Posts tagged with "Chicago"

The top ten candy treats at Sweets & Snacks Expo

June 3, 2019

Millennials are being credited for some of the most talked about trends at Sweets & Snacks Expo, May 21-23 at Chicago’s McCormick Place, The Chicago Tribune’s Louisa Chu reports.

She tells us that the buzziest products at the event—hosted by the National Confectioners Association and formerly known as the Candy Show—generated conversations ranging from multisensorial experiences, to better-for-you shareables, to Millennial pink chocolate.

The winner of the Best in Show Award for Innovation was the Trolli Sour Crunchy Crawlers by Ferrara Candy, made in Bellwood, west of Chicago.  Look for the colorful watermelon and strawberry, orange and raspberry, plus cherry and lemon flavor combinations in stores this December.

 “The Sour Crunchy Crawlers are a take on our traditional Sour Brite Crawlers, but we added a texture differential with the crunchy coating,” said Tessa Porter, director of Research and Development for the company. Translation? They’re crunchy coated candy shells on the outside and gummy on the inside, explained Porter.

Filling out the rest of the top ten, according to the Tribune’s Chu, are the following:

  • Ruby chocolate by Barry Callebaut: This pink chocolate tastes exactly like berries infused into white chocolate, but it’s not. Billed as the new fourth chocolate (after white, milk, and dark), ruby chocolate is made from ruby cocoa beans through processing created by Barry Callebaut of Zurich, Switzerland. It’s been available to professionals for a few years—and is, perhaps, best-known to consumers in the form of Kit Kats made in Asia. The product is launching widely soon.
  • Ketchup with mustard and pickle potato chips by Luke’s Organic: These are crunchy kettle chips with all the flavors of a McDonald’s hamburger. Inspired by Canadian ketchup potato chips, but thoroughly American, this snack was a sleeper hit at the show. Look for it in stores later this month.
  • Smokehouse sausage sticks by Bridgford Foods: These snappy, spicy meat snacks are available in three flavors: original, teriyaki, and hot ‘n’ spicy.
  • Cacao selection chocolate by Ritter Sport: The German chocolate company with a cult following has introduced single-origin chocolate bars, in this case each one made with cacao beans from one specific country: silky smooth dark milk from Ghana, a fine dark from Nicaragua, and an intense dark from Peru. Plus, new to this country, look for the lovely summer seasonal strawberry mousse and a year-round dark chocolate with almond and orange.
  • Extreme BeanBoozled jelly beans by Jelly Belly: Just the “bad” flavors in one box. Now, instead of wondering if you’re getting peach or barf, there’s just the latter; plus booger, canned dog food, dead fish, dirty dishwater, rotten egg, skunk spray, stinky socks, spoiled milk and stink bug.
  • Atomz by Toxic Waste Candy: Are Millennials killing sour candy? The character known as Professor Sauernoggin explained that the small crisp and chewy balls are less extreme than their so-called “hazardously sour” classic candies, packaged in cute little leaking toxic waste barrels. Possibly to appeal to an aging palate?
  • Crunchy Strawberry Pocky by Glico: Pocky fans should prepare for a new flavor this summer with these skinny biscuits dipped in tart and creamy strawberry coating and bits of real strawberry. What seems to be freeze-dried bits of fruit add a nice tart flavor and texture, that is if collectors can bear to open their boxes.
  • Root Beer Float Peeps by Just Born: Ice cream soda in a marshmallow. This flavor was available as a limited edition this Easter, but only at Kroger stores. Next year, you can find it everywhere.
  • Kit Kat Mint + Dark Chocolate Duos: In response to Kit Kat culture—primarily in Japan, where dozens of flavors, including green tea can be found year-round and seasonal flavors like cherry blossom sell out immediately—we’re finally getting one of our own. The pale, mint green cream over dark chocolate layers looks exciting, but tastes familiar.

Research contact: @louisachu

Starbucks Delivers expands to more U.S. cities, powered by Uber Eats

January 23, 2019

After a successful pilot test in Miami, on January 22, Starbucks announced the expansion of its delivery service to another six cities nationwide.

The rollout, in partnership with Uber Eats, began on Tuesday in San Francisco—and the company says that it “remains on track to bring Starbucks Delivers to nearly one-quarter of [our] U.S. company-operated stores, “ with planned expansion to select stores in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C., in the coming weeks.

According to the Seattle-based coffee chain, the Miami test, also powered by Uber Eats, saw “strong demand, including repeat business throughout the day and positive feedback from customers.”

What’s more, Starbucks Delivers will launch a new pilot later this month in London—its first in Europe, also powered by Uber Eats—following other overseas delivery initiatives in China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Mexico, Columbia, and Chile.

The company plans on tapping into a global $95 billion online food delivery market. partnership Starbucks will leverage Uber’s expertise as one of the fastest-growing meal delivery services in the United States—reaching Uber’s current customers, as well as offering the existing Starbucks clientele a new method for including the chain’s beverages in their daily routines.

“We know we have untapped customer demand for Starbucks Delivers in the United States and, starting today, we’re expanding our best-in-class experience to our customers both in and out of our stores,” said Roz Brewer, group president and chief operating officer for Starbucks. “We’re building on key learnings from past delivery pilots and by integrating our ordering technology directly with Uber Eats, we’ve unlocked the ability to bring Starbucks to customers for those times when they’re not able to come to us.”

Customers will be able to access Starbucks Delivers through the Uber Eats mobile app, available on iOS and Android devices. With approximately 95% of core menu items available directly from the Starbucks menu, customers will be able to customize their orders just as they would when ordering on Starbucks mobile apps. Delivery orders will come with an initial $2.49 booking fee.

“At Uber Eats, we’re always looking for new ways to offer people the widest selection of food they love. That’s why we’re so excited to deliver Starbucks fans their favorite food and beverages in a way that’s as easy as requesting a ride,” said Jason Droege, VP and head of UberEverything. “Be it breakfast delivered straight to the soccer field or afternoon lattés to the office, we know this partnership will delight our customers.”

Starbucks Delivers represents the next evolution of the company’s approach to delivery and expanding its digital relationships with customers. In addition to the pilot in Miami and a pilot in the Empire State Building, Starbucks previously tested delivery in Seattle in 2015 for members of the company’s Starbucks Rewards loyalty program.

Starbucks Delivers was first announced in August 2018 in China through a partnership with Alibaba and on-demand food delivery service Ele.me. By the end of 2018, delivery services had expanded to 2,000 stores across 30 cities in China, while also being introduced to select stores in Tokyo and Miami.

Research contact: #starbucksdelivery

UK ‘player’ Hamleys may expand into U.S. toy sector

December 11, 2018

Although Toys R Us has returned as a pop-up store at Kroger for the holidays (and maybe longer), the retailer that used to rule the toy realm is just a shadow of its former self. And, without the industry leading Toys R Us megastores, nationwide, an $11 billion toy industry has been left with no dominant retail player in the sector, reported CNBC on December 10.

Companies like TargetWalmartAmazon and Kohl’s are trying this holiday season to sell more toys to kids and their parents, but the verdict is still out on which company will best fill the void that Toys R Us left behind, the news outlet said.

But now—seeing a huge opportunity— one iconic, international toy retailer could soon make its first move into the States with a flagship location in New York, and plans for a wider rollout of stores to follow. British toy retailer Hamleys is close to finalizing a deal for roughly 30,000 square feet at 2 Herald Square in Manhattan, near Macy’s and Victoria’s Secret, a person familiar with those negotiations told CNBC, requesting anonymity because the talks are confidential. The store is expected to open in 2020, should the deal go through, said the source—cautioning talks are still ongoing between the tenant and landlord and nothing has been finalized.

According to CNBC, Hamleys has been around since 1760 when it opened its first location in England. Today, it has a flagship shop on tourist destination Regent Street in London, in addition to locations all across the Middle East, Asia and Africa. And in North America, Hamleys has three stores in Mexico.

In the United Kingdom, Hamleys’ stores are known to draw kids in for exciting experience, including the opportunity to play with life-size Lego figures. Often, employees dress up as fictional characters to entertain shoppers. This excitement in stores is what many people say the toy industry is now missing in the United States, CNBC reports. And shoppers prefer it to the online experience, where it is impossible to pick up a toy and look at it, or try it.

After an opening in New York, Hamleys would likely mote into other  major markets such as Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami to open store;  and would consider moving into some of the more profitable malls in the country, said the person familiar with its plans.

Hamleys didn’t immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

Research contact: @laurenthomasx3