Top 10: Remembering Carl Ruiz, redesigning a classic potato chip and rolling out new products at Walmart

​News of chef Carl Ruiz's death shocked the food world this week. Ruiz, 44, opened several restaurants around the world and frequently appeared on The Food Network channel. His latest restaurant, New York City's La Cubana, confirmed his death in an Instagram post on Sunday, and said it plans to honor the chef's memory by creating a scholarship for aspiring chefs. Guy Fieri, who was close friends with Ruiz, was among the chefs who took to Twitter to share memories and condolences.

Among other stories that captured readers' attention this week was a feature on Lay's redesigned potato chip bags, which the brand is rolling out after two years of designing and testing. Product launches at Walmart also made news this week, with annoncements that Kraft Cheese would roll out interactive smart packaging for its American Singles packs sold at Walmart stores, and Hershey's plan to partner with the retailer for the exclusive launch of two chocolate bars. The Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate Bar and a bar that combines Hershey's Milk Chocolate and Whoppers will be available at Walmart later this month.

A story recapping the fervor around Popeyes' new chicken sandwich that launced last month rounded out this week's top five most-clicked stories. Excitement around the menu item drove demand for chicken sandwiches that didn't stop at Popeyes. Rival Chick-fil-A also saw an increase in foot traffic.

Check out the week's full Top 10:

  1. Celebrity chef Carl Ruiz has died at 44
  2. The 2-year process behind Lay's redesign
  3. Kraft Cheese rolls out smart packaging at Walmart
  4. Hershey unveiling 2 new candy bars at Walmart
  5. Chicken sandwich buzz paid off for Popeyes, Chick-fil-A
  6. Arby's parent Inspire to acquire Jimmy John's
  7. The Impossible Burger makes retail debut
  8. Dunkin' CMO shares recipe for brand transformation
  9. Nestle enters alternative-beef ring with Awesome Burger
  10. Conagra brands unveil Veggie Shreds, several other products

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Interested in aligning your brand alongside the hot topics of the year? Check out what SmartBrief's Food & Travel editors have identified as trending content topics for 2019 (download).

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