chew on this

Yes We Can: U.S. Canning Industry Gets Cooking to Woo Millennials

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 8, 2014 05:36 PM

Baby Boomers are skipping a generation and handing their power position over to Millennials—at least in the food department. According to, Millennials and Hispanics will be the driving force behind America's eating behaviors in the next five years while the Boomers' numbers continue to dwindle. 

NPD Group's "The Future of Eating: Who's Eating What in 2018?" report indicates that both Millennials and the members of "Generation Z" (0 to 23-year-olds) would like to have "more involvement—not necessarily more complexity—in preparing their meals, especially at breakfast." Growing interests in food preparation follow the all-natural eating trends that still dominate the market.

But the NPD research is only adding to the uphill battle that canned goods makers—and more specifically, those who make the cans—are fighting.

The Canned Food Alliance, a consortium with the American Iron and Steel Institute that includes steel makers and can manufacturers, is hoping to give canned foods a reputation boost after food-can shipments have declined 14 percent in the last decade, according to Reuters.Continue reading...

chew on this

CPG Brands Whack Calories, But Some Critics Won't Give Them Their Due

Posted by Dale Buss on January 9, 2014 02:58 PM

Apparently you're damned if you do, and you're damned if you don't—at least if you're a consumer packaged goods company. That's one of the big lessons of the reaction to this week's announcement that CPG companies have more than quadrupled the goal in their pledge to reduce the total calories contained in their products over the last five years.

Critics quickly wondered whether the companies should be getting credit, or just American consumers who've been making "better" eating choices. But more on that later.

The total calories in products sold by 16 of the nation's largest food and beverage companies—ranging from Coca-Cola to PepsiCo, General Miils to Kellogg, Kraft to Nestle —dropped by 6.4 trillion from 2007 through 2012, according to an independent evaluation funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.Continue reading...

chew on this

McDonald's Concession on Healthier Fare Also May Be Way To Jump-Start US Sales

Posted by Dale Buss on September 27, 2013 10:52 AM

McDonald's biggest nod toward better-for-you food is already placating some critics, and there's another benefit: Helping kids and their parents eat healthier fare at its restaurants may boost chain sales results that have become tepid lately in the US market.

In cooperation with a Bill Clinton-backed nonprofit, McDonald's has announced a sweeping new commitment to better-for-you eating that includes promoting only water, milk and juice rather than soft drinks for Happy Meals on its menu boards and in advertising, emphasizing nutrition in its packaging and advertising for kids, and offering side salads and fruit to accompany its value meals. 

"We think we can influence the purchase of fruits and veggies," McDonald's CEO Don Thompson told the Wall Street Journal. "We have a leadership role and we can be part of a solution. The average person eats at McDonald's three times a month."Continue reading...

brands under fire

Nickelodeon Resists Pressure On Junk-Food Ad Ban

Posted by Dale Buss on June 19, 2013 05:08 PM

Nickelodeon is drawing a line in the sand that likely never would be sanctioned by the network's amiable cartoon hero, SpongeBob SquarePants: It is going to refuse to give in to public pressure to ban ads for non-nutritious foods despite all the concerns about childhood obesity.

"As an entertainment company, Nickelodeon's primary mission is to make the highest quality entertainment content in the world for kids," the company wrote in response to four Democratic US senators' pleas to the network, according to the New York Times. "That is our expertise. We believe strongly that we must leave the science of nutrition to the experts."

The Viacom-owned network has no plans anytime soon to mimic Walt Disney Co., which a year ago unveiled a strict set of nutritional standards and said it would ban ads for noncompliant foods from its child-focused cable channels by 2015.Continue reading...

KFC's Li'l Bucket Looks to Please Kids' Healthy Eating Critics

Posted by Dale Buss on March 29, 2013 05:12 PM

Even green beans can be strategic in the continuing struggle by QSR brands to come up with better-for-you options that are appealing to kids and yet acceptable to nutrition scolds.

KFC made green beans the default option in its new Li'l Bucket kids meal, which is joined in the $3.99 package by a Kentucky Grilled Chicken drumstick, an applesauce pouch from GoGo squeeZ and a Capri Sun Roarin' Water. The new repast aimed at kids also appeals to parents with robust infotainment options such as puzzle games that are attached to the bottom of the bucket lid.

"Green beans are one of the more popular green vegetables with kids," Cynthia Koplos, KFC's senior director of marketing, told brandchannel. "They're already available at almost all of our restaurants." Parents also can choose mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese as side items in the Li'l Bucket, in place of green beans.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Reuters, McKee Foods, Chevy and more

Posted by Dale Buss on March 15, 2013 09:14 AM

In the News

Reuters editor faces charges of helping "Anonymous" hack site when he was with Tribune.

McKee Foods picks up Drakes brand from Hostess.

Chevy chooses McCann for global advertising account.

Boeing strongly defends Dreamliner.

Center for Science in the Public Interest blasts Nickelodeon for airing junk food ads.

Coke seeks world peace via vending machines.

Disney develops unique approach to India.Continue reading...

health matters

Boston Market Shakes Off Table Salt

Posted by Dale Buss on August 22, 2012 05:54 PM

Sodium reduction is the cause du jour among nutritionists and policymakers who want to keep pushing the American diet in a better-for-you direction. The latest federal guidelines call for huge reductions in sodium content across the food chain to help battle hypertension and other maladies, and implicitly to make food taste less appealing -- and thereby to curb consumption.

Boston Market has just struck the latest in what is sure to become a growing list of blows against sodium input by crowing about plans to remove salt shakers from the guest tables at all 476 of its locations; you'll have to go to the beverage areas to get a shaker. It's also unveiling plans to cut sodium in signature dishes.

Clearing salt shakers from tables is a largely symbolic gesture, since relatively little of the salt that Americans consume comes right out of the shaker. Still, food-regulating interests hailed Boston Market's gambit. "I haven't heard of any other restaurant doing that," said Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, presumingly approvingly, to USA Today. Continue reading...

health matters

Brown Out: FDA Lobbied to Ban Colas' Caramel Coloring Over Cancer Concerns

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 8, 2012 11:58 AM

When the news came out of the state of California a year ago that the stuff that makes your cola beverage brown has been linked to cancer, there were a number of consumers that likely didn’t put their change into the vending machine that day.

The amount of that compound (4-methylimidazole, or 4-MEI) in soda would cause the state to need to put warning labels on all of its cans, NPR reports. This, in turn, led to the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) to lobby the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to “ban ammonia-sulfite caramel color,” according to NPR. Coke Clear, anyone?

While the cola companies and caramel manufacturers are obviously stating that there is no validity to these claims, the FDA is also chiming in that this could be much ado about not much. In any event, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, which account for almost 90% of the U.S. soda market, have tweaked their formulas in compliance with the Californian law — averting the need to add a cancer warning label.Continue reading...

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