afternoon snack

Blue Diamond Branded Products Lead US, Global Boom in Almond Eating

Posted by Dale Buss on November 28, 2013 10:20 AM

Sales of almonds and almond products are going nuts around the world, and Blue Diamond is both driving and benefiting from the surge: Its branded consumer business in North America, for example, increased by 30 percent to $469 million in the fiscal year just ended.

Overall, at least four factors are benefiting the global almond trade even though this year's crop was basically flat in California, which accounts for about 80 percent of global supply: good news on health, consumers' retreat from soy milk, a rising consumption boom abroad, and Blue Diamond's branded efforts.

Evidence continues to mount surrounding the healthful properties of nuts, such as a new study keyed by Harvard that shows a link between nut consumption and longer life. Meanwhile, as more American consumers abandon soy milk as their chief non-dairy alternative, almond-milk sales (such as Blue Diamond's Almond Breeze line) have picked up most of the slack—and actually began outselling soy milk in overall US sales earlier this year.Continue reading...

afternoon snack

Starbucks Looks to Influence Political Hang-Up, but It Should Probably Finish Fighting its Own Battles First

Posted by Dale Buss on October 9, 2013 06:27 PM

"Pay It Forward," meet "Open It Back Up." Starbucks—which rarely misses a zeitgeist-related marketing ploy—is offering a free tall cup of coffee to any patron who buys a drink for another customer, in what CEO Howard Schultz somehow intends to translate into a moral example for those responsible for the federal government curtailment in Washington, D.C.

Schultz previously has tilted at budget-deficit gridlock in Washington and spoke out in support of gay marriage in various ways associated with the iconic brand. This time, he said, Starbucks aims to push citizens to "support and connect with one another, even as we wait for our elected officials to do the same for our country." No word on why he believes that Americans haven't already been supporting and connecting with one another.

Anyway, such exhortations are just one way that Schultz has been moving Starbucks way beyond its original java base since he shored the chain up a few years ago.Continue reading...

afternoon snack

Dannon Looks to Tell New Brand Story Through Yogurt Partnership with Starbucks

Posted by Dale Buss on September 25, 2013 10:52 AM

Dannon believes that its Greek-style-yogurt partnership with Starbucks will be great for the Dannon brand even though its marque is taking a secondary position in the arrangement to the chain's Evolution Fresh brand.

Evolution Fresh, Inspired by Dannon "is a way for us to bring a new brand story without undermining any of our other brand stories," Gustavo Valle, CEO of Dannon USA, told brandchannel. And it provides the company with the crucial opportunity to extend yogurt consumption further in the day.

Starbucks and Groupe Danone, the Paris-based parent of Dannon USA, announced in July that they were co-creating the new line to place in Starbucks outlets next spring and in grocery stores the next year. The idea for Starbucks was to expand its better-for-you offerings under its recently acquired Evolution Fresh brand, which began as a juice company, and to find a way for the chain to tap into the Greek-yogurt craze.Continue reading...

afternoon snack

Mars Takes a Cue from Rival Hershey with Unwrapped Snacks

Posted by Dale Buss on July 1, 2013 04:58 PM

Mars candies, including Snickers and Milky Way are now available in unwrapped minis, a move propelled by the lazy snacking habits of today's younger generations—and the strategies of Mars' biggest competitor, Hershey. 

Mars has begun earnestly copying the strategy of its archrival Hershey by introducing bite-size versions of its iconic candy bars in unwrapped forms and then throwing a bunch of them in a resealable pouch. The format has proven very popular for Hershey treats such as Kit Kat, Rolo's and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups over the last two years, so Mars has begun to roll out its own version, with Milky Way Bites debuting in May and Snickers Bites this week.Continue reading...

afternoon snack

Coming Soon to Starbucks: Latte with a Splash of (Government-Influenced) Guilt

Posted by Dale Buss on June 18, 2013 03:41 PM

Starbucks customers will still be able to order all of their favorite high-fat, sugary concoctions at their favorite coffee house. It's just that they won't be able to plead ignorance anymore to just how many calories are in that Venti Caramel Macchiato or luscious chocolate brownie.

The company said it will become the latest restaurant chain to put up calorie boards at its locations across the United States, jumping ahead of a US-government mandate under Obamacare that's expected to require bigger chains to make similar disclosures nationwide by the end of the year. New York and California already require nutrition boards.

Starbucks also will post calorie counts on the goodies in the pastry case. "Menu labeling is yet another step to extend our commitment to wellness, ensuring our current customers and partners (employees) have the information they need to make informed decisions and understand all the ways that they can customize their Starbucks beverages to be within their desired calorie range," stated Mary Wagner, SVP of global research and development for Starbucks.Continue reading...

afternoon snack

Fast Food Chains Grapple for Value Crowd as Sales Drop

Posted by Dale Buss on May 9, 2013 04:23 PM

How low can you go? That may be the biggest question facing McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King and other fast-food operators these days, in the US as well as around the world.

That's because cash-strapped consumers worldwide, struggling amid low-growth and slowing economies, are making business difficult for fast-food chains even though each brand is now emphasizing "value menus" and increasing low-priced offerings like never before. The QSR rivals are doing a lot of other things as well, including introducing higher-priced new menu items. But the most important competition, and the crux of their strategic dilemma, is found at the low end.

"That consumer that is getting hit hardest by the economy is locking in on a message that has a price, and when they see and hear 99 cents, Wendy's gets put in their consideration set," Emil Brolick, CEO of Wendy's, told the Wall Street Journal.Continue reading...

afternoon snack

Hershey Latest to Adopt GMA's Facts Up Front Labeling

Posted by Dale Buss on April 23, 2013 11:51 AM

While the Obama administration continues to deliberate to what extent and how quickly food and beverage companies must communicate more nutrition information on the packages of their products, more CPG leaders are stepping out with their own initiatives to address still-rising concerns about junk food and obesity in America.

Hershey is the latest. The candy leader announced that it will print the amounts of calories, saturated fats, sodium and sugar per serving on the front of all of its packages beginning in the second half of this year and evolving across all of its packaging over the next several years.

"We are doing this because we belive that front-of-pack labeling provides consumers with straightforward information that empowers them to make informed food and beverage choices when shopping," said a Hershey spokesman, according to Candy and Snack Today.Continue reading...

afternoon snack

Ben & Jerry's, Stephen Colbert Reveal 2012 Election AmeriCone Dream Edition

Posted by Michael Waltzer on October 5, 2012 02:53 PM

"It's time to get the dough out of politics." Maybe not in real life but we know that's at least how Stephen Colbert and Ben & Jerry's feels about it — by showing it (or tasting it).

The latest edition of "AmeriCone Dream" ice cream, first released as a tie-in with the Comedy Central wag back in 2007, is timed to the upcoming U.S. elections. This “2012 Collectable Election Year PACkage!” is also complete with election streamers, an Uncle Sam hat, red, white and blue motif and messaging around the company’s social mission to "Get The Dough Out" of politics, as cofounder/activist Ben Cohen has been promoting.

The container pays homage to Colbert’s own Super PAC, labeled on its lid skirt: “SUPERPACK!” and clearly noted (just in case you miss the PAC reference) on the front: “2012 Collectable Election Year PACkage!” The reverse side (see below) includes Colbert's editing notes and signature.Continue reading...

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