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Aldi Continues To Beat Back Resistance By Big U.K. Grocery Chains

February 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The U.K.’s big supermarket chains are resisting the successful invasion by German discount grocers Aldi and Lidl. Tesco Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons have all implemented strategies that sacrifice profit to fund price cuts, improve service, and retain market share. All say the price gap with the discounters has narrowed. But an Aldi exec says its own data show that “if anything, the price differential between Aldi and the big four is growing at the moment.” And Aldi is still growing sales .Industry data show Aldi has overtaken the Co-operative to become Britain's fifth largest chain with a market share of 6.2 percent. It has grown total sales by 12.4 percent, thanks in part to an aggressive store building program.   [ Image credit: © Wikimedia ]
James Davey , "Aldi still thriving in U.K., despite rivals' claims, says CEO", Reuters, February 10, 2017, © Reuters
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Tesco Tests Program To Feed Bees With Discarded Sugar

February 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
British supermarket chain Tesco is testing a program to donate unmarketable split bags of sugar from stores in Cornwall and Devon to a beekeepers group. The stores are also donating surplus sugar from in-store bakeries. Since 2007, the bee population has declined by 33 percent in the U.K. because of pests, diseases and fewer wild flowers. Bees have a difficult time making enough honey to feed themselves during the fall and winter. Commercial beekeepers supplement the bees’ diet with a feed made from dissolved sugar. The waste sugar donated by Tesco stores will be used to help feed bees bred and reared by a bee improvement program based in Cornwall.
Rebecca Smithers, "Tesco's Plan Bee: Spilt Supermarket Sugar to Help Feed Hungry Honey Bees", The Guardian, February 09, 2017, © Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies
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Whole Foods Posts Record-High Sales For 1Q 2017

February 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market, Inc. reported total sales grew 1.9 percent to $4.9 billion for the 16-week first quarter ending January 15, 2017, compared with the same quarter in the previous year. Same-store sales, however, dropped 2.4 percent during the same period. According to the retailer, net income was $95 million, which was 1.9 percent of sales. EBITDA were $360 million, or 7.3 percent of sales, while diluted earnings per share were $0.30. Excluding charges, net income was $123 million, or 2.5 percent of sales, with diluted earnings per share at $0.39. EBITDA was 7.6 percent, with return on invested capital at 12 percent, the company said.
"Whole Foods Market Reports First Quarter Results", Whole Foods, February 08, 2017, © Whole Foods Market
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Green America Asks Mars To Do More Than Just Label GMO Products

February 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
An organization focused on a “green economy” is mobilizing its supporters to pressure candy maker Mars through an email campaign (GMO Inside) to remove genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from its human and pet foods. In 2016, Mars said it would remove artificial colors and begin listing GMO ingredients on human food packages. Green America congratulated Mars on these moves, but is now asking the company to do more than simply label GMOs. The organization maintains a chocolate scorecard on its website that shows which chocolate products are free of GMOs.  [ Image credit: © Evan-Amos, Wikimedia  ]
Max Karlin, "For Valentine's Day, Green America Urges Mars to Dump GMOs and Related Toxins", News release, Green America, February 08, 2017, © Green America
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Aldi To Remodel 1,300 Stores While Continuing Aggressive Store Expansion

February 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Discount grocery chain Aldi plans to spend $1.6 billion renovating and expanding its 1,300 U.S. stores to accommodate customer demand for modern, convenient shopping with “a focus on fresh items,” including produce, dairy and bakery products. Remodeled stores will have open ceilings, natural lighting and eco-friendly building materials, such as recycled materials, energy-saving refrigeration and LED lighting. The remodeling plan will go forward concurrently with the building of 650 new stores to reach its goal of 2,000 U.S. stores by the end of next year. [ Image credit: © Aldi Inc. ]
"Aldi Unveils $1.6 Billion Nationwide Store Remodel Plan To Enhance Customer Shopping Experience", News release, Aldi Inc., February 08, 2017, © Aldi Inc.
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Snyder’s-Lance Adds Organic Version To Pretzel Cracker Line

February 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Snack food manufacturer Snyder's-Lance, Inc., announced an addition to its Snack Factory Pretzel Crisp line. The company said the new Organic Original Pretzel Crisps, which will be available for a limited time nationwide, are also Non-GMO Project verified. Pretzel Crisps are the first flat-baked pretzel cracker. At 110 calories a preserving, the organic variety contain no saturated fat or trans fat, no cholesterol, preservatives, artificial flavorings or colors. [ Image credit: © Snack Factory ]
"Snack Factory Introduces USDA-Certified Organic Pretzel Crisps", News release, Snyder's-Lance, Inc., February 07, 2017, © Snyder's-Lance, Inc.
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Effective Social Media Involvement Of Super Bowl 51 Fans Stretched Ad Dollars

February 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Interactive ad strategy – use of live-streams, paid social advertising, and giveaways – were the hallmarks of successful social media and mobile campaigns for several Super Bowl 51 advertisers. Especially effective was PepsiCo’s Lady Gaga halftime show strategy for its Pepsi Zero soft drink, but Budweiser, casual dining chain Buffalo Wild Wings, and Snickers were also able to stretch their airtime ad dollars using social media. Pepsi sponsored a number of giveaways during the game in which football fans who were social media users could interact with Pepsi sites up to halftime. They were then given a chance to win merchandise by re-posting Pepsi’s tweets.   [ Image credit: © PepsiCo ]
Brielle Jaekel, "How Pepsi was One of Few to Leverage Mobile for Super Bowl LI", Mobile Marketer, February 07, 2017, © Napean LLC
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German Grocery Store Sells Only Wonky Produce, Expired And Surplus Foods

February 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A grocery store that sells only ugly or surplus food products, from vegetables to beer, has opened in the German city of Köln (Cologne). The founders of The Good Food grocery store are dedicated to the idea of eliminating food waste in the world. It is the first such store to open in Germany, and the third in the EU. The store is unusual for a couple of reasons. The food it sells was otherwise bound for landfills because it may be misshapen, or too large or too small, or past its sell-by date. This includes non-perishable products from big manufacturers. And there are no fixed prices: consumers decide how much the products are worth. [ Image credit: © The Good Food bei RTL Aktuell ]
Irene Banos Ruiz, "First German Supermarket Sells Waste Food Only", Deutsche Welle, February 06, 2017, © Deutsche Welle
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How Reckitt Benckeiser’s Startling Bid For Mead Johnson Could Pay Off

February 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Health and hygiene products marketer Reckitt Benckeiser’s bid for baby formula company Mead Johnson may be surprising, but it could also be a clever and potentially lucrative acquisition. RB already has a foot in the door of the nutrition business: in 2012 it purchased Schiff Nutrition (marketer of vitamin brands like MegaRed). And, according to U.K.-based investment firm Dividend Drive, there just aren’t any juicy acquisitions to be made in over-the-counter consumer healthcare. But the primary attraction of Mead Johnson is the fact that both companies have a strong presence in developing markets, particularly Asia and Latin America. Mead Johnson’s specialty – baby formula – is positioned for strong growth in Asia.
Dividend Drive, "Mead Johnson And Reckitt Benckiser: A Surprising Yet Inspired Bid From The British Consumer Giant?", Seeking Alpha, February 06, 2017, © Seeking Alpha
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Hometown Of “Mork And Mindy” Attracts Growing Number Of Foodie Entrepreneurs

February 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Boulder, Colo., -- the hometown of the late-1970s sitcom "Mork and Mindy" -- has become the ideal location for a new generation of food producers, mainly because it offers the right ingredients, packaging suppliers, and infrastructure for eco-conscious foodie entrepreneurs who are challenging Big Food. Among these startups – or, if you will, upstarts – are “clean” microwave popcorn maker Quinn Snacks, which moved west in 2011 from New York. Also Purely Elizabeth, Made in Nature and Good Karma Foods. They all moved to Boulder to take advantage of a “deep bench of food executives,” a food retail environment focused on innovation and experimentation, and the availability of investment cash. Another attractive feature: the burgeoning infrastructure of food brokers, distributors, and contract manufacturers.  [ Image credit: © Quinn Snacks ]
Stephanie Strom, "Foodies Know: Boulder Has Become a Hub for New Producers", The New York Times, February 04, 2017, © The New York Times Company
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PepsiCo To Expand Beverage R&D Facilities In N.Y.

February 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
PepsiCo is negotiating with the town of Mount Pleasant, N.Y. (Westchester County), to expand its beverage research campus with a three-story, 122,000-square-foot R&D facility. The mayor of the town welcomed the news because the new facility would not only mean increased property taxes, it would provide employment. The town’s industrial development agency may grant the company sales and use tax exemptions on purchases of construction materials, as well as a partial real property tax abatement in the form of a payment in lieu of taxes agreement.
Aleesia Forni, "PepsiCo Planning R&D Expansion, Renovations in Mount Pleasant", Westchester County Business Journal, February 02, 2017, © Westfair Business Publications
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Walmart Ups Ante In Fight With Amazon By Abandoning ShippingPass

February 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
To stay competitive with Amazon, Walmart is ditching its $49-a-year two-day shipping subscription, dubbed ShippingPass, and replacing it with free shipping for purchases over $35. In doing so, the retailer is acknowledging that free two-day shipping is now the standard in online shopping. The new strategy takes aim at Amazon’s highly successful Prime offer, which offers free two-day shipping for an annual $99 subscription fee. Data from Cowen and Company show that by November 2016, almost half of U.S. Internet users were living in a household with a Prime subscription. Some observers speculate that Walmart’s battle with Amazon will lead to even more tactical moves, such as deep discounting. [ Image credit: © Walmart ]
Yory Wurmser, "Walmart Challenges Amazon with New Shipping Plan", eMarketer, February 01, 2017, © eMarketer Inc.
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A Closer Look At Major Food Retailer, Restaurant Chain Clean Label Policies

February 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A consumer watchdog organization has analyzed the clean label initiatives of four big restaurant chains and nine supermarket chains finding that all have committed to excluding additives, such as synthetic food dyes and artificial sweeteners like aspartame. Except Whole Foods, the supermarket chains have limited their commitments to one or more lines of their house-brand products, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). Other findings: none of the clean label lists limit sodium or added sugars; all exclude many artificial ingredients that CSPI considers safe; and restaurant policies do not include “riskiest” beverage ingredients such as added sugars, artificial sweeteners, and synthetic food colors. One interesting CSPI observation: “clean label products are not necessarily healthful.” 
Lisa Lefferts, "Clean Labels: Public Relations or Public Health?", Report, Center for Science in the Public Interest, February 01, 2017, © CSPI
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Hormel Investigates Pig Supplier Accused Of Animal Cruelty

January 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A video created by an animal rights group showing alleged cruelty to animals at an Oklahoma pig farm has spurred an investigation by Hormel Foods Corp., which buys meat from the farm. The company also suspended operations at the Maschhoffs farm. The two-minute video shows dozens of pigs and piglets confined in crowded spaces without benefit of veterinary care. Hormel said it would send third-party auditors to investigate the claims made by Mercy for Animals in the video. [ Image credit: © Hormel ]
S. Sangameswaran, "Hormel Stops Operations at Supplier Farm After Video Shows Animal Abuse", Reuters, January 31, 2017, © Reuters
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Tesco Promotes Yogurt Made With Wonky Fruit

January 30, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
U.K. grocery retailer Tesco has teamed up with organic dairy Yeo Valley to launch a new yogurt in its Left-Yeovers line containing wonky – but delicious – apples and custard. The Left-Yeovers yogurt range was created to prevent food waste by using surplus misshapen fruit from the Yeo Valley storerooms that would otherwise be taken to landfills. It also raises money by donating 10 p from each sale to food distribution charity FareShare. The initiative is part of Tesco’s strategy to reduce food loss “from farm to fork.”  [ Image credit: ©  Tesco PLC ]
"New Tesco and Yeo Valley partnership creates a yogurt with a mission", News release, Tesco, January 30, 2017, © Tesco PLC
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Nestle Changes Ingredients, And Marketing, Of An Iconic Beverage

January 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The latest evidence of Nestlé SA’s corporate makeover is a major change in the ingredients of its signature chocolate drink, coupled with a new marketing strategy. Evolving consumer tastes and preferences – away from sugary beverages, for example – have buffeted the company’s sales. It hasn’t met its six-percent annual sales growth target in years. So it is flexing its product research and marketing muscle to change directions for some brands. The company has significantly lowered the sugar content of Nesquik while boosting market share. In addition, the company reduced the size of the Nesquik bunny that appears on packages, and broadened its marketing focus beyond kids to athletes. [ Image credit: © Nestlé ]
Brian Blackstone, "Nestlé Seeks to Sweeten Nesquik Sales by Cutting Back on Sugar", The Wall Street Journal, January 27, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Kroger Hires Supply Chain Services Company To Manage

January 26, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Grocery retailer Kroger (Cincinnati, Ohio) has contracted with McLane Co., a supply chain services firm, to supply its 787 convenience stores, which include Loaf ‘N Jug, Turkey Hill Minit Market, Tom Thumb, Kwik Shop, and Quik Stop. McLane maintains a cold chain network, an expanded fresh foods program, and category management expertise.[  Image credit: ©  Kroger ]
"The Kroger Co. Moves C-Store Business to McLane Co.", Convenience Store, January 26, 2017, © Harbor Communications
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App Helps Volunteers Find, Deliver Salvageable Food Donations

January 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Add to the list of technologies created to help reduce food waste an Uber-like app from a Pittsburgh, Pa.- based nonprofit known as 412 Food Rescue. Food Rescue Hero, available free on iTunes and Google Play, helps its 1,000 volunteer drivers (or walkers or cyclists) find salvage food considered unmarketable and deliver it to shelters and charities. Hero lists salvage opportunities at grocery stores and restaurants and the target charities who distribute the food, provides details on the donations, and lets volunteers pick the donation that works best for them. There is even a navigation system that guides volunteers to the pick-up locations and destinations.  [ Image credit: © 412foodrescue.org  ]
Dana Cizmas, "412 Food Rescue Mobilizes Volunteers with Uber-Like App", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 25, 2017, © PG Publishing Co., Inc.
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London Restaurant Chain Tests Produce Preservation Technology

January 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A new technology that could cut down on food waste is being tested in a small chain of London restaurants. The innovation is essentially a small rectangular filter sheet that is placed on or next to fresh fruit and vegetables to absorb ethylene gas produced by ripening produce. (Ethylene is also used commercially to speed the ripening of green tomatoes, bananas, etc.) Canteen restaurants hopes the technology will extend the shelf-life of its produce and reduce the amount that is routinely tossed away after over-ripening. [ Image credit: © It's Fresh ]
Francesca Gillett, "London Restaurant Canteen Trials New Food Waste Technology to Keep Food Fresher for Longer", Evening Standard, January 25, 2017, © Evening Standard Ltd.
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E-Retailers And CPG Manufacturers Need To Prepare For Strong Growth Now

January 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
E-commerce today accounts for only a small portion of consumer packaged goods (CPG) sales, with the food and beverage sector lagging somewhat behind non-food. But both sectors are set for strong growth, according to IRI. Over the next five years, CPG e-commerce will average 10 percent of industrywide sales. Digital is expected to play a major role in influencing that sales growth, and will drive as much as 77 percent of all retail sales generally, representing about $2 trillion. E-retailers are rapidly laying the groundwork for growth, with Amazon leading the way. Meanwhile, CPG manufacturers could grow online sales by up to 150 percent by building a strong online presence and earning shopper awareness.
"Build, Drive and Earn E-commerce Growth for Retail Success", Report, IRI Worldwide, January 24, 2017, © IRI Worldwide
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Sales Boost From All-Day Breakfasts At McDonald’s May Have Been Only Temporary

January 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
As same-store sales at McDonald’s sag, some observers conclude that all-day breakfasts are losing their drawing power, at least in the U.S. Earnings beat Wall Street estimates last quarter, but sales fell 1.3 percent. Does the giant fast-food company have an ace up its sleeve to pull financial performance out of a tailspin? Technology, including touchscreens and mobile ordering, may help. But analysts aren’t sure how long that will take to pay off, especially in the face of a nationwide restaurant slowdown. European financials are brighter: same-store sales ticked upward by 2.7 percent, easily beating analysts’ predictions of a 1.4 percent increase. Profit was $1.44 a share globally in the period, beating predictions by 0.03 percent. [ Image credit: ©  McDonald's ]
Craig Giammona, "McDonald’s All-Day Breakfast Push No Longer Fueling Growth", Bloomberg, January 24, 2017, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Whole Foods Market Awards Media Planning Account To MediaCom

January 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market awarded its national media planning and buying account to MediaCom. Worth about $60 million, the account covers all aspects of media planning and buying, including search, social, and data. At least six agencies participated in the competitive review of the account.
Lindsay Stein, "Whole Foods Market Hires MediaCom for Media Planning, Buying", Advertising Age, January 23, 2017, © Crain Communications
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Hellman’s Fulfills Cage-Free Egg Pledge Three Years Early

January 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Mayonnaise maker Hellman’s, a Unilever brand, announced that after a reorganization of its egg supply chain – involving 331 million eggs annually – all of its mayonnaise and dressings brands are now made with eggs from cage-free hens. The change in U.S. brands comes three years ahead of the company’s commitment announced in 2010. It affects 170 million jars, 30 million squeeze bottles, and 1.3 million egg-laying hens annually. A Humane Society spokesman said “Hellmann's move shows just how in synch the company is with its customers."  [ Image credit: ©  Wikimedia Commons ]
"Hellmann's Mayonnaise And Mayonnaise Dressings Now Use 100% Cage-Free Eggs In The U.S.*, Three Years Ahead Of Schedule", News release, Unilever U.S., January 23, 2017, © Hellman's U.S.
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Advanced Store Shelf Technology Seeks To Personalize Shopping At Kroger Stores

January 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Supermarket chain Kroger has begun experimenting with in-store shelf-based sensor systems that detect shoppers via their smartphones and apply analytics technology to customize product offers. Dubbed the “digital shelf edge” project, the initiative is a facet of the company’s plan to automate and personalize shopping to battle online competition from Amazon.com Inc., Walmart’s Jet.com unit and others. E-commerce in traditional food and beverage stores accounted for $1 billion in sales in 2014, less than 0.2 percent of the $670 billion market. Sensors have been installed in 14 stores near the company’s Cincinnati headquarters.  [ Image credit: © ParentingPatch  ]
Kim S. Nash, "Kroger Tests Sensors, Analytics In Interactive Grocery Shelves", The Wall Street Journal, January 20, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc
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Whole Foods Plans To Open A 365 Store In Brooklyn

January 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Organic food retailer Whole Foods Market Inc. plans to open a 365 by Whole Foods Market store in Brooklyn. According to the company, the Brooklyn store would be the first in the Northeast. Whole Foods launched the store concept partly in response to public perception of the company as selling overpriced products.
Craig Giammona, "Whole Foods Plans to Bring Millennial-Focused Store to Brooklyn", Bloomberg, January 20, 2017, © BLOOMBERG L.P.
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Carrefour Reports Strong Sales Growth In 4Q And Full-Year 2016

January 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Carrefour reported total sales, including petrol, rose 3.7 percent to €27.9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016, compared with the same quarter of the previous year. Also, total sales grew 2.1 percent to €103.7 billion in the full year, compared with the previous year. Excluding petrol, the retailer posted total sales of €85.7 billion, an increase of 3.3 percent from the previous year. International sales rose 4.9 percent in the full year, with Other European Countries posting an increase of 2.0 percent, while Latin America showed a strong growth of 13.5 percent.
"Carrefour 2016 4th Quarter and Full Year Sales", Carrefour, January 19, 2017, © Carrefour
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Big Food Continues To Invest In Successful Avant Garde Startups

January 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The venture capital unit of General Mills led a $6 million Series D financing round that was closed by plant-based snack startup Rhythm Superfoods. 301 Inc. participated with other venture capital firms in an earlier funding round that raised $3 million. Rhythm, which makes nutrient-dense kale, beet, and broccoli chips, is benefiting from a trend among big food companies to set up venture capital units to invest in young companies that have succeeded in cultivating new food trends. 301 Inc. has also invested in plant-based food maker Beyond Meat; nut, milk, cheese, and yogurt seller Kite Hill; and cottage cheese maker Good Culture. [ Image credit: ©  Rhythm Superfoods ]
John Kell, "General Mills Boosts Investment in Kale Chip Startup", Fortune, January 18, 2017, © Time Inc.
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Grocery Chain Partners With Company That Sells “Wonky” Produce

January 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A Midwestern grocery chain has decided its customers are ready for “ugly” – and cheaper – fruits and vegetables. All 242 stores in the Hy-Vee Inc. family have begun to sell what is sometimes called “wonky” produce that is usually discarded because it is misshapen. Hy-Vee is working with large produce company Robinson Fresh and will offer Robinson’s Misfits line of imperfect produce. Misfits produce is sold at a lower price, benefiting customers while helping to reduce produce waste. [ Image credit: © Hy-Vee Inc.  ]
"Hy-Vee introduces 'ugly' produce to fight food waste", News release, Hy-Vee , January 18, 2017, © Hy-Vee Inc.
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7-Eleven’s New Pizza Strategy: If You Put It On A Round Crust, They Will Come

January 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Some 7-Eleven stores will be offering ready-to-eat breakfast pizzas topped with “everyone’s favorite breakfast foods.” The breakfast pizzas feature a choice of smoked bacon, breakfast sausage, hickory-smoked ham, scrambled eggs, cheddar and mozzarella cheese, and peppered cream gravy on top of a biscuit crust. The novel pizzas will be sold in a two-slices-for-$2 offer, or as whole pizzas for $5.55. Pizzas have done well at 7-Eleven since they were introduced several years ago. The company expects that “a breakfast pizza will prove to be as popular with the a.m. crowd as our other pizzas are for lunch and dinner." [ Image credit: ©  7-Eleven ]
"7-Eleven Has Egg-cellent Idea, Adds Pizza for the Morning Crowd", PR Newswire, January 17, 2017, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Whole Foods Closing Last Three Regional Kitchens

January 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market (Austin, Texas) will close three East Coast regional kitchens that employ about 500 people. The affected workers in the facilities in Everett, Mass.; Landover, Md.; and metro Atlanta were given 60 days’ notice of the impending closures, which are part of an ongoing consolidation strategy. The company hopes to shift as many of the employees as possible to other jobs. The kitchens – they prepared a variety of ready-to-eat foods – are the last to be shuttered. Similar items are prepared in stores in other areas of the country or are supplied by vendors.  [ Image credit: © Whole Foods Market ]
Gary Dinges, "Whole Foods Closing 3 Regional Kitchens, Trimming 500 Jobs", Austin American-Statesman, January 17, 2017, © Cox Media Group
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Unilever To Use 100% Recyclable Plastic Packaging By 2025

January 14, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever said all of its plastic packaging will be fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. In the next three years, Unilever will be reducing the weight of its plastic packaging by 30%, a commitment given under its Sustainable Living Plan.  The company also announced it has renewed its membership to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) and will continue supporting the New Plastics Economy Initiative as part of its contribution to the Sustainable Development Goal 12 that focus on sustainable consumption and production. Unilever CEO Paul Polman called on the consumer goods industry to move towards a circular economy. Polman said the industry needs to do much more to help make sure plastic is managed responsibly and efficiently post-consumer use. According to EMF, only 14% of plastic packaging used globally is recycled, while 40% ends up in landfill and a third in fragile ecosystems. [Image credit © Nick White]
"Unilever commits to 100% recyclable plastic packaging by 2025", Unilever, January 14, 2017, © Unilever
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Chewing Gum Relieves Post-Operative Nausea – Study

January 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A clinical study conducted by an Australian researcher found that chewing gum significantly reduced nausea and vomiting among patients recovering from surgery. The group of 94 women post-surgery was evenly divided into two groups. Fifteen of the 47 women in the first group experienced nausea and were given spearmint chewing gum. Twelve chewed the gum while the rest were either too sleepy or did not want the gum. Nine of the 12 said their nausea went away within 10 minutes. Thirteen patients with nausea in the second group were given the drug ondansetron intravenously. Only five said the drug eased the nausea. The researcher said it was most likely the chewing action rather than the peppermint flavor of the chewing gum that relieved the nausea. [ Image credit: © Wrigley.com ]
"Chewing Gum is Highly Effective in Treating Post-Surgery Nausea", Science World Report, January 13, 2017, © Science World Report
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Asda Offers Cheapest Grocery Prices In UK, Which? Report Shows

January 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Asda is the UK’s supermarket with the lowest prices in 2016, according to a new Which? research from the Consumers’ Association. Per the report, Asda’s basket of 80 items, which include Dolmio sauch, Nescafe Gold Blend, and Warburton bread, cost an average of £154.14. Morrisons was the second cheapest at £160.19, followed by Sainsbury’s with £162.11 and Waitrose with £172.27. Results of the monthly comparisons also revealed that Asda was consistently cheaper than its rivals.
"Asda cheapest supermarket of 2016", Which?, January 13, 2017, © Which?
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Trends: How Bakeries Can Keep Bread The No. 1 Bakery Product, And Maybe Spark Sales

January 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
How can industrial and commercial bakeries take advantage of current consumer health and wellness – not to mention flavor – trends to boost the appeal, and sales, of bread? A baking trade publication interviewed several company managers of innovation, consumer insights, sales and marketing, and other experts to find out what trends may boost sales of fresh bread, which is a $13-billion-dollar business and still the largest bakery category, though sales have been lackluster. Among these hopeful trends/strategies: artisan breads, variety in flavor and provenance, clean label; super-premium, organic, gluten-free, non-GMO and nutritional supplementation; better-for-you in general, whole grains and seeds, both in and on loaves; upgrading of sandwich breads; gourmet burger buns (brioche and pretzels); and gourmet buns and rolls for sandwiches. [ Image credit: © Artisan bread ]
Douglas J. Peckenpaugh, "Strategies to Build Appeal into Breads, Buns and Rolls", Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery, January 13, 2017, © BNP Media
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Unilever Indonesia Unveils Smaller Capex For 2017

January 12, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever Indonesia announced its plan to spend €115 million, or $120 million, to expand its factories in 2017. In 2016, the company spent Rp 2 trillion, or $150 million, an amount 20 percent higher than the 2017 figure, because the company needed to relocate to a larger headquarters. Unilever Indonesia operates nine factories across the country.
"Unilever Indonesia Cuts Capex for 2017", Jakarta Globe, January 12, 2017, © Jakarta Globe
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General Mills Runs First TV Ads In The U.K. For Snack Brand Fiber One

January 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Snack brand Fiber One has launched its first TV ad campaign in the U.K. The $1.2 million effort is scheduled to run for four weeks in January, considered the peak diet season. It is expected to reach seven million consumers. The television campaign will be supplemented with a sampling effort in Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s supermarkets that will put the product into the hands of at least 500,000 people. Fiber One snacks contain 90 calories, and are high in fiber and low in fat.
Leia Taing, "Fibre One Launches its First TV Advertising Campaign", The Food & Drink Innovation, January 10, 2017, © Food & Drink Innovation
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Kellogg Unleashes Barrage Of New Snack, Cereal, Frozen Products

January 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Kellogg has introduced 50 new products in its breakfast cereal, granola, toaster pastry, snack and frozen food lines. The company noted that many of the new products are made with natural flavors and colors, including Disney Princess cereal, Special K Nourish Bites and Nutri-Grain Bakery Delights crumb cake snacks, and all Eggo frozen breakfast products. Other new products include Special K Nourish granola, Cinnamon Frosted Flakes,Pop-Tarts coffee-inspired toaster pastries, Cheez-it Duoz Bacon & Cheddar crackers, five new flavors of Pringles LOUD crisps, and MorningStar Farms Veggie Bowls.
"Fun, Delicious, Nutritious: Kellogg Company Unveils Full Slate of New Products", News release, Kellogg Company, January 10, 2017, © Kellogg Company
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Aldi Continues To Deliver Grocery Value, Strong Sales

January 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Thanks in part to strong sales from its newly-launched premium product range, discount grocer Aldi reported a 15 percent increase in U.K. sales in December. The company opened 70 new stores in 2016, and plans to open 70 more this year. An industry analyst said shoppers are embracing value players like Aldi, which emphasizes value and quality, while bracing themselves for difficult economic times ahead. Analysts are expecting more conservative sales improvements from other grocery retailers, like Morrisons and Tesco, of about one percent. [ Image credit: © Rayon- Boissons, Wikimedia  Commons]
"Aldi reports record Christmas sales", BBC, January 09, 2017, © BBC
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Tesco Streamlines Distribution Network

January 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
British grocery chain Tesco is tightening and simplifying its distribution network, reducing the number of distribution centers (to 23 from 25) and bringing all warehouse operations handled by DHL and Wincanton in-house. The changes are part of the company’s two-year-old plan to “ensure Tesco is set up for the future in a rapidly changing retail sector.” The changes will create some redundancies, the company acknowledged, but will also create “new roles” in other parts of the network, including jobs at the Reading and Middlesbrough centers and colleague support roles in most centers. [ Tesco distribution center, Image credit:© Paul Anderson ]
 
"Tesco simplifies distribution operations", News release, Tesco, January 09, 2017, © Tesco PLC
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Jennie-O Sausage Is Now Leaner, Cleaner

January 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Sausage-maker Jennie-O has changed the formulation of its turkey product to contain less fat (six grams) and less sodium. The company now claims the product is “all natural” with a “simple, clean ingredients” that include turkey, salt, sugar, spices and rosemary extract. In addition, the 110 calorie sausage is “minimally processed” and is free of BHT, BHA and other common preservatives. [ Image credit: ©  Jennie-O ]
"Jennie-O Introduces All Natural Turkey Sausage With Simple, Familiar Ingredients, No Preservatives", News release, Jennie-O, January 09, 2017, © Jennie-O
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Rexona Launches Ad Featuring Cricketer Khawaja

January 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Deodorant brand Rexona launched a video commercial featuring cricket player Usman Khawaja. Part of the brand's “Moments of Pressure” marketing campaign, the ad was produced by Milkmoney and highlights Rexona as the deodorant brand “for moments of pressure.”
Abigail Dawson , "Rexona uses Australian cricketer Usman Khawaja in new campaign", Mumbrella, January 06, 2017, © Mumbrella
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Starbucks Puts Food Waste To Good Use In New Line Of Lattes

January 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Starbucks has introduced a new latte line that not only tastes good but is eco-friendly. The new espressos are flavored with a syrup made from the husks of coffee cherries that are normally discarded when the beans are harvested. The company uses the syrup to flavor the Cascara line – the Spanish word means “husk” or “shell” – that is subtly sweet with hints of maple and brown sugar without being fruity.  [ Coffee cherries; image credit: © Jonathan Wilkins  ]
Carly Stern, "Good to the Last Drop! Starbucks Unveils New Latte Made with the WASTE of a Coffee Plant - and It's Surprisingly Delicious", Mail Escapes, January 06, 2017, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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Look For A Revival Of French Cooking In 2017

January 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Culinary textbook author Priscilla Martel predicts that French cuisine will gain in popularity in 2017. Calling it the “new golden age of French food,” Martel sees especially a resurgence of French bread and classic French pastries. Look for American versions of patisserie, including well-crafted viennoiserie, the formal name for croissants, Danish and other pastries made with buttery flaky dough.
Stephen Fries, "Stephen Fries: Predicting food trends for 2017, plus a recipe for congee", New Haven (Conn.) Register, January 03, 2017, © New Haven Register
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Taco Bell Commits To Cleaner Ingredients In Menu Items

January 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Taco Bell announced that early this year it will remove all antibiotics used in human medicine from its chicken served in U.S. restaurants. By 2018 it expects to remove all preservatives and other additives from its food, and will serve only eggs from cage-free chickens, by 2018. The company reduced sodium content in its food by 15 percent in 2008, and now promises to reduce sodium by another 10 percent by 2025. [ Image credit: ©  Taco Bell  ]
"Taco Bell Rings In 2017 With New Year’s Commitments", News release, Taco Bell, January 03, 2017, © Taco Bell Corp
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Burt’s Bees Extends Product Line Into Functional Foods

January 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Personal care company Burt’s Bees has entered the functional food market with protein shakes targeted at consumers seeking beauty from "the inside out." The company that has specialized for three decades in selling natural lip and skincare products has developed three protein shakes – Daily Protein, Protein +Gut Health with Probiotics, and Protein + Healthy Radiance with Antioxidant Vitamins A, C & E – that provide 15 grams of protein per serving from peas, rice, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, and oats. General Manager Jim Geikie said the move into functional foods “is a natural extension for us.” The shakes range in price from $29.99 to $39.99. Each contains 16-18 servings per tub. [ Image credit: ©  Burt's Bees  ]
"Burt's Bees Enters New Category with Plant-Based Protein Shakes", News release, Burt's Bees, January 02, 2017, © Burt's Bees
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Unilever, Coca-Cola And Lush Feature In Warc Brand Purpose Readership List

January 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Warc’s annual readership data indicates that a number of brands featured in articles on purpose-driven marketing over the last year. Warc said that Lush’s discussion of its mission and strategy was a particularly popular article, and the company says that it’s important to be both open and honest about where it buys its ingredients, how it runs its business, and the claims it makes. Unilever also featured, with one talking about its initiatives in brand activism, which goes beyond “beautiful narratives”. It also featured in another, in a report from the Guardian Changing Media Summit 2016 on how Unilever and Coca-Cola build brand purpose.  
"Best of 2016: Purpose", Warc, January 02, 2017, © Warc
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Mademoiselle Desserts Buys Britain’s Ministry of Cake

January 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
French pastry company Mademoiselle Desserts (Montigny le Bretonneux) has acquired U.K.-based Ministry of Cake, a 152-year-old supplier of cakes and other desserts to food service, catering, restaurant, and wholesale customers in the U.K., Europe, China and the Middle East. Ministry of Cake has an annual turnover of about £30 million and employs 400 people. Mademoiselle Desserts employs more than 1,400 in eight production sites in France, the U.K. and the Netherlands. [ Image credit: © Benjamin Sachs / Sidekick 2016  ]
"Ministry of Cake Bought by French Dessert Manufacturer", News release, Ministry of Cake, January 01, 2017, © Ministry of Cake
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Burger King’s Parent Company Promises To Get Rid Of Antibiotics In Chicken

December 29, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Restaurant Brands International, parent company of Burger King and donut chain Tim Hortons, has announced plans to reduce antibiotic use in its chickens. The company, which has been under pressure for months from public health advocates, has now updated the “responsibility” page of its website to explain the new commitment to curbing the use of antibiotics “deemed by the World Health Organization as ‘critically important’ to human medicine." The changes will be implemented in the U.S. this year and in Canada next year. [ Image credit: ©  Burger King Canada ]
Tom Polansek and Lisa Baertlein, "Burger King, Tim Hortons to curb antibiotics used in chicken", Reuters, December 29, 2016, © Thomson Reuters
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The World’s Consumers Really Love Coca-Cola

December 29, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Consumer researcher Kantar Worldpanel reports that Coca-Cola is the most popular brand in the world, based on the number of households that buy it and the frequency of purchases. Another soda brand, Pepsi, made the top ten list (#6), thanks in part to its popularity in Egypt. Filling out the top five brands were Colgate toothpaste, Lifebuoy soap, Maggi brand soups and noodles (Nestlé) and Lays potato chips (PepsiCo). The Kantar analysis covered 300 billion shopper decisions, 74 percent of the world's population, 15,000 brands, and 44 countries. [ Image credit: © Wikipedia ]
Kerry Close, "These Are the 10 Most Purchased Brands in the World", Time, December 29, 2016, © Time Inc.
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Online Grocery Deliverer Fulfills Orders Using Advanced Warehousing, Robotics

December 29, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
British online grocery delivery firm Ocado is applying an array of advanced technologies to speed grocery purchases to consumer homes. The company maintains a 350,000 square-foot warehouse near Birmingham that beats Amazon at automated order fulfillment. Most of the 48,000 lines of products it sells are perishable, many chilled or frozen. The complex, time-sensitive optimization challenge is handled by sophisticated technologies like swarm robotics – teams of robots that cooperate to find, lift and grab products from shelves – as well as autonomous delivery vehicles, and machine-learned preferences. The company is expanding its warehousing and robotics capabilities to be able to handle and deliver more products even faster in the future. [ Image credit: ©  Wikimedia  Commons ]
Jamie Condliffe, "The Robotic Grocery Store of the Future Is Here", MIT Technology Review, December 29, 2016, © MIT Technology Review
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