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Nestlé Seeks Advice On Digital Transformation From Young Mentors

September 17, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé believes that its older employees need to better grasp today’s social media trends and technologies if the company is ever going to reach younger generations like Millennials. So what better way to educate those C-level executives – and speed the company’s digital transformation – than by a “reverse mentoring” plan involving social media-savvy young people? The CEO of Nestlé’s Germany division, Beatrice Guillame-Grabisch believes the initiative will help its executives understand “different perspectives from different generations.” Guillame-Grabisch herself has a female mentor in her twenties.
Natalie Mortimer, "How Nestlé is tapping into the millennial mind by embracing reverse mentoring", The Drum, September 17, 2015, © Carnyx Group Ltd
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New Healthier Cookie Varieties From Weight Watchers

September 17, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
U.K. consumers aren’t really turning their backs on sweet snacks, but they are asking that they be made a little healthier. Weight Watchers heard their plea and has come up with an answer. Indulgent Cookies, manufactured for Weight Watchers by Walkers Shortbread, each contain less than 83 calories and 1.1 grams of saturated fat. They also have more fiber, and contain no artificial flavors or preservatives. The three new flavors are made with a mix of butter and rapeseed oil, and contain at least 30 percent less saturated fat than standard butter cookies.
"Weight Watchers Launches New Indulgent Cookies", The Food & Drink Innovation Network, September 17, 2015, © Food & Drink Innovation Network
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Nescafé Tries A Different Online Strategy To Reach Millennials

September 14, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Though it is the leading brand of instant coffee in the U.K., Nescafé is trying to solve a major marketing problem by adjusting its mix of traditional and online ad media to better target Millennials, a group that doesn’t care much for instant coffee. According to Mintel, sales of instant coffee to young people dropped three percent in 2014 and will drop another eight percent by 2020. To slow the exodus, Nescafé is moving its online presence from a traditional Web site to Tumblr. It will continue to use its Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts, along with TV, outdoor, press and radio. “Tumblr has a higher organic reach among Millennials, which is why we decided to expand there,” a Nescafé exec said.
Steve Kaplan , "Nescafé goes after millennials as it becomes first global brand to move online presence to Tumblr", Steve Kaplan Marketing, September 14, 2015, © Marketing Week
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New Quaker Oatmeal Ads Take A More Emotional Tack

September 12, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
PepsiCo-owned Quaker is launching a new ad campaign for its oatmeal brand that emphasizes nutritional preparation for a busy day and busy life. The “Off You Go” theme veers away from the most recent campaign that stressed the functional energy benefit of Quaker Oatmeal. The new campaign tugs a bit at the emotions: one of the ads shows a young girl progressing quickly from the school bus years to college graduation with the help of Quaker products. One of the advertising execs for the campaign said moms say “'Off You Go' to our kids all the time – that final send-off after the mad scramble of the morning.”
E.J. Schultz, "It's Oatmeal Season and Quaker Is Getting Emotional", Advertising Age, September 12, 2015, © Crain Communications
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Unilever Scores High In Sustainability Ratings

September 10, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
An independent system of rating a company's  sustainability record has named Unilever an industry leader in food, beverages and tobacco. The Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) industry group leader report, compiled by RobecoSAM and Dow Jones, measures company performance across economic, environmental and social criteria. Unilever is one of only 24 companies to be named an industry group leader. It achieved a score of 92 out of 100.
"Unilever named as an industry leader in DJSI", News release, Unilever, September 10, 2015, © Unilever
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Hain Celestial Names Conte EVP And CFO

September 8, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
The Hain Celestial Group, Inc., appointed Pasquale Conte as executive vice president and chief financial officer effective September 8, 2015. Conte, who joined the company in July 2009, was named SVP of finance and treasurer in October 2014. His previous responsibilities included managing the company’s worldwide financial planning and analysis. He also played strategic roles in the company’s mergers and acquisitions.
"Hain Celestial Announces Appointment Of Pat Conte As Executive Vice President And Chief Financial Officer", Hain Celestial, September 08, 2015, © The Hain Celestial Group, Inc.
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All-Day Breakfast Launches October 6 At McDonald’s

September 1, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
In a move that might help reverse sagging sales and traffic at their restaurants, McDonald’s franchisees will begin serving breakfast all day on October 6. Items to be offered on the all-day breakfast menu include hotcakes, yogurt parfaits, oatmeal, hash browns, sausage burritos and either McMuffin sandwiches or biscuit sandwiches. The company hopes serving breakfast all day will bring in an extra 200 customers a week. Some franchisees worry that the all-day breakfast plan would make operations more complicated and slow down service.
"McDonald’s All-Day Breakfast Set to Start on Oct. 6", The New York Times, September 01, 2015, © The New York Times Company
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Kroger’s Launches Campaign To Boost Milk Donations To Local Food Banks

September 1, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. retailer Kroger’s announced it is joining a hunger-relief organization, and dairy farmers and milk companies, to encourage grocery shoppers to donate milk to needy families in their communities. Milk is rarely donated to food banks, despite the fact that it is rich in nutrients, including protein. Through the “Pour It Forward” campaign, however, Kroger customers can donate $1, $3 or $5 at check-out to help deliver milk to a local family facing hunger. The company said all donations collected go directly to Feeding America food banks that service the local community where the donation was made. 
"Kroger Encourages Shoppers to 'Pour it Forward' by Donating Nutrient-rich Milk to Food Banks during Feeding America's Hunger Action Month", News release, Kroger, September 01, 2015, © SNL Financial LC/ The Kroger Company
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Lawsuit Claims GMO Deception By Chipotle

September 1, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A California class-action suit claims that fast-casual restaurant chain Chipotle is deceiving customers by serving foods containing GMO ingredients while claiming to be GMO free. Chipotle announced its GMO-free policy several months ago. The suit says Chipotle’s meat, cheese, and sour cream are made using products from animals fed with GMO soy and corn. It also says Chipotle’s soft drinks contain corn syrup made from GMO corn. A Chipotle spokesman said the lawsuit is without merit and loaded with inaccuracies. Most animals used for food in the U.S. are fed with GMO grains, but that doesn’t make them GMO animals.
Dan Mitchell, "This lawsuit claims Chipotle has been deceiving customers", Fortune, September 01, 2015, © Time Inc.
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Breakfast Food Companies Battle It Out Over U.K. Market

August 27, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Though many breakfast food brands have trimmed ad spending in the U.K. market recently, Kellogg’s has tripled spending on products outside of its core line. The result has been a decrease in spending on products like Special K (down 26 percent) and Crunchy Nut (down 12 percent). The company wants its ads to remind shoppers that it offers a “wide, balanced choice of breakfast cereals” that are packed with healthy ingredients such as calcium, protein, vitamins C and D, and whole grains. Weetabix, meanwhile, has boosted spending on the breakfast drink Weetabix On The Go by sixty percent while cutting spending on its cereal line.
Amy North, "Cock-a-doodle-do! Kellogg’s triples ad space spend", The Grocer, August 27, 2015, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Unilever Continues To Invest In Indonesian Manufacturing Facilities

August 26, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever Indonesia said it will spend about $86 million this year to expand its personal care, home care, and food and refreshment factories in the country, regardless of economic sluggishness. The company also said it will spend money to strengthen its distribution and logistics capacity outside the Java region. It recently opened a soy sauce and instant spices factory that will employ 600 workers. “Unilever Indonesia’s investment plans are always long term so that they keep going despite the economic situation,” said corporate affairs director Sancoyo Antarikso.
"Undeterred by bleak outlook, Unilever expands factories", The Jakarta Post, August 26, 2015, © PT. Niskala Media Tenggara
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Unilever Named Top Brand Advertiser In The Asia Pacific Region

August 26, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever was named 2015 Advertiser of the Year in Asia because of its “inspiring innovative brand marketing.” The Spikes Asia Festival of Creativity announced the award, one of dozens the company has won over the last five years for “innovative and creatively bold” brand advertising involving radio, film and other media in the Asia Pacific region. The Spikes Asia event takes place in Singapore and runs from September 9 to 11.
"Spikes Asia Names Unilever as Advertiser of the Year", News release, Spikes Asia , August 26, 2015, © Spikes Asia
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Splenda Dominates Sweetener Market, But Johnson & Johnson Will Sell Product Line

August 26, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Heartland Food Products Group, which already sells sweeteners based on sucralose, will acquire the Splenda product line from Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil Nutritionals business unit for an undisclosed amount. Sucralose recently surpassed aspartame as the sweetener market leader. But despite safety approval by the FDA and more than a hundred scientific studies, sucralose has fallen victim to a rising tide of food activist and consumer sentiment against artificial ingredients. The Center for Science in the Public Interest, for example, now tags sucralose as “caution” instead of “safe.”
Nick Turner, "Johnson & Johnson Will Sell Splenda Sweetener to Heartland Food", Bloomberg Business, August 26, 2015, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Mondelez Investor Says Company Needs To Slim Down Even Further

August 23, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Though snack maker Mondelez has been working hard to cut costs, boost profits and bolster its stock price, more needs to be done, according to one big investor. The company’s profit margin in 2014 was only 12 percent, while the average profit margin in the food industry is closer to 16 percent. Analysts blame pricing missteps since it split from former parent Kraft, as well as inventory buildups and stiffer competition in emerging markets. Activist investor William Ackman, whose company has built a $5.5 billion, 7.5 percent stake in Mondelez, sees more room for fat trimming and is not afraid to voice his opinions. Analysts say expenses could be further cut by reshaping distribution and possibly divesting some business lines that divert resources from the core business: snacks.
Annie Gasparro, "Mondelez CEO Stands By Efforts to Cut Costs", The Wall Street Journal, August 23, 2015, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Panera, Starbucks Go Natural With Their Pumpkin Spice Coffee Concoctions

August 17, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
As the season of jack-o-lanterns and Thanksgiving pumpkin pies approaches, two of America’s top purveyors of pumpkin-spiced caffeine beverages are revving up their “all natural” marketing engines. Starbucks and Panera are advertising newly reformulated pumpkin spice lattes. The new Starbucks recipe ditches the caramel color and features real pumpkin. Panera, meanwhile, on September 9 will start selling a pumpkin spice latte made without artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, preservatives or high fructose corn syrup.
Donna Gordon Blankinship, "Starbucks, Panera tweak pumpkin spice latte formulas", Associated Press, August 17, 2015, © Associated Press
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Asda Announces Campaign Promoting Own-Label Dairy Products Made With UK Milk

August 17, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
UK retailer Asda announced its “Made with British milk” campaign to promote British dairy products. To be launched as soon as possible, the campaign will promote Asda's private-label Cheddar and highlight its commitment to using only UK milk from Arla Foods. Asda announced the program after the meeting between the company's CEO and president Andy Clarke and Arla Foods director Jonathan Ovens.
Kevin White, "Asda launches new “made with British milk” labeling", The Grocer, August 17, 2015, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Anytime Breakfasters Prefer McDonald’s, Subway, IHOP

August 17, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
People who love to eat breakfast more than once a day – a category known as “breakfastarians” -- say their favorite breakfast eatery is McDonald’s. A year-long online survey by a brand perception research service found that 41 percent of adults (over 18) think of McDonald’s, which has dominated breakfast dining for years, as they ponder their next meal. Subway came in second among the anytime breakfast crowd at 34 percent, followed by IHOP (32 percent), Burger King (27 percent) and Starbucks (26 percent). Denny's, Dunkin' Donuts, Wendy's, KFC and Chick-fil-A rounded out the top 10. According to researcher NPD Group, breakfast is the only U.S. restaurant meal time that is growing in terms of visits, and the competition among fast-food and fast-casual eateries is ferocious.
Lisa Baertlein, "McDonald's No. 1 choice for 'Breakfastarians': poll", Reuters, August 17, 2015, © Thomson Reuters
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WhiteWave Opens New R&D Facilities To Handle Healthy Growth

August 16, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Denver-based packaged foods company WhiteWave has built a multibillion-dollar business selling organic milk and plant-based foods. But it has never rested on its laurels. The company quadrupled its market share to $8.8 billion in recent years via a combination of organic growth and $1.7 billion in acquisitions, including brands such as dairy-free So Delicious, Earthbound Farm organic fruits and vegetables, and Vega nutrition bars and shakes. All this growth put a strain on its R&D facilities, however, so it recently opened a 66,000-square-foot Technical Innovation Cente – triple the size of its old Broomfield plant -- that includes a demonstration kitchen, 10 bays for acuity taste-tests, and culinary development areas.
Alicia Wallace, "The state-of-the-art heart behind WhiteWave's future", The Denver Post, August 16, 2015, © Digital First Media
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Florida Grocery Chain Goes Full Tilt Into Online Cake Ordering

August 14, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Florida-based Publix Super Markets is now offering cakes on their Web site that can be picked up at any of their 1,103 stores in six states. The company does not offer wedding cakes as part of the service, because of their intricacy. But customers can order “decadent dessert cakes" or "special-edition cakes" online. Industry analysts say the idea of ordering online has been tried and abandoned a couple of times by Publix and other grocers for logistical reasons. But now retail chains are feeling competitive pressure to provide online ordering convenience as Internet retailers like Amazon.com tiptoe into food ordering and delivery.
John Ceballos, "Publix adds cakes to online ordering service", The Ledger, August 14, 2015, © TheLedger.com
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New Kashi Breakfast Products Are Suited To Emerging Consumer Food Preferences

August 14, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Kellogg-owned Kashi has introduced a couple of new breakfast cereals that tie in with its strategic focus on health and sustainability and dovetail with the latest consumer food trends. The company believes its “Overnight Muesli” and “Organic Promise Sweet Potato Sunshine” will appeal to shoppers who are into “scratch cooking” – the new muesli has to soak overnight to be eaten – and trends toward tradition and authenticity. That means that “good” food is less processed, more natural, traditional and old fashioned. A Mintel analyst said cereals companies have been trying to revive sales by using unusual grains, like quinoa and chia. Of Kashi’s sweet potato-based product, the analyst says, “Why not veggies, too?”
Kacey Culliney, "Kashi develops 'overnight oats' cup and sweet potato cereal", BakeryAndSnacks.com, August 14, 2015, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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2,500 Salaried Jobs Trimmed At Kraft Heinz

August 12, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Kraft Heinz is slashing 2,500 salaried jobs in the U.S. and Canada, including 700 in Northfield,Ill., where Kraft headquarters were located. None of the jobs cut were factory jobs. The cost cutting measure, expected to save $1.5 billion a year by 2017, follows others since Heinz and Kraft merged earlier this year, including elimination of refrigerators full of free snacks at Kraft’s head office. The tightened cost controls are no surprise to Wall Street analysts who say Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway and Brazil’s 3G Capital, who managed the merger, have a reputation for cutting fat from acquisitions.
Candice Choi, "Kraft Heinz Slashing 2,500 Jobs After Merger", Associated Press (U.S. News & World Report), August 12, 2015, © Associated Press
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CPG Ad/Promo Spending In India Jumped In 2nd Quarter

August 11, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
India’s consumer packaged goods companies upped their ad and promotion spend in the second calendar quarter of 2015 to spark sales. Hindustan Unilever Ltd increased ad spending by 22 percent during the quarter, while Britannia Industries Ltd increased 15.6 percent, Emami Ltd 38.1 percent, Dabur India Ltd 15.5 percent and Colgate-Palmolive (India) Ltd 11.08 percent. The increase in ad and promotion spending is also seen as preparation for a sales recovery in the fall, and a result of decreased raw material prices that have not yet been reflected in consumer goods prices.
Sounak Mitra, "Consumer goods makers step up ad spending", Livemint.com, August 11, 2015, © HT Media Ltd
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China’s App-Based Food Delivery Industry Is Booming

August 9, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Startup food delivery companies backed by big investors like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. have tapped into a vibrant market in China, as diners increasingly choose to order in. The app-based startups are providing stiff competition for struggling KFC and McDonald’s that have for years maintained armies of bike- or motorcycle-riding food couriers. New companies like Ele.me and Meituan Waimai that use mobile apps achieve economies of scale by partnering with thousands of Chinese restaurants and other food outlets. In 2014 the startup bike courier companies delivered $15.7 billion worth of food, a 54 percent increase over 2013, according to one research firm.
Laurie Burkitt, "In China, Fast-Food Fight Turns to Delivery", The Wall Street Journal, August 09, 2015, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Wild Harvest Says All Of Its Eggs Will Be Cage-Free By End Of Year

August 5, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Wild Harvest, whose product line includes 300 items “free from more than 100 undesirable ingredients,” said it will only offer eggs from cage-free chickens by the end of 2015. The brand sells more than 38 million eggs a year under 12 product varieties (SKUs). Wild Harvest introduced an 18-count cage-free egg in 2015, along with a free-range, Non-GMO Project-verified 12-count egg package. Wild Harvest is one of the brands offered by the Supervalue family of private brands.
"Wild Harvest Announces Plan to Source 100 Percent Cage-Free Eggs by Year End", News release, Wild Harvest, August 05, 2015, © Wild Harvest
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Kellogg Cereals, Snacks To Be Free Of Synthetic Ingredients By 2019

August 5, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Breakfast cereal giant Kellogg will phase out all artificial colors and flavors in its products by 2019. Paul Norman, president of the North American division of the company, told investors it has been working to remove artificial colors and flavors from its cereal and snack bar lines, and from the Eggo frozen foods as well. Half of Kellogg’s North American products are made without artificial flavors, he said, while 75 percent are made without artificial colors. Over the past year, the company has also introduced reduced-sugar Fruit Loops and Apple Jacks, and a line of mueslis and granolas with simpler ingredients.
"Kellogg to stop using artificial ingredients by 2018", USA Today, August 05, 2015, © USA Today / Gannett
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Cargill Purchase Of ADM Chocolate Business Is Completed

August 3, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Cargill announced it has completed its $440 million acquisition of ADM’s global chocolate business. The company’s cocoa and chocolate business now operates 27 factories in 11 countries with more than 3.000 employees, It manufactures cocoa and chocolate products for confectionery, bakery, dairy, and other applications. In response to European Commission concerns, Cargill will divest ADM’s industrial chocolate production facility in Mannheim, Germany, keeping it as a separate entity until a buyer is found.
"Cargill completes acquisition of ADM’s global chocolate business, deepening service offering to its customers", News release, Cargill, August 03, 2015, © Cargill
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Economizing At Kraft Heinz Reaches Every Level

July 31, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Cost-cutting has begun in earnest at Kraft Heinz, the company that resulted from Kraft’s merger with ketchup maker Heinz. New policies targeting electricity use, travel, and office supplies were implemented first. Jobs are now being trimmed. And at company headquarters in the Chicago area, refrigerators once packed with free Kraft treats like Jell-o and cheese sticks have been taken away. The economizing measures are similar to those CEO Bernardo Hees took at Heinz two years. At Kraft Heinz, Hees plans to cut annual costs by $1.5 billion within two years ago. A new senior management team took over on June 29 and several top Kraft executives, including CFO James Kehoe, got the boot.
Noah Buhayar, "No More Free Cheese Sticks for Kraft Employees in Cost Crackdown", Bloomberg Business, July 31, 2015, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Nestlé To Build Water Bottling Plant In S.C.

July 30, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
McBee, S.C., will be the location of a new bottling plant to be built by Nestlé Waters North America. The $40 million, 200,000 sq. ft. plant, expected to open early next year, could create 50 new jobs in the area. It would operate two production lines that could produce “an average of 60–100 trucks of bottled water” a day. The water source for the plant is located five miles northwest of McBee, and could provide about 3,000 gallons a minute. Nestlé would use around five percent of that.
"Nestlé Waters reveals $40m South Carolina bottling plant", FoodBev Media, July 30, 2015, © FoodBev Media Ltd
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Re-invention Of E-commerce Would Benefit Global Sustainability Efforts

July 16, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever’s U.K. head of “e-commerce capability” says there are huge opportunities for e-commerce companies to contribute to global sustainability efforts. E-commerce is already huge – £320 billion in the U.K., U.S., China, and Germany alone – though it is still in its infancy. Joe Comiskey believes now is the time to begin changing the structure of e-commerce to improve sustainability in ways that would benefit businesses and society as a whole. Both traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers and pure e-commerce players can make logistical and product packaging changes that would benefit sustainability. An “Uber-style re-invention of e-commerce” involving companies and NGOs would “revolutionize public services as well as access to branded products.”
Joe Comiskey, "Why Unilever thinks the time is ripe for an Uber-style reboot of e-commerce", Marketing Magazine, July 16, 2015, © Haymarket
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Lidl Posts Record 2014 Sales Growth As U.K. Shoppers Flock To Discounters

July 15, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
German discount grocery retailer Lidl posted a U.K. sales increase of $1.1 billion in 2014 to a record $6.25 billion. The stellar performance is a solid indicator that price-conscious British shoppers are abandoning mainstream grocery chains in droves. According to Lidl, the 21 percent increase in annual sales was due to growth in new patrons and higher spending from current customers. To accommodate the growth, the company will move its U.K. headquarters from Wimbledon to a much larger facility in Tolworth by 2018.
Edward Devlin, "Lidl sales climb £700m to record £4bn", The Grocer, July 15, 2015, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Global Cheese Market Presents Solid Marketing Opportunities For Major Brands

July 9, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
The global cheese market was valued at $216.3 billion in 2014 and will probably reach $237.2 billion by 2019, but the top five global brands constitute less than 10 percent of that value, according to Canadean research. To improve their positions, Kraft, Philadelphia, President, Sargento and Galbani are creating new strategies, including new product traits, to differentiate themselves from competitors. Contributing factors: the growing and increasingly affluent populations of Brazil, China and India are spending more money on processed foods like pizza, pasta and sandwiches that include cheese; and, fast growth in emerging market retail formats and fast food chains is driving both retail and on-trade sales of cheese.
"Top 5 cheese brands hold less than 10% of global market", Report, Canadean, July 09, 2015, © Canadean Ltd. Part of Progressive Digital Media Group Plc
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Colorado Firm Debuts Line Of Pancake, Baking Mixes – With Probiotics

July 9, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Pancake mix maker FlapJacked says it is the first to market a line of baking mixes that incorporate two trendy ingredients, protein and probiotics. Single-serve, microwaveable Mighty Muffins with Probiotics are rich in both protein (20 grams) and fiber. The muffins are certified gluten-free and non-GMO and provide 220 calories a serving (one container). The new line of mixes fits right in with today’s market trends. One study finds that about 40 percent of consumers are boosting the protein in their diet, while another says protein and probiotics – so-called “good” or “healthy” gut bacteria – are at the top of the list of in-demand ingredients.
"FlapJacked Launches Mighty Muffins, a High Protein, Gluten-Free, Probiotic Muffin That Cooks in Seconds", News release, FlapJacked, July 09, 2015, © FlapJacked
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Starbucks Adds Local Food Items To Its Menu

July 9, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Starbucks is the latest to latch on to a food trend that is rippling through the restaurant industry. Following the lead of chains like McDonald’s, Shake Shack and Firehouse Subs, Starbucks is incorporating locally sourced foods into its menu. In the Washington, D.C., area, for example, Starbucks patrons can buy sweet potato cakes from Delectable Cakery, which also has partnerships with Nordstrom, HoneyBaked Hams and Wegman’s. A few Starbucks stores in New York City have worked out a deal with Bantam Bagels, which provides stuffed bagels from its lone store in Manhattan’s West Village. Industry watchers say the local partnerships give the big chain some local, upscale nuance that appeals to millennials.
Ethan Lascity, "Starbucks is testing a completely new food strategy", Business Insider, July 09, 2015, © Business Insider Inc.
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New Ravioli Products Made With Vegetable-Infused Pasta

July 8, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Italian pasta company Buitoni has unveiled a line of ravioli products that are not only stuffed with cheese, meats and vegetables, the pasta itself is infused with vegetables. The ravioli are made by folding spinach or pureed sweet red pepper into the dough, which is then filled with combinations of spinach, artichoke hearts, ricotta and parmesan cheese, roasted red and yellow peppers, and chicken. The new ravioli products are available in the refrigerated aisles at grocery stores for $7.29 for the 18-ounce or 20-ounce packages.
"Buitoni Introduces Breakthrough Line Of Vegetable-Infused Pastas", News release, Buitoni, July 08, 2015, © Buitoni
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Unilever Partners With WWF To Engage Consumers In Anti-Deforestation Effort

July 7, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever has partnered with British conservation organization WWF to boost consumer involvement to end deforestation globally, especially in Brazil and Indonesia. A basic goal of the one-year alliance is to protect a million trees. The partnership has created a Web site where consumers are invited to pledge their support. In August the partners will launch a social media campaign in the U.K., Brazil, Indonesia and the U.S. to engage consumers in the fight against deforestation. One of the pillars of the Web site’s effort is a campaign to make consumers aware of recycling opportunities in bathrooms.
"WWF and Unilever announce partnership to inspire consumers and help protect a million trees", News release, Unilever, July 07, 2015, © Unilever
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Oreo Jumps On “Slim Snack” Bandwagon

July 6, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
The $3 billion a year (global sales) Oreo cookie brand is shrinking in size, cream filling amount and calories. Sporting what Mondelez calls a “sophisticated” look that it hopes will appeal to former Oreo lovers, the popular treat will be available in mint, classic, and “golden” flavors. The rebranding effort follows in the wake of other rebranded (smaller, more savory) snacks, including Ritz's Crisp & Thins, Triscuit's Thin Crisps and Kraft's Wheat Thins. Analysts don’t see the trend slowing any time soon, and Mondelez hopes the slimmer Oreo will give the company a badly needed shot in the arm. Its North American cookie business wilted in the first three months of 2015.
Brennan Weiss, "Oreo, world’s top-selling cookie, targets ‘lapsed users’ with slimmed-down variation", The Washington Times, July 06, 2015, © The Washington Times, LLC
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Analysis Of Content Marketing Success Depends On The Right Measurement Tools

July 6, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A large majority – 79 percent -- of marketers have no idea whether they are getting a satisfactory return on their digital content marketing investment because they are not tracking it adequately. Kraft Foods digital marketing chief Julie Fleischer says the key to content marketing success is determining what measurements – the “analytic methodology” – provide real insights into spending decisions. Such measurements will help a company determine the impact of content marketing on product sales. That impact can then be compared to the impact of other marketing programs. “Is the proper methodology ROI?  ROAS?  CPA?” asks Fleischer. The key question: “What will it take to prove the worth of your content versus every other form of marketing spend available?”
Ashley Zeckman, "Content Marketing Measurement & ROI Advice From Experts at Kraft Foods & 3M", Top Rank, July 06, 2015, © TopRank Online Marketing
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Papa John’s Hops On “Free-From” Bandwagon

June 30, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Following in the footsteps of fast-food competitors Chipotle, Panera Bread and Pizza Hut, Papa John’s International Inc. says it will spend a small fortune to remove as many as 14 disliked artificial ingredients from its menu items by the end of 2016. It has already eliminated monosodium glutamate (MSG) from salad dressings and trans fats from garlic sauce. On the new shun list are corn syrup, artificial colors and various preservatives used in dipping sauces for pizza and chicken poppers. Pizza Hut announced similar plans a month ago. The initiative will cost Papa John’s about $100 million a year.
"Papa John's spending $100M to clean up menu", MSN, June 30, 2015, © Microsoft
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University Scientists Help Chipotle Develop A Simplified, Healthier Tortilla

June 23, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Scientists at Washington State University are helping the Chipotle restaurant chain improve the quality and nutrition of its tortillas by using a simplified recipe based on a hard white wheat known as Edison. The new tortillas have “sweet and nutty undertones”, according to a representative of the WSU Bread Lab. They are made with organic whole wheat flour, water, oil and salt, a much simpler recipe than the current 11-ingredient version. The wheat used in the flour is fermented with sourdough culture, which leavens the dough without using yeast or baking soda. The Edison wheat variety is disease resistant, produces high yields and is tasty, the WSU scientists say.
Shelby Rowe, "Bread Lab helps Chipotle restaurant chain with tortilla recipe", Goskagit.com, June 23, 2015, © Skagit Publishing LLC
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Burger King’s India Strategy Centers On New Vegetarian Menu Items

June 16, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Burger King faced a puzzling challenge when it decided to open restaurants in its 100th country, India: about half the population does not eat meat. So it’s not likely the Whopper will be a popular menu item. Rather than try to fit a square peg in a round hole, cuisine-wise, the chain decided to adjust to the culture. Burger King reps traveled all over India, gathering intelligence on local food habits. The result? Six varieties of vegetarian sandwiches, vegetarian snackers and other products for non-meat eaters. There’s already a lot of quick-service (QSR) competition in India – from McDonald’s, KFC and Subway – but it’s a huge opportunity. The market is growing at 26 percent a year, and QSR represents only two to three percent of the country’s food industry. Burger King now has 16 restaurants in India, with seven more on the way soon.
Avinder Batra, "Burger King drops tradition for Indian taste buds, gets vegetarian delicacies on its menu", The Economic Times, June 16, 2015, © Times Internet Limited
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Starbucks Abandons Plan To Run Separate Retail Baked-Goods Shops

June 16, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A Starbucks executive says the 23 La Boulange baked-goods shops it acquired three years ago will be shut down because they are a “distraction.” Instead, says Cliff Burrows, the company will expand the brand within its own outlets. Starbucks bought parent company Bay Bread in 2012 for $100 million, hoping to burnish its own lackluster food menu. Although the company said at the time that it planned to open more La Boulange shops, the idea quickly faded because they were “not a sustainable model for Starbucks long term." Food nevertheless is important to the company’s growth strategy as it seeks to transform itself INto something more than a retail coffee chain.
Julie Jargon, "Starbucks to Close Its La Boulange Pastry Shops", The Wall Street Journal, June 16, 2015, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Unilever Expands iBeacons Testing In Partnership With U.K.’s Tesco

June 12, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever is testing the iBeacons technology at London Tesco stores, the biggest experiment by the company that has promised to increase use of the advanced marketing and shopping technology across all of its brands. Unilever customers need to download the Mpulse app to their smartphones to get money-off coupons for Pink and Black Magnum ice cream on a stick. Technology from Urban Airship will power the notifications to shoppers. Dunnhumby will work with Unilever to evaluate how they’re used.
Seb Joseph, "Unilever ties with Tesco to mobilise its ‘biggest’ iBeacons trial", The Drum, June 12, 2015, © Carnyx Group Ltd
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Whole Foods Incurs Wrath Of Its Suppliers With New Product Rating Scheme

June 12, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Natural and organic food retailer Whole Foods is implementing a rating system for products that is angering farmers. Long-time organic suppliers are complaining that the rating system sometimes ranks conventionally-grown foods higher than organic foods. The company says the rating system does not just take into account pesticide use, but also water use and conservation efforts. Whole Foods may be using the new rating system to distinguish itself from the slew of major competitors who are offering organic foods. Meanwhile, organic farmers feel the changes they need to make to earn higher scores will be prohibitively expensive.
Stephen Gandel, "This is why farmers may revolt against Whole Foods", Fortune, June 12, 2015, © Time Inc.
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Whole Foods Will Begin Opening “Streamlined” Stores Next Year

June 11, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market, saddled by a reputation as being too expensive (“Whole Paycheck” or "Whole Foods Markup") and facing stiff competition from specialty grocers and big box retailers, in 2016 will begin opening smaller “streamlined” stores offering lower-priced private-label natural and organic products. The company hopes the new stores, to be called 365 by Whole Foods Market, will appeal to younger shoppers looking for more affordable fresh and locally-sourced foods. The new business unit, located in Austin, Texas, will be headed by Jeff Turnas, a 20-year Whole Foods Market employee.
"Whole Foods Market introduces 365 by Whole Foods Market™", News release, Whole Foods Market, June 11, 2015, © Whole Foods Market
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Taco Bell Execs Obsess Over Millennial Lingo

June 10, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Taco Bell knows who its target customer base is – basically, Millennials – and it wants to make sure its executives speak their language. Millennials have “quirks and traits” that set them apart from earlier generations, including a unique and evolving vocabulary. To better acquaint themselves with their patois, Taco Bell execs are treated to a “Millennial Word of the Week,” chosen by twenty-something employees. An example from one e-mail circulated at company headquarters is the word “lit,” used to describe “a certain situation, person, place or thing as awesome/crazy or just 'happening' in general."
Candice Choi, "'Throwing shade'; Taco Bell execs bone up on youth lingo", SFGate, June 10, 2015, © Hearst Communications, Inc.
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Sandwich And Salad Trends From The Food Channel

June 9, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A Food Channel report, sponsored partly by H. J. Heinz, lists the latest trends –with recipes – for sandwiches and salads. Cauliflower, for example, can be used to make pizza dough, broccoli can be incorporated into the sauce, and roasted asparagus can serve as a topping. The report suggests trying international cheeses such as Italy’s burrata and fontina, or France’s gruyere, on sandwiches, perhaps using the Vietnamese bread banh mi or maybe pretzel bread, brioche, or Hawaiian rolls. And then for trendy foodies, and people suffering from celiac disease, looking for a wheat bread alternative, there’s banana flour – “the newest choice for gluten-free bakers.”
"Foodchannel.com Announces Its Top Ten Sandwich And Salad Trends For 2015", News release, H. J. Heinz, June 09, 2015, © H. J. Heinz
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Barry Callebaut Buys U.S. Nut-Based Ingredients Producer

June 8, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Swiss chocolate and cocoa product manufacturer Barry Callebaut Group said it is acquiring the customer portfolio, brands, recipes, and manufacturing equipment from nut products maker American Almond Products Co., Inc., based in Brooklyn, N.Y. American Almond produces artisanal nut-based ingredients for customers in the chocolate confectionery, pastry, bakery, ice cream and beverages markets. The company produces about 2,000 tons of nut products a year. Its sales in 2014 totaled $15.9 million. A Barry Callebaut spokesman said the acquisition strengthens the company’s market position in “adjacent ingredients products” for its gourmet & specialties and food manufacturers products businesses.
"Barry Callebaut to Acquire Assets of American Almond", Prepared Foods, June 08, 2015, © BNP Media
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Kellogg Deepens Commitment To Mobile Buyer Rewards Program

June 5, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
The three-year-old Kellogg’s Family Rewards program is deepening its commitment to mobile shopping technologies by making it easier for buyers to collect purchase points. The company says it is unique in the consumer packaged goods industry because it uses a combination of retailer frequent shopper integration and receipt scanning to collect points. The program will allow members to collect points by scanning receipts without having to enter product codes. Buyers can also enter points for purchases by linking with retailer frequent shopper cards.Nielsen research shows that more than 60 percent of U.S. households use loyalty programs when making shopping decisions
Michael Barris, "Kellogg on rewarding new ground by tying receipt scanning to points", Mobile Marketer, June 05, 2015, © Napean LLC
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Subway Says No More Fake Caramel Color In Its Roast Beef

June 4, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Subway promises to remove artificial flavors, colors and preservatives from its sandwiches in North America by 2017. The company says the process of “ingredient improvement” has been ongoing for several years. An example is the removal of caramel color from roast beef and ham. It will remove the preservative proprionic acid and replace it with vinegar by 2016. Last year, the company acknowledged it was removing azodicarbonamide from its bread after an online petition noted the chemical was used to make yoga mats. The company’s chief marketing officer says use of simple ingredients is becoming a "necessary condition" to satisfy customers.
Candice Choi, "Eat fresher? Subway also dropping artificial ingredients", The Big Story, June 04, 2015, © The Associated Press
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Nestle Cuts Sodium Content, Artificial Flavors In 250 Snacks, Pizzas

June 2, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé USA has promised to replace artificial flavors and reduce sodium content in 250 products across six brands of snacks and frozen pizzas in the U.S. Brands include DiGiorno, Tombstone, California Pizza Kitchen, Jack's, Hot Pockets and Lean Pockets. The company said it would also add “guidance tools” to food packages to educate consumers on portion sizes and the importance of a balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables. The goal of the changes is to help satisfy consumer demand for “convenient, great-tasting foods that have an improved nutritional profile." Earlier in the year the company announced it was eliminating artificial colors from some chocolate candies.
"Nestlé USA Removes Artificial Flavors, Cuts Sodium in Pizza, Snacks", Nestlé, June 02, 2015, © Nestlé
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