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China's FMCG Market Grew Slowly In 1Q 2017, Report Says

May 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
In China, spending on fast moving consumer goods grew slightly by 1.7 percent year on year in the first quarter of 2017, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Compared with the previous year, the country's GDP grew 6.9 percent, boosted by a government infrastructure focus and a hot housing market. Of the country's top 5 retailers, Sun Art, Vanguard, and Walmart were able to maintain their market ranking during the year. While Carrefour saw its market share drop by 0.1 point, local retailer Yonghui's share grew from 2.6 percent to 3 percent in the first quarter of 2017.
outpaced the market by opening more stores Jason Yu, "FMCG growth remained challenging in the first quarter, while local retailers outpaced the market by opening more stores", Kantar Worldpanel, May 04, 2017, © Kantar Worldpanel
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Nestle Revamps Italian Factory To Ramp Up Frozen Pizza Production

May 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The Nestlé Group is selling the La Valle Degli Orti (soups), Mare Fresco (frozen fish) and Surgela brands to German frozen food company FRoSTA Group to clear way for Benevento factory in Italy to produce only Buitoni frozen pizzas. Company is investing $52.5 million to overhaul production lines and boost production capacity with cutting-edge technology. Founded in 1963, FRoSTA Group, with facilities in eight countries, will continue development and promotion of Nestlé brands.  [Image Credit: © Nestlé ]
"Nestlé announces the signing of preliminary agreement for sale of frozen food brands", News release, Nestlé, May 04, 2017, © Nestlé Group
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Scientists Find Significant Link Between Vitamin D, Exercise, And Heart Health

May 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A new U.S. study examining the relationship between exercise and adequate vitamin D levels shows that exercise not only boosts vitamin D in the body, the two together seem to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke more than either one alone. The researchers, who studied data collected from American adults for more than 20 years, were careful to say the findings do not show a cause-effect relationship, only a significant link. Long-term clinical trials are needed to determine a cause-effect relationship, they said. However, the researchers also said there was enough evidence to warrant suggesting that people need to “move more in the name of heart health,” get a few minutes a day of sunlight, and eat a well-balanced meal that includes oily fish and vitamin D-fortified foods like cereal and milk.
Kathleen Chin et al., "Physical Activity, Vitamin D, and Incident Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease in Whites and Blacks: The ARIC Study", The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, May 03, 2017, © The Endocrine Society
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New CEO Named By General Mills

May 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
General Mills has named a 23-year company veteran to take over the helm from CEO Ken Powell, who will stay on as chairman until his impending retirement. Jeffrey L. Harmening, 50, will be the new CEO effective June 1. Harmening most recently headed up the U.S. retail business of General Mills, which expanded its position in the natural and organic segment, including the acquisition of Annie's and EPIC Provisions. The company is now the fourth largest maker of natural and organic foods in the U.S. Harmening also served as president of the company's U.S. cereal business and CEO of Cereal Partners Worldwide (CPW), a joint venture with Nestlé. Powell began his tenure as CEO in 2007. [Image Credit: © General Mills ]
"Jeff Harmening Named Chief Executive Officer of General Mills", News release, General Mills, May 03, 2017, © General Mills, Inc.
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Israeli Company Says Its Microalgae Products Are Fully Organic

May 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Israeli biotech firm Algatech (Algatechnologies) Ltd., producer of natural astaxanthin for nutraceuticals and food applications, announced that its microalgae powder (Haematococcus pluvialis) and astaxanthin oleoresin are now fully organic, certified by the National Organic Program of the USDA. The company’s products have also been verified non-GMO. Algatech says it cultivates its microalgae in a patented, eco-friendly, closed system that produces high-quality ingredients and prevents contamination. [Image Credit: © Algatech Ltd.]
"Algatech Goes Organic", News release, Algatechnologies Ltd., May 03, 2017, © Algatech (Algatechnologies) Ltd.
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Coca-Cola India Has Prospered Under Outgoing Head

May 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola’s volume sales in India increased by 176 million cases over past four years, as profit surged 40 percent, market share gained eight percent, according to Venkatesh Kini, outgoing president for India and South-West Asia markets. Kini is being replaced by T. Krishnakumar, CEO of Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd., company-owned bottling unit. Coca-Cola India has put more focus on non-carbonated beverages like milk-based Vio and coconut water product Zico over last two years.
Sounak Mitra, "Coca-Cola India’s profit surged over 40% in the past four years: Venkatesh Kini", Livemint, May 03, 2017, © HT Media Ltd
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Sunscreen Use Linked To Global Vitamin D Deficiency Problem

May 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Sunscreen is widely used to protect skin from cancer-causing overexposure to ultraviolet rays. But a new “evidence based clinical review” by U.S. researchers finds that the use of sunscreen has a downside: it contributes to the vitamin D deficiency (or insufficiency) experienced by as many as a billion people worldwide. Meanwhile, chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, Crohn's and celiac disease, greatly inhibit the body's ability to metabolize vitamin D from food sources. The researchers note that people spend less time outside; when they are out of doors, they often wear sunscreen. But, they note, it is possible to spend reasonable amounts of time in the sun while ensuring adequate vitamin D absorption.   [Image Credit: © Coppertone ]
Kim M. Pfotenhauer, Jay H. Shubrook, "Vitamin D Deficiency, Its Role in Health and Disease, and Current Supplementation Recommendations", The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, May 03, 2017, © American Osteopathic Association
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New Lean Cuisine Meals Are Free Of Artificial Colors, Flavors, Preservatives

May 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé USA says it is expanding its lineup of Lean Cuisine frozen dinners for women with new dishes and “reinvented classics” boasting ingredients that can be found in the everyday kitchen, but without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. The new meals, targeted unabashedly at women, include Garlic Sesame Noodles with Beef, Mango Chicken with Coconut Rice, Roasted Garlic White Bean Alfredo, and Spicy Penne Arrabbiata. Nestlé says the recipes are “developed with women in mind.” They contain only ingredients that provide nutrients or flavor, and they provide women “a great-tasting dish they can feel good about.” [Image Credit: © Nestlé USA  ]
"Lean Cuisine keeps It Fresh in the Freezer with New Chef-Inspired, Modern Flavors", News release, Nestlé USA, May 03, 2017, © Nestlé USA
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Subway U.K.’s New Low-Sugar Drink Options Lower Calorie Intake By 3.7 Billion

May 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Subway in the U.K. has forged a new beverage contract with Britvic and PepsiCo that means a wider selection of drinks for consumers and a lower overall calorie and sugar intake – as much as 3.7 billion calories by July 2017. Redesigned drinks fountains and refrigerators emphasize the low/no sugar beverage arrays. The changes have already led to significant changes in consumer purchases. Options include no-sugar Pepsi Max or Diet Pepsi, 7Up Free, and Britvic’s lower sugar Orange Tango. Subway says the changes have led to a 30 percent reduction in calorie consumption, or early two million calories per store a year. [Image Credit: © Subway.co.UK ]
"Subway to Cut Almost Four Billion Calories from UK Diets", Food Ingredients 1st, May 03, 2017, © CNS Media BV
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UK's Grocery Market Expands In April 2017 Quarter

May 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
In the UK, the grocery market grew 3.7 percent during the 12-week period ending April 23, 2017, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Marking the fastest growth rate since September 2013, the growth is worth almost ₤1 billion in additional sales for the sector. Kantar Worldpanel head of retail and consumer insight Fraser McKevitt said all of the country's 10 leading retailers posted growth. Strong sales during Easter also helped the market grow, with shoppers spending ₤325 million on Easter eggs, McKevitt added.
"Britain’s Sweet Tooth Helps Grocery Sales Rise", Kantar Worldpanel, May 03, 2017, © TNS UK Limited
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General Mills Hopes To Patent Promising Protein-Rich Oat Variety

May 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
General Mills has applied for U.S. patent for oat variety it has developed with the same high protein levels as a wild variety (Avena magna) but cultivable using standard farming practices. Avena magna plants are not suitable for mechanical harvesting because processing clogs threshing and de-hulling machines. Company’s high-protein variety has stable fatty acid profile, rendering it less vulnerable to oxidation. Could be used in “high protein granola bars, hot cereals, cold cereals, snack bars, cookies, gluten-free products, snacks, muffins, pancake mix and the like,” company said in application. [Image Credit: © USDA ]
Elaine Watson, "General Mills Seeks to Patent High-Protein Oat Variety", FOODnavigator-USA.com, May 02, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Snack Company Intensifies Focus On Allergy-Free Products

May 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Skeeter Snacks (Chicago, Ill.) has renamed itself the Safe + Fair Food Company to serve the 17 million Americans with food allergies. The company, which makes nut-free snacks sold in schools and on JetBlue flights, said its goal will be to develop food brands that are “safe, accessible, fairly priced and delicious.” The company recently acquired Mama Jess Organics, a maker of organic pasta and enchilada sauces, and is itself developing snacks and meals that further its mission of making it “easy and fun to be safe” from allergic food reactions. [Image Credit: © Skeeter Snacks ]
"Passionate Entrepreneurs and Industry Veterans Launch the Safe + Fair Food Company", News release, Skeeter Snacks, May 03, 2017, © Skeeter Snacks
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Survey Puts Amazon, Google At Top Of Beloved Consumer Brands List

May 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Digital media and survey research firm Morning Consult says the two “most loved” consumer brands in the U.S. are Amazon and Google, followed by Campbell Soup, Hershey Company, UPS, FedEx, Sony, Home Depot, Lowe’s and Google unit YouTube. The rankings are based on 200,000 interviews that covered 27 consumer brand sectors. In the food and beverage category, beer is led by Heineken, followed by Budweiser and Samuel Adams. Among restaurants, Baskin Robbins is the leader, followed by Wendy’s and Dunkin’ Donuts. And Kroger edges out Whole Foods in the grocery category.
Tanya Gazdik, "Amazon, Google 'Most Loved' Brands", MediaPost, May 03, 2017, © MediaPost Communications
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Dr Pepper Snapple Rides “Both Hands Strategy” Into The Future

May 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Like most beverage companies, Dr Pepper Snapple is paying attention to consumer demands for healthier drinks. But it is also determined not to give short shrift to its core soda products, and especially to its recent acquisition, Bai Brands, which markets antioxidant infusion drinks. The company calls it a “both hands strategy,” but is nevertheless reducing its dependence on soda, pushing into waters, teas and sports drinks as soft drink sales continue to slide industrywide.
Christopher Doering, "Despite bets on fast-growing brands, Dr Pepper Snapple isn't giving up on soda", Food Dive, May 02, 2017, © Industry Dive
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Companies Work With Start-Up To Speed Bio-Based Water Bottles

May 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Bottled water makers Danone (France) and Nestlė Waters (U.S.) are collaborating with start-up Origin Materials to speed commercial scale development of 100 percent bio-based polyethylene terephthalate (PET) water bottles. The bottles will be made from sustainable, renewable biomass feedstocks, including cardboard, sawdust, and wood chips. Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle is 30 percent bio-based, though goal is 100 percent by 2020. Origin has produced samples of 80 percent bio- based PET bottles in California test factory.
"Danone and Nestlé Waters Launch NaturALL Bottle Alliance with California Startup to Develop 100% Bio-Based Bottles", News release, Nestlé , May 02, 2017, © Nestlé
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Heineken Cuts Distribution Ties With Coca-Cola Femsa In Brazil

May 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Dutch brewing company Heineken is leveraging recent acquisition of Brasil Kirin by putting Kirin’s established distribution network to work and jettisoning partnership with Coca-Cola Femsa. Heineken/Coca-Cola deal was supposed to continue for another five years, but Femsa CFO acknowledged the future is cloudy. Arrangement was lucrative for Femsa, which saw beer-related revenues of about $415 million – hefty 18 percent of all Femsa revenue in Brazil.
News Desk, "Heineken ends distribution tie-in with Coca-Cola Femsa in Brazil", Foodbev Media, May 02, 2017, © FoodBev Media Ltd
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Fiber-Enriched Coke Product Debuts In Japan

May 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola’s entry into functional beverages market in Japan is not “a health-forward product,” according to registered dietitian, commenting on Coca-Cola Plus. New beverage – which accomplishes “multiple objectives in same formulation,” according to CEO James Quincey – is calorie-free, sugar-free, and enhanced with five grams of fiber. But adding fiber to soft drink “doesn’t make it good for you,” says diet expert Shannon Crocker.
Laura Brehaut , "Coca-Cola, now with added … fibre?", National Post , May 02, 2017, © National Post, a division of Postmedia Network Inc
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Americans Want Humane Animal Treatment, Clarity When It Comes To Food

May 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A recent survey of American consumers determined that a large majority want their beef, chicken, eggs, and dairy products free of growth hormones and GMO. But they are also concerned that animals that produce milk and eggs be raised humanely. The concern did not extend to animals raised for slaughter. The University of Illinois study also found that consumers were concerned that animals had not been given routine antibiotics; had been raised in a free-range environment; and had been grass-fed or raised on a vegetarian diet. They also said they wanted animal products certified as organic. The big takeaway from the study is that American consumers want clarity: They want to know what they’re eating. [Image Credit: © USDA ]
Tracey Watson, "Consumers Now Demanding Their Meat Be Raised “Humanely,” Without Growth Hormones or GMOs, According to New Study", Natural News, May 02, 2017, © Natural News Network
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Plant-Derived Blend Of Compounds Treats Inflammation As Well As An NSAID

May 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A study to assess the anti-inflammatory effects of a polyphenol-rich spearmint extract mixed with rosmarinic acid found that it reduces swelling and inflammation as well as the synthetic non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) indomethacin, and works much better than the plant-derived compound rosmarinic acid by itself. The researchers tested the mixture on a rat model of paw swelling (edema). They said their findings showed there is a “potential synergy” between the compounds in the spearmint extract mixed with rosmarinic acid that targets inflammation. The study was sponsored by Kemin Industries, a nutritional ingredients manufacturer based in Iowa. [Image Credit: © Burpee Seeds]
Brenda Fonseca et al., "Anti-Inflammatory Effects of a Polyphenol-Rich Spearmint Extract", The FASEB Journal, May 02, 2017, © FASEB
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Get Revenge On Internet Trollers With A Cake

May 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
People victimized by Internet trolls and their hateful online comments can repay the perps with a cake, as long as they know the troller’s actual physical address. For a fee of $35, Brooklyn’s Troll Cakes Bakery and Detective Agency will bake a cake, decorate it with the troll’s hateful words, and then deliver it right to their door. Even if they don’t know the address – this is where the “detective agency” takes over – for $60 the service will research an unknown address and take it from there. The company even has a service for Donald Trump haters: it will decorate a cake with a customer’s favorite Trump tweet (or nasty comment) and send it to the White House. It’s called the “Tiny Hands Special.”  [Image Credit: © TrollCakes.com ]
Ben Hooper, "Bakery Returns Online Trolls' Comments to them in Cake Form", United Press International, May 01, 2017, © United Press International, Inc.
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Oscar Mayer Wieners Now Free Of Dubious Ingredients

May 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Food giant Kraft Heinz announced that after listening to customers and “going to great lengths,” its Oscar Mayer Hot Dog brand is now free of processed meat by-products, added nitrates and nitrites, and artificial preservatives. The company also announced a summer ad campaign – a “massive summer mission” – touting a cleaner product with the same taste and the same price. Besides TV, print, digital, social and PR support, the ad campaign will feature six Wienermobiles, including one water-borne in New York Harbor, spreading the news across the country, visiting remote towns, including in Alaska. [Image Credit: © Oscar Mayer Co. ]
"The Oscar Mayer Brand’s Most Iconic Product Undergoes Major Quality Improvements for the Love of Hot Dogs", News release, Kraft Heinz, May 01, 2017, © Kraft Heinz
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Juice Maker Creates Profit From Waste

May 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The problem for the high-pressure processed juice maker was, What to do with all that leftover pulp? The Forager Project came up with a profitable solution that also helps reduce food waste. Instead of dumping the pulp by-product, also known as pomace, into a landfill, it found a way to press it into different kinds of vegetable-based snack chips. It was a departure – actually quite a leap – for the juice company, but it has worked. It produces three chip varieties (greens, beets and roots). The most-popular green variety will soon be offered in three flavors: chipotle barbecue, (vegan) cheesy and wasabi. [Image Credit: © Forager Project ]
Rachel Cernansky, "With expanding chip line, Forager Project proves food waste can be a valuable resource", New Hope, May 01, 2017, © Penton Media
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Australian Charity Opens Supermarket Stocked With Unsold Food

May 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Australians too cash-strapped to pay for food can take advantage of food charity OzHarvest’s new venture, a “rescued food supermarket,” located in the Sydney suburb of Kensington. The supermarket’s shelves are stocked with donations of leftover perishable food from more than 2,000 commercial outlets. The organization only asks that people who take the free food pay what they can, even if it’s only donated services. Founded in 2004, OzHarvest distributes donated food to more than 8,000 charities. [Image Credit: © OzHarvest ]
Andrea Hogan, "OzHarvest Opens Australia’s First ‘Rescued Food Supermarket’", Australian Food News, May 01, 2017, © Australian Food News
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Coca-Cola’s Mexican Bottler Beats Competitors In Q1 Revenues

May 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Mexico-based Coca-Cola bottler Arca Continental sold 264.4 billion cases in Q1 2017, a 5.1 percent increase over same period last year, beating PepsiCo’s Mexican bottler Cultiba (4.1 percent increase) and Coca-Cola Femsa (3.7 percent increase). Arca’s revenues in the quarter totaled $737.36 million, up 14.3 percent over last year, compared to Cultiba’s increase of 9.2 percent and KOF's increase of 11.6 percent.
"Mexico: Arca Continental surpasses main competitors in Q1 2017", Esmerk Latin American News, May 01, 2017, © M-Brain
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Bai’s Success Based On “Unbelieving”

May 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Bai Brands, successful marketer of antioxidant infusion drinks, was built on notion of “unbelieving,” or challenging status quo, innovating with passion and purpose. Concept has helped it build big market following, and commensurate sales: $425 million so far this year, three times 2015 revenues. Company was bought by Dr Pepper Snapple last year for $1.7 billion. Latest project is web video series –premiered during New York’s Tribeca Film Festival – profiling people who embody Bai’s concept of unbelieving. 
Dale Buss , "Bai Watch: 5 Questions With CMO Michael Simon", Brandchannel, May 01, 2017, © Interbrand
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Smaller Portions Benefit Diners And Help Reduce Food Waste

April 30, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A new fast-casual, “farm fresh” eatery opened recently in Washington, D.C., that operates on a novel business model. It offers smaller portions – half sandwiches, half pizzas, etc. – to people looking for less than “a ton of food” when they dine. The co-owner of Unum in Georgetown – it has sister restaurants elsewhere in the U.S. – said half portions allow customers to create “more of a tasting-menu experience:” they get to try more dishes than the usual appetizer and entrée. Diners have more control over the number of calories they consume, as well and, as an added and significant benefit, send less uneaten food to the trash barrels. That means a reduction in food waste, which the USDA says affects 30 to 40 percent of the food supply.  [Image Credit: © UnumDC.com ]
Becky Krystal, "Why More and More Restaurants in D.C. are Offering Half Portions", The Washington Post, April 30, 2017, © The Washington Post
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Consumers’ Taste For Quick, Fresh Foods Plagues Packaged Food Giants

April 30, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Struggling packaged-food companies are finding it harder these days to secure retail shelf space as evolving consumer food preferences exert pressure on grocery stores. Fresh food, prepared hot meals, and foods from health trend-conscious start-ups are muscling out products from Kraft Heinz, Kellogg, and Mondelez. Store managers who need to maximize the return on shelf space say shoppers make the choices obvious: they are drawn, for example, to “steamy pasta” at the store’s deli counters rather than “a box of dried macaroni with powdered cheese.” Retail grocery chains all over the U.S. are building stores that emphasize in-store restaurants and fresh meals shoppers can take home over the traditional packaged foods that clog the center aisles.
Annie Gasparro, "Big-Name Food Brands Lose Battle of the Grocery Aisle", The Wall Street Journal, April 30, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Chinese Dairy Market Is Fluid As Consumers Move Away From Milk

April 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Competition among Chinese dairies is fierce in the $55.2 billion market as consumers expand their choices from milk – where the market is flatlining – to yogurt, cheese and plant-based milk. The head of R&D for China’s Want Want processed foods company expects the market for plant-based – i.e., soy, milk, etc. – to double to $8 billion this year as families choose healthier foods. Not surprisingly, the company will be introducing its own line of plant-based milks this year.  Meanwhile, domestic and foreign companies are buying into Chinese dairy farms and developing new dairy products to drive consumer interest.
"China's Dairies Rush to Plant-Based Milk as Latest Health Trend", Bloomberg Markets, April 28, 2017, © BLOOMBERG L.P.
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Looking For A Diet More Primitive Than Paleo? This One Promises The Moon

April 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The latest fad in the dietary category of “primitive eating” is even more primeval than the popular Paleo diet, with its emphasis on meats, fruits, vegetables, and good fats. Moon eating has its origins in Hawaiian observance of lunar cycles in various aspects of life, including farming, fishing and eating. Not to be confused with the ”whack-a-doodle” Lunar (or Werewolf) diet, the moon diet preaches consumption of organic, unprocessed foods locally grown or foraged, including ancient grains. That part is in tune with global food trends. The new wrinkle: timing the eating according to the phases of the moon that theoretically govern the human body and behavior according to monthly loops (think menstrual cycle).
Brandon Presser, "Tired of the Paleo Diet? Maybe it’s Time to Try 'Moon Eating'", Bloomberg Pursuits, April 28, 2017, © BLOOMBERG L.P.
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Chinese Restaurant Chain Sees Big Opportunity In U.S., U.K.

April 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A spicy soup chain based in Beijing plans to open 80 new restaurants this year, at least 10 of which will be outside China. Sichuan HaiDiLao, which offers free massages and manicures to customers waiting for service, already has an outlet in Los Angeles. It hopes to acquaint American and British diners with its specialty hotpots featuring steaming broths flavored with meat, vegetables and noodles. The idea is to introduce the world to genuine Chinese cuisine in much the same way U.S. food companies spread American eating styles. Because of prohibitive labor and other costs in the U.S., however, duplicating the company’s successful business model won’t be a simple task. But, says company chairman Zhang Yong, “As the Chinese economy grows and the world starts to put more focus on China, I believe there’s a chance for Chinese restaurants.” 
"This Restaurant Chain Wants to Bring Chinese Hotpot to the World", Bloomberg Pursuits, April 27, 2017, © Bloomberg L.P.
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PepsiCo Adapts To Changes In Consumer Beverage Preferences

April 26, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
In a “challenging” food and beverage industry sales environment, PepsiCo has resorted to raising beverage prices to buoy volumes as it adapts to evolving consumer preferences. Despite the price hikes, beverage sales were level in the first fiscal quarter. The company’s strategy now is to emphasize products it calls “guilt-free,” including diet sodas and snacks with less sodium and saturated fat. It is also banking heavily on LIFEWTR, its entry into the booming premium bottled-water category. The brand competes with Coca-Cola Co.’s smartwater. Hopes are also high for a new line of unsweetened teas. A PepsiCo spokesman said the company plans “to have great products … where the consumer wants to go.” [Image Credit: © PepsiCo ]
Joshua Jamerson, "Pepsi Says Pricing Lifts Results", The Wall Street Journal, April 26, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Misconceptions Swirl Around Lidl As U.S. Debut Approaches

April 26, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A Kantar retail industry analyst reports that attenders at a recent chain drug store meeting had one topic on their mind: the pending arrival of the first 20 U.S. stores of the German small-format discount chain Lidl.  He was amazed at “the level of misinformation swirling around the retailer.” Potential competitors believe, for example, that Lidl operates down-market stores, targets low-income shoppers from poor areas, and competes mostly with other discounters of its ilk, such as Aldi. In fact, however, Lidl is a mid-market retailer; its stores are austere but pleasant and attractive; shoppers represent all income levels; it underprices competition by double-digit percentages on branded items and sells high-quality private label products; and competes successfully with supermarkets and supercenters.
Mike Paglia, "It's Time to Get Real About Lidl", News release, Kantar US, April 26, 2017, © Kantar, a WPP Plc company
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Europe’s Baby Food Makers Are Tuned Into The Market’s Evolving Preferences

April 26, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Because European parents of young children – babies and toddlers – are eager to feed their kids without fuss, the baby food they choose, and try themselves, has to taste good. Two-thirds of parents in Italy, Spain and Poland regularly taste baby food before feeding it to their kids, according to Mintel. A growing number of parents also make sure the products they buy are free of additives, preservatives, and excessive sugar. Manufacturers of baby foods marketed in Europe are in tune with their customers: more than half of new products (excluding milk and formula) launched in Europe last year claimed no additives or preservatives; 45 percent claimed no, low, or reduced sugar. That’s up from about 32 percent a year before. [Image Credit: © Plum Organics ]
Caroline Roux, "Baby Food Needs To Be Palatable For Parents Too", News release, Mintel, April 26, 2017, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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U.K. Supermarket Chain Launches Coffee Grounds Giveaway Program

April 26, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A Morrisons supermarket is giving away spent coffee grounds collected from its in-store café to its green thumbed customers. The grounds are bagged by the store, and there is no limit to the number a customer may take. Coffee grounds make great fertilizer, either in composting, or simply placed around plants in the garden. Grounds are rich in nitrogen, and encourage the growth of beneficial micro-organisms. They are also said to attract earthworms. Morrisons uses 316 tons of coffee beans to make 18 million cups a year in its cafés. The coffee recycling program will be expanded nationwide in late April.
"Used Coffee Ground Waste to Help to Fertilize Largs’s Gardens", Largs & Millport News, April 26, 2017, © A Gannett Company
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Two Smaller Breakfasts Fit Today’s On-The-Go Lifestyle

April 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Food makers and restaurants have discovered an interesting consumer eating trend: one breakfast isn’t satisfying enough. It seems that people grab a bite to eat as they leave home in the morning, then gobble down a second small meal at their desks or in the car. These meals are generally small, e.g., a bagel, a carton of yogurt, a yogurt drink, a portion of fruit, or a hardboiled egg. But not all the time. Food companies have caught on to the trend, concocting small meals that can be microwaved and eaten while driving or typing. The Jimmy Dean brand (Tyson Foods), for example, offers a line of microwavable hash browns stuffed with sausage, cheese, bacon or veggies especially for the “midmorning meal occasion,” something more than an enhanced coffee break.
Ellen Byron, "How Many Times Did You Eat Breakfast Today?", The Wall Street Journal, April 25, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Tyson Acquires Competitor AdvancePierre Foods For $4.2 Billion

April 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Huge conglomerate Tyson Foods said it is acquiring prepared foods competitor AdvancePierre Foods Holdings for approximately $4.2 billion, comprising $3.2 billion in stock and $1.1 billion in debt assumption. The offer price ($40.25 a share) amounts to a 31.8 percent premium on AdvancePierre’s closing stock price on April 5. Tyson says the acquisition is expands its portfolio of prepared foods and protein-based brands, “contributing to sustainable, long-term growth.” AdvancePierre produces ready-to-eat lunch and dinner sandwiches, sandwich components and snacks. According to Tyson, AdvancePierre’s portfolio fits Tyson’s strategy of expanding fresh-prepared foods for both out-of-home and in-home eating. It will also extend Tson’s operations in convenience and retail segments with “solutions that span all-day parts.” [Image Credit: © AdvancePierre Foods ]
"Tyson Foods to Acquire AdvancePierre Foods for 40 25 Per Share in Cash", News release, Tyson Foods, April 25, 2017, © Tyson Foods, Inc.
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Danish Supermarkets Look For Ways To Cut Food Waste In Half By 2030

April 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Although Danish holding company Dansk Supermarked says only 2.5 percent of the food it buys for its constituent grocery chains is discarded, that still adds up to more than 33,400 tons of mostly edible perishables a year. Seventy percent comprises fruit, vegetables and bread, a lot of which is converted to animal feed or biomass. The company hopes to change all of that, and cut food waste in half by 2030, with the help of new ideas, processes and technology. Its employees will dialogue with customers, suppliers, and organizations fighting against food waste. Customer support is certainly there, the company says: a survey found that 44 percent of Danes believe conquering food waste would go a long way toward reducing man-made climate change.  [Image Credit: © Dansk Supermarked ]
Stephen Gadd, "Supermarket Chain Ups its Efforts to Reduce Food Waste", CPH Post, April 25, 2017, © Online Post
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“Faster, More Agile” Company Is Goal Of Coca-Cola Cost-Cutting

April 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola still has no detailed plan for how it will spend money saved by cutting 1,200 jobs beginning this year, other than to say it will become “faster and more agile,” will re-invest at least of half of it, and will create value for shareholders. New CEO James Quincey says ongoing cost-savings program could save up to $3.8 billion. As to marketing, company is focusing more on non-soda products, including Smartwater, flavored water Vitaminwater, and dairy brand Fairlie.
John Kell, "Coca-Cola Is Cutting 1,200 Jobs as Growth Stalls", Fortune.com, April 25, 2017, © Time Inc.
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The Meal Kit Phenomenon Takes The World’s Kitchens By Storm

April 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
An alternative to fast food and traditional cooking has captured the attention of home cooks looking to serve fresh, nutritious meals that require little or no planning and very little preparation. For the past five years, meal kits have been purchased in grocery stores or delivered straight to the front door, globally or anywhere in the U.S. Examples of the phenomenon include Germany’s Hello Fresh, which delivers to 48 states and eight countries, and Blue Apron, which delivers nationwide. Locally produced kits, available at grocery stores and supermarkets, share one trait with those of the national companies: ingredients are fresh, take little time to cook – 25 to 40 minutes – and are convenient for weeknights or special occasions.  [Image Credit: © Blue Apron ]
Anne Kniggendorf, "What’s for Dinner? How About One of those New Grocery Store Meal Kits?", The Kansas City Star, April 25, 2017, © The Kansas City Star
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McDonald’s Continues To Ride The All-Day-Breakfast Wave To Profitability

April 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Despite warnings that the all-day-breakfast fad would peter out soon, McDonald’s continues to ride a wave of earnings prosperity thanks to the menu ploy. The fast-food giant reported a surprising global same-store sales hike of four percent during Q1 of fiscal 2017, and a 1.7 percent hike in U.S. same-store sales. McDonald's pointed to continued success of its all-day breakfast menu, as well as Big Mac and drink deals, as reasons for the better-than-expected gains. And, although top-line sales slid four percent during the quarter, profit grew eight percent to $1.2 billion. Earnings per share hit $1.47, easily beating the Wall Street consensus of $1.33. [Image Credit: © McDonald's ]
Maggie McGrath, "The McBreakfast Bump Continues: All-Day McMuffins Boost McDonald's Q1 Sales", Forbes, April 25, 2017, © Forbes Media LLC
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“Blessed” Panera Streamlines Food Ordering, Ramps Up Delivery

April 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Panera founder and CEO Ron Shaich says his company is “blessed” because it has not only applied the principle of “digital utilization” to streamlining the ordering process, its menu – soups, salads, sandwiches – is perfect for easy delivery to homes and businesses. This blessing has meant that the company can reduce the number of workers handling food, but has to hire 10,000 delivery people by the end of 2017, as it adds delivery services to as many as 40 percent of its eateries this year. The streamlining process, known as Panera 2.0, has meant changes across the board, including redesigned kitchens and reworked assembly lines, plus implementation of new ordering technology like digital kiosks.
Kate Taylor, "Panera is Replacing Cashiers with Robots — but it's Hiring Thousands of Workers for Another Task", Business Insider, April 24, 2017, © Business Insider Inc.
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Superfood Ingredients Provide Market Opportunity For FMCG Companies

April 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Superfoods rich in nutrients (i.e., antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, etc.) include kale, quinoa, strawberries, blueberries and chia seeds. They are growing in popularity in the U.S., thanks to the growth in information about them, according to Nielsen. Moreover, access to superfoods is on the rise, both in farmers’ markets and on retail grocery shelves. Superfoods can be found in the fresh produce section of stores, but they are also increasingly found as ingredients in food products in other store departments. Chia seeds, for example, can be found in 23 percent of grocery store product categories. Nielsen says this provides a marketing opportunity for food and beverage makers, and other FMCG manufacturers (e.g., soap and diet aids). [Image Credit: © Whole Foods Market ]
"Spring Superpower, Brought to You by Superfoods across the Store", News release, Nielsen, April 24, 2017, © The Nielsen Company (US), LLC
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With $8 Million War Chest, Chickpea Product Company Is Going To Market

April 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
As plant-based foods continue to capture the attention of consumers everywhere, a start-up focusing on chickpea products has garnered an $8 million investment from a team of venture companies, including an arm of Tate & Lyle. Nutriati announced that Tate & Lyle Ventures of the U.K. had joined U.S. firms Powerplant Ventures, NRV and Blueberry Ventures in the funding round that will provide the cash needed to get its products to market. Successful consumer testing has been completed, and it is expected that products will be commercialized within the next 9-12 months. The company’s organoleptic ingredient platform enables food manufacturers to create plant-based foods with previously unattainable taste, texture and nutritional profiles.
Robin Wyers, "Tate & Lyle Leads US$8 Million Investment in Chickpea Innovator Nutriati", Food Ingredients 1st, April 21, 2017, © CNS Media BV
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Company Recognized As Paragon Of Herbal Product Purity, Transparency

April 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Gaia Herbs of North Carolina has been a stickler for ingredient purity and transparency from the beginning, and so has avoided controversies that have plagued the rest of the herbal supplement industry. Founder Ric Scalzo was more of an herbalist than a capitalist when he launched the company in 1987, before talk of regulation and enforcement. For Scalzo, efficacy of herbal supplements could only be based on purity. The company already uses DNA testing to make sure the raw ingredients it sources are the real thing. That stringency has won the company copious praise from customers and industry organizations, as well as an award from the Nutrition Business Journal (New Hope Network) for supply chain transparency. [Image Credit: © Gaia Herbs]
Rick Polito, "Gaia Herbs Makes Transparency a Part of the Corporate Identity", New Hope Network, April 21, 2017, © Penton
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Virginia-Based Company Set To Launch Products Derived From Chick Peas

April 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A company that just received an $8 million shot in the arm in a venture capital funding round says its chickpea protein concentrates, and a high-protein chickpea flour, will be on the market by the end of 2017. Nutriati, Inc., says its products boast unique functional properties that permit development of applications in gluten-free baked goods to meat and dairy alternatives, ice cream and pasta. The Richmond, Va.-based company says it is test-marketing a beverage in the natural food channel, and several manufacturers are working with the flour and the protein concentrate. [Image Credit: © Nutriati ]
Elaine Watson, "Chickpea Protein in the Spotlight as High-Profile Investors Pump $8M into Nutriati", FOODnavigator-USA.com, April 21, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Whole Grains Once Again Shown Important To A Healthy Diet

April 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Thanks to research, dietary fat is almost back in style. But grains – even whole grains – continue to fight an uphill battle. That might change soon, though, as scientific evidence supporting the health benefits of whole grains continues to accumulate. A recent study by Tufts University scientists found that diet rich in whole grains led to a favorable energy balance compared to one heavy on refined grains. In other words, people eating whole grains burned more calories while absorbing fewer. They also showed better glucose tolerance. The conclusions jibe with U.S. dietary guidelines recommending that carbohydrates – including six ounces of whole grains – should comprise 45 to 65 percent of a healthy diet.
Amby Burfoot, "Despite the Anti-Carb Diet Fads, Whole Grains are Still Good for You", The Washington Post, April 20, 2017, © The Washington Post
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Feeding America Fights Hunger And Food Waste With New Technology

April 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A large food rescue and hunger relief organization has launched a novel technology that takes the complexity out of donating food. Feeding America’s free MealConnect platform identifies food that might have gone to waste – e.g., a small load of meat from a local butcher, a box of tomatoes from a farmers market, etc. – and, using a clever algorithm, directs the rescued food to the appropriate Feeding America food pantries and meal programs. Food businesses of all sizes can post surplus food on MealConnect. A $1 million grant from General Mills has helped develop the technology, and will also help support efforts to expand MealConnect to communities across the country. The Feeding America network serves 46 million people nationwide through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 pantries and feeding programs.  [Image Credit: © Feeding America MealConnect ]
"Feeding America Launches MealConnect Technology Platform to Help Reduce Food Waste and End Hunger", News release, Feeding America, April 20, 2017, © Feeding America
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Organic Condiments Maker Acquired By Unilever

April 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever has reached an agreement to acquire natural and organic condiments maker Sir Kensington’s for an undisclosed sum. Seven-year-old Sir Kensington’s (New York, N.Y.) has experienced strong growth over the past four years, producing mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise and a vegan mayo (Fabanaise) made from aquafaba, the liquid left over from cooking legumes like chickpeas. A Unilever spokesman said the acquisition “aligns perfectly with our global sustainable nutrition strategy.” The deal is expected to close within the next few weeks. [Image Credit: © Sir Kensington's ]
"Unilever to Acquire Sir Kensington’s", News release, Unilever, April 20, 2017, © Unilever
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Egg Yolks, Whites And, Yes, Shells – They’re All Good For You

April 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Eating food waste is a solution to the food loss problem that few people talk about. But one food writer says egg shells, usually tossed in the bin but also increasingly composted, can be processed at home and eaten. There are the obvious environmental benefits to that scheme, but there are also nutritional benefits. The main one being, of course, the essential nutrient calcium, in the form of calcium carbonate. The first step is to boil the shells to rid them of bacteria. Then bake them, grind them to a fine powder, and add to foods such as bread, pizza dough and spaghetti. But be aware that the average adult needs only one gram of calcium a day. More than that can be harmful. 
Zahra Mulroy, "The Reason Why You Should Be Eating Your Eggshells - and How to Prepare Them Safely", Daily Mirror, April 20, 2017, © MGN Ltd, part of Trinity Mirror Plc.
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It’s Not Really A Gluten Problem, Nutritionist/Author Says

April 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A former nutrition counselor – and current director of player development for the NBA’s New Jersey Nets – says it’s time to dial back the anti-gluten frenzy that has spawned a $16 billion industry. While acknowledging that people suffering from celiac disease – perhaps one percent of the U.S. population – do need to avoid gluten, the rest of us don’t. John Douillard’s book, Eat Wheat: A Scientific and Clinically Proven Approach to Safely Bringing Wheat and Dairy Back into Your Diet, suggests that processed foods in the American diet are the real cause of digestive problems, not wheat or gluten. He suggests, among other things, avoiding processed foods, and eating more fiber in the form of green vegetables, and starchy and protein-rich foods to get the digestive system back in shape.   [Image Credit: © John Douillard ]
"Anti-Gluten Frenzy vs. Pro-Wheat Comeback?", Orange County Breeze, April 20, 2017, © Orange County Breeze
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