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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.

<<891011121314151617>> Total issues:183

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December 15, 2013, to January 15, 2014

Owner Of Godiva Chocolates To Buy U.S. Candy Maker DeMets

The Turkish owner of Godiva Chocolates is acquiring the 116-year-old U.S. firm DeMet's Candy Company, creator of Flipz chocolate pretzels and Turtles covered nut clusters, for $221 million. DeMet’s was acquired in 2007 from Nestle SA by Brynwood Partners, a private U.S. equity firm. Yildiz Holdings AS, owner of the Godiva chocolate brand, is Turkey’s largest  food group. As part of the deal, Brynwood will also sell two U.S. factories. The transaction is expected to close this month.

Brooklyn’s New Whole Foods Market Is About As “Green” As A Grocery Can Get

The newly opened Whole Foods Market in Brooklyn, N.Y., may be an example of how eco-friendly stores could be built in the future. The 56,000-square-foot facility is 60 percent more energy efficient than requried by building codes, thanks to an array of advanced technologies. These include a combined heat-and-power system designed to keep the store operating even in a power failure. The store uses highly efficient and zero-ozone depleting refrigeration equipment and high-efficiency lighting and daylighting to illuminate the store. On-site renewable energy features include 324 kilowatts-worth of solar canopies over the parking lot that will supply about 20 percent of the store's electricity.

New Snack Subscription And Delivery Service Unveiled By General Mills

General Mills has launched a snack delivery service – “Nibblr” – that offers 59 portion-controlled snack varieties shipped by the U.S. Postal Service to subscribers. Subscribers control what they get, how often, and can cancel anytime. The service is available in the continental U.S.; snacks are delivered weekly, biweekly or monthly. Nibblr snacks – packed four to a box and sold for $5.99 each – include nuts (Clusters Last Stand), fruits, chocolate and a variety of flavors, including curry, chili pepper and chai (Chai It You’ll Like It).

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November 15, 2013, to December 15, 2013

Teaching Young Business People About Sustainable Growth Is Goal Of Unilever Partnership

Introducing principles of sustainability to young business people and entrepreneurs is the goal of a partnership between Unilever and a nonprofit organization that focuses on transformational change in the workplace and the world. Three pilot conferences are planned in the U.S., South Africa and India under the sponsorship of Unilever and NGO Net Impact. The meetings include  presentations from young intrapreneurs (people driving change within corporations) and entrepreneurs, followed by Q&A and break-out sessions. The objective of the events is to provide young people with practical ideas and tools “for driving sustainable growth within their business environment”, according to a Unilever exec.

Nestlé Continues To Replace Old Ice Cream Freezers With Eco-Friendly Models

As part of a commitment to use only environmentally friendly refrigerants, and phase out damaging hydrofluorocarbons, Nestlé announced that new commercial ice cream freezers in Europe would use only naturally occurring substances. Eco-friendly refrigerants include carbon dioxide, ammonia, water, air and hydrocarbons like propane and isobutane, none of which harm the ozone layer. The new ice cream freezers also reduce energy consumption by more than a third. The company has invested more than $264 million to replace synthetic refrigerants with natural alternatives in more than 92 percent of its industrial refrigeration systems.

Guidelines Issued For Sustainable Production Of Beef

A global industry program has issued a set of guidelines to help members produce beef sustainably. The Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform says the guidelines are the most comprehensive developed for beef production to date. They include sustainable farming systems, economic sustainability, social sustainability and economic sustainability. They also require achievements in each area of beef cattle production. Members of the SAI include major beef users, including McDonald’s and Unilever.

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November 01, 2013, to November 15, 2013

Is P&G Getting Ready To Divest Its Pet Food Brands?

Procter & Gamble may be on the verge of divesting its pet food brands, Iams and Eukanuba, according to industry observers. The main reason would appear to be “underperformance” and a lack of “fit”, says Leon Loewenstine of Riverpoint Capital Management. A possible purchaser would be Del Monte Foods, which just sold off it6s consumer brands business and wants to build its own pet food business, which includes brands Meow Mix, Kibbles ’n Bits, Milk-Bone and 9Lives. Pressure to divest underperforming products is increasing for P&G, whose stock could take a hit unless investors see some efforts to streamline.

Unilever Unveils Home Water Purifier In Pakistan That Removes Viruses, Bacteria Cheaply

Unilever Pakistan has introduced a home water purification device that works without using electricity or gas. The new Pureit water purifier instead uses sustainable “Unilever proprietary technology” to provide safe and clean water, according to the company. The purification technology takes water through five stages using a “Programmed Germ Kill Technology” to remove harmful bacteria and viruses and provide “odorless natural tasting water” for about two cents a liter.

Hain Celestial Reports Strong Sales, Revenue Growth In September 2013 Quarter

Hain Celestial Group, Inc. reported its net sales grew 33 percent to $477.5 million in the quarter ending September 30, 2013, compared with the $359.8 million net sales in the same quarter of 2012. Earnings per diluted share from continuing operations rose 36 percent to $0.57, the company said. In the United States, the company said first quarter sales rose 23 percent to $312 million, helped in part by strong sales from its Ella’s Kitchen and BluePrint brands. Sales in the UK reached $114 million, while sales in the Rest of the World segment reached $51.5 million.

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October 15, 2013, to November 01, 2013

Waitrose Has Big Plans For Sales Growth Over Next Decade

One of the smaller of the U.K.’s chain grocers, Waitrose, is challenging itself to increase annual sales by 300 percent over the next 10 years. The company plans to invest £300 million annually to open 20 new stores a year while building its online business. The goal is to take its annual sales from £5.3 billion to £15 billion by 2023. The company says it has been outperforming competitors like Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda for more than four years by as much as seven percent, offering value, “aspirational quality”, and innovative products.

Increased Traffic Drives Profit Growth At Chipotles, Despite Rising Costs

Chipotle fast-casual Mexican restaurants have experienced higher traffic and thus higher sales and profit over recent fiscal quarters, but the company is still set on raising prices three to five percent to offset higher ingredient prices. Part of the cost inflation problem lies in the company’s decision to replace genetically modified ingredients in its menu items with non-GMO ingredients. But the costs of other ingredients have risen as well, including tomatoes, corn, tomatillos, dairy and chicken. The costs of food, beverages and packaging rose 21 percent, accounting for 33.6 percent of total revenue. Nevertheless, profit in the third quarter rose 15 percent.

Change In Leadership At Heinz Leads To End Of Ketchup Relationship With McDonald’s

McDonald’s is so peeved at a top management change at H.J. Heinz Co. – purveyor of, among other comestibles, ketchup – that it is severing its 40-year business relationship with the company. Heinz will no longer supply ketchup to McDonald’s worldwide, and it is unclear which of Heinz’s competitors – Hunt’s, Del Monte, or someone else -- will pick up the slack. McDonald’s made the decision when it learned that Bernardo Hees, former CEO of rival Burger King, had been named CEO at Heinz. The change in ketchup suppliers will have little impact on the U.S. market. Only Pittsburgh and Minneapolis restaurants use Heinz ketchup.

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October 01, 2013, to October 15, 2013

Big Advertisers Finally Warm Up To Mobile Platform

Advertisers have conquered their reluctance to spend money on mobile ads. Expenditures on mobile ads for everything from soap to salad dressing jumped by 66 percent in the first half of 2013, from $1.8 billion to $3 billion. Unilever’s senior media director for North America calls mobile advertising a “no brainer” now because of the growing time spent by consumers on smartphones and tablets. Mondelez International Inc., marketer of snacks like Nabisco cookies and Trident gum, says it will allocate 10 percent of its global marketing budget to mobile.

Companies Turn Captcha Web Security Code Boxes Into Ad-Based Games

Heinz and Reckitt Benckiser have started to replace the ubiquitous Web security code boxes known as Captcha with online games and ads on their U.K. sites. Captcha boxes are used to verify human interaction and foil automated Web robots. Because the robots have become much more sophisticated, the Captcha boxes have become more complicated – and more frustratingly difficult for site visitors. In the new version, visitors spend about 15 seconds on a game in which they either fill a virtual sandwich with Heinz Salad Cream or clean a dirty penny using  Reckitt Benckiser’s Cillit Bang. The games were developed using Future Ad Labs PlayCaptcha advertising platform.

FDA Approval Of Whole Grain Health Claim For Type 2 Diabetes Is Hardly A Ringing Endorsement

The FDA has approved a petition from U.S. food makers for a qualified health claim linking whole grain food consumption with a reduced risk for type 2 diabetes, despite an analysis of scientific studies that revealed “very limited credible evidence” of such a link. Nevertheless, one of the petitioners, ConAgra Foods Inc., said it was “thrilled” by the FDA decision, noting that the agency “is confirming that whole grains … can help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.” Actually, the decision means that foods containing whole grains may carry the following claim: “Whole grains may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, although the FDA has concluded that there is very limited scientific evidence for this claim.”

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September 15, 2013, to October 01, 2013

McDonald’s Unveils More Nutritious Menu Options

McDonald’s announced it is adding healthier meal options on menus in 20 of its largest markets as it acknowledges the changing tastes of American consumers. The company, which is also looking to expand its customer base, said it would stop marketing less nutritious offerings to children, and would offer more fruits and vegetables on the adult-oriented selections. The 20 markets account for about 85 percent of sales, domestically and overseas. The company’s goal is to attract health-conscious consumers with meals that are lower in fat, salt or sugar content than its traditional burger-and-fries options.

Frito-Lay To Use Facebook, Super Bowl Video Contest, To Expand Doritos Brand Globally

Frito-Lay is expanding its marketing focus globally for the Doritos brand this year by centralizing the brand's worldwide Facebook presence. The strategy to grab more snack market share involves broadening the company’s eighth annual Crash the Super Bowl video contest by accepting submissions from around the world for the first time. For the Facebook contest, consumers will submit fun video spots. Two of them will be chosen for broadcast during Super Bowl XLVIII in February 2014.

Nestlé Scientists Discover Molecular Footprint For Long Life

Swiss and Italian scientists working at two Nestlé research facilities have pinpointed physiological markers in the bodies of a group of centenarians that could hold the key to a long lifespan. The group were characterized by complex changes in the levels of lipids in the body, metabolism of amino acids, and the function of their intestinal tract. The scientists said the substances in the centenarians’ blood and urine suggested that they may have a better anti-oxidative response and better cellular detoxification mechanisms. The group of centenarians, all from Italy, numbered 30 men and 113 women, born between 1900 and 1908.

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September 01, 2013, to September 15, 2013

Hydrogel Particles Could Someday Be Used To Reduce Caloric Content Of Fatty Foods

Many emulsion-based food products – sauces, dressings, desserts, etc. – are fairly high in fat-derived calories. Reducing their caloric content is difficult without damaging texture, flavor, and other critical characteristics. But U.S. scientists who collaborated with ConAgra foods on a new study report that hydrogel particles could easily be used to develop reduced-calorie foods without harming those characteristics. They came up with a simplified way to make oil-filled hydrogel particles from a concoction of fat droplets, caseinate and pectin. The particles could someday be used to replace fat droplets or starch granules in reduced calorie products.

Hillshire Brands Enters Booming Premium Jerky Market With Acquisition Of Golden Island

Hillshire brands, whose product lines include Jimmy Dean sausages and Sara Lee frozen baked goods, announced it is entering the lucrative – $2 billion in annual sales – premium jerky market with the purchase of gourmet jerky maker Golden Island of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. The brand will be added to Hillshire’s gourmet group, which includes Aidell’s and Gallo. According to Hillshire, Golden Island Jerky is made with natural ingredients and contains no preservatives and less sodium than most jerkies. Terms of the sale were not disclosed; it is expected to close by the end of the month.

Judge Refuses To Pass The Buck To FDA, Says Courts Can Decide If GMO Foods Are “Natural”

A New York judge handling a case that seeks to decide whether a snack food company deceived consumers by labeling products containing genetically modified organisms (GMO) as “all natural” has rejected the reasoning and actions of colleagues in similar cases. Judges in lawsuits against Gruma Corp. and General Mills stayed litigation to give the FDA time to come up with a definition of natural as applied to foods. But U.S. District Court Judge Roslynn Mauskopf, ruling in a suit filed against Frito-Lay, said the court system is perfectly capable of deciding the issues in the case. Passing the buck, in effect, to the FDA is “unwarranted”. "The issues of fact in this case are … ‘within the conventional experience of judges’”, she said.

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August 15, 2013, to September 01, 2013

SmartyPants Vitamins Raises $2.6 M Using Crowd Funding Platform

The makers of a gummy dietary supplement that blends a multivitamin, omega-3s (DHA and EPA) and vitamin D has raised $2.59 million in new funding using the CIrcleUp fundraising platform. Sales of SmartyPants Vitamins have grown 1,000 percent since the company’s launch in 2010. The company says it will spend the new cash to speed up growth, expand trade marketing support and hire key executives. The new funding was generated using CircleUp, a crowd funding investment platform that helps small consumer and retail companies raise money directly from accredited investors.

Subway Speeds Up Growth Strategy In Europe; Aims To Open 1,000 New Stores In 2014

Subway plans to open as many as 1,000 new branches in Europe in 2014. Currently with 4,018 stores in the continent, the restaurant chain has opened about 500 branches each year for the past two years, growing even during Europe's economic slowdown and uncertain recovery. With 2,000 stores as the target number by 2015, the UK is the company's number 1 growth market in Europe. The Netherlands, Finland, and Sweden are also likely to see faster growth in number of stores. Subway also plans to expand into Latvia, Lithuania, Georgia, and Ukraine by the end of 2013.

Smucker Closes Acquisition Of Organic Ancient Grains Company

Fruit spread maker J. M. Smucker Company has acquired Enray Inc., a privately-held California firm that makes premium organic, gluten-free ancient grain products. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed; last year, Enray’s sales were $45 million. The company’s product lines include sprouted and non-sprouted grains, pasta, and cookies sold mainly under the flagship brand truRoots. Smucker said the acquisition would extend “the leadership position we currently hold in the natural and organic beverages category". Smucker also makes packaged coffee, peanut butter, shortening and oils, ice cream toppings, sweetened condensed milk, and health and natural foods and beverages.

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August 01, 2013, to August 15, 2013

Kellogg Encourages Sustainable Rice Growing In Louisiana

The Kellogg Company, which uses a lot of medium grain rice in its products, has partnered with the Louisiana Rice Mill and Louisiana State University in an effort to help rice growers in that state use good agronomic methods, adopt sustainable growing practices and understand the connection between sustainability and profitability. The Kellogg Master Grower program also helps insure a continuous supply of rice for Kellogg foods, including Rice Krispies and Special K cereals, while driving environmental improvements in rice production, the company said.

Treatt Introduces New Tea Flavors For Ready-To-Drink Market

Treatt expanded its range of tea flavors and fragrance ingredients by introducing three new tea flavors for the ready-to-drink segment. Green Tea TrueTaste Natural 200 is an iced tea concentrate made from natural tea ingredients, the company said. Reconstituted to single strength, the RTD tea comes with a minimum of 0.04 percent tea solids and offers an authentic deep tea color, the company added. Designed for mixing with Stevia and other sweeteners, TreattSweet Tea 9859 is a zero-calorie mix of all-natural essences, the company said. White Tea Type WONF (With Other Natural Flavors) is a blend of natural essences from tea and other plants, according to the company.

Hostess Relaunches Twinkies Brand Of Cakes As Snack for Guys

Bankruptcy survivor Hostess relaunched the Twinkies snack brand as cakes for male consumers, specifically, guys 18–35 years old. Using the tagline "The sweetest comeback in the history of ever", Hostess launched a social media campaign and a guerilla marketing initiative, which includes employing street teams, food trucks, and its Twinkie the Kid mascot. Results of the $3 million campaign were overwhelming, with the company barely able to keep up with demand. Hostess has shipped 85 million Twinkies and Hostess CupCakes initially and taken orders for 100 million more. New owners Apollo Global Management and C. Dean Metropoulos and Co. plan to add new products but intend to keep the classic Hostess products as they are.

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July 15, 2013, to August 01, 2013

Canterbury Coffee Introduces 92% Biodegradable Single-Serve Coffee Cup

Richmond, British Columbia-based specialty coffee roaster Canterbury Coffee announced the OneCoffee, a single-serve coffee cup the company claims is 92 percent biodegradable. Reportedly similar to Keurig’s K-Cup but with 40 percent less plastic content, the cup is made of polylactic acid resin and is designed to break down in an industrial composting facility or landfill. Capable of being degraded in an anaerobic digester, the cup, however, requires moisture. Also, the company said it plans to replace the cup’s nylon filter, which is its only non-biodegradable component. In the United States, about 13 percent of consumers drink coffee from single-serve brewers compared with 4 percent in 2010.

Fancy Food Show Review: Ancient Grains

Recently we attended the Fancy Food Show, ‘North America’s Largest Specialty Food & Beverage Event’, which was held in New York June 30 - July 2, 2013. The event includes 180,000 products including confections, cheese, coffee, snacks, spices, ethnic, natural, organic and more, with 2,400 exhibitors from 80 countries and regions.
All the standard food business trends were in evidence at the show – rise of organic, healthier options, exotic and vibrant tastes, craft and artisanal food, convenience. This year the show was especially heavy on artisanal olive oils, sea salts and chips.
We went looking at a number of themes and trends and one thing we looked at was the ongoing rise of ancient grains. Here are a few things of interest we saw:
Ancient grains
Many brands and products mention ancient grains in their literature but the penetration of grains varies greatly. Some, like quinoa are entering the mainstream while others like teff, spelt or kamut, say, are much less commonplace. One product that at the show looked to be gaining traction is freekeh, being introduced alongside quinoa and used more widely as an ingredient. For example:
Under the tag ‘Nature’s Recipe for Well-Being,’ Freekehlicious offer Wholegrain Freekeh and Cracked Freekah.
Under the tag ‘ancient grains for modern times,’ Freekeh-Foods offers freekeh in three flavors: Original, Rosemary Sage & Tamari.
We did not notice any consumer products with freekeh but a web search shows some are emerging. Also, the rep at Freekehlicious believes that freekeh is the ‘new quinoa,’ given the benefits it offers and relative ease of using it compared to other ancient grains.
Chia Pod
Australia-based Chia Company is pushing the benefits of the ancient grain chia that was originally grown in South America. Chia seeds were first used as food as early as 3500 BC and were one of the main dietary components of the Aztecs and the Mayans. It is the richest plant based source of Omega 3, dietary fiber, protein and antioxidants.
It recently launched Chia Pod:
‘…a world first innovation. Dairy free and vegan, each 6oz Chia Pod® has been cold processed to retain the raw nutrition, taste and color of the fruit. The innovative single serve pack contains a custom designed spoon inside the lid. The lid, spoon and cup are 100% recyclable.’
The Chia Co products are now available throughout stores in Australia, New Zealand and the USA; since June 2013 Chia Pods have been available at Wholefoods in the USA.

Coca-Cola Launches Environment-Friendly Soft Drink In Argentina

Coca-Cola launched the Coca Cola Life soft drink product in Argentina. Sweetened with sugar and the natural no-calorie sweetener stevia, the new product comes with a green label. Packaged in the PlantBottle, which is made with 30 percent plant material and is fully recyclable, the new drink comes with 108 calories in a 600 milliliter bottle. Coca-Cola has yet to announce plans to launch in other markets the product, which follows the launch of a new bottle made of ice in Colombia.
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