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Sales Up At Unilever During First Six Months Of 2016

Unilever posted first half sales growth of 4.7 percent with sales volume up 2.2 percent. Sales were up 5.4 percent at constant exchange rates, but down 2.6 percent at current exchange rates. Sales grew eight percent in emerging markets, while sales volume up 2.9 percent. CEO Paul Polman said the sales figures reflected ”consistent, competitive, profitable and responsible growth” in a tough global environment. The company said consumer demand is still weak, sales volumes continue to lag, and market volume growth is negative in Europe and in North America. Growth in personal care and foods improved growth and maintained ”strong profitability.” Profit margins in home care and refreshment improved.

"Consistent, competitive and profitable growth in challenging markets", Earnings release, Unilever, July 21, 2016

HUL Cuts Ad Spending In 1Q Of FY 2017

Hindustan Unilever Ltd spent Rs 879.73 crore on advertising and promotions in the first quarter of its fiscal year 2017, about Rs 13 crore lower than the Rs 892.73 crore it spent in the same quarter of the previous year. According to the company, its A&P spending is at 11 percent of sales, down 60 basis points. Starting in April 2016, HUL has revamped its businesses by grouping them under the home care, personal care, foods, and refreshments categories. Also, the company has adopted the Indian accounting system in reporting financial results since the first quarter of FY 2017.

"Ad spends at Hindustan Unilever shrink marginally in Q1-2017",, July 19, 2016

Tesco Picks Coca-Cola Exec To Run Group Communications

U.K. grocery retail chain Tesco has named Jane Lawrie to the post of group communications director, effective in October. Lawrie comes most recently from Coca-Cola, where she was head of European public affairs and communications. She has spent 25 years in corporate, financial and digital communications, with stints at Diageo and Boots the Chemist.

"Tesco appoints Group Communications Director", News release, Tesco, July 19, 2016

Unilever, IFF Partner With Nongovernment Groups To Support Haiti's Vetiver Farmers

Unilever and International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. launched Vetiver Together, a partnership with leading nongovernment organizations to improve the livelihoods of smallholder vetiver farmers in Haiti. Also, the program aims to improve food security, increase yields, and diversify farmers’ income in a sustainable way. At the same time, the campaign seeks to help empower women and promote protection of the environment. Haiti produces some of the world’s best vetiver, the source of oil commonly used in various fragrances Unilever uses in brands, including Axe and Impulse.

"IFF and Unilever Launch Partnership to Improve the Lives of Vetiver Farming Communities in Haiti", Business Wire, July 14, 2016

Tesco To Sell Only Cage-Free Eggs By 2025

U.K. grocery retailer Tesco said it will stop selling eggs from caged hens by 2025. It made the decision following a focused review of its egg-sourcing strategy, which included meetings with suppliers, industry experts, and other interested parties. The decision follows other sustainability initiatives, including a Fair For Farmers Guarantee for dairy farmers, guaranteed high-value contracts for U.K. potato farmers, and sustainable farming programs for lamb farmers and cheese producers.

"Tesco to stop selling caged eggs by 2025", Tesco, July 13, 2016

US Foods Launches “On-Trend” Product Line

Foodservice distributor US Foods introduced a "Serve Good" product line that includes cage-free eggs, organic bread, non-GMO oils and sustainable seafood. The company said the new line will help chefs and foodservice operators meet the growing demands of consumers for “high-quality, on-trend and sustainable” food items. These include turkey breast roast made from vegetarian-fed, antibiotics-free turkeys; sustainably-sourced, ocean-farmed whitefish; and non-GMO verified canola oil made without chemicals. The company also noted that several new products help reduce waste. Its reusable travel cups, for example, are made with recyclable, BPA-free polypropylene.

"US Foods Launches New Sustainable Product Line to Help Restaurants across the Country “Serve Good”", Business Wire, July 13, 2016

ConAgra’s Spinoff Of Lamb Weston Continues As Top Execs Are Named

ConAgra Foods has picked Thomas Werner to be CEO of the Lamb Weston potato business, which the company earlier announced would be spun off. Timothy McLevish will be the new executive chairman of Lamb Weston. Jettisoning Lamb Weston ends ConAgra’s involvement in the foodservice business selling to restaurants and other commercial customers. The company will instead sharpen its focus on marketing its many grocery store brands, which include Peter Pan peanut butter and Gulden’s mustard.

"ConAgra Names CEO, Chairman of Potato Business Spinoff", The Wall Street Journal, July 13, 2016

Online Poll Finds Doom And Gloom Over Impact Of Brexit

An online reader poll by found that Brexit is expected to have a serious impact on pocketbooks. Three of five industrial bakery execs said Brexit will lead to rise in ingredients costs, while three of four believe it will drive up retail prices due to high ingredients and labor costs, and a weaker pound. Only 30 percent of readers said Brexit would have a positive impact, while 40 percent expect sales to drop. “Since it's the major retailers that make the rules,” said one reader, “Brexit won't have a major impact on bakery.”

"Brexit: 60% Of Firms Fear UK Leaving EU Will Push Up Ingredients Costs",, July 12, 2016

Kroger Commits To Cage-Free Eggs By 2025

In its new sustainability report, which includes six new goals, Ohio-based Kroger Co. has pledged to transition to 100 percent cage-free eggs by 2025. The nine-year transition will ensure that eggs are readily available, safely produced, and affordably priced, the company said. The company also said it promises to buy 90 percent of its seafood – and all of its wild-caught seafood – from fisheries certified by the Marine Stewardship Council. Regarding the cage-free trend, CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries (Colo.) said its nearly 200 restaurants will transition to serving cage-free eggs by 2022; Sonstegard Foods (S.D.), which earned a zoning permit for the half-million bird cage-free facility in February, has submitted plans to... More

"Kroger Makes Sweeping Changes To Eggs It Sells", Cincinnati Business Courier, July 11, 2016

Study Finds That Pasta Can Be A Healthy Part of A Mediterranean Diet

A recent study by Italian researchers has found that pasta eating fits with the healthful Mediterranean diet. Data – height, weight, activity levels, and diet – were collected from more than 14,000 participants. The participants reported their food intake over the prior 24 hours just once via telephone. The researchers found that pasta consumption was associated with better compliance to a Mediterranean style of eating. Pasta eating was negatively linked with abdominal obesity, and positively with a higher intake of tomatoes, onions, garlic and olive oil. The participants only ate about 1.5 to 3 ounces of pasta a day, which is more like a side dish than a meal.

"You Can Eat Pasta, But Load It With Veggies And Keep Serving Small", Miami Herald, July 11, 2016

Synagogue Bakery Program Has Homeless, Mentally Ill Baking Popular Artisan Cookies

The Altamont Bakery of Tulsa, Okla., housed in a synagogue’s large-scale dairy kitchen, is only open one day a week. It sticks to baking different varieties of one treat – artisanal cookies – and is very successful at it. The cookies sell briskly in coffee shops and cafeterias all across the state. But what makes the venture unique is that synagogue volunteers work side by side with formerly homeless and mentally ill Tulsans who are paid as much as $13.75 an hour. Every Tuesday, they produce about 1,200 cookies, which are delivered by a second group of volunteers on Wednesday. The venture has not transformed the lives of all of the bakers – some stay for only a short time, then move on. But others have been on board as long as four... More

"How One Oklahoma Synagogue Is Baking Its Way to a Better World", Haaretz, July 11, 2016

GMO Labeling Law Leads To Shortages Of Certain Non-Compliant Foods In Vermont

Vermont’s tough GMO ingredient labeling law took effect on July 1, and has so far resulted in a shortage of certain products on store shelves in the state. More than 3,000 products are effectively barred from being sold in the state because they do not comply with the law. Food manufacturers have informed grocers that about 3,500 products will not be relabeled to comply with the law, according to a representative of a nationwide grocery chain with 15 Vermont stores. Meanwhile, the U.S. Congress approved a compromise food and biotech industries-friendly GMO labeling bill that – if signed by Pres. Obama – would supersede the Vermont law and any other state laws regulating GMO labeling. Obama is expected to sign the legislation into... More

"Vermont GMO Law Leads To Fewer Products On Shelves", Washington Examiner, July 10, 2016

Food Start-ups Target Millennials In South Florida

A bevy of food-and-beverage start-ups have appeared in South Florida catering to the eating trends associated with Millennials – artisanal foods, fresh, local, healthful, organic and green. The new eateries – and convenient meal delivery firms – are supported by a strong foodservice sector, culinary culture and appreciation for green eating. Millennials are more likely than any other age group – including Boomers and GenXers – to buy all-natural and organic products, and ethnic and artisanal food and beverage products. Examples of the start-ups in South Florida: Panther Coffee cafes selling its own globally-marketed artisan coffees; Tio Foods selling its organic gazpacho-style soups in bottles; and homegrown meal delivery companies... More

"How Millennial Tastes Shape A New Generation Of Food Startups", Miami Herald, July 10, 2016

Campbell Soup Backs “Weak” U.S. GMO Label Bill

The Campbell Soup Company backed federal legislation that mandates food labels listing GMO ingredients. The labels might also feature a QR code pointing to a weblink with more detailed GMO information. The national legislation pre-empts state laws, such as Vermont’s, that require GMO labeling. However, GMO labeling advocates say the bill is weak because it exempts many ingredients, including oil made from genetically engineered soy and most sugars, starches and purified proteins. It also exempts beef, pork, poultry and eggs if source livestock consumed genetically modified feed. Critics say the Vermont law, which took effect on July 1, is much tougher than the U.S. legislation, which was passed by Congress on July 13 and awaits... More

"Campbell backs national GMO labels as act passes Senate hurdle", Just-Food, July 07, 2016

Minnesota Meat Processor Expands To Satisfy Demand For Organic, Natural Products

A Minnesota-based meat processor is expanding its ability to process organic and natural meat products with a new $2 million wholesale plant on 16 acres. The facility will be able to handle direct-market meats as well as specialty, smoked, and cured meats, jerky, hams and sausages for wholesale and retail customers. The increased capacity should result in speedier processing time and lower transportation costs for farmers. The new Valley Natural Foods facility will process naturally and humanely raised, grass and organic-grain fed, and locally produced meats, all of which are in greater demand. It will be one of a few certified, organic multi-species beef and meat processors in Minnesota.

"Valley Natural Foods to Open New Meat Processing Plant to Meet Growing Demand in Southern Minnesota", News release, Valley Natural Foods, July 07, 2016

Kellogg’s Adds Granola To Raisin Bran

Kellogg Company has expanded its Raisin Bran breakfast cereal line to include two granola-based varieties. Two flavors of Raisin Bran Granola will be available at 200 calories a serving with bran flakes, raisins and granola oat clusters: Raisin & Honey Granola and Cranberry Almond Granola, both low in fat, high in fiber. The company said its market research found now only that an increasing number of people were eating granola, its own Raisin Bran customers were eager to have granola blends that did not sacrifice the traditional flavor of the bran flakes and sweet raisins. 

"Kellogg's Merges Two Breakfast Favorites - Raisin Bran And Granola To Create A Delicious New Pairing", News release, Kellogg Company, July 07, 2016

Chobani’s Olympics Ads Emphasize Need For Good Foods To Be Great

U.S. yogurt maker Chobani has come up with a new ad theme and campaign as the Rio Olympics approach. Instead of “Naturally Powering Team USA,” used for the London and Sochi games, the theme is: ”You Can Only Be Great If You’re Full Of Goodness.” More than 40 videos have been prepared for the campaign. They include commercials, digital video profiles, workout routines and cooking segments featuring the athletes it is sponsoring. An ancillary theme of the campaign, which is managed by the Opperman Weiss agency, is the “No Bad Stuff” phrase Chobani has been using to stress that its yogurts contain no artificial ingredients or GMOs.

"See The Spot: Chobani Stresses Goodness In Olympics Push", Advertising Age, July 07, 2016

Busy Low-Carb Fans Can Now Get Atkins Meal Kits

People who are into the low-carb approach to weight loss can now get a week’s supply of appropriate foods directly from Atkins Nutritionals at prices ranging from about $70 to almost $98 a box, either as one-time online buys or on a subscription basis. The Meal Kits include frozen meals, snacks, menus, and shopping lists. The frozen food kit contains a variety of Atkins frozen foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Easy Peasy kit ($97.99) includes frozen meals, meal bars and shakes. All kits include the Atkins meal kit guide, the new Atkins Made Easy book, the Atkins carb counter and the recipe booklet. The company says the kits are targeted at low-carb aficionados “with busy lifestyles.”

"Atkins Launches First Line Of Meal Kits", News release, Atkins Nutritionals, July 07, 2016

Can Dunkin’ Donuts Succeed In San Francisco, Home Of Beloved Mom-And-Pop Shops?

Massachusetts-based Dunkin’ Donuts tried expanding to California 30 years ago but failed – the last stores closed more than 10 years ago, trounced by a “reversed Walmart effect.” In the San Francisco Bay area especially, there’s an abundance of cherished mom-and-pop doughnut shops that have given fits to national chains like Dunkin’ and Krispy Kreme. But, with much ballyhoo, and some instant success, Dunkin’ is back in the Golden State, and once again faces competition from those entrenched family-run businesses like Stan's Donut Shop. San Franciscans – who love to eat out and discover unique eateries – are loyal to the mom-and-pop shops because their products are high quality and affordable, and they offer a good “old school”... More

"For Dunkin' Donuts, Small Shops Could Be Big Competition", The Mercury News, July 06, 2016

Foodservice Industry Is Trying Hard To Deliver “Clean,” Boldly Flavored, Foods

A consensus is emerging among restaurateurs and other foodservice operators over the term “clean” eating. The menu strategist for a Wyoming-based taco restaurant chain says clean simply means ingredients that can be found “in your pantry or in a grocery store.” The fewer the better. With that in mind, a restaurant in San Ramon, Calif., not only lists all ingredients for each dish on its menu, it makes sure all employees can explain the ingredients to diners. To keep things simple and clean – and zestier, another consumer trend – chefs are using herbs, spices, chilies, oils and condiments such as Tabasco Sauce, which itself contains only distilled vinegar, tabasco peppers and salt. That ensures the foods are not just cleaner and... More

"Consumers Crave Bold Flavors, 'Clean' Labels", Restaurant Hospitality, July 06, 2016

British Gym Rats Are No Longer The Only Buyers Of Sports Nutrition Products

Sales of sports nutrition products – muscle milks, protein bars, energy gels, etc. – are booming in Great Britain. At the heart of this strong performance is an expanding market: an increasing number of health-conscious consumers – beyond exercise junkies – are buying them. Mintel says 24 percent of Brits consumed a sports nutrition product in the past three months, including 42 percent of men aged 16-24. U.K. consumers spent £66 million on sports nutrition foods and drinks in 2015, an increase of 27 percent from 2013. The products are now staples on store shelves: 47 percent of sports nutrition buyers say the products are part of their everyday diet.

"Sports Nutrition Bulks Up: UK Market Sales Rise By 27% In Two Years As One In Four Brits Use The Products", News release, Mintel, July 06, 2016

Food Delivery Robots Take To The Streets In European Cities

A robot food delivery start-up announced it is testing its business strategy and technology with the help of several European food and parcel delivery companies, including Pronto, Hermes, and Just Eat, as well as grocery retailer Metro Group. Starship Technologies, created by two Skype co-founders, will launch dozens of delivery robots in London, Düsseldorf, Bern and another German city to start. It will then move to several other European and American cities. It already operates delivery robots in Tallinn, Estonia, its headquarters location.

"Starship Technologies launches testing program for self-driving delivery robots with major industry partners", News release, Starship Technologies, July 06, 2016

SnackWell’s Introduces Biscuit Thins With All-Natural Flavors

Low-fat snack maker SnackWell’s, once owned by Nabisco and Mondelez, said it has expanded into the breakfast product category with the launch of biscuit thins made with 100 percent whole grains. In addition to being a source of protein and fiber, the cookies contain no high fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated oils. Natural flavors include: caramel macchiato, dark chocolate mocha; and French vanilla latte, all made with real coffee.

"New Snackwell Biscuit Thins Mark Expansion To Breakfast Segment", FoodBev Media, June 28, 2016

Food Industry Scrambles To Remove Artificial Colors From Products

The food industry is working hard to remove artificial colors from its products, not because of a government mandate – the feds say the colors are safe – but because of a consumer mandate. Buyers of candy, breakfast cereals, soft drinks, and other products no longer want to see the words Yellow 5, Blue 1, or Red 40 on food ingredient labels. The new concerns are traceable to studies that link artificial colors – dubbed “neurotoxins” – to childhood hyperactivity disorders. So food and beverage companies and restaurant chains – Kraft Heinz, Mondelez, General Mills, Kellogg's, Nestlé, Mars, ConAgra, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, etc. – are phasing out fake colors, replacing them with real colors. It’s a tricky process that hopes to satisfy... More

"Food Companies Are Phasing Out Artificial Dyes, But Not Fast Enough For Some", Chicago Tribune, June 24, 2016

Ingredients Company Offers Clean-Label Cake Inclusions

Baked foods ingredients make Parker is now selling a line of clean-label cake inclusions that are shelf-stable and enhance flavor, but are free of artificial flavors and colors, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, preservatives and allergens (including dairy, soy, and nuts). The inclusions are produced using a hot-panning process that leaves lower moisture content in the final product. This allows for a longer shelf life – up to 12 months. Traditional baked goods often have a shelf life of weeks. The inclusions have a crunchy texture when dry, and absorb fat and moisture in ice cream to create a dense mouthfeel similar to real cake.

"Parker to Showcase New Clean Label Cake Inclusions at IFT16", Business Wire, June 22, 2016

Irish Firm Gets FDA Okay To Sell Store Brand Non-GMO Baby Formula

The FDA has cleared Ireland-based baby formula supplier Perrigo to launch three milk-based, non-GMO products. The store-brand infant formulas are meant to save consumers as much as 45 percent over branded versions, such as the ten varieties marketed by Mead Johnson and Abbott Laboratories. Sales of non-GMO infant formula in the U.S. already exceed $45 million a year.

"Perrigo Gets US FDA Clearance For Own-Label Non-GMO Formula", Just-Food, June 21, 2016

Companies, Organizations  

Unilever Spain Appoints Antonio Casanova As EVP

Unilever Spain named Antonio Casanova its new executive vice president for the local market. He will succeed Jaime Aguilera, who was appointed as EVP for Unilever in Central and Eastern Europe. Casanova will continue performing his current duties at Unilever Jeronimo Martins, the company’s joint venture in Portugal.

"Antonio Casanova Named New President Of Unilever Spain", European Supermarket Magazine, July 19, 2016

Hindustan Unilever Announces Key Changes To Management Committee

Hindustan Unilever Limited announced the resignation of Punit Misra as Management Committee member, executive director, and vice president of sales and customer development. Current vice president of HUL’s Skin Care business, Srinandan Sundaram, will succeed Misra. Srinandan joined HUL as a management trainee in 1999 and rose through the ranks, occupying executive posts of increasing responsibilities and importance.

"HUL announces new appointment to Management Committee", Hindustan Unilever, July 18, 2016

Retailers Lease Warehouse Space at Record Pace

The Wall Street Journal, July 12, 2016

Press Release  

Unilever Reports Profit Gains Despite Revenue Decline In 1H Of 2016

Unilever PLC said profit increased 2 percent to €2.51 billion, or $2.77 billion, in the first half of 2016, although revenue declined 2.6 percent to €26.3 billion due to currency volatility. Underlying sales grew 4.7 percent, with volume rising 2.2 percent. At constant exchange rates, sales increased 5.4 percent and 2.6 percent at current exchange rates. According to the company, emerging markets sales grew 8.0 percent, with volume rising 2.9 percent. Core operating margin was at 15 percent, pushed by an increase of 80bps in gross margin.

"Unilever Reports Second quarter and half-year 2016 results", Unilever, July 21, 2016

HUL Reports Strong Growth And Profit Gains In 2Q 2016

Hindustan Unilever Limited said its domestic consumer business grew 4 percent for the second quarter of 2016. Operating profit rose 7 percent to Rs. 1,543 crores, with margin expanding by 70bps. Profit after tax increased 6 percent to Rs. 1,128 crores, with net profit growing 10 percent to Rs. 1,174 crores.

"Hindustan Unilever Limited JQ 2016 Results Presentation", Hindustan Unilever , July 18, 2016

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