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Food

Whole Foods Market launches online tool for dietary preferences

Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market has launched a digital product catalog that allows shoppers to find items by dietary preference and provides nutritional information and ingredient lists.

According to a recent Whole Foods Market study, almost one third of frequent customers say they shop according to a specific dietary preference.

The US-based retailer says the optimised site is a quick and convenient way for those shoppers to research food options and verify availability at their local store.

“Whole Foods Market has always been a go-to for those who follow special diets or want greater transparency into what they are eating,” said Jason Buechel, Executive Vice President of Technology and Chief Information Officer for Whole Foods Market. “This new experience makes it easier than ever for those customers to find products that fit their needs from dietary preferences to lifestyle changes, and ultimately helps them achieve their wellness goals.”

Customers can now search for and filter through tens of thousands of Whole Foods Market’s most popular products through the lens of several different dietary preferences—from vegan to Paleo-friendly to Keto-friendly—via a desktop computer or mobile device.

The full list of searchable preferences includes: vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, Paleo friendly, Keto friendly, sugar conscious, dairy free, Kosher, organic, Whole Foods Diet approved, Engine 2, low sodium and low fat.

Upon searching, customers will find a photo of the product, its nutrition fact panel and ingredients list, and diet and allergen tags. To learn about availability and price, they can easily find their local Whole Foods Market store using the store selector on the page.

BRC warns of food supply issues in event of hard Brexit

The British Retail Consortium has warned Prime Minister Theresa May that a so-called ‘cliff edge’ Brexit could cause significant food supply issues in the UK.

The industry body has written to May and the European Union’s Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier to highlight the potential for damaging consequences for millions of UK consumers and tens of thousands of EU-based producers if an agreement in the Brexit negotiations is not reached that protects the free flow of goods between the EU and UK from 29 March 2019.

A third of the food consumed in the UK is imported from the EU. The letter highlights how the UK’s highly complex food supply chain depends upon frictionless trade with the EU. It says the livelihoods of tens of thousands of farmers and food producers in the EU also depend on it.

The BRC says the cliff edge scenario will mean new border controls and multiple ‘non-tariff barriers’ through regulatory checks, creating delays, waste and failed deliveries.

This, it says, could lead to dramatic consequences, with food rotting at ports, reducing choice and quality for UK consumers. It could also lead to higher prices as the cost of importing goods from the EU increases. And in the EU, £21 billion of exports to the UK are at stake.

Richard Pennycook, Chairman of the British Retail Consortium, said: “We must avoid a cliff edge scenario on the 29 March 2019 at all costs. Failure to achieve a smooth transition will create a lose-lose scenario for UK consumers and EU producers. Our food supply chain is complex, highly organised and ultimately fragile. Frictionless trade is essential if the industry is to continue to provide the level of choice and value in shops that UK consumers are used to seeing. It is now of the utmost importance that the UK Government proposes a workable solution to the backstop that gets the Withdrawal Agreement over the line and allows for a smooth transition. We need the EU to be flexible and creative in negotiation and recognise what is at stake for exports to the UK. Time is running out.”

Read the letter here.

KEY FACTS

• 50% of Britain’s food is imported and of that 60% comes from the EU-27.
• In 2016 3.6 million containers from the European Union passed through UK ports, just under 10,000 per day, delivering 50,000 tonnes of food to UK consumers.
• Salad leaves can be picked and loaded onto lorries in Spain on a Monday, delivered to UK stores on a Thursday and still have 5 days’ shelf life.
• BRC analysis finds that food and beverage products would face an average increase in the cost of importing from the EU of up to 29% from non-tariff barriers, under a no-deal scenario.
• BRC figures estimate that more than 12,500 small retail businesses will be at high risk of going bust in the event of no deal.

Tesco launches new ‘Food Love Stories’ campaign

Tesco has today launched ‘Food Love Stories brought to you by Tesco’, a new campaign which aims to highlight passion, care and nostalgia in food.

Each month, the campaign will introduce food love stories to emphasise the importance of food and the effects it brings.

The stories aim to capture the mind-set of its customers throughout the year, from wholesome, hearty meals in January, to fresh, vibrant meals perfect for a summer evening.

“We’ve always taken great pride in the quality of our food” explained Michell McEttrick, group brand director at Tesco, adding that the campaign aims to put food at “the very heart of our business and tells the stories behind the meals we all make for those closest to us.”

The ad campaign will appear online as well as with spots on Coronation Street, Emmerdale and The Undateables. Recipe cards and ingredients are expected to be available at all large stores, as well as online at tesco.com

Consumer frustration with in-store and online grocery shopping…

According to a new report commissioned by the retail app, Ubamarket, a vast majority of consumers are becoming more and more frustrated with online and in-store food shopping; with 66 per cent of the 2,007 individuals surveyed claiming a high level of dissatisfaction with in-store shopping is due to not being able to find the products they want, as well as long till queues.

The ‘Reviving Retail 2016’ report details a further 71 per cent of  UK online grocery customers were unhappy with the quality of service they received, indicating the main reasons behind a less than successful experience is down to a lack of being able to pick produce items, in addition to receiving unwanted replacement items.

You can read the founder and CEO of Ubamarket, Will Brrome’s ‘Keeping Up with the Times: Why Food Shopping Needs to Change’ blog here