New CEO aims to reclaim Friendly's iconic status | Friendly’s combines favorite foods with ice cream pizza | Chobani to open Charlotte, N.C., sales offices

April 27, 2012
IDFA SmartBrief
News for professionals in the dairy foods industry

Industry News
New CEO aims to reclaim Friendly's iconic status
John Maguire grew up on patty melts and chocolate Fribbles at his neighborhood Friendly's, and as the chain's new CEO he aims to revive the once-iconic family restaurant brand by finding a modern way to take it back to its roots. "In some ways it tried to be fast casual and chased concepts like Panera, but they lost what really is their identity," said Maguire, a 19-year Panera veteran. The Boston Globe (tiered subscription model) (4/24)
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Friendly?s combines favorite foods with ice cream pizza
Friendly's has introduced ice cream pizza with a brownie crust, layers of ice cream and fudge, and toppings of sprinkles and chocolate chips. The company says the launch is not related to a similar product launched by Boston-area ice cream shops Emack & Bolio about a year ago. The Patriot Ledger (Quincy, Mass.) (4/25)
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Chobani to open Charlotte, N.C., sales offices
Chobani Greek Yogurt is planning to establish North American sales headquarters in Charlotte, N.C. The company is renting 5,200 square feet of office space and plans to expand its Charlotte sales force from 17 to about 60 by the end of 2013. The Charlotte Observer (N.C.) (4/24), WKTV-TV (Utica, N.Y.) (4/25)
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The MarketSponsored By
Burger King makes shift to cage-free eggs
Burger King said Wednesday it will begin buying eggs only from cage-free producers, and it expects to be buying only cage-free eggs at all 7,200 of its U.S. restaurants at the end of five years. The move makes Burger King the first major U.S. quickservice chain to commit to going completely cage-free; the company also said it has committed to sourcing pork only from pigs raised without the use of gestation crates. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (4/25)
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Cheesy campaign brings new customers to The Melting Pot
The Melting Pot fondue-restaurant chain won 25,000 new email-list subscribers in just 13 hours with a campaign tied to National Cheese Fondue Day. The chain offered free fondue to all new subscribers, and launched a broad-based social-media campaign promoting the offer. "It certainly exceeded expectations," communications chief Sandy D'Elosua said. (4/26)
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Wegmans prepares price freeze to take heat off summer favorites
Wegmans Food Markets plans to freeze prices on a list of items that includes summer favorites such as condiments and hot dog and hamburger buns, most under the retailer's private brand. The freeze begins Sunday and runs through Aug. 25. It is part of a plan started in 2011 to freeze prices on a changing roster of seasonal items. Star-Gazette (Elmira, N.Y.) (tiered subscription model)/Gannett News Service (4/26), Progressive Grocer (4/26)
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Health and Nutrition
Healthy smoothies tempt students to stay on campus for lunch
A chef's idea to sell healthy smoothies at Montclair High School in New Jersey is aimed at getting students to stay on campus at lunchtime and make more nutritious food choices. Food-service provider Chartwells also has improved its menu because the school district's open-campus policy means about 30% of students eat in the cafeteria regularly, while most head to restaurants or food trucks. The Montclair Times (N.J.) (4/26)
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Report: Pizza sales are heating up
The pizza industry, which has experienced slower growth of 1.5% with the economic downturn, is poised for 4.5% growth this year, according to market research firm IBISWorld. The report predicts higher growth rates over the next five years, buoyed by improved consumer confidence and the launch of healthier and more creative items. (4/26)
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Adventurous eaters move beyond sweet and salty
While sweet and salty flavors ranked highest in a survey by Culinary Visions Panel, people who say they are adventurous eaters prefer the less-popular sour, umami and bitter flavors. "Sweet and salty flavors are sure to please mainstream consumers looking for dining comfort and satisfaction," said Executive Director Sharon Olson. "If you want to challenge your customers a bit more, take a cue from what foodies prefer and introduce a bitter or sour note into a favorite menu item like chocolate for dessert." (4/25), USA Today (4/25)
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Business Tips and Advice
Sponsored Content from American Express
Senate committee OKs Farm Bill with voluntary margin protection program
A Farm Bill approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee includes a voluntary margin protection program that the International Dairy Foods Association says could restrict milk supplies to dairy processors. An alternative bill would have given dairy farmers "the ability to manage price volatility without including a failed policy that discourages investments by dairy food companies and takes away opportunities for dairy farmers to expand production," said IDFA's Jerry Slominski. (4/26)
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Food Safety
U.S. and Canada outline ways to ensure imported-food safety
The U.S. and Canada unveiled plans to improve the safety of imported food. The FDA released the Global Engagement Report, detailing a plan that includes more international offices. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency wants importers to develop a plan to identify, report and recall potentially dangerous products. FoodNavigator (4/24)
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IDFA helps companies prepare for new food safety regulations
The April issue of Dairy Foods magazine features two articles designed to help dairy companies get ready for implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act. In "Time to Get Ready for FSMA," IDFA's outside counsel, Joe Levitt of Hogan Lovells US, notes four critical areas of focus: prevention, supplier oversight, records access and re-registration. In "HACCP is the Path to Compliance," IDFA Vice President Jonathan Gardner recommends the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point system to companies looking for a preventive controls plan that will meet the new requirements. Learn more.
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Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen."
-- John Steinbeck,
American writer
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