Origami Cranes: Nestlé Japan to Switch Out Plastic for Paper on KitKats

Laxmi Haigh wrote . . . . . . . . .

Nestlé Japan is replacing the plastic wrapping on its KitKat candy bars with paper in a bid to become one step closer to its commitment of 100 percent recyclable or reusable packaging by 2025. The Japanese market’s material switch will occur across five KitKat multipack products from September 2020 and across all individual products in 2021. The switch to paper is unique to the Japanesemarket, where the popularity of KitKats continues to surpass that of other geographies.

In a playful twist, the company also proposes that the paper packaging is used to create origami cranes after use. These are a traditional Japanese messenger of thoughts and wishes. In local tradition, they can be shared with “important” people.

This is an initiative unique to the KitKat brand, which is also used as a communication tool to show feelings of gratitude and support to close family and friends, shares Nestlé Japan in a statement. The brand name KitKat sounds remarkably like the Japanese phrase kitto katus, which means “you will surely win.” Reportedly, this happy coincidence plays a large role in the popularity of the candy in the country.

In this way, KitKat is more than a simple grocery store candy bar in Japan – it’s a treat that is often gifted as a sign of good luck. Since 2000, KitKat has launched over 300 different flavors in Japan – including novel flavors such as soy sauce, banana and sweet potato. This vastly outstrips the offerings of the US and UK. However, Nestlé recently debuted its Japanese Green Tea Matcha in the UK, and the Ruby Chocolate variant hit shelves in 2018.

Although KitKat sales have been declining in the UK for the past few years, where the brand originally hails from, the Japanese market has experienced steady growth since 2011, reports The Telegraph.

Sweet sustainability

This move within the confectionery space mirrors other food and beverage segments, where companies are increasingly making the switch from plastic to paper. According to Innova Market Insights, we are entering a new era of paper-based packaging, fueled by consumers’ growing anti-plastics sentiment. Mixed material packaging, where the components cannot be separated, is on its way out, and is increasingly replaced by either 100 percent paper-based or hybrid paperboard-plastic packaging.

“Our vision is that none of our product packaging, including plastics, end up in landfill or as litter, including in seas, oceans and waterways. To achieve this, our ambition is that 100 percent of our packaging is reusable or recyclable by 2025. We have made a number of global commitments to help achieve this, including the elimination of non-recyclable plastics. We are determined to look at every option to solve these complex challenges and embrace multiple solutions that can have an impact now,” a Nestlé Japan spokesperson tells PackagingInsights.

While Nestlé Japan’s initiatives to achieve a sustainable future will begin with its leading KitKat products, it is also currently exploring opportunities to expand the scope of the new packaging to other brands and products. However, the company has not shared a timeline for this.

In a similar move across the world, Nestlé converted its YES! Snack bar’s packaging from paper to plastic, making it reportedly “the first confectionary bar on the market” to be packaged in paper using a high-speed flow wrap technology.

According to Nestlé Japan, the paper used for this innovation is different to the KitKat’s material.

Prior to this innovation, plastic films and laminates had to be used in the high-speed production of shelf-stable snacks. However, product quality and freshness throughout the bar’s shelf-life can now still be guaranteed, even when paper is used. This means there is great potential for the rest of the confectionery industry to also switch to recyclable paper packaging, Nestlé said.

In a previous bid to lessen the environmental impact of its treats, Nestlé formed a closed-loop recycling program with waste management specialist TerraCycle in the UK & Ireland for its confectionery’s flexible plastic packaging. Pouches, bags and wrappers from single bars, blocks and multipacks can now be accepted through the Confectionery Recycling Program, which takes the accumulated waste and turns it into new plastic items. However, critics note that reformulating product packaging away from plastic altogether would be a more hard-hitting move.

Source: Food Ingredients First

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Stuffed Salmon Slices

Ingredients

2 slices fresh salmon, or other similar fish such as halibut, 3/4-inch thick and about 10 oz each
1 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
butter or margarine
1 generous handful of bread, soaked in milk and squeezed dry
1 cup finely sliced mushrooms
salt and pepper
1 cup light cream
boiled potatoes to serve

Method

  1. Fry the onion and parsley lightly in 2 tablespoons butter or margarine on low heat.
  2. Stir-in the mixture to the bread and mushrooms in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Butter generously an ovenproof dish, put in one salmon slice, and spread the mushroom mixture over it.
  4. Cover with the second salmon slice, pour over the cream, previously heated), dot with butter, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Cook in a moderate (350°F) oven for about 1/2 hour, basting occasionally with the cooking juices.
  6. Transfer to a warm serving platter, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with boiled potatoes.

Makes 3 to 4 servings.

Source: The Cook’s Book

In Pictures: Food of Vietnamese Restaurants in America

Optimal Vitamin D Levels May Vary for Different Ethnic and Racial Groups

Patti Verbanas wrote . . . . . . . . .

When recommending vitamin D supplements, doctors should look at each individual patient as having different requirements and not rely on “one-size-fits-all” guidelines, according to a study by researchers at Rutgers and the University of California, San Francisco.

The study, published in the journal Metabolism, Clinical and Experimental, highlights the need to gain consensus through improved tests for vitamin D levels that are currently available.

According to the Institute of Medicine, people with less than 20 nanograms of vitamin D per milliliter of blood are deficient. The Endocrine Society set a higher threshold of 30 nanograms. Neither guideline is more definitive than the other at this time.

“Recommendations based on earlier studies using a number of different tests for vitamin D levels persist and, not surprisingly, current guidelines vary,” said author Sylvia Christakos, a professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. “For example, it is not clear that the most optimal levels for vitamin D are the same for Caucasians, blacks or Asians alike. More laboratories are now implementing improved tests and efforts are being made to standardize results from different laboratories.”

Vitamin D’s main function is to help the body absorb calcium. Deficiency can cause delayed skeletal development and rickets in children and may contribute to osteoporosis and increased risk of fracture in adults.

Vitamin D supplements work best when taken with calcium for rickets and bone loss that occurs with aging. Elderly people who are vitamin D deficient benefit from supplementation as protection against fracture. However, studies did not show supplements to be beneficial as protection against fracture if the elderly person was already sufficient in the vitamin.

The researchers also noted that more vitamin D supplementation is not better. Previous studies have shown that very high doses of vitamin D (300,000–500,00 iu taken over a year) seem to increase fracture risk. (The National Academy of Medicine recommends 400 iu/day for infants, 600 iu/day for people age 1 to 70 and 800 iu/day for people over 70; the Endocrine Society suggests doses up to 2,000 iu/day for adults.)

Although vitamin D supplementation has been shown to reduce overall mortality and some studies suggest that vitamin D might be beneficial for immune function, cancer and cardiovascular health, Christakos said a consistent benefit of vitamin D supplementation has yet to be shown. However, she noted, most studies have not discriminated between participants who are vitamin D sufficient or deficient.

Source: Rutgers University

Study: Depression, Alzheimer’s Might Be Part of Same Process in Some Aging Brains

New research is untangling the complex relationship between symptoms of depression and losses in memory and thinking that often emerge together with Alzheimer’s disease.

In fact, the new data suggests that “depression symptoms themselves may be among the early changes in the preclinical stages of dementia syndromes,” explained study lead author Dr. Jennifer Gatchel. She works in the division of geriatric psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

In the study, researchers examined brain scans and other data gathered over seven years from 276 older adults enrolled in the Harvard Aging Brain Study. All of the participants were still living independently in the community at the beginning of the study and were considered healthy.

However, the analysis revealed a significant link between worsening depression symptoms and mental decline over two to seven years, and both of these trends seemed to be linked to a buildup of amyloid protein in brain tissue.

The slow accumulation of amyloid has long been known as a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.

“Our research found that even modest levels of brain amyloid deposition can impact the relationship between depression symptoms and cognitive [thinking] abilities,” Gatchel said in a hospital news release.

The new insight that depression symptoms might be part of the Alzheimer’s process could further research into the prevention or treatment of the illness, she added.

It “raises the possibility that depression symptoms could be targets in clinical trials aimed at delaying the progression of Alzheimer’s disease,” Gatchel said, so “further research is needed in this area.”

The researchers stressed that not all older adults with depression and amyloid buildup will have memory and thinking declines, however. That suggests that other factors — for example, brain metabolism, or the volume of the brain’s memory center, the hippocampus — could link depression and mental decline.

Other mechanisms — including brain degeneration caused by the protein tau (another protein long associated with Alzheimer’s), high blood pressure and inflammation — might play a role and need to be investigated.

Overall, the findings suggest that depression could have multiple causes and might also “work synergistically with amyloid and related processes to affect cognition over time in older adults,” Gatchel said.

Two experts in brain health agreed that the study could further dementia research and treatment.

“This is very helpful research in that it identifies behavioral manifestations that may precede a diagnosis of dementia,” said Brittany LeMonda, a clinical neuropsychologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “It may alert providers to look into mood changes and depression as early symptoms of an underlying dementia and may allow patients to be diagnosed earlier,” she added.

“Whereas in the past, depression and dementia were viewed as separate conditions that could co-occur in the same individual, we have learned now that mood and cognitive symptoms may actually be symptoms of the same underlying condition with shared pathology,” LeMonda explained.

Dr. Gayatri Devi is a neurologist and psychiatrist who specializes in memory disorders at Northwell Health in New York City. She said that “depression has long been known to be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, but one question that clinicians contend with is whether depression is a symptom of cognitive loss or whether it is the cognitive impairment that leads to depression.”

The new research gets closer to solving that puzzle, Devi said, “and underscores that not only is it important to treat late-life depression, physicians should also be alert to, and evaluate for, cognitive loss in such persons and address that separately, as well.”

The new research was published online in JAMA Network Open.

Source: HealthDay


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