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Report: Robofusion makes ice cream treats to customers’ specifications

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — A new machine from a company based in Wando, S.C., gives retailers a new way to sell ice cream, according to published reports.

RetailWire reported that Robofusion, founded by Allan Jones, had developed an eponymous robot that allows customers to create their own ice cream desserts.

According to the company’s website, customers walk up to the machine, choose 1-of-4 "Robot Characters" that program the robot movements and effects and then design a five-layer ice cream and candy treat.

Traditionally, the ice cream and soda counter was long a feature of the neighborhood pharmacy — many soda brands popular today, such as Coca-Cola and Dr Pepper, were originally invented by pharmacists and intended for medicinal use. But it has mostly disappeared, with the exception of some Rite Aid stores in California that still have them.

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J. M. Smucker reports Q2 sales

BY Allison Cerra

ORRVILLE, Ohio — Second-quarter net sales for J. M. Smucker rose 18% to $235 million for the period ended Oct. 31.

Specifically, J. M. Smucker said net sales increased 29% for its U.S. retail coffee segment, while segment net sales for its U.S. consumer food business increased 13%. The company said the boost was aided by net price realization across many of the company’s brands, in addition to its acquisition of the Rowland Coffee brands, which contributed to about 2% to net sales. The company also said that it experienced volume gains in Pillsbury baking mixes, Jif peanut butter, but were more than offset by declines in nonbranded beverages, Crisco oils, Folgers coffee and Pillsbury flour.

For its outlook, the company said it now expects income per diluted share to range from $4.90 to $5.

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Report: PepsiCo to roll out Pepsi Next nationwide

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — A few months after announcing a test run of its reduced-sugar cola in Iowa and Wisconsin, PepsiCo unveiled plans for a nationwide rollout of Pepsi Next.

According to published reports, Pepsi Next is expected to hit store shelves in spring 2012.

"As part of our continued commitment to innovate our carbonated soft drinks portfolio, we developed Pepsi Next, a great-tasting, full-flavor cola with 60% less sugar," PepsiCo Beverages America CEO Massimo d’Amore said of the new beverage over the summer. "In thorough consumer research, Pepsi Next resonated very well with consumers who are seeking a new, reduced-sugar alternative to their loved cola."

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