’56 acquisitions in May’

1280px-Krispy_Kreme_glazed_donuts_2As many as 56 food and drink industry transactions were registered on the mergers and acquisitions database for May 2016.

Just two were valued at more than $500 million.

$1.35 billion for the Dutch JAB Holdings to buy Krispy Kreme doughnuts in the United States
£400 million for UK-based CVC to purchase AR Packaging in Sweden.
Both acquirers are private equity investors.

Of the 56 total, 13 were in alcohol, 13 in dairy, eight in soft drinks, four in ingredients, four in snacks and three in bakery.

The United States featured in 26, the United Kingdom in 12, Germany in ten, Russia in five, Switzerland in five, France in three, Mexico in three and the Netherlands in three.


Pizza Hut commits to removing artificial preservatives ‘by 2017’

13245447_10154155170067278_6769255637582014312_n2Pizza Hut has vowed to removing artificial preservatives from its meat and cheese toppings during the next ten months, exactly 58 years since the brand opened its first restaurant in Wichita, Kansas.

The company will cut the preservatives BHA and BHT from its meat by the end of July. It will stop using antibiotics important to human medicine in the rearing of its chickens and eliminate artificial preservatives from its cheese by the end of March 2017.

The announcement has been made roughly a year after Pizza Hut became the US’ first national pizza chain to remove artificial flavours and colours from its core offering of pizzas, having removed 2.5 million pounds of salt from its ingredients in the last five years.

“We believe that Pizza Hut food shouldn’t only taste great, but you should feel great about it, too,” said Jeff Fox, chief brand and concept officer for the Texas-headquartered company. “Our enhanced and expanded commitment to superior restaurant-quality food is the result of listening closely to our customers, and they say that these are things that they do want in their pizzas.

“Providing our customers with restaurant quality ingredients is something that has been at the core of Pizza Hut since the very first restaurant opened in Wichita 58 years ago. It’s so fundamental to our superior restaurant quality beliefs that we rarely feel the need to talk about it. That said, 58 years later, we are extremely proud to say that we still get our vegetables, our meats, our tomatoes, our flour, our cheese – everything that makes a great pizza – from top suppliers around the world. We are constantly working to lead the industry in this area and believe it is important to let customers know exactly where their food comes from and how it’s made.”

Earlier changes to Pizza Hut’s menu include the elimination of partially hydrogenated oils and MSG. It also does not use any fillers in any of its meat toppings, its Italian sausage is all-natural and sourced from US farmers, and its marinara sauces is free from added sugar and oil.


French Cheese Board opens interactive concept store in US

French Cheese Board concept store - 41 Spring Street, New York City, Design Ich&Kar, Photo Pascal Perich (PRNewsFoto/French Cheese Board)

French Cheese Board concept store – 41 Spring Street, New York City, Design Ich&Kar, Photo Pascal Perich (PRNewsFoto/French Cheese Board)

The French Cheese Board, the organisation that promotes French dairy products at home and abroad, has opened a cheese concept store in the US that will allow visitors to discover more about French cheeses and France’s cheesemaking culture through a set of interactive tools.

Magnetic walls that allow displays to be changed easily, bespoke furniture and educative murals about French cheese are all among the features of the new concept store, in New York’s Soho neighbourhood – an area, the French Cheese Board said, that reflected the high-quality and premium output of France’s cheesemaking sector.

French Cheese Board head of communications Laurent Damiens said: “We wanted to create a modern hub for foodies to share an immersive experience anchored in the exploration of the artisanal making and flavour of French cheeses. Our store represents a new space for us to support our consumer-first approach and drive authenticity and innovation around the French industry’s offerings and ideals.”

The French Cheese Board’s experimental space will be brought to life by a team of certified “cheese masters” with unrivaled background in flavour chemistry and superior knowledge of cheese and beverage pairings.


Coffee investor JAB Holdings to acquire Krispy Kreme for $1.35bn

SONY DSCJAB Holding Company, the majority shareholder in coffee companies Jacobs Douwe Egberts and Keurig Green Mountain, has agreed to acquire all of the shares of doughnut chain Krispy Kreme for a total value of $1.35 billion.

The value of the transaction, which is not subject to a financing condition and is expected to close in the third quarter of the year, represents a price of $21 per share – approximately a 25% premium on the company’s closing price at the end of last week.

The deal will bolster JAB Holdings’ retail portfolio, after it paid $280m for Nordic coffee shop chain Espresso House last year.

Krispy Kreme chairman of the board Jim Morgan said: “This transaction puts us in the best possible position to continue to spread that joy to a growing number of people around the world while delivering significant value to Krispy Kreme shareholders. I am confident the JAB team is the right partner with whom to continue building upon our incredible legacy.”

And the company’s CEO, Tony Thompson, added: “JAB’s experience and industry knowledge make them the ideal partner to help grow the iconic Krispy Kreme brand throughout the world. We remain focused on our long term strategy and continuing to offer our premium, high-quality doughnuts and sweet treats to consumers around the world. We look forward to working with JAB to continue bringing the joy that is Krispy Kreme to a growing number of customers. Together with our talented team and our passionate franchisees, we will continue to build on the Krispy Kreme culture, values and commitment to our customers and guests.”

Peter Harf, senior partner at JAB, said: “We are thrilled to have such an iconic brand as Krispy Kreme joining the JAB portfolio. This is yet another example of our commitment to investing in extraordinary brands with significant growth prospects. We feel strongly that Krispy Kreme will benefit greatly from our long-term focus and support for management’s vision in building on the legacy of this exciting brand as an independent standalone entity.”


Dessert bar brand Rhythm108 to expand to UK after Swiss success

CHOC_WAL_001Good-for-you dessert bar brand Rhythm108 has unveiled plans to expand to the UK, having secured a number of listings with independents and health food retailers in London.

Uniquely packaged with an innovative parchment tray, Rhythm108 allows consumers to easily warm the bars in a microwave or oven, just like a brownie, for maximum indulgence. The snack bars are made of the highest quality ingredients such as rich cacao paste from Peru, Sicilian almonds and Swiss organic milk, all of which add to the taste. With calorie counts as low as 159 calories per 42g bar, the alternative dessert bars come in five flavours: apple pie, banana muffin, choco-walnut brownie, coconut macaroon and lemon cake, with each bar providing natural calcium, protein, fibre and energy.

The innovative brand reinvents well-loved snacks in the form of a healthy and convenient product for urban living, with a fresh and inviting design that eliminates the “intimidations” surrounding healthy eating, Rhythm108 claimed.


Founder Siddhi Mehta said: “After a successful launch in Switzerland, where the largest premium retailers, takeaways, and corporate offices stock Rhythm108 products, we are very excited to announce the opening of our sales and marketing office in the UK. We believe our quality products and unique brand will relate well with UK consumers looking for authentic products in a new, fresh, and healthy format. As someone who loves food, I found current offerings in the snack bar space either functional and low on taste and texture, or indulgent but filled with sugar and extremely unhealthy ingredients.

“Rhythm108 good-for-you dessert bars are made with solely clean, wholesome and nutritious ingredients and are the only snack bar that can be warmed up conveniently like a good dessert – filling a solid gap in the snack bar market for a no-compromise small indulgence.”


Developer launches automated ordering system for bakers

instore-ffdRedBlack Software has this week launched an automated sales-based ordering system for retail bakers and food-to-go operators.

Cybake Instore claims to be able to cut waste and increase shop takings, as orders are “far more accurate” than those made by shop managers.

It also provides a solution for an old-age dilemma faced by bakers: how much they produce, or order in. By making or stocking too much they risk having to discard leftovers at the end of the day, but making or stocking too little can mean they run out of goods and miss out on sales.

Instore corrects staff assumptions about customers’ purchasing decisions while taking historical sales and usage data for items – or item-components such as sandwich fillers – to predict future order quantities. In addition, it provides reconciliation of what was delivered with what was sold through the tills, highlighting any variances between the two data sets.

The cloud-based technology, from York-based RedBlack, is the result of close collaboration between Cybake’s design team and RedBlack’s biggest customers in the British bakery and food-to-go (FTG) sectors. Major retailer Marks and Spencer uses its own customised version of the application in a selection of its in-store bakeries, RedBlack said.

It was introduced to the industry at Foodex this week.

RedBlack Software managing director Jane Tyler said: “At this year’s Foodex, we wanted to confirm our position as the number one authority in improving bakery management control. I believe that the launch of Instore goes a long way to achieving that.

“One of the most important decisions made by retail bakers or FTG operations is how much perishable stock to produce for the days ahead. Instore can ensure that bakers have the right amounts in the right shops at the right times. It balances out their ups and downs.”

SG Systems scanner and bowl-2RedBlack has also announced that it has become the exclusive UK reseller of weighing, ingredient control and traceability solutions from North American specialist SG Systems.

SG Systems’ V5 suite of recipe control, product labelling and warehouse management system solutions can help manufacturers to ensures that ingredients are measured and traced accurately and consistently, without costly giveaway or out-of-specification batches; manage inventory shipping, receiving and despatch; and easily generate shipping labels and delivery notes.

Tyler continued: “We’ve always worked towards delivering the ultimate end-to-end system for our customers. SG Systems’ V5 solutions give us the last piece of this puzzle – complete control over the shop floor.

“While SG Systems’ elegant applications interface perfectly with Cybake, they are best-of-breed in their own right. SG Systems’ software is not locked within expensive weigh-scale hardware. Its apps work on Windows-driven tablets, making them much less expensive than competing offerings and putting precision traceability within the reach of all bakers.”

Stuart Hunt, president of SG Systems said: “The management team at SG Systems has known the team at RedBlack for many years. During our search for a distributor for our V5 formula control and lot traceability solutions, they were the obvious choice.

“RedBlack has considerable experience in the craft bakery market in the UK, which is the prime area of focus for our product. We are delighted to begin this relationship and I wish them the very best of luck.”


World Food Innovation Awards – best artisan food

Cool Chilli CoThe best artisan food category at this year’s World Food Innovation Awards highlighted the very best of craft producers.

V&H showcased its range of Tsuki Mochi chocolate truffles, made using Belgian chocolate and fresh British dairy to produce a uniquely decadent chocolate ganache that is then wrapped in soft, delicious mochi and hand-rolled into balls before being finished with a dusting of cocoa powder. The line brings mochi – a traditional Japanese confectionery made by steaming and pounding sticky rice flour – to the UK market.

US company Sweetopia presented its gluten-free dessert options under the tagline “get your sweet on”. The range offers a superior taste to other gluten-free offerings and its craft credentials are heightened by the use of “authentic, high-quality, natural ingredients”, the company said.

There were also several condiment and ingredient innovations in this category.

The Cool Chile Co nominated its range of ambient Mexican cooking sauces. There are three flavours: Mexico Adobo marinade, which is a tangy addition to lamb; Mexican Mojo de Ajo, a garlic and chilli oil that can be used as a sauce, marinade or dressing; and finally Mexican buffalo sauce, which is a spicy sauce for chicken and vegetarian dishes.

Designed for the busy but discerning cook, the new sauces bring traditional Mexican flavours into British homes.

Likewise, Milanovic-Knowles promised to transport consumers “into the heart of the Serbian countryside” with its home-style roasted red pepper mezze-style spread and dip. Red peppers are fire-roasted, hand-peeled and mixed with garlic before being slow-cooked with a little oil – all in keeping with a secret recipe passed down from the founder’s grandmother.

The product highlights the fact that – aside from using high-quality ingredients and cooking products authentically in small batches – the single biggest hallmark of artisan food is the story behind and the clarity of its provenance.

Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group’s Yili Gu Li Duo Oat Milk is made from pure milk and oat grain selected from Australia, which means that consumers can enjoy the sensation of chewing oat grain while drinking their milk! The popularity of the product, which combines the nutritional benefits of both oats and milk with unique processing methodology, boomed in China following its launch.

Mara Seaweed entered the awards with its Dulse Shaker Tin, a new format for delivering purple Dulse seaweed flakes for a sumptuous and smoky depth of flavour in salmon, beef, lamb, venison and burger dishes. Used as a seasoning to transform everyday cooking, Dulse is naturally low in sodium but tastes salty and has plenty of umami flavour.

It has been a part of the traditional Scots and Irish diet for centuries and, as with all Mara seaweed, is locally sourced and hand-harvested sustainably in the wild.

And if all of that was too much, Rated M Wine Infused Foods has something to wash it down.

The company’s Wine-Infused Cocktail Salts adds a glam garnish of flavour to cocktails, pre-moistened so that they can coat the rim of the glass when you dip it in. The salt originates from the US’ Pacific Northwest.


M&M’s to allow consumers to pick its next peanut flavour

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMars Chocolate North America is inviting consumers to choose the newest peanut-flavoured addition to its line-up of M&M’s as part of a nationwide Flavor Vote.

US consumers will be able to decide between honey nut, coffee nut and chili nut flavours online or by text, with the three options on sale from retailers across the country until June. The winning variant will join existing M&M’s Peanut products on shelves in the autumn.

“At Mars Chocolate North America, we know M&M’s would not be the brand it is today without our fans,” said M&M’s brand director Tanya Berman. “As we celebrate our 75th anniversary, Flavor Vote is the perfect opportunity to say thanks by empowering them to write the next chapter in our brand’s colourful history by choosing the newest M&M’S Peanut flavour.”

Once fans cast their vote for their favorite new M&M’s Peanut flavour, they will be in with a chance of winning $100,000 and earning the title of the official M&M’s taste tester. The winner will be announced in August along with the winning flavour from the Flavor Vote, which will remain on sale across the US.


Nestlé automates infant food production plant in Germany

2015-10-21Nestlé has automated all the material handling flows in its Biessenhofen baby and infant food production plant in southwestern Bavaria, with help from Egemin Automation.

Egemin will integrate a warehouse shuttle system with connecting conveyor system technology, as well as several automated guided vehicles (AGVs), with the installation expected to be completed by January 2017.

Belgium-headquartered Egemin will also install a fully automated storage and material handling system at Nestlé’s Biessenhofen site, to support the production of baby and infant foods. Conventional conveyor systems will control the handling of materials into both the warehouse and production areas. Egemin E’gv technology will support these processes by supplying empty cans from storage, as well as providing automatic waste disposal. An additional warehouse for storage of sensitive materials that need to be supplied to the production line will be integrated in the system.

Designed according to Egemin’s unique concept, the integrated warehouse system ensures a fully automated 24/7 operation of Nestlé’s intralogistics flows. One particular challenge during concept development was to find a way to make sure the best fit of the system into the available space, Egemin pointed out.

Ultimately, the decision came down to the ability to provide the necessary storage capacity to deal with the demanding requirements of the product line, and also the need to comply with highly sensitive food production guidelines. The warehouse system is monitored and controlled by E’wms, Egemin’s proprietary warehouse management software.


World Dairy Innovation Awards 2016 judging panel announced

wdia15x1x610The judging panel for the World Dairy Innovation Awards 2016 has been announced today.

Judges for the tenth year of the prestigious awards scheme include Powerful Yogurt CEO and founder Carlos Ramirez Zavarce, Tetra Pak global marketing manager Christopher Lazaro, Personify LLC managing partner Gail Barnes, and dairy industry consultant Donna Berry.

They are joined by Natasha Case, CEO and co-founder of ice cream brand Coolhaus; Brand Union’s CEO for North Asia, Monica Lee; Mark Driscoll, head of the sustainable food programme at Forum for the Future; Stephen Gaither, CEO of marketing agency JB Chicago; Depot WPF managing director Anna Lukanina; and Esther Renfrew, market intelligence director for food and drinks industry consultancy Zenith International.

The panel of ten will be chaired by FoodBev Media’s group editorial director, Bill Bruce.

The World Dairy Innovation Awards 2016 will celebrate excellence and innovation across every category of the global dairy industry, presented at the Global Dairy Congress on 28 June. Entries are open until 20 May.