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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.

<<6789101112131415>> Total issues:183

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November 15, 2014, to December 01, 2014

Kellogg’s Bets Some Of Its Breakfast Fare Can Succeed As Anytime Snacks

Breakfast cereal companies like Kellogg are having to adjust to a new fast-moving, eat-on-the-go culture. Sagging boxed cereal sales – a two percent drop in the 3rd quarter -- have forced Kellogg’s to expand its product horizons beyond mornings. One possibility is a rebranding into anytime snacks. Kellogg’s is spending a lot of marketing dollars trying to convince people, for example, that its Pop-Tarts brand, once strictly a breakfast toaster pastry, is actually great for lunch or late-night snacking. According to PR Daily, Kellogg’s brand managers view Pop-Tarts as a “stepping stone to a massive expansion and rebranding campaign” that will include crackers, chips and other non-morning snacks.

New Coca-Cola Life Fits Today’s Health And Wellness Trend

Coca-Cola believes the health and wellness trend is a permanent phenomenon that is having a profound effect on consumers, and consequently on food and beverage companies. Coca-Cola North America President J. Alexander M. Douglas told analysts recently that Americans want fresh and natural food. The company’s new reduced-calorie soft drink, Coca-Cola Life, fits well with that trend. Its formula “tastes great” right now, but is evolving and will eventually have even fewer calories and better flavor. Douglas said the company will keep working on it until “it’s the perfect Coca-Cola for people who are looking for more natural ingredients and natural positioning”.

L'Oreal, Nestle End Joint Venture Inneov

L'Oreal and Nestle announced their agreement to terminate their joint venture Inneov by the first quarter of 2015. Established in 2002, Inneov sells cosmetic nutritional supplements sold in pharmacies. However, the brand failed to grow as expected by the joint venture partners. In 2013, Inneov posted sales of €52 million.

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November 01, 2014, to November 15, 2014

New Pizza Hut Menu Debuts Soon

On November 19, Pizza Hut will introduce a new menu, a new ordering system and a new logo. The menu will feature 11 new signature pizzas, six new sauces, 10 crust flavors and four "drizzles". It’s a strategic gamble, according to industry experts: keeping up with the times by offering “bold new flavors”, avoiding irrelevance, all while keeping current customers happy. (Old favorites -- Stuffed Crust, Meat Lover’s and Supreme -- will still be on the menu.) After a taste preview with other media members, Time food writer Josh Sanburn gave a positive review. He said the new offerings taste – “thankfully” – better than they sound. “The Cock-a-Doodle Bacon," he asks. "Why?”

Stevia-Sweetened Coke To Launch in Australia, New Zealand

Coca-Cola will introduce its stevia-sweetened Coke beverage in Australia and New Zealand in 2015. Coca-Cola Life, already introduced succcessfully in the U.S. and several South American countries, contains 35 percent less sugar than regular Coke. According to the company, the launch of Coca-Cola Life is “another positive step in fulfilling the business commitment made in July 2013 to offer more lower kilojoule options”.

Hain Celestial Sales, Profit Booming

Despite stiffer competition in the natural and organic foods segment, Hain Celestial Group posted strong financial results for its 2015 first quarter. This included a 35 percent rise in revenue to $631 million, a 31 percent rise in adjusted earnings per share, and a 51 percent rise in U.K. sales over last year. According to CEO Irwin Simon, 23 of its brands experienced double-digit growth during the quarter. Acquisitions also paid off, including the remaining stake in Hain Pure Protein, Basmati rice producer Tilda, Rudi’s Organic Bakery and other brands. “Our business continues to benefit from strong growth trends in the organic and natural, better-for-you segment of consumer packaged goods," Simon said.

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October 15, 2014, to November 01, 2014

Unilever Paints Gloomy Picture Of World Economy

Though Unilever has been ringing alarm bells about the worsening world economy for some time, it now acknowledges the situation is gloomier than it once thought. Chief Financial Officer Jean-Marc Huët says the company’s sales are sagging in every product category – including personal care, food, refreshment and household care – all over the globe. The glum assessments are echoed by policy makers. The International Monetary Fund trimmed its growth forecast by 0.002 percent while warning of the possibility of Europe re-entering a recession. China’s third quarter economy grew at the slowest pace in five years. “We are in a tougher environment. There is no other way to put it,” Huët said.

McDonald’s Profit Continues To Sag As It Works To Become More “Relevant”

McDonald’s stock dropped after the company posted a 30 percent drop in third quarter profit and significant declines in restaurant traffic globally. CEO Don Thompson acknowledged the company, which serves 70 million customers a day, has some image problems – is it still relevant? -- especially in an era of growing consumer interest in fresh, unprocessed food. To help solve the problem, Thompson said McDonald's is simplifying menus, tailoring food to local tastes, offering custom burger and sandwich options, rolling out mobile services, and launching a social media "dialogue" with customers.

Aldi Launches Affordable Range Of Organic Foods In UK

Discount retailer Aldi launched in the UK an affordable line of organic products the company claims will let customers save 25 percent on their typical organic purchases. According to the company, the budget organic food range will include potatoes, carrots, broccoli and onions. Other product lines will feature fresh meat, convenience foods, including ready-to-eat meals, beers, and wines. Scheduled for launch over the next months, all product lines will be available by January 2015, the company said.

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October 01, 2014, to October 15, 2014

ADM Completes Acquisition Of Wild Flavors, Forms New Business Unit

Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) has completed the acquisition of Swiss-German natural ingredients company Wild Flavors Gmbh. It will create a new business unit headed by Greg Morris, president of ADM’s North American Oilseeds Processing unit. The new unit, to be called Wild Flavors and Specialty Ingredients, will be a reportable segment beginning Jan. 1. The all-cash transaction is valued at $3 billion. ADM also will assume about $125 million of debt. The new unit will include the Wild business and current ADM product lines: specialty proteins, emulsifiers, edible beans, natural health and nutrition, soluble fiber, polyols, and hydrocolloids.

Pepsi Joins Coke In Experimenting With Online-Only Soda Marketing

The latest version of the 120-year-old soft drink once known as Pepsi-Cola will be sold exclusively by online retailer Amazon.com. Pepsi True, sweetened with sugar and stevia, is a mid-calorie soda that will launch in mid-October to compete with mid-calorie Coca-Cola Life, also sweetened with sugar and stevia. Coke is marketing another of its soft drinks, Coca-Cola Surge, exclusively online. Analysts say introducing new beverages online is a “good move”, because online sales will “build scale” in the market before expanding to traditional retail outlets. Sales of diet sodas are sagging as consumers grow more concerned about soft drink consumption and obesity.

Study Names Top Five Brands In Digital Gifting

A benchmarking study by Retail Systems Research (RSR) on the digital gift card industry has found that the brands with the highest overall scores across verticals, and therefore the most comprehensive omni-channel digital gifting offerings, are Sephora, Starbucks, Home Depot, Best Buy and Dunkin’ Donuts. RSR focused on differentiating capabilities in making its selections, including both mobile and social experiences, "to reflect the evolving use of digital gift cards in omni-channel commerce". RSR took notice of retailers’ prioritization of gifting as a whole, the ability to digitally “thank” a gift giver, and integration with loyalty and marketing programs.

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September 15, 2014, to October 01, 2014

Acquisition Could Give WhiteWave Leadership Of Plant-Based Foods Market

Market researcher Euromonitor has given its stamp of approval – “a sensible move” – to WhiteWave Foods’ acquisition of SO Delicious Dairy Free for $195 million. Colorado-based WhiteWave, launched when Danone spun off WhiteWave Alpro two years ago, holds a 13 percent market share in non-dairy milk alternatives with its Silk and Alpro brands. The acquisition of SO Delicious will expand WhiteWave’s presence in the health and wellness arena because health-conscious American consumers are very familiar with SO Delicious’s vegan, GMO-free plant-based foods. The acquisition creates an opportunity for WhiteWave to establish a lead in plant-based foods.

Nestle Partners With Bill Gates Charity To Improve Milk Production In East Africa

Nestlé has partnered with a Bill Gates charitable organization to boost productivity and quality of life among East African dairy farmers, including those in Ethiopia and Kenya. Small rural farmers in the region rely on milk as a key source of income, calories and nutrients. Collection and transportation of the milk to chilling stations, however, is inefficient and often leads to spilling or spoilage. Under the two-year partnership, Nestlé and Global Good will apply technology and innovation to improve production. They will also provide 3,000 specially designed milk containers known as “Mazzi” to help small farmers maximize the quantity of the milk they sell.

Kraft Foods “Follows The Consumer” Using Big Data And Social Media

Food marketer Kraft is using the latest information technology advances – especially Big Data and digital marketing – to better understand its customers and to better reach them. Big Data allows Kraft to use massive computing power to gather and analyze all the information being generated internally and externally. It then applies the insights gained to make sure its “center store” product line “follows the consumer”. Kraft is using the newfound insights to target Millennials, Hispanics, tech-savvy shoppers and others through social media, de-emphasizing more traditional ad media.

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September 01, 2014, to September 15, 2014

General Mills Expands Further Into Healthful Foods With Annie’s Acquisition

With its breakfast cereals business sliding, General Mills has decided to increase its presence in the natural and organic foods aisle. The company announced it is buying Annie’s Inc., maker of pastas, snacks, snack and meal kits, dressings, condiments and frozen foods. General Mills will pay $46 a share in the all-cash deal, a 37 percent  premium to the closing price before the deal was announced. General Mills has been making acquisitions to increase its portfolio of health foods for more than a decade.

Hormel Sees Gold In International Markets And New Food Categories

Hormel has decided that it’s traditional American product line – bacon, Spam, chili, pepperoni, etc. – is not multicultural, healthful or portable enough to sustain growth plans, especially in international markets. To succeed overseas the company is modifying its product portfolio through strategic acquisitions and a new launch (Natural Choice) to include ethnic flavors, health and wellness, and portability. New product categories include peanut butter (Skippy), Mexican food (MegaMex Foods and Wholly Guacamole), sports nutrition (CytoSPort) and snack wraps (REV). International sales have increased from $146 million in 2005 to $500 million this year, thanks to expansion of Spam and fresh pork products overseas, and the success of Skippy peanut butter in China.

Whole Foods Follows Through On Price Cutting Strategy

A Bloomberg report on grocery shopping trends in Manhattan found that a sample shopping cart at Whole Foods was cheaper than carts at several competitors. The finding is in line with the company’s strategy to shed its image as the “Whole Paycheck” grocery retailer. The sample basket containing 97 items totaled $391.39 at Whole Foods, compared to New York City chains Fresh Direct ($398.44) and Gristedes ($458.84). But the Whole Foods cart cost more than Fairway Market’s, which came in at $347.10.

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August 15, 2014, to September 01, 2014

Keurig Stock Gets A Boost From Kraft Foods Coffee Deal

A multiyear licensing, manufacturing and distribution deal under which Kraft Foods will supply Maxwell House, Yuban and McCafe coffee brands for Keurig’s home brewing system sent Keurig shares to record highs on August 21. Keurig stock, which jumped 13 percent to $133.36 after the announcement, has risen 77 percent this year. Kraft will provide coffees in various portion pack sizes, including K-Cup packs that make a single cup of coffee. Keurig is also working with Coca-Cola Co., which owns 16 percent  of the Vermont-based company, on a system for producing cold beverages.

McDonald’s Restaurants In Moscow: Pawns In A Larger Geopolitical Game?

A Russian food monitoring agency that has a history of banning food from countries out of favor with the government has closed four McDonald’s restaurants in Moscow because of “sanitary violations”. In the past, the agency has prohibited wine from Georgia and dairy products from Belarus after they sought closer relations with western nations. Recently the agency outlawed canned vegetables, fruit, fish, juice and certain beer and vodka from Ukraine. McDonald's said it was trying to figure out what it needs to do to get the restaurants re-opened “as soon as possible".

McDonald’s To Sell Bagged McCafé Coffee In Retail Outlets Starting In 2015

Building on the success of McCafé coffee in its restaurants, and hoping to boost sales, McDonald's has partnered with Kraft Foods to offer McCafé premium bagged coffee at retail grocery, mass merchandise, club and drug stores in the U.S. beginning next year The roll-out follows successful testing in the U.S. and Canada in 2013. A McDonald’s spokesman said the decision to market bagged coffee was “a natural next step”, considering that more than 70 percent of coffee in the U.S. is consumed at home. Products to be offered will include ground, whole bean and single-serve coffee in varieties like premium roast, breakfast blend, French roast, Colombian, etc.

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August 01, 2014, to August 15, 2014

Single-Source Strategy May Help Nestle Make A Splash In Premium Chocolate

A single-origin cocoa bean strategy, already working well for other chocolate makers and retailers, may set Nestlé on the road to successful “premiumization” of its chocolate product line. The company is launching the strategy with a new chocolate molding and packing operation in Ecuador, famous for the Arriba cocoa beans used to make value-added chocolates for export and domestic consumption. The move puts Nestlé out in front of a major confectionery trend: growing global demand for premium chocolate, especially single-source chocolate. Prices are on the rise worldwide and are expected to keep rising over the next five years.

Marketers Bet That Nascent Virtual Reality Technology Could Become An Effective Sales Tool

A market research firm predicts that sales of virtual reality and augmented reality hardware, including smart glasses and head-mounted displays, will reach $1.06 billion by 2018. Marketers like Coca-Cola, HBO and Nissan are betting on the eventual selling power of the technology, if hardware prices drop to levels that consumers can afford. Right now, these early experimenters have to provide the gadgetry themselves, so testing is done at big events like the Detroit Auto Show. Despite significant current hurdles – i.e., high cost and cumbersome equipment – the early players are betting that eventually the technology will deliver the “visceral customer experiences” that could drive product sales.

Hispanic Media's Growth Outpaces US Market's, Report Shows

The United States Hispanic media market grew 8.1 percent to $8.3 billion in 2013, according to the “Hispanic Fact Pack 2014” report by the “Advertising Age” magazine. Data from the marketing and media report also revealed that Hispanic millennials helped drive growth in the market as “trendsetters and consumers”. Market growth has prompted leading marketers, such as Procter & Gamble, AT&T, and L’Oreal, to increase their marketing budgets for the Hispanic media by as much as 26 to 38 percent. Also, U.S. Hispanic-focused agencies’ revenue grew 5.7 percent to $597 million in 2013, while leading media groups, including Twitter and Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, hired Latino executives to take charge of their Hispanic media and marketing efforts.

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July 15, 2014, to August 01, 2014

Hershey Bumps Up Candy Prices As Ingredient Prices Soar

Faced with soaring ingredients costs, Hershey Company has raised prices on certain of its candy lines by eight percent. The commodity cost inflation is taking a toll on the company’s bottom line: Hershey adjusted its 2014 profit forecast downward. Spot prices for candy ingredients such as cocoa, dairy and nuts have risen “meaningfully” since January, Hershey said. Cocoa futures reached a near-three-year high this month. The price hikes will affect instant consumable, multi-pack, packaged candy and grocery lines.

General Mills Sees China As A Bowlful Of Delicious Marketing Opportunities

General Mills says its new $15 million technical center in Shanghai, China, confirms its belief that the Chinese market presents a huge marketing opportunity for its cereals, snacks and other food products. The 75,000-square-foot center, one of several international technical centers it operates outside of headquarters in Minneapolis, Minn., gives the company the ability to take advantage of emerging consumer trends, build “bigger and better innovation pipelines”, and ensure food safety within its product lines. The center will develop snacks, convenient meals, yogurt and super-premium ice cream for Chinese consumers. Product R&D, food safety, nutrition research, and food sensory evaluation will all be housed there.

Unilever To Assess Marketing Agency Capabilities As It Scrutinizes Digital Strategies

Unilever has contracted with business development agency MediaLink to help evaluate digital strategies in creative, Web development, online marketing, mobile, social media and data and analytics. As part of the evaluation the company is looking at incumbent and new marketing agencies, an array of which will outline their capabilities in mid-August meetings. The process is not expected to finish until the end of the year. Unilever last year said it planned to cut in-house  marketing staff worldwide by more than 800 people, and would trim agency and commercial production fees as part of an ongoing cost-saving effort.

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July 01, 2014, to July 15, 2014

Nestle Divests Its Juicy Juice Beverage Business

Nestlé USA has sold its Juicy Juice line of products to Harvest Hill Beverage Company, a portfolio company of Brynwood Partners VII L.P. The sale is the sixth and largest by Nestlé to a Brynwood-owned firm, and the third in the last 14 months. Terms and conditions were not disclosed. The 37-year-old Juicy Juice brand introduced by Libby's is widely distributed through food, mass and club retailers in the U.S. Brynwood said it will further develop the brand’s “nutritional and wellness attributes”.

Hormel Buys Protein-Based Foods Maker CytoSport

Meat processor Hormel Foods will acquire protein powder maker CytoSport Holdings for about $450 million. The move gives Hormel, producer of Spam, a broader profile in the growing market for high-protein supplements. CytoSport sells Muscle Milk and 100% Whey protein powder to consumers interested in weight loss, body building and fitness. Hormel CEO Jeffrey Ettinger said the acquisition “will build upon our strength in protein”. Researcher Nielsen said U.S. sales of packaged protein foods rose to $7.5 billion in February 2014, a 50 increase from four years ago. In 2013, Hormel acquired the Skippy peanut butter brand from Unilever.

Nestle’s U.S. Chief Hopes To Fix Or Flush The Company’s Ailing Product Lines

Paul Grimwood’s mission as head of Nestlé’s stressed U.S. operations is to turn troubled brands and product lines from sagging to soaring, or give them the ax. U.S. sales represent about 25 percent of the company’s annual $103 billion in revenues. But sales of many of its diverse brands – e.g., Oh Henry and 100 Grand candy bars, Juicy Juice fruit drinks, Ovaltine milk powder – have slowed considerably in recent years. Grimwood has already cut the number of flavor versions of products like Hot Pockets, and sold off the Jenny Craig diet business and PowerBar snack brands. Future targets include frozen meals (Lean Cuisine) and ice cream brands.
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