1. Kraft Foods has merged with Heinz
A merger deal between Kraft Foods Group and H.J. Heinz was announced this week to form The Kraft Heinz Company, already the fifth largest food and beverage firm in the world.
The newly formed company, financed by American business mogul Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway company and private equity firm 3G Capital, both of which bought Heinz in 2013, will have a revenue of roughly $28bn according to the two parties, with eight brands worth over $1bn and five over $500m.
It will also provide a platform to push Kraft brands such as Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Jell-O and Kool-Aid, which have traditionally been focused on North America, across the globe.
Heinz CEO Bernardo Hees, who will become CEO of the Kraft Heinz Company, said: “Together, Heinz and Kraft will be able to achieve rapid expansion while delivering the quality, brands and products that our consumers love.”
2. Pernod Ricard has launched a new local vodka brand
Pernod Ricard has launched Our/London, the first version of its global Our/Vodka brand in the UK. The initiative is part of the international rollout of Our/Vodka, which sees the brand use local ingredients, launch a micro-distillery and operate a partnership business model with local entrepreneurs.
While Our/Vodka has one global recipe, its ingredients are locally sourced, meaning the product has a different taste in each of its markets, which include Berlin and Detroit. Further launches in LA, New York and Amsterdam are also planned using the same model.
Asa Caap, chief executive of Our/Vodka, says: “The biggest success for Our/Vodka is of course to succeed in building the global family we dream of. If we succeed with this, Our/Vodka will be the first brand ever that is both global and local at the same time.”
3. ‘Brand loyalty programmes need to focus on driving customer engagement’
Brands’ loyalty programmes are not evolving with the digital age, leading to a missed opportunity for engagement with consumers, according to a new report by Capgemini published this week.
Only 11% of loyalty programmes offer personalised rewards based on a digital presence, such as a customer’s purchase history or location data, according to the report. It also shows that while 79% of loyalty programmes use a mobile channel for loyalty schemes, only 24% allow redemption through it.
Mark Taylor, global lead for customer experience transformation at Capgemini said: “Brands need to revisit their approach to loyalty. For us the key is to integrate the loyalty programme into the overarching customer experience and to reward engagement as well as the simple transaction.”
4. BT has taken its first step towards becoming a unified mobile operator with EE
As the telecoms company looks to close its deal to buy EE for £12.5bn, BT this week confirmed that it will offer bundles of 4G data, minutes and texts, mainly aimed at existing BT broadband consumers who can use the service for up to £5 per month.
The service will be dispensed through a SIM only plan, where customers can keep their existing phone but upgrade their network for more data and extensive wi-fi coverage.
John Petter, chief executive of BT consumer, says: “Offering BT customers the UK’s best value 4G data deal is a great way to start our journey towards re-establishing ourselves as a major player in consumer mobile.”
5. McDonald’s UK is on the hunt for a new CEO
McDonald’s UK is searching for a new CEO following the announcement this week that Jill McDonald will became the new chief executive of bicycle brand Halfords in May.
McDonald leaves after nine years of service, where she strongly drove investment into improving healthy options on the menu and overall customer experience. She will replace departing Halford’s boss Matt Davies, who was appointed as the UK CEO of Tesco earlier this year.
The company told Marketing Week that the UK board will now report to Doug Goare, president of McDonald’s Europe, ‘until further notice’. It refused to comment on whether it would look internally or externally for its new chief executive.