Monday, 30 March 2015
US food giant Heinz is to merge with Kraft Foods Group, creating what the companies say will be the third-largest food and beverage company in the US. Shares in Kraft closed up more than 35% on the news at $83.17 in New York. The deal was engineered by Heinz's owners, the Brazilian investment firm 3G Capital, and billionaire investor Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway. Heinz shareholders will own 51% of the combined company with Kraft shareholders owning a 49% stake. The combined firm, Kraft Heinz Company, expects to make annual cost savings of $1.5bn (£1bn) by the end of 2017.
Innocent are set to diversify their product range further by spreading into the competitive carbonate market with their fruit and spring water drinks 'Innocent Bubbles'. They are also hot on trend as they launch Innocent Coconut Water which will go head to head with Vita Coco which currently claims 89% of the UK market.
Monday, 23 March 2015
Heinz UK has confirmed that 71 jobs have been cut back at its baked beans processing plant in Wigan. The firm said the job losses were the result of ongoing efforts to improve efficiency at the factory where it has invested in projects to automate parts of the production line and optimise workflows. Heinz stressed that all staff affected had taken voluntary redundancy.
They say you can get nearly 40 per cent more chocolate for your money by buying non-offer eggs – and smaller eggs are the best value. Bryan Roberts, of analysts Kantar, said: “Do not assume that a special offer is always the best deal available. The headline price might look good but check the shelf for the breakdown cost per 100g. You may be surprised at what you find. The breakdown cost per 100g for the large Cadbury Caramel egg is 91p. But you get 38 per cent more chocolate for your money with the medium version of the same thing. We paid £1 for the 178g equivalent, which slashes the cost per 100g to 56p. Similarly, the large Cadbury Mini Eggs pack costs £1.05 per 100g. But the 136g version is £1, which reduces the price to 73p per 100g.
Pizza Express has launched a competition, allowing consumers to design the next pizza to be implemented on the half a century-old brand’s menu. The food chain, founded in 1965, will celebrate its 50th birthday on Friday 23 March and to celebrate, will launch the ‘Create Your New Favourite’ competition. The initiative will enable pizza fans to develop their own preferred topping combinations with the winning entrant rewarded with a £10,000 cash prize and a holiday.
Thursday, 19 March 2015
The Budget is a statement made every year by the government on how it's going to get the money it needs to spend on the country. The current Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has this week delivered his pre-election budget. It had no game-changing moments but contained some strong economic figures, especially for employment. As the election draws closer more of the cards are being played by the Political parties for what could be one of the most unpredictable Elections in years! Follow the link for a quick overview of the main policy.
Metal shards in macaroni and cheese, salmonella-infected Cadbury’s chocolate, horse meat in beef burgers. There are plenty of familiar stories of big companies recalling edible products because of new – unintended – changes to the recipe. Consumers are rightly alarmed, but how does it affect business? Follow the link to find out just how costly it is when quality is not right for the big businesses.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt. Hon George Osborne has revealed the winning design for the new £1 coin following the public design competition launched in September 2014. The final design, which will feature as the definitive reverse of the coin – the ‘tails’ side – is based on the artwork of fifteen-year-old David Pearce from Walsall. The final design features four emblems to represent each of the nations of the United Kingdom – the English rose, the leek for Wales, the Scottish thistle, and the shamrock for Northern Ireland – emerging from a single stem within a crown. The new coin will enter circulation in 2017.
Sunday, 15 March 2015
Supermarket chain Morrisons has reported profits down by 52% to £345m, its worst results in eight years. "This has been a controlled and a planned reset of the business - it is painful, but it is the start of a new growth period we hope," chairman Andrew Higginson told the BBC. Morrisons also said the rollout of its M stores would be "slowed significantly", and that it would close 23 M local stores during the year, resulting in the loss of 380 jobs. It also said it would review its "site selection criteria" going forward. It is the UK's fourth-largest supermarket chain, trailing Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury's in annual sales. The plan is to return to success is simple "more customers buying more from us" and they hope by leading on price they will be able to win the supermarket war!
An Edinburgh five-star hotel is to serve Scotland's first cup of homegrown tea. The Balmoral Hotel on Princes Street is serving white or smoked tea, grown by The Wee Tea Plantation at the Dalreoch estate in Amulree, Perthshire. A pot of tea in the hotel's Palm Court will cost £10. It can also be served with a Scottish cream tea. While the plant is normally at home in the humid climes of India, China and Taiwan, the Wee Tea pioneers realised that once plants had matured enough they could thrive even in the relatively cold conditions of central Scotland. The UK consumes 165 million cups of tea every day.The Wee Tea Company's specialist smoked white tea has won the prestigious gold standard award at the Salon du The awards in Paris, one of the biggest accolades in the tea world.
Adlens. The Oxford-based company specialises in “adjustable focus eyewear” – glasses that can change their strength at the turn of a dial, depending on what activity you’re using them for. Around 600,000 pairs have been bought around the world in almost four years – including in the developing world. The idea is based on technology from the 1960s developed by the Nobel prize-winning physicist Luis Alvarez. When they were initially developed in the 1960s, each lens cost $1,000, according to Dr Graeme MacKenzie. Thanks to modern technology advancements they now being sold for around £30. The company claims that capturing 3% of the existing market for varifocals in America would be worth around $180m.
Wednesday, 11 March 2015
As the brand behind so much of the popular technology we use today, Apple's logo is one of the most recognisable in the world. Or is it? Researchers at the University of California asked 85 people to draw it from memory, and then scored their attempts for accuracy. Only one person got it right. When asked to pick the correct logo out of a line-up of 12 similar designs, fewer than half the participants chose the correct one. The surprising results were said to support the theory that over-exposure to a logo does not necessarily mean our memories of it will be accurate. Quite the opposite might be true, in fact. How would you get on?
Google has opened its first-ever branded shop to be called The Google shop, will sell the company’s range of Android phones and tablets, Chromebook laptops, and Chromecast TV services. The shop will hold tutorials showing consumers how to use the devices and hold demonstrations showing off key Google apps.It is the first time that Google has opened a shop under its own name and highlights how online companies are increasingly exploring ways to open physical stores. James Elias, the UK marketing director for Google, said: “We’re incredibly excited to launch this space - the first of its kind anywhere in the world - in London with Currys PC World.
Two talented young entrepreneurs from Whitley Bay High School have won the national enterprise competition Tycoon In Schools. Friends George Peterson and Finley Stewart were confirmed joint winners at a ceremony in Buckingham Palace yesterday, attended by nine groups of finalists and the competition founder, Peter Jones CBE. The pair impressed with their company, Mount, which specialises in handmade cruiser skateboards that double up as wall art. Fellow Whitley Bay student Kara Riall, who set up CakeKara, was also at the event, finishing runner up in the Key Stage 4 category.
Sunday, 8 March 2015
Vodafone has became one of the first companies in the world to offer all female staff at least four months’ maternity leave, whatever the local legal requirements.The telecoms giant said yesterday that by the end of this year, the 31,900 women it employs across 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Europe and the US will be offered at least 16 weeks fully paid maternity leave, as well as receiving full pay for a 30-hour week for the first six months after their return to work. The move will particularly affect some 1,000 female employees at Vodafone who live in countries that pay little or no statutory maternity care.
Employees are increasingly shying away from taking a proper break from work during the day, a new study shows, which may impact creativity and productivity in the workplace. A recent poll of over 1000 North American employees showed that 81 per cent do not take what would have been considered a traditional lunch break, by stepping away from their desk in the middle of the day. Those who do not take a break often feel their productivity plummet around 3pm. BUPA, the private healthcare company, has conducted research showing that in the UK just three in ten people take their allotted hour. This results in lost productivity that costs small businesses £50 million a day. Half of those surveyed said the weight of their workload was too great to justify a break.
A new venture serving only porridge-based dishes follows trend for ‘brinner’ – using foods associated with breakfast and ‘reinventing’ them for dinner has launched in London. The cafe is brainchild of 31-year-old Nik Williamson who quit his job two years ago in the City to run a street food stall specialising in slow-cooked British meats. A visit to a cafe in Copenhagen which served only porridge convinced him of the value of a similar venue in London. The Porridge Cafe serves 25 different varieties of porridge made from 11 different grains and features sweet as well as savoury options. Prices range from £2.35 for a bowl of basic porridge up to £7 for the hearty versions with meat & veg toppings. Before you judge, do you remember the cereal cafe? The have sold 35,000 bowls of Cap'n Crunch since they opened on 10th Dec.
Thursday, 5 March 2015
Chancellor George Osborne will announce his last Budget before the May General Election on 18 March. As political leaders prepare to do battle over the nation's financial future, Sky News has produced a video showcasing the debate in rap.
Coca-Cola has lost its fizz of late. With the war on sugar raging, the brand lost £30m in UK retail sales last year - as arch rival Pepsi enjoyed a boom driven by its sugar-free Pepsi Max So Coca-Cola revealed a shake-up that will bring the four sub-brands under a single Coca-Cola brand. The plan is designed to raise the profile of Coke's no and lower calorie products and help consumers better understand their role. This is a classic example of confusion between brands, communications and packaging which Coca-Cola hope to try and resolve.
Today, shares in the 75-year-old Newcastle-based baker closed at an all-time high at 963p after it revealed record breaking pre-tax profits, up 49 per cent at £49.7m on sales up 5.5 per cent at £804m. Now all the debt-free Greggs has to decide is what to do with all its spare cash. Two options are: a share buyback programme, which could force the share price even higher, or a special dividend.It currently turns over 2.5 million sausage rolls and a million cups of coffee a week across its 1,650 sites, which it wants to grow to 2,000. Story contribution thanks to Nathan Parr.
Global restaurant chain McDonald's is to begin reducing the use of antibiotics in its chicken products. It will focus on removing those antibiotics that can have an impact on human health, but keep those necessary for poultry welfare.Many poultry producers in US give their birds antibiotics to make them grow faster. But overuse of the drugs could lead to them becoming less effective in treating illness and disease in humans.The changes come in response to growing consumer demand for food made with natural ingredients only.Last month, Swiss food giant Nestle announced that it would be removing all artificial flavours and colours from its chocolate products in the US.
Sunday, 1 March 2015
Samsung S6 & S6 Edge with curved screen was unveiled yesterday at the Barcelona Mobile World Congress. The S6 and S6 Edge have a completely redesigned look and feel and have ditched the cheap plastic for premium metal and glass. Samsung have revamped the design, upgraded the camera and installed in-built support for wireless charging. The S6 Edge uses its curves to provide a couple of services such as colour caller ID/notifications and information such as time and weather. There were lots of comparison to Apple in the war over the smartphone with Samsung claiming better camera resolution and faster charging time. Samsung are still the best-selling smartphone maker and a lot is resting on this phones new appeal.
The cinema experience is certainly not a cheap one and this week saw the end of Orange Wednesdays, an offer for Orange customers - now part of EE - to get two for one tickets every Wednesday at most of the UK's cinemas. Now, after more than 10 years, it is no more. But help is at hand, literally. UsherU, which launches next month, is an app that gives cinemas the ability to send out alerts when a screening has a lot of empty seats. Nearby UsherU users will be invited to pop in for a movie with some kind of bargain acting as bait - a cheaper ticket, some free food, or any other number of enticing offers. Only currently on offer for London cinemas but the potential is there to get people going back to the cinema.
It's the gold and white or blue and black dress that broke the internet. Whether you think it's white or gold or blue or black, this does has got everyone talking - including advertisers. Never ones to miss an opportunity, some of the best known brands in the UK - from Lego to Domino's, Ikea and Manchester United - spotted the advertising potential and quickly created some white and gold (or black and blue? Brown and blue?) creations of their own. Follow the link to see others...