Nestle has earmarked some $2 billion for research and development so its innovation teams can capitalize on the trends it expects to gain momentum over the next 20 years, says Doug Munk, Nestle USA's director of new business ventures. Current focus areas include such trends as keto, allergen-friendly, plant-based, CBD and food as medicine.
Mondelez International has invested in Chicago-area food incubator The Hatchery to help boost innovation via its SnackFutures venture arm. "Working with The Hatchery, food entrepreneurs will help us push the boundaries of what is possible in snacking as we continue to build our ecosystem of partners while also giving back and offering guidance to new companies," says Mondelez's Tim Cofer.
Pez this year will introduce two limited-edition "Mr. & Mrs." cacti-shaped dispensers featuring lychee-flavored candy. The company will also add products to its Shopkins, Hello Kitty and Paw Patrol ranges during 2019.
A story about the sweet treats that can be shaped using frozen whipped cream topped this week's list of most-read food-and-beverage stories, and Dollar General's self-distribution plan also made the list. Triscuit's first non-cracker snacks and Smartwater's expansion into the flavored seltzer arena also resonated with readers.
Reese's is offering 70,000 free three-cup packs of peanut butter cups at Purdue University, Louisiana State University, the University of Houston and Texas Tech University to support the third-seeded teams of the March Madness college basketball tournament. Reese's aims to turn "the dreaded 3-seed position into a coveted spot" despite statistics that show teams seeded third only have a 3% chance to win the tournament.
Jetblack, Walmart's delivery startup in New York City that launched last year, is giving the company a sea of data about high-end customers, even though it's not a profitable venture. Walmart hopes to rival Amazon by using the shopping data to build better automated customization for shoppers.
Three Whole Foods Market locations in California will join the state's energy demand management project, relying on Axiom Exergy's Refrigeration Battery to manage power use. In taking part, the stores will be eligible for financial incentives for reducing their consumption at peak times.