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Stevia Increasingly Finds Its Way Into Big Food’s Reformulations

September 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Consumers concerned about obesity and diabetes are more attentive to healthful dietary and fitness regimens. The trend, along with a spate of governmental levies on sugar, has inspired food and beverage companies to reformulate products. Among the new ingredients being used is the natural low-calorie sweetener stevia. Since 2012, new food with stevia has increased 57 percent; drinks are up 161 percent. In the second quarter of 2017, new product launches using stevia rose 13 percent year on year, researcher Mintel found. It was widely used in new carbonated soft drinks and juices, which represented nine percent of worldwide launches containing stevia in that period. Big suppliers using the ingredient include Coca-Cola, Danone, Kraft Heinz, Nestlé, PepsiCo, and Unilever.
Daniel Selwood, "War on sugar drives continuing growth for stevia lines", The Grocer, September 09, 2017, © William Reed Business Media Ltd.
Domains
FOOD COMPANIES
Coca-Cola Company
Danone
Kraft Foods
Nestle
PepsiCo
Unilever
Geographies
Worldwide
EMEA
Europe
United Kingdom

Despite A History Of Flops, Starbucks Continues To Tinker With Food

September 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coffee shop chain Starbucks hasn’t had much luck selling food – cake pops, truffle mac and cheese, avocado toast, etc. – along with its ever-popular coffees. It’s been a bit of a logistical problem – stores don’t have kitchens – but also a cultural one: customers are conditioned run in grab a cup of joe, and leave. But now it is testing, at a few stores in Chicago and home base Seattle, what it calls a sushi burrito, though it doesn’t contain raw fish. The chicken maki roll comprises cooked chicken, pickled cabbage, and avocado, rolled in sushi rice and wrapped with seaweed. The biggest hurdle? The so-called “classic California burrito with a twist” just isn’t a hot meal.  [ Image credit: ©  Starbucks ]
Abha Bhattarai, "Starbucks Wants To Sell You a Sushi Burrito with Your Frappuccino", The Washington Post, September 08, 2017, © The Washington Post
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FOOD COMPANIES
Other
Geographies
Worldwide
North America
United States of America

E-Commerce Start-Up LifeAid’s Brands Appearing In Stores In Western U.S.

September 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Fast-growing LifeAid Beverage Co. says it will use the cash it raised in two recent funding rounds to help it expand further from e-commerce into traditional retail. The company’s products are now being sold in the natural and conventional grocery channel, including Safeway stores in the Southwest U.S., and in stores in its Southern, Houston, Portland, Denver and NorCal divisions. The company’s 2016 revenue was $12.8 million; the three-year growth rate was 1,903 percent. The company’s line of "better-for-you" supplement blends include FitAid, FocusAid, PartyAid, TravelAid, GolferAid, FitAid Fuel Pouch, and a limited channel distribution product FitAid Rx.
Martín Caballero , "LifeAid Making Gains In Transition to Retail", BevNET.com, September 08, 2017, © BevNET.com
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Other
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United States of America

Non-GMO Certification Is Mostly Meaningless, But Could Harm Farmers Globally

September 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Mondelez International, whose Nabisco unit produces Triscuit snack crackers, is so far unfazed by the huge social media backlash that greeted its announcement regarding certification by the Non-GMO project. Applied across the entire line of Triscuit products, the certification was termed “pandering to ignorance and fear” by critics. A Forbes contributor took the criticism further, panning the Non-GMO Project itself for failure to say anything meaningful about a product or its ingredients on their labels, including whether it is healthful, environmentally sound, or whether the workers and farmers who produced it had good working conditions. “Slapping a no-GMOs claim on a product might be an easy way to capitalize on a popular trend,” she says, but it could lead to consumer rejection of genetically engineered farming, which would adversely affect farmers across the globe. [ Image credit: © Triscuit.com  ]
Kavin Senapathy, "Stop 'Pandering To Ignorance And Fear': Consumers Speak Out Against Triscuit's Non-GMO Label", Forbes, September 06, 2017, © Forbes Media LLC
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Other
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United States of America

Coca-Cola NA Chief Says Company Will “Do Fine” Over The Long Term

September 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
In a recent presentation at the Barclays Global Consumer Staples Conference, Coca-Cola NA President Sandy Douglas said the company is seeing “a bifurcated consumer environment” in which the upper part of the economy is healthy and vibrant, there are expectations for healthy investor performance, and there’s a possibility of tax relief. But the bottom half is struggling, and that affects purchasing habits, trips to the stores, etc. A beverage company like Coca-Cola can “weather the storm” because it can segment the market and “execute with our bottlers to take advantage of the opportunities where they are.” Over the long term, she said, “we're going to do fine.”
"Coca-Cola (KO) Presents at Barclays Global Consumer Staples Conference (Transcript)", Presentation transcript, Seeking Alpha, September 05, 2017, © Seeking Alpha
Domains
FOOD COMPANIES
Coca-Cola Company
Geographies
Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Coca-Cola CEO Says Focus Is Beverages Now, But Could Be Snacks In Future

September 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
In an interview conducted while on a visit to India, Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey emphasized the company’s current strategies: further extending the beverage product line beyond the Coke brand; expanding globally but also locally by empowering local managers in, for example, India and Southwest Asia; and fostering growth by giving consumers in every country and region “what they want.” Quincey said Coca-Cola is focusing mainly on beverages for now, but does not rule out other avenues of expansion. That includes “things like food, snacks or whatever” as long as they “create value and help us build a better company.”
Ashish K Tiwari, "Coca-Cola sees India among top three markets: James Quincey", Daily News & Analysis (India), September 04, 2017, © Diligent Media Corporation Ltd
Domains
FOOD COMPANIES
Coca-Cola Company
Geographies
Worldwide
Asia-Pacific
India

Australia Grants Coca-Cola A Patent For Can-Molding Technology

September 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Australia has granted Coca-Cola a patent, applied for five years ago, for a technology that uses blow-molding to form metal beverage cans. The patent – “System and method for forming a metal beverage container using blow molding” – is effective as of December 31, 2012, and is valid until December 31, 2032.
"Australia: The Coca-Cola Receives Patent for 'System and method for forming a metal beverage container using blow molding'", Australian Government News, September 02, 2017, © HT Media Limited
Domains
FOOD COMPANIES
Coca-Cola Company
Geographies
Worldwide
Asia-Pacific
Australia

Some Wall Street Experts See Coca-Cola Buying Out Monster Beverage

September 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Wall Street observers, including experts like The Street founder Jim Cramer, think there’s a very good chance that Coca-Cola will buy energy drink maker Monster Beverage. The company, which already owns 16.7 percent of Monster, could see a buyout as a way to advance its portfolio expansion strategy – including through acquisitions – while gaining a larger share of the U.S. beverage market. It would also like to reverse declines in soda sales – down 16.7 percent year-over-year in the 2nd quarter – and lackluster stock value gains caused in part by the tidal wave of consumer interest in more healthful foods and beverages.
"Is Coca-Cola Mulling Over the Buyout of Monster Beverage?", NASDAQ , September 01, 2017, © The NASDAQ, Inc.
Domains
FOOD COMPANIES
Coca-Cola Company
Geographies
Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Metro AG Posts Strong 3Q Sales

August 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
German retail and wholesale company Metro AG (Düsseldorf) reported an increase of 2.6 percent in like-for-like sales in the third quarter, along with an increase of 4.9 percent in overall sales to $11 billion. The company attributed the healthy numbers to “positive currency effects” as well as its acquisition of Pro a Pro, a French foodservice distribution specialist. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) reached $256 million compared to $81 million in the same period last year. Chief executive Olaf Koch said the financial results, the first since the demerger of Metro Group, indicate that the company has “become more relevant for our customers worldwide.” [ Image credit: © Metro AG  ]
"Metro with strong like for like sales growth in Q3", Earnings release, Metro AG, August 31, 2017, © Metro AG
Domains
FOOD COMPANIES
Retailers & Private Label
Geographies
Worldwide
EMEA
Europe
Romania

PepsiCo Launches Organic Version Of 16-Year-Old Energy Drink Brand

August 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Launched in 2001, PepsiCo’s AMP Energy brand was due for a reboot. A new version – AMP Energy Organic – was unveiled recently exclusively in U.S. 7-Eleven stores in four fruit flavors. The old version will be available only in the original citrus flavor. The launch campaign – “Organically Unstoppable” – targets adults 18 to 34 with a limited-time free sample offer for 7-Eleven loyalty app users. There will also be in-store promotions, and digital and social media ads that will emphasize geo-targeted mobile and short, shareable video content. The focus on 7-Eleven is an acknowledgement of the chain’s dominance in energy drink sales. [ Image credit: © PepsiCo  ]
Karlene Lukovitz, "PepsiCo's Lagging AMP Energy Gets Organic Reboot", MediaPost, August 31, 2017, © MediaPost Communications
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PepsiCo
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Yoga Guru’s Firm Patanjali Ayurved Takes On Indian Bottled Water Giant Bisleri

August 30, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Patanjali Ayurved, an Indian FMCG company established by yoga guru Ramdev, is launching a brand of spring water sourced from the Himalayan foothills to compete with Bisleri, which controls 24 percent of India's bottled water market. Divya Jal will be introduced during the autumn festival of lights known as Diwali, and will rollout nationwide over the next three to six months. The company set a sales target for 2018-2019 of Rs. 10 billion ($156 million). NourishCo, a joint venture of Tata Global Beverages and PepsiCo India, also sells drinking water purportedly sourced from the foothills of the Himalayas.
"To Counter Bisleri, Ramdev's Patanjali is All Set to Launch 'Divya Jal’", Times Now News, August 30, 2017, © Bennett, Coleman & Company Limited
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FOOD COMPANIES
Other
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Worldwide
Asia-Pacific
India

Canada Dry Successfully Tests Programmatic Audio-Video “Mindset” Campaign On Spotify

August 30, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Canada Dry’s successful recent ad campaign with Spotify and Adobe was based on the assumption that Millennials and young consumers take breaks in the mid- to late-afternoon to listen to streaming audio – “a moment to kick back.” The spring campaign used programmatic voice-over audio spots, in-app display, video, and sponsored sessions aligned to “listening occasions” on Spotify. The Adobe Advertising Cloud’s demand side platform was used to outline the campaign parameters and to place the buy. The campaign was successful enough for Canada Dry to tack on private marketplace (PMP) inventory for other campaigns as well.
Kelly Liyakasa, "Canada Dry Pilots A Converged Programmatic Audio-Video Ad Buy On Spotify", AdExchanger, August 30, 2017, © AdExchanger.com
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Other
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Discount Grocer Aldi Gives Big Midwest Competitors A Good Run For Their Money

August 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Data from grocery market researcher Shelby Report show that discount retailer Aldi is making headway in the Midwest against big players like regional retailers and Walmart. Aldi’s market share for its 45 stores in the Kansas/Missouri area was 2.8 percent of total retail sales (all commodity value) of $10.27 billion, compared with 1.5 percent in 2016. Market share in the $13 billion Missouri/Illinois/Indiana/Kentucky market increased from 2.4 percent to 4.4 percent; in the $10.88 billion Minnesota market it grew to 3.2 percent; and in the $18.79 billion Ohio/West Virginia/Kentucky market, it grew to 2.9 percent from 1.6 percent in 2016. [ Image credit: © Aldi  ]
Tom Karst, "Aldi Sees Market Share Gain", The Packer, August 28, 2017, © Farm Journal, Inc.
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FOOD COMPANIES
Retailers & Private Label
Geographies
Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Coca-Cola Broadens Product Portfolio In Kenya With Juice Launch

August 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola Central East and West Africa is applying Coke’s “total beverage company” product diversification strategy on the continent with the launch of the Minute Maid Pulpy Orange brand in Kenya. The company also says it is investing $30 million in Hot Fill technology in its juice production facilities. The Pulpy Orange product contains real juice and pulp, but no added preservatives, Hot Fill technology uses heat to sterilize both the PET bottles and the juice, ensuring high hygiene standards and longer shelf life. The company plans a nationwide ad campaign supporting the product launch.
Victor Amadala , "Coca-Cola to invest Sh3 billion in new juice segment", The Star, Kenya, August 25, 2017, © The Star, Kenya
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FOOD COMPANIES
Coca-Cola Company
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Worldwide
EMEA
Middle East- Africa
Kenya

Farmer-Owned Dairy Co-op Posts Higher Revenue So Far In 2017

August 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
European dairy cooperative Arla reported a three percent rise in revenue in the first half of 2017, thanks to a long-awaited upturn in prices. The co-op expects to hit full-year targets for profit and a full-year revenue increase of nearly $1.2 billion. Global milk prices recovered in the first half of the year, after nearly three years of low prices. Arla said the higher prices were the result of lower or steady milk production compared to last year in dairy-producing markets, plus improved demand in Europe, the U.S., and emerging markets. Arla is owned by 11.200 farmers in Denmark, Sweden, the U.K., Germany, Belgium, Luxemburg and the Netherlands. [ Image credit: © Arla  ]
"Half Year Results 2017: Higher Returns for Farmer Owners", Earnings release, Arla, August 25, 2017, © Arla Foods
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Other
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EMEA
Europe
Denmark

Nutrient-Rich Milk Added To Nestle’s Line Of Enhanced Foods In India

August 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé India is adding another product to its growing line of micronutrient-fortified products, a further step in the strategy of making products sold in the country more healthful. The Nestlé a+ milk brand, expected to hit grocery store shelves “soon,” follows the launch of other fortified foods in India, including noodles and cereals for children. Nestlé recently launched iron-fortified Maggi Noodles, the Nutrilicious range of breakfast Maggi Noodles, the Ceregrow line of junior cereals, Maggi Masala-e-Magic, the RTD beverage Milo, Grekyo yogurt, and a+ Pro-Grow milk. The Indian government has asked food companies to increase the healthfulness of their food offerings.
Meenakshi Verma Ambwani, "Fortified milk, the latest offering from Nestle India", The Hindu Business Line, August 24, 2017, © The Hindu Business Line
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FOOD COMPANIES
Nestle
Geographies
Worldwide
Asia-Pacific
India

Campbell Ramps Up Online Delivery Infrastructure For Evolving Retail Environment

August 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Though the percentage of food sold online today is in the low single digits, by 2021 it will be a $66 billion business. Campbell Soup is determined to part of that phenomenon.
It recently announced the hiring of Amazon (and eBay and Kohl’s) veteran Shakeel Farooque to lead the new e-commerce division. This “revealing” hire, as Quartz put it, underscores the company’s goal of selling more soup online. Campbell says its new distribution centers will operate differently from its warehouses that keep supermarkets stocked. The new distribution centers will focus on e-commerce only, customizing delivery of foods for different channels, whether meal kits or online grocery orders. [ Image credit: © Chef'd  ]
Chase Purdy, "Even Campbell Soup is taking a Page from Amazon", Quartz, August 24, 2017, © Quartz
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Campbell's
Geographies
Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Consumer Trends, Other Factors, Dampen Coke, Pepsi Production In India

August 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Citing two “industry insiders,” the Economic Times of India reports that bottling plants associated with Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are producing at only 40 to 50 percent of capacity, as more consumers spurn carbonated soft drinks. Another factor affecting soft drink sales is increased competition from “a proliferation of B-brands.” Sales growth has dipped to low single digits for seven quarters, and is further affected by newly-implemented GST levies of 40 percent on aerated beverages. However, production of juices, juice-based drinks, sports drinks, etc., is running at optimum capacity. Both companies are focusing on producing more non-aerated drinks.
Ratna Bhushan, "Coca-Cola, PepsiCo hit hard by slow growth in soft drinks segment", The Economic Times, August 24, 2017, © Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd
Domains
FOOD COMPANIES
Coca-Cola Company
PepsiCo
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Worldwide
Asia-Pacific
India

Coca-Cola Hellenic Outlines Plans For Irish, Other, Markets

August 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The Coca‑Cola Hellenic Bottling Co.’s “Our Way Forward” report lays out a long-range global business strategy – inside and outside the bottle – with emphasis on plans for Ireland and Northern Ireland. The report reiterates the overall corporate plan to offer a portfolio of beverages that spans the spectrum of consumer desires, including the one for less sugar. Other plans include: greater ingredients transparency on labels; evolving beverage recipes, with a focus on low- or no-sugar; and launching functional drinks offering nutrition and hydration. In Ireland, a continued emphasis on promoting “zero” sugar will increase “Hero Zero” cola sales to 55 percent or greater by 2020.
"The Coca‑Cola System Launches a New Business Strategy across the Island of Ireland", News release, Coca‑Cola HBC, August 23, 2017, © Coca‑Cola HBC Ireland Ltd
Domains
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Coca-Cola Company
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Worldwide
EMEA
Europe
Ireland

Coca-Cola’s Australian Business Hits Rocky Patch, But Sees Signs Of Rebound

August 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola Amatil of Australia says its six-month financial performance, including a 29 percent slide in half-year profit, was due to weak soft drink and water sales, increased competition, and discounts. Sales were down 3.9 percent from 2016, revenue fell 5.1 percent, and underlying half-year earnings dropped 13 percent. The company hopes that the introduction of Coca-Cola No Sugar and Keri Juice Blenders in June will spur a rebound. Managing director Alison Watkins already sees reason for optimism, especially “a steady improvement since [the first months of the year] and a return to more normal conditions."
"Coca-Cola Amatil Pins Hopes on New Drinks", Special Broadcasting Service Corporation, August 23, 2017, © SBS
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Coca-Cola Company
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Worldwide
Asia-Pacific
Australia
Fiji
Indonesia
New Zealand
Papua New Guinea

Big Beverage Companies In Singapore Commit To Sugar Reduction

August 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Seven companies that account for 70 percent of the sugar-sweetened soft drinks and other beverages sold in Singapore have agreed to limit their products’ sugar content to 12 percent at most by 2020 help achieve the government’s goal of reducing diabetes. The commitment by Coca-Cola, F&N Foods, Malaysia Dairy Industries, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Pokka, and Yeo Hiap Seng, is expected to reduce sugar consumption from soft drinks by as much as 300,000 kg a year. About 400,000 people live with diabetes in the country. The agency says 60 percent of total sugar intake comes from sugary soft drinks, juices, coffees, and teas.
Rachel Arthur , "Beverage giants pledge to limit sugar content of drinks in Singapore", Beverage Daily, August 23, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
Domains
FOOD COMPANIES
Coca-Cola Company
Nestle
Other
PepsiCo
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Worldwide
Asia-Pacific
Singapore

Amazon Launches Business Grocery Delivery Service

August 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon.com is expanding the coverage of its AmazonFresh grocery delivery service to include business customers. Similar to the company's grocery delivery service for consumers, the Amazon Business service for business customers will feature access to produce and groceries from the company's online store and local shops with same- or next-day delivery.
Taylor Soper, "Amazon Rolls Out AmazonFresh Grocery Delivery Service for Business Customers", GeekWire, August 23, 2017, © GeekWire, LLC
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Retailers & Private Label
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Coca-Cola To Fund Search For Solutions To Citrus Greening Disease

August 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
With nearly all commercial orchards in Florida infected with citrus greening, a bacterial plant disease caused by an insect, Coca-Cola company announced it is funding collaborative research between Bayer and a nonprofit citrus research organization to find solutions to the problem. A Bayer crop scientist said unless such a solution is found, the Florida citrus industry could be dead within 10 to 15 years. Researchers will try to identify biological disease control solutions, or compounds that control the plants’ immune defenses. Bayer will have the rights to development and commercialization of any discoveries that result from the research.
Journey Staff, "Coca-Cola Supporting Research Partnership to Combat Citrus Greening", News release, the Coca-Cola Company, August 23, 2017, © The Coca-Cola Company
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Coca-Cola Company
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

McDonald’s To Work Toward Antibiotics-Free Meat

August 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
McDonald's announced it will phase out use cattle and pigs raised with antibiotics important to human medicine. It has already begun phasing out antibiotics-raised chickens in its 14,000 U.S. restaurants and the 36,000 locations globally. Meat suppliers in the McDonald’s supply chain will still be allowed to use ionophores antibiotics because they are not used to treat humans. [ Image credit: © Union of Concerned Scientists  ]
Samantha Bomkamp, "McDonald’s Vows to Serve More Antibiotic-Free Meat, Targeting Beef and Pork", Chicago Tribune, August 23, 2017, © Chicago Tribune
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FOOD COMPANIES
Other
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North America
United States of America

Unilever Tests High-Tech Direct-To-Consumer Marketing Scheme

August 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever’s Hellman’s mayo brand is working with the Quiqup on-demand delivery app and platform in a direct-to-consumer marketing test. Users will be able to choose a recipe, then have all of the ingredients delivered to their door within an hour. Hellman’s is betting that consumers will appreciate the free time provided by the service. Quiqup, a member of the Unilever Foundry’s network of start-ups, developed the concept that is targeted at Millennial shoppers in London who are likely to make “impulse purchases.” [ Image credit: © Quiqup  ]
Jennifer Faull, "Unilever’s Hellmann’s to deliver ‘Impulse’ Groceries in First Direct-To-Consumer Tests", The Drum, August 23, 2017, © Carnyx Group Ltd
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Unilever
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Worldwide
EMEA
Europe
United Kingdom

Kind Expands Into Fruit Bite Market With Premium, All-Fruit Products

August 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Snack bar company Kind LLC is entering the $2.3 billion fruit snacks market with gummy fruit bites containing no added sugar. As established food companies have struggled to grow, Kind has managed to ride the healthful snacks wave using natural ingredients and transparent packaging to $1 billion in annual sales. Kind’s fruit bites are made with real fruit – apples, strawberries, pineapples and mangoes – and only fruit. No other ingredients are listed on the packages. The products will be available nationally in coming weeks at the premium price of $4.99 a box. General Mills is the category leader, controlling about 21 percent of the market. [ Image credit: © Kind  ]
Craig Giammona, "Kind Targets Big Food's Sugary Fruit Snacks in New Product Push", Bloomberg, August 22, 2017, © Bloomberg Finance L.P.
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FOOD COMPANIES
Other
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Coca-Cola India’s Frozen Snack Line To Debut In 4th Quarter

August 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola India says it has been testing its Beverage Plus range of whipped frozen fruit snacks in select areas of Bengaluru, Karnataka, and will launch them officially by the end of the year. The company says the snacks, made from locally-sourced fruits, are not pure beverages. They will be initially available at institutional locations, including movie theatres and vending carts at shopping malls. A Deloitte India analyst said Coca-Cola’s “interesting play” here signals not only an entry, and perhaps further expansion, into the frozen segment, but also a plan to “bring more fruit-based products, such as fruit nutrition bars" to the market. The country's ice cream and frozen desserts segment is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11 percent through 2021 to reach $2.65 billion.
Sounak Mitra, "Coca-Cola India Widens Portfolio to Include Whipped Frozen Fruit Snacks", Live Mint, August 21, 2017, © HT Media Ltd.
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Coca-Cola Company
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Worldwide
Asia-Pacific
India

Nestlé Waters Denies Lawsuit’s Claim That Poland Spring Is Not Spring Water

August 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A federal lawsuit filed in the Connecticut district charges that Nestlé Waters NA’s Poland Spring Water is not actually spring water but is pumped from ordinary well water in Maine and doesn’t meet the FDA definition of spring water. The suit includes claims for breach of contract and fraud and asks unspecified damages for violations of state laws of New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts. The suit says at least one of the company’s largest volume groundwater collection sites supplying as much as 99 percent of Poland Spring Water is near a current or former refuse pit, landfill or petroleum dump site. Nestlé Waters says the suit is “without merit and an obvious attempt to manipulate the legal system for personal gain,” adding that “Poland Spring is 100 percent spring water.”
Patricia Hurtado, "Nestle's Poland Spring Is Common Groundwater, New Suit Alleges", Bloomberg, August 20, 2017, © Bloomberg Finance L.P.
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Nestle
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Walmart Opens New Battlefront In War Against Amazon

August 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart has launched something of an air war against arch-rival Amazon. The Arkansas-based retailer has applied for a patent for its version of a floating warehouse – a “gas-filled aerial transport and launch system” – a similar version of which Amazon patented more than a year ago. And like Amazon’s version, Walmart’s could launch sorties of drones to deliver purchases to nearby homes. Walmart’s dirigible airship would hover at up to 1,000 feet in the air, contain multiple drone launching bays, and be computer- or pilot-operated remotely. Proponents of the airborne warehouses say they would cut online order fulfillment costs for “the last mile” to a customer’s house. [ Image credit: © Walmart  ]
Matthew Boyle, "Walmart Applies for Patent for Blimp-Style Floating Warehouse", Bloomberg, August 19, 2017, © Bloomberg LP
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FOOD COMPANIES
Retailers & Private Label
Geographies
Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Monster Reports Records Sales, But Investors Sniff At Growth Rates

August 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Energy drink maker Monster Beverage’s second quarter financial report disappointed Wall Street by failing to deliver double-digit gains in revenue and profit, though it did turn in an impressive performance. CEO Rodney Sacks hailed the fact that gross sales surpassed $1 billion for the first time. Net sales, however, fell short of the expected 10 percent growth, achieving only 9.6 percent to $907.1 million. Profit rose 21 percent to $222.6 million, or $0.39 a share, but the consensus forecast had been $0.40 a share. As to individual business units, Monster Energy drinks grew 9.7 percent in its top line from a year ago; strategic brands, including some acquired energy-drink brands, grew 10.6 percent; and American Fruits & Flavors brands – the "other" segment – declined six percent from a year ago.
Dan Caplinger, "Monster Beverage Falls Flat Despite Record Sales", The Motley Fool, August 17, 2017, © The Motley Fool
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FOOD COMPANIES
Other
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Judge: Plaintiff In Added-Sugar Suit Against Kellogg Has An Adequate Case

August 15, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A federal judge in California has refused to dismiss a lawsuit against Kellogg, agreeing essentially with the plaintiff that most of the claims made by the company about the nutritional value and wholesomeness of its breakfast cereals seem to be refuted by the fact that they contain “excess added sugar.” Judge Lucy Koh dismissed five of the claims because she agreed they were essentially harmless advertising “puffery.” But she allowed claims regarding 24 other products to move forward because “these products contain at least one statement that the court found was not pre-empted, non-misleading, or puffery as a matter of law." The case is Hadley v. Kellogg Sales
Company.  [ Image credit: © Kellogg  ]
Matthew Renda, "Kellogg Can’t Duck Class Action Over Cereal Labels", Courthouse News, August 15, 2017, © Courthouse News Service
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Kellogg
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Vietnam’s Non-Alcoholic Drinks Market Overrun By Foreign Providers

August 15, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Vietnam’s $4 billion non-alcoholic beverage market has been taken over by foreign suppliers, according to an industry report. The Vietnam Beverage Association says foreign competition has leapfrogged past domestic providers, who find it difficult to compete because of a lack of working, equity and human capital. Foreign companies now control 80 percent of both the bottled water and RTD tea markets. Pepsi’s Aquafina has a 40 percent market share; Nestlé’s La Vie controls 30 percent. In the RTD sector, Suntory Beverage & Food maintains a 30 percent market share and plans to expand further with an $87.5 million investment in new factory lines that will boost production capacity by 60 percent.
"Competition Heats Up in the Vietnam Soft Drink Market", VietnamNet Bridge, August 15, 2017, © VIETNAMNET Bridge
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FOOD COMPANIES
Nestle
Other
PepsiCo
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Worldwide
Asia-Pacific
Viet Nam

Danone May Be Takeover Target

August 14, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Danone’s U.S.-listed shares climbed seven percent on August 14, after Bloomberg reported that activist hedge fund Corvex Management had accumulated a $400 million stake in the French food company. One analyst suggested in a note to investors that Kraft Heinz and PepsiCo might be suitors. Corvex’s Keith Meister believes Danone shares are undervalued. Its stock slid 1.41 percent over the last year. There is no talk yet, however, of a proxy battle or management shake-ups at the company, which produces yogurt, baby food, nutritional solutions, and bottle water.
Angelica LaVito, "Danone Shares Climb after Takeover Rumors, Activist Investor Interest", CNBC, August 14, 2017, © CNBC LLC
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Plan To Increase Royalty-Free Draw Of NZ Spring Water Sparks Debate

August 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A Chinese-owned company has stepped into a big puddle of controversy in New Zealand with an application to draw as much as 580 million liters of spring water – royalty free – for bottling and selling in China. Commercialization of spring water is a prickly issue a month ahead of national elections. The leader of the country’s labour party is promising to crack down on royalty-free use of limited water resources. Creswell NZ Ltd., a subsidiary of Nongfu Spring, currently draws two million liters of water a year for bottling.
Matt Shand, "Chinese Company Seeks Consent to Draw 580 Million Litres of Pristine Spring Water", Stuff, August 13, 2017, © Fairfax New Zealand Limited
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Uni-President Plans To Enter Premium Instant Noodles In China

August 12, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Taiwan-based food conglomerate Uni-President Enterprises Corp. president Alex Lo told financial reporters recently that the company hopes to carve out a niche selling high-priced instant noodles, including Expert of Soup and Man Han Feast, in China. The company already sells instant noodles and beverages in China through a Hong Kong subsidiary. Instant noodle sales account for 30 percent of the company’s total sales, while beverages account for 60 percent. Expert of Soup sells for about five yuan ($0.75) and Man Han Feast sells for 18 yuan. Low-priced instant noodles sell for about 2.5 yuan in the Chinese market.
Kuo Chia-erh, "Uni-President to Focus on Pricey Noodles in China", Taipei Times, August 12, 2017, © The Taipei Times
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British Soft Drink Makers Lower Sugar Content To Evade New Tax

August 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola European Partners CEO Damian Gammell said 40 percent of its U.K. product line has already lowered sugar levels enough to dodge the country’s new sugar tax. Only the flagship energy brand Monster and full-sugar Coca-Cola products – "essentially Coke Red and Monster Green" – remain taxable because of sugar content. The taxable threshold for soft drinks in the U.K is 5 grams of sugar per 10 centiliters (~3.4 fl. ounces). The tax rate for drinks with more than eight grams is £0.24 (29¢) a liter. Several British soft drink manufacturers have reformulated their beverages to avoid the tax. Fanta Orange and Sprite now have a third less sugar, bringing them under the threshold.
Andy Morton, "Coke, Monster to Be Only Brands Left in UK Sugar Tax Firing Line - Coca-Cola European Partners", Just-Drinks, August 11, 2017, © just-drinks.com
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New Colas Capture China’s Attention

August 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Among the novel beverages on store shelves and on online shopping sites in China these days is a Pepsi brand that fizzled out two years after it debuted in the U.S. in 2002. Still popular in the Philippines and Indonesia, berry-flavored Pepsi Blue is gaining traction as a new product in China, where some younger buyers use it to braise chicken wings. Other new products being marketed in the Asia-Pacific region include: sugar-free, calorie-free, Coca-Cola Plus with fiber; ginger- and cherry-flavored colas; colorless coffee (Clear Coffee); transparent lemon tea; and barley grass yogurt.
Li Anlan, "Fickle Consumers Ditch Coconut for Colas", Shanghai Daily, August 10, 2017, © Shanghai Daily
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HBC Reports Healthy Sales Increase In First Six Months Of 2017

August 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The CEO of Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (HBC), which operates in 28 countries, reported a 5.7 percent increase in the first six months (ended June 30) of fiscal 2017, despite low single-digit volume growth in Nigeria. Dimitris Lois said a mid-teens price increase in Nigeria, and another planned increase, will affect sales. The company is optimistic about sales in Russia, thanks to economic improvements that will “filter through to consumption.” In terms of product lines, Lois said there were “very strong plans” for the sparkling and juice categories, “including additional SKUs to address price points,” and for Fanta, including a new ad campaign.
Jenny Eagle, "Coca-Cola HBC Net Sales Grow 5.7% Despite ‘Softness’ in Russia and Nigeria", BeverageDaily.com, August 10, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Health Consciousness Leads List Of Trends Affecting Beverage Makers

August 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Beverage manufacturers are responding to a number of consumer trends in the U.K. this year, not the least of which is health consciousness. Governments and nutrition advocates globally have thoroughly demonized sugar, and brands have responded appropriately. PepsiCo responded with Naked Juice and the Tropicana Essentials Probiotics line. The company’s zero-sugar Pepsi Max was rebranded to Pepsi Zero Sugar in the U.S. Coca-Cola rebranded and reformulated Coke Zero to make Coke Zero Sugar. Red Bull introduced several exotic zero-sugar flavors targeting younger consumers. Other trends affecting beverage companies include drinks with functional ingredients, demands for sustainable packaging, and a significant increase in young teetotalers in the U.K., Europe and the U.S.
Kasia Kossakowska et al., "Health-Conscious Millennials Turn to Zero-Calorie Drinks", BeverageDaily.com, August 10, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Recycling Instructions Added To Nestlé Waters NA Bottles

August 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé Waters NA says it is putting “How2Recycle” instructional labels on its 16-ounce U.S. bottled water brands, including Pure Life, Poland Spring, Deer Park, Ice Mountain, Zephyrhills, Ozarka, and Arrowhead. The Sustainable Packaging Coalition, a membership-based collaborative comprising businesses, educational institutions, and government agencies, created the “How2Recycle” label in 2012. The label is used by more than 65 brands and retailers, and can be found on thousands of products.
"Nestlé Waters North America Launches New Recycling Labeling across all Major U.S. Bottled Water Brands", News release, Nestlé Waters NA , August 09, 2017, © Nestlé Waters NA
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High Temps In China Trigger Free Sprites From Coca-Cola

August 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola China’s promotional partnership with the weather app MojiWeather as already paid off handsomely for the company, which provides free Sprites to consumers who retrieve QR codes from the app when the temperature hits 35ºC (95ºF). The company has already handed out more than 10 million cups of the beverage in the campaign. More than two million thirsty Chinese have stopped by McDonald's for a free Sprite, driving up single-serve sales in July by 23 percent compared to a year ago.
Andy Morton, "The Coca-Cola Co Hot Weather Promotion Adds Shine to China’s Sprite Sales", Just-Drinks, August 09, 2017, © just-drinks.com
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British Tonic Water Maker To Tackle A Market That Spurns Gin

August 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The head of Fever-Tree’s Asia-Pacific business confirms that the U.K. exotic tonic water maker will expand its operations to China, following a successful venture with a Hong Kong-based wine importer. Fever-Tree has seen its sales jump 77 percent to $32.8 million in the first six months of 2017, due largely to the ballooning popularity of gin-and-tonic cocktails in the region. The Chinese market may be tougher to crack, however, given that gin accounts for only three percent of alcoholic beverages consumed in the country. The growth of distribution and market share in Hong Kong and Macau is due partly to a strategy to extend its product line to include mixers suitable for dark and aged spirits. These types of liquors account for 80 percent of premium spirits consumed in Hong Kong, and 90 percent in China.
Natalie Wang, "Fever-Tree Sets Sights on Chinese Market", Drinks Business, August 09, 2017, © Union Press Ltd
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Coke Unveils Huge Times Square 3D Robotic Billboard

August 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola Company has extended its century-old tradition of using large signs to advertise its products in urban landmarks and settings. It recently unveiled the world’s first and largest – certified by Guinness World Records – 3D robotic billboard in New York’s Times Square. The 68-ft. by 42-ft. billboard consists of 1,760 independently moving and choreographed LED screens that will be seen by 300,000 passersby daily. The company was among the first to advertise with painted wall murals in the 1890s, moving on to neon billboards in the 20th century.
Jay Moye, "Coca-Cola and Fans Celebrate World’s First 3D Robotic Sign in Times Square", News release, Coca-Cola Company, August 08, 2017, © The Coca-Cola Company
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Mexico’s Cane Sugar Version Of Coke Is Building A Loyal Following

August 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola bottled in Mexico has captured the attention, and loyalty, of some U.S. Coke lovers because it is more “natural tasting” than the regular stuff. Sold in smaller bottles, and available in an increasing number of stores, including Costco, Mexican Coca-Cola is made with cane sugar, rather than the purportedly unhealthful high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The upsurge in sugar cane-based Coke, however, is not just due to personal sweetener preferences. Engaged in a trade war with the U.S., Mexico is protecting its cane sugar industry by discouraging import and use of HFCS, including in Coca-Cola.
Vera Hogan, "Have You Tried Mexican Coca-Cola?", TCTimes.com, August 08, 2017, © Tri-County Times
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Acquisition Of KFC Eateries Will Accelerate ThaiBev’s Long-Term Goals

August 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The growing appetite for fried chicken in Asia convinced beer and rum maker ThaiBev to acquire more than 240 KFC restaurants, as well as locations under development, in Thailand for $340 million. Company founder Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi’s long-term strategy is to generate half of its revenue from other countries and from nonalcoholic beverages.
Craig Giammona, "Thai Beer Company to Buy KFC Restaurants in Fast-Food Push", Bloomberg, August 08, 2017, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Some Restaurants Spurn Food Delivery

August 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A major trend in the foodservice world is home delivery of meals to people who don’t want to dine out, but also don’t want to cook. It represents a total of 1.7 billion restaurant transactions a year. Some restaurants, however, have said, “Thanks, but no thanks.” A main reason is fear that the meals won’t arrive in time to eat warm. Casual dining chain Texas Roadhouse doesn't do delivery, and even encourages competitors “to do as much delivery as they can so they can deliver lukewarm food to their people." Besides quality and temperature concerns, though, the company worries about staff preparing delivery orders at peak dinner times, when dining rooms are packed. [ Image credit: © Pixabay  ]
Samantha Bomkamp, "Delivery is the Hot Dining Trend, but it's Not for Every Restaurant. Here's Why.", Chicago Tribune, August 08, 2017, © Chicago Tribune
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With Little Caesars Pizza Pick-up Machine, Shy Customers Can Avoid Humans

August 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The Little Caesars pizza chain has made it much easier for recluses, hermits, and other introverts – in Tucson, Ariz., for now – to buy pizza without seeing or talking to a store employee. The company’s Pizza Portal machine lets pick-up customers avoid lines, snatch their pizzas, and escape without human interaction. To make use of the machine, customers need to download an app to order and pay for the pizza. CEO David Scrivano says, "It's all about convenience, in and out in seconds, no line, no wait." The company plans to add about one hundred of the machines in the U.S. in 2018. [ Image credit: © Little Caesars  ]
Kellie Ell, "Little Caesars Unveils Pizza Portal, Letting Customers Grub and Skip Human Interaction", USA Today, August 07, 2017, © USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, LLC.
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Papa John’s Now Offers Gluten-Free Pizza – With A Warning

August 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Pizza chain Papa John's has begun offering gluten-free crust made from "ancient grains," including sorghum, teff, amaranth and quinoa. Gluten is found only in wheat, rye, and barley. However, the company warned that though its manufacturing procedures prevent contact with gluten – the crust is prepared in a separate, gluten-free facility before shipment to stores –pizza dough can be exposed to gluten during the in-store, pizza-making process. So, the company said, the new gluten-free crust should not be eaten by customers with serious gluten intolerance, such as those with Celiac disease. [ Image credit: © Papa John's  ]
Lindsay Rittenhouse, "Papa John's Just Unveiled This New Gluten Free Pizza to Appease the Millennial Generation", TheStreet, August 07, 2017, © TheStreet, Inc.
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Coke India Plugs Perceived Gaps In Kinley Offerings With Flavored Waters

August 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola India hopes to gradually step its customers up from Kinley plain water to a new range of flavored aerated Kinley beverages. The lemon, orange and a jeera-based flavored drinks will be test-marketed in several states and regions.
Vinay Kamath and Meenakshi Verma Ambwani, "Coke to extend Kinley to aerated beverages", The Hindu Business Line, August 03, 2017, © The Hindu Business Line
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Head Of Coke’s India Business Sees Broader Portfolio As Key To Growth

August 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The head of Coca-Cola’s India business says there is a serious opportunity in sparkling beverages, but the company needs a broader product portfolio to appeal to the country’s divergent range of consumers (viz., “not exactly middle class,” middle class and affluent). To meet their needs, says T. Krishnakumar, Coke will expand segmentation and create “appropriate brands” for each consumer category.
Vinay Kamath and Meenakshi Verma Ambwani, "‘Our goal is to be among the top five markets for Coke globally’", The Hindu Business Line, August 03, 2017, © The Hindu Business Line
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