Thursday, 22 Oct 2020

Panera Introduces New Broccoli Cheddar Mac & Cheese

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Mars Rebrands Rice to Ben’s Original After Racial Review

Mars Inc. is renaming its Uncle Ben’s rice brand as Ben’s Original in an effort to remove racial stereotyping.

Mars will also change the design of the packaging, which had featured an illustration of a Black man, the company said in a statement Wednesday. The new look will be available from 2021.

The move comes after U.S. protests against racism and racial inequality spurred numerous companies to rethink their brand names and logos. Food companies including Nestle SA and PepsiCo Inc. have been reviewing thousands of brands in their portfolios and identifying products to change, including Red Skins raspberry-flavored candy and Aunt Jemima pancake mix and syrup.

“We understand the inequities that were associated with the name and face of the previous brand,” Fiona Dawson, head of Mars’s multisales and global customers, said in the statement. “We have committed to change.”

Mars said it’s also implementing community outreach programs to provide nutritious meals to underserved communities and to support educational opportunities for culinary entrepreneurs.

Lowe’s Offers To Help Small Businesses To Pitch Their Products

Home improvement retailer Lowe’s Companies Inc. (LOW) is offering small businesses a chance to get their products on its store shelves and website as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the industry.

In a new initiative called “Making It… With Lowe’s,” Lowe’s and Shark Tank star Daymond John are teaming up to create opportunities for diverse small businesses to pitch their products and a chance to sell their products on and in store.

Lowe’s President and CEO Marvin Ellison said, “Offering our customers greater access to products being created by diverse small business owners allows Lowe’s digital and physical shelves nationwide to better reflect the diverse communities we serve and ensures our customers have access to the most innovative and valued home improvement products in the marketplace.”

From Sept. 15 through Sept. 25, diverse small business owners can apply on After Lowe’s identifies an initial 375 small businesses, the pool will narrow to 75 who will be invited to submit more in-depth stories via video. The top 10 entrepreneurs will then pitch their products to a panel of Lowe’s executives.

In July, the home improvement retailer more than doubled its small business grant program to $55 million, providing much-needed financial relief to minority-, women-owned and rural small businesses.

Podcast: Reid Hoffman and Mark Pincus on the rise of Silicon Valley SPACs

Silicon Valley venture capitalists are no longer content with investing in startups and then eventually handing them off. Instead, many are now forming SPACs, or blank-check acquisition companies, to ride tech unicorns into the public markets themselves.

Axios Re:Cap digs into this trend with the co-founders of a new tech SPAC called Reinvent Technology Partners: Reid Hoffman, a co-founder of LinkedIn and partner at Greylock, and Mark Pincus, the founder and former CEO of Zynga.

Panera Introduces New Broccoli Cheddar Mac & Cheese

Panera Bread Co. (PNRA) has launched a new menu item, Broccoli Cheddar Mac & Cheese, which is combination of two of its popular dishes – Broccoli Cheddar Soup and Mac & Cheese.

The Broccoli Cheddar Mac & Cheese is now available at bakery-cafes nationwide starting at $5.79 or as part of a “You Pick 2” order, the company announced Wednesday.

Broccoli Cheddar Mac and Cheese is a new recipe from Panera and was developed by combining two distinct cheddar cheese sauces into a singular velvety blend, simmered with a burst of seasoned broccoli florets and julienned carrots.

Panera Broccoli Cheddar Mac & Cheese is also available in the refrigerated deli area at select grocery retailers nationwide as the newest addition to Panera’s line of cafe-inspired grocery products.

As part of the debut of the new menu item, Panera and two-time Grammy Award winner Michael Bolton have released a digital short called “When Some Mac Loves Broccoli Cheddar.”

“To celebrate the first-ever mash-up of two iconic Panera menu items coming together in perfect harmony, we knew we had to do something big,” said Eduardo Luz, Chief Brand & Concept Officer at Panera. “The combination of our crowd-pleasing Broccoli Cheddar Soup, with our Mac & Cheese is a true embodiment of Panera’s dedication to delicious food. We felt so passionately about the flavor combination that the love song almost wrote itself, and who better to help us announce to the world than love song legend and Panera superfan, Michael Bolton.”

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