system cleaner).Today, most people use just a UV light to get read of potential harmful bacteria, this patented system uses a mix existing but enhanced technology in to an active process to get read of 99.3 to 100% of micro-organisms.During this phase what we would like is someone with expertise in the industry to take a look at the product and how it works and then help us understand where are the inflection points in the value chain were we can see demand for it in the US, at this time we know the technology is sound but we do not know if is needed?.In Europe the product is being used mostly with food processors in the fruit, vegetable, dairy and meat industry, we have heard anecdotical references to the fact that standards in Europe are stricter than in the US and that it may not be as appealing here, but we still think being able to create a firewall to protect food from contamination has to be an area of opportunity.The way we see this developing is a quick project for us to complete our quick due diligence and then depending on how we move we may also require services to help us build distribution and customer target lists , etc… Basically this very short term engagement could turn in to a long term relationship….more

We need a Regulatory Affairs Consultant for our office located in South Plainfield, NJ. The primary responsibility of this position is the preparation of regulatory submissions to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its clients’ products. The incumbent will be responsible for critically reviewing data for submissions, preparing original submissions (IND’s, NDA’s, ANDA’s, NDS’s, PMA’s 510(k)’s, and maintaining existing submissions by filing amendments, submissions,, annual reports and other documents as required….more

For Experts (client-seekers): Are you interested in marketing your services to Zintro’s Clients? It takes just a couple of minutes and is free to sign up as a Zintro Expert. Relevant projects will automatically be emailed to you. Click here to sign up.

For Clients (expert-seekers): In under 90 seconds, you can contact hundreds of relevant business or technical experts within any industry sector. Click here to post an Inquiry (free & anonymous).

Or, do you want to learn more about how Zintro works? Click here to view Zintro’s knowledge-base.

Zintro has experts in every industry sector, across every job function, in every geographic region. Recently, some of the following topics have seen a inquiry activity:

Seeking Experts to work on Food Science Consulting Projects


Zintro is a business network that makes it easy for Clients (expert-seekers) to connect with Experts for consulting engagements (ranging from one half hour phone consults to multi-month on-site engagements). Some of the uses include:

▪   For market research

▪   To get challenging business or technical questions answered

▪   To potentially hire them for consulting projects

▪   To potentially hire them for full-time employment

▪   To potentially buy products or services from them

 

Zintro has over 40,000 experts (browse) across every single industry sector. These experts have opted-in to receive system-matched inquiries from our almost 10,000 clients. Over 1,000 inquiries come in every month.

 

Zintro currently has numerous open projects related to Food Science. A few of these projects are included below.  Click on the links below to see more detail about the projects and/or to reply directly to the Client.

 

 

A SMALL SAMPLE OF ACTIVE CONSULTING PROJECTS:

 

Food Science

I am working on the development of a food product & am in need of a food scientist to set me in the right direction as far as formulation is concerned…..more

 

Low Sodium Food

Where is the center of expertise in low sodium innovation processed food? Is there a university that is the center of research in this field…more

 

BBQ Sauce

I would like to flavor match a BBQ sauce product…more

 

Food Science

I will like to package the African Giant snails, as fired food in cans like we have sardines. What advice can you give? This product has received negative PR in the past only because it was brought in life…more

 

Nutrition Bars

Looking for someone with product development experience developing nutrition bars for people with IBS…more

 

Food Pathogen Detection

I am an attorney representing a plaintiff in a patent infringement case pending in the Southern District of Michigan. I am looking for an expert witness. The technology is a device for detecting microorganisms/pathogens in food…more

 

Food FDA Approval

We are looking to make a salsa from our family recipe. We were told we need to have a food technologist formulate a recipe for FDA approval…more

 

For Experts (client-seekers): Are you interested in marketing your services to Zintro’s Clients?  It takes just a couple of minutes and is free to sign up as a Zintro Expert.  Relevant projects will automatically be emailed to you.  Click here to sign up.

 

For Clients (expert-seekers): In under 90 seconds, you can contact hundreds of relevant business or technical experts within any industry sector. Click here to post an Inquiry (free & anonymous).

 

Or, do you want to learn more about how Zintro works?  Click here to view Zintro’s knowledge-base.