April 26, 2013


Distributor News

Nicholas and Company Inc., a leading foodservice distributor in the Intermountain West was awarded the Gold Level for Healthy Worksite Awards from the Utah Council for Worksite Health Promotion. The award program recognizes outstanding achievements in implementing employee health promotion and wellness programs. It acknowledges efforts to facilitate and encourage employee health, enhance productivity, and ensure healthy work environments. Nicholas & Company was one of thirteen companies to receive the Gold Level Award in Utah.

Operator News

Many 2013 trend predictions determined that small plates and snacking are expected to be popular among chefs and restaurant operators this year. While diners are still eating during the traditional meal times-breakfast, lunch, and dinner-they are eating less at those times, opting instead to have five or more smaller meals a day, reported QSR Magazine. Full Story

TCBY plans to open 85 stores this year, with about 11 of those units scheduled for New Jersey. TCBY had 2,800 stores at its peak in 1997; in 2010 it started to remodel and update its roughly 400 U.S. stores, with a new logo and colorful interiors. Now about 120 of them have been retrofitted to self-serve, the big trend in the fro-yo world, reported The Record. Full Story

Jamba Juice and Smoothie King are moving into the St. Louis area, with plans for dozens of new local stores. The move is part of a national store expansion by the two rivals. "The smoothie category has been strong, and it's been a defining theme in quick-service restaurants for the last five years that you need to have healthier items," stated Scott Van Winkle, managing director of Canaccord Genuity, an investment bank and research firm in Boston. "I think there's pent-up demand for breakfast or meal replacements that offer a healthier alternative." For Jamba Juice, it's a homecoming of sorts. The Emeryville, CA-based chain has nearly 800 U.S. locations, but none yet in Missouri, reported St. Louis Dispatch. Full Story

White Castle is building two food trucks that will be ambassadors for its iconic food at festivals and charity events. The fast-food company plans to have the first truck on the road by early summer. One truck will be based in Columbus, the second, likely in Louisville, KY, reported Columbus Dispatch. Full Story

Better quick-service pizza may be the next dining trend. While pizza has become all about price and big chains offering coupons and deals, more diners are choosing to go to fast casual pizza restaurants for better pies. Artisanal pizza chains are rapidly growing to keep up with consumer demand, as the trend is gaining traction to contend with Pizza Hut, reported Forbes.com. Full Story

Industry News

The global downstream division of ExxonMobil suffered an unexpected $41 million decline in net earnings to $1.545 billion during its 2013 fiscal first quarter due to maintenance activity at its international refineries. Domestic downstream profits for the period ended March 31 rose to $1.039 billion, a gain of $436 million compared with the 2012 fiscal first quarter, reported Convenience Store News. Full Story

Royal Wessanen NV acquired French fair-trade food company France Alter Eco from a group of private investors. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The company is based in Paris and generated revenue of EUR 16.5 million ($21.5 million) in 2012. The acquired business, which is engaged in organic and fair trade products such as chocolate, coffee, tea and juices, does not include activities in North America. Upon completion, France Alter Eco will be a part of Distriborg, the French-based operations of Wessanen. The acquisition is expected to be closed early June, reported RTT News. Full Story

Latest sales & earnings for food related companies (Updated Daily - FI Membership Required)

Grocery delivery company BigBasket is embarking on a $15 million expansion strategy across India and already expects to generate profits by the end of the year. The site was established with a $10 million Series A investment by Ascent Capital. BigBasket offers 8,000 SKUs manufactured by 200 vendors, including fruits and vegetables, fast moving consumer goods, fresh meat and household products, reported ZDNet.com. Full Story

The new H7N9 bird flu likely originated at "wet" poultry markets where birds are sold live and slaughtered on the spot, according to research rushed into publication by the Lancet. Genetic analysis shows the strain that infected some of the first patients is very similar to a strain found in chickens and pigeons at the markets, the team of Chinese researchers found. At least 108 people were infected by the flu, with 22 dying from the infection, since the strain seems to have emerged in February, reported NBCNews. Full Story

Health News

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) may affect the quality of adult participants' diets, accoridng to ERS. In one group, participation results increase in the likelihood of consuming whole fruit and a slightly lower consumption of dark green/orange vegetables. In the second, SNAP participants have slightly lower Healthy Eating Index (HEI) scores (both total and components) than nonparticipants, meaning that they have slightly lower diet quality. Full Story

Menus that list exercise times instead of calorie content may dissuade more consumers from certain food items, according to researchers at Texas Christian University. When offered a menu with the number of minutes of exercise required to burn off calories consumed, subjects were more likely to choose healthier options than those who were given menus with or without calorie counts, reported CBS News. Full Story

Washington News

Sacramento, CA officials have proposed a repeal of the city's strict regulation of big-box superstores. For more than a year, building industry and development advocates have worked behind the scenes to reverse the city's 2006 big-box ordinance. That law, passed by a City Council with stronger ties to organized labor than the one presiding now, requires complex economic analyses and wage studies for chains seeking to build stores larger than 90,000-sq.-ft. with more than 10% of the space dedicated to groceries, reported The Sacramento Bee. Full Story (Free Registration Required)

Fruit and vegetable producers urged a congressional panel to maintain funding for key specialty crop programs. Just weeks before the full House Agriculture Committee is expected to mark up the 2013 farm bill, the Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture, held a 90-minute hearing to explore specialty crop priorities, reported The Produce News. Full Story

The Agricultural Marketing Service terminated a proceeding that amended manufacturing allowances of the Class III and Class IV price formulas applicable to all federal milk marketing orders on an interim basis because subsequent formal rulemaking proceedings superseded the amendments. As a result action on the proceeding was terminated. Full Notice

Market News

Chiquita Brands International and Organics Unlimited signed an agreement that will expand organic banana offerings in the U.S. with fruit from Mexico and Ecuador. The companies will both market under the Chiquita Brands International label in addition to continuing to market organic bananas under their respective labels, reported The Packer Online. Full Story

China will accept California citrus that shipped before April 17. The ban on California citrus in China went into effect April 18 due to findings of brown rot in shipments, and industry officials hope to reopen the market soon, reported The Packer Online. Full Story

APHIS launched the State National Harmonization Program (SNHP) for seed potatoes. This program is a collaborative effort between APHIS, the National Potato Council, the United States Potato Board, the National Plant Board, and state seed certification agencies. Each participating State agrees to follow baseline standards regarding both quarantine and non-quarantine potato pests, creating a framework in which interstate and international commerce can be facilitated. Full Story

Farming can be made more efficient with precision agriculture and geostatistics, according to a study published in Significance. Precision agriculture can also impact food security, as managing land more effectively can improve the farming economy and crop quality. One key operation is spatial variation, which takes all aspects of the environment into consideration when considering crop properties, reported Science Daily. Full Story



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