Procter & Gamble is expanding its Tide Cleaners laundry service nationwide, with plans to offer more than 2,000 pickup locations by the end of 2020. The program allows consumers to drop off their laundry, which is then washed, dried and folded.
Ryals McMullian will step into Flowers Foods' CEO role in May, succeeding Allen Shiver, who is retiring after more than 40 years at the firm. McMullian serves as chief operating officer at the company, which owns such brands as Wonder, Dave's Killer Bread, Nature's Own and Tastykake.
Cargill has filed a patent application for a "high protein egg chip," according to documents recently published by the World Intellectual Property Organization. The application refers to the growing demand for healthier snacks in the marketplace, but the company does not anticipate receiving a decision on the patent before July 2020.
Coca-Cola has named Lisa Chang to the role of chief people officer, effective March 1. Chang will oversee global human resources for the company, replacing Jennifer Mann, who is the president of the firm's Global Ventures unit.
Venture capital firms including Danny Meyer's Enlightened Hospitality Investments are investing significant amounts in early-stage, tech-driven restaurant concepts. Sweetgreen's $200 million funding round last year highlighted the value of an app that handles almost half the chain's orders and is continuing to evolve with artificial intelligence and other features aimed at personalizing orders.
Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custard has installed an artificial intelligence system to take breakfast orders at the drive-thru of one of its Denver restaurants. The system is designed to improve accuracy and speed, and avoid long lines that might deter customers, Chief Operating Officer Scott Lefever said.
Now is the optimum time to create a food startup, for several reasons, writes Alan Reed, executive director at Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network. Food entrepreneurs have access to a variety of talented mentors, resources and contract manufacturing facilities, and social media communication channels let them reach consumers without costly campaigns, he writes.
Rowdy Mermaid Kombucha raised around $3.5 million during its latest funding round, which included such investors as Justin's founder Justin Gold and Bear Naked co-founder Brendan Synnott. The beverage firm expects to use the funding to create new products, hire staff and develop innovative packaging, said CEO Jamba Dunn.
Nestle does not need to acquire new businesses after its Ferrero sale in 2018, as the company is "very well positioned with our portfolio," according to Alexander von Maillot, the company's global head of confectionery. KitKat in particular featured 9% organic sales growth last year, which von Maillot is "convinced" will continue.
Convenience store sales of private label bakery snacks grew by 4.7% for the 52-week period ending Dec. 2, 2018, even as total bakery category growth grew by just 0.4%. Although many believe a consumer shift to alternative snacks has slowed bakery product sales growth, fresh bakery items have also cut into prepackaged bakery sales, said Beck Suppliers' Kevin Campbell.
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