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Food Business Insight Alert Archive

Have a look at some of our recent alerts. These give broad coverage of the industry - if you want something more specific create your own here.

<<234567891011>> Total issues:389

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November 19, 2017, to November 26, 2017

Unilever Starts Process Of Looking For New CEO

Unilever is working with executive search consulting firm Egon Zehnder International to search for current CEO Paul Polman's successor. Although the company has yet to officially announce a possible date for Polman's retirement, some unnamed sources expect the veteran executive to leave in about 18 months. According to Sky News, Egon Zehnder is helping Unilever's board of directors prepare for a formal search process.

Christina Minardi To Help Manage Whole Foods’ Integration With Amazon

Former Northeast regional president Christina Minardi was promoted to executive VP of operations for Whole Foods Market. As a regional president, Minardi was responsible for 40 stores in three states. Minardi will now lead four regions and help with the integration with Amazon. Her new responsibilities will include re-imagining the customer experience and driving e-commerce initiatives. 

U.K. Trademark Filing Signals Imminent Launch Of Amazon Meal Kits

Amazon has filed for a trademark for a meal kit slogan at the U.K.’s Intellectual Property Office. The slogan – “We Prep. You Cook” – echoes a similar slogan used in the U.S. Amazon’s meal kits were launched in the U.S. and retail at $15.99 to $19.99. The U.K. trademark filing signals an imminent launch of the product, according to industry watchers.

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November 12, 2017, to November 19, 2017

French Baker Defends His $29 Brioche Loaf

The owner of a French bakery that opened recently in San Francisco defends his expensive offerings as the “real deal,” and the same amount charged in any big city. Les Gourmands, owned by baker Sylvain Chaillout, sells a $29 brioche loaf, which some social media commenters castigated. Chaillout noted that the high prices help pay for the bakery’s 18-month paid apprenticeships for bakers-in-training, which start at $14 an hour. And the brioche? A San Francisco Chronicle reporter called it “sweet, rich and buttery.”

Bezos Aide Steve Keller To Helm Amazon’s Delivery, Grocery, Store Ventures

Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos has given a longtime aide responsibility for Prime Now, AmazonFresh, as well as the $13.5-billion Whole Foods Market acquisition and brick-and-mortar book and convenience stores. The idea, according to observers, is to facilitate changes across the rapid-delivery and grocery-delivery operations, and the physical facilities. Steve Kessel [left] spent several years managing Amazon’s digital ventures, including books and music. His teams developed the Kindle e-reader Fire tablet in late 2011. After a four-year sabbatical, he returned in 2015 to oversee efforts to reimagine the in-store experience.

Ahold USA Earns Perfect Survey Score On LGBT Workplace Equality

Ahold USA, the parent company of supermarket chains Stop & Shop, Giant, and Martin’s, as well as the grocery shopping/delivery company Peapod, received a perfect score on the 2018 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. The national benchmarking survey and report evaluates corporate policies and practices lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) workplace equality. The high score earned Ahold USA the designation as a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality.”

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November 05, 2017, to November 12, 2017

Hain Celestial‘s 1st Quarter Delivered “Solid” Gains In Sales, Profit

Organic and natural products company Hain Celestial posted a healthy first quarter 2018 net sales increase of four percent to $708.3 million. Gross margin rose 250 basis points to 18.6 percent, and operating income soared 129 percent to $31.5 million. Diluted earnings per share was $0.19, while adjusted diluted EPS was $0.23. CEO Irwin D. Simon called the results "solid with improved net sales growth and profitability” and met expectations across all business segments.

Amazon Closes Two Whole Foods Stores In UK

Online retailer Amazon said it plans to close two Whole Foods stores in the UK. Included in the shutdown list are the stores in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, and in Giffnock, East Renfrewshire, cutting the number of Whole Foods store in the country down to seven. About 150 people work at the two stores.

Stagnant Indonesia Economy Could Drive Unilever To Tinker With Product Portfolio

A PT Unilever Indonesia executive said a stagnant business environment tends to increase the cost of living and push middle-class consumers toward smaller, cheaper products. More affluent consumers, however, continue to buy premium-priced goods. Consumer research in Indonesia shows that the composition of high-income, middle-income, and low-income consumers is now 10 percent-40 percent-50 percent, respectively. The middle-income segment could decline, however, if the stagnant environment persisted. Anticipating that, Unilever would “need to change our portfolio." 

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October 22, 2017, to November 05, 2017

Big Food Agrees To Clarify Food Expiration Labels

Fifty of the biggest players in the food industry, led by Campbell, Walmart, Kellogg, and Nestlé, are changing their expiration labels exclusively to “Use By” over the next three years. That means that by 2020, consumers will not have to deal with confusing labels that say “Sell By,” “Display Until,” or “Best Before.” The companies, all members of the Consumer Goods Forum Board, unanimously approved the change after concluding that confusing labeling that leads to premature disposal is one of the leading causes of food waste around the world. About 40 percent of food that is bought in the U.S. is thrown out often unnecessarily. About 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted annually around the world, contributing to eight percent of greenhouse gases.

Buckwheat Rebounds In The Gluten-Free Age

Dubious old recipes for buckwheat pancakes are the probable reason buckwheat, even with its many virtues, never caught on in the U.S. like corn and wheat. Recipes used more of the buckwheat husk, which accounted for the dark color and nutty flavor of the pancakes. Nevertheless, because buckwheat is a hearty, easy-to-grow grain, that doesn’t require herbicides or pesticides, it never fell completely out of favor. As the gluten-free trend caught on, interest in naturally gluten-free, nterest in whole grain buckwheat has grown. Millers eliminate more of the husk when making flour, which is used to make pancakes, crepes, muffins, and quick breads. The whole, intact seeds without the husk are known as groats. Toasted they become kasha. Processed they make a hot cereal called "cream of buckwheat."

NRDC Pinpoints Sources, Amounts Of Food Waste In Three U.S. Cities

New Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) research explores how much food is being wasted in Denver, Nashville, and New York City, as well as where and why food is discarded, what types of food are wasted, and how much of that food was potentially edible. NRDC says food is the largest component of waste sent landfills in the U.S. –  nearly 22 percent. Organic solid waste in landfills generates the global warming pollutant methane. But it also indicates how much water, land, energy, money, labor, and other resources are being wasted in growing, processing, distributing, and storing that food. For the study, NRDC collected data from each city’s restaurants, food wholesalers, food manufacturers, grocers, and hotels. Six hundred households kept track of discarded food for a week.

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October 15, 2017, to October 22, 2017

Clean Snacking Trend Will Boost U.S. Candy Market

Researcher Packaged Facts forecasts a comeback for the sluggish U.S. candy market, thanks to the commitment by the industry’s biggest players to “clean snacking.” Both Hershey and Mars have announced commitments to “responsible ingredient sourcing” and “natural flavors.” Sales of candy products in the U.S. will surpass $41 billion by 2020, about 60 percent of which will come from chocolate candy sales. Packaged Facts defines “clean snacking” as a “balanced approach to nutrition” that includes snacks and sweets in moderation.

Vegan Grain Bowls Are A Hit Among Non-Vegan Foodies

Bowls of green veggies served on a bed of healthful grains are catching on among diners looking for a healthful lunch or dinner. Known as vegan grain bowls, the meals offer light but filling and healthful fare that appeals to vegans and non-vegans alike, if reports from Maine eateries are any indication. Variations include: green bamboo rice, French green lentils, green zebra tomatoes, and zucchini; wheat berries, seared tempeh, red cabbage and pumpkin broth; or rice and quinoa topped with greens, seaweed, avocado, pickles, and tofu finished with a carrot-ginger dressing. 

Cargill Launches Native Starches As “Clean Label” Food Ingredients

Food and agriculture multinational Cargill has launched a line of functional native starches to be used as “clean label” food and beverage ingredients. The new starches, offered under the SimPure brand, are designed to provide greater processing tolerance, and longer shelf life and storage stability. The ingredients will allow food manufacturers to meet consumer demand for “label-friendly products with great taste and texture," the company said. SimPure 99560, the first product in the SimPure portfolio, can replace modified starches in frozen-ready meals, without compromising taste, texture, or appearance.  

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October 08, 2017, to October 15, 2017

Aldi Plans To Build ₤75-Million Warehouse In UK

German discount retailer Aldi plans to invest ₤75 million to build a distribution center in Bedford, England, to support the company's growing network in the UK. Aldi said it remains committed to expansion plans in the UK retail market despite reporting its third year of declining profit. By 2022, the retailer expects to have 1,000 stores in the country from its current 726 locations.

Lidl Sees Share Of Shopper Traffic Drop In US

Months after opening its stores in the US in June 2017, German discount retailer Lidl saw its share of store visits declined, according to an analysis by location-based data firm inMarket. Local rivals, including Kroger Co. and Wal-Mart, have recovered much of market share they lost when Lidl after Lidl opened its first nine US stores in June 15. Lidl grabbed 11 percent of customer visits to traditional grocers in nine markets in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, inMarket data revealed. Lidl's share of traffic fell below 8 percent in August, inMarket revealed.

Amazon Angers India’s Big Retailers With Unapproved Gift Coupon Scheme

Big retail chains in India are crying foul over what they feel was a sneaky tactic by Amazon to steal their customers using gift coupons distributed via ITC, Nestlé, and Coca-Cola products. The tactic – dubbed “below the belt” and “ambush marketing” – infuriated Big Bazaar, Hyper-City, Star Bazaar, Walmart-owned Best Price Modern Wholesale, and others. The brands involved in the Amazon campaign include ITC’s Yippee Noodles, Nestlé’s KitKat chocolate, and Coca-Cola’s Sprite and Fanta soft drinks. The stores have since removed products carrying the coupons. A D-Mart executive criticized the brands for not talking to his company first. Amazon downplayed the ruckus, calling the campaign a normal promotional activity.

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October 01, 2017, to October 08, 2017

Wal-Mart Buys NYC-based Last-Mile Delivery Service Parcel

Wal-Mart said it has acquired Parcel, a technology-enabled, last-mile delivery service company specializing in perishable and non-perishable products in New York City. Operating 24/7, Parcel relies on technology, a fleet of leased vehicles, and employee-based workforce to rapidly sort, load, and deliver products to customers. Wal-Mart said it plans to use Parcel to deliver packages to customers in New York City.

Wal-Mart Aims For High-End Market With Jet.com

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is repositioning its Jet ecommerce unit toward the high-end market, as part of the retailer's efforts to compete with online rival Amazon. Acquired by Wal-Mart for $3.3 billion in 2016, Jet plans to sell apparel from online retailers bought by the retail giant in the previous year. Also, Jet plans to introduce a new line of private-label food and grocery items.

Discount Retailers Aldi And Lidl Have US Retailers Against The Ropes

German discount retailers Lidl and Aldi are expected to grow faster than their local competitors in the US market. By offering limited variety of products at very low prices, Lidl and Aldi are winning a price war and expanding their shares of the retail market. Operating in the US since the 1970s, Aldi has 1,700 stores across the country, while Lidl began its expansion in the East Coast in June, and opened its 30th store in September 2017. Also, by offering private-brand products, the German retailers can offer discounts ranging from 35 percent to 40 percent, compared with their rivals.

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September 24, 2017, to October 01, 2017

Unilever Joins Better Than Cash Alliance's Push For Digital Finance

Unilever announced a collaboration with the UN-based group Better Than Cash Alliance, which promotes digital payment as a means of supporting women and smallholder farmers. Part of Unilever's Sustainable Living Plan, the consumer goods company's deal with the organization signals its commitment to move away from cash as a payment platform for its value chain. According to Better Than Cash Alliance, digital modes of repaying loans have enabled farmers to reduce payment losses and collections costs, as well as “improved transparency and efficiency.”

La Colombe CEO Says The “Mobile Experience” Is The Next Big Thing

Coffee roaster and retailer La Colombe’s socially-conscious CEO Todd Carmichael
believes his product’s ability to saturate roughly 37 percent of the grocery market in seven months is a sign that the coffee industry is ready for “the next big thing” – a mobile experience he wants to lead – involving the ability to have a crafted coffee drink anywhere using self-heating cans, or recyclable aluminum single-serve pods that make café-quality hot lattes at home. The company’s ready-to-drink Draft Latte will surpass its hospitality and café revenues this quarter. “The RTD thing is a monster,” he said, a $3 billion market, “and it’s growing fast.”

Lithuania Reports Big Differences In Major Food Brands Sold there

A study by tiny Baltic country Lithuania shows that the foods sold by major brands there are very different from those sold in Western and Eastern Europe, and more expensive. A government agency sampled 33 food products: 23 differed in composition, taste, color, and consistency. For example, the Nestlé ice tea brand Nestea sold in Lithuanian grocery stores contains more additives than the Nestea sold in Dutch supermarkets, the State Food and Veterinary service (VMVT) reported. Activia yogurts in Lithuania have fewer strawberries than those sold in Germany. A similar study by the Slovak government found significant quality differences in the same products sold in Slovakia and Austria. A spokesman for Coca-Cola Baltics, which makes Nestea, said the company changes product recipes to fit local tastes.

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September 17, 2017, to September 24, 2017

Time For Coca-Cola To Spread The Word About Its Product Line, Community Roots

Coca-Cola recently took its rebranding and refranchising campaign to national TV with an ad on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” broadcast billing itself as the “total beverage company” with local community roots and an ever-expanding array of beverages. The new ad talks about a revamped Coca-Cola company whose 68 independent U.S. bottlers have deep connections in local communities. The TV ad will be bolstered by print ads in USA Today and The Wall Street Journal. Partners & Spade is doing the creative work, joined by Perfect Sense Digital on digital and UM for media buying.

Nestlé Buys Majority Stake In High-End Coffee Roaster, Retailer Blue Bottle Coffee

Global coffee producer Nestlé has purchased a majority stake in Oakland, Calif.-based Blue Bottle Coffee. The high-end specialty coffee roaster and retailer operates coffee shops – 55 by the end of the year – in major U.S. cities and in Japan, and has launched super-premium RTD and roast and ground products, sold online and in retail stores. Terms of the investment were not disclosed. Nestlé coffee brands include Nescafé and Nespresso.

Start-Up Hopes To Shake Up The Dairy Industry With Pea-Based Milk

Dairy is the largest contributor to carbon emissions by volume in food production. That fact inspired two entrepreneurs to launch a venture capital-backed Silicon Valley company, dubbed Ripple, to produce dairy alternatives that taste better and have the same amount of protein as dairy and soy milks, and much more than almond or rice products. Made from yellow peas, which are inexpensive to grow, their products aren’t strongly flavored but deliver the same amount of protein as milk from cows. The growing popularity of milk alternatives comes at the expense of the real thing, of course: sales of dairy milk declined seven percent in 2015 and are projected to fall another 11 percent through 2020.

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September 10, 2017, to September 17, 2017

Company Launches Premium Protein Powder Based On Water Lentils

Plant-based nutrition company Clean Machine has launched what it calls a “new superfood” protein powder based on protein-rich water lentils. Dubbed Clean Green Protein, the product contains Lentein and is rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, polyphenols, omega 3 fatty acids, and fiber. A 1.6-pound tub with 20 servings and a vanilla chai flavor has an MSRP of $59.99 and is third-party certified vegan, non-GMO, dairy free, and gluten free. 

Edible Cookie Dough Maker Sets Up Shop In New York City

World’s Best Cookie Dough announced plans to open a raw edible cookie dough store on Bleecker Street in New York City. Eating raw cookie dough without the right ingredients can be harmful, so the company makes its dough with pasteurized eggs and heat-treated flour to ensure safety. The dough is available in a wide range of flavors. The company also sells cookie dough “freakshakes,” as well as cheesecake, fried ice cream, pudding, and cookies, all made with cookie dough. 

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

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. 
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