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All Cereal, all the time...Miami, Florida-based "Cereal Bowl," a cafe format that features over 35 cereals, 40-plus toppings, a variety of milks and other prepared specialty foods and beverages is going national. Cereal Bowl CEO Kenneth Rader says the cafe has 16 new stores under development and a number of them will open this year.
A couple of the cafe's current cereal bowl creations include "Give Me S'More," a combination based on the famous Smore treat, and "Freeze N Flakes', a frozen version of corn flakes and milk. Cereal Bowl also offers a number of natural and healthy products. One of the cafe's most popular with consumers is their high protein smoothie know as the "Oatie."
The Cereal Bowl also has what it calls "Cereal Bowl University" which is located in it's Miami, Florida headquarters. It's a fully functional kitchen/classroom where franchisees and employees are trained and new cereal creations and combinations are developed.
The company's COO, Michael Glassman says the Cereal Bowl plans to have 3 new locations and 30 stores in development by the end of 2007. the company also has a new plan for 2008. They want to launch kiosks in various public places such as airports, malls and college campuses, where their cereal bowls and related goods can be sold. This would be perfect for college students, many who already attend class in their pajamas. They could roll out of bed, go to the Cereal Bowl kiosk at their campus food court, have a bowl of cereal, and then go to class--all without having to change out of their PJ's.
Retailer (and old line titan brand) Coffee Blues...Retailers--supermarkets, drug stores, mass merchandisers, club stores and others--are losing their once dominant share of coffee sales. In 2001 research firm Datamonitor estimated these retail channels accounted for 50% of U.S. coffee sales. However, by 2006 Datamonitor says that share had fallen to only 36%. Meanwhile the overall coffee market grew by more than 50% during the time period. and the overall coffee market is expected to grow another $10 million to $39 million over the next four years. Datamonitor says that growth will be driven primarily by sales at coffee shops rather than by these retail formats. Advertising Age has a recent (Aug. 20, 2007) article describing how the coffee shop/cafe sector is leading the charge in coffee sales. The piece also looks at the U.S. coffee industry in general and examines the old line titan coffee brands like Folgers and Maxwell house and compares them to today's leaders like Starbucks, Green Mountain, Newman's Own and others in the premium coffee category. The Ad Age story is here: http://adage.com/article?article_id=119940
Chinese create food quality seal for their products...Beginning next month (September, 2007) foreign food importers will be able to tell the real deal,authentic Chinese food products from the fake ones do to the development of a "CIQ" mark that all legal Chinese food exports will be required to carry, according to a report in the China Daily newspaper. The CIQ mark stands for China Inspection and Quarantine, which the Chinese government says guarantees the export products passed quality tests. More information is available here: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2007-08/23/content_6036956.htm In light of all the recent Chinese export product recalls--toothpaste, tires, toys and more--it makes good sense for the Chinese to implement such a program. There have already been problems with Chinese exported food additives in the U.S. and elsewhere, and if China has any further problems with foodstuffs the country's food producers and exporters could face a major boycott by foreign consumers of exported food items from China.
The Chinese government is in fact so concerned with food safety issues that they just issued the country's first "White Paper" on food safety and named a 19-member cabinet level panel to oversee food product quality and food safety. The panel is headed by high-ranking Vice-Premier Wu Yi. You can read a summary of the "White paper" here: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/olympics/2007-08/20/content_6033641.htm You can view the full 39-page white paper here: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/bizchina/2007-08/18/content_6032837.htm
The Chinese government is investing 8.8 billion yuan (about $1.8 billion U.S dollars) in it's new food safety program, reports China Daily here: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/olympics/2007-08/08/content_6018001.htm
In addition to protecting their export markets, a big chunk of which is in food exports, the Chinese also very concerned about their world image, especially since they will be hosting the 2008 Olympic Games. This is a huge deal for the Chinese as they see it as a major event to present themselves as a major world power. As such they are spending large sums of many to fix anything that looks broken in Chinese society and in the economy prior to hosting the 2008 games.