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Food Companies Insight Alert Archive

Have a look at some of our recent alerts. These give broad coverage of the industry - if you want something more specific create your own here.

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January 15, 2019, to September 15, 2019

Improved Packaging Sustainability Is A Major Priority Of CCEP

According to Joe Franses, VP Sustainability for Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), a major priority for the company is reducing the environmental impact of its packaging. It is working on a number of initiatives to improve the packaging sustainability, including removing unnecessary plastic and developing innovative ways to get its products to consumers. In a recent interview, Franses said the company wants to make sure all packaging is 100 percent recyclable, but the most challenging goal is to “collect a bottle or can for everyone that we sell.”  To achieve these goals Franses said the company is implementing a cross-system working model with Coca-Cola to ensure packaging sustainability. This includes: investing in new manufacturing lines at sites across Europe; increasing capacity for refillable glass bottles and resting new routes to market; and – to encourage use of refillable packaging – looking closely at the different collection and recycling schemes in place in Western Europe – including household collection schemes and deposit return schemes (DRS). 

Coca-Cola India Is The Innovation Spark Plug Driving Asia-Pacific Region Growth

The Asia-Pacific region is a key growth engine for Coca-Cola, but innovation in India is sparking that engine. Coca-Cola India is perceived as “agile and swift when it comes to introducing innovations:” product innovations in India have almost doubled over the last three years.” In a recent interview, Shell Huang, vice-president for R&D, Asia-Pacific, noted that Coca-Cola India has launched nearly 25 new products since 2016, applying an incubation model that cuts development time from the concept stage to the retail shelves to 12 weeks from 2-3 years. Collaborating with the Shanghai R&D Center, Coca-Cola India is currently testing products such as spiced buttermilk fortified with fiber to strengthen its dairy play, a fruit puree product under the Minute Maid brand, and a non-alcoholic malt drink under the Barbican brand. The spiced buttermilk product is likely to be launched nationally in the first quarter of 2020, while the fruit puree product will be launched in select urban markets, Huang said. 

Coke Korea Names First Woman As CEO

Coca-Cola Korea has named its first female CEO to replace 12-year-veteran Lee Chang-yeob. Choi Su-chong, who is said to have “a proven record of growing businesses and managing large transitions,” will be responsible for managing operations as well as building a brand through competitive differentiation. Choi joined Coca-Cola Korea as a brand manager for Sprite and Fanta in 2006 and was promoted to various positions in marketing soda brands. Most recently she was responsible for the launch of new products such as Seagrams, Georgia Coffee, Toreta, and AdeS.

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December 15, 2018, to January 15, 2019

Ioniqa’s Process For Hard-To-Recycle PET Materials Is Gaining Attention From Large CPGs

Coca-Cola is supporting Dutch firm Ioniqa Technologies with a loan, to help it develop the technology for producing recycled PET content from PET waste that is typically difficult to recycle. The move is a part of  Coca-Cola’s target of using packaging containing 50 percent or more recycled content by 2030. The  technology allows recycling of colored PET bottles, typically excluded from some recycling processes, to be used in food-grade PET. Unilever announced earlier this year its collaboration with Ioniqa.

Aldi To Replace Polystyrene Pizza Discs With Recyclable Discs


The Aldi supermarket chain in the UK is introducing 100 percent recyclable pizza discs to replace the Polystyrene discs. Earlier this year, Aldi in the US said it would roll out How2Recycle labels across its own brand products over the next two years, and in March the company committed to using 100 percent recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging for own-label products by 2022. In the UK, it has also stopped offering customers 5p plastic bags, only 9p reusable bags made from plastic waste.

KFC To Use Plastic-Free Food Buckets At Australia’s Upcoming Big Bash Cricket League



KFC, in partnership with Graphic Packaging International, is supplying half a million food buckets using sustainable materials for the Big Bash League 2018, a cricket event in Australia. The move is aligned with the Government’s commitment to ensure all packaging in the country will be 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025. The plastic-free buckets will be made at Graphic Packaging’s plant in the UK and will have a grease-resistant lining. 

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December 01, 2018, to December 15, 2018

Coke’s Brand Incubator To Undergo Major Restructuring

Scott Uzzell, president of Coca-Cola’s Venturing and Emerging Brands (VEB) business, outlined in a December 4 memo several organizational changes to take effect in January. The changes, including some staff shifts, will “sharpen our focus” related to the current marketing strategy and accelerate the growth of its beverage portfolio. VEB’s role – “futurist, investor, incubator and integrator“ – is to spot the right trends, invest in them, incubate them “and, finally, help integrate them into our broad business system.” With that in mind, VEB will create several new business units that will nurture acquired brands: imported mineral water brand Topo Chico and coconut water maker Zico will move into the Still Business Unit; Hansen’s and Blue Sky Beverage Company will move to the Sparkling Business Unit; and Hubert’s Lemonade and VEB’s Natural Channel Sales Team will be folded into the Minute Maid Business Unit based in Texas. Other brands – Fairlife, Suja, and BodyArmor – will not be affected.

Kellogg Plans To Back Out Of The Cookie Business

Kellogg Company plans to sell its cookie and snack fruit businesses to concentrate on its core product lines. On the auction block will be Keebler, Famous Amos, and Mother's and Murray cookie brands along with the Stretch Island fruit snack brand. In January 2019, the company will begin to revamp its organizational structure to improve core product market share. Kellogg hopes the move will provide “top-line growth” for the company. The structural changes will include consolidation of its morning foods, snacks, and frozen food businesses – representing about 80 percent of U.S. revenue – into single product categories. The company is also: placing a new emphasis on e-commerce; reorganizing its sales teams and making changes in its supply chain.

Retiring Coke Chairman Kent Lists Challenges For Global CEOs

Outgoing Coca-Cola Chairman Muhtar Kent – he’s retiring in April 2019 – says running a global business is tougher than ever because of the competition, of course, but also because of “sociopolitical dynamics,” more unknowns – like Brexit, U.S. trade wars, and currency fluctuations – and “more volatility, constant volatility." But that’s not all that gives CEOs anxiety. Also at work are a “global war for talent” and “digitization," he told CNBC. Kent, a 40-year veteran of Coca-Cola, will be replaced as chairman by CEO James Quincey.

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November 01, 2018, to December 01, 2018

Coca-Cola’s Environmental Policy Leader Outlines The Company’s ‘World Without Waste’ Strategy

Dr. Ben Jordan, senior director of environmental policy for Coca-Cola, says the company is progressing its aim to reduce its impact on the environment. Speaking at an event in Kuala Lumpur, he outlined Coca-Cola’s ‘World Without Waste’ vision, to eliminate packaging waste and address the issue of marine debris. Jordan says the company has since August 2017 had a team of over 30 globally working on the program, which comprises three pillars: Design, Collect and Partner. Coca-Cola aims to use only 100% recyclable packaging by 2025. It also aims to make sure the consumer does recycle the packaging, and stresses the need to work with partners, like bottlers and NGOs, to make sure it happens. 

PepsiCo Strengthens Its Commitment To Using Recycled Material In Packaging

PepsiCo has pledged to use 25 per cent recycled content in plastic packaging by 2025, building on its 2016 ‘Performance with Purpose’ sustainability initiative that aims to make 100 per cent of its packaging recyclable, biodegradable or compostable by 2025. The company says that its work with partners will ensure PET beverage bottles will incorporate 33 per cent recycled PET material by 2025. In the EU, it is aiming for a 50% target. The new target also builds on its commitment to Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s  New Plastic Economy initiative. PepsiCo has also announced it had entered a multi-year supply agreement with Loop Industries, Inc., which develops sustainable plastic. PepsiCo will start to use Loop™ PET plastic, which contains 100 per cent recycled material, in its product packaging by early 2020. 

Global Companies Join The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment

Nearly 300 organizations have has joined a global initiative to eliminate plastic waste. The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment signatories include recycling companies, packaging producers and  retailers. It was announced at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s 'Our Ocean' conference in Bali, and was launched in collaboration with UN Environment. The initiative has three main aims: eradicate unnecessary plastic and move away from single-use packaging; work towards 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable plastic packaging by 2025; and to circulate plastic by increasing the volume of plastics that can be converted into new products or packaging. CPG companies that have signed up include Johnson & Johnson, SC Johnson, Danone, L’Oréal, Mars, PepsiCo, Unilever and Coca-Cola. Other signatories include Walmart, Target, Carrefour, Metro AG, Lidl, Ahold Delhaize, H&M, Amcor and Novamont.  

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October 01, 2018, to November 01, 2018

Target Is Testing App That Highlights Foods Nearing “Best Used By” Dates That Sell At A Discount

A Canadian start-up that developed a food waste app is being tested at select Target stores in the Midwest and with the Loblaw (Canada) grocery chain. The Flashfood app pinpoints food close to the "best used by" or expiration dates so that users can pay via the app and then pick up the deeply discounted food at the store. Flashfood takes a cut of each sale. Stores benefit by selling food that would otherwise be tossed into the dumpster, and consumers benefit by getting lower-priced food that is still perfectly edible. Target’s goal is to reduce overall retail waste by 70 percent by 2020, and is moving forward with strategies that include waste-stream audits and an in-store tracking program to prevent wasted food at some of their stores,

Fast-food, Restaurant Chains Wooing Millennials Spurn Processed Cheese

Fast-food and fast-casual restaurant chains bowing to the demands of the Millennial generation are spurning the century-old sandwich favorite processed American cheese – made with sodium citrate, calcium phosphate, natamycin, modified food starch, and milk – in favor of premium cheeses that contain no synthetic or artificial ingredients. Wendy’s, for example, offers asiago, AW's Canada locations use real cheddar, McDonald's replaced its Big Mac American cheese with a version that contains no artificial preservatives, and Panera Bread is now using a four-cheese combo of fontina, cheddar, manteau and smoked gouda to make its grilled cheese sandwich. The result is higher sales for the restaurants, and a significant drop in American cheese sales for the fourth straight year. U.S. sales of processed cheese, including brands like Kraft Singles and Velveeta are projected to drop 1.6 percent this year.

Nestlé USA Forms New Partnerships With Innovative Food Start-Ups

Nestlé USA announced three new partnerships with innovative food start-ups as part of the TERRA Food & Agriculture Accelerator founded by RocketSpace and Rabobank. The partnerships are with with Jackson's Honest, Miyoko's and Here, each of which is “creating on-trend foods focused on plant-based nutrition, simple labels and fresh ingredients.” Chicago-based Here Foods turns fresh produce ingredients grown by independent farmers into products like cold-pressed juices, spreads, dips, and salad dressings. Jackson’s Honest sells more than 20 Non-GMO Project verified snacks, including potato chips, tortilla chips, and grain-free puffs cooked “low and slow” in organic coconut oil. Miyoko Creamery makes non-dairy cheese, butter, and other products from organic nuts, legumes, and other plant-based ingredients.

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September 15, 2018, to October 01, 2018

How Companies Are Working To Meet Demand For “Free From” Foods

As American consumers increasingly seek out foods that are “free from” gluten, antibiotics, pesticides, and genetic modification – sales of which are poised to grow 15 percent by 2022 – food manufacturers are taking extraordinary measures to ensure they are meeting that demand, changing the way they procure, process, and package food. General Mills Inc., for example, which was forced recall gluten-free Cheerios – oats do not naturally contain gluten – because wheat flour got into a facility in California. The company built a special eight-story sorting plant to make sure gluten particles from neighboring fields did not end up in their oat-based cereals.

Perdue To Begin Offering Lower-Priced Organic Chicken Products

Maryland-based Perdue Farms announced its Simply Smart Organics chicken products – including frozen and refrigerated whole grain, gluten-free, and lightly breaded nuggets, strips and tenders – will be available next month at about half the cost of other organic brands. The company says the new organic products will be more affordable relative to other similar products, without compromising organic standards, convenience or taste. The line of chicken products can already be found in stores, but beginning in October they’ll carry the USDA certified organic seal. U.S. sales of organic broiler chickens were up 78 percent in 2016 from the previous year, totalling $750 million, according to the USDA.

General Mills Drops “Natural” Claim For Granola Bars


General Mills will no longer claim on its Nature Valley granola bars that they are 100 percent natural, according to a news report. The company recently settled a 2016 lawsuit that said that oats used in the bars contained the herbicide glyphostate, the active ingredient in the Monsanto product Roundup that has been connected to cancer. Tests by an independent lab found .45 parts per million glyphosate in the Nature Valley products. The company reportedly settled instead of going through "the cost and distraction of litigation" and instead will focus on making sure products have 100 percent whole grain oats.

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September 01, 2018, to September 15, 2018

Asia-Pacific Is Ramping Up Efforts To Reduce Single-Use Plastic

There is a growing awareness of single-use plastic in the Asia-Pacific region, with governments and companies acting to reduce the volume of plastic waste. However, there are also concerns that too little is being done, and too slowly. In India, PepsiCo has committed to using 100% compostable, plant-based packaging for some of its snack brands, and Nestle plans globally to make 100% of its packaging either recyclable or reusable by 2025. Unilever has a similar target. In South Korea, supermarket chains Lotte Market, E-Mart, Mega Mart, Homeplus and Hanaro Mart, announced plans to reduce the number plastic shopping bags and encourage the use of reusable ones. In Singapore, a new zero-waste store opened in May 2018. Unpackt uses no packaging, inviting customers to bring their own containers. Governments too are acting. In India, the state of Maharastra introduced a ban on single-use plastics, and the whole country aims to be free of single-use plastics by 2022. A senate inquiry in Australia has recommended a national ban on single-use plastics, following state bans of single-use bags in Victoria and New South Wales. 

KFC Initiative On Single-Use Plastic in Macau and Hong Kong

KFC outlets in Hong Kong and Macau will stop automatically giving out plastic straws and lids for customers eating in the store, but will provide them if asked. They will also be added to takeaways and select items. KFC made the decision following a trial in which most customers were happy not to have a plastic straw or lid. Greenpeace has acknowledged the move but added that plastic straws and lids are just a fraction of the plastic disposables used by the chain. The environmental group estimates that KFC uses some 42 million plastic disposable items each year, but even this is less than some local chains, according to Greenpeace.

Coca-Cola A Major Contender For Kraft Heinz Consumer Products In India

Coca-Cola is competing against Indian pharmaceutical company Zydus Cadila Group to purchase the Indian consumer portfolio of Kraft Heinz for approximately $1 billion. The portfolio includes the children’s milk drink Complan. At one time, suitors included Tata Group, Wipro Consumer, Dabur India and Danone, companies that have been shortlisted along with Coca-Cola and Zydus Cadila. Other contenders have included Nestlé, Emami, and ITC. Some potential purchasers have expressed concerns about the future of products like Complan as consumer preferences continue to evolve. Coca-Cola India is also pursuing GlaxoSmithKline’s consumer nutrition business, which owns malted milk brand Horlicks. The asking price is reportedly $4 billion. Coke’s strategy is to acquire established or high-potential brands in India’s non-soda beverage space, especially health-based hydration that includes glucose and milk-based drinks.

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August 01, 2018, to September 01, 2018

Kraft Heinz Commits To Environmentally-Friendlier Packaging By 2025

The Kraft Heinz Company has committed to making its packaging 100 percent recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025, and it will also work towards reducing the amount of packaging. The CEO, Bernardo Hees, said that the company needs to look at how its greenhouse emissions are generated throughout the supply chain, and not just from direct operations. The initiatives are a part of its ‘Growing a Better World’ program it announced in 2017.

Hormel Removes Carrageenan From Line Of Natural, Organic Deli Meats

Hormel’s Applegate brand of natural and organic meats announced it has eliminated the controversial ingredient carrageenan from its deli meat products after consumers complained about it.  Carrageenan is a sulfated polysaccharide derived from seaweed that is used as a thickener and stabilizer in foods. The USDA now allows the use of carrageenan in natural and organic foods. Hormel also requires a no-antibiotics policy on the farms that produce meats for its Applegate products.

Coca-Cola UK Presents List Of Features Of Ideal Deposit Return Scheme

Coca-Cola European Partners has revealed the characteristics of what the company believes is a deposit return scheme that is workable and likely to succeed in the UK. According to the company, a DRS for recycling cans and bottles should be “easy for public to recycle and no penalty for doing the right thing and should have “good financial management and fraud control.” Also, the company said a good DRS should have a “common approach covering the whole of Great Britain” and should be managed by a “not-for-profit management company.”

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July 01, 2018, to August 01, 2018

Cut Back On Plastic Packaging, Leading Manufacturers Hear From As You Sow

As You Sow, a nonprofit group representing 25 investment companies managing more than $1 trillion in assets, has called on Nestle SA, PepsiCo Inc., Procter & Gamble Co., and Unilever NV, to reduce their use of plastic in packaging of their products. Signed by investment managers, including Hermes Investment Management and Impax Asset Management, the initiative calls plastic packaging damaging to the environment. Companies should reveal their annual use of plastic packaging, establish goals for reducing plastic packaging, and exert efforts to recycle plastic packaging, the group said.

McDonald's In The UK To Phase Out Plastic Straws

McDonald’s in the UK will start using recyclable paper straws later this year, with plastic straws withdrawn completely next year. The company in the UK uses some 1.8 million straws each day, and the move follows a two-month trial at certain UK restaurants. It also follows a similar announcement by UK supermarket chain Waitrose. McDonald’s in other countries, including France, Norway, Sweden and the US, are expected to run trials later this year in their own efforts to find schemes to eliminate plastic straws.

Coca-Cola Readies Seed-Based Breakfast Drink For Belgian Consumers

A Belgian newspaper reports that Coca-Cola has developed a plant-based, lactose-free breakfast drink at a lab in Brussels. AdeZ is a reworking of the brand name Ades – short for Alimentos de Semilla (“foods based on seeds”) – a popular South American line acquired last year. The product being developed for the Belgian market comprises six flavors formulated with seeds, nuts, and fruit. It will debut in August.

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June 01, 2018, to July 01, 2018

The Power Of Digital Is Driving Coca-Cola’s “Consumer-Centric” Strategy

At the Consumer Goods Forum in Singapore recently Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey emphasized his company’s commitment to a digital and ecommerce future when he noted that digital will put Coke products “within a click’s reach of desire.” He cited as evidence what’s happening in China, where there are four times as many mobile users as in the U.S., and “rapid and exponential growth” in digital technologies is driving change in Asia’s beverage industry. Quincey said the strategy of creating a consumer-centric product portfolio is based on making Coke products a part of peoples’ lives by offering the brands they want in the package sizes they prefer. Digital tools will make that happen.

Coca-Cola Ponders Bid For GSK’s Horlicks Malted Beverage Brand

Coca-Cola may be looking to solidify its commitment to India as it contemplates a bid for children’s malted drink brand Horlicks, marketed in India by pharmaceuticals company GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, which has a 72.5 percent stake. Nestlé and Kraft Heinz are also thought to be considering a bid for the 145-year-old $3.3 billion Chicago-based brand. Coca-Cola is committed to offering more healthful beverage options in India beyond soft drinks and expects to invest $1.7 billion there through 2023 developing region-specific juices made from native fruits. 

Advanced Store-Shelf Audit Technology Gives Coca-Cola Speedy Competitive Intelligence

Coca-Cola is one of the biggest CPG companies that is replacing “old school and time-consuming” manual store shelf audits with advanced digital tools. The company is using technology from start-up Trax that merges image recognition, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to analyze smartphone images of store shelves to provide timely insight into fast-changing consumer buying patterns. According to Coca-Cola, it used to take a month to collect shelf data manually, and another three months to organize it – way too much time to react to competitive challenges. Using the new technology cuts time and costs, allowing store shelf audits to be conducted every two months instead of twice a year. The company is testing the technology in three of its nearly 70 North American bottlers/distributors that “serve as its regular eye on the ground.”

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