Uber sold its food delivery business in India to local rival Zomato – Blog – 10 minute

The big picture: Uber’s Eats business in India isn’t helping the company improve its bottom line, so it decided to offload it to one of its local rivals in exchange for a stake in their business. As a result, Uber can focus on other locations where it can make a profit. It’s now also the owner of 9.99% of Zomato.
Uber’s rapid global expansion has been far from perfect, and lately the company has been trying to cut its losses wherever it has trouble beating the local competition. Today, the company announced it sold its food delivery business in India to rival Zomato. The deal is estimated at around $160 to $200 million that Uber will get in the form of a 9.99 percent stake in the Indian startup, which is also backed by China’s Ant Financial group.
Zomato will take over Uber Eats’ operations in India. The company says it will keep the overall user experience the same, while working to improve coverage. Analysts at Forrester think Zomato still faces a relatively strong competitor, Swiggy, that raised around $1 billion in 2018 and is capable of handling more deliveries every day.

Uber entered the Indian market in 2017, but its Uber Eats business has failed to make any significant market share gains despite offering aggressive deals and discounts. The company’s CFO, Nelson Chai, says the recent move is part of “our commitment to take a hard look at Eats markets where we do not have a path to leadership.”
Uber promised investors that it will become profitable by 2021, but in the meantime it is burning cash at an alarming rate. As of late, the company has expanded to new places in the Middle East and Latin America, but Uber Eats India was apparently losing some $60 million per quarter in 2019, on revenues of $20 million.
Cutting its loses means the company can focus on other places where it can secure a foothold, as the global food delivery market is expected to be worth $15 billion by 2023.

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How tech giant ABB changed its perception in the global food & drink industry- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Agency Inc won in the ‘B2C Integrated’ category at Tempemail Marketing Awards 2019 with its ‘Talk To US’ campaign for ABB Food & Beverage. With the 2020 awards now open for entries, the agency reveals the challenges faced and the strategies used to deliver this successful project.
The challenge
ABB is a pioneering global technology leader, working mainly in the utility, industry, transportation and infrastructure sectors. You may not have heard of them, but, chances are that you have used their products directly or indirectly.
ABB wanted to become a global leader in the Food & Beverage (F&B) sector. But its reputation was a problem. F&B manufacturers saw ABB more as a supplier to heavy industry. As a result, ABB’s brand recognition in this sector was relatively low.
The overall aims and objectives for the campaign were:
● Consistent, distinct, unified communications to the F&B sector;
● Make the ABB brand more relevant and appealing to F&B manufacturers.
Robert Glass, ABB Global Food & Beverage communications manager, told us: “We want to be the first company F&B manufacturers think of when they need automation or powersolutions.”
The strategy
ABB is a massive company. It operates in hundreds of product and service categories in over 100 countries. This led to fragmented and inconsistent communications to F&B manufacturers. Rather than speaking with one voice, ABB spoke with multiple voices that emphasized different things.
In addition, ABB wasn’t speaking to the challenges of F&B manufacturers. So what were those challenges exactly?
To get the scoop, we combined desk research, a competitor content audit, and primary phone interviews with ABB sales and key account managers from across the globe. From this research, we discovered that the common challenges for F&B manufacturing plants centred around:
o Digital transformation;
o Sustainability and traceability;
o Food safety;
o Energy efficiency;
o Reliability and quality.
These insights became our starting point for the re-positioning effort. We decided to change the perception of ABB from being a mere supplier, to a trusted partner. Our research told us what ABB needed to talk about. But how could we get F&B manufacturers to see ABB as a knowledgeable consultant in these areas?
The answer lay in ABB’s reputation as a global industry giant. What had previously been a perceived weakness – ABB as a heavy industry player – now became a strength. It gave us the basis for making the case that ABB’s huge portfolio and expertise can meet any F&B challenge.
The message was simple: whatever F&B manufacturers need, ABB can help them find the right solution “from power to palletizing”.
Once we had clarity on the positioning, the proposition became clear: “ABB is the technology partner that will power, automate and digitalise your future”.

The campaign
We created a tagline that also functions as a call to action: ‘Talk to us’.
This aligns perfectly with ABB’s new position as a trusted consultant. And it invites customers to begin the conversation with ABB and find a solution that’s right for them.
The tagline worked nicely with a series of six headlines, each one speaking to a specific F&B challenge:
o A plant of infinite possibilities. Talk to us.
o A plant that connects to everything. Talk to us.
o A plant that is truly sustainable. Talk to us.
o A plant that maximises reliability. Talk to us.
o A plant that safeguards product integrity. Talk to us.
o A plant that creates certainty. Talk to us.
This messaging set us on the way to increasing ABB’s brand recognition in the F&B sector. It created a distinct sound in this space. Now we needed to create a distinct look.
In a sector where marketing materials are filled with photographs of F&B plants, we did something different. Using 3D modelling, we worked from scratch to create six bespoke hero images. For each visual, a conveyor belt in the shape of a recognisable symbol helped get the message across quickly (e.g. a cloud for connectivity, a recycling symbol for sustainability). This meant that we could visualise the solutions that ABB provides and map them onto the specific F&B challenges that we identified in our research.
The advantage of the 3D visuals is that they were so adaptable. We were able to use them as bold, clear, memorable static images. And we could also use them as visually stunning animations, which we used for the concept film, social, and digital ads.
We used an integrated channel mix for the campaign, including:
● video content;
● direct digital touchpoints;
● social;
● events;
● internal and external print collateral;
● PR and trade partner placements.
We knew that the many ABB teams across the world needed to buy into the campaign if it was going to be successful in the long term. So we provided ABB with a set of campaign guidelines and a communication plan.
These materials took ABB employees into the strategic heart of the campaign. We explained the rationale for everything – from the tagline, to the hero visuals, to the specific assets – and explained exactly how they could be used in their own marketing efforts to ensure consistency in all of ABB’s F&B communications.
The results
We launched the campaign and F&B customers ate it up. It smashed all the targets set. There was double digit growth across the business and sales targets were beaten worldwide.
“Agency Inc just kicks ass. Their approach to client understanding combined with their creative machinery is really what has set them apart from the other agencies I’ve worked with. They make my life easier, and they do this with their professionally guided processes, fresh creative, and good old fashioned belief in keeping the customer happy. The results speak for themselves.” – Robert Glass, ABB Global Food & Beverage communications manager
The project as a winner at Tempemail Marketing Awards 2019. To enter or find out more about 2020’s event, click here.

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Swiggy Goes Beyond Food Delivery! Read This!- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Food delivery platform ‘Swiggy’ launches ‘Swiggy Go’, an instant pick up and drop service to send packages anywhere across the city. Using Swiggy Go people can pick up and drop off laundry, fetch forgotten keys, send lunch boxes from home to office, and even deliver documents or parcels to clients. This facility is quite similar to Swiggy stores, which promises to deliver to users’ doorstep household items like groceries, flowers, and medicines, among other things within an hour. Swigyy Go can be used as a part of the main Swiggy app itself. 
Sriharsha Majety, CEO of Swiggy said that Swiggy’s vision is to elevate the quality of life of urban customers by offering unparalleled convenience. He also said that Swiggy has been enabling this with food delivery for five years and stores across the city with Swiggy Stores, Go will open the Swiggy delivery superpower to all consumers in the city.
Majety also added that Bengaluru would be the first city in India to experience the Swiggy do the last minute delivery for everything, and not just-food. This year Swiggy Go is supposed to expand to over 300 cities and Swiggy Stores to all major metros. 
Swiggy Go would deliver products from any store, This includes than 300 merchant partners like Godrej Nature’s Basket, Nilgiris, Organic World, Heads Up For Tails, and Nandu’s Chicken.
Swiggy has tied up with more than 200 merchant partners like Ratnadeep, Ghanshyam, Sneha Chicken, Yellow and Greens, and 24 Organic Mantra.
Where Is Swiggy Now With Numbers?
Some national publications state that Swiggy filed its annual report for the period ending March 2019. Swiggy earned 72 percent of the total operating revenue income by providing the market place and food services. The remaining 18 and 10 percent of income came through delivery and also offering ancillary services.
Read More:
Read how Swiggy Used AI and Data Science To Grow Its Order Value By Over 200%
Diving deeper, it is seen that the biggest contributor was earnings from marketplace services that stood at INR. 805.7 crore. All points added, Swiggy recorded a 2.7X jump in operating revenue from INR. 1,121 crore in FY19 from INR. 417 crore in FY18. Also, Swiggy’s earnings from interest on deposits and mutual fund gains shot up 4.3X from INR. 39.5 crore in FY18  to INR. 170 crore. As Swiggy launches Swiggy Go, there are some possibilities that tables would be turned. 
Also read: 
Swiggy: Harnessing Hyper-Personalised Approach For Efficient Food Deliveries

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Heston Blumenthal criticises people who take photos of their food before eating it- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Heston Blumenthal has criticised people who pick up their phones to take photographs of their food for social media.
The celebrity chef, who owns the triple Michelin-starred Fat Duck restaurant, said the issue has been debated in his kitchen for some time and that he believes the trend is causing people to be disconnected from the moment.
“At the Fat Duck, we’ve debated this for several years now,” Blumenthal told the Radio Times, before admitting he is reluctant to intervene as he does not want to upset paying guests.

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“If we say to people, ‘Your food’s going cold’, you put up a barrier between you and the diner,” he explained.
“I’ve been very tempted. We did it once in Australia because somebody was taking pictures with a flash, which affected other tables. It’s a really tricky thing.”

leftCreated with Sketch.

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Under, Europe’s first underwater restaurant, opened on 20 March.
AFP/Getty Images

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Located on Norway’s southern tip, the unique dining space is submerged in the North Sea.
REUTERS

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The dining room is sparsely furnished, dominated by a huge glass window at the back.
REUTERS

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The building was designed by Snoehetta, the Norwegian architecture firm behind the September 11 Memorial Museum in New York.
AFP/Getty Images

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“The big window exposes the underwater not like an aquarium, it’s the real thing,” said Snoehetta’s founder Kjetil Traedal Thorsen.
REUTERS

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The exterior, a sloping wood and concrete cuboid that slants into the ocean, has a modern aesthetic, and is accessible via a steel bridge.
REUTERS

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The full 18-course tasting menu with drinks costs up to 3,700 krone (£330) per person.
REUTERS

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Some 7,000 diners are already booked in for this bucket list experience.
REUTERS

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Designers said the building is built to withstand extreme weather, including “the wave of the century”.
AFP/Getty Images

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Under is owned by the two Ubostad brothers who also have a nearby hotel.
AFP/Getty Images

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Co-owner Gaute Ubostad said they expect to attract around 12,000 diners each year.
AFP/Getty Images

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There’s room for around 40 guests in the underwater dining space.
AFP/Getty Images

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Although doors opened on 20 March to friends and family of the owners, paying guests will gain access from April.
AFP/Getty Images

1/13
Under, Europe’s first underwater restaurant, opened on 20 March.
AFP/Getty Images

2/13
Located on Norway’s southern tip, the unique dining space is submerged in the North Sea.
REUTERS

3/13
The dining room is sparsely furnished, dominated by a huge glass window at the back.
REUTERS

4/13
The building was designed by Snoehetta, the Norwegian architecture firm behind the September 11 Memorial Museum in New York.
AFP/Getty Images

5/13
“The big window exposes the underwater not like an aquarium, it’s the real thing,” said Snoehetta’s founder Kjetil Traedal Thorsen.
REUTERS

6/13
The exterior, a sloping wood and concrete cuboid that slants into the ocean, has a modern aesthetic, and is accessible via a steel bridge.
REUTERS

7/13
The full 18-course tasting menu with drinks costs up to 3,700 krone (£330) per person.
REUTERS

8/13
Some 7,000 diners are already booked in for this bucket list experience.
REUTERS

9/13
Designers said the building is built to withstand extreme weather, including “the wave of the century”.
AFP/Getty Images

10/13
Under is owned by the two Ubostad brothers who also have a nearby hotel.
AFP/Getty Images

11/13
Co-owner Gaute Ubostad said they expect to attract around 12,000 diners each year.
AFP/Getty Images

12/13
There’s room for around 40 guests in the underwater dining space.
AFP/Getty Images

13/13
Although doors opened on 20 March to friends and family of the owners, paying guests will gain access from April.
AFP/Getty Images

The 53-year-old added that while he too enjoys taking photos to look back on, it is important to “be in the moment”.
 “Social media is such a big part of our lives, our sight has become almost the more important sense rather than smell or taste,” Blumenthal said.

Read more

“If I see something beautiful like a sunset, I try to be in the moment, then take a picture afterwards.”
While taking pictures of meals has become a key part of eating out for many people, it could actually be ruining the dining experience.
According to US researchers, photographing food can make it less enjoyable to eat.
A 2014 study conducted by marketing professors at the BYU Marriott School of Management found that over-exposure to images of food can affect a person’s satiation. 

“When we Instagram, we inherently must focus our attention on the item in the picture, even for that very brief moment. This can have a range of effects on later enjoyment,” co-author Professor Joseph Redden previously told The Independent. 

“If we spend too much time repeatedly viewing such foods, our paper suggests this can lead to pre-satiation. That is, you’re already a bit tired of the food before you even start eating it.”

Blumenthal, who was diagnosed with ADHD in 2016, went on to explain that he felt “stuck on a hamster wheel” at the height of his television fame, and had to “perform a bit of a reverse manoeuvre” in order to rebalance his life.
The chef said he moved to the French countryside with his wife and also took up meditation and tai chi, adding that while he is “still a work in progress” he is “going in the right direction”.

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Heston Blumenthal: stop taking snaps of my food and start eating it! | Food- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Heston Blumenthal has criticised the trend of diners who appear to be more interested in photographing their food than eating it.
The celebrity chef and owner of the triple Michelin-starred Fat Duck restaurant said the issue had been discussed in his kitchen but that he has had to resist the temptation to intervene because he does not want to upset his customers.
“At the Fat Duck, we’ve debated this for several years now. If we say to people, ‘Your food’s going cold’, you put up a barrier between you and the diner,” Blumenthal told the Radio Times.
Asked whether he gets annoyed and has ever been close to saying anything to a customer, he said: “Yes, and I’ve been very tempted. We did it once in Australia because somebody was taking pictures with a flash, which affected other tables. It’s a really tricky thing.
“Social media is such a big part of our lives, our sight has become almost the more important sense rather than smell or taste. If I see something beautiful like a sunset, I try to be in the moment, then take a picture afterwards.”
The chef’s new TV show is inspired by “food porn”, the trend for putting snaps of envy-inducing meals on social media. Blumenthal, known for his outlandish culinary creations, is judging a new cooking competition in a series airing on Channel 4 in the UK and on Netflix around the world. The TV programme promises to have the “world’s first edible set”.
He said of Crazy Delicious: “Unlike The X Factor, we celebrate what they’ve done as opposed to humiliating them and kicking them off. And they made some great dishes.”
Blumenthal, who was diagnosed with ADHD in 2016, said he had previously felt “stuck on a hamster wheel” at the height of his TV fame, and had to “perform a bit of a reverse manoeuvre” in order to rebalance his life.
The chef, who moved to the French countryside with his second wife and has taken up meditation and tai chi, said he was “still a work in progress” but “I’m going in the right direction”. The full interview is in this week’s Radio Times magazine.

Tempemail , Tempmail Temp email addressess (10 minutes emails)– When you want to create account on some forum or social media, like Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, TikTok you have to enter information about your e-mail box to get an activation link. Unfortunately, after registration, this social media sends you dozens of messages with useless information, which you are not interested in. To avoid that, visit this Temp mail generator: tempemail.co and you will have a Temp mail disposable address and end up on a bunch of spam lists. This email will expire after 10 minute so you can call this Temp mail 10 minute email. Our service is free! Let’s enjoy!

Tesco Christmas ad blitz delivers record day of food sales- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Tesco’s outgoing chief executive has praised the performance of its festive ad campaign, which helped the retailer deliver its fifth consecutive year of sales growth at Christmas.
It saw a 0.1% increase in UK like-for-like sales in the six weeks to 4 January, while third-quarter revenues overall rose 0.4%.
Presenting its results for the critical period, Dave Lewis today (9 January) said its year-long investment into the BBH-created campaign to celebrate its 100-year anniversary culminated in a successful marketing investment into a Christmas execution which resonated with shoppers.
Most of its advertising budget for the period had been allocated to media, versus blockbuster creative, which saw the campaign run across TV, OOH, press, radio, digital, social, and in-store with an equally heavy spend on PR. Its advertising agency also created a bespoke AR Lens with Snapchat, as well as a Facebook arcade game, which allowed customers to go behind the wheel of Tesco delivery vans.
Lewis claimed this ad blitz saw a rise in key measures around perception of quality and value were, as well as improved reports of ease of shop, colleague helpfulness and availability of products in-store.
“I’ve never seen the business running as well as it did at Christmas,” said Lewis, who will exit the company this year.
“This combination helped us outperform the market against a challenging backdrop.”
Despite concerns that people would curb their spending at Christmas as a result of the election and uncertainty around Brexit, the chief executive claimed he had witnessed “nothing discernible” in shopper behaviour since Boris Johnson was elected.
In fact, on the 23 December the retailer sold more food in one day than any other time in its history.
In comparison, Morrisons reported a 1.7% fall in third-quarter sales while Sainsbury’s was also down 0.7%.
Lewis admitted he was particularly pleased with Tesco’s performance given how “subdued” the market is.
According to the British Retail Consortium, retailers in the UK their worst year for Christmas sales since records began.
While it was positive for Tesco in the UK, at a group level it continues to battle falling sales, which were down 0.8% due to tougher trading in central Europe and Asia.
The company is set to sell of its operations in Thailand and Malaysia.

Tempemail , Tempmail Temp email addressess (10 minutes emails)– When you want to create account on some forum or social media, like Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, TikTok you have to enter information about your e-mail box to get an activation link. Unfortunately, after registration, this social media sends you dozens of messages with useless information, which you are not interested in. To avoid that, visit this Temp mail generator: tempemail.co and you will have a Temp mail disposable address and end up on a bunch of spam lists. This email will expire after 10 minute so you can call this Temp mail 10 minute email. Our service is free! Let’s enjoy!

Technology for social cause: How Akshaya Patra is delivering food to 1.5mn children efficiently: Vijay Kumar, IT Head, The Akshaya Patra Foundation | TechSenate- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Session on Technology for social cause: How Akshaya Patra is delivering food to 1.5mn children efficiently by Vijay Kumar, IT Head, The Akshaya Patra Foundation
With the help of a mobile and a web-based app, the requirement of daily delivery of food (mid-day meal) to around 16, 600 schools, 51 factory branches, 1200 routes has been addressed, says Vijay Kumar

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Mars Food hires Pepsi’s Rafael Narvaez as global CMO to boost ‘dinnertime’ brands- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Mars Food has appointed PepsiCo veteran Rafael Narvaez as its global chief marketing, research and development officer as it looks to drive growth for brands like Uncle Ben’s and Dolmio.
Until recently, Narvaez was vice-president, marketing and transformation for PepsiCo’s global foods group, where he oversaw the success of names like Lays, Doritos and Cheetos.
In his new role, Mars has tasked him to take a “strategic approach” to brands marketing, innovation, digital, R&D and consumer insights for its “dinnertime” portfolio.
Based in London, he will replace Clarence Mak who held the slightly different position of global chief marketing, sales and innovation officer for the food division. Mak has stayed with the business, taking on the remit of president for Mars Wrigley in China.
Commenting on the appointment, Narvaez’s senior Fiona Dawson, global president of multisales and global customers at Mars Food, said “Rafael has a track record of delivering strong growth and brings a wealth of knowledge about the food industry.
“I am delighted that he will bring his bold thinking, leadership and rigorous focus to Mars Food so we can help billions of consumers around the world enjoy healthier food at the dinner table.”
As consumers move towards healthier lifestyles, Mars has pivoted to marketing and labelling cupboard staples like Dolmio sauce as products that should only be enjoyed “occasionally” to maintain a balanced diet, due to high levels of sugar and salt.
The company has also unveiled healthier versions of products like Uncle Ben’s rice, and low-sugar sauce variants to cater to shoppers.
The scheme is part of a larger initiative by the FMCG business to encourage healthier eating at a time when large food multinationals, or ‘Big Food’ has been coming under pressure from public health advocates and regulators struggling to fight a growing obesity epidemic.
This plan doesn’t extend to Mars’ chocolate or sweets business (which includes its flagship brand, along with Maltesers and Starburst). However, Mars has highlighted Narvaez’s experience in addressing “new consumer needs in high pressure and volatile environments through driving a strong marketing and innovation agenda, digital transformation, global agency management and marketing capability development,” as a coup for its main meal brands.
Privately owned Mars, which also produces pet care products, has undergone several changes within its marketing department over the past 18 months.
In June 2018, Mars chief marketing and customer officer Andrew Clarke took on the role of global president of Mars Wrigley confectionary. It replaced this wider chief marketing officer role with a chief growth officer in the form of Berta de Pablos following Clarke’s promotion.
Months prior, the business promoted Michelle Oliver to the newly-created role of global corporate brand and purpose director.
In the same year, the business brought marketing and sales closer together to improve effectiveness and measure how its investments were driving real sales uplift.

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Vegetarian frozen food brand Strong Roots looks to expand in the U.S. with $18.3 million funding – gpgmail


The U.K.-based vegetarian frozen food company Strong Roots has picked up $18.3 million in funding from the private equity firm, Goode Partners, as it looks to expand its U.S. presence and build out its technological capabilities.

Advised by global mid-market investment bank, Alantra, Strong Roots has a presence in the U.S. in retailers including Target, Wegmans and Whole Foods, and in the UK at Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer.

Neither a direct to consumer company nor a novel technology developer, Strong Roots is hoping to use the new financing to expand its research and development efforts to provide more functional foods and nutrients, according to chief executive officer Samuel Dennigan.

The company is on track to move $50 million worth of frozen vegan food items in the calendar year, and it expects its sales to more than quadruple over the next four years.

The company’s exceptional growth comes at a time when consumers globally are looking for healthy options. Strong Roots offers a range of tasty plant-based food designed for busy lives. Found in your freezer aisle, the award-winning line includes premium root vegetables, veggie burgers and freezer favorites like Cauliflower Hash Browns.

The company has found a strong partner in Goode Partners, whose previous investments include AllSaints and La Colombe.

Dennigan’s career in agribusiness stretches back 15 years, but his family has long been in the food production and distribution business.

“I started working with some international brands in the late nineties and saw how CPG companies were doing things in a poor way,” says Dennigan. At first the company thought it would go after fresh foods, but saw more opportunity in the frozen food aisle.

Strong Roots began selling its frozen foods in 2015 just as the vegan and health food craze began to surge.

While the company has spent the past four years building up a brand as a vegan alternative in frozen foods, Dennigan is now ready to expand into other categories. “The pieces of IP that are going to be developed and placed in market in the next 12 months especially around the fortification of the products,” he says. “What our research is showing us is that there’s a huge opportunity between extruded and food and what we’re doing.”

Dennigan is, of course, referring to companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods which have built protein replacement businesses over the past ten years and have surged into consumer consciousness with big deals at fast food chains (and no small amount of kerfuffles).

The success of those two companies has set up a feeding frenzy among investors who are voraciously scarfing up vegetarian food companies to add to their portfolios.

 


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Investors are joining a sizable funding round for Bear Robotics, whose robots serve food to restaurant patrons – gpgmail


There’s almost no end to the number of jobs that could be replaced altogether or in some part by smart machines, from radiologists to truck drivers to, gulp, journalists. You might be tempted to sob about it to your friendly restaurant server, but wait! It’s a robot, too!

So it may be if the 25-person, Redwood City, Ca.,-based startup, Bear Robotics, has its way. The two-year-old company makes “robots that help,” and specifically, they make robots that will deliver food to restaurant customers.

It’s a market that’s seemingly poised for disruption. As Bear says in its own literature about the company, it was founded to address the “increased pressure faced by the food service industry around wages, labor supply, and cost efficiencies.”

CEO John Ha, a former Intel research scientist turned longtime technical lead at Google who also opened, then closed, his own restaurant, witnessed the struggle firsthand. As the child (and grandchild) of restaurateurs, this editor can also attest that owning and operating restaurants is a tricky proposition, given the expenses and — even more plaguing oftentimes — the turnover that goes with it.

Investors are apparently on board with the idea, too. According to a new SEC filing, Bear has so far locked down at least $10.2 million from a dozen investors on its way to closing a $35.8 million round. That’s not a huge sum for many startups today, but it’s notable for a food service robot startup, one whose first model, “Penny,” spins around R2D2-like, gliding between the kitchen and dining tables with customers’ food as it is prepared.

At least, this is what will theoretically happen once Bear begins lining up restaurants that will pay the company via a monthly subscription that includes the robot, setup and mapping of the restaurant (so Penny doesn’t collide into things), along with technical support.

In the meantime, Bear’s backers, which the startup has yet to reveal, may be taking a cue in part from Alibaba, which last year opened a highly automated restaurant in Shanghai where small robots slide down tracks to deliver patrons’ meals.

They may also be looking at the bigger picture, wherein everything inside restaurants is getting automated — from robotic chefs that fry up ingredients to table-mounted self-pay tablets — with servers one of the last pieces of the puzzle to be addressed.

That doesn’t meant Bear or other like-minded startups will take off any time soon in restaurants that aren’t offering a futuristic experience. One of the reasons that people have always headed to restaurants is for good-old human interaction. In fact, with take-out ordering on the rise, people — waiters, bartenders, restaurant owners who flit around the dining room to say hello — may prove one of the only reasons that customers show up at all.


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