Wal-Mart Suppliers Face Fines for Delivering Early or Late 

Wal-Mart Stores is stepping up the pressure on its suppliers. They will be fined for early or late deliveries, according to news reports.

The aim of the program, called “On-Time, In-Full,’’ is to add $1 billion to revenue by improving product availability at stores, according to slides from a presentation obtained by Bloomberg. The report says it “underscores the urgency Wal-Mart feels as it raises wages, cuts prices and confronts a powerhouse rival in Amazon.com Inc. that’s poised to grow with its planned purchase of Whole Foods Markets Inc.”

As the new rules begin this month, Walmart said it will require full-truckload suppliers of fast-turning items such as groceries and paper towels to “deliver what we ordered 100 percent in full, on the must-arrive-by date 75 percent of the time.” Products that are missing or late during a one-month period will be fined 3 percent of their value. Early shipments get fined as well because they create overstocks.

Campbell Adds Visual to Update Skill for Echo Show

Campbell Soup has updated its Campbell’s Kitchen Skill for Amazon’s Echo to leverage Echo Show’s visual capabilities. It is one of the first brands to offer a visually-enabled skill on Amazon’s new Echo Show touchscreen device.

Step-by-step audio/visual recipe instructions are now available for owners of the Echo Show who download the updated skill from Amazon and say “Alexa, open Campbell’s Kitchen.”

The skill offers simple navigation of touchscreen-enabled content for more than 3,000 Campbell recipes. This includes the ability to search by recipes’ main ingredients, prep method, cuisine type, and skill level.

Beech-Nut Nutrition Study Clarifies ‘Natural’ Food

What does “natural” food really mean? Often vague and sometimes overstated in the food industry, the lack of a universally accepted description of what “natural” means has often confused consumers.

A study conducted by Beech-Nut Nutrition’s parent company, the Hero Group, in partnership with two European universities, helps to better define how consumers understand the definition.  According to their findings, people perceive a food product as natural depending on the origin of raw materials, the ingredients used and the level of processing.

According to the study, natural food is considered important to consumers. Products not perceived as such risk being left on store shelves – and this trend is likely to continue for a long time. Despite its importance, the definition of “natural” with regards to food varied across different countries and regions.

“We know that parents want to feed their children natural products, but are often confused by what that really means,” said Andy Dahlen, Beech-Nut Vice President of Marketing. “In this study, we sought to help clarify the definition by pulling together the data on what consumers understand it to be.”

The study, titled The importance of food naturalness for consumers: Results of a systematic review, conducted by Luisma Sánchez-Siles (Hero Group), Sergio Román (University of Murcia), and Michael Siegrist (ETH Zürich), reviewed 72 existing studies on the topic involving 85,000 consumers across 32 countries. It has been published online in the peer-review journal Trends in Food Science and Technology and will appear in the September print issue of the publication.

T. Marzetti Launches Web Site for Meal Ideas

T. Marzetti Company, the specialty food company, has launched a web site called What’s for Dinner (www.whatsfordinner.com) as a mealtime inspiration destination. It brings together inspired meal ideas from some of the nation’s top foodists, kitchen tips and technique videos, as well as recipes from the entire family of T. Marzetti Company’s brands.

What’s for Dinner uses an easy quiz to help busy meal seekers find inspiration, ingredients and instructions. The platform includes live recipe and technique videos, more than 750 detailed recipes, with more continually added. A collaborative partnership with the popular site DishWorks (www.dishworks.com) insures that new ideas, recipes, photography, content and expert culinary advice are continually being added.

“For the first time in more than 100 years, every brand in the T. Marzetti Company family of brands is collaborating and sharing on one common platform, with one common mission,” said Stefanie Coffman, Sr. Manager of Digital & Consumer Services. [The web site] represents the future of T. Marzetti Company as a company grounded in the fundamental belief that, as a society, preparing and sharing a meal is vital to our collective health, happiness and future.”

The company, a subsidiary of Lancaster Colony Corporation, markets a wide variety of specialty foods for both the retail and foodservice markets. Brands include Marzetti Dressings and Dips, New York Bakery, Sister Schubert’s, Flatout, Reames and Angelic Bakehouse.

Meal Kit Market Delivers Sales of $5 Billion and Disrupts Industry

From food companies to Amazon to Walmart and Wall Street, everyone is watching the meal kit delivery services space, which has mushroomed to $5 billion in sales, as reported in a new research report from Packaged Facts called Meal Kits Delivery Service in the U.S., 2nd Edition.
No single type of provider dominates the overall market for fresh food meal kits. Grocery stores are the most common source, ahead of the closely watched delivery sector for delivery fresh meal kits, led by Blue Apron (at a 17 percent share), Freshology, Green Chef, HelloFresh, and Home Bistro. They are the top five players in the market, according to June 2017 consumer survey data presented in the research report.

“Meal kit delivery services are a specialized sector, but widely disruptive force in the food industry. This space is the most striking example of the movement toward greater convenience in getting fresh foods to the consumer,” says David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts. “And new approaches to fresh food groceries are consumers are most interested in, and what will determine the winners and losers of the current food industry re-set.”

Packaged Facts projects robust growth for delivery meal kits, the disappointing Blue Apron IPO notwithstanding. Amazon seems destined to jump deeper into meal kits, especially factoring in the synergy between Whole Foods shoppers and meal kit subscribers.


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                                                                         Early August 2017
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