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Period: November 15, 2017 to January 1, 2018
Comment & Opinion or Companies, Organizations or Consumers or Controversies & Disputes or Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing or Earnings Release or Finance, Economics, Tax or Innovation & New Ideas or Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy or Market News or Marketing & Advertising or Other or People & Personalities or Press Release or Products & Brands or Research, Studies, Advice or Supply Chain or Trends

Restaurants Can’t Ignore Customers Looking To Avoid Certain Foods

Big restaurant chains are swerving from their standardized approach to foods and beverages to better serve customers trying to avoid gluten and dairy. Customers with food intolerances or allergies, or who are following avoidance diets, have become a market simply too large to ignore. Starbucks, for example, now sells a hot chocolate drink made with steamed almond milk. California Pizza Kitchen offers a gluten-free cauliflower crust for those who don’t eat wheat-based foods. Industry research has found that lactose comes in third, after high fructose corn syrup and GMOs, as America’s most-avoided ingredients. Gluten and wheat came in at No. 7.

"Starbucks, Other Chains Cater to Customers Who Avoid Dairy, Gluten", USA Today, November 21, 2017

For One Maryland Baker, Breadmaking Is Closely Linked To The Soil

A Maryland baker is taking breadmaking beyond the mere mixture of water, flour, and yeast to the higher art of crafting delicious loaves only from ingredients grown organically by a local farmer. Jonathan Bethony’s “horse bread,” for example, is made with field peas, sorghum, millet, mustard seed, and camelina – all provided by an organic farmer, who grows only what he needs to keep his land healthy and ready to produce more traditional wheat. Bethony mills the grains at his bakery. He never sifts, so the nutritious oils and bran remain in his bread and pastries. Chef and author Dan Barber says Bethony’s somewhat spiritual techniques may seem old-fashioned, but they’re actually rather futuristic: “You’re basically looking at the Steve Jobs of bread.” 

"This New Bakery is Taking Local Grains to Another Level — and the Results Should Have You Standing in Line", The Washington Post, November 28, 2017

Minnesota Bakery Is Famous For Its “Texas Doughnuts”

Hans’ Bakery in Minnesota continues a tradition begun in the 1970s of baking massive glazed or chocolate-covered treats known as “Texas doughnuts.” The pastries are about five times the size of a normal doughnut – as big as your head, as some say – and are a hit on social media. People flock to Hans’ Bakery just to take selfies holding them next to their faces or taking bites. The original Hans’ Bakery closed in 2010, but after a couple of personal and financial setbacks, new owner Kelly Olsen decided to revive it. The Food Network followed her journey. The shop re-opened in 2014 and became – along with its giant-size doughnuts – an instant hit. 

"Minnesota Bakery’s Doughnut is ‘as big as Your Head’", TheStar.com, December 05, 2017

Wal-Mart Stores To Become Walmart Inc. In February

Wal-Mart Stores is changing its legal name to Walmart Inc. effective on February 1 to reflect the fact that it is now serving customers in several different channels besides brick-and-mortar stores. The non-store channels include mobile devices, online, and pickup and delivery. CEO Doug McMillon said the company will continue to invest in its stores, but it felt that “it was best to have a name that was consistent with the idea that you can shop us however you like as a customer.” The company has more than 11,600 stores and clubs in 28 countries.

"Walmart Changes its Legal Name to Reflect How Customers Want to Shop", News release, Walmart, December 06, 2017

Decorate A Yule Log Cake At Home With A Kit From La Madeleine Bakery

La Madeleine French-style bakery has created for the holiday season a decorate-it-yourself kit specifically for yule log cakes, known in France as Bûche de Noël. The kit enables customers to follow the French Christmas tradition of decorating and eating the Bûche de Noël at home with family and friends. The yule log cake starts as a vanilla sheet cake that is topped with chocolate mousse, then rolled into the iconic yule log shape. A fully decorated take-out cake is available for about $32.00. La Madeleine has more than 80 corporate and franchised bakery-cafés in ten states and Washington, D.C.

"La Madeleine Introduces New Decorate Your Own Bûche de Noël Kit for the Holiday Season", News release, La Madeleine French Bakery & Café, December 07, 2017

Big Grocery Chains Can Do A Lot To Reduce Food Waste

Three business and management scholars writing in the Harvard Business Review suggest several ways large food retailers – Kroger, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Carrefour, Walmart, etc. – can help reduce food waste in their supply chain, stores, and communities. The four-pronged strategy includes the following suggestions: upgrade inventory systems with the latest technology; partner with farms, where seven percent of U.S. produce is left unharvested; modify or eliminate traditional store practices that increase waste, e.g., focusing too heavily on the cosmetics of produce; and team up with consumers, only three percent of whom attach a social stigma to throwing away food.

"How Large Food Retailers Can Help Solve the Food Waste Crisis", Harvard Business Review, December 19, 2017

FMCG Spending Grows In China, Report Shows

Consumer spending on fast-moving consumer goods in China grew 5.5 percent during the 12-week period ending November 3, 2017, compared with the same period in the previous year, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Data from the market research firm revealed modern trade expanded 3.1 percent during the period, faster than the same period in the previous year. Also, smaller-store formats grew the fastest, with supermarket and convenience stores growing by 3.9 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively, data showed. Among China's largest retailers, Yonghui grew the fastest at 11 percent, while Sun Art group, owner of the RT-mart brand, grew 5.7 percent, reinforcing its market-leading status.

"FMCG in China reported new record recovery", Kantar Worldpanel, December 20, 2017

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