17 april 2019

China likely to increase meat imports from Brazil

China may increase meat imports from Brazil following high-level talks scheduled to take place next month.

Chinese ambassador to Brazil, Yang Wanming, refused to confirm the number of Brazilian meat processing plants that would receive approval to export their products to China.

The number of plants would be discussed during Brazilian Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina Dias’s visit to China next month. The export permissions for facilities will be announced during Brazilian vice-president Hamilton Mourao’s visit to China in May.

Yang said: “We believe through the cooperation of both countries’ agriculture ministries and quality inspection departments, more Brazilian farm and animal products can be imported into the Chinese market.”

Almost 80 Brazilian meat processing plants may receive permission to export their products to China. Brazil is reported to be one of the largest exporters of soybeans and beef in the world.

The Chinese Government increased tariffs on US soy products in response to the Trump administration’s tariffs on Chinese products. Due to trade tensions between the two countries, China significantly increased soy purchases from the Brazilian market.

Analysts warn that recent talks between the US and China to ease tensions might impact the Chinese demand for Brazilian soy. However, Yang believes that Chinese demand will remain stable.


16 april 2019

Nestlé and Carrefour offer blockchain data access for Mousline purée


12 april 2019

Wessanen board accepts takeover offer of €885m

The board of Amsterdam-listed company Koninklijke Wessanen (Wessanen) has accepted a takeover offer from a consortium comprising European private equity firm PAI Partners and Charles Jobson, Wessanen’s largest shareholder.

This deal values Wessanen at around €885m and includes all of its issued and outstanding share capital. It enables the firm to invest in initiatives and maintain its position in the sustainable foods segment.

Wessanen CEO Christophe Barnouin said: “Our vision is to build a European leader in organic and sustainable food. We want to remain at the forefront of making food healthier and more sustainable for the benefit of both consumers and the planet.

“This requires a long-term commitment from shareholders and long-term investments. It is all the more critical in an era where organic, sustainable and healthy themes have grown increasingly popular, which in turn has resulted in a more competitive landscape.

Barnouin further noted that the consortium is supportive of the company’s strategy and will bring a long-term horizon and additional investments for the execution of its plans.

Upon completion of the deal, PAI will hold a nearly 62% stake, while Charles Jobson will own approximately 38% of the consortium. To finance the transaction, the consortium will use a combination of debt and equity. Wessanen will continue to be headquartered in Amsterdam, and the deal will not have a direct impact on the total workforce.

Jobson said: “Since 2009, I have been a supporter of Wessanen’s vision to become Europe’s leader in healthy and sustainable food. I have been following Wessanen closely and strongly believe in a bright future for all its stakeholders.”

PAI Partners partner Gaëlle d’Engremont said: “Wessanen is extremely well positioned in the European health food industry, housing high-quality brands and being at the forefront on innovation in this rapidly growing sector.

“We intend to accelerate Wessanen’s growth using our experience in the food and consumer space and investing further in the brands and the people of Wessanen to increase the reach of the company. We are fully committed to Wessanen’s current strategy and are excited to work alongside their passionate management team and long-time shareholder Charles Jobson.

“Together we can support the company to further build on its position as a leading sustainable and healthy food company in Europe, fully engaged with its customers on a daily basis.”

The consortium will fund the transaction through a combination of debt and equity. A draft offer memorandum will be submitted to the AFM by early June. Completion of the deal is expected in the second half of 2019.


9 april 2019

Maple Leaf Foods to open $310m plant-based protein facility in Indiana

Canadian consumer packaged meats company Maple Leaf Foods, along with its subsidiary Greenleaf Foods SPC, has revealed plans to build a $310m plant-based protein facility in Shelbyville, Indiana, US.

Maple Leaf Foods claims that the 230,000ft² plant will be the largest facility and investment of its kind in North America. The facility, which will produce tempeh, franks, sausages and raw foods, will double the company’s existing manufacturing capacity and support a pipeline of innovation to meet rising consumer demand and fuel market growth.

Maple Leaf Foods president and CEO Michael McCain said: “With Lightlife and Field Roast, we own the leading brands in the North American refrigerated plant-based protein market.

“This investment will secure our ongoing leadership in this rapidly expanding market. By establishing a large-scale North American network, we will continue to meet the rapidly growing demand for delicious protein alternatives and create a centre of excellence for innovation. It will escalate the financial contribution of this business and advance Maple Leaf’s vision to be the most sustainable protein company on earth.”

The Shelbyville facility will secure about $50m in government and utility grants and incentives, which includes $9.6m toward capital and one-time start-up costs, as well as $40m to support operations for a period of ten years. Approximately 460 people are expected to be employed at the Shelbyville plant upon completion of the start-up.

Construction work at the site will begin later this year and production is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2020. The Canadian firm said it will invest nearly $26m to keep pace with the ongoing growth in demand at its existing plants. Maple Leaf anticipates that the investment would further strengthen its presence in the plant-based protein market.

Last November, Maple Leaf Foods unveiled its plans to build a poultry facility in London, Ontario, with an investment of C$660m ($497m).


9 april 2019

Campaign group CMF criticises Nestlé over infant formula claims

Nestlé has allegedly been giving contradictory nutritional advice on infant formula products in China and Hong Kong despite making a commitment to end this practice last year, according to a report by campaign group Changing Markets Foundation (CMF).

The report also stated that although the Swiss company continues to promote some of its products as healthier in Hong Kong and China as they are free from vanilla flavourings, it has not removed the ingredient from other products in the same markets.

In March 2018, the company pledged to remove the ingredient from its products and nutritional advice. According to the report, there is “no evidence to suggest that it is not possible for the Swiss conglomerate to have done so.”

The foundation, which has worked with SumOfUs for the report, stated that Nestlé has implemented one of its commitments by removing sucrose from its products for babies between the ages of 0 to 12 months.

CMF spokeswoman Nusa Urbancic said: “If mothers cannot or choose not to breastfeed, companies like Nestlé have a huge responsibility to provide products that are safe, nutritionally complete and informed by the best available science. Our report confirms that Nestlé continues to use science as merely a marketing tool, valuing higher profit margins over its scientific credibility.”

According to emails, as seen by the Guardian, the Swiss firm committed to end the use of sucrose and vanillin in products for consumption by babies up to 12 months following a separate CMF report released last year.

The report further stated that parents in Hong Kong pay up to 4.5 times more than UK parents for comparable Nestlé infant formula and that the firm “continues to use science merely as a marketing tool”.

Nestlé has reportedly been found to market its products as being close to breastmilk or inspired by human milk, thereby violating the WHO Marketing Code and subsequent resolutions.

CMF stated: “This puts Nestlé’s scientific credibility into question, as there is a clear scientific consensus that formula can never be close to breastmilk.”

In a statement to Just-Food, Nestlé spokesperson said: “We apply the WHO code of marketing of breastmilk substitutes and subsequent WHA (World Health Assembly) resolutions as implemented by member states.

“We have put in place a number of compliance measures and mechanisms to ensure compliance. We encourage anyone with concerns regarding our practices to share them with us. We are determined to respond systematically.”

The spokesperson also added that “even though vanillin flavourings in follow-on formula (for infants from 6 to 12 months) are allowed by CODEX and local regulations, we have voluntarily decided to remove them from the few recipes that still contain. We are in the process of finding alternatives. We are also removing vanillin claims in new labels”.

Further, the firm refuted the CMF report’s allegations of making misleading marketing claims.

The spokesperson added: “We do not use any statements that idealise our products or imply that they are superior to or equivalent to breastmilk on our infant formula labels or communications materials.

“Infant formulas have evolved and are compositionally closer to human milk than unmodified cow’s milk. As such, we communicate that products are ‘inspired by breastmilk’. For infants who cannot be fed on breastmilk as recommended, infant formula is recognised by WHO as the only suitable breastmilk substitute.”


4 april 2019

Nestlé to launch plant-based burgers in Europe and US

Swiss food and drink company Nestlé is all set to launch its 100% plant-based burgers in Europe and the US.

Nestlé’s food business head Wayne England said: “These new burgers don’t compromise on flavour, texture and cooking experience. They underline Nestlé’s increased focus on tasty, authentic plant-based food. We believe this trend is here to stay, as consumers look at different ways to enjoy and balance their protein intake and lower the environmental footprint of their diets.”

Called the Garden Gourmet Incredible Burger, the product will be launched next month across various European regions, including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, The Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

The 100% plant-based burger contains natural protein drawn from soy and wheat, as well as natural plant extracts from beetroot, carrot and bell pepper.

In Autumn, Nestlé will be rolling out the raw plant-based burger in the US.

Called the Awesome Burger, under the Sweet Earth brand, the product will be customised in accordance to the American consumer preferences.

The new burger will complement Sweet Earth’s existing vegetarian burgers.

Nestlé said that its new burgers are the result of collaboration between culinary chefs, alternative protein researchers and local food experts at both Garden Gourmet and Sweet Earth.

England further added: “We’re proud of our ability to make healthy and sustainable food accessible to everyone through our trusted brands. This includes plant-based food products under our Garden Gourmet range in Europe and the Sweet Earth brand in the US.”


2 april 2019

Kellogg Company signs $1.3bn agreement with Ferrero

US-based food manufacturing firm Kellogg Company has signed a definitive agreement to divest certain businesses to Nutella maker Ferrero for $1.3bn.

Businesses that are part of the deal include cookies, fruit and fruit-flavoured snacks, pie crusts and ice cream cones, as well as brands and assets associated with these businesses.

Brands that are part of this deal include Keebler, Mother’s, Famous Amos, Murray’s and Murray’s Sugar-Free, as well as cookies manufactured for the US Girl Scouts.

The company will retain the rest of its North America snacking businesses, which include crackers, salty snacks, wholesome snacks and toaster pastries brands. Kellogg Company intends to use cash proceeds to reduce outstanding debt.

Kellogg’s chairman and CEO Steve Cahillane said: “This divestiture is yet another action we have taken to reshape and focus our portfolio, which will lead to reduced complexity, more targeted investment and better growth.

“Divesting these great brands wasn’t an easy decision, but we are pleased that they are transitioning to an outstanding company with a portfolio in which they will receive the focus and resources to grow.”

The transaction also includes production facilities at Augusta in Georgia, Florence and Louisville in Kentucky, Allyn in Washington, and Chicago in Illinois. 

Completion of the deal is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. The deal is expected to close by the end of July. Last year, these businesses posted net sales of almost $900m and operating profit of around $75m.

For this transaction, Evercore served as the lead advisor to Kellogg, while Goldman Sachs acted as co-advisor. Wachtell, Lipton, and Rosen & Katz acted as legal counsel.

In January it was reported that food companies Hostess Brands, B&G Foods and Ferrero placed bids in the first round for the acquisition of Kellogg’s Famous Amos, Keebler and other snack units.


1 april 2019

Tetra Pak debuts technology to boost factory operations

Swiss food packaging solutions and processing company Tetra Pak has debuted its ‘factory of the future’ technology at the five-day Hannover Messe 2019 event being held in Germany, beginning today. The company claims that its digital technology has the potential to transform the way food manufacturing plants operate.

Tetra Pak Industry 4.0 and Digitalisation vice-president Johan Nilsson said: “We are in a period where the market is changing at high speed. Consumer demands coupled with regulations require a new way of food manufacturing that is much more efficient and food-safety guaranteed.

“At the same time, we believe humans should continue to be at the centre of the management of food manufacturing, with digital solutions as their support.”

The technology enables machines at the facility to automatically communicate with each other and with the factory’s digital systems. It will also have the ability to diagnose issues and place orders, as well as deliver parts and identify a technician suitable for the service needed.

The firm has been working with its partners, such as Microsoft, ABB, SAP and the automated logistics solutions provider Elettric80. By combining its food expertise with new technologies, Tetra Pak aims to take a lead role in the digital transformation of food manufacturing and offer support to its customers.

Due to these solutions, the workforce will be able to focus on plant management and help them to make quick and informed decisions, thereby accelerating the speed of production, reducing errors and minimising product waste. Tetra Pak’s technology builds on its previous launch, Tetra Pak Plant Secure and condition monitoring.

Additionally, Tetra Pak has collaborated with Swiss technology company ABB to develop an energy assessment programme, which aims to help food and beverage producers lower their environmental impact and cut costs. The programme offers an assessment of the complete plant, thereby enabling customers to reduce their environmental impact and boost profitability.

Last October, Tetra Pak launched its plant management service called Tetra Pak Plant Secure, which was designed to deliver profitability improvements for customers.