A Starbucks evolution
Starbucks said it will roll out its own brand of snack bars and fruit pouches, marking yet another push into the packaged food category. Evolution Harvest snacks will begin appearing in U.S. cafes next week, with plans to reach all major metropolitan markets by the end of September. The bars and Evolution Fresh bottled juices, which are already in about a third of the company’s U.S. cafes, are also being sold at Whole Foods supermarkets.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will now allow workers’ same-sex partners to participate in its company health benefits. Full-time associates’ spouses and domestic partners will be eligible for coverage in the company’s medical, dental, vision, life, critical illness and accident plans, the company said. Wal-Mart, which has frequently been targeted by labor rights groups pushing for better pay and benefits, said it made the change so it could have a consistent policy for all 50 states as some of them alter their definitions of marriage, domestic partnerships and civil unions.
Burger and fries in one
Burger King said it will offer a French Fry Burger for a buck as it looks to fend off McDonald’s aggressive push for its Dollar Menu. The Miami-based chain said the burger will be available starting Sunday through the fall as it looks to drum up sales and customer interest. The burger clocks in at 360 calories and 19 grams of fat. It’s basically a standard beef patty topped with four french fries.
Apple TV programming
Apple Inc. has added programming from Walt Disney Co., Weather Channel LLC and music video service Vevo LLC for Apple TV, stepping up the pace of bringing new video content to its $100 Internet-connected set-top box. The material was added with a software update. Two applications from Disney, Disney Channel and Disney XD, will have live and on-demand content and will be available to subscribers of pay-TV services that carry the channels.
Shopping on Twitter
Twitter Inc. has hired Nathan Hubbard, a former president of Ticketmaster, as its first head of commerce, part of a push to enable shopping via short postings on its social website. Twitter is seeking new sources of revenue as it prepares for a potential initial public offering and targets $1 billion in 2014 sales.
Amazon mobile shopping
Amazon.com Inc. said it is introducing a feature that will let people shop for goods from within mobile applications. Software developers will be able to create games, sports, weather and other apps that sell products from Amazon, either inside the app or by linking to Amazon’s Web store, the Seattle-based company said.