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PepsiCo Partners With Recycling Advocate

July 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
PepsiCo is collaborating with and funding the nonprofit Recycling Foundation’s efforts to increase recycling rates through local and national work. Less than half of recyclables in U.S. homes are being collected: 22 million tons out of an available 46 million tons every year. The Recycling Partnership has helped more than 400 local communities improve curbside recycling for 17 million households. Last year, PepsiCo announced it would strive to redesign all its packaging to be recoverable or recyclable by 2025, and to partner to increase packaging recovery and recycling rates. [ Image credit: © PepsiCo  ]
"PepsiCo Joins the Recycling Partnership", News release, PepsiCo, July 27, 2017, © PepsiCo, Inc.
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Wells Fargo Worries About Bai’s Healthy C-Store Growth

July 26, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Market data suggest that Bai’s antioxidant infusion beverages are doing well in the C-store channel. But Wells Fargo wonders whether the growth – sales were up 53.8 percent over last year during the four weeks ended July 15 – might come from distribution gains since its acquisition by Dr Pepper Snapple Group. That observation casts a bit of a shadow on the numbers, and leads Wells Fargo to suggest in a note that Bai “may not generate sufficient returns to justify its rich ($1.7 billion) price tag.” [ Image credit: © Bai  ]
Elaine Watson, "Was the $1.7bn price tag Dr Pepper paid for Bai justified?", FoodNavigator-USA.com, July 26, 2017, © William Reed Business Media Ltd.
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Consumer Watchdog Accuses Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Of “Greenwashing”

July 26, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The director of the Organic Consumers Association says Unilever’s Ben & Jerry’s ice cream brand continues to “greenwash” its products, advertising them as “all natural” though they are contaminated with herbicides. The association recently sent samples of Ben and Jerry’s top-selling ice-cream brands to an independent testing lab for analysis. The lab found that 10 out of 11 samples tested positive for Roundup (glyphosate and AMPA) herbicide contamination. Cherry Garcia was the only flavor that tested negative for glyphosate or AMPA. Testing of nationally-distributed organic ice cream brands found that three out of four tested negative for Roundup contamination. The Whole Foods' 365 brand was found to be contaminated with glyphosate. [ Image credit: © Ben & Jerry's  ]
Ronnie Cummins, "Only One Out of 11 Popular Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Flavors Tested Negative for Cancer-Causing Herbicide Glyphosate", AlterNet, July 26, 2017, © Independent Media Institute
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Coke Zero Sugar Hits Store Shelves This Month With Heavy Promotional Acitivity

July 26, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola’s renamed Coke Zero product, now known as Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, has arrived in the U.S. after a year of test marketing. The company says the new version has an improved recipe and flavor, as well as a new package “that looks more like Coca-Cola.” The package features the red Coca-Cola disc against the black background familiar to Coke Zero fans, prominently displays the “zero sugar” claim. The packaging changes also support the “One Brand” single trademark strategy. Coke Zero Sugar will hit stores beginning this month, supported by a marketing campaign involving television, digital, radio, outdoor, social media and retail advertising.
"Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Launches in U.S. with New and Improved Real Coca-Cola Taste", News release, The Coca-Cola Company, July 26, 2017, © The Coca-Cola Company
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Restructuring Of Coca-Cola’s Bottling Network Pinches Sales, Profits

July 26, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey said disappointing sales and profits in the first six months of 2017 were due to ongoing bottler refranchising efforts as the company transitions to a “total beverage company.” Overhaul of the bottler network – including nearly-completed refranchising in North America and divestiture of bottling operations in Germany, China, and South Africa – led to a 37 percent drop in net sales and volumes for the company’s bottling investments. Overall, the company experienced a first half decline in net sales of 14 percent. Net profits slipped 48 percent to $2.6 billion. [ Image credit: © Coca-Cola Company  ]
Andy Morton, "The Coca-Cola Co H1 2017 net sales plunge on bottler overhaul - results", just-drinks.com, July 26, 2017, © just-drinks.com
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Cott Corp. To Divest Its Beverages Unit

July 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Canadian beverage manufacturer Cott Corporation is selling its Cott Beverages business to Dutch firm Refresco, an independent bottler of soft drinks and fruit juices for retailers and A-brands. The purchase price is $1.25 billion in cash; Cott Beverages generates approximately $1.7 billion in revenues. The company said the sale would allow it to focus on its water, coffee, tea, and filtration businesses, growing organically and through acquisitions. The company manufactures carbonated soft drinks, shelf stable juice and juice-based products, energy drinks, a range of waters, new age beverages, ready-to-drink teas, freezables and ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages. Refresco has production facilities in Europe, the U.K., and the U.S. [ Image credit: © Wikipedia ]
"Cott Announces Agreement to Sell Its Traditional Beverage Manufacturing Business to Refresco in All-Cash Transaction", News release, Cott Corp., July 25, 2017, © Cott Corporation
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Nestle Japan: Brand-Boosting Movies Drive Market Penetration For Older Products

July 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The Nestlé Japan marketing chief says the company is welding marketing to entertainment by producing long-form movies that increase brand engagement on older products and “communicate your brand’s values and worldview” in ten or 15 minutes. Since 2010, the company has used the Nestlé Amuse media platform to compile a Theater section for brand videos that has attracted five million registered users. Masafumi Ishibashi says the company will continue to employ traditional TV and other mass media ads for new product introduction. But for brands like Nescafé and Kit Kat that everybody recognizes, the new long-form movie is the best way to deepen market penetration. [ Image credit: © Nestlé Japan  ]
Shin Osada, "Nestle Japan CMO Masafumi Ishibashi on brands as publishers", Digiday, July 25, 2017, © Digiday
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Diversification Of Beverage Lines Is Answer To Declining Sugary Drink Sales

July 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Shoppers are turning to lower-calorie beverages – sparkling and enhanced waters, bottled water, coffee, and tea – in droves, at the expense of higher-calorie sugar-sweetened sodas and fruit drinks. Industry publication Beverage-Digest reports that soda consumption in the U.S. dropped to a 31-year low last year. But beverage giants PepsiCo and Coca-Cola long ago saw the trend and began diversifying with bottled water, teas, sports drinks, and other higher-growth beverages.
Leo Sun, "A Foolish Take: American Soda Consumption Plunges to a 31-Year Low", The Motley Fool, July 24, 2017, © The Motley Fool
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Coca-Cola India Has Adapted To New Retail Landscape - Krishnakumar

July 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The head of Coca-Cola’s India business says his company, one of the oldest in the world, has been able to overcome the inertia that often accompanies tradition and heritage by changing its business strategy when necessary to connect with consumers. This has meant expanding beyond a one-brand identity. According to T. Krishnakumar, consumer behavior in India has changed along with changes in retail. Mom-and-pop stores have evolved into a complex environment of more organized and larger-format stores. Today’s “hyper-productive” consumers are interested in traditional and local products, as well as new cultures and senses. Technology creates opportunities for companies, but it also heightens consumer expectations of brands. [ Image credit: © Coca-Cola India  ]
Ruhail Amin, "Coca-Cola's India mission is to grow beyond a single-brand company: T Krishnakumar", exchange4media.com, July 24, 2017, © exchange4media.com
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Tesco Expands Same-Day Delivery Service Across UK

July 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Tesco said it has expanded its same-day online grocery delivery service across the UK. Launched in 2014 in London and the South East, the service is now available for customers of more than 300 stores across the country, the company said. Free for a limited period to members of the Tesco's Delivery Saver online delivery program, the service will cost between ₤3 and ₤8. Customers need to place their order by 1:00pm to have their purchases delivered by 7:00pm or later.
"Tesco becomes first retailer to offer same day grocery delivery nationwide", Tesco, July 24, 2017, © Tescoplc.com
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U.K. Drinks Company Introduces Slim-Can Versions Of Its Botanical Beverage Line

July 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Fentimans is adding slim-can versions to its bottled line of botanically-brewed beverages. The U.K.-based firm has positioned the products as adult soft drinks. New flavors to be sold in 250ml slim cans include rose lemonade, curiosity cola, wild English elderflower, cherry cola, and sparkling lime and jasmine. Those flavors and others have traditionally been sold in bottles. [ Image credit: © Fentimans  ]
Lucy Britner, "Fentimans launches slim cans in UK", Just-drinks.com, July 24, 2017, © just-drinks.com
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Vimto Sales Climbing, Along With Nichols’ Revenue, Profit

July 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
British beverage company Nichols plc, maker of the popular carbonated beverage Vimto, reported a six-month rise in profit of 7.1 percent to $16.6 million, and year-over-year revenue increase of 12.4 percent to $82.8 million. Vimto is a blend of the juices of grapes, raspberries, and blackcurrants, plus herbs and spices. Sales growth of Vimto outstripped the overall market, growing 10 percent year-on-year compared to 2.9 percent growth by the total soft drinks market. Nevertheless, Chairman John Nichols said the outlook for the U.K. market will remain “challenging.” [ Image credit: © Vimto  ]
Daniel Flynn, "MARKET REPORT: Soaring sales of Vimto in the UK and Middle East boost profits at Nichols", Daily Mail (London), July 21, 2017, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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Coca-Cola To Pack Several Drink Brands Into New Home-Delivered Meal Kits

July 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola’s vice president for e-commerce John Carroll says his company wants to embrace the fast-growing consumer trend toward convenient meal solutions. The company has partnered with the Chef’d home food-delivery service to include three of its beverages in six meal kit options that serve either two or four people. Coca-Cola, Dasani water, and Gold Peak teas will be paired with six recipe kits: beef short rib tacos, bacon cheeseburger, grilled baby back ribs or chicken mushroom marsala, and roasted quartered chicken and shrimp yakisoba. [ Image credit: © Coca-Cola Company  ]
Pauline Lacsamana, "Coca-Cola Creates Beverage Pairing Meal Kits With Chef’d", The Daily Meal, July 21, 2017, © Tronc, Inc.
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Anheuser Busch Enters Energy Drinks Market With Hiball Acquisition

July 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
With beer sales mostly flat, and craft beers rapidly gaining market share, Anheuser-Busch hatched a plan nearly three years ago to use its extensive nationwide wholesaler network to move beyond beer into nonalcoholic beverages. The idea was welcomed by wholesalers as long as AB stuck to “high-growth, high-margin segments.” A little over a year ago, Starbucks announced it would sell AB’s Teavana bottled teas in its stores. In the latest news, AB announced it is buying San Francisco-based Hiball Energy, which makes organic energy drinks containing guarana, ginseng, caffeine and B vitamins.  It also makes Alta Palla organic low-calorie, low-sugar beverages, sold at about 14,000 U.S. retailers, including CVS, Kroger and Whole Foods Market. [ Image credit: © HiBall Energy  ]
Mike Snider, "Anheuser-Busch buys drink maker Hiball Energy", USA Today, July 20, 2017, © USATODAY.com
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Unilever’s Tinkering With Marketing Spending Boosts 2nd Q Profits

July 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever’s second quarter financials mostly beat Wall Street expectations – sales growth fell three percent short – but the rise in profit came from cuts in marketing expenses. In April the company said about $2.3 billion of its planned three-year $7 billion cost-cutting program would come from marketing and overhead. During the first half of this fiscal year, however, nearly a third of the cuts came only from marketing; half were attributable to both marketing and overhead. The company is cutting ad agency and production spending, but marketing spending overall will rebound in the second half when 60 percent of Unilever's new-product launches for the year will take place. [ Image credit: © Unilever  ]
Jack Neff, "Unilever Cuts Agency Fees and Production Costs, but a Media Surge Looms", Advertising Age, July 20, 2017, © Crain Communications
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La Croix Sparkling Water Makes A Splash With Its “Technicolor” Cans

July 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
National Beverage, maker of the inexpensive – and increasingly popular – U.S. sparkling water phenomenon known as La Croix, has seen its profit jump to $107 million in the 2016 fiscal year, almost double its $62.2 million profit in 2015. The success is probably due to La Croix, which is a big hit among Millennials and others. Packaged in technicolor cans, La Croix has been dubbed “the Ft. Lauderdale fountain of youth” and “methadone for the soda addict.” Sales took off after National Beverage began marketing the drink in colorful cans with designs created by an artist known as fnnch. In an homage to Warhol, fnnch painted “9 Cans of La Croix” – “soup cans for Millennials,” now on exhibit in a New York City gallery – a reference to Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup can paintings of the 1960s. [ Image credit: © La Croix Water  ]
"These '9 Cans of LaCroix' paintings are Warhol's 'soup cans for millennials'", Washington Post Blogs, July 20, 2017, © The Washington Post
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Unilever Posts Stronger Revenue Performance In 1H 2017

July 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever said net profit rose to €3.11 billion, or $3.58 billion, for the six-month period ending June 30, 2017, compared with €2.51 billion in the previous year. According to the company, revenue grew to €27.72 billion from the previous year's €26.28 billion. Gross margin improved by 40bps to 43.1 percent, pushed by margin-accretive innovations and acquisitions, the company said.
"Unilever 2017 First Half Results", Unilever, July 20, 2017, © Unilever
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Growth Of In-House Brands Squeezes Big Food

July 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Supermarket private label brands in the U.S. historically have not been as important as in European countries. Private label accounted for 17 percent of U.S. sales last year, less than half their share in the U.K. and Germany. But supermarket shoppers are increasingly switching to generic brands, and big food companies are beginning to feel the pinch. Retailers like Walmart are already seeing a rise in sales of their own brands. As retailers allot greater shelf space for their own items, traditional manufacturer brands will see sales volumes decline. And retailers in a fierce competitive environment can point to the growth of their in-house brands to coerce suppliers to cut prices. [ Image credit: © Walmart  ]
Stephen Wilmot, "Big Food’s Next Big Problem: Supermarket Brands", The Wall Street Journal, July 19, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Reckitt Benckiser Divests Food Business

July 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
U.K.-based Reckitt Benckiser Group plc announced it is selling its food business (RB Food) to McCormick & Company for $4.2 billion. The RB Food (Chester, N.J.) condiments and toppings line includes French's, Frank's RedHot and Cattlemen's brands. The nutrition bar Tiger’s Milk will be included in the cash-free, debt-free deal. Divestiture of its food business marks another step in RB’s transformation into a consumer health and hygiene company. It acquired infant formula firm Mead Johnson Nutrition in February for $16.7 billion. [ Image credit: © Wikipedia  ]
"Sale of Food Business to McCormick", News release, Reckitt Benckiser, July 19, 2017, © Reckitt Benckiser Group plc
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Amazon-Whole Foods Deal Portends An Accelerated, Automated Grocerants Trend

July 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
“Supermarket Guru” Phil Lempert says the $13.7 billion Amazon-Whole Foods deal is likely to speed up development of ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat grocery store items known as “grocerants.” Techno-centered Amazon will bring new intelligence from computer wizards, molecular biologists, and sustainability experts into retail grocery. Lempert says the Amazon-Whole Foods store will apply technology to improve efficiencies and reduce in-store labor costs. That means more robotics in the back room and interactive robots all around the store. [ "Pepper" Humanoid Robot, Image credit: © Softbank  ]
Kacey Culliney, "The Future Of Grocerants? Deliveries, Humanoids and a Good Dose of Life-Hacking, says Supermarket Guru", FOODnavigator-USA.com, July 19, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Drumbeat Of SodaStream’s Eco-Message Is Causing Some Headaches

July 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Israel-based SodaStream, maker of soda water machines, says it is making bottled water giants Coca-Cola and Nestlé Waters nervous. The company spends four times more on advertising than research as it relentlessly pushes its “make a difference to the world” theme contrasting the eco-friendly soda machine with the environmentally harmful plastic beverage bottle. In a recent interview, CEO Daniel Birnbaum said making money and enriching investors are only incidental to the main goal: making the “world a better place by eliminating plastic bottles.” Sparking water has overtaken other soft drinks in sales and the market expects annual growth of three percent through 2020. [ Image credit: © SodaStream   ]
Leonie Roderick , "SodaStream CEO on why marketing is key as it aims for ‘cult’ brand status", Marketing Week, July 18, 2017, © Centaur Communications Ltd (a member of the Centaur Media plc group)
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Nespresso Debuts Two Coffee Blends Designed For Iced Coffee

July 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé Nespresso has introduced two limited edition coffee blends “specially crafted” for iced coffee. The company says Nespresso Intenso on Ice has “cereal and cocoa notes” and “an intense, roasted finish." Leggero on Ice features “delicate fruity and lemon notes.” Product samples were distributed recently to employees of the Star Media Group in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. [ Image credit: © Nespresso  ]
"Brand introduces two flavors of iced coffee", The Star Online, July 18, 2017, © Star Media Group Berhad
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Nestlé Waters Continues Aggressive Expansion Of Beverage Delivery Centers

July 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé Waters North America is moving full steam ahead with its plan to build regional distribution centers all over the U.S. for its ReadyFresh beverage delivery service, which offers Poland Spring, Nestlé Pure Life, Perrier Water, San Pellegrino and Nestea iced tea to homes, as well as small and large businesses. The company is building or expanding distribution centers in Sacramento, Calif., and Denver, Colo., and announced plans for a new 25,000-square-foot facility in the Atlanta, Ga., area. Nestlé Waters expects the facility will create 10-15 route delivery and brand leadership jobs, a number that will double by 2022. [ Image credit: © Nestlé Waters NA  ]
"Nestlé Waters forges ahead with US ReadyRefresh expansion", FoodBev Media , July 18, 2017, © FoodBev Media Ltd
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U.K. Relaxes Overly Cautious “Use By” Dates On Food Packaging

July 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Calling current rules overly cautious, the U.K.’s Food Standards Agency has issued draft guidelines urging supermarkets to scrap “use by” dates on packages of food that wouldn’t cause poisoning in favor of “Best Before” dates. The proposed rules also state that packaging should tell customers how to store food, and should display the snowflake logo to indicate that a product can be frozen. The goal is to reduce the 7.3 million tons of food a year, two million tons of which is due to it “not being used in time.” The guidance is “under consultation” until August. [ Image credit: © NHS (UK) ]
Liz Dunphy, "Supermarkets are Told to Stop Telling Shoppers to Throw Away 7.3m Tons of Good Food Every Year by Scrapping 'Use By' Dates", Mail Online, July 17, 2017, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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SodaStream’s Frontal Assault On Bottled Water

July 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Israel-based SodaStream International is challenging the bottled water industry – particularly PepsiCo, Nestlé and Coca-Cola – with a new marketing campaign that features a fictional futuristic anthropologist explaining to schoolchildren about the “homoschlepiens” species. Those would be people of the distant past who bought sparkling water in environment-damaging plastic bottles. This confuses the children who, of course, use SodaStream machines to get their sparkling water. The ad dovetails with a couple of consumer trends: spurning carbonated sugary drinks, and embracing eco-friendly packaging and products. PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi admitted to Wall Street analysts recently that the industry is seeing "profound change." [ Image credit: © SodaStream International  ]
Lindsay Rittenhouse, "Our Biggest Soda Rivals Are Prehistoric and They Keep Trying to Shut Us Up: SodaStream CEO", TheStreet.com, July 16, 2017, © The Street, Inc
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Nestlé Waters NA Needs to Boost Its Water Supply Without Hurting The Environment

July 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Connecticut-based Nestlé Waters North America is responding to strong demand for bottled water by working to ensure that its U.S. water supply – a spring in Michigan – will increase sustainably and with no adverse impact on the environment. Regulators and environmental watchdog groups, who are also worried about an increasing problem with discarded plastic bottles, are keeping a close eye on the company as it seeks to satisfy its burgeoning customer base. [ Image credit: © Nestlé Waters North America  ]
Paul Schott, "Surge in bottled-water demand brings more business — and scrutiny — for Nestlé Waters", Stamford Advocate, July 16, 2017, © Hearst Media Services Connecticut, LLC
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Nespresso Demonstrates New Mini Coffee Machines In Hong Kong’s Rail Stations

July 14, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Nespresso has launched a Hong Kong-based promotional campaign, dubbed “Happiness is the little things,” for its new Essenza Mini coffee machines. The campaign centers on large kiosks located at two of the city’s light rail stations that display hanging sequin discs in the colors of Nespresso’s 24 Grands Crus coffee capsules. Commuters and passers-by are asked to “share the little things that make them happy” on a “happiness wall” and view demonstrations of the Essenza machine. [ Image credit: © Nespresso  ]
Inti Tam, "Nespresso mini coffee machine campaign celebrates little things in life", Marketing Interactive, July 14, 2017, © Marketing-Interactive.com. Lighthouse Independent Media Pte Ltd
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“Share A Coke” Marketing Campaign Ties Unique Mini-Songs To 1,000 Names

July 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola’s summertime "Share a Coke" marketing campaign, created by Fitzco/McCann, has released hundreds of unique mini-songs that include the first and last names that appear on Coke bottles. The personalized 18-second ditties – produced by Los Angeles-based Score a Score – were uploaded to YouTube late in June and can be found by entering a name on the Coke website. [ Image credit: ©  Coca-Cola Company ]
Marc Schneider, "Coke Creates 1,000-Plus Songs for Its 'Share a Coke' Campaign", Billboard.com, July 13, 2017, © Billboard.com
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New Deep-Dish Frozen Pizzas, Pan Included

July 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Frozen pizza company DiGiorno has responded to the survey finding that three-quarters of pizza lovers prefer pan-style – otherwise known as deep-dish or Chicago-style – pizza by introducing DiGiorno Crispy Pan Pizza. Available in four-cheese, pepperoni, three-meat, and supreme varieties, the pizzas are packaged with a steep-sided, single-use baking pan. [ Image credit: © DiGiorno  ]
"New DiGiorno Crispy Pan Pizza Is Baked Fresh In A Pan For A Crispy, Caramelized Crust", News release, DiGiorno, July 13, 2017, © DiGiorno
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Coca-Cola Ramps Up Marketing Of Honest Tea In The U.K.

July 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola European Partners said it plans a “significant” investment in a marketing campaign for its Honest Tea brand in the U.K., where it debuted in 2016. The campaign will feature a pop-up garden in London to give consumers the chance to try yoga, terrarium making and sample the product. A wider street sampling campaign across London began in June and will run through July. Coca-Cola invested in the brand, launched in 1997, in 2008. [ Image credit: © Coca-Cola Company  ]
Andy Morton, "Coca-Cola European Partners unveils Honest Tea's debut UK campaign", Just-drinks.com, July 13, 2017, © Just-drinks.com
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Stung By Cheap Knock-Offs, Nestlé Lets Third Parties Sell Its Coffee Pods

July 12, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
With patents on its Nespresso coffee pods expiring, and competition from cheaper knock-offs heating up, Nestlé SA has decided to let third-party retailers sell its capsules.
Nespresso has sold the capsules exclusively in its boutiques, its online store and via the telephone orders. One of Nestlé’s most profitable products, Nespresso’s coffee systems are losing market share to cheaper competitors, especially in Europe, its core geographic market. A German bank analyst estimates that Nestlé sold $5.2 billion worth of coffee and machines in 2016.  [ Image credit: © Nespresso  ]
Corinne Gretler and Richard Weiss, "Nespresso Is Loosening Its Grip on Coffee Pods", Bloomberg , July 12, 2017, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Bai Founder Ben Weiss Was Way Ahead Of The Curve On Low-Sugar Drinks

July 12, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Bai Brands founder Ben Weiss noticed seven years ago that shoppers were carefully examining beverage labels to determine sugar content. “This is the issue that has fueled our growth,” he said in an interview. The company, which was sold to Dr Pepper Snapple Group for $1.8 billion, spent five years handing out samples of Bai, made from normally-discarded coffeefruit, explaining that Bai has only five calories and one gram of sugar. It was a unique claim in the beverage industry at the time -- the beverage caught on and took off when the company signed a distribution deal with Dr Pepper Snapple. [ Image credit: © Bai Brands  ]
Will Yakowicz, "How This Founder Built a $1.7 Billion Business Around a Product That's Normally Thrown in the Trash", Inc.com, July 12, 2017, © Sycamore Media Holdings Pte
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New Coke App Uses AI Technologies To Modernize Vending Machine Use

July 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola’s innovation chief Greg Chambers (left) says a new AI-powered app debuting soon will allow customers to order, and get, two drinks from vending machines equipped with special circuitry. The app will debut in late July at U.S. universities and in Australia and New Zealand. With the app, customers can order a Coca-Cola drink from multiple selections for themselves and a friend using a colorful touchscreen. The drinks will then be available on the vending machine. With AI technologies, “My goal is to push boundaries and push the brand forward,” Chambers says. [ Image credit: © Michael O' Donnell / Venture Beat  ]
John Brandon, "Coca-Cola reveals AI-powered vending machine app", Venture Beat, July 11, 2017, © Venture Beat
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Coca-Cola Installs Blow-Molding Machine At Canadian Bottling Plant

July 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola Canada has expanded the production capacity at a Montréal bottling plant with a $23.2 million state-of-the-art blow-molding machine, one of the first to be installed at a Coke facility in North America. Coca-Cola and Canadian government officials said the increased production capacity reinforces the company’s commitment to Canada and helps strengthen the Canadian economy. [ Image credit: ©  Coca-Cola Company ]
"Coca-Cola Canada invests $23m in Montréal blow-molding line", FoodBev Media, July 11, 2017, © FoodBev Media Ltd
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Panera Bread Fights Back In Face Of Stiff Starbucks Competition

July 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Feeling the pressure of increased bakery competition from Starbucks, Panera Bread announced it is beefing up its delivery staff across the country. The St. Louis-based company will hire 118 people to deliver its products in the Seattle, Wash., area, home of Starbucks. The move is part of an overall plan to hire up to 10,000 delivery people. Starbucks became a major competitor of Panera after the purchase of La Boulange Cafe and bakery five years ago. American consumers are growing increasingly comfortable with all types of delivered food. [ Image credit: © Wikimedia  ]
"Panera gets out ahead of Starbucks in delivery, looks to hire 118 in Seattle area", Puget Sound Business Journal (Seattle, Washington), July 11, 2017, © American City Business Journals
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“Well-being” Snack Biscuits Unveiled By Mondelez

July 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Mondelez has launched a “well-being” snack biscuit brand called Vea. The savory biscuits are made from new recipes and contain no artificial ingredients, colors or flavors, no trans fats, and are non-GMO Project Verified. Flavors include Thai coconut,  Tuscan herbs, Peruvian sweet potato and Greek hummus. Mondelez says the wholesome Vea brand is a key element of its plan to become “the global leader in well-being snacks.” Products are available now in U.S. and Canadian food stores. [ Image credit: © Mondelez International  ]
"Mondelez Introduces New Brand of Health Products", News release, NACS, July 11, 2017, © NACS
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French Patisserie Company To Expand Its Franchises Across U.S.

July 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
After establishing 48 successful franchise patisseries in eight U.S. states since 2012, Le Macaron French Pastries is expanding the franchise opportunity to metropolitan areas across the country. The company offers more than 20 flavors of macarons, in addition to seasonal flavors, as well as French pastries, gelato, coffee, cakes, and éclairs. The company says it hopes to sign 70 locations by the end of the year, in cities like Boston, Chicago, Denver, Nashville, New Orleans, Raleigh and Washington, D.C. Potential franchisees can expect to invest initially $59,900 to $99,000 for a cart, and $126,000 to $353,500 for a traditional café. [ Image credit: © Le Macaron French Pastries  ]
"Le Macaron French Pastries Sweetens Up Market with National Franchise Opportunities", News release, Le Macaron, July 11, 2017, © Le Macaron French Pastries
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Coca-Cola India Launches Lower-Priced Brands Of Aerated Drinks

July 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola is launching a line of cheaper aerated beverages in India, dubbed “Kinley Flavors.” The new line includes jeera (cumin), lemon and orange flavors and will compete with the 200+ domestic fizzy drinks – 12 percent of the aerated drinks category in the country – in terms of taste and price: they are 35 to 40 percent cheaper than the company’s Coke, Sprite, and Fanta brands. [ Image credit: ©  Coca-Cola Company ]
Sandhya Dangwal, "Coca-Cola To Launch New Indian Flavours Jeera, Lemon And Orange; Priced 35-40% Cheaper Than Coke & Sprite", India.com, July 10, 2017, © India WebPortal Private Limited
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Coca-Cola Redesigns Its Minute Maid Juice Packaging

July 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola has given a new look to its Minute Maid brand of juices with the help of British graphic designer Taxi Studio. The new visual identity features black as the main color, though each category of juice – essentials, refresh, nutri and delight – has its own color. Taxi Studio said the colorful graphics are meant to distinguish Minute Maid products from the “hyper-real” imagery on competing juices. [ Image credit: © Minute Maid / Coca-Cola Company  ]
Aimée McLaughlin, "Minute Maid rebrand, by Taxi Studio and Coca-Cola", Design Week, July 10, 2017, © Centaur Communications Ltd (a member of the Centaur Media plc group)
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Woolworths Supermarkets Will Not Range New Coca-Cola No Sugar In Australia

July 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Australia’s largest supermarket chain has refused to stock Coca-Cola’s recently introduced Coke No Sugar beverage. Euromonitor says the refusal by Woolworths reflects market saturation of low-calorie cola carbonates and the increasing health consciousness of consumers. Woolworths accounted for 40 percent of sales in the A$85 billion (US$67 billion) supermarkets category. More than two thirds of soft drink sales went through supermarkets last year. Without Woolworths, Coca-Cola No Sugar will have a tough time in Australia. [ Image credit: © Wikipedia  ]
Sara Agostino, "Coca-Cola No Sugar Faces Setback as Australia’s Largest Supermarket Chooses Not to Range the Product", Blog entry, Euromonitor International, July 06, 2017, © Euromonitor
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Nestle Waters Launches New Perrier Flavors In U.S.

July 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé Waters has added two new flavors to its U.S. family of Perrier sparkling waters. Watermelon and strawberry flavors will be added to the current line of lime, orange and pink grapefruit. All flavors, which are sugar-free and zero calories, are packaged in 8.45-ounce slim cans and 16.9-ounce PET bottles. The promotional campaign for the new flavors will include a N.Y. tasting studio and events conducted in collaboration with the Live Nation entertainment company. [ Image credit: © Perrier  ]
"Nestle Waters' Watermelon and Strawberry Perrier Sparkling Waters - Product Launch - video.", Just-Drinks, July 07, 2017, © Aroq Limited
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Six Firms Were In The Hunt For Whole Foods Market Last Spring

July 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Amazon.com wasn’t the only company considering buying Whole Foods Market last April and May, although it did end up the successful suitor. Four private-equity firms and two companies were also in the hunt, including supermarket operator Albertsons, according to financial disclosures Whole Foods made to investors. The companies started contacting Whole Foods in mid-April, shortly after activist investor Jana Partners LLC took an almost nine percent stake in the natural foods grocery chain. [ Image credit: © Wikipedia  ]
Heather Haddon, "Albertsons Among Six Firms That Vied for Whole Foods", The Wall Street Journal, July 07, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Campbell Acquires Oregon-based Natural And Organic Foods Company

July 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Campbell Soup Company announced it is paying $700 million in cash for Pacific Foods of Oregon, a fast-growing producer of natural and organic broths, soups, and shelf-stable, plant-based beverages and meals. Campbell said the purchase of the “natural foods industry pioneer” fits well with its philosophy of “real foods.” The company reported approximately $218 million in twelve-month net sales as of May 31, 2017. Campbell said it will use its expertise and resources to expand Pacific's distribution, boost marketing support for brand building, and invest in R&D and the supply chain. [ Image credit: © Pacific Foods  ]
"Campbell to Acquire Pacific Foods to Expand in Faster-Growing Health and Well-Being Categories", News release, Campbell Soup Company, July 06, 2017, © Campbell Soup Company
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Romanian Coca-Cola Bottler Upgrades To High-Speed Production Equipment

July 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola HBC Romania has spent $8 million to upgrade its bottling line at the Timisoara (Romania) plant. The high-speed production line boasts a maximum production capacity of 90,000 units an hour, amounting to more than two million a day. The bottling plant is also energy-efficient, consuming only 410 kW/h, and 1.1 liter of water per beverage unit. The production line uses an innovative filling system developed by Krones, a European provider of technologies for making beverages and packaging. The company said the investment demonstrates its long-term commitment to the local market. [ Image credit: © Coca-Cola HBC Romania  ]
"Coca-Cola HBC Romania invests EUR 7 million in the Timisoara factory. The first high-speed dose bottling line in Romania has a capacity of 90,000 doses per hour", Nineoclock.ro, July 05, 2017, © Nineoclock
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Lax USDA Enforcement Of Organic Standards Is Hurting Small Organic Dairies

July 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Amish farmers in a small town in Iowa have been practicing organic agriculture, including milk production, for nearly 20 years. Their livelihood is being endangered by big dairies that claim to be producing organic milk, but really aren’t. Organic milk is supposed to come from grass-fed cows. But big dairies supplement with grain, which boosts milk production. That in turn lowers the wholesale price of organic milk – by 33 percent over the past year –  which hurts the Amish dairies that follow organic standards strictly. As much as 15 percent of their milk is being sold at the same price as regular milk or just dumped onto the ground. A major part of the problem is lax enforcement of organic standards by the USDA, the small dairies charge. Even when the agency has caught big dairies violating the rules, there have been few if any fines. [ Image credit: © USDA  ]
Peter Whoriskey, "Amish Farmers Square Off Against Big Organic in Milk Battle", The Washington Post, July 05, 2017, © The Washington Post
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British Smoothies Company Sees Sales, Profit Soar

July 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola-owned smoothies and juice company Innocent Drinks (London, U.K.) has surpassed $387 million in annual sales. The company bounced back from a $902,000 loss in 2016 to an $11 million profit after it redesigned packaging and reformulated its products. More than half of its annual revenue now comes from outside the U.K. Sales in France rose 49 percent, in Germany sales were up 34 percent. CEO Douglas Lamont said further growth beyond the U.K. will make Innocent Drinks Europe's “favorite healthy drinks company.” [ Image credit: © Innocent Drinks  ]
"Innocent Drinks breaks £300 million annual sales barrier as taste for super-smoothies grow", Express.co.uk, July 04, 2017, © Express Newspapers
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Why Coke’s “Pool Boy” Ad Won An Award At Cannes

July 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Neuroscience analysis firm Neuro-Insight analyzed brain responses in 100 men and women viewing Coca-Cola’s award-winning “Pool Boy” ad. The humorous ad, which won a Bronze Lion for creativity at Cannes, shows a brother and sister eagerly competing to rush a bottle of Coke to a pool boy, only to find that their mother had already beat them to it. Neuro-Insight’s analysis of participants’ brain waves showed that an entertaining, dynamic narrative “effectively and emotively communicated the Coca-Cola brand.” [Image Credit © Coca-Cola Company]
Casey Kudrenko , "Applying neuroscience to Cannes-winning work: Coca-Cola Pool Boy", Adnews.com.au, July 04, 2017, © Yaffa Media
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U.K. Supermarket Chain Experiments With Smart Food Label

July 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s is testing an advanced labeling technology to help customers avoid tossing edible food in the waste bin before its time. The company sticks a color changing label to packets of its own brand sliced ham. The smart label changes from yellow to purple the longer the packet has been open. It is sensitive to temperature as well, because an open pack of ham has a relatively long fridge life when kept below 5º C (41º F). The new label is being used on ham packages in all 601 stores and will be expanded to other foods if consumers like it. [ Image credit: © Sainsbury's  ]
Lauren O'callaghan, "Sainsbury’s Launch Colour Changing LABEL on Ham Packets to Reveal When Meat is OFF", Sunday Express, July 04, 2017, © Express Newspapers
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Pizza Hut’s Japanese Customers To Have A Quick, Secure Ordering Solution

July 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
MasterCard has partnered with Pizza Hut to integrate the Masterpass digital payments technology into the pizza chain’s mobile ordering application. The two companies are launching the initiative in Japan, where time-pressed customers will be able to order pizzas quickly, securely and easily by safely storing credit card information, as well as delivery addresses, in their Masterpass account. Ordering pizzas will require only three clicks on a smartphone, the companies said. [ Image credit: © MasterCard  ]
"MasterCard, Pizza Hut Partner on Digital Payments Solution in Japan", Digital Market Asia, July 03, 2017, © DMA
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Nescafe Targets Younger Mexican Coffee Drinkers With Coffee Shops

July 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Nestle coffee brand Nescafe has opened its fourth coffee shop in Mexico City, and is now analyzing the possibility of expanding to more, larger shops in the country. A Nescafe Mexico executive indicated the shops, which require an investment of about $55,000 each, are part of a long-term strategy to attract younger consumers. [Image credit © Nestlé Nespresso]
"Mexico: Nescafe to inaugurate new coffee shop in Mexico City during July 2017", Milenio, July 02, 2017
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