After shelling out $375 million to purchase the Pillsbury brand and other baking products from J.M. Smucker, an East Coast private-equity firm plans to create a new company, Hometown Food, headquartered in Chicago. For Smucker, based in Orrville, Ohio, the sale offered a chance to unload aging brands that have suffered as customers seek out natural and health-conscious products. But for Greenwich, Conn.-based Brynwood Partners, which acquired Sunny Delight last year and has previously invested in Balance Bar and SnackWell's, the acquisition provides an opportunity to grow market share in a category that's still popular, regardless of health trends.
Read the full "Crain's" article HERE
There’s a lot of hype around ‘big data’ and ‘data analytics’, but how can you cut through the noise to distill these buzzwords down into something that is useful to your startup or established company?
Read the full article HERE
Closing out the week, Jon Hansen stepped in for Steve Bertrand and checked in with Ben Meyerson about how Walgreens had a great start to the week since they joined the Dow Jones, but then Amazon burst their bubble. Tom Gimbel revealed that “ghosting” happens in the business world, Aaron Weigel shared the story behind his small business success of Weigel Tool Works on the monthly Wintrust Community Leader conversation, and Alan Reed explained why Chicago is the place to be for in the food and beverage industry.
To hear this interview (20:45) click HERE
Summertime is here. But no one in the food and beverage industry is taking a break from discussing the real issues and innovations. Constructive conversation and fruitful networking occurred once again at our latest event, Dining on the Roof: A Farm-to-Table Experience focused on creating sustainable local food systems and how they are changing everything from processes to consumption.
Guest speaker, Kathy Nyquist, is the founder of New Venture Advisors, LLC. Her expertise comes from both ends of the spectrum: from many years in large, corporate food businesses and now over 5 years consulting on local food systems, and small farmer advocacy.
Nyquist’s ‘farm to table’ personal and market research shows that consumer values are very much connected to their food choices. This local food trend is here to stay. But the challenge to keep it going -- both financially and to keep up with consumer demand -- is infrastructure. How can local producers get their goods to the masses effectively?
Nyquist says in order to keep moving ‘farm to table’ forward, local food systems must be viewed holistically, just as consumers are now doing. This is done by starting with looking at agriculture, then to market prep and consumption. Companies are asked to think beyond traditional values (taste, price, and convenience) and instead embrace today’s consumer values (shared mission -- e.g. access to healthy food -- transparency and corporate accountability).
“There needs to be a force in food systems that aren’t solely based on profits,” says Nyquist “Those forces come in the form of nonprofits, NGOs, and independent researchers, taking a hard look at the systems created by major manufacturers,” adds Nyquist.
Kashi as a Role Model. Nyquist and others in the industry point to Kashi (owned by Kellogg) as a company doing a great job helping small farmers transition from conventional farming to organic by providing training and financial help. Kellogg realizes the importance of allowing Kashi to operate according to its strong food mission and shared consumer values.
“It’s a home run to me when we can get small farms connected to large distributors, like Jewel and other large grocers,” according to Nyquist. At the conclusion of the evening, Nyquist challenged the group to be generous with sustainable, local suppliers… “Give them your respect, time and support, to help create change and a better food system here in Chicagoland and around the state.”
For more on Infrastructure and Why Chicago is Attractive to Start Ups and Large Manufacturers Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network understands Chicago’s unique proposition in the food and beverage industry. Forbes Magazine interviewed us on this topic recently, along with several network members. Read the full article here.
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Entrepreneurs across the country are constantly testing their food and beverage offerings, but where they test them matters. Just because something works on either coast doesn’t mean it’ll take off nationwide, says Alan Reed, executive director of Chicagoland Food and Beverage Network. “But if things work in Chicago, you probably have a nationwide success on your hands ,” Reed says.
Andrew Clarke, currently chief marketing & customer officer of Mars Wrigley Confectionery, will replace Martin Radvan as the business unit's global president in September.
Clarke has been Wrigley's CMO since 2015, and he's been with Mars since 2000, signing on in the U.K. as category leadership director for Mars Chocolate.
Read more HERE
There's a new drink in town for you to sip on this summer. Taco Bell is debuting a pretty pink beverage to cool you down as the weather warms up, and now you can "rosé all day" with the Mexican fast food chain. The Berry Frosé Twisted Freeze is the latest menu item from Taco Bell, but you can only taste this exclusive summer refreshment at certain locations for a limited time. Here's where to get Taco Bell's Berry Frosé Twisted Freeze.
You already know that rosé is the unofficial drink of summer (or at least it is in my household), so the news that Taco Bell is testing out a Berry Frosé Twisted Freeze is music to my ears. The newest drink of the sunny season is (sadly) only available at select Cantina locations. If you want to try Taco Bell's berry-flavored frozen beverage, you will need to stop by one of two Taco Bell Cantinas in Newport Beach, California or at the Dearborn Street location in Chicago, Illinois. Run, don't walk, to enjoy the rosé-infused drink, because it will only be here for the summer months before disappearing from the menu.
I sure hope that the fast food chain decides to bring the Berry Frosé Twisted Freeze to other Taco Bell Cantina locations around the nation, but for now I may just have to settle on a trip to the California coast or Windy City.
Read the full article HERE
Fewer people are drinking American light beers than they used to, but there’s some reason for hope at the MillerCoors headquarters on South Wacker Drive in Chicago.
Though the three powerhouse light beers — top-selling Bud Light, Coors Light and Miller Lite — have all experienced declining sales in recent years, Miller Lite has gained market share for 14 straight fiscal quarters in the premium light beer segment. And according to Nielsen data for the four-week period ending May 19, Miller Lite’s sales volume was up 2.4 percent, compared with declines of more than 2 percent for both Bud Light and Coors Light.
Click HERE to be navigated to Chicago Tribune interview and article.
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