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Smart Labeling Technology Could Revolutionize Retail Food Industry

August 15, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Advocates of smart packaging and labeling that use short-range wireless technology – aka, near field communication – say that interactive labels can provide product information while reducing cost and waste, and boosting store profits. The technology doesn’t require a separate app like QR codes. Consumers need only tap the phone and receive info, without any additional steps. To advance the use of the technology, the NFC Forum has partnered with the Active & Intelligent Packaging Industry Association to create the smart labels. It will be a while before the technology hits grocery stores, but NFC is compatible now with millions of contactless cards and readers worldwide.
Matt Vitone, "Smart Packaging Could Provide a Wealth of Information about Food Items", Report, PSFK, August 15, 2017, © PSFK LLC
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New Spray Coating Preserves Fruits Much Longer

August 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
An advanced plant-based technology developed by South Korean scientists not only adds nutrients to fruits, it prolongs their shelf life. The technology comes in the form of a five-second spritz coating of Iron (III)-tannic acid-metal-organic coordination complex (Fe(III)-TA-MOC) for fruits. The spray forms a five nanometers-thick layer (more after additional coats). A field test that analyzed the post-harvest shelf-life of mandarin oranges found that, after 28 days of storage at 77ºF, more than a quarter of the uncoated mandarin oranges (10 out of 37) were rotten and covered with mold. Those spray-coated remained edible. A similar test on strawberries found that, after 58 days of storage at 77ºF, 56.3 percent of sprayed fruit were edible, but only 6.3 percent of the unsprayed. [Image Credit: © Ji Park et al.]
Ji Park et al., "Antimicrobial spray nanocoating of supramolecular Fe(III)-tannic acid metal-organic coordination complex: applications to shoe insoles and fruits", Scientific Reports, August 11, 2017, © Park et al.
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L’Oréal Displays Beauty Innovations At Paris Technology Show

August 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
L’Oréal showcased its latest beauty innovations at Viva Technology Paris in June. Lancome, Kerastase, L'Oreal Paris, La Roche-Posay and L'Oreal Professionnel showed how they applied advanced digital technologies to create personalized services for consumers. The L’Oréal display area in the center of the Hall of Tech also included a startup corner highlighting partnerships with young companies in the area of human resources. Among other innovations, the company presented in Europe for the first time Lancome's Le Teint Particulier Custom Made Foundation that matches skin tone to a personalized foundation at the point of sale. [Image Credit: © L’Oréal  ]
"L’Oreal presents its connected beauty innovations and partnerships with startups at Viva Technology Paris 2017 ", L’Oréal, August 03, 2017, © L'Oréal
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Walmart Says To Develop Camera System To Detect And Assist Unhappy Shoppers

July 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart is creating an in-store facial recognition system designed to recognize customers' facial expressions. According to the retailer's patent filing, the technology will use video cameras at store checkout lines to detect signs of anger and dissatisfaction. Upon detection of an “unhappy customer”, the system will alert staff and prompt them to report to the checkout line. Also, the company has filed a patent for using drones to improve customers' in-store experience.
Mark Prigg , "Walmart developing smart camera that can spot unhappy and frustrated shoppers and alert staff", Daily Mail, July 20, 2017, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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Young Company Focuses On Memory-Inducing Scents For Cocktails

July 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Brothers Aaron and Sam Wisniewski are very much into flavors and fragrances: they incorporate them into cocktail products as well as aromatic landscapes. A basic tenet of their full-service fragrance house –  Alice & the Magician (Burlington, Vt.) -- is that aromas are strongly associated with memory and emotion. Their products – there are now more than 150 different mists and 50 elixirs – are derived from their own fragrance memories, and may include the smell of their parents’ garden, or the snow and ice of a winter day. One of their creations includes edible scents designed to be sprayed on cocktails (Citrus Blossom Harvest, Perfect Ginger, Autumn Bonfire, Hiking the Long Trail). Unlike cocktail bitters, however, the elixirs don’t add any taste or texture to a drink, just pure aroma..
Isabella Alimonti, "Edible Scents Make Flavorful Cocktails—And A Lasting Impression", PSFK, July 18, 2017, © PSFK LLC
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Enterprise Software Company Tackles Food Waste, Small Farm Management

July 12, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Enterprise IT software giant Cisco Systems says its products are being used to solve food waste and farm management problems. A start-up company that helps manufacturers and farms make use of extra food raised $2.5 million to buy Cisco's enterprise software. Boston-based tech start-up Spoiler Alert’s cloud-based software links food producers, food banks, and pantries. The company helps them track food they throw away or donate. In addition, Cisco’s software has helped smaller and rural farms connect their “Farm from a Box” units with Wi-Fi capabilities and an Internet of Things (IoT) system to optimize everything from water and energy use to guidance on farm management. [Image Credit: © Spoiler Alert ]
Stephanie Chan, "Technology that Helps Reduce Food Waste", News release, Cisco Systems, July 12, 2017, © Cisco Systems
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Bai Founder Ben Weiss Was Way Ahead Of The Curve On Low-Sugar Drinks

July 12, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Bai Brands founder Ben Weiss noticed seven years ago that shoppers were carefully examining beverage labels to determine sugar content. “This is the issue that has fueled our growth,” he said in an interview. The company, which was sold to Dr Pepper Snapple Group for $1.8 billion, spent five years handing out samples of Bai, made from normally-discarded coffeefruit, explaining that Bai has only five calories and one gram of sugar. It was a unique claim in the beverage industry at the time -- the beverage caught on and took off when the company signed a distribution deal with Dr Pepper Snapple. [Image Credit: © Bai Brands ]
Will Yakowicz, "How This Founder Built a $1.7 Billion Business Around a Product That's Normally Thrown in the Trash", Inc.com, July 12, 2017, © Sycamore Media Holdings Pte
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New Coke App Uses AI Technologies To Modernize Vending Machine Use

July 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola’s innovation chief Greg Chambers (left) says a new AI-powered app debuting soon will allow customers to order, and get, two drinks from vending machines equipped with special circuitry. The app will debut in late July at U.S. universities and in Australia and New Zealand. With the app, customers can order a Coca-Cola drink from multiple selections for themselves and a friend using a colorful touchscreen. The drinks will then be available on the vending machine. With AI technologies, “My goal is to push boundaries and push the brand forward,” Chambers says. [Image Credit: © Michael O' Donnell / Venture Beat ]
John Brandon, "Coca-Cola reveals AI-powered vending machine app", Venture Beat, July 11, 2017, © Venture Beat
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Coca-Cola Installs Blow-Molding Machine At Canadian Bottling Plant

July 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola Canada has expanded the production capacity at a Montréal bottling plant with a $23.2 million state-of-the-art blow-molding machine, one of the first to be installed at a Coke facility in North America. Coca-Cola and Canadian government officials said the increased production capacity reinforces the company’s commitment to Canada and helps strengthen the Canadian economy. [Image Credit: ©   Coca-Cola Company]
"Coca-Cola Canada invests $23m in Montréal blow-molding line", FoodBev Media, July 11, 2017, © FoodBev Media Ltd
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L’Oréal Uses Bioprinting To Create Live Skin Tissue For Cosmetics Testing

July 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The FDA may not require it, but L’Oréal says it has ended live-animal testing of new cosmetics and has turned to alternatives such as EpiSkin, a lab-grown human flesh-like tissue available in more than 100,000 samples representing numerous ethnicities. And lately the company has partnered with biotech Organovo to apply advanced 3-D bioprinting technology (left) to create skin tissue with hair follicles. The technology would allow mass production of skin tissue for lab testing. It is not unlikely that the 3-D printed tissue will become, like EpiSkin, a profit center for L’Oréal. [Image Credit: © L’Oréal  ]
Laura Goldman, "L’Oreal Grows Human Skin to Replace Animal Testing", Care2, July 08, 2017, © Care2.com, Inc.
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Customized Dietary Supplements, Thanks To 3D Printing Technology

July 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A company funded by the MIT Sandbox Innovation Fund has figured out a way to use 3D printing technology to mix several ingredients and print customized dietary supplements. An example of the ingredient combinations – and one of the more popular among its test customers – is vitamin D, omega-3 and caffeine. The caffeine is released later in the day, “something a mass-produced pill cannot do,” one of the researchers said. The 3D technology permits small batches, which in turn permits personalization of a customer’s order after a dietary nutrient analysis. Other FDA-approved ingredients that the Multiply Labs technology can mix include calcium, iron, selenium, and zinc; vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, and folic acid. [Image Credit: © Multiply Labs ]
Stephen Daniells, "MIT Spin-Off Gets Closer to Launch of 3D Printed Supplements", NUTRAingredients-USA.com, July 03, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Shiseido Partners With Microsoft Japan To Develop Virtual Makeup App For Teleworking Women

June 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Shiseido worked with Microsoft Japan to develop TeleBeauty, an application designed to make a person appear on computer monitors as if he or she is wearing makeup. According to the cosmetics company, the app is aimed at women who telework and use computers to teleconference with their employers, clients, or coworkers. Offering users four basic patterns, natural, trend, cool, and feminine, the app can also correct skin tones and “de-focus other parts than face.”
Motokazu Matsui, "Shiseido aids working women with virtual cosmetics app", Nikkei, June 18, 2017, © Nikkei Inc
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L’Oréal Takes An Expensive Flier On Virtual Reality Technology

June 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
L’Oréal’s Beauty Lab (left), located at the company’s year-old west-side Manhattan headquarters, serves as an experimental virtual reality center to explore a technology some industry observers call “the next frontier of fashion and beauty.” Though virtual reality has taken baby steps in fashion and cosmetics, it has yet to make significant inroads, and has had almost no impact on sales. Skeptics note that researchers aren’t even sure what to do with test data that are collected. L’Oréal, however, has invested a lot of money in its VR glasses, floor-to-ceiling VR screen, and additional 3-D modeling screens. Not so much to wow consumers, but to advance and enhance internal research. [Image Credit: © L’Oréal ]
Hilary Milnes , "How L’Oreal uses virtual reality to make internal decisions at its New York HQ", Digiday, June 16, 2017, © Digiday Media
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Tech Advances Power Sun-Safety Skin Patch, App From La Roche-Posay

June 15, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
L'Oréal brand La Roche-Posay, a start-up that exhibited at June’s Viva Technology show in Paris, presented the most recent developments of its My UV Patch. Designed to improve sun safer behavior and help minimize sunburns, the wearable patch features an adhesive comprising photosensitive dyes that change color when exposed to UV rays. A related app indicates varying levels of sun exposure. A smart algorithm incorporates personalized data (viz, geolocation, phototype of skin tone, hair and eye color) to advise when to reapply sun screen, seek shade, etc. According to company data, regular use has led to positive changes in sun-related behavior: 63 percent experienced less sunburn, 37 percent used more facial sunscreen, and 31 percent spent more time in the shade. [Image Credit: © La Roche-Posay ]
"La Roche-Posay Reveals the Latest Edition of its My UV Patch at Viva Technology Paris", News release, La Roche-Posay, June 15, 2017, © La Roche-Posay
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Opportunities For Confectioners In Asia’s Functional Candy Market

May 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Concerns about health among Chinese consumers have both helped and hindered the country’s confectionery industry, according to Mintel data. On the one hand, there is growing anxiety that the Chinese diet contains far too much sugar. This is reflected in a decline in volume candy sales beginning in 2015, a trend not helped by a general economic slowdown. However, Chinese consumers are buying more functional candy, for example throat-soothing or vitamin C candies. This presents a product development and marketing opportunity for confectionery firms, especially those that analyze the demands of demographic segments in Asian countries. One functional ingredient in candy is collagen, an anti-aging protein. Another is iron, already available in candy in Japan and Taiwan. Associated with good health and energy, iron is beneficial for skin complexions, and often taken to prevent anemia. ][Image Credit: © Golden Throat Lozenge (Jinsangzi Houpian]
Loris Li, "China’s Sugar Confectionery Market Declines While Functional Candy Grows", News release, Mintel, May 18, 2017, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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L'Oreal Looks At Artificial Intelligence To Improve Customer Interactions

April 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Beauty brand L'Oreal has collaborated with Automat Technologies to create beauty services designed for the Facebook Messenger social media and messaging platform. Chief digital officer Lubomira Rochet said the company's focus on Messenger bots is the latest illustration of L'Oreal's “service strategy.” Rochet added, the company believes combining conversational marketing and commerce with artificial intelligence will enable L'Oreal to personalize conversations with customers. Believing AI will have an impact as great as the internet, Rochet said AI will power the company's interactions with consumers, including advertising, CRM, and ad serving.
Leonie Roderick , "L’Oreal on why artificial intelligence is ‘a revolution as big as the internet’", Marketing Week , April 24, 2017, © Centaur Communications Ltd (a member of the Centaur Media plc group)
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“Blessed” Panera Streamlines Food Ordering, Ramps Up Delivery

April 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Panera founder and CEO Ron Shaich says his company is “blessed” because it has not only applied the principle of “digital utilization” to streamlining the ordering process, its menu – soups, salads, sandwiches – is perfect for easy delivery to homes and businesses. This blessing has meant that the company can reduce the number of workers handling food, but has to hire 10,000 delivery people by the end of 2017, as it adds delivery services to as many as 40 percent of its eateries this year. The streamlining process, known as Panera 2.0, has meant changes across the board, including redesigned kitchens and reworked assembly lines, plus implementation of new ordering technology like digital kiosks.
Kate Taylor, "Panera is Replacing Cashiers with Robots — but it's Hiring Thousands of Workers for Another Task", Business Insider, April 24, 2017, © Business Insider Inc.
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Hard To Swallow? Jiminy Cricket As A Dinner Entrée

April 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
It could be a sign of the long-overdue acceptance of insect-based foods – and entomophagy (bug eating) generally – by the Western world. Or not. It is a sign, however, that food experts are warming to the idea that crickets are a healthful, sustainable food ingredient. A group of Penn State University food science graduate students convinced judges in the Ag Springboard business pitch contest that the flavor and texture of pasta made with high-protein cricket flour closely resembled that of wheat pasta. The group won the $7,500 grand prize after also convincing judges that the flour was commercially viable. The product will compete with early entrants in the nascent market, including Bugsolutely Cricket Pasta and Chirps Chips (Six Foods), pitched successfully on the TV show Shark Tank. [Image Credit: © Bugsolutely ]
Jeff Muhollem, "Cricket-Fortified Pasta Pitch Wins $7,500 Ag Springboard Top Prize", News release, Penn State University, April 17, 2017, © The Pennsylvania State University
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New Bottle Is Edible, Compostable, And Spherical

April 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Three London, U.K.-based university design students have developed a sphere-shaped gelatinous bottle, both edible and compostable, that they feel is ready for its market debut. An alternative to plastic bottles – and a potential solution to accumulation of them in landfills – Ooho is being developed by Skipping Rocks Lab. It is based on a technology known as spherification. A ball of ice is dipped in calcium chloride and brown algae extract. It forms a spherical membrane that keeps holding the ice as it melts and returns to room temperature. The membrane is edible – it can be flavored – and compostable. The company sees sales potential at cafes and outdoor events, like festivals and marathons, in fact anyplace people consume a lot of packaging in a short time. [Image Credit: © Skipping Rocks Lab ]
Adele Peters, "This Edible Water Bottle Is How You’ll Drink In The Future", Fast Company, April 10, 2017, © Mansueto Ventures, LLC
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Robots Join Domino’s Delivery Force In German Test

March 29, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The Domino's pizza chain is testing robot-delivered pizza in Europe in partnership with an Estonia start-up. The project is launching in Hamburg, Germany, within the next couple of months. Starship Technologies uses six-wheeled robots that are about two feet tall, weigh 40 pounds when empty, and move at a speed of four miles an hour. Deliveries The robots will deliver food within a mile radius of select Domino's locations. They can mover independently, but during the test will have a human chaperone to make sure nothing bad happens. [ Image credit: © Domino's Pizza  ]
April Glaser, "Domino’s is going to Use Sidewalk Robots in Germany to Deliver Pizza", Recode, March 29, 2017, © Vox Media, Inc.
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Amazon Working To Iron Out Kinks In Its Cashierless Store Model

March 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Technical glitches are delaying the debut of Amazon.com’s cashierless brick-and-mortar convenience store, Amazon Go,scheduled to open at the end of April in Seattle. The innovative store automatically charges customers when they exit.  No cash registers are used. The delay spotlights the difficulties the online retailer is experiencing as it implements a strategy to broaden its retail influence, especially in food sales. Observers say the cashierless technology works perfectly as long as there are 20 or fewer customers in the store. It also has a problem tracking items once they leave the store shelf. [ Image credit: © Amazon.com  ]
Laura Stevens, "Amazon Delays Opening of Cashierless Store to Work Out Kinks", The Wall Street Journal, March 27, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Shiseido Deploys Humanoid Robots At Kakegawa Factory's Assembly Lines

March 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Shiseido Company, Limited, has started deploying industrial robots to the assembly lines of makeup products at its factory in Kakegawa, Japan. Currently on a pilot-program basis, the deployment of robots started in March 2017 and features teams involving a human worker and two humanoid robots each. According to the company, the humanoid robots will focus on procedures that are hard to automate with existing machines and industrial robots, while their human partner will take charge of inspecting minor defects and assuring quality.
"Shiseido Pilots the Deployment of Humanoid Robots on Its Assembly Lines, a Cosmetics Industry First", Shiseido Group, March 23, 2017, © Shiseido Company, Limited
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Technology That Creates Lab-Grown Chicken Meat Intrigues Big Food

March 15, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A San Francisco-area start-up says it has developed the first chicken product from lab-grown cells. If the technology catches on with Big Food – Tyson Foods calls the cultured-meat technology “a good long-term proposition” – it could solve a lot of problems associated with meat processing. It might reduce the need for land and facilities to grow cattle, pigs, and poultry; cut the waste produced in meat processing; and help eliminate the costs of grain, water and waste-disposal associated with livestock. (It would also make groups like PETA happy.) It’s not exactly a cost-effective process yet, though. Boneless chicken breasts cost an average $3.22 a pound in U.S. grocery stores. Memphis Meats, which uses stainless-steel bioreactor tanks to produce its chicken, says its technology yields one pound of chicken meat for around $9,000. [ Image credit: © Memphis Meats ]
Jacob Bunge, "Startup Serves Up Chicken Produced From Cells in Lab", The Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Consortium To Accelerate Technology That Turns Plant Protein Into “Beefsteak”

March 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Several food companies, including Unilever, have formed a consortium with a Dutch university to advance a technology that transforms vegetable protein into a layered fiber structure that mimics the taste, texture, and appearance of beefsteak. The Plant Meat Matters consortium comprises Swiss flavor house Givaudan, French agri-food giant Avril, and plant protein supplier Ingredion. Wageningen University researchers developed the shear-cell technology that can use protein from soy, wheat, pea, rapeseed or corn. The consortium hopes to scale the technology to produce industrial quantities, and to make it available to industry as well as chefs and consumers. Global sales of meat substitutes increased from 163,000 tons in 2015 to 183,000 tons in 2016, according to Euromonitor. [ Image credit: © Beyond Meat, Wikipedia ]
Niamh Michail, "Plant Meat Matters: Unilever, Givaudan and Ingredion Invest in Vegetarian Steak", FOODnavigator-USA.com, March 13, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Salmon-Stuffed Croissant Is A Social Media Hit

February 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A California restaurant has taken the croissant a step or two farther along the hybrid pastry evolutionary road with a concoction featuring smoked salmon, baked seaweed (nori), pickled ginger and wasabi. Aron Caddl, owner of Mr. Holmes Bakehouse of Los Angeles and San Francisco acknowledges that the pastry is “weird” but also “insanely delicious,” and an Instagram sensation. The California Croissant, which costs $5, is topped with a dry Japanese seasoning (furikake) and is served with a side of soy sauce. It will only be on the menu for a short time because, as Caddel admits, the chefs get bored.  [ Image credit: ©  Mr. Holmes Bakehouse ]
Carly Stern, "There's Something Fishy About this Pastry! California Bakery Sells SUSHI Croissants Filled with Salmon and Wasabi, which its Owner Describes as 'F***ing Weird' but 'Insanely Delicious'", Daily Mail Online, February 03, 2017, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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E-Retailers And CPG Manufacturers Need To Prepare For Strong Growth Now

January 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
E-commerce today accounts for only a small portion of consumer packaged goods (CPG) sales, with the food and beverage sector lagging somewhat behind non-food. But both sectors are set for strong growth, according to IRI. Over the next five years, CPG e-commerce will average 10 percent of industrywide sales. Digital is expected to play a major role in influencing that sales growth, and will drive as much as 77 percent of all retail sales generally, representing about $2 trillion. E-retailers are rapidly laying the groundwork for growth, with Amazon leading the way. Meanwhile, CPG manufacturers could grow online sales by up to 150 percent by building a strong online presence and earning shopper awareness.
"Build, Drive and Earn E-commerce Growth for Retail Success", Report, IRI Worldwide, January 24, 2017, © IRI Worldwide
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Advanced Store Shelf Technology Seeks To Personalize Shopping At Kroger Stores

January 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Supermarket chain Kroger has begun experimenting with in-store shelf-based sensor systems that detect shoppers via their smartphones and apply analytics technology to customize product offers. Dubbed the “digital shelf edge” project, the initiative is a facet of the company’s plan to automate and personalize shopping to battle online competition from Amazon.com Inc., Walmart’s Jet.com unit and others. E-commerce in traditional food and beverage stores accounted for $1 billion in sales in 2014, less than 0.2 percent of the $670 billion market. Sensors have been installed in 14 stores near the company’s Cincinnati headquarters.  [ Image credit: © ParentingPatch  ]
Kim S. Nash, "Kroger Tests Sensors, Analytics In Interactive Grocery Shelves", The Wall Street Journal, January 20, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc
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Cookies Containing Galactagogues Have Become Big Business

January 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A first-time mother who was struggling to produce enough breast milk to feed her newborn was advised to eat cookies that contained extra galactagogues (i.e., ingredients that increase milk flow). The functional cookies worked, but weren’t particularly palatable, and that gave Jennifer Acuna a business idea. Several years later, the business she launched has been successful enough to move from her kitchen table near Harrisburg, Pa., to a 2,400 square-foot bakery. Lactation cookies, brownies, and granola laced with galactagogues have become serious business. Buy Buy Baby and Babies 'R' Us sell bake-at-home mixes. Common galactagogues include oats, flax meal, fenugreek, and brewer's yeast.
Matthew Wright, "Cookies and Milk: Meet the Kitchen Table 'Momtrepreneurs' Who Used Their Own Breastfeeding Woes to Corner the 'Lactation' Foods Market", Mail Online, January 19, 2017, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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L’Oreal’s Smart Brush Demonstrates Internet Of Things Application For The Beauty Industry

January 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
L’Oreal’s smart brush, unveiled at CES 2017, is just one of a number of products responding to opportunities provided by the Internet of Things within the consumer products industry, including Beauty. Smart devices are allowing brands to brands to become more involved in consumers’ daily routines. The smart brush is being sold at around $200, and only time will tell if consumers regard that as a price worth paying for the benefits it provides – better and more personalized information, performance monitoring and suggestions for improvements, as well as tips and recommendations. These aren’t necessary attributes for a hairbrush or toothbrush, but they will make life a bit easier for consumers, and brands can become better connected to consumers’ lifestyles and preferences, allowing valuable insights for future innovation and marketing efforts.  
Nikki Gilliland, "How the beauty industry is embracing the Internet of Things", Econsultancy, January 11, 2017, © Econsultancy.com Limited
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TCM Gets A Bigger Role In Beauty

January 10, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The Beauty industry is increasingly borrowing from Traditional Chinese Medicine. Amway is just one company expanding its use of TCM ingredients. Jia Chen, vice president of the Amway Botanical Research Center, says that TCM is a “life philosophy”, covering diet, nature and spirit. Amway is already using TCM ingredients in its Nutrilite products, but the Center is looking to expand the scope. In China, consumers are looking for more from their Beauty products, such as a link to their cultural heritage and the benefits of TCM, and TCM Beauty is becoming very popular among younger consumers in Asia.  
Deanna Utroske, "Trend Watch: Cosmetic and Personal Care Ingredients Borrowed from Traditional Chinese Medicine", CosmeticsDesign.com | USA, January 10, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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2017: The Year Of The Brand Chatbot?

January 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
2017 could the year of the chatbots for brands looking to automate consumer engagement. They reside within Messenger Services, like Skype and Facebook Messenger, as well as internal messenger services, like HipChat. They are becoming increasingly sophisticated with more user functionality, and as artificial intelligence becomes better understood, chatbots will be able to do even more, with development moving from what the bot builders believe consumers want to a machine-learned reflection of what they really want. Chatbots will proliferate and become an essential element of any integrated marketing campaign, supporting highly targeted campaigns delivered in the environment in which the consumer spends the majority of their online time.  
John Mccarthy, "What, Why and How: Chatbots for Brands", The Drum, January 06, 2017, © Carnyx Group Ltd.
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Kiehl's To Launch Skin Renewing Cream Aimed At Millennials

January 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
L’Oréal brand Kiehl’s is launching Pure Vitality Skin Renewing Cream, aimed at the Millennials by avoiding antiaging messages. Kiehl’s says that skin care today is focused on radiance and skin health rather than reversing indications of aging. Sources suggest retail sales of the cream could reach $40 million globally this year. Kiehl’s is marketing the product as 99.6 percent natural, and contains New Zealand manuka honey for antioxidants to combat environmental effects and for stimulating collagen, and South Korean red ginseng root for hydration and cell renewal.
Ellen Thomas , "Kiehl’s Makes a Play for Millennials With Healthy Skin Pitch", Women’s Wear Daily, January 05, 2017, © Penske Media Corporation
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Mass And Premium Continue To Drive Growth In Color Cosmetics

January 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
According to Euromonitor International, the color cosmetics market was worth US$57 billion globally in 2015, driven by growing incomes for women in growth markets like India and China. Nearly two-thirds of the market (64%) was mass products in which consumers came from across the income spectrum, with some consumers limited to the mass market through income constraints and others choosing mass options over premium, with a new wave of mass “fast fashion” cosmetics brands that align with trends and rely on high volumes. Premium continues to grow faster than mass, and Euromonitor expects to see a CAGR for the premium segment of 4% over the next five years, versus 3% for mass. It also expects North America to be the first majority-premium color cosmetics market by 2020. The color cosmetics market will continue to encounter broad consumer megatrends, for example in the form of sustainability and healthy living. And customization remains a major opportunity for brands in this category, with brands catering for different skin tones, religions and cultures.  
Hannah Symons, "Reinventing Colour Cosmetics through Novel Growth Concepts", Euromonitor International, January 05, 2017, © Euromonitor
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Amazon Fulfillment Services Reports Significant Growth In 2016

January 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Online retailer Amazon said it delivered more than two billion packages to 185 countries for sellers, brand owners and entrepreneurs in 2016 under its Fulfillment by Amazon program. The company said worldwide FBA shipments grew 50 percent during the holiday season. Amazon Prime members contributed significantly to the success of the program, ordering millions of items from sellers in the Seller Fulfilled Prime program that offers free two- or next-day shipping. Sellers worldwide using the FBA service grew more than 70 percent, while shipments grew 80 percent. [ Image credit: © Amazon  ]
"Sellers on Amazon are Thriving: Fulfillment by Amazon Delivered More than 2 Billion Items for Sellers Worldwide in 2016", News release, Amazon, January 04, 2017, © Amazon.com, Inc.
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Kérastase And Withings Unveil Smart Hairbrush At CES

January 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
At the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, professional hair care brand Kérastase, together with connected health company Withings and L’Oréal’s Research and Innovation Technology Incubator, unveiled its new smart hairbrush - the Kérastase Hair Coach Powered by Withings. Fitted with advanced sensors and incorporating L’Oréal’s signal analysis algorithms, which score hair quality and track the impact of hair care routines, the hairbrush received this year’s International CES Innovation Award. Sensors capture sounds, the force applied when brushing, brushing patterns and the number of brush strokes, and whether the hair is wet or dry. The collected data are sent to the app via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to a dedicated mobile app. Using external data, such as weather conditions, the app tracks the way the user cares for her hair and provides personalized tips and Kérastase product recommendations. It will be available around mid-2017 at select Kérastase hair salons, the brand’s website and through Withings’ online sales and distribution channels, for below $200.
"Kerastase and Withings Unveil World’s First Smart Hairbrush at CES 2017", L’Oreal, January 04, 2017, © L’Oréal
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Hawthorne For Men Matches Cologne To Consumer's Characteristics And Preferences

January 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The Hawthorne for Men website invites visitors to answer questions about themselves and their habits and preferences, and then matches the responses to a cologne scent. The direct-to-consumer brand is targeting the eau de parfum market for men, which had sales of almost $70 million in 2015, according to NPD. The user is offered two options from the 10 formulas available: one a bold scent and another that is subtler. Each bottle costs $100. The company is confident it can accurately match the scent, but exchanges and returns are straightforward and returns are less than five percent, exchange requests are under 10 percent.
Dena Silver, "This Cologne Brand Accurately Chooses a Scent for You", Observer, January 04, 2017, © The New York Observer, L.P.
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Online Grocery Deliverer Fulfills Orders Using Advanced Warehousing, Robotics

December 29, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
British online grocery delivery firm Ocado is applying an array of advanced technologies to speed grocery purchases to consumer homes. The company maintains a 350,000 square-foot warehouse near Birmingham that beats Amazon at automated order fulfillment. Most of the 48,000 lines of products it sells are perishable, many chilled or frozen. The complex, time-sensitive optimization challenge is handled by sophisticated technologies like swarm robotics – teams of robots that cooperate to find, lift and grab products from shelves – as well as autonomous delivery vehicles, and machine-learned preferences. The company is expanding its warehousing and robotics capabilities to be able to handle and deliver more products even faster in the future. [ Image credit: ©  Wikimedia  Commons ]
Jamie Condliffe, "The Robotic Grocery Store of the Future Is Here", MIT Technology Review, December 29, 2016, © MIT Technology Review
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Trends In Cosmetics For 2016

December 13, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Looking back over the year, the author highlights some of the trends observed in cosmetics ingredients. 2016 was a year for product aesthetics with manufacturers using a variety of materials to make a sensory statement, but it’s also increasingly important to hit the market with new products fast and first, but without compromising on quality, compliance or appeal. The popularity of natural and organic has been sustained, but consumers are also expecting to be allowed more customization opportunities, and material suppliers will meet this by giving brands greater flexibility. 2016 also saw launches with increasingly sophisticated science incorporated, especially meeting anti-aging demand for skin care products, and hair care was also a huge growth area for materials this year, offering solutions for hair and scalp problems.
Belinda Carli, "Top 6 Cosmetics Trends of 2016", SpecialChem, December 13, 2016, © SpecialChem
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Unilever's Anti-Marks Antiperspirants Launch In The US

December 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever has launched products in the US featuring its new Anti-Marks Antiperspirant Technology, designed to help prevent white marks and yellow stains on white clothes. Already available in 40 markets, the US launch includes products from five brands: Degree Men®, Degree Women®, Dove®, Dove Men+Care® and AXE®. Unilever’s Senior Director of Deodorants and Men's Grooming, Matthew McCarthy, said that consumers are “tired of unintentionally ruining their favorite white t-shirts or leaving behind embarrassing marks in the dressing room”. The launch, with products hitting the shelves in December 2017, will be supported national advertising, in-store marketing, social media and PR.
"Is a Common Fashion Faux Pas Close to Extinction? Unilever Deodorant launches New Anti-Marks Antiperspirant Technology", PRNewswire, December 01, 2016, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Product Innovation Isn’t About Data Collection, But Analysis Of A Brand’s “Mission”

November 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Clayton Christensen’s book “Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice” criticizes a prevailing mindset in product innovation that relies on over-segmentation of markets, and accumulation of scads of data at the expense of theoretical models. Innovation, he argues, should not be “hit-or-miss” and incremental. It should be guided by purpose and “a clear vision of a job to be done” in the real world. It should be based on a thorough analysis of what the customer is “hiring” the product to do. The mountains of retrospective data do nothing to help companies come up with an innovative breakthrough -- a new idea of a brand’s mission in the real world that ensures long-term, sustainable growth.
"Why Marketers Often Miss the Mark in Product Innovations", Article, Knowledge@Wharton, November 03, 2016, © Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
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Shiseido Works With Microsoft To Create Virtual Makeup App

October 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Shiseido partnered with Microsoft to create Telebeauty, a software designed to apply virtual makeup to a user's video image while taking part in a teleconference. Women using the app can choose from four palettes, natural, trend, cool, and pretty, before joining the teleconference call. Designed to distinguish between the user's face and the background, Telebeauty scans the user's face and adjusts the skin tone, and covers pores, dark spots, and pimples with a “digital beauty balm.”
Lila MacLellan, "Shiseido partnered with Microsoft to create a make-up filter for women who telecommute", Quartz, October 20, 2016, © The Atlantic Monthly Group, Inc.
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Beauty Boost's FragranceLock Makes Perfume Last Longer

October 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Beauty Boost Inc. worked with CosPro Inc. to develop FragranceLock, a spray formulated with acrylate copolymers and oils to help perfume retain its fragrance longer. Beauty Boost president and co-founder Francine Gingras said the fragrance segment needs innovation to survive and remain relevant, claiming FragranceLock, her company's first product, is one example of such creativity. Companies need to keep themselves abreast with changes in consumer needs in order to come up with products that address the whitespace in fragrance, cosmetics, and personal care markets, Gingras said.
Deanna Utroske, "FragranceLock: A Beauty Innovation that Promises to Bolster Perfume—the Product and the Category", CosmeticsDesign.com | USA, October 05, 2016, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Mango Flour Proving To Be Suitable Substitute For Wheat In Baking

September 26, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A Philippines-based baking company is now offering “healthilicious” treats made with mango flour. Because it is gluten-free, the flour is trickier to use, requiring substitute ingredients that provide binding capacity. In the case of Magic Melt Foods, egg white was the gluten substitute along with other healthful ingredients. This allowed them to make muffins, bread, energy bars, and sandwiches using mango flour. Their decision to offer mango-based baked goods is well-timed: market research projects consumer demand for natural and healthy bread and baked food products to reach $310 billion this year.
Jeandie O. Galolo, "Pastry chain goes gluten-free, using mangoes", Sun Star , September 26, 2016, © Sun Star Publishing, Inc.
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Modiface Unveils AI-Based Real-Time Video Skin Simulation Technology

September 12, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
ModiFace launched Skin AI, an artificial intelligence-based video-editing technology designed to simulate skin transformations with high degree of realism in live video. Created in partnership with dermatologists, the technology can detect particular skin-related issues, such as rosacea, dark spots, and discolorations. It can then be used to simulate detailed changes to the skin in real-time video and compares before- and after-treatment results.
"ModiFace Launches AI-Based Live-Video Skin Simulation Tech Created by Dermatologists", Marketwired, September 12, 2016, © Nasdaq, Inc.
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Virtual Reality And Augmented Reality Offer Retailers New Ways Of Reaching Customers

September 9, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Virtual reality and augmented reality technologies are expected to significantly affect the retail industry. Retailers seeking to integrate VR and AR into their business models should first decide which technology to use for specific applications, then determine whether the application is for in-store or out-of-store use. Also, retailers need to identify their customers who would prefer an AR or VR solution, then establish the technology's value proposition. Retailers need to connect the solution to their business model, establishing measurable financial or customer-engagement objectives to make sure the VR/AR solution is creating value for the business.
Dan McKone et al, "Virtual and Augmented Reality Will Reshape Retail", Harvard Business Review, September 09, 2016, © Harvard Business School Publishing
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Three Trends Expected To Drive Global Sun Care Products Market Through 2020, Report Says

September 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Advances in formulation and ingredient technologies are driving the increase in number of innovative products being developed, according to Technavio's Global Sun Care Products report. According to the report, the two other trends expected to drive developments in the sun care market through 2020 are consumer demand for private-label brands and the use of nanotechnology in product development. Other insights offered by the report include the growing popularity of multifunctional products.
"Top 3 Trends in The Global Sun Care Products Market Through 2020", Beauty Packaging, September 06, 2016, © Rodman Media
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Yumeshokunin Brings Water-Saving Toothbrush To Paris Exhibition

August 31, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Yumeshokunin Co., Ltd.’s Misoka toothbrush is designed to conserve water, requiring only a cup of water per brushing session. Equipped with bristles covered with nano-sized minerals designed by the company, the toothbrush has sold 3 million units. Yumeshokunin will put the toothbrush on display at its exhibit at the 2016 Maison & Objet Paris trade show.
"A Japanese Toothbrush Designed to Conserve Water", Beauty Packaging, August 31, 2016, © Rodman Media
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Milk-Based Food Packaging Film Offers Major Potential Benefits

August 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
USDA scientists recently told fellow chemists about a food packaging material made from the milk protein casein. The packaging film is 500 times more effective at protecting food from oxygen, in addition to being edible, potentially nutritious, biodegradable, and sustainable. The milk-based film retards food spoilage and could prove to be an effective tool in the fight to reduce food waste “during distribution along the food chain." It would also reduce the use of plastic, a significant environmental benefit. The researchers expect the edible packaging will be on store shelves within three years.
Alex Whiting, "Eat Your Food Packaging, Don't Bin It – Scientists", Reuters, August 22, 2016, © Reuters
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Entrepreneurs To Introduce Vegan Cheese And Yogurt Made From Dairy Yeast

August 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A start-up company that acknowledges the often unacceptable vegan substitutes for milk, cheese and yogurt is working on an "animal-free dairy milk" that is somehow real milk without the involvement of a cow. One of the founders says the idea is to combine the best of a real dairy product with the best of a dairy substitute. Perfect Day milk is made from a dairy yeast that can be optimized to produce real milk proteins, including casein, the main protein in cheese. Supported by $4 million in venture funding, the company still hasn’t decided what its first product will be, but is leaning toward vegan yogurt or cheese, rather than milk, because “that’s where the real lack of alternatives is.”
Jessica Leber, "These Vegan Dairy Products Are Made From Milk—There Just Aren't Any Cows Involved", Fast Company, August 18, 2016, © Mansueto Ventures, LLC
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Beauty Boost Announces Fragrance-Locking Product

July 25, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Beauty Boost Inc. announced FragranceLock, a fragrance finishing spray designed to make fragrances last longer by slowing down their natural evaporation cycle. Results of tests conducted by the company revealed FragranceLock makes perfumes last for up to 12 hours longer. Unlike the usual process of layering fragrance with products with same scents, FragranceLock can be used with all fragrances. Daughter-and-mother entrepreneurs Josephine Sullivan and Francine Gingras developed the product because they believe perfumes should last longer than they usually do. FragranceLock will launch exclusively on HSN on July 27, 2016.
"A New Beauty Category Emerges With The Launch of FragranceLock™", PR Newswire, July 25, 2016, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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