The Cheesecake Factory now accepts reservations at all 206 of its restaurants as part of an effort to ease frustration over wait times, new owner Fox Restaurant Concepts said. Each eatery is setting aside a limited number of tables that customers are able to reserve in advance.
White Castle will join with GoodPlanet Foods to introduce plant-based cheese at restaurants in New York and New Jersey. The test is set to launch March 1 and the vegan cheddar will be available to top any of the chain's burgers, including the Impossible Slider.
Vallarta Supermarkets is introducing new meatless options at its 50 locations in California, aiming to give people observing Lent additional meal alternatives while also taking advantage of the popularity of plant-based foods. While the launch is timed for the holiday, which runs from Feb. 26 and April 12 this year, the products will be available all year in the grocer's various departments.
Students in Pinellas County, Fla., taste-tested 28 recipes and voted for the ones they wanted to see on school lunch menus. The Student Food Connection program, which brings in vendors from all over the country, was developed after a district food insecurity study found students wanted more input on menus.
Coty will begin accepting bids for its professional hair and nail care unit including brands Wella, Clairol, Good Hair Day, OPI and others early next month. Potential bidders include Henkel, Unilever and several private equity firms with the sale expected to earn $7 billion to $8 billion.
In a nod to consumers' surging interest in plant-based foods, a group of investors and food experts has founded the Eat Beyond Global Investment Fund to connect retail investors with alternative food-makers around the world. The fund will initially raise roughly $3.7 million to $5.2 million, said Eat Global CEO Patrick Morris, to invest in up to 10 companies with 40% allocated to foodtech firms, 30% to plant-based food manufacturers and the balance for cellular agriculture, production and exploration.
Food and beverage producers aren't doing enough to solve the plastic waste crisis and need to be at the forefront of solving it, said Simon Lowden, PepsiCo's chief sustainability officer. "A company like Pepsi has a massive responsibility to, if not make a change, be a catalyst for change," said Lowden, adding marketing should address the problem to boost awareness.
Mondelez projects 3% growth for its snacks division this year, since "snacking is a growing behavior," said CEO Dirk Van de Put. He expects snacks will outpace other categories in sales with snacking occasions increasing 20%, as well as increasing interest in better-for-you and functional snacks creating opportunities for innovation.
Forward Footing has published its inaugural FoodTech 500 list of the most influential agtech companies, topped by aeroponic farm startup Aerofarms. Tipa, which makes biodegradable food packing, and Bowery Farming, which makes indoor farming solutions for growing produce, came in second and third, respectively.
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