Never a dull moment in the food industry

Hostess Brands Inc., in its second Chapter 11 bankruptcy in recent years, announced that Gregory F. Rayburn, "a seasoned turnaround executive" has been named president and CEO. He succeeds Brian Driscoll, who resigned March 9. Rayburn was with Kobi Partners L.L.C., a restructuring advisory services firm based in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have directed suppliers of caramel coloring to reduce levels of 4-methylimidazole, responding to a new California requirement of cancer warning labels on beverages containing a certain level of carcinogen, reports AP. "While we believe that there is no public health risk that justifies any such change, we did ask our caramel suppliers to take this step so that our products would not be subject to the requirement of a scientifically unfounded warning," said Coca-Cola's Diana Garza Ciarlante.

The USDA says meat and poultry consumption is expected to drop 12 percent this year compared with five years ago as Americans focus on costs, health and the environment, reports the Indianapolis Star. Tanya Steel of says the trend is big among people older than 65 and younger than 30 who are replacing meat with other high-protein options, such as quinoa, eggs, nuts and bean.

Dole Food Co. Inc. acquired Mrs. May's Naturals, a snacks company that targets the better-for-you snack market. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed. Mrs. May's Naturals will become part of the Dole Packaged Foods division and accelerate the development of Dole's all-natural offerings in the health and nutrition space, according to the company.

Campbell Soup Co. will phase out the use of bisphenol A in its cans, though the company thinks it poses no safety risk, reports FoodSafetyNews. "The trust we've earned from our consumers for over 140 years is paramount for us," said Craig Owens, senior vice president and chief financial and administrative officer

Global Industry Analysts predicts the global gum market will grow at a compound annual rate of 4.9 percent over the next five years, reaching $23.1 billion by 2017, reports Functional and adult-specific gums are expected to lead the growth, countering sluggish sales in gum for children.

Sara Lee Corp. has appointed Luc Volatier as senior vice president, supply chain & operations of its International Coffee and Tea business effective April 1, 2012. Volatier will be in charge of all procurement, supply chain and manufacturing operations.  He will continue to serve in the same role once the International Coffee and Tea business is spun-off from Sara Lee Corp. in the first half of 2012.

The annual "Fortune Most Admired Companies" survey ranked Sealed Air first among 10 companies in the packaging industry. It also received the top ranking in seven of the nine categories in which companies are evaluated - innovation, people management, social responsibility, management quality, financial soundness, quality of products and global competitiveness. Sealed Air also ranked in the Top 10 in both the innovation and social responsibility categories for all companies surveyed worldwide

Chobani yogurt will feature the Olympic rings and Team USA logo on its packaging as part of its deal with the U.S. Olympic Committee, making Chobani the official packaged yogurt of the USOC and Team USA, reports Progressive Grocer. "Chobani will play an important role by providing high-quality protein to our athletes, especially in the recovery phase, when the addition of protein has muscle-building effects," said Alan Ashley, chief of sport performance for the U.S. Olympic Committee.

A growing number of chefs are embracing Szechuan peppercorns -- an ingredient in the traditional Chinese five spice blend -- as a way to add unique flavor to dishes, reports Nation's Restaurant News. Christopher Loss, director of menu research and development at the CIA says the tongue-numbing properties of the peppercorns may be a good way to fool the palate when eating dishes that lack salt.

Budweiser's "Track Your Bud" campaign lets consumers download an application that shows where and when their Budweiser was brewed when they scan the QR code, reports Convenience Store News. The application connects Budweiser drinkers through Facebook.

"Infodemiology" might be one way social media can be used to spread the word about foodborne-illness outbreaks, reports FoodNavigator. At a recent conference, Wal-Mart Stores Food Safety Vice President Frank Yiannas pointed out that Twitter updates alerted officials to a norovirus outbreak in British Columbia. "By the time health experts report an outbreak, it's pretty late into the epidemic curve," Yiannas said. "Social media is going to change the way we deal with food safety." 

While Mexican, Italian, Chinese, and other ethnic dining spots dot the U.S. map, restaurants serving the nation's oldest cuisine, American Indian, remain hard to find, reports QSR. In December 2008, college pals Ben Jacobs and Matthew Chandra opened Tocabe: An American Indian Eatery to bring Native American food to Denver. The fast casual boasts a menu inspired by Jacobs' Osage tribe roots and the universal themes of Native cuisine. From Indian tacos and medicine-wheel nachos topped with homemade salsa to bison ribs covered in blueberry barbecue sauce, Jacobs and Chandra dish out the best of Native comfort food. Tocabe (an Osage word for "blue") has generated consistent buzz, including a segment on the Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.