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U.S. Snack Company Amplify Buys Tyrells

August 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Austin, Texas-based Amplify Snack Brands, maker of “better-for-you” snack brands, announced it will buy Crisps Topco Limited and Subsidiaries (Tyrrells), a U.K.-based premium snack food business. The transaction is valued at about $389 million in cash and Amplify stock. Investcorp is the owner of the Tyrells companies, which are located in the U.K., Australia, Germany, and other European countries. Its brands include Tyrrells Potato Crisps, Vegetable Crisps, Poshcorn, Nibbles, etc. Tyrrells generated $111 million in net sales for the 12 months ended June 30, 2016. Its sales growth rate was 23 percent from 2013 through fiscal 2016. Amplify’s brands include SkinnyPop, Paqui and Oatmega.
"Amplify Snack Brands Enters Into Definitive Agreement To Acquire Tyrrells’ International Portfolio Of Better-For-You, Premium Snack Brands", News release, Amplify Snack Brands, August 08, 2016, © Amplify Snack Brands
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App Helps British Restaurants Sell Meals Otherwise Destined For The Landfill

August 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Danish entrepreneurs have developed a smartphone app that makes it easier for people to buy edible food cheaply from British restaurants that might otherwise toss it into a waste bin. A U.K. government report in May revealed that 1.1million tons of food are "avoidably" thrown out every year. Too Good To Go connects food buyers with top flight eateries that have trash-bound meals at prices ranging from $2.63 to $4.99. The app, which is already available in Brighton, Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester, will debut this month in London, where more than a hundred restaurants will participate in the initiative.
Kate Nelson, "The App that Lets You Order Cheap Food from Restaurants that Would Be Thrown In The Bin", The Independent, August 07, 2016, © Independent Digital News and Media Ltd.
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Debut Of Cheesecake Snack Bars In Canada Features Cake-Walking Mascots

August 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
General Mills introduced Fiber 1 Cheesecake Bars in Canada in July during the country’s National Cheesecake Day with a promotion featuring six mascots dressed as the bars “speed cake-walking” around downtown Toronto distributing free samples. The company said the cake-walk was “a memorable way to connect with” Millennials, its core audience. The 150 calorie snack bars – a “healthier-for-you” alternative to potato chips, etc. – are available in chocolate and key lime flavors. The company’s marketing plan will stick with the athletic theme during the Summer Olympics season, and will be supported by television spots, online video, and the distribution of one million samples.
Martha Porado, "General Mills Wants You To Have Your Cake And Eat It, Too", Canadian Grocer, August 07, 2016, © Rogers Media Inc.
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Trend Toward Sugar Substitutes Takes Hold In N.Z.’s Soft Drink Industry

August 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Last year, two of New Zealand’s big soft drink manufacturers began offering their flagship colas with the sweetener stevia substituting for sugar. Coca-Cola Amatil (NZ) launched Coca-Cola Life; Frucor Beverages followed with Pepsi Next. Both brands contain fewer calories and could have a major impact on cola carbonates generally, and strong growth expected in low-calorie cola carbonates. Euromonitor expects that low-calorie colas will account for almost 50 percent of total cola sales within four years. Energy drinks, sports drinks, and fruit juices are also expected join the no-sugar bandwagon. With that in mind, Euromonitor sees increased efforts to find other sugar substitutes besides stevia.
Sara Agostino, "Commitment from New Zealand Manufacturers to Reduce Sugar Content in Soft Drinks", Blog post, Euromonitor International, August 07, 2016, © Euromonitor International
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Wendy’s Creates Timeline For Making Its Chicken Antibiotics-Free

August 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Fast-food chain Wendy’s, like McDonald’s, has caught on to the fact that drug-resistant pathogens are a growing health problem linked to the widespread use of antibiotics in beef, pork, and poultry. Or at least they’ve caught on to the fact that their customers are aware of it. Wendy’s hasn’t acted as quickly as McDonald’s, which recently announced its chicken is 100 percent antibiotics free. The company says it’s establishing a timeline for eliminating drugs from its poultry supply chain, after the Natural Resources Defense Council awarded Wendy’s and a dozen other fast-food chains a grade of “F” because they lacked a timeline or firm policy for ridding their birds of antibiotics.
Chris Morran, "Wendy’s Quietly Getting Rid Of Antibiotics In Chicken", Consumerist, August 05, 2016, © Consumer Media LLC
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Unilever Creates Platform For Achieving Zero-Waste Within Its Supply Chain

August 4, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever announced a new supplier collaboration platform focused on achieving zero-waste across its entire supply chain. Zero-waste is a fundamental pillar of the company’s sustainable growth strategy that also includes resource resiliency and dealing with climate change. Unilever has eliminated non-hazardous waste delivery to landfills at more than 600 sites in 70 countries, saving $200 million while creating hundreds of jobs. The supplier collaboration platform, developed with shared value consultancy 2degrees, will be operational by the end of the year.
Willow Aliento , "Unilever announces new partnership to scale up sustainability", The Fifth Estate , August 04, 2016, © The Fifth Estate Pty Ltd
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New Federal GMO Labeling Law Gives Food Companies A QR Code Option

August 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The new federal GMO labeling bill signed into law recently by Pres. Obama requires food manufacturers to list GMO ingredients either in plain writing, via an FDA-created icon, or through a digitally-readable QR (quick-response) code requiring a smartphone app. The app would link the shopper with more detailed information on GMO ingredients. Food manufacturers are happy about the QR code option. But non-GMO advocates argue that looking up GMO ingredient info on a smartphone is an unwieldy process that shoppers are likely to ignore. Consumer research seems to support the contention: a poll of 1,011 U.S. adults found that 59 percent weren’t likely to use their phones or an in-store scanner to find GMO data. Forty percent said they were likely to do so. Eighty-one percent approved of the push to disclose GMO ingredients on labels.
Heather Haddon, "Consumer Advocates Wary of Digitally Coded Food Labels", The Wall Street Journal, August 03, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Consumers Still Waiting For FDA Definitions Of “Natural” And “Healthy” Foods

August 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Food shoppers want to buy “natural” and “healthy” foods,” but there is still no way of verifying what manufacturers claim on their labels. The FDA reportedly is redefining the term “healthy” due to new scientific findings – food science is evolving rapidly –  regarding ingredients like fats. And the agency is pondering what makes a “natural food.” It’s not an easy task. Any new definition of natural has to meet standards of common sense, as well as satisfy the general public, consumer advocacy groups, food manufacturers and retailers. Though lawsuits have made food companies more cautious about using the natural and healthy claims, the words still appear on many products. Without conclusive definitions from the FDA, it remains a “buyer beware” situation for shoppers.
Neal Ungerleider, "The Epic Fight Over How To Label "Natural" Foods", Fast Company, August 03, 2016, © Mansueto Ventures, LLC
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Walgreens, Unilever Partner In Program To Provide Clean Water To African Communities

August 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Walgreens and Unilever have come up with a way to boost sales while benefiting African communities that need clean water. Between July 31 and August 27, each purchase of specific Unilever products (i.e., TRESemmé, Suave, Caress and Axe) at a Walgreens store provides five gallons of clean water to a family in a developing Kenyan community. A purchase of two or more Unilever products at Walgreens will help provide 15 gallons of clean water. The donations through the program Give H2OPE to Others are handled by the social enterprise ME to WE. In 2015, Walgreens and Unilever helped donate more than 17.5 million gallons of clean water to the Kenyan village of Kipsongol – 31,000 gallons a day provided by the digging of a borehole.
"Walgreens and Unilever Team Up with ME to WE for Second Year of Give H2OPE to Others", News release, Unilever, August 03, 2016, © Unilever
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Florida Bakery Group Features A Grilled Cheese Doughnut

August 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A chain of three bakeries on Florida’s east coast is offering an unusual hybrid treat: the grilled cheese doughnut. The $3.00 delicacy comprises a choice of white American Swiss, cheddar or other cheese grilled on a fresh doughnut. The Viero Love Bugs Bakery manager calls the Donut Grilled Cheese “the perfect combination of sweet and savory.” The bakeries also offer a full array of traditional doughnuts, bagels, muffins, cupcakes, breakfast and lunch sandwiches, and even a version of the famous “cronut” croissant/doughnut hybrid.
Maria Sonnenberg, "Have Your Grilled Cheese on a Doughnut at Love Bugs", Florida Today, August 03, 2016, © www.floridatoday.com
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What Walmart Would Gain From Acquiring Ecommerce Innovator Jet.com

August 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Though Jet.com is barely a year old, it is already an ecommerce giant thanks to an innovative logistics platform that calculates in real-time the most efficient way to fulfill orders and pass savings onto shoppers while they shop. Walmart is in discussions with founder Marc Lore – he of Quidisi.com fame – to purchase Jet.com, and Euromonitor sees a number of advantages for Walmart in the deal. Certainly there would be immediate access to four million shoppers and $1 billion in online retail sales, expected to reach $20 billion within five years. But over the long term, Walmart could become much more competitive with online powerhouses eBay and Amazon.com, thanks to Jet’s innovative ecommerce practices. Another benefit: Jet.com has expanded into grocery delivery, which Walmart is eager to try.
Michelle Malison, "Why Walmart Wants to Buy Jet.com and What You Need to Know About the Potential Deal", Blog post, Euromonitor International, August 03, 2016, © Euromonitor
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Millennials Ask: Is It Local? Is It Healthy? The Food Industry Responds

August 2, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Eighteen- to 35-year-olds – Millennials – are now the biggest demographic in the U.S., and their food preferences have changed the industry. For several years now consumers – especially Millennials – have increasingly chosen locally- or regionally-produced foods, giving a big sales boost to those brands. The Winn-Dixie grocery chain, for example, no longer sells Mike’s Pies under the Winn-Dixie label. The result: sales of Mike’s Pies are up 57 percent. "Millennials are asking: Is this healthy, is this local?" said a representative of the Food Marketing Institute. Grocery chains have responded by highlighting locally-produced and so-called natural foods, prospering in the process.
Alli Knothe, "Millennials Drive Grocers Like Publix and Winn-Dixie to Feature Food Produced Around Tampa Bay", Tampa Bay Times, August 02, 2016, © Tampa Bay Times
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Chocolate Grabs Lead From Vanilla In U.K. Ice Cream Launches

August 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Researcher Mintel reports that the launch of chocolate ice cream products outpaced vanilla products in the U.K. for the first time in eight years. Twenty-two percent of all new ice cream launches in 2015 were chocolate flavored, compared to vanilla (18 percent), caramel or caramelized flavors (13 percent) and strawberry (12 percent). The trend applies to both “healthy” ice cream products and “decadent” varieties. The company tied the rise in chocolate flavored products to the continued popularity of ice cream bars. But it also noted that U.K. ice cream trends tend to follow the U.S., where chocolate has been the leading ice cream launch for years. Forty-eight percent of British ice cream buyers want to see a variety of products made with high-quality chocolate from premium chocolatiers and cocoa from a specific region.
"Choc Scoops Top Spot in UK Ice Cream Innovation: 22% Of New Ice Cream Products Launched In The UK Is Chocolate Flavoured", News release, Mintel, August 01, 2016, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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PowerBar Unveils Clean-Label Protein Products

August 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Energy snack company PowerBar has launched a line of “clean” protein bars and drinks. They contain no artificial sweeteners, colors, or flavors, but deliver 2,000 mg. of sugar plus a stevia-based no-calorie sweetener and “high quality” whey protein. The 70-calorie clean whey protein drink is made with 15 g. of whey protein and seven other ingredients, but no sugar. A company representative said the new clean whey product line “is just another step in our journey to become more transparent.”
"PowerBar Launches Clean Whey Product Line", News release, PowerBar, August 01, 2016, © PowerBar
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McDonald’s Menu Gets Cleaner And Cleaner

August 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Facing stiff competition from restaurant chains whose foods are less likely to contain questionable ingredients, McDonald’s announced a handful of menu updates intended to appeal to picky eaters. The company removed artificial preservatives from Chicken McNuggets, pork sausage patties, omelet-style eggs, and scrambled eggs. It introduced buns without high fructose corn syrup that will eventually replace the buns used in Big Macs, Quarter Pounders, hamburgers, etc. And, lastly, it has completed a transition to antibiotics-free chicken, 12 months ahead of schedule. A company spokesman said “it’s time for all fast and casual restaurants to address the growing crisis of antibiotic resistance” by working with suppliers who provide antibiotics-free poultry.
Chris Morran, "McDonald’s Removing Preservatives From Some Items; Nuggets Now 100% Antibiotics-Free", Consumerist, August 01, 2016, © Consumer Media LLC
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Micro-Bakery Sells Fresh-Baked Baguettes From Vending Machine

July 31, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A San Francisco entrepreneur has launched a business based on a vending machine that dispenses freshly-baked French baguettes 24 hours a day in a market hall near the Lower Haight district. Le Bread Xpress prepares partially baked loaves that are loaded every day into the machine. Founder Benoit Herve says there’s only the one dispenser now, but he has definite plans to expand to other locations as soon as possible.
Bonnie Burton, "Baguette Vending Machine Bakes Up French-Style Bread At Anytime", CNet, July 31, 2016, © CBS Interactive Inc.
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USPTO Rejects Whole Foods’ Trademark Request

July 31, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has rejected an application by Whole Foods Market to brand itself the “World’s Healthiest Grocery Store.” The rejection letter noted that the slogan can’t be trademarked because it is merely descriptive of the company’s services. Besides, the company has stores in only three countries: the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., making it difficult to support a “world” claim. The company has six months to respond to the letter. Meantime, Whole Foods posted disappointing 3rd quarter financials, including a 2.6 percent drop in same-store sales.
Tonya Garcia, "U.S. Patent Office Rejects Whole Foods’ Bid To Brand Itself ‘World’s Healthiest Grocery Store’", MarketWatch, July 31, 2016, © MarketWatch, Inc.
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Adding Nuts To Diet Reduces Inflammation That Worsens Chronic Diseases

July 29, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Inflammation tends to worsen the impact of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. U.S. researchers report that eating nuts three to five times a week reduces the biomarkers of inflammation and, in turn, the effects of those diseases. Though the researchers aren’t sure which ingredients exactly are responsible for the improvement, peanuts and tree nuts contain magnesium, fiber, L-arginine, antioxidants and unsaturated fatty acids. All are known to protect against inflammation. The study analyzed data from food-frequency questionnaires and plasma biomarkers from 5,013 participants.
Stephen Feller, "Regular Nut Consumption Linked To Less Inflammation", United Press International, July 29, 2016, © United Press International, Inc.
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White Castle Launches Pretzelized Version Of Its Chicken Rings

July 29, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
White Castle has been selling white meat chicken rings for a long time, but has now added a twist to the popular menu item. The fast-food chain is selling Pretzel Chicken Rings, basically the chicken rings with a “crunchy pretzel coating.” The company is selling a sack of 20 Original Chicken Rings or Pretzel Chicken Rings for $4.99. A social media-based promotional contest rewards participants using Twitter or Instagram with prizes for sharing pictures of their “Unofficial Games” and using specific hashtags to tell White Castle why they play.
"The Ring Is The Thing! White Castle® Introduces Pretzel Chicken Rings", News release, White Castle, July 29, 2016, © White Castle
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British Grocery Chain Packs Nutritious Pasta Into Eco-Friendly Packages

July 29, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
U.K.-based supermarket chain Waitrose has begun using packaging that is made from 15 percent food waste. The company recently introduced two dry fusilli pastas made from green peas and red lentils, both of which are packaged in the new eco-friendly boxes, which cut the use of virgin tree pulp by 15 percent and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent. The pasta boxes are also 100 percent recyclable. The new pastas are high in protein, a good source of fiber, and gluten-free.
"Waitrose Launches New Pasta in Boxes Made from Food Waste", FoodBev, July 29, 2016, © FoodBev Media Ltd
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Unilever Indonesia Posts Strong Sales, Profit Growth In 1H 2016

July 29, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever Indonesia reported net sales grew 10 percent to Rp 20.7 trillion in the first half of 2016, compared with Rp 18.8 trillion in the same period of 2015. According to the company, net profit also rose 10.3 percent to Rp 3.2 trillion, compared with Rp 2.9 trillion in the previous year. Unilever Indonesia said sales and profits benefited from increased demand during the Ramadhan in June and July.
Stefani Ribka, "Unilever sales recover on Ramadhan spending frenzy", The Jakarta Post, July 29, 2016, © PT
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Diminishing Shelf Space Drives CPG Companies To Try Online Innovation

July 29, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Manufacturers of food, drink, beauty, and personal care products are losing store shelf space thanks to the rise of own-brand discount supermarket chains like Aldi and Lidl, and smaller stores that sell independent brands. To meet the challenge, manufacturers – Reckitt Benckiser, Nestlé, Diageo, Unilever, etc. – are increasingly focusing on e-commerce, selling through e-tail websites. But they are also experimenting with delivery-on-demand and subscription-based models. It’s a rising trend: online shoppers globally spent $87 billion on CPG items last year, nine percent of the total online spend. Twenty-five percent of people in 60 countries in 2015 ordered grocery products online for home delivery. Fifty-five percent said they would do so in the future.
Martinne Geller, "Consumer Goods Firms Plot New Paths Amid E-Commerce Boom", Reuters, July 29, 2016, © Reuters
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Grocery Chain Turns Food Waste Into Electricity

July 27, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A New England grocery chain has begun collecting inedible food waste from its stores and processing it into biogas that fuels an electricity generator. The Stop & Shop chain collects and processes 95 tons of waste a day at the plant that opened in April, turning the waste into energy using an anaerobic digestion technology, while keeping it out of landfills. The facility generates 1.14 megawatts of electricity a day, roughly 40 percent of the energy required by the next-door distribution center. The company plans to open more processing facilities in Connecticut.
"Stop & Shop Converts Inedible Food Into Energy", The Huffington Post, July 27, 2016, © TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.
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Smart System Helps Singapore Hotel Reduce Restaurant Food Waste

July 27, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A Singapore hotel has installed a system in its kitchen that helps it forecast more accurately how much to cook, ensuring that it is not overproducing and wasting food. The Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa’s system, developed by U.K.-based Winnow Solutions, uses a smart meter integrated with a kitchen's waste bin. A scale, an LCD panel and wireless connectivity automatically weighs discarded food and displays the dollar value. The hotel’s general manager says Sofitel SIngapore has reduced its food waste by two to four percent since the smart system was installed. The country’s National Environment Agency estimates that 790,000 tons of food were thrown away in 2014.
Lisabel Ting, "Smart Kitchen System Checks Food Wastage", The Straits Times, July 27, 2016, © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
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Whole Foods Market Posts Record Sales For July Quarter 2016

July 27, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Whole Foods Market, Inc. reported total sales increased to a record $3.7 billion for the 12-week third quarter ending July 3, 2016. Comparable store sales declined 2.6 percent, with net income at $120 million, or 3.2 percent of sales, during the quarter. According to the retailer, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization were $326 million, or 8.8 percent of sales. Adjusted return on invested capital was 13 percent, the company said. Whole Foods Market produced $189 million in cash flow from operations during the quarter, returned $44 million in quarterly dividends to shareholders, and bought back $195 million or 6.5 million shares of common stock.
"Whole Foods Market Reports Third Quarter Results", Whole Foods, July 27, 2016, © Whole Foods Market
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Unilever Indonesia Posts Strong Revenue Gains In 1H 2016

July 27, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever Indonesia reported net income jumped 12.5 percent to Rp 3.3 trillion in the first half of 2016, compared with the same period in 2015. Growth was driven by strong sales in the household care, personal care, and food and refreshment segments, according to the company. Net sales expanded by Rp 20.7 trillion from the previous year’s Rp 18.8 trillion.
"Unilever's Net Income Up 12.5% in H1 2016", Jakarta Globe, July 27, 2016, © Jakarta Globe
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Clean Label Baking Company Inks Deal With Southern Calif. Grocery Chain

July 27, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A Los Angeles-based start-up baking company announced a deal with California grocery chain Gelson’s to stock its line of USDA-certified organic, non-GMO baking kits and mixes. Foodstirs, co-founded by three women, including actress Sarah Michelle Gellar, uses cane sugar, Equal Exchange fair trade cocoa and chocolate chips, organic pastry flour, organic unbleached wheat flour, and dye-free sprinkles. The baking kits and mixes feature cake pops, cupcakes, sugar cookies, brownies, chocolate chip cookies and vanilla cake. Baking kits ($17.99) contain 12 to 20 servings, while the baking mixes ($5.99) serve 12 to 16.
"Foodstirs Launches First All Organic, GMO free Line of Baking Kits & Mixes into Retail", News release, Foodstirs, July 27, 2016, © Foodstirs
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Why Digital Shopping Is On The Rise: Brick-And-Mortar Stores Are Not Much Help

July 26, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Almost all of the 44.4 million digital shoppers in the U.K. are likely to buy something online this year, according to survey data from consultancy Pragma. They increasingly tend to prefer using digital channels at every stage of the shopping process, except when making the final purchase decision and resolving post-purchase issues. At these points, they often prefer to head to the store. This means that stores are not doing a good job of keeping customers up-to-date on the latest products, providing detailed product information, or even allowing simple product browsing. The key finding proving that U.K. stores are failing their customers: only four percent say they’re shopping online less than they used to – compared to 32 percent shopping less in physical stores.
"UK Internet Users Reject In-Store Shopping", eMarketer, July 26, 2016, © eMarketer Inc.
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Food Waste Can Only Be Reduced If People Are Aware Of The Problem

July 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A study by Ohio State University scientists has determined that Americans, who waste a lot of food each year, would be more likely to take steps to reduce waste if they understood the magnitude of the problem. About 80 billion pounds of food are tossed into America’s trash cans each year, wasting money and burdening the environment. Only fifty-three percent of respondents to a national survey, however, knewc that food waste is a problem – about ten percent higher than in a 2015 survey, but “still amazingly low.” The researchers said increasing awareness of the problem would lead to “purposeful action to reduce food waste.” Other findings: only 58 percent thought wasting food is bad for the environment; and only 42 percent believe that food waste is a major source of money waste.
"American Consumers Don’t Understand the Impact of Food Waste", Institute of Food Technologists, July 22, 2016, © Institute of Food Technologists
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California Farmers Grow Heritage Grains In A “Non-GMO Grain Belt”

July 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The owners of the Weiser Family Farms, north of Los Angeles and surrounded by the Tehachapi Mountains, are determined to bring back landrace grains – e.g., Sonora and Red Fife wheat, Abruzzi rye and French Black oats – to meet the demands of local bakers and brewers. Landrace, or heritage, grains, are hearty and drought-tolerant, grown from a batch of seeds donated to California farmers by Anson Mills of South Carolina. But the future of the Tehachapi Heritage Grain Project is anything but certain, given the current drought conditions. Will next year’s crop survive the dry weather? Will there be a market for small batches of heritage grain? Or for the flour that’s milled from it, and the bread that’s baked from it? The economics of the project are tricky. But Alex Weiser says, ““We’re trying to create our own non-GMO grain belt.”
Amy Scattergood, "Near the Tehachapi Mountains, a family farm looks to a future without GMOs", Los Angeles Times, July 22, 2016, © Los Angeles Times
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International Retailers Eye Vietnam's Fast-Growing Retail Market

July 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Vietnam’s retail market is growing fast, with international retailers seeking to expand into the country. According to a report by Inside Retail Asia, the country is about to see a boom in the convenience store segment, with local retailer Vinmart operating almost 700 locations and opening new stores at the rate of two each day. South Korean supermarket chain Lott Mart plans to open 60 stores by 2020, while rival Emart has opened its first hypermarket, with more planned. Faced with growing foreign competition, the Association of Vietnam Retailers is calling for government support for its members to be better able to compete.
"Vietnam Set For Retail Expansion", Warc, July 22, 2016, © Warc
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Nestle Launches Initiative Encouraging Innovative Projects In Health, Wellness, Nutrition

July 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé has launched its Henri@Nestlé open innovation platform to expedite entrepreneurial solutions that respond to social and business challenges, especially in nutrition, health, and wellness. The platform, open to startups worldwide, allows young companies to collaborate with Nestlé teams to tackle projects that “matter both to Nestlé” and millions of customers. The program is designed to streamline innovation, making it faster, more transparent and less bureaucratic. Four new projects are posted on the platform for startups to review and offer their solutions to. Each project will be open for 45 days, after which the Henri@Nestlé teams will review submissions within 30 days and pick five startups to pitch their ideas.
"Open innovation! Henri@Nestlé is live", News release, Nestlé, July 22, 2016, © Nestlé
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Meat Producers Angry About Turin’s Embrace Of Veganism

July 21, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The meat producers of Italy’s Piedmont region are upset with Chiara Appendino, the new mayor of Turin and a major figure in the anti-establishment, populist, environmentalist Five Star Movement (M5S). Appendino has pledged to make vegetarianism and vegan diets a priority in her administration, though meat dishes have formed the foundation of northern Italy’s cuisine for hundreds of years. Details of the mayor’s strategy are few and far between, but observers expect the city to create educational programs in schools to teach students about animal welfare and nutrition. Last year, Italian meat producers fumed over the World Health Organization’s labeling of cured meats such as ham, sausage and salami as carcinogenic, calling it “meat terrorism.”
Stephanie Kirchgaessner, "Five Star mayor of Turin to Create Italy’s First ‘Vegetarian City’", The Guardian, July 21, 2016, © Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies
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Unilever Reports Profit Gains Despite Revenue Decline In 1H Of 2016

July 21, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever PLC said profit increased 2 percent to €2.51 billion, or $2.77 billion, in the first half of 2016, although revenue declined 2.6 percent to €26.3 billion due to currency volatility. Underlying sales grew 4.7 percent, with volume rising 2.2 percent. At constant exchange rates, sales increased 5.4 percent and 2.6 percent at current exchange rates. According to the company, emerging markets sales grew 8.0 percent, with volume rising 2.9 percent. Core operating margin was at 15 percent, pushed by an increase of 80bps in gross margin.
"Unilever Reports Second quarter and half-year 2016 results", Unilever, July 21, 2016, © Unilever
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Sales Up At Unilever During First Six Months Of 2016

July 21, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever posted first half sales growth of 4.7 percent with sales volume up 2.2 percent. Sales were up 5.4 percent at constant exchange rates, but down 2.6 percent at current exchange rates. Sales grew eight percent in emerging markets, while sales volume up 2.9 percent. CEO Paul Polman said the sales figures reflected ”consistent, competitive, profitable and responsible growth” in a tough global environment. The company said consumer demand is still weak, sales volumes continue to lag, and market volume growth is negative in Europe and in North America. Growth in personal care and foods improved growth and maintained ”strong profitability.” Profit margins in home care and refreshment improved.
"Consistent, competitive and profitable growth in challenging markets", Earnings release, Unilever, July 21, 2016, © Unilever
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Independent Milling Company Reverses Industry Consolidation Trend

July 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A 20-year veteran of the flour milling industry has launched a milling company in Farmington, New Mexico, in a facility built in 2012 and previously run by the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry. CEO Bryan Ledgerwood calls the new company a “rare opportunity to operate an independent mill” at a time of massive consolidation of the industry. The New Mexico Milling plant, which will begin operations next month, is equipped with machinery capable of producing 2-, 5-, 10-, 25-, and 50-pound packaged products along with bulk vessels. Ledgerwood says the plant will offer specialized blending to produce custom varieties of bread, pancake and tortilla mixes.
"Announcing the launch of a new flour milling company led by industry executive Bryan Ledgerwood", News release, New Mexico Milling, July 20, 2016, © New Mexico Milling
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Papa John’s Completes Transition To Antibiotics-Free Chicken

July 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Pizza delivery chain Papa John’s announced it has taken only eight months to complete its transition to antibiotics-free, vegetarian-fed chicken in its menu items. The company features grilled chicken pizza toppings as well as chicken poppers (boneless, skinless chicken breast chunks similar to McDonald’s McNuggets). In recent years Papa John’s has removed other objectionable ingedients from its foods: preservatives BHA and BHT; flavor enhancer MSG; cellulose and partially hydrogenated oils; artificial flavors and synthetic colors; and high-fructose corn syrup. The company has also committed to serving only meat from cage-free chickens by the end of the year.
"Papa John's Announces Completion Of Transition To Antibiotic-Free Grilled Chicken Pizza Toppings And Poppers", News release, Papa John's, July 20, 2016, © Papa John's International Inc.
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E.U. Bans Food Claim “Suitable For Diabetics”

July 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
New regulations from the European Union prohibit food manufacturers from labeling products as “diabetic” or “suitable for diabetics.” The U.K. is still under the jurisdiction of the E.U. until it leaves (due to the Brexit vote), at which time the country will need to decide which laws and regulations it will keep. Diabetes U.K. welcomed theban, noting that the labels incorrectly suggested a health benefit for diabetics, though many contain polyols and are not lower in fats or calories than standard products. The organization advises diabetics to check ingredient labels for polyol sweeteners such as sorbitol, maltitol, xylitol, isomalt and mannitol, even if the foods are no longer labeled “suitable for diabetics.” Such products are higher in calories, more expensive, and can act as laxatives.
"‘Suitable For Diabetics’ Labels Off The Shelves From Today", News release, Diabetes UK, July 20, 2016, © Diabetes UK
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Unilever Spain Appoints Antonio Casanova As EVP

July 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever Spain named Antonio Casanova its new executive vice president for the local market. He will succeed Jaime Aguilera, who was appointed as EVP for Unilever in Central and Eastern Europe. Casanova will continue performing his current duties at Unilever Jeronimo Martins, the company’s joint venture in Portugal.
"Antonio Casanova Named New President Of Unilever Spain", European Supermarket Magazine, July 19, 2016, © European Supermarket Magazine
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Tesco Picks Coca-Cola Exec To Run Group Communications

July 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
U.K. grocery retail chain Tesco has named Jane Lawrie to the post of group communications director, effective in October. Lawrie comes most recently from Coca-Cola, where she was head of European public affairs and communications. She has spent 25 years in corporate, financial and digital communications, with stints at Diageo and Boots the Chemist.
"Tesco appoints Group Communications Director", News release, Tesco, July 19, 2016, © Tescoplc.com
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HUL Cuts Ad Spending In 1Q Of FY 2017

July 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Hindustan Unilever Ltd spent Rs 879.73 crore on advertising and promotions in the first quarter of its fiscal year 2017, about Rs 13 crore lower than the Rs 892.73 crore it spent in the same quarter of the previous year. According to the company, its A&P spending is at 11 percent of sales, down 60 basis points. Starting in April 2016, HUL has revamped its businesses by grouping them under the home care, personal care, foods, and refreshments categories. Also, the company has adopted the Indian accounting system in reporting financial results since the first quarter of FY 2017.
"Ad spends at Hindustan Unilever shrink marginally in Q1-2017", indiantelevision.com, July 19, 2016, © Indiantelevision.com
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Package Sensor Technologies Will Help Reduce Food Waste

July 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A presentation at a recent food science meeting outlined how “intelligent packaging” of food will help reduce food waste. Michigan State University adjunct professor Claire Sand said innovative packaging equipped with a variety of sensors will communicate shelf life, freshness and quality to consumers. Some, such as time-temperature indicators, are already in use on seafood and other food packages. New degradation sensors that detect spoilage can measure product decay and change color to warn consumers.  “We’re very close to being able to do this for a multitude of foods,” Sand told the Institute of Food Technologists symposium.
"New Sensors on Packages Can Detect Spoiled Foods", News release, Institute of Food Technologists, July 19, 2016, © Institute of Food Technologists
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HUL Reports Strong Growth And Profit Gains In 2Q 2016

July 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Hindustan Unilever Limited said its domestic consumer business grew 4 percent for the second quarter of 2016. Operating profit rose 7 percent to Rs. 1,543 crores, with margin expanding by 70bps. Profit after tax increased 6 percent to Rs. 1,128 crores, with net profit growing 10 percent to Rs. 1,174 crores.
"Hindustan Unilever Limited JQ 2016 Results Presentation", Hindustan Unilever , July 18, 2016, © Hindustan Unilever Limited
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Consumption Data Show Growing Shift Away From White Potatoes Toward Sweet Potatoes

July 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Sweet potato farmers in the U.S., the largest exporter of the starchy orange tubers, are experiencing a boom, thanks to soaring demand both here and in Europe. This year they are planting their largest crop in 50 years after overseas shipments doubled in five years. Once a staple only of the Thanksgiving dinner table, sweet potatoes are appearing much more frequently in home cooking and on restaurant menus. Americans still eat a lot more white potatoes, in the form of French fries, or baked or mashed. But demand is sliding, and the slack is being picked up by sweet potatoes. Consumption of white potatoes was 113.7 pounds per person last year, down from 125.4 pounds in 2005. Meanwhile, in 2015, consumers ate 7.5 pounds of sweet potatoes, up from 4.5 pounds in 2005 and 3.7 pounds in 2002, according to the USDA.
Megan Durisin, "The Hip, Orange Super Food Increasingly Displacing French Fries", Bloomberg, July 19, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Ireland’s FSA Asks For Opinions On One Exception To EU Nutrition Labeling Regulation

July 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
An EU regulation published in December 2014 requires food companies to put nutrition information on prepackaged foods, with some exemptions, as a way to tackle the obesity problem. The rules are set to take effect in December. Meanwhile, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) is asking for opinions, via a “national consultation,” on one exemption from the rules having to do with “small quantities.” These generally are foods supplied directly by the manufacturer to the consumer or to local retailers. The consultation is looking for opinions on how to better define the term “small quantities of product.”
"National Consultation Seeks Views on 'Small Quantities' Definition for Nutrition Labeling", News release, Food Safety Authority of Ireland, July 18, 2016, © Food Safety Authority of Ireland
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Hindustan Unilever Announces Key Changes To Management Committee

July 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Hindustan Unilever Limited announced the resignation of Punit Misra as Management Committee member, executive director, and vice president of sales and customer development. Current vice president of HUL’s Skin Care business, Srinandan Sundaram, will succeed Misra. Srinandan joined HUL as a management trainee in 1999 and rose through the ranks, occupying executive posts of increasing responsibilities and importance.
"HUL announces new appointment to Management Committee", Hindustan Unilever, July 18, 2016, © Hindustan Unilever Limited
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Take-And-Bake Pizza Chain To Serve Only Antibiotics-Free Chicken

July 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
National pizza-kit restaurant chain Papa Murphy’s announced it is beginning a transition to antibiotics-free, vegetarian-fed chicken in all of its 1,500 locations. The chain is also committed to removing artificial flavors and colors from its food by 2017. It is working to eliminate palm oil and high-fructose corn syrup from menu items by this fall. It has already eliminated monosodium glutamate from its offerings. Papa Murphy’s is the largest take-and-bake pizza brand in the U.S., and also offers salads, sides and desserts.
"Papa Murphy's Is The First National Pizza Brand to Serve Chicken Raised Without Antibiotics", News release, Papa Murphy's, July 18, 2016, © Papa Murphy's Holdings, Inc.
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Stevia Producer Expands Agronomy Program

July 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Stevia producer PureCircle said it will invest another $100 million in a program to create the world’s largest natural supply of stevia for the food and beverage industry. The PureCircle Agronomy Program hopes to expand stevia growing to 15 regions beyond China. The company said the expansion will result in a 10,000-hectare pipeline of stevia. The program is focused on sustainable agricultural expansion, R&D to create advanced stevia varieties, and training and support of farmers.
Rachel Quenzer, "PureCircle Announces $100 Million Investment In Agronomy Program", News release, PureCircle, July 18, 2016, © PureCircle
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Manhattan Bakery Unveils A Colorful Twist On An Old Pastry Favorite

July 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The latest New York City food craze comes from the creator of the cinnamon bun-stuffed doughnut and birthday cake croissant. Chef Thiago Silva this time has created red velvet croissants – papery layers of red pastry filled with cream cheese frosting. Silva’s croissants are also available at his Union Fare bakery in Manhattan in other flavors including matcha tea. Whether they will achieve the social media popularity of cronuts or rainbow bagels remains to be seen.
Hannah Parry, "Move over rainbow bagels! There's a new food craze sweeping across New York - red velvet croissants", Mail Online, July 18, 2016, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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Tesco Extends Sustainability Support To Cocoa Certified By Rainforest Alliance

July 15, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
All cocoa used by Tesco in its in-house chocolate products in the U.K., as well as all cocoa used in other Tesco foods, will be certified by 2018 by the Rainforest Alliance as responsibly and sustainably sourced, the company announced. Certification by the Alliance supports cocoa-growing communities, helps increase farmer income, safeguards soils and conserves wildlife. Other Tesco food products that will contain only certified cocoa include biscuits, cakes, desserts and cereals. Tesco cooperates with several sustainability programs: the Rainforest Alliance, UTZ, Cocoa Horizons and Fairtrade.
"Tesco to Source Rainforest Alliance Certified™ Cocoa For All of Its Own Label Chocolate in the UK", News release, Tesco, July 15, 2016, © Tescoplc.com
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