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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.

<<10111213141516171819>> Total issues:183

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August 01, 2012, to August 15, 2012

Unilever Posts Strong Sales Growth, Leads World's Personal Care Market

Unilever’s sales grew 8.4 percent to $15.8 billion in the first quarter of 2012 from the same period in 2011. Sales of personal care products increased 10.4 percent to almost $5.6 billion, driven by the strong performance of Dove Nutrium Moisture shower gels and Dove Men+Care. In 2011, corporate sales rose 5 percent to $61.9 billion, with net income rising1 percent to $6.4 billion. Factors helping sales performance include the acquisition of Alberto-Culver and the sales posted by Sara Lee’s personal care business, which Unilever purchased in December 2010. Sales in emerging markets rose 11.5 percent, driven by double-digit growth rates in India, China, Turkey, and South Africa. Emerging markets currently account for 54 percent of the company’s sales.

Innovation Helps Boost Unilever's First Half 2012 Sales In Indonesia

Unilever Indonesia reported its net sales increased 16 percent to Rp 13.36 trillion (US$1.4 billion) in the first half of 2012, compared with the same period of the previous year. “The growth in revenue was the result of innovation of our products,” said Unilever director Sancoyo Antarikso. Cost of goods sold rose 18 percent to Rp 6.62 trillion from Rp 5.56 trillion of the previous year, with gross profit increasing 14 percent to Rp 6.74 trillion from Rp 5.9 trillion. Net profit grew 12 percent to Rp 2.33 trillion from Rp 2.09 trillion.

Consumer Goods Companies Celebrate Olympic Spirit With Games-Themed Packaging

Consumer packaged goods companies launched foods, beverages, toys, and other products with packaging that highlighted the London 2012 Olympic Games. MWM graphics designer Matt W. Moore partnered with brand agency Attik to create packaging designs based on the Olympic rings for Coca-Cola products. Fauchon launched cookies featuring Olympics-themed packaging and flavors. Procter & Gamble introduced products with packaging that includes Olympic graphics.

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July 01, 2012, to August 01, 2012

Companies Seek Bonanza Targeting Tricky Halal Market

This year Ramadan runs from July 19 through August 18 and many companies are positioning to tap Muslim consumers during their holy month. Nestlé, which claims to be the world’s largest Halal food producer, is readying its range of Halal-certified products for a series of markets in Europe, promoted under the Flavours of Ramadan banner offered through its Taste of Home program. Nestlé has for three decades seen Halal as an important emerging market and since the 1980s it has offered halal versions of Milo, Nescafé, Maggi, Kit Kat and Nespray.
 
Today, Nestlé’s center of Halal excellence in Malaysia produces about 300 Halal food and beverage products that are exported to more than 50 countries worldwide; a total of 85 out of Nestlé’s 456 factories worldwide are currently halal certified. It sounds like a strong story but reality is more nuanced. Many of Nestlé’s food items require little or no effort to be Halal and some of its efforts with Halal consumers haven’t gone well; through conversations with stores in Europe that took part in last year’s Taste of Home campaign Business360 learnt that some were disappointed with results and would not take part again.
 
American Muslims 

In the US the Halal market looks especially underserved but that is changing.  One brand aggressively tapping the market is Saffron Road from the Connecticut-based American Halal Company Inc., which launched nationally in Whole Foods in July 2010. Saffron Road offers all-natural, Halal-certified, antibiotic free, and certified humane frozen entrees and is the main brand for American Halal. 
 
American Halal had retail sales of more than $4 million in 2011, driven largely by Whole Foods.  For this Ramadan the entire assortment of Saffron Road products will be on sale in over 5,000 stores during Ramadan including Whole Foods Market, Kroger, Publix, Fairway, H.E.B and Central Market, Gelson’s and Sprouts and many independent stores. American Halal CEO Adnan Durrani forecasts sales hitting $50 million within five years.
 
Durrani adds, “American Muslims have over $170 billion in annual consumer buying power. Major marketing research firms like Ogilvy and Gallop have now confirmed that American Muslims have over 70% brand loyalty, and retailers and consumers brands can easily boost that to 95% during Ramadan by even the smallest gesture of compassion to this un-served and disenfranchised consumer segment by offering Halal relevancy during their holiest month.”
 
Pitfalls and dangers
However, the Halal market can be controversial and difficult to navigate. Muslims have become outraged when food marked Halal is discovered to be contaminated with non-Halal products and non-Muslims express concern and anger at sometimes having to purchase halal foods. Halal was a hot-topic in the French Presidential election and the country’s fast food restaurant, Le Quick, has also faced controversy. And last August, Whole Foods was forced to do an about-face and apologize after the company sent an email to its stores instructing employees not to mention Ramadan in conjunction with the promotion of a Halal food line on its shelves (see also). 
 
Halal also faces threats from animal rights protesters. In 2003, the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) in the UK, an independent advisory group, concluded that the way Halal and Kosher meat is produced causes severe suffering to animals and should be banned immediately. A 2009 study discussed in the New Scientist found that “Brain signals have shown that calves do appear to feel pain when slaughtered according to Jewish and Muslim religious law, strengthening the case for adapting the practices to make them more humane.” and there are many videos online purporting to show the inhumane treatment of Halal slaughter (also)
 
Strong growth
Still, companies think the prize outweighs the risks. A 2011 report (Global Halal Food Market) from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada that drew on many sources says the Halal food market is worth ~$632 billion annually, close to 17% of the entire global food industry and will rise to account for 20% of world food trade. 

Unilever Seeks To Triple Online Sales In China

Unilever vice president for digital marketing and ecommerce for North Asia, Dorcas Lau, said she aims to more than triple her company’s online sales in China in 2012. Unilever is aware of the size and growth potential of China’s online market, with 22 percent of white-collar female Internet users buying products online. More than 500 million Internet users in China mean the country’s ecommerce market will become the largest in the world by 2013. Unilever has expanded its digital media spending 11-fold in China in the past four years, Lau said.

FMCG Brands Among Entries Competing For APPIES 2012 Marketing Honors

The Institute of Advertising Singapore’s APPIES 2012 marketing awards received 25 percent more entries from across the Asia-Pacific region compared with the previous year. Marketing campaigns for leading brands, such as Olay, Oreo, Tiger, Dove, Nivea, and Nescafe, are among the 100 entries received by the awards body, with only 10 winning APPIES gold medals. Top marketers representing industries, such as fast moving consumer goods, healthcare, and financial services, have joined the APPIES consulting and judging committees.

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June 15, 2012, to July 01, 2012

Unilever Tests Market For Low-Cost Water Purifier In India

Hindustan Unilever began test marketing Pureit, a brand of affordable chlorine-based water-purifying sachets, in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. Unilever Foundation partnered with Population Services International to implement the low-cost sachet program, which is part of the company's global initiative seeking to provide 800 million people access to clean drinking water. Industry observers believe that depending on the success of the program, HUL might commercially launch Pureit sachets in India's other states, which could significantly affect the country's low-cost water purifier market. 

Rising Materials Costs Force India's FMCG Companies To Raise Prices

The rising costs of raw materials, driven in part by the depreciation of India's rupee, have forced the country's leading fast moving consumer goods companies to raise the prices of their products, in effect, passing the burden to consumers. For example, ITC raised the prices of its Sunfeast brand of biscuits by 10–18 percent; Hindustan Unilever increased the prices of skin creams, toothpaste, and shampoos. Soap manufacturers Reckitt Benckiser and Godrej Consumer Products also raised the prices of their products by 5 percent. While a 20 percent decline in palm oil prices in the global market offers some respite for Indian consumers, price increases of up to 5 percent in consumer durable goods are looming. 

Pizza Chains Say Proposed FDA Menu Labeling Requirements Are Overly Burdensome

A coalition of America’s big pizza chains is trying to convince Washington lawmakers that pizza is anything but a homogeneous product and therefore should be exempt from proposed menu labeling requirements. The FDA wants pizza restaurants to display, at their own expense, menu boards listing ingredients and calorie counts of foods they sell. There are two problems with the proposed requirement, the “American Pizza Community” says: first, pizza ingredient combinations change constantly; and secondly, 90 percent of pizza orders are placed over the phone or on the Internet.

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June 01, 2012, to June 15, 2012

Unilever CEO Says Innovation Key To Encouraging Consumers To Adopt Sustainable Lifestyles

Unilever CEO Paul Polman said that science and innovation will play key roles in encouraging people to adopt more sustainable lifestyles. Polman, speaking at the Symposium on Behavior Change for Better Health in Vlaardingen, the Netherlands, said that research and development will be important in enhancing companies' understanding of consumer behavior and developing products and services that promote sustainability. Promoting consumer behavior change is a key component of Unilever's Sustainable Living Plan, which aims at doubling its business size while reducing its environmental impact by half.

Unilever Announces Winners Of 2012 Partner To Win Awards

Unilever announced the winners of its 2012 Partner to Win program, an initiative launched by the company in 2011 to encourage its suppliers and business partners to double the size of their business while cutting their environmental impact by half. Metsä Board won the Partner to Win award for developing lightweight and sustainable packaging products and for helping Unilever develop consumer-goods packaging. Unilever media relations manager Flip Dötsch highlighted the company's sustainability achievements including purchasing 64 percent of palm oil from sustainable sources by end of 2011, and 60 percent of paper and board used by the company come from sustainably managed forests or recycled material.

Collaboration Seeks To Advance Plant-Based Plastics In Industry Packaging

Five big American companies that are already using plant-based plastics in their products are collaborating to speed development of the compounds for greater use in industry. Coca-Cola, Ford, H.J. Heinz, NIKE and Procter & Gamble have formed the Plant PET Technology Collaborative to accelerate use of commercially viable, sustainable 100 percent plant-based PET (polyethylene terephthalate) materials and fiber in their products. PET is a durable, lightweight plastic currently used in plastic bottles, apparel, footwear and automotive fabric and carpet. Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle packaging technology, made partially from plants, has demonstrated a lower environmental impact compared to traditional PET plastic bottles.

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May 15, 2012, to June 01, 2012

Procter & Gamble Is 2012 Effie Awards' Most Effective Advertiser In North America

Procter & Gamble was recognized as the most effective advertiser in North America, according to the 2012 North American Effie Effectiveness Index rankings revealed at the 44th Effie Awards Gala in New York City. Wieden+Kennedy's Imported from Detroit advertising campaign for Chrysler won the Grand Effie prize, with Kellogg's and Truvia Natural Sweetener among the finalists.

Apple's Brand Value Shoots Up, Is Ranked Number 1, According To BrandZ Study

Apple is ranked number 1 brand for the second year, increasing 19 percent in value and is currently valued at $182.9 billion, according to the 2012 BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands report. IBM grabbed the second place, growing 15 percent in value to $115.9 billion, and overtaking Google, which fell to third place in the list and is currently worth $107.8 billion. Ahead of its IPO, Facebook's brand value grew 74 percent to $33.2 billion, moving up from number 35 to number 19. In 2006–2012, the total value of the BrandZ Top 100 increased 66 percent to $2.4 trillion, according to the study commissioned by Milward Brown Optimor.

Increasingly Westernized Diets In China And Japan Create Demand For British Food Products

The traditional Chinese breakfast of fried rice is gradually being replaced by processed cereals, as the diets of middle class Asian families become increasingly Westernized. U.K. companies are also shipping baked beans, mushroom soup, tea, jam and biscuits. British food retailer Tesco has 100 stores in China, which is now the number one grocery shopping country in the world. Marks & Spencer reports strong demand in China for frozen salmon and cod fillets, ready-made frozen curries, chocolate-chip cookies and porridge oats. Waitrose reports sizeable demand for British specialties like tea, cereals, jam and biscuits in Japan.

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May 01, 2012, to May 15, 2012

Unilever Zimbabwe Complies With Indigenization Law, Plans To Sell 51 Percent Of Shares To Local Investors

Unilever Zimbabwe said it will comply with the country's indigenization and local empowerment law, becoming one of the manufacturers to do so since 2007 when the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act was passed by the national legislature. The law requires all foreign-owned companies with business operations in Zimbabwe to divest at least 51 percent of their shares to Zimbabweans. Unilever said its compliance with Zimbabwe's law is part of its global policy of following the policies and regulations of countries where it does business. 

Consumer Goods Manufacturers Update Old Brands

Manufacturers of consumer products are reviving and updating their old brands to upgrade them into the 21st century. Procter & Gamble transformed Pepto-Bismol from a bulky bottled product into the portable Pepto-Bismol To-Go; Oral-B launched the Oral-B Glide 3D White Floss Pick floss sticks with tooth whitening feature; Planters unveiled its Planters NUT-rition Men's Health Recommended Mix mixed nuts snack; and Kraft re-launched the Wheat Thins crackers as salty snacks that come in various flavors.

South Korea's Consumer Packaged Goods Market Proves Trying For Global Manufacturers

Korean consumers' fast-changing tastes and preferences are causing multinational manufacturers of consumer packaged goods to struggle against local competitors. For example, Nestlé entered South Korea's coffee mix market in the 1980s with its Taster's Choice brand of instant coffee; the Swiss conglomerate held on to the number 2 spot for 30 years, but fell to third place in January 2012. Procter & Gamble, for its part, used to hold 50 percent of the sanitary napkin market in 1995, courtesy of its Whisper brand. It lost the number 1 ranking to local rival Yuhan Kimberly's White brand, and sank further to number 3 in 2010.

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April 15, 2012, to May 01, 2012

Technology Helps Online Grocers Expand, Grab Bigger Share of India's Food And Grocery Market

Online grocery retailers, such as Bigbasket.com and Mygrahak.com, are using technology to expand their business and their shares of India's food and grocery market estimated to be $343 billion in value. Online retailers use supply-chain management technology that allows online consumers to purchase items using "multiple channels;" they also use applications that allow them to forecast customer behavior, which lets them maintain low inventory levels and cut operating costs.

Fake Products Take Bite Out Of Rural-Market Sales Of Hindustan Unilever, Procter & Gamble, And Emami Ltd.

Hindustan Unilever, Procter & Gamble, and Emami Ltd. are losing sales revenue to counterfeit products, which the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry estimates to account for 10–30 percent of the sales in personal care and beauty care products in India. Consumer packaged goods manufacturers put great emphasis on the country's rural villages, home to 69 percent of India's 1.2 billion people, and are expected to grow into a $100 billion market in 2025 from $9 billion in 2010, according to Nielsen.

Mile High Organics First Online Grocery Retailer To Receive USDA Organic Certification

Organic produce and natural grocery delivery service company Mile High Organics received an organic certification from the United States Department of Agriculture, making the company the first online grocery retailer to do so. The USDA's organic certification program, a voluntary process, assures Mile High Organics' customers that their food meets organic-food standards and the company support organic farmers through sourcing of high-quality food.

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April 01, 2012, to April 15, 2012

Unilever Launches Marketing Campaigns Targeting Hispanic Consumers

Unilever expanded its Hispanic-targeting marketing efforts by launching the Disfruta la Pasion de la Vida (Enjoy Life's Passion), an in-store marketing campaign in partnership with independent supermarket chains in the Western U.S., and the Vivemor (Better Living), an online marketing push that includes Facebook and in-store events. The events include interactive activities, such as Caress hand-wash stations and Pond's testing area, Hispanic-themed foods and music, and Spanish-language coupons and cookbooks.

Murray Lender’s Story: Innovation Takes A So-So Ethnic Bread Product To National Success

Murray Lender’s major innovation in bagel baking – slicing, freezing and shipping nationally – was kept a secret for two years in his native New Haven, Conn., Jewish community “until an accidental delivery of frozen bagels exposed them.” Though the jig was up, Lender, who died in March, was onto a good thing: a way to smooth out the peaks and valleys of bagel demand (and supply) while putting his product – albeit a mediocre one – on the shelves of American supermarkets. As food writer Matthew Yglesias notes, it was only a matter of time before new customers discovered the convenience of frozen bagels “and the bagel became a nationally available foodstuff.” Unfortunately, he says, the bagels available so conveniently in supermarkets are “much too big and lacking the textural contrast produced by poaching the dough before baking.”

As China’s Diet Changes, Grocery Sales Surge

Food industry analysts IGD report that the Chinese grocery sector is now the world leader at $970 billion, pushing the U.S. market ($913.5 billion) into the No. 2 spot for the first time. The grocery spending gap is likely to widen even more by 2015. The growth will occur despite a significant slowdown in China’s economy as the country’s diet moves beyond rice and pork to include dairy products, wheat, grains, and white and red meats. Increased demand for these products in China has led to price hikes around the globe. IGD also expects that Brazil, Russia, India, and China (the BRIC countries) will comprise four of the top five grocery markets in the world by 2015.

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March 01, 2012, to April 01, 2012

No More Artificial Ingredients In Nestlé’s Confectionery Products

Nestlé announced it has replaced all artificial ingredients in its U.K. confectionery line with natural ingredients, including carrot, hibiscus, radish and lemon. The company is the first in the U.K. to accomplish this, noting that the move represents a “significant milestone” and a “responsible approach” to serving consumers. Nestlé said the changes were made in response to consumer demand in the U.K., where three-fourths of  confectionery buyers reportedly shop for products that contain no artificial additives.

Is The Macaron The “New Cupcake”?

The French cookie known as the macaron, made from almond powder and egg whites and available in a variety of flavors and colors, is attracting increasing attention in cities around the world, thanks to the enthusiasm of pastry chefs. The macaron was invented in France at the tea house Ladurée 150 years ago. Pastry chef Pierre Hermé declared March 20 Macaron Day seven years ago, and the cookie’s popularity has grown ever since. In fact, “some pundits and foodie gourmands [are] calling the macaron ‘the next cupcake.’”

Nivea Is Most Trusted Skin Care Brand In Europe, Reader's Digest Survey Says

Nivea remained the most trusted brand of skin care in the 15 countries covered by Reader's Digest 2012 European Trusted Brands survey. First published in 2001, the survey, which is conducted in 13 languages to determine which brands Europeans trust the most, also revealed that Nivea became the most trusted brand of hair care in six countries, up from five countries in 2011 and from one in 2010.

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January 01, 2012, to March 01, 2012

Unilever Zimbabwe Launches Marketing Campaign To Double Number Of Retailer Partners

Unilever Zimbabwe launched a marketing campaign aimed at small retail stores as the company seeks to increase the number of stores it supplies from the current 1,200 to 2,400 by the end of 2012. Unilever is recovering from the adverse impact of hyperinflation, as the company and other global manufacturers continue to focus on Africa and other emerging markets to grow their business and revenue.

Unilever Aims For Sustainability While Doubling Global Revenue

Unilever vice president for sustainability Karen Hamilton said her company is putting a lot of emphasis on sustainability as it seeks to double its 2009 €39.8 billion revenue to €80 billion.  In addition to using sustainable ingredients Unilever is seeing new product opportunities, such as its Pureit in-home water purifier and hygiene education programs for consumers in developing countries, both of which target the growing ranks of middle-class consumers worldwide.

Emerging Markets Will Be Major Source Of Revenue For Large Businesses

Unilever chief operating officer Harish Manwani said multi-national companies must be flexible enough to manage challenges posed by the need to balance inflation and growth in emerging markets, which are also affected by the global economic slowdown. He added that emerging markets will account for up to 70 percent of Unilever’s business and revenue.
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