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Unilever Caribbean Posts Strong Profit, Revenue Gains In 1H 2016

August 10, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever Caribbean reported after-tax profits grew to $23.8 million in the first half of 2016, compared with $18.3 million in the same period in 2015. According to the company, half-year revenue jumped 7.5 percent. Earnings per share were 91 cents, an increase of 30 percent from the previous year.
"Unilever posts $23.8m half year profits", Digital Guardian , August 10, 2016, © GUARDIAN MEDIA LIMITED
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FOOD COMPANIES
Unilever
Geographies
Worldwide
North America
Caribbean islands

Cargill Turkeys Will Be Antibiotics-Free By 2017

August 9, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Food and agricultural production giant Cargill announced it has ended the use of the antibiotic gentamicin – used to prevent disease in animals and humans – in its turkey business. The company’s two largest turkey brands, Honeysuckle White and Shady Brook Farms, will be affected; antibiotics-free birds will be available in stores in 2017. However, birds will continue to receive antibiotics for control and treatment of disease. The company also announced it is expanding its antibiotics-free turkey products through the creation of a new Honest Turkey product line, whose birds have never been treated with antibiotics. Cargill says it is committed to reducing use of shared-class – i.e., for human and animal use – antibiotics in food animals processed for protein and by-products.
"Cargill Turkey Slices Antibiotic Use, Creates Honest Turkey Antibiotic-Free Product Line", News release, Cargill, August 09, 2016, © Cargill, Incorporated
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New Whole Foods Store Features Advanced Eco-Friendly Refrigeration

August 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A new advanced grocery refrigeration system installed by Whole Foods in California eliminates all direct greenhouse gas emissions. Unveiled in a new store in Santa Clara, the system prevents the release of the 7,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide normally generated by a typical supermarket. The Hydrocarbon/CO2 Cascade System cuts the environmental impact of refrigerants to zero by using propane, a natural refrigerant, to condense carbon dioxide, the eco-friendliest refrigerant available. At the same time, a heat-reclaim technology uses the heat generated by the system to preheat water for the store’s later use.
"Whole Foods Installs Country’s Greenest Refrigeration System", Progressive Grocer, August 08, 2016, © Stagnito Business Information
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Retailers & Private Label
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Worldwide
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United States of America

U.S. Snack Company Amplify Buys Tyrells

August 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Austin, Texas-based Amplify Snack Brands, maker of “better-for-you” snack brands, announced it will buy Crisps Topco Limited and Subsidiaries (Tyrrells), a U.K.-based premium snack food business. The transaction is valued at about $389 million in cash and Amplify stock. Investcorp is the owner of the Tyrells companies, which are located in the U.K., Australia, Germany, and other European countries. Its brands include Tyrrells Potato Crisps, Vegetable Crisps, Poshcorn, Nibbles, etc. Tyrrells generated $111 million in net sales for the 12 months ended June 30, 2016. Its sales growth rate was 23 percent from 2013 through fiscal 2016. Amplify’s brands include SkinnyPop, Paqui and Oatmega.
"Amplify Snack Brands Enters Into Definitive Agreement To Acquire Tyrrells’ International Portfolio Of Better-For-You, Premium Snack Brands", News release, Amplify Snack Brands, August 08, 2016, © Amplify Snack Brands
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Other
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Australia
United Kingdom
Germany

Debut Of Cheesecake Snack Bars In Canada Features Cake-Walking Mascots

August 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
General Mills introduced Fiber 1 Cheesecake Bars in Canada in July during the country’s National Cheesecake Day with a promotion featuring six mascots dressed as the bars “speed cake-walking” around downtown Toronto distributing free samples. The company said the cake-walk was “a memorable way to connect with” Millennials, its core audience. The 150 calorie snack bars – a “healthier-for-you” alternative to potato chips, etc. – are available in chocolate and key lime flavors. The company’s marketing plan will stick with the athletic theme during the Summer Olympics season, and will be supported by television spots, online video, and the distribution of one million samples.
Martha Porado, "General Mills Wants You To Have Your Cake And Eat It, Too", Canadian Grocer, August 07, 2016, © Rogers Media Inc.
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General Mills
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North America
Canada

Wendy’s Creates Timeline For Making Its Chicken Antibiotics-Free

August 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Fast-food chain Wendy’s, like McDonald’s, has caught on to the fact that drug-resistant pathogens are a growing health problem linked to the widespread use of antibiotics in beef, pork, and poultry. Or at least they’ve caught on to the fact that their customers are aware of it. Wendy’s hasn’t acted as quickly as McDonald’s, which recently announced its chicken is 100 percent antibiotics free. The company says it’s establishing a timeline for eliminating drugs from its poultry supply chain, after the Natural Resources Defense Council awarded Wendy’s and a dozen other fast-food chains a grade of “F” because they lacked a timeline or firm policy for ridding their birds of antibiotics.
Chris Morran, "Wendy’s Quietly Getting Rid Of Antibiotics In Chicken", Consumerist, August 05, 2016, © Consumer Media LLC
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Other
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Unilever Creates Platform For Achieving Zero-Waste Within Its Supply Chain

August 4, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever announced a new supplier collaboration platform focused on achieving zero-waste across its entire supply chain. Zero-waste is a fundamental pillar of the company’s sustainable growth strategy that also includes resource resiliency and dealing with climate change. Unilever has eliminated non-hazardous waste delivery to landfills at more than 600 sites in 70 countries, saving $200 million while creating hundreds of jobs. The supplier collaboration platform, developed with shared value consultancy 2degrees, will be operational by the end of the year.
Willow Aliento , "Unilever announces new partnership to scale up sustainability", The Fifth Estate , August 04, 2016, © The Fifth Estate Pty Ltd
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Unilever
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Worldwide
EMEA
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Australia
New Zealand
United Kingdom
Netherlands

Walgreens, Unilever Partner In Program To Provide Clean Water To African Communities

August 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Walgreens and Unilever have come up with a way to boost sales while benefiting African communities that need clean water. Between July 31 and August 27, each purchase of specific Unilever products (i.e., TRESemmé, Suave, Caress and Axe) at a Walgreens store provides five gallons of clean water to a family in a developing Kenyan community. A purchase of two or more Unilever products at Walgreens will help provide 15 gallons of clean water. The donations through the program Give H2OPE to Others are handled by the social enterprise ME to WE. In 2015, Walgreens and Unilever helped donate more than 17.5 million gallons of clean water to the Kenyan village of Kipsongol – 31,000 gallons a day provided by the digging of a borehole.
"Walgreens and Unilever Team Up with ME to WE for Second Year of Give H2OPE to Others", News release, Unilever, August 03, 2016, © Unilever
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Unilever
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Worldwide
North America
EMEA
United States of America
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Middle East- Africa
Netherlands
Kenya

McDonald’s Menu Gets Cleaner And Cleaner

August 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Facing stiff competition from restaurant chains whose foods are less likely to contain questionable ingredients, McDonald’s announced a handful of menu updates intended to appeal to picky eaters. The company removed artificial preservatives from Chicken McNuggets, pork sausage patties, omelet-style eggs, and scrambled eggs. It introduced buns without high fructose corn syrup that will eventually replace the buns used in Big Macs, Quarter Pounders, hamburgers, etc. And, lastly, it has completed a transition to antibiotics-free chicken, 12 months ahead of schedule. A company spokesman said “it’s time for all fast and casual restaurants to address the growing crisis of antibiotic resistance” by working with suppliers who provide antibiotics-free poultry.
Chris Morran, "McDonald’s Removing Preservatives From Some Items; Nuggets Now 100% Antibiotics-Free", Consumerist, August 01, 2016, © Consumer Media LLC
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USPTO Rejects Whole Foods’ Trademark Request

July 31, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has rejected an application by Whole Foods Market to brand itself the “World’s Healthiest Grocery Store.” The rejection letter noted that the slogan can’t be trademarked because it is merely descriptive of the company’s services. Besides, the company has stores in only three countries: the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., making it difficult to support a “world” claim. The company has six months to respond to the letter. Meantime, Whole Foods posted disappointing 3rd quarter financials, including a 2.6 percent drop in same-store sales.
Tonya Garcia, "U.S. Patent Office Rejects Whole Foods’ Bid To Brand Itself ‘World’s Healthiest Grocery Store’", MarketWatch, July 31, 2016, © MarketWatch, Inc.
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Retailers & Private Label
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Unilever Indonesia Posts Strong Sales, Profit Growth In 1H 2016

July 29, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever Indonesia reported net sales grew 10 percent to Rp 20.7 trillion in the first half of 2016, compared with Rp 18.8 trillion in the same period of 2015. According to the company, net profit also rose 10.3 percent to Rp 3.2 trillion, compared with Rp 2.9 trillion in the previous year. Unilever Indonesia said sales and profits benefited from increased demand during the Ramadhan in June and July.
Stefani Ribka, "Unilever sales recover on Ramadhan spending frenzy", The Jakarta Post, July 29, 2016, © PT
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Unilever
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Asia-Pacific
Indonesia

Diminishing Shelf Space Drives CPG Companies To Try Online Innovation

July 29, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Manufacturers of food, drink, beauty, and personal care products are losing store shelf space thanks to the rise of own-brand discount supermarket chains like Aldi and Lidl, and smaller stores that sell independent brands. To meet the challenge, manufacturers – Reckitt Benckiser, Nestlé, Diageo, Unilever, etc. – are increasingly focusing on e-commerce, selling through e-tail websites. But they are also experimenting with delivery-on-demand and subscription-based models. It’s a rising trend: online shoppers globally spent $87 billion on CPG items last year, nine percent of the total online spend. Twenty-five percent of people in 60 countries in 2015 ordered grocery products online for home delivery. Fifty-five percent said they would do so in the future.
Martinne Geller, "Consumer Goods Firms Plot New Paths Amid E-Commerce Boom", Reuters, July 29, 2016, © Reuters
Domains
FOOD COMPANIES
Nestle
Unilever
Geographies
Worldwide
North America
EMEA
United States of America
Europe
United Kingdom

Whole Foods Market Posts Record Sales For July Quarter 2016

July 27, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market, Inc. reported total sales increased to a record $3.7 billion for the 12-week third quarter ending July 3, 2016. Comparable store sales declined 2.6 percent, with net income at $120 million, or 3.2 percent of sales, during the quarter. According to the retailer, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization were $326 million, or 8.8 percent of sales. Adjusted return on invested capital was 13 percent, the company said. Whole Foods Market produced $189 million in cash flow from operations during the quarter, returned $44 million in quarterly dividends to shareholders, and bought back $195 million or 6.5 million shares of common stock.
"Whole Foods Market Reports Third Quarter Results", Whole Foods, July 27, 2016, © Whole Foods Market
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Retailers & Private Label
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Unilever Indonesia Posts Strong Revenue Gains In 1H 2016

July 27, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever Indonesia reported net income jumped 12.5 percent to Rp 3.3 trillion in the first half of 2016, compared with the same period in 2015. Growth was driven by strong sales in the household care, personal care, and food and refreshment segments, according to the company. Net sales expanded by Rp 20.7 trillion from the previous year’s Rp 18.8 trillion.
"Unilever's Net Income Up 12.5% in H1 2016", Jakarta Globe, July 27, 2016, © Jakarta Globe
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Unilever
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Worldwide
Asia-Pacific
Indonesia

International Retailers Eye Vietnam's Fast-Growing Retail Market

July 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Vietnam’s retail market is growing fast, with international retailers seeking to expand into the country. According to a report by Inside Retail Asia, the country is about to see a boom in the convenience store segment, with local retailer Vinmart operating almost 700 locations and opening new stores at the rate of two each day. South Korean supermarket chain Lott Mart plans to open 60 stores by 2020, while rival Emart has opened its first hypermarket, with more planned. Faced with growing foreign competition, the Association of Vietnam Retailers is calling for government support for its members to be better able to compete.
"Vietnam Set For Retail Expansion", Warc, July 22, 2016, © Warc
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Retailers & Private Label
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Worldwide
Asia-Pacific
Viet Nam

Nestle Launches Initiative Encouraging Innovative Projects In Health, Wellness, Nutrition

July 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé has launched its Henri@Nestlé open innovation platform to expedite entrepreneurial solutions that respond to social and business challenges, especially in nutrition, health, and wellness. The platform, open to startups worldwide, allows young companies to collaborate with Nestlé teams to tackle projects that “matter both to Nestlé” and millions of customers. The program is designed to streamline innovation, making it faster, more transparent and less bureaucratic. Four new projects are posted on the platform for startups to review and offer their solutions to. Each project will be open for 45 days, after which the Henri@Nestlé teams will review submissions within 30 days and pick five startups to pitch their ideas.
"Open innovation! Henri@Nestlé is live", News release, Nestlé, July 22, 2016, © Nestlé
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Nestle
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Worldwide
EMEA
Europe
Switzerland

Unilever Reports Profit Gains Despite Revenue Decline In 1H Of 2016

July 21, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever PLC said profit increased 2 percent to €2.51 billion, or $2.77 billion, in the first half of 2016, although revenue declined 2.6 percent to €26.3 billion due to currency volatility. Underlying sales grew 4.7 percent, with volume rising 2.2 percent. At constant exchange rates, sales increased 5.4 percent and 2.6 percent at current exchange rates. According to the company, emerging markets sales grew 8.0 percent, with volume rising 2.9 percent. Core operating margin was at 15 percent, pushed by an increase of 80bps in gross margin.
"Unilever Reports Second quarter and half-year 2016 results", Unilever, July 21, 2016, © Unilever
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Unilever
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Worldwide
EMEA
Europe
United Kingdom
Netherlands

Sales Up At Unilever During First Six Months Of 2016

July 21, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever posted first half sales growth of 4.7 percent with sales volume up 2.2 percent. Sales were up 5.4 percent at constant exchange rates, but down 2.6 percent at current exchange rates. Sales grew eight percent in emerging markets, while sales volume up 2.9 percent. CEO Paul Polman said the sales figures reflected ”consistent, competitive, profitable and responsible growth” in a tough global environment. The company said consumer demand is still weak, sales volumes continue to lag, and market volume growth is negative in Europe and in North America. Growth in personal care and foods improved growth and maintained ”strong profitability.” Profit margins in home care and refreshment improved.
"Consistent, competitive and profitable growth in challenging markets", Earnings release, Unilever, July 21, 2016, © Unilever
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Unilever
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Worldwide
EMEA
Europe
United Kingdom

Unilever Spain Appoints Antonio Casanova As EVP

July 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever Spain named Antonio Casanova its new executive vice president for the local market. He will succeed Jaime Aguilera, who was appointed as EVP for Unilever in Central and Eastern Europe. Casanova will continue performing his current duties at Unilever Jeronimo Martins, the company’s joint venture in Portugal.
"Antonio Casanova Named New President Of Unilever Spain", European Supermarket Magazine, July 19, 2016, © European Supermarket Magazine
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Unilever
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Worldwide
EMEA
Europe
Spain

HUL Cuts Ad Spending In 1Q Of FY 2017

July 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Hindustan Unilever Ltd spent Rs 879.73 crore on advertising and promotions in the first quarter of its fiscal year 2017, about Rs 13 crore lower than the Rs 892.73 crore it spent in the same quarter of the previous year. According to the company, its A&P spending is at 11 percent of sales, down 60 basis points. Starting in April 2016, HUL has revamped its businesses by grouping them under the home care, personal care, foods, and refreshments categories. Also, the company has adopted the Indian accounting system in reporting financial results since the first quarter of FY 2017.
"Ad spends at Hindustan Unilever shrink marginally in Q1-2017", indiantelevision.com, July 19, 2016, © Indiantelevision.com
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Unilever
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Worldwide
Asia-Pacific
India

HUL Reports Strong Growth And Profit Gains In 2Q 2016

July 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Hindustan Unilever Limited said its domestic consumer business grew 4 percent for the second quarter of 2016. Operating profit rose 7 percent to Rs. 1,543 crores, with margin expanding by 70bps. Profit after tax increased 6 percent to Rs. 1,128 crores, with net profit growing 10 percent to Rs. 1,174 crores.
"Hindustan Unilever Limited JQ 2016 Results Presentation", Hindustan Unilever , July 18, 2016, © Hindustan Unilever Limited
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Unilever
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Worldwide
Asia-Pacific
India

Hindustan Unilever Announces Key Changes To Management Committee

July 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Hindustan Unilever Limited announced the resignation of Punit Misra as Management Committee member, executive director, and vice president of sales and customer development. Current vice president of HUL’s Skin Care business, Srinandan Sundaram, will succeed Misra. Srinandan joined HUL as a management trainee in 1999 and rose through the ranks, occupying executive posts of increasing responsibilities and importance.
"HUL announces new appointment to Management Committee", Hindustan Unilever, July 18, 2016, © Hindustan Unilever Limited
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Unilever
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Worldwide
Asia-Pacific
India

Take-And-Bake Pizza Chain To Serve Only Antibiotics-Free Chicken

July 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
National pizza-kit restaurant chain Papa Murphy’s announced it is beginning a transition to antibiotics-free, vegetarian-fed chicken in all of its 1,500 locations. The chain is also committed to removing artificial flavors and colors from its food by 2017. It is working to eliminate palm oil and high-fructose corn syrup from menu items by this fall. It has already eliminated monosodium glutamate from its offerings. Papa Murphy’s is the largest take-and-bake pizza brand in the U.S., and also offers salads, sides and desserts.
"Papa Murphy's Is The First National Pizza Brand to Serve Chicken Raised Without Antibiotics", News release, Papa Murphy's, July 18, 2016, © Papa Murphy's Holdings, Inc.
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Other
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Tesco Extends Sustainability Support To Cocoa Certified By Rainforest Alliance

July 15, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
All cocoa used by Tesco in its in-house chocolate products in the U.K., as well as all cocoa used in other Tesco foods, will be certified by 2018 by the Rainforest Alliance as responsibly and sustainably sourced, the company announced. Certification by the Alliance supports cocoa-growing communities, helps increase farmer income, safeguards soils and conserves wildlife. Other Tesco food products that will contain only certified cocoa include biscuits, cakes, desserts and cereals. Tesco cooperates with several sustainability programs: the Rainforest Alliance, UTZ, Cocoa Horizons and Fairtrade.
"Tesco to Source Rainforest Alliance Certified™ Cocoa For All of Its Own Label Chocolate in the UK", News release, Tesco, July 15, 2016, © Tescoplc.com
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Retailers & Private Label
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Worldwide
EMEA
Europe
United Kingdom

Dannon Rids Yogurt Brands Of GMO Ingredients, And Will Clearly Label GMO Products

July 14, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Dannon unveiled yogurts under the Dannon and Oikos brands that contain no GMO ingredients. The company said it plans to transition all yogurt brands, including Danimals, to non-GMO content, and will also clearly label products still containing GMO ingredients. The next step in the process will come in 2017, when Dannon will ensure that the cows that supply milk for its flagship brands will be raised on non-GMO feed. The company will convert 80,000 acres of farmland to produce non-GMO crops
"Dannon Brings non-GMO Ingredient Options And Clear-Labels Commitment", News release, Dannon, July 14, 2016, © Dannon
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Danone
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Starbucks Partners With Italian Bakery/Café Princi

July 13, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Starbucks Corporation has become a licensee of, and investor in, the Italian bakery and café Princi, whose food will be served in Starbucks Roastery locations. Famous for its artisan breads created from family recipes, Princi, founded in 1986 by Rocco Princi, has five locations in Milan and London. Starbucks Roasteries will open soon in London and Shanghai. The company is also partnering with Princi to provide a “premium food experience” in its new Reserve only stores starting in 2017.
"Starbucks Brings Leading Italian Artisan Bakery Princi to Customers Worldwide", News release, Starbucks, July 13, 2016, © Starbucks Corporation
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Other
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Asia-Pacific
United States of America
Europe
China
Italy

Company’s Allergen-Free Frozen Snacks Hit Northeast Supermarket Shelves

July 13, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Incredible Foods said its line of non-dairy, allergen-free frozen treats are now available in supermarkets in New England, New York, and other mid-Atlantic states as far south as Washington D.C. Food allergies affect more than 15 million Americans, including one in every 13 children under 18 years of age, or about two children in every classroom. The low-calorie – 25 to 35 calories each – “perfectly free” frozen treats contain no dairy, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, or shellfish. In addition, they are gluten-free and kosher. The bite-sized snacks comprise a vanilla core covered by a layer of real cherry and blueberry, cocoa or salted caramel.
"perfectly free Allergy-Friendly Frozen Treats Hit Shelves of Major Supermarkets in New England, NY, NJ, Mid-Atlantic States", News release, Incredible Foods, July 13, 2016, © Incredible Foods
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Other
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ConAgra’s Spinoff Of Lamb Weston Continues As Top Execs Are Named

July 13, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
ConAgra Foods has picked Thomas Werner to be CEO of the Lamb Weston potato business, which the company earlier announced would be spun off. Timothy McLevish will be the new executive chairman of Lamb Weston. Jettisoning Lamb Weston ends ConAgra’s involvement in the foodservice business selling to restaurants and other commercial customers. The company will instead sharpen its focus on marketing its many grocery store brands, which include Peter Pan peanut butter and Gulden’s mustard.
Anne Steele, "ConAgra Names CEO, Chairman of Potato Business Spinoff", The Wall Street Journal, July 13, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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ConAgra
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Tesco To Sell Only Cage-Free Eggs By 2025

July 13, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
U.K. grocery retailer Tesco said it will stop selling eggs from caged hens by 2025. It made the decision following a focused review of its egg-sourcing strategy, which included meetings with suppliers, industry experts, and other interested parties. The decision follows other sustainability initiatives, including a Fair For Farmers Guarantee for dairy farmers, guaranteed high-value contracts for U.K. potato farmers, and sustainable farming programs for lamb farmers and cheese producers.
"Tesco to stop selling caged eggs by 2025", Tesco, July 13, 2016, © Tescoplc.com
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Retailers & Private Label
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Worldwide
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Europe
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Hostess, Mars Unveil Brownies Made With Candy

July 12, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Hostess and Mars have partnered to market two new kinds of brownies made with candy. One contains M&M’s and the other Milky Way pieces, “a truly irresistible treat,” according to the companies. The M&M’s brownies have the candy swirled inside, and are topped with chocolate frosting sprinkled with M&M’s. The Hostess Brownies made with Milky Way have a topping of caramel icing finished with a layer of Milky Way candy bar pieces. Developed through a licensing deal, the two Hostess Brownies are available now in stores.
"Hostess Brands Taps Mars Chocolate North America to Introduce Hostess Brownies Made with M&M's and Milky Way Candy", News release, Hostess Brands, Mars Chocolate North America, July 12, 2016, © Hostess Brands, Mars Chocolate North America
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Kroger Commits To Cage-Free Eggs By 2025

July 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In its new sustainability report, which includes six new goals, Ohio-based Kroger Co. has pledged to transition to 100 percent cage-free eggs by 2025. The nine-year transition will ensure that eggs are readily available, safely produced, and affordably priced, the company said. The company also said it promises to buy 90 percent of its seafood – and all of its wild-caught seafood – from fisheries certified by the Marine Stewardship Council. Regarding the cage-free trend, CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries (Colo.) said its nearly 200 restaurants will transition to serving cage-free eggs by 2022; Sonstegard Foods (S.D.), which earned a zoning permit for the half-million bird cage-free facility in February, has submitted plans to increase the size of the operation to 2.5 million birds.
Steve Watkins, "Kroger Makes Sweeping Changes To Eggs It Sells", Cincinnati Business Courier, July 11, 2016, © American City Business Journals
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Retailers & Private Label
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Big Food Goes On Buying Spree To Acquire Natural/Organic Market Share

July 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Big food companies determined to reverse a slide in sales – thanks to rapidly evolving consumer preferences – are buying younger, smaller, successful firms in the natural and organic sector. U.S. food companies in 2015 spent $116 billion acquiring such companies. So far in 2016, acquisitions have totaled $43 billion. Examples of the trend include Danone’s recent $10.4 billion deal with Silk soy and almond beverage maker WhiteWave. The Denver company’s stock price has tripled since its 2012 IPO because it has successfully tapped into the organic trend. Hormel Foods Corp. paid $775 million for organic-meats company Applegate Farms LLC; and in 2014, General Mills Inc. paid $820 million for organic mac-and-cheese company Annie’s Inc. An ancillary phenomenon: other natural/organic food makers have seen their stocks soar.
Kelsey Gee et al., "Food Giants Set Their Sights on Organic, Natural Companies", The Wall Street Journal, July 08, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Danone
Other
Geographies
Worldwide
North America
EMEA
United States of America
Europe
France

Busy Low-Carb Fans Can Now Get Atkins Meal Kits

July 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
People who are into the low-carb approach to weight loss can now get a week’s supply of appropriate foods directly from Atkins Nutritionals at prices ranging from about $70 to almost $98 a box, either as one-time online buys or on a subscription basis. The Meal Kits include frozen meals, snacks, menus, and shopping lists. The frozen food kit contains a variety of Atkins frozen foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Easy Peasy kit ($97.99) includes frozen meals, meal bars and shakes. All kits include the Atkins meal kit guide, the new Atkins Made Easy book, the Atkins carb counter and the recipe booklet. The company says the kits are targeted at low-carb aficionados “with busy lifestyles.”
"Atkins Launches First Line Of Meal Kits", News release, Atkins Nutritionals, July 07, 2016, © Atkins Nutritionals
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Other
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Campbell Soup Backs “Weak” U.S. GMO Label Bill

July 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The Campbell Soup Company backed federal legislation that mandates food labels listing GMO ingredients. The labels might also feature a QR code pointing to a weblink with more detailed GMO information. The national legislation pre-empts state laws, such as Vermont’s, that require GMO labeling. However, GMO labeling advocates say the bill is weak because it exempts many ingredients, including oil made from genetically engineered soy and most sugars, starches and purified proteins. It also exempts beef, pork, poultry and eggs if source livestock consumed genetically modified feed. Critics say the Vermont law, which took effect on July 1, is much tougher than the U.S. legislation, which was passed by Congress on July 13 and awaits Pres. Obama's signature.
Helen Arnold, "Campbell backs national GMO labels as act passes Senate hurdle", Just-Food, July 07, 2016, © just-food.com
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Campbell's
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Minnesota Meat Processor Expands To Satisfy Demand For Organic, Natural Products

July 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A Minnesota-based meat processor is expanding its ability to process organic and natural meat products with a new $2 million wholesale plant on 16 acres. The facility will be able to handle direct-market meats as well as specialty, smoked, and cured meats, jerky, hams and sausages for wholesale and retail customers. The increased capacity should result in speedier processing time and lower transportation costs for farmers. The new Valley Natural Foods facility will process naturally and humanely raised, grass and organic-grain fed, and locally produced meats, all of which are in greater demand. It will be one of a few certified, organic multi-species beef and meat processors in Minnesota.
"Valley Natural Foods to Open New Meat Processing Plant to Meet Growing Demand in Southern Minnesota", News release, Valley Natural Foods, July 07, 2016, © Valley Community Food Co-op, Inc.
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Lidl Is UK's Supermarket Of The Year, Good Housekeeping Institute Says

July 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Discount retailer Lidl has been selected as the UK’s supermarket of the year by the Good Housekeeping Institute. According to the organization, Aldi and Waitrose were the awards’ runners up, with the country’s big 4 retailers, Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, and Morrisons, out of the picture. Lidl’s sales rose 16.7 percent in 2015, according to market analysts. Tesco was the country’s leading online grocery store, Good Housekeeping Institute said.
Sean Poulter , "Budget chain Lidl beats upmarket high street rivals to be named supermarket of the year ", The Daily Mail, July 07, 2016, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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Chobani’s Olympics Ads Emphasize Need For Good Foods To Be Great

July 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. yogurt maker Chobani has come up with a new ad theme and campaign as the Rio Olympics approach. Instead of “Naturally Powering Team USA,” used for the London and Sochi games, the theme is: ”You Can Only Be Great If You’re Full Of Goodness.” More than 40 videos have been prepared for the campaign. They include commercials, digital video profiles, workout routines and cooking segments featuring the athletes it is sponsoring. An ancillary theme of the campaign, which is managed by the Opperman Weiss agency, is the “No Bad Stuff” phrase Chobani has been using to stress that its yogurts contain no artificial ingredients or GMOs.
Jessica Wohl, "See The Spot: Chobani Stresses Goodness In Olympics Push", Advertising Age, July 07, 2016, © Crain Communications
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Kellogg’s Adds Granola To Raisin Bran

July 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Kellogg Company has expanded its Raisin Bran breakfast cereal line to include two granola-based varieties. Two flavors of Raisin Bran Granola will be available at 200 calories a serving with bran flakes, raisins and granola oat clusters: Raisin & Honey Granola and Cranberry Almond Granola, both low in fat, high in fiber. The company said its market research found now only that an increasing number of people were eating granola, its own Raisin Bran customers were eager to have granola blends that did not sacrifice the traditional flavor of the bran flakes and sweet raisins. 
"Kellogg's Merges Two Breakfast Favorites - Raisin Bran And Granola To Create A Delicious New Pairing", News release, Kellogg Company, July 07, 2016, © Kellogg Company
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Can Dunkin’ Donuts Succeed In San Francisco, Home Of Beloved Mom-And-Pop Shops?

July 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Massachusetts-based Dunkin’ Donuts tried expanding to California 30 years ago but failed – the last stores closed more than 10 years ago, trounced by a “reversed Walmart effect.” In the San Francisco Bay area especially, there’s an abundance of cherished mom-and-pop doughnut shops that have given fits to national chains like Dunkin’ and Krispy Kreme. But, with much ballyhoo, and some instant success, Dunkin’ is back in the Golden State, and once again faces competition from those entrenched family-run businesses like Stan's Donut Shop. San Franciscans – who love to eat out and discover unique eateries – are loyal to the mom-and-pop shops because their products are high quality and affordable, and they offer a good “old school” business culture.
Annie Sciacca, "For Dunkin' Donuts, Small Shops Could Be Big Competition", The Mercury News, July 06, 2016, © Digital First Media
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Oxfam Says Unilever’s Labor Relations In Vietnam Have Improved, Somewhat

July 4, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Since it first issued a negative report in 2013 on Unilever’s relationship with workers in its Vietnam plants, the Oxfam organization has found improvements. The company has increased dialog with trade unions, implemented better sourcing policies, and improved trust between workers and management. The company is also committed to more direct employment in its factories, leading to greater job security and employment benefits. However, Oxfam said Unilever needs to increase efforts to ensure gender equality and do more to influence suppliers in their labor relations. The proportion of women is down to 13 percent in 2015 from 19 percent in 2011, for example. Suppliers, meanwhile, are more aware of Unilever’s labor standards expectations, but don’t know how to fulfill them without financial consequences.
Daniel Selwood, "Unilever makes Vietnam labor improvements but has work to do, Oxfam reports", The Grocer, July 04, 2016, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Fast-Food Chicken Encroaching On Burger Turf

July 2, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Fast food industry analysts are reporting a shift in consumer preferences away from “better burgers” to chicken. Nation’s Restaurant News reported, for example, that burger joints were not among the top five fastest-growing restaurant chains last year, all of which were chicken slingers like Chick-Fil-A and Wingstop. One analyst said “same-store [burger] sales have decelerated meaningfully." Not that burger sales in the U.S. are hurting – sales grew more than 14 percent between 2010 and 2015 to nearly $103 billion – and investors still see profit potential in burger restaurants. But others are betting on chicken eateries, maybe because chicken has a reputation among consumers for healthfulness, or because it’s cheaper than beef. Meantime, McDonald’s, Shake Shack and KFC are all enhancing the chicken side of their menus.
Ashley Lutz, "America's 'better burger' obsession is fading — and a new kind of fast food is taking over", Business Insider, July 02, 2016, © Business Insider Inc.
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Unilever’s Food Product Development Is Rooted In Three “Macro Trends”

July 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever has distilled its global consumer marketing experience into three key or “macro” trends that shape its food product development: trusted choices, “super me,” and “flexi-flow.” The trusted choices trend means shoppers want “real, honest, safe and responsible food” they can trust. They are willing to pay more for these choices that include “green;” natural, organic and GMO-free; certified ethical food (organic and non-GMO); locally grown; and anti-allergenic. The “super me” category means consumers are concerned about wellness. They want: fortified foods; “naturally healthy” foods; and probiotics. They are taking a more proactive approach to health. Lastly, “flexi-flow” is the realization that consumer lifestyles have changed dramatically, resulting in flexibility for shopping and cooking, and versatility of food formats, occasions and venues.
Linda Winick, "New Shopper Preferences Shaping Unilever’s Product Development", CPG Matters, July 01, 2016, © CPG Matters
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Unilever Plans To Build New Factory In Ukraine

July 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever plans to build a factory in in Hostomel in Ukraine. According to the office of Ukrainian President Peetro Poroshenko, the company's decision to invest in the country is a confirmation of reforms efforts of his government. Unilever CEO Paul Polman said now is the right time to invest in the country.
"Unilever Group's arrival in Ukraine confirms success of reforms", Interfax Ukraine, July 01, 2016, © Интерфакс-Украина
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Unilever Appoints Florin Trandafirescu As Head Of South Central Europe Business

July 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever named Florin Trandafirescu as managing director of its South Central Europe operations. Effective July 1, 2016, the appointment means Trandafirescu will manage operations in Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, and other countries making up the region. With more than 19 years of experience in Unilever, he used to manage Unilever operations in Czech Republic and Slovakia in the last four years.
Georgiana Bendre, "Key move. Florin Trandafirescu is the new managing director of Unilever South Central Europe", Business Review, July 01, 2016, © Business Review
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Mondelez Reportedly Seeking To Acquire Hershey Co.

June 30, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Mondelez International Inc., the snack foods spinoff from Kraft, is angling to acquire Hershey Co., but needs approval from Hershey’s largest stockholder (eight percent), the Hershey Trust. The news of a possible merger sent Hershey’s stock up 20 percent. Both companies would benefit from a deal: Mondelez would immediately have an expanded confections product line, while Hershey would have access to the marketing infrastructure it needs to expand abroad. According to The Wall Street Journal, which first broke the story, Mondelez promised to rename the company Hershey, headquarter its global chocolate business in Hershey, Pa., and protect jobs.
Jessica Wohl, "Mondelez Reportedly Wants to Buy Hershey", Advertising Age, June 30, 2016, © Crain Communications
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PepsiCo Exhumes Crystal Pepsi For Another Try At Soda Success

June 29, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
PepsiCo announced that it is reanimating Crystal Pepsi, a clear cola introduced in 1992 and terminated a year later, for a limited time in the U.S. and Canada. The move, “inspired by overwhelming fan demand,” will be supported by an ad campaign that includes the revival of another ‘90s artifact, an online version of The Oregon Trail computer game. Crystal Pepsi test-marketed the reintroduction in the U.S. last December using a sweepstakes on the Pepsi Pass app. The new campaign will begin July 11 in Canada and August 8 in the U.S., with 20-ounce bottles available at major retailers for $1.79.
"Celebrate the 90s with Crystal Pepsi -- Iconic Clear Cola to Hit Shelves This Summer", News release, PepsiCo, June 29, 2016, © PepsiCo
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Nestlé Hopes New “Outsider” CEO Can Keep It Afloat In Choppy Waters Ahead

June 29, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé recently hired an outsider to take over as CEO because it faces serious disruption in its basic business strategy. Ulf Mark Schneider is the former chief executive of Frisenius SE, a healthcare company specializing in kidney disease. Nestlé, like other global companies, has faced numerous challenges, but its fundamental problem has to do with its future in a world where consumers are increasingly skeptical of packaged, processed foods. Consumers blame the food industry – and its fatty, salty, and sugary products – for the epidemic of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc. Food companies are scrambling to change their product and marketing strategies, and their business models. One way to accomplish that quickly, as Nestlé seems to have done, is to add outsiders to the management mix.
Michelle Gerdes, "Why Nestlé Was So Quick to Hire an Outsider CEO", Strategy+Business, June 29, 2016, © PwC
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General Mills Puts Its Ad Bucks Where They’ll Get The Biggest Bang

June 29, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
General Mills says its U.S. consumer and trade ad spending will be lower this fiscal year, especially on disappointing products like yogurt, though it will increase spending on priorities – products with “the highest returns and the highest possibilities for growth” – like cereal. Ad spend declined 13.4 percent in 2015, according to Ad Age, which noted that spending cuts affected Betty Crocker, Cheerios, Nature Valley and Progresso. But media spending on Yoplait increased by 8.9 percent. This year, spending on cereal will get a mid-single-digits boost, while spending on yogurt ads will be trimmed.
Jessica Wohl, "General Mills Plans Further U.S. Ad Spending Cuts", Advertising Age, June 29, 2016, © Crain Communications
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Walmart Promises That All Suppliers Of U.S.-Made Goods Will Get A Shot On Its Website

June 28, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart execs recently met with 800 suppliers to hear pitches on potential Walmart.com products that are made exclusively in the U.S. The company said a third of the companies at the U.S. Manufacturing Summit were minority- or women-owned. A Walmart merchandising executive promised that all of the products – except those that can’t be shipped because they contain hazardous materials – would be automatically approved for sale on Walmart.com. The Summit is part of the company’s initiative, launched in 2013, to spend $250 billion on American-made goods for its stores, Sam’s Club, and website.
Marty Cook, "At Latest Summit, Walmart Seeks More American-Made Goods", Arkansas Business, June 28, 2016, © Arkansas Business Limited Partnership
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Troubled U.K. Online Grocer Ocado May Benefit From Brexit Fallout

June 28, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
O woe is online grocer Ocado. British supermarket chain Morrison is complaining that its deal with Ocado has been profitable for Ocado only, and signals it may back out. The company faces competition on its own turf from Amazon Fresh, which has made a supply deal with Morrison. And Waitrose, whose products Ocado sells, may pull out of its arrangement. These and other problems – it has failed to attract any European or U.S. partners – have depressed Ocado’s stock values by 25 percent since April. However, Ocado may benefit in several ways from the fallout of the recent Brexit referendum. The British pound is taking a beating versus the dollar, so an overseas supermarket will pay less to have Ocado manage its online grocery business. It also means that a potential buyer would pay less to buy Ocado outright.
Andrea Felsted, "Ocado's Found a Silver Lining in Brexit", Bloomberg Gadfly, June 28, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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