Latest News

16 November

Mars strikes deal for retailer Hotel Chocolat

Credit: Alena Veasey /

Mars has made a move to buy Hotel Chocolat, a UK retailer of upmarket chocolate products. 

The Galaxy and Snickers owner has had an offer worth £534m ($673.1m) accepted by the publicly-listed chain. 

The Hotel Chocolat board, which in total holds more than 54% of the business, has pledged to accept the bid. 

Earlier this month, the retailer booked a 10% fall in annual revenues to £204.5m. 

“We know our brand resonates with consumers overseas but operational supply chain challenges have held us back. By partnering with Mars, we can grow our international presence much more quickly using their skills, expertise and capabilities,” Hotel Chocolate CEO and co-founder Angus Thirlwell said. 

Mars, one of the world’s largest chocolate makers, and Hotel Chocolat are “highly complementary”, Andrew Clarke, the president of Mars’ snacking business, said.

17 November

Italy’s move to ban cultivated meat approved by lawmakers

Italy has banned the production, sale and import of cultivated meat. 

Approved by Italy’s Chamber of Deputies, the bill now needs to go before the European Union for final sign off. 

“With this government, you will never put synthetic food on the tables of Italians,” Francesco Lollobrigida, the Minister of Agriculture, Food Sovereignty and Forestry, said. 

The new regulation also bans the use of meat names from products not derived from animals such as ‘steak’ or ‘salami’, according to the Good Food Institute (GFI). 

“Eliminating the possibility of using familiar terms to facilitate product recognition undermines transparency, generating confusion for consumers where none currently exists,” Francesca Gallelli, public affairs consultant at GFI Europe, said. 

She added with respect to lab-grown meat: “This bill not only deprives consumers of choice but also isolates Italy from the investment and job creation offered by this burgeoning industry.” 

14 November

WHO report backs consumption of some ultra-processed foods

A report from the World Health Organization (WHO) says some ultra-processed foods (UPFs) can benefit people’s health. 

The report by the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer and the University of Vienna, suggested foods such as bread and cereal cut the risk of multimorbidity due to their fibre content. 

It said: “Among UPF sub-groups, associations [with health issues] were most notable for animal-based products and artificially and sugar-sweetened beverages. Other sub-groups, such as ultra-processed breads and cereals and plant-based alternatives, were not associated with risk.”

UPFs have faced criticism amid links to obesity, which increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes.The authors of the research were careful to stress the harm that UPFs can cause generally. 

“In this multinational European prospective cohort study, we found that higher consumption of UPFs was associated with a higher risk of multimorbidity of cancer and cardiometabolic diseases,” the report said. 

6 November

Mondelez joins food pack shrugging off
GLP-1 sales impact

Mondelez International has joined the chorus of packaged food companies shrugging off the potential impact of GLP-1 weight-loss drugs. 

“I think the whole topic has been overblown,” chairman and CEO Dirk Van de Put said as he presented the snacks giant’s third-quarter results, echoing similar comments made by Nestlé chief Mark Schneider in October. “It’s really not a big concern for us at this stage.” 

Van de Put added: “We’re talking about a 0.5% to 1% volume effect ten years down the road. That’s based on what we know today and projections that are not ours but that are being used by several different sources and that assumes quite significant adoption rates of the drug. 

“Even if the impact would be bigger than that, I think over a ten-year period, it will be manageable and we will have adequate lead time to adjust and prepare for any changes that we see.” 

9 November

Tyson Foods to shut two more US sites

Tyson Foods is closing two of its case-ready meat production facilities in the US. 

The sites affected will be in Jacksonville, Florida and in Columbia, South Carolina. 

In March, Tyson shut two plants in Virginia and Arkansas.  

Five months later, the group also announced the closure of four domestic chicken factories in light of slowing demand and a drop in profits. The plants affected included two in Missouri and one each in Indiana and Arkansas. The company had not ruled out further closures. 

In the 12 months to the end of September, Tyson booked a loss of $649m, compared to a profit of $3.25bn a year earlier. 

The Hillshire Farm brand owner reported an operating loss of $395m, against an operating income of $4.4bn the year previous.