Grocery Chain Aldi is Going Healthier to Compete with Whole Foods

Grocery Chain Aldi is Going Healthier to Compete with Whole Foods

Aldi, the discount supermarket, is making some big changes to compete with Whole Foods and other organic grocery store chains. 

As consumers gravitate to a healthier lifestyle, the more they visit natural food grocery stores. 

Since Aldi has aggressive growth plans and the grocery sector is especially competitive following Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods, the German grocer is making a play to expand its natural and fresh food selection by 40 percent.

Aldi, which is the eighth biggest retailer in the world, has plans to open 700 new stores in the U.S. and is aiming to remodel 1,300 existing stores over the next four years– which will cost the company roughly $5 billion. 

So should Whole Foods be nervous? Diane Sheehan, an analyst with Kantar Consulting, thinks so. 

"Those retailers continue to be underestimating Aldi and are doing it to their own detriment," said Sheehan to "CNN Money."

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Aperol Spritz is the Cocktail of the Summer and Here's Why

Aperol Spritz is the Cocktail of the Summer and Here's Why

You may have noticed more orange and fizzy beverages on restaurant tables. Aperol Spritz, which isn't a new cocktail and was created back in 1919 in Italy, has quickly become the drink of the summer. 

But this wasn't done by accident. 

"Last month, Campari America marketing executive Melanie Batchelor told The New York Times that the company made a concerted effort to draw the American palate to the drink, starting a few years ago. Those efforts included booths at New York City summer events such as the Jazz Age Lawn Party and the Governors Ball, as well as events in the Hamptons, Los Angeles, and Palm Springs," writes "VinePair."

The recipe usually includes Aperol, Prosecco or some type of sparkling wine, and soda. It's refreshing, so it's perfect for summertime. 

Not to mention, it photographs nicely., making it perfect for the Instagram-loving foodie who wants to show off their summer-themed beverage. 

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Bauscher Hepp Introduces the Smart Plate

Bauscher Hepp Introduces the Smart Plate

Bauscher Hepp is taking automation to a whole new level.

The glassware distributor has paired Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology with plates, to automate the payment process for diners. 

The Smart Plate has a transponder equipped with the Payment by Intelligent Solutions system, or the PABIS chip that can read what type of menu item is in the plate. 

Here's how this technology works--

"In a serving line, a plate is handed to a guest, and in the process, the plate is passed over a chip reader. At this point, the transponder chip is encoded, meaning the plate then "knows" the meal item and its corresponding price," writes Bauscher Hepp. "In a self-serve line, the information about the menu item and the price is transmitted to the transponder chip as soon as the guest grabs the plate. At the end of the line, guests place food trays onto the counter next to the register, which is also equipped with a chip reader. The information saved on the various transponder chips is automatically transmitted to the payment system, and the total price is displayed." 

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Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse Now Has Two Locations in Boston

Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse Now Has Two Locations in Boston

The Texas-based restaurant group Del Frisco now has two Double Eagle Steakhouses in the city of Boston. Last month, the group opened its second location in the iconic Prudential Center. 

The first location in the high-end Seaport Boston was such a success, the brand has opened a second location in another high-end area.

“We are thrilled to be opening our second Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse in Boston’s historic Back Bay Neighborhood. Since opening our doors in the Seaport in 2011, we have seen tremendous response from the community, who have joined us in celebrating life in our restaurant through great food, wine and hospitality,” said Norman Abdallah, Chief Executive Officer of Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group in a press release. 

The Prudential Center, located below the Prudential Tower (also known as The Pru,) is an urban shopping center with 75 restaurants and retail stores in Boston's Back Bay area. 

Back Bay is one of the most expensive areas to live in and is known for its upscale shopping. 

Del Frisco thinks that this area is the perfect location for the second Double Eagle in the city. 

“We are looking forward to being part of the Back Bay community and bringing an unparalleled dining experience to the historic and vibrant neighborhood,” said Zeke Josma, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse General Manager in a press release. 

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Seafood and its Rising Consumption by Millennials

Seafood and its Rising Consumption by Millennials

Today's foodie is looking for more than just a tasty meal, they are health-conscious and want proteins that are nutritious.

Besides being concerned about the nutritional benefits of their food choices, they want to know where the protein is being sourced. Menu items that have been hyper-locally sourced have become particularly popular.

Consumers, especially millennials, are asking about their food before they eat it. They are acutely aware of the impact we now have on our environment, which is causing the sustain movement to build momentum.

Currently, the millennial generation has the greatest buying power in the market. There are more millennials working and earning a living than any other age group. According to data from Kantar Futures, 49 percent of foodies are millennials.

This group is driving the food trends and what do millennials want?

More seafood.

According to our Foodable Labs data, social mentions by brand advocates on seafood menu items are up by 18.4 percent since last July. The overall seafood Sentiment is up 2.4 points from the same time last year.

We have tracked 318,630 total seafood conversations by brand advocates on social over the past year.

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Shake Shack Rolls Out More Kiosks

Shake Shack Rolls Out More Kiosks

Shake Shack was ahead of the curve last year when the fast casual opened a location where all ordering and payments were done through self-ordering kiosks. 

Apparently, the test did not go as planned. Instead of things being done more efficiently, the lines were out of control. 

But Shake Shack isn't completely abandoning the idea. 

The chain will be implementing more kiosks at its stores and will be pairing them with cashiers. This will give the customer the option to use a kiosk or to go to a Shake Shack team member at a cashier.

There are now five Shake Shack stores with kiosks. 

Panera, Wendy's and McDonald's, and Jack in the Box have all invested more in kiosk technology and less into staffing, especially as the minimum wage increases. 

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These Vegan Brands See a Spike in Investor Funding

These Vegan Brands See a Spike in Investor Funding

An array of venture capital firms are seeing a lot of potential in the vegan consumer packaged goods sector, so they are making major investments in some of these companies. 

Beyond Meat has quickly emerged as one of the bigger players in the plant-based protein game. Besides being the first plant-based burger to be sold in the meat section at Whole Foods, the company has attracted investors like Tyson Foods, Bill Gates, and Leonardo Dicaprio, along with vegan-focused venture firms like Stray Dog Capital, New Crop Capital, and PowerPlant Ventures. 

“We’ve seen a real explosion in new venture capital firms focused specifically on the food space as well as more traditional tech and venture capital investors making some of their first investments into food,” said Zoe Leavitt, a senior intelligence analyst at data firm CB Insights. “As of last year, the sheer number of unique investors participating in the food and beverage space had more than doubled since 2013. There is definitely a lot of excitement there.”

Another vegan company attracting investors is Califia Farms. Dicaprio and other celebrities like Jared Leto have invested in this milk brand. 

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The World's Most Starred Michelin Chef Dies at 73

The World's Most Starred Michelin Chef Dies at 73

Joel Robuchon, the French renowned chef and restaurateur, passed away at age 73 on Monday, according to a French government spokesman. 

He died from cancer in the Swiss city of Geneva, about a year after he received treatment for a pancreatic tumor.

"Joel Robuchon, a visionary chef who was the most starred in the world, leaves us today," tweeted Benjamin Griveaux, a French government spokesman. "From Paris to Shanghai, his savoir-faire was an art form that made French gastronomy shine and continues to inspire the next generation of chefs."

Chef Robuchon, who racked up 31 Michelin stars in his lifetime, was named "Chef of the Century" by the Gault Millau industry bible in 1989. 

His career in the industry started at age 15 at the Relais of Poitiers hotel as a pastry chef. He then climbed the ranks and was the head chef at Hôtel Concorde La Fayette by age 29, where he was awarded the Meilleur Ouvrier de France for his craftsmanship in culinary arts. 

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San Diego Foodies are Lining Up at This Fast Food Concept Coined the "Vegan McDonald's"

San Diego Foodies are Lining Up at This Fast Food Concept Coined the "Vegan McDonald's"

It's safe to say that this is just the beginning of the plant-based protein trend. 

As more consumers change their dining habits to consume less meat, the more vegetarian and vegan options like Beyond Burger and Impossible Foods grow in popularity. 

At restaurants, we are seeing more and more vegan-friendly options be highlighted on menus, even in the fast food segment.

Some concepts like Plant Power are ahead of the curve. 

Foodies are willing to wait in long lines to grab a bite to eat from this San Diego-based vegan fast food joint. 

Plant Power saw instant success since opening its second location in Encinitas in 2017. 

“Yeah, we never imagined it would be like that,” said Zach Vouga, the co-founder of Plant Power, to "Thrillist." “I’ve never seen such an intense demand for something. We were slammed hour-in, hour-out, every day once we opened our doors.”

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Foodies Freak Out as Panera Bread Announces Double Bread Bowl Test

Foodies Freak Out as Panera Bread Announces Double Bread Bowl Test

The bakery-cafe fast casual chain Panera Bread is taking its beloved bread bowls to the next level. 

Instead of offering a bread bowl that fits just one of the brand's soups or the wildly popular mac and cheese, Panera Bread is testing a double bread bowl in the Philly area between August 5 and August 31st. 

This new menu item is an entire loaf of bread that has two bowl cut-outs to fill with chain's creamy food.

"Ideal for sharing with your BFF, significant other, or even a co-worker, the double bread bowl can include any two of Panera’s signature soups or Mac & Cheese," said a Panera rep. to "Thrillist."

The double bread bowls will also be available via delivery at the Philadelphia stores that it is being tested at. 

In May, Panera Bread rolled out national delivery at all of its stores in 897 cities and 42 states in the U.S.

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