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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.

<<9101112131415161718>> Total issues:183

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July 01, 2013, to July 15, 2013

Pepsi Still To Remove Cancer-Causing Chemical From Products, CEH Study Shows

More than a year after promising to remove the chemical 4-methylimidazole (4-Mel) from the caramel coloring it uses for its products, Pepsi still uses coloring with high levels of the cancer-causing chemical, according to tests conducted by the Center for Environmental Health. CEH through an independent laboratory it has commissioned conducted 4-Mel testing on Coke and Pepsi products from California and other states. Results showed that Pepsi products bought from outside California contain levels of the chemical that are 4 to more than 8 times higher than California’s safety levels. CEH says industrial production of caramel coloring creates 4-Mel as a by-product; however, changes in the manufacturing process can cut or remove the chemical without changing the coloring.

Heinz Fine Tunes Its Line Of Packaged Meals For Toddlers

Heinz announced it is revamping its line of toddler tray meals, adding three new flavors and a new package design targeting older toddlers (18 to 24 months). The Little Kids brand will now have Tomato & Mozzarella Pasta Shells, Pasta Bolognese, and Chicken & Sweetcorn Risotto flavors. The current Little Kids line includes products nutritionally formulated for toddlers as young as 12 months. “Working closely with our nutritionists, and tracking global trends, we identified that toddlers have key stages of development between one to three years that need to be met,” a Heinz U.K. marketing manager said.

Barry Callebaut Concludes Purchase Of Cocoa Ingredients Provider

Cocoa and chocolate products company Barry Callebaut announced it has finalized the acquisition of the cocoa ingredients division of Petra Foods, a Singapore-based company. The acquisition makes Barry Callebaut a fully integrated manufacturer of chocolate products. The acquisition of Petra’s cocoa ingredients unit broadens the company’s offerings to industrial chocolate, outsourcing and gourmet customers, expands its sales volume in emerging markets, and adds cocoa processing and powder blending expertise as well as “a deep understanding of Asian and Latin American markets”.

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June 15, 2013, to July 01, 2013

Hormel Launches Spam Meat Product That Comes In An Easy-To-Open Plastic Tub

Hormel Foods launched the Spam Chopped Pork and Ham meat product in an easy-to-open plastic tub. Designed to complement rather than replace the brand’s current 200-gram and 340-gram canned varieties, the new product is expected to let the company expand its canned meat business. First of its kind in the market, the meat that comes in a plastic tub is aimed at both older consumers who have found it hard to open canned variants and younger consumers who do not have lots of experience with buying canned meat products. Once opened, the packaging can be resealed and kept in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours.

Target Broadens Natural/Organic Offerings Under New Brand

Target, joining other big supermarket and retail chains in efforts to upgrade the image of house brands and boost grocery sales, is launching an array of natural and organic products under the brand Simply Balanced. The Simply Balanced brand is an extension of similar products currently offered under Target’s Archer Farms brand. Organic foods account for only ten percent of overall grocery sales, Target says, but are growing at double the rate of conventional groceries. The company’s plan is to increase its organic food offerings by 25 percent by 2017.

General Mills Reports Strong Sales Growth In FY 2013, Boosted By International Business

General Mills reported net sales grew 7 percent for fiscal 2013, with segment operating profit growing 6 percent. Earnings per share was $2.79, with adjusted diluted EPS at $2.69. Profit growth was recorded by all three of the company's operating segments for the year: U.S. Retail, International, and Bakeries & Foodservice. Yoki Alimentos in Brazil and Yoplait International contributed 6 points to the company's net sales growth, General Mills said.

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June 01, 2013, to June 15, 2013

IBM To Apply “Big Data” Technology To Sharpen Dannon’s Product Distribution System

Dannon has contracted with IBM Corporation to apply its “Big Data” predictive analytics technology to fine tune Dannon’s product distribution system. The sophisticated cloud-based tool analyzes the mass of available company data, forecasts trends, and provides insights into key marketing and distribution problems. Dannon, in a quest to overtake General Mills and its Yoplait yogurt brand, will use the technology to ensure, for example, that its products are delivered in a timely fashion to consumers, thus reducing the out-of-stock problem that plagues retailers and consumers. The technology will also help Dannon and retailers solve the burgeoning SKU proliferation problem in the yogurt category.

Purina Acquires Pet Adoption Site Petfinder

Pet food manufacturer Nestlé Purina announced it will acquire the 17-year-old pet adoption site Petfinder. Purina brand manager Michael Kotick says the company has no immediate plans to alter the Petfinder platform, but acknowledges that the goal is to eventually transform the site into a content-marketing and community-building vehicle that would offer location-based services, nutritional expertise and heightened socialization. Petfinder, owned by Animal Planet parent Discovery Communications, has been involved in 22 million pet adoptions. Its mission dovetails with Purina's, according to Kotick: the company invests $30 million annually in pet welfare. The terms of the sale were not disclosed.

Unilever Plans Second Factory In Myanmar

Unilever plans to open a second factory in Myanmar, according to Unilever Thai Trading chairman Bauke Rouwers. As a sign of the company's growing confidence in the country, whose recent political and economic reforms has prompted Western governments to lift sanctions against the Southeast Asian country, Unilever said it plans to invest €500 million in Myanmar over the next decade. Three years after entering the market, Unilever at present supplies 100,000 stores with personal care products, such as shampoo and toothpaste. Consulting firm McKinsey's May 2013 report predicts that Myanmar's economy could grow from $45 billion in 2010 to $200 billion in 2030, driven by agriculture, infrastructure development, and manufacturing.

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May 15, 2013, to June 01, 2013

PepsiCo’s New Pricing Scheme Shrinks The Difference In Everyday And Holiday Soda Prices

Reuters reports that PepsiCo is implementing what it calls a “hybrid everyday value” strategy whose aim is to shrink the difference between its soda prices on holidays and regular days. Discounts will be smaller on holidays, and everyday prices will be lowered to garner more buyers. PepsiCo tested the strategy in several U.S. markets and will gradually roll it out this summer. A PepsiCo Americas Beverages exec said the new pricing strategy is important because the company has been “way too dependent on deep discounting 12- and 24-packs of our drinks during the holidays”.

McDonald’s Prunes Its Menu To Speed Up Service

McDonald’s is trimming its menu in an effort to address customer complaints about slow service, according to an internal e-mail obtained by Bloomberg. The restaurant’s current menu has 145 items – 70 percent more than in 2007 – and many of the offerings are very labor intensive, putting a strain on staff and lengthening service times. So far the company has eliminated the Angus Burger, Fruit & Walnut salads and Chicken Selects. Others slated for possible elimination, according to the e-mail, are Caesar salads, the McSkillet Burrito, the Southern Style Biscuit and steak bagels. A recent survey of fast-food patrons found that menu variety ranked below food quality, cleanliness, value and service as important restaurant attributes.

Unilever Launches Apprenticeship Programs In UK

Unilever launched its 2013 apprenticeship programs business administration and information technology in the South East in England. Recognized by the National Apprenticeship Service as a Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer, Unilever began accepting applications to its Advanced Business Administration and Advanced and Higher IT apprenticeship programs. Unilever's UK apprenticeship programs will employ 20 South East-based young people who will work in the company's UK and global headquarters, supporting the marketing, customer development, supply chain, human resources, and finance departments.

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May 01, 2013, to May 15, 2013

Wrigley Puts Alert Energy Gum Production And Sales On Hold

William Wrigley Jr. Co. suspended production and sales of its Alert energy gum as the United States Food and Drug Administration investigates the safety of caffeinated food products. Wrigley's launch of the new chewing gum coincided with the FDA's announcement of a probe into the effects of caffeinated products on children and adolescents. Caffeine has become a popular ingredient in food products, including hot sauce and beef jerky, prompting consumer advocates to be concerned that people could end up consuming too much of the stimulant. Government regulators have increased their focus on potential over consumption of caffeinated products among children. In November 2012, the FDA said it has launched a probe into whether energy drinks posed health risks to young people.

Unilever Seeks Greater Control Over Indian Unit Hindustan Unilever

Unilever is investing $5.4 billion to boost its ownership and control over Hindustan Unilever Ltd., which last year achieved a 37 percent increase in earnings selling brands custom-designed to appeal to Indian consumers. Competition in the $42 billion Indian market for beauty, home care and packaged food products is fierce. Competitors like P&G and Colgate-Palmolive (CL) Co. are pushing hard to gain market share, though so far Hindustan Unilever has a lock on the consumer products market. With the investment, Unilever hopes to increase its stake in Hindustan Unilever from 52.5 percent to 75 percent by offering shareholders a 21 percent premium – an “obscene valuation” according to analysts – over the current price. If completed, the transaction will be Unilever’s biggest since its 2000 purchase of Best Foods Ltd.

Unilever’s New Social Media Platform Will Enhance Marketing Collaboration, Creativity

Consumer goods giant Unilever is implementing a global social media platform that will allow its in-house marketing teams to collaborate on marketing projects more easily with international third-party agencies. According to a senior marketing vice president, the platform provides marketers with the tools needed to develop and build brands in local markets, and “frees up our team to create more magic” by engaging with consumers. Consulting firm Accenture managed the installation of the platform, Salesforce’s Chatter.

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April 15, 2013, to May 01, 2013

Frozen Food Makers Hope To Change The Public Image Of Their Products

Frozen food manufacturers worried about consumer perceptions of fresh foods versus frozen want to set the record straight about their products. So several big companies – General Mills, Heinz, ConAgra, etc. – have banded together into the Frozen Food Roundtable to get their message about the benefits of frozen foods out to the public “in a comprehensive fashion”. They have allocated $50 million to hire two ad agencies to change how consumers think about frozen foods “by promoting positive messaging”. Frozen vegetables don’t seem to be in that much trouble, sales-wise. Revenues last year were $5.7 billion, up about one percent. Frozen fruit sales totaled $422 million, up 8 percent. Frozen entrees haven’t fared as well, as consumers continue to worry about nutrition.

Yakult, Danone End Strategic Collaboration, Remain Partners

Japan-based Yakult Honsha Co. ended its strategic collaboration partnership with its leading shareholder Danone SA. Although the companies agreed to maintain their joint operations in markets, such as India, their new working deal is now based on what the companies refer to as "cooperation framework". There were reports of strains in the companies' relationship, as Yakult executives time after time resisted efforts of Danone to increase its 20 percent stake in the Japanese company.

Nutrisystem Sells 5-Day Weight Loss Products Via Walmart

Nutrisystem, Inc. announced its 5-Day Nutrisystem Jumpstart Your Weight Loss Kit is now available exclusively at almost 2,000 Walmart stores in the United States. Available for $44.98, the weight loss kit includes 15 entrees plus desserts, a free meal planner, and program guide that offers access to free weight loss counseling. A weight loss kit designed for people with diabetes is also available at Walmart stores.

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April 01, 2013, to April 15, 2013

Unilever Proceeding Rapidly Toward Sustainability Goals

In a time of climate change, water scarcity, and rising populations, sustainable agriculture is increasingly important not only for managing business risk, but also for boosting brand marketability, according to Unilever. For example, last year Knorr was able to claim that a new soup launched in France included tomatoes sustainably grown in accordance with the Unilever Sustainable Agriculture Code. The company procures half of its raw materials from the farming and forestry industries, so sustainability is hugely important. Unilever says it is now sourcing 36 percent of its agricultural raw materials sustainably. Significant progress has been made in raw materials such as palm oil, vanilla, sugar and sunflower oil.

P&G Pet Food Unit Recalls Products Because Of Presence Of Salmonella

Procter & Gamble company Natura Pet Products has expanded its voluntary recall of dry pet food because of potential contamination with Salmonella. Both the Michigan and Georgia departments  of agriculture confirmed through product sampling that Salmonella was present in additional dry cat food and a cat pet treats. Natura is also recalling dry pet food products made in the surrounding timeframe. P&G said no canned wet food is affected by the recall, and no Salmonella -related illnesses have been confirmed to date. The affected products are sold through veterinary clinics and select pet specialty retailers in the U.S., Canada, and in other countries, as well as online.

Nestlé’s Innovation Efforts Combined Under One Roof In Switzerland

Nestlé has consolidated its industrial design and other high-tech development staff and initiatives in a single System Technology Center in Switzerland. The research facilities will house 125 experts in machine technology, engineering, microelectronics and robotics gathered from 25 countries. The staff will design and develop systems, services and integrated products, such as the capsules and machines used in its Nespresso and Nescafé Dolce Gusto beverage systems. At the opening ceremony, the company unveiled its latest offering, the Nescafé Milano Lounge system, which offers a range of hot and cold beverages, including cappuccino, latte and gourmet hot chocolate.

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March 15, 2013, to April 01, 2013

Coke Exec Says Company Sees No Short-Term Sales Impact From Social Media “Buzz”

Coca-Cola company research shows that social media “buzz” has not led to direct short-term sales, a marketing strategy exec reported at an advertising conference. "We didn't see any statistically significant relationship between our buzz and our short-term sales," the exec reported. But he pointed out that the findings do not mean that social media presence has no impact. The research covered only buzz, not sharing, video views or other factors associated with social media marketing. Coca-Cola’s flagship brand has 61.5 million fans on Facebook, the largest of any brand. A Coca-Cola marketing executive later acknowledged that the findings about buzz are true "in isolation", but that social media play a "crucial role”.

Nestlé’s Investment In European Facilities Continues To Expand

Nestlé has opened a £35 million water bottling factory in Buxton, U.K., that will bottle natural mineral water and Nestlé Pure Life spring water. The new factory is another in the company’s strategic investments in European production facilities. Last year, Nestlé spent £200 million to refurbish its Product Technology Centre for confectionery in York, U.K., and £38 million to enlarge a Purina factory in Hungary. The company also built a Nespresso factory in Switzerland and a Nescafé Dolce Gusto factory in Germany. Last year, Nestlé announced a £ 310 million investment in its coffee manufacturing business in Tutbury, Derbyshire, creating 425 new jobs.

Big Food Companies Serve The Breakfast-On-The-Go Market With “Healthier” Beverages

Kellogg and General Mills recently introduced breakfast beverages (Breakfast to Go and BFAST shakes, respectively) for the eat-on-the-run crowd, but perhaps more interesting was the news from PepsiCo. Last month the company introduced a caffeine-packed breakfast drink – Mountain Dew Kickstart –  that got a lot of people wondering whether it was a soft drink, an energy drink, or a replacement for orange juice or coffee. It contains some fruit juice (five percent), 92 mg of caffeine and high fructose corn syrup. Unlike the Kellogg and General Mills offerings, Kickstart contains no fiber or protein, but does include vitamin C, niacin and vitamin B6. The beverage is targeted at young buyers of soda and energy drinks.

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March 01, 2013, to March 15, 2013

Wrigley’s Enters Energy-Boost Market With Caffeinated Chewing Gum

With demand for chewing gum on the decline, and interest in energy-boosting foods and drinks on the rise, Wrigley’s, maker of the Juice Fruit and Doublemint gum brands, is introducing a new product packed with caffeine. Alert Energy Caffeine Gum will begin hitting shelves in convenience stores, supermarkets and mass retailers in April, even as concern grows among consumer groups and regulators about the safety of energy products, especially among teenagers. Wrigley says its target market for the caffeinated gum is consumers aged 25 and older, and its marketing plan will avoid associating it with other brands in its product line better known among kids and teens.

Fortune Survey Ranks Nestlé No. 1 Consumer Foods Company

A Fortune magazine survey asking 3,800 executives, directors, and analysts to rate companies in their industry on nine criteria ranked Nestlé the number one consumer food products company. Categories included innovation, people management, social responsibility, quality of management, quality of products and services, and global competitiveness. Nestlé received the top ranking in each of these categories among consumer food companies. The company was ranked 32nd among companies in all industries.

Snack Bar For Pregnant Women Contains Ganeden Probiotic

Probiotics manufacturer Ganeden Biotech announced that CredibleCravings, a provider of healthy, natural food products for pregnant women and babies, has included the probiotic GanedenBC30 ingredient in its perinatal snack bar. The organic bar was formulated to support the nutritional needs of pregnant and breastfeeding women and their developing children. CredibleCravings bars are made from natural ingredients including organic fruits and veggies, and sprouted seeds. They contain no artificial preservatives, artificial sweeteners, chemicals or gluten. GanedenBC30 is a gram positive, spore-forming, lactic acid producing strain of Bacillus coagulans.

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February 15, 2013, to March 01, 2013

Cereal Makers Target On-The-Go Breakfast Trend With New Drink Products

Kellogg and General Mills, known for their diverse lines of hot and cold breakfast cereals, are now targeting consumers who don’t have time to sit down to eat a bowl of cornflakes in the morning. They are jumping on the breakfast on-the-run bandwagon with breakfast drinks. Kellogg is rolling out “Breakfast To Go,” a milk-based drink. General Mills is testing a dairy-based breakfast shake – BFast – containing whole grains, fiber, protein, and vitamins. Meanwhile, the trend toward mobile breakfasts and snacks is not lost on Quaker Oats parent company PepsiCo, which offers a Quaker cereal powder drink in China and last summer began testing a similar drink in Brazil.

Kraft Revamps Innovation Process, Bets Its Future On New Product Development

Five years ago, Kraft Foods Group was failing at new product development: 17 of the 19 products tested that year bombed. And 2009 wasn’t much different. Part of the problem was that the company lacked an ethos of innovation: ideas were small, the process lacked rigor and focus, there was little investment supporting product launches, and working in innovation was considered a dead-end job. But that situation is turning around. Kraft has outlined changes it is implementing to develop and support new products. It has created an “innovation playbook” that calls for increased investment in “fewer, bigger ideas” that receive a lot of company attention, according to Barry Calpino, who heads up the revamped  innovation process.

Danone Tightens Belt In Face Of Slack Consumer Demand, Weak European Economy

Danone has decided to eliminate 900 management and administrative positions in 26 European countries as a cost-cutting measure in response to significant profit declines in Europe. The changes are being implemented despite a 5.4 percent increase in sales in 2012. The cutbacks will be made through corporate restructuring and attrition over two years, the company said. The company blamed the cutbacks on a persistent downturn in the European economy coupled with declining consumer demand.
<<9101112131415161718>> Total issues:183
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