Panera Bread has added a selection of warm grain bowls to the menu that start out vegetarian but can be customized with chicken or other animal proteins to appeal to flexitarians. Panera will promote the new items as part of a multichannel campaign using the tagline "Full of Good."
Meijer has rolled out Shop & Scan technology to all of its Midwest locations. Customers can scan and bag items as they shop through a free app and can complete the transaction by scanning their smartphone at a self-checkout kiosk to pay.
Chipotle Mexican Grill will put a marinated steak item called carne asada on national menus for a limited time, after a yearlong, three-city test. The chain also recently added vegetarian and vegan bowls to the menu, as part of an effort to appeal to a wide range of diets.
San Francisco-based online grocer Farmstead has teamed up with Alex Lee, parent company of Lowes Foods and Merchants Distributors, to extend its reach into North and South Carolina. Farmstead founder and CEO Pradeep Elankumaran noted that the company is planning to join with other distributors and grocery chains throughout the country.
Catherine Donovan, who has been the director of food service in a Massachusetts school district since 2001, says the federal guidelines have helped her make healthier meals over the years, although some standards, such as eliminating sodium, are challenging to meet. She says she runs the "biggest restaurant in town," and tries to make foods that students appreciate.
Managing modern consumer goods supply chains is demanding, but measuring supply chain performance should be simple. It isn't yet -- because of an inconsistent approach to the critical OTIF metric. Consumers expect products to be on the shelf. The US food retail industry loses an estimated $15-20 billion in sales every year because items are out of stock or otherwise unsaleable. That's around 2-3% of its total sales. The main operational challenge for the consumer sector is to achieve high levels of on-shelf availability, while keeping supply chain costs down and inventories under control. Read more.
One trend emerging at the center of food retail store design is the micro-fulfillment center, a new automation in the industry. Although small, as the name implies, these warehouses are well equipped to autonomously fulfill online orders -- fast and efficiently. Micro-fulfillment offers an end-to-end solution plugging into any grocery store's already existing network and making e-commerce profitable. Learn more.
The food industry is very familiar with food recalls, and retailers and wholesalers execute multiple food recalls each week. Two high profile and market crippling consumer advisories last year from the FDA and CDC for romaine lettuce not only captured the attention of food safety professionals but captured the attention of individuals outside of food safety. Entire business operations and individuals at all levels -- from store associates to CEOs -- and most importantly, customers were impacted. Find out more.
In today's "prosumer" world, consumers are placing greater pressure on suppliers and retailers to raise their standards and performance with regards to how products are made and who makes them. Product sourcing is a supply chain responsibility and the accountability rests on the shoulders of many people, companies and governments. The Safe Quality Food Institute's Fundamentals Factors for Social Responsibility Standard (F2SR), based off ILO (International Labor Organization) guidelines, includes provisions to mitigate against forced labor. Read more.
Dawn Food Products is launching the Digital Innovation Hub tasked with designing digital services for bakery clients. The Boston-based facility is recruiting several experts in digital transformation for its leadership team, says Bob Howland, Dawn's chief digital officer.
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