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Jack Link’s acquisiton of Unilever’s meat snack business now complete

BY Mike Troy

MINONG, Wis. — The sale of Unilever’s meat snack business to Jack Link’s closed this week, clearing the way for the Minong, Wis.-based company to pursue its global ambitions.

Jack Link’s is already the leading U.S. meat snack brand with a pervasive presence at retail but has set its sights on international growth.

“Jack Link’s mission is to be the No. 1 provider of branded meat snacks throughout the world,” said Troy Link, CEO of Jack Link’s Beef Jerky. “This is an important step in delivering on that mission, and we are excited to welcome the BiFi and Peperami brands into the family. These brands continue to drive growth in meat snacks in their respective territories, and we look forward to working with all of our team members and retail partners to continue that success.”

Unilever’s meat snacks were sold under the BiFi brand in Germany, Benelux, Austria and Switzerland, and the Peperami brand in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

“Bifi and Peperami are two iconic local brands. As we continue to sharpen our portfolio to deliver sustainable growth for Unilever, we believe that the potential of these two brands can now be more fully realized with Jack Link’s,” said Unilever Europe president Jan Zijderveld.

 

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Kroger’s QueVision ranks retailer among the top business technology innovators

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI — Kroger’s technology solution to speed up checkout wait times, called QueVision, has earned the company a No. 3 ranking in the InformationWeek Elite 100 — a list of the top business technology innovators in the United States, the company announced Wednesday. 

"Kroger is honored to be recognized for developing innovative technology solutions to meet customer needs — what we call Customer 1st innovation — in the InformationWeek Elite 100," stated Chris Hjelm, Kroger’s chief information officer. "What makes us most proud is how our associates — in Retail Operations and Kroger Technology, and store front-end managers, cashiers and courtesy clerks — worked together to both scale QueVision across more than 2,400 stores and to execute it so successfully."  

Kroger’s QueVision uses infrared sensors and predictive analytics to arm store front-end managers with real-time data to make sure registers are open when customers need them. As a result, the Kroger family of stores has reduced the time a customer waits in line to check out, on average, from four minutes before QueVision was deployed to less than 30 seconds today.

"Every day, we are returning precious minutes to our time-strapped customers by shortening the time they wait to checkout," said Marnette Perry, Kroger SVP strategic initiatives and operations. 

To view the complete ranking of InformationWeek Elite 100 winners, click here.

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Boots 1-of-7 companies to join CRN

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Council for Responsible Nutrition on Wednesday announced the addition of seven new companies to its membership roster, including the Boots Co., which joined CRN as an international member. 

The other additions included voting members Arbonne International, Bergstrom Nutrition, HORN Nutraceuticals and SmartyPants, as well as associate members Jones Day and MCS Associates. 

“We are very pleased to welcome seven new companies to the CRN family,” stated Steve Mister, CRN president and CEO. “It is rewarding to see that companies are continuing to recognize the benefits of CRN membership, and we look forward to working with our new members to continue to strengthen a responsible industry.”

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