Category: Business

Weekly Roundup

New rules for Food and Logos after Brexit

New rules and logos to protect traditional British foods such as Stilton cheese and steak and ale pies were set out by the Government yesterday ahead of the UK’s departure from the EU at the end of the year. They will guarantee the authenticity of regional and traditional foods for shoppers, whilst protecting British producers from imitation.

At the end of the transition period, the new Geographical Indications (GI) schemes will make sure that traditional produce from across the UK will be granted special status to mark out their authenticity and origin, for example Scotch whisky and Welsh lamb. The government stated that this will mean shoppers are able to buy their favourite food and drink with confidence, and producers whose foods are granted GI status will benefit from intellectual property protection so that others cannot imitate them.

GIs are valued by producers and are exemplars of the wide range of British products enjoyed around the world. They represent around a quarter of UK food and drink exports by value, approaching £6 billion in export value in 2019.

Coca-Cola profits remaining uncertain

Coca-Cola reported better-than-expected sales and profit figures in the last few days as the partial reopening of entertainment venues and the hospitality sector boosted demand for its drinks. However, the global beverage giant sounded a cautious note over new coronavirus-related restrictions and again declined to provide a financial outlook.

The Coca-Cola Company’s total revenue during its third quarter ending 25 September fell 9% to $8.7bn. However, this was a significant improvement on the 28% decline in the previous quarter which led the group to announce a major restructuring plan and accelerate moves to ditch underperforming brands. Meanwhile, operating income declined 8% in the quarter, against a 34% fall in the prior period. The group said margin expansion was primarily driven by cost management, partially offset by top-line pressures and currency headwinds.

Coca-Cola stated that the pandemic had continued to impact its away-from-home channels, although this was partially offset by raised growth in at-home channels. North America was the best-performing region with organic revenues down only 3%, compared to a 6% decline in its Europe, Middle East & Africa unit, and 8% fall in the Asia Pacific. Not quite Red Alert level yet, but still a concern for the multinational conglomerate. 

Caffe Nero considers a CVA as pandemic continues

Caffe Nero is considering an insolvency mechanism to restructure its financial liabilities as the coronavirus crisis continues to inflict pain on high street hospitality businesses. The chain, which is one of Britain’s biggest coffee shop operators, is examining a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) as an option to reduce its rent bill and exit loss-making outlets. The privately owned group has yet to make a final decision about a CVA, although sources say one is expected in the coming weeks.

Further details about the consequences of a CVA, including numbers of job losses or shop closures, were unclear on Friday. Like rivals such as Pret A Manger, Caffe Nero has been heavily impacted by the reduced footfall in city centres as millions of Britons continue to work from home.

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Nestle On the Up

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Weekly Roundup

Heineken hit with a £2 million fine

Heineken’s pubs division has been slapped with a £2 million fine for forcing its tenants to stock ‘unreasonable levels’ of its own beers and ciders. The Pubs Code Adjudicator (PCA) ruled that Star Pubs & Bars, which operates the pub estate business of Heineken in the UK, had ‘seriously and repeatedly’ breached the pubs code over the last three years.

The investigation found that pub tenants who asked to stock competitor brands were told that 100% of the keg beer they sold had to be Heineken brands. After several interventions by the PCA, Star changed its policy to specify ‘must-stock’ brands. But this still required many tenants who stocked little or no Heineken products to stock 60% Heineken keg beer within a year. Naughty boys.

Waitrose continue trial with Deliveroo

Waitrose has announced that it is expanding its on-demand grocery trial with Deliveroo to 25 more locations, taking the total to 30 and growing its reach to 3.1 million households. The retailer has also added 100 products to the range, meaning Deliveroo customers can now choose from more than 650 items.

The original trial launched in September with Waitrose saying it had seen strong demand for the service with half of the orders being made by repeat customers. The extended trial is set to continue until the end of November when a decision will be taken on whether to roll-out the service further.

The retailer also has its own two-hour home delivery service, Waitrose Rapid, which now has over 37,000 customers. Its full-shop online grocery service now offers over 190,000 weekly slots, compared to 55,000 before the pandemic, with plans underway to increase capacity to 250,000 weekly slots.

Brew Dogs ‘ALD IPA’ goes on sale in ALDI

Aldi has revealed that it will be stocking ALD IPA, a beer born out of Twitter banter between the craft brewer BrewDog and the supermarket chain. The eponymous beer was first created as a joke tweet after shoppers commented on the resemblance between Aldi’s Anti-Establishment beer and BrewDog’s popular Punk IPA. embed] BrewDog initially suggested it would create ‘Yaldi IPA’ in a mocking social media post.  However, the supermarket, which is known for its ‘Like brands’ approach, responded with: ‘We would have gone with ALD IPA, send us a crate and we’ll talk…’ The crate must have done the trick, because just two months on, what started as a spoof brand will now be sold exclusively in Aldi stores. The ALD IPA will be available as a special buy from this week and is BrewDog’s first exclusive creation for a supermarket. A 4.7% session IPA, it is based on BrewDog’s Hop Fiction recipe and will cost just £1.39 per can. Those Brew Dog’s really do know how to market.
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Poundland Buys Out Fultons

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Lockdown Leaves Fans Without Favourite Chocolate

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Weekly Roundup

Plant-based food products becoming a more popular option

Almost half of the UK population (44%) would consider trying a plant-based product because of the positive health benefits, according to new research conducted by Product of the Year, the UK’s biggest survey of product innovation.

Conducted online last month, UK consumers were asked to identify factors that would encourage them to try a plant-based product with 31% citing cost as a determining factor (the second most popular response after health benefits) with one in four (25%) identifying environmental factors.

With people playing closer attention to their diet during (and post) lockdown and increasingly adopting ‘flexitarian’ diets, the sales of plant-based products have soared. Recent stats from Kantar showed an 87% increase in plant-based product sales, buoyed by the success of initiatives such as Veganuary.

Kellogg's launching innovative packaging for the blind

Kellogg’s has marked World Sight Day by launching Coco Pops boxes for blind and partially sighted people as a trial in almost 60 Co-op stores. The new boxes have been created in partnership with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB). They feature UK-first technology that allows a smartphone to detect an on-pack code which triggers the playback of labelling and allergen information to the user. The trial comes after research from RNIB revealed that nine in ten blind and partially sighted people feel that information on food packaging is difficult or impossible to read.

The technology, called NaviLens, is currently used across Barcelona, Madrid, and other Spanish city’s transport systems, making the cities easier to navigate for visually impaired people. It has now been introduced in the UK for the first time as part of the Kellogg’s trial. It is also the first time NaviLens has been used on food packaging. If successful, the business hopes to adapt more of its cereal boxes to include the technology.

Waitrose bags the award for ‘Supermarket of the year’

Waitrose has won the title of ‘Supermarket of the Year’ at the annual Which? awards that recognise brands across various industries for good customer service, value for money, innovation, and breadth of offering. In the supermarket category, Waitrose saw off competition from shortlisted rivals including Asda, Iceland, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

The consumer watchdog praised the chain’s response to the pandemic, offering customers a range of ways to shop, particularly for the elderly and vulnerable. It said Waitrose have handled the increase in demand for groceries particularly well, particularly during a difficult economic period.

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Food Companies Urge Britain To Toughen Up Over Deforestation

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Weekly Roundup

Asda’s owners are changing

The Issa brothers and TDR Capital are set to become the new owners of Asda after agreeing a £6.8 billion deal with Walmart. The billionaire founders of the EG Group forecourt business and the British private equity firm will be equal shareholdings in a majority ownership stake. Walmart will retain an equity investment in the business, with an ‘ongoing commercial relationship’ and a seat on the Board.

The Issa brothers, backed by TDR, said they will support and accelerate Asda’s existing strategy. The low-profile entrepreneurs from Blackburn have built a small family business into an empire with around 6,000 forecourts in 10 countries and €20 billion annual revenues. TDR Capital now owns half of the EG group, with Zuber Issa controlling 25% and Mohsin Issa the remaining 25%.

Aldi are doing their bit for the environment

Aldi is claiming it will save more than 100 tonnes of plastic a year by scrapping single-use bags for loose fruit and veg across all its stores. The bags will be removed from all its nearly 900 stores by the end of the year. Instead, shoppers will be encouraged to bring their own containers or buy reusable drawstring produce bags, which are made from recycled bottles and cost 25p each. The move follows a trial in 100 stores across the Midlands earlier this year.

In July, Aldi announced a new commitment to halve the volume of plastic packaging it used by 2025. The supermarket is also on track to have all its own label products as recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2022, and branded products sold at Aldi by 2025.

Is Subway bread really bread?

Subway’s bread contains so much sugar it cannot be legally defined as bread, Ireland’s Supreme Court has ruled. The ruling came after a Subway franchisee argued that some of its takeaway products, including teas, coffees and heated filled sandwiches, were not liable for VAT. But the appeal was rejected by a panel of judges, who said the bread’s sugar content was five times the qualifying limit under Ireland’s Value-Added Tax Act of 1972. This meant it could not be categorised as a ‘staple food’, which is not taxed in Ireland.

This is not the first time Subway has been embroiled in controversy over its sandwiches. In 2014, Subway removed a flour whitening agent called azodicarbonamide following a petition. The chemical is used to make yoga mats and shoe rubber and has been banned for consumption by the European Union for over a decade.

As shocking information as this is…it probably won’t put us off going to Subway. I do love my foot-long BLT’s on Hearty Italian (not) Bread. Very nice.

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Ocado Overtakes Tesco as Most Valuable Retailer.

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Job Support Scheme – What Does It Mean For You?

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