Candy companies are offering a sneak peek at the new products they plan to debut this week at the National Confectioners Association's 2018 Sweets and Snacks Expo in Chicago. Among the launches are Starburst Gummies Sour Berries, Juicy Fruit Collisions gum, SweeTarts Gummies and Big Chewy Nerds.
Coca-Cola is rolling out its Simply Light line of juices in four flavors, featuring reduced sugar and calories compared to the company's standard Simply line. "We know consumers are increasingly looking for lower-calorie, lower-sugar beverages, and that their options in the juice category are limited," said Brand Director Kelly Marx of the company's decision to release the new product range.
When using technological tools to serve customers, it's also important to leverage generational insights to help introduce human elements to the overall consumer experience, said Gwen Brannon, Coca-Cola's director of guest insights and analytics. "Just throwing one more app out there is not enough," she said during a recent presentation at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago.
Magnum is launching a pop-up store in New York City this June where customers can add custom toppings to the company's ice cream chocolate bars. The dipping bar will include 20 ingredients for customers to choose from.
Technology has played a key role in expansion at Starbucks and tech innovation remains on the front burner as the coffee chain works to increase traffic and sales. "They have a test, learn, and adjust mentality; they embrace change, and they don't worry about being perfect," said Tom Kneubuehl, an executive at UK-based cloud technology firm Preoday.
Emerging technologies such as facial recognition and robotics can help streamline operations and enhance the guest experience, panelists said during a session at The National Restaurant Association Show. Global trends expert Daniel Burrus moderated the panel discussion that included the chief executives of Bear Robotics and Cali Group, who showcased new technologies being tested in restaurants.
Mars Inc. is working to achieve the goals set out in its Sustainable in a Generation plan, including an intention to cut indirect emissions by 66% by 2050. "We're going to need some breakthroughs in technology and new partnerships, as well as new ways of thinking to get to our 2050 target," said Chief Procurement and Sustainability Officer Barry Parkin.
Essentia will achieve nationwide direct store distribution for its premium waters by the end of June, said CEO Ken Uptain. The company is also expanding its marketing and sales efforts to boost the brand's profile, he said.
McDonald's will debut the MIX by Sprite Tropic Berry flavor this week, along with a line of clothing inspired by the new variety. Fans can buy the beverage and the fashion pieces at participating McDonald's locations.
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