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jerryking : shifting_tastes   35

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  Danone  digital_strategies  food_tech  hamburgers  Impossible_Foods  Kraft_Heinz  laggards  Maple_Leaf_Foods  McDonald's  Nestlé  plant-based  rollouts  start_ups  Unilever  vegetarian  vc  venture_capital  CPG  diets  meat  new_products  shifting_tastes  tribes 
may 2019 by jerryking
This is nut loaf, will Beyond Meat crash? | FT Alphaville
9 HOURS AGO By: Jamie Powell

Beyond Meat is the only pure-play plant-based protein company listed.
Beyond_Meat  green  hamburgers  Impossible_Foods  IPOs  new_products  plant-based  pure-plays  shifting_tastes  Tyson  vegetarian 
may 2019 by jerryking
Business leaders are blinded by industry boundaries
April 22, 2019 | Financial Times | Rita McGrath.

Why is it so hard for executives to anticipate the major shifts that can determine the destiny of their organisations? Andy Grove called these moments “strategic inflection points”. For some, he wrote, “That change can mean an opportunity to rise to new heights. But it may just as likely signal the beginning of the end.”

Industry leaders would do well to focus on productive opportunities, even when they lie outside a fairly well-bounded industry. Want to survive a strategic inflection point? Stop focusing on traditional metrics and find new customer needs that your organisation can uniquely address.

Why do business leaders so often miss these shifts? Successful companies such as BlackBerry maker Research In Motion and Nokia did not heed the early signs of a move to app-based smartphones. Video rental chain Blockbuster failed to acquire Netflix when it had the chance, in 2000.

Senior people rise to the top by mastering management of the KPIs in that sector. This, in turn, shapes how they look at the world. The problem is a strategic inflection point can occur and render the reference points they have developed obsolete. Take traditional retail. Its key metrics have to do with limited real estate, such as sales per square metre. Introduce the internet and those measures are useless. And yet traditional systems, rewards and measures are all built around them.....British economist Edith Penrose grasped this crucial link, she asked, “What is an industry?” In her studies, executives did not confine themselves to single industries, they expanded into any market where their business might find profitable growth.

Consider the energy sector: Historically, most power generators and utilities were heavily regulated...The sector’s suppliers likewise expected steady demand and a quiet life....that business has been rocked by slow-moving shifts many players talked about, but did not act upon. The rise of distributed energy generation, the maturing of renewable technology, increased conservation and new rules have eroded the traditional model. Many failed to heed the warnings. In 2015, General Electric spent about $10bn to acquire Alstom’s power business. Finance chief Jeff Bornstein crowed at the time that it could be GE’s best acquisition ever. Blinded by traditional metrics, GE doubled down on fossil-fuel-fired turbines just as renewables were becoming cost competitive.

Consider razor blades: Procter & Gamble’s Gillette brand of razors had long enjoyed a competitive advantage. For decades, the company had invested in developing premium products, charged premium prices, invested heavily in marketing and used its clout to get those razors into every traditional retail outlet. A new breed of online rivals such as Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s have upended that model, reselling outsourced razors that were “good enough” and cheaper, online via a subscription model that attracted younger, economically pressured customers...... Rather than fork out for elaborate marketing, the upstarts enlisted YouTube and Facebook influencers to get the word out.
Andy_Grove  BlackBerry  blindsided  Blockbuster  brands  cost-consciousness  customer_insights  Dollar_Shave_Club  executive_management  GE  Gillette  good_enough  Harry's  industries  industry_boundaries  inflection_points  Intel  irrelevance  KPIs  metrics  millennials  movingonup  myopic  obsolescence  out-of-the-box  P&G  power_generation  retailers  reward_systems  sales_per_square_foot  shifting_tastes  slowly_moving  warning_signs 
april 2019 by jerryking
The Missing Piece in Big Food’s Innovation Puzzle
April 1, 2019 | WSJ | by By Carol Ryan.

.......In truth, they are becoming reliant on others to do the heavy lifting. Specialist food ingredient companies like Tate & Lyle and Kerry Group work with global brands behind the scenes to come up with new ideas. These businesses can spend two to three times more on innovation as a percentage of turnover than their biggest clients.

One part of their expertise is overhauling recipes. Ingredients companies can do everything from adding trendy probiotics to taking out excess sugar or gluten. Nestlé got a hand from Tate & Lyle to remove more sugar from its Nesquik range of flavored drinks, while Denmark’s Chr. Hansen helped Kraft Heinz switch from artificial to natural colors in the U.S. giant’s Macaroni & Cheese......Another service food suppliers offer is coming up with successful innovations to help revive sales. Nestlé’s ruby chocolate KitKat, which has become very popular in Asia, was actually created by U.S. cocoa producer Barry Callebaut, for example.

=============================================
See also, "For innovation success, do not follow the money"
07-Nov-2005 | Financial Times | By Michael Schrage "There is
no correlation between the percentage of net revenue spent on R&D
and the innovative capabilities of an organisation – none,"...Just ask
General Motors. No company in the world has spent more on R&D over
the past 25 years. Yet, somehow, GM's market share has
declined....R&D productivity – not R&D investment – is the real
challenge for global innovation. Innovation is not what innovators
innovate, it is what customers actually adopt. Productivity here is not
measured in patents granted but in new customers won and existing
customers profitably retained..
Big_Food  brands  flavours  food  foodservice  health_foods  healthy_lifestyles  ingredients  ingredient_diversity  innovation  investors  Kraft_Heinz  large_companies  Mondelez  Nestlé  new_ideas  R&D  shifting_tastes  start_ups  Unilever 
april 2019 by jerryking
Tyson Made Its Fortune Packing Meat. Now It Wants to Sell You Frittatas.
Feb. 13, 2019 | WSJ | By Jacob Bunge

Tyson’s strategy is to transform the 84-year-old meatpacking giant into a modern food company selling branded consumer goods on par with Kraft Heinz Co. or Coca-Cola Co.
.....Tyson wants to be big in more-profitable prepared and packaged foods to distance itself from the traditional meat business’s boom-and-bust cycles. America’s biggest supplier of meat wants to also be known for selling packaged foods........How’s the transformation going? Amid an historic meat glut, the company’s shares are worth $4.9 billion less than they were a year ago—and are still valued like those of a meatpacker pumping out shrink-wrapped packs of pork chops and chicken breasts....Investors say the initiatives aren’t yet enough to counteract the steep challenges facing the poultry and livestock slaughtering and processing operations that have been the company’s core since....1935.....Record red meat and poultry production nationwide is pushing down prices and eroding Tyson’s meat-processing profit margins. Tariffs and trade barriers to U.S. meat have further dented prices and built up backlogs, while transport and labor costs have climbed. .......The packaged-foods business is itself struggling with consumers gravitating toward nimbler upstart brands and demanding natural ingredients and healthier recipes........Tyson's acquisition of Hillside triggered changes, including the onboarding of executives attuned to consumer trends. Tyson added managers from Fortune 100 companies, including Boeing Co. and HP Inc., who replaced some meat-processing officials who led Tyson for decades. The newcomers brought experience managing brands, understanding consumers, developing new products and building new technology tools, areas Tyson deemed central to its future......A chief sustainability officer, a newly created position, began working to shift Tyson’s image among environmental groups, .....Shifting consumer tastes have created hurdles for other packaged-food giants, such as Campbell Soup Co. and Kellogg Co. .... the meat business remains Tyson’s biggest challenge. In 2018 a flood of cheap beef, fueled by enlarged cattle herds, spurred a summer of “burger wars,” meat industry officials said. .......investment in brands and packaged foods hasn’t insulated Tyson’s business from these commodity-market swings. ........The company is also trying to improve its ability for forecast meat demand..........developing artificial intelligence to help Tyson better predict the future.........Scott Spradley, who left HP in 2017 to become Tyson’s CTO, said company data scientists are crunching numbers on major U.S. metropolitan areas. By analyzing historic meat consumption alongside demographic shifts, the number of residents moving in and out, and the frequency of birthdays and baseball games, Mr. Spradley said Tyson is building computer models that will help plan production and sales for its meat business. The effort aims to find patterns in data that Tyson’s human economists and current projections might not see. ......Deep data dives helped steer Tyson toward what executives say will be one of its biggest new product launches: plant-based replacements for traditional meat,
Big_Food  brands  Coca-Cola  CPG  cured_and_smoked  data_scientists  Kraft_Heinz  meat  new_products  plant-based  prepared_meals  reinvention  shifting_tastes  stockpiles  strategy  sustainability  tariffs  Tyson  predictive_modeling 
february 2019 by jerryking
Apple’s Pressing Challenge: Build Its Services Business - WSJ
By Tripp Mickle
Jan. 10, 2019

The tech landscape is dotted with hardware companies that have turned to services for growth. For companies like International Business Machines Corp. , Hewlett Packard and Dell Technologies Inc., the transition came as they faced slowdowns in their core business and wasn’t always smooth. Those companies pushed into business services. Apple is focused on consumers, whose tastes can change rapidly. Its success hinges on driving sales of apps and new offerings like video content and news subscriptions.......Apple’s services are tied to the amount of iPhones, iPads and Macs in people’s hands—and growth in those devices has begun to slow.
App_Store  Apple  Apple_IDs  challenges  iTunes  services  shifting_tastes  subscriptions 
january 2019 by jerryking
GE: industrial stalwart contemplates a general overhaul
OCTOBER 5, 2018 | Financial Times | by Ed Crooks in New York.

“GE Power is at death’s door,” says Scott Davis, an analyst at Melius Research. “It’s going to require a massive change in strategy to fix it.”

The Alstom deal is far from being GE’s only strategic mis-step. But it is emblematic of two of the company’s flaws: a weakness for dealmaking, and an inability to respond effectively to a changing market. Together, those failings go a long way to explaining why one of the greatest names in American business, an original member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average at its creation in 1896, has lost more than 80 per cent of its market capitalisation since 2000......while GE’s leaders were focused on a deal that might have been perfect 10 or 20 years ago, they were underestimating the scale of the changes hitting the electricity industry. As the costs of wind and solar power have plunged, they have become competitive against the gas-fired and coal-fired power plants that are GE and Alstom’s forte. It is a mistake that companies often make at times of structural change, says Kingsmill Bond of the Carbon Tracker Initiative: “They confused the current size of the market with the future growth of the market.”.....As the scale of the problem emerged, Mr Flannery moved to cut costs. Last December he announced 12,000 jobs would go from the power division. But reducing headcount is slow work in Europe, especially in France, where Mr Immelt had pledged to create a net 1,000 additional jobs by the end of 2018......The urgency of the crisis creates opportunities to make radical changes. A group of investors including hedge fund manager Sir Christopher Hohn of the Children’s Investment Fund on Friday published a letter to Mr Culp, urging him to scale back investment in gas and coal power and embrace clean energy.....Giving up on selling new turbines to concentrate on the more lucrative services business would be a momentous step, but Mr Davis says that like General Motors during the 2008 financial crisis, the business is in urgent need of a radical rethink.
Alstom  CEOs  change  cost-cutting  deal-making  DJIA  energy  GE  Jack_Welch  Jeffrey_Immelt  shifting_tastes  Siemens  structural_change  John_Flannery  exits 
october 2018 by jerryking
Apple sceptics are looking at the wrong metrics
Tien Tzuo APRIL 30, 2018.

.....When Apple reports its earnings on Tuesday, analysts will be watching closely to see what it says about smartphone sales. The big tech group’s shares are down more than 7 per cent in the past 10 days amid concerns about soft demand for the latest iPhones.

But investors are focusing on the wrong numbers. Apple may be the world’s most valuable company, but its future depends on more than product sales. It must adapt to a profound shift that is changing consumer behaviour. We are witnessing the end of ownership as we know it.
.......With every day that passes Apple cares less about how many iPhones it sells, and more about how many Apple IDs its customers create and how it can make money from those IDs.
.....The end of ownership is disrupting nearly every industry: from retail and entertainment to heavy equipment and healthcare. It is a fundamental shift not just in the way we work and live and accumulate things, but in the way we value ourselves and each other.......Knowing the customers, their preferences, buying habits and how much they are willing to spend are the price of entry in this new economy. Once those relationships are forged and cemented, the data collected, the insights drawn, the real work starts — to anticipate the products and services customers will want next.
.....Volvo understands this. Its latest advertising encourages customers not to buy cars but to subscribe to them instead. The Chinese-owned company is rethinking everything from payment structure and auto design to sales centers and partnerships. Other big automakers including Ford and Porsche are also preparing for the shift away from ownership.....Amazon continues to school all of its rivals in the power of subscriber relationships. A case in point: it recently raised the price of its US Prime membership service by nearly 20 per cent, and its customers didn’t even blink.

That said, many investors are still evaluating companies based on the outdated idea that the number of products they produce will make or break them. But change is coming. The end of ownership is happening whether Wall Street wakes up or not.
Apple  Caterpillar  customer_insights  disruption  end_of_ownership  metrics  shifting_tastes  services  Shazam  subscriptions  Texture  Amazon  Amazon_Prime  Apple_IDs 
may 2018 by jerryking
Toys ‘R’ Us Case Is Test of Private Equity in Age of Amazon
MARCH 15, 2018 | The New York Times | By MICHAEL CORKERY.

The reality is that Toys “R” Us, which announced on Thursday that it would shutter or sell all of its stores in the United States, never had much chance at a turnaround.

For over a decade, Toys “R” Us had been drowning in $5 billion of debt, which its private equity backers had saddled it with. With debt payments siphoning off cash every year, Toys “R” Us could not properly invest in its worn-out suburban stores or outdated website. Sales plummeted, as Amazon captured more children’s desires — and their parents’ wallets — for Star Wars Legos and Paw Patrol recycling trucks.

Toys “R” Us is the latest failure of financial engineering, albeit one that could portend a potentially more ominous outlook for private equity in the digital era.....Most buyouts tend to work the same way. A private equity firm takes over a troubled company with the goal of sprucing up the strategy, cutting costs and overhauling the business over three or five years. But they often load up a company with debt to pay for the deal, which can prove problematic if the profits do not perk up.

In the age of Amazon, that formula can be dangerous. Consumer demands are changing so quickly that heavily indebted companies have trouble reordering their business to adapt and compete with better-funded rivals...... the deterioration of Toys “R” Us from a potential turnaround strategy to the end of an iconic brand — in a matter of months — shows just how difficult it can be for private equity to compete in a rapidly evolving industry. In retailing, Amazon is reordering everything on the store shelf. And children’s changing interest in games and toys, which now encompasses high-end electronics, adds to the complexity.....Enter Amazon. In recent years, the company had started to aggressively expand its toy business, creating a comprehensive, online showroom with low prices at the click of a button. Pressed by Amazon, Walmart also pushed hard into toys, dropping its prices to capture more market share.

Walmart could absorb the price cuts on toys because it makes up the profit on other items. But for Toys “R” Us, a price war on toys and games, its only offerings, was devastating.
private_equity  bankruptcies  toys  digital_economy  Amazon  Wal-Mart  KKR  Bain_Capital  Toys_"R"_Us  financial_engineering  LBOs  buyouts  shifting_tastes  category_killers  price_wars 
march 2018 by jerryking
Big brands lose pricing power in battle for consumers
Save to myFT
Anna Nicolaou in New York and Scheherazade Daneshkhu in London 2 HOURS AGO

The product manufacturers are being squeezed by the big retailers — notably, Amazon and Walmart, which together sell $600bn worth of goods a year. Walmart has long put pressure on suppliers to cut prices. Amazon’s rise has exacerbated the “deflationary impact”, Société Générale says, creating a “much tougher environment in the US”. After Amazon bought Whole Foods in June, the price war grew more intense in groceries, pushing prices to historic lows that punished producers. 

Brand loyalty has suffered in the process. Equipped with the tools to compare prices online instantly, and bombarded with more choices, shoppers are growing more likely to opt for cheaper and discounted products — particularly in categories such laundry detergent and shampoo. To keep their spots on store shelves, brands are having to accept lower prices......Former Amazon employees say the company’s algorithms scan prices across competitors in real time, automatically adjusting its own so it can offer the lowest price. While most big brands have wholesale agreements with Amazon, third-party sellers are prolific on the site, complicating price control further. A 34oz bottle of P&G’s Pantene Pro-V Shampoo & Conditioner was listed by 10 different sellers — nine of them third parties — on the shopping site.

Amazon’s dominance makes it difficult for brands to abandon the platform, or try to sell directly on their own websites. “You have 200m customers on Amazon. If you walk away, there’s 200m people who are going to just buy from your competitors,” says James Thomson, a former Amazon manager who consults brands. “You’re probably not going to win.”

“This is a pretty dire situation,” he adds. “If brands are worried about meeting quarterly targets, they can’t afford to lose Amazon sales.”

Still, “the retailers have nothing to gain by pushing [consumer products makers] into bankruptcy”,
......Consumer goods companies have responded to the pricing pressures by aggressively cutting costs, led by the “zero-based budgeting” model of 3G Capital,
large_companies  Fortune_500  brands  CPG  pricing  price_wars  shareholder_activism  Amazon  P&G  Nestlé  win_backs  price-cutting  Nelson_Peltz  shifting_tastes  Colgate-Palmolive  upstarts  Unilever  zero-based_budgeting  3G_Capital  e-commerce  Mondelez  Big_Food 
february 2018 by jerryking
James Quincey, Coca-Cola CEO, on why brands have to take a stand
MAY 21, 2017 | FT | Lindsay Whipp in Atlanta.

Coca-Cola will be going back to its roots, developing and marketing drinks, not distributing them. But even without the bottling operations, the 51-year-old has a complex assignment on his hands.....While its fizzy drinks still account for nearly three-quarters of its sales by volume, according to Beverage Digest, its shares have underperformed those of rivals PepsiCo, which has a snacks division, and Dr Pepper Snapple over the past five years.

Mr Quincey is only too aware of the need for diversification and plans to accelerate investments in start-ups with promise. “The company must be capable of being bigger than the brand,” he says.

That distinction is important. The significant shift in consumer preferences is evident in the brand value of Coca-Cola (as opposed to Coca-Cola the company), which has tumbled from the top position globally, as ranked by BrandFinance, to 27th over the past decade. That represents a decline of more than $10bn to $31.8bn this year.

But what does this difference between company and product mean for the brand? “It’s very difficult to have the name on the door of the company and brand, and not have some overlap in what they stand for,” Mr Quincey says. “You’d have to change the name of the company. It’s not what we’re doing, just to be clear.”....Mr Quincey believes brands have to take a stand in this volatile environment — even at the risk of alienating some consumers. Coca-Cola did this earlier this year, by denouncing publicly Mr Trump’s controversial executive order banning citizens of certain majority Muslim countries from travelling to the US.

“A brand has to stand for something and you have to make the choices of what you want it to stand for, and then stand behind those choices,”
beverages  brands  brand_identity  brand_purpose  CEOs  Coca-Cola  Pepsi  shifting_tastes 
january 2018 by jerryking
Navigating a Breathtaking Level of Global Economic Change
November 14, 2017 |The New York Times | by Andrew Ross Sorkin.
you’d think that any sense of “faith” in the global economy might be shaken, or at least, uncertain given events like North Korea, Russian interference in elections in the United States, post-Brexit Europe, and hurricane damage.

Not so.

In conversation after conversation with some of the nation’s top business leaders and chief executives last week, there is a stunning amount of genuine “confidence” in our economy here and, yes, even globally.

“I’m very surprised,” Laurence D. Fink, the founder of BlackRock, the largest money manager in the world overseeing some $6 trillion, said at The New York Times DealBook conference last Thursday, describing his new sense of optimism.......Mark Cuban, whose disdain for President Trump is so acute that he is considering running for president himself in 2020 as a Republican because it “means you get to go head-on with Trump right in the primaries — and so there’s nothing I’d have more fun doing.” Still, though, he said he believes the economy is in good enough shape that when it comes to investing in the stock market, “I just, you know, I just let it ride.”

Mr. Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, said he keeps a small amount of cash on hand as a precaution. “I keep a little bit, you know, as a hedge. I call it my ‘Trump hedge’ because you just never know.....Earlier in 2017, The Conference Board reported that chief executives’ confidence had reached 2008 pre-recession highs in the first quarter.....there are pockets of the economy that are causing anxiety. “The last two or three years have not been fun whatsoever,” Mickey Drexler, the chairman of J. Crew, said at the conference about the traditional retail business, which has been upended by Amazon and changes in consumer behavior. “It’s been miserable.” Those challenges are extending to mall owners and commercial real estate, too..... is the stock market a proxy for the economy of America?....“In the aftermath of corporate and public-sector disasters, it often emerges that participants fell prey to a collective form of willful blindness and overconfidence: mounting warning signals were systematically cast aside or met with denial, evidence avoided or selectively reinterpreted, dissenters shunned,” Roland Bénabou a professor at Princeton University wrote in a seminal work on confidence and groupthink. “Market bubbles and manias exhibit the same pattern of investors acting ’colorblind in a sea of red flags,’ followed by a crash.”
confidence  Andrew_Sorkin  Mark_Cuban  Laurence_Fink  BlackRock  shifting_tastes  optimism  consumer_behavior  CEOs  J._Crew  Mickey_Drexler  commercial_real_estate  shopping_malls  warning_signs  groupthink  bubbles  overconfidence  precaution  global_economy  willful_blindness  manias  market_crash 
november 2017 by jerryking
Procter & Gamble vs. Nelson Peltz: A Battle for the Future of Big Brands - WSJ
By Sharon Terlep
Oct. 8, 2017

Activist investor Nelson Peltz, who wants P&G to radically revise its strategy, argues the success of Ms. Francisco’s unit is the exception. He says the Cincinnati giant, hopelessly mired in the past, should shift to smaller, niche brands disconnected from its marquee products, pull in talent from the outside and split into three independent units.

“All the action today is local. It’s these small brands. It’s what the millennials want,” the 75-year-old investor said. “They want a brand with emotion, a brand that’s got a story behind it, a brand that brings value to the environment or is organic.”...P&G stands out as the largest company to face off against an activist investor.....

Many the world’s leading consumer-products companies, which once made the goods that stocked supermarket shelves the world over, have found it hard to adapt to rapidly shifting consumer tastes and the rise of smaller brands. The outcome of the Peltz-P&G battle will help determine the industry’s future direction.....P&G executives have transformed the company into a leaner organization. They say the future lies in the same fundamentals that guided the company for 180 years: huge brands such as Tide and Gillette that spin off products so effective they dominate their category.

“Declaring big brands dead and buried just because there is new media and a new generation is wrong,” said P&G’s lead independent director, Jim McNerney, the former chief executive of Boeing Co. and 3M Co. “Our new world is big brands presented in different ways through different media.”

Mr. McNerney argues that Mr. Peltz, who has had directorships at H.J. Heinz Co. and Oreo maker Mondelez International Inc., is trying to apply a formula that works in food, which is more susceptible to shifting consumer whims, but not for packaged goods such as diapers and dish soap.
P&G  brands  China  localization  shareholder_activism  Nelson_Peltz  shifting_tastes  CPG  emotional_connections 
october 2017 by jerryking
Why traditional retail hasn’t hit rock bottom — yet
October 4, 2017 | The Globe and Mail | ERIC REGULY.
.....it's fashionable—and not wrong—to blame Amazon for most of the retailers' woes, other factors, from stale retail formats to the new anti-stuff movement, are at play too. Put together, the financial and cultural forces battering the retailers seem relentless.

The outlook is so grim that Bespoke Investment Group of Harrison, New York, invented a "Death by Amazon" list of 54 retail stocks that it thought would get whacked by Amazon and other forces conspiring against the sector......Traditional retailing, of course, is not entirely doomed because only the brave or bone-headed would buy some expensive items—diamond earrings, high-end suits, musical instruments, mattresses, Persian carpets, prescription sunglasses—without hands-on examination. And some shoppers, me among them, like the pleasure of propping up independent stores that sell high-quality goods.

But I don't shop much for general merchandise any more, because I am sick of clutter and, with university fees for my kids, don't have the spending power for non-essential items..... blamed shifting consumption patterns for much of the old-style retailers' distress........ blamed shifting consumption patterns for much of the old-style retailers' distress...money spent on smartphones and wireless services is unavailable to be spent on T-shirts and shoes.....middle-class incomes have stagnated, healthcare costs have climbed, and highly leveraged consumers are more interested in paying off debt than buying new TVs. Something had to give, and it was the department stores, whose shares are down by 40% or more in the last year or so (Macy's, J.C. Penney)......Amazon's endless virtual aisles sells Fiat cars in Italy, Nike shoes and and Sears' Kenmore appliances. Amazon recently bought Whole Foods and dropped its prices, which put the mainstream supermarkets into a panic........ 55% of product searches start on Amazon, far more than the 28% that start on search engines. The popularity of Amazon Prime (which provides free, two-day delivery as well as TV and movie video streaming) and the construction of massive warehouses have accelerated its growth. .....captures an estimated 40% of every shopping dollar spent online and is already the second-biggest apparel seller in the U.S., behind Wal-Mart. No wonder the traditional retail sector is in free fall.
And here's another question: As traditional retailers weaken or go out of business, and anchor stores disappear from North America's crazily over-malled shopping geography, can the real estate investment trusts be far behind? Betting against Amazon seems a fool's game.......
Eric_Reguly  retailers  decline  bricks-and-mortar  shifting_tastes  Amazon  REITs  shopping_malls  bankruptcies  department_stores  seismic_shifts  high-quality 
october 2017 by jerryking
Landlords Try Turning Strip Malls Into Winter Hangouts - WSJ
By Esther Fung
Sept. 19, 2017

Landlords of strip malls are trying to take the chill out of the air by adding outdoor entertainment programs (e.g. ice-skating rinks, fire pits and programmed entertainment such as tree-lightings), in hopes of attracting more shoppers in an era of declining foot traffic.....landlords are also overseeing residential property development in their out-parcels as well.......While shopping centers typically attract shoppers focused on transactions during the fall and holiday seasons, more landlords want to create destinations for the local community that may not be entirely focused on buying something........The moves come at a time when bigger shopping center landlords are investing more to cater to changing consumer lifestyles as shoppers handle more of their transactions online...........
shopping_malls  entertainment  commercial_real_estate  landlords  foot_traffic  shifting_tastes 
september 2017 by jerryking
Benevolent Bacon? Nestle And Unilever Gobble Up Niche Brands - WSJ
By Saabira Chaudhuri
Sept. 7, 2017

The global packaged-food industry is facing fierce competition from a burgeoning number of small, but high-growth food and beverage brands. These brands have struck a chord with consumers looking for locally produced or more healthy, natural choices.

Amid this shift, sales from traditional players have flagged, spurring consolidation, cost cutting and restructuring.

Unilever fended off an unsolicited takeover by Kraft Heinz Co. earlier this year. Activist investor Dan Loeb’s Third Point hedge fund in June disclosed a major stake in Nestlé, calling for changes in strategy to improve shareholder returns. In response, the two consumer-goods firms have focused on cost cutting and promises to boost dividends, while going on the hunt for nimbler food and beverage brands with the potential to accelerate growth.

‘We’re experiencing a consumer shift toward plant-based proteins.’
—Nestlé USA Chief Executive Paul Grimwood
Nestlé’s deal to buy Sweet Earth comes less than three months after it bought a stake in subscription-meals company Freshly, which sells healthy, prepared meals to consumers across the U.S.

Moss Landing, Calif.-based Sweet Earth bills itself as a natural, ethical, environmentally conscious company that substitutes plant proteins for animal ones in meals like curries, stir fries, breakfast wraps, burgers and pasta. Founded in 2011, Sweet Earth is available in more than 10,000 stores in the U.S. It is stocked at independent natural grocers, as well as bigger chains like Amazon.com Inc.’s Whole Foods, Target Corp. , Kroger Co. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

“We’re experiencing a consumer shift toward plant-based proteins,” said Paul Grimwood, chief executive of Nestlé’s U.S. arm. Plant-based food, as a sector, is growing at double-digit percentages rates, Nestlé said.
Big_Food  brands  CPG  emotional_connections  Unilever  niches  mergers_&_acquisitions  M&A  Nestlé  shifting_tastes  start_ups  large_companies  Fortune_500  plant-based  healthy_lifestyles 
september 2017 by jerryking
Now at Saks: Salt Rooms, a Bootcamp and a Peek at Retail’s Future - The New York Times
By DAVID GELLES AUG. 4, 2017

Venerable department store was dealing with the upheavals throttling the retail industry. As stores around the country reckon with Amazon.com, discount chains and changing consumer habits, they are turning to “experiential” offerings that entice people to enter their doors..... “Selling stuff in stores is not the answer,” he said. “You have to build an emotional connection with them. Where else can you take a fitness class and buy a Chanel handbag?”

It isn’t clear how many of Saks’s discerning clientele are actually interested in getting a lemon scrub after purchasing a $5,100 Alexander McQueen dress. During multiple visits over the past week, The Wellery was sparsely populated.
retailers  Saks  shareholder_activism  future  department_stores  experiential_marketing  wellness  Nordstrom  Macy's  emotional_connections  experimentation  bootcamps  Amazon  shifting_tastes  contra-Amazon  dislocations 
august 2017 by jerryking
From Diaper to Soda Makers, Big Brands Feel the Pinch of a Consumer Pullback - WSJ
By Sharon Terlep, Jennifer Maloney and Annie Gasparro
April 26, 2017

Some blamed the weak start of the year on higher gas prices, bad weather and other external factors, while other executives pointed to shifting consumer tastes. Analysts say some big brands, such as Gillette and Yoplait, are losing ground to upstarts. Overall purchases of consumer packaged goods in the U.S. declined 2.5% in unit terms in the first quarter, according to Nielsen.....consumers are cutting back purchases, aggressively seeking deals and drawing down supplies at home. At the same time, he said, a growing affinity for beards has played a big part in driving down razor sales, which contributed to a 6% organic sales decline for P&G’s grooming unit....PepsiCo, like big food rivals Kraft Heinz Co. and Nestlé, is struggling as consumers shift away from diet sodas and processed foods to fresher and healthier options. It has launched new products, such as a premium bottled water brand, to adjust to the shift.....For food and nonfood staples, big brands are struggling more than the overall industry. The 20 largest consumer packaged goods companies last year had flat sales while smaller ones posted sales growth of 2.4%, according to Nielsen.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., meantime, has been reducing inventories and slashing prices as it fights to compete with Amazon.com Inc. and European discounters moving into the U.S. Those cuts are eating into its own profit and, in turn, leading the world’s biggest retailer to put pressure on its vendors.........The dynamics are driving tough choices for companies as they are forced to decide between reducing prices and ceding market share. PepsiCo and Coca-Cola Co. have been shrinking packages and raising prices.
brands  hard_choices  large_companies  volatility  P&G  Gillette  Yoplait  CPG  PepsiCo  healthy_lifestyles  Kraft_Heinz  Nestlé  Wal-Mart  Coca-Cola  price-cutting  price_hikes  Fortune_500  upstarts  supply_chain_squeeze  shifting_tastes  Amazon  Big_Food 
april 2017 by jerryking
BlackRock Bets on Robots to Improve Its Stock Picking - WSJ
By SARAH KROUSE
Updated March 28, 2017

The firm is offering its Main Street customers lower-cost quantitative stock funds that rely on data and computer systems to make predictions, an investment option previously available only to large institutional investors. Some existing funds will merge, get new investment mandates or close. The changes are the most significant attempt yet to rejuvenate a unit that has long lagged behind rivals in performance......The author of the company’s new strategy is former Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Chief Executive Mark Wiseman, who was hired last year to turn around the stock-picking business. The effort is the first test for Mr. Wiseman, viewed by some company observers as a potential successor to Chief Executive Laurence Fink......Many other firms that specialize in handpicking stocks are also struggling with low returns and shifting investor tastes. Since the 2008 financial crisis, clients across the money-management industry have moved hundreds of billions of dollars to lower-cost funds that track indexes, known as passive investment funds, instead of aiming to beat the market.
BlackRock  stock_picking  automation  layoffs  asset_management  institutional_investors  ETFs  Mark_Wiseman  Laurence_Fink  CPPIB  robotics  quantitative  active_investing  passive_investing  shifting_tastes  money_management  beat_the_market 
march 2017 by jerryking
A Seismic Shift in How People Eat - The New York Times
By HANS TAPARIA and PAMELA KOCHNOV. 6, 2015

....Consumers are walking away from America’s most iconic food brands. Big food manufacturers are reacting by cleaning up their ingredient labels, acquiring healthier brands and coming out with a prodigious array of new products. ....Food companies can’t merely tinker. Nor will acquisition-driven strategies prove sufficient, because most acquisitions are too small to shift fortunes quickly. ....For legacy food companies to have any hope of survival, they will have to make bold changes in their core product offerings. Companies will have to drastically cut sugar; process less; go local and organic; use more fruits, vegetables and other whole foods; and develop fresh offerings. General Mills needs to do more than just drop the artificial ingredients from Trix. It needs to drop the sugar substantially, move to 100 percent whole grains, and increase ingredient diversity by expanding to other grains besides corn....a complete overhaul of their supply chains, major organizational restructuring and billions of dollars of investment, but these corporations have the resources.
food  foodservice  brands  supply_chains  innovation  shifting_tastes  Nestlé  Perdue  Tyson  antibiotics  trends  Kraft  supermarkets  fresh_produce  OPMA  consumer_behavior  General_Mills  iconic  consumers  McDonald's  ingredient_diversity  seismic_shifts  new_products  Big_Food 
november 2015 by jerryking
How Can Big Food Compete Against Fresher Rivals? - WSJ
By ANNIE GASPARRO
Updated July 12, 2015 1

it is a two-part problem. No. 1, the consumer and competitive marketplace is definitely shifting. For example, quality has evolved beyond just good ingredients, preparation and packaging. Basic quality is a given now; many consumers are looking for something extra: less mass-produced, natural, local.

No. 2, iconic food companies and their mature brands are not responding effectively. Large, established food companies and their brands are being managed as portfolios of revenue and profit streams with a short-term financial orientation, and not as companies that produce food products. Small companies, on the other hand, are being created and managed by people with a food orientation and passion.
CPG  Kraft  emotional_connections  Nestlé  Coca-Cola  food  Pepsi  Big_Food  trends  Kellogg  passions  gourmet  foodies  decreasing_returns_to_scale  shifting_tastes  small_business  SMB 
july 2015 by jerryking
The Shake Shack Economy - The New Yorker
JANUARY 26, 2015 ISSUE

The Shake Shack Economy
BY JAMES SUROWIECKI

Unlike traditional fast-food restaurants, fast-casuals emphasize fresh, natural, and often locally sourced ingredients. (Chipotle, for instance, tries to use only antibiotic-free meat.) Perhaps as a result, their food tends to taste better. It’s also more expensive. The average McDonald’s customer spends around five dollars a visit; the average Chipotle check is more than twice that. Fast-casual restaurants first emerged in serious numbers in the nineteen-nineties, and though the industry is just a fraction of the size of the traditional fast-food business, it has grown remarkably quickly. Today, according to the food-service consulting firm Technomic, it accounts for thirty-four billion dollars in sales. Since Chipotle went public, in 2006, its stock price has risen more than fifteen hundred per cent.

The rise of Chipotle and its peers isn’t just a business story. It’s a story about income distribution, changes in taste, and advances in technology. For most of the fast-food industry’s history, taste was a secondary consideration.
fast-casual  food  globalization  James_Surowiecki  shifting_tastes  entrepreneur  Danny_Meyer  Panera  Chipotle  fast-food  income_distribution  Shake_Shack 
january 2015 by jerryking
The Data Companies Wish They Had About Customers - WSJ
March 23, 2014 | WSJ | by Max Taves.

We asked companies what data they wish they had—and how they would use it. Here's what they said....
(A) Dining----Graze.com has a huge appetite for data. Every hour, the mail-order snack business digests 15,000 user ratings about its foods, which it uses to better understand what its customers like or dislike and to predict what else they might like to try...more data could help him understand customers' tastes even better. Among the information he wants most is data about customers' dietary habits, such as what they buy at grocery stores, as well as better information about what they look at on Graze's own site. And because the dietary needs of children change rapidly, he'd like to know if his customers have children and, if so, their ages.
(B) Energy-----Energy consumption is among its customers' main concerns, says CEO William Lynch. For instance, the company offers a product giving homeowners the real-time ability to see things like how many kilowatts it takes to heat the hot tub in Jan. Because of privacy concerns, Savant doesn't collect homeowners' energy data. But if the company knew more about customers' energy use, it could help create customized plans to conserve energy. "We could make recommendations on how to set up your thermostat to save a lot of money,
(C) Banking-----the Bank of the West would like "predictive life-event data" about its customers—like graduation, vacation or retirement plans—to create products more relevant to their financial needs...At this point, collecting that breadth of data is a logistical and regulatory challenge, requiring very different sources both inside and outside the bank.
(D) Appliances-----Whirlpool Corp.has a vast reach in American households—but wants to know more about its customers and how they actually use its products. Real-time use data could not only help shape the future designs of Whirlpool products, but also help the company predict when they're likely to fail.
(E) Healthcare----Explorys creates software for health-care companies to store, access and make sense of their data. It holds a huge trove of clinical, financial and operational information—but would like access to data about patients at home, such as their current blood-sugar and oxygen levels, weight, heart rates and respiratory health. Having access to that information could help providers predict things like hospitalizations, missed appointments and readmissions and proactively reach out to patients,
(F) Healthcare----By analyzing patient data, Carolinas HealthCare System of Charlotte, N.C., can predict readmission rates with 80% accuracy,
(G) Law----law firms that specialize in defense work are typically reactive, however some are working towards becoming more proactive, coveting an ability to predict lawsuits—and prevent them.How? By analyzing reams of contracts and looking for common traits and language that often lead to problems.
(H) Defense---BAE Systems PLC invests heavily in protecting itself from cyberattacks. But it says better data from its suppliers could help improve its defenses...if its suppliers get cyberattacked, its own h/w and s/w could be compromised. But "those suppliers are smaller businesses with lesser investments in their security," ...A lack of trust among suppliers, even those that aren't direct competitors, means only a small percentage of them disclose the data showing the cyberattacks on their systems. Sharing that data, he says, would strengthen the security of every product BAE makes. [BAE is expressing recognition of its vulnerability to network risk].
data  data_driven  massive_data_sets  Graze  banking  cyber_security  BAE  law_firms  Whirlpool  genomics  social_data  appliances  sense-making  predictive_analytics  dark_data  insights  customer_insights  real-time  design  failure  cyberattacks  hiring-a-product-to-do-a-specific-job  network_risk  shifting_tastes  self-protection  distrust  supply_chains 
november 2014 by jerryking
The Big Mystery: What’s Big Data Really Worth? - The CFO Report - WSJ
October 13, 2014 | WSJ | By VIPAL MONGA.

“Data is worthless if you don’t know how to use it to make money,” said Laura Martin, an analyst with Needham & Co. Information on individual users loses value over time as they move or their tastes change, she added. That makes data a perishable commodity and more difficult to value at any given moment.
massive_data_sets  valuations  data  Kroger  monetization  Nestlé  P&G  Nielsen  perishables  commodities  shifting_tastes 
october 2014 by jerryking
How Canadian companies can tap into Asia’s consumer boom
Jun. 03 2013 | G&M | by DOMINIC BARTON.

Possible send to Earl Davis of Teachers.

To capture this opportunity, Canadian companies need an intimate understanding of the new Asian consumers. First, on the consumption and services front, they need to locate these consumers, with forensic precision....Second, Canadian companies need to understand the diverse and evolving tastes of Asian consumers. Across the region, the number of higher income households is rapidly expanding. These consumers are often young, are more international in their outlook, and are more willing to pay a premium for quality products. They consume more services, from education and health care to foreign travel....Third, Another significant opportunity for Canada is the provision and delivery of food, energy, and natural resources. By 2030, global demand for food is expected to rise by more than 25 per cent, mostly in Asia, and fertilizer demand will grow by 50 per cent.
Dominic_Barton  McKinsey  China  Canadian  target_marketing  consumer_behavior  shifting_tastes  China_rising  booming  Asia  Asian  Asia_Pacific  BRIC  middle_class  inland  affluence  infrastructure  forensics 
june 2013 by jerryking
Change or die: could adland be the new Detroit?
Feb 18, 2011|Campaign |Amelia Torode (head of strategy and innovation at VCCP and the chair of the IPA Strategy Group) and Tracey Follows ( head of planning at VCCP)...

As the world changed with the globalisation of markets, the transformative power of digital technologies and a shift in consumer demand, the automotive industry and the city of Detroit did not. At a fundamental level, nothing changed. Detroit failed to adapt, failed to evolve.

We have started to ask ourselves: is adland the new Detroit?

Data: find stories in numbers

It's time to reimagine our role. We're no longer solving problems but investigating mysteries; no longer taking a brief, rather taking on a case. Like a detective, we start with behaviour, looking for patterns and anomalies. We assume that what we're being told is not entirely the "truth" so search for information that is given from various perspectives and tend to believe our eyes more than our ears.

Imagine the implications for how we approach data. Seen through the lens of "mystery", we're not simply seeing data as a stream of numbers but as a snapshot of behaviour and an insight into human nature. What we do with data is the same thing we do when we sit on a park bench or at a pavement café - people-watching,albeit from desktops. It's human stories hidden within numbers, and it takes away the fear that surrounds "big data".
shifting_tastes  data-driven  data_journalism  Detroit  advertising_agencies  data  storytelling  massive_data_sets  adaptability  evolution  United_Kingdom  Publicis  managing_change  sense-making  insights  behaviours  patterns  anomalies  assumptions  automotive_industry  human_experience  curiosity  consumer_behavior 
december 2012 by jerryking
Shift in Customer Base Transforms Seigle's - WSJ.com
May 6, 2003 | WSJ | By JEFF BAILEY | Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.
Shift in Customer Base Transforms Seigle's
Retailer Returns to Roots as Supplier And Finds the Ground Has Changed
family-owned_businesses  retailers  Home_Depot  Lowe's  shifting_tastes  home-center_industry  consolidation  home-improvement 
may 2012 by jerryking

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