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A Milk Giant Goes Broke as Americans Reject Old Staples
Nov. 13, 2019 | The New York Times | By David Yaffe-Bellany.

Saddled with debt and struggling to adjust to changing consumer habits, Dean Foods filed for bankruptcy protection on Tuesday, signaling another grim chapter in the recent struggles of the dairy industry. The company, whose portfolio of brands includes TruMoo and Lehigh Valley, said it was in talks to sell itself to Dairy Farmers of America, a marketing cooperative that sells milk from thousands of farms.

Across the food and beverage industry, the challenges facing Dean Foods are becoming increasingly familiar. In recent years, consumers have moved away from brands, and even entire categories of food, once seen as household staples. The decline of the milk industry has emerged as a particularly stark example of how these changing tastes are challenging major companies whose products once crowded store shelves.
bankruptcies  Big_Food  CPG  dairy  Danone  Dean_Foods  grocery  Kraft_Heinz  plant-based  private_labels  shifting_tastes  spin-offs  supermarkets  Target  Wal-Mart  yogurt 
november 2019 by jerryking
Cashew foie gras? Big Food jumps on ‘plant-based’ bandwagon
MAY 18, 2019 | Financial Times | by Leila Abboud in Paris and Emiko Terazono in London

* Boom in meat and dairy substitutes sets up ‘battle for the centre of the plate’
* Nestlé recently launched the Garden Gourmet's Incredible burger in Europe and plans to launch it in the US in the autumn in conjunction with McDonald’s.
* Burger King has partnered with a “foodtech” start-up to put meat-free burgers on their menu.
* Pret A Manger is considering a surge in its roll-out of vegetarian outlets as it looks into buying UK sandwich rival Eat.

A change is afoot that is set to sweep through the global food industry as once-niche dietary movements (i.e. vegetarians, then the vegans, followed by a bewildering array of food tribes from veggievores, flexitarians and meat reducers to pescatarians and lacto-vegetarians ) join the mainstream.

At the other end of the supply chain, Big Food is getting in on the act as the emergence of plant-based substitutes opens the door for meat market disruption. Potentially a huge opportunity if the imitation meat matches adoption levels of milk product alternatives such as soy yoghurt and almond milk, which account for 13% of the American dairy market. It is a $35bn opportunity in the US alone, according to newly listed producer Beyond Meat, given the country’s $270bn market for animal-based food. 

Packaged food producers, burdened with anaemic growth in segments from drinks to sweets, have jumped on the plant-based bandwagon. Market leaders including Danone, Nestlé and Unilever are investing heavily in acquisitions and internal product development.

Laggards are dipping their toes. Kraft-Heinz, for example, is investing in start-ups via its corporate venture capital arm and making vegan variants of some of its products. Even traditional meat producers, such as US-based Tyson Foods and Canada’s Maple Leaf Foods, are diversifying into plant-based offerings to remain relevant with consumers.......“Plant-based is not a threat,” said Wayne England, who leads Nestlé’s food strategy. “On the contrary, it’s a great opportunity for us. Many of our existing brands can play much more in this space than they do today, so we’re accelerating that shift, and there is also space for new brands.” .....a plethora of alternative protein products are hitting supermarket shelves... appealing to consumers for different reasons....(1) reducing meat consumption for health reasons... (2) others concerned about animal welfare...(3) concern over agriculture’s contribution to climate change......As Big Food rushes in, it faces stiff competition from a new breed of start-ups that have raced ahead to launch plant-based meats they claim look, taste and feel like the real thing. Flush with venture capital funding, they have turned to technology, analysing the molecular structure of foods and seeking to reverse-engineer versions using plant proteins......Not only are the disrupters innovating on the product side, they are rapidly creating new brands using digital marketing and partnerships with restaurants. Big food companies, which can struggle to create new brands, often rely on acquisitions to bring new ones onboard.....Aside from the quality of the new protein substitutes, how they are marketed will determine whether they become truly mass-market or remain limited to the margins of motivated vegetarians and vegans. The positioning of the product in stores influences sales, with new brands such as Beyond Meat pushing to be placed in the meat section rather than separate chilled cabinets alongside the vegetarian and vegan options.....Elio Leoni Sceti, whose investment company recently backed NotCo, a Chile-based start-up that uses machine learning to create vegetarian replicas of meat and dairy, believes new brands have an edge on the marketing side because they are not held back by old habits. 

“The new consumer looks at the consequences of consumption and believes that health and beauty come from within,” said one industry veteran who used to run Birds Eye owner Iglo. “They’re less convinced by the functional-based arguments that food companies are used to making, like less sugar or fewer calories. This is not the way that consumers used to make decisions so the old guard are flummoxed.”...Dan Curtin, who heads Greenleaf, the Maple Leaf Food's plant-based business, played down the idea that alternative meats will eat into meat sales, saying the substitutes were “additive”. “We don’t see this as a replacement. People want options,” he said. 

 
animal-based  Beyond_Meat  Big_Food  brands  Burger_King  CPG  Danone  diets  digital_strategies  food_tech  hamburgers  Impossible_Foods  Kraft_Heinz  laggards  Maple_Leaf_Foods  McDonald's  meat  Nestlé  new_products  plant-based  rollouts  shifting_tastes  start_ups  tribes  Unilever  vegetarian  vc  venture_capital 
may 2019 by jerryking
Jeff Bezos’ family office invests in Chilean plant-based food start-up
March 1, 2019 | Financial Times | by Leila Abboud in Paris.

The family office of Jeff Bezos is among the investors in a $30m funding round for a Chile-based start-up that uses machine learning to create vegetarian alternatives for animal-derived products such as mayonnaise and ice cream.

Four-year old NotCo on Friday announced the financing round led by The Craftory, a fund co-founded by consumer industry veteran Elio Leoni Sceti, as well as Bezos Expeditions.....The funds will be used to finance product development and help NotCo expand to Mexico and the US later this year. It sells its plant-based mayonnaise, which is made with chickpeas, in grocery stores in Chile......NotCo has developed a software platform that analyses the molecular structure of foods, such as beef or milk, so as then to derive combinations of plant-based alternatives that most closely resemble the original in taste, colour, and texture. The technology seeks to map the similarities between the genetic properties of plants and their corollaries in animals, so as to more accurately mimic the properties.....“The potential is massive because NotCo is not just a meat-replacement company or a milk-replacement company,”.....The technology can be applied to all foods derived from animals,” he said, adding that if successful, the opportunity was there to create a major food company to compete with the likes of Nestlé and Danone......the approach of analysing the molecular structure of foods to engineer vegetarian versions of meats, cheeses and dairy products is similar to that of US-based start-up Just Inc, formerly known as Hampton Creek.....The company changed its name after a series of setbacks, including an alleged food safety issue that led to it losing distribution at retailer Target. Nevertheless, Just Inc is well-funded; it has said that it has raised $220m from investors.....Venture capital investors have been pouring money into start-ups to create plant-based or lab-grown alternatives to traditional meat and dairy. Impossible Foods — which is backed by Bill Gates and Alphabet’s GV, formerly Google Ventures, among others — has raised $387.5m,
Chile  Chileans  Danone  family_office  flexitarian  food  Jeff_Bezos  machine_learning  Nestlé  plant-based  start_ups  vegetarian  vc  venture_capital 
march 2019 by jerryking
Consumer goods make appetising target for US activists | Financial Times
Scheherazade Daneshkhu and Lindsay Fortado in London, and Anna Nicolaou in New York JULY 21, 2017
Cadbury  CPG  Danone  Kraft_Heinz  Mondelez  Nelson_Peltz  Pepsi  shareholder_activism 
october 2018 by jerryking
The Organic Myth
OCTOBER 16, 2006 | Business Week | Diane Brady

Stonyfield still cleaves to its organic heritage. For Chairman and CEO Gary Hirshberg, though, shipping milk powder 9,000 miles across the planet is the price you pay to conquer the supermarket dairy aisle. "It would be great to get all of our food within a 10-mile radius of our house," he says. "But once you're in organic, you have to source globally."

Hirshberg's dilemma is that of the entire organic food business. Just as mainstream consumers are growing hungry for untainted food that also nourishes their social conscience, it is getting harder and harder to find organic ingredients. There simply aren't enough organic cows in the U.S., never mind the organic grain to feed them, to go around. Nor are there sufficient organic strawberries, sugar, or apple pulp -- some of the other ingredients that go into the world's best-selling organic yogurt...For Big Food, consumers' love affair with everything organic has seemed like a gift from the gods. Food is generally a commoditized, sluggish business, especially in basic supermarket staples. Sales of organic groceries, on the other hand, have been surging by up to 20% in recent years. Organic milk is so profitable -- with wholesale prices more than double that of conventional milk -- that Lyle "Spud" Edwards of Westfield, Vt., was able to halve his herd, to 25 cows, this summer and still make a living, despite a 15% drop in yields since switching to organic four years ago. "There's a lot more paperwork, but it's worth it," says Edwards, who supplies milk to Stonyfield...But success has brought home the problems of trying to feed the masses in an industry where supplies can be volatile. Everyone from Wal-Mart to Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST ) is feeling the pinch. Earlier this year, Earthbound Farm, a California producer of organic salads, fruit, and vegetables owned by Natural Selection Foods, cut off its sliced-apple product to Costco because supply dried up -- even though Earthbound looked as far afield as New Zealand. "The concept of running out of apples is foreign to these people," says Earthbound co-founder Myra Goodman, whose company recalled bagged spinach in the wake of the recent E. coli outbreak. "When you're sourcing conventional produce, it's a matter of the best product at the best price."

Inconsistency is a hallmark of organic food. Variations in animal diet, local conditions, and preparation make food taste different from batch to batch.
food  organic  local  globalization  Wal-Mart  supermarkets  grocery  Danone  yogurt  Stonyfield  dairy  myths  variability 
june 2012 by jerryking
Poverty News Blog: [Book Review] When the Bottom Line Is Ending Poverty
February 29, 2008
[Book Review] When the Bottom Line Is Ending Poverty
from Business Week

By Steve Hamm
social_entrepreneurship  Grameen  Bangladesh  microfinance  Danone  yogurt  poverty  book_reviews 
may 2012 by jerryking
Nestlé to Buy Pfizer's Infant-Nutrition Unit - WSJ.com
April 24, 2012 | WSJ | By DANA CIMILLUCA, JONATHAN D. ROCKOFF and ANUPREETA DAS.
Nestlé  Pfizer  infants  China  dairy  Danone 
april 2012 by jerryking
Danone Expands Its Pantry to Woo the World's Poor - WSJ.com
JUNE 29, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | By CHRISTINA PASSARIELLO. Danone Expands Its Pantry to Woo the World's Poor.
Danone  multinationals  yogurt  consumer_goods  Bottom_of_the_Pyramid  dairy 
june 2010 by jerryking

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