Top 10: Food companies to watch, retailer innovations and the return of Popeyes’ chicken sandwich

This week, SmartBrief’s food and beverage readers were interested in Kraft Heinz’s foray into the cannabis market; Evolv Ventures, the legacy food company’s venture capital arm, co-led a funding round of $23 million for cannabis retail software startup Flowhub. The story takes the top spot on this week’s most-clicked list. Kraft Heinz was also a subject of the No. 2 most-clicked story, which was about Kraft Heinz and Beyond Meat’s inclusion on Bloomberg’s list of 50 Companies to Watch in 2020. The food brands were added to Bloomberg’s list because of factors such as revenue growth and new product releases.

Also popular among readers were stories of grocery retailers’ innovations and tactics to attract consumers. Amazon Prime members in 2,000 regions are now eligible to order two-hour grocery delivery from both Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market. Target CEO Brian Cornell announced that though the retailer has piloted robotic workers in its warehouses and fulfillment centers, Target will not be using robots in its stores but rather will continue to rely on its human employees. Grocery chain Hy-Vee has been experimenting with several store formats to attract different consumers, such as its HealthMarket focusing on natural and organic offerings and the Fast & Fresh format that caters to convenience store shoppers.

When Popeyes debuted its chicken sandwich this August, several locations across the US sold out of coveted food item and it sparked plenty of social media debate about which fast casual chicken restaurant can boast the best sandwich. Popeyes caught readers’ attention again this week by announcing the iconic sandwich’s return with a Twitter video that yet again pokes fun at rival chicken chain Chick-fil-A. Popeyes also appears on the most-clicked list with a story about increased hiring efforts to prepare for expected high traffic caused by the sandwich’s return.

Check out the complete list of this week’s top 10 most-clicked stories in SmartBrief's food and beverage briefs:

  1. Kraft Heinz takes first step into cannabis industry
  2. Kraft Heinz, J&J, Beyond Meat make Bloomberg's watch list
  3. Amazon offers Prime members free 2-hour grocery delivery
  4. Olive oil confit technique results in tender, caramelized vegetables
  5. Popeyes goes viral with chicken sandwich's return
  6. Korean pancakes are a tasty vehicle for leftover vegetables
  7. Latest product launches from Hershey, Campbell Soup, McCormick, more
  8. Why Target won't roll out in-store robots
  9. How Hy-Vee is using new store formats to stay relevant
  10. Popeyes staffs up to prep for second chicken sandwich launch

Related stories:

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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