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Dunkin' Donuts Drives Demand with Limited-Time Offerings

Posted by Dale Buss on October 4, 2013 03:46 PM

Dunkin' Donuts has revitalized growth in large part by being just a bit contrarian. As in not caring as much about offering "value" or even healthy eating as other fast-feeders seem to.

That approach was texturized this week for attendees at an industry summit by Paul Carbone, CFO of the Massachusetts-based chain. He didn't glaze over the necessity for Dunkin' to pay attention to its value proposition or to care about better-for-you treats. But he made it clear that Dunkin's recent and ongoing focus has been on generating new sales and taking market share by focusing on new products, especially limited-time offerings.

"It's not like we ignore value, but it's all about differentiated product" such as Dunkin's limited-time wraps and sandwiches, Carbone said, according to "We're constantly taking winners [and interchanging them]. This is the idea of winning begets winning."Continue reading...

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KFC's New Cup Holder Container is Pure Fast-Food Genius

Posted by Dale Buss on October 3, 2013 06:21 PM

One blogger doesn't mince any words about how big a deal the new KFC Go Cups are. "Everything is going to change," wrote Mary Beth Quirk of "EVERYTHING."

Forgive her for getting a bit carried away, but it does seem that the fast feeder is on to something with Go Cups, plastic containers that can conveniently fit a KFC chicken entree into the cup holders of what the chain said amount to 83 percent of US cars. There are five selections in the Go Cup lineup for $2.49 each, including potato wedges.

But wait, there's more: The chicken and potatoes are kept separate by a divider, and the Go Cup not only has a base that fits into most holders but also a wider top so that it can accommodate more food. And most of the food sits up high for easy access.Continue reading...

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Former Trader Joe's Exec Wants to Turn Slightly-Past-Its-Prime Food Into New Retailing Concept

Posted by Dale Buss on September 27, 2013 06:33 PM

Food waste is a huge problem in America and globally, with up to 40 percent of perfectly good food being trashed in the US, according to a study by Harvard and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Yet there's a lack of nutritious food in US inner cities and elsewhere.

So the ex-president of Trader Joe's is trying to put supply and demand together to create a new form of food retailing. Doug Rauch plans to open a new market, the Daily Table, in Dorchester, Mass., early next year to sell "repurposed" food as is, and in lightly processed form like a fast-food restaurant.

"It's [an] idea about how to bring affordable nutrition to the underserved in our cities," he told NPR, using food that "is, to a large degree, either excess, overstocked [or otherwise] wholesome food that's thrown out by grocers ... at the end of the day because of the sell-by dates. Or [it's from] growers that have product that's nutritionally sound, perfectly good, but cosmetically blemished or not quite up for prime time. [So we] bring this food down into a retail environment where it can become affordable nutrition."Continue reading...

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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...

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Yoplait Turns to Health Labeling to Spark Go-Gurt Induced Comeback

Posted by Dale Buss on September 16, 2013 06:12 PM

Unable to make much headway in the part of the US yogurt market that is growing, Greek-style, Yoplait is making a new move in the segment that it still leads: yogurt for kids.

While rival Dannon has given up on some recent initiatives in the kids-yogurt segment, Yoplait just announced a new, more vibrant packaging design of its Go-Gurt brand which includes a more nutritious formula and new health messaging on the outside of the box. Go-Gurt now boasts 1 gram less of sugar, about 14 percent fewer calories, and packaging that claims "no artificial" colors or flavors, "no high-fructose corn syrup" and "good source of calcium and vitamin D."

"We know that sugar is a concern for parents and that parents desire more natural products," Melissa Haase, a Yoplait R& D executive, said in a news release. "While there were hurdles with the new reformulation, we were also able" to reduce sugar and calories.Continue reading...

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Chipotle Launches Assault on Big Food with Short Film, and There's More to Come

Posted by Dale Buss on September 12, 2013 02:56 PM

Chipotle keeps sticking its neck out for "sustainable," locally produced food—now with an animated-short-film attack on "Big Food" and with the promise of more expansive and aggressive efforts to come.

"The Scarecrow" is a 3-1/2-minute film that Chipotle Mexican Grill released online today that depicts what the brand calls "a dystopian fantasy world" in which "all food production is controlled by fictional industrial giant Crow Foods. Scarecrows have been displaced from their traditional role of protecting food, and are now servants to the crows and their evil plans to dominate the food system."

"Dreaming of something better, a lone scarecrow sets out to provide an alternative to the unsustainable processed food from the factory"—an alternative that looks an awful lot like the Chipotle business model that emphasizes local sourcing and food as natural as possible.Continue reading...

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Four Seasons Hotels Takes Luxury Flavors On the Road with Food Truck Tour

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 11, 2013 11:06 AM

The Four Seasons luxury hotel chain is taking its high-end cuisine to the street with a novel FS Taste Food Truck.

In a bid to reach a wider audience, the truck will set off on an eight-stop West Coast tour on Sept. 16 from Palo Alto, Calif., covering 1,000 miles through three states. The tour stops coincide with Four Seasons locations, with the adventure ended on Nov. 10 in Santa Fe, NM.

"Food is a passion for us at Four Seasons and we are always seeking to share that in inspiring and exciting ways, whether it’s through a Michelin-star dining experience or the perfect beer and burger pairing at one of our gastropubs,” said Guy Rigby, VP food and beverage in the Americas, in a press release.Continue reading...

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Study Points Finger at QSR Chains Over Kids Ads, but It's Got a Few Problems of Its Own

Posted by Dale Buss on August 30, 2013 07:11 PM

An estimable research organization has charged McDonald's and Burger King with ignoring their own voluntary guidelines about how to market food to kids. But the study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation concluded three years ago—a full two years before McDonald's launched a major Happy Meal ad campaign that directly countered the concerns observed by the researchers.

The study said that fast-food companies in general—especially McDonald's and Burger King, which dominate QSR advertising to kids—tend to emphasize toy giveaways and movie tie-ins when marketing to kids on TV rather than focus on the food, according to Advertising Age. Study authors said that practice goes against industry self-regulation guidelines set by the Children's Advertising Review Unit, an industry group of 17 food and beverage companies including the two brands.

"Fast-food companies use free toys and popular movies to appeal to kids, and their ads are much more focused on promotions, brands and logos—not on the food," said James Sargent, Dartmouth pediatrics professor and lead author of the study, according to the publication.Continue reading...

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