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In addition to a brand-new pastry-themed Chef’s Table series, Netflix has another big dessert-centric show coming down the pipeline. Nailed It, a new culinary competition, will feature amateur bakers attempting to recreate elaborate treats for a chance to win $10,000. The show will take a more lighthearted approach to the craft of pastry-making than something like, say, The Great British Bake-Offand judging by the trailer, it looks like the epic fails will be celebrated along with the major wins.

The show is hosted by comedian Nicole Byer, a UCB veteran who created the web series *Loosely Exactly Nicole, and Jacques Torres, the legendary New York City chocolatier who first made a name for himself in the kitchen of Le Cirque many years ago. A different guest star will help asses each round of baking. The roster of guest judges includes culinary mad scientist Dave Arnold, LA-based confectioner Valerie Gordon, wedding cake impresario Sylvia Weinstock, Food Network fixture Zac Young, and Super Troopers star Jay Chandrasekhar.

Here’s a peek at one of the fancy pastries, and a less-than-perfect recreation:

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All six episodes of this original series will land on Netflix on Friday, March 9. Stay tuned for more details on the show as they become available.

• Nailed It [Netflix]


Chivas Brothers marketing director Glen Brasington has tied a year of positive sales for the whisky brand to a series of marketing experiments that are beginning to bear fruit.

Pernod Ricard announced last week that Chivas Brother’s Scotch whisky portfolio hit a sales upswing of 2.4% over the first half of the 17/18 financial year.

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Much of the growth has come from Asia. Brasington said that, in tandem with the vital Chinese market returning to growth, its landmark partnership with the National Basketball Association (NBA) in the region, which also brought aboard broadcaster Tencent, has further bolstered sales.

This performance of this campaign shows how Chivas is running localised marketing efforts across the globe.

In China, as part of the NBA’s multi-year partnership Chivas, is running in-store activations, in addition to online sweepstakes and viewing parties. Furthermore, the sport, that is beloved in China features prominently in shops, bars and on TV.

“We have a really good route to market in China, when the company decides to activate a brand we get a lot of scale and consistency in the execution and that is key to driving growth,” said Brasington.

“What has changed in the last six months is that our sales team, distribution and customers have really got behind some of the big programmers that we have pushed into market, most notably, the NBA partnership.”

Through the partnership, and with Tencent on board as broadcast partner, Chivas has enjoyed sizeable engagement on broadcast and digital channels. But success in this market is a self-fulfilling prophecy with the company now gathering more data to help direct its future marketing.

“We have a global target of 20m data points, we already have about 5m in China because the digital platforms are well developed, and we have been active in that space for some time,” he said.

“When you partner with the likes of Tencent who own a lot of the media rights as we have done with the NBA, you get access to a lot of that data and you use it to further retarget or drive more precision.”

Globally, the difficulty will be ensuring its own, and the third-party data, is effectively integrated across each of the brands in the Chivas, and Pernod Ricard family. Each brand in the stable serves a purpose, Ballantine’s (up 2.2% in sales for the period) is “a really good vehicle to introduce people into our international brands and specifically scotch”. Meanwhile, Glenlivet, up 1.3%, is in a period of transition.

“We are raising the price on our 12-year-old products because of scarcity and introducing founders reserve that has done a good job of recruiting people,” he continued.

Read more at The Drum:

Red Lobster ran a 55-second commercial before the Super Bowl that was conspicuously lacking any of the Orlando-based chain’s trademark buttery, garlicky dishes.

The TV spot featured fishermen and women pulling in crab cages and nets. The chain joins a growing number of food companies trying to convince customers their food comes from safe and responsible sources.

Darden Restaurants, Publix, Winn-Dixie and other grocers have launched their own “sustainable seafood campaigns,” and other companies are rallying around commitments to animal welfare and curbing overuse of antibiotics. It comes in response to a growing consumer desire for cleaner foods such as organic and locally grown products, as well as pressure from activists to cut down on what they see as abuse in supply chains, said Steve Kirn a lecturer at the University of Florida’s Miller Retail Center.

“Activist groups are trying to highlight issues, and there is no question they have put a spotlight on questionable practices,” he said. “And a lot of companies want to do the right thing, but you have to develop a supply chain that’s completely different from the one that exists right now.”

Red Lobster’s campaign followed two years of trying to convince customers of the authenticity of its seafood with more seasonal dishes that call attention to place of origin such as sockeye salmon and bairdi crab coming from Alaska. The new report and accompanying website maps where certain products such as lobster and salmon come from and said the company is fully aware, down to the fishermen, how fish and shellfish are pulled out of the sea.

“For the first time we are telling the world we have completed an extensive review of our supply chain and are telling the world that our supply chain, and 100 percent of our seafood today, is traceable, sustainable and responsibly sourced,” said Kim Lopdrup, Red Lobster’s CEO.

Red Lobster supplier Trident Seafood, the largest American seafood fishing company, is working to push customers toward fish that is more sustainable, such as pollock, CEO Joe Bundrant said.

“In today’s internet age, it’s 24 hours a day and consumers want transparency in the supply chain,” he said.

Trident supplies Red Lobster mostly with snow crab; it also sells to retailers such as Costco.

The move towards more transparency comes after decades of criticism of other consumer industries, such as scrutiny of Nike’s factories in Vietnam or Apple supplier factories in China. Many efforts to identify the source of materials in textiles, and later, in food, date to a 1998 lawsuit Nike settled over claims it deceived the public about the use of sweatshops in China to make shoes. That case birthed the term “greenwashing” for such efforts.

Animal activist and vegan groups have waged campaigns and protests against companies such as Orlando-based Darden to force them to adopt cage-free chicken egg policies or to cut antibiotic use in its meat supply chain. Red Lobster co-owner Thai Union, one of the world’s largest seafood suppliers, was the subject of a 2015 Associated Press investigation into the use of forced labor on shrimping and fishing vessels in Southeast Asia. The reports traced seafood caught using fishermen confined to boats for months at a time and supplied to many of America’s largest supermarket and restaurant chains.

Read more at The Orlando Sentinel:

Domino’s Pizza finally has the title it has been hungering for: top pizza seller.

The chain wasted no time crowing about unseating Pizza Hut as the leading pizza chain both in the U.S. and worldwide. Domino’s not-so-subtly inserted the phrase “the largest pizza company in the world based on global retail sales” into the very first sentence of today’s fourth-quarter earnings release.

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Domino’s says its global retail sales exceeded $12.2 billion in 2017. Pizza Hut, owned by Yum Brands, earlier this month reported global system sales of $12.03 billion (see graphic, below).

Although Domino’s sales lead isn’t enormous, the chain was very clear that it really, really wants to be seen as the top dog. And it was quick to point out that it plans to exert some power with its new leadership role.

“Our terrific procurement team may have made sure that all of our supply partners are aware of the fact that we are the largest and expect to be treated that way. So, scale matters and the fact that we’re now the largest globally and in the U.S. in the pizza industry matters and clearly, we’re going to press that with our partners,” CEO J. Patrick Doyle said in response to an analyst’s question on Tuesday’s quarterly conference call.

Domino’s fourth-quarter sales at U.S. pizza shops rose 4.2 percent — and that’s after half a percentage point was shaved off, the chain says, because New Year’s Day, one of the top few days for pizza orders, wasn’t part of Domino’s fourth quarter as it was in 2016. (The company’s fiscal year closed Dec. 31, 2017, versus Jan. 1, 2017 a year earlier.)

By comparison, Pizza Hut U.S. same-store sales rose 2 percent in the quarter. Overall, Domino’s gains have been loftier of late: its 4.2 percent fourth-quarter rise comes on top of a sales rise of 12.2 percent for the fourth quarter of 2016.

While Domino’s now holds the top sales spot, Pizza Hut still has a lead in the number of locations. There were 16,748 Pizza Hut locations globally at the end of 2017, versus 14,856 Domino’s shops.

The first Pizza Hut restaurant opened in 1958 in Wichita, Kansas. Two years later, brothers Tom and James Monaghan bought a Ypsilanti, Michigan, pizza restaurant called DomiNick’s. The name changed to Domino’s Pizza in 1965.

Read more at Ad Age:

Tyson Foods announced that it is partnering with two incubators — one in Chicago and one in California — to help startup food businesses leverage the expertise of the Arkansas-based company and to help Tyson tap into innovative ideas.


Plug and Play, a global innovation platform in Silicon Valley, intends to match Tyson with promising food businesses in the startup community. The company invests in more than 150 companies each year, according to Food Business News. Chicago-based 1871 links nearly 500 digital startups to 600-plus mentors and more than 100 companies, universities, accelerators, venture funds and other organizations.

Tyson Ventures recently bought a minority stake in Memphis Meats, a cultured meat startup in San Francisco. The company has also invested in plant-based protein products through its partnership with Beyond Meat and, earlier this month, announced it would put funds into Tovala, a manufacturer of steam ovens and ready-to-cook foods. Last year, the company bought AdvancePierre, a maker of RTE hamburgers, stuffed chicken breasts, cheesesteaks and other sandwiches, for $4.2 billion.

Dive Insight:
It’s conceivable that a startup business Tyson works with through these incubators could develop the next wildly popular plant-based burger or a ready-to-eat spicy meat snack that sets the grab-and-go consumer segment on fire. Or, it could be a product completely outside the traditional meat and poultry space. With the relationships already established, it’s only a few steps from innovation to introduction into the marketplace for a huge company with development expertise and a global distribution network already in place.

These partnerships are also relatively low-risk since Tyson doesn’t put a big chunk of money in at the start but builds up the connection through sharing expertise and learns about the food-based ideas already percolating out there. And, since the startups are already working with an established incubator with solid connections, the chances of working with a big food firm are much greater for them than if they were to try and connect on their own with the larger entity.

This approach has been so successful that other major manufacturers are working with incubators or even starting their own. Conagra Brands and Kellogg Co. are involved in a joint project called “The Hatchery” opening on Chicago’s West Side this November. That food business incubator will mainly focus on snacks.

Also, Nestle USA invested in an accelerator last summer to encourage new food and agriculture startups, and Land O’Lakes launched an incubator this past July to support the growth of dairy product startups so they can more successfully compete with plant-based alternatives. Chobani runs its own incubator classes and supported seven food startups to take part in its second one this past fall.

Even though U.S. per-capita meat consumption is up this year, more consumers are trying out plant-based proteins these days in order to reduce cholesterol, limit fat and focus on healthier foods. A smart animal protein processor keeps an eye on interesting developments in the industry — regardless of whether they’re in the meat and poultry sector and regardless of geographic location — and that’s what Tyson appears to be doing.

from Food Dive: