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  • 18 Jun 2018 1:17 PM | Deleted user

    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.

    Click HERE

  • 14 Jun 2018 10:51 AM | Deleted user

    In order to maintain an effective and profitable business, most company leaders subscribe to some manner of innovation. Examining business through an innovative lens works to achieve efficiencies and evolve approaches to product development. Traditionally, research and development departments have carried responsibility for cycling innovative practices through organizational systems. However, in the current economic landscape, only major industry players have the resources to maintain robust R&D projects. And even so, the scale of such projects pressures corporate decision-makers to a risk-averse position, the context of which can limit the positive effects of innovation on product development. 

    Read the full article HERE

  • 13 Jun 2018 4:45 PM | Deleted user

    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

  • 12 Jun 2018 3:11 PM | Deleted user

    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

  • 4 Jun 2018 2:39 PM | Deleted user

    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.

  • 29 May 2018 3:40 PM | Deleted user

    "A lot of people think [CSR] is really just for big companies--that the smaller companies are under the radar, that they're not being scrutinized," said Nancy Himmelfarb, prinicpal of her own firm NJH Sustainability Consulting, during a panel discussion hosted by the Chicagoland Food and Beverage Network last week. Click HERE to be navigated to this article link. 

  • 23 May 2018 11:44 AM | Deleted user

    Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a conversation for both large and small food and beverage businesses. For some companies, CSR is inherent in their mission and for others, it’s a newer endeavor in response to consumers.

    Our Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network’s event on May 16 brought together an expert panel to help us better understand the value of CSR. In the end, all attendees agreed that having a social responsibility strategy can differentiate your brand and capture more market share.

    Highlights from the panel discussion:

    Start with a clear mission

    Grant Prentice is Senior Vice President of Strategic Insights at FoodMinds. Prentice believes Corporate Social Responsibility is about telling your company’s story… clearly relaying your mission and/or purpose. Prentice refers to Harvard Business Review, showing that 58% of companies with a strong, communicated purpose experienced +10% growth.

    Prentice gave several examples of well-communicated, purpose-driven companies. He spoke of Chobani, “Bringing better food to more people.” Applegate Farms, “inspiring people to think about their food, where it comes from, how it's raised, and how it's made.” He also spoke of Hippeas, “for those who demand great taste and high-quality ingredients.” FoodMinds identifies 14 different factors that influence how people choose their food. Right now an estimated 30-40% of the U.S. population considers sustainability in their food making decisions, according to FoodMinds, and “is a good reason companies can consider a social responsibility strategy.”

    From a corporate perspective

    Darrell Portz, serves as Vice President of Global Food Safety and Quality Systems at Griffith Foods. Griffith seeks “to blend care and creativity to nourish the world.”  Because this mission affects the entire supply chain of their business, they focus on their company’s three Ps: People (employees and community) Planet (being good stewards), and Performance (strategy & execution for growth).

    In 2014, Griffith Foods established an annual Produce for Hunger event. This event feeds needy communities in which they operate. Since 2014, Griffith has delivered 11.2 million meals to people around the world, after all the company has locations in four continents. When devastating flooding hit Chennai, India, they became part of the relief operations by providing water and food. In China, they focus on education by supplying books and volunteers to schools. They’ve also completed and/or started 14 clean water systems around the world. One of their significant corporate achievements is getting nine of their manufacturing plants to producing zero landfill waste.

    An unconventional journey to social responsibility

    Nancy Himmelfarb, Principal at NJH Sustainability Consulting, is involved in the corporate social responsibility conversation -- though unconventionally. While an attorney at William-Sonoma Company she became interested in the topic. Himmelfarb built internal support below C-level management. The group created the company CSR tagline ‘greening our home’ and used LEED building standards as their next step guide. The team’s first initiatives were simple: create a compost in the company cafeteria. They moved onto more expansive initiatives, like improving packaging material and reducing their carbon footprint.

    Himmelfarb notes the many CSR certifications a company can pursue… from more well-known ones like USDA Organic, Fair Trade, and Non GMO -- to other less familiar ones like Rainforest Alliance, Clean Label Project, and 100% Ocean Safe. “Each company,” she notes, “needs to evaluate which ones are most aligned with their business.”

    Today, Himmelfarb collaborates with clients, stressing the importance of the Three Vs: 

    Value, understanding your stakeholders (inside and outside of the company);

    Viewpoint, developing a clear and engaging CSR viewpoints that stakeholders understand, find relevant and agree to its importance to your business;

    Vehicles, making sure strategies and messages fit your company, are credible and impactful, and recruit successful external partners.

    Himmelfarb’s final advice is to celebrate champions and successes, to be transparent (even if you miss goals), and stress the importance of the journey. Corporate Social Responsibility is a long-term commitment.

    Hear more from industry leaders at the Network’s next Innovation Breakfast on June 14. Visit our events page HERE for a full list of offerings.   


  • 22 May 2018 1:54 PM | Deleted user

    We’ve all heard that with great power comes great responsibility. And for this reason, brands in the past have been cautious about dabbling in social and political issues, worried that it might hurt their brand. They haven’t all considered it as part of their corporate social responsibility, or CSR.

    Today, however, we are seeing more and more organizations saying, ‘enough is enough’ and using their influence to make a stand on movements they’re passionate about. Let’s take a look at how these companies have aligned with relevant causes, proving that social advocacy can be cool. (You just have to be authentic, prepared, and committed, because you’re likely to face criticism and backlash. More on that, in a previous blog here.)

    Ready to jump in? Here are some examples of companies taking their corporate responsibility initiatives to heart.


    Chobani, the #1-selling Greek-style yogurt brand in America, not only announced in 2016 that it would be giving its employees 10% of the company’s shares but also has made a point to hire refugees for their U.S. plants.

    Chobani founder Hamdi Ulukaya is an immigrant himself. He tells CBS’s 60 Minutes, “The minute they get a job, that’s the minute they stop being a refugee.” Ulukaya describes his employees who have 19 different nationalities as the most loyal, hard-working people. To help them adjust to their new jobs, he’s even brought in 16 different translators.


  • 21 May 2018 3:46 PM | Deleted user

    In order to remain competitive and meet the demands of consumers, many food retailers are joining forces with 3PLs to make their supply chain as efficient as possible.

    In recent years, we’ve seen the retail landscape make a major shift. To survive in a marketplace where e-commerce has taken a front seat, retailers are adapting to shorter delivery windows and consumer expectations. The food and grocery landscape isn’t exempt from this wave of change, however, and many food retailers are focusing on boosting online sales in order to increase revenue, maintain brand relevance and compete with Amazon Fresh.


  • 14 May 2018 11:35 AM | Deleted user

    05.14.2018 By Rebekah Schouten

    CHICAGO — Five start-ups have been selected for the inaugural incubator program class for CFBN member Kraft Heinz Co.’s Springboard platform, which is dedicated to scaling and accelerating food and beverage brands.

    Read the entire Food Business News article.

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