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Coke’s April Fool’s Prank Involves Some Hip New Flavors

April 1, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola played an April Fool’s prank on the media and consumers with an announcement of new flavors of Coke Zero Sugar for the "brunch-loving, superfood-snacking Millennial" members of the “Instagram generation.” The faux flavors announced were Coke Zero Sugar Avocado (with “creamy undertones of amazing avocado”); Charcoal (“loaded with activated charcoal”); and Sourdough “superbly sour and bursting with fermented flavors.” In a statement, Coca-Cola said the new flavors offer the “perfect tasty, sugar-free refreshment” as well as an ideal accessory for social media photos “guaranteed to see the ‘likes’ rolling in.”
"No, Coca-Cola aren't launching Avocado, Sourdough and charcoal flavours", The Mirror, April 01, 2018
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Nestlé Waters NA Makes Progress On Factory Sustainability Efforts

March 30, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Third-party accrediting organization Alliance for Water Stewardship has certified a Nestlé Waters NA factory in Ontario, Calif., along with facilities in Canada, for sustainability achievements. Last week AWS certified Nestlé’s Los Angeles and Cabazon, Calif., factories. AWS is an alliance of businesses, nonprofits, public-sector agencies, and academic institutes. The organization’s audit of the California facilities showed combined savings of more than 54 million gallons of water between 2016 and 2017, according to Nestlé Waters. Eight Nestlé Waters facilities worldwide have met the AWS standard; two more plants in North America are expected to be certified by the end of this year.
Paul Schott, "Nestle Waters factories gain sustainability certifications", Stamford Advocate, March 30, 2018
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Canada Dry Adds Another Flavor Combo To Its Lineup

March 29, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Canada Dry announced the launch of a Ginger Ale and Lemonade flavor, combining real ginger and lemonade made with real juice. The product launch is supported with digital and television ads created by Deutsch and featuring “Ginger Man,” a “likeable guru” offering “guidance on how to taste nirvana.” The integrated campaign comprises national television commercials, audio streaming program advertisements, and an extension across social, digital and media channels. Canada Dry, a brand of Dr Pepper Snapple Group, says it has enjoyed eleven years of growth, thanks to innovation in flavor combinations.
"Canada Dry defies the odds with eleven years of growth in a challenging category", March 29, 2018, © Dr Pepper Snapple Group
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Electric Vehicles Threaten Beverage Sales At Gas Station C-Stores

March 29, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
There’s plenty of time to prepare, but industry watchers see the gradual shift to hybrid and electric vehicles as a dark cloud on the horizon of CPG companies and convenience store retailers. The shift will mean fewer fueling visits at gas station C-stores and a significant drop in purchases of nonalcoholic RTD beverages, according to Morgan Stanley. Energy drink companies such as Monster Beverage would be at the greatest risk – half of Monster’s sales are derived from gas stations and convenience stores – but companies like PepsiCo and Dr Pepper Snapple could also be hurt. Food Dive advised snack and drink manufacturers to look at exclusive partnerships and special product discounts and promotions to attract more people into convenience stores.
Dan Alaimo, "Electric vehicles could hurt beverage sales at the convenience store", March 29, 2018, © © 2018 Industry Dive
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Coca-Cola Supports U.K. Plan To Test Deposit Return Program To Boost Recycling

March 28, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola says it is fully supporting British government plans to test a deposit return program in the U.K. that will include glass, plastic, and metal containers. The company’s vice president for Europe, Julian Hunt, calls the plan a "once-in-a-generation opportunity" to deal with growing worries about plastics by working with the government on package recovery and recycling. Deposit return initiatives elsewhere in Europe have sharply increased in the number of bottles recycled. Current systems in the U.K. had reached between 60 percent and 70 percent of plastic bottles recovered, “but that's not high enough," said Hunt.
Adam Parsons, "Coca-Cola: Bottle return scheme is a 'once-in-a-generation opportunity'", March 28, 2018, © © 2018 Sky UK
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Nestlé SA To Sell Two Brazilian Water Brands To Local Firm

March 28, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé SA’s subsidiary in Brazil has agreed to sell its Sao Lourenço and Petropolis water brands and three factories to Grupo Edson Queiroz for an undisclosed sum. The deal must be approved by antitrust agencies. In addition, Grupo Edson Queiroz will have a license to produce Nestle´s water brand Pureza Vital, and distribution contracts for Perrier, S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna in Brazil. The company owns competitor water brands Indaiá and Minalba.
"Nestle agrees to sell Brazilian water brands to local company", Reuters, March 28, 2018, © Reuters
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Nestle
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Danone Sheds Two-Thirds Of Stake In Japanese Dairy Products Company

March 28, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Danone says it will use the proceeds – $1.66 billion – of the sale of two-thirds of its stake in Japanese probiotics dairy producer Yakult Honsha Co. to reduce debt and invest in organic growth. According to Bloomberg, the discounted stock sale took place after activist fund Corvex Management accumulated a stake in Danone, which is struggling to boost revenue. Danone remains Yakult’s biggest shareholder.
"Danone Sells Yakult Shares at Discount, Raising $1.66 Billion", Bloomberg, March 28, 2018, © Bloomberg
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Coca-Cola Extends Line Of Dasani Sparkling Waters With New Flavors

March 27, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola’s announced it has added three flavors to its Dasani Sparkling water brand, launched in 2014. The addition of pomegranate blueberry, pear kiwi, and original extends the line of zero-calorie, unsweetened, naturally-flavored carbonated waters to 14 flavors that offer a “versatile” alternative to sodas. Dasani Sparkling competes directly with the popular LaCroix brand and with PepsiCo’s newly-launched “bubbly” flavored sparkling water. Sales of Coca-Cola’s Dasani and SmartWater sparkling waters increased by 42 percent in the past five years. Water and non-soda sales, including coffee and tea drinks, grew two percent in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Eric Mandel, "Coca-Cola adds more flavor to its sparkling water portfolio", Atlanta Business Chronicle, March 27, 2018, © American City Business Journals
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Fixing And Managing The Water Supply Offers Opportunities For Businesses

March 22, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé Waters NA chief sustainability officer Nelson Switzer sees two major opportunities that businesses can take advantage of within the $600 billion water industry. First, companies can deploy data and technology to help monitor and deliver water as efficiently as possible. And, secondly, the “massive water infrastructure gap” in the U.S. and around the world needs to be closed. The leaks in the infrastructure are wasting water: anywhere from 18 percent to 40 percent, a range “within the norm for most municipalities in North America.” That presents opportunities for companies to investigate infrastructure leaks, investigate replacement needs, and develop solutions to replace, repair, or bypass the problems. Those solutions are well under way, Switzer says. Many technological start-ups are focused on the water business, and many are part of the Imagine H20 accelerator program.
Mary Ellen Shoup, "Nestlé Waters North America CSO: ‘Water is a Renewable Resource so Long As You Manage the Supply Properly’", BeverageDaily.com, March 22, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Nestle Launches Two Nitrogen-Infused Nescafé Coffee Beverages

March 20, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé has launched a coffee drink in two flavors infused with nitrogen in the U.K. and Ireland. The nitrogen infusion gives Nescafé Azera Nitro’s flavors a smoother taste, according to the company. The Nitro Latte is a creamier version of the drink, made with coffee sourced through the Nescafé Plan, a responsible coffee production and sustainability initiative. Nestlé Professional will offer chilled Nescafé Azera Nitro Americano on tap in British and Irish bars, pubs, restaurants, and across the hospitality sector.
"Nestle Brings Innovative Nitrogen Infused Coffee to the UK – Introducing ‘Nescafé Azera Nitro' Americano and Latte", News release, Nestlé, March 20, 2018, © Nestlé
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Coca-Cola Joins State Dept., Blockchain Firms, In Effort To Reduce Forced Labor

March 17, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola is working with the U.S. government and two blockchain companies on a project whose goal is to use the technology to develop a secure registry for workers to help reduce the use of forced labor. The U.S. Department of State will provide expertise on labor protection to the project. Nearly 25 million people work in forced-labor conditions worldwide, 47 percent in the Asia-Pacific region. For food and beverage companies, the forced-labor problem exists in areas that produce sugar cane. Blockchain technology can create a validated chain of evidence that will encourage supplier compliance with worker contracts. Coca-Cola will conduct 28 country-level studies on child labor, forced labor, and land rights for its sugar supply chains by 2020. Blockchain companies involved in the project include the Bitfury Group and Emercoin.
"Coca-Cola Will Verify Suppliers with Blockchain", Al Jazeera, March 17, 2018, © Al Jazeera Media Network
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Coca-Cola Accepts Study Findings That Bottled Water Contains Micro-Plastics

March 17, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola has accepted the findings of a study that showed that its bottled water Dasani tested by scientists at SUNY Fredonia contained micro-particles of plastic. Dasani was only one of the brands tested: 93 percent of analyzed bottles contained plastic particles. Commissioned by the nonprofit media organization Orb, the study tested 250 bottles bought from 19 locations in Kenya, Indonesia, India, the U.S., Lebanon, Thailand, China, Mexico, Brazil, and Amazon.com. Only 17 bottles were free of plastics. Dasani water sourced in Kenya had the highest concentration of micro-plastics, with 335 pieces for every liter. A Coca-Cola spokesman told the BBC that it maintains very high bottling standards, but microplastics "may be found at minute levels even in highly treated products." There is no evidence that ingesting microplastics can cause harm.
William Osoro, "Coca-Cola Admits Presence of Plastics in Dasani Water", SDE, March 17, 2018, © Standard Media Group
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Kraft Heinz Gearing Up To Enter Healthful Snack Arena With Nut-Based Treats

March 16, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
The burgeoning health and wellness trend in snacks has caught the attention of one of the major players. Kraft Heinz plans to launch healthful snacks that feature nuts as their main ingredient, mainly almonds, cashews, peanuts, and pecans. The planned launches were showcased at the recent Snaxpo meeting in Atlanta, Ga. Prototypes included Korean gochujang-spiced nuts, maple bacon-flavored roasted pecan clusters, and energy balls. In preparation for the entry into healthful snacks, the Kraft Heinz Ingredients business unit has been processing nuts for several years at its plants in the southeastern and southcentral U.S. It will use proprietary salting and roasting techniques to create the snacks. [Image Credit: © Kraft Heinz]
Douglas Yu, "Kraft Heinz Ingredients Eyes Nuts as Snacks to Deliver Health", BakeryAndSnacks.com, March 16, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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STōK Debuts New Cold-Brewed Coffee, Tea Lines

March 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Cold brew beverage company STōK has added two cold brew drinks, including a high-protein coffee, and a range of teas. The new cold brewed teas, dubbed STōK Yerba Mate Cold Brew Teas, will be available in two flavors, Slightly Sweet and Peach. The drinks contain 75 percent more caffeine than standard RTD iced teas. The STōK Protein Cold Brew Coffee contains 16g of protein per serving, the equivalent of “two large eggs and a slice of bacon,” according to the company, which is owned by DanoneWave. The new lines will be available in the U.S. in 48 oz bottles beginning this month.
"Danone-Owned Stok Releases Two New Cold Brew Drinks in the US", FoodBev, March 14, 2018, © FoodBev Media Ltd
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Lucie Austin Returns To Manage Coca-Cola’s South Pacific Region Marketing

March 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola has confirmed that Lucie Austin will replace Lisa Winn as head of South Pacific marketing. Winn, a former Unilever employee who was with Coca-Cola since 2002, became marketing director for the South Pacific region in July 2014. She was responsible for numerous marketing achievements, including the “Color Your Summer” campaign and implementing the “One Brand” in the region. Austin is rejoining the South Pacific team after serving as marketing director from 2008-2013. She went to the U.K. as marketing director for North West Europe and the Nordics (NWEN), then in 2015 became Western Europe marketing director. Winn left the company to spend more time with her family and pursue consulting opportunities.
Nadia Cameron, "Coca-Cola Confirms Returning Marketing Chief Will Lead South Pacific", Chief Marketing Officer, March 14, 2018, © IDG Communications
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Further Localization Of Beverage Portfolio Is Coca-Cola’s Plan For Indian Market

March 11, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
The head of Coca-Cola India confirms that the company plans to introduce domestic  ethnic drinks and fruit juices with a goal of localizing two-thirds of the product line in the country. About half of the portfolio today comprises local brands like ThumsUp, Limca, Maaza, and RimZim that are formulated, produced, and sold in in India. T Krishnakumar said the goal is to have about a third of Coca-Cola’s product in India remain “basically global.” Its plans for juice are based on the realization that Indians “have a huge love for fruits,” he noted. The company’s “Ras Ras Mein India” program involves selecting a fruit in each state and converting it into juice.
"Coca-Cola Plans to Localise 2/3rd of Its Products Portfolio in India", The Economic Times, March 11, 2018, via PTI, © Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.
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N.Z. Okays Merger Of Kraft-Heinz And Cerebos Gregg’s Food, Instant Coffee

March 9, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
As long as Kraft-Heinz divests licenses for some sauce brands owned by Cerebos Gregg’s, the company can acquire the food and instant coffee businesses of the Suntory-owned business, New Zealand’s Commerce Commission has ruled. Under the ruling, Kraft Heinz would have to divest the licenses for the Gregg’s brand of tomato ketchup, steak sauce, barbecue sauce, and the F. Whitlock Worcestershire sauce brand. Cerebos Gregg’s will become part of the Heinz Wattie division. The commission said that without the divestitures the acquisition would “result in a substantial lessening of competition in each of these markets.”
"Kraft Heinz Cleared to Purchase Cerebos Gregg’s from Suntory", FoodBev, March 09, 2018, © FoodBev Media Ltd
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Coca-Cola Fortifies Its Coconut Water Beachhead With New Zico Flavors

March 9, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola is laying the groundwork to be a major player in the soon-to-be $7 billion global coconut water market, adding new flavors to its Zico brand family and building its portfolio of healthful, better-for-you beverages.  The company expects coconut water to be a $1.5 billion market domestically by 2020, though the climb will be a steep one, requiring lots of new customers who may have a tough time getting used to the flavor of coconut water. The solution to the problem is new flavors: it recently added chocolate, watermelon-raspberry, and jalapeño-mango to the line. In addition, newly-announced organic veggie juice-coconut water blends (ZICOCocoLixir) fuse two health-centric drinks: coconut water and cold-press juice. It may seem odd for sugary soda company Coca-Cola, but it says it is simply pursuing the new mission of becoming a “total beverage company” globally.
Kate Taylor, "Coca-Cola Wants to Dominate a $7 Billion Industry with a New Type of Beverage that's Taking Over the World", Business Insider, March 09, 2018, © Business Insider Inc
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Unilever Saves 30% With Its In-House Creative Content Production Agency

March 8, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever, the world's second largest advertiser is reducing the number of its advertising agencies from 3,000 to 1,500, by handling content production with U-Studios, its in-house creative agency. The 17 U-Studios in 12 countries now creates content for some of its brands. Savings are reinvested in marketing and in-store spend. And with online sales increasing by 80% last year, Unilever is also investing heavily in digital, leveraging its in-house People Data Centers for real-time analytics of consumer relationships.
Gideon Spanier, "Unilever claims 30% saving from handling content production in-house", Campaign Live, March 08, 2018, © Haymarket Media Group Ltd.
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Hain Celestial Debuts 75+ New Products At Trade Show

March 8, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Hain Celestial Group said it is unveiling more than 75 new products at Natural Products Expo West, natural, organic and healthy products industry trade show. Among the new products to be featured are Arrowhead Mills Protein Flour and Protein Pancake and Waffle Mix; Bearitos snacks brand’s non-GMO Baked Veggie and Cheddar Baked Corn Puffs; Celestial Seasonings’ Vermont Maple Ginger Herbal Tea and Lemon Lavender Lane Herbal Tea; and Earth's Best Organic brand’s Gentle Infant Formula and Non-GMO Plant-Based Infant Formula. [Image Credit: © Hain Celestial]
"Hain Celestial Features 75 Exciting New Products at Expo West 2018", News release, Hain Celestial, March 08, 2018, © The Hain Celestial Group, Inc.
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If Customers Want Fresh Beef, McDonald’s Will Serve It

March 6, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Beginning in May, McDonald’s will make its quarter-pound hamburgers from fresh beef in a move to satisfy customers who have gotten picky about eating processed food. The move will make logistics more complicated for the company and its 14,000 restaurants who have positioned themselves as the place to go for reliable, fast, cheap and delicious food. The company is convinced its basic business is selling burgers, and if consumers want the better quality – and pricier – offerings at fast-casual chains, McDonald’s will offer that. So, franchisees are installing new refrigerators and containers to store the fresh meat. It’s worth the effort, the company feels, to serve burgers that compete well with fast-casual offerings “without sacrificing the consistency and speed McDonald’s customers expect.” [Image Credit: © McDonald's]
Patrick McGroarty, "McDonald’s Puts Fresh Beef on the Menu", The Wall Street Journal, March 06, 2018, © Dow Jones & Company Inc.
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Will Big Food Get Ahead Of The Niche Curve At Natural Expo?

March 3, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Vexed by consumer preferences evolving toward more-healthful, less-refined foods, and other threats, big manufacturers, retailers and investors have flocked to the Natural Products Expo West – a gathering place for natural, organic, and niche food and ingredient purveyors – to gather hints of what might be the next game-changing food trends. It’s bad enough that Big Food has to deal with rising retailer fees and trucking costs, competition from deep discount food retailers and now even Amazon. There’s also the fact that sales of food made with less-processed ingredients have risen 15 percent since 2014. The top 25 food and beverage companies in the U.S. collectively lost $5 billion in market share to smaller brands from 2012 to 2016. “It’s not a niche thing anymore. It’s mainstream,” said a Kroger exec. “That’s where the customer is going.”. [Image Credit: © Natural Products Expo West]
Heather Haddon et al., "At Food Expo, Companies Jockey for the Next Big Thing", The Wall Street Journal, March 03, 2018, © Dow Jones & Company Inc.
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ConAgra
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Courts Continue To Refine Laws Dealing With GMO Ingredients, Animal Feed

March 2, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Courts in New York (federal) and Massachusetts (state) have ruled that foods made from genetically modified ingredients or fed to animals that provide “end product” foods do not violate federal “all natural” food labeling policies. In a case against Dannon, the court dismissed a complaint that the company’s yogurt labels claiming to be “all natural” were deceptive because federal law does not require that foods from animals fed with GMO feeds be labeled “GMO.” In the Massachusetts case against ConAgra, the court dismissed the case because the plaintiff failed to allege that Wesson oil contains added color, synthetic substances or flavors, or contains anything that would not normally be expected to be in vegetable oil, whether or not the oil was extracted from corn, soybean, or rapeseed grown from genetically modified stock. [Image Credit: © ConAgra]
Nathan A. Adams IV, "United States: Claims That "All Natural" Label Was Misleading Due To GMOs Dismissed", Mondaq, March 02, 2018, © Mondaq® Ltd
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ConAgra
Danone
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Bakery Succeeds With Variations Of One Core Product: The Pretzel Bun

February 23, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Miller Baking Company owner Brian Miller is both pleased and surprised that the company’s flagship product is suddenly garnering a lot of positive publicity. The eight-year-old pretzel bun brand known as Pretzilla was featured in several New York City publications when chef Masa Takayama used it to wrap beef and lamb burgers at his newly-launched Tetsu restaurant. The original baking company that Miller’s family purchased in 1970 used to sell 175 different baked goods in Milwaukee. But it now concentrates on only four core pretzel bread variations sold nationwide: burger buns, mini buns, pretzel bites, and sausage buns. [Image Credit: © Miller Baking Company]
Maggie Overfelt, "Whole Foods, Costco Success Story: 95-Year-Old Business bets it all on the Pretzel Bun", CNBC, February 23, 2018, © CNBC LLC
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Tyson Foods Turns Its Attention To Protein Snacks, While Tackling Food Waste

February 21, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Giant U.S. meat producer Tysons Foods has set its strategic sights on the snack business in a way that will put some of its scraps to good use. A company R&D team was given six months to figure out a way make protein-based snacks from materials that would otherwise go to the landfill. As consumers turn away from sugary snacks, they are buying more protein snacks, creating a $2.9 billion market in 2017. Tyson thinks it can take ingredients like poultry scraps, spent grain from brewers, and vegetable pulp from juicers to create high-protein snacks. Tyson has already begun to branch out from poultry into snacks: its acquisition of Hillshire Brands in 2014 brought with it the jerky brand Golden Island, and Tyson has used the Hillshire name to launch a line of meat snacks. [Image Credit: © Tyson Foods]
Megan Durisin et al., "Tyson Innovation Lab Aims to Turn Scraps Into Snacks", Bloomberg, February 21, 2018, © Bloomberg Finance L.P.
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Despite Hiccup In 4th Q Online Sales, Analysts Don’t See Walmart Losing To Amazon

February 20, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Investors are nervous that a dip in Walmart’s 4th quarter e-commerce sales – the announcement triggered a nine percent stock price drop – could portend an online future in which the mega-retailer plays second fiddle to Amazon. Online sales grew only 23 percent during the holiday quarter. Yet the company continues to forecast 40 percent growth for the current fiscal year, and analysts and industry experts seem to be on board with that. The company’s investments in its website and overall e-commerce operations will begin to pay off later in the year. Walmart also has a substantial brick-and-mortar retail base, something Amazon lacks. A Cowen & Co. analyst said “the future of e-commerce is physical + digital,” a strategy that “will drive a 'productivity loop.'" [Image Credit: © Walmart ]
Lauren Thomas, "Walmart Has Big Year of E-Commerce Investments Planned to Bring Growth Back to 40 Percent", CNBC, February 20, 2018, © CNBC LLC
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Conagra Sells Canadian Del Monte Processed Fruits/Vegetables Unit

February 20, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Conagra Brands announced it is selling its Canadian Del Monte canned fruit and vegetable business to Canada’s Bonduelle Group in a deal worth about US$34 million. A spokesman for Bonduelle said all three of the company's canning facilities in Canada will be “positively impacted” by the acquisition in terms of added jobs. The deal is subject to closing conditions but is expected to be completed before the end of May.  [Image Credit: © Conagra Brands ]
"Conagra Brands Enters Into Definitive Agreement With Bonduelle Group To Sell Its Canadian Del Monte Processed Fruit And Vegetable Business", News release, Conagra Brands, February 20, 2018, © Conagra Brands, Inc.
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Ardent Mills Names New CIO

February 20, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Ardent Mills LLC has named Chris Meyerpeter chief information officer and a member of the company’s senior leadership team. As CIO, Meyerpeter will oversee IT and will be responsible for driving the company’s IT strategy, objectives and goals as well as providing innovative enterprise solutions. A 21-year veteran of Monsanto, Meyerpeter most recently was senior director of information technology-customer digital experience at the St. Louis company. [Image Credit: © Ardent Mills ]
Josh Sosland, "Chris Meyerpeter Named C.I.O. at Ardent Mills", Food Business News, February 20, 2018, © SOSLAND PUBLISHING COMPANY
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Amazon Rewards Whole Foods Shoppers With Access To Prime Visa Benefits

February 20, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Amazon has extended the benefits of Amazon Prime membership to shoppers at Whole Foods Market, its newly-acquired grocery retail chain. Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Cardmembers who shop at Whole Foods Market and use the card to purchase animal welfare-rated meat, sustainably caught wild and responsibly farmed seafood, or any local, Whole Trade, or organic produce will earn five percent bac. The discount is in addition to any other rewards they receive, including five percent back on Amazon.com purchases, two percent back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores, and one percent back on all other purchases. The rewards never expire and are redeemable, as long as the account is open, on millions of products at Amazon.com. [Image Credit: ©   Amazon.com]

"Prime Members Now Earn 5% Back When Shopping at Whole Foods Market Using the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card", News release, Amazon, February 20, 2018, © Amazon.com
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DuPont Enzyme Range Gives Manufacturers New Options For Baked Goods

February 20, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
DuPont Nutrition & Health has introduced a baking enzyme that acts as a strengthening solution to add tolerance and consistency to bread and buns. The DuPont Danisco POWERBake 6000 Dough Strengthener enzyme range was developed to enhance dough strength, but they also offer versatility. Used in combination with other enzymes and ingredients, the products can provide food manufacturers with a variety of new options and capabilities for baked goods. The products enhance the emulsification process; create a synergistic dough strengthening effect; improve tolerance to processing variations and raw materials; increase the volume of the final product; and improve crumb structure and whiteness. [Image Credit: © DuPont Danisco ]
Kevin Kuzma, "DuPont Nutrition & Health Debuts New POWERBake 6000 Product Range at ASB Baking Tech 2018", News release, DuPont, February 20, 2018, © DuPont Nutrition & Health
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Coca-Cola’s CFO Talks About The Company’s New Directions

February 19, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola’s Chief Financial Officer Kathy Waller says the company is responding to health-conscious consumers these days with an expanded product line – “offering beverages for all types of people at all stages of their lives and for a variety of purposes” – and soft drink varieties reformulated with less or no sugar. The expanded product line includes more waters, teas, and juices. Waller says these new options have been in place for a while, though the company was “late” in getting the word out to consumers. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Waller also described the company’s approach to acquiring or developing new products; discussed how to make a 130-year-old company more of a risk-taker and innovator acknowledged that cost-cutting tactics like standardized beverage formulas don’t always work globally; and predicted what the prospects might be for smaller-sized, higher-priced beverage packages.
Jennifer Maloney, "Coca-Cola’s Game Plan: Reformulate and Expand", The Wall Street Journal, February 19, 2018, © Dow Jones & Company Inc.
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Coca-Cola Company
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Coca-Cola Surprises Wall Street With Better-Than-Expected 3rd Q Financials

February 16, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola posted healthy third-quarter profits, revenue, and sales growth, beating Wall Street forecasts on all three fronts. The company is betting it can offset a shrinking market and sagging sales in its core soft drink products with surging revenue from new products, like Coke Zero Sugar. The strongest performing beverages were sports drinks and water, which grew two percent in the quarter, as did coffee and tea beverages, such as Honest Tea. Carbonated soft drinks were stagnant, while juice, dairy, and plant-based beverages slid two percent. Net revenue dropped 20 percent for the quarter thanks to headwinds from the bottler refranchising program. Earnings were dented by a $3.6 billion one-time charge related to new U.S. tax laws. The adjusted EPS was $0.39, beating the analyst forecast of $0.38. Revenue total was $7.51 billion (forecast: $7.37 billion); organic sales growth was six percent (forecast: 3.65 percent).
Lauren Hirsch, "Coca-Cola Beats Earnings, as Coke Zero and other New Drinks Offset Flat Volume", CNBC, February 16, 2018, © CNBC LLC
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Danone Posts Strong Earnings Growth For 2017, Helped By Waters, Nutrition

February 16, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Danone reported a 14.2 percent rise in earnings per share (EPS) in 2017, in line with its guidance, and said it expects to continue the double-digit growth in EPS in 2018. That profit performance was tied to strong growth in its waters and specialized nutrition divisions. The waters division grew by more than 10 percent in the fourth quarter on a like-for-like basis; the specialized nutrition division rose 8.4 percent, with strong performance in China. The company said its food group would focus on accelerating sales growth this year and delivering a further rise in profits, thanks to cost cutting and the acquisition of U.S. organic company WhiteWave. Like-for-like sales in 2017 rose 2.5 percent to $30.95 billion, slightly higher than analysts' expectations of 2.4 percent growth.
Anthony Shevlin, "Danone Tops Profit Views as Water Sales Surge", MarketWatch, February 16, 2018, © MarketWatch, Inc.
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Nestlé Launches Dairy Milk/Coconut Beverage For Sri Lankan Children

February 15, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé has launched a Nespray milk variation in Sri Lanka that features dairy milk and coconut flavor targeted at children. Coco-Up Ready-to-Drink, made with Sri Lankan milk and coconut, contains no artificial colors or preservatives. Nestlé buys milk from close to 20,000 Sri Lankan farmers every day, making it the market leader for local milk-based beverages. It has been manufacturing dairy products in Sri Lanka since 1984. The company is also one of the world’s largest exporters of coconut milk powder, supporting more than 6,000 local coconut growers through its business. Chilled Nespray Coco-Up, priced at $0.92, joins Nespray Fortigrow, Everyday and Nutri-Up products made with local milk.
"Nestle Launches Nespray Coco-Up: Sri Lanka’s First Dairy Milk Beverage with Coconut", News release, Nestlé, February 15, 2018, © Nestlé
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Danone Trims Stake In Yakult, But Expands Collaboration

February 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
French food and beverage giant Danone said it is extending its collaborative relationship with Japanese probiotic beverage company Yakult Honsha Co. to “promote probiotics as part of a balanced diet.” Danone also disclosed that it has agreed to trim its 21.29 percent stake in Yakult to seven percent “in line with capital allocation priorities.” The companies said they would step up efforts to promote probiotics through their Global Probiotics Council, and will expand the Ishoku Dogen program focusing on the link between diet and health. Potential new collaboration projects include testing distribution of Yakult's products by Danone in European markets, starting with Spain.
"Danone Enters a New Phase in its Strategic Partnership with Yakult", News release, Danone, February 14, 2018, © Danone
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McDonald’s Sees Better Quality Chicken As Vehicle For Extending Growth Curve

February 13, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
McDonald’s, which is in the midst of a three-year growth period, is betting that offering “Better Chicken” will keep that growth bubbling along. The company’s plan is to upgrade the chicken items on its menu to achieve a premium status similar to Chik-fil-A. It has already implemented some customer-pleasing changes to its McNuggets and sandwich lines: it has promised to stop serving poultry with antibiotics; removed artificial preservatives from McNuggets; and launched Southern-style sandwiches and tenders coated in a crispy buttermilk breading. It’s a major shift for the decades-old burgers-and-fries company, whose customers see chicken as a healthier protein. "It's definitely a transformational era for McDonald's," said an analyst at Motley Fool. "Chicken is part of that." [Image Credit: © McDonald's]
 
Leslie Patton, "McDonald's Bets that 'Better Chicken' can Keep Growth Run Going", Chicago Tribune, February 13, 2018, © Chicago Tribune
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Hain Celestial’s 2nd Quarter Sales, Profits Increase, But Miss Forecasts

February 7, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Natural and organic food marketer Hain Celestial (Lake Success, N.Y.) posted second quarter profit of $47.1 million on sales of $775.2 million, a five percent increase over the same period last year. Second quarter profit was up 73 percent over the prior year period. But the results missed Wall Street estimates, sending shares on a downward slide, dropping 6.3 percent in morning trading. Nevertheless, CEO Irwin D. Simon said he was pleased with the financial performance and noted that the company continues to look for ways to simplify its brand portfolio and “reduce complexities.” Though net sales for Hain Pure Protein increased four percent to $159 million over the prior year period, the company said it is exploring the divestiture of the business. [Image Credit: © Hain Celestial ]
"Hain Celestial Reports Second Quarter Fiscal Year 2018 Financial Results", Earnings release, Hain Celestial, February 07, 2018, © Hain Celestial
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Coca-Cola CEO Promises Further Innovation, Hints At Further Acquisitions

February 5, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey continues to call attention to his company’s need for ongoing innovation – even if there are some flops along the way – that will bring more consumer beverage choices not involving traditional soft drinks. “We need to learn, move on, and reinvent,” he said, noting that the company accepts the fact that beverages like water, juices, and tea may comprise the portfolio of the future, alongside traditional, and innovative, Coca-Cola soda brands. Quincey realizes that investors are looking for some excitement to rev up the company’s stock price, and even let on that further acquisitions are a possibility. And, significantly, he did not nix the possibility of entering the food or alcoholic beverage markets. “Never say never,” he told a CNN interviewer.
Paul R. La Monica, "Coca-Cola's New CEO: 'We've got to Experiment'", CNN Money, February 05, 2018, © Cable News Network
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Hostess Builds Breakfast Brand Portfolio With Aryzta Acquisitions

February 1, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Hostess Brands said it is completing the acquisition of certain U.S. breakfast assets of Aryzta LLC, including a Chicago Cloverhill bakery, and the Big Texas and Cloverhill brands. Hostess said the addition of the brands to its business portfolio will “add significant strength to our growing breakfast business.” Specifically, Hostess: will gain greater access to the club, vending, cash and carry, and independent convenience stores sales channels; will have an expanded range of offerings in the breakfast category of sweet baked goods, including HoneyBuns, Danish Pastries and Cinnamon Rolls; and will have a 137,000 square-foot bakery facility that makes individually-wrapped Danish pastry. The company expects EBITBA losses in 2018 and 2019 as a result of the acquisition, but EBITBA contributions of $20 million to $25 million by 2020.  [Image Credit: ©   Aryzta]
"Hostess Brands, Inc. Acquires Breakfast Brands and Expands Product Range", News release, Hostess Brands, February 01, 2018, © Hostess Brands
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Danone Manifesto Leads Funding Round For Organic Coconut Water Company

February 1, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Danone’s venture capital unit took the lead in a $30 million funding round for refrigerated premium coconut water producer Harmless Harvest (San Francisco, Calif.), citing its “unique DNA.” The company uses a novel micro-filtration process to produce fresh organic coconut water certified by Fair for Life. Danone Manifesto joined Mousse Partners, Accelfoods, and current shareholders in the round. Harmless Harvest will use the investment to boost production capacity, increase marketing, and expand distribution to “meet growing consumer demand for refrigerated premium coconut water.”
"Danone Manifesto Ventures Invests in Harmless Harvest, a U.S. Leader in the Premium Coconut Water Category", News release, Danone, February 01, 2018, © Danone Manifesto Ventures
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British Produce Firm Acquires Large Stake In Dole Food

February 1, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
European fresh produce company Total Produce announced it has acquired a 45 percent stake in California-based Dole Food Company for $300 million. The equity was acquired from Board Chairman David H. Murdock. Dole generated $4.5 billion in revenue during the year ended in October 2017. The company said the transaction “creates the world's leading fruit and vegetables group with potential to realize synergies.” The Dole management team will continue to operate the business; Total Produce will share governance rights including equal board representation. Murdock will continue as chairman; Carl McCann, chairman of Total Produce, will be vice chairman.  [Image Credit: ©   SEC.gov ]
"Investment in Dole Food Company", Total Produce PLC, February 01, 2018, © Total Produce PLC
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Mondelēz Stake In New Keurig Dr Pepper Enables Future Rewards

January 31, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Snack and candy company Mondelēz International has purchased a 14 percent stake in Keurig Dr Pepper, the company created by the recent acquisition of Dr Pepper Snapple Group by Keurig Green Mountain. The relatively small investment nevertheless gives Mondelez an insider’s perch to watch company performance, according to industry researcher Mintel, which notes that the stake could lead to a boost in investment or outright acquisition. This, in turn, would give Mondelēz a product portfolio that could compete against Nestlé, PepsiCo and other food and drink corporations. “In particular,” Mintel said, “Keurig Dr Pepper would allow Mondelēz to re-enter the fast-growing global coffee market and also to leverage Dr Pepper Snapple’s partnerships with emerging ready-to-drink beverage brands.”
Jennifer Zegler, "Mondelēz Could Emerge as a Winner in the Keurig Dr Pepper Merger", Blog entry, Mintel, January 31, 2018, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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“Blue” Chocolates Debut In Japan

January 31, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Japanese confectionery innovators have developed a naturally blue-tinted chocolate in two tones. Novelty store Village Vanguard said the chocolates come in two styles: one resembling the complex night sky, and the other suggesting the still winter atmosphere “where the air remains clear throughout.” The introduction of blue chocolate follows naturally-pink-colored ruby chocolate, dubbed the “fourth type of chocolate” in the world. Kit Kat Japan commercialized it last year. Village Vanguard said it was difficult to color the chocolates a deep blue. It solved the problem by adding blue-colored herbs from Thailand.  [Image Credit: ©   Oh! Nuts ]
 
Mikelle Leow, "Japan Invents Naturally Blue Chocolates Tinted in Colors of Day & Night Skies", DesignTAXI, January 31, 2018, © DesignTAXI
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Kroger’s Scan, Bag, Go Digital Shopping Service To Expand Nationwide This Year

January 31, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Kroger said it will introduce its Scan, Bag, Go shopping technology this year in 18 operating divisions and 400 stores. The company said it tested the service in several locations and decided to expand its availability across the U.S. through Restock Kroger. Scan, Bag, Go allows customers to use a wireless handheld scanner or the smartphone app to scan and bag products as they shop. Shoppers can view and download digital coupons, keep a running total of their order, and view the current week's sales ad. They can then provide payment directly through the app so they can exit the store quickly.  [Image Credit: © Kroger ]
"Kroger Announces Divisions for Scan, Bag, Go Expansion", News release, Kroger Co. , January 31, 2018, © The Kroger Co.
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Walmart Makes Operational Changes To Speed Stock Replenishment, Delivery

January 30, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart has decided it can compete more effectively with Amazon.com if it shares more investory data with suppliers so out-of-stock items can be replenished more quickly. Formerly available only internally, the company’s On Shelf Customer Availability (OSCA) data information will be shared at the Supplier Growth Forum, a two-day event at Walmart headquarters. The retailer also said it will tighten deadlines for delivery. It is now requiring large suppliers to deliver full orders within a specified delivery window 85 percent of the time or face a fine of three percent of the cost of goods. Previously, large suppliers had to hit a 75 percent threshold to avoid fines. The delivery threshold for smaller suppliers will move to 50 percent, up from 33 percent, effective in April.   [Image Credit: ©   Walmart ]
"Walmart to share inventory data with suppliers in battle with Amazon", Reuters , January 30, 2018, © Reuters
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McDonald’s Beats 4th Quarter Estimates

January 30, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
McDonald’s profit totaled $698.7 million ($0.87 a share) on $5.34 billion in revenue in the 4th quarter that ended December 31. Adjusted earnings were $1.71 per share, which beat the Wall Street forecast of $1.59 per share, as did revenue performance. U.S. same-store sales were up 4.5 percent during the quarter, due mainly to the two-for-$5 special known as McPick 2, to soda promotions, and to new Buttermilk Crispy Tenders. Early in the New Year, the company revived its McDonald's revived its popular Dollar Menu with $1, $2, and $3 items. One retail analyst called value meals a "necessary evil," however, because they lower profits and hurt sales of more expensive items even though they draw more customers.  [Image Credit: ©   McDonald's   ]
Joseph Pisani, "McDonald's Boosted by Value Meals and New Chicken Snack", Chicago Tribune, January 30, 2018, © Chicago Tribune
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Kroger Looks To Bolster “Restock Kroger” Initiative With Executive Changes

January 30, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Kroger announced it is shuffling two management positions to bolster Restock Kroger, a data-drive initiative focused on pricing, personalized communications with customers, and a large revamp of product assortments. The company, the largest collector of food purchase data in the U.S., wants to put that data to competitive advantage as it expands meal- and food-shopping solutions. Thirty-seven-year Kroger veteran Steve McKinney, president of the Fry's Food Stores division, will become senior vice president of retail divisions, effective February 5. Monica Garnes, corporate vice president of produce-floral merchandising, will succeed McKinney as president of the Fry's division. She has been with Kroger for 23 years.  [Image Credit: ©   Kroger ]
"Kroger Names Steve McKinney Senior Vice President of Retail Divisions, Monica Garnes President of Fry's Division", News release, Kroger Co., January 30, 2018, © Kroger Co.
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Tyson Foods Invests In Another Alternative To Livestock-Sourced Protein

January 29, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Meat producer Tyson Foods, which markets about 20 percent of the meat sold in the U.S., has invested in a company whose mission is to eradicate farm-raised protein. The company invested in Silicon Valley-based Memphis Meats, which is trying to grow meat from animal cells, through its venture capital arm, joining Cargill, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Atomico, and DFJ. Memphis Meats CEO Uma Valeti said he hopes his company will benefit from the Tyson and Cargill investments because of their deep knowledge of meat distribution. “They really understand how to scale up,” he says. “They’ll help us learn a lot about getting meat on the shelf.” Tyson has also backed Beyond Meat, which is attempting to replicate the taste of meat with plants. 
Beth Kowitt, "Tyson Foods Has Invested in a Startup That Aims to Eradicate Meat from Live Animals", Fortune, January 29, 2018, © Time Inc.
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Breakfast Biscuits Contribute To Steady Decline Of Breakfast Cereals

January 24, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Breakfast cereal sales are declining as fast as canned soup and cigarette sales, thanks in part to the rise of the simple breakfast biscuit, whose success is typified by Mondelez International’s belVita brand. Since its debut in the U.S. in 2012, sales have doubled to more than $600 million. Marketed as a healthful and nutritious energy boost, European-style belVita has gathered a loyal following as America’s breakfast preferences have changed dramatically. belVita’s sales have grown by double digits every year. On the other hand, breakfast cereal – which remains big business at $8.4 billion annually – has been declining at an annual rate of 2.6 percent over the past four years.. [Image Credit: © Mondelez International ]
Greg Trotter, "How Breakfast Biscuit Became a Cereal Killer", Chicago Tribune, January 24, 2018, © Chicago Tribune
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Food Company Shareholders Submit Antibiotics Resolutions

January 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, a coalition of corporate investors, have each filed shareholder resolutions with three big food companies urging them to stop buying or producing meat raised with antibiotics. The resolutions submitted to McDonald’s Corp., Denny’s, and Sanderson Farms will be voted on at shareholder meetings unless challenged ahead of time. Last year, McDonald’s stopped buying chicken from suppliers who used antibiotics. The new resolution calls on the company to extend the practice to pork and beef. Rivals Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. and Panera Bread Co. already serve chicken, pork, and beef from animals raised without antibiotics.  [Image Credit: © ICCR ]
Lisa Baertlein, "Investors Call on Sanderson, Denny's, McDonald's to Cut Antibiotics", Reuters, January 14, 2018, © Reuters
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