Dark Chocolate Oreos Are a New Permanent Flavor Hitting Shelves Soon

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“Oreo‘s newest flavor isn’t as crazy as their usual offerings—and even more surprising, it’s here to stay.

The beloved cookie company announced on Wednesday that Dark Chocolate Oreos will become a permanent flavor hitting shelves next year. The brand decided to announce the news timed to the upcoming winter solstice, the day with the shortest period of daylight (so the darkest day of the year), on Dec. 21 even though the cookies won’t hit stands until Jan. 2.

The new treats come with a dark chocolate creme—”made with real cocoa” as touted on the packaging—sandwiched between their classic chocolate wafers.”

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Banned in Boston: Plastic bags at grocery stores

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A Boston city ordinance banning major grocery store chains from providing plastic bags to customers went into effect Friday. The new law – enacted to help reduce pollution and clean up city streets – applies only to checkout bags, described in the ordinance as carryout bags with handles.

Retailers can still stock recyclable paper bags, compostable bags or reusable bags and sell them for at least 5 cents, as long as the charge is advertised near the checkout location, according to the ordinance, signed into law by Mayor Marty Walsh last December.

The plastic bag ban will be rolled out over eight months. For now, it applies only to stores that are 20,000 square feet or larger. Stores that are at least 10,000 square feet have until April 1, 2019, to comply. Smaller establishments have until July 1, 2019.

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Romaine’s Woes Are Great News for Other Kinds of Greens

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“Prices for iceberg, green leaf and other types of lettuce are soaring as demand surged in the wake of the romaine recall. A carton of iceberg lettuce at wholesale markets in California fetched as much as $60 this week, U.S. government data show. That’s up from as low as $24 on Nov. 19, the day before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning to consumers about romaine.

The same holds true for other salad staples: the price of Boston lettuce surged 175 percent, while green leaf lettuce gained 160 percent, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. Even kale, a member of the same family as cabbage, was not immune, rising to as much as $16 a carton from a low of $12.

“It’s uncertain how long it will last,” said Trevor Suslow, the vice president of food safety for the Produce Marketing Association, referring to the price spike. “I would imagine it will stay high for a while because of the understandable disruption.”

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The Top 10 Food Trends For 2019, According To Whole Foods

“Twenty-six subject experts from Whole Foods have been convening for four years to predict what’s coming next to their own shelves and to the food world as a whole. These experts range from a master sommelier and global beverage buyer to a senior R&D culinologist to the president of the Whole Kids Foundation to a produce field inspector to a board-certified, internal medicine physician to a global meat buyer; some actually started out working at the store level.

Before I share their predictions with you, what is unsaid is that the chain, now owned by Amazon, has produced the biggest trend in grocery in decades: They have awaken a previously staid industry and revitalized it as chains both large and small are changing the way they look at grocery. Amazon/Whole Foods has also attracted new talent, some from Ivy League schools who might never have thought about a career in grocery, and led other grocers on the same path. For me one of the biggest trends for 2019 will be to watch where Amazon/Whole Foods leads us next.

Now on to Whole Foods’ top 10 food trends:

Pacific Rim flavors is the top trend, with Whole Foods announcing that its Market and 365 Everyday Value brands will launch a new line of products inspired by Pacific Rim fruits like a guava tropical vinaigrette, pineapple passionfruit sparkling mineral water, mango pudding mix and passionfruit coconut frozen fruit bars. It also expect to see ingredients like longganisa (a Filipino pork sausage), dried shrimp, cuttlefish and shrimp paste to appear on restaurant and home menus in dishes from breakfast to dinner. (…)”

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Ford teaming up with Walmart and Postmates on robot deliveries

“Ford is joining forces with Walmart and Postmates to create a grocery delivery service using self-driving vehicles in Miami, the companies announced Wednesday.

Ford has been using Miami as a test bed for its self-driving vehicles since earlier this year. And more recently, the auto giant joined with Postmates to see how people ordering takeout food would interact with an autonomous delivery van.

Now Ford is moving to the next stage: grocery delivery. The company says it will experiment with different vehicle types, as well as modifications to those vehicles needed to keep perishable food items fresh. It will also experiment with a variety of scenarios, such as multiple deliveries on one trip and the user experience of retrieving delivery items from a fully driverless vehicle.”

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Walmart surpasses Amazon as online shoppers’ most popular grocer

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“The world’s largest retailer has surpassed the e-commerce giant in a survey of online food shoppers, more of whom said they most recently visited Walmart’s site for groceries. Local supermarkets were in third place, fueled in part by logistics provider Instacart, which handles orders for grocers like Kroger Co. and many others.

Walmart has moved ahead thanks to the rapid deployment of its curbside grocery pickup service, which is now in about 2,000 stores. An additional 1,000 will come on board by the end of 2019, the company said at a recent investor conference.

Walmart also works with delivery services like DoorDash and Deliv to bring groceries to customers’ homes for a fee. Amazon, meanwhile, offers grocery delivery from Whole Foods Market stores for its Prime customers in 60 cities, with in-store pickup now available in 10.”

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Walmart Employees Encouraged To use In-house Apps

Walmart Encourages Associates to Perform Tasks with Their Smartphones for Better Efficiency

“Walmart continues its push to empower its employees through technology, now encouraging store associates to accomplish everyday tasks on the job with their smartphones instead of store-supplied devices, with the intent of improving efficiency via familiarity.”

“We know technology is helping our associates be more productive and deliver for our customers in new ways,” said Brock McKeel, senior director of digital operations, on the retailer’s blog. “BYOD is just another option our people will have to access the custom apps that help associates perform their jobs.”

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