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Beauty Marketers Enlist AI Apps For Personalized Campaigns

July 3, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Beauty brands are adopting artificial intelligence technologies, including augmented reality, to create personalized marketing. With 70 percent of American women beauty buyers claiming being overwhelmed by product choices in a May 2018 survey by marketing firm Automat, beauty marketers see the need to provide consumers with product recommendations tailored to their needs. Beauty retailer Sephora’s Virtual Artist, for example, lets users upload photos in Messenger to virtually try on lipstick shades recommended by bots. However, marketers need to convince consumers to try and be comfortable with AI-enabled initiatives, with about a third of respondents saying they were unsure about using a virtual beauty advisor.[Image Credit: © Sephora USA, Inc.]
Krista Garcia, "Beauty Marketers Are Getting Personal with AI", eMarketer , July 03, 2018, © eMarketer Inc
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Blockchain’s Innovative Features Whet Restaurants’ Appetite For Safety And Openness

July 1, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Restaurant companies are trying blockchain applications to manage their various operations, including customer loyalty programs and supply chains. For example, Chanticleer Holdings uses blockchain, which is a digital, peer-to-peer technology designed to store encrypted data and protect it from fraud, to manage its loyalty program. With blockchain, the company is letting customers earn points and rewards across its restaurant brands. Closely linked to the cryptocurrency bitcoin, blockchain lets users share and access data through a decentralized system that is both open and anonymous. However, developers can add safeguards and safety parameters to the technology. 

Kevin Hardy, "Explaining the Rise of Blockchain in Restaurants", QSR Magazine, July 01, 2018, © Journalistic, Inc
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Voice Tech Expected To Be Major Part Of Marketing Strategies, Industry Movers Say

June 25, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Several marketing professionals present the reasons why marketers should be aware of developments related to voice technology and connected devices and be ready to use them. Originals at Adidas global director of digital and retail marketing, Swave Szymczyk, said “voice is set to become the next big input into our computers,” which will enable users to simply ask their digital assistant for anything, including a brand or commodity. Lego Group head of global search marketing Luis Navarrete Gomez said marketers need to ask how they can use voice technology to improve user experience. Bauer Media group managing director of advertising Abby Carvosso said brands within her company are expressing interest in new forms of voice activation. [Image Credit: © Kaufdex ]
"Listen up: here's why do you need to think about voice now", The Drum, June 25, 2018, © Carnyx Group Ltd
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Voice Search Helps Brands And Marketers Regain Trust Of Consumers

June 25, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Voice search technology can help marketers and advertisers regain the trust of consumers. Recent studies, such as the one by ExpressVPN, have revealed that consumers do not trust how brands and tech companies collect and use user data. To regain user trust, marketers should adopt a conversational approach, which is increasingly becoming possible as consumers become more at ease with using their voice to interact with their devices. Voice search allows consumers to actively search for what they want instead of “being fed” by a non-voice system. [Image Credit: © PhotoMIX-Company ]

Jon Heim, "How voice search can help regain consumer trust", The Drum, June 25, 2018, © Carnyx Group Ltd
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Coca-Cola Tests Newest Generation Of Beverage Dispenser For Restaurants

June 22, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Coca-Cola’s newest generation beverage dispenser – the Freestyle 9100 – is being tested regionally in several undisclosed national restaurant chain locations. The 9100 features a 24-inch high-definition screen that makes it easier to select among 200 drink choices, including 117 low- or no-calorie options. The machine is Bluetooth-enabled to allow app users to select a favorite drink or mix a custom drink before entering a restaurant. The machine has a larger ice capacity, larger drip tray, and enhanced diagnostics for monitoring inventory. The new operating system allows client restaurants to create custom drinks: Wendy’s, for example, created Dave’s Cherry Cream Soda using the 9100.

Nancy Luna, "Tech Tracker: Coca-Cola tests Next-Gen Freestyle machine", Nation’s Restaurant News, June 22, 2018, © Informa USA, Inc.
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AI Technology Runs Smart Stores In China Built By Coca-Cola, Yi Tunnel

June 21, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

A smart self-service convenience store selling Coca-Cola beverages in Changsha, China – without clerks or cash – is part of a new experiment in the country under Coke’s “520 Program” promoting the growth of women entrepreneurship. The hi-tech cooler was built by jointly by Coca-Cola and YI Tunnel using AI technology. Smart stores like the one in Changsha not only attract younger consumers, they are more efficient to operate, according to Yi Tunnel, which expects more traditional convenience and retail stores to also adopt the technology.

"Coca-Cola China Teams Up With YI Tunnel to Build the First AI-Based Smart Freezer and Test the Waters for the AI-Enabled New Retail", Newswire.com , June 21, 2018, © Newswire.com LLC
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L’Oréal To Roll Out AR And Livestreaming Platform To All Of Its Brands

June 18, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Beauty company L’Oréal unveiled a new service to be rolled out later this year for its NYX Professional brand. The digital beauty assistant uses augmented reality and livestreaming to bring a personalized makeup counter experience to consumers’ homes. The company plans to roll out the solution, based on its March 2018 Modiface acquisition, for all of its brands across 65 markets. L’Oréal chose NYX as the first brand to offer the service because it is a “very social brand, a pro brand and a retail brand,” according to L’Oréal’s chief digital officer, Lubomira Rochet.[Image Credit: © NYX Professional Makeup]
Kristina Monllos, "L’Oreal Is Bringing the Makeup Counter Experience Into Your Home With AR and Livestreaming", Adweek, June 18, 2018, © Adweek
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Wunder2 Partners With YouCam Makeup For Virtual Try-On Website Feature

June 15, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Wunder2 Cosmetics signed up YouCam Makeup to add a virtual try-on component to its website. The partnership covers the company’s color cosmetics ranges, but other products will be added later. The products can also be accessed through the YouCam Makeup application, allowing the app’s existing users to “try on” makeup looks and 25 items from the range. Wunder2 is also considering offering the service through its retail partners.[Image Credit: © www.wunder2.eu]
Faye Brookman, "Wunder2 Partners With YouCam Makeup For Virtual Try-On Website Feature", WWD, June 15, 2018, © Penske Media Corp.
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Microsoft, Partner Preparing To Fight For Share Of Cashier-Less Technology Market Against Amazon, Reports Say

June 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Microsoft and its partner, AVA Retail, are developing a technology for grocery stores that will monitor the products that shoppers pick up, eliminating the need for checkout cashiers. Originally designed to gather data about in-store shoppers, the technology is being upgraded by the partners for physical stores. Amazon could sell to other retailers its cashier-less technology, Amazon Go, which lets shoppers swipe an app when they enter a store and keeps track of their purchases. However, retailers are likely to favor the technology from Microsoft, which they see less of a competitor than Amazon. [Image Credit: © Negative Space from Pexels.com]

Rachel Lerman and Matt Day, "Microsoft may be aiming for Amazon with cashier-less shopping technology", The Seattle Times, June 14, 2018, © The Seattle Times
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Lush Tests New AI App In Package-Free Store

June 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Cosmetics company Lush is testing its Lush Lens mobile application, developed in-house. The app uses combines AI and product recognition, allowing users to scan products and access information, such as ingredient lists, even without packaging. It is being tested at Lush’s first ever “Naked” and package-free store in Milan, where visitors can use the app on the store’s Fairphone devices. Lush plans to roll out the app worldwide. It will also be available for consumers to download on to their smartphones.[Image Credit: © Lush Cosmetics]
Bia Bezamat, "Lush Tests New AI-Based App In Package-Free Store", The Current Daily, June 14, 2018, © THECURRENT
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Powered by AI, Future Shopping Malls To Highlight Health And Wellness Services

June 12, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

International shopping-center operator Westfield introduced its Destination 2028 retail concept. According to the proposal, the company sees the future shopping mall as a “hyper-connected micro-city,” which is powered by artificial intelligence, and integrates health and wellness services and community involvement. Westfield said the concept was developed based on a growing consumer interest in health and wellness. [Image Credit: © tweetyspics from Pixabay.com]

Sarah Tilley, "2028 Retail Futures", J. Walter Thompson Intelligence, June 12, 2018, © J. Walter Thompson
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Blend-It-Yourself Beauty Brands Are Adopting AI To Drive Personalization

June 11, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
More consumers are choosing personalized beauty products, and artificial intelligence is helping companies address this trend. Blend-it-yourself services, for example, provide customers with products tailored to meet their specific needs. Among the beauty brands using AI in this space to better understand their customers’ needs are Belle Bar, Prose, Skin Inc., and Function of Beauty. LOLI, launched in Spring 2018, also plans to use AI for its blend-it-yourself concept, allowing it to provide a more scalable solution.[Image Credit: © LOLI Beauty, Inc]
Emma Sandler, "How blend-it-yourself beauty is using technology to micro-personalize products", Glossy, June 11, 2018, © Digiday Media
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Alibaba Cloud Creates System For Raising Better Hogs

June 7, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Alibaba Cloud has developed ET Agricultural Brain, an artificial intelligence-enabled platform for helping agricultural enterprises, including hog farmers, in China. Proprietary in design, the system is aimed at helping farmers to improve their livestock raising and crop production through innovations. With a special focus on hog farming, ET Agricultural Brain uses algorithm-based models to develop an “exercise regimen” for pigs to improve their health, as well as their piglet yields. China is the world’s largest producer of pork, according to data from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. It also accounts for half of the world’s pork consumption, data from Singapore-based DBS showed.[Image Credit: © Alibaba]

Jenny W. Hsu, "That’s Some Pig: How AI’s Serving Up Better Pork in China", Alizila, June 07, 2018, © Alibaba Group Services Limited
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FoodLogiQ Plans Blockchain Pilot To Increase Transparency In Food Supply Chains

June 5, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Working with a series of partners, FoodLogiQ plans to explore ways blockchain can be used to boost supply chain transparency and food traceability. FoodLogiQ CTO, Charles Irizarry, says that blockchain in the food supply chain is still in its “infantile stage” and argues that companies need to better understand the business issues they face before implementing solutions. FoodLogiQ, which recently raised $19.5 million in funding, plans to test its software-as-a-service solution with a range of partners, including AgBiome Innovations, Subway/Independent Purchasing Cooperative, Testo, and Tyson Foods. Its pilot is expected to start in Q3 2018 and the company is seeking additional partners to work with.[Image Credit: © oodLogiQ: Food Safety, Traceability and Sustainability]
Katy Jones , "FoodLogiQ Announces Blockchain Pilot Alongside Industry Leaders", FoodLogiQ , June 05, 2018, © FoodLogiQ: Food safety, traceability and sustainability
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L’Oréal Acquires Tech Startup Modiface For Improves AI, AR Services

June 4, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
L’Oréal has acquired its first technology startup, Modiface, for an undisclosed sum to help the group improve how it incorporates advanced technology into its brand offerings. Lubomira Rochet, L’Oréal’s chief digital officer, underscored the importance of global brands adapting to digital developments in order to survive but also said that L’Oréal’s strategy is to determine the most appropriate technologies for its brands and scale them across the group’s websites and stores, but in a way that works for local conditions. It is looking to develop technologies via a number of routes, including acquisitions; Station-F, a startup campus in France; and the Founders Factory, a digital accelerator based in London.[Image Credit: © L’Oréal]
Kitty Knowles, "L'Oréal Snaps Up Startups: AR Beauty Is Just The Beginning Says CDO", Forbes.com, June 04, 2018, © Forbes Media LLC
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Saks Fifth Avenue Uses Magic Mirrors To Attract Instore Customers

May 29, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
As part of its efforts to lure buyers into its physical stores and compete with other retailers like Ulta and Sephora, Saks Fifth Avenue overhauled its beauty department and installed "magic mirrors”. Customers can opt to have the virtual look emailed to them. Magic mirrors are just one part of the store’s efforts to upgrade its beauty customer experience, which now includes a concierge to assist shoppers and space for treatment rooms and events, such as tutorials and presentations. A move to the second floor has allowed more space for the cosmetics department.[Image Credit: © Saks Fifth Avenue]
Charisse Jones, "Saks Fifth Avenue bets 'magic mirrors,' face workouts to beat Sephora and Ulta", USA TODAY , May 29, 2018, © USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, LLC.
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L'Oréal Showcases Beauty Technology Innovations At Industry Event

May 25, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
L'Oréal exhibited a number of its latest digital services and products at the Viva Technology Paris 2018 in May. The ‘New Beauty Experience’ highlighted how the beauty company is incorporating new technology, such as artificial intelligence and augmented reality, for personalization, new services and connected devices. Examples include try-on beauty using its recently-acquired Modiface AR platform; a smart mirror; virtual hair color try-on technology using 3D AI, for the Professionnel Division; a digital voice-based butler for the L’Oréal Paris Men Expert brand; a virtual mirror with a direct link to Alibaba’s Tmall platform in China; customized skin care for SkinCeuticals called Custom D.O.S.E; a new shower concept from La Roche-Posay; and a salon-based scalp and hair diagnostic test for the Kérastase brand.[Image Credit: © SkinCeuticals]
Lucy Whitehouse, "8 leading augmented reality innovations for beauty: L’Oréal’s latest efforts", Cosmetics Design Europe, May 25, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Bourjois' Magic Mirror May Turn Facebook Into A Shopping Experience

May 25, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
British technology agency Holition is working on a new Facebook mobile app feature that will allow beauty enthusiasts to try on makeup products virtually with special camera filters. For this project, Holition will utilize the technology behind the magic mirror of French beauty brand Bourjois in its Paris flagship store. Bourjois's magic mirror uses 3D sensing smart camera technology to show shoppers how cosmetics would look like on their faces when they touch select a product in the store. The mirror can also suggest makeup products applicable to the shoppers’ skin tones. Holition plans to produce similar results with its Facebook filter which will take advantage of the social media app's AR mesh software. The filter will eventually be connected to Facebook's deep linking feature that will help users know where to buy the makeup products.[Image Credit: © Coty Inc]
Katie Baron, "Bourjois' AR Magic Mirror Eyes An Extra Prize: Facebook's Deep Links Tool", Forbes.com, May 25, 2018, © Forbes Media LLC
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Polish Student Invents Edible Vegetarian Packaging Made From Kombucha

May 16, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Edible packaging is becoming a reality with the creation of Scoby, the brainchild of Polish design student, Roza Janusz. With the potential to help reduce the use of plastic in packaging, Scoby is a vegetarian wrapping material made by mixing sugars and other organic substances with kombucha, a fermented drink produced with yeast, bacteria, and tea. During the process, the biocellulose membrane forms on the surface of the mixture and layers into a sheet-like material, similar to how an onion grows. With its long shelf life, Scoby can be used to wrap farmers' produce including vegetables, fruits, herbs, and seeds. It can also be used to pack instant meals. Given Scoby's acidic PH level and mineral compounds, it can also be used by farmers as a natural fertilizer. While Scoby is not yet available in the market yet, Janusz said plans are in the pipeline to make this alternative packaging commercially available soon.  [Image Credit: © Growing Pakaging]

Jesus Diaz, "This new edible packaging is grown from kombucha", Fast Company Design, May 16, 2018, © Mansueto Ventures, LLC
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Cosmania Turns To AI, Machine Learning In Personalized Beauty Shopping Initiative

May 16, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Dutch beauty online retailer Cosmania now offers customers a more personalized shopping experience through a new digital consultant. It has partnered with Finnish startup Revieve and its Digital Beauty Advisor platform to provide users with personalized skincare advice, skin analysis and product recommendations, using a selfie. Cosmania said the partnership is a response to growing consumer demand for a more interactive, personalized shopping experience. Revieve's technology is just one of many applications trying to replicate the work of in-store consultants by machine-learning and AI. [Image Credit: © COSMANIA BV.]
Lucy Whitehouse , "Netherlands beauty retailer offers personalized beauty experience", Cosmetics Design Europe, May 16, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Hyundai Launches AR Virtual Make Up Try-On Service

May 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Hyundai Department Store launched an upgrade to its online mall in the form of a virtual make up try-on service powered by augmented reality (AR). The virtual service, offered via Meitu's Makeup Plus app, allows customers to try on more than 20 products across eight beauty brands without visiting a physical store, with plans to extend it to 20 brands. Hyundai said the AR approach is their way of differentiating themselves from other online retailers, which they said still focus on prices and delivery speed. Meitu's app has been downloaded more than 200-million times since its 2015 launch. 

"Beauty shopping gets AR upgrade", Korea JoongAng Daily, May 14, 2018, © Korea JoongAng Daily
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China A Focus For Automated Store Innovation

May 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

China has become the focus for companies looking to automate the physical shopping experience. Alibaba, Tencent and JD.com have all opened automated stores in the last few months, at the start of what they believe will be a large-scale rollout of personnel-free shops. The Chinese consumer's openness to high tech and willingness to try something new is expected to drive unprecedented growth of the retail industry in China as the country's 724 million mobile phone users increasingly accept mobile transactions. Improving internet connectivity and smartphone penetration are expected to boost sales even further, and retailers are also having to deal with labor pressures due to an aging population and the trend of millennials leaving retail to seek higher-paid work.

Ralph Jennings, "Why Unmanned Stores Are About To Take Off In China's Retail Market", Forbes.com, May 14, 2018, © Forbes Media LLC
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Asahi Introduces Transparent Café Latte Made With Espresso Extract

May 8, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Asahi has launched a transparent “clear espresso and milk” café latte drink in Japan. Though Clear Latte is made with espresso extract, whey minerals from raw milk, and pure water, it contains no caffeine or fat, and is low calorie. Clear versions of traditional drinks are making a splash in Japan, and include clear yogurt, milk tea and iced tea beverages introduced by Suntory in 2017. It is expected that Asahi’s Clear Latte will debut in the U.S. “in the near future.”

Nicolaus Li, "Asahi Releases a Clear Caffè Latte in Japan", Hypebeast, May 08, 2018, © Hypebeast Limited
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Revieve Launches White-Label AR Personalized Cosmetics Tool

May 7, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Finnish beauty tech firm Revieve is introducing a tool for brands and retailers to allow their customers to try on the full range of their products. Revieve AR Virtual Try-on is part of the company’s Digital Beauty Advisor integrated suite of white-label tools. It uses selfies to analyze faces to provide personalized product recommendations and advice. It will be available in e-commerce, in-store and social media channels. [Image Credit: © Revieve Inc.]

Natasha Spencer, "Seamless Asia eCommerce features AR beauty solution", Cosmetics Design Asia, May 07, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Walgreens Unveils Online Skin Care Advisor Tool For Acne-Prone People

May 3, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

To help customers determine the appropriate skin care regimen to treat acne, US beauty and personal care retailer Walgreens has launched an online skin care analysis tool called SkinID. The tool, hosted on Walgreens' website, utilizes Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc.'s SkinID technology and evaluates customers' skincare needs through a series of questions about their skin types and acne breakout experiences. It then recommends a personalized, three-step daily routine of cleansing, treatment, and moisturizing using products from Walgreens' pool of skin care brands. Walgreens’ Beauty Enthusiast club members can save their results on their online profiles. The tool is also available in select Walgreens stores.[Image Credit: © Walgreen Co.]

"Walgreens Launches Online Skincare Advisor SkinID™ to Provide Acne Sufferers with Personalized Skincare Regimens", Business Wire, May 03, 2018, © Business Wire, Inc.
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Cosmetic Giants Turn To AR Tech To Lure Customers

May 1, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Some of the biggest names in the cosmetic industry are seeing the value of augmented reality (AR) to boost customer reach and improve sales. MAC Cosmetics used AR to develop a mirror to show customers how they would look with makeup. According to the firm, this will help avoid "buyer's remorse" when shopping for makeup. Benefit Cosmetics launched a mobile app called Brow Try-On, which helps customers visualize their face with different eyebrow shapes and sizes. The app also has a tutorial that features Benefit products.

Romany Reagan, "Why AR Access Is Important for Retailers", Exchange Wire, May 01, 2018, © RETAILTECHNEWS
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Macy's Beauty Launches New Services To Improve The Shopper Experience

April 17, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Macy's Beauty is aiming to provide customers with an enhanced shopping experience online and in physical stores. For example, customers in some stores can use the YouCam Makeup magic mirror kiosks to try on makeup virtually, using selfies. Other aspects of the retailer’s drive include Beauty Playground, a program to keep its beauty advisors up to date on tips and products, and Macy’s Beauty Box, a $15 per month subscription service that provides samples and freebies. This is complemented by Macy’s Beauty’s new online campaign, the “Deeper Beauty”, aimed at helping women feel empowered and more confident. [Image Credit: © Macys.com, LLC]

"Find Your Beautiful at Macy’s This Spring", Business Wire , April 17, 2018, © Business Wire, Inc.
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Coca-Cola To Launch Its First Alcoholic Beverage, A Chu-Hi In Japan

March 9, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

In a first for the company, Coca-Cola plans to add an alcoholic beverage to its portfolio. Targeted for Japan, the alcopop will tap the country's rising demand for Chu-Hi - canned sparkling flavoured drinks with some shochu, a Japanese spirit. Chu-Hi, an abbreviation for shochu highball, is proving popular with female drinkers as an alternative to beer, although at 3% to 8% alcohol by volume it is substantially stronger Large national beverage companies, Kirin, Suntory and Asahi all have Chu-Hi brands, mostly with strong citrus flavors such as grapefruit or lemon although other fruit flavors are common too. The launch represents Coca-Cola’s efforts to innovate in premium segments at the margins of its core business. Jorge Garduno, Coca-Cola's Japan President, said it’s unlikely this drink will launch outside Japan but the model may prove instructive for other markets.

"Coca-Cola plans to launch its first alcoholic drink", BBC, March 09, 2018, © BBC
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Brewery/Bakery Partnership Recycles Surplus Bread Into Brewskis

February 24, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
A New York City bakery is collaborating with a brewery in a project whose overall mission is to cut food – especially bread – waste. Startup brewer Toast Ale uses unsold, but still fresh, bread donated by artisanal bakery Bread Alone, which also donates much of its surplus to churches, food pantries, and other charities. Toast Ale, like all brewers, needs food starch to make its product. The company gets at least some of its food starch from bread donated by Bread Alone Bakery. The starch forms sugars, that are eventually fermented to make beer. According to Toast Ale, it has brewed more than 5,000 gallons of beer in New York, and “saved more than 2,200 pounds of bread." [Image Credit: © ToastAle.com]
James Ford, "Drink Beer to Help Save the Planet? It’s happening in NYC", PIX11, February 24, 2018, © Tribune Broadcasting Company
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DuPont Enzyme Range Gives Manufacturers New Options For Baked Goods

February 20, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
DuPont Nutrition & Health has introduced a baking enzyme that acts as a strengthening solution to add tolerance and consistency to bread and buns. The DuPont Danisco POWERBake 6000 Dough Strengthener enzyme range was developed to enhance dough strength, but they also offer versatility. Used in combination with other enzymes and ingredients, the products can provide food manufacturers with a variety of new options and capabilities for baked goods. The products enhance the emulsification process; create a synergistic dough strengthening effect; improve tolerance to processing variations and raw materials; increase the volume of the final product; and improve crumb structure and whiteness. [Image Credit: © DuPont Danisco ]
Kevin Kuzma, "DuPont Nutrition & Health Debuts New POWERBake 6000 Product Range at ASB Baking Tech 2018", News release, DuPont, February 20, 2018, © DuPont Nutrition & Health
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Nestlé Deploys Coffee-Serving Robots In Battle Against Starbucks For Chinese Customers

February 18, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé has launched a marketing campaign targeting Chinese tourists in Tokyo that features the deployment of a Chinese-speaking humanoid robot with a tablet offering a variety of types, sizes, and strengths of coffee. When the selection is made, the humanoid places the order with another robot that makes the coffee. The cash-free, cashier-free system in the city’s Asakusa shopping district uses Alipay, Alibaba Group Holding's mobile payment system. The experiment is an attempt by Nestlé to expand sales of its instant coffee among the traditionally tea-drinking Chinese as it fights increasing competition from U.S. rival Starbucks.
Mitsuru Obe, "Nestle Serves up Robots in Japan to Woo Chinese Customers", Nikkei Asian Review, February 18, 2018, © Nikkei Inc.
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Company’s Edible Produce Spray Extends Shelf Life

February 12, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
California-based Apeel Sciences has developed a plant-based edible skin – dubbed “Edipeel” – that quadruples the shelf life of fruits and vegetables, and reduces need for fungicides and refrigerated produce transport. Edipeel creates an “idealized little micro-climate inside of each piece of produce” that retards spoilage, according to the company founder, who has convinced investors to pump $40 million into the venture since 2012. The company uses materials extracted from plants, usually agricultural by-products such as tomato skins, combines them, then processes them into a water-soluble powder. When mixed with water, the material can be sprayed on produce or the produce can be dipped in it. [Image Credit: © Apeel Sciences]
Elaine Watson, "Apeel Sciences Seeks to Slash Fresh Produce Waste with Plant-Based Edible Skin: 'We've created this Idealized Little Micro-Climate Inside of Each Piece of Produce'", FOODnavigator-USA.com, February 12, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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“Blue” Chocolates Debut In Japan

January 31, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Japanese confectionery innovators have developed a naturally blue-tinted chocolate in two tones. Novelty store Village Vanguard said the chocolates come in two styles: one resembling the complex night sky, and the other suggesting the still winter atmosphere “where the air remains clear throughout.” The introduction of blue chocolate follows naturally-pink-colored ruby chocolate, dubbed the “fourth type of chocolate” in the world. Kit Kat Japan commercialized it last year. Village Vanguard said it was difficult to color the chocolates a deep blue. It solved the problem by adding blue-colored herbs from Thailand.  [Image Credit: ©   Oh! Nuts ]
 
Mikelle Leow, "Japan Invents Naturally Blue Chocolates Tinted in Colors of Day & Night Skies", DesignTAXI, January 31, 2018, © DesignTAXI
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Tyson Foods Invests In Another Alternative To Livestock-Sourced Protein

January 29, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Meat producer Tyson Foods, which markets about 20 percent of the meat sold in the U.S., has invested in a company whose mission is to eradicate farm-raised protein. The company invested in Silicon Valley-based Memphis Meats, which is trying to grow meat from animal cells, through its venture capital arm, joining Cargill, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Atomico, and DFJ. Memphis Meats CEO Uma Valeti said he hopes his company will benefit from the Tyson and Cargill investments because of their deep knowledge of meat distribution. “They really understand how to scale up,” he says. “They’ll help us learn a lot about getting meat on the shelf.” Tyson has also backed Beyond Meat, which is attempting to replicate the taste of meat with plants. 
Beth Kowitt, "Tyson Foods Has Invested in a Startup That Aims to Eradicate Meat from Live Animals", Fortune, January 29, 2018, © Time Inc.
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Packaging Technology Embeds Ingredients In Nano-capsules That Dissolve In Water

January 22, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Energy drinks company Smart Cups has come up with a packaging technology that could be applied across the food, pharmaceuticals, beverages, and other industries. A 3D-polycapsule printing delivery system integrates micro-capsules directly onto the surface of the cup. The tiny capsules, which can contain any number of ingredients, are released upon contact with a liquid solvent. Smart Cups can transform a virtually empty vessel into a self-stirring energy drink simply by adding water. The company is launching four 9-ounce energy drinks using the new packaging.
"NEWS: Just Add Water – The Drink is ON the Cup!", Active & Intelligent Packaging Industry Association, January 22, 2018, © aipia.info
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Bioengineering Success May Give L’Oréal A Competitive Advantage In China

January 16, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
L’Oréal China Co. has succeeded in reconstructing Chinese skin cells in a Shanghai lab from living tissue donors. The cells will be used by R&D teams to test makeup and skincare products, such as anti-aging serums, whitening creams, and pollution-fighting cleansers, for Chinese consumers – “the most demanding in the world in almost all our product categories,” a company representative said. L’Oréal is the top-selling beauty brand in China, but consumers have begun to turn to local brands for products formulated for their skin type. An industry analyst said the company has recognized the trend and has ”moved to adapt to the different genes to capture the huge potential of the Chinese market.” [Image Credit: © Cosmetics China Agency]
Louise Prance Miles, "L’Oréal Replicates Chinese Skin in Shanghai-Lab to Better Cater to Regional Consumer", Global Cosmetic News, January 16, 2018, © Global Cosmetic Media Limited
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Carlsberg Research Project Hopes To Cut Beer Development Time By 30 Percent

December 26, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Denmark’s Carlsberg brewery has teamed with Microsoft and two universities in a government-backed, three-year project that aims to speed new beer development using sophisticated flavor and aroma artificial intelligence sensors. Brewers have to check whether new strains of yeast can grow and produce alcohol before determining whether they have the right aroma and flavor, a time-consuming effort. The development process for innovative beers with new flavors would go as much as 30 percent faster using the sensors. Carlsberg is contemplating creating a spin-off unit to determine whether the same AI technique could work for industries such as food and pharmaceuticals.
Richard Milne, "Carlsberg Turns to AI to Help Develop Beers", Financial Times, December 26, 2017, © The Financial Times Ltd.
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Interactive Bottle Connects With Smartphone Tequila Shoppers

December 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Astral Tequila is introducing in seven U.S. states this month interactive spirits bottles that allow smartphone shoppers to touch a bottle of its award-winning spirit to access exclusive content. The bottles use a “near field communications” (NFC) collar that shoppers use to tap into content that includes a video from Jonathan Goldsmith, the actor best known for his former role as "The Most Interesting Man in The World" in Dos Equis beer ads.  [Image Credit: © Astral Tequila ]
"Astral Tequila Introduces U.S.'s First 'Smart' Spirits Bottle Featuring NFC to Fuel In-Store Consumer Engagement", News release, Astral Tequila, December 05, 2017, © Astral Tequila
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Book Provides Details Of Humane “Clean Meat” Technology

November 30, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A new book, available for purchase in January, details the advanced technology behind “clean meat,” animal-based protein that is produced in a bioreactor using living cells from cattle. The cells are replicated to produce food-grade beef, bypassing the necessity of killing and butchering animals. The technology could redefine the entire animal agriculture industry, resulting in meat, eggs and dairy products that are identical to familiar animal protein foods. The new book is Clean Meat: How Growing Meat Without Animals Will Revolutionize Dinner and the World, by Paul Shapiro, vice-president of policy at the Humane Society of the United States. [Image Credit: © Cleanmeat.com ]
Lisa Kramer, "‘Clean Meat’ could be a Major Revolution for the Agriculture Sector", The Globe and Mail, November 30, 2017, © The Globe and Mail Inc.
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Almonds Are The Healthful, Sustainable “Feel Good” Snack

November 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Market opportunities are increasing for food ingredients that are not only healthful but ecologically beneficial by fostering sustainability in relation to humans, animals, and the environment. Ingredients that fall into that category are generally natural, GMO-free, sustainable, and ethical. One ingredient that satisfies these concerns is almonds, a snack people can feel good about. New snack product launches have again made almonds the number one nut for new product introductions in Europe. 
"Almonds Provide Inspiration for Innovation at FiE", Food Ingredients 1st, November 28, 2017, © CNS Media BV
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Company Launches Entrepreneurial Services For Beverage Start-Ups

November 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Symrise Flavors North America (Laguna Beach, Calif.) announced a range of product development services for U.S. beverage entrepreneurs and emerging drinks brands. The idea behind “Califormulations” is to provide a “single-source partner” to beverage start-ups. The platform bundles rapid prototyping, full beverage formulation development, and access to its array of beverage flavors. Califormulations will give entrepreneurs “access to knowledge, new technologies, purchasing scale and resources not normally available to new and emerging brands," Symrise President Paul Graham said. Symrise, headquartered in Holzminden, Germany, is a global supplier of fragrances, flavorings, cosmetic base materials, and functional ingredients.
"Symrise Launches "Califormulations" Creative Incubator Concept for Beverage Product Development", News release, Symrise, November 28, 2017, © Symrise
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New L’Oréal Research Center Opens In Brazil

October 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
L’Oréal has opened a $51 million research and innovation center in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro designed to develop products targeted at Brazilian consumers. The new center is one of seven operated by L’Oréal globally. The company also confirmed that its Episkin skin reconstruction model will be available to the Brazilian scientific community beginning this month.  [Image Credit: © Perkins + Will ]
"L’Oréal Reinforces Long-Term Commitment in The Brazilian Market with State Of The Art Research & Innovation Center", News release, L’Oréal, October 25, 2017, © L’Oréal
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'Supermarket' Startup Seeks To Go Storeless

October 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Farmstead believes it can reinvent the supermarket model by eliminating its physical structure altogether. The San Francisco based startup has a series of micro-warehouses stocked with a range of local farm produce and grocery products and uses AI to predict a customer’s future needs based on their initial order. The selection is then delivered to the customer. Farmstead claims to have made over 15,000 deliveries in the Bay Area and has raised $2.8 million from venture funds. [Image Credit: © Farmstead] 
Dan Orlando, "Startup Believes it Can ‘Reinvent’ Supermarket Model", Supermarket News, October 05, 2017, © Penton
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Coca-Cola Patent Covers Improved Small Bottle Design

September 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The Coca-Cola Co. has filed a U.S. patent application covering a new bottle design that improves carbonation retention and lengthens shelf-life while remaining lightweight. The inventors said the new design works especially well with small bottles by increasing weight distribution efficiency (WDE), which is the extent to which weight is distributed uniformly over the entire container. Carbonation retention problems arise with bottles containing 300 milliliters (about 10 fluid ounces) of carbonated liquid or less.
David Allison, "Coca-Cola Patenting 'surprisingly Improved' Small Soda Bottle", Business Journal, September 21, 2017, © American City Business Journals
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Coca-Cola Is Accumulating Mountains Of Data, And It’s Using All Of It

September 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola recognized as early as 2012 that it had amassed a goldmine of data from social media, mobile apps, cloud computing and e-commerce that could be used to support strategic decision-making. Since then, the company has been applying artificial intelligence (AI) to squeeze insights from its big data. For example, Coke applied AI in the development and launch of the new flavor Cherry Sprite. The decision was based on monitoring data collected from new generation self-service soft drink fountains, where customers mix their own drinks. The company saw which flavor combinations were the most popular and created a ready-made, canned beverage to fit the profile. Big data analysis is also being used to modernize vending machines, customize marketing messages, and develop healthful drink options, such as orange juice varieties.
Bernard Marr, "The Amazing Ways Coca Cola Uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) And Big Data To Drive Success", Forbes.com, September 18, 2017, © Forbes.com LLC
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On The Horizon: Beer Bottles Made Of Recyclable Wood Fiber

September 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Danish brewer Carlsberg Group has partnered with a company pioneering wood fiber packaging technology with a view to using recyclable and biodegradable fiber bottles for beer storage. EcoXpac of Denmark has come up with a sleek bottle design that resembles a traditional beer bottle in the Carlsberg beer colors and labeling. A key technical hurdle to overcome, however, is the need for a secondary barrier inside the fiber bottle that would keep the beer-filled bottle standing in shape for a long time. Scientists at Carlsberg and ecoXpac say they are close to solving the problem.
Yvonne Dick, "The future of beer may be in wood pulp bottles", Food in Canada, September 18, 2017, © Glacier FarmMedia LP
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Frozen Cheesy Bread Offers New Takes On “Soft Middle” Baked Goods

September 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Frozen garlic bread pioneer Cole's Quality Foods has introduced a stuffed bread inspired by popular bread and cheese combination snacks. Middles are baked goods in the tradition of “soft middle” items like bagels, Italian breads, and pretzel breads, stuffed with savory and sweet centers, including cheddar cheese, cream cheese, and beer cheese. The heat-and-serve snacks are available in the freezer sections of grocery, club, supermarkets, and convenience stores for an SRP of $3.99 for a 10-ounce box of eight bites. [Image Credit: ©   Cole's Quality Foods]
"Cole’s Quality Foods Introduces Innovative Stuffed Bread Snack Called Middles, Taking Cheesy Bread to New, Inspired Heights", MultiVu, September 13, 2017, © MultiVu, a Cision company
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Suntory Set To Launch Transparent Milk-Flavored Tea

September 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The Suntory beverage company is once again attempting to disrupt consumer sensory – visual and taste – perceptions with a new product that doesn’t look the way it tastes. Transparent Premium Morning Tea Milk follows on the heels of its successful lemon tea-flavored water. Food writer Koh Ruide says “if it’s anything like its predecessor, it’ll be just as astounding.” Assam tea leaves provide the tea flavor while unnamed “milk-derived ingredients” deliver the milk flavor, producing “a refreshing drink that goes well with your breakfast.” Set for a September 26 launch, the new transparent tea brand will be sold in 550 ml bottles (131 yen, $1.21).
Koh Ruide, "Suntory attempts to mess with our brains again with new milk-tea-flavored bottled water", Sora News 24, September 10, 2017, © SoraNews24 / SOCIO CORPORATION
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Australia Grants Coca-Cola A Patent For Can-Molding Technology

September 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Australia has granted Coca-Cola a patent, applied for five years ago, for a technology that uses blow-molding to form metal beverage cans. The patent – “System and method for forming a metal beverage container using blow molding” – is effective as of December 31, 2012, and is valid until December 31, 2032.
"Australia: The Coca-Cola Receives Patent for 'System and method for forming a metal beverage container using blow molding'", Australian Government News, September 02, 2017, © HT Media Limited
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Walmart Opens New Battlefront In War Against Amazon

August 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart has launched something of an air war against arch-rival Amazon. The Arkansas-based retailer has applied for a patent for its version of a floating warehouse – a “gas-filled aerial transport and launch system” – a similar version of which Amazon patented more than a year ago. And like Amazon’s version, Walmart’s could launch sorties of drones to deliver purchases to nearby homes. Walmart’s dirigible airship would hover at up to 1,000 feet in the air, contain multiple drone launching bays, and be computer- or pilot-operated remotely. Proponents of the airborne warehouses say they would cut online order fulfillment costs for “the last mile” to a customer’s house. [Image Credit: © Walmart ]
Matthew Boyle, "Walmart Applies for Patent for Blimp-Style Floating Warehouse", Bloomberg, August 19, 2017, © Bloomberg LP
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