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HBC Reports Healthy Sales Increase In First Six Months Of 2017

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

August 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Welch’s and Global Beverage Corporation (GBC) announced they are working together to expand Welch’s soft drink line beyond grape juice. The company will add new flavors and formats in what was termed a “re-launch” that will drive the Welch’s brand “to the forefront of the carbonated soft drink industry.” The re-launch will focus initially on Welch’s original flavors (viz., grape, white grape, strawberry, fruit punch, orange, pineapple, and peach), then add new flavors and concepts. Welch’s beverages are still made with concord grapes grown by its “family farmer owners.” GBC is a privately-held soft drink marketing and distribution company.
"Welch's and Global Beverage Pursuing Collaborative Effort To Expand Welch's Soda Business", News release, Global Beverage Corporation, August 09, 2017, © Global Beverage Corporation
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Coke Unveils Huge Times Square 3D Robotic Billboard

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

August 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Food services company Sodexo has added hard-boiled eggs to its commitment to use only cage-free shell and liquid eggs by 2025. The company says 70 percent of its egg use will be cage-free by spring 2018. The company also announced that 12,500 organizational customers in the U.S. will begin to source open-sow-housed pork products this fall to improve the humane treatment of animals in its supply chain. The moves all under the company’s Better Tomorrow 2025 roadmap for improved corporate responsibility. [Image Credit: © Sodexo ]
"Sodexo Cracks its Commitment to Buy Cage-Free Eggs and Open Sow Housed Pork in the U.S.", News release, Sodexo, August 08, 2017, © Sodexo
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Acquisition Of KFC Eateries Will Accelerate ThaiBev’s Long-Term Goals

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

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

August 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
California-based Pamela’s Products bakery, whose products are found in natural food and grocery stores in the U.S. and Canada, is now selling gluten-free pasta, including organic spaghetti, rotini, elbows, and spaghetti. The dried pastas are made with white rice and sprouted brown rice flours sourced from non-GMO farmers. Each two-ounce serving contains eight grams of protein from peas. The new products are available in stores now, at a suggested retail price of $4.29 per eight-ounce box.  [Image Credit: © Pamela's Products ]
"Pamela’s Products Enters Pasta Category with Organic Gluten-Free Offerings, and Flavorful Pasta Meals", News release, Pamela’s Products, August 07, 2017, © Pamela’s Products
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Papa John’s Now Offers Gluten-Free Pizza – With A Warning

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

August 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The owners of Manhattan’s Doughnut Project have teamed up with Ruffino Wines to bring Prosecco-infused doughnuts frosted with an Italian white wine (Prosecco) glaze and dusted with edible glitter and gold leaf. Although the recipe for the special doughnuts was two years in the making, the concoction was unveiled to celebrate National Prosecco Day on August 13. [Image Credit: © The Doughnut Project ]
Elizabeth White, "This is Not a Drill: Prosecco Doughnuts are coming to NYC", Metro, August 07, 2017, © SB New York, Inc.
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Gluten-Free Vegetable Tartes Available Online

August 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
New Jersey-based bakery Sophia's Delight has created vegetable tartes made with non-GMO, whole-grain gluten-free flours in two flavors: mushroom swiss and spinach ricotta. The low-glycemic tartes, made with natural ingredients such as butter, eggs, and cheese, have protein values that range from 20 - 28 percent. They are free from artificial preservatives and food dyes, and are baked without nuts, corn, sugar, or soy. The tartes are available online in cases of six or more at SophiasDelight.com.[Image Credit: © Sophia's Delight ]

 
"Sophia's Delight Introduces Wellness-Inspired Grab & Go Savory Tartes to the NY/NJ Market", News release, Sophia's Delight , August 07, 2017, © Sophia's Delight
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With Little Caesars Pizza Pick-up Machine, Shy Customers Can Avoid Humans

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

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

August 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Food industry watchers wonder whether a perceived trend toward plant-based eating represents a paradigm shift in American dietary habits, or is just a lot of hype. Certainly “reducetarianism” – plant-based eating driven by environmental and animal welfare concerns – is a real thing. But a wide variety of vegan diet options exist only in a few geographic pockets, and that needs to change. People are not likely to give up meat as a dietary choice in the near future. And not until the reducetarian movement succeeds at broadening the availability of delicious plant-based meal options. 
Niamh Michail, "'We’re at the Start of an Exciting Transition Towards a Plant-Based Revolution,' Says Reducetarian Founder", FOODnavigator.com, August 03, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Coca-Cola Crowdsourcing Project Seeks Alternative Plant-Based Sweeteners

August 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Searching for “newer, better ingredients,” Coca-Cola has launched two crowdsourcing initiatives to enlist the help of individuals and scientists in finding an effective sweetener other than currently used stevia and monk fruit.
Jay Moye, "Coca-Cola Launches Crowdsourcing Challenges to Find Next-Generation Sweetener Innovations", News release, The Coca-Cola Company, August 03, 2017, © The Coca-Cola Company
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Organic Sweetener Company’s Products Certified Free Of Monsanto Pesticide

August 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Iowa-based sweetener manufacturer Heavenly Organics was named by the Detox Project as the first honey to be certified glyphosate residue free. Products now certified free of the chemiccal include the company’s organic raw white, neem and acacia honey varietals; mint, double dark, almond, pomegranate and ginger chocolate honey patties; and organic whole cane Himalayan sugar. Glyphosate is the key ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup weed-killer. It has been found in many American food products and in the urine of 93 percent of people tested by the University of California San Francisco. [Image Credit: © Heavenly Organics ]
"Heavenly Organics Becomes First Generation Glyphosate Residue Free Certified Food Through the Detox Project", News release, Heavenly Organics, August 02, 2017, © Heavenly Organics
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Oatly Enters U.S. Plant-Based Dairy Alternative Market

August 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Swedish plant-based beverage company Oatly says American consumers are looking for dairy alternatives that are nutritious (and clean label), delicious, and environmentally sustainable and appropriately sourced. Twenty-five-year-old Oatly thinks it has a viable alternative to products on U.S. store shelves, and is rolling out its oat-based dairy alternative beverage in the U.S.
Elizabeth Crawford, "Plant-Based Beverages Need to Offer More Than a “Milk Alternative” to Get Ahead, Newcomer Oatly Says", FOODnavigator-USA.com, August 01, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Lucky British Pod People In Sainsbury’s Food Waste Test

August 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
British retail grocery chain Sainsbury’s is testing a device dubbed a “Fresh Pod” that sits in a household refrigerator and absorbs ethylene gas emitted by fresh produce as it ages, helping to keep it fresher four times longer. The technology, already in use in many commercial fridges, could help reduce the average £700 ($900) of food binned by U.K. homes every year. A village council in the U.K. won £32k ($41k) from Sainsbury’s to test the devices among its citizenry as part of the company’s five-year food waste initiative. [Image Credit: © Fresh Pod ]
Megan Tatum, "Sainsbury's to Fund Thousands of Food Waste-Cutting Fridge Pods in Suffolk", The Grocer, August 01, 2017, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Management Shuffle At Dr Pepper Snapple Group

August 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Company has elevated Andrew Springate to the newly-created post of chief marketing officer; Jason Butter will take over as general manager of the Coca-Cola Affiliated Sales Organization (CASO). Top marketing and promotion executive Jaxie Alt will head human resources.
"Dr Pepper Snapple Group Announces Leadership Appointments", News release, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, August 01, 2017, © Dr Pepper Snapple Group
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Coke India Replaces Brand Website With Digital Magazine

August 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
In an effort to bring “untold editorial gems” about India’s consumer experience with Coca-Cola, the company unveiled a digital magazine that replaces an earlier brand website. Content of the "brand journalism" endeavor includes articles, infographics, blogposts, pictures, and videos packed with songs from Coke Studio, behind-the-song stories, fun facts, company and brand trivia, and recipes.
"Coke tries out 'brand journalism'; Brings e-magazine 'Journey' to India", Afaqs! News Bureau, August 01, 2017, © afaqs!
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Celsius Waters Company Partners With China-Based Distributor

July 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Celsius Holdings, Inc. (Boca Raton, Fla.) has partnered with Beijing-based Qifeng Food Technology to distribute the fitness drink Celsius via the Qifeng network of 500 beverage distributors in all provinces in China. Qifeng was founded by former Pepsi, Nestle and Red Bull executives. The Celsius original product line comprises seven sparkling and non-carbonated flavors in 12 oz cans, and single-serve powdered packets. A new natural line is available in six flavors, three sparkling and three non-carbonated versions, caffeinated and naturally sweetened.
"Celsius Holdings, Inc. Partners with Qifeng Food for Entry into the China Market and Nationwide Distribution of Celsius Brands", News release, Celsius Holdings, July 31, 2017, © Celsius Holdings
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FDA Allows Heart Health Claim For Soybean Oil

July 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The FDA has approved a soybean producer’s health claim that soybean oil consumption cuts the risk of heart disease. According to industry analyst Hartman Group, heart health leads the list of health concerns among American consumers. Bunge, the world’s largest producer of soybean oil, said its FDA filing included summaries of clinical studies showing the potential benefits of soybean oil to heart health. Those benefits are based on soybean oil’s positive effect on cholesterol levels and its high concentration of polyunsaturated omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids versus other oils and fats. The FDA decision means companies can now claim that soybean oil as an ingredient replacing saturated fat may reduce heart disease risk and lower LDL-cholesterol. [Image Credit: © Bunge ]
"FDA Approves Bunge Soybean Oil Heart Health Claim", News release, Bunge, July 31, 2017, © Bunge Limited
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Nestle Touts Pure Life Water’s Unique Environmental Benefits

July 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Volume sales of Nestlé Waters’ purified water brand, Pure Life, grew one percent last year – not bad considering that consumers don’t seem to distinguish among mass-produced plain waters, such as Coca-Cola’s Dasani and PepsiCo’s Aquafina offerings. So it is marketing Pure Life with a view to distinguish it ecologically from the competition. The latest ad campaign, created by Publicis (“Pure Life Begins Now”) positions the brand as environmentally friendly and a partial solution to global water shortages. A “water-filled fantasy land” TV spot launching in September features children and bubbles. Social media pitches, however, are more reality-centered, describing Pure Life’s ecological benefits. [Image Credit: © Nestlé Waters ]
E.J. Schultz, "With Water Fantasy Ad, Nestle Begins New Pure Life Push", Advertising Age, July 31, 2017, © Crain Communications
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Dunkin’ Donuts Offers High-Octane Monster Energy Punch

July 29, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Dunkin’ Donuts has partnered with Monster Beverage to launch Dunkin’ Energy Punch, powered by Monster Energy, in strawberry and blue raspberry flavors. The drinks were introduced in March in the Northeast and Florida, and recently in Riverside, Calif. A 16-ounce can of Monster Energy contains 160 mg of caffeine, while a 14-ounce cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee has 210 mg or caffeine. A quart-size cup of Dunkin’ Energy Punch sells for $4.29 in Riverside Dunkin’ Donuts shops.   ][Image Credit: © Fielding Buck / Press-Enterpise (Calif.]
Fielding Buck, "Dunkin’ Donuts ramps up the energy level with Monster punch", The Press-Enterprise, July 29, 2017, © Press Enterprise
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Lawsuit Alleges Poultry Farmer’s “100% Natural” Label Claim Is Deceptive

July 29, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Three nonprofit organizations are suing poultry company Sanderson Farms in federal court for using the claim “100 percent natural” in its product advertising. The Center for Food Safety, Friends of the Earth, and the Organic Consumers Association, filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging that “consumers are being deceived” by the claim because synthetic drug residues were found in Sanderson’s poultry meat. The company, third largest poultry producer in the U.S., denied that it administers drugs to its flocks, except penicillin “when needed.” [Image Credit: © Sanderson Farms ]
Aerin Einstein-Curtis, "US Organizations File Complaint Against Sanderson Farms Over Use of ‘100% Natural’ in Advertising", FeedNavigator.com, July 29, 2017, © FeedNavigator.com
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New Coke Ads Deliver Recycling Message Through Animation

July 29, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A new Coca-Cola stop-motion ad showing in the U.K. uses more than 1,500 recycled Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Smartwater and Honest Tea bottles and cans to get across the notion that the packaging is not only recyclable, it is recyclable over and over. The pun-packed ads, created by Ogilvey & Mather Berlin, tell of a romance between a Coke Zero Sugar bottle and a Fanta bottle who are separated, but continuously re-united, via recycling. The ads, to be shown in movie theaters and on social media platforms throughout the summer, are expected to reach 35 million Britons by the end of the year.
Simon Gwynn, "Coke dishes out verbal pun-ishment in quirky animated love story encouraging recycling", Campaign Live UK, July 29, 2017, © Haymarket Media Group Ltd.
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IHOP Ad Blitz Touts Three New Doughnuts

July 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A couple of inspirational sources drove creation of IHOP’s latest treat: the sweet-and-savory French toasted donut, available in bacon and maple, strawberries and cream, and apple fritter. The first inspiration was feedback from customers themselves on social media channels. The second was the company’s monitoring of food trends, especially breakfast trends. And the third was chef Nevielle Panthakys own creativity. The new doughnuts are being introduced with a media ad blitz, including TV, online social platforms, digital, and the arrival of the IHOP food truck in New York City. [Image Credit: © IHOP ]
Katie Richards, "How IHOP Chose Its Latest Menu Item, the French Toasted Donut", AdWeek, July 28, 2017, © AdWeek
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Plant-Based Impossible Burger Is Best Alternative To Beef So Far

July 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A Silicon Valley start-up is developing plant-based meat alternatives that cook and taste like red meat rather than bean-based or other vegetable alternatives. The mission of Impossible Foods dovetails neatly with consumer dietary trends that focus on eating more fruits, vegetables, grains and herbs, and reducing or avoiding animal protein. Products like the Impossible Burger, offered in more than 30 U.S. restaurants, contain water, textured wheat protein, coconut oil, potato protein, natural flavors, leghemoglobin (soy), yeast extract, salt, soy protein isolate, various vitamins, etc.  Mintel analysts visited Andrea’s in Las Vegas to taste-test three Impossible Burger sliders with Asian condiments and sauces. The verdict? It was not quite undetectable as a beef substitute, but was the “closest alternative” tasted so far. [Image Credit: © Impossible Foods ]
"Taste Test: Does Impossible Burger Bring New ‘Power To The Plants?’", Blog entry, Mintel, July 28, 2017, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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Starbucks Spends $1.3B To Buy Out All Chinese Joint Ventures

July 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Starbucks says it is demonstrating its commitment to the Chinese market by unifying all stores in the country under a “full company-operated structure.” The company is spending $1.3 billion to buy out all its joint ventures – 1,300 in eastern China, including Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, the fastest-growing market in terms of store count outside the U.S.
Staff Writer, "Starbucks Buys Out All Joint Ventures in China for US$1.3bn", Marketing Interactive, July 28, 2017, © Marketing Magazine Online
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Danone’s First Half Financials Are Encouraging

July 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Yogurt producer Danone posted first half financials that beat analyst expectations, despite a slowdown in sales in the second quarter. Operating profit in the first half was $2 billion, up 7.3 percent over the same period a year ago. Sales in the half year totaled $14.3 billion, an increase of 0.4 percent. The company sees growth speeding up in the next half-year for all segments. Improvements are expected in its water business in China, where growth was 0.8 percent in the first half, compared to single-digit growth elsewhere, and double-digit growth for Evian in the U.S.
Andy Coyne , "Danone - analysts largely upbeat following results", just-food.com, July 28, 2017, © just-food.com
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Active Organic Chickens Offer Perdue Some Major Benefits

July 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Poultry producer Perdue Farms is spurning traditional ways of growing chickens. Some long-time opponents – namely, animal welfare advocates – seem to approve. Representatives of the Humane Society of the U.S., Compassion in World Farming, and Mercy for Animals were positively impressed during a recent tour of facilities. They saw windows and light, and chickens flapping their wings and running around. The bright, airy environment and activity of the birds are very different from current methods of raising poultry. But Perdue acknowledges it’s not all about chicken welfare. The meat from more active, organically grown chickens is higher quality, more tender, and a different color. “Activity is the key,” says CEO Jim Perdue.
Dan Charles, "Perdue Farms Signs Up For A Chicken Welfare Revolution", National Public Radio, July 27, 2017, © npr
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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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Growth Returns To Asian FMCG Market

July 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
FMCG growth in Asia is accelerating, according to researcher Kantar Worldpanel, with the personal care care segment leading the way. The overall pace of growth reached 3.4 percent in the first quarter, up from 3.3 percent in 2016, due largely to the strong health & wellness and convenience sectors. Value growth in food was up about 0.8 percent over last year.  But beverage growth was flat, indicating that consumers are “rationalizing their spending.” Dairy growth was healthy (4,2 percent), as was homecare (3.2 percent), but both were slower than a year ago. Personal care grew 9.6 percent, a major spurt over a year ago. “Self-pampering and indulgence remained important to consumers,” the company said.
"Asia Consumer Insights Q1 2017", Report, Kantar Worldpanel, July 27, 2017, © Kantar Worldpanel
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Direct-To-Consumer Distribution Of Vitamins: The Future Is Now

July 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
National Business Journal (NBJ) says vitamin supplement producers have embraced the trend toward direct-to-consumer distribution, now the largest sales channel for multivitamins. Use of vending machines and other novel modes of multivitamin delivery – could drone delivery be far off? – are gaining legitimacy. According to NBJ, new delivery technologies and formats could finally convince the federal government to allow multivitamins as a permitted purchase in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). At any rate, NBJ expects vitamin sales to surpass $15 billion by 2021, led by multivitamins. [Image Credit: © NBJ ]
"Is the Future of Vitamins in Vending Machines?", New Hope Network, July 27, 2017, © Penton
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Dunkin’ Donuts Experiments With Simpler Sandwich Menu

July 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
It has been five years since Dunkin' Donuts began serving “bakery” sandwiches, including ham and cheese, turkey, cheddar, and bacon, to boost food sales after the day's breakfast crunch. Now CEO Nigel Travis says customers are buying breakfast sandwiches all day long, so there may be no need for the other sandwich fare. The company is testing a simplified menu devoid of non-breakfast sandwiches, in the hope of attracting more customers. Same-store traffic once again slipped in the second quarter, compared to last year. Though it was the fifth straight quarter traffic has fallen, higher spending per visit pushed up sales by 0.8 percent. [Image Credit: © Dunkin' Donuts ]
"Dunkin Testing Removal of Non-Breakfast Sandwiches", Killeen Daily Herald, July 27, 2017, via Associated Press, © The Associated Press/Killeen Daily Herald
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Former Beverage Industry Execs Join Protein2o

July 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Two former PepsiCo and Gatorade execs have joined the protein-infused water brand Protein2o to help it become a leader in the low-calorie protein beverage market. The company, which recently secured $4 million in venture funding, comprises a five-SKU line of products formulated with whey protein isolate and 60-70 calories per 16 oz. bottle. Sold mainly in grocery, club, drug and convenience stores in the Midwest, the brand is available nationally at Rite-Aid and will soon be sold nationally at CVS stores. CEO Bob Kral said the addition of former PepsiCo executive Andy Horrow (president) and former Gatorade president Sue Wellington (board chairman) to the management team is “an incredible opportunity” for the company.
"Protein2o Adds Gatorade Vets, $4 Million in New Funding", News release, Protein2o, July 27, 2017, © Protein2o
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Coke CEO Quincey Hopes For “Test And Learn Mentality”

July 26, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey told analysts in a conference call that his company needs “greater curiosity” or it might grow complacent and fall behind the competition. Coca-Cola has “the answer to some things,” but needs curiosity – a “test and learn mentality” – to respond to change. To grow, the company needs “the courage to try new things.” Quincey said he was happy with the latest financials – a “strong performance” – that showed a 16 percent drop in net revenues mainly due to the ongoing overhaul of the bottler network. He said Coca-Cola Zero Sugar has turned in double-digit global volume growth that should continue in the U.S.
Leonie Roderick , "Coca-Cola: We need more courage to become a growth-orientated business", Marketing Week, July 26, 2017, © Centaur Communications Ltd (a member of the Centaur Media plc group)
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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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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 Shopping: Speed Is Of The Essence

July 26, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Now that consumers have the technological capability to shop at the speed of light, they expect instant gratification at online stores. Retailers have put in place a wide array of technologies and practices that speed transactions and fulfillment, from one-day delivery to in-store beacons (left) that communicate with shoppers via smartphones. Other advancements created to satisfy the new “I want what I want when I want it” shopping culture are: experimental delivery drones, same-day doctor appointments,, virtual doctor consultations, one-hour delivery of food and groceries, in-store restaurants and bars, and the “see-now, shop-now” trend that lets consumers order new fashion items seen on Instagram almost immediately. [Image Credit: © Estimote ]
"Faster Shopping: A Top Consumer Trend for 2017", Blog entry, Euromonitor, July 26, 2017, © Euromonitor
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Drought Will Push Up Prices Of Baked Goods In 2018

July 26, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The USDA reports that grocery and restaurant costs for baked goods and cereals could jump four percent next year on average, thanks to a drought-induced reduction in wheat production. Farmers will be getting higher prices for their wheat, and imports will decline, driving up prices for baked goods. Some will feel the pinch more than others, depending on the type of wheat used. An agri-economist notes that “not all wheat is created equal,” so the prices of products like pizza dough and bagels will rise more than wheat flour. [Image Credit: © Dunkin' Donuts ]
Alan Bjerga, "Higher Costs Make 2018 a Great Time to Cut Carbs", Bloomberg Markets, July 26, 2017, © Bloomberg Finance L.P.
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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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Functional Snack Bars Target The Human Microbiome With Barley

July 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Australian natural foods company Freedom Foods Group has introduced a range of functional snack bars based on a strain of whole grain, non-GMO barley. The snack bars promote gut wellness, according to the company, because mix of grains, including barley, has more of the three types of important fiber – namely, insoluble fiber (“roughage”), resistant starch that acts like fiber, and soluble fiber. The Barley+ Toasted Muesli and Snack Bar range, featuring the Australian whole grain, BARLEYmax, will be sold by Kroger in the U.S. [Image Credit: © Freedom Foods ]
"Positive Digestive Benefits Linked to New Barley+ Line Featuring Unique Australian Barley Super Grain", News release, Freedom Foods Group, July 25, 2017, © Freedom Foods Group
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British Juice Company Adds Coconut Version To Its Aloe Vera-based Products

July 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
British juice brand Simplee Aloe is adding a coconut version to its line of aloe vera juices. Positioned as an alternative to water, the 25 percent-aloe drink is low in sugar and contains nutrients such as magnesium and potassium. According to the company, aloe vera boosts the body’s ability to absorb vitamins C and E, thus improving gut health and “glowing skin.” The company produces aloe-based juices in white grape, apple and mango, and “superberries” varieties. [Image Credit: © Simplee Aloe ]
"Simplee Aloe introduces aloe vera-infused coconut water", FoodBev Media, July 25, 2017, © FoodBev Media Ltd
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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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Senate Bill Would Ban Use Of Brain Damaging Pesticide

July 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Seven Democratic senators have introduced legislation to ban the harmful pesticide chlorpyrifos, that has been found to cause brain damage in children. The Trump administration’s EPA recently denied a petition to ban the chemical on March 29. A federal appeals court on July 18 denied a petition by green groups to force the agency to reverse its decision and enact the ban. The bill, the “Protect Children, Farmers and Farmworkers from Nerve Agent Pesticides Act of 2017,” was introduced by Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) and six other Democrats. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, attorneys general in seven states have formally objected to the EPA’s refusal to ban the pesticide.
Miriam Rotkin-Ellman, "This Harmful Pesticide Should Have Been Banned Years Ago. Now It Could Finally Happen.", Natural Resources Defense Council, July 25, 2017, © Natural Resources Defense Council
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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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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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