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Little Vermont’s GMO Labeling Law Has Big Impact On Food Manufacturers

March 21, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Another major food producer has decided to change its food labels in anticipation of a strict Vermont law targeting GMO ingredients. Candy company Mars Inc. will add GMO labels to products that contain genetically modified organisms to comply with the law, enacted in May 2014, that is due to take effect in July unless stopped by lawsuits. Other companies, including General Mills and Campbell Soup, are also complying with the law, implementing label changes on a nationwide basis, not just in Vermont. And like those other companies, Mars says it is acting to keep costs down and in a spirit of transparency, though it does not believe GMOs present a threat to the health of consumers.
Annie Gasparro, "Mars to Add GMO Labels to Products", The Wall Street Journal, March 21, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Domains
FOOD COMPANIES
Campbell's
General Mills
Other
Geographies
Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Citing Vermont Law, General Mills Bites The GMO Labeling Bullet Nationally

March 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
General Mills executives last month expressed hope that a bill establishing a national standard for GMO food labeling would pass the U.S. Congress. Instead the bill died in the Senate, leaving the company and many others to deal with a Vermont law that requires labeling taking effect on July 1. Similar statutes could also also pop up in other states. Though the company believes GMO foods are safe, it would be enormously expensive to relabel products for only one state “without significantly driving up costs for our consumers,” said Chief Operating Officer Jeff Harmening. Newly relabeled General Mills products, noting GMO ingredients, will begin to reach grocery stores over the next few weeks.
Craig Giammona, "General Mills Will Label GMO Food Amid Stalemate in Congress", Bloomberg Business, March 19, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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FOOD COMPANIES
General Mills
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

General Mills Calls For National GMO Food Labeling Policy

March 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In a company blog, General Mills Chief Operating Officer Jeff Harmening says he is disappointed that there is still no national policy on labeling of foods with genetically modified organisms. It’s true that many consumers want to know which foods contain GMOs, so the company has created a public database of GMO foods. This despite the fact that “every major health and safety agency in the world agrees that GMOs are not a health or safety concern.” But a national policy on labeling is still needed, because Vermont requires it or companies can be slapped with stiff fines. Harmening insists, nevertheless, that General Mills will not retool its packaging for one state only, a move that would drive up costs for customers everywhere.
Jeff Harmening, "We need a national solution for GMO labeling", Blog, General Mills, March 18, 2016, © General Mills Inc.
Domains
FOOD COMPANIES
General Mills
Geographies
Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Waitrose Continues Grow And Sell Gardening Program For School Kids

March 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
UK retailer Waitrose relaunched its “Grow and Sell” program, which encourages school children to grow vegetables and other crops. On its fourth year now, the program gives away “Grow and Sell” kits, with each kit containing seeds for species, such as basil, beetroot, lettuces, and snap peas. In addition to encouraging children to learn about where food comes from, the program also helps them develop entrepreneurial skills. As part of the program, participating children are encouraged to sell their produce outside their local Waitrose stores.
Carolyn Robertson, "Waitrose relaunches 'Grow and Sell' gardening kit scheme", The Grocer, March 18, 2016, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
Domains
FOOD COMPANIES
Retailers & Private Label
Geographies
Worldwide
EMEA
Europe
United Kingdom

Whole Foods Announces Plans To Stop Selling Fast-Growing Chickens

March 17, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market Inc. said it will stop selling industry-standard chickens bred to grow fast. Expected to be completed by 2024, the move will include replacing flocks at chicken farms that supply the natural and organic retailer’s stores with breeds, such as Red Ranger and Naked Neck. These breeds grow to marketable size about 23 percent slower than industry-standard chickens.
Jacob Bunge, "Whole Foods Shifts to Slower-Growing Chickens", The Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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FOOD COMPANIES
Retailers & Private Label
Geographies
Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Will Coca-Cola Benefit From Alliance With Filtered Milk Producer?

March 17, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola has taken a minority stake in Chicago-based dairy cooperative Fairlife, betting on the future popularity of milk that is filtered, high-protein, low-sugar and lactose-free, a kind of “designer milk” that costs more than organic and is twice the price of conventional milk. With soda sales sagging, Coca-Cola has been experimenting with beverages that can be presented as healthier.  Another dairy producer is also offering milk that claims health benefits. The regional Dean Foods brand DairyPure sells milk that is hormone- and antibiotics-free. Fairlife should benefit considerably from its partnership with Coke, which has a huge distribution network and access to hundreds of thousands of U.S. supermarket shelves.
Shruti Singh et al., "Coke Thinks Designer Milk Could Be a Billion-Dollar Brand", Bloomberg Business, March 17, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
Domains
FOOD COMPANIES
Coca-Cola Company
Geographies
Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Chipotle May Relax Some Emergency Measures, As Food Safety Crisis Eases

March 16, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Chipotle Mexican Grill, beset by food safety breakdowns since last summer, may scale back or get rid of some of the emergency measures it implemented to stem the crisis. It has been precooking beef to ensure destruction of E. coli bacteria, for example, and using high-resolution DNA-based testing to detect pathogens. It has also shifted preparation of some produce items to a central kitchen. But now, as sales and share price begin to climb, the company may reduce pathogen testing while keeping other safety procedures in place, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing “people familiar with the matter.”
Jesse Newman, "Chipotle Weighs Stepping Back From Some Food-Safety Changes", The Wall Street Journal, March 16, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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FOOD COMPANIES
Other
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Organic Dairy Backs Mandatory GMO Labeling

March 14, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Stonyfield Organic, a U.S.-based organic dairy owned by France’s Danone group, has gone on record as supporting mandatory GMO labeling of food products. Parent company Danone has not yet publicly supported GMO labeling, but has also not “donated to campaigns trying to block it,” according to a Stonyfield spokesman. The U.S. Senate on March 16 defeated legislation formally known as the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, passed by the House last summer. Opponents of the bill, however, refer to it as the “deny Americans the right to know,” or DARK, Act. It would have preempted states, including Vermont, from requiring the labeling of GMO foods, instead implementing a voluntary system.
Katy Askew, "Danone's Stonyfield backs mandatory GMO labelling - Expo West", Just-Food, March 14, 2016, © just-food.com
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FOOD COMPANIES
Other
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Apollo Global Management Closes In On Deal To Acquire Fresh Market

March 13, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Apollo Global Management is close to completing a deal to acquire specialty grocery retailer Fresh Market. Expected to be worth more than $1.3 billion, the deal would highlight Apollo Global Management’s confidence in its ability to turn around companies in the highly competitive grocery market in the United States. Apollo Global Management’s cash offer of $28.50 per share helped it win in an auction for the retailer.
"Apollo Global Nears Deal to Acquire Fresh Market", Fortune, March 13, 2016, © Time Inc.
Domains
FOOD COMPANIES
Retailers & Private Label
Geographies
Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Campbell Soup Cans To Be Mostly BPA-Free By End Of 2016

March 13, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Campbell Soup Co. began using cans made with acrylic or polyester linings in March, and has committed to eliminating all cans with bisphenol A (BPA) linings over the next year. The company said all varieties of Campbell's soups and gravies, Swanson broths and Spaghettios pasta products will be packaged in non-BPA-lined cans. It is on schedule to have three-fourths of its soup portfolio in non-BPA cans by December. BPA is a component in metal can coatings that protects food from direct contact with metal surfaces. Studies have found that the compound causes health problems.
Ramkumar Iyer, "Campbell Soup to switch to BPA-free cans by 2017", Reuters, March 13, 2016, © Thomson Reuters
Domains
FOOD COMPANIES
Campbell's
Geographies
Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Nestle Takes Steps To Globalize Its Premium Chocolate Strategy

March 10, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Researcher Euromonitor says Nestlé’s launch of premium Turkish chocolate brand Damak, and increased investment in Italian brand Baci Perugina, indicate a shift in strategy away from mass brands. In addition, the company wants to increase its footprint globally, especially in the U.S., China and parts of Europe. The best example of the strategy is the investment in Baci Perugina, which encompasses €60 million for the first three years. Potential markets for its premium gift-type chocolates include Brazil and India, though the company faces stiff competition from Mondelez and Ferrero.
Lianne Van Den Bos, "Nestlé Reimagining Confectionery Unit by Creating Brand Leadership", Blog, Euromonitor International, March 10, 2016, © Euromonitor
Domains
FOOD COMPANIES
Nestle
Geographies
Worldwide
North America
EMEA
Asia-Pacific
Latin America
United States of America
Europe
Middle East- Africa
China
India
Brazil

Accelerating Innovation The Unilever Way

March 9, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever has partnered with crowdfunder Indiegogo to collaborate with aspiring entrepreneurs seeking money to fund innovative ideas. Through its innovation platform Unilever Foundry, the company adds the possibility of crowdfunding investment to help speed development of solutions to sustainability challenges presented by Unilever brands. Ideas for solutions will be considered by the Indiegogo community and then shown to a panel of Unilever experts. The best will have an opportunity for an Indiegogo funding campaign, and further support from Unilever.
"Unilever Foundry And Indiegogo Launch Crowdfunding Partnership To Accelerate Innovation", News release, Unilever, March 09, 2016, © Unilever
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FOOD COMPANIES
Unilever
Geographies
Worldwide
North America
United States of America

General Mills To Double Organic Acreage By 2019

March 9, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
General Mills says it is doubling farm acreage devoted to organic agriculture to 250,000 acres by 2019, when it expects sales of its organic and natural products will reach $1 billion. The company has increased organic acreage by 120 percent since 2009, making it one of the top five organic ingredient purchasers in North America. It has also been on a buying spree since 2000, acquiring natural and organic brands that totaled $675 million dollars in sales last year. Brands include Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen, LÄRABAR, Liberté, Mountain High, Food Should Taste Good, Immaculate Baking, and Annie’s.
"General Mills to double organic acreage sourcing to meet growing demand for natural and organic foods", News release, General Mills, March 09, 2016, © General Mills Inc.
Domains
FOOD COMPANIES
General Mills
Geographies
Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Coke Cakes Endure In The Southern States

March 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A 1960s ad slogan proclaimed that “Things go better with Coke.” In the South, those things include cake recipes, like the chocolate-flavored Coca-Cola cake (a staple at Cracker Barrel restaurants). Both professional and home bakers have added Coca-Cola – only the sugar-sweetened variety works – to their recipes since the 1950s, usually substituting the 130-year-old beverage brand for milk, oil or other liquids in the cake’s batter. A dash of it is also used to moisten a confectioner’s sugar-based icing. A new recipe circulating on the Internet offers simplicity with debatable results: cake mix, can of Coke, cup of yogurt, and a can of fruit. The quick version, however, lacks one key trait: the “reward” of baking something from scratch.
Paul Stephen, "Coke meets cake: The real thing shines in soda-spiked sweets", Star News Online, March 08, 2016, © Gatehouse Media, Inc.
Domains
FOOD COMPANIES
Coca-Cola Company
Geographies
Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Herbalife Seeks Innovative Entrepreneurs In The Snack Bar, Supplement Business

March 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Multi-level diet supplement marketer Herbalife says it is once again giving companies an opportunity to become partners by sponsoring a product pitch event. At the May meeting, companies will tout their innovative product proposals in four main areas: meal/snack food bars; non-egg-based breakfast food/snack powder mixes; new delivery formats (e.g., chewables and orally-dissolving products); and plant nutrients and botanical ingredients. A similar meeting in 2014 led to four finalists being selected as partners from 120 proposals. Their products have already been launched or are in the final preparation stages.
Hank Schultz, "Herbalife seeks companies willing to pitch innovative ingredients, products", NUTRAingredients-USA.com, March 07, 2016, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Other
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Rubio’s Simplifies Ingredients In Its Western U.S. Eateries

March 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Mexican restaurant chain Rubio’s, based in California, said it is extending its quality ingredients program beyond sustainable seafood, handmade salsas and guacamole, and fresh produce. The company – which already uses no artificial sweeteners, FD&C colors, MSG or hydrogenated oils – plans to serve only all-natural chicken without antibiotics and bacon without added nitrates or nitrites. It is looking into adding sustainable, wild-caught salmon, beef raised without antibiotics, and flour tortillas made with simple ingredients. Rubio’s operates 194 restaurants in California, Arizona, Colorado, Utah and Nevada.
"Rubio’s Restaurants Reveals Latest Commitment to Food Quality", News release, Rubio's, March 06, 2016, © Rubio's
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FOOD COMPANIES
Other
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Candy Maker Mars Plans To Replace Artificial Colors Across Product Lines

March 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Mars, Incorporated says it will spend the next five years replacing artificial colors in all lines of chocolate, gum, confection, food and beverage brands. The company stresses the move is a response to consumers demanding more natural ingredients, and is not because artificial colors are dangerous. The process will take five years because extensive testing is needed to make sure natural colors are safe and high quality. It will also require collaborating with suppliers to identify ingredients and formulas that meet all legal and regulatory requirements. About 50 brands will be affected.
"Mars, Incorporated to remove all artificial colors from its human food portfolio", News release, Mars Incorporated, March 05, 2016, © Mars, Incorporated
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FOOD COMPANIES
Other
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Annie’s Introduces Three Organic Breakfast Cereals

March 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Natural and organic food company Annie's has unveiled three USDA certified organic breakfast cereals in partnership with parent company General Mills. Each is free of artificial flavors, synthetic colors, preservatives and artificial sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup. All are made with whole grain oats as the first ingredient and contain only eight grams of sugar per serving. The three varieties include Berry Bunnies, Frosted Oat Flakes and Cocoa Bunnies. Annie’s was acquired by General Mills in 2014.
"New Annie's Cereals bring the yum, plus the benefits of organic", News release, Annie's, Inc., March 03, 2016, © Annie's, Inc.
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FOOD COMPANIES
Other
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Unilever Launches Campaign Aimed At U.S. Hispanics

March 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever launched the #100PorCientoTu campaign in the United States. Aimed at promoting self-expression and individuality among U.S. Hispanics, the campaign, through the company’s personal care brands, has partnered with celebrity stylist Leonardo Rocco, celebrity groomer Marcos “Reggae” Smith, model and influencer Denise Bidot, and other influencers to provide beauty and styling tips. Also, the campaign is sponsoring Latin music concerts across the country in recognition of music as a source of inspiration for Latino’s style and self-expression.
"Unilever U.S. Celebrates Latino Self-Expression with New Campaign: #100PorCientoTu", PR Newswire, March 03, 2016, © PR Newswire Association LLC
Domains
FOOD COMPANIES
Unilever
Geographies
Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Ohio Food Maker Schwan To Switch To Cage-Free Eggs By 2020

February 29, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The Schwan Food Company, maker of Freschetta and Red Baron frozen pizzas, said it will transition to 100 percent cage-free eggs by the end of 2020. The move will include all foods containing eggs sold by subsidiaries Schwan’s Home Service, Inc., Schwan’s Consumer Brands, Inc. and Schwan’s Food Service, Inc. The Ohio-based company consulted with animal-welfare experts and its suppliers about the future cage-free egg supply. It said its plans will depend on the availability of certified cage-free eggs.
"The Schwan Food Company Announces Five-Year Transition Plan for Cage-Free Eggs", News release, Schwan Food Company, February 29, 2016, © Schwan Food Company
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FOOD COMPANIES
Other
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Subway’s Newest Sandwich To Feature Antibiotics-Free Chicken

February 26, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The Subway sandwich shop chain has introduced a new menu item that features chicken raised without antibiotics. Rotisserie-style chicken also contains no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. The company has also committed to serving only eggs from cage-free layer hens by 2025. Subway said it had a difficult logistical problem with its rotisserie-style chicken at first: finding enough suppliers of antibiotics-free poultry to meet the chain’s needs. The problem was solved, however, and beginning April 1, the company will begin serving all-white meat chicken strips that will also be free of artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and antibiotics.
"Subway Sandwich Shop Introduces New Rotisserie-Style Chicken Raised without Antibiotics", News release, Subway, February 26, 2016, © Subway
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Other
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Perdue Expands Product Offerings That Claim “No Antibiotics Ever”

February 26, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Perdue Farms announced that it is extending its “No Antibiotics Ever” initiative into mainstream grocery categories and foodservice menu items. The move, which begins this months and continue into May, means that all of Perdue’s protein products, including frozen, refrigerated and fresh value-added chicken products, and all foodservice turkey products, will be antibiotics-free. The foodservice turkey products join the company’s No Antibiotics Ever menu-ready chicken distributed under the Perdue Harvestland and other foodservice brands. The number of Perdue products with the no-antibiotics claim totals more than 200.
"Perdue Expands No Antibiotics Ever Poultry into Mainstream Grocery, Foodservice", News release, Perdue, February 26, 2016, © Perdue Farms
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FOOD COMPANIES
Other
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

NRDC Praises Perdue, Subway For Antibiotics Policies

February 26, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The Natural Resources Defense Council said it was pleased to find that both chicken producer Perdue Farms and sandwich shop chain Subway have fully committed to eliminating antibiotics. According to the NRDC, Perdue “leads the chicken industry’s welcome conversion toward antibiotics stewardship.” Two-thirds of the company’s chickens, and more than half of its turkeys, are now raised without antibiotics. The NRDC is seeking wider adoption of third-party verification programs that assure consumers that companies are transparent about their stewardship claims. Third-party verification would also build confidence that animals raised without antibiotics are living in “high welfare conditions.”
Lena Brook, "Perdue, Subway move full steam ahead on antibiotics use commitments", Switchboard Blog (NRDC), February 26, 2016, © Natural Resources Defense Council
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Other
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Tyson Debuts Antibiotics-Free Pork Brand

February 25, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Though American consumers increasingly say they prefer antibiotics-free meat and poultry, and food companies announce moves in that direction, producers continue to buy large amounts of drugs used in human medicine – 32.6 million pounds in 2013, a factor in the decline in antibiotics effectiveness in humans. According to Takepart.com, the FDA’s voluntary control guidelines “have thus far proved ineffective at reducing the use of antibiotics by the agriculture industry.” Still, the trend toward antibiotics-free meat is working its way from the avian sector into livestock. Most recent example: Tyson Foods' Open Prairie Natural Pork brand made from pigs raised without antibiotics, hormones, or the use of gestation crates. The move makes Tyson the leading producer of antibiotics-free pork in the U.S.
Willy Blackmore, "A Major American Meat Company Is Going Big With Antibiotic-Free Pork", TakePart.com, February 25, 2016, © TakePart, LLC
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Other
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North America
United States of America

Aldi Products Take Top Honors In Australian Shopper Vote

February 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Australian consumers chose Aldi brands as their favorites in the 2016 Product of the Year Awards, a distinction that often leads to double-digit sales increases. The company took top honors in 12 of 46 award categories, including small goods, snacks to go, pest control and household cleaning. The director of the awards program said it’s certainly about saving money, but “the quality has to be there to make an impact and result in repeat purchases.” A recent survey of Australian shoppers found that 35 percent would buy a new product if it won the Product of the Year award.
Tate Papworth , "Aldi dominates Product of the Year Awards", Marketing, February 24, 2016, © Niche Media
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Retailers & Private Label
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Worldwide
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Asia-Pacific
Australia

Unilever Names Bayer AG CEO As New Chairman

February 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever PLC announced the appointment of Bayer AG CEO Marijn Dekkers as chairman of the consumer-products company’s board of directors. Before the announcement of his appointment, Dekkers revealed that he was resigning as chief executive of the Germany-based pharmaceuticals company. Dekkers will succeed Unilever’s current chairman Michael Treschow.
Rory Gallivan and Monica Houston-Waesch, "Unilever Appoints Bayer Chief Executive Marijn Dekkers as Chairman", Wall Street Journal, February 24, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Unilever
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Worldwide
EMEA
Europe
United Kingdom
Netherlands

Yogurt Might Provide PepsiCo’s Vehicle For Growth

February 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
PepsiCo’s mediocre financial performance last year was due to a lot of factors: a strong dollar, European stagnancy, political turmoil, etc. But Euromonitor says the company has some organic problems it needs to address to boost profit and please shareholders. Carbonated soft drinks have declined for ten years in a row, so there’s little opportunity for growth there, except through acquisitions. The researcher says dairy, and specifically yogurt, present a better opportunity. The failed attempt at acquiring Chobani – “probably too ambitious a target” – should not dissuade PepsiCo from trying again, perhaps with the Filippou Group, owner of Fage Total Greek Yogurt, whose sales rose at 11 percent value CAGR over 2010-2015 globally. It fits nicely with PepsiCo’s “macro-snacking” strategy.
Pinar Hoşafçi , "PepsiCo’s FY2015 Lacklustre Results Suggest its Snacks Portfolio Could Benefit from a Yoghurt Brand", Blog, Euromonitor International, February 20, 2016, © Euromonitor
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PepsiCo
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Worldwide
North America
EMEA
United States of America
Europe

New Pepsi Package-Based Campaign Features Emojis

February 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Pepsi is about to expand its emoji cans and bottles campaign, which began in Russia, Canada, and Thailand in 2015, to more than a hundred markets this year, including the U.S. There will be 70 global and locally designed “PepsiMojis” printed on cans, bottles, and cups, according to the company. CEO Indra Nooyi told analysts at a recent conference that the emojis – sort of an image-based language – will allow people to “say it with a Pepsi.” The company is supporting the program with digital and traditional advertising, and plans to extend the emojis beyond packaging. It has partnered with a fashion designer to create PepsiMoji-inspired sunglasses.
E.J. Schultz et al., "Pepsi Preps Global Emoji Can and Bottle Campaign", Advertising Age, February 19, 2016, © Crain Communications
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PepsiCo
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Worldwide

Unilever Marketing Vet Assumes Top Marketing Role

February 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever International has elevated Aseem Puri to chief marketing officer from senior director of marketing for fabric cleaning in Asia, where he handles brand innovation, digital marketing, digital content and brand communication. As chief marketing officer he will be responsible for launching and building brands globally across new geographies, channels and customers. The focus will be on digital lead launches, ecommerce exclusive launches and online consumer marketing. His purview will include North America, Western Europe, Middle East, Africa, South Asia, South East Asia, China, Japan, and Korea for home care, personal care, foods and refreshments brands.
Rayana Pandey, "Unilever appoints Aseem Puri to CMO role", Marketing-Interactive.com , February 18, 2016, © Marketing-Interactive.com. Lighthouse Independent Media Pte Ltd.
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Unilever
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Worldwide

McDonald’s Tests Chicken-And-Pancake Sandwich In Ohio

February 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Now that McDonald’s has successfully introduced the all-day breakfast, it has begun experimenting with a few menu changes. Most recently it has been testing a portable chicken and pancake sandwich. The Chicken McGriddle blends a fried chicken patty between two pancake buns soaked in maple-flavored syrup. A franchise owner in central Ohio who came up with the idea has decided to step beyond market testing the sweet-and-savory sandwich and add it to the menu. Expansion to other areas of the country depends on customer surveys, the franchise owner said.
Laura Lorenzetti, "The McDonald's Chicken-and-Pancake Sandwich Is Real", Fortune, February 18, 2016, © Time Inc.
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Other
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North America
United States of America

Ad Campaign Reanimates Colonel Sanders, And Millennials Get The Joke

February 17, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Yum Brands’ Kentucky Fried Chicken has turned the corner sales wise – six straight quarters of revenue increases – thanks to a savvy ad campaign and rededication to Colonel Sanders’s food standards. The moves seem to appeal to Millennials, a major accomplishment considering that 60 percent of Millennials have never eaten at KFC and the generation as a whole distrusts big company advertising. But thanks to a “re-Colonelization” of its flavor and preparation standards, and new ads featuring Norm Macdonald as a gently satirical reincarnation of the Colonel, Millennials are taking notice. The company is also adapting its chicken-on-the-bone menu to adjust to modern trends: 70 percent of the market is strips, nuggets and sandwiches these days, says KFC’s CMO. So, “we’ve got to adjust.”
Candice Choi, "KFC executive says chain going through 're-Colonelization'", Associated Press, February 17, 2016, © Associated Press
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Other
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United States of America

Subway Relied Too Long On The $5 Footlong Promo

February 16, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
“Confused and frustrated” devotees of Subway’s submarine sandwiches recently lit up social media to protest the end of the chain’s nine-year-old $5 footlong sub promotion. The announcement of a 20 percent price hike, according to Mintel, may have estranged a huge segment of regular sandwich buyers. Nearly 60 percent of Americans patronize fast sandwich shops, and 40 percent look for value deals. (McDonald’s replaced its dollar menu with “McPick 2” last November). Mintel says Subway’s “slightly tone-deaf” announcement turned off a lot of customers who were told the $6 price was actually “a brand new deal.” Mintel says Subway relied on the promotion far too long, failing to diversify its deals by offering more premium sandwiches or a distinctive beverage program.
Caleb Bryant, "Subway Under Fire After Ending $5 Footlong Promotion", Blog, Mintel, February 16, 2016, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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Other
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North America
United States of America

Streamlining Strategy Is A Tricky One For Whole Foods Market

February 14, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market is tightening the reins on its local and regional managers to reduce costs and ward off intense competition from Kroger and Costco, which have advanced successfully into the organic and natural foods segment, often charging lower prices. From the beginning, Whole Foods has tried to operate with a local slant, giving managers leeway in the choice of specialty offerings. But the streamlining initiative – which could also include discounting – will mean shifting more responsibility for buying packaged foods, detergents and other nonperishable items to its Texas headquarters, and relying more on software to simplify scheduling staff and replenishing shelves. The move may damage  its customer-friendly reputation and peeve shoppers who prefer local products The difficult strategy, Co-CEO John Mackey acknowledges, is to eliminate “redundancy and waste” and boost stock value, without destroying a unique culture.
Ilan Brat, "Whole Foods Works to Reduce Costs and Boost Clout With Suppliers", The Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Retailers & Private Label
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Worldwide
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United States of America

Will “Qual-Quant” Ad Testing Replace Focus Groups Some Day?

February 9, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A relatively mature, though still uncommon, method for researching advertising concepts is gaining traction among marketers because of its ease-of-use, reliability and cost-effectiveness compared to standard focus groups. Used by AcuPOLL research, the combination of qualitative (groups watching ads then voting) and quantitative (copy testing) is known as “qual-quant.” The candy bar Butterfinger (Nestlé) used qual-quant to test ads being considered for the brand’s return to the Super Bowl. Faced with a shortage of development time, the ad team turned to AcuPOLL for speedy and “actionable” consumer input, and was happy with the results, according to the brand manager.
Jack Neff, "How Butterfinger Used a Safety Net for 'Bolder Than Bold' Ad", Advertising Age, February 09, 2016, © Crain Communications
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Nestle
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Unilever Uses “R” Approach To Keep Its Non-Hazardous Waste Out Of Landfills

February 9, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever says it has identified the sources of all non-hazardous waste it generates and has devised ways to direct it away from landfills. A year ago, Unilever said 240 of its factories had figured out ways to dispose of non-hazardous waste without using landfills. Another 400 sites – factories, warehouses, distribution centers and offices –in 70 countries have now been added to the list. The company applies a four-pronged “R” approach to waste disposal: reduce, reuse, recover or recycle. The achievement proves that “waste can be seen as a resource with many alternative uses.”
"Unilever Achieves New Milestone, Collaborates to Fuel Global Zero-Waste Movement", Sustainable Brands, February 09, 2016, © Sustainable Life Media Inc.
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Whole Foods Co-CEOs Say They’re On The Right Track Now

February 9, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Rocked by negative publicity and stiff organic and natural food competition from lower-cost retailers like Kroger and Costco, Whole Foods Market has experienced slower growth and a declining stock price (down 33 percent). A key problem for the chain is how to communicate to shoppers why its products are worth the higher prices. But in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, the two co-chief executives said the company is not “on our heels." It will create 8,000 new jobs in 2016 and open 30 new stores. As to the negative publicity – New York City said the company deliberately mislabeled package weights and overcharged customers – they said they have learned to respond promptly to stop misinformation in its tracks.
Ilan Brat, "Whole Foods Boss Calls Himself a ‘Pusher Leader’", The Wall Street Journal, February 09, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Recent Sales Growth Of Post Cereals Does Not Change Stagnant Forecast

February 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Breakfast cereal maker Post Holdings is guardedly optimistic after reporting sales growth improvements in recent months, but  nevertheless expects stagnant growth over the long term. First quarter (ended December 31) profit was $25.5 million ($0.16) a share), a big improvement over last year’s first quarter loss of $97.3 million. Sales were up 16 percent to $1,249 million from a year ago. “But we are not banking on growth,” said CEO Rob Vitale. He said volumes of the company’s largest brand, Honey Bunches of Oats, were up three percent, but incremental volumes dropped 12 percent – “flat performance for the brand.”
Monica Watrous, "Post 'not banking on growth' in cereal", Food Business News, February 08, 2016, © Sosland Publishing Co.
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Yum! Brands’ 4th Quarter Bolstered By Improved Sales At Two Chains

February 4, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Yum! Brands, owner of Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut, beat fourth quarter Wall Street earnings forecasts, posting $0.68 a share compared to $0.66, though sales were moderate. The company said profit was helped by improved same-store sales at Taco Bell (up four percent) and KFC (up three percent). Pizza Hut remains a worry: same-store sales rose one percent last quarter, just shy of the 1.5 percent gain expected by Wall Street. Overall revenue fell about one percent to $3.95 billion, short of analyst forecasts of $4.03 billion. Yum! Brands has said it will spin off its Chinese business into a separate unit. The company gets about half of its revenue from Chinese operations.
Leslie Patton, "Yum's Tops Profit Estimates After Taco Bell, KFC Sales Grow", Bloomberg Business, February 04, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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“Most Innovative” German Food/Drink Launches

February 4, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Euromonitor analysts picked ten German food and drink launches from 2015 as the “most innovative.” At the top of the list is Knorr (Unilever) Dry Seasoning for Lasagna, which touts its “naturalness” and “fewer, simpler” ingredients. The product shows that the “natural” food claim is important in Germany. Second is a no-carb pasta substitute from The Netherlands (Konjac root noodles), an example of another trend: low-carb claims doubled from 2014 to 2015. Other innovations from Germany: a gluten-free snack drink made with quinoa and matcha tea; a cheese wheel (Leerdammer Schnittkäse) that claims “deli fresh” and “cut from the loaf;” and a low-calorie soft drink (Helga) based on freshwater microalgae chlorella.
"Ten Innovative Food And Drink Launches In Germany", Blog, Mintel, February 04, 2016, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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Battered By Poor Sales In China, Hershey Girds For The Future

February 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Chocolate maker Hershey’s has its work cut out over the coming years, according to Euromonitor. Though profit was satisfactory, overall sales fell slightly in 2015 – and by five percent in the fourth quarter and 13 percent in China. The company, which advanced in recent years into the international market, is struggling to keep up with competitors. The core North American market is softening as per capita chocolate volume growth slows. Americans who buy chocolate are turning to higher quality brands, and that has led to competitive pressure from Lindt and Ferrero. Over the next five years, Hershey’s is expected to focus on its non-confectionery portfolio, pushing wider distribution of Krave Jerky meat snacks and Brookside Snack Bars in 2016.
Jack Skelly , "The Fourth Quarter Caps off a Year to Forget for Confectionery Giant Hershey", Blog, Euromonitor International, February 03, 2016, © Euromonitor
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Apple, Disney Are The Winners Of The “Brand Stars” Wars

February 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A brand valuation consultancy has named Disney the “world’s most powerful brand,” thanks to a slew of companies it has acquired over the years, including ESPN, Pixar, the Muppets, Marvel and Lucasfilm (i.e., the Star Wars franchise). Brand Finance also says  Apple is the “most valuable brand,” despite a drop-off in sales recently, and is now worth $150 billion. Four of the 10 fastest growing brands – including WeChat – are Chinese firms. Brands that have lost their luster, for one reason or another, include Volkwagen and Lego. Coca-Cola was ranked eigth in brand strength,Johnson's  was ranked seventh. Walmart was ranked the eighth most valuable brand.
"Global 500 2016 - Star Wars Sends Disney’s Brand into Hyperdrive", Brand Finance, February 01, 2016, © The Brand Finance Group
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Hain Celestial's 2nd Quarter Sales Set A Record

February 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Hain Celestial Group posted an eight percent increase in second quarter sales over the prior year, $753 million compared to $696 million. The company said sales were affected by $18 million in foreign exchange rate movements. Profit per diluted share increased 28 percent to $0.55 a share, while adjusted EPS was $0.57 a six percent increase. The company’s record sales reflect continuing strong performance from the U.K. and “Rest of World” markets that grew 12 percent. The Hain Pure Protein Corporation segment grew 21 percent, excluding the acquisition of Empire.  CEO Irwin D. Simon said the strong results reflect “our global diversified business model across Hain Celestial's organic and natural brands, product categories, customers and geographies."
"Hain Celestial Announces Record Second Quarter Fiscal Year 2016 Results", Earnings release, Hain Celestial, February 01, 2016, © The Hain Celestial Group, Inc.
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Mondelez Provides Article About Competitor Nestle’s Involvement In Slave, Child Labor

February 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The British newspaper Guardian recently published an article describing how Nestlé is contesting a child labor lawsuit in the Ivory Coast after admitting to use of slave labor in Thailand. Beneath the headline was a disclaimer noting that the article was “Supported by Mondelez International,” a major competitor of Nestlé. But Mondelez denies that it participated in the story, claiming a strict separation between its marketing and editorial content. The material was prepared by the editorial staff for the Guardian‘s independent “Sustainable Business Supply Chain” section, which Mondelez partially subsidizes. Guardian policy is that articles produced with funding from outside parties – so-called "supported by" stories – are "editorially independent content." Nevertheless, notes Advertising Age, “The matter underscores how sponsored content programs can put marketers in uncomfortable situations.”
E.J. Schultz, "This Negative Nestle Story Is Brought to You By...Mondelez?", Advertising Age, February 01, 2016, © Crain Communications
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Cake Mix Company Battles Rising Tide Of Consumer Antipathy, Other Trends

January 30, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The changing dietary habits of American consumers – concerns about processed foods and sugars, less time for baking – have driven the bake mix industry, and packaged foods in general, into the doldrums. Betty Crocker cake mix sales were down six percent as of May 2015, the end of its last fiscal year. They have rebounded somewhat since then, mainly because of price cuts to keep pace with competitors like Duncan Hines. Meanwhile, the refrigerated dough business (Pillsbury) has suffered some decline, but not as steep as Betty Crocker’s. The declines reflect trends in the overall cake mix and refrigerated dough categories. Still, home baking hasn’t gone completely out of style. General Mills is making sure of that with ramped up marketing efforts on its website, and through extensive social media campaigns.
Mike Hughlett , "General Mills' Betty Crocker, Pillsbury cope with baking slump", Star Tribune, January 30, 2016, © StarTribune
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Unilever Spends 24 Percent Of Ad Budget On Digital Marketing In 2015

January 28, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever’s spending on digital media marketing grew to 24 percent of its global advertising budget in 2015, according to the company’s chief marketing and communications officer Keith Weed. In 2014, the company spent 20 percent of its total advertising budget on digital media. In digitally advanced markets, such as the United States and China, the company spends almost 50 percent of its advertising budget on digital platforms. Unilever, which recently announced its move to “zero-based budgeting” for its marketing, is the second-biggest spender on advertising worldwide, behind its rival Procter & Gamble, according to Adbrands.net.
Lara O'Reilly, "Almost a quarter of Unilever's $8 billion ad budget is now spent on digital", Business Insider, January 28, 2016, © Business Insider Inc.
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Unilever’s Polman Argues Against Tax On Sugary Foods, Drinks

January 25, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Attacking the U.K.’s obesity problem – two-thirds of adults are now overweight – by imposing a sugar tax would be a mistake, says Unilever CEO Paul Polman. A growing number of politicians and others are calling for a levy on sugary products as a way to cut down on sugar consumption. But Polman says the taxation idea is “too simple” and “not the Holy Grail.” There is no evidence that a tax on sugar-sweetened foods and drinks would help relieve the obesity epidemic, he argues. Part of Unilever’s answer to the problem is to revamp product packaging. It recently announced it was shrinking the packaging of its single-serve ice creams by 33 percent to get calories under 250.
Graham Ruddick, "Unilever boss warns UK against sugar tax", The Guardian, January 25, 2016, © Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies
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Unilever Shrinks U.K. Single-Portion Ice Cream Packs To Cut Calories

January 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever is trimming the sizes of single-serve ice cream products by as much as a third in the U.K. to reduce calories per serving. Included in the effort are packages of Magnum, Cornetto, Ben & Jerry’s and Feast, all of which will be shrunk to bring the calorie totals below 250. According to reports, the prices of the products will only be cut 26 percent. Beginning in the spring, Ben & Jerry’s single portion packs will be reduced by 33 percent, from 150ml to 100ml. A Unilever spokesman admitted there was a risk of a customer backlash. But he said he expected shoppers to “appreciate what we are trying to do, and buy more.”
Sarah Butler, "Unilever to shrink Magnum and Cornetto in bid to cut calories", The Guardian, January 22, 2016, © Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies
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Unilever CEO’s New Commission Encourages Business To Develop Sustainably

January 21, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The head of Unilever has joined a former U.N. deputy secretary general to launch a commission whose goal is to inspire businesses to “take the lead in poverty reduction and sustainable development.” The Global Commission on Business and Sustainable Development will comprise business, labor and civil society leaders, according to co-founders Unilever CEO Paul Polman and Mark Malloch-Brown. The Commission will try to convince businesses of the economic value of achieving global sustainable development goals (SDGs). Benefits include new markets, investment opportunities and innovations; a reduced risk of instability, fragmentation and fragility; encouragement of a future where businesses can perform with inclusive, sustainable growth and widespread job creation.
"New global commission puts business at heart of sustainable development", News release, Unilever , January 21, 2016, © Unilever
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Bake Mix Entrepreneurs Target Health-Conscious Consumers With A Sweet Tooth

January 21, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Shifting diet trends toward natural, organic, and generally more healthful foods have taken their toll on bake mix brands like Betty Crocker, Duncan Hines and Pillsbury. U.S. sales of cake and pastry mixes fell 8.5 percent in 2015; frosting sales fell 5.3 percent. Meanwhile, sales of organic baking mixes grew more than 15 percent. It doesn’t mean traditional bake-at-home mixes will disappear from store shelves anytime soon (for one thing, they’re a lot cheaper). But their ingredients lists are being reworked to get rid of at least some of the unpronounceables and unrecognizables. Bake mix entrepreneurs focused on natural ingredients are convinced that mixes made with pure ingredients will find their market: health-conscious people with a sweet tooth who hate to waste decadent calories on mediocre treats.
Hadley Malcolm, "Millennial-focused all-natural baking line battling Betty Crocker", USA Today, January 21, 2016, © USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc.
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Unilever's First Foundry Event For 2016 Focuses On Smart Packaging

January 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever announced its first Unilever Foundry event for 2016, which will focus on Smart Packaging. Held on a quarterly basis, the Foundry is Unilever’s platform for collaboration with potential partners and for innovation. AIPIA managing director Eef de Ferrante will present an overview of the latest trends in smart packaging.
"Unilever Foundry Club kicks of 2016 with Smart Packaging", Packaging Europe, January 20, 2016, © Packaging Europe
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