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Cargill Expands Sustainable Cocoa Lineup

June 5, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Cargill announced its Gerkens, Peter's, Wilbur, and Veliche chocolate brands are now available with sustainability and fair-trading certification options, including UTZ Certified, Rainforest Alliance Certified, and Fairtrade certification. Part of the company's expansion of its sustainable cocoa product portfolio, the products highlight the company's commitment of support for sustainable cocoa and chocolate via its Cargill Cocoa Promise initiative. Also, as part of the initiative, Cargill is training farmers in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana and is likely to achieve its target of sourcing more than 100,000 tons of certified sustainable cocoa beans from Côte d'Ivoire by 2015.
"Cargill extends range of certified sustainable cocoa products in North America", Cargill, June 05, 2013, © Cargill
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Cereals Have Added More Fiber, Lost Some Sugar And Sodium, USDA Study Shows

June 4, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
In 2011, ready-to-eat cereals in the United States have 32 percent more fiber content, while their sugar and sodium levels have declined 10 percent and 14 percent, respectively, compared with levels in 2005, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture research. Results of the study, published in the June 2013 issue of Procedia Food Science journal, highlight cereal manufacturers' efforts to improve the "nutrient profile" of their products, according to Kevin Miller, a contributing author to the USDA study and senior nutrition scientist at Kellogg Co.
"New USDA Study Finds More Fiber, Less Sugar & Sodium in Breakfast Cereals", Kellogg Company, June 04, 2013, © Kellogg Company
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New Bottling Plant Signals Increased Long-Term Investment By Coca-Cola

June 4, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola has opened its first bottling plant in Myanmar in 60 years, signaling a long-term investment commitment in the country. The move comes after Myanmar lifted sanctions and enacted a Foreign Investment Law, opening the country to economic involvement by multinational companies. Coca-Cola said it expects to invest $200 million in the country over five years, increasing production capacity, enhancing sales and distribution, and improving marketing and people capacities. The new bottling plant will churn out Coca-Cola and Sprite in 425ml plastic bottles with scripted Myanmar labels. The company aims to reach more than 100,000 outlets across the country in the next six months.
"Coca-Cola Starts Local Production in Myanmar", The Coca-Cola Company , June 04, 2013, © The Coca-Cola Company
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Coca-Cola Company
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Taiyo Receives Health Canada's Nod For Its Sunfiber Ingredient

June 4, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Health Canada approved Taiyo's ingredient, Sunfiber, for use as a dietary fiber source. The agency based its decision on results of clinical studies highlighting the safety and benefits of using Sunfiber as a food ingredient, including the more than 20 percent reduction in postprandial blood glucose levels. Sunfiber is a soluble, transparent, and tasteless dietary fiber the company claims is low in viscosity and improves stability of beverages at different pH levels. Taiyo also says it is resistant to heat, acid, and digestive enzymes. Other benefits claimed by the company include enhancement of mineral absorption and protein use.
"Health Canada approves Sunfiber® as a dietary fiber source", Sunfiber, June 04, 2013, © Taiyo International
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Unilever Joins U.S. Food Waste Control Initiative

June 4, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and other founding participants to launch the U.S. Food Waste Challenge, a program seeking to address food waste in the country. During the launch of the initiative, Unilever announced that, with its Zero Waste to Landfills program, it hit its target of zero non-hazardous waste to landfill, including food waste, from its 22 factories in the country. Also, Unilever said it sourced 36 percent of its agricultural raw materials from sustainable suppliers and producers in 2012.
"Unilever Commits to U.S. Food Waste Challenge as Founding Participant", Business Wire, June 04, 2013, © Business Wire
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Walmart Stands Behind Freshness And Quality Of Produce It Sells In America

June 3, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart announced a 100 percent money-back guarantee program to ensure the quality and freshness of produce the retailer offers its shoppers in the United States. As part of the initiative, Walmart will ensure fruits and vegetables are delivered to store shelves faster by purchasing produce directly from growers. Also, the retailer will maximize its produce experts, distribution facilities, and trucking systems. Walmart also intends to conduct independent weekly inspections of stores that sell produce, and launch Fresh Produce Schools and similar training programs for up to 70,000 associates.
"Walmart Launches Fresh Produce Guarantee in U.S. Stores", Walmart, June 03, 2013, © Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
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Muller Quaker Opens Yogurt Factory In New York

June 3, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Muller Quaker Dairy, PepsiCo, Inc.'s joint venture with Theo Muller Group, opened its yogurt manufacturing facility in Batavia, New York. Employing around 180 people, the facility will function as the company's national production and distribution center for Muller yogurt. U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, company executives, and New York state and local officials attended the opening of the 350,000-square foot facility, which will have three  production lines capable of manufacturing 120,000 cups of yogurt per hour. Yogurt is the fastest growing dairy category in the U.S. and is currently valued at $6.2 billion.
"PepsiCo and Theo Muller Group Open Muller Quaker Dairy Yogurt Manufacturing Facility", PepsiCo, June 03, 2013, © PepsiCo Inc.
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Tyson Foods Acquires California's Circle Foods

June 3, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Tyson Foods, Inc. acquired the assets of Circle Foods, LLC, a manufacturer of frozen and refrigerated handheld Mexican foods, uncooked tortillas, and Indian flatbreads, from Claridge. Operating for the past 25 years, Circle Foods from California is famous for its Nuevo Grille, Tortillaland, and Rotiland brands. Also, its modern production facility in San Diego manufactures private-label products for many customers. Although terms of the purchase deal were not publicized, Tyson Foods said it does not plan to make any significant changes to Circle Foods' management team and business operations.
"Tyson Foods Acquires Assets of California Food Company", Tyson Foods, June 03, 2013, © Tyson Foods, Inc.
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IBM To Apply “Big Data” Technology To Sharpen Dannon’s Product Distribution System

June 1, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Dannon has contracted with IBM Corporation to apply its “Big Data” predictive analytics technology to fine tune Dannon’s product distribution system. The sophisticated cloud-based tool analyzes the mass of available company data, forecasts trends, and provides insights into key marketing and distribution problems. Dannon, in a quest to overtake General Mills and its Yoplait yogurt brand, will use the technology to ensure, for example, that its products are delivered in a timely fashion to consumers, thus reducing the out-of-stock problem that plagues retailers and consumers. The technology will also help Dannon and retailers solve the burgeoning SKU proliferation problem in the yogurt category.
Dale Buss, "‘Big Data’ Fine-Tunes Product Assortments For the Dannon Company", CPG Matters, June 01, 2013, © CPG Matters
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Wendy’s Polishes Its Image – And Raises Prices – Inexpensively By Using Unusual Breads

May 31, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
An analyst from Janney Montgomery Scott says Wendy’s plan to roll out a pretzel cheesburger nationally this summer is part of a broader strategy to convince consumers that its menu is becoming higher quality – e.g., more premium breads – without increasing its own costs. The reasoning is that a unique bun gives a burger the appearance of better quality, and is therefore worth a higher price. Wendy’s goal is to polish its image in an effort to compete with the more upscale Chipotles and Paneras of the world. Janney analyst Mark Kalinowski upped his forecast for sales at Wendy's restaurants open at least a year to five percent – up from two percent – in the third quarter when the Pretzel Bacon Cheese-burger is expected to be released.
Candice Choi, "Wendy's pretzel burger isn't just about taste", Yahoo! News, May 31, 2013, via Associated Press , © The Associated Press
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Leading Consumer Goods Vendors Decide To Less Promptly Pay Advertising Agencies And Other Suppliers

May 30, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Several of the world's leading consumer goods companies are extending their payment period for advertising agencies and suppliers for up to six months. Kraft's former snack food unit, Mondelez International, is adopting a 120-day payment term from July 1, 2013. Procter & Gamble informed its suppliers that payment period will be extended from 45 days to 75 days, which follows similar moves by Johnson & Johnson and Anheuser-Busch InBev. This move by the large corporations signals other marketers are likely to follow, according to American Association of Advertising Agencies chief executive officer Nancy Hill. Pivotal Research advertising analyst Brian Wieser said social media is to blame for this power shift in marketing. Social media has enabled marketers to directly engage with consumers, added Wieser.
Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson , "Consumer giants turn screw on ad agencies", Financial Times, May 30, 2013, © The Financial Times Limited
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Unilever Agrees To Sponsor Sainsbury's Summer Series Of Athletics Events In UK

May 28, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever agreed to become the advertising partner for the Sainsbury's Summer Series athletic games events in the UK. As part of the deal, Unilever will focus its marketing efforts on promoting the biggest athletic events in the country —the Grand Prix and British Championships in Birmingham and the Anniversary Games in London. Unilever's sponsorship deal for athletics has been compared with that of rival Procter & Gamble's long-term partnership with the Olympic Games. Also, the marketing deal signals a return to sports sponsorship for Unilever's Flora brand of spreads and margarine products.
Sebastian Joseph, "Unilever named as top advertiser for Sainsbury's Games", Marketing Week, May 28, 2013, © Centaur Communications Ltd
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Unilever Launches Apprenticeship Programs In UK

May 28, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever launched its 2013 apprenticeship programs business administration and information technology in the South East in England. Recognized by the National Apprenticeship Service as a Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer, Unilever began accepting applications to its Advanced Business Administration and Advanced and Higher IT apprenticeship programs. Unilever's UK apprenticeship programs will employ 20 South East-based young people who will work in the company's UK and global headquarters, supporting the marketing, customer development, supply chain, human resources, and finance departments.
"Unilever launches new apprenticeship schemes in the South East to aid youth employment", Unilever, May 28, 2013, © Unilever
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Food Companies Face Serious Hurdles In Securing Non-GMO Certification For Their Products

May 26, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Amid growing pressure from governments and consumer groups, food companies are working to replace genetically modified ingredients with non-GMO ones. Several state legislatures have approved or are considering bills that would require labeling of food products that contain GMO ingredients. Worldwide, consumers are organizing protests and other mass actions to call on food manufacturers to remove genetically modified ingredients from products or clearly label them as such. Food company thinkThin's experience with replacing GMO ingredients with their non-GMO counterparts and securing certification for its Crunch snack bars from the Non-GMO Project illustrates the difficulties that the food industry faces overall. Also, demand for non-genetically modified materials has led to dramatic increases in prices of non-GMO ingredients, adding more headaches to food companies.
STEPHANIE STROM, "Seeking Food Ingredients That Aren’t Gene-Altered", The New York Times , May 26, 2013, © The New York Times Company
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Croissant/Doughnut Combo Does Big Box Office In New York City

May 23, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A hybrid confection concocted just weeks ago by a famous New York City pastry chef, the “cronut” has caught the attention of foodies, food writers and big media, and is selling faster than they can make them at Dominic Ansel’s Soho Bakery. The cronut – a marriage of the croissant and the doughnut –  is made from sheeted pastry dough and deep fried. It actually looks like a tall doughnut on the outside, but the inside reveals flaky layers. The $5 pastry is stuffed with vanilla cream, rolled in sugar and topped in icing. According to food writer Julie Zeveloff, the cronut she tried – a few hours out of the oven – was a little gooey, but “pretty good”.
Julie Zeveloff and Kevin Smith , "We Tried The Half-Doughnut, Half-Croissant Pastry That New Yorkers Are Going Crazy For: Here's The Verdict", Business Insider, May 23, 2013, © Business Insider, Inc
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Campbell Agrees To Buy Organic Baby Food Brand Plum Organics

May 23, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Campbell Soup Co. agreed to acquire Plum Organics, a provider of high-end, organic foods and snacks for babies, toddlers, and children. Based in Emeryville, California, Plum Organics is the number 2 organic baby food brand in the United States and the number 4 brand in the U.S. baby food market, which is currently valued at $2 billion. Campbell's acquisition of the company will enable it to expand its core categories of meals, snacks, and beverages, as well as gain access to a new generation of consumers.
"Campbell to Acquire Plum Organics, a Leading Premium, Organic Kids Nutrition Company", Business Wire, May 23, 2013, © Business Wire
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McDonald’s: When In Rome, Do As The Romans Do, With A Pasta Salad

May 23, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Italy’s iconic pasta maker Barilla has partnered with McDonald’s to add some of the zest and health benefits of the Mediterranean diet to the fast-food giant’s menu. A number of McDonald’s restaurants in the country will offer a pennette pasta salad with tuna, tomatoes, peppers, capers, olives and oregano. The chief executive of the Barilla Group said the pasta salad was a way of moving the McDonald's menu "ever nearer to the Mediterranean model of eating". A McDonald’s executive said the pasta salad was "a key step in the process of embracing the tastes, flavors and habits of the Italians".
Lizzy Davies, "McDonald's joins forces with 136-year-old pasta firm in Italy", guardian.co.uk, May 23, 2013, © Guardian News and Media Limited
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Unilever Boosts Support Of U.S. Military Veteran Training By $70 Million

May 23, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever has enhanced its partnership with a consumer packaged goods marketing agency to expand training of U.S. military veterans to provide services to Unilever. The company will invest $70 million to support Advantage Sales and Marketing training of 300 veterans, many of whom will be hired by Unilever into its sales organization. ASM trains veterans in merchandising, retail selling and in-store execution. More than 800 ASM employees provide services to Unilever’s customer development organization in sectors that include supermarkets, hypermarkets, drug, and discount stores.
"Unilever and ASM Commit to Training and Hiring More Than 300 U.S. Military Veterans by 2015", News release, Unilever, May 23, 2013, © Unilever
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Nestlé Expands R&D Facility In Singapore, Expands Focus On Asia-Pacific Markets

May 22, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé expanded its research and development center in Singapore that will allow the company to focus more on its fastest-growing markets in the Asia-Pacific region. Employing around 100 scientists from 17 countries with specialties ranging from mechanical engineering to microbiology, the R&D center will play the lead in the company's innovation efforts for its Nescaféand Milo beverages. Nestlé's CHF 4 million investments in the expansion will create 20 new jobs in 2013.
"Nestlé expands research and development facilities in Singapore", Nestlé , May 22, 2013, © Nestle
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PepsiCo’s New Pricing Scheme Shrinks The Difference In Everyday And Holiday Soda Prices

May 22, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Reuters reports that PepsiCo is implementing what it calls a “hybrid everyday value” strategy whose aim is to shrink the difference between its soda prices on holidays and regular days. Discounts will be smaller on holidays, and everyday prices will be lowered to garner more buyers. PepsiCo tested the strategy in several U.S. markets and will gradually roll it out this summer. A PepsiCo Americas Beverages exec said the new pricing strategy is important because the company has been “way too dependent on deep discounting 12- and 24-packs of our drinks during the holidays”.
"PepsiCo rethinks U.S. pricing to attract more everyday buyers", Reuters, May 22, 2013, © Thomson Reuters
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Danone Partners With China Mengniu Dairy In Latest Stab At China's Yoghurt Market

May 20, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
French dairy company Danone invested €325 million in two business agreements with China Mengniu Dairy Co. Ltd. as part of its efforts to increase its share of China's dairy market. Danone's previous attempts to expand its business in China's €2 billion yoghurt market, which the company expects to more than double in the next five years, have failed. Mengniu also expects to benefit from its deal with Danone, which it expect to help ease local consumers' concerns over quality following the 2008 scandal involving melamine-laced milk in China, which is Danone's fourth-largest market after Russia, France, and the United States. As part of the deal, the companies will form a joint venture between Danone and state-owned food company COFCO, Mengniu's biggest stakeholder.
Donny Kwok and Astrid Wendlandt , "Danone hopes to crack China with new dairy deal", Reuters , May 20, 2013, © Thomson Reuters
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Bakery Franchiser Uses Advanced Analytical Tools To Grow Its Business

May 20, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Montana-based franchiser Great Harvest Bread Company is using sophisticated market analysis software to spotlight market gaps and potentially profitable locations for new bakeries. The software, developed by Esri Location Analytics, combines a business analysis solution with segmentation data to quickly perform detailed market analysis. Great Harvest Bread has 220 franchisees in 43 states baking handcrafted breads made with freshly ground whole wheat flour purchased from family-owned farms. The flour must be used within two days to guarantee good taste and nutritional value.
"Great Harvest Bread Company Creates a Recipe for Success with Esri Location Analytics", News release, Esri, May 20, 2013, © Esri
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Campbell Soup's Share Price Soars, Driven By Colder-Than-Usual Winter And Rivals' Fortunes

May 19, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Shares of Campbell Soup Co. rose 37 percent to $47.63 as of March 2013. Analysts, including those at Credit Suisse, have raised their quarterly earnings forecasts, believing that an unusually cold winter would boost soup sales. Also, bankruptcy-related problems of rival Hostess Brands also boosted Campbell's Pepperidge Farm bakery business. Campbell's strong stock market performance is driven by the acquisition of rival H.J. Heinz Co. by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and a Brazil-based investment firm. Campbell's reliable revenue performance, which does not seem to be affected by economic cycles, has also made the company popular among investors and market analysts.
SPENCER JAKAB, "Campbell Looks a Little Thin These Days", Wall Street Journal, May 19, 2013, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc
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McDonald’s Prunes Its Menu To Speed Up Service

May 18, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
McDonald’s is trimming its menu in an effort to address customer complaints about slow service, according to an internal e-mail obtained by Bloomberg. The restaurant’s current menu has 145 items – 70 percent more than in 2007 – and many of the offerings are very labor intensive, putting a strain on staff and lengthening service times. So far the company has eliminated the Angus Burger, Fruit & Walnut salads and Chicken Selects. Others slated for possible elimination, according to the e-mail, are Caesar salads, the McSkillet Burrito, the Southern Style Biscuit and steak bagels. A recent survey of fast-food patrons found that menu variety ranked below food quality, cleanliness, value and service as important restaurant attributes.
Leslie Patton , "McDonald’s Seen Overhauling U.S. Menu From 145 Choices", Bloomberg, May 18, 2013, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Producing Own Tea Pod Machines Offers Unilever Opportunity To Grow Tea Business Further

May 17, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Creating its own tea pod machine could help Unilever grow its tea business further and ensure it contributes significantly to the fast-moving consumer goods company's objective of reaching €80 billion in revenue by 2020. In the company's financial report for the first quarter of 2013, Unilever said revenue from its tea business grew by mid-single digit rate. There is, however, a potential threat to Unilever's market dominance coming from Joh A Benckiser's planned acquisition of DE Master Blenders. In March 2013, Unilever announced a partnership with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters for the use of Lipton capsules in Keurig machines. Unilever needs to partner with an appliance manufacturer to develop its own tea machines and ensure opportunities for long-term growth, according to Euromonitor International.
Analyst Insight by Hope Lee, Senior Analyst-Beverages, "Unilever: Is Creating its Own Tea Pod Machine a Risk Worth Taking?", Euromonitor International, May 17, 2013, © Euromonitor International
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Vietnam's Coffee Culture Presents Some Challenges For Starbucks

May 17, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Sales at Starbucks Corp.'s flagship store in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, have exceeded expectations since its opening in February 2013, according to company CEO Howard Schultz. Unlike in other Asian markets where Starbucks often had to introduce coffee drinking to a local population used to drinking tea, Vietnam has had a long history of coffee drinking. Coffee culture in Vietnam dates back to the 19th century, when the Vietnamese adopted the habit from French colonizers. So, while Starbucks adopted local design to create a Vietnamese flavor to its first store in the country, some local consumers assert the company needs to do more, such as using drip filters on top of coffee mugs, like the locals do. Starbucks assert, however, that its offering goes beyond coffee drinking; after all, the company is also known for the ambience of its coffeeshops.
JAMES HOOKWAY, "Starbucks Brings Its Culture to Vietnam", Wall Street Journal, May 17, 2013, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc
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FDA Approves Nutritional Ingredient That Enhances Coronary Blood Flow

May 17, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
After approval of Nitrosigine by the FDA as a New Dietary Ingredient, functional nutrition ingredients maker Nutrition 21 has begun marketing the source of inositol-stabilized arginine silicate demonstrated to significantly improve coronary blood flow. In preclinical studies, Nitrosigine demonstrated superiority over arginine in blood flow markers and silicon absorption. Arginine is a natural metabolic donor of nitric oxide, while silicon benefits connective tissue and bone health. Nitrosigine will be marketed to dietary supplement providers in the sports nutrition, cardiovascular health and men’s health categories. Results of a clinical study are expected in the third quarter of this year.
"Nutrition 21 Unveils NDI Nitrosigine", Nutraceuticals World, May 17, 2013, © Rodman Media
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Will The “Taco Waffle” Catch On In The Booming Fast-Food Breakfast World?

May 16, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
At Taco Bell, a taco needn’t necessarily be a fried, folded tortilla packed with beef, beans and lettuce. It can also be a waffle, folded to look like a tortilla, and packed with scrambled egg, sausage and syrup. The company has been testing the new 89¢ Waffle Taco in restaurants in Southern California, according to USA Today, but has been fairly quiet about it until recently. Its introduction is timely: breakfast is the fastest growing category in the fast-food business. The company says the product is now generating social media buzz; if it catches on it will roll out to all Taco Bells that serve breakfast this summer. There are some doubts about the product’s viability. Culinary expert Andrew Smith says, "It's really just breakfast with a taco name. What's so taco-ish about that?"
Bruce Horovitz , "Taco Bell hopes diners will say, 'Yo quiero Waffle Taco'", USA TODAY, May 16, 2013, © USA Today
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Guam Native Introduces The World To Gourmet Chamorro Pancakes And Waffles

May 16, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A native of Guam has created a business in San Diego, Calif., selling a gourmet pancake and waffle mix based on an old Chamorro recipe. The mix marketed by Elaine Babauta’s SweetStacks Inc. since 2007 can be found online and in restaurants and stores in the San Diego area, and someday in stores in Guam. When blended with wet ingredients (i.e., eggs, milk, butter), the mix becomes a fluffy pancake batter that is “distinctly different from what you normally find on store shelves”. For one thing, it is so sweet, there is no need for syrup. And it is versatile enough to use for other kinds of treats. The company recently introduced a blueberry flavor version containing whole fruit.
Lacee A.C. Martinez , "Guam pancakes & waffles: Local woman sells Chamorro mix in the states", Guam Pacific Daily News, May 16, 2013, © www.guampdn.com
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Nespresso Coffee Farmers In Colombia Have Higher Income And Productivity Levels, Study Shows

May 16, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Coffee farmers who are participating in Nespresso's AAA Sustainable Quality Program in Colombia have better socio-economic conditions, including higher income, better living conditions, and enhanced farm productivity, according to a study by CRECE. Developed in partnership with the Rainforest Alliance, the program aims to produce high-quality green coffee while improving sustainable farming practices and helping promote the welfare of coffee farmers. Results of the study also showed program farmers have a net income more than 40 percent higher than those of farmers not participating in the program in 2011. Higher income lets coffee farmers invest in more fertilizers and resilient coffee varieties, the study also revealed.
"Coffee farmers in Nespresso sustainability programme enjoy better economic and social conditions, study finds", Nestle, May 16, 2013, © Nestle
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GLG Life Tech Partners With China National Cereals, Oils, And Foodstuff To Promote Stevia Products In China

May 15, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
GLG Life Tech Corp. entered into a strategic collaboration deal with China National Cereals, Oils, and Foodstuff Corp. for the Chinese market. A number of months in the making, the collaboration will focus on developing products that will help promote health food and beverage products and improving the health and welfare of consumers in China. Also, the partners announced that their collaborative efforts will focus on healthier food and beverage products, technology, and investments. GLG said it expects the official letter of intent to be signed the coming weeks, detailing the areas of partnership. China is one of the countries with the largest populations of people with diabetes, with about 90 million diagnosed with the disease and approximately 200 million classified as obese.
"GLG Life Tech Corporation Announces Planned Collaboration With China National Cereals, Oils, and Foodstuff Corporation ("COFCO")", GLOBE NEWSWIRE , May 15, 2013, © GlobeNewswire, Inc
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Otis Spunkmeyer’s New Whole Grain Cookie Dough Meets USDA School Lunch Guidelines

May 14, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
The fundraising division of the Otis Spunkmeyer baking company is offering a reformulated – healthier and sweeter – “guilt-free” version of its frozen chocolate chip cookie dough to organizations that sell baked goods to raise money. The dough now uses more whole grain flour, along with “decadent’ Barry Callebaut chocolate chips. A  cookie made with the dough has 30 percent fewer calories from fat, less than 10 percent calories from saturated fat and less than 30 percent sugar. The company claims that the whole grain formula meets new USDA school nutritional requirements.
"Otis Spunkmeyer® Fundraising Re-Introduces Reduced Fat Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Now Made with More Whole Grain", PRWeb, May 14, 2013, © Vocus PRW Holdings, LLC
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Bird Flu And Unsafe Chicken Cause Yum! Brands' 29 Percent Sales Dive In April 2013

May 13, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Yum! Brands Inc., owner of the KFC fastfood chain, reported that same-store sales in China dropped 29 percent in April 2013. Concerns about the safety of KFC's chicken and the spread of bird flu in China prompted customers to stay away from KFC restaurants. KFC's efforts to offer localized dishes is working against KFC's brand, which is driven by the taste of its friend chicken and which is what made Chinese consumers fell in love with the restaurant chain in the first place. Also, KFC is feeling the pressure from U.S.-based competitors McDonald's Corp. and Burger King Worldwide Inc., which are expanding their China operations. Reports about high levels of antibiotics contained by locally sourced chicken also harmed KFC's sales and profit, which Yum forecast to decline by mid-single digit rate in 2013. In contrast, net income increased 21 percent to $1.6 billion in 2012.
Liza Lin, Leslie Patton , "Yum’s 29% Sales Collapse in China Goes Beyond Avian Flu", Bloomberg News, May 13, 2013, © Bloomberg L. P.
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Cheese Cakes: An Emerging Trend At California Weddings?

May 13, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Wedding cheese cakes are all the rage among California’s brides, according to the forgivably partisan California Milk Advisory Board, a PR unit of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Cheese cakes are taking their place, says spokesman Jennifer Giambroni – she did not cite any market data in her news release – among the other wedding dessert options, which include the traditional multi-tiered cake, and the more recent fads, cupcakes and cake pop-ups. She notes that there are more than 250 kinds of California cheese to choose from, and a wedding cheese cake “offers the perfect way to create a dessert as unique as the honored couple”.
Jennifer Giambroni, "Trending Now: California Wedding Cheese Cakes ", News release, California Milk Advisory Board, May 13, 2013, © California Milk Advisory Board
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Supreme Court's Ruling Favors Monsanto In Patent Infringement Case Against Farmer

May 13, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
The U.S. Supreme Court voted unanimously that Indiana farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman infringed on Monsanto's patent when he planted soybeans genetically modified by the company that he did not buy from the agribusiness vendor. Written by Justice Elena Kagan, the ruling states that "patent exhaustion does not permit a farmer to reproduce patented seeds through planting and harvesting" without permission from the holder of the patent. Contrary to what Bowman had thought, Monsanto cared about his unauthorized reproduction of the company's genetically modified seeds. The court ruled against Bowman, and the Supreme Court confirmed the lower court's ruling.
Mark Memmott, "Supreme Court Rules For Monsanto In Case Against Farmer", NPR, May 13, 2013, © NPR
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Unilever Launches Public Offer To Increase Stake In Hindustan Unilever

May 9, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever said its public offer to increase its stake in Hindustan Unilever, the company's subsidiary in India, will begin on June 21 and close on July 4, 2013. The company seeks to acquire 48.7 crore shares of HUL at 600 rupees a share, a 21 percent premium over the prevailing price of R497. Announced on April 30, the plan would see Unilever increase its stake from 52.48 percent to 75 percent. Shares of HUL have risen 18 percent to close at R586.70, which prompted market analysts to forecast that not many shareholders are likely to sell their shares due to the narrower premium, as well as due to tax considerations.
"Unilever's open offer for 48.7 cr HUL shares commences on June 21", The Financial Express, May 09, 2013, © The Indian Express Limited
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Tesco's Soon-To-Be-Sold U.S. Retail Unit Launches New Lunch And Dinner Products

May 9, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Tesco's American subsidiary, Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, launched more than 45 new lunch products, including salads, wraps and sandwiches, and dinner items, such as chicken enchilada and Swedish-style meatballs. Made at Fresh & Easy's Kitchen and delivered to stores daily, some of the products are aimed at refreshing the retailer's takeout lunch options for customers. Meanwhile, Tesco has confirmed its plan to sell the company and that it has received offers or expression of interest to purchase the still losing retail business.
Dean Best , "US: Fresh & Easy launches lunch, frozen NPD", Just-food.com, May 09, 2013, © just-food.com
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Wal-Mart Spends $16.3 Million On Food Safety Measures In China

May 9, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it is investing 100 million yuan, or $16.3 million, to improve food-safety management at its retail stores in China. Government officials in that country launched crackdowns on violators of food safety rules following public furor over several well-publicized food safety scandals. Wal-Mart plans to expand mobile food-safety laboratories to manage third-party providers of food-quality tests at 70 stores owned by the company across China's southern Guangdong province. In 2011, Chongqing government officials accused the retailer of mislabeling regular pork products as organic pork, making them more expensive. The incident prompted heightened food safety awareness for Wal-Mart, which also plans to improve employees' food safety training and hire more retail compliance experts.
LAURIE BURKITT, "Wal-Mart Invests $16.3 Million in China Food Safety", Wall Street Journal, May 09, 2013, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc
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Whole Foods Posts 22 Percent Increase In Net Profit In First Half 2013

May 8, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market reported net profit increased 22 percent in the first half of 2013, pushed by higher sales and improved capital management. Sales rose 14 percent to $6.9 billion during the period, with comparable-store sales 7.1 percent higher and identical-store sales up by 6.8 percent. Co-CEO John Mackey said the retailer's strong sales performance highlighted the fact Whole Foods has performed better than the U.S. grocery market overall. The natural and organic retailer is lowering its prices to shift from its high-end market position and compete better with conventional supermarkets.
Katy Askew , "On the money: Ambitious Whole Foods steals share", just-food.com, May 08, 2013, © just-food.com
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Wrigley Puts Alert Energy Gum Production And Sales On Hold

May 8, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
William Wrigley Jr. Co. suspended production and sales of its Alert energy gum as the United States Food and Drug Administration investigates the safety of caffeinated food products. Wrigley's launch of the new chewing gum coincided with the FDA's announcement of a probe into the effects of caffeinated products on children and adolescents. Caffeine has become a popular ingredient in food products, including hot sauce and beef jerky, prompting consumer advocates to be concerned that people could end up consuming too much of the stimulant. Government regulators have increased their focus on potential over consumption of caffeinated products among children. In November 2012, the FDA said it has launched a probe into whether energy drinks posed health risks to young people.
JULIE JARGON, "Wrigley Suspends Production, Sales of Energy Gum", Wall Street Journal, May 08, 2013, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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India's Economy Is Not As Rosy As It Looks, Some Analysts Say

May 8, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Despite market data that seems to encourage multinational corporations, such as Unilever and GlaxoSmithKline, to invest in India, the country's economy is not as strong as it seems. India has more than 1 billion potential consumers who are spending more than before, while sales of fast-moving consumer goods are forecast to grow 17 percent each year until 2015, according to ICICI Securities analyst Anand Mour. India's gross domestic product, however, is forecast to grow about 5 percent for the year ending March 2013, which is the lowest for the country in a decade. Inflation rose at an annual rate of 10.4 percent in March, while the government's populist policies may be artificially driving demand. India's government provided up to $48 billion in subsidies for fuel, fertilizer, and food during the year.
Abheek Bhattacharya, "Beware the Indian Consumer's Charms", Wall Street Journal, May 08, 2013, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Unilever's Partnership Deal In South Africa Helps Reduce Need For Imported Sunflower Oil

May 6, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever's sunflower farming partnership in Limpopo Province, South Africa, is helping the consumer goods company meet 20 percent of its oil requirements in the country. Aside from helping reduce Unilever's reliance on imported sunflower oil, the company's partnership with Central Edible Oils Company and third-party verification company Control Union is helping it achieve its sustainability goals. Unilever also said that it is sourcing more than one-third of its agricultural raw materials sustainably, a significant progress in the company's goal of achieving 100 percent sustainability by 2020.
"Unilever partnership set to reduce imports of sunflower oil", Bizcommunity.com, May 06, 2013, © Bizcommunity.com
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California Homemade Food Law Frees Would-Be Entrepreneurs To Pursue Their Passion

May 5, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Since the California Homemade Food Act took effect on January 1, dozens of “cottage food operators” have emerged across the state. The new law is a boon for fledgling entrepreneurs – often people knocked out of the work force by the recession – pursuing their passion for baking and other culinary endeavors. The red tape burden on these home-based food companies is minimal: city permit and business license, attendance at a food safety class, passing a state exam from the county department of environmental health, product labeling, and an annual kitchen inspection. However, the law limits annual gross sales to $35,000 this year, rising to  $50,000 in 2015 and beyond. Thirty-two other states have passed similar laws.
Laurie Lucas, "RETAIL: New law encourages sales of homemade food", The Press Enterprise, May 05, 2013, © Enterprise Media
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Low-Carb Pita Breads And Lavash From New England Bakery

May 4, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Massachusetts pita bread and lavash specialist Joseph’s Bakery is now offering low-carb versions of its bread and other baked goods. Besides wraps, lavash and pitas, the bakery produces sweet muffins, pizza dough, pancakes and tortillas. Shoppers can select classic white pita bread or low-carb white pita bread, or lite soy protein pita bread, flax bread, oat bran, and whole wheat pita bread. The company offers seven varieties of tortilla, from traditional white to a flax/reduced carb tortilla. The certified organic bakery uses 100 percent whole wheat, multigrains, flax (with omega 3 fatty acids), oat bran, and plant sterols. It also offers gluten-free products that are low in carbohydrates.
"Lavash, Low-Carb Bread, Pita Bread, and More: Joseph's Bakery Offers Healthy Baked Goods That Don't Sacrifice Flavor", News release, Joseph's Bakery, May 04, 2013, © Joseph's Bakery
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High-Protein, High-Fiber Chocolate Bars Introduced

May 3, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
French dietetic ingredient producer Laboratoire PYC unveiled a high protein, low-sugar weight-control chocolate containing fiber. The chocolate products, available in three flavors, are packaged in 35 g bars containing 10 g of protein, 300 mg of sugar and seven grams of fiber. The company says the chocolate bars help control hunger. Laboratoire PYC is the nutritional division of SOLINA, a company that offers solutions combining ingredients, nutraceuticals and aromas.
"Laboratoire PYC Launches High Protein Dietetic Chocolate", Nutrition Horizon, May 03, 2013, © CNS Media BV
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Unilever Seeks Greater Control Over Indian Unit Hindustan Unilever

May 2, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever is investing $5.4 billion to boost its ownership and control over Hindustan Unilever Ltd., which last year achieved a 37 percent increase in earnings selling brands custom-designed to appeal to Indian consumers. Competition in the $42 billion Indian market for beauty, home care and packaged food products is fierce. Competitors like P&G and Colgate-Palmolive (CL) Co. are pushing hard to gain market share, though so far Hindustan Unilever has a lock on the consumer products market. With the investment, Unilever hopes to increase its stake in Hindustan Unilever from 52.5 percent to 75 percent by offering shareholders a 21 percent premium – an “obscene valuation” according to analysts – over the current price. If completed, the transaction will be Unilever’s biggest since its 2000 purchase of Best Foods Ltd.
Adi Narayan & Matthew Boyle , "Unilever Wagers Billions on India Economic Revival", Bloomberg, May 02, 2013, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Kellogg Fails To Meet Analyst Forecasts For First Quarter 2013

May 2, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Kellogg reported net income of $311 million for the first quarter of 2013, down from $351 million of the same quarter in 2012. Total revenue for the period, however, increased 12 percent to $3.86 billion, helped by the Pringles acquisition. It fell short, however, of the $3.94 forecast by analysts, according to FactSet. Shares of the company fell 1.8 percent, or $1.19, to $63.42. Sales in the United States declined 1.7 percent, while international sales rose 2.6 percent in Europe, 7.4 in Latin America, and 0.3 percent in the Asia-Pacific region.
"Kellogg profit falls on higher costs but company stands by full-year outlook", Washington Post, May 02, 2013, via Associated Press, © The Associated Press
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Unilever’s New Social Media Platform Will Enhance Marketing Collaboration, Creativity

May 2, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Consumer goods giant Unilever is implementing a global social media platform that will allow its in-house marketing teams to collaborate on marketing projects more easily with international third-party agencies. According to a senior marketing vice president, the platform provides marketers with the tools needed to develop and build brands in local markets, and “frees up our team to create more magic” by engaging with consumers. Consulting firm Accenture managed the installation of the platform, Salesforce’s Chatter.
Ronan Shields, "Unilever boosts international collaboration with social roll out", Marketing Week, May 02, 2013, © Centaur Communications Ltd (a member of the Centaur Media plc group)
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Greek Yogurt Maker Sues Kroger For Fraud, Breach Of Contract, Stealing Trade Secrets

May 2, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. natural foods company Tula Foods said it is suing The Kroger Co. and flavor supplier Edgar A. Weber & Company (aka Weber Flavors) alleging that Kroger failed to meet manufacturing specifications for Tula’s Better Whey of Life yogurt, a Greek yogurt product line. Besides its retail stores, Kroger manufactures products for other companies under the name Inter-American Products. The complaint says Kroger knew it wasn’t meeting Tula’s production specifications, releasing “poor-quality, unappetizing yogurt into the market anyway”. The complaint also alleges that Kroger misappropriated trade secrets, using them to make its own brand of Greek yogurt.
"Tula Foods, Producer of Better Whey of Life Greek Yogurt, Sues Kroger and Weber Flavors in Suit Alleging Fraud, Breach of Contract, and Misappropriation of Trade Secrets", Reuters, May 02, 2013, via Tula Foods , © Thomson Reuters
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Hain Celestial Posts Strong Sales And Profit Gains For Fiscal 3Q 2013

May 2, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Hain Celestial Group, Inc. reported net sales increased 21.4 percent to $456.1 million in the third quarter ending March 31, 2013, from the same period of the previous year. GAAP net income increased 68.9 percent to $40.7 million. The company also reported GAAP earnings per diluted share from continuing operations of $0.87, an increase of 61.1 percent. Adjusted earnings per diluted share increased 28.6 percent to $0.72, while adjusted EBITDA increased 27.8 percent to $216 million for the 12-month period. Worldwide net sales for the quarter increased 21.4 percent to $456.1 million from the $375.8 million of the previous year period.
"Hain Celestial Announces Record Results For Third Quarter Fiscal Year 2013", Hain Celestial , May 02, 2013, © The Hain Celestial Group, Inc
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