Kroger is investing in state-of-the-art automated grocery fulfillment centers with help from Ocado, though the grocer doesn't expect to see changes until the first one comes online sometime in 2021. "With shopper receptiveness to digital innovation limited mainly by retailers' imagination, Kroger's new facilities will be coming online about the time that expectations for speed, accuracy, assortment and freshness are hitting new highs," Mike Troy writes.
All of the whole bean and ground coffee sold at US McDonald's restaurants is now sourced sustainably. The chain met its 2020 goal ahead of schedule, with all of its coffee verified through the McCafe Sustainability Improvement Platform, created with Conservation International or acquired from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms.
ALDI is now offering same-day alcohol delivery through its partnership with Instacart, where state and local laws allow it. The retailer is celebrating by offering free delivery for new customers through December via a special holiday code.
Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams owner Jeni Britton Bauer is expanding her chain of artisanal ice cream shops to new locations, including Austin, Texas; Birmingham, Ala.; and Alexandria, Va. Bauer has been growing the brand since opening her first shop in Columbus, Ohio, in the late 1990s, and says the key to longevity is "going slowly, learning as you go, only taking moves when you're ready and not try to go too fast."
The cereal aisle saw a slew of innovation this year, including such major brand partnerships as a Drumstick flavor from General Mills, Peeps cereal from Kellogg and Post's upcoming Hostess Twinkies cereal, due in late December. Half of grocery shoppers choose flavor over nutrition, with 96% of them buying cereal in a store visit, according to a Shopkick survey.
Representatives from Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Nestle are working in Nigeria to establish a market for recycled plastic, as less than 10% of rPET waste is collected and recycled there, writes Yinka Ibukun. Challenges include a lack of regulation mandating use of rPET and plants able to process it, she adds.
Bosco Sticks are popular among high-school students in an Illinois district, writes columnist John Marx. Jodi Johnson, who leads the cafeteria staff at one high school, says Bosco Sticks -- breadsticks stuffed with mozzarella cheese and served with soup or dipping sauces -- are the top seller.
Pepsi has created a sparkling rose, which is actually a zero-calorie, nonalcoholic soda with a rose flavor, for this weekend's BravoCon, a fan convention for the television network's popular shows. Rose wine is the drink of choice for Bravo fans and several of the network's reality TV stars, so Pepsi is featuring their version of the drink at various BravoCon events, including a branded photo booth, performance stage and bar that will appear on an episode of "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen."
Mars is debuting a range of vegan milk chocolate bars under its Galaxy brand in the UK next week. The launch marks the first plant-based milk chocolate bar produced by a major confectioner, according to the company.
Drone technology and aerial photography can be a useful tool for hemp farmers looking to efficiently monitor crop conditions and tell male from female plants, PrecisionHawk general manager Kevin Lang says. "The way our platform is set up now, we're really working with machine learning-based algorithms and dynamic tools that let customers more quickly create field boundaries; and get on-demand, plant-level statistics," he says.
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