Category ArchiveFood

Food & Shopping 13 Sep 2011 08:50 am

Free Money from Whole Foods

Whole Foods
Whole Foods, the organic grocer, teamed up with Living Social in a nationwide campaign. Giving away $10 per customer is one way to get people into a store nicknamed “Whole Paycheck.”

The deal is scheduled to run on Tuesday and is available to existing LivingSocial subscribers and anyone who registers for the service.

LivingSocial has agreed a cap of one million vouchers. Once purchased, buyers use a code to convert the voucher into a gift card in Whole Foods stores.

The daily deal business has grown into a multibillion dollar a year industry since Groupon started in late 2008. The two sector leaders have been expanding into different categories as they prepare for big initial public offerings, possibly later this year.

Food 08 Apr 2008 05:11 am

Free Starbucks Coffee Today


At noon at participating Starbucks you’ll be able to get a sample of their new Pike Place coffee. It’s part of Starbuck’s plan to get people excited about their coffee again and liven up sales.

How does it taste? A Chicago Starbucks ran out of coffee and started selling Pike Place early. The Chicago Tribune’s Monica Eng gave us a review:

So here’s the scoop: Pike Place delivers a pretty great cup of joe. It’s got a light fruity and nutty aroma, a smooth feel on the tongue but nice body and no wimpy finish. This lighter roast (clearly a response to widespread complaints about Starbucks’s penchant for over-roasting) allows a broader spectrum of flavors and aromatics to emerge, things that can sometimes be burnt away in a darker roast. Starbucks might not like this, but it kind of reminds me of Dunkin’ Donuts’ house coffee.

“Starbucks’ New Pike Place Roast Drips Out Early in Gold Coast” [via Starbucks Gossip]

Food 03 May 2007 05:26 am

Profit Boost Means More Mint Juleps for Yum Brands

Yum Brands logos

Rats couldn’t stop Yum Brands (YUM) from boosting profits 14%. The dirty, nasty rodents who starred on an internet video clip scurrying around a New York City Taco Bell/KFC are the company’s excuse for a 12% decrease in domestic sales. Fortunately for Yum foreigners didn’t care about the sanitary conditions of Big Apple stores. International sales shot up 56% in the first quarter.

Yum’s numbers should make for an enjoyable Kentucky Derby, sponsored by the Louisville-based company. The first round of mint juleps are on CEO David Novak.

In related news Yum announced that KFC and Taco Bell are now trans fat free. The rats rejoice. Nothing is worse than eating food off the floor only to find out it’s plugging up your arteries.


Food 26 Feb 2007 07:36 am

Schultz: Starbucks Everywhere Isn’t So Hot

Endless Starbucks

Last week, a memo from Starbucks (SBUX) founder and chairman Howard Schultz leaked onto the internet. The title briskly states: “The Commoditization of the Starbucks Experience.” In it he writes about “Some people even call our stores sterile, cookie cutter;” automatic espresso machines ruining the site lines to the baristas, and even the lack of coffee smells due to freshness packaging. The “commoditization” of the brand has opened it up to “small and large coffee companies, fast food operators, and mom and pops, to position themselves in a way that creates awareness, trial and loyalty of people who previously have been Starbucks customers.”


Food 30 Jan 2007 07:32 am

McDonald’s Making Fries Trans Fat Free

Supersize me

Trans fats are on the path of oblivion at McDonald’s (MCD). Their trans fat-free replacement oil formula is set for New York City with its July 1 ban, but due to supply issues we’re not sure when the rest of the U.S. will enjoy trans fat free fries. McDonald’s has to be careful with their franchise spuds. Even perception alters behavior:

In 2002, McDonald’s was the first of the major fast-food chains to announce plans to remove trans fats from its oil. But the company recanted several months later. Executives were primarily concerned that people might not like the change in taste. In fact, when McDonald’s said it was simply thinking about the change — but well before the change was actually made — some consumers began complaining to the company that they didn’t like the change in the taste, Knapp says.

McDonald’s and other fast food chains moved to trans fats after critics complained about the high levels of saturated fats in their foods. One only wonders what critics will say about the golden arches in a few years.


Advertising & Food 24 Jan 2007 07:44 am

Man Law: Your Ads Go Away if the Beer Can’t Sell

Eddie Griffin in Man Law commercial
Beer commercials have been a staple at burning funny, memorable moments into your tiny, little skulls. At work today if you mention rubber floors many will tell you how funny they think those Bud Light ads are. With the Man Law series of ads it Miller Lite came upon something as hooky as their “Great Taste, Less Filling” ads in the 70s and 80s. It didn’t hurt to have the ads loaded with entertainers, football players, bull riders, and pro wrestlers. But ads are all about selling the product. The Man Law ads made for some laughs, but it didn’t seal the deal for Miller Lite:

However, Miller Lite’s sales were uneven during the campaign, which also featured radio spots.

The company reported last week that Miller Lite’s sales grew 1.5% during the quarter that ended Dec. 31, compared with the same period one year earlier. That came after an unspecified “low single-digit decline” during the six months ending Sept. 30, a period that coincided with much of the “Man Laws” campaign.

For the full year, Miller Lite’s sales dropped an estimated 0.5% in 2006, according to Beer Marketer’s Insights.

Miller Lite is now running ads focusing on the awards its beer has won and mocking competitiors who “add” “GHT” to their reduced-calorie brews. Miller CEO Tom Long told Beer Business Daily, “It’s a great campaign, but the environment has changed a lot since we originally set out with it. We feel like it’s time to start putting some more focus back on the reasons why Miller Lite is simply a better beer than other competitive light beers.”

The Men of the Square Table might make a return, but judging by the lack of a sales boost why bother?


Food 17 Jan 2007 05:54 pm

McDonald’s Sales Surge

McDonald's logo

McDonald’s (MCD) boosted sales and the stock went up with them:

Brisk customer traffic both in the U.S. and abroad helped McDonald’s Corp. accelerate its robust growth in December as global same-store sales rose 7.2%. The fast-food behemoth also said Wednesday it expects fourth-quarter profit to come in ahead of Wall Street’s expectations.

Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald’s said same-store sales — or sales at stores open at least a year — rose by 6.3% for the fourth quarter and by 5.7% for all of 2006.

Snack Wraps (yum!), chicken sandwiches, and breakfast foods accounted for the rise in U.S. sales. Deutsche Bank’s Marc Greenberg also thinks Taco Bell’s e.coli trouble helped.

Jennifer Lopez and her husband (remember him?) had no trouble doing their part in boosting sales. They’re “lovin’ it.”


Food 03 Jan 2007 06:16 am

Trans Fats Percolate from Starbucks

Starbucks muffin

Starbucks (SBUX) is joining Wendy’s, KFC, and Taco Bell and moving away from trans fats in their foods:

Starting Wednesday, all donuts, muffins and other treats sold in half of Starbucks Corp.’s standalone U.S. stores will be completely free of trans fats, the company said.

The world’s largest specialty coffee retailer hopes to cut trans fats from the rest of its U.S. and Canadian stores by the end of the year, spokesman Brandon Borrman said.

“Our focus has always been on providing our customers with healthy and nutritious food options,” he said.

Trans fats, listed on food labels as partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, are thought to boost “bad” cholesterol and decrease “good” cholesterol.

The fats have attracted attention from health regulators, most notably in New York, where city officials have approved a ban on trans fats in restaurants and eateries.

Borrman said Starbucks’ move was not prompted by the New York ban. “This is something we’ve been working on, on our own, for a couple of years now,” he said.

Company-owned Starbucks stores in Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Portland, Ore. will have zero trans fats in their food as of Wednesday, Borrman said.

Notice the move wasn’t due to New York city health police. It’s the free market at work.

Take the company’s concerns about nutrition with a ground of coffee since they sell lots of calorie-loaded frappuccinos. Then there’s Tammy Bruce’s big-city conspiracy theory.


Food 13 Dec 2006 11:29 pm

Lettuce Likely Source of Taco Bell’s E. Coli


The health Sherlocks think they finally found the source of the E. coli that got 71 people sick in the Northeast. It wasn’t the cheddar cheese or the ground beef. It was the lettuce:

“That I would say is the most likely vehicle. I would warn we are not done with the investigation,” Dr. Christopher Braden, a medical epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters.

The lettuce hasn’t been tested. It’s a statistical inference. Scientists came to their conclusion via spreadsheet. The AP’s Andrew Bridges writes, “it was the item that victims most commonly reported eating.”

Health officials in Iowa and Minnesota also think bad lettuce is the source of an E. coli outbreak at Taco John’s. With 200 people getting sick this fall from tainted spinach McDonald’s must be glad they didn’t re-launch the McDLT.

Seriously, the bad news from the past few months could really hurt vegetable farmers. That’s why Congressman Sam Farr (D-CA) said in a statement, “This outbreak highlights the need for additional research into E. coli and fresh produce so that the industry, food processors, retailers and consumers can make the best food safety decisions possible.” There will be plenty of hearings on this subject.

At least in New South Wales, Australia their leafy veggies are ok. You can eat like a rabbit to your heart’s content.

Read [via Drudge]

Company News & Food 13 Dec 2006 02:25 pm

Taco John’s Finds New Veggie Vendor

Taco John's logo

Taco John’s joins Taco Bell by having its own E. coli outbreak:

U.S. fast-food chain Taco John’s said on Wednesday that it is switching produce vendors for about 100 of its Mexican-themed restaurants, after an outbreak of E. coli sickened 54 of its customers.

The illnesses, which coincide with an E. coli outbreak at larger rival Taco Bell, owned by Yum Brands Inc. (YUM.N: Quote, Profile , Research), occurred at three Taco John’s restaurants in Iowa and Minnesota, far from the Northeastern states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, where most of the Taco Bell cases occurred.

Brian Dixon, marketing vice president for Taco John’s declined to name either of the vendors involved. They supply lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, yellow onions and green peppers to all three restaurants. He did say that his company did not use the same suppliers as Taco Bell.

Just avoid all fake Mexican fast food joints. That’s usually good advice 99% of the time, but there are those late night occasions (usually after consuming lots of alcohol) were a bean burrito sounds really, really good. Resist! At least until the taco twosome can get some clean veggies and tell their employees to wash their hands.


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