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Potential Hikes In Prices, Fate Of NHS, Have British Consumers On Edge

Mintel consumer research finds that Britons are worried about the prospect of higher prices of goods and services, including food, vacations and clothing. Eighty-three percent worry about price hikes generally, and 59 percent worry about more expensive groceries. With the impact of Brexit still largely unknown yet looming, and despite concerns about rising prices,  consumer confidence remains relatively strong. People still expect their personal finances to hold up well over the next year. However, the fate of the National Health Service (NHS) and the nation’s economy worry consumers. [ Image credit: © Wikimedia Commons  ]

"Britain braces itself for price hikes: 83% fear price rises on goods and services", News release, Mintel, May 19, 2017

Opportunities For Confectioners In Asia’s Functional Candy Market

Concerns about health among Chinese consumers have both helped and hindered the country’s confectionery industry, according to Mintel data. On the one hand, there is growing anxiety that the Chinese diet contains far too much sugar. This is reflected in a decline in volume candy sales beginning in 2015, a trend not helped by a general economic slowdown. However, Chinese consumers are buying more functional candy, for example throat-soothing or vitamin C candies. This presents a product development and marketing opportunity for confectionery firms, especially those that analyze the demands of demographic segments in Asian countries. One functional ingredient in candy is collagen, an anti-aging protein. Another is iron, already available in ...  More

"China’s Sugar Confectionery Market Declines While Functional Candy Grows", News release, Mintel, May 18, 2017

Unilever Names New VP Of Sustainable Business Development

Unilever has appointed Weber Shandwick's Benelux CEO Annick Boyen as vice president of sustainable business development and communications for Europe. Boyen, who has had a 22-year career with Weber Shandwick, will also manage Unilever's external affairs operation in Brussels. She will report to Sue Garrard, Unilever's global SVP of sustainable business development in the UK, and Europe president Jan Zijderveld.

"Annick Boyen Departs Weber Shandwick For Senior Unilever Role", The Holmes Report, May 18, 2017

As Retail Industry Continues To Sag, Walmart Booms

Walmart bucked depressing retail industry trends in the first fiscal quarter, posting a 1.4 percent increase in revenue to $117.54 billion, slightly less than the $117.74 billion expected by Wall Street. Earnings per share were up by two percent to $1.00, better than analyst expectations of $0.96 a share. The glowing performance in a time of limp retail sales was generally driven by aggressive pricing that increased store traffic by three percent (on a two-year stacked basis) and by successful expansion of its online business. E-commerce sales soared 63 percent, up from 29 percent growth last quarter, mostly due to organic growth and not acquisitions. Same-store sales grew for the 11th consecutive quarter. [ Image credit: ©   ]

"Walmart U.S. Q1 comps1 grew 1.4% and Walmart U.S. eCommerce GMV grew 69%, Company reports Q1 FY18 diluted EPS of $1.00", Earnings release, Walmart, May 18, 2017

Sustainable Living Brands Initiative Has Positive Impact At Unilever

Products that Unilever six years ago designated as “sustainable living brands” – they offer a strong social or environmental purpose – have proven to be generally more successful than the rest of its product lineup, the company says. They have grown 50 percent faster and delivered more than 60 percent of the growth in 2016. Eighteen ended up in Unilever’s top 40 brands. Most successful sustainable living products include Lifebuoy, Ben & Jerry’s, Dove and Hellmann’s, with high single- and double-digit sales over the past six years. CEO Paul Polman said the results show that “sustainability is good for business” because consumers want sustainable products. A Unilever-commissioned survey found that more than half of all consumers already buy ...  More

"Unilever’s Sustainable Living brands continue to drive higher rates of growth", News release, Unilever, May 18, 2017

U.S. Grocery Chain Owner Delhaize Honored For Diversified Hiring Practices

Retail grocery chain owner Delhaize America was recognized by Web-based “diversity” publisher and event sponsor DiversityInc for its excellence in hiring, retaining and promoting women, minorities, people with disabilities, LGBT people and veterans. Delhaize, whose grocery chains include Food Lion and Hannaford, was ranked 10th among the top 11 “Companies for Progress,” a subset of the top 50 companies for diversity. It was the only grocery firm to make the top 50. Other retailers among the top 50 were Target (No. 22) and CVS Health (No. 50). CPG companies included Johnson & Johnson (No. 5), Procter & Gamble (No. 13), Kellogg Co. (No. 28), Colgate-Palmolive (No. 35), and McCormick & Co. (No. 45). [ Image credit: © Wikipedia  ]

"Delhaize America Among Top Companies for Progress", Progressive Grocer, May 17, 2017

Target’s Q1 Numbers Are Promising, But There’s Still Work To Do

Target seems to be on a path to recovery, if profit is any indication, though it reported a first quarter same-store sales decline of 1.3 percent due to drops in traffic and basket size. Digital sales were up 22 percent, however. Sales totaled $16 billion down from $16.2 billion last year. Earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter were $1.22, compared with $1.02 a year ago. Thomson Reuters consensus forecast was 91 cents. The company expects a “low single-digit decline” in same-store sales in the second quarter, and adjusted EPS of $0.95 to $1.15. For the full-year 2017, Target continues to project a low single-digit decline in same-store sales. CEO Brian Cornell said the company is in "the early stage of a multi-year effort to position ...  More

"Target Reports First Quarter 2017 Earnings", Earnings release, Target, May 17, 2017

Chobani Strives To Be No. 1 In Yogurt, But Not Through Tactics Of “Desperation”

American yogurt fans have embraced Greek yogurt since Chobani introduced it here nine years ago, but the company is not satisfied. Fifty-four percent of U.S. yogurt sales are in the Greek category, but CMO Peter McGuinness says it is still “underpenetrated” and should be double what it is now. The market figures tell him that two-thirds of the country hasn’t had a Greek yogurt in the last 52 weeks. Chobani, with 20.4 percent of the overall yogurt market, will beat Yoplait and No. 1 Danone through “authentic innovation” within the category, rather than “desperation and discounting,” McGuinness says. [ Image credit: © Chobani  ]

"Chobani CMO on Greek Yogurt: ‘We Think the Category Should be double what it is today’",, May 15, 2017

Consumers Contribute To Extended Economic Recoveries Because Of Buying Habits

“Jobless recoveries” from recessions have become the norm. Routine jobs eliminated during downturns never come back, thanks to automation and outsourcing. That makes recovery slow, dampening real wages for longer periods. But business researchers show that companies cutting costs during hard times isn't the only reason for slow recoveries. Consumers contribute by buying cheaper, lower quality goods – usually produced overseas – at discount retailers, a phenomenon called “trading down.” It’s a smart move for consumers, but ultimately the macro economy suffers. Lower quality goods and services don’t require skilled labor, so demand for U.S. labor slides, further crippling the economy. As the trend continues after the recession ends, the job ...  More

"Recessions Push People to Buy Cheap Things, Which Just Makes Everything Worse", Harvard Business Review, May 12, 2017

PepsiCo Expands E-Commerce Relationship With China’s Alibaba Platform

PepsiCo’s China unit has extended its marketing relationship with giant online and mobile commerce company Alibaba with a new strategic agreement. The company said the pact is an effort to expand its own e-commerce capabilities while enhancing customer online experiences. PepsiCo will take full advantage of Alibaba's platform and data “to carry out more innovative experiments” and “perfect PepsiCo's products and services.” Cooperation with Alibaba began five years ago in the e-commerce segment when PepsiCo established a flagship store on Tmall  It has launched several online marketing campaigns, including the 2016 Super Brand Day, Quaker's co-branded campaign with Tmall, and Kumamon-branded Lay's gift campaign during Chinese New Year. [ ...  More

"PepsiCo Signs Strategic Agreement with Alibaba Group", News release, PepsiCo, May 11, 2017

Knorr’s New Quick Meals Are Free Of Artificial Flavors, Preservatives