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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.

<<12345678910>> Total issues:183

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September 15, 2019, to April 15, 2020

Sale Of Keebler Snack Business Puts A Dent In Kellogg’s 4th Quarter And 2020 Outlook

Shares of packaged-food company Kellogg have rebounded from a pummelling earlier this month when investors expressed disappointment with the company’s latest financial results and the 2020 outlook. Fourth-quarter earnings were $0.42 a share, compared with a loss of $0.24 a year earlier. But for the full year, Kellogg earned $2.80 a share, down from $3.83 a share, blaiming it on one-time charges and the impact of the 2019 $1.3 billion sale of its Keebler snack business. In addition, the company’s 2020 outlook failed to live up to analysts' expectations, sending shares lower. As the company pivots away from its iconic cereal business, whose sales have been soft especially in developed markets such as the U.S., it has been putting more emphasis on snacks and emerging markets. The company’s guidance for the current fiscal year includes an organic net sales increase of 1-2 percent versus last year, below the 2.1 percent Wells Fargo Securities had expected. Many were expecting more than two percent. Last year, organic net sales increased 1.9 percent.

Innovation Helping General Mills Advance In An Improving Cereal Market

Successful cereal innovations are helping General Mills grow and take market share. In the first half of fiscal 2020 the company had five of the top six cereal launches in the United States and it continues with new launches. It has introduced Trix Trolls cereal and is experimenting with premium products such as its Morning Summit cereal that has almonds as a first ingredient and retails for $13 a box in the club channel. CEO Jeffrey L. Harmening said its fiscal year-to-date retail sales were up 2% on the back of “innovation, great marketing and excellent in-store execution”. He pointed to compelling marketing ideas such as its Cheerios heart health campaign and Cinnamon Toast Crunch’s Cinnaverse campaign as examples of combining meaningful innovation with smart marketing. In broader comments, Harmening believes the US cereal market is improving and no longer declining, supported by improving macro and demographic trends with a return to growth in the number of households with kids and a stabilization in breakfast eaten-at-home versus away-from-home.

Barilla’s Protein+ Pastas Are Now Made 100 Percent From Plant-Based Ingredients

Pasta company Barilla Group announced its Protein+ line is now made entirely with plant-based ingredients, specifically semolina durum wheat mixed with protein from lentils, chickpeas, and peas.  new recipe removes the egg whites from the formula, while maintaining the same great taste and "al dente" texture of traditional semolina pasta, the company says. The new formula includes shorter cook times to achieve al dente texture for all seven varieties: spaghetti, angel hair, thin spaghetti, farfalle, penne, elbows, and rotini. Protein+ pastas have the same amount of protein per serving (10g/2oz serving) as before, but now derived from plant-based sources. The pastas, a good source of iron, thiamin, folic acid, riboflavin, and niacin, are non-GMO project certified, vegan-certified, and kosher.

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January 15, 2019, to September 15, 2019

Coke and Pepsi To Leave Plastics Industry Association

PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have told Greenpeace USA of their decision to withdraw from the Plastics Industry Association. Greenpeace highlights the dichotomy of pledging to end plastic pollution at the same time as supporting bodies that lobby for continued reliance on single-use plastic. Greenpeace says that The Plastics Industry Association uses the American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA) as a front to advocate against plastic bans in the US. Greenpeace says 15 states have to date passed “pro-pollution preemption laws”. 

Innovators At Coca-Cola Plan For Industry, Societal Change

In a recent interview, Matt Hughes, Coca-Cola’s vice president for incubation and a founding member of its Venturing and Emerging Brands unit, pointed to “beverages for life,” water usage, women empowerment, and environmental sustainability as top priorities of the company’s “mission approach to things.” As to specific product areas, Hughes said “plant-based is an interesting space … that is an adjacent area to dairy from a protein perspective.” As it thinks about the future and “where consumers are going to be five or 10 years from now,” Coca-Cola invests time, energy and money to gain expertise in new technologies, marketing and digital platforms, and other areas that can help drive growth. Hughes said he expects Coca-Cola to be as “on-trend” 30 years from now as it is today, and he is very enthusiastic about the prospects for sparkling water Topo Chico and sports hydration beverage Body Armor.

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). 

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December 15, 2018, to January 15, 2019

Kellogg Europe Executive Outlines Bio-Based Cereal Pouches Goal

According to Rupert Maitland-Titterton, Kellogg Europe’s senior director of sustainability and corporate communications, the company is working towards its pledge to ensure 100 percent of its packaging is recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025. An interim goal is to develop bio-based cereal pouches, recyclable in all Kellogg’s markets, to replace oil-based pouches by the end of next year. Although it’s up to consumers to contribute to the recycling process, he says, food companies must work with stakeholders, including suppliers and waste management companies, to design packaging that can be recycled and to improve the infrastructure. Kellogg Europe has started an audit of recycling structures in its largest 25 markets. Kellogg is one of the 250-plus signatories to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, which aims to eliminate single-use plastic. Maitland-Titterton believes this scale of collaboration is crucial and that the food industry can’t solve it alone.

Starbucks Says Plastic-Lined Coffee Cups Can Be Converted Into New Cups


Coffee chain Starbucks says it has converted 25 million of its coffee cups into new cups as part of a pilot scheme introduced earlier in 2018, overturning conventional wisdom that the plastic lining means they couldn’t be recycled. Mike Mueller of WestRock, the company that recycled the cups, said the company is aiming to raise awareness about how it can be achieved and scaled. Other initiatives used by Starbucks include charging a small fee to its London customers for single-use cups, and it is working on a cup that can be easily recycled and composted. Customers in most stores can expect a discount if they bring their own reusable cup.

Unilever Invests €100,000 To Solve Single-Use Plastic Sachet Problem

Unilever has set its sights on eliminating single-use plastic sachets for laundry products, piloting a technology in which it is investing €100,000. The crowd-sourced plastic-free tablet, which uses a plant-based coating, emerged from the company’s “Rethink Plastic” Hackathon. Other ideas from the event included a subscription model for detergent in ceramic or glass bottles, and soluble sheets of detergent, or ‘Laundry on a roll’. Teams from Unilever will look at some of these other ideas. 

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December 01, 2018, to December 15, 2018

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.

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.

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

Multinational Corporations Support Campaign To Reduce Ocean Plastic Pollution

Multinational corporations, including Coca-Cola and Walmart, pledged their support for the Ocean Plastics Charter signed by Britain, Canada, France, Germany, and Italy in June 2018. Despite an abstention by the two other G7 nations, United States and Japan, several non-G7 nations supported the plan to achieve 100 percent plastics recyclability by 2030. An announcement by Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKena to create a new partnership with businesses to reduce plastic waste secured support from several companies, including Loblaws, Walmart, and IKEA, and Nestle Canada. Separately, Unilever announced the launch of a not-for-profit venture to reduce consumer and business waste.

Lidl In Ireland And Northern Ireland Is Eradicating Its Use Of Black Plastic


Lidl announced it is eliminating black plastic in packaging before Christmas from its fruit and vegetables in all of its stores in Ireland and Northern Ireland. It will be withdrawn from fresh fish products by February next year, and its poultry and fresh and cured meat products will follow by August. Lidl also announced that it had stopped selling single-use plastic items, such as straws, plastic plates, cups and cutlery. They will be replaced by biodegradable items. The retailer added that it continues to test unpackaged fruit and vegetables. Over a quarter of its fresh produce has no packaging. 

Seventh Generation Introduces ‘Game-Changing’ Innovation In Laundry Detergent Packaging



Unilever’s Seventh Generation detergent brand has launched what it claims is a game-changer. The 23oz bottle contains 100 per cent recycled PET and uses 60 per cent less plastic and 50 per cent less water than a typical 100oz bottle, for the same number of laundry loads. The product also features EasyDose™, a new automatic dosing technology in the cap. The EasyDose™ Ultraconcentrated Laundry Detergent was launched as an online exclusive. 

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October 01, 2018, to November 01, 2018

Hershey Rolls Out New Omnichannel That Blurs Online and Offline

Hershey Co. has a ‘digital’ strategy that is centered on four components, search, content, conversion, and community. It is designed to enhance the company’s competitive advantage and help it succeed in the emerging omnichannel marketplace and holds that there is no offline and online division, but rather a continuum between the two. The initial goal is to convert a purchase, but the long-term goal is repeat purchases and to earn a place on the consumers digital shopping list. Hershey is also experimenting with digital impulse sales.  

Land O’Lakes Launches Digital Tool To Help Farmers Get More Sustainable

Land O'Lakes SUSTAIN is to launch Truterra Insights Engine, an interactive digital platform to help farmers and food companies measure their sustainability in real time. The platform combines agronomic expertise and technical capabilities from several contributors, including the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, and combined with other tools can help farmers measure the economic and environmental benefits of their sustainability efforts. It also helps them identify farm management options. The company claims Truterra Insights Engine is better suited to farmers since it was created by a farmer-owned cooperative.

McDonald’s Removes Artificial Preservatives, Flavors, Colors From Menu Items


Hoping to attract more health-conscious consumers to its restaurants, McDonald's is getting rid of the artificial ingredients in its menu items. Seven classic burgers – the hamburger, cheeseburger, double cheeseburger, McDouble, Quarter Pounder with Cheese, Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese, and Big Mac – will no longer contain artificial preservatives, flavors or colors. The changes apply to the bun, the cheese, and the sauce, but not to the pickles. Ingredients eliminated include the artificial preservative calcium propionate from buns and the preservative sorbic acid from its American cheese. Th company is also removing potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, and calcium disodium EDTA from the Big Mac Special Sauce without "sacrificing that signature taste."

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September 15, 2018, to October 01, 2018

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.

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.

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.

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September 01, 2018, to September 15, 2018

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.

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. 

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

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.”

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.

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.

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July 01, 2018, to August 01, 2018

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.

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.

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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