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Period: January 1, 2016 to January 15, 2016
Comment & Opinion or Companies, Organizations or Consumers or Controversies & Disputes or Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing or Earnings Release or Finance, Economics, Tax or Innovation & New Ideas or Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy or Market News or Marketing & Advertising or Other or People & Personalities or Press Release or Products & Brands or Research, Studies, Advice or Supply Chain or Trends
Companies, Organizations  

Coca-Cola Embroiled In Ethics Controversy Over Donations To Colorado Researcher

Coca-Cola’s payments to a University of Colorado nutrition expert and teacher have come under scrutiny, Fortune magazine reports. The company has acknowledged paying James Hill, president of the now-defunct anti-obesity organization Global Energy Balance Network, $550,000. Coca-Cola told the Denver Post it paid Hill the money for “honoraria, travel, education activities, and research on weight management” before the organization was created. A Colorado ethicist said Coca-Cola’s donations were a big “red flag” and possibly a violation of a state law banning corporate funding of public employees. The company also donated $1 million to GEBN as start-up funding, and $1 million to the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, which is directed by Hill. The university has since returned that donation.

"Coca-Cola Paid $550K to Head of Anti-Obesity Group", Fortune, December 28, 2015

Special K Backs Away From Dieting Message, Now Stresses Nutrition

J. Walter Thompson will continue the ad theme created by predecessor Leo Burnett for Special K cereal that emphasizes broad nutritional benefits for women rather than just weight loss. Sales of the brand have dropped off in recent years, and it became apparent to Kellogg’s that women wanted more than calorie counting. Still the biggest player in breakfast cereals, Kellogg’s nevertheless saw its share of the global market fall over the last five years from 30 percent to about 28 percent while PepsiCo and Post Holdings gained ground. Sales picked up last year when more freeze-dried strawberries were added to Special K, the company’s biggest brand, and the company got the message: “strong is the new skinny.”

"Special K Recipe for 2016: New Cereal Promoted By New Agency", Advertising Age, December 29, 2015

PepsiCo To Market Doritos In India

PepsiCo is introducing the Doritos snack brand to the $1.3 billion Indian salty snacks market. It will be the third snack from PepsiCo in India after Lays and Kurkure. A PepsiCo spokesman said introducing Doritos is part of a “premiumization” strategy for its product portfolio that includes higher end varieties of Lays potato chips, Tropicana juices and the snack Kurkure. PepsiCo will begin domestic production of Doritos chips this year. Market watchers say PepsiCo still leads the Indian salty snacks market, but faces tough competition from local companies like Balaji Wafers and Haldiram's.

"PepsiCo to launch fastest growing snacks Doritos next week", The Economic Times, January 18, 2016

Sodexo trials and implements food waste monitoring system

Facilities Management Online, December 09, 2015

Campbell Labels Will Disclose G.M.O. Ingredients

The New York Times, January 07, 2016

Unilever Returns To Cuba

Forbes, January 11, 2016

Unilever named top employer in China

Unilever, January 14, 2016

Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing  

General Mills Buys Meat-Fruit Snack Maker

General Mills has acquired premium meat snacks manufacturer EPIC Provisions, based in Austin, Texas. The company said EPIC will operate under GM’s recently-purchased Annie’s business, a natural and organic food company that sells more than 145 products. The original EPIC meat, fruit, and nut bar — developed by two competitive athletes who wanted to add more protein to their diet —created a unique snacking category, according to General Mills. EPIC Bars come in several flavors, including bison bacon cranberry, beef habanero cherry, chicken sesame BBQ, and pulled pork pineapple.

"Premium meat snacks business expands company’s natural and organic portfolio", News release, General Mills, January 14, 2016

Hain Celestial Expands Fruit Product Marketing In Europe With Acquisition

Organic and natural products company Hain Celestial Group said its British subsidiary has acquired Orchard House Foods Limited, a U.K. marketer of prepared fruit, juices, fruit desserts and ingredients. Founded in 1985, the company supplies retailers, on-the-go food outlets, food service providers and manufacturers. Hain Celestial said the acquisition provides the ability to expand fruit product offerings into continental Europe, as well as new product development with cold pressed juice and branded fruit product offerings in the U.K.  It will also provide sales and operating efficiencies in fruit procurement around the world. Orchard House expects sales of $60 and $65 million in 2016.

"Hain Celestial Announces Accretive Strategic Acquisition", News release, Hain Celestial, January 14, 2016

Market News  

Food Ingredients Firm Acquires Purple Corn Maker Suntava

Healthy Food Ingredients (Fargo, N.D.) has acquired the plant-based ingredients maker Suntava (Afton, Minn.). Suntava is known for its proprietary purple corn (a natural non-GMO hybrid) used in functional foods, beverages, nutraceuticals, and cosmeceuticals, and as a natural colorant for food and beverages. It is the first U.S. company to commercialize antioxidant-rich purple corn, derived from ancient strains of Andean maize. The purple corn is available as whole kernel, flour, meal, grits, masa flour, IQF, and freeze dried fresh. HFI provides non-GMO, organic, gluten free, and identity preserved ingredients to the food, pet food, and food service industries.

"Healthy Food Ingredients Acquires Suntava", Prepared Foods, December 17, 2015

Tetley To Spend Millions To Revive Tea Market, And Its Sales

Tea company Tetley has launched a marketing campaign designed to change British shopper attitudes toward the beverage, reverse market sluggishness, and return itself to its former market leadership role. The $14.5 million campaign begins with television ads running from January to March whose purpose is to “create desire for tea” while nourishing consumer engagement at every step of the “shopper journey.” The “It Starts with Tea” campaign will play out in print, digital and social media, as well as in store and in-depot.

"Tetley announces big marketing plans for 2016", Food & Drink Innovation Network, December 30, 2015

Nine ways we made a difference in 2015

Unilever , December 22, 2015

HUL: A Household Name For Decades

Businessworld , January 06, 2016

General Mills Acquires EPIC Provisions

PR Newswire, January 06, 2016

Chobani Takes Aim At Other Light Greek Yogurts

Advertising Age, January 06, 2016

Marketing & Advertising  

Walmart Canada Launches Private-Label Line Of Organic Foods

Walmart Canada launched Great Value Organics, its private label line of affordable organic food products. Described by Walmart Canada’s senior director brand management as designed to help customers save money and eat healthy foods, the product line includes flours, breakfast oats, seeds for salads, and yogurts. Canada Organic Trade Association director general Matthew Holmes welcomed the launch of the product line.

"Walmart’s newest private label line is all about organic growth", Canadian Grocer, December 11, 2015

Oprah Winfrey’s Midas Touch Reverses Weight Watchers’ Stock Slide

An endorsement, investment, and advertisement from Oprah Winfrey were apparently just the shot in the arm that Weight Watchers needed to reverse its recent stock slide. In October, Winfrey bought $40 million worth of the company’s stock after it announced its new mission: healthy weight loss and wellbeing, rather than deprivation. Her investment doubled in value almost immediately. Now the company’s brand ambassador, Winfrey also launched a video campaign on Twitter targeting her 30 million followers. The stock climbed 30 percent after the campaign began. Winfrey’s stock is now valued at about $150 million, a 375 percent gain.

"Weight Watchers stock prices soar following Oprah Winfrey campaign", The Drum, December 31, 2015

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