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CEO Daily: Thursday, May 21

May 21, 2015, 10:56 AM UTC
Fortune

Big food is in the midst of a big upheaval.

 

We’ve written a lot about disruptions caused by technology. But food companies in the U.S. are facing equally jarring disruption because of rapidly changing consumer tastes. Americans are turning away from “big food” – a shift that has cost the top 25 U.S. food and beverage companies to lose a whopping $18 billion in market share in the last six years alone, according to Credit Suisse analyst Robert Moskow.

 

And what are they turning too? “Natural” food, organic food, less processed food. In some cases they are following trends and fads that have little or no known health or environmental benefit. More than 16% of new foods that debuted in the last four years were marked “gluten-free,” even though only 1% of the U.S. population has celiac disease. There’s a growing groundswell for GMO labeling, despite the lack of evidence that genetically modified foods are harmful. Local food is all the rage, even though small farmers are less regulated and local food distribution is often less efficient and often more energy-intensive.

 

“We’ve never seen the consumer as confused as they are today,” Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi said in a recent conference call. Fortune’s Beth Kowitt does an excellent job cutting through that confusion in the cover story for our June magazine, which will be available online later today.

 

Enjoy the day, and watch what you eat.

 

 

 

Alan Murray
@alansmurray
alan.murray@fortune.com

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