Starbucks has teamed with Closed Loop Partners in a challenge to inventors to develop a more sustainable coffee cup. The chain's customers account for about 1% of the 600 billion paper and plastic cups used annually around the world, and the $10 million NextGen Cup Challenge will seek a fully compostable cup over the next three years.
Albertsons is launching an online marketplace for small and newly launched brands to help them garner the attention of the company's larger banners. The marketplace will be open to vendors that have the ability to pack and ship their own orders, and brands can use data from the marketplace to help push their products.
Shipt has announced a deal with Mercatus Technologies of Canada, a digital services provider for grocers. The partnership will help Shipt expand its footprint with a larger network of retailers, including Weis, Price Chopper and Tops.
Men are significantly less likely to switch to online shopping than women, either for browsing or to order, according to research from First Insight. Men are also less likely than women to be Amazon Prime subscribers, and 44% of men say being able to see and touch a product before purchasing it is part of their reasoning for shopping in-store instead of online, according to the research.
Several grocery chains in North America are employing produce butchers to perform prep tasks for shoppers as a way of personalizing the shopping experience, D. Gail Fleenor writes. "A produce butcher likely appeals most to millennials, who generally are most interested in unique offerings at grocers," said Caleb Bryant, senior analyst for Mintel.
US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos appeared before a House Appropriations subcommittee this week to defend a budget proposal that would cut $3.6 billion from the Department of Education. Lawmakers asked DeVos about issues other than the budget, including school safety and school choice.
General Mills may raise prices to offset rising transportation and food costs, said CEO Jeff Harmening. In addition, Harmening expressed interest in divesting the company's weaker brands and acquiring new businesses that have stronger potential for growth.
Cargill has begun producing a zero-calorie sweetener made from Reb M and Reb D stevia leaf compounds. EverSweet will help Cargill meet the demand for "a low-calorie, high-intensity sweetener option," said Andrew Ohmes, Cargill's global stevia business leader.
Fast casual and fine dining come together in increasingly trendy "fine-casual" concepts that serve chef-driven menus to guests who order and pay at the counter. The concepts offer consumers new culinary experiences along with the speed and convenience they want, and give chefs the chance to showcase their talents in eateries with lower real estate and labor costs, said NPD Group analyst Warren Solochek.
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