Category Archives: Retailer

‘Walmart to Go’ convenience-store format opens in Bentonville, US

Walmart to goAfter more than a year of planning, the American ‘Walmart to Go’ convenience-store format quietly opened in Bentonville, US, on Saturday 15 March, with the grand opening set for 19 March 2014.

The small store is a hybrid format — part traditional convenience store, part grocery, part quick serve restaurant. Walmart partnered with Bentonville Butcher & Deli, one of the more popular names around in terms of quality meat, to operate a quick serve meat counter in the back of the store.  Fresh deli sandwiches or hot barbecue brisket, ribs, smoked chicken and traditional sides were available by the plate or by the pound.

Krispy Kreme has a donut stand between the beverage stations. There is a traditional soda fountain, ‘Icee’ fountain, milk shake option and full coffee/cappuccino area.

Walmart to go 1Refrigerated food-to-go includes market fresh pizzas, sandwiches and other meat entrees. There is also fresh fruit and a Greek yoghurt smoothie station.

The convenience store also features six fuel pumps out front with a covered awning that sports the Walmart sunburst on the underside. One unusual feature is a large awning that connects the pump area to the front door. There is a picnic area outdoors to seat those wanting to eat onsite.

With this new convenience format Wal-Mart hopes to capture some of the $415 billion quick trip marketshare it is losing to Dollar General and other convenience stores. Walmart U.S. CEO Bill Simon said earlier this month that the retailer has just 10% of that marketshare and is vying for more with the hybrid stores that can serve consumer fill-in trips, which Walmart estimates to be 40% of their grocery spend.

Flavour Forecast 2014 from McCormick

Chilli Obsession


Beyond just discovering new chilli varieties, this obsession has extended into using techniques like grilling, smoking, pickling, fermenting and candying to tease out their flavour potential.

 McC Chilli

 Modern Masala


Already familiar with basic curries, people around the world are taking their appreciation for this richly-spiced cuisine to the next level, exploring more flavours in new contexts, from food trucks to fine dining.

 McC Masala

 Clever Compact Cooking


As the movement toward more efficient compact kitchens grows, inventive urban dwellers are discovering creative, cross-functional ways to prepare flavorful meals making the most of what’s available.

 McC Compact

 Mexican World Tour


From a growing taste for regional Mexican fare in North America to early exploration in China, cultures across the world are embracing authentic elements of this bright, bold and casual cuisine.

 McC Mexican

 Charmed by Brazil


The world is about to shine its spotlight on Brazil, illuminating the vibrant flavours and traditions of a dynamic melting pot culture that includes European, African, Asian and native Amazonian influences. Brazilian tastes are poised to emerge as a powerful influence in cooking around the globe.

 McC Brazilian

See full article:

New vegetable earns award for Produce World


Produce World was awarded Best New Edible Variety at the UK Grower Awards.  The company, which has a site in Sutton Bridge, was presented with the award earlier this month.

The winning vegetable is a Chinese leaf called Tatsoi. Although a traditional vegetable in Asia, Produce World is the first company to produce it commercially in the UK. The versatile vegetable is challenging the more widely known Pak Choi.

New product development manager Dara O’Doherty said: “Produce World is committed to trialling and growing exciting new vegetables from all over the globe.

“Tatsoi has a short growth cycle, taking only a matter of four or five weeks from planting to harvest.”

Coconut water just the beginning, plant ‘water’ drinks emerge


The success of coconut water, which surged from zero in 2006 to an almost  US$1 billion business in North America and Europe by 2013, is just the first step in a massive trend, according to global nutrition business analysts New Nutrition Business.

According to New Nutrition Business there is an emerging global trend for “healthy, natural, low-calorie waters” taken directly from plants. Extraction and packaging innovations that prolong shelf life have led to products with a “subtly sweet taste” extracted from maple trees and birch trees.

“With the right marketing and distribution strategies, these new waters will be a US$2 billion business by 2025,” said Julian Mellentin, Director of New Nutrition Business.

Like coconut water, maple and birch waters offer benefits that make them good options for health-conscious consumers. New Nutrition Business said the waters are “naturally healthy with a positive nutritional profile”, “naturally sweet” with no need for added sugar, and “can be sustainably sourced with little constraint on volumes”.

Sales of coconut water have been surging for five years — with no products carrying health claims, according to New Nutrition Business — driven by consumers’ desire for drinks that are “natrually functional” and have no added sugar. In fact, according to a report by New Nutrition Business, 12 Key Trends in Food Nutrition and Health 2014, “naturally functional” was the biggest driver in the industry, and the force behind the success of beverages such as coconut water and almond milk.

Maple WaterMaple

Maple trees are known as the source of maple syrup, but they also yield a beverage much more in line with the preferences of health-conscious consumers: maple water.

Maple water, like coconut water, is “naturally rich in vitamins, minerals and 46 antioxidants” according to New Nutrition Business. Maple water also has an “inherently sweet taste”, with a taste profile that received an overall higher score than coconut water in consumer research. New Nutrition Business said the sugar content (primarily sucrose) was “only 2 to 3 per cent”.

Maple water, or sap, is the raw ingredient of maple syrup, which is traditionally process into syrup because it spoils after just a day. But New Nutrition Business said developments in aseptic packaging from packaging company Tetrapak, combined with processing maple water on the same day it is collected, mean water could now be made commercially available.

A trio of Canadian entrepreneurial brands — Oviva, Seva and Maple 3 — have been developing the market.

New Nutrition Business said maple water had the potential to reach the same market size as coconut water over the next five to seven years, provided maple water brands apply the same strategy as coconut water did, focusing initially on single-serve packs (250ml-330ml) and upscale distribution and pricing.

Birch Sap

BirchBirch sap is produced by birch trees every year in early spring and is currently harvested as a health drink in countries such as Japan, Korea, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, according to New Nutrition Business.

The sap is completely clear and “slightly sweet”, containing between 1 per cent and 1.5 per cent sugars. The main naturally occurring sugar in birch sap is fructose.  The product also contains xylitol.

As with maple water, New Nutrition Business said advances in packaging and processing technology have allowed companies to begin bringing birch water to market in its “all-natural, no added sugar” form.

Brands such as Finland’s Nordic Koivu, whose patent-pending technology has allowed it to collect and bottle birch sap without adding any preservatives, and Denmark’s Sealand Birk have been rapidly developing the consumer market.

New Nutrition Business said birch sap had been shown to be “high in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, potassium, manganese, thiamin and calcium”. Uses in tradition and folk medicine include “boosting immunity, fighting fatigue, treating arthritis and joint pain, energy booster, and migraine prevention”.

Safeway to be sold to Albertsons owner Cerberus

Safeway store

The deal still needs regulatory approval

US supermarket firm Safeway has agreed to be bought by an investment group led by Cerberus Capital Management, owner of Albertsons and other chains.

The deal is valued at $7.64bn (£4.56bn) in cash, and could eventually top $9bn (£5.3bn).

The merger will create an organisation with more than 2,400 stores and 250,000 employees.

It comes amid consolidation in the industry, with Cerberus buying five chains including Albertson’s and Jewel-Osco from Supervalu last year.

Albertsons chief executive Bob Miller said that the size of the new outfit would improve its bargaining position with suppliers.

Mr Miller is to become executive chairman of the combined company, and Safeway chief executive Robert Edwards will retain that title at the combined company.

 If the proposal receives shareholder and regulatory approval, the merger should be completed in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Shazia Saleem jokes that she started her food company simply because she was hungry.

ieat foods

ieat foods was founded by a foodie frustrated by years of restricted, ‘same old’ boring choices. Bubbling away for years, this frustration fuelled a personal quest for Shazia Saleem to create the most exciting halal food range ever developed in the UK.

ieat LasagneThe team have  been busy working  in partnership with  consumers and some of Britain’s  top development chefs at NPD Direct to design an entire range of delicious, contemporary British dishes – made from the finest ingredients and bursting with flavour.

The potential market for ieat is huge. According to the 2011 Census, there are 2.7m Muslims living in Britain and well over half of those are under 30. “It’s the younger generation who wants to eat spaghetti Bolognaise and cottage pie,” explained Ms Saleem. “Our parents wanted the food they grew up with but we feel British, we are British and we love the culture.”

Ieat’s recipes are not only Halal, but “Tayyab”, which means “pure” or “ethical”. “All the recipes use only kitchen cupboard ingredients – you could make them at home,” explains Ms Saleem. “The animals come from certified farms to guarantee the best quality meat.”

Non-Muslims have also taken to ieat’s products. “We’ve given the dishes a bit of a twist for an ethnic palate,” said Ms Saleem. “We’ve added more spices, herbs, garlic and onion. But it’s not just Muslims who like the extra flavour. People are having Mexican for lunch and Thai food for dinner. The dishes we created, with these different flavour profiles, were extremely popular with the non-Muslim testers at our focus groups, too.”

ieat foods logoAll of their first 12 dishes can be found in the new halal section in the chilled ready meal aisle of selected Sainsbury’s stores in London, Birmingham and Leicester from Wednesday 26th February 2014.

All at NPD Direct wish Shazia and her team every success.

Click on the link below for an introduction to ieat foods:

Exotic fruit achacha goes on sale in Britain for the first time


Achacha, a small orange-coloured fruit in the same family as the mangosteen that has a melon-like taste which can be eaten at room temperature, cold or frozen.  The skin to make a “thirst-quenching drink”.

The easiest way of accessing the soft fruit inside is piercing the skin with a thumbnail and then squeezing the skin on each side to pop it open.

Originated in the Bolivian rainforest and is now grown in Australia.  The farmer of the fruit grew up eating the achacha in Bolivia and, on moving to Australia, missed it so much that he spent four years cultivating it to be grown successfully and sustainably.

Its nutrients include calcium and vitamin C and less sugar than many other fruits, it is  rich in antioxidants, potassium and Riboflavin which neutralise “free radical” molecules in the blood thought to contribute to ageing and illness.  Dietary gurus claim it can also benefit pregnant women because of its high levels of folate, a naturally occurring form of folic acid which promotes healthy blood cell formation and circulation.

The Achacha shall be available at Marks and Spencer, £2.50 for a pack of four.


Fruit Logistica 2014 – Berlin, Germany

NPD Direct chefs participated at the Fruit Logistica trade exhibition in Berlin, Germany – Europe’s largest fresh produce exhibition (more than 60,000 visitors from 130 countries meeting over 2600 exhibitors from around the world).

Working with Gourmet Garden herbs and spices the chefs joined Gourmet Garden’s new distributor for Holland and Germany – Nature’s Pride – on their large, end of aisle stand in one of the prime positions of the show.

FL NP FL-NP-1-e1392631722340 FL Chefs


FL-NP-2-e1392631656267 FL Stir Fry FL NP Z

Using the event as the ‘launch’ of Gourmet Garden products to Nature’s Pride’s existing and potential new customers, the two chefs demonstrated both Gourmet Garden’s herbs and spices and Nature’s Pride’s wide range of exotic vegetables and fruits. The chefs, Chris and Marcus, ensured that everyone got off to a healthy start with fruit smoothies that contained a hidden ‘kick’ of either Gourmet Garden Ginger or Lemongrass; lunches over the three day event consisted of a range of stir fries that mixed Nature’s Pride’s exotic vegetables (including edible flowers as garnishes!) with a variety of Gourmet Garden herbs and spices; during the afternoon Chris and Marcus made fresh dips flavoured with Gourmet Garden products and served with raw vegetable crudités.

More than one-third of US consumers cut back on red meat for health reasons

Red MeatDespite prevalent health trends encouraging consumers to eat less red meat, 90 per cent of US consumers are eating some kind of red meat at least once a month, but 39 per cent of beef and other red meat consumers ate less in 2013 than they did in 2012, according to new findings from market research organisation Mintel.

Furthermore, a quarter (25 per cent) of pork consumers claimed to have eaten less pork in 2013 than they did in 2012. In contrast, only 10 per cent of beef and other red meat eaters said they were eating more, and only 13 per cent of pork consumers said the same.

“Health trends motivating consumers to cut fat and cholesterol intake are by far the most dominant factors affecting the red meat market,” said Patty Johnson, Global Food Analyst at Mintel. “While some consumers are turning away from red meat, in favour of healthier alternatives, there are still a staggering number of Americans who partake on a regular basis. For many of those who are cutting back they are very well trading up to a higher quality meat product,” she said.

Opportunity for higher quality meats

Indeed, 16 per cent of those US consumers who said they were consuming less red meat were eating less, but a higher quality red meat. Mintel said this creates an opportunity to market higher quality meats to consumers.

Packaging innovation potential

While innovation in this category has been low for several years, packaging may be an area for meat manufacturers to innovate, particularly to appeal to women. More than one-third (35 per cent) of women would like to see more resealable packaging, 26 per cent said they want individual-sized portions and 23 per cent said they would like to see recipe options on the package.

Price also a reason for cutting back

Piggy BankWhile health concerns were the top reason consumers were cutting back on meat, the price of meat was another matter of contention. More than half (58 per cent) of consumers said they had noticed the price of red meat increasing in the past 12 months, and 36 per cent said it was too expensive to buy it as often as they would like.

“The red meat category is facing a difficult future, as both health trends and price are working to discourage consumer demand for red meat products,” Ms Johnson said. “The industry also has done little to innovate since the recession and therefore has offered consumers little to get excited about. This presents an opportunity for the industry to try to invigorate the market with new products, improved quality and improved functionality,” she said.

Innovative Packaging – Microchips in packs that send a text message when food is going off

A new frontier in the fight against food waste has emerged after a UK Parliamentary committee heard how scientists are developing microchips that send a text message when the food is about to go of

A committee of peers examining how to minimise food waste was told that computer chips might be used to assess whether food is getting past its prime.

MicrochipAccording to a report from the BBC, committee chair and Lib Dem Baroness Scott of Needham Market had told environment minister Dan Rogerson that a witness giving evidence to the committee in the Netherlands said: “We’re quite close to commercial production of a small chip which would go into packaging which would measure the actual deterioration of the rate of food.”

She explained that the current convention of the best before date “just assumes that everything’s equal; it just assumes that you all keep your food at the same temperature whereas this would actually respond to what the real conditions are”.

Rogerson said: “I should be intrigued to know the range and amount of resource that would have to go into producing it.”

The computer chip could even “send you a text to tell you that it needed eating”, she said.

Lady Scott concluded: “I’m having enough trouble with my text messages without the fridge texting me.

“Realistic or not, it’s interesting to see where innovation can lead.”

While details of the development may be vague, it would follow on from a range of new technologies that have launched recently – and have received high-profile coverage – that are designed to either prolong the shelf life of products or indicate to consumers when food is going off.

A label from Insignia Technologies, for instance, indicates when food is best to eat and won the ‘Best New Concept’ award at last year’s UK Packaging Awards.

Meanwhile a number of food retailers, including Marks & Spencer, have adopted a strip for their fresh produce packaging called ‘It’s Fresh!’ that absorbs ethylene, which causes fruit to ripen and then go mouldy.

Oily fish ‘can increase brain size’

Eating more oily fish can increase brain size in later life and may help prevent age-related mental decline, a study has found.

FishPeople with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil preserve bigger brains as they age, the research shows. In particular, they maintain more nerve cells in the hippocampus, the brain’s key memory centre.

The larger neural volume linked to omega-3 intake is equivalent to reducing the effects of brain ageing by up to two years, say scientists.

Researchers measured levels of two essential omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, in the blood of 1,111 women taking part in the US Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study.

Eight years later, when the women had an average age of 78, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans were performed to measure their brain size.

Those who started out with higher intakes of omega-3 were found to have larger total brain volumes. A doubling of omega-3 levels was associated with a 0.7% increase in overall brain size.

In addition, the hippocampus area was 2.7% larger in women with higher levels of the fatty acids.

Lead scientist Dr James Pottala, from the University of South Dakota in Sioux Falls, US, said: “These higher levels of fatty acids can be achieved through diet and the use of supplements, and the results suggest that the effect on brain volume is the equivalent of delaying the normal loss of brain cells that comes with ageing by one to two years.”

The findings are published in the latest online edition of the journal Neurology.

Shrinking brain volume is a known sign of Alzheimer’s disease as well as normal ageing.

Dr Laura Phipps, from the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: ” There has been mixed evidence as to the benefits of omega-3 fish oils on the brain and whether they may protect against memory decline and dementia.

“This study suggests that higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in blood are linked to larger brain size but the possible reasons for this association need further investigation. We know that the brain gets smaller in people with dementia, but it is unclear from the study what effect larger brain size would have on memory and thinking in the volunteers or their long-term risk of developing dementia.

“The best way to assess whether omega-3 could protect against dementia is through clinical trials and so far, trials of omega-3 supplementation have not shown benefits in protecting against cognitive decline.

“Currently, research suggests that a balanced diet, along with regular exercise, not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight and keeping blood pressure and cholesterol in check may help to keep our brains healthy as we get older.”

Dr Doug Brown, director of research at the Alzheimer’s Society, said: ” It’s interesting to see that eating more fish could lead to larger brain volume, particularly in the hippocampus – an area of the brain that comes under attack in dementia.

“We know that brain shrinkage can be linked to dementia and larger brain volumes could indicate a better ability to cope with the ravages of the condition, but it’s a big leap to draw this conclusion.

“Whilst interesting, this study still leaves us in the dark about what effect eating fish has on the development of dementia.”

Datamonitor’s TrendSights – Consumer and Innovation Trends in Ready Meals 2013 Report

The long-term challenge for ready meal brands has been to persuade consumers that such products have strengths above and beyond those of convenience alone.  The brief outlines the most important consumer and product trends impacting the ready meals category globally, using Datamonitor’s TrendSights mega-trend framework as a basis to organize the key themes covered.

 Features and benefits:

  • Each section is introduced with a concise SWOT analysis that outlines how each TrendSights mega-trend can be applied to the ready meals category.
  • Consumer insight analysis covering 24 countries globally highlights the key attitudes and behaviours that drive consumers’ ready meal preferences.
  • Draw inspiration from numerous case studies and product examples throughout the brief that showcase best-in-class innovations in ready meals.


‘Action on sugar’ formed to reverse obesity epidemic

action on sugarLeading health experts from across the globe have united to form ‘Action On Sugar’ – an unprecedented call to tackle and reverse the obesity and diabetes epidemic.  Obesity is a major crisis facing the UK and practically every country around the world, and yet there is no coherent structured plan to tackle obesity.  This group will initially target the huge and unnecessary amounts of sugar that are currently being added to our food and soft drinks.

Action On Sugar will carry out a public health campaign, to make the public more sugar aware and thus avoid products that are full of hidden sugars.  Children are a particularly vulnerable group targeted by industry marketing calorie dense snacks and sugar-sweetened soft drinks.

The major initial focus of the group will be to adopt a similar model to salt reduction pioneered by Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH).  This model has become one of the most successful nutritional policies in the UK since the Second World War, by setting targets for the food industry to add less salt to all of their products, over a period of time.  As this is done slowly, people do not notice the difference in taste.

Salt intake has fallen in the UK by 15% (between 2001-2011) and most products in the supermarkets have been reduced between 20 and 40%, with a minimum reduction of 6,000 strokes and heart attack deaths a year, and a healthcare saving cost of £1.5bn.

A similar programme can be developed to gradually reduce the amount of added sugar with no substitution in food and soft drinks by setting targets for all foods and soft drinks where sugar has been added.  Action On Sugar has calculated that a 20 to 30% reduction in sugar added by the food industry which, given a reasonable timeframe (3-5 years) is easily achievable, would result in a reduction in calorie intake of approximately 100kcal/day and more in those people who are particularly prone to obesity.

It’s not just the well-known brands, such as CocaCola which has a staggering 9 teaspoons of added sugar, but flavoured water, sports drinks, yogurts, ketchup, ready meals and even bread are just a few everyday foods that contain large amounts of hidden sugars.

Additional aims of the group include:

  • To educate the public in becoming more sugar aware in terms of understanding the impact of sugar on their health, checking labels when shopping and avoiding products with high levels of sugar.
  • To ensure that children are highlighted as a particularly vulnerable group whose health is more at risk from high sugar intakes.
  • To ensure clear and comprehensive nutritional labelling of the sugar content of all processed foods.
  • At the same time we would conduct a Parliamentary campaign to ensure the government and DH take action, and that, if the food industry do not comply with the sugar targets, they will enact legislation or impose a sugar tax.



Supermarket ‘spies’ check out authenticity of British-branded products

Magify Food

The Daily Mail (11.01.2014) reported that undercover shoppers are   targeting supermarkets and fast-food chains to investigate the authenticity   of food products branded as British. Items that are thought to be suspicious   will be sent for ‘isotope’ tests, which can accurately determine the real   origin of fruit and vegetables and identify where cattle and sheep had been   grazing. The operation has been launched by the Food Standards Agency (FSA),   and follows a call from environment secretary Owen Paterson for shoppers to   buy more British food. FSA chief executive Catherine Brown said ‘We want to   make sure that consumers are getting what they are paying for’.