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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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June 01, 2018, to July 01, 2018

The Power Of Digital Is Driving Coca-Cola’s “Consumer-Centric” Strategy

At the Consumer Goods Forum in Singapore recently Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey emphasized his company’s commitment to a digital and ecommerce future when he noted that digital will put Coke products “within a click’s reach of desire.” He cited as evidence what’s happening in China, where there are four times as many mobile users as in the U.S., and “rapid and exponential growth” in digital technologies is driving change in Asia’s beverage industry. Quincey said the strategy of creating a consumer-centric product portfolio is based on making Coke products a part of peoples’ lives by offering the brands they want in the package sizes they prefer. Digital tools will make that happen.

Coca-Cola Ponders Bid For GSK’s Horlicks Malted Beverage Brand

Coca-Cola may be looking to solidify its commitment to India as it contemplates a bid for children’s malted drink brand Horlicks, marketed in India by pharmaceuticals company GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, which has a 72.5 percent stake. Nestlé and Kraft Heinz are also thought to be considering a bid for the 145-year-old $3.3 billion Chicago-based brand. Coca-Cola is committed to offering more healthful beverage options in India beyond soft drinks and expects to invest $1.7 billion there through 2023 developing region-specific juices made from native fruits. 

Advanced Store-Shelf Audit Technology Gives Coca-Cola Speedy Competitive Intelligence

Coca-Cola is one of the biggest CPG companies that is replacing “old school and time-consuming” manual store shelf audits with advanced digital tools. The company is using technology from start-up Trax that merges image recognition, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to analyze smartphone images of store shelves to provide timely insight into fast-changing consumer buying patterns. According to Coca-Cola, it used to take a month to collect shelf data manually, and another three months to organize it – way too much time to react to competitive challenges. Using the new technology cuts time and costs, allowing store shelf audits to be conducted every two months instead of twice a year. The company is testing the technology in three of its nearly 70 North American bottlers/distributors that “serve as its regular eye on the ground.”

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May 15, 2018, to June 01, 2018

Over 40 Firms Form UK Plastics Pact, Promising To Cut Single-Use Plastic Packaging

Over 40 firms, responsible for over 80% of plastic packaging on products sold in the United Kingdom, have joined the government and several trade organizations in establishing the UK Plastics Pact, led by sustainability group WRAP. The agreement lays out a set of pledges undertaken by firms to reduce plastic pollution over the next seven years. It promises to eliminate single-use plastic packaging, including 2025 goals to make 100% of packaging recyclable or compostable, to recycle or compost 70%, and to use 30% recycled material in plastic packaging. The pact signatories include Coca-Cola, Asda, Procter & Gamble, and Marks & Spencer. Environmental groups including Friends of the Earth and Ellen MacArthur Foundation expressed their support. 

Starbucks Hopes To Trim $75M In Food Waste by 2020

Starbucks Corp. is losing $500 million a year on waste in its more than 8,000 company-operated U.S. stores, but hopes to cut that by 15 percent ($75 million)over the next year-and-a-half through greater efficiency. The company says its business model – “strict product quality requirements” plus “product availability” – always results in some waste. Food discarded because after the expiration date, and lost sales associated with a lack of inventory, are part of the costs. During Starbucks' fiscal second quarter, it cut waste costs by focusing on “outlier stores” that had high waste as a percentage of sales. It also improved training on the process of pulling .

Nestlé Waters NA Hopes New Packaging, Flavors, Will Lure Buyers To Sparkling Water

In an interview, Nestlé Waters NA brand business director Sam Martin said the decision to revamp its sparkling water portfolio – Arrowhead, Deer Park, Ice Mountain, Ozarka, Poland Spring, and Zephyrhills – with new flavors and packaging was based on perceived opportunities in the market. Though sparkling water has been on a torrid growth ride in recent years, household penetration has reached only 16 percent. Perrier is selling well in plastic bottles and glass but, according to Martin, adding cans to the portfolio represents “a really big unlock for the consumer.” In addition, Perrier has successful core flavors, but new flavors (like pomegranate lemonade) will attract new buyers. The basic strategy is to convince consumers of the benefits of sparkling waters “by entering through the lens of our existing business with them.”

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May 01, 2018, to May 15, 2018

Panera Rolls Out Delivery Program Nationwide

Panera Bread is expanding its food delivery service nationally to 897 cities and 43 states via the Panera app or website. The company said its products will be available for lunch and dinner to officers, hospitals, college campuses and, in participating markets, to homes.According to CEO Blaine Hurst, "Delivery is fueling our next phase of growth.”Panera is using its own delivery drivers in the expansion – it has hired 10,000 so far – and says it has already created 13,000 jobs. Digital sales at Panera comprise online, app and kiosk orders and represent 30 percent of total company sales. Deliveries are possible with orders as small as $5 menu purchase plus tax and a $3 delivery fee in most markets. The company operates 2,076 bakery-cafes in 46 states and in Ontario, Canada.

Functional Sparkling Water From Sweden Targets America’s Diabetics

Sweden’s Good Idea blood sugar management drink is tackling the America’s 30 million diabetics and 90 million pre-diabetics who need to manage blood sugar levels. The carbonated dietary supplement blends five specific amino acids with chromium to reduce post-meal blood sugar spikes significantly. The beverage is intended to be consumed before and during a meal when blood sugar levels tend to ebb and flow the most. Aventure’s research, conducted with scientists at Lund University, included nine clinical trials showing that Good Idea can help reduce blood sugar by 20 – 30 percent. Despite the functional benefits of the drink, parent company Aventure AB is positioning it as a sparkling water for a mass audience.

Nestlé Waters NA Beverage Delivery Service Reaches Gettysburg, Pa.

Nestlé Waters North America announced it has acquired the Roaring Spring Water company’s customer list and storefront in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, allowing it to expand ReadyRefresh beverage delivery service to eastern Pennsylvania and eastern Maryland. The ReadyRefresh service delivers Nestlé Waters beverages to homes and business offices. This is the first time ReadyFresh will operatea a storefront where shoppers can purchase Nestlé Waters products, including Deer Park spring water, Pure Life purified water, Perrier, and S. Pellegrino sparkling mineral water.

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April 15, 2018, to May 01, 2018

Dunkin' Donuts Tests Snacks in Boston

Dunkin’ Donuts is testing a $2 afternoon snacking menu in several Boston-area locations that features donut fries, Munchkin dippers, pretzel bites with honey mustard sauce, waffle-breaded chicken tenders, ham-and-cheese rollups, and gluten-free brownies. The test is designed to gather input from consumers, franchisees, and employees prior to a possible national rollout. A Reddit user review gave thumbs up to the pretzel bites and the donut fries, and thumbs down to the “gross” waffle-breaded chicken that was “way too greasy.” The batter is the “same batter used in the pancake bites that they used to have.” The company recently unveiled a value menu offering Wake-up Wraps for $2, breakfast sandwiches for $3, and croissant sandwiches for $5. 


Company Adds Reduced-Gluten Wheat To Its Ingredients Portfolio

Agricultural food ingredients company Arcadia Biosciences has introduced reduced-gluten (RG) wheat lines to its GoodWheat ingredients portfolio. The company says flour made from the RG wheat will be available by the end of the year. The wheat was developed in part with funding from NIH’s Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders Institute. The RG product is a non-GM wheat in which allergenic glutens have been reduced by 75 percent. Overall gluten content has been reduced by 60 percent, but the California-based company says the levels of glutens important for bread making are not changed. 

Nature’s Own Introduces “Artisan-Inspired” Breads

Bread maker Nature's Own has added two new varieties to its “artisan-inspired” product line. Perfectly Crafted Thick Sliced Multigrain and Perfectly Crafted Thick Sliced White contain no artificial preservatives, color or flavors, no high fructose corn syrup, and are Non-GMO Project Verified. The “bakery style” breads feature thick slices, soft texture, a distinctive flour dusting, and fresh-baked aroma, the company says.

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April 01, 2018, to April 15, 2018

Nestlé Acts To Increase Redistribution Of Its Surplus Food In U.K.

Nestlé has partnered with a British anti-food waste charity and a surplus food redistributor in a program to curb food waste by ensuring that more of its surplus food is available for both charitable and commercial use. The company says its arrangement with WRAP and Company Shop will mean that more of its part-processed products can be redistributed instead of being used for animal feed or anaerobic digestion. The approach will increase the levels of charitable redistribution from Nestlé’s U.K. operations by the equivalent of two million meals a year, on top of the products that already go to another redistribution organization, Fareshare.

Nestlé Waters NA Makes Progress On Factory Sustainability Efforts

Third-party accrediting organization Alliance for Water Stewardship has certified a Nestlé Waters NA factory in Ontario, Calif., along with facilities in Canada, for sustainability achievements. Last week AWS certified Nestlé’s Los Angeles and Cabazon, Calif., factories. AWS is an alliance of businesses, nonprofits, public-sector agencies, and academic institutes. The organization’s audit of the California facilities showed combined savings of more than 54 million gallons of water between 2016 and 2017, according to Nestlé Waters. Eight Nestlé Waters facilities worldwide have met the AWS standard; two more plants in North America are expected to be certified by the end of this year.

Coca-Cola’s Investment In Spotify Is Reaping Rewards

Coca-Cola and other early investors in Spotify were bound to make a profit when the music-streaming service went public on April 3. Coke reportedly invested $10 million in 2012, when Spotify’s valuation was about $3 billion. The investment marked “a watershed moment for the intersection of brands, tech and music,” according to Billboard magazine. Major brands were used to spending millions on sports sponsorships, while music sponsorship was experimental. Coca-Cola partnered with Spotify because it believed in co-founder Daniel Ek’s vision of cloud-based access to all music, and the goal of global reach, “an area where Coca-Cola could help Spotify expand.” It was a good bet. Coke’s early ante could be worth as much as $100 million-$150 million, though it will be a while before the share price settles. 

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March 15, 2018, to April 01, 2018

McDonald’s Sees Better Quality Chicken As Vehicle For Extending Growth Curve

McDonald’s, which is in the midst of a three-year growth period, is betting that offering “Better Chicken” will keep that growth bubbling along. The company’s plan is to upgrade the chicken items on its menu to achieve a premium status similar to Chik-fil-A. It has already implemented some customer-pleasing changes to its McNuggets and sandwich lines: it has promised to stop serving poultry with antibiotics; removed artificial preservatives from McNuggets; and launched Southern-style sandwiches and tenders coated in a crispy buttermilk breading. It’s a major shift for the decades-old burgers-and-fries company, whose customers see chicken as a healthier protein. "It's definitely a transformational era for McDonald's," said an analyst at Motley Fool. "Chicken is part of that."

Courts Continue To Refine Laws Dealing With GMO Ingredients, Animal Feed

Courts in New York (federal) and Massachusetts (state) have ruled that foods made from genetically modified ingredients or fed to animals that provide “end product” foods do not violate federal “all natural” food labeling policies. In a case against Dannon, the court dismissed a complaint that the company’s yogurt labels claiming to be “all natural” were deceptive because federal law does not require that foods from animals fed with GMO feeds be labeled “GMO.” In the Massachusetts case against ConAgra, the court dismissed the case because the plaintiff failed to allege that Wesson oil contains added color, synthetic substances or flavors, or contains anything that would not normally be expected to be in vegetable oil, whether or not the oil was extracted from corn, soybean, or rapeseed grown from genetically modified stock.

Unilever Saves 30% With Its In-House Creative Content Production Agency

Unilever, the world's second largest advertiser is reducing the number of its advertising agencies from 3,000 to 1,500, by handling content production with U-Studios, its in-house creative agency. The 17 U-Studios in 12 countries now creates content for some of its brands. Savings are reinvested in marketing and in-store spend. And with online sales increasing by 80% last year, Unilever is also investing heavily in digital, leveraging its in-house People Data Centers for real-time analytics of consumer relationships.

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March 01, 2018, to March 15, 2018

Tyson Foods Turns Its Attention To Protein Snacks, While Tackling Food Waste

Giant U.S. meat producer Tysons Foods has set its strategic sights on the snack business in a way that will put some of its scraps to good use. A company R&D team was given six months to figure out a way make protein-based snacks from materials that would otherwise go to the landfill. As consumers turn away from sugary snacks, they are buying more protein snacks, creating a $2.9 billion market in 2017. Tyson thinks it can take ingredients like poultry scraps, spent grain from brewers, and vegetable pulp from juicers to create high-protein snacks. Tyson has already begun to branch out from poultry into snacks: its acquisition of Hillshire Brands in 2014 brought with it the jerky brand Golden Island, and Tyson has used the Hillshire name to launch a line of meat snacks.

Bakery Succeeds With Variations Of One Core Product: The Pretzel Bun

Miller Baking Company owner Brian Miller is both pleased and surprised that the company’s flagship product is suddenly garnering a lot of positive publicity. The eight-year-old pretzel bun brand known as Pretzilla was featured in several New York City publications when chef Masa Takayama used it to wrap beef and lamb burgers at his newly-launched Tetsu restaurant. The original baking company that Miller’s family purchased in 1970 used to sell 175 different baked goods in Milwaukee. But it now concentrates on only four core pretzel bread variations sold nationwide: burger buns, mini buns, pretzel bites, and sausage buns.

Will Big Food Get Ahead Of The Niche Curve At Natural Expo?

Vexed by consumer preferences evolving toward more-healthful, less-refined foods, and other threats, big manufacturers, retailers and investors have flocked to the Natural Products Expo West – a gathering place for natural, organic, and niche food and ingredient purveyors – to gather hints of what might be the next game-changing food trends. It’s bad enough that Big Food has to deal with rising retailer fees and trucking costs, competition from deep discount food retailers and now even Amazon. There’s also the fact that sales of food made with less-processed ingredients have risen 15 percent since 2014. The top 25 food and beverage companies in the U.S. collectively lost $5 billion in market share to smaller brands from 2012 to 2016. “It’s not a niche thing anymore. It’s mainstream,” said a Kroger exec. “That’s where the customer is going.”.

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February 15, 2018, to March 01, 2018

Conagra Sells Canadian Del Monte Processed Fruits/Vegetables Unit

Conagra Brands announced it is selling its Canadian Del Monte canned fruit and vegetable business to Canada’s Bonduelle Group in a deal worth about US$34 million. A spokesman for Bonduelle said all three of the company's canning facilities in Canada will be “positively impacted” by the acquisition in terms of added jobs. The deal is subject to closing conditions but is expected to be completed before the end of May. 

Despite Hiccup In 4th Q Online Sales, Analysts Don’t See Walmart Losing To Amazon

Investors are nervous that a dip in Walmart’s 4th quarter e-commerce sales – the announcement triggered a nine percent stock price drop – could portend an online future in which the mega-retailer plays second fiddle to Amazon. Online sales grew only 23 percent during the holiday quarter. Yet the company continues to forecast 40 percent growth for the current fiscal year, and analysts and industry experts seem to be on board with that. The company’s investments in its website and overall e-commerce operations will begin to pay off later in the year. Walmart also has a substantial brick-and-mortar retail base, something Amazon lacks. A Cowen & Co. analyst said “the future of e-commerce is physical + digital,” a strategy that “will drive a 'productivity loop.'"

Amazon Rewards Whole Foods Shoppers With Access To Prime Visa Benefits

Amazon has extended the benefits of Amazon Prime membership to shoppers at Whole Foods Market, its newly-acquired grocery retail chain. Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Cardmembers who shop at Whole Foods Market and use the card to purchase animal welfare-rated meat, sustainably caught wild and responsibly farmed seafood, or any local, Whole Trade, or organic produce will earn five percent bac. The discount is in addition to any other rewards they receive, including five percent back on Amazon.com purchases, two percent back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores, and one percent back on all other purchases. The rewards never expire and are redeemable, as long as the account is open, on millions of products at Amazon.com.

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February 01, 2018, to February 15, 2018

Tyson Foods Invests In Another Alternative To Livestock-Sourced Protein

Meat producer Tyson Foods, which markets about 20 percent of the meat sold in the U.S., has invested in a company whose mission is to eradicate farm-raised protein. The company invested in Silicon Valley-based Memphis Meats, which is trying to grow meat from animal cells, through its venture capital arm, joining Cargill, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Atomico, and DFJ. Memphis Meats CEO Uma Valeti said he hopes his company will benefit from the Tyson and Cargill investments because of their deep knowledge of meat distribution. “They really understand how to scale up,” he says. “They’ll help us learn a lot about getting meat on the shelf.” Tyson has also backed Beyond Meat, which is attempting to replicate the taste of meat with plants. 

Walmart Makes Operational Changes To Speed Stock Replenishment, Delivery

Walmart has decided it can compete more effectively with Amazon.com if it shares more investory data with suppliers so out-of-stock items can be replenished more quickly. Formerly available only internally, the company’s On Shelf Customer Availability (OSCA) data information will be shared at the Supplier Growth Forum, a two-day event at Walmart headquarters. The retailer also said it will tighten deadlines for delivery. It is now requiring large suppliers to deliver full orders within a specified delivery window 85 percent of the time or face a fine of three percent of the cost of goods. Previously, large suppliers had to hit a 75 percent threshold to avoid fines. The delivery threshold for smaller suppliers will move to 50 percent, up from 33 percent, effective in April.   

Kroger Looks To Bolster “Restock Kroger” Initiative With Executive Changes

Kroger announced it is shuffling two management positions to bolster Restock Kroger, a data-drive initiative focused on pricing, personalized communications with customers, and a large revamp of product assortments. The company, the largest collector of food purchase data in the U.S., wants to put that data to competitive advantage as it expands meal- and food-shopping solutions. Thirty-seven-year Kroger veteran Steve McKinney, president of the Fry's Food Stores division, will become senior vice president of retail divisions, effective February 5. Monica Garnes, corporate vice president of produce-floral merchandising, will succeed McKinney as president of the Fry's division. She has been with Kroger for 23 years. 

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January 01, 2018, to February 01, 2018

Kroger Continues To Expand Its Clean-Label Product Offerings

Kroger’s “Simple Truth” product line, which are free from more than a hundred artificial preservatives and other undesirable ingredients such as GMOs and antibiotics, is being expanded, the company announced. Simple Truth brand includes more than 1,400 natural and organic products in categories such as grocery, meat, produce, deli, bakery, baby, household essentials and personal care. New Simple Truth products will debut this year that “align with customer trends, including increasingly popular categories like beverage, snacking and non-animal proteins." The company said Simple Truth 3rd quarter sales grew 19 percent. 

Dunkin’ Removes All Synthetic Dyes From Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts has removed all artificial dyes from its donuts in the U.S., almost a year before its original deadline. Calling the accomplishment ”an incredible milestone moment,” the company said it took years of research to make the transition to simpler donut ingredients and hopes to continue the trend with “innovative new flavors” in the months ahead. The company said it is on track to meet its end-of-2018 deadlines for removing synthetic dyes from its entire menu, including donut icings, fillings and toppings, and frozen beverages such as Coolatta frozen beverages, baked goods, breakfast sandwiches and coffee flavorings. Sister brand Baskin-Robbins is also working to remove synthetic dyes from its products.

Food Company Shareholders Submit Antibiotics Resolutions

Members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, a coalition of corporate investors, have each filed shareholder resolutions with three big food companies urging them to stop buying or producing meat raised with antibiotics. The resolutions submitted to McDonald’s Corp., Denny’s, and Sanderson Farms will be voted on at shareholder meetings unless challenged ahead of time. Last year, McDonald’s stopped buying chicken from suppliers who used antibiotics. The new resolution calls on the company to extend the practice to pork and beef. Rivals Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. and Panera Bread Co. already serve chicken, pork, and beef from animals raised without antibiotics. 
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