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Whole Foods Experiments With Traditional Salvadoran Masa-Based Dish

May 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market announced it is adding a traditional Salvadoran dish to its food truck test kitchen in Austin, Texas. Pupusas are thick, handmade cornmeal tortillas stuffed with cheeses and topped with meats and/or vegetables. The new Whole Foods menu includes vegetarian and vegan choices, plus cinnamon churros, grilled corn salad and plantain chips. Whole Foods culinary and prepared foods teams use the test kitchen to experiment with new ideas for store eateries, and to explore collaborations with chefs and supplier partners.
"Whole Foods Market food truck test kitchen in Austin announces pupusas as next menu feature", News release, Whole Foods Market, May 03, 2016, © Whole Foods Market
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Innovative Makeovers Rev Up Ice Cream Sandwich Market

May 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The dull but durable ice cream sandwich is suddenly hot, according to researcher Mintel, thanks to some imaginative innovation by gourmet ice cream sandwich businesses. Sandwich parlors and food stalls have popped up in New York, London and Chicago in recent years, creating a trend that caught the attention of food companies and mainstream retailers. Mintel says the revived appeal of ice cream sandwiches has to do with presentation: cookie or cake parts contrasting with an ice cream center, making the whole package perfect for social media sharing. Retailers are now selling Krispy Kreme’s Kool Krispy Sandwich, created by Pop Tarts and restaurant chain Friendly’s, Ben & Jerry’s new vegan ice creams, and Unilever’s new ice cream sandwich range.
Alex Beckett, "2016’s Hot Trend In Indulgence: Ice Cream Sandwiches", Blog, Mintel, May 03, 2016, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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Hershey’s Continues Simplifying Its Ingredients

May 2, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Following through on its 2015 promise to simplify the ingredients that go into its products, candy manufacturer Hershey’s has developed a new chocolate syrup that contains only five “simple” ingredients. Simply 5 Syrup contains cocoa, water, natural flavor from vanilla beans, cane sugar and cane syrup. It contains no high-fructose corn syrup, artificial preservatives or flavors, or GMOs. Since last year’s announcement, the company has simplified ingredients in more than 500 product SKUs, including the iconic Hershey's Kisses Milk Chocolates and Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bars.
"New Hershey’s Simply 5 Syrup Is Sweet And Simple With Just Five Ingredients", News release, The Hershey Company, May 02, 2016, © The Hershey Company
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Kellogg Unveils Line Of Snacks, Cereals With More Natural Ingredients

May 2, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Noting that it is listening to American consumers, Kellogg’s has unveiled several new versions of its breakfast cereals and snacks -- and expanded offerings under the Special K brand -- that contain simpler, wholesome, “recognizable ingredients.” Besides new varieties of Raisin Bran, “mash-up” Pop-Tarts with soda flavors (Crush Orange and A&W Root Beer), and new flavors of Cheez-It crackers, the products include granola and a new “crustless” breakfast quiche. One serving of microwaveable Special K Crustless Quiches provides 10 to 11 grams of protein in three flavors with eggs, chopped vegetables, quinoa and cheese. The company’s new snack bars contain no artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners. Also new: Eggo waffles with real berries and steel cut oats, Special K crackers with quinoa, and Morningstar sausages with quinoa and oats.
"Kellogg U.S. Brands Launch New Delicious Breakfast And Snack Choices", News release, Kellogg’s, May 02, 2016, © Kellogg Co.
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Cargill Divests Its Dressings And Sauces Division

May 2, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Cargill announced it is selling its dressings, sauces, and mayonnaise business to a California company that provides similar products to foodservice firms, retailers and restaurants. Ventura Foods’ (Brea) consumer brands available at retail include Marie’s dressings, LouAna oils, Dean’s dips and Gold n’ Soft spreads. Cargill will continue to produce oil and shortenings products used in food manufacturing, as well as retail brand cooking oils and zero trans-fat frying oils used by quick-service restaurants.
"Ventura Foods to acquire Cargill’s Dressings, Sauces and Mayonnaise business", News release, Cargill, May 02, 2016, © Cargill, Incorporated
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Foodservice Supplier Debuts Ancient Grain Hamburger Buns, Hoagie Rolls

May 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Austin, Texas-based Smart Flour Foods has unveiled “improved” ancient grain hamburger buns for foodservice customers. The naturally gluten-free whole-grain buns are made from sorghum, amaranth and teff. The company says the buns, which are sold frozen in a 24-count package, are undergoing the Non-GMO Project verification process. An ancient grain-based hoagie roll will be introduced shortly. The company also offers ancient grain-based pizza crusts, 6”x9" flatbread, and pancake and waffle mixes.
"Smart Flour Foods Launches Hamburger Buns and Previews Hoagie Rolls at NRA Show", Smart Flour Foods, May 01, 2016, © Smart Flour Foods
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McDonald’s Cleans Up Its McNuggets Recipe

April 27, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
McDonald’s, which has acknowledged it failed to keep up with America’s changing food preferences, is turning over a new leaf. The company announced it is testing a reformulated Chicken McNuggets – without artificial preservatives – in restaurants in the Pacific Northwest. The company has not revealed details of the new recipe, but did say it is “simpler” and will please parents. The company’s sagging sales have picked up recently, thanks in part to its all-day breakfast strategy, but also to price hikes and to shuttering of underperforming restaurants. It did not say whether customer visits had picked up as well. The company hopes to launch the new McNuggets recipe in time for the Summer Olympics,
Peter Frost, "McDonald's plans to launch 'cleaner' Chicken McNuggets", Crain’s Chicago Business, April 27, 2016, © Crain Communication, Inc.
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Dannon Promises Greater Sustainability, More Natural Ingredients, Label Transparency

April 27, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Yogurt maker Dannon has pledged to farmers, retailers, and consumers that it will improve sustainable practices for its milk supply. It also promises greater transparency for its products as uses more natural – and fewer – ingredients. Improving its sustainable agriculture practices and technology will lead to better soil health, better water management, an increase in biodiversity, and a decrease in carbon emission. Moving to natural ingredients means fewer synthetic and more non-GMO over a three-year transition period. The company will ensure that by the end of 2017 any GMO ingredients will be clearly indicated on product labels.
"Dannon Announces Breakthrough Sweeping Commitment for Sustainable Agriculture, More Natural Ingredients and Greater Transparency", News release, Dannon, April 27, 2016, © Dannon
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Danone
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PepsiMoji Campaign Expands For The Summer

April 26, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
PepsiCo is expanding its PepsiMoji campaign for this summer to take advantage of the fact that emojis have become “a truly universal language” useful for keeping the brand active on smartphones. The campaign will comprise a hundred five-second TV ads, an interactive Times Square billboard, and a half billion PepsiMoji bottles of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Pepsi MAX. The company has created hundreds of proprietary emoji characters applying themes like food, sports, travel, and music. The idea is to spark surprising Pepsi-related conversations and “shareable moments,” the company said.
"Pepsi Unveils All New Emoji Collection So Fans Can #SayItWithPepsi", News release, PepsiCo, April 26, 2016, © PepsiCo
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Rhode Island Bakery Succeeds With Only One Product: Portuguese Muffins

April 26, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Family-owned Central Bakery in Tiverton, R.I., has been producing a unique breakfast bread known as bolo levedo – and only bolo levedo – since 1967. An import from Portugal’s Azores Islands, bolo levedo resembles an English muffin, but lacks the nooks and crannies, and is spongier and sweeter. Thriving Central Bakery supplies the delicacy (known locally as the “3 Meal Muffin”) to area supermarkets and to notable chefs around the country who use the bread for burger and sandwich buns.
Ann Trieger Kurland , "From a family’s garage to the hands of celebrity chefs: a Portuguese muffin’s unlikely journey", Boston Globe, April 26, 2016, © Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC
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Sustainability, Purity, Simplicity Are Dannon's New Watchwordsl

April 26, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Yogurt maker Dannon is requiring its milk suppliers to adhere to the company’s animal welfare standards and to improve and conserve soil. The new requirement is part of Dannon’s response to a growing consumer concern about the source and wholesomeness of food. Consumers increasingly seek fewer synthetic ingredients in their foods, want their food to be more pure, and want food animals treated humanely. A slew of new food companies represent fairly tough competition for Dannon – which sells a third of all yogurts in America – by touting the simplicity and purity of their products.
Stephanie Strom, "Yogurt Buyers Send Dannon Back to the Farm", The New York Times, April 26, 2016, © The New York Times Company
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Unilever Reaches 2 Million Followers On LinkedIn

April 25, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever said its corporate page on the professional social networking site LinkedIn has reached 2 million followers. According to the company, it is the first FMCG firm to achieve the milestone, which can help Unilever to recruit potential employees who share its sustainability goals. Unilever said more than 84,000 of its employees are active users of the professional social networking platform.
"Why our 2 million followers on LinkedIn are worth celebrating", Unilever, April 25, 2016, © Unilever
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Unilever Extends Sponsorship Deal With JR Motorsports

April 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Car racing team JR Motorsports and Unilever have agreed to extend their sponsorship deal through 2018. As part of the deal, which first started in 2009, the team, which is co-owned by racecar driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., will carry Unilever sponsorship on its NASCAR Xfinity Series automobiles for 20 races in the 2017–2018 season. With the extension taking the team and the company into their 10th year of partnership in the NXS competition, the deal covers Unilever’s brands, including Suave, Degree, and Breyers.
Heath White , "JR Motorsports and Unilever Extend Partnership to 10th Year", JR Motorsports, April 22, 2016, © JR Motorsports
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Unilever Uses IT To Perform Better In Everything It Does

April 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever has applied information technology in everything the company does, including how it interacts with consumers, conducts research and development, product development, and marketing, according to chief information officer Jane Moran. As a CIO, Moran has driven the company’s focus on efforts to create and enable a flexible workforce, as well as provide employees equipped with the latest tools to stay connected and capable of collaborating with colleagues across the globe. In 2015, Unilever’s IT department also focused on improving core business services, achieving 99.8 percent uptime on core IT environment. By improving efficiency, the company was able reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 190,000 tons and cut related costs by €180 million annually.
"CIO 100: Unilever - Jane Moran, CIO", CIO, April 22, 2016, © IDG
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Southern California Bakery Creates The Ultimate Milk And Cookies Treat

April 21, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Somehow it doesn’t seem like a concept that needs refinement: milk and cookies. But the Dirty Cookie bakery in Tustin (Orange County), Calif., created a variation that just might take off. It is the cookie shot, basically a dense cookie made with organic flour, coated by hand with premium Belgian Chocolate, then formed into a “shot glass” that is filled with flavored milk. The shot glass part comes in three flavors: chocolate chip, cookies and cream, and red velvet. But there are special flavors: pumpkin, s’mores, matcha, lavender-lemon, and caramel apple. The “milk” can be house-made Madagascar vanilla cream or chocolate cream, both made from either organic whole milk or almond milk.
Eloise Kirn, "A bakery in California came up with a creative way to serve milk and cookies", Business Insider, April 21, 2016, © Allure Media
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Unilever Announces Membership Changes To Its Board Of Directors

April 21, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever announced several changes to its board of directors at the company’s 2016 annual general meeting in London. John Rishton was named chairman of the board’s Audit Committee, with Nils Andersen, Judith Hartmann, and Mary Ma as committee members. Ann Fudge was elected chairman of the Compensation Committee, with Vittorio Colao, Marijn Dekkers, and Strive Masiyiwa as members. Also, Louise Fresco was named chairman of the Corporate Responsibility Committee, while Feike Sijbesma was elected chairman of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee.
"UNILEVER N.V. and UNILEVER PLC: Notification of changes to membership of Board Committees", Unilever, April 21, 2016, © Unilever
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New Formats, Lifestyle Choices Transform German Coffee Drinking Habits

April 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Market researcher Mintel finds that nearly half of German consumers want a coffee shop experience, but without the expense. To achieve that they are drinking more coffee at home, often choosing easy, convenient specialty coffee capsules or pods offering a diverse array of flavors. Half of German consumers feel the coffee brewed from the capsules is as good as that bought in a coffee shop. Younger “on-the-go” Germans are turning to ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee shops to get their morning caffeine jolt: two in five Germans aged 25 to 34 say they are interested in these offerings. But the desire for the real coffee shop experience is still strong enough in Germany for Starbuck’s to open several cafés within Rewe super- and hypermarkets this year.
Julia Buech, "Hot Demand For “Coffee Shop Experience” At Home In Germany", Blog, Mintel, April 20, 2016, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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Nestle Steps Up Efforts To Simplify Food Product Ingredients

April 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Accelerating its program to remove unpopular additives from its foods, Nestlé announced it will remove artificial flavors and colors from ice cream products sold in the U.S., including Dreyer's, Haagen-Dazs, and Skinny Cow. In addition, the company said it will modify remove high fructose corn syrup and genetically-modified ingredients from some of ice cream products. Nestlé last year removed artificial flavors and colors in ten chocolate candy brands in the U.S., as well as from DiGiorno pizza, while also reducing salt.
Corinne Gretler, "Nestle Axes GMO Ingredients and Additives in Some U.S. Ice Cream", Bloomberg, April 20, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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PepsiCo’s Quaker Brand Debuts “Supergrain” Cereals, Granola

April 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
PepsiCo’s Quaker brand is unveiling two “supergrain” hot breakfast cereal and granola products. In the cereals line, Honey Almond and Apples & Cinnamon contain oats, barley, rye, flax and quinoa in a pouch. Each serving contains 7 grams of protein from grains, whey and seeds, five grams of fiber and 3 - 4.5 grams of total fat per serving. The granola products (Cinnamon Apple Walnut and Blueberry Pecan) contain fruit pieces and nuts, oats, wheat, flaxseed, quinoa, sunflower seeds, amaranth and barley. Supergrains Instant Hot Cereal and Real Medleys Supergrains Granola are available at grocery stores throughout the U.S. now.
"Oat Expert Quaker Brings New And Delicious SuperGrain Varieties To The Breakfast Table And Beyond", News release, PepsiCo, April 20, 2016, © PepsiCo, Inc.
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Unilever Nigeria Posts Strong Revenue Growth In 1Q 2016

April 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever Nigeria reported revenue grew 12 percent to N16.78 billion in the first quarter of 2016, compared with N14.9 billion in the same quarter of 2015. Profit after tax jumped 76 percent to N1.05 billion from N590 million, while profit before tax rose 64 percent to N1.42 billion from N860 million. Gross profit grew to N6.03 billion from N5.06 billion in 2015, the company said. Gross margin improved by 33.95 percent in 2015 to 33.95 percent in 2016, while EBIT margin rose from 10.88 percent in 2015 to 11.37 percent.
Goddy Egene, "Nigeria: Unilever Finally Turns the Corner", AllAfrica, April 20, 2016, © AllAfrica
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Unilever Spends 24 Percent Of Ad Budget On Digital Media

April 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever spent 24 percent of its total advertising budget on digital media in the first quarter of 2016, compared with 20 percent in the same quarter in 2015. In digitally advanced markets, such as the United States and China, that number goes up to almost 50 percent. Unilever, the second-biggest spender on advertising in the world, after rival Procter & Gamble, spent $8.3 billion on advertising in 2014, according to AdAge.
"Unilever now spends quarter of ad budget on digital", Net Imperative, April 20, 2016, © Digital Strategy Consulting Ltd.
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One Cereal Brand Gives General Mills Food Scientists A Bowlful Of Problems

April 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Food scientists at General Mills – which has promised to rid its cereal line of artificial flavors and colors – have succeeded with all but one brand. Turns out the marshmallows in Lucky Charms – blue moons, rainbows, pink hearts, yellow hourglasses and neon leprechaun hats – present a sticky problem. Each color change modifies the total flavor experience of a bowl of the cereal. The scientists have tested dozens and dozens of flavor and color combinations, so far with no luck. As food writer Chase Purdy notes, “The subtlety of Lucky Charms makes the task of achieving vibrant colors with muted flavor all the more challenging.”
Chase Purdy, "The scientists trying to rid Lucky Charms of artificial colors are baffled by the marshmallows", Quartz, April 19, 2016, © Quartz
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McCormick Acquires Australian Chilled Herb Maker

April 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Spices and seasonings maker McCormick has purchased all of the shares of Australia’s Botanical Food Company, a manufacturer of packaged fresh herbs. Annual sales of the Gourmet Garden brand are about $53 million and growing at a double-digit rate. McCormick plans to drive sales of the  brand by expanding global distribution and marketing. The company paid $114 million in cash for Botanical Food, which was founded in 1999 in Queensland.
"McCormick & Company Acquires Botanical Food Company, a Global Leader in Chilled Convenient Herbs", News release, McCormick & Co., April 19, 2016, © McCormick & Co.
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Coca-Cola Unifies Brand Packaging

April 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola is unifying its brand image and identity by using new graphics that feature “Coca-Cola Red” across the trademark. The red disc, featured in the new “Taste the Feeling” ad campaign, will appear prominently on all packaging. The red color will be featured on all soft drink packs, along with the brand's signature color : black for Zero, silver for Light/Diet and green for Life. The basic Coca-Cola brands are Original Taste (or Classic in some markets), Light/Diet, Zero (no sugar), and Life (less sugar, plus stevia leaf extract.
"Coca-Cola Reveals New "One-Brand" Packaging", News release, Coca-Cola Company, April 18, 2016, © The Coca-Cola Company
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Stonewall Kitchen Joins The GMO Label Movement

April 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Maine-based specialty food producer Stonewall Kitchen says it will be rolling out label changes for the products it makes that contain GMO ingredients in time for the July 1 implementation of Vermont’s strict GMO label law. The company says most (90 percent) of its product line is already non-GMO, but some products contain GMO corn or soy. These will get the new labels. The company said new products will be in compliance by June, and existing products will reach store shelves “on a rolling basis” as soon as possible after that. GMO-containing ingredients in Stonewall Kitchen’s products include corn meal, soya oil, corn starch and beet sugar.
"Stonewall Kitchen to Label Products With Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)", News release, Stonewall Kitchen, April 18, 2016, © Stonewall Kitchen
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Amazon Finds It Hard To Beat Up Rivals In Grocery Industry

April 17, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon’s grocery delivery service, AmazonFresh, has failed to grow as fast as the company hoped and market analysts expected. In contrast, the company’s Amazon Prime loyalty program and Amazon Web Services online storage service have become multi-billion-dollar brands and boosted market value to almost $300 billion. Its inability to offer delivery prices lower than those offered by rivals and geography prevent Walmart from expanding its grocery delivery business beyond the largest urban centers. Wal-Mart Stores, which claims to have a store within a 5-mile radius of 70 percent of Americans, is expected to maintain its hold on the number 1 position in the grocery trade, the only market segment it outperforms Amazon.
Jeremy Bowman, "Amazon still can't crack the grocery industry", Business Insider, April 17, 2016, © Business Insider Inc.
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Mars Follows Example Of Food Companies That Promise More Healthful Products

April 15, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Mars Food says it will reformulate some of its food products to make them more healthful, and will begin labeling some with guidance as to whether they should be eaten occasionally or can be eaten every day. The company acknowledged that some of its food products have more salt, added sugar or fat, and therefore should not be eaten daily. The company also plans to cut the amount of salt in its food 20 percent within five years, and reduce sugar in some sauces and light meals by 2018. Brussels-based Mars owns brands like M&Ms, Snickers, Wrigley’s, Dolmio, Miracoli, and Uncle Ben’s.
Henriette Jacobsen, "Mars Food tells consumers not to eat their products on a daily basis", EurActiv.com, April 15, 2016, © EurActiv.com plc
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Unilever Says 1Q 2016 Revenue Performance Hurt By Currency Fluctuations, Deflation

April 14, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever reported underlying sales grew 4.7 percent in the first quarter of 2016, compared with the same quarter in the previous year. Sales growth slowed from 4.9 percent recorded in the fourth quarter of 2015, with the company blaming weaker volumes and deflation for the decline. According to the company, currency fluctuations reduced quarterly revenue by 7 percent.
Thomas Buckley, "Unilever Finds Growth More Elusive as Sales Meet Estimates", Bloomberg, April 14, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Unilever Posts Strong Sales Growth For 1Q 2016

April 14, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever reported sales grew 4.7 percent in the first quarter of 2016, with emerging markets sales expanding 8.3 percent, compared with the same quarter in the previous year. Sales in terms of volume rose 2.6 percent, and in terms of pricing, 2.0 percent. According to the company, turnover dropped 2.0 percent to €12.5 billion during the quarter, with a negative currency impact of 7.1 percent. Also, the company announced its quarterly dividend was raised 6 percent to €0.3201 per share.
"UNILEVER TRADING STATEMENT FIRST QUARTER 2016", Unilever, April 14, 2016, © Unilever
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Unilever Says 1Q 2016 Report Reflects Volatile Market

April 14, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever said sales in Europe declined 0.6 percent in the first quarter of 2016, compared with the same quarter of the previous year. According to the company, the slower growth was due to the impact of Eurozone deflation and aggressive price discounting. Underlying sales increased 4.7 percent during the quarter, boosted by the 8.3 percent increase in sales in emerging markets. Unilever CEO Paul Polman said the market remained volatile, with sales growth “weakening across emerging markets and negative in Europe.”
Angela Monaghan, "Unilever warns of fragile consumer market", The Guardian, April 14, 2016, © Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies
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Unilever CEO Paul Polman Calls On Business To Be More Proactive In Protecting Environment

April 14, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever CEO Paul Polman is calling on business to put more importance on long-term sustainability goals than profits. Polman said the cost of doing nothing about to protect the environment is becoming more expensive than action. With governments still hampered by debt following the global financial crisis of a decade ago, business must be willing to pay for developments promoting sustainability, the executive said. After his appointment as Unilever CEO in 2009, Polman proposed the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, which seeks to double the company’s revenue while reducing its environmental impact by half and sourcing 100 percent of raw materials from sustainable suppliers.
Damon Kitney, "Unilever chief Paul Polman urges the long view for business", The Australian, April 14, 2016, © News Limited
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General Mills Touts Progress In Sustainability, Healthful Foods

April 13, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In a corporate progress report, General Mills says it has made significant headway in its plan to sustainably source all of its 10 “priority ingredients” – about half of its yearly raw material purchases – by 2020. The company also noted progress in delivering more healthful foods. It has lowered sodium and sugar content (in cereals and yogurts) and reformulated some products in response to consumer preferences. It eliminated artificial colors and flavors in its cereals and added gluten-free products. It also said it is now “the third-largest U.S. natural and organic food producer.”
Eric Schroeder, "General Mills encouraged by progress on health and wellness goals", Food Business News, April 13, 2016, © SOSLAND PUBLISHING CO
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Hindustan Unilever Faces Rising Competition From Local Rivals; Likely To See Revenue Take A Hit

April 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Hindustan Unilever Ltd.’s margins could be hurt by growing competition from local companies, such as Patanjali Ayurved Ltd., as well as by rising prices of raw materials, according to market analysts. Almost 45 percent of HUL’s brand portfolio is being threatened by rival products from Patanjali, according to analysts from ICICI Securities Ltd. This prompted the brokerage firm to lower its earnings forecast for HUL by 3 percent for financial year 2016–2017 and by 7 percent for 2017–20018. In 2014–2015, HUL reported a net profit of Rs. 4,315 crore, with total revenue of Rs. 30,170 crore.
Sapna Agarwal, "HUL’s margins seen coming under pressure", Livemint, April 07, 2016, © HT Media Ltd
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Whole Foods Market Seeks To Widen Target Market With 365 Store Concept

April 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market’s plan to launch its 365 by Whole Foods Market store concept is part of the retailer’s efforts to expand its customer base. With the first store scheduled to open on May 25, 2016, in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, the stores will feature a product assortment the company said is developed toward “greater efficiency.” Compared with a regular Whole Foods store, the 365 stores will have a smaller floor space of about 30,000 square feet. Although 365 stores will offer more affordable prices, Whole Foods aims to have the smaller stores have much in common with the regular stores, such as high-quality meat and seafood and an emphasis on offering a wide collection of produce.
Sarah Halzack , "What to expect from Whole Foods' new, low-price grocery chain", The Washington Post, April 07, 2016, © The Washington Post
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Hindustan Unilever Is Business-School Students' Favorite Workplace, Nielsen Study Reveals

April 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Hindustan Unilever Limited was recognized as the number 1 Employer of Choice, according to the most recent Campus Track Business School Survey by Nielsen. Results of the survey of 2016 graduating batch of business school students in the country revealed HUL has retained the “Dream Employer” status for the seventh year in a row. Other recognition received by HUL include number 1 ranking for marketing and number 1 FMCG in finance. Factors that helped HUL become the respondents’ favorite workplace include the company’s positioning as a “school for CEOs,” which highlights the company’s approach to developing talent and leaders in-house.
"HUL is the 'No.1 Employer of Choice' in India for fifth successive year", Hindustan Unilever, April 05, 2016, © Hindustan Unilever Limited
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Pepsi Loses Ground To Coca-Cola In Turbulent Indian Juice Market

April 2, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
According to researcher Euromonitor, Coca-Cola has surpassed Pepsi in India’s juice market, though both continue to struggle in beverages overall, where domestic companies have been grabbing market share since 2011. The $4.25 billion Indian soft drinks market grew 19 percent in 2015, bolstered by the juice category that passed $1.5 billion in sales. Juice is nearly as large a segment as carbonated beverages.
Sagar Malviya, "Coca-Cola overtakes rival Pepsi in juice segment", The Economic Times, April 02, 2016, © Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.
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“Free From” Is Good, But It’s No Substitute For Unprocessed

April 2, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Food writer Marion Nestle writes that it’s all well and good that the food industry is getting rid of bisphenol-A (BPA) from its packaging, and removing unnatural additives, artificial colors or flavors, high fructose corn syrup, trans fat, gluten and GMOs – or at least including GMOs on their labels. Products sell better, and companies make more money, when the labels proclaim “free from.” And consumers benefit “to an extent,” she says. But highly processed foods still contain a lot calories, and often excessive salt and sugar. People need to eat vegetables and other unprocessed foods. “No amount of subtraction from highly processed foods is going to change that,” she concludes.
Marion Nestle, "No amount of 'free from' labelling will make processed food good for you", The Guardian, April 02, 2016, © Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies
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Unilever Reports Slower Profit And Sales Growth In Indonesia In 2015

March 31, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever Indonesia reported its net profit increased 2 percent to Rp 5.85 trillion, or $428.75 million, in 2015, a growth rate significantly lower than the 7.5 percent profit gain in 2014. Net sales grew 5.7 percent to Rp 36.5 trillion, compared with around 12 percent in the previous year. Export sales dropped 8.86 percent to Rp 1.86 trillion, while domestic sales grew 6.6 percent to Rp 34.6 trillion.
Farida Susanty, "Unilever sees slower growth in 2015 as economy ‘not conducive’", The Jakarta Post, March 31, 2016, © PT. Niskala Media Tenggara
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Amazon Triples Dash Button Count To More Than 100

March 31, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon revealed there are now more than 100 Dash Buttons representing brands from personal and beauty care, household care, and food markets. First launched in 2015, the service allows members of Amazon’s Prime loyalty program to have prompt access to products considered as daily essentials. According to Amazon, Dash Buttons are available for Prime members for $4.99 each and with a $4.99 credit to their Amazon account for the first order, the service is virtually free.
"More Than 100 Amazon Dash Buttons Now Available, Giving Prime Members the Easiest Way to Order Thousands of Products", Amazon, March 31, 2016, © Amazon.com, Inc.
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PepsiCo Pulls North America Businesses Under One Executive

March 31, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
PepsiCo has done some organizational reshuffling in the wake of Tom Greco’s departure as CEO of Frito-Lay North America (FLNA). The company said it has pulled together its three North America businesses – FLNA, North America Beverages (NAB) and Quaker Foods North America – under Albert Carey, who will be CEO of North America. Carey has been with the company for 35 years, serving in various senior roles across snacks, beverages and food service. Kirk Tanner will be the new president and COO of NAB, and Vivek Sankaran will be president and COO of FLNA.
Eric Schroeder, "PepsiCo reshuffles management team", Food Business News, March 31, 2016, © Sosland Publishing Co.
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Del Monte Removes BPA Packaging, GMO Ingredients

March 29, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Del Monte Foods announced it is eliminating bisphenol-A (BPA) from its food cans and removing all GMO ingredients from its foods. The company, which produces fruit, vegetable, and tomato products, said the moves are a response to consumer preferences. All Del Monte cans will be converted to non-BPA linings beginning with fresh pack production in May and running through October. The company’s foods have always been non-GMO, but some added ingredients for sweeteners or flavorings have come from genetically modified crops like corn or soybeans. These GMO ingredients will be eliminated this year.
"Del Monte Foods Announces Conversion to Non-BPA Packaging and Increases Non-GMO Vegetable, Tomato and Fruit Cup® Product Offerings", News release, Del Monte, March 29, 2016, © Del Monte
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Walmart Launches Campaign Against Hunger

March 28, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart launched its “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” Omnichannel fundraising campaign to help finance the fight against hunger. Working with five suppliers representing some of the leading food companies in the United States, Walmart will offer three ways for shoppers to help fight hunger and support families in need of assistance. Running until April 25, 2016, the campaign will let shoppers help by purchasing, with suppliers donating $0.09 to Feeding America for every participating product purchased; online acts of support; and donating at the register.
Gina Acosta, "Walmart goes omnichannel against hunger", Chain Store Age, March 28, 2016, © Chain Store Age
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Private Labels Are Growing Part Of CPG Market, Study Reveals

March 28, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In the United States, 32.2 percent of shoppers said they are currently buying more private-label brands, with only 6.6 percent of them saying they plan to return to name brands, according to a 2016 edition of “The Checkout” study. Results of the survey revealed 11.9 percent of respondents said they are buying fewer store brands, while 17.4 percent are buying more private labels and will keep on buying them. Also, 8.2 percent of respondents said they are buying more store labels and plan to buy even more. Data also revealed a decline in consumer perception of name brands as offering more new products, varieties, and innovations, from 56 percent of respondents in 2010 to 45 percent in 2015. Among African-American consumers, more are likely to prefer name brands, with respondents saying they are more likely to perceive name brands as of higher quality than their private-label counterparts. Results of the study offers some insights for marketers and retailers, including the fact that private labels are here to stay, consumers see private labels as inexpensive options with good-enough or comparable quality, and that African-American shoppers offer a potential area for growth.
"New Checkout Study: Private Label", Shopper Culture, March 28, 2016, © The Integer Group®
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Unilever Nigeria Reports Strong Sales Growth in 2015

March 25, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever Nigeria Plc reported sales grew 6.2 percent to N59.2 billion for the year ending December 2015, compared with N55.7 billion from the previous year. Sales grew 36.3 percent to N16.52 billion in the fourth quarter of 2015, compared with the same quarter of 2014. Profit after tax for the full year, however, dropped 51 percent from N2.4 billion in 2014 to N1.19 billion in 2015. For the fourth quarter of 2015, profit after tax jumped 78.3 percent to N1.05 billion, compared with the same quarter of the previous year.
"Unilever PAT run rate improves significantly", The Nation, March 25, 2016, © Vintage Press Limited
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Starbucks FoodShare Program Will Donate All Unsold Food By 2021

March 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Starbucks has been donating unsold pastries to charities since 2010 with the help of Food Donation Connection (FDC), a service provider that collects the food at the company’s 7,600 stores. Recently Starbucks announced a plan to donate ready-to-eat meals, including refrigerated perishables such as fruit cups and sandwiches, to food banks through its collaboration with FDC and a new partnership with Feeding America. In the first year, the Starbucks FoodShare program will provide nearly five million meals to individuals and families. The company will expand the program over the next five years to eventually rescue 100 percent of its food.
Jessica Leigh Hester, "Their Coffee Is Controversial, But Starbucks Gets Food Waste Policy Right", CityLab, March 24, 2016, © The Atlantic Monthly Group
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Unilever Africa Chief Says Company To Stay In Nigeria For The Long Haul

March 23, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever Africa remains committed to investing and supporting economic growth in Nigeria, according to company president Bruno Witvoet. Speaking at a CEO Forum in Abidjan, Witvoet said he believes Nigeria’s economy is improving. He expressed his hope that the government would address the country’s foreign exchange situation, resolving issues posed by allowing black market rates to exist alongside official rates.
"We are committed to Nigeria’s economic growth – Unilever", The Nation, March 23, 2016, © The Nation Nigeria
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Unilever
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Metro Tests InFarm's Modular Farming Technology

March 23, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
InFarm partnered with retailer Metro to evaluate its modular self-contained farm in a supermarket in Berlin. According to InFarm, the indoor farming technology is efficient enough to make the cost of operating a vertical farm affordable on a micro scale. Designed to make the most of available space, the technology enables the growing of produce in a single area. Some of the advantages offered by the system include elimination of transportation, storage, and refrigeration costs, as well as reduction in water and fertilizer use.
Adele Peters, "At This Supermarket, The Produce Section Grows Its Own Produce", Fast Company, March 23, 2016, © Mansueto Ventures, LLC
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More Retail Grocery Chains Transitioning To Cage-Free Eggs

March 23, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Several retail food chains announced they are switching to cage-free eggs. The latest group includes Bashas’, The Fresh Market, and Aldi. Bashas’ will be completely cage-free by 2017 because it is “the right thing to do,” says CEO Edward Basha. The Fresh Market’s store brand of eggs are already cage-free, but it will switch to cage-free for all of its eggs within four years. Aldi says it will offer a cage-free egg choice by the end of the year, but has set 2025 as the target date for 100 percent cage-free eggs in stores.
"Bashas', Fresh Market, Aldi commit to cage-free eggs", Supermarket News, March 23, 2016, © Penton
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Unilever Joins UNICEF In Promoting Safe Water Access In Sub-Saharan Africa

March 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever partnered with UNICEF to improve access to safe water in countries across sub-Saharan Africa. Initially focusing on Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, and Cote d’Ivoire, the agreement includes financial investment and strategic engagement with government and civil society partners. Also, the agreement seeks to put in place community and school-based programs aimed at promoting sustainable management of safe water. In addition, the deal looks to improve hygiene and handwashing practices of people living in these countries.
"UNICEF and Unilever unite to improve access to safe water in Africa", Unilever, March 22, 2016, © Unilever
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Unilever Will Expand Production Capacities In Russia, Company Chairman Says

March 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever plans to expand its manufacturing capacities in Russia in the long term, according to chairman Michael Treschow. Speaking at the 2016 Boao Forum for Asia in China, Treschow said, however, that his company is not relocating production facilities from China to Russia. Operating in Russia since 1992, Unilever operates four large manufacturing locations in the country. It manufactures dressing, tea, and home and personal care products in Saint Petersburg, food and ice cream in Tula and Omsk, and cosmetics in Ekaterinburg.
"Unilever plans to scale up production capacities in Russia in long term — chairman", TASS, March 22, 2016, © TASS
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Unilever
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