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Arlington, VA; Santa Monica, CA—Fresh foods are in higher demand than ever before, according to a poll taken from the 2014 National Grocers Association–SupermarketGuru Consumer Survey Report.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a report on genetically engineered crop use in the United States, in which it cited consumer concern over genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and acknowledged the existence of certain risks to the environment. In a separate survey, many farmers claimed they’ve detected GMO contamination in their non-GMO crops.

­­News from industry food companies.

Finland—Including more fatty fish in the diet is an important means of positively influencing cholesterol levels, says new research out of the University of Eastern Finland (UEF). The study, published in PLOS ONE, shows people who increased their fatty fish intake to at least three to four weekly meals had more large HDL particles in their blood than those who ate less fish.

Kansas City, MO—Add Popchips, Inc. to the growing list of food companies that have settled class action lawsuits over the use of the terms “natural” or “all natural” in marketing. A proposed settlement has the brand set to fork over $2.4 million to a class action fund, after a lawsuit alleged its use of “all natural” in marketing and on packaging is misleading to consumers.

Crush is the word that came to mind as I navigated Hall E, the lower level of Natural Products Expo West, in Anaheim, CA, in early March. This is where newer companies exhibit, some launching at the show. The aisles were packed, something I expected since hotels had sold out last fall.

Palm oil is ubiquitous at the supermarket today, as it’s found in everything from margarine to cereal to potato chips. Palm oil imports have ramped up 485% over the last decade or so, according to the Rainforest Action Network’s palm oil factsheet. The consequence of this increased production is rampant rainforest destruction, and yet this issue may only be reaching the fringes of general consumer awareness.