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<<9101112131415161718>> Total results:2960 References Per Page:

“Faster, More Agile” Company Is Goal Of Coca-Cola Cost-Cutting

April 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola still has no detailed plan for how it will spend money saved by cutting 1,200 jobs beginning this year, other than to say it will become “faster and more agile,” will re-invest at least of half of it, and will create value for shareholders. New CEO James Quincey says ongoing cost-savings program could save up to $3.8 billion. As to marketing, company is focusing more on non-soda products, including Smartwater, flavored water Vitaminwater, and dairy brand Fairlie.
John Kell, "Coca-Cola Is Cutting 1,200 Jobs as Growth Stalls", Fortune.com, April 25, 2017, © Time Inc.
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McDonald’s Continues To Ride The All-Day-Breakfast Wave To Profitability

April 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Despite warnings that the all-day-breakfast fad would peter out soon, McDonald’s continues to ride a wave of earnings prosperity thanks to the menu ploy. The fast-food giant reported a surprising global same-store sales hike of four percent during Q1 of fiscal 2017, and a 1.7 percent hike in U.S. same-store sales. McDonald's pointed to continued success of its all-day breakfast menu, as well as Big Mac and drink deals, as reasons for the better-than-expected gains. And, although top-line sales slid four percent during the quarter, profit grew eight percent to $1.2 billion. Earnings per share hit $1.47, easily beating the Wall Street consensus of $1.33. [Image Credit: © McDonald's ]
Maggie McGrath, "The McBreakfast Bump Continues: All-Day McMuffins Boost McDonald's Q1 Sales", Forbes, April 25, 2017, © Forbes Media LLC
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“Blessed” Panera Streamlines Food Ordering, Ramps Up Delivery

April 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Panera founder and CEO Ron Shaich says his company is “blessed” because it has not only applied the principle of “digital utilization” to streamlining the ordering process, its menu – soups, salads, sandwiches – is perfect for easy delivery to homes and businesses. This blessing has meant that the company can reduce the number of workers handling food, but has to hire 10,000 delivery people by the end of 2017, as it adds delivery services to as many as 40 percent of its eateries this year. The streamlining process, known as Panera 2.0, has meant changes across the board, including redesigned kitchens and reworked assembly lines, plus implementation of new ordering technology like digital kiosks.
Kate Taylor, "Panera is Replacing Cashiers with Robots — but it's Hiring Thousands of Workers for Another Task", Business Insider, April 24, 2017, © Business Insider Inc.
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With $8 Million War Chest, Chickpea Product Company Is Going To Market

April 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
As plant-based foods continue to capture the attention of consumers everywhere, a start-up focusing on chickpea products has garnered an $8 million investment from a team of venture companies, including an arm of Tate & Lyle. Nutriati announced that Tate & Lyle Ventures of the U.K. had joined U.S. firms Powerplant Ventures, NRV and Blueberry Ventures in the funding round that will provide the cash needed to get its products to market. Successful consumer testing has been completed, and it is expected that products will be commercialized within the next 9-12 months. The company’s organoleptic ingredient platform enables food manufacturers to create plant-based foods with previously unattainable taste, texture and nutritional profiles.
Robin Wyers, "Tate & Lyle Leads US$8 Million Investment in Chickpea Innovator Nutriati", Food Ingredients 1st, April 21, 2017, © CNS Media BV
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Company Recognized As Paragon Of Herbal Product Purity, Transparency

April 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Gaia Herbs of North Carolina has been a stickler for ingredient purity and transparency from the beginning, and so has avoided controversies that have plagued the rest of the herbal supplement industry. Founder Ric Scalzo was more of an herbalist than a capitalist when he launched the company in 1987, before talk of regulation and enforcement. For Scalzo, efficacy of herbal supplements could only be based on purity. The company already uses DNA testing to make sure the raw ingredients it sources are the real thing. That stringency has won the company copious praise from customers and industry organizations, as well as an award from the Nutrition Business Journal (New Hope Network) for supply chain transparency. [Image Credit: © Gaia Herbs]
Rick Polito, "Gaia Herbs Makes Transparency a Part of the Corporate Identity", New Hope Network, April 21, 2017, © Penton
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Feeding America Fights Hunger And Food Waste With New Technology

April 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A large food rescue and hunger relief organization has launched a novel technology that takes the complexity out of donating food. Feeding America’s free MealConnect platform identifies food that might have gone to waste – e.g., a small load of meat from a local butcher, a box of tomatoes from a farmers market, etc. – and, using a clever algorithm, directs the rescued food to the appropriate Feeding America food pantries and meal programs. Food businesses of all sizes can post surplus food on MealConnect. A $1 million grant from General Mills has helped develop the technology, and will also help support efforts to expand MealConnect to communities across the country. The Feeding America network serves 46 million people nationwide through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 pantries and feeding programs.  [Image Credit: © Feeding America MealConnect ]
"Feeding America Launches MealConnect Technology Platform to Help Reduce Food Waste and End Hunger", News release, Feeding America, April 20, 2017, © Feeding America
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Organic Condiments Maker Acquired By Unilever

April 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever has reached an agreement to acquire natural and organic condiments maker Sir Kensington’s for an undisclosed sum. Seven-year-old Sir Kensington’s (New York, N.Y.) has experienced strong growth over the past four years, producing mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise and a vegan mayo (Fabanaise) made from aquafaba, the liquid left over from cooking legumes like chickpeas. A Unilever spokesman said the acquisition “aligns perfectly with our global sustainable nutrition strategy.” The deal is expected to close within the next few weeks. [Image Credit: © Sir Kensington's ]
"Unilever to Acquire Sir Kensington’s", News release, Unilever, April 20, 2017, © Unilever
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Unilever Posts Strong Revenue Gains In First Quarter Of 2017

April 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever PLC reported revenue jumped 6.1 percent to €13.3 billion in the first quarter of 2017, compared with the same quarter in 2016. According to the company, underlying sales rose 2.9 percent, higher than analyst forecasts of 2 percent. Underlying sales in emerging markets increased 6.1 percent, with price up 5.3 percent and volume 0.8 percent higher. Unilever said it has increased its quarterly dividend by 12 percent to €0.3585 per share.
"Unilever Trading Statement First Quarter 2017", Unilever, April 20, 2017, © Unilever
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British Retailer Begins Revamping, Closing Stores

April 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
British department store chain Marks & Spencer is closing six stores as part of its planned operational overhaul, but vows to find jobs for all 380 employees affected by the move. The company said last year that closings and store conversions were in the offing to trim the amount of floor space devoted to faltering clothing lines. Thirty full-line U.K. stores – they sell homeware, clothing, and food – will be closed, while 45 will become food-only shops. The company has had to face the reality that customer shopping habits are changing: people don’t do “one big shop” anymore, and they often buy online and pick up in store. Even with the closings, the company is launching new stores, with 34 food and two full-line shops employing 1,400 staff coming online in the next six months.
Zoe Wood, "M&S to Close Six Stores as it tries to 'Stay in Tune' with Shoppers", The Guardian, April 20, 2017, © Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies
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For Now, Aldi Is Top Dog In The Discount Retail Grocery Biz

April 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Retail grocery analyst Planet Retail expects German food discounter Lidl to grow more robustly than competitor Aldi in the coming years, but it will not unseat Aldi as the global number one in discount food sales. Aldi’s sales in 2017 – including Aldi Nord and Süd – will total €83.3 billion ($89 billion), compared to Lidl’s €76 billion. But Lidl will catch up over the next five years. By 2022, both chains will be doing about €105 billion. The leveling out will take longer, Planet Retail says, because of Aldi’s strong, and growing, presence in the U.S., where Lidle is also beginning to establish roots. [Image Credit: © Aldi ]
"Aldi remains the number one worldwide discount store", FreshPlaza, April 20, 2017, © FreshPlaza
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Companies Succeeding As “Upcyclers” Of Discarded Food, Processing Waste

April 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A food industry census conducted by the nonprofit coalition ReFED has found an “explosion” since 2014 in the number of new companies developing and marketing products from food -- and food processing -- waste. Eleven such companies existed in 2011, twice that two years later, and now there are more than five times that number (64 total). They’re selling fish cakes made with undesirable fish species, jams and other products made from ugly fruit, beer from stale bread, flour from discarded coffee fruit, chips from juice pulp, vodka distilled from leftover strawberries, and other “upcycled” products. According to the executive director of ReFED, when companies began to take a close look at how much food was being wasted, “the economics of food waste solutions began to look a lot more attractive.”  [Image Credit: © eatsecondsfirst.com ]
Caitlin Dewey, "The Hot New Trend in Food is Literal Garbage", The Washington Post, April 19, 2017, © The Washington Post
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Mondelez Expands Promise Of Cage-Free Eggs Globally, With Exceptions

April 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Snack maker Mondelez International said it is expanding its commitment to use only cage-free eggs beyond the U.S., Canada, and Europe to the rest of the world, with three major exceptions. The company promised cage-free eggs would be used in the U.S. and Canada by 2020, and in Europe and the rest of the world by 2025 The commitment, however, does not include Russia, Ukraine, or China, though it will establish timelines for those countries by next year. [Image Credit: © Humane Society ]
"Mondelez Extends Global Commitment to Cage-Free Eggs", Biz Community, April 19, 2017, © Bizcommunity.com
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Post Sees Wheetabix Acquisition As Vehicle To Expand Overseas

April 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Breakfast cereal maker Post Holdings expects its acquisition of the iconic British breakfast food Wheetabix to expand its presence in the U.K. and other international markets, including China. The $1.76 billion purchase is the latest in a series of buys the company hopes will balance the slack growth environment prevailing in the packaged foods industry. Post is acquiring Weetabix from Bright Food Group Co., a Chinese conglomerate, and from minority shareholder Baring Private Equity Asia. Bright has owned 60 percent of Weetabix since 2012, when Wheetabix was valued at $1.5 billion (including debt). Baring has owned the other 40 percent since 2015. Post has agreed in principle to create a joint venture with Bright and Baring to manage Weetabix’s China operations, which have not been able to boost market share for the whole-grain biscuit cereal in the region over the last five years.  [Image Credit: © Wheetabix.com ]
Ben Dummett, "Post Buying Weetabix in $1.76 Billion Deal", The Wall Street Journal, April 18, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Fast-Food Companies Are Slow To Promise Antibiotics-Free Beef, Pork

April 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
McDonald’s and other fast-food chains have been reasonably quick in acceding to the growing consumer demand for antibiotics-free chicken. Not so much when it comes to beef and pork products, however, because eliminating antibiotics from cattle and pig husbandry is much more complex and expensive. Now the Benedictine Sisters of Boerne, Texas, have promised to attend the McDonald’s annual meeting to propose that the company set goals and timelines to phase out routine use of antibiotics in pork and beef. The nuns have reportedly been petitioning McDonald’s for years on the issue. The company says it is sympathetic to the concerns and "continues to work with farmers, producers and other purchasers of food animals to influence meaningful change.”
Samantha Bomkamp, "McDonald's, Fast-Food Chains Find Antibiotic-Free Beef, Pork Hard to Deliver", Chicago Tribune, April 18, 2017, © Chicago Tribune
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Coke Fine-Tunes Its “Share a Coke” Bottle Personalization Campaign

April 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola is tweaking its successful “Share a Coke” personalized packaging campaign this summer by adding surnames to beverage bottles. The campaign, launched in Australia six years ago and later in the U.S., spurred growth in sales volume for the first time since 2000. Personalization and customization were found to appeal to teens and millennials. First names were chosen from among the 250 most popular in 2014, and were expanded this year to include 77 percent of teen and millennial first names. For the latest campaign fine-tuning, Coke will draw from the 200 most common family names of people in the U.S. aged 13 to 34. [Image Credit: © Coca-Cola Company ]
E.J. Schultz, "Why Coke Is Adding Last Names to 'Share a Coke'", Advertising Age, April 18, 2017, © Crain Communications
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Whole Foods Streamlines Operations, But At What Price?

April 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market needs to make some changes in how it operates to reverse same-store sales declines and keep investors happy. Specifically, says Jana Partners LLC, it needs to boost profit by switching to a centralized food distribution system and national buyers, like the big-box retailers. Innovations – data analytics, centralized purchasing, strict shelf management – implemented by a former Target exec are designed to streamline operations enough to cut costs, lower prices, and make it competitive with other retailers. But the company’s smaller suppliers, along with some industry consultants, argue that a change like that would compromise the company’s ability to quickly stock foodie trends and popular local brands. The changes may reduce costs, says one consultant, “but at what price to the soul of the banner?”  [Image Credit: © Whole Foods Market ]
Annie Gasparro et al., "Whole Foods Aims to Cut Prices but Keep Its Cachet", The Wall Street Journal, April 16, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Overhaul Of Beverage Program Is Key To McDonald’s Turnaround Plan

April 12, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
In an effort to boost customer transactions it has lost since 2012 – a total of 500 million since it retired the dollar menu – McDonald’s is gradually revamping its drink offerings, beginning with a market test in the Midwest and South. The company has introduced a line of slushies made with Minute Maid orange juice, including one flavor, cherry limeade, that is a direct assault on a hallmark offering of competitor Sonic. The McDonald’s slushies test will involve 6,000 restaurants. The company is also overhauling its McCafe program – cheaper prices, new flavors – to grab coffee-loving customers away from rivals like Starbucks.  [Image Credit: © McDonald's ]
Samantha Bomkamp, "McDonald's Launches Line of Slushies in Midwest and South", Chicago Tribune, April 12, 2017, © Chicago Tribune
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Starbucks Tests Vegan-Friendly, High-Protein Lunch Menu In The Windy City

April 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
One hundred Starbucks stores in Chicago are testing the new Mercato lunch menu targeted at diners looking for a vegetarian, protein-based lunch. The new menu items include salads, sandwiches, yogurt and fruit. Salad options, available at $8 or $9, include za'atar (Mediterranean spice blend) chicken and lemon tahini, green goddess avocado, seared steak and mango, and turkey and fire-roasted corn. Sandwiches ($5 to $8) include a Cuban, a burrata and basil pesto, and an almond butter with strawberries and jam. If the new lunch items are successful, the menu will roll out nationally. [Image Credit: © Starbucks ]
Samantha Bomkamp, "Starbucks Debuts New Lunch Menu at 100 Chicago Stores", Chicago Tribune, April 11, 2017, © Chicago Tribune
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Yum Brands Caves To Pressure: KFC Will Transition To Antibiotics-Free Chicken

April 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Years of pressure from food safety and consumer advocates have finally nudged Yum Brands, owner of KFC, into the clean-label chicken camp. The company announced it plans to stop sourcing chicken from farms that use antibiotics over the next two years. McDonald's, Chick-fil-A, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell have all pledged to transition to antibiotics-free chicken because the widespread use of human antibiotics in animal husbandry seems to be contributing to the rise of drug resistant pathogens. With the shift by KFC, more than half of the nation's poultry supply chain will be antibiotic-free soon, according to advocates. [ Image credit: © KFC  ]
Geoffrey Mohan, "KFC Goes Antibiotic-Free", Los Angeles Times, April 07, 2017, © Los Angeles Times
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KFC Takes Big Steps Toward Clean Menu

April 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Kentucky Fried Chicken announced that by the end of 2018 it will only purchase chicken raised without antibiotics that are  “important to human medicine” for its U.S. restaurants. KFC noted that its commitment extends beyond boneless chicken menu items to chicken-on-the-bone items. The company said the change involves complex planning, including collaboration with more than 2,000 family-owned farms in a dozen states. Recently, KFC committed to eliminating artificial colors and flavors from core products by the end of 2018. The menu will be free of all “food dyes” by the end of 2017 (excluding beverages and third-party products). [Image Credit: © KFC Australia ]
"KFC Announces Commitment to Eliminate Antibiotics Important to Human Medicine from its Chicken by End of 2018", PR Newswire, April 07, 2017, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Nestle CEO Says Corporate Growth Should Take Priority Over Short-Term Profits

April 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlė’s CEO says the cost-cutting fad among food and beverage companies – think Kraft Heinz, Anheuser-Busch, Unilever, etc. – undermines efforts to grow. Ulf Schneider, an outsider from the healthcare industry who became CEO on January 1, told shareholders that the quest for short-term profit “is not sustainable.” His company certainly puts a priority on efficient business operations, he noted, but it is also hiking investment in its fastest-growing businesses and plans to expand digital ventures and online operations, which have experienced 20 percent growth in sales. Nevertheless, Schneider said, Nestlė will do whatever it has to where growth is slow.  [ Ulf Schneider, image credit: © Nestlė  ]
Corinne Gretler, "Nestle's New CEO Challenges Food Industry's Cost-Cutting Mantra", Bloomberg Markets, April 06, 2017, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Panera’s Secret: Consumers Tend To Bypass Competitors To Get There

April 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Panera Bread Co., whose acquisition by Krispy Kreme owner JAB Holdings for $7 billion was recently announced, is a paradigm of success in today’s restaurant chain world. Its menu is upscale and distinctive, the service is fast. But it really began to surpass rivals when three years ago it adopted its ”2.0 plan,” which featured advanced technology for customer ordering and payment, a commitment to clean food (i.e., no preservatives, no artificial or other dubious ingredients), and a sophisticated delivery system. The philosophy is summarized by CEO Ron Shaich: competitive advantage means “being a place where people want to walk past your competitors to come in." 
Zlati Meyer et al., "How Panera Won the Restaurant Game", USA Today, April 06, 2017, © USA Today
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Unilever To Sell Its Margarine, Spreads Unit

April 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Like many big food companies, Unilever is struggling to keep with the times, and with evolving consumer tastes, preferences and health concerns. The latest manifestation of the strategic rethinking, revamping, cost-cutting process – spurred by the failed Kraft Heinz takeover bid in February – is its decision to sell its margarine and spreads business for a price upwards of $7.5 billion. In addition to cost cutting, the Anglo-Dutch multinational hopes to buttress returns by implementing a dividend boost and a share buyback. Unilever’s margarine and spread business includes familiar brands Country Crock and I Can’t Believe It’s not Butter. Other companies that have recently announced plans to divest or acquire businesses include Reckitt Benckiser, Danone SA, ConAgra Brands, Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc., and PepsiCo Inc.  [ Image credit: © Wikipedia  ]
Denise Roland et al., "Unilever Restructures Amid Food Industry Woes", The Wall Street Journal, April 06, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Frutarom, On Buying Binge, Acquires Vietnamese Flavors Company

April 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Israeli flavors and fragrances firm Frutarom has completed another Asian acquisition with the purchase of 60 percent of the Vietnam's Western Flavors Fragrances Production (WFF) for $1.3 million. Fourteen-year-old WFF’s sales volume in the 12 months prior to February 2017 totaled about $1.5 million. WFF has 44 employees and focuses on marketing sweet flavors in the dairy, beverages, confectionery and baked goods markets. Frutarom’s strategy is to expand in Asia through acquisitions. The company recently bought Indian flavors company Sonarome and the Chinese taste solutions company Inventive. Last year, it opened a modern flavors plant, including an advanced R&D laboratory, in Shanghai, China. Frutarom sells more than 60,000 products to more than 27,000 customers in 150 countries.
"Third Acquisition for Frutarom in 2017: Continues Expanding Its Global Reach and Deepening Its Presence in Growing Emerging Markets", News release, Frutarom, April 06, 2017, © Frutarom
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Conagra Recalls Hunt’s Chili Kits After FDA Finds Salmonella Bacteria

April 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Conagra Brands has recalled Hunt’s Chili Kits because the FDA claimed the chili powder was tainted with salmonella. Conagra said the kits they had examined had no traces of the dangerous bacteria, but they implemented the recall “out of an abundance of caution.” The recall affects retail and online stores, as well as military commissaries. Symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps that develop 12 to 72 hours after infection. The symptoms subside after a weak though there is a risk of dehydration. [ Image credit: © Conagra  ]
Mahita Gajanan, "Hunt's Chili Kits Were Recalled Nationwide Because of a Salmonella Risk", Time, April 05, 2017, © Time Inc.
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It’s Official: Panera Bread Sold To Krispy Kreme Owner

April 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Holding company JAB confirmed last week that it will acquire St. Louis-based retail bakery chain Panera Bread for $7.2 billion. JAB’s portfolio of companies includes Caribou Coffee, Krispy Crème Doughnuts and Keurig Green Mountain. Panera operates 2,000 bakery cafes in the U.S. Already a hit among health-conscious consumers, Panera lately has been taking steps to improve sales and service. It is growing its loyalty program, installing time-saving kiosks, and expanding delivery. Panera’s shares soared 14.2 percent to a record-high of $312.98 when the sale was announced. JAB is paying a 20.3 percent premium on the stock’s March 31 closing price. [ Image credit: © Panera Bread Co.  ]
Anya George Tharakan et al., "Krispy Kreme-Owner JAB to Buy Bakery Chain Panera Bread", Reuters, April 05, 2017, © Reuters
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Will Costco Put More Energy Into Online Bulk Sales?

April 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Costco has for the most part downplayed the e-commerce side of its business while emphasizing store traffic, impulse buying, and a “treasure hunt” atmosphere of constant churning of new products. It’s a strategy that continues to be profitable. But investors and analysts think it’s time the bulk-selling giant adapts to modern times. The logistical technology is certainly available, even for Costco-size shipments. A Costco spokesman says the company has been slow on the uptake “on purpose,” but acknowledges “there are things we can do or should be doing.” Now it may be getting tougher: carriers like UPS and FedEx Corp. are beginning to charge based on package size as well as weight. [ Image credit: © Wikipedia  ]
Sarah Nassauer et al., "Why Costco Loves Store Sales: You Try Shipping a Tub of Mayo", The Wall Street Journal, April 05, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Pizza Chain Experiments With All-Natural Toppings, Gluten-Free Crusts

April 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Papa John's announced it is test-marketing in Lexington, Ky., pizza with all-natural ingredients. The company is also offering customers the option of ordering gluten-free pizza crust. The company is partnering with an organic grocery delivery service, Green Bean Delivery, to home deliver pies topped with freshly-sliced roma tomatoes, green peppers and mushrooms, supplied by farms in Arizona, Florida, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Oregon, California and Indiana. Gluten-free pizzas will only be available in the company's Los Angeles, Phoenix, St. Louis and Nashville markets for the immediate future. [ Image credit: © Papa John's  ]
Lindsay Rittenhouse, "Did Papa John's Just Start Testing the Perfect Pizza?", The Street, April 04, 2017, © TheStreet, Inc.
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Panera’s Stock Price Soars As Rumors Of A Sale Swirl

April 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
After receiving “takeover interest,” $6.5 billion Panera Bread is purportedly consulting with business advisors about the possibility of putting itself up for sale. Likely suitors include Starbucks, Domino’s, and JAB Holding, owner of a variety of brands such as Krispy Creme doughnuts and Keurig Green Mountain coffee. Panera’s stock has risen 28 percent over the past year, reaching an all-time high of $261.87 through the end of March. The stock bounded to $282.45 on April 4 when word of a possible sale leaked. None of the potential suitors commented publicly on the news.[ Image credit: © Miosotis Jade  ]
Ed Hammond, "Panera is Exploring Possible Sale after Receiving Interest", Bloomberg Markets, April 04, 2017, © Bloomberg L.P.
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IRI Lists Most Successful 2016 CPG Product Debuts

April 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A new report from market researcher IRI lists the consumer packaged goods launches in 2016 that proved to be the big winners out of thousands. The analysis found that eight of ten of the top-ranking products came from small and medium-size manufacturers. They accounted for 64 percent of IRI’s Pacesetter dollar sales. The 200 bestsellers accounted for $5.8 billion. Brand leaders tended to stick to three key principles of innovation – namely, prevention, personalization and “pizzazz.” Quick summary: top ten food and beverage brands: DairyPure, Dunkin' Donuts K-Cups, Not Your Father's Root Beer; non-food brands Flonase, Gillette Fusion ProShield, Garnier SkinActive; and C-store brands: DairyPure, Red Bull Summer Edition, and Quest Bar. [ Dairy Pure products, image credit: © Dean Foods  ]
"New Products Pacesetters: Building Bridges to a Growth–Filled Tomorrow", Report, IRI, April 03, 2017, © IRI
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General Mills’ Hothouse Venture Unit Adds Another Partner

April 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
General Mills’ venture capital unit 301 INC has invested in start-up “lifestyle” breakfast food company Purely Elizabeth. The eighth company 301 INC has partnered with, Purely Elizabeth has positioned itself as a natural, nutrient-dense granola company. It has experienced rapid success since founder and CEO Elizabeth Stein, a former nutrition counselor, began eight years ago making her own granola from ancient grains and superfood seeds, selling it to clients, friends and family. 301 INC’s portfolio of start-ups includes, besides Purely Elizabeth, Beyond Meat, Rhythm Superfoods, Kite Hill, Good Culture, Tio Gazpacho, D’s Naturals, and Farmhouse Culture. [ Image credit: © Purely Elizabeth  ]
Laura Knutson, "Purely Elizabeth Joins 301 INC Portfolio", News release, Taste of General Mills, April 03, 2017, © General Mills, Inc.
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FEATURE: Where Now For Unilever? We Lay Out Our Thoughts And Suggested Response To The Humbling Kraft Heinz Bid

April 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The unexpected and deeply unwelcome Kraft Heinz takeover bid shook  Unilever* to its core. Analysts and commentators expected 3G to use Kraft Heinz as a vehicle for further acquisitions in the food space as it pushed to aggressively cut costs across larger businesses, but Unilever was thought to be above the fray.  In a tacit admission of past failure, Unilever convened a hurried review of ways to boost its valuation and in coming days or weeks we’ll see what this holds. Meanwhile, we have clarified our own thinking about how Unilever should move forward as a vibrant independent company that quickly surfaces its underlying value. You can read a summary of our analysis here and contact us if you want further details.
 
*Disclosure: Unilever is a client of ours, as are most of the companies we list as acquisition targets. Also, our newsletters are read by recipients at all companies mentioned in this piece.
 
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New Bubbly Beverage Takes Soft Drinks Industry By Storm

April 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Carbonated beverage lovers in the U.S. have jumped on the bandwagon of an industry phenomenon known as Sparkling Ice, and in the process are redefining America’s drinks business. This development should dismay traditional soda makers because the brand is attacking the very foundation of their product offerings, and it’s succeeding. Sold in elongated plastic bottles in a variety of lively colors and flavors, Sparkling Ice, backed by a $37 million marketing campaign, is nearing a billion dollars in annual sales. It offers a serious alternative to Coca-Cola and Pepsi: a healthier fizzy drink – no sugar, just sucralose – in multiple flavors that is also a substitute for flat water. “It’s a perfect storm of timing for us,” says chief marketing officer Brian Kuz. [ Image credit: © Sparkling Ice  ]
Dale Buss, "Look Out, Coke and Pepsi! Here Comes Sparkling Ice", CPG Matters, April 01, 2017, © CPG Matters
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Panera Offers Greater Transparency Regarding Added Sugars, Calories

March 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Panera Bread Co., recently acquired by the owner of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, is the first restaurant chain to label its self-serve sodas and other foundation beverages with added sugars and calories. The federal government does not require such labeling by restaurants, thought it does for other food companies. The company also announced it is introducing six low- and no-sugar teas and lemonades. Panera is committed to phasing out artificial sweeteners and flavors, and is reviewing its entire menu based on the new sugar labeling guidance. The new drinks are being offered in New York, Washington, Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C. and will be available nationally later in 2017.
Chris Prentice, "Panera Rolls Out 'Added Sugars' Labeling on Fountain Drinks", Reuters, March 31, 2017, © Reuters
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McDonald’s Big Logistical Leap: Quarter Pounders With Fresh Beef

March 30, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
After successfully testing the use of fresh beef Quarter Pounder burgers cooked to order in more than 400 of its restaurants in Texas and Oklahoma, McDonald’s announced it will roll out nationally over the next year. To accomplish this massive change, the company has secured the cooperation of Lopez Foods and other beef suppliers who will deliver fresh, rather than frozen, ground beef patties. The company said it “received overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers and employees” during the Oklahoma and Texas market tests and the decision to go national represents “a watershed moment.” The Quarter Pounder line includes the classic Quarter Pounder, the Quarter Pounder with Cheese, Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese, the Quarter Pounder with Cheese Deluxe and Signature Crafted Recipe burgers.
"McDonald's USA Unveils Next Big Change: Fresh Beef Quarter Pounders", News release, McDonald's, March 30, 2017, © McDonald's
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Build-A-Roll Idea Garners Funding, Leads To National Bakery Chain

March 30, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
An appearance on the TV venture capital show Shark Tank led to start-up funding and the launch of a chain of build-your-own cinnamon roll franchises in California, Colorado, Georgia, Nevada and Texas. New Cinnaholic stores are being developed in North Carolina, Florida and Arizona. Each store bakes new vegan rolls every 20 minutes and offers customers a choice of 20 toppings and 20 frostings to create their own delicacies. Three years ago, investor Robert Herjavec offered Florian and Shannon Radke (left) $200,000 in exchange for 40 percent of the company. They accepted, and the rest is history. "We went from a local brand to a national one overnight," Florian said. [Image Credit: © Cinnaholic ]
Jacob Laxen, "Build-Your-Own Cinnamon Roll Bakery Plans Fort Collins Store", USA Today, March 30, 2017, © USA Today
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Unilever And Lazada Strengthen Alliance For Better Ecommerce In South East Asia

March 30, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
An end-to-end alliance between Unilever and Lazada is expected to boost eCommerce in South East Asia and provide consumers with a superior online experience. The agreement is expected to push rapid growth in online retail for the region and address challenges such as high cost of product delivery in certain geographic locations. Category development, supply chain, data and marketing, social commerce and talent development are among the top focus areas for Unilever and Lazada to meet their common goal. The alliance builds on the previously launched partnership between Lazada Singapore and Unilever for an exclusive online store that allows buyers to purchase Unilever products. The companies say this is the first cross-functional collaboration for eCommerce in South East Asia and that it sets new standards in customer experience, supply chain and digital marketing.  
"Unilever and Lazada forge first in e-commerce cross-functional alliance", Unilever, March 30, 2017, © Unilever
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Company Renovates Factory To Ramp Up Production Of Plant-Based Burgers

March 29, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A company that makes plant-based burgers wants to place its product in a thousand restaurants by the end of 2017. To achieve that goal, Impossible Foods is rapidly renovating a former baked-goods factory in Oakland, Calif., to scale up production of the Impossible Burger, a plant-based patty that looks and tastes enough like the real thing that meat eaters and vegetarians will want to order it. The Impossible Burger is already available at 11 restaurants, but the company wants to supply 1,000 eateries, and has even signed a contract feature the faux burgers at the San Francisco Giant’s baseball stadium. [ Image credit: © Impossible Foods  ]
Adele Peters, "In its New Factory, Impossible Foods Will Make 12 Million Pounds of Plant-Based Burgers a Year", Fast Company, March 29, 2017, © Mansueto Ventures, LLC
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Robots Join Domino’s Delivery Force In German Test

March 29, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The Domino's pizza chain is testing robot-delivered pizza in Europe in partnership with an Estonia start-up. The project is launching in Hamburg, Germany, within the next couple of months. Starship Technologies uses six-wheeled robots that are about two feet tall, weigh 40 pounds when empty, and move at a speed of four miles an hour. Deliveries The robots will deliver food within a mile radius of select Domino's locations. They can mover independently, but during the test will have a human chaperone to make sure nothing bad happens. [ Image credit: © Domino's Pizza  ]
April Glaser, "Domino’s is going to Use Sidewalk Robots in Germany to Deliver Pizza", Recode, March 29, 2017, © Vox Media, Inc.
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Packaged Bread Continues To Slide, As Healthful, “Decadent,” Foods Surge

March 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Two seemingly contradictory trends – convenient, healthful nutrition and “decadent” indulgence – are driving the bakery and snacks markets, according to various research companies. Subcategories like gluten-free and ethnic breads are also thriving. Last year, bakery products market value in the U.S. was $32.3 billion, while the snacks market is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 3.4 percent to 2026.The loser in the surge of consumer preferences for more natural ingredients over processed ones, even in extravagant snacking, remains packaged leavened bread, which has suffered in volume (down 2.7 billion tons) and value ($11. 3 billion) since 2011.
Gill Hyslop, "Future of US Bakery and Snacks Driven by Healthy Indulgence, Say Analysts", BakeryAndSnacks.com, March 28, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Chipotle Continues To Rid Its Food Of Artificial Ingredients

March 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Chipotle Mexican Grill announced it has eliminated all added colors, flavors and preservatives from the ingredients it uses to prepare its food, but not beverages. Chipotle says it’s the only national food chain to accomplish this. The company’s plan to eliminate artificial ingredients began two years ago with the decision to get rid of unnecessary additives in tortillas it uses to make burritos, tacos, and chips. The new flour tortillas are made using only flour, water, canola oil, salt and yeast. Corn tortillas used for the chips are made only with corn masa flour and water. The ingredients changes will be applied in all Chipotle restaurants in the United States.
"Chipotle Becomes Only National Restaurant Brand to Use No Added Colors, Flavors or Preservatives in Its Food", News release, Chipotle Mexican Grill, March 28, 2017, © Chipotle Mexican Grill
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Chipotle Works To Put Its Food-Poisoning Nightmare In The Rearview Mirror

March 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Chipotle Mexican Grill continues to distance itself from the food-poisoning disasters it endured a couple of years ago by revamping the ingredients it uses in its menu items. In the latest move, the company announced its restaurants are now selling flour tortillas made without preservatives. In all, the chain uses only 51 ingredients – none are GMO – including some organic produce and meat raised without hormones. CEO Steve Ells said the strategy is to focus on “improving the basic, wholesome ingredients” rather than on limited-time offers, extra value meals or “menu proliferation.” The efforts to revive its tarnished reputation and boost sales have yet to kick in, however: same-store sales fell 4.8 percent in the most recent quarter.
Leslie Patton, "Chipotle's Menu Is Now Preservative-Free", Bloomberg Markets, March 28, 2017, © BLOOMBERG L.P.
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Advertising Standards Bureau Dismisses Complaints Against Unilever Ads In Australia

March 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Australia's Advertising Standards Bureau has ruled against claims of improper advertising against Unilever's Lynx personal care brand and Magnum and Streets ice cream brands. ASB disagreed with a complainant who claimed that an ad for Bubble O Bill ice cream promotes “sexual entitlement of men” with its “I can see your white bits” line. Also, the board dismissed a complaint against a TV ad showing a man spraying Lynx across his torso.
Lindsay Bennett, "Unilever Ads Cleared of Inappropriate 'Sexualised' Advertising", Adnews Media, March 27, 2017, © Yaffa Media
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Dunkin’ Brands Treasurer Jaspon Named Interim CFO After Carbone Resigns

March 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Kate Jaspon, Dunkin' Brands treasurer and vice president for finance, was named interim CFO after CFO Paul Carbone resigned. The company said Carbone quit to take a management job in retail, where he worked before signing on with Dunkin’. Jaspon will report to CEO Nigel Travis and will take on the responsibility for accounting, corporate tax, investor relations and competitive intelligence. She is now responsible for global financial planning and analysis, business analytics, debt and cash management, electronic payments and insurance. Jaspon joined Dunkin' Brands as assistant controller in 2005. [ Kate Jaspon, image credit: © Dunkin' Brands  ]
"Dunkin' Brands Announces CFO Leadership Transition", News release, Dunkin' Brands, March 23, 2017, © Dunkin' Brands
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Nestle Shows How To run A Dairy Factory With Waste Water

March 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
To celebrate World Water Day recently, Nestlé issued a press release describing the water conservation efforts of one of its factories in Mexico. The Nestlé dairy facility became the company’s first “zero water” manufacturing site in the world. Located in the central, water-stressed state of Jalisco, the factory turned off the taps completely, transforming its water consumption from 1.6 million liters a day to zero. The factory no longer draws water from the ground or water mains. It gets all its water from the milk it processes. It takes fresh cow’s milk – 88 percent water – heats it at low pressure to remove some of its water content. The steam is condensed, treated and used to clean the evaporating machines. The water is collected again, purified and recycled again. [ Dairy factory in Mexico, image credit © Nestlé ]
"A Significant Drop", News release, Nestlé, March 22, 2017, © Nestlé
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Lidl Supports NFU's Back British Farming Charter

March 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Lidl UK has signed the NFU's Back British Farming Charter, a campaign supporting British produce. Joining retailers Aldi, The Co-operative, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, and Waitrose, Lidl UK's move highlights its support for UK farmers. According to the charter, retailers need to have a transparent UK supply chain based on fair relationships, and labels UK produce with a Red Tractor or the UK flag.
Lucinda Dann, "Lidl Signs Up to Back British Farming Charter", Farmers Weekly, March 22, 2017, © Reed Business Information Limited
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Kraft Heinz Sets Social Responsibility, Sustainability Targets

March 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
As part of its mission to become “the best food company,” Kraft Heinz has expanded a commitment to three goals it believes will have the greatest global impact: combatting global hunger and malnutrition, boosting supply chain sustainability and protecting the environment. It will strive to meet these goals by: donating a billion nutritious meals to needy people by 2021; buying palm oil products in an ethical, transparent and sustainable manner (and only 100 percent certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil); and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, energy, water and waste in its operations 15 percent globally by 2020 (baseline 2015).
"Kraft Heinz Strengthens Corporate Social Responsibility Commitments in Support of Vision to ‘Grow a Better World’", News Release, Kraft Heinz, March 21, 2017, © The Kraft Heinz Company
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German Discounters Are “Disrupting” U.S. Retail Grocery Market

March 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The combined sales of German discount grocery chains Aldi and Lidl in the U.S. could reach $67 billion over the next four years, according to two industry experts speaking at a food marketing conference. This will force U.S. grocery chains to re-examine their own business models while carefully analyzing why the discount model works so well. Aldi and Lidl will be disruptors and a “source of change influence” in the U.S. grocery business. But the two companies are also evolving, learning perhaps from their bigger competitors, by working to overcome product selection limitations, for example; renovating stores; moving beyond the “hard discount” model; creating a “hybrid promotional strategy’ that increases the size of sales flyers, and creates urgency with weekend deals, seasonal offerings and “while they last” promotions.
Jon Springer, "Aldi, Lidl growth to spark industry change", Supermarket News, March 21, 2017, © Penton Media
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Starbucks Unveils Gluten-Free Menu Items

March 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
One of the more fascinating phenomena in the food industry in recent years has been the transformation of gluten into a dirty word. A tiny fraction of Americans with celiac disease, a severe intestinal allergic reaction to gluten, needs to avoid the wheat protein. But a whole anti-gluten movement – and a multibillion-dollar industry – has arisen to accommodate people convinced that gluten is generally unhealthful. Researcher Technavio says the gluten-free food market is expected to grow at an annual rate of roughly 12 percent through 2021, Tecnomics advises food companies to go along: "if you're not speaking their language, you risk losing [them]." The latest company to “speak their language” is Starbucks, which is launching gluten-free food options – like the gluten-free smoked Canadian bacon and egg sandwich – in U.S. stores.   [ Image credit: © Starbucks  ]
Lauren Thomas, "Starbucks Rolls Out Gluten-Free, Vegan Food Options", CNBC, March 21, 2017, © CNBC LLC
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Organic Food Ingredients Supplier Expands Into Sports Products

March 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Organic and GMO-free food ingredients maker Garden of Life is expanding into sports nutrition with a line of pre- and post-workout protein powders and bars. The Sport line consists of five plant-based clean products that are USDA organic, Non-GMO Project Verified. Among the products are a pre-workout energy-boosting drink derived from organic coffeeberry, kale, spinach, beets, and whole-food vitamin B-12. The post-workout product is designed to reduce muscle soreness and support recovery after exercise. It consists of antioxidant-rich organic tart cherries, turmeric, goji berries, blueberries, organic apples and rooibos.  [ Image credit: © Garden of Life  ]
"Garden of Life Enters Sports Nutrition Arena with Launch of Garden of Life SPORT, the Cleanest Performance Line Ever", News release, Garden of Life, March 21, 2017, © Garden of Life
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