Walmart has filed two patent applications for virtual reality technology that would allow customers to shop virtual showrooms and 3D versions of Walmart stores from home. Users would wear headsets and sensor gloves to virtually stroll store shelves and select items to be shipped from fulfillment centers.
Following a breakdown in merger plans, both Albertsons and Rite Aid must find ways to stimulate growth and economies of scale on their own, Russell Redman writes. Albertsons has some innovative ideas but also substantial cost challenges, Redman writes, while Rite Aid faces continued issues with geographic scale.
Washington, D.C.-based Cava Group will acquire publicly traded Zoe's Kitchen for $12.75 per share or about $300 million, the companies said. Investors including Act III Holdings, an investment firm led by Panera Bread founder Ron Shaich, will finance the deal.
New York state is offering additional funding for schools that use about 30% of school-meal funds on locally-produced foods. Allissa Eiser, food services director in one district, says says the additional funding will help to cover the higher cost of buying local.
Tyson Foods has made a $2.16 billion deal to buy Keystone Foods from Marfrig Global Foods. Tyson's acquisition of the Pennsylvania-based firm comprises an innovation center and six processing plants in the US, as well as multiple facilities in Asia and Australia.
Uni, shaved ice desserts, lotus root and natural wines are among the top 25 restaurant trends of the year, according to Bon Appetit. The year's most popular plating technique is "the shingle," with thin slices of beets, radishes or other ingredients fanned out across the plate.
Andreas Pfluger, CEO of Lindt & Sprungli North America, has announced that he will retire from the company by the end of 2018. Pfluger's group management duties will be assigned to other members of the group after his departure, according to the company.
The search for transparency in products has extended beyond food to cleaning supplies and personal products, according to Nielsen, and customers are increasingly analyzing ingredients in more detail. "Consumers are reading ingredients and analyzing them in different ways -- so it's not necessarily 'what's the protein here, what are the carbs and fat' -- they're bringing it down to a different level," said Megan Reamer of Jackson's Honest during a panel at the recent GMA Leadership Forum.
Bill Phelps and Rick Wetzel were marketers at Nestle when they came up with the idea for Wetzel's Pretzels, a startup that aspired to be the "Ben & Jerry's of the pretzel category," Phelps writes. "Listen to the operators," he advises franchise companies. "You never know where the next great idea is coming from."
Students are entering college with more sophisticated palates than their predecessors and campus foodservice operations are taking a cue from restaurants to cater to their needs. Diverse offerings at campus food halls including vegan pasta bars, gluten-free menus and Korean barbecue are university recruiting tools, as well as a means to keep more dining dollars on campus, industry experts say.
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