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Top 10: No SweetHeart candies this year, Team USA at Bocuse d’Or, Nitro Pepsi

Sweetheart candy
(Image credit: (Unsplash))

This week’s top 10 was evenly spread across industries, spanning CPG, food retail and foodservice, with candy news taking the cake, which is timely as Valentine’s Day quickly approaches.

News that SweetHeart candies aren’t being produced for this Valentine’s Day as new owner Spangler ramps up operations after purchasing the brand last year took this week’s top spot in the most-read food and beverage news. Previous owner Necco made nearly 100,000 pounds of the candy daily for 11 months of the year, according to, and producing that volume is “just not possible” this year, says Spangler CEO Kirk Vashaw.

Coming in a close second, a story about the first round of the Bocuse d’Or requiring teams to make roast veal for 14 people in five and a half hours using three garnishes and one gravy or sauce caught reader’s attention. Team USA impressed with its vegetable chartreuse, which fit together like a puzzle without the need for cutting.

And rounding up the top 3 is PepsiCo’s news of its Nitro Pepsi soft drink. “It’s a really unique taste profile, it’s silky and smooth, it’s creamy, it’s got a very different mouthfeel,” said Vice President of Marketing Todd Kaplan. “It’s undeniably Pepsi, but it’s not soda.”

Other top news included Reese’s Peanut Butter Appreciation Bars, which offer positive slogans such as “Shout Out to You!” and “You’re Awesome!”

Zak Normandin says the beverage brand he founded, Dirty Lemon, is available via a direct-to-consumer model and in select boutique and hospitality businesses, but it won’t be on shelves at grocery or big-box stores. “We’ll never sell through traditional retailers,” he says.

In food retail, the most popular story was about Kroger’s high-tech warehouses in partnership with Britain’s Ocado.

Check out the full list of this week’s 10 most popular food and beverage stories from SmartBrief:

  1. Spangler CEO: “Not possible” to produce SweetHearts this year
  2. Team USA wows at Bocuse d’Or with intricate vegetable chartreuse
  3. PepsiCo unveils Nitro Pepsi soft drink
  4. Reese’s Peanut Butter Appreciation Bars hit store shelves
  5. Dirty Lemon founder: “We’ll never sell through traditional retailers”
  6. Kroger CEO shares plans for high-tech Ocado warehouses
  7. How Coca-Cola developed its Bar None line in 10 months
  8. Unilever acquires high-end cleaning brand The Laundress
  9. Kit Kat drumsticks hit the ice cream aisle
  10. Burger King teases Super Bowl spot with the King, mystery boxes

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