TIME Food and Beverage

Homer Simpson’s Beloved ‘Duff Beer’ Will Soon Be Available to Real Drinkers

Duff Beer for me, Duff Beer for you

21st Century Fox is brewing up a plan to make Duff Beer, Homer Simpson’s fictional drink of choice, into a real and possibly lucrative brand, the company confirmed on Friday.

“I think there’s potential to have Duff everywhere in the world,” Jeffrey Godsick, president of Fox’s consumer products division, said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

Until recently Fox was sending cease and desist orders to any brewer that infringed on the brand, but now the media company is reportedly preparing to launch a premium lager with a “caramel aroma” and just a hint of irony. The label will not include overt references to the The Simpsons. Instead it will faithfully mimic the bottles and cans seen in the show.

Unfortunately for American Duff Beer fans, assuming they exist in the real world, the brand will only launch in Chile initially, where illegal copies of Duff Beer have already taken the market by storm. Fox could not confirm a U.S. release, but Fox executives haven’t ruled out the possibility of a domestic homecoming either.

TIME oreos

Oreos Get a Makeover: Meet the ‘Thinner’ Cookie

A March 7, 2012 photo shows a plate of O
MANDEL NGAN—AFP/Getty Images A plate of regular-sized Oreo cookies.

They’re selling well in China

The 103-year-old Oreo cookie is getting a much-needed makeover. It’s slimming down.

Oreo maker Mondelez has confirmed to the Associated Press that “Oreo Thins” will be a permanent fixture on U.S. retail shelves starting next week. The cookies look like a regular Oreo except they are slimmer: with four of the “Thins” containing 140 calories vs. 160 calories for three regular sized Oreos.

Mondelez joins a number of other food and beverage companies that are toying with the idea of serving smaller portions for calorie-rich snacks at a time when more Americans are favoring fresher foods and snacks, putting pressure on snacks found in the middle aisles of the grocery store. Starbucks, for example, earlier this year debuted a smaller, “Mini” Frappuccino for likely the same reason Oreo is getting slimmer. Both want to lure consumers that don’t want the guilt associated with consuming the larger snacks.

Oreo is a key brand for Mondelez, one of the world’s biggest snack companies. Oreo is one of the company’s $9 billion brands, so any successful innovation in flavors, packaging, and sizing for large brands such as Oreo can potentially move Mondelez’s sales trajectory. It has already seen a $40 million sales jump for Oreo Thins in the first eight months that the item was sold in China, the AP reported.

TIME Food and Beverage

7 Quotes That Prove What Kind of Leader Indra Nooyi Really Is

Nooyi Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo laughs during session of World Economic Forum in Davos
Ruben Sprich—Reuters Indra Nooyi, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo laughs during a session at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos on Jan. 24, 2014.

A bold CEO—who's tenure hasn't always been smooth

PepsiCo‘s CEO Indra Nooyi made the right bet on getting her company to produce snacks and drinks with the health-conscious in mind years ago. Her tenure hasn’t always been smooth, however. Fortune’s Jennifer Reingold profiled Nooyi for the new Fortune 500 issue.

Here are seven quotes that illustrate her leadership qualities:

1. She isn’t afraid to get dirty in a supermarket that sells Pepsi products. Nooyi also is unafraid to ask uncomfortable questions: “Do they bring a guy to carry this out? Hello? Hello? You need a forklift. Maybe because it’s inexpensive [$3.99], people are going to go through the hell, but we should watch out.”

2. She’s a perfectionist, a quality she brings to her leadership: “We ought to keep pushing the boundaries to get to flawless execution. Flawless is the ultimate goal.”

3. She even has a slogan: “Performance with purpose.”

4. Nooyi has been vocal about the importance of health. She said that it’s up to Pepsi to help solve “one of the world’s biggest public health challenges, a challenge fundamentally linked to our industry: obesity.”

More: See the new list of the world’s biggest companies

5. She’s invested heavily in research and development as well. In fact, Pepsi is developing a 3-D printed potato chip. “We have patents on the design, the cutter, the mouth experience,” according to Dr. Mehmood Khan, Pepsi’s chief scientific officer. “This is multiple layers of IP.”

6. She challenges standards of health food on the market as almost hypocritical: “The consumer has turned the definition [of healthy] upside down. “If it is non-GMO, natural, or organic, but high in sodium and high in sugar and fat, it’s okay.”

7. And while she’s demanding, she’s realistic: “I wouldn’t ask anyone to do anything I wouldn’t do myself.”

Click here for the full story.

TIME wine

Nobody Knows If This $18,000 Wine Is Any Good

red-wine
Getty Images

The pricy 70-year old bottle of French wine may be undrinkable

A bottle of wine sold at a London auction for $18,000 on Thursday. The problem is it might taste pretty bad.

The Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1945, one of the rarest wines in the world, was sold by auctioneer Bonhams to a private collection in Europe, Bloomberg reported. Individual glasses of the French red wine would sell for $1,500, the news service said.

The bottle sold for less than it could have, however, because of concerns that it may be undrinkable, Richard Harvey, Bonhams’ global head of wine, told Bloomberg. The wine, from the Medoc region, is believed to have oxidized because of some space found between the wine and the bottom of the cork. According to the article:

Had it been in better condition, the 70-year-old bottle, part of a vintage described by critic Michael Broadbent as the “Churchill of wine,” could have fetched twice the 10,000-pound ($15,000) to 15,000-pound range Bonhams had estimated in its sale catalog.

But regardless of its taste, the wine is a collector’s item because of its historical significance. A “V” printed on the label is said to celebrate the Allies’ victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.
TIME Hormel Foods

Hormel goes organic with latest big food acquisition

Hormel sliced turkey is seen for sale in Westminster
© Rick Wilking / Reuters—REUTERS Hormel sliced turkey

Deal is latest by big food company for a smaller 'natural' rival.

Hormel Foods is paying $775 million to buy organic processed meats maker Applegate Farms, the latest deal by a food giant for a smaller rival in the grocery aisle.

“A growing number of consumers are choosing natural and organic products,” said Hormel Foods Chief Executive Jeffrey Ettinger.

The deal will add Applegate’s deli meats, frozen burgers and dinner sausages to Hormel’s [fortune-stock symbol=”HRL”] portfolio of brands, which already includes Spam, Skippy peanut butter and the company’s namesake meats. The acquisition, which is expected to lift future profits, won’t add too much to Hormel’s sales. Applegate’s annual sales are expected to reach $340 million in 2015, a sliver of the roughly $9.3 billion Hormel records annually.

But the acquisition of Applegate is important for two key reasons. It is the latest deal by a “Big Food” maker for a smaller player. Smaller food makers have reported sharp sales growth as grocery shoppers at times turn away from legacy, established brands. Recent deals have included Hershey’s [fortune-stock symbol=”HSY”] acquisition of beef jerky maker Krave, Post Holdings’ [fortune-stock symbol=”POST”] deal for MOM brands, and Hormel’s own $450 million deal last year for Muscle Milk maker CytoSports.

Food companies are spending big on newer brands to lure consumers that want food they consider to be healthier. Applegate plays into the feel-good attitude that has been pervasive in the category. For example, Applegate says it produces meats that are “raised humanely without antibiotics and hormones.” The company’s webpage features an interview with CEO Stephen McDonnell talking about how he and other consumers want meats that don’t contain bad ingredients.

And like the Hershey deal for Krave, Hormel’s acquisition of Applegate is another big bet on protein. Industry analysts like NPD Group have flagged rising interest in protein, with studies showing nearly half of primary grocery shoppers have purchased protein-enriched foods and many are willing to pay more for those products.

Applegate will operate as a standalone subsidiary after the transaction is completed. The company has 100 employees, located primarily in Bridgewater, N.J.

TIME Fast Food

Here’s How Much a Single Shake Shack Is Worth

People walk past a Shake Shack restaurant in New York
© Carlo Allegri / Reuters—REUTERS People walk past a Shake Shack restaurant in the Manhattan borough of New York August 15, 2014.

That's a lot of burgers

Each Shake Shack restaurant is reportedly worth $50 million, according to a chart by Zero Hedge citing value per restaurant as included in public filings.

If accurate, Shake Shack outpaces the value-per-restaurant of its competition by far. For example, Business Insider reported that each Chipotle is worth just $10 million, while a McDonald’s[fortune-stock symbol=”MCD”] is worth just $3 million.

Shake Shack currently has 63 locations and expects to open up hundreds more in the future. The company went public at the start of 2015, with the stock price rising over 130% on the first day of trading to $49 per share. As of Friday morning, shares were above $90 each.

TIME Advertising

Somehow This Olive Garden Commercial Is Pretty Touching

It's surprisingly tasteful

Olive Garden just released a 60-second ad that tugs at the heartstrings and celebrates family.

The spot, produced by Grey New York, features families singing together, reuniting after years apart and other touching moments captured in low-definition that suggests authenticity. There aren’t any cheesy food-shot clips, as noted by Adweek, which first reported on the new commercial’s release. Throughout the minute-long ad a sweet tone is set as a young girl and an older family member sing and play the song “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

“In our latest commercial, Olive Garden celebrates family–whether traditional, blended and extended, neighbors, co-workers or friends. It’s family that supports us, cheers us on, and grounds us in what truly matters,” according to the restaurant chain on YouTube. “That’s why at Olive Garden, we’re all family here.” The ad marks a departure from Olive Garden’s past ads and fits in more closely with with their tagline: “We’re all family here,” which Adweek said its used since 2013.

Olive Garden is owned by Darden Restaurants, which posted higher sales and solid earnings in its latest financial quarter. In fact, the company said Olive Garden celebrated same-store sales up 2.2% boost and growth for the second consecutive quarter for the first time since 2010, according to CNN Money.

Olive Garden made headlines recently with a new item on its men: a breadstick sandwich.

TIME Candy

These Candy Companies have a Surprising New Strategy

Mars

The candy companies are making a push into healthier snack bars

Candy companies are jumping on the health food bandwagon. Yes, really.

Mars Chocolate North America and Hershey both plan to introduce snack bars for health-conscious consumers, according to Ad Age.

The two companies unveiled their new bars at the Sweets and Snacks Expo this week in Chicago. Mars and Hershey are the biggest players in the US confectionary market with 25% market share each, Ad Age said. The new snack bars will feature fruit, nuts, dark chocolate and, allegedly, lower calories.

With the new bars, the two companies will compete against each another as well as against Kind, a successful snack bar start-up.

Mars will reportedly debut its Goodnessknows bars in stores in August. Hershey’s Brookside bars are just now starting to reach store shelves.

The push into snack bars comes amid a broader shift by the food industry to make their products healthier, or at least appear healthier. Fast-food chains are increasingly selling lower calorie menu items and meat produced without hormones.

For more on how large food companies have been singing a healthier tune recently, check out Beth Kowitt’s Fortune feature “The war on big food.”

TIME Advertising

This Beer Ad Only Works When Women Pass By

It uses state-of-the-art "gender detection" software

 

German beer maker Astra wants women to know their purchasing power is important.

The beer brand has made an automated billboard that speaks only to women when they pass by, Engadget reports. The billboard comes equipped with a camera and “gender detection” software. It also responds to women according to their age from one of 70 different recorded responses. The billboard was developed by the ad agency Philipp und Keuntje and features German comic Uke Bosse.

Read next: What your beer says about you

TIME Food & Drink

Just When You Thought This Starbucks Treat Couldn’t Get Any Better Now It’s Got a Cookie Straw

cookie-straw-starbucks
Starbucks

S'mores Frappuccino, meet your tasty new straw

The Starbucks S’mores Frappuccino debuts on Tuesday, and the blended treat is getting an even sweeter addition: Now you can stick a “cookie straw” in your blended beverage to really round out your sugar high.

The rolled wafer, lined with chocolate, will be available for $0.95, with limited numbers being given away free with the new frap.

The new Frappuccino comes layered with marshmallow infused whipped cream, milk chocolate sauce, coffee, milk and ice, and a graham cracker crumble.

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