Posts tagged with "Food Business News"

Chipotle debuts new restaurant concept

February 17, 2023

Chipotle Mexican Grill is opening a new restaurant concept in Santa Monica, California, called Farmesa—a West Coast-inspired eatery serving customizable bowls featuring a protein, a green or a grain, two sides, a choice of five sauces, and a topping option, reports Food Business News.

Dishes include Santa Maria-style grilled tri-tip steak, everything spice-crusted ora king salmon, whipped potatoes, golden beets, sprouted cauliflower and sweet potato chips. Beverage offerings include organic drinks from Tractor Beverage, along with still and sparkling water.

The restaurant will open with an abbreviated menu and limited hours initially.

“One of our strategic objectives is to create or invest in emerging culinary spaces and restaurant concepts that fit within Chipotle’s food with integrity mission and make fresh food daily,” said Brian Niccol, chairman and chief executive officer.

He adds, “Our New Ventures team, which was created in 2022, developed a unique restaurant concept that uses classic culinary techniques with flavorful ingredients in a fast-casual setting that we’re excited to test and learn on before we determine a broader rollout strategy.”

Farmesa is located in the Kitchen United Mix food hall and will offer pickup and delivery through marketplace apps, including DoorDash and Uber Eats.

“Launching Farmesa in the Kitchen United Mix food hall in Santa Monica and partnering with third-party partners for pickup or delivery will allow us to reach a large number of consumers, learn quickly, and evolve our concept and menu so that we can deliver on our goals before expanding,” said Nate Lawton, vice president of New Ventures at Chipotle.

“We believe there’s an opportunity to serve premium, craveable food every day and we’re eager to bring this new concept to life.”

Research contact: @FoodBizNews

Functional food startup launches single-serve pouches of Ayurvedic honey

November 18, 2022

Functional food startup You Again of Hermosa Beach, California, is introducing a range of raw wildflower honey blended with herbs and botanicals to support digestive health and immunity, reports Food Business News.

Packaged in single-serve pouches, Your Daily Honey expands the brand’s mission to incorporate ancient nutrition into modern lifestyles, said founder Priya Mulvihill.

Inspired by Ayurvedic principles, the lineup includes wild spiced, featuring ginger, amla and papaya; chocolate, with raw cacao, passion flower and ashwagandha; and turmeric, with goji berry and maca. The company partners with family farms in Southern California to source honey that is ethically produced, glyphosate-free and non-GMO.

“As a kid, when I was visiting India, my grandma would put turmeric and ginger and anything else I needed on honey if I got there and had a cold or stomachache,” Mulvihill recalls.

Following years of struggles with disordered eating and fad diets, Mulvihill—a certified public accountant who earlier held finance roles at several consumer packaged goods brands—embraced functional medicine, seeking guidance from a practitioner to incorporate herbs and spices into her routine. She began adding ingredients such as maca and ashwagandha to home baking and shared batches with friends.

Last year marked the debut of You Again baking mixes, each formulated for a specific benefit. The products, which are sold in specialty grocers such as Foxtrot, Central Market and Erewhon, are organic and free from dairy, gluten, refined sugars and flours, additives and preservatives.

The launch of Your Daily Honey, a year in the making, builds on the traction of the baking mixes while paving the way for new distribution and partnerships, Mulvihill says, citing endurance events and corporate offices as examples.

“We really wanted to bring something to the market that can be consumed every single day,” Ms. Mulvihill said. “That’s something we learned with our baking mixes and why we decided to go with a single-serve over a jar.”

She points to the versatility of the product, which may be drizzled on food, stirred into tea, or consumed directly from the pouch for a pre-workout boost.

Additionally, she notes, honey is linked to various nutrition and health benefits.

“The interesting thing about honey is more than 50% of US consumers consume honey, and of that almost 70% do it because of health benefits, so that part’s already there,” she said. “Now it’s taking people to the next step.”

Research contact: @FoodBizNews

South Carolina to become home to Europastry production facility

September 19, 2022

Europastry plans to invest $23 million to establish a facility in Laurens County in South Carolina that will produce an assortment of brioche bread products, reports Food Business News.

Brioche is a bread of French origin whose high egg and butter content gives it a rich and tender crumb.

Europastry operations in South Carolina are expected to begin by the end of November. The Coordinating Council for Economic Development in South Carolina has approved a $150,000 rural infrastructure fund grant to Laurens County to assist with the costs of building improvements in the Hunter Industrial Park.

“Laurens has become a strategic location, allowing the company to expand its footprint in the United States,” Europastry said. “The new plant will start up operations soon, and more details will be provided in the following weeks.”

Europastry has other U.S. production plants in Ronkonkoma and Bayport, New York; and in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The company is based in Barcelona, Spain, and is active in 80 countries.

Research contact: @FoodBizNews

Eight food brands are selected for Whole Foods’ Local and Emerging Accelerator Program

August 5, 2022

Ten up-and-coming consumer brands have been selected to participate in Whole Foods Market’s Local and Emerging Accelerator Program—eight of them, food brands. The program provides mentorship, education, and shelf space at regional Whole Foods Market stores. Businesses also may receive financial support, reports Food Business News.

“We are delighted to welcome ten exceptional local producers to the first cohort of our Local and Emerging Accelerator Program,” said Will Betts, vice president of Local Merchandising at Whole Foods Market, a business owned by Amazon, adding, “We look forward to sharing valuable insights into marketing best practices, strategy and channel development to help expand the cohort members’ brands while preparing to introduce their products to Whole Foods Market shoppers.

“Whole Foods Market has long been committed to supporting small, local and emerging producers,” Betts said, “and the Local and Emerging Accelerator Program enhances our ability to strengthen our relationships with local brands and elevate our product selection for communities across the country.”

The program will include a 12-week curriculum, a yearlong mentorship with a Whole Foods Market regional buyer, and access to additional supplier benefits to support growth. All products must meet the company’s quality standards and product safety requirements in order to be sold in Whole Foods Market stores.

Participants may receive a $25,000 equity investment from a donor-advised fund managed by the Austin Community Foundation, with proceeds benefiting Whole Foods Market foundations.

Among the Food brands participating in the program are the following:

  • Buns Bakery, Providence, Rhode Island, a traditional Israeli-Jewish baker of babka, challah, and rugelach (North Atlantic region);
  • CHKP, Brooklyn, New York, a producer of non-dairy, chickpea-based yogurt alternatives (Northeast region);
  • Coyotas, San Diego, a Mexican-American maker of grain-free tortillas formulated with cassava flour (Southern Pacific region);
  • Good Girl Chocolate, Oklahoma City, a brand of gluten- and soy-free bean-to-bar chocolate sweetened with coconut sugar (Southwest region);
  • Numa, Fallsington, Pennsylvania, a mother-and-daughter-founded brand of taffy and peanut candies inspired by traditional Asian recipes (Mid-Atlantic region);
  • Onana Foods, Fort Collins, Colorado, a maker of grain-free tortillas made with plantains, baking powder and sea salt (Rocky Mountain region);
  • Pizzazza, Bellingham, Washington, a line of frozen pizzas topped with locally grown and produced ingredients (Pacific Northwest region); and
  • Theo’s Plant Based, Chicago, a creator of beet jerky supporting regenerative farming practices (Midwest region)

Hair care brand Tangles & Beyond, based in Hattiesburg, Misissippi; and skin care maker Vamigas of Alamo, Caliornia also are participating in the program.

Research contact: @FoodBizNews

Krispy Kreme to launch delivery-only ‘dark shops’

July 1, 2022

In an earnings call earlier this year, Krispy Kreme executives discussed the expansion of “dark shops”—or low-cost delivery points for donuts and sweet treats. Following the company’s “hub-and-spoke” model—in which large, regional bakeries stock products in smaller retail distribution outlets—the dark shops will act as delivery points for the baked foods, requiring lower operating costs than a traditional retail location and accessible only to e-commerce delivery drivers, reports Food Business News.

The concept was piloted successfully last year in the United Kingdom, with more than 50 delivery-only dark shops expanding consumer access to fresh donuts. Krispy Kreme plans on bringing the concept to U.S. and Mexico markets in 2022, following customer feedback that freshness is a key factor in sweet treat purchasing decisions.  

“Our dark shops will piggyback on existing spoke routes, which ensures a fresh donut distribution daily and opens up further access to more customers,” says Michael J. Tattersfield, president and CEO of Krispy Kreme. “We believe these initiatives will generate double-digit organic revenue growth this year.”

Krispy Kreme has seen promising growth in the e-commerce sector since the 2018 acquisition of Insomnia Cookies, a late-night fresh cookie delivery business that operates out of retail storefronts. Total revenue for Insomnia Cookies in 2021 increased by more than 30% overall and nearly 20% excluding new store revenue, says Tattersfield.

With the promising success of Insomnia’s delivery-centric model, Krispy Kreme hopes to capitalize on the appeal of freshness and convenience delivered directly to customers within a 20-minute range of a dark shop.

Research contact: @FoodBizNews

New York MilkLaunch competition seeks dairy startups

May 19, 2022

The New York MilkLaunch startup competition is seeking entrepreneurs, startups, or existing companies to launch innovative dairy products, reports Food Business News.

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, the New York Dairy Promotion Order (DPO) Advisory Board, and VentureFuel say the program is searching this year for products that appeal to Generation Z consumers (between the ages of 10 and 23).

Independent innovation consultants at VentureFuel will run MilkLaunch, which is encouraging entrants to introduce exciting products in cheese, yogurt, liquid milk, ice cream, butter categories.

“During our first NY MilkLaunch program, we saw so many innovative products that spoke directly to younger consumers in a contemporary way that really enhanced the excitement around dairy,” says Fred Schonenberg, founder of VentureFuel.

He adds, “We also saw many novel ideas focused on sustainability and know that Gen-Z and the New York state dairy community are both deeply passionate about sustainability, resulting in the perfect combination for this year’s focus.”

The program was designed to identify early-stage dairy products, ranging from ideas to existing new products. To be eligible for MilkLaunch, the products have to contain at least 50% fluid dairy milk and have sales of less than $250,000. The winners also must commit to using milk sourced from New York dairy producers for at least one year. Dairy farms, processors, producers, entrepreneurs, academics and ideators all are eligible to enter the competition.

“We are thrilled to work with VentureFuel on the MilkLaunch program this year,” says Larry Bailey, chair of the DPO Advisory Board. “We as New York dairy farmers and the DPO are excited by the program’s focus on sustainability and Generation Z to help promote and sell more dairy products to this impactful group of consumers who strive for a better future.”

Slate Milk, a producer of high-protein milk and lattes, won the previous competition. Co-founder Manny Lubin says MilkLaunch “was a great opportunity” for the company to connect with industry experts.

“It allowed us to learn and get direct feedback from people who have been here before,” Lubin said. “We’re also still in touch with many of the mentors that were a part of the program. They’ve been super helpful along the way.”

The DPO Advisory Board, which advises New York’s State Department of Agriculture on the allocation of milk producer funds, supports MilkLaunch as part of its 2022 goals to promote and increase the consumption of New York milk and dairy products.

Official rules for the competition and application documents are available at The deadline for applications is June 15.

Research contact: @FoodBizNews

Kroger identifies ten emerging food trends

January 25, 2022

Cincinnati-based supermarket chain Kroger has identified ten food trends that will accelerate and take hold in 2022. The trends may be broken down into three categories: flavors, premiumization, and behavioral shifts brought on by the pandemic, reports Food Business News.

Four flavors the retailer sees gaining ground in the year ahead include umami, everything seasoning, tequila, and nostalgic flavors that deliver comfort.

“Asian cuisine has long understood how ingredients high in umami help elevate other ingredients and round out flavors in a dish, but the umami trend is exploding across new products, multicultural cuisines, traditional cooking, and hybrid mash-ups,” according to Kroger.

The savory flavor of tequila follows the umami trend and leads into the second section of trends focused on premiumization. Consumers will upgrade their meals in 2022 by purchasing products that deliver plant-based eating, are local, and deliver restaurant-quality experiences.

“Consumers continue to focus on the health of the planet, not just through plant-based foods, but also by reducing their waste impact with upcycled ingredients and more recyclable packaging,” Kroger said. “Plant-based foods are now being purchased for indulgence, comfort, and nostalgia, rather than being solely known as the healthier choice for our bodies, while still helping consumers lower their carbon footprint.”

An interest in sustainability is prompting some consumers to consider where their food comes from. That interest is leading to rising demand for food and ingredients grown and processed locally.

Kroger also sees consumers embracing more premium products as they seek to raise the level of their dining experiences at home. This is leading to interest in grass-fed beef burgers and hot dogs, goat cheese and bacon pinsa crust style pizza, and kimchi meatballs.

Behavioral shifts Kroger sees in 2022 will be around health and beauty, sharing, and a greater role for charcuterie in meal occasions.

Demand for products that contribute to health and beauty will continue in the coming year as consumers seek collagen-rich bone broths, antioxidant, probiotics and omega-3 fatty acids.

Sharing at meals has been a trend for some time, but Kroger sees family-packs focused on specific dietary needs like low carbohydrate, plant-based or vegan gaining ground in 2022.

Along the same lines, Kroger’s trend researchers predict charcuterie will move from a sharable appetizer to playing a more prominent role at breakfast and dessert.

“Unlocking these trends allows us to prepare for the year ahead, adapt our offerings, and innovate within our brands to ensure we continue to provide customers exactly what they need and want to delight themselves and their guests in 2022 and beyond,” said Juan De Paoli, vice president of Kroger’s Our Brands private label business.

Research contact: @FoodBizNews

Papa Johns debuts New York-style pizza

December 30, 2021

The type of pizza you crave often depends upon where you live. For example, Chicagoans prefer deep-dish pizza, while New Yorkers go for a thin, crispy crust. But both types of pizza are, for the most part, only offered regionally.

Thus, although Atlanta-based Papa Johns did offer a deep-dish pizza until 2009, it disappeared from its menus. Then, in 2016, the chain tested deep dish pizza in select markets—but found that this type of pie would take about 50% longer to prepare and bake; and that the company would need a whole new set of pans and boxes before considering another launch.

Still, the rollout of deep-dish has not been ruled out.

However, New Yorkers will be happy to hear, their thin-crust is on the way, reports Food Business News.

Now, in its latest menu introduction, Atlanta-based Papa Johns is offering what it has dubbed “NY Style pizza”—featuring a six-ingredient dough. The limited-time menu item has eight oversized, foldable slices with “the right balance of crust and toppings,” according to the company.

“For many, NY Style pizza is a classic that reigns supreme, so we are excited to offer consumers this foldable crust favorite made with our fresh, never frozen dough,” said Scott Rodriguez, SVP of Menu Strategy and Product Innovation. “As we continue to innovate our menu, we strive to keep our customer first and are glad to introduce another crust variation that allows them to customize their pizza how they’d like.”

NY Style pizza is the latest in a series of menu introductions at Papa Johns, following releases including BaconMania, Shaq-a-Roni, and Epic Stuffed Crust, according to the company.

Research contact: @FoodBizNews

Beverage startup aims to be ‘Snapple 2.0’

November 10, 2021

A debilitating digestive illness led to the launch of Halfday Tonics, a Philadelphia-based brand of canned tea beverages featuring prebiotic fiber. Founders Kayvon Jahanbakhsh and Michael Lombardo began developing the concept as college students several years ago following a severe bout of ulcerative colitis that hospitalized Jahanbakhsh for three months and sank his swim career, reports Food Business News.

Halfday was inspired by the pair’s favorite summertime refreshment, bottled or canned tea from such brands as Snapple, AriZona, and Brisk.

Jahanbakhsh eliminated these drinks from his diet to avoid flare-ups of his disease, which is triggered by high sugar intake, he said. The addition of inulin to homemade batches of iced tea aided his recovery and sparked the idea for the business.

“As I started to get better and better, I realized there’s a need for this,” he said.

An overwhelming majority of Americans fail to consume the recommended amount of dietary fiber per day. Many brands marketing digestive wellness typically target older shoppers, Jahanbakhsh said, citing Activia and Metamucil as examples.

Halfday was designed to appeal to Generation Z and millennials, who are more likely to seek lower-sugar beverages, Lombardo said.

The products are formulated with organic ingredients, including green or black tea extract, Jerusalem artichoke inulin, agave inulin, apple juice concentrate and lemon juice concentrate, plus stevia leaf extract. Varieties include peach green tea, lemon black tea and green tea with honey and ginseng. A seasonal flavor, cranberry black tea, is set to debut in November.

“There really hasn’t been iced tea innovation since Honest in the ‘90s and early 2000s,” Jahanbakhsh said. “We really liked iced teas as kids, even going into our adult years, but obviously over the age of 18, it’s pretty difficult to drink 40 grams of sugar in a sitting and feel good after.”

A serving of Halfday tea contains 8 grams of fiber and 3 to 4 grams of sugar. (A 12-oz serving of Snapple peach tea, by comparison, has 30 grams of sugar).

Halfday products are available on the brand’s website,, as well as at select specialty and natural foods stores and online grocers including Thrive Market and Misfits Market.

“We get reviews from people who always drank Brisk or Arizona, and they’re able to switch without making that sacrifice, which is really cool,” said Jahanbakhsh, who described Halfday as “Snapple 2.0.”

He added, “They can basically reduce their sugar consumption by 80% to 90% and still get that full satisfaction of a classic iced tea; and, on top of that, the digestive health benefits.”

Research contact: @FoodBusinessNews

‘We want to be the Nike of brain health’

September 30, 2021

A new mission-driven startup founded by Maria Shriver and one of her sons with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Patrick Schwarzenegger, casts a spotlight on cognitive wellness, Food Business News reports.

 Los Angeles-based MOSH (which stands for Maria Owings Shriver Health) is debuting a line of protein bars formulated with adaptogens and nutrients linked to brain health. A percentage of sales supports Alzheimer’s research. 

Shriver—an award-winning journalist, author, and former First Lady of California—is a force in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, which a decade ago claimed the life of her father, American diplomat, politician and activist Sargent Shriver. Following his diagnosis, she penned the children’s book “What’s Happening to Grandpa?” and produced the documentary series “The Alzheimer’s Project.”

 She published the groundbreaking Shriver Report—revealing that Alzheimer’s disease disproportionately affects women—and subsequently launched the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement, a nonprofit organization advancing gender-based brain health research.

 “We’ve learned so much in my two decades of advocacy about what actually impacts our brain health,” Shriver told Food Business News. “When I got involved with Alzheimer’s, people were only looking in one space; they were looking at plaques and tangles, and they were researching men.

 “Now,” says Shriver, “we know so much of what we do on a day-to-day basis starting in our 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, particularly with women who are perimenopausal and menopausal. How you sleep, how you exercise, and what you eat have a big impact on your brain functioning at its best.”

 Shriver and Schwarzenegger partnered with brain health experts and nutritionists to develop the protein bars, which are available in peanut butter, chocolate and peanut butter chocolate flavors. Ashwagandha, lion’s mane mushroom, collagen, medium-chain triglyceride oil, vitamins B12 and D3 and omega-3 fatty acids are among the brain-boosting ingredients included in the recipes.

 Nutrition plays a role in delaying or preventing cognitive decline. Recent research suggests the ketogenic diet may help reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases, Shriver noted. She also cited research examining the effects of sugar on brain health.

“That’s why this bar is formulated with zero added sugar,” she said.

 Shriver, who often relies on protein bars to fuel her busy lifestyle, said the company plans to launch “a whole slew of products” in the future.

 “We want to be the Nike of brain health,” Schwarzenegger added. “We want to get consumers shopping in different categories that are good for brain and body—whether that is protein bars, whether that is hydration, whether that is different protein powders or supplements.”

 He said the protein bars had been in development for a year and a half. The team tested various iterations with scores of consumers. Supply chain disruptions and pandemic restrictions further delayed the launch.

 The bars, featuring packaging design inspired by a brain scan, are sold at Proceeds from each purchase are donated to Women’s Alzheimer Movement.

 Research contact: @FoodBizNews