Food-manufacturing and food-processing companies are pushing to rid their products of genetically modified organisms due to increased demand from customers. As consumers seek healthier lifestyles and diets focused on natural ingredients, companies have had to adapt to keep their sales up.

For example, The Hershey Company announced in early 2015 they would be removing GMO ingredients from almost all its products. Most notably, Hershey’s Kisses and Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars are no longer made with genetically modified beet sugar. Rather, they are being made with cane sugar.

Hershey’s isn’t the only company ridding their products of GMOs, but they are the most notable. While they haven’t yet committed to shedding GMOs from all their products, that point appears to be coming. Consumers are demanding it, and consumers usually win.

Where Can U.S. Producers Source Non-GMO Sugar?

Currently, most of the sugar grown in the United States is beet sugar, which can be genetically modified. In order to acquire non-GMO sugars, companies need to source internationally, with Brazil becoming a more and more enticing market.

Brazil is the largest cane-sugar producer in the world, although a lot of their natural cane sugar goes to create sugarcane ethanol (fuel), so they aren’t necessarily the largest producer of edible cane sugar. That could change, however, as more and more companies in the United States and elsewhere look to Brazil for the pure, non-GMO cane sugar.

What it Means for the Sugar Industry

Brazil has the perfect climate for cane sugar, which used to be the only type of sugar anyone wanted. Will their high level of production increase as more U.S. producers seek natural ingredients?

Or, will the beet-sugar producers in the United States start to remove their GMO crops and produce natural beet sugars?

The costs are generally higher with non-GMO ingredients, which means the price of cane sugar could climb significantly if companies look to source their cane sugars from Brazil and other foreign countries. Of course, there are costs to beet-sugar producers switching their business models as well.

With consumers demanding more natural ingredients, will they also bear the brunt of these price increases? In general, natural ingredients cost more, so it will be very interesting to follow these trends to see how the sugar industry handles these consumer demands.

We are committed to assisting you with your needs no matter the shifts in consumer demands. At Bremer, we carry both GMO beet sugar, and Non-GMO can sugar. Let us know what your consumers are demanding and how we can help.

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Searching for Oats in the United States

What is going on with flour and oats in the United States? You already see the dramatic price fluctuations. But why? And how can we fix this?

Simply put: oats were hard to get out of Western Canada this spring. Rail cars, are essential to the oats industry, but there was a shortage in cars that resulted in a bottleneck on Canada’s rails, which brought on a shortage of oats to the United States.

Canadian mills became aware of the issue and tried to get as much as they could down to millers in the United States, as those millers were holding dangerously low levels of oats, with some even fearing closures.

Finding a Way
For a company like Bremer Authentic Ingredients, issues like this are of high importance. We need to stay up on all freight issues and prepare as best we can for any future shortage that could make it more difficult for us—and thus our customers—to get the right ingredients in a timely fashion.

Artisan Bakery Bread

As the ice melted on the Mississippi River, Scandinavian suppliers became an option for millers in the United States. This, of course, gave Canadian suppliers extra incentive to try to resolve the issues with the rail system, as every time a miller in the United States buys from someone else, the Canadian suppliers lose money (and it can be a substantial amount).

Everyone involved is doing what they can to get back to business as usual. For our part, it means working directly with our suppliers to know exactly what they have, when they have it and when they can get it, so we can keep our stock at a healthy level for our customers.

You Can Taste (and Smell) the Holidays

Nothing tells you it’s the holiday season better than your own sense of smell. Even in the middle of July, if you get a whiff of peppermint, you—even if only for a moment—think it’s November or December.

And now, as we’re at the height of holiday season, those familiar scents will be permeating the air anywhere you can find an oven.

We’ve compiled a few ingredients, based on consumer trends, to give you an idea of what consumers are looking for. What types of recipes are you manufacturing and baking to cater to your customers at this time of year?

Classic Holiday Ingredients

Ginger will forever be associated with the holidays, taking the lead in gingerbread cookies, ginger crisps and any number of creative twists on the old standbys.

Peppermint plays the starring role in bars, cookies and other desserts to adorn the holiday season (after all, this was the chosen flavor for candy canes).

Two more classic holiday ingredients, vanilla and nutmeg, find their ways into dishes throughout the year, but are especially noticeable during the holidays. While essential on their own, become more powerful when combined, along with rum, to create the classic holiday drink, egg nog. As Clark W. Griswold would say, “It’s good.”

Lesser-Known Holiday Ingredients

Many ingredients are extremely popular in certain parts of the world or in certain families, but are unknown or even disliked in others. Still, we looked at what consumers want this year, and found an increasing demand for versatile (and polarizing) allspice, cardamom, saffron and star anise.

What are you seeing from your customers? Is there a particular spice to which they tend to gravitate?

Gluten-Free Labels Now Have Meaning

With the FDA finalizing what exactly constitutes the meaning of “gluten-free,” consumers (especially those with celiac disease) will now be able to reliably select gluten-free foods without having to wonder what they’re actually getting.

What does that mean for you? If you have been or will be marketing gluten-free foods, you’ll need to follow these new FDA guidelines.

The term “gluten-free” now refers to foods that are either inherently gluten-free or foods that do not contain any ingredient that is:

  • A gluten-containing grain (e.g. spelt wheat)
  • Derived from a gluten-containing grain that has not been processed to remove gluten (e.g. wheat flour)
  • Derived from a gluten-containing grain that has been processed to remove gluten (e.g. wheat starch), if the use of that ingredient results in the presence of 20 parts per million (ppm) or more gluten in the food

Help for Celiac Disease

Because celiac disease has no cure, and the only treatment is dietary, this label standardization is long overdue in the minds of many. Because sufferers of celiac disease risk extreme medical problems if they were to ingest gluten, standardized labels are going to be a huge help.

Most people with celiac disease (there are approximately 3 million in the United States) can tolerate small amounts of gluten, and the 20 ppm level is the lowest that can be consistently detected, which is why the FDA instituted this threshold.

Gluten-Free Timeline

The regulation went into effect on August 5, 2013. Manufacturers will have one year to comply, meaning all foods will be subject to regulatory action if they are not in compliance by August 5, 2014.

Anyone looking for a workaround would be better advised to put that energy into complying. For the purposes of this regulation, “gluten-free,” “free of gluten,” “without gluten” and “no gluten” will be treated the same. A label making a gluten-free claim of any sort must be in compliance.

If you are looking to make the shift to gluten-free product offerings, please let us know how we can help with your ingredient needs. Click Here to Connect With Us Today.