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Top stories summarized by our editors
1/21/2022

New Zealand's natural wine market is slowly developing, export regulations are evolving and there's no real solid definition of "natural wine" to begin with, but several producers are already making a name for themselves, writes Christina Pickard. One of them, winemaker Lance Redgwell's Cambridge Road Vineyard in Martinborough, produces "fun, fizzy and textural" wines as well as "seriously structured bottlings like the winery's pinot noir," writes Pickard, who highlights several other producers.

1/21/2022

Christina Tosi opened Milk Bar in New York City in 2008, and today the bakery has grown to 12 locations in the US and Canada. Tosi, who reflects on her journey in the forthcoming memoir "Dessert Can Save the World," said part of the key to working with teams of employees in various locations is "connecting with them as people that are really important members of your life."

1/21/2022

Franchising will play a bigger role in Noodles & Company's future, starting with a deal that makes multiconcept operator Warner Foods the exclusive franchisee for California. Warner will open 40 new units in the next 12 years and take over operations of the 15 company-owned restaurants in the state, and the company expects to sign more franchisees to grow in other markets, CEO Dave Boennighausen said during a recent conference.

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QSR
1/21/2022

Foodservice distributor Harbor Wholesale has acquired the assets of Skippers Seafood & Chowder from Starway Restaurants for an undisclosed amount. The 53-year-old Pacific Northwest-based quickserve chain downsized from 60 standalone units at its peak to five now, while growing to 128 in-store units at grocery and convenience stores and launching a line of branded packaged foods.

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Restaurant Business
1/21/2022

Cousins Subs has grown over the past two years thanks to a confluence of factors, including growing demand for sandwiches, the ability to quickly shift to curbside pickup and employee incentives that help maintain a loyal workforce at the 94-unit chain, President Jason Westhoff says. In a video interview, Westhoff shares insights gleaned during the pandemic and plans for future growth.

1/21/2022

Walmart has named Tom Ward, currently a senior vice president focusing on last-mile delivery and in-home service, to become the head of e-commerce operations. Ward will replace e-commerce chief Casey Carl, who joined Walmart in fall 2020 and will depart at the end of February, according to published reports.

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1/21/2022

FMI's signature Midwinter Executive Conference is back on and scheduled for March 28-31 at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando, Fla. FMI President and CEO Leslie Sarasin said the conference was rescheduled because of concerns about the Omicron variant and ongoing supply and labor issues, saying "[w]hile we paused our Midwinter event plans with purpose and patience, our members have urged us to hit 'play' for our first in-person gathering in more than two years."

1/21/2022

In the latest episode of Loss Prevention Magazine's Take 10 podcast, FMI's Doug Baker discusses how the organization is helping the food industry cope with the pandemic and its fallout, including initiatives to help front-line employees de-escalate conflicts and efforts to help grocers meet new supply chain and labor challenges. Although many obstacles remain, Baker said "we're adapting quickly because we have really good open communication and we're talking with members very frequently."

1/21/2022

After a successful test of the Flashfood app, Stop & Shop will offer shoppers the digital option at its stores in Providence, R.I., and nearby Pawtucket. The app allows customers to get discounts on products that are nearing their expiration dates, and Stop & Shop President Gordon Reid said the grocer has "already seen how the program helps families significantly save money on their grocery bills, while also helping our environment."

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Stop & Shop
1/21/2022

When classes in the St. Joseph School District in Missouri were canceled due to the rise in COVID-19 cases, school nutrition professionals stepped in to ensure students had continued access to food. The district provided 1,300 meals -- breakfast and lunch -- for the two-day closure.