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Tesco Merges Two Customer Services Offices

June 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
British grocery chain Tesco is consolidating its Customer Engagement Centers (CEC) into one office located in Dundee. As part of the consolidation, it is closing the CEC in Cardiff by February 2018. The company said it expects the move to simplify customer service while maintaining quality through phone, email, and social media operations. Closing the Cardiff CEC will affect 1,100 workers, but Tesco expects to create 250 new positions at the Dundee office. [Image Credit: © Tesco ]
"Tesco simplifies customer service operations", News release, Tesco, June 21, 2017, © Tescoplc.com
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Unilever Continues To Realign Agency And Ad Tech Relationships

June 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever and British advertising/PR firm WPP announced they are investing in mobile creative management platform Celtra. The move furthers Unilever’s goal of boosting and applying creative technology innovation while reducing associations with ad agencies. As Unilever gets more involved in data and ad tech it has cut the costs and complexities of advertising across its 400+ brands. Celtra has been providing top brands with the ability to connect operational data, creative, advertising and analytics. The company has worked for several years with Unilever and with WPP’s Mindshare. [Image Credit: © Celtra ]
Alison Weissbrot , "Unilever And WPP Stake A $15 Million Claim In Celtra – A Clear Sign Of The Agency/Client Relationship In Flux", AdExchanger, June 21, 2017, © AdExchanger.com
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Nestle Takes Part In Freshly’s New Expansion Funding Round

June 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé USA announced it is taking a big step into the burgeoning, $10 billion direct-to-consumer ready meals business in the U.S. with the investment in one of its leading companies. New York-based Freshly operates in 28 states, delivering meals to homes weekly. Nestlé is the lead investor in Freshly’s new $77 million funding round that will help pay for the company’s construction of an East Coast kitchen and distribution center in 2018, as it prepares to expand to nationwide service. [Image Credit: © Freshly ]
"Nestlé USA Acquires Minority Interest in Freshly", News release, Nestlé, June 20, 2017, © Nestlé USA
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Amazon’s Target In Whole Foods Deal Is Ultimately High-Margin CPG

June 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Amazon’s deal with Whole Foods Market certainly threatens low-profit-margin – around two percent annually – retail grocers like Krogers. But Amazon’s real target is not the stores: it’s the profitable products on their shelves. In other words, it’s the higher-profit-margin – 16 percent annually – consumer packaged-goods (CPG) companies that should be worried. Procter & Gamble and Colgate-Palmolive have grabbed large market shares because of an economic and distribution model – economies of scale, lower prices, and acres of store shelf space – that is now breaking down, thanks to Amazon. Its Amazon Basics brand, already gaining market share in diapers and batteries, could be extended to other high margin categories, and move into Whole Foods stores. That’s a significant threat to the CPG giants. [Image Credit: © Colgate-Palmolive ]
Conor Sen, "Amazon's Real Target Isn't Whole Foods. It's Everything You Buy.", Bloomberg, June 20, 2017, © Bloomberg LP
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Coke-Branded Clothing Available In Argentina

June 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola in Argentina has teamed up with a youth-focused fashion brand to create limited edition Coke brand tee shirts and jumpers. Rever Pass will sell the clothing at its stores. The companies plan to offer Coke-branded hats, coats, footwear and beach towels at a later date. [Image source: Rever Pass]
"Argentina: Coca-Cola and Rever Pass launch limited edition clothing products", America Retail, June 20, 2017, © Esmerk Oy
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Coca-Cola Company
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Latin America
Argentina

Coca-Cola Shuffles Management In India As It Prepares For Growth

June 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
In a renewed quest for growth, Coca-Cola is strengthening its position in strategically important Indian market, sixth largest by volume. Move focuses heavily on shuffling of management both at Coca-Cola India and bottling arm Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages. Key changes include transfer of VP Shehnaz Gill from New York to become head of operations in India, and appointment of North American bottling exec Christina Ruggiero as CEO of HCCB. Gill’s new job reflects company preparation for “an integrated national market” expected with implementation of the new Goods and Services Tax (GST) in July. [Image Credit: © Coca-Cola Company ]
Ratna Bhushan , "Thirsty for Growth, Coke Changes its India Mix ", Economic Times (E-Paper Edition), June 19, 2017, © Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.
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Coca-Cola Company
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India

Hong Kong-Based Coke Franchisee Is Optimistic About Business With China

June 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola franchisee Swire Pacific Chairman John Slosar says business with China has been very successful over the past two decades. The company will continue to invest there, while maintaining business ties with Hong Kong and Taiwan. Located in Hong Kong since the 1870s, Swire Pacific has prospered since the former British colony was returned to China in 1997 and began operating under the "one country, two systems" policy. Slosar is bullish on both Hong Kong and China, noting that Swire will expand its real estate, airline and beverage investments. "I'm sure the next 20 years will also have a lot of great opportunities for us," he said. [Image Credit: © Swire Pacific Ltd. ]
Torrance Wang , "Interview: Swire Group to continue investing in China with confidence: chairman of HK-listed Swire Pacific", Xinhua, June 19, 2017, © XINHUANET.com
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Coca-Cola Company
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Sprite Summer Promo Features Rappers’ “Cold Lyrics” On Cans, Bottles

June 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola announced it is displaying “cold-inspired lyrics” from six rappers on 16-ounce Sprite cans and 20-ounce Sprite bottles this summer. They will be available for a limited time in convenience retail and other retail stores in the U.S. Rappers featured include Vince Staples, Lil Yachty, DRAM, Vic Mensa, Kamaiyah and Kap G, chosen because of “their unique perspective and reputation for staying true to themselves.” [Image Credit: © Coca-Cola Company ]
"Sprite Refreshes Fans With Cold Lyrics From Hot Artists This Summer", News release, Coca-Cola Company , June 19, 2017, © The Coca-Cola Company
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Coke Ad Campaign Speaks To Young Chinese In Their Special “Code”

June 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
New Coca-Cola bottles – known as “code bottles” – targeting young Chinese were introduced as part of a summer ad campaign produced with the McCann Worldgroup Shanghai agency. The bottles are decorated with emoticons and phrases used routinely by young people in China. The campaign is bolstered by two films -- one with celebrity Lu Han (left) -- featuring the code bottles. They will run on social media platforms and TV.
Angel Tang, "Coca-Cola’s new packaging in China targets young segment", Marketing Interactive, June 19, 2017, © Marketing-Interactive.com. Lighthouse Independent Media Pte Ltd
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Nestle Begins To Re-Invent Itself

June 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Six months after becoming Nestlé’s CEO, Mark Schneider is determined to reshape its business portfolio and product line, divesting those that are under-performing, while boosting profitable or high-potential ones, including health foods, coffee, pet food. Key goal is setting the company on a firm growth trajectory. Hoping to shed its confectionery business, company last week put Butterfinger and Baby Ruth candy brands on the block, though it says it is still committed to chocolate. Analysts suggest possibility company will take close look at other underperforming businesses, including Herta processed-meat brand, U.S. frozen foods, ice cream or pizza.
Corinne Gretler and Thomas Mulier Bloomberg, "Nestle's 'quiet man' CEO moves to ease its sweet tooth", The Toronto Star, June 19, 2017, © The Toronto Star
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In-House Food & Drink Venture Capital Units Are Here To Stay

June 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Innovative start-ups in the food and beverage industry represent a major challenge to larger players as consumers look toward “alternative” brands. That’s why companies like Kellogg’s, Campbell’s, and Danone have launched in-house venture capital units. The move provides a way for big companies to show commitment to innovation beyond traditional R&D, while helping fast-growing fledgling brands. It’s a trend that is very likely to continue, according to Richard O'Gorman of The Netherlands' Rabo Food & Agri Innovation Fund.
Richard O'Gorman , "A business case for investing in food & drink startups", The Grocer, June 17, 2017, © William Reed Business Media Ltd.
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Campbell's
Danone
Kellogg
Other
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Energy Drink Marketers Look To Women To Grow Brands

June 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Smart, targeted advertising to young British males has boosted sales of sports and energy drinks packed with sugar and caffeine to $1.7 billion, the energy segment accounting for lion’s share. Sector can’t depend on young guys for growth, however, hence need to broaden advertising themes beyond alcohol, fast cars, women, video games and music. New targets include older, more affluent shoppers, and women. Advertising to latter mainly emphasizes no- or low-sugar, and zero-calorie variations, a tactic applicable to mainstream beverage marketing as well. [Image Credit: © Purdey's ]
Daniel Selwood, "Something for the ladies? Energy drinks category report 2017", The Grocer, June 17, 2017, © William Reed Business Media Ltd.
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Amazon-Whole Foods Merger Shakes And Rattles The Retail Industry

June 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Drug Store News outlined several key points to keep in mind now that Amazon plans to acquire Whole Foods Market. The $13.7 billion acquisition, awaiting approval by regulators and shareholders, will have major repercussions for retailers that sell groceries, beauty products and health products. A few of the key takeaways: both companies benefit from a merger. Amazon extends its beachhead into grocery sales, while Whole Foods gets a rich uncle. The entire retail industry knows now that it’s no longer business as usual: witness the stock slides of Target, Walmart, Kroger, Costco, and Supervalu. The acquisition furthers Amazon’s metamorphosis into a true omnichannel business, thanks to the addition of 460 brick-and-mortar stores. [Image Credit: ©   Amazon.com]
David Orgel, "Amazon and Whole Foods: 5 things to know about the blockbuster deal", Drug Store News, June 16, 2017, © Drug Store News
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Amazon-Whole Foods Deal Signals A Major Economic Trend

June 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The recently announced acquisition of Whole Foods Market by Amazon is an indicator of a fact well-known by retail analysts: both Amazon and Walmart are trying to be like the other. Amazon is establishing brick-and-mortar bookstores and buying 460 grocery store locations. Walmart, through its recent acquisition of Jet.com and other moves, is strengthening its online presence and infrastructure. But the larger picture is that the retail industry is undergoing consolidation among a few big companies whose resources stretch globally, whose access to sophisticated supply lines, and advanced marketing and delivery technologies, gives them major market advantages over smaller competitors. This consolidation is happening in other industries, including banking, airlines and telecommunications. And it’s creating a real economic gulf between two groups of workers: those employed by the prosperous new super companies – and those employed elsewhere. 
Neil Irwin , "The Amazon-Walmart Showdown That Explains the Modern Economy", The New York Times, June 16, 2017, © The New York Times Company
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Tesco Reports Sales Grew In 1Q Of FY 2017-2018

June 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
UK retailer Tesco reported like-for-like sales grew 1.0 percent in the first quarter of fiscal year 2017-2018, marking the company's 6th consecutive quarter with positive like-for-like sales growth. In the UK, like-for-like sales grew 2.3 percent, driven by 2.7 growth in like-for-like sales in food. Also, customer transactions rose 1.3 percent, which means an increase of 10 million from the previous year. According to the company, its overseas sales performance during the period was affected by its move to stop its bulk selling business in Thailand.
"Tesco First Quarter Trading Statement 2017/18", Tesco, June 16, 2017, © Tescoplc.com
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Wienermobile Hits The Road To Showcase Nitrate-Free Dogs

June 15, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
After a year of experimenting, Kraft’s Oscar Mayer brand of hot dogs announced it has gotten rid of added nitrates and nitrites. The only remaining traces of those compounds are found naturally in celery juice, an ingredient used in processing. The product also contains no artificial preservatives or by-products. To make sure Americans know about the changes, Oscar Mayer has launched a summer Wienermobile campaign. The hot dog-shaped vehicles, driven by “HotDoggers,” will travel the U.S. distributing samples.
S.A. Whitehead, "Oscar Meyer Teaches an Ol' Dog New, Nitrate-Free Tricks", QSRWeb, June 15, 2017, © Networld Media Group, LLC
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Unilever Hopes To Sell Margarines-Spreads Unit By End Of Year

June 15, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Reuters reports that Unilever CFO Graeme Pitkethly expects to shed the margarine and spreads business by the end of the year via an auction that would take place in the fall. The decision to divest margarines and spreads was taken after Kraft-Heinz launched an unsuccessful takeover bid last February. Pitkethly said if the company doesn’t get its asking price it will move to “demerge” the business, which could take longer. Sources told Reuters the sale could net $7.6 billion.
"Unilever to Start Auction of Spreads Business in the Autumn", Reuters / The New York Times, June 15, 2017, © Reuters / The New York Times Company
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All Whole Foods Market Stores To Carry Honest Tea’s Sport Line This Year

June 14, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Bethesda, Md.-based Honest Tea said its organic Honest Sport line of beverages will be available at all 1,000 Whole Foods Market locations later this year, thanks to the grocer’s aggressive store expansion. The beverage maker was purchased by Coca-Cola in 2011 and continues to focus on the mid-Atlantic market, though co-founder Seth Goldman is looking at new geographic markets for "much deeper distribution." The beverages won't be distributed via Coke's red trucks for at least a year. [Image Credit: © Honest Tea ]
Sara Gilgore , "Honest Tea's sport drink lands big national expansion deal ", Washington Business Journal (District of Columbia), June 14, 2017, © American City Business Journals
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Kraft’s Ingredients Unit Rebrands As Kraft Heinz Ingredients

June 14, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Now that the food ingredients unit of Kraft Heinz has absorbed the Heinz products into its portfolio, it has rebranded itself. Kraft Heinz Ingredients will introduce itself to the food ingredient industry at IFT17 in late June. Company reps will distribute samples of Kraft Cheeses and Barbecue Sauce to attendees and will demonstrate how the company can help food manufacturers’ with any applications that involve cheese, dairy, confectionery, condiments and sauces. [Image Credit: © Kraft Heinz ]
"Kraft Food Ingredients is Now Kraft Heinz Ingredients", News release, Kraft Heinz, June 14, 2017, © Kraft Heinz
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Food Companies Getting Certified As “Clean Label,” Despite Lack Of A Definition

June 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
As the “clean” eating trend gathers momentum  in the U.S., a web-based food ingredients tracking initiative has evolved into a certification program. The “Go Clean Label Certified” program, however, lacks a clear legal definition of what constitutes “clean” ingredients. The website lists ingredients that big food companies – so-called “influencers” – have been removing from their products. The founders hope to eventually meet with key food brands and grocery chains to develop an objective definition of clean label. A few brands have gone through a certification process which involves filling out an inquiry form, signing a license agreement, paying license fees, and then undergoing a product evaluation. Approved companies can then stick the Go Clean Label Certified logo on their packaging, website and marketing materials. [Image Credit: ©   Go Clean Label]
Elaine Watson, "'GoCleanLabel Certified' Scheme Rolls Out, But What Does it Mean?", FOODnavigator-USA.com, June 13, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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After Trump Spurns Paris Accords, Coca-Cola Renews Commitment To Green Policies

June 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola was one of several Atlanta, Ga.-based companies that announced renewed commitment to their energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction policies in the wake of President Trump’s spurning of the 2015 Paris accord in early June. Trump ignored a strongly worded letter signed by 30 CEOs and published in The Wall Street Journal on May 10 that urged the president not to reject the Paris agreement. The letter said dropping out of the pact would create “strong potential for negative trade implications.” Signers included James Quincey of Coca-Cola, and top executives of General Electric, HomeDepot, Delta Airlines, and others. [Image Credit: © Coca-Cola Company ]
Maria Saporta and Dave Williams, "Atlanta companies double down on clean energy following Trump announcement", Atlanta Business Chronicle, June 09, 2017, © American City Business Journals
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Wholesale Baker Kangaroo Brands Says Its Flatbread Sandwiches Are Clean Label

June 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Milwaukee, Wis.-based Kangaroo Brands announced that its Sandwich Bros. of Wisconsin frozen sandwiches are now made with all natural flatbread pockets filled with 100 percent Angus beef, antibiotic-free chicken, all natural Jones sausage and Wisconsin Cheese. The company also noted that the sandwiches contain no “bad stuff,” like artificial flavors, trans fats, or high fructose corn syrup. The frozen, handheld breakfast and snack sandwiches are sold nationwide to grocery stores, club, convenience stores, and mass merchandisers, as well as foodservice, military and private label customers. [Image Credit: © Kangaroo Brands ]
"Sandwich Bros. Sandwiches Now Made With All Natural Flatbread Pockets", IChainnel, June 09, 2017, © iChainnel
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“Pink Slime” Defamation Lawsuit Goes To Trial

June 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A lawsuit brought by Beef Products, Inc., maker of a ground beef additive dubbed “pink slime” by ABC News, went to trial this week in South Dakota. BPI filed the lawsuit in 2012, calling ABC’s reporting on the product defamatory and misleading, and causing BPI’s revenue to drop by 80 percent. BPI says its product does contain small amounts of ammonia to kill pathogens, but not enough to be harmful. Some experts say that’s not really the problem: even with the added ammonia, the product may not be as pathogen-free as regular ground beef. But ABC could lose the case anyway because it’s not likely that a jury in South Dakota would side with a big media company “against a large meat manufacturer who employed a bunch of people.” [Image Credit: © BPI, Inc. ]
Jenny Luna, "ABC News May Have to Pay Billions of Dollars Because of “Pink Slime”", Mother Jones, June 07, 2017, © Mother Jones and the Foundation for National Progress
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Unilever To Expand Indonesian Production Capacity

June 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever Indonesia will spend half a billion dollars over the next five years to improve its production capacity in nine factories in the country. The money will be spent to improve production capacity for products in its two main businesses: home and personal care, and food and refreshment. The company posted first quarter sales of $812 million, representing a year-on-year growth 8.9 percent.  [Image Credit: © Unilever Indonesia ]
"Unilever Indonesia to Invest $500 Million in Production Expansion", Indonesia Investments, June 07, 2017, © Van der Schaar Investments
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Unilever
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Asia-Pacific
Indonesia

Coca-Cola Diversifies Into Frozen Desserts In India

June 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Continuing its diversification away from carbonated soft drinks, Coca-Cola is introducing fruit-based frozen desserts in India under the Minute Maid brand, challenging Hindustan Lever and Amul in the ice cream and frozen desserts arena.  The new products will be available this summer in institutional locations, such as movie theaters, rather than in retail outlets. The company is also putting fruit chunks in Maaza and Minute Maid “to make the drinks healthier.” Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation, that sells the Amul brand, is the largest maker of ice cream and frozen desserts in India with a 17 percent market share. HUL follows with about 10 percent.  [Image Credit: ©   Coca-Cola Company ]
The Economic Times, "Coca-Cola plans to launch frozen desserts in India", The Economic Times, June 07, 2017, © The Economic Times
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Coca-Cola Company
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India

Kiwis To Get First Taste Of Coke No Sugar

June 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola’s new Coke No Sugar, launching in New Zealand after five years of research, is “closest ever” to the taste of classic Coke, according to a company exec. New Zealand is one of the first countries to sell Coke No Sugar, which will be rolled out in other markets later this year. As part of the product launch, Coca-Cola Oceania will give away 200,000 samples to New Zealanders who download a voucher from a website. It is the largest free sample campaign in company history. [Image Credit: © Coca-Cola New Zealand ]



 
Scoop Media, "Coca-Cola launches new Coke No Sugar in NZ", Scoop Media, June 07, 2017, via Scoop Media, © Scoop Media
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Flavoring Blend Said To Cut Sodium Content In Processed Meats By A Third

June 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Israeli salt producer Salt of the Earth Ltd. says it has found a way to reduce salt content in processed meats by as much as a third while maintaining flavor. Working with meat companies, Salt of the Earth developed a clean-label, natural flavoring based on Mediterranean umami – a blend of vegetal concentrates and extracts – mixed with sea salt. Reductions in sodium can be achieved in a variety of meat products, including frankfurters, sausages and injected chicken pastrami, the company said.
"Salt of the Earth Helps Meat Companies Reduce Sodium", News release, Salt of the Earth, June 07, 2017, © Salt of the Earth
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Shiseido’s Sweets Business Is Expanding Overseas

June 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Shiseido Parlour is expanding its pastries and foodservice business beyond the Japan home of its parent cosmetics company. Parlour operates 15 restaurants and cafes in Tokyo, and sells its own brand of cheesecakes and bicuits at 60 locations around Japan. It has already opened a shop in Singapore, and is planning a new location in Bangkok. The goal is to “make [Shiseido Parlour] a comprehensive beauty business from the perspective of foods.” The company hopes to generate $2.68 million a year by 2020. [Image Credit: © Shiseido Parlour ]
Motokazu Matsui, "Shiseido has something for Asia's sweet tooth", Nikkei, June 07, 2017, © Nikkei Inc.
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Malaysia
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Thailand

Walmart Tests Large Parking Lot Kiosk For Online Order Pickup

June 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart is testing the use of a large self-service kiosk that would allow customers to pick up their online purchases without contact with an employee. After purchases are paid for online, Walmart employees find and pack the orders in bins in the 20-by-80-foot test structure, which is located in the parking lot of a Warr Acres, Okla., supercenter. Customers gain entry to the kiosk, which contains refrigerators and freezers to maintain food freshness, via a typed-in code. Customers must spend at least $30 online to use the kiosk, which is open 24/7 and can fulfill hundreds of customer orders in a day. [Image Credit: © Walmart ]
Hayley Peterson, "Walmart built a giant vending machine that retrieves groceries", Business Insider, June 06, 2017, © Business Insider Inc.
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It Pays To Buy Own-Brand Groceries At Australia’s Aldi Stores

June 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A grocery price survey conducted by an Australian consumer research firm found that a standard basket of own-brand products cost the least at Aldi stores, while leading brand products cost the most at IGA. The average leading brand basket cost $170.54 at Coles and $168.74 at Woolworths. A comparable basket of Aldi brand products cost $102.50, saving 49-50 percent. According to the Choice Consumer Pulse Survey, switching to other budget options where available can save shoppers as much as 59 percent when buying own-brand groceries from Aldi, rather than leading brands at Coles and Woolworths. Independent chain IGA charged 5-7 percent more than Coles and Woolworths for an identical basket of leading brand items. Choice checked110 supermarkets in 33 locations across Australia for its survey.
Rachel Clemons, "Which supermarket has the cheapest groceries?", News release, Choice, June 05, 2017, © Choice
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Sugar Users Seek To Avoid Trade War With Mexico

June 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Big sugar-using companies like Coca-Cola are pushing U.S. trade negotiators to reach a new agreement with Mexico and avoid a trade war that would disrupt sugar supply lines and raise costs. The position directly conflicts with that of the U.S. sugar industry which wants to prevent Mexico from dumping low-price sugar into the U.S. market. Corn syrup makers also want to avoid a trade war with Mexico, one of their biggest markets. The three-year-old tug-of-war needs to be resolved, along with the Canadian lumber imports dispute, before the Trump administration can begin renegotiating NAFTA. Meanwhile, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross worked out a new sugar trade deal with Mexico, though several prickly issues have yet to be finalized. (See http://reut.rs/2ra6GOp).

 
Chris Prentice , "Coke, Cargill enter fray as sugar dispute threatens Mexico trade", Reuters, June 04, 2017, via Reuters, © Reuters
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Coca-Cola Company
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Mexico

Bakery Adds New Version Of Its Soft Drink-Based Cakes

June 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Wholesale baker Café Valley Bakery has teamed up with Dr Pepper to expand its soda cake line-up with Dr Pepper Cake. The line-up also includes 7UP, Orange Crush, and A&W Root Beer cakes. The new variety is made with real Dr Pepper, a soft drink formulated from a blend of 23 flavors. Café Valley’s locations in Arizona and Indiana sell croissants, muffins, bundt cakes, ring cakes, loaf cakes, Danishes and turnovers to in-store bakeries, club stores, food services and convenience stores. [Image Credit: © Café Valley Bakery ]
"Café Valley Introduces New Dr Pepper Cake At International Dairy Deli Bakery Association Show", News release, Café Valley Bakery, June 02, 2017, © Café Valley Bakery
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How Walmart Might Foil Incursions By Discount Grocers Aldi, Lidl

June 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart has been doing a good job of beefing up its e-commerce program to stay close to online retail competitor Amazon. But analysts say another big challenge is to better compete against the German no-frills grocery retailers Aldi and Lidl. That battleground is mainly about price, but not completely. Walmart’s U.K. grocery unit Asda, whose unique selling proposition was low prices, got beat in the price arena by Aldi and Lidl. It is still trying to recover. As the two German retailers expand their presence in the U.S., Walmart needs to make sure it is not out-discounted again. It also needs to make sure its house brands compete on quality as well as price. The good news is that the company’s growing e-commerce strengths could help it fend off low-tech discounter competition, especially if it continues to boost its shop-online/pick-up-in-store strategy. [Image Credit: © MidAmerica Nazarene University ]
Andrea Felsted, "Walmart's Big New Problem Isn't Amazon", Bloomberg , June 02, 2017, © Bloomberg LP
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Germany

PURCHASING: Coca-Cola Ups Fruit Imports From India

June 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola is increasing the amount of Indian fruit it buys for soft drink manufacturing from current level of 200,000 metric tons annually. Announcement comes two weeks after hiring of T. Krishnakumar as president of Coca-Cola India and South West Asia, and appointment of Asim Parekh as vice president of Fruit Circular Economy for India and South West Asia (INSWABU). Parekh’s mission is to connect end-to-end value chain from farmer to grocer.
"The Coca Cola Company to Boost Sourcing of Fruits in India", Drinks-Insight-Network.com, June 01, 2017, © Kable, a trading division of Kable Intelligence Limited
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Thomas’ Introduces S’mores English Muffins, Mini Bagels

May 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Bimbo Bakeries USA announced that its Thomas’ brand of English muffins has come up with limited edition S’mores muffins and bagels. S’mores are a classic summertime campfire treat comprising roasted marshmallows and chocolate sandwiched between graham crackers. The basic formula has been adapted to cupcakes, cookies, pies, and other baked goods. The suggested retail price for a six-count pack of S’mores English Muffins is $4.49; $3.99 for Mini Bagels.  [Image Credit: © Bimbo Bakeries USA ]
"Thomas' Introduces Limited Edition S'mores English Muffins and Mini Bagels", News release, Bimbo Bakeries USA, May 31, 2017, © Bimbo Bakeries USA
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Inflation Boosts U.K. Grocery Sales Numbers

May 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Growth in the U.K.’s retail grocery segment is being fueled partly by rising inflation, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Inflation stood at 2.9 percent for the 12-week period ending May 21, while overall sales rose 3.8 percent, the best in four years. Sales at Morrisons, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco grew collectively by 1.6 percent in the period, while sales at German discounters Aldi and Lidl were up 19.2 percent over last year and reached a record market share of 12 percent. Sixty-two percent of the U.K. population shopped in an Aldi or Lidl during the past 12 weeks, compared to 58 percent a year ago. That amounts to an additional 1.1 million households shopping at either of the stores.
Chris Hayward, "Market heats up as Aldi and Lidl grow at fastest rate since 2015", News release, Kantar Worldpanel, May 31, 2017, © Kantar Worldpanel
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Apartment-Based Cake Baker Transformed Herself Into A Social Media Star

May 30, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A Manhattan cake baker no longer sells her apartment-made cakes to friends to make money. A much easier revenue-generating scheme allows her to create masterpieces in her kitchen, videotape the process, and share the edited results with fans on social media. She has 250,000+ followers, and her videos regularly generate hundreds of thousands of views. An Instagram celebrity, Chelsey White makes money basically selling the concept of cake, rather than the cake itself, with help from partners such as the Food Network and AwesomenessTV.
Polly Mosendz, "Bakers Are Cashing In on Instagram’s Cake Obsession", Bloomberg, May 30, 2017, © Bloomberg Finance L.P.
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Nestle To Improve Nutritional Profile Of Maggi Brand Of Foods

May 30, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé says it will work to improve the nutritional profile of its Maggi brand of seasonings, instant soups, and noodles. The move, part of its global “Simply Good” initiative, will basically involve fortifying products where necessary with micronutrients like iodine, iron or Vitamin A; adding vegetables and original flavors from vegetables, herbs and spices, grains and fiber; reducing sodium content; and removing “ingredients that consumers do not easily recognize.” The company also promised to help people cook healthily on a budget and reduce food waste. The goal is to implement the changes by 2020.
"Simply Good: Maggi to Offer Tastier and Healthier Choices", News release, Nestlé’s, May 30, 2017, © Nestlé’s
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Tesco Reports Improved Sales And Profits In FY 2017

May 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Tesco reported sales, excluding VAT and fuel, rose 1.1 percent in fiscal 2017. According to the retailer, it recorded positive growth in both UK and international operations. Group operating profit before exceptional items jumped 29.9 percent to ₤1.28 billion, compared with the previous year. Statutory profit before tax dropped 28.2 percent to ₤145 million, including ₤263 million in exceptional costs. Retail operating cash flow was ₤2.3 billion, an increase of 9.1 percent from the previous year, the company said. Tesco said it has reduced its net debt by 27 percent to ₤3.7 billion.
"Tesco Plc Annual Report and Financial Statements 2017", Tesco, May 28, 2017, © Tesco Plc
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PROMO CAMPAIGN: Coke Links Music Event Tix With Bottle Labels To Attract Romanian Teens

May 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
To spur Romanian teenagers to drink Coca-Cola, the company has launched a promotional campaign using detachable bottle labels, some of which double as tickets to major musical events in the country. Coke buyers need to use a special smartphone app to tell whether their bottle label is a winner. Consumer research told the company that 40 percent of Romanian teens hadn’t tried a Coke in the past month.
Patrick Kulp, "Coke is Printing Music Festival Wristbands on its Bottles in Romania", Mashable, May 28, 2017, © Mashable, Inc.
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ALTERNATIVE BEVERAGES: As Carbonated Soft Drink Sales Sag, Alternative Beverages Pick Up Steam

May 26, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
New Moody’s report confirms ongoing decline in carbonated soft drink consumption in U.S., as health-conscious consumers with more spending money switch to ready-made coffees, teas, organic juices, enhanced waters, all perceived as higher quality, more healthful. Though alternative drinks are still small market compared to carbonated soft drinks, beverage makers see benefit from shift in consumer preference. Despite lower volume sales, alternative drinks are inherently higher value: premium prices mean higher profit. Moody’s says large scale, cash-rich Coca-Cola, PepsiCo are well-positioned to develop strong alternative beverage portfolios.
"Announcement: Moody's: US Beverage Makers Look Beyond the Soda Bottle for Future Growth", Report, Moody's, May 26, 2017, © Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
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TECHNOLOGY: Coke CEO Sees Technology As Major Challenge, As Well As Solution

May 26, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Technology advances are helping Coca-Cola cut costs. Company has turned to cheaper off-the-shelf software, for example, to run human resources and bill payment, allowing it to cut obsolete jobs. But evolving technology also presents new marketing challenges, according to CEO James Quincey. Rise of online beverage purchasing is disrupting soft drink buying patterns: shopping trips that used to lead to soft drink purchases at food courts or vending machines are being replaced by smartphone purchases and home deliveries. Quincey sees technology such as social media as key to answering these challenges, including decline in foot traffic, and ultimately believes surmounting them will make Coca-Cola a winner, here and abroad, in the digital age.
Jennifer Kaplan, "Coca-Cola’s CEO Fights Digital Threat to Buying Habits", TheRecord.com, May 26, 2017, © Metroland Media Group Ltd.
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Unilever Is Best In Supply Chain Management In 2017, Gartner's List Says

May 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever was number 1 on the Supply Chain Top 25 list of companies with the best supply chain operations for 2017, according to Gartner, Inc. Other companies on the list include McDonald's, Inditex, Cisco, and H&M. Online retailer Amazon qualified for the Masters category, joining Apple and Procter & Gamble. P&G showed innovation by using digital automation of workflows and algorithm-driven tools to cut exceptions and enable end-to-end planning. Gartner said three trends helped determine supply chain directions in 2017: digitalization of supply chain, adaptive organization and capabilities, and developing and fostering healthy ecosystems.
"Gartner Announces Rankings of the 2017 Supply Chain Top 25", Gartner , May 25, 2017, © Gartner, Inc.
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Companies Partner To Provide Crop Insurance To At-Risk Coffee Farmers

May 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Nespresso is partnering with an insurance consortium to develop pilot crop insurance program for climate-dependent small coffee farmers in Colombia. Coffee and insurance markets do not always provide risk transfer mechanisms for the long-term security of small coffee farmers. The objective of the pilot insurance program from Nespresso and Blue Marble Microinsurance, a consortium or eight insurers, is to enhance farmers' welfare, address supply chain risk, and incentivize investment in coffee growing regions.
"Nespresso And Blue Marble Microinsurance Announce Partnership And Plan To Launch Pilot Crop Insurance Program For Smallholder Coffee Farmers In Colombia", News release, Blue Marble Microinsurance, May 25, 2017, © Blue Marble Microinsurance
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REDESIGN: Redesigned Fanta Introduced In Latin America

May 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola’s Fanta brand was re-introduced in Latin America with newly-redesigned bottle and logo. Marketing VP for the region, Eugenio Mendez, said brand is being reformulated with more fruit juice and 95 percent fewer calories. Mendez also noted that Colombian teenagers aged 16 to 19 participated in the redesign/reformulation.
"Fanta offers new recipe and launches presentation", La Republica, May 25, 2017, © Editorial La República S.A.S.
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PRODUCT LAUNCH: Zero Sugar Coke Introduced In Brazil

May 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Zero Sugar (Zero Acucar) variant of Coca-Cola soft drinks range has debuted in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Brand, which also claims Zero Calories, is designed to appeal to the 46 percent of Brazilians who say they are trying to limit sugar intake. Rio de Janeiro Refrescos Ltda is marketing the beverage in 250ml metal cans at $0.61.
"Coca-Cola's range of Soft Drink in Zero Acucar variety available in Brazil", Product Launch Tracker, May 25, 2017, © Lexis Nexis
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Danone Expects Significant Growth In West African Dairy Market

May 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Though African sales of fresh dairy products, early life nutrition, and waters, account for only five percent of Danone’s overall revenues, company expects substantial growth. With partner investors the Abraaj Group, company spent $25 million to build three production lines at subsidiary Fan Milk (Accra, Ghana), whose growth has been strong thanks to robust demand for dairy products in West Africa, including Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin and Nigeria. Larger factory capacity will be used to produce drinkable yogurt brand FanMaxx with four-month shelf life. Company says it expects to expand further in region.
Jim Cornall, "Danone and Abraaj Group Expand Fan Milk capacity in Ghana to Launch New Product", DAIRYreporter.com, May 24, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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BOTTLING STRATEGY: Coke’s Refranchising Plan Takes Major Step Forward

May 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The nearly-completed Coca-Cola refranchising strategy is to build a team of bottling partners that can serve major customers while maintaining “strong, local ties across diverse markets” in Canada and U.S. To that end, company has signed letter of intent for major Northeast territories with Coca-Cola Refreshments executives Paul Mulligan’s and Fran McGorry’s new bottling company, Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages LLC. Territories include metropolitan New York, Philadelphia, most of New Jersey, part of Delaware, four production facilities.
"The Coca-Cola Company Nears Completion of U.S. Refranchising Plan with Letter of Intent for Territory in Northeast", News release, Coca-Cola Company, May 24, 2017, © Coca-Cola Company
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REBRANDING: Coke’s Renamed Zero Sugar Beverage Unveiled In Tanzania

May 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, renamed from simply Coca-Cola Zero, is now available in Tanzania. Coke Zero was introduced in 2006; the new name emphasizes the sugar-free claim even more strongly for health-conscious consumers. The company will include Coke Zero Sugar in its new global packaging scheme – known as “One Coca-Cola Brand” – featuring the iconic Coca-Cola brand logo and red disc in addition to the product name. The new packaging has been introduced in Great Britain, Mexico and South Africa.
Citizen Reporter, "Coca-Cola Introduces Zero Sugar Content Drink in Tanzania", The Citizen, May 24, 2017, © Mwananchi Communications Limited
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Nespresso Pop-Up Store Opens In Argentina’s Rosario City

May 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé has opened a pop-up Nespresso coffee machine and capsule store in a shopping mall in the Paraná River port city of Rosario, Argentina. Nespresso machines brew espresso and coffee from capsules, or pods, that contain single-use amounts of ground beans.
"Argentina: Nespresso to open new pop-up store on 1 June 2017", Esmerk Latin American News, May 22, 2017, © M-Brain
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