Here are a few shortened outtakes from our most recent newsletter. If you’d like this in your inbox every two weeks, email email@example.com
Is Ahold looking to buy Albertsons? Speculation grew after the research investment firm Gordon Hackett spotted two of Albertsons’ jets at Ahold Delhaize’s home airport in Bedford, Mass., earlier this month. An Ahold plane flew to Albertsons’ headquarters near Boise in January, shortly before Albertsons announced the start of a strategic review in late February.
The Plant Based World Expo, set for Sept. 8-9 at New York’s Javits Center, is the only 100% plant-based focused event for foodservice and retail professionals, distributors, investors and manufacturers. And until Aug. 21, Frozen & Refrigerated Buyer readers can get a free Expo pass with the VIP code FRBUYER2022. To learn more, go to plantbasedworldexpo.com or #PBW2022.
B&G Foods’ net sales rose by 3.1% to $479 million in its second quarter, helped along by increases in pricing and the impact of product mix. But it faced headwinds from inflation, price elasticity and supply chain challenges. CEO Casey Keller noted that “Simply put, our pricing actions have not yet caught up to the higher inflation flowing into our cost of goods sold.” Green Giant increases of 8% have been implemented and are yielding benefits, but are just taking effect in the market with the required customer lead times. Net sales of Green Giant frozen products were up by 10.4%.
Austin, Texas-based Vital Farms’ sales in the second quarter ended June 26 climbed 37.4% to $82.9 million. Net income was $0.2 million. Russell Diez-Canseco, president and CEO, said the company “remains the fastest-growing brand in dollars and gained more than double the amount of units relative to our next largest competitor in the egg category over the past 52 weeks.” Vital Farms is seeing gains in retail distribution and household penetration and has added more family farms (now at 300+).
The National Grocers Association show will be Feb. 26-28 at the Caesars Forum Convention Center in Las Vegas. Billed as the largest gathering of independent grocery retailers/wholesalers and others in the industry, the event will feature more than 40 sessions and workshops and 300+ exhibits. For info, go to thengashow.com.
Private brand dollar sales grew by 11.6% in July, with national brands up by 5.5%, according to IRI, the Chicago-based market research company. It reported strong gains by refrigerated (+18.4%), deli prepared (13.9%), and the frozen department (8.7%).
Ben & Jerry’s has sued Unilever, its parent company, saying it fears that Unilever’s actions might undermine the ice cream brand’s reputation and business. Things were already nasty, with Ben & Jerry earlier suing to block Unilever’s sale of the brand’s Israeli business to a licensee. Ben & Jerry’s had decided last year to end its sales in Jewish settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and contested East Jerusalem. But this latest action “is not just about Ben & Jerry’s 2021 decision concerning sales of our product in the West Bank,” board chair Anuradha Mittal explained. “If left unaddressed, Unilever’s actions will undermine our social mission and the essential integrity of the brand, which threatens our reputation, and ultimately, our business as a whole.”
Speaking of international ice cream incidents involving Unilever, Chinese internet censors instantly yanked a promotion for Viennetta, a British brand of ice cream marketed by the company. It seems that in June, Li Jiaqi, an e-commerce streamer known as the Lipstick King, worked with a co-host to create a layered ice cream decorated with round cookies along its sides, topped off by a chocolate stick. And why was this a sin? Censors thought it looked like a tank, a reminder of China’s bloody 1989 crackdown on Tiananmen Square. Any such reminders are verboten. Many of Li Jiaqi’s 170 million followers were born after 1989 (he himself was born in 1992) and actually had no knowledge of the massacre. n