Facebook, TikTok, Beats by Dre: Everything that matters this morning

Good morning and welcome to Marketing Week’s round-up of the news that matters in the marketing world today.

Facebook election 2

Facebook extends ban on political ads

Facebook is extending its ban on political ads in the US for at least another month as it attempts to control misinformation circulating on the platform following last week’s presidential election.

The ad ban was initially brought into force on 27 October and scheduled to last just a week after the election on 3 November. Facebook director of product management, Rob Leathern, explained the social media giant was keeping the ad ban and other temporary election protection measures in place ahead of president-elect Joe Biden’s win being officially certified in December.

The decision to pause political ads will impact on the Senate race in the state of Georgia, where elections are continuing to determine whether the Republican party retains control of the US Senate.

“We know that people are disappointed that we can’t immediately enable ads for runoff elections in Georgia and elsewhere,” said Leathern.

“It’s taken years to build the infrastructure that supports the Facebook Ad Library and ensure that political ads are transparent. We do not have the technical ability in the short term to enable political ads by state or by advertiser, and we are also committed to giving political advertisers equal access to our tools and services.”

Democrat senator Elizabeth Warren is one of the voices criticising the move, claiming in a tweet that ads aren’t the problem, but rather the issue is “Facebook’s unwillingness to regulate those ads and their inability to control organic disinformation”.

Warren, who ran alongside Biden for the Democrat presidential nomination, wants to break up the power of the ‘Big Tech’ giants such as Facebook, Google and Amazon, and regulate them as if they were utilities.

READ MORE: Facebook extends political ad ban in US for at least a month

US halts TikTok ban ‘pending legal developments’

The US Commerce Department has paused a ban on TikTok due to come into effect on Thursday, which would have prevented the video sharing app being downloaded in the US.

Lawmakers cited “pending further legal developments” as the reason for halting the ban, including arguments made by three prominent TikTokers in a Philadelphia court in September that the app should continue to operate in the US. The social media site currently has an estimated 100 million US users.

The Trump administration had claimed TikTok could pass on American citizens’ data to the Chinese state and therefore ruled that the app should be sold to a US company or banned from use in the country.

In September a deal was struck between TikTok owner ByteDance, Walmart and Oracle to move the app’s US operations into a newly-created company called TikTok Global. However, TikTok says it has had no feedback from the US government in two months, the BBC reports.

READ MORE: TikTok lives to see another day in US

Disney+ attracts 74 million subscribers in under a year

Disney+Streaming service Disney+ has attracted 73.7 million subscribers in less than a year, as global Covid-19 lockdowns caused viewership to soar.

The Walt Disney Company CEO, Bob Chapek, claims that even with the disruption caused by the pandemic, the company has been able to manage its business by taking “bold, deliberate steps” focused on long-term growth.

“The real bright spot has been our direct-to-consumer business, which is key to the future of our company, and on this anniversary of the launch of Disney+ we’re pleased to report that, as of the end of the fourth quarter, the service had more than 73 million paid subscribers – far surpassing our expectations in just its first year,” Chapek says.

Disney has had success premiering films on the streaming platform during the pandemic, including the live-action remake of Mulan, as well as rolling out new series of hit shows such as Star Wars spin-off The Mandalorian. However, despite the subscriber growth the direct-to-consumer division – which includes Hulu, ESPN+ and Disney+ – posted an operating loss of $580m (£440m) during the fourth quarter.

Disney says improvements to its Hulu business driven by subscriber growth and advertising revenues were partially offset by an increase in programming and production costs. The ESPN+ service did, however, see subscriber numbers grow and benefitted from income driven by Ultimate Fighting Championship pay-per-view events.

Elsewhere, Covid-19 has had a major impact on Disney’s theme parks business, which have been closed or operating at reduced capacity for a significant portion of the year, as well as on its cruise ship business, guided tours and retail stores. In September alone, the company cut 28,000 employees from its US theme parks.

READ MORE: Streaming subscriber surge provides cheer for pandemic-hit Disney (£)

Instagram rolls out ‘Shop’ and ‘Reels’ tabs

Instagram Reels and ShopsInstagram is introducing a ‘Shop’ tab to its home screen in a bid to capitalise on the “incredible” shift to online shopping caused by the pandemic, as well as rolling out a tab for its short-form video feature Reels.

The Shop tab is aimed at helping users better connect with brands and influencers to shop via Instagram, and will include personalised recommendations, shoppable videos and new product collections.

Likewise, the Reels tab is intended to make it easer for users to discover video content on the app, following what Instagram describes as an “explosion in short, entertaining videos” on the platform since the onset of Covid-19. Launched in August and likened to the functionality of TikTok, Reels are 15-second multi-clip videos that can be overlaid with audio, effects and creative tools.

“We don’t take these changes lightly – we haven’t updated Instagram’s home screen in a big way for quite a while,” says head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri.

“But how people create and enjoy culture has changed, and the biggest risk to Instagram is not that we change too fast, but that we don’t change and become irrelevant. We’re excited about the new design and believe it gives the app a much-needed refresh, while staying true to our core value of simplicity.”

Beats by Dre celebrates the joy of black culture

Beats by Dre has released a new campaign celebrating the joy and resilience inherent in black culture.

The Apple-owned headphones brand is on a mission to explain why the conversation about the black experience should not solely be about injustice, but should celebrate creativity, joy and resilience.

The ‘You Love Me’ campaign features stars such as tennis champion Naomi Osaka, rapper Lil Baby and activist Janaya Future Khan. The ad is directed by Melina Matsoukas, scored by Grammy award-winning Solange Knowles and narrated by independent artist Tobe Nwigwe.

Live on Apple Music, YouTube and Instagram, the ad will air during the NBA Draft on 18 November, the NFL Thanksgiving game on 26 November and several other NFL games until the end of the year.

Thursday, 12 November

ITV’s advertising revenue drops 16% amid impact from pandemic

ITV is reporting a 16% drop in revenue compared to 2019 as it advertising continues to be hit by the pandemic.

The company’s revenue came in at £1.86bn for the nine months to the end of September, down from £2.21bn in 2019. Broadcast revenue was also down 13% at £1.27bn compared to £1.46bn in 2019, with advertising down 16%.

Despite the decrease, the broadcaster saw advertising trends improve in Q3 with total advertising spend down 7% year on year, an improvement on the July quarter when it was down 23%. Online revenues and total viewing hours both increased by 2%.

These results come on the back of the broadcaster’s plans to pivot to focus on video-on-demand and reduce its physical footprint in London. Under the plan, ITV will establish a new media and entertainment division with two new business units: broadcast and on-demand.

ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall says: “We remain focused on executing our ‘More Than TV’ strategy as we accelerate our digital transformation.”

Marks & Spencer expands mobile app to create checkout-free experience

Marks & Spencer is expanding its scan-and-pay app, meaning customers will soon be able to shop checkout-free at any of its stores.

Using Mobile Pay Go means shoppers never visit a physical till, instead scanning items with their smartphone as they shop and pay for goods up to £45 digitally.

According to M&S, the use of its cashierless shopping service has increased since March due to Covid-19, with the app counting 20,000 new regular users.

It has been testing the service across 50 London stores since March, but is rolling it out to all 573 stores in order to encourage cautious shoppers to visit its stores over the Christmas shopping period.

M&S stores director Helen Milford says: “With the current restrictions in place, making shopping as easy and efficient as possible is really important to us and to our customers. Mobile Pay Go helps us do just that – it’s quick, contact-free and means fewer queues at our checkouts.”

It comes as M&S continues to push ahead with its digital transformation plans, implementing a range of measures designed to put digital at the heart of its operations.

READ MORE: M&S expands its scan-and-pay app to all UK stores

Guinness recalls  non-alcoholic stout

Guinness is recalling cans of its non-alcoholic stout because of contamination fears, just two weeks after its launch.

The brewer described the recall as a “precautionary measure”, but said “microbiological contamination” might mean some products were unsafe.

Parent company Diageo urged anyone with cans of Guinness 0.0 not to drink them. It said it was working with supermarkets and other shops to remove all of the products from the shelves.

A spokesperson says: “If you have bought Guinness 0.0 do not consume it. Instead, please return the product to your point of purchase for a full refund.”

READ MORE: Guinness recalls non-alcoholic stout over contamination fears

NHS launches largest ever recruitment drive

The NHS is launching its largest ever recruitment campaign as it looks to fill more than 350 types of roles.

‘We Are The NHS – Then, Now, Always’, created by MullenLowe Group UK, shows real people, patients and situations, taking a look back on the history of the NHS right through to thinking about its future.

It is the third year of the ‘We Are The NHS’ campaign. The latest ad uses a poem to narrate scenes including children’s wards and hospital wings with lines like “we are blood sweat and tears through the years” highlighting that “we are just ordinary people doing extraordinary things”.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s deputy director and head of campaigns and social media, Phil Bastable, says: “In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the NHS has played a pivotal role in protecting the health of people and their families. We are now looking for the next generation of the NHS workforce.”

He adds: “We are looking to attract thousands of new nurses, allied health professionals and healthcare support workers, in order to ensure the service continues to play that vital role for generations to come.”

Furlough and vaccine sees Whitbread roll back job cuts

Premier Inn owner Whitbread is set to make fewer job cuts as it holds onto hope that an extension of the furlough scheme and recent vaccine news could help the hospitality industry.

Whitbread could more than halve the 6,000 job losses announced in September, according to The Times, as the industry sees an end to the disruption of Covid-19.

Its consultation process ends on Friday with the hotel chain owner expected to tell staff that a “significant number” of the job cuts will no longer be needed, although the number is not confirmed.

Whitbread posted a £725m pre-tax loss for the six months to the end of August, down from a £220m profit during the same period of 2019. Revenues fell from just over £1bn last year to £251m.

£ READ MORE: Whitbread to row back on job cuts

UK economy bounces back as it grows by record 15.5%

The UK economy grew by a record 15.5% in the third quarter but remains 8.2% smaller than before the pandemic, official figures show.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed gross domestic product (GDP) bounced back strongly in the July to September period after the pandemic-driven recession in the first half of the year.

The ONS says that September 2020 GDP is now 22.9% higher than its April 2020 low. But hopes for a quick recovery are likely to be unfounded, with a second lockdown meaning GDP is widely expected to go into reverse again in the final quarter of 2020. However, there are hopes that after that a new vaccine could see the economy return to pre-Covid levels more quickly than previously expected.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak, says: “Today’s figures show that our economy was recovering over the summer, but started to slow going into autumn. The steps we’ve had to take since to halt the spread of the virus mean growth has likely slowed further since then.”

READ MORE: UK economy bounces back from recession

Wednesday, 11 November

Burberry wants to ‘give back to the next generation’

British luxury brand Burberry’s is launching a campaign that features figures from fashion, dance and sport, including brand ambassador Marcus Rashford, with the British luxury brand pledging to support various youth initiatives and charities to help young people explore their full potential.

A short film features a troupe of dancers, while a range of stills photography includes Rashford making his fashion campaign debut, all with an overall theme of unity, dynamism and diversity.

“It is very rare that I partner in a formal capacity, but what Burberry was offering was different,” explains the Manchester United footballer. “Burberry shared my vision in bettering local communities through investment into youth centres, which play a pivotal role in the childhood of many, especially in under-privileged areas.

“We are all products of our community and youth centres offer children in those local communities stability and consistency to succeed at anything they put their minds to.

“Youth centres have suffered financially due to the global pandemic and closing them is losing the heart of the community. Burberry have led with action rather than words and the impact of this move will be felt for generations to come.”

Burberry’s chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci says the campaign is all about looking towards the future. “Inspired by youth, it brings together a community of different talents and worlds as one,” adds Tisci.

“United by passion, commitment and love, this campaign is a celebration of their dreams, of exploring and of always going beyond. I’m honoured that Burberry can partner with Marcus Rashford and amazing organisations around the world to give back to the next generation, allowing them to explore their dreams.”

Consumer spending drops amid ‘stay-at-home mentality’

Consumer spending dropped by 0.1% year on year last month, as new restrictions and the arrival of colder weather saw more UK shoppers staying at home.

Data from Barclaycard shows spending on essential items grew 4.2%, with a third (33%) of respondents saying they are stockpiling essentials in preparation for potential shortages.

Clothing spending fell 2.7%, although 20.6% growth was posted in online clothing, and general retailers and catalogues enjoyed 50% growth in spending during October. Food and drink specialist stores rose by 50.7%, with nearly half (48%) of shoppers saying they were supporting local businesses. Digital content and subscriptions were up by 33.3%.

Overall online transactions grew by 29% during the month, accounting for 45.7% of all retail spend; a steady rise from August (44%) and September (43.4%).

“As Brits once again adjust to tighter restrictions, it’s no surprise that the digital habits adopted earlier this year are enduring,” Barclays head of consumer products Raheel Ahmed says.

“As we enter another period of lockdown in England and further restrictions across the UK, this stay-at home mentality is likely to persist, as is the popularity of takeaways and digital subscriptions – helped along by the colder weather and darker evenings.”

Virgin Media launches Virgin TV 360

VirginMediaVirgin Media has revealed its new television service, called Virgin TV 360. Designed with ease of use in mind, it comes with simple menus, quick navigation and apps (including Netflix, Amazon Prime and BBC iPlayer) and channels in one place.

Using Virgin Media broadband, multiple users can stream and watch shows and content at the same time in the highest resolution. Gigabit broadband speeds are also being rolled out by the company and are currently available to 6.8 million homes across the UK.

The main features include voice search and control via a remote control system, individual profiles allowing users to create their own channels and receive personalised recommendations, a new Mini box which allows for Ultra-HD multi-room viewing and an upgraded Virgin TV Go app.

“Virgin TV 360 is our most impressive TV service to date, providing one of the most complete and comprehensive viewing experiences available in the UK,” says Virgin Media’s chief TV and entertainment officer David Bouchier.

“Backed up by our ultrafast broadband, our new service allows TV lovers to watch all of their favourite channels, apps and on-demand content in one place or on the move. This really is game-changing TV and we know our customers will love it.”

Kickers celebrates 50th anniversary

KickersFrench casual shoe brand Kickers is marking its half century with a ‘Kickers: Class of ‘50’ campaign that celebrates 50 of the best upcoming creatives, including musicians, artists and DJs.

Championing Kickers’ classroom heritage, the campaign features each member of the Class shot in a classic school portrait style. The names involved include Leanne Elliot Young of the Digital Institute of Fashion, singer Olivia Dean, BRICKS magazine founder Tori West, and Trippin World co-founder Kesang Ball.

To coincide with the campaign, there’s also been the launch of a Kickers 50th Anniversary Pack, made up of three limited edition styles.

Taylor & Hart creates FaceTime photoshoot campaign

ToreraJewellery brand Taylor & Hart has launched the UK’s first advertising campaign using imagery shot via FaceTime.

‘Love is Now’ features Taylor & Hart customers from around the world, all shot and directed by photographer Tim Dunk using the iPhone app, showing the various couples in the comfort of their own homes, sharing intimate moments under social restrictions and lockdowns.

The five couples were chosen after winning a competition on Instagram, with the campaign running on billboards across London and via Taylor & Hart’s social channels.

Tuesday, 10 November

Giffgaff launches ‘anti-consumerist’ push ahead of Black Friday

Giffgaff is urging people to dig out their old mobiles so they can be refurbished, recycled or gifted in a push it hopes will make the industry more sustainable. All the more important, it feels, given most brands are pushing sales ahead of Black Friday and Christmas.

‘Check your drawers’ is a tongue-in-cheek content push aimed at 25- to 44-year-olds that will run across LadBible and Unilad’s Facebook, Instagram and YouTube channels, with a takeover of the LadBible site planned for Black Friday.

It follows the pop-up Giffgaff opened in London last year to promote its range of refurbished phones and other second-hand products made from what would previously have been regarded as waste.

The brand says there are more than 55 million unused phones sitting in people’s homes that it is keen to help the nation get back into circulation.

Giffgaff head of brand strategy Georgina Bramall says: “If you’ve got an unused phone at home, Giffgaff will help you refurbish it for cash, recycle it for the planet and donate some of the value of your phone to community causes. We’ve always had sustainability at our heart, and the giffgaff circular economy for phones is the next step of that journey.”

The initiative was developed in partnership with Jump and Havas Media.

Ad industry slams proposed ban of online junk food ads

A total ban of online ads for food and drinks that are high in fat, salt and sugar will do “untold harm” to both brands and the creative sector at what is already a very difficult time, according to a joint statement from the Advertising Association, ISBA, the IPA and IAB.

The warning comes as the government launches its consultation on the proposed ban of online advertising for junk food.

“Obesity is rightly recognised by the public and by health experts as a complex problem, and one for which there is no single answer. But the proposal to completely outlaw online advertising of certain food and drink is a severe and disproportionate measure that goes far beyond the government’s objective of protecting children,” it claims.

The signatories urge ministers not to “damage the jobs and tax revenue” the sector creates and to start engaging with the industry to develop “evidenced solutions that are targeted at the problem they wish to address, appropriate to digital media and fit for the 21st century”.

“If this policy of an outright ban goes ahead, it will deal a huge blow to UK advertising at a time when it is reeling from the impact of Covid-19. This consultation has landed just as we have entered another period of lockdown, with all the heightened uncertainty this creates for people and businesses right across the country.

“Businesses that should be devoting their time and energy to surviving this economically unpredictable situation will now have to devote precious resources to responding to the government and working out whether they will even be able to advertise their products in future.”

Vans owner buys Supreme in $2bn deal

Streetwear brand Supreme has been acquired by VF Corporation, the owner of Vans and Timberland, in a deal worth $2.1bn.

The brand was founded by child actor turned skateboarder James Jebbia in New York in 1989 and has been credited with making people rethink streetwear, with its tightly controlled product drops changing the way streetwear is marketed.

The brand’s limited edition collaborations with artists, actors and musicians including Lou Reed and Chloe Sevigny have also helped it maintain its status among youth counter-culture.

VF says Supreme currently generates more than $500m in annual revenues, up from around $200m in 2017, and that more than 60% of Supreme’s revenues come from online. It expects revenues to grow between 8% to 10% over the next three years.

READ MORE: Streetwear brand Supreme to be sold to Timberland owner VF for $2.1bn

Shopper numbers plummet but online sales up

shoppingFootfall across all retail destinations dropped by 15.4% last week as England’s second lockdown came into force, but the figure disguises a mini boom in the days leading up to store closures.

From Sunday to Thursday, footfall rose 11.7% compared to the week before, according to figures from Springboard. However, Thursday onwards saw footfall decline by an average of 46.7% on the previous week as lockdown came into force.

Retail parks again proved to be more resilient than high streets and shopping centres, thanks in part to the presence of supermarkets. Retail park destinations saw a 9.7% decline versus to the previous week, compared to a 16.2% drop on the high street and 18.9% in shopping centres.

Footfall varied geographically with a marginal rise of 0.9% in Scotland compared to the week before and a decline of 3.6% in Northern Ireland. But Wales saw footfall rise by 10.9% from the week before – even before its two week lockdown had ended – although it still remained 70% lower than in 2019.

Elsewhere, stats from the British Retail Consortium and KPMG looking at the whole of October show UK retail sales increased by 4.9% on a total basis compared to the same period in 2019. On a like-for-like basis, which has been calculated excluding temporarily closed stores but including online sales, sales increased by 5.2%, as shoppers stocked up amid talk of another lockdown.

Over the three months to October, in-store sales of non-food items fell by 9% on a like-for-like basis and 11.4% on a total basis. Food sales during the same period increased by 5.2% on a like-for-like basis and 5.8% on a total basis

Online non-food sales increased by 39% in October against growth of 3% in October 2019. While the online penetration rate of non-food items has grown rapidly compared to last year as a result of the pandemic, up to 42.3% this October compared to 31.7% last year.

British Retail Consortium CEO Helen Dickinson says: “October saw another month of strong sales growth, with food, gifts and loungewear high on people’s shopping lists. Tightening restrictions across the UK and speculation towards the end of the month of an England-wide lockdown prompted customers to stock up on home comforts and food supplies.”

However, she warns £2bn of sales per week will be lost this month and urges the government to provide clarity on what will happen in December.

“During an incredibly challenging year for the industry, many retailers had finally thought that they were finding their footing. The new lockdown in England will now throw away this progress as we enter the crucial Christmas trading period and we estimate that £2bn of sales per week will be lost this month.

“It is therefore vital that retailers are able to trade from 3 December and we are asking government to urgently provide clarity about the criteria for reopening and to ensure that affected businesses are supported in the coming months.”

Looking at supermarkets specifically, separate data from Nielsen shows sales increased by 6.9% in the four weeks to the end of October.

UK shoppers spent an average of £17.70 per basket on FMCG at stores and online, 20% more than the same time last year.

Beers, wines and spirits (15%), frozen food (16%) and packaged grocery (11%) remain the fastest growing categories over the month.

Looking at individual retailer performance over the 12 weeks to the end of October, Lidl is still experiencing strong growth (17%), which Nielsen attributes to the launch of the Lidl Plus loyalty app. Waitrose is up 8.6% helped by online sales and Morrisons (up 8%) is the fastest growing of the big four supermarkets. Sales at Tesco (6.2%) have increased ahead of Sainsbury (5.7%) and Asda (3%).

Aldi extends click-and-collect service ahead of Christmas

Aldi is extending its click-and-collect trial to 200 more UK stores, meaning about 25% of its 900 shops will offer the service by Christmas.

The discounter began the trial at one store in September before extending it to a further 18 supermarkets last month.

It has missed out on valuable online sales during the pandemic, at a time when traditional retailers like Tesco have seen sales go up.

Aldi’s click-and-collect service allows shoppers to buy groceries online, before driving to their local store to pick them up “contact-free”.

READ MORE: Aldi extends click and collect to 200 more shops

Monday, 9 November


Netflix trials linear content channel

Netflix is testing a programmed linear content channel, much like a standard TV channel, as it looks to appeal to those who don’t want to have to specifically select what they will watch next.

The channel, called Netflix Direct, is being tested in France via the company’s browser-based website. It will show TV shows and films from France, the US and other regions selected from its content library.

“Maybe you’re not in the mood to decide, or you’re new and finding your way around, or you just want to be surprised by something new and different,” says Netflix about the trial.

The decision to test the service in France came about because traditional TV is “hugely popular” in the country, says Netflix. It also claims many consumers want a ‘lean back’ experience where they don’t have to choose what to watch.

Netflix Direct marks the first time viewers will be able to choose an option to watch the same programming as others at the same time. It has previously tested features such as a ‘shuffle’ button that let users scroll through recommended viewing options but this was personalised to each user.

READ MORE: Netflix Picks France to Test First Linear Offering

Online retail sales to grow by up to 45% in lockdown

Online retail sales could grow by between 35% and 45% during the Black Friday trading period of 23 to 30 November, according to a forecast by IMRG.

So far this year, online sales have increased by 34.9%, compared to growth of 6.7% in 2019. And IMRG is predicting Black Friday deals could go earlier this year, with 4.3% of retailers having live campaigns on 4 November compared to 2.3% in 2019.

IMRG strategy and insight director Andy Mulcahy says: “We were anticipating a huge surge online this peak, and circumstances have conspired to ensure that is the case; the stores are closed, furlough has been extended and shoppers are being advised to get the bulk of their Christmas shopping done before December.

IMRG managing director Justin Opie adds: “This year’s huge growth rates, and the expected online bonanza the Black Friday period will deliver, underline retail’s rapid structural shift online.

“This does not feel like a temporary development; further evidence is no longer required that this is a permanent shift. Retailers, including those with stores, with strong online propositions, will continue to trade well. Those without, for whom it’s not already too late, must adapt now if they are to survive.”

Three launches new campaign about the ‘vital’ role of mobile phones

Three UK has launched a new campaign that aims to show the “vital” role people’s mobile phones have played this year in keeping them connected.

The ‘Your phone’s seen a lot this year’ campaign, created by Wonderhood Studios, shows 2020 through the eyes of a phone, including heart-felt kisses on video calls to working from home and virtual quizzes. It spans TV, radio and digital media, and will run from the weekend.

Three’s UK marketing director Aislinn O’Connor says: “2020 has proved just how vital our phones have been – they have stuck with us throughout, and helped us stay connected to the people and things we love. Our new ad takes a light-hearted look at the journey our phones have been on this year, as we wanted to recognise the crucial role they have played.

“And because we know it’s so important to make the right choice when seeking a shiny new phone, we have a dedicated team available online for a one-on-one virtual personal shopper experience and to give expert advice throughout the Christmas period.”

Nestlé buys stake in prepared meals company Mindful Chef

Nestlé is buying a majority stake in recipe box and prepared meals company Mindful Chef in a bid to boost its direct-to-consumer offerings.

Founded in 2015, Mindful Chef has delivered more than 9.5 million meals to households in the UK. Users choose from 16 recipes each week that have a focus on health and nutrition. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed but its founders will continue to run the business.

Nestlé UK & Ireland CEO Stefano Agostini says: “I’m delighted to welcome the Mindful Chef team to Nestlé. [Founders] Giles, Myles and Rob have built a brand with a clear purpose, offering consumers a trustworthy proposition that makes healthy eating easy through a direct-to-consumer subscription model.

“Nestlé and Mindful Chef share an ambition to increase the availability and convenience of healthy food while paying close attention to how ingredients are sourced and reducing food waste. It means this is an ideal partnership for both parties as Nestlé continues to transform its portfolio and Mindful Chef accelerates its growth plans.”

Waitrose launches first virtual food and drink festival

Waitrose is launching its first virtual food and drink festival as it looks to engage with customers despite the pandemic and social restrictions.

Running from 12 to 15 November, it will enable customers to take part in live cooking lessons, attend masterclasses and get demos. Waitrose is charging £15 per day for the festival.

Waitrose customer director Martin George says: “This event is unlike anything we’ve ever done before and replaces our annual Drinks Festival which we can’t hold in person this year due to the pandemic. We’re thrilled to be offering customers the very best of Waitrose in a virtual celebration of food and drink.”

Waitrose’s sister brand John Lewis is also running virtual events in the run-up to Christmas, including decorating tutorials, sewing classes and gin tastings. There are also online talks and tutorials with beauty brands including Jo Malone, Dior, Elemis and L’Oréal.