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Glanbia Ingredients Ireland Opens New €180 Million Nutritional Ingredients Plant

Ireland’s leading dairy ingredients company, Glanbia Ingredients Ireland, has commenced production at its new, state-of-the-art nutritional ingredients plant at Belview in County Waterford, so completing a €200 million investment programme designed to increase processing capacity in readiness for the abolition of EU milk quotas.

Glanbia Ingredients Ireland processes1.6 billion litres of milk annually or 30% of Ireland’s milk pool into a range of dairy ingredients for export to more than 50 countries. The company is performing strongly with profits of Eur39 million.

Glanbia Ingredients Ireland supplies a range of ingredients to the infant formula market and exports enriched milk powder to markets including West Africa, Middle East and Asia in consumer-ready formats. It also sells a range of dairy proteins into the clinical and sports nutrition sectors. The company is one of the key Irish dairy processors supplying cheese and butter to the Irish Dairy Board (which is sold under the Kerrygold brand). Glanbia Ingredients Ireland currently employs 668 people across its five sites in Ireland and in representative offices overseas. The company has market bases in Ireland, Germany, the US, Dubai and Senegal.

Jim Bergin, chief executive of Glanbia Ingredients Ireland.

Jim Bergin, chief executive of Glanbia Ingredients Ireland.

Glanbia Ingredients Ireland is a joint venture between Glanbia plc, the global nutritional solutions and cheese group, and Glanbia Co-operative Society, which is the main shareholder in Glanbia plc. Glanbia Ingredients Ireland is 60% owned by the Glanbia Co-operative Society and 40% owned by Glanbia plc. Glanbia Co-operative Society has an option to buy Glanbia’s 40% stake within six years. In the process of forming the joint venture in 2012, Glanbia Co-operative Society reduced its shareholding in Glanbia plc from 51.4% to 41.4%.

€180 Million Investment

Glanbia Ingredients Ireland’s new greenfield facility at Belview has literally broken new ground in the Irish dairy industry and set new standards internationally. “Some Eur180 million has been invested in our new nutritional ingredients plant at Belview, with support from Enterprise Ireland. It is the largest single dairy investment in the history of the State and the largest infrastructure investment by an indigenous company since 1929,” points out Jim Bergin, chief executive of Glanbia Ingredients Ireland.

The new facility will create 1,600 direct and indirect jobs, while contributing an estimated Eur400 million per annum to the economy – with particular benefit to farm families and rural communities.

The new plant has a weekly processing capacity of 19 million litres of milk. It has been designed to manufacture specialised milk powder products and nutritional ingredients to meet the demands of multi-nationals in infant formula and other industries operating in Asia, North Africa and around the world. Belview will produce concentrated skimmed milk, enriched milk powder, infant formula grade skimmed milk powder, infant formula grade whole milk powder and cream.

“Belview is a scalable facility that is also extendable. It is Ireland’s largest milk powder plant, and will produce high end ingredients produced to rigorous quality standards. A key feature for our customers is that we offer an owned and traceable milk supply from our farmer base of 4,800 suppliers,” Jim Bergin explains.

Belview will produce concentrated skimmed milk, enriched milk powder, infant formula grade skimmed milk powder, infant formula grade whole milk powder and cream.

Belview will produce concentrated skimmed milk, enriched milk powder, infant formula grade skimmed milk powder, infant formula grade whole milk powder and cream.

Fast Track Project

The fast track project was delivered on time and on budget from ground-breaking in May 2013 to first processing of milk in December 2014. At peak more than 750 people were employed on the site. The safety record of the programme is commendable – approximately 1.5 million man-hours operated with only one HSA recordable incident.

The project brought together a broad range of global expertise and suppliers. In addition to Ireland, equipment was designed and supplied from countries across Europe including Denmark, France and various Eastern European countries, and from further afield such as New Zealand and China.

“The project also relied upon the support of a wide range of agencies and groups, without whom the project would not have succeeded – Local Government, IDA, Enterprise Ireland, ESB, Bord Gais and local residents, to name a few,” stresses Jim Bergin.

Advanced Design

The nutritional ingredients plant at Belview has been built to Infant Formula Spec and European Design Hygiene guidelines. The new facility is highly automated with a focus on best in class efficiency for water and energy usage and quality standards. There is also an emphasis on cleaning and re-cycling of water, as well as utilisation of some of the most energy efficient process equipment available. Heat recovery is a corner-stone of the plant’s design and operation, as is the operational model whereby energy inefficient processing (short periods) are avoided. Clean energy sources have also been utilised where possible.

“Thanks to cutting edge technology, the plant will produce a range of nutritional ingredients which are top quality and low micro, ensuring a suitable application across a range of infant and clinical nutrition industries,” he says. “Our low micro dry blend powders will be used in some of the world’s most recognised infant formula brands from Stage One.”

GlanbiaIngredientsIrelandLogoInternational Standing

Belview compares favourably with other dairies internationally in terms of scale, technology and environmental performance. With regard to the technologies utilised and planned efficiencies, the facility is best-in-class.

Equipped with two 7.5 tonne/hr dryers, Belview is comparable in size with other European plants of this type, although smaller than the large scale processing plants in New Zealand. The facility will process approximately 19 million litres of milk per week at peak.

Jim Bergin comments: “International expertise on hi spec builds was brought in to work on this project. Specifically, 3D modelling was utilised such that each and every component – floor, wall, pipe, valves, instruments etc – was modelled electronically and, thereafter, installed exactly in accordance with the model. This modelling allowed for the design to be fully reviewed and validated before installation, avoiding changes and providing assurances in relation to the safety, quality, operability and maintainability of the facility.”

Target Markets

The plant at Belview has been developed specifically for the export market with high growth developing regions in particular being targeted. It will complement the other sites within Glanbia Ingredients Ireland’s operations.

“The Belview site will allow us to develop a range of specialised infant formula grade nutritional ingredients which will enable a deeper penetration of the Nutrition and Health and Wellness industries which we already supply with our portfolio of advanced milk proteins,” he remarks. “These are currently produced at both our Ballyragget and Virginia plants alongside our enriched milk powders, butter, cheese, cream, and whey concentrates. We also recently acquired Wexford Creamery, which produces a range of cheeses, and through a joint venture in Carrick on Suir we make technical butters for the baking industry.”

Jim Bergin adds: “We are seeing significant growth in many of the industry sectors we supply into, particularly in the area of Health and Wellness. The clinical nutrition and sports nutrition industries are worth Eur16 billion and are currently growing at greater than 6% per annum.”

Additional Investment

A key feature for customers is that Glanbia Ingredients Ireland can offer an owned and traceable milk supply from its farmer base of 4,800 suppliers.

A key feature for customers is that Glanbia Ingredients Ireland can offer an owned and traceable milk supply from its farmer base of 4,800 suppliers.

In addition to the establishment of the new nutritional ingredients plant at Belview, Glanbia Ingredients Ireland has also been modernising and expanding its existing facilities at Ballyragget in County Kilkenny and Virginia in County Cavan under a total investment package worth over Eur200 million.

At Ballyragget, Glanbia Ingredients Ireland has significantly upgraded its butter plant. The company has been processing butter since 1968, when the Ballyragget plant was first opened. “Remaining at the heart of the business ever since, we now have a wealth of experience to draw on across anhydrous milk fat (AMF), butter oil/butter oil fractions, salted and unsalted sweet cream butter, lactic butter and technical butter. Combined with our high quality, sustainable milk pool, this allows us to serve markets all over the world with exceptional butter ingredients and branded butter products,” Jim Bergin explains.

The Ballyragget facililty produces a range of butters, which are supplied to a range of global customers from branded retail butters such as Kerrygold through to top quality baked goods and biscuits. The new butter plant will facilitate a 45% increase in capacity from 55,000 MTs to 80,000MTs by 2020.

Ballyragget is one of Europe’s largest integrated dairy processing facilities. In 2012, Glanbia Ingredients Ireland also invested Eur21 million in a new whey plant at Ballyragget to consolidate the site’s leadership position into the future. “We are still witnessing increasing customer demand for whey protein isolate – which is a very pure form of whey protein, suitable for various nutritional applications,” he says.

New Milk Protein Plant

The nutritional ingredients plant at Belview has been built to Infant Formula Spec and European Design Hygiene guidelines.

The nutritional ingredients plant at Belview has been built to Infant Formula Spec and European Design Hygiene guidelines.

At its Virginia site, Glanbia Ingredients Ireland recently invested Eur7.8 million in a new milk protein plant enabling production of the next generation of advanced milk proteins SolmikoHD and SolagoHD. Opened in December 2014, the new plant processes milk from counties on both sides of the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The milk proteins are used by the global clinical nutrition, sports and consumer food industries. The investment at the plant will increase milk protein capacity from 4,000 to 10,000 tonnes.

In addition to producing enriched milk powders for export markets, the Virginia site is the only supplier of cream for the Bailey’s liqueur brand, owned by global drinks giant Diageo.

Development Strategy

Glanbia Ingredients Ireland has now completed the first part of its 2020 growth strategy designed to ensure the company is well prepared for the processing of an increased milk supply following the abolition of milk quotas.

Jim Bergin comments: “Phase 1 provided for a capital investment programme of Eur200 million in high spec processing infrastructure. Our new nutritional ingredients plant at Belview is the final piece in place of that capital investment outlay. Phase 2 is the development and expediting of our innovation agenda to drive the development of high spec ingredients for the Health and Wellness and Nutrition industries.”

Dairy Industry Outlook

So how does he see the outlook for the Irish dairy industry in light of the abolition of EU milk quotas?

“Quotas have been in place since 1984 and their removal at the end of March has the potential to radically transform Ireland’s rural economy. For the first time in 30 years, Irish dairy farmers can increase their production without having to purchase additional milk quota rights. The current farming generation has never known farming without quotas so this really is a generational opportunity,” he replies. “It represents a momentous juncture, not just for dairy farmers but for Ireland’s export economy.”

Jim Bergin draws a parallel with the situation in New Zealand, which like Ireland has a large dairy industry and grass-based system naturally suited to sustainable dairy farming. When milk quotas were introduced in 1984, Ireland and New Zealand both produced approximately 5 billion litres annually. However, in the absence of a quota regime New Zealand now produces 20 billion litres of milk annually.

“The removal of milk quotas gives Ireland a unique opportunity to increase milk production and bring an additional Eur1 billion into the Irish economy.” He continues: “The strategic ambition of Glanbia Ingredients Ireland is to grow in international markets, particularly in high growth developing regions.”

Strong Market Fundamentals

The market fundamentals are strong and the outlook is bright. Global consumption of dairy products is forecast to grow by 2% to 3% year-on-year until 2025. This is based on solid market demand that is built on sustainable global trends. He also points out that the earth’s population is expected to grow by almost 1 billion extra people during this period with the fastest growth rates in Africa and South East Asia.

Glanbia Ingredients Ireland’s new Milk Protein Plant at Virginia was officially opened by representatives from the Governments of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland - Heather Humphreys, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and Arlene Foster, NI Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment. Pictured (left to right) are: Liam Herlihy, chairman of Glanbia Ingredients Ireland; Heather Humphreys; Arlene Foster; and Jim Bergin, chief executive of Glanbia Ingredients Ireland.

Glanbia Ingredients Ireland’s new Milk Protein Plant at Virginia was officially opened by representatives from the Governments of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland – Heather Humphreys, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and Arlene Foster, NI Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment. Pictured (left to right) are: Liam Herlihy, chairman of Glanbia Ingredients Ireland; Heather Humphreys; Arlene Foster; and Jim Bergin, chief executive of Glanbia Ingredients Ireland.

Glanbia Ingredients Ireland will work through its global customer partnerships to target both developed and emerging markets. “For example, there are new and emerging middle classes with higher incomes in major markets such as China and the Middle East. There is increased awareness of the benefits of dairy products, westernisation of diets and a growing focus on health and wellness.”

Jim Bergin elaborates: “The new plant at Belview is also good news for other Irish dairy companies, as we have manufacturing contracts with eight other domestic processors which will be open to development or expansion from the Belview plant. Belview is a scalable facility and so it will also provide platforms for further collaboration in the industry.”

Green Credentials

The new plant at Belview along with Glanbia Ingredients Ireland’s other recent investments are expected to further enhance Ireland’s reputation as one of the best dairy producing countries in the world. “Ireland’s green credentials provide a differentiated positioning in the global marketplace where our grass-fed, pastured and family farm method of dairying produces a highly sustainable range of quality ingredients, making Ireland highly cost competitive. Glanbia Ingredients Ireland has prioritised sustainability as a key focus for its business,” he remarks.

Indeed, Glanbia Ingredients Ireland’s Belview, Cavan and Kilkenny facilities represent a major statement of intent by the company and on behalf of the Irish dairy industry. “The Belview site will see production and manufacturing on a global scale brought to the South East of Ireland and demonstrates our confidence in, and commitment to, our suppliers and the Irish economy.”

GlanbiaIngredientsIrelandLogo2The Glanbia Ingredients Ireland chief executive concludes: “The Government support, through Enterprise Ireland, is a further, significant endorsement of this vision and a vote of confidence in the Irish dairy industry and indeed in Glanbia Ingredients Ireland and our milk suppliers. Up until now the only disadvantage Ireland has had in the dairy field has been quota-imposed supply restriction. The new era of dairy enabled by the removal of quotas at the end of March will allow us to break free of these shackles and significantly ramp up supply capability.”

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Fast Response from UK Company to Help Save Lives in Iraq

2 days ago UK based engineering firm Olympus Automation (OAL) were approached by the president of Azersun, the leading food producer in Azerbaijan, for a rapid cooking system to feed refugees in Northern Iraq. The president was so appalled by the plight of the refugees stuck on mount Sinjar he has chosen to fund the equipment himself.
Time is clearly of the essence and managing director, Harry Norman, of OAL has been quick to respond and a system will be shipped in record time next week. Norman, states:
“Normally systems take 24 weeks to manufacture, but this is clearly not a normal situation, lives are at stake and we will be able to deliver a Steam Infusion cooking system in a week. Steam Infusion is 4 times faster than traditional processes making the equipment ideal for feeding lots of people, hence the call from the president.”
OAL will be flying application specialist Stuart Rigby to an undisclosed location in Turkey to provide training on the system before it is deployed in Northern Iraq.
OAL are supplying a simple cooking system based on its revolutionary Steam Infusion technology to make lentil soups, rice and provide a clean source for drinking and washing water. The cooking system uses will use Steam Infusion, OAL’s revolutionary heating and mixing process to make 4,000 portions of hot food an hour.
Follow us on Twitter, @OALgroup

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FDF Recognition for RSSL

Reading Scientific Services (RSSL) has been shortlisted for the Food & Drink Federation Awards in the category for Education Initiative. The award is made to companies that support education about the food and drink industry within schools and colleges, and help to facilitate employment opportunities for young people.

RSSL has been active in many such initiatives for a number of years, gaining praise from organisations such as Education Business Partnership in both West and Central Berkshire, Launchpad (a homeless charity) and EDT, the largest provider of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) enrichment activities for UK youth.

RSSL’s Commercial Operations Manager, Karen Masters, notes, “Science and innovation are at the heart of long term sustainable economic growth in the UK.  As an employer of scientists at all levels, we recognised the role we could play in motivating people to look at science as a potential career opportunity.  Our programme is a holistic science outreach programme aimed at all sections of the community promoting the excitement and satisfaction of science and learning. We work with a number of different organisations communicating and educating on the important role of science in our lives.”

RSSL has worked directly with Schools, Universities and Charities to maximise its effectiveness.  Scientists from across the whole company have been involved in a wide range of projects that have seen RSSL welcome many visitors to its Reading laboratories, and also taken RSSL out into its community. Projects have included working with EDT to bring Year 9 pupils to RSSL’s site to learn about the science behind chocolate; providing work experience programmes for school pupils; running an annual intern programme; giving school leavers a route to ongoing education without going to University; providing introduction-to-work sessions for clients of a homeless charity, and many other visits to schools and community events.

“Our science outreach initiative has had a huge impact on our organisation and staff,” notes Karen. “Colleagues have benefited in many ways both from a personal and professional perspective. Individuals have been able to grow and develop their leadership, communication, facilitation, management and planning skills. Our organisation benefits from the pride that people feel in giving something back and gives us a community/family feel resulting in more positive colleague interactions at all levels from senior management to more junior staff.  Many of our technical staff are passionate about communicating science and enthusing the next generation of scientists; our programme allows them to do this within their working arenas.”

The FDF award winners will be announced at the awards ceremony in London, on September 18th.

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The east – the market of the future: Paulaner on the road to success in the CIS region .

 From Moscow to Astana to Baku – Paulaner’s Bavarian beer specialities are more popular than ever in the emerging markets of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region, where sales have risen 15% this year alone.  

Munich, November 2013 – The Munich-based traditional brewing company Paulaner has increased its sales in the CIS region by around 15% during the last three quarters. As a result, the Soviet Union’s successor states are now among Paulaner’s most dynamic export markets. Russia is still Paulaner’s most important market in the CIS region. In Moscow and St Petersburg, customers already experience the Bavarian way of life first hand with a freshly brewed beer and traditional cuisine in the Paulaner Bräuhäuser, the popular microbreweries of Paulaner. Paulaner plans to open more public houses and breweries in the near future.


No market should be underestimated Sales in Ukraine doubled over the past four years, making the country the second most important export market in the region, followed closely by Belarus, where Paulaner has incredibly increased its sales by 60% over the last four fiscal years. In Georgia, a country with a population of just over four million, sales exceeded 1,000 hectolitres for the first time in 2013, making the Caucasus republic another significant export market for Paulaner.

The beer made by the brewery founded by monks in 1634 is also becoming more and more popular at the foot of the biblical Mount Ararat, since the small countries of Armenia and Moldova are the rising stars in the CIS region. “Our importer in Armenia opened three Bavarian-style restaurants over the course of a year and has already served more than 200,000 glasses of freshly tapped Paulaner beer,” Holger Loof, Paulaner’s Sales Director for the CIS countries, comments. “The often underestimated Moldova is another important future market. We more than doubled our sales there over the last four years,” Loof explains.  The newcomers are the sons of Genghis Khan Paulaner beer specialities will also be available in Kazakhstan and Mongolia starting in 2014. After an extensive search, two market-leading companies were selected as distribution partners. “The sale of draught beer is still our priority when we enter a market. A freshly tapped beer offers the customer a special taste sensation and represents reliable quality,” Loof says. “The naturally cloudy amber colour and fruity, refreshing flavour set our Weissbier (wheat beer) apart from the lager beer that dominates the global market. It is the export hit in our range.”

Working towards success with the right partners

Selecting the right local partners is also an important ingredient in Paulaner’s recipe for success. In 2013 Paulaner found two new importers for Russia, the largest CIS market: one for restaurants and one for retail business. “As the number one in the German import beer business in Russia, we are delighted to be working with the country’s two strongest distribution companies in this segment. The chemistry with the proprietors is also right – which is not an insignificant aspect in international partnerships,” Loof explains.

Expansion continues

The company plans to tap into more export markets in the region soon. Paulaner is currently in discussions with a potential importer in Uzbekistan. Partners are also being sought in the CIS countries of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. Paulaner’s beer specialities are already available in 79 countries around the world, with plans to increase this to 100 countries in the near future.

About Paulaner

Paulaner Brauerei was founded by monks in 1634. Originally the friars brewed beer exclusively for their own use. The company’s headquarters is still Munich, as it always has been. The company has a staff of roughly 670 employees. With over 2.9 million hectolitres of beer brewed, the Paulaner Brewery Group is a market leader in Germany and worldwide.


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Britvic productivity boosted by Videojet trial.

Soft drinks group Britvic is looking at upgrading its Rugby site following the trial of a Videojet 1620 UHS coding machine.

The addition enabled Britvic to increase its production line speed by 30m per minute and the site cans Pepsi-Cola products as the company has an exclusive agreement in the UK with PepsiCo to make and distribute its global brands.

Britvic already runs Videojet’s Excel 170i UHS and the Rugby site’s maintenance technician Paul Ash said that the company is looking at the next generation of coders.

Videojet worked closely with the Britvic site in Rugby for three months to put their new 1620 (UHS) Continuous Ink Jet printer through a challenging production trial. During the trial, the 1620 UHS printer coded in excess of 23m codes at the soft drinks site.

Britvic is now considering bringing forward the replacement of all of its existing Excel UHS printers.

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Wood, as far as the eye can see

Few high-bay facilities are as impressive as the new distribution center operated by Alnatura Produktions- und Handels GmbH in Lorsch, Germany. It rises 17.5 meters into the sky and—this is the most extraordinary part—it is made entirely of wood. The high-capacity high-bay warehouse is the only one of its kind anywhere in the world, Alnatura stands out with some pride, and an external façade that is also made of wood will soon be added to the ecological concept. The goal of the construction project is to build a cutting-edge extension onto an existing organic food distribution center. The company celebrated the ground-breaking ceremony in July 2013 and expects the work to be completed in the spring of next year. The Dortmund based general contractor, Swisslog GmbH, is the logistics company in charge of planning and execution. “What’s extraordinary is that the project is in keeping with Alnatura’s principles, which are based on systematic sustainability and environmental protection,” comments Dr. Volker Jungbluth, CEO of Swisslog GmbH. “The organic food retailer can still rely on modern technology,” he adds, “since the warehouse will soon be automated.”

Handling dry goods

First some background and a few details: Headquartered in Bickenbach, Germany, Alnatura has been distributing organic foods since the mid-1980s, including dry cereals and other grains, sandwich spreads, dairy products, fruit and vegetables, to name but a few. The company maintains 80 stores in Germany and also distributes its goods through trade partners in Germany and abroad. Lorsch has been one of Alnatura’s key logistics centers for many years, but it is now outgrowing its capacity, due to the retailer’s strong growth. Because of the great need to expand, Alnatura decided in 2012 to construct a new building. The company is now building a new distribution center for dry goods on a footprint of 9,000 m² (a FIFA soccer field is 7,140 m²). The new structure will be a fully automated high-bay warehouse connected to an adjacent building, which will provide the interface to the existing logistics space.

A sophisticated concept

“The order from Alnatura not only covers the storage systems and conveyors, control technology and warehouse management,” says Heinz Ennen, Swisslog’s head of Sales, describing the work specifications. “The milestones also include construction and a sophisticated energy concept.“ In keeping with Alnatura’s motto, “Sensible products for people and the planet,” the new logistics center is expected to earn points through an outstanding eco balance sheet. Its mandate is to cut CO2 emissions wherever possible: through energy savings, using renewable energy sources and building with wood–a material that stores carbon dioxide and is therefore considered particularly safe for the environment. “We deliberately chose to use one of the most sustainable building materials,” says Prof. Dr. Götz E. Rehn, Alnatura’s founder and CEO. “Wood is a renewable resource.”  Alnatura wants to set an example by combining ecology and economic feasibility with attractive design. The extension may not yet be finished, but it already shows signs of reliably achieving this goal.

Ecology and technology

The high-bay facility is made of PEFC[1] -certified spruce and therefore comes from sustainably managed forests. It is an eight-story, 18 meter tall load-bearing structure with 65,570 running meters of shelf supports. The façade will be built of PRFC-certified larch wood. Thanks to good insulation and natural cooling, the logistics center will not require any heating or artificial refrigeration when it goes into operation. To do this, the building was sunk 2.5 meters into the ground, which allows it to use the natural cooling effect of the surrounding earth. A photovoltaic system will be installed on the roof, so that the building will be operated with additional green electricity once it is completed. A total of 3,800 m2 of open storm water infiltration basins collect rainwater from both the roof of the high-bay warehouse and all yard areas, preventing rainwater from contaminating the public drainage ditch. Extensive landscaping of the property rounds out the ecological concept. The new 120 m x 67 m x 20 m warehouse and distribution center will have a functionality and dynamics shaped largely by automation technology: nine Swisslog Vectura stacker cranes will serve up to 32,000 pallet locations. Pallet conveyors, picking robots, extensive peripheral and safety components as well as modern software control systems make the Alnatura warehouse an extremely safe and high-performance environment.

An unrivaled solution

“We are delighted to give our customer a solution that is beyond comparison,” says Swisslog CEO Jungbluth, and adds that any complex logistics system can rightly claim to be unique if it actually attempts to meet the user’s personal need. “We have accomplished this especially well with the Alnatura project.” Swisslog is known for its trend-setting solutions in the area of intralogistics. Its credo is that every customer is unique and therefore their storage and picking technology must also be unique. The goal of Swisslog’s business approach is to give its customers a competitive advantage. 

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Walsh Whiskey Distillery Unveils €25m Expansion Programme to Build Share of Global Irish Whiskey Market

Walsh Whiskey Distillery Unveils €25m Expansion Programme to Build Share of Global Irish Whiskey Market

· Major Italian drinks company Illva Saronno Holding S.p.A. invests in Walsh Whiskey Distillery Ltd – an established producer of super-premium and ultra-premium Irish whiskey brands based in Carlow.

· New world-class distillery and visitor centre to create 55 jobs in Royal Oak, County Carlow as well as 40 temporary construction jobs with support from Dept of Jobs through Enterprise Ireland

· Walsh Whiskey Distillery is currently one of just a few independent producers of triple-distilled, branded, Irish whiskey with a guaranteed supply to the rapidly growing global market.

Dublin, Carlow & Saronno – 16th October 2013: The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD today welcomed the announcement that independent, family-owned Walsh Whiskey Distillery will make a significant €25million expansion programme for its critically acclaimed, award winning, super-premium and ultra-premium Irish whiskey brands – The Irishman and Writerṣ Tears. Walsh Whiskey Distillery’s expansion plans have attracted significant development funding from the Italian drinks giant, Illva Saronno Holding S.p.A., which is owned and run by the Reina family in Saronno near Milan.

The investment will facilitate the development of a world-class, independent, craft Irish whiskey distillery; maturation warehouses and a unique visitor experience by the banks of the River Barrow in Royal Oak, County Carlow by 2016. The expansion will create a total of 55 permanent and part-time jobs in the Carlow area, over 5 years, where the whiskies will be distilled, crafted and aged. The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, through Enterprise Ireland, is supporting this project.

In addition, the construction process will provide up to 40 jobs during the 18 month development phase which is scheduled to commence in spring 2014 (subject to planning permission).

Welcoming the announcement, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, said:

“At the heart of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs is our determination to create a powerful engine of Irish exporting businesses. Today’s announcement that the Walsh Whiskey Distillery Company is investing €25million in a world-class centre in Co. Carlow, with the creation of 55 permanent and 40 temporary jobs in a regional location, is a model of what we are trying to achieve. Here is an Irish SME which, with the support of Government and Enterprise Ireland in particular, has lifted its ambitions, pursued new markets, and is now creating large numbers of jobs in an area which badly needs them. I commend all involved on their efforts and wish them every success for the future”.

Global Growth of Irish whiskey

Irish whiskey has been the fastest growing spirit in the world in the last 5 years growing from 4.4 million cases to 6.5 million since 2008. Drinks industry analysts expect that growth to continue with sales of Irish whiskey expected to double to over 12 million cases in the next 5 years. The expansion will enable the company to benefit from this increased demand and position it as one of the leading independent distillers of branded, premium, craft Irish whiskey. The Walsh Whiskey Distillery Company will be one of just a handful of producers of scale, of triple-distilled, branded, Irish whiskey outside of the multinational companies.

Illva Saronno Holdins Partnership

Illva Saronno’s CEO, Mr Augusto Reina, travelled from Milan with several of his colleagues to attend the announcement in Dublin. With 17th century origins, Illva Saronno’s portfolio is led by Disaronno, the world’s second largest premium liqueur, and Tia Maria. It also includes Artic Vodka, Isolabella Sambuca, Zucca, and Aurum and Sicilian Wines Duca di Salaparuta, Corvo and Florio among others. These brands are distributed in 160 countries worldwide. Illva also has a significant interest in China’s largest winery, Changyu, and a growing foothold in India, the world’s largest whiskey market (280 million cases annually).

The founder of Walsh Whiskey Distillery, Mr Bernard Walsh said: “We are delighted to be expanding our business due to strong demand for our super-premium and ultra-premium Irish whiskey brands, which are crafted in the best tradition of 19th century Irish whiskey distilling. We are especially pleased to have attracted a partner like Illva Saronno. In addition to its global reach and long term vision, Illva and Walsh share a similar style and core values that come from being family-run companies. Their experience, traditions and expertise, which come with having a 500 year old liqueur like Disaronno in their portfolio, will be fantastic assets as we set about becoming recognised as one of the leading distillers of premium, craft, Irish whiskey in the world.”

Mr Augusto Reina, CEO of Illva Saronno Holding commented, “We are extremely delighted to announce the partnership with Walsh Whiskey Distillery today. With this investment, not only will Illva gain production capacity and expertise in a fast growing sector such as that of Irish whiskey – which is already showing remarkable growth rates and is expected to grow up to 12 million cases within the next 5 years – but it will also enable Walsh Whiskey Distillery to lean on Illva as a leading business developer both in Italy and abroad.”

Senior Team

Founded in 1999 by husband and wife, Bernard and Rosemary Walsh from Carlow, over 14 years they have built a range of international award winning drinks brands including a portfolio of six Irish whiskies under The Irishman and Writerṣ Tears brands, the Hot Irishman Irish coffee and The Irishman Irish Cream liqueur.

The most recent award received by a Walsh Whiskey Distillery brand was for ‘Best Blended Whiskey’ by Writerṣ Tears at the inaugural Irish Whiskey Awards in October. The award, in the largest and most competitive award category, was keenly contested by a large number of entries from the burgeoning Irish whiskey sector including many of Ireland’s top blends such as Bushmills Black Bush, Powers 12 Year Old Special Reserve, Tullamore Dew 12 Year Old and Jameson 12 Year Old Special Reserve.

In addition to the founders, Walsh Whiskey Distillery has built a highly experienced Board and advisory team comprising seasoned executives from the global wine and spirits sector, including:

· Pat Rigney (Managing Director of Fastnet Brands Ltd and Chairperson of The Dalcassian Wine & Spirits Company; founder of Boru Vodka Company and formerly of Baileys Irish Cream where he was a leader in the development of the Baileys brand and the creator of Sheridans liqueur);

· John Kickham (Group Managing Director of J. Donohoe Beverages Limited, one of the leading beverage importation, wholesale, distribution and manufacturing group of companies in Ireland);

· John Chamney (a former C&C International director who played a key role in the development of Tullamore Dew taking it from number 5 to be the number two Irish whiskey brand in the world) and Carolans, the number 2 Irish Cream Liqueur.

Record of Strong Growth & International Demand

Led by founder Bernard Walsh, together the Walsh Whiskey leadership team has overseen revenue growth of 300% in the last 5years. With 95% of sales generated by exports, the Walsh Whiskey Distillery Irish whiskies are distributed in 30 countries. Five key markets currently account for 70% of sales, these are: the United States, Russia, Scandinavia, France and Germany. In partnership with Illva Saronno and its existing distribution partners, the company plans to gradually expand its network taking in major Asian markets, including India and China, where Illva has significant operations. In anticipation of this expansion the company undertook a comprehensive brand audit earlier this year with the support of Bord Bia.

Development of World-class Distillery at Royal Oak, Carlow

In early spring 2014, Walsh Whiskey Distillery will submit a planning application for the development of a distillery, maturing warehouses and a visitor centre on 40 acres of pastoral land bounded on one side by the River Barrow at Royal Oak in Carlow. The estate includes an 18th century country house that will be restored as part of the development plan.

The plan is for the distillery, with capacity to produce 400,000 cases annually, to become operational in 2016. It will have two production lines using both pot stills and column stills which will facilitate Walsh Whiskey Distillery producing all four types of Irish whiskey, namely; pot, malt and grain and blended. The distillery will also have the capacity to distil whiskey under contract for selected private labels most of whom have no means of production.

The planned distillery visitor centre will cater for 75,000 ‘whiskey tourists’ by 2021.

Global Resurgence of Irish Whiskey

Irish whiskey is resurgent worldwide after falling from its position as one of the world’s leading whiskeys in the 19th and early 20th centuries. 100 years ago, 12 million cases of Irish whiskey were sold annually but a combination of factors including non-adoption of column stills, US prohibition laws and Ireland’s post-independence trade war with Britain all contributed to its demise leaving the way clear for Scotch to become the dominant whiskey genre.

Ireland Inc’s 21st century whiskey opportunity is reflected in Scotland’s achievements in the sector. Annual sales of Scotch has now grown to 90 million cases, yielding over €5 billion in export sales while supporting 35,000 jobs across 109 distilleries.

Advisor’s to Walsh Whiskey Distillery

C.W. Downer & Co., a leading global middle-market investment bank, brokered and structured the deal through its offices in Dublin and Paris. Hughes Blake provided both corporate finance and company secretarial services. The legal contracts were signed and sealed at the offices of Eugene F Collins on the 3rd October 2013.

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Packed to the Rafters: Packaging Innovations London

Packaging Innovations London closed its doors Wednesday 2 October at 4pm, reporting record visitor and exhibitor numbers for the fourth year running, a trend that has continued since its launch in 2010. The show attracted world-class speakers, international exhibitors from all corners of the globe and 3,560 visitors, smashing last year’s record attendance with an increase of 18%. 

With visiting companies including the likes of Waitrose, Fabergé, Diageo, Disney, Coca-Cola, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Glaxo Smith Kline, Estée Lauder, Harrods, Ted Baker, Mars, Unilever and Space NK, exhibitors were delighted with the buzz and serious purchasers at the show, 75% of them already having rebooked their stand for 2014. Particularly successful was the expanded Luxury Packaging show, with inspiring prestige packaging on display; many of the exhibitors have already doubled their stand space, with the floorplan expanding for the next year.

Growing each year both in size, but more importantly in importance within the industry, Packaging Innovations London and its co-located shows has filled a vital need for packaging, marketing, branding and design professionals to find innovations to inspire them and make their packaging stand out and delight customers whilst continuing to perform on a functional level.

Eugen L. Ritter, Marketing Manager at Noris Food & Packaging visiting the show, enthused: “This is the first time we have attended the show. I came in fromGermanyand it has certainly been worth the visit. Every stand had at least one eye-catcher. The combination of new and old technology being demonstrated was amazing. This is the show of special products, and we don’t have such a show inGermany.”

The show focused on four key areas – Packaging Innovations, Luxury Packaging,Brand & DesignVillage, and Contract Pack. 80% of the 170 exhibitors used the event to launch or show new products and services. J&J Pont Packaging launched Pont Pack a slimline packaging solution. Mirri and Smurfit Kappa teamed up, and launched a premium board – MirriNor, demonstrating the stunning metallic effects that can be achieve through packaging.

Colin Griffiths, President at Golden Valley Pallet Wrap Specialists, exhibiting at the show, said: “The show has a strong luxury focus which attracts the blue chip companies. On day one of the show we already had 75 high quality leads, so we’ll certainly be back next year.”

Also exhibiting at the show was Rudy Martinez, Head of Concept Design at ASG Spark!, who remarked: “It’s been so successful I don’t have any business cards left. It has been a great show; we showcased three of our innovations and have received not only quality leads, but also quantity.”

The sell-out show, which took place 1 & 2 October 2013, featured a packed learnShops programme, with speakers from Neal’s Yard Remedies, Miracle-Gro, Marks & Spencer, Kimberly Clark, Bombay Sapphire and many other leading and interesting brands.

Appropriately the topic on the first day was ‘Great consumer experiences build brands’. Nick Dormon, Managing Director & Founder at Echo Brand Design, discussed the critical role of packaging and product design. He remarked: “The digital age has brought convenience but consumers also want a relationship and intimacy with the brands they buy. Packaging plays a crucial role in that process.”

Jon White, ex European Marketing Director at Kimberly Clark, and Dan Monteith, Group Client Service Director at Elmwood, outlined the role packaging played in rejuvenating the iconic Andrex brand. TheUK’s number one non-food FMCG brand sells a massive 29 rolls per second, enough to wrap round the world twice each day! White remarked: “Despite still strong figures the brand was stalling. One look at the packaging told me we had work to do. Day-in-day-out our biggest shop window is the aisle – but the packaging wasn’t working in it; it looked like we had run out of ideas, I knew we had to invest in it.”

The year-long packaging redesign process included drawing on latest sentic thinking fromBradfordUniversityto ensure the packaging pushed the right consumer buttons. The resulting redesign – which involved using curves to denote softness and angles to reinforce the product’s strength, plus making the famous Andrex puppy work much harder on the pack – helped deliver an 11.5% volume growth, plus a 32% improvement in brand bonding and a slew of brand extensions.

“Our packaging ended up so important that it ‘heroed’ in our TV advertising,” concluded White.

There was also plenty of show floor ‘theatre’ in the form of The BIG Packaging Debate, where a panel of packaging professionals, including Innocent Drinks, Marks & Spencer, Design Activity and the Faraday Centre for Retail Excellence, discussed the topic ‘Online sales will kill packaging design’.

Chairing the debate was Kevin Vyse from the InstituteofPackaging Professionals UK, who concluded: “People are better digitally connected than ever before. Online sales are nothing new, and it’s clear from this debate that the move online won’t kill design, but until someone steps up and says this is how it should be done, this debate will continue.”

The show also featured its first ever Beauty Symposium, which was immensely well received and run in association with The Red Tree Consultancy. Stirling Murray, CEO & Founder of The Red Tree, remarked: “With its strong emphasis on design and luxury, the show provided the perfect place to host our second Beauty Symposium. Having speakers such as Helen Miller, former Commercial Director for Beauty at Boots UK, and Judy Deuchar, ex VP of merchandising and planning at QVCUK, meant we could give delegates some real packaging and retail insights for driving their beauty businesses forward.  They could then go out into the show, talk to suppliers and who could help them apply that learning.

“If you are running or launching a beauty brand I wouldn’t miss this show – it has insight and innovation all under one roof.”

Alison Church, Event Director at Packaging Innovations, commented: “We couldn’t be more delighted; every area of the show was heaving throughout both days, and the feedback from visitors and exhibitors has been incredible. It is great to be a part of such a vibrant show and, of course, industry. The response to the show, and in particular the Luxury Packaging element, has been phenomenal, making it very much the place where all those involved in branding, design, product marketing and inspirational packaging meet each year; which has resulted in very happy exhibitors, with 75% rebooking onsite for the 2014 show. We’ll be back next year, with plans to expand the floor plan, show features, and speaker line-up!”

Packaging Innovations London will be return to the Business Design Centre, on 30 September and 1 October 2014.

The next Packaging Innovations event will take place at the NEC,Birmingham, on 26 and 27 February 2014.

Companies interested in exhibiting at either show can find out more about booking a stand by calling the Packaging Innovations sales team on +44 (0)20 8843 8800 or emailing

Further information on visiting the Birminghamevent can be found at; the London website has all show details at


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Case report: Implementation of an energy management system

By Juliane Bränzel, TÜV SÜD Industrie Service GmbH


In view of steadily rising energy costs, the sustainable and efficient use of energy in production is becoming increasingly important. But how can large companies analyse their energy consumption, potential for energy savings and opportunities for improvement? An energy management system in accordance with the ISO 50001 standard is the tool of choice to ensure continual and sustainable improvement of energy efficiency. TÜV SÜD accompanied a brewery throughout the process of implementing an energy management system.

Depending on a company’s industry and size, its production processes may account for a large part of its energy input. However, many companies have come to recognise that efficient use of electricity, heat, gas and fuels makes good economic sense, as it not only saves resources but also renders production more cost-effective. However, companies that aim to move from theoretical considerations to practical implementation need answers to very specific questions, including: Which areas offer potential for saving? Which alternatives and measures are particularly important and genuinely profitable? How can the effectiveness of a measure taken be assessed?

Complex subject, simple solution

Addressing the complex subject of a company’s energy consumption and energy supply soon leads us to realise that only a systematic approach will deliver answers to all of the above questions and point out all potential areas for energy-saving. The ISO 50001 standard represents such a systematic approach. The standard, entitled “Energy management systems – requirements with guidance for use”, is a suitable tool for improving the energy efficiency of companies in all types of industries. The case study of an SME, in this case a German brewery, which moved the energy efficiency of its production processes into the focus of interest of both management and personnel demonstrates how an energy management system in accordance with ISO 50001 (also referred to as EnMS) can be implemented in practice.

Taking a wider perspective makes good economic sense as brewing is very energy-intensive. Before the beer, filled in bottles and kegs, can be stored in the cool house, it must be heated, filtered, boiled and cooled. The energy-consumption data surveyed by the energy agency of the German state of North-Rhine Westphalia show that thermal energy and electricity account for three-quarters and one-quarter of total energy use respectively. The largest share of thermal energy, viz. 43 per cent, is used in the brewhouse, where the process steps from mashing to boiling take place. Another 40 per cent are needed for filling the beer into bottles and kegs. As far as electricity is concerned, cooling processes alone account for 40 per cent of electricity comsumption, again followed by the filling line, which uses a further 18 per cent.

Energy-efficiency assessment forms the basis

The first step of the implementation process at the brewery was to make a comprehensive assessment of the actual energy performance to establish the energy-efficiency baseline. TÜV SÜD’s energy experts then compared the results against the requirements of the ISO 50001 standard and found that the brewery already complied with many of these requirements. For example, the brewery already recorded the energy consumption data of important systems and installations on an ongoing basis using suitable measuring and metering instruments. Its technical staff also considered energy-efficiency aspects in their ongoing optimisation of systems and installations. By contrast, some other aspects of the ISO 50001 standard still had to be established in the company to anchor the concept of “energy efficiency” firmly and raise personnel awareness.

The latter aspect is important as the identification of areas for saving and opportunities for improvement requires the support of all personnel and their proactive efforts. Where this is ensured, employees can supply innovative ideas and make valuable contributions to reach the energy-efficiency targets that the company has set itself. Tools that support the establishment of an energy management system include setting up a fixed energy team, appointing an Energy Management Representative, involving as many members of staff as possible at an early stage, and ensuring they work together on the development of an Energy Management Manual with specific workplace-related instructions. Regular “energy walks” with the energy team through selected areas of the company can also have surprising effects.

Workshop – from the idea to implementation

To develop the energy management system, the brewery held several multi-day workshops with representatives from selected departments. The attendees of these workshops now form the “energy team”, which is documented in an organisational chart and integrated into the company’s organisational structure. In its first workshop, the team worked with the Energy Management Representative and focused on the individual energy consumers, developing energy review s for both the brewery’s use of electricity and thermal energy.

The energy review demonstrated the most energy-intensive steps in the production process to all workshop participants. Based thereon, the team then discussed the options for influencing the energy use of individual systems and installations and the specific opportunities for improving energy efficiency. In this context they found out, for example, that further systems and installations could be integrated into waste-heat recovery. While some installations and systems had been equipped with heat exchangers that recovered the waste heat and directed it to highly insulated thermal storage units for subsequent use, others still simply discharged the waste heat into the atmosphere unused. By integrating these installations into the existing waste-heat recovery system, further potential for energy savings could be unlocked.

However, the agenda not only comprised measures based on innovative technology. The team also discussed ideas based on changes in personnel behaviour. Given this, solid energy review provided the baseline for subsequent starting points. In focused meetings, the energy team then developed actions including a detailed measurement plan, designed measures to raise personnel awareness, discussed specific energy-efficiency requirements for its purchasing department and developed an electronically controlled EnMS Manual.

Sustainability offers several benefits

One of the first energy objectives successfully implemented by the brewery was the placing into service of its own in-house co-generation unit. With an efficiency ratio of over 90 per cent, the co-generation unit produces heat and electricity. The unit now replaces steam power as a new, highly efficient source of thermal energy. As both natural gas and biogas can be used to fuel the co-generation unit, the brewery can also use treated digester gas from its own anaerobic effluent treatment or produce biogas from brewery wastes, i.e. renewable raw materials, in a biogas plant. The brewery thus recycles the waste it produces in its production processes to supply some of the energy needed.

By implementing an energy management system in accordance with the ISO 50001 standard, subject to continual improvement and further development, the brewery established the basic framework for systematically and continually improving its energy efficiency. The management system provides for the annual definition of new and ambitious energy objectives, audits at regular intervals and continuous further development of the EnMS Manual. To do so, the standard focuses on the PDCA cycle, a well-known management technique. PDCA stands for “plan, do, check, act”. The cycle starts by designing a vision, such as a 5 per cent improvement in energy efficiency over the next five years. In the PDCA cycle, management implements and evaluates the specific measures that are necessary to realise the vision. By doing so, the company verifies whether the objectives included in the vision are actually reached. If this is not the case, the company needs to take corrective actions. The iterative cycle is designed for a period of one year, resulting in a continual improvement process within the scope of which opportunities for energy saving are identified and implemented on an ongoing basis.

Fulfilling the criteria for tax reimbursement

Using the control mechanism of the PDCA cycle, the standard guarantees that companies will actually reach their medium- and long-term efficiency targets. The brewery thus not only contributes to sustainable energy use but cuts its production costs at the same time. As this is in line with the government’s vision, which sees energy improvement as a cornerstone of Germany’s energy transition, a third-party certified energy management system is also one of the prerequisites for tax relief measures such as the “energy tax cap”. Companies thus benefit from their sustainable, resource-saving energy use in more than one respect  – they save energy, cut costs, reduce their tax load and, last but not least, increase their competitive strength.

Info box 1:

“Energy tax cap” – the legal framework

Companies in the manufacturing industry can apply to the main customs office for reimbursement of part of their energy and electricity taxes. The “energy tax cap” is only one option in this context.

The reimbursed amount depends on the level of energy consumption and the size of the company’s workforce. AfterGermany’s ecological tax reform, corporate energy taxes increased and companies also had to pay electricity tax for the first time. In return, their contributions to the state pension scheme were reduced. Within the scope of the “energy tax cap”, the higher taxes now paid are compared against the lower contributions to the state pension scheme. If the tax increase is higher than the reduction in contributions, part of the electricity and energy tax paid is reimbursed.

However, in its second amendment of the energy and electricity tax act (EnergieStG / StromStG), the German government established that in the future only companies that contribute directly to an improvement in energy efficiency will benefit from the tax cap. Evidence is provided by an energy management system in accordance with the EN ISO 50001 standard or an environmental management system in accordance with EMAS. The management system must be established and certified by an accredited body by the end of 2015 at the latest. In addition, the German government established specific targets. The energy efficiency of all companies in the manufacturing sector must improve by 1.3 per cent per annum from 2015 onwards, and by 1.35 per cent per annum from 2017 onwards.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can opt for less complex alternatives to provide evidence of their energy efficiency, i.e. an energy audit in accordance with the EN 16247-1 standard.

The German Regulation on the Energy Tax Cap and Energy Efficiency (Spitzenausgleich-Effizienzsystemverordnung, SpaEfV), which has been available since August, establishes the details for enforcing the laws. According to this regulation, companies applying for tax reimbursement in 2013 and 2014 must furnish evidence of one of the two above systems covering at least 25 % of the company’s total energy use. Alternatively, in 2013 and 2014, evidence can be furnished in the form of a binding letter of intent issued by the company’s management, declaring its intention to introduce an EnMS or alternative system including the appointment of an Energy Management Representative. In this case, from this year onwards companies must also list and analyse the energy carriers used and from 2014 onwards also their energy consumers.











The Author:

Dipl.-Wirt.-Ing. Juliane Bränzel, Energy Systems, TÜV SÜD Industrie Service


TÜV SÜD Industrie Service GmbH
Energy Systems
Drescherhäuser 5d
01159 Dresden

Tel.: +49-351 – 42 02 – 312
Fax: +49-351 – 42 02 – 356

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Kliklok announces new Managing Director

Kliklok International, manufacturers of automatic packaging machinery, has announced the appointment of Neil Fowell as Managing Director with effect from 28
th October 2013, taking over from Bob Morley who is retiring after six years at the helm.

Fowell brings to Kliklok a wealth of experience within the packaging industry, having been Managing Director at Yamato Scale Dataweigh, Sales & Marketing Director of Bapco Closures, plus many years at Tetrapak, where he was Business Development Director. 

Commenting on his appointment, Bob Morley says: “Neil has worked in businesses with an engineering focus, including processing, packaging and capital equipment. He brings a strong track record of leadership and management skills which will be invaluable in taking the business forward.  Neil joins us during a particularly busy and successful period as we continue to build our reputation for high quality, reliable machinery”



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Starbucks opens new design concept stores in China

Starbucks Coffee Company has opened two flagship stores in China featuring new design concepts.

Starbucks China unveiled a ‘coffee tribute’ store at the Kerry Center in Beijing, celebrating Starbucks’ coffee heritage and leadership, as well as an ‘eclectic chic’ 24-hour store in the heart of the Taikoo Li Sanlitun district of Beijing.

“We are very proud of these two new, iconic flagship stores in China,” said John Culver, Starbucks group president, China and Asia Pacific, channel development and emerging brands. “The new stores celebrate the unique place that coffee has in the daily lives of Chinese customers, and are a reflection of our near 15-year journey in China since we opened our first store in Beijing in 1999.”

The new flagship stores in China were designed by members of the in-house Starbucks Global Design team and the local Starbucks China Design Studio, one of 18 international design offices worldwide.

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IGD Leads Industry Push to Improve Nutrient Content of Food and Drink

IGD has published an interactive guide on reformulation aimed to help food and drink companies improve the nutrient content of their products, making healthier options available to consumers. At present, 65% of men and 58% of women are overweight or obese, with many exceeding their recommended intake for salt, saturated fat and sugar. There is mounting pressure on food and drink companies to not only provide new, healthier products, but also to improve the nutritional content of existing ranges.

Developed by a cross-section of nutrition and technical experts that form part of IGD’s Industry Nutrition Strategy group, the guide brings together their knowledge and expertise to help smaller food and drink companies navigate their way through this complex subject area.

This user-friendly interactive guide includes:

* Guidance on how to reduce the saturated fat, salt and energy (including  A downloadable approximate nutrition calculation toolØsugars) in products

* A downloadable decision making template

* The latest information on relevant health and nutrition policies

* Guidance on sensory testing and benchmarking

* Best practice case studies such as how Dairy Crest reduced the fat and saturated fat in theirCathedralCitylighter cheese, and how Mars reduced the saturated fat in its confectionery.

Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive, IGD says: “Obesity continues to be a growing problem. Helping to improve the health of the nation remains a priority for food and drink companies and many have already developed healthier products or made changes to existing recipes. The reformulation guide spearheaded by IGD is a free, interactive tool to help food and drink companies – particularly those that are working towards the voluntary pledges set out in the Public Health Responsibility Deal – to improve the nutritional content of their products.”

She adds: “Developed by industry experts, the guide is particularly useful for small and medium sized organisations that may not have the dedicated skills and resource. It is also a one-stop shop offering practical advice for every aspect of the reformulation process. Improving the health of the nation’s diet is incredibly important and even small improvements can make a significant difference.”

The guide is free to download from IGD’s website –

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New Irish Food Academy to Educate Small Food Businesses

According to organizers, nearly 350 Irish small food businesses will benefit from Food Academy Start, a newly launched training program aimed at supporting and nurturing start up Irish food businesses. Bord Bia, SuperValu and the County Enterprise Boards have joined forces on this initiative to provide a consistent level of food marketing knowledge to new and early-stage food business owners. For the first time, food start ups regardless of their location will have access to a standardized program of supports throughout the country. The program, which will be delivered through workshop style training, and supported by SuperValu in the context of retail expertise and providing a route to market, is designed to guide companies from start-up to their first retail listing.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD comments: “Food Academy Start is a unique opportunity for ambitious food entrepreneurs looking to build sustainable businesses. Small food businesses play an important part in Ireland’s agri-food sector by enhancing our reputation for dynamic, sustainable, and quality food, as well as providing employment and revenues of €475 million per annum. The program will support participants from the challenging initial phases through to business development plans to assist with future planning. The combination of expertise from both the commercial and marketing will give invaluable insight for the companies involved and is an important step in the cultivation of small food businesses.”

The Food Academy Start program is primarily targeted at start-up food businesses and current County Enterprise Board clients. It is centered on workshops, designed by Bord Bia and SuperValu, that will roll out from September at intermittent stages of the year. The workshops will be run by 35 County Enterprise Boards, with local Supervalu retailers in each of the regions participating in a ‘Dragons’ Den’ style pitch process.

The intensive workshops will provide companies with long-term business supports including consumer insight, technical advice, resource planning, commercial advice and marketing development. The output has a core commercial focus whereby all participants will have the opportunity to pitch their product or idea to their local SuperValu, with a view to securing an initial local listing and the potential to build from there. A suite of follow up supports will be exclusively designed by Bord Bia under the Food Academy banner to ensure the continued development of the companies.

For more information or to register your interest in Food Academy Start, visit  or contact your local County Enterprise Board.

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FDF teams up with UKTI’s open to export website to help smes boost exports

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) today announced its activities during next week’s Open To Export Food & Drink Focus Week, a joint-initiative between UK Trade & Investment and industry to support food and drink businesses with expansion into new markets. The Food & Drink Focus Week will run from 23-27 September. Its highlights will include two free-of-charge live webinars geared towards inspiring and informing small and medium-sized businesses to be proactive on exports.

FDF’s Director of Communications, Terry Jones, will introduce the first of these webinars on Tuesday 24 September. The webinar, “Food & Drink Exporting: Top British brands share their stories”, will feature presentations from successful exporters Hawkshead Relish and Typhoo Tea. The speakers will explain how they got started, detail the benefits of export to their businesses and provide top tips for SMEs hoping to replicate their success. In what promises to be a truly interactive session, participants will take part in opinion polls between presentations and will also have a chance to put their questions to the panel during live Q&A. 

The webinars will be supported by a range of new content on Open to Export including case studies, exporting guides, an events calendar and links to organisations able to provide support. FDF, in partnership with the Food & Drink Exporters Association, will also be publishing ‘10 Steps to Export Success’, a new, free downloadable guide for food and drink SMEs.

Terry Jones, Director of Communications at the Food and Drink Federation, said:

Food and drink is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector and consistently outperforms other manufacturing UK sectors on exports. However, with only a small number of food and drink SMEs taking a proactive approach to exports, there remains a considerable opportunity to further improve the sector’s performance.

“To help inspire SMEs to venture out into new markets, FDF is proud to collaborate in Open To Export’s Food & Drink Focus Week. The webinars in particular offer a great opportunity for SMEs to gain an insight into the practicalities of exports and I look forward to a lively and informative discussion.”

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fdf: a return to growth for food and drink export

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) today reported that in the first half of 2013, total UK food and non-alcoholic drink exports grew by 2.5% to £6.1billion. This comes as welcome news with FDF a key partner in today’s launch of the Open To Export Food & Drink Focus Week, a programme of online activity to support food and drink companies in developing export business.

Although 2013 began slowly with food and non-alcoholic drinks exports down by 3.4% in Q1, this was offset by strong Q2 growth (+9%) – exports in June alone were up over 13%. Exports to the EU27 showed positive signs (+1%) though this was eclipsed by continued high growth to non-EU markets, up 7.5%. China leapt up ten places to enter the top 10 markets for food and drink companies, a climb largely accounted for by a boom in British pork exports (+591%).

Value added foods were up in both EU (+4.9%) and non-EU markets (+8.2%), and sweet biscuits performed particularly strongly (+14.2%). Against a difficult backdrop with cumulative UK exports down by 3.3%, food and non-alcoholic drink exports have performed solidly, showing a 2.5% increase compared to the same period last year.

Report Highlights


Chocolate: +5.4% to £249m

Cheese: +3.8% to £210m

Soft drinks: +5.5% to £187m

Sweet Biscuits: +14.2% to £136m

Sugar confectionery: +6.8% to £86m

 Selected markets:

China: +126% to £102m

Australia: +25.9% to £55m

South Africa: +25.4% to £50m

Hong Kong: +24.9% to £73m

Denmark: +10.8% to £108m

FDF’s Economic and Commercial Services Director, Steve Barnes, said:

“Q1 started slowly with the Eurozone gripped by recession and extreme weather, and the UK still feeling the effects of a disappointing 2012 harvest. However, Q2 was much better as the EU pulled out of recession and consumer confidence grew. The performance to non-EU markets was hugely encouraging in particular and a credit to companies investing to grow internationally. 

“Despite the good news, there is huge untapped potential for boosting UK food and drink exports. So, to help equip food and drink companies with the information they need to realise their export potential, FDF is pleased to launch our new guide, ‘10 Steps to Export Success’. We’re also very proud to be playing a lead role in innovative initiatives such as the Open to Export Food and Drink Focus Week.”

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Scotch Whisky Association Appoints New Chief Executive

David Frost CMG (pictured), director for Europe, Trade and International Affairs at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the UK Government department focusing on economic growth and trade policy, will take over as chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association from Gavin Hewitt when he steps down as planned at the end of 2013.

In his role in BIS, Mr Frost has been the senior official responsible for the UK’s trade policy, working closely with the EU Commission, other major trading countries, and a wide range of commercial and trade bodies. He is a diplomat by profession, and has been HM Ambassador to Denmark(2006 to 2008) and a director for both Strategy and the EU in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Gavin Hewitt joined the SWA in October 2003 and has overseen a time of global growth and increased investment for the Scotch whisky industry.

Gavin Hewitt says: “The industry has expanded to meet surging global demand, with exports almost doubling in the last ten years and unprecedented levels of new investment. Scotch whisky is vital to the UK and Scottish economies. David Frost’s experience of working closely on economic affairs in the UK and overseas fits him well for the role of SWA chief executive.”

Gavin Hewitt will remain with the SWA until the end of the year. David Frost will join the SWA from 2 January 2014.


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Chivas Brothers Opens Prestige Bottling Facility

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal has officially opened a brand new bottling hall designed to cater for today’s luxury Scotch whisky and gin consumers during a visit to Renfrewshire. The Prestige Hall was completed last year as part of an annual £40 million investment in operations by Chivas Brothers, the Scotch whisky and premium gin business of Pernod Ricard. It was created to facilitate the hand-packaging of the company’s highest-value products, including those in the Chivas Regal, Royal Salute, The Glenlivet, Beefeater and Ballantine’s ranges, as well as some limited edition single malts.

The process in the Prestige Hall is much more hand-crafted, quiet and bespoke than in a typical bottling hall, drawing on the skills of specially-selected employees to ensure the highest possible standards to meet the specification expected by the expanding group of luxury whisky and gin consumers around the world.

Laurent Lacassagne, chairman and chief executive of Chivas Brothers, comments: “The Prestige Hall is a prime example of how we have evolved our business to ensure it is clearly aligned for the future. The long term prospects for premium Scotch whisky and gin remain very good and this investment will continue to help us appeal to discerning consumers all over the world with the very highest quality products.”

The completion of the Prestige Hall is part of a sustained programme of investment by Chivas Brothers in its operations. Other recent major investments have included the re-opening of its Glen Keith distillery in June this year, completing a 25% expansion in the company’s malt distillation capacity, and the £10 million expansion of The Glenlivet Distillery in 2010 – increasing capacity there by 75%. The company is also building a new distillery at Carron on the River Spey, to be completed in 2015.

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Coca-Cola top brand in Irish grocery for ninth year in a row

Coca-Cola top brand in Irish grocery for ninth year in a row

Coca-Cola is the biggest selling brand in the Irish grocery sector for the ninth year in a row, according to the Checkout Top 100 brands report, produced by Checkout magazine in association with Nielsen.

It’s followed by milk brand Avonmore, Brennan’s bread in third place and Lucozade fourth.

In fifth place, Cadbury Dairy Milk is the first new entry to the top five since 2009, knocking crisp brand Tayto down one place to 6th. The rest of the brands in the top ten are 7Up, Jacobs, Walkers and Danone.

Stephen Wynne-Jones, editor, Checkout, said: “For many of Ireland’s leading brands, the focus is not only on growing market share, but also on how to retain their brand equity in an increasingly crowded and value-hungry marketplace.

“Ireland’s most successful brands, as outlined in the Checkout Top 100, have managed to strike that balance; offering value, innovation and new product development to consumers, while also reinforcing their unique brand qualities.”

According to Maureen Mooney, commercial director, Nielsen, while big brands traditionally rely on advertising to communicate their brand identity, those at the top increasingly need to be savvier with how they engage with consumers.

“Ad spend is a major part of the success of many brands, but if you look at the overall market, ad spend in traditional media has declined a little bit,” she explains. “The brands that have been most successful are the ones that have continued to maintain spend, but have also combined that with promotions, new product development and in-store engagement.”

The grocery category represented most in the Checkout Top 100 Brands is confectionery, with a total of 12 confectionery brands featured in the list including Galaxy (36th), Nestlé KitKat (49th) and Haribo (53rd).

Big movers in this year’s ranking include Innocent, with its juice range rising 23 places since last year to sit in 30th position, one spot behind its closest rival, Tropicana.

Yoghurt brand Muller rises six places to 20th, with Glenisk, another popular yoghurt brand, rising 13 places to 39th. Interestingly, while Muller and Glenisk both posted gains, Danone, the leading brand in the category, dropped two places, to 10th.

“When weighing up leading brands’ performance, it’s important to note that it’s not all about price,” said Mooney. “Premium products are selling very well in certain categories. For example, the yoghurt category is actually declining, but luxury yoghurt is growing by 9pc. For brands competing in that marketplace, you have to be able to hit all those consumer touchpoints.”

The growth in sales of retailer own-brand products has also impacted sales, particularly in certain categories, such as milk.

Nielsen estimates that 47.3pc of sales in the milk category are own-brand, compared to an industry average of 21.9pc.

While Avonmore retains 2nd position in the Top 100, there have been drops for Premier milk (down nine to 57th) and Connacht Gold milk (down 14 to 97th). Dawn milk, last year’s 88th biggest selling brand, falls out of the Top 100 altogether.


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Nestlé turns to flower power at its UK factories

Food manufacturing giant Nestlé has pledged to plant wildflower meadows at all its 13 UK factories within two years and to encourage its Scottish dairy farmer suppliers to plan wild flowers on their land.

The wild flower meadows at Nestlé sites are intended to “encourage the development of natural habitats while creating more green space for local communities”.

It expected the new meadows at its sites across the UK to attract a variety of wildlife, including different butterfly species – some of which are in national decline.

Nestlé has also promised to work with dairy farmers who supply its factory in Girvan, Ayrshire in  Scotland, in a bid to encourage them to plant wild flowers on their land.

Both plans are expected to result in new meadows totalling 30ha (75 acres) or the equivalent of about 250 football pitches.

‘Integral to the food supply chain’

Nestlé UK’s head of environmental sustainability Inder Poonaji said pollinators such as butterflies, bees and birds were integral to the food supply chain.

“By helping to restore natural habitats in this way, we hope to see an increase in local biodiversity,” said Poonaji.

“Our long-term goal is to work with more organisations, businesses and other stakeholders across our supply chain to make this a national project.”

The manufacturer’s staff, their families and local schools have begun planting the meadows, helped by experts from local branches of Natural England, the Wildlife Trust and Butterfly Conservation.

Five meadows have already been established at Nestlé factories at: Girvan, Fawdon, Northumberland, Buxton, Derbyshire, Tutbury, South Derbyshire; and Dalston, Cumbria.

New mobile app

Nestlé also plans to launch a new mobile app that will allow employees to record butterfly sightings.

Information from the app will be shared with local nature and wildlife organisations, in order to contribute to the monitoring of butterfly numbers across the nation.

The firm said the wildflower meadow project was just one example of the firm’s global commitment to developing its business ways that safeguard natural resources, biodiversity and ecosystem services.

In France, for example, Nestlé Waters has worked with local farmers, businesses, residents, and gardeners, for more than 20 years to protect the natural sources of three of its most popular mineral water brands, claimed the company.

“Over the years, the ‘Agrivair’ initiative in the Vosges water basin has helped to improve the quality of soil in the region, while protecting its biodiversity,” it said in a statement.

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KP Snacks uses Printpack for snack re-launch

Printpack has created stand-out designs for the re-launch of KP Snacks’ Phileas Fogg potato chip range in the UK.

Printpack’s flexo print technology enabled vibrant, stand-out graphics on the packs – something important for KP Snacks.

“Printpack has enabled us to make the most of our rebranded design by providing us with a tailored packaging solution. The re-launch has been a great success,” said Harjot Mandla, senior packaging buyer at KP Snacks Ltd.

Printpack said a close working relationship with the snack maker from the beginning and use of the latest technologies contributed to a successful re-launch project.

Back in April 2013, Printpack became the first UK printer to receive a MacDermid Graphics accreditation for its HD Flexo technology.

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Starbucks, Danone team up to develop Greek yogurt brand

Starbucks has teamed up with Danone’s US subsidiary, Dannon, in an attempt to establish a foothold in the country’s booming Greek yogurt market.

In a joint statement issued yesterday, French dairy giant Danone and Starbucks revealed that they have entered into a “strategic agreement” to create and develop an exclusive line of ready-to-eat Greek yogurt parfait products.

The range – to be sold under the Seattle-based coffee chain’s Evolution Fresh brand but marketed as ‘Evolution Fresh, inspired by Dannon’ – will debut in US Starbucks stores in spring 2014, before being rolled out through grocery channels by Dannon in 2015.

On the back of the anticipated US success of the range, Starbucks and Danone intend to expand the distribution of their ‘Evolution Fresh, inspired by Dannon’ Greek yogurt parfait range to “targeted markets around the world.”

“Enhanced” access to US consumers

Dannon currently boasts the fastest-growing Greek yogurt product portfolio in the US, with brands including Oikos, Light & Fit Greek, and Activia Greek.

Through its deal with Starbucks, the company hopes to further its ambition to expand US yogurt consumption.

Commenting, Danone CEO Franck Riboud said that the agreement will boost its access to US consumers.

“With a fast-growing but still low penetration of the yogurt category, the US remains a key growth opportunity for Danone,” said Riboud.

“The recent success of the Greek segment and our Oikos brand have confirmed the growing appeal of tasty and nutritious yogurts for US consumers and established Dannon’s leadership in the market. We believe this attraction will be further enhanced by our new access to millions of consumers though distribution in Starbucks stores, as well as through the addition of an exciting new brand, Evolution Fresh, inspired by Dannon.”

Opportunity to grow Evolution Fresh brand

Evolution Fresh, which is a subsidiary of Starbucks, currently markets a variety of juices and natural foods.

Through its deal with Danone, Starbucks hopes to expand its “health and wellness offerings” and fuel the growth of its Evolution Fresh brand.

“Starbucks is committed to evolving and enhancing our customer experience with innovative and wholesome food offerings. Today’s announcement underscores this commitment through the transformation of our existing yogurt offerings and our multi-year agreement with Danone,” said Starbucks chairman, president and CEO, Howard Schultz.

“We are energized by the strong customer response to Evolution Fresh offerings, and believe a strategic agreement with Danone, the world leader in fresh dairy products, affords us the perfect opportunity to grow – and elevate – the Evolution Fresh brand both in our stores and in CPG channels,” Schultz added.

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Gluten-free taste improvements spur market growth

The gluten-free foods market has continued to grow as new ingredients and technologies have significantly improved the taste of products, according to experts at the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting. 

In a presentation at the IFT show in Chicago last week, researchers and product developers said that the focus had shifted toward ensuring good nutrition in gluten-free products, while also improving their taste and appearance.

“Historically, product development has focused on the ‘gluten-free’ aspects,” said Chris Thomas, senior food technologist at Ingredion. “Now, consumers want nutrition quality, variety and appearance.”

Gluten plays an important role in the texture and structure of foods, and omitting it led to many early gluten-free products having a gritty or dry texture and a short shelf life. Some also had inferior nutritional value, and companies often added sugar to mask a bland taste.

However, firms have made strides in replicating the function of gluten in products, using flours, starches and bran from different ingredients.

Thomas said Ingredion used native functional flours from tapioca and rise to achieve texture, colour and appearance similar to wheat-containing products, while eliminating grittiness and crumbliness – and these products also had a similar nutritional profile and shelf life to gluten-containing products.

Flours and starch-like substances from pulses have also taken off in gluten-free foods, said Mehmet Tulbek, global director of the Alliance Grain Traders’ research, development and innovation division.

“Pulse ingredients were found to be suitable for gluten-free expanded snack, pasta, meat and beverage products,” said Tulbek. “Overall, the ingredients are working very well.”

Apart from flours and starches, pulses also have high levels of protein, fibre and other nutrients, and are low in fat, making them particularly attractive to vegetarian consumers, he said.

Estimates of the size of the global gluten-free market vary widely – but market researchers agree that it is a market with strong growth. Partly, this has been driven by increased diagnosis of coeliac disease, an autoimmune disorder with symptoms triggered by gluten, the protein in wheat, barley, rye and spelt. But there is also a growing market for gluten-free products among those who omit gluten based on self-diagnosis of gluten ‘sensitivity’, and many more cutting out gluten in an effort to lose weight, although dietitians say this is ineffective.

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Premier Foods puts faith in Power Brands and cost cutting

Premier Foods will continue to develop its Power Brands and deliver a further £10M of cost savings this year, according to a statement accompanying its half-year results posted today.

Gavin Darby, chief executive officer, said: “The second half will see further plans to grow our Power Brands, in addition to a new £10M of cost savings that we have now identified from our efforts to reduce complexity.”

The firm now expected full-year trading profit to be “around the top” of market expectations.

Its half-year results
revealed Power Brand sales up by 4% – registering six successive quarters of growth for the key brands, which were picked out to remedy the firm’s plunging profitability.

Darby has backed his predecessor Michael Clarke’s plan to stake Premier Food’s recovery on the success of the power brands: Hovis, Mr Kipling, Bisto, Oxo, Ambrosia, Batchelors, Sharwood’s and Loyd Grossman.

Pre-tax loss of £23.5M

But, Premier Foods made a pre-tax loss of £23.5M, after allowing for restructuring costs and interest payments. The result compared with a losses of £45.8M in the same period of last year.

Underlying business trading profit was up 50% to £47.4M. Recurring cash flow guidance for this year was lifted to between £50M and £70M.

Darby hailed the 50% increase in trading profit is a “very encouraging result” given the highly competitive environment.

“This shows that our turnaround strategy is delivering at the bottom line,” he said. “We have now grown sales in our Grocery Power Brands for six consecutive quarters, as we continue to build partnerships with our customers, deepen our understanding of consumers and invest more effectively in supporting our brands.”

£20M of overhead cost savings

The firm had completed the actions to deliver the promised £20M of overhead cost savings for 2013 and continue to keep a tight control over costs. “The restructuring of our bread and milling business is ahead of plan and we are taking the decisions necessary to create a more sustainable platform for this business,” he added.

Last month, the firm axed 43 jobs at its Barry mill in the Vale of Glamorgan.

The sale, accompanied by plans to restructure the milling business in two parts, positioned it for sale, said Investec analyst Martin Deboo. “Premier could either sell the third-party milling business – which is what ABF did to ADF 15 years ago – or sell the whole milling business,” Deboo told last week.

Meanwhile, Darby pledged to continue driving profitable top-line growth, by focusing on growing categories alongside further cost savings generated by reducing complexity.

Disposals this year had allowed the debt-laden firm to cut net debt from £950.7M at the start of the year to £890.4M.

“At the right time, we will address our capital structure – from a position of growing strength given the delivery of our turnaround plan and the performance of our Power Brands,” said Darby. “I am excited by the potential offered by Premier Foods in the longer term.”

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Small meat firms ‘pressured’ to use longer shelf-life dates

Smaller manufacturers who produce ready-to-eat (RTE) products or packed meats should be helped to ensure they are not responsible for outbreaks of listeria, with one Food Standards Agency (FSA) official claiming some firms feel pressured to specify longer shelf-life dates than they would want.

This “worrying trend” was uncovered after the FSA visited a number of smaller manufacturers in June, said Kathryn Callaghan, from the FSA’s Hygiene and Microbiology Division.

Speaking at a conference organised by the Royal Society for Public Health, Callaghan said: “We know that in the past 20 years there has been an increasing trend for longer shelf-life products.

A lot of pressure

“I actually visited a couple of smaller manufacturers and they told us there’s a lot of pressure on them … to put a long shelf-life on their products.”

Food safety takes centre stage at Food Manufacture’s Food Safety conference, to be held at the National Motorcycle Museum, near Birmingham on Thursday October 17. Conference details and early bird ticket price offer are available here.

Meanwhile, listeriosis, the foodborne illness caused by listeria, is relatively rare but causes more deaths from food poisoning in the UK than other foodborne bugs, according to the FSA.

Because of the competitive nature of the industry, Callaghan said the smaller manufacturers she spoke to “felt under pressure to put on a shelf life longer than they would comfortably like”.

This meant it was vital that the FSA worked with these companies to minimise any risks, added Callaghan.

The FSA is about to undertake a survey among smaller RTE and pre-packed meat manufacturers which she believed will throw up some “interesting findings”.

‘Didn’t meet the needs of small businesses’

Furthermore, she revealed listeria guidance for the industry produced, but not published, earlier this year “really didn’t meet the needs of small businesses”.

This is now going through a re-drafting exercise with input from organisations such as the Chilled Food Association, environmental health officers and small business representatives.

It is hoped the guidance will be published by the end of the year, with training sessions planned for January-March 2014.

FSA data shows that between 2000 and 2009, the annual number of laboratory-confirmed cases of listeriosis more than doubled from 114 to 234 cases in the UK. In 2010, there was a drop in laboratory-confirmed cases (to 174), although this remains above levels observed in the 1990s.

Listeriosis has a significant public health and economic impact because of its high hospitalisation and mortality rate. Most people infected with listeria are hospitalised and about a third die. The disease costs the UK economy an estimated £245M a year.


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Future plans will involve a greater export push and targeting customers in Africa, Australia, the EU and South America.

Unilever ceo Paul Polman outlined a three-pronged strategy for the firm’s future growth, encompassing innovations, costs and food performance in an analyst call covering first-half results.

Addressing the interim results on July 25, Polman said the global economic climate would stay challenging. “We’re well-placed to respond to these challenges … But there are three areas that are already clear to me where we have to up our game.

“The first one is to continue to step up our pace of innovations … The second one is the need to rebase once more our costs. And the third one is the need to continue to push for this improved performance on food.”

The completion of the first phase of Unilever’s turnaround strategy had quickened product launches, Polman said.

Aligning research and development (R&D) more with product categories would focus R&D, sharpen resource allocation and increase new launches’ speed to market, he added.

The Partner to Win programme of close work with key suppliers was bringing better innovations to market, he said. He expected innovation in liquid margarines and natural spreads to boost business in the second half of 2013, for instance.

New aroma technology

Welcoming Magnum 5 Kisses and Magnum Pink and Black launches earlier this year, Polman added new aroma technology for Lipton Yellow Label Teas had upped growth to double digit levels in existing markets.

In terms of cost cutting, he said streamlining business processes by overhauling IT and enterprise services would “open up opportunities for productivity gains”,  avoiding widespread restructuring.

In food, Unilever’s real challenge was spreads, he said. “And part of this challenge frankly has been self-inflicted.” The aim here was to stay price-competitive, nail the right taste and work on consumer perception of the naturalness of products, he explained.

A ‘Maxing The Mix’ strategy of cutting stock keeping units (SKUs) and concentrating on core brands was paying off, said Polman, helping to boost savoury and dressings sales by 5% in the latest quarter. The programme had started 12–18 months ago, he added.

Unilever had cut a fifth of its global SKUs, “but I think we have a lot more to go”, he said. “I actually am in the camp that if you have less SKUs, you can grow better.

“If you have more SKUs, there are always some SKUs on life support, and you know the National Health Service is becoming pretty expensive.” Savoury product lines had diminished particularly, “because that’s a … more complex category”, he said, although all categories had been rationalised.

Spreads, tea

Despite still struggling, second quarter sales of spreads were picking up and he expected this to continue. The turnaround plan for Unilever’s tea portfolio also remained successful, he added.

“We were pleased to hear Polman speak … of progress in its spreads (c7% of total sales) activities in particular where the management team has been changed and growth is expected to be unlocked by a focus on taste, well-being and price,” stated Shore Capital analyst Clive Black in a note.

“Pricing investment in spreads in the USA has brought share benefits and work is now moving on to Europe.”

Unilever posted underlying value sales growth of 5% in the first six months of 2013 on underlying volumes up 2.6%. The company stated it had raised operating profit margins by 40 basis points to 14%.

Ice cream grew globally, despite cold weather hitting sales in Europe and the US, as forecast.


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Hershey reports 17.6% rise in Q2 net profit

US chocolate manufacturer Hershey has reported that its net earnings for the second quarter of 2013 increased by 17.6% to $159.5m, compared with $135.6m for the same quarter in 2012, driven by core brand and new product performance.

For the quarter ending 30 June 2013, net sales increased 7.09% to $1.51bn, compared with $1.41bn a year ago.

Hershey president and chief executive officer John Bilbrey said that the company’s intellectual capital and Insights Driven Performance programme initiatives continue to provide it with a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

“This has resulted in solid in-store execution related to core brand merchandising and programming, as well as new product distribution,” Bilbrey said

“For the six months ending 30 June, net earnings increased by 20% to $401.4m.”

“Combined with supply chain efficiencies, we have the financial flexibility to invest in our greatest opportunities to drive global growth and deliver on our objectives.”

For the six months ending 30 June, net earnings increased by 20% to $401.4m, compared with $334.3m for the same period in the previous year, while net sales increased 6% to $3.14bn, compared with $3.33bn a year ago.

For the full year 2013, the company expects reported earnings per share diluted of $3.60 to $3.65.

In addition, Hershey expects about 7% increase in net sales, primarily driven by Brookside distribution gains as well as the launch of new products in the US, Hershey’s Mais candy in Brazil, and Hershey’s Kisses Deluxe and Hershey’s Drops chocolates in China.

The SM&A expenses, excluding advertising, are expected to increase at a rate greater than net sales growth and these investments will build on the marketing, selling and go-to-market capabilities established over the last few years.

As a result, the company expects adjusted earnings per share-diluted growth of around 14% over a previous estimate of a 12% increase.

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2 Sisters and Premier Foods strike deal

2 Sisters Food Group has forged a licensing agreement with Premier Foods for the production, distribution, sales and marketing of its Hovis Breakfast Bakes range of breakfast biscuits.

The three variants of Hovis Breakfast Bakes: Malted Crunch; Oats & Honey; and Milk & Oats will be manufactured by 2 Sisters at the former Northern Foods Fox’s Biscuits plant in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire.

2 Sisters gained Fox’s Biscuits’ Uttoxeter factory when it acquired Northern Foods  in 2011.

Under the licensing agreement, which also provides for other healthier biscuit options to be developed under the Hovis brand in the future, 2 Sisters will pay a quarterly royalty fee to Premier.

The deal will run for five years from August 1, 2013 and 2 Sisters acknowledged it represented continued diversification outside of its meat processing heartland.

Important step

In a joint statement, the firms claimed the move marked an important step for 2 Sisters as it looked “to continually diversify and innovate within new food categories”.

“By combining the strong heritage and health credentials of the Hovis brand together with the biscuits expertise of Fox’s Biscuits, both companies foresee opportunities to target a genuine need among busy consumers to provide a healthier biscuit alternative and grow the category further.”

The £78M breakfast biscuits market represented the fastest growing segment of the healthier biscuits category, itself growing at 8% annually, according to Premier and 2 Sisters. They were drawing on exclusively supplied Nielsen Scantrack data for the 52 weeks ending June 22.

Commenting on the new licensing agreement, Colin Smith, md, Fox’s Biscuits, said: “I’m delighted with this agreement as it will enable both companies to be part of a relatively new and growing category.

‘Enormous potential’

“We see enormous potential to grow one of the nation’s favourite brands, which has such a strong association with natural ingredients and goodness, in the biscuits sector. We will look to create new varieties within the current Hovis Breakfast Bakes range as well as innovate with new products.”

Simon Devereux, business unit director, Premier Foods’ Bread Division, said: “This licensing agreement is an excellent way for us to extend the Hovis brand into adjacent categories.

“By working with 2 Sisters Food Group and Fox’s Biscuits, we have a partner with the biscuits expertise necessary to take full advantage of the market opportunities.”


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PepsiCo needs marketing muscle behind Mighty Lights in the UK, expert

PepsiCo UK needs marketing muscle behind its new reduced fat Mighty Lights potato chip line if the product is to have any public health impact among kids, a nutrition policy expert says.

PepsiCo will launch its 30% reduced fat Mighty Lights line at the end of July across UK retailers. The ridged potato chips will come in three flavors – Cheese & Onion, Lightly Salted and Roast Chicken.

The product joins PepsiCo’s reduced-fat kids’ range alongside Baked Stars (70% reduced fat) and Hoops and Crosses (30% reduced fat). PepsiCo said the product will offer more variety for parents and recommends that retailers merchandize the three potato chips together – “to help parents easily identify family snacks which are lower in fat”.

However, nutrition and public health expert Jack Winkler said that the products need “marketing muscle” behind them to really take off.

“If these products – which are in principle beneficial – are to realize their potential, they must be widely consumed,” Winkler told

“PepsiCo can’t just float these products onto the market with a one-shot marketing campaign. The marketing strategy is as important as the nutrition itself from a public health perspective,” he said.

The range could positively impact kids’ health

Winkler said that, in principle, the Mighty Lights product launch is exactly the strategy snack makers should be taking in addressing public health concerns and therefore there is a place in the market for them.

“Whether in practice this will have enough impact to affect the public health of children, is yet to be seen. But Walkers is the dominant brand in this subsector, and crisps is a popular category.

“If PepsiCo could expand the products and get them accepted as an alternative to regular full-fat crisps, these three products alone could have an impact on public health,” he said.

Taste will be crucial to kids

There are still plenty of important questions unanswered, Winkler said. “What are the taste tests that have been done on this product? Could a seven year old tell the difference? Are they going to feel cheated?”

If children don’t like the product, there will be no repeat purchases, he said.

“When it comes to Mighty Lights, Baked Stars or Hoops and Crosses, you have a group of consumers who value taste above everything else,” Winkler said.

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Young’s Seafood transforms IT operations

Young’s Seafood has transformed its IT systems, bringing them in-house to boost service to all its factories and improve IT support.

That’s according to Bill Dougan, transition manager and project head at the frozen fish processor, who told the initiative had already smashed return on investment targets.

“We were looking at the cost versus service and benefit, which was set at 3–5% in the first year … we have exceeded that significantly,” said Dougan.

The changes had brought Young’s, which is part of the Findus Group, to the position of being able to implement a new enterprise resource planning system, he added.

Many Young’s Seafood workers using IT systems for operational purposes started their work early in the morning and the overhaul would limit lost time if things went wrong during those hours, he said.

‘Mission critical things to do’

“We wanted to make sure we had the right response and technical solutions to apply to those people who have mission critical things to do.”

The move, which cost the company more than £100,000, drew on support from LANDesk Software, which had previously provided Young’s with a reliable service, said Dougan.

Support for 1,100 desktop computers and more than 260 servers has been centralised through the investment, creating a system that could predict potential IT problems rather than just react to them, he said.

Software performance for an estimated 400 mobile devices will also be managed through the new LANDesk Total User Management system.

Peak efficiency

The new process was able to keep systems finely tuned so they ran at peak efficiency, added Dougan, who runs the Blue Prairie consultancy. “One of the biggest challenges we face as a business wasn’t necessarily that we weren’t delivering a service, but that we weren’t delivering a good enough service.

“There was an underlying theme for continuous improvement. That was a driver from day one and today we believe we have now started the journey to make that reality.”

IT systems failures, errors and breakdowns can interfere significantly with service levels and as a result prove highly costly for food and drink manufacturers.

“It is imperative that organisations can maintain the services and software updates expected in a secure environment, as well as quickly understanding if anything fishy is going on,” said Nigel Seddon, area director, LANDesk Software.

“Without the right solution, this can add a great deal of cost to the organisation.”


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Cargill Cocoa Promise helps first Brazilian cocoa farmers to become UTZ Certified

Cargill’s commitment towards a sustainable supply chain provides new opportunities for cocoa farmers and farming communities


Ilhéus, Brazil, July 18, 2013 – As part of the Cargill Cocoa Promise, the first Brazilian cocoa farmers have become UTZ Certified and their products can now carry the UTZ Certified label.


Cargill is a founding member of the UTZ Certified Cocoa initiative and promotes sustainable cocoa farming globally by educating and training farmers and farm workers. In the state of Bahia, four cocoa producers have recently been audited and, by partnering with Cargill, they have become the first to produce UTZ Certified cocoa in Brazil. An additional 12 cocoa farms are scheduled to be certified by May 2014, representing about 1,000 metric tons of UTZ Certified cocoa beans. Pursuant with the global trend of increasing consumer demand for sustainable products, Cargill presents an extensive portfolio of sustainable cocoa and chocolate products.


“The UTZ Certified initiative recognizes and rewards the efforts necessary to implement and enhance production processes. By encouraging these practices we reap good fruit, both in respect to cocoa beans as well as the quality of life of farmers, rural workers and the environment. This initiative is aligned with a growing demand from our customers for more sustainable products,” explains Rodrigo Melo, Origination Manager, Cargill Cocoa and Chocolate Brazil.


In October 2012 the Cargill plant in Ilhéus, Bahia, became Brazil’s first cocoa processor to become UTZ Certified. When building a sustainable supply chain, cocoa delivery, storage, and traceability processes are reviewed. Additionally, origination, delivery, and production staff undergo training to apply and replicate the standardized procedures.


The Cargill Cocoa Promise is the company’s global commitment to the development of a sustainable cocoa supply chain and to making a difference in three key areas – improving the lives of cocoa farmers, supporting cocoa farming communities, and investing in the future of cocoa farming. The Cargill Cocoa Promise works together in partnerships with NGO’s and other local partners in cocoa growing countries. Its long-term approach for a sustainable supply chain uses certification and labels such as UTZ Certified as an enabler to help raise standards and to provide farmers with financial incentives.


Under the Cargill Cocoa Promise, Cargill invests and provides financing, training and support to secure a sustainable cocoa supply chain in cocoa producing countries including inCôte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Cameroon, Vietnam, Indonesia and Brazil. Cargill is training over 80,000 farmers annually and is on target to source over 120,000 metric tons of certified sustainable cocoa beans by 2015.


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Britvic and AG Barr Terminate Merger Discussions

Following discussions, the boards of Britvic and AG Barr have decided not to proceed with a possible merger after the proposal received clearance from the Competition Commission on 9 July. According to Britvic, it received a new proposal from AG Barr for a merger with a shareholder ratio for the combined business of 65% Britvic 35% A G Barr, which represented only a small improvement on the previous terms as announced on 14 November 2012 and was at a considerable discount to the current market capitalisation ratios of the two companies. The board of Britvic has rejected the proposal and has agreed with AG Barr to terminate discussions.

Britvic’s chairman Gerald Corbett says: “Under Simon Litherland’s leadership, our performance has significantly improved and this, combined with the £30 million cost reduction plan and accelerating international expansion, means that our future is bright. The execution and delivery of this is now the absolute priority of the Britvic team. We wish Barr and its management team well. They are good people with a fine business.”

In accordance with Rule 2.8 of the Takeover Code, AG Barr has issued a statement confirming that it does not intend to make an offer for Britvic.

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Kerry begins work on €100m technology and innovation centre

Irish food ingredients company Kerry Group has begun work on a €100m Global Technology and Innovation Centre in Ireland, to serve its global and regional EMEA customers.

The company said that the centre will give food and beverage manufacturers access to its complete range of research, technologies and applications expertise, and will also incorporate Kerry Ingredients & Flavours EMEA regional management and Kerry Global Business Services.

The new centre will be located on a 28-acre site in the Millennium Business Park, Naas, in Co. Kildare, and is expected to employ 800 people by 2015, with a further 100 positions to be added the following year when the facility is due to be fully operational.

Two hundred people are already working from interim facilities next to the site of the new centre, the company said.

Kerry Group chairman Denis Buckley said: “Working in tandem with the Group’s existing technology and innovation facilities, the new centre will focus Groupwide capability to drive strategic customer engagement and sustainable growth.”

Speaking to FoodNavigator when the centre was first announced in October last year, the company said that the key was speed to the marketplace, as all product development expertise would be under one roof.

Attending the groundbreaking ceremony was Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who said in a statement: “Kerry is a world leader in the food industry and it is most welcome that the Group’s new Technology & Innovation Centre will provide 900 high-skilled positions at the facility on completion as well as 600 construction jobs straight away.”

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Termination of discussions with A.G. BARR p.l.c (“AG Barr”)

The Board of Britvic and its advisors have had a number of discussions with AG Barr and its representatives concerning a possible merger, following the Competition Commission’s clearance received on Tuesday, 9 July 2013.  Britvic received a new proposal from AG Barr for a merger with a ratio of 65% Britvic 35% A G Barr, which represented only a small improvement on the previous terms as announced on 14 November 2012 and was at a considerable discount to the current market capitalisation ratios of the two companies.  The Board of Britvic therefore rejected the proposal and has agreed with AG Barr to terminate discussions.


Britvic’s Chairman Gerald Corbett said “Under Simon Litherland’s leadership, our performance has significantly improved and this, combined with the £30 million cost reduction plan and accelerating international expansion, means that our future is bright.  The execution and delivery of this is now the absolute priority of the Britvic team. We wish Barr and its management team well. They are good people with a fine business.”

In accordance with Rule 2.8 of the Takeover Code, AG Barr has today issued a statement confirming that it does not intend to make an offer for Britvic.

As required by Note 3 of Rule 2.5 of the Takeover Code, Britvic confirms that this announcement is being made without the prior agreement or approval of A.G. Barr.

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Rise in global meat prices

Global meat export prices increased 2% in June 2013, according to the latest data from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

The FAO Meat Price Index revealed that meat prices averaged 177 points in June, an increase of 3.4 points on the revised May level, which was reduced due to falling pigmeat prices. In contrast, prices for cereals, oils/fats, sugar and dairy all fell, resulting in a 1% overall decline in the FAO Food Price Index for June 2013 compared to May 2013.

However, analysts predicted meat prices could start falling as a result of reduced import demand from Asian countries, such as Japan and South Korea, which have reduced imports as the result of domestic production increases.

Export prices for food remain high compared to last year’s level, with the Food Price Index for June nearly 11 points higher than in June 2012.

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Wrigley’s manager re-elected head of PRODULCE

Spanish confectionery association PRODULCE has re-elected Olga Martinez as its president for the next two years to improve the association’s representation.

The communications and public affairs manager at Wrigley will hold the post until 2015, working to improve representation of the Spanish confectionery, chocolate and biscuit sector.

PRODULCE was formed in 2011 and has been headed up by Martinez from the start.

She previously told that the association wanted to work to strengthen the national image of sweets, chewing gum, chocolate and cocoa products, biscuits, turron and marzipans and fine bakery wares and promote healthy innovation.

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Ready meals sales on the up across Europe

Ready meals have continued to sell well in France despite the weak economy – and growth is expected to continue for the next five years, according to market research firm Canadean.

In a new report, Canadean claims that consumers increasingly value convenience and practicality as they see eating as a task to fit into their hectic lives. Therefore, the prepared meals sector has remained one of the top-selling food categories in France, in terms of both value and volume, and the market researcher expects it to grow by 3.6% a year in value terms and 3.3% a year in volume terms up to 2017.

Ready meals represented the largest share of the category last year (77%), and this trend is also set to continue. Pizza is the second most popular choice in the prepared meals sector, with a 21% share by value, while the meal kits category – in which consumers follow instructions that combine fresh, prepared and packaged ingredients – is the smallest. Even with expected growth, “the share and volume for the meal kits category continues to be minimal”, Canadean said.

Meal kits more promising in Germany

In Germany, the popularity of meal kits is much greater, and the category is growing at a faster rate than either ready meals or pizza – the top two prepared meals categories.

Ready meals in Germany account for 62% of the prepared meals sector by value and 64% by volume – but their growth is expected to lag behind that of meal kits over the next few years as awareness of the meal kit concept continues to grow. That said, meal kits still only represented 1.6% of the prepared meals category by value and 1.4% by value in Germany in 2012.

Pizza in Germany holds 36% share of the prepared meals sector by value, and a 34.4% share by volume. However, it is expected to have the slowest growth over the next five years, according to Canadean.

An alternative to eating out

In Spain, where the economy has been particularly hard hit, the market researcher still expects to see “marginal growth” in the prepared meals sector.

“Spanish consumers are now turning to prepared meals, recording the third-fastest growth rate among food sectors between 2012 and 2017,”  Canadean said. “They offer consumers an affordable alternative to eating out.”

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Iron Maiden’s beer ‘could double’ Robinsons’s volumes

Robinsons Breweries could double its annual volume sales, according to the company, after it has seen Iron Maiden’s premium beer Trooper, launched eight weeks ago, sell more than 1M pints.

Trooper, named after the classic song ‘The Trooper’ from the heavy rock
group’s 1983 album ‘Piece of Mind’, has become the fastest selling ale it ever brewed, Robinsons claimed.

“This is a great showcase for our new brew house and demonstrates the sorts of volumes it is capable of producing,” said Robinsons’ md Oliver Robinson.

In a press statement, a spokeswoman for Robinsons said: “Last year, Robinsons produced 13.3M pints of beer in total.

“If the first eight weeks of production and sales of Trooper are anything to go by, the Cheshire family brewers could quite possibly double the volume of beer they produce in a year.”

Fastest selling newly launched beer

Supermarket chain Morrisons has also hailed it as its fastest selling newly launched beer. “The bottle’s label has definitely been a huge factor in its success as has the push our stores have given it,” said Morrisons ales buyer Mark Land.

The bevvy was personally designed and developed by Iron Maiden vocalist and real ale enthusiast Bruce Dickinson with Robinsons’s head brewer Martyn Weeks.

Robinsons also touted it as the UK’s most liked ale on Facebook and predicted strong export sales for the product as Iron Maiden’s global fan base inspired enquiries from 184 countries.

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£3M step on the road to self-sufficient energy

Cheesemaker Wyke Farms is aiming to be 100% self sufficient in green energy after ploughing £3M into a biogas and solar project.

The Somerset firm was granted planning permission to build an anaerobic digester near its Bruton site at the end of last year.The move will allow the UK’s third largest-selling Cheddar brand to save over 4Mkg of carbon dioxide a year and make it one of the first national food brands to be self-sufficient in green energy.

‘Point of difference’

Md Richard Clothier said: “For a brand like ours, this gives us a real point of difference in the market.”

Phase one of the solar scheme will produce about 1MW of electric, which will be increased to 5MW.

“The 1MW of electric alone will give us self-sufficiency in electrical power. Furthermore, we will then digest the manure from the farm and the biomethane reinjection from the anaerobic digestion plant will help take care of our gas needs. It’s fairly new technology that, up until now, hadn’t been widely available,” he added.

Clothier said the project tapped into the firm’s values of localism.

“We are a business that believes in the principles of sustainability. For us it’s about local farming, local sourcing and local supply wherever possible,” he said.

“When it comes to energy sourcing, it doesn’t get more local than collecting the light off of your rooftops and using the gas digested from the manure from your cows, add to that a commitment to re-use all of the factory waste water again and it starts to get really exciting.”

Wyke Farms is in discussions with its energy advisers to ensure it will be maximising its opportunity for sustainable green growth and accurately measuring its results.

Green energy scheme 

Clothier said the green energy scheme was the single biggest project Wyke Farms had undertaken in the last 10 years.

It comes after extensive automation, especially at its Wincanton packaging site, which Clothier said was Europe’s “most advanced Cheddar packaging”.

Wyke Farms has gone from being a £8M brand in 2005 to one valued at £72M today.

Clothier is up for the personality of the year award at this year’s Food Manufacturing Excellence Awards.

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UK project to tackle food industry sustainability challenges

The UK government has launched a project to understand the biggest technological challenges for the food industry as it aims to increase food production while reducing environmental impact.

The UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) aims to map current R&D and innovation needs, and create a comprehensive review of current innovation activity post-farm gate. It aims to assess the food and drink value chain right through to reuse, recycling or landfill and the interactions between each step.

“The study will look at technological innovation and R&D activity across industry (i.e. large companies and SMEs) in the UK, initially at a high level, then in detail across 5-6 sectors of the value chain,”  Defra said.

“The scope also includes identification of clusters of excellence in green food manufacturing in the European Union and internationally.”

Seeking industry participation

Defra is seeking views from industry via an online survey, to help it prioritise the drivers of innovation; specific scientific, technological or business management challenges; barriers to overcoming these challenges; and the specific research and innovation targets that Defra should focus on.

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Biostime agrees to finance French infant formula plant expansion

Chinese infant formula manufacturer Biostime International Holdings has entered into a Framework Agreement with Isigny Sainte Mère (ISM) to finance an expansion of the French firm’s infant formula production capacity.

Through the expansion, which is expected to cost around €20m, ISM will build a new infant formula production and packaging facility – pushing its manufacturing capacity up to 50,000 tonnes per year by 2016. Biostime has agreed to purchase 18,000 tonnes of finished product per year.

“Looking forward to the future, Biostime needs to secure sufficient and sustainable supply of high quality milk source from Europe and continue to upgrade its infant formula process technology and innovative formulas,” said Biostime chairman and CEO, Luo Fei.

“We believe this will enable both parties to deepen cooperation while ensuring a long term and stable supply of high quality infant formulas and meet the growing market demand in China.”

Once the expansion is completed, Guangzhou-based Biostime will own an approximate 20% stake in ISM, and will be entitled to nominate one director to sit on the company’s board.


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Crisp firm Seabrook battles back into the black

Seabrook Crisps is edging back into the black after what its chief executive conceded had been a testing two years.

While the business is likely to post a slight loss for the year to April 2013, Jonathan Bye revealed in this exclusive podcast that the firm had made a profit for the last four months.

Bye was given the top job last May after the Bradford-based family firm posted losses of £1.8M amid plummeting sales stemming from a promotional strategy its own directors dubbed “not sustainable”.

Listen to the podcast to hear Bye discuss what state the business was in when he joined and why, after several years of steady growth, the wheels had well and truly come off.

Major decisions

He also shared his strategy for growing the business over the next few years and revealed some of the major decisions he had to take to get it back on track.

In his 16 months at the helm, Bye has overseen a full-scale brand review and a re-launch focusing on the 68 year-old brand’s Yorkshire heritage.

Hear why he thinks the nation has a soft-spot for Yorkshire and if he is still confident – as he was when appointed – of taking the now £27M brand to £63M by 2015.

See September’s edition of our sister title


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Chobani’s strained (not Greek) yoghurt gets UK revamp

Greek yoghurt giant Chobani has reintroduced its ‘strained’ yoghurt in the UK after a court ruled that it was misleading consumers by calling its US-produced yoghurt ‘Greek’.

The company has been granted an appeal, due in September, and sticks to its position that “the term ‘Greek yoghurt’ describes yoghurt that has been crafted using a straining process. It is this straining process, not a country of origin, that removes the excess liquid from the yoghurt making it deliciously thick and creamy.”

In March’s court decision, Justice Briggs concluded that a substantial portion of UK consumers who bought Greek yoghurt thought that it was produced in Greece, meaning that it “plainly involves a material misrepresentation”. He therefore granted a permanent injunction prohibiting Chobani from selling its yoghurt as ‘Greek’ in England and Wales.

Chobani has taken the opportunity to revamp its packaging and to introduce two new flavours – apple cinnamon and blueberry – while also changing the on-pack wording from ‘Greek yoghurt’ to ‘strained yoghurt’.

“We decided to create a new design for the pots specifically tailored to UK consumers,” said Chobani’s UK communications and marketing manager Christine Fung. “The UK yoghurt market is one of the most sophisticated in the world and we want Chobani to stand out on UK supermarket shelves. We also believe the new, sleeker packaging design better represents the high quality product contained inside.”

The court case was brought by Greek yoghurt manufacturer Fage, which has been selling Greek yoghurt (from Greece) in the UK for the past 30 years.

In February, Danone was also handed a court injunction prohibiting it from calling its Danio-brand low fat, strained yoghurt ‘Greek’.

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Krones launches cold-fill version of Twin-Flow tech at DrinkTec 2013

Krones tells that the aseptic filling trend is growing, as the firm gears up for Drinktec where it will present a new version of its Twin-Flow technology suited for cold-fill applications ‘to give the market more opportunities’.

Stefan Kraus, product manager, filling technology at Krones, said: “It’s already one of the biggest deals for us, aseptic, because there are a lot of requests coming from the market for pure, healthy products with less heat impact.“This wave or trend is not over yet, so the market is going steadily in the direction of aseptic,” he added.

At Drinktec in Munich this September, Kraus said Krones will present a cold fill version of its Twin-Flow technology for dosing juice and dairy products with particles, “to give the market more opportunities”.

Twin-Flow with FlexiFruit involves juice or mixed-milk beverages and fruit pieces being fed through two different system channels (see below: yellow = fruit flow, blue = juice flow), and they do not meet until they reach the bottle.

First launched in early 2011, the Twin-Flow process ensures that the fruit constituents (sacs, pieces, fibres, pulp) do not get damaged during flash pasteurization before dosing into PET bottles; the constituents can measure up to 10x10x10mm, larger than historically possible.

‘Crazy’ demand for Twin-Flow system

“On the one hand we have the FlexiFruit system, where we can do a hot-fill application, for particles, and on the other hand we have a rather new technology, for non-hot fill products,” Kraus said.

“We will present this at Drinktec as something special, because it’s not available in the market in this form.”

(Cold aseptic filling is commonly employed for beverages such as sports drinks, teas, vegetable juices, milks, flavored waters, juices; it removes the need for refrigeration, gives drinks a longer shelf life, and can improve the organoleptic and nutritional qualities of beverages.)

In March 2012, Krones director of filling technology, Hans Hiendl, told us the firm had three Twin-Flow lines with the FlexiFruit dosing system in operation around the world. So how had interest grown since?

“The market likes this technology very much. And since you spoke to Mr Heindl, I believe we’ve sold more than 16 of those systems, all over the world,” Kraus said.

“We have no hotspot in terms of where we sell to. It’s been crazy. We’ve sold these systems all over the world.”

Chinese need for filling speed

Discussing filling trends more generally, Kraus said demand for higher line speeds was country specific.

“If you go to China, the customer has maybe 10 lines side-by-side, making say three products. But if you look at the UK, France, Germany, you have a lower output but a higher flexibility – because the product diversification is increasingly important,” he said.

“If you look to some bottlers they have maybe 30 different products running on the lines, on the one machine.”

Chinese bottlers are prepared to buy totally different lines for different products because they need higher outputs for single products, as they need to serve a much bigger market, Kraus explained.

“So you might have 10 different lines for 10 different products, each running at 60000 bottles/hour.”

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Libya opens doors to Irish sheep

Following the Republic of Ireland’s successful reintroduction of cattle shipments to Libya earlier this year, the renewed trade link is expected to open up to its first sheep shipment this week.

Irish mart prices have strengthened on the back of strong demand for live exports, including the Libyan deal, which is expected to number 4,000-5,000 lambs. A veterinary health certificate approving the deal was issued just over a week ago.

Trade and prices were livelier at the end of last week, due to the strong live trade, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) weekly lamb price update, with factories paying €5.50/kg up to 21.5kg.

IFA National Sheep Committee chairman James Murphy said Ramadan on 9 July should introduce much-needed competition into the trade at this critical time. Lamb prices stabilised in the last half of June on the back of tight supplies and strong market returns, but had been pushed down by factory price pressure earlier in the month.

Murphy said the IFA was working hard and making good progress on the expansion of the live export trade for Irish lambs, with Irish exporters the main players on the export markets at this time of year.

At a meeting between the IFA and the National Farmers’ Union in the UK last month, the Union asked Irish processors not to undermine the export market in France with cheaper product.

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‘Great confidence’ in the export future of British dairy, says retiring Dairy UK chief

– There is “great confidence” in the future of the British dairy sector, according to Dairy UK director general, Jim Begg. –

Recent investment in, and efficiency efforts by the British dairy industry demonstrates that there is “great confidence” in the future global success of the sector, departing Dairy UK director general, Jim Begg, has claimed.

Begg, who announced plans last week to retire from the British dairy industry after more than 40 years, told that the “foundations” for the British dairy industry to compete at an international level are already set.

But milk producer-processors issues must first be resolved before the sector can compete on the global stage, he added.

“If you add it all up – the growing consumer demand, the recent investment, the industry-wide efficiency efforts, and real interest in developing the market – you’ve got the foundations for a successful future,” said Begg.

“Now we just have to get it right in terms of judgement, but all the foundations are there to make a success of it.”

Natural milk production advantage

To compete on an international level, Britain must first get the most out of the many “natural advantages” it has in terms in milk production.

“Northern Europe has an advantage. After that it is a question of providing the processing capacity and running it efficiently,” he said. “I have no doubt about our ability to do that.”

“The difficulty is triggering it because dairy processing need milk supply security and farmers need confidence to provide that security. It can be a bit of a vicious circle at times, but as I sit here now we’re in a better place than we were a year ago.”

Last summer, the combination of planned milk price reductions and increasing producer operating costs led to country-wide dairy farmer-led protests. Processors and retailers up and down the country were targeted, causing widespread disruption.

The situation appears to have cooled, since then, said Begg.

Milk prices have improved and a Code of Best Practice has been developed by the National Farmers Union (NFU), NFU Scotland and Dairy UK to provide dairy farmers with assurances that their contracts are not putting them at a disadvantage in the marketplace.

“I think the last year demonstrates the ability to understand problems and address them quickly,” said Begg. “Since then, everyone has worked very hard to establish better supply chain relationships.”

“The talks will go on, and I’m pretty sure that a key priority of my successor will be to facilitate closer relationships between British farmers and processors.”

“The power of added value”

Last week, Dairy UK announced that Begg will retire from the British dairy industry later this year after more than 40 years within the sector – having working on behalf of both milk producers and processors during that time.

“The British dairy industry has obviously changed massively since then,” he said, pinpointing evolving consumer demand for liquid milk as one of the most significant developments.

“What is considered to be the original full-fat product is now more or less considered a niche product,” said Begg. ”We’ve moved on enormously from whole milk, and I anticipate that the consumption and production of low-fat liquid milk products will increase in coming years. I think the main driver for that will be legislation in the European community.”

These changing consumer tastes have also led to the generation of “new businesses” he said.

Looking ahead, Begg identified “the power of added value” as the key to domestic dairy product demand growth.

“We have to find a way of combing growth in emerging markets in other parts of the world, and shifting reliance from commodity products to added value products which return higher values,” he said.

Pressed on his plans for retirement, Begg said: “If anybody is looking for me, I’ll be on the beach.”

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GEA Refrigeration Technologies opens freezer plant in France

GEA Refrigeration Technologies has opened a Freezer Competence Center in Dijon, France.

The centre will manufacture and assemble spiral chillers and freezers from the GEA A-Tec and GEA Maxi-Stack ranges.

These systems primarily chill or freeze foods produced as ready meals and as meat, bakery, and ice cream products and previously the freezers were exclusively manufactured in Vancouver, Canada.

Dr Hugo Blaum, segment president of GEA Refrigeration Technologies, said: “Owing to sales prognosis, implementation of freezer production in Europe was a logical development.

“A win-win situation will be offered in Dijon: our customers profit from the proximity of the plant and from lower logistics costs – and the location enables additional opportunities for even better market penetration in Europe.”

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Lucky Charms rainbow Pride campaign targeted diverse millennials, says General Mills

General Mills wanted to resonate better with young, diverse Lucky Charms consumers through its #LuckyToBe digital campaign which honored Pride month, its marketing manager says.

Last month the cereal giant launched its #LuckyToBe digital campaign to honor and celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Pride month. The campaign featured the iconic multi-colored rainbow Lucky Charm marshmallow.

“This campaign seeks to reach our diverse younger adult audience in a way we know will resonate with them – by providing a dynamic platform for self-expression… Lucky To Be is an example of reaching our adult audience,” said Nicci Pannier, assistant marketing manager for Lucky Charms.

General Mills previously said 40% of its Lucky Charms consumers are adults. “We know these consumers want to be part of the story, not told it,” Pannier told

Celebrating and supporting diversity

The campaign was launched in honor of Pride month, Pannier said.

“We have always been supportive of diversity, and we wanted to provide an open, dynamic platform for self-expression…Acceptance and inclusion of diversity is in our DNA as a company and a brand.”

When asked why there was no direct reference to LGBT consumers, Pannier said the firm wanted to keep the appeal broader.

“The campaign is not for any one group of people, and we wanted to make our message transcend to all of our fans… We try to be inclusive to all audiences,” she said.

Tumblr was strategic

General Mills asked consumers to participate via Twitter using its #LuckyToBe hash tag and submit pictures and tweets on why they are lucky. It then posted selected tweets and pictures on a dedicated Tumblr page.

Pannier said the decision to use Tumblr as a social media platform was intentional. “We decided on  a Tumblr execution since we know our audience is there. We’re seeing millennials (younger adults) and this diverse, creative, artful and self-expressive group, really gravitate to this platform,” she said.

The campaign has led to over 11,000 online interactions so far with people submitting tweets and photos to the page.

Same-sex marriage support

The Lucky Charms campaign is not the first move from General Mills voicing its stance on issues surrounding lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

Last year, it outwardly opposed a proposal to ban same-sex marriage in the US state of Minnesota. The company’s vice president of global diversity and inclusion Ken Charles said that while General Mills doesn’t normally get involved on ballot measures, it values diversity and inclusion.

Previous pride celebration

Other food companies have also celebrated LGBT Pride with marketing campaigns.

Kraft Foods last year used its Oreo cookie brand to celebrate Gay Pride day. It uploaded a Facebook picture of an Oreo with a rainbow-colored filling with the tagline ‘June 25: Pride’ and adjoining comment ‘Proudly support love!’. The post generated over 150,000 likes and more than 20,000 comments by the afternoon of its upload.

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Nestlé ‘perplexed’ as UK shuns trademark for Kit Kat shape

The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has rejected Nestlé’s application to trademark the four-finger Kit-Kat shape after opposition from Mondelez International-owned Cadbury.

The decision comes in spite of an EU ruling in Nestlé’s favour last year which caused the Swiss food giant to state it was, “perplexed and disappointed with this national decision by the UK Intellectual Property Office.”

Nestlé disappointed; Mondelez welcoming

“Kit Kat was launched over 75 years ago and is one of the most iconic shapes of any chocolate bar, recognised around the world.”

“The UK is the birthplace of Kit Kat and we are assessing whether to appeal.”

Mondelez International said, “We welcome this ruling although we have no immediate plans to launch such a product in the UK.”

Mondelez is also appealing the EU decision to the EU General Court in Luxembourg.

IPO goes against OHIM decision

In December 2012, the Board of Appeals for the Office of Harmonization for the Internal Market (OHIM), which registers EU Community Trade Marks, overturned an earlier decision and allowed Nestlé’s EU-wide trademark application for sweets, bakery products, biscuits, cakes and waffles.

Nestlé had previously been told the shape lacked distinctiveness for chocolate, candy, wafers and confectionery.

In the UK, IPO hearing officer Allan James said the OHIM Board of Appeals did not have expert evidence at its disposal as he did. He therefore refused the application, except in relation to cakes and pastries.

Nestlé was also ordered to make a contribution towards Cadbury’s costs.

Nestlé tussles

Nestlé and Mondelez have previously been at loggerheads over the color purple. In this legal battle, Cadbury came up trumps and was granted a UK patent for a particular shade of purple.

Nestlé recently filed a legal complaint against Petra Foods in Singapore, alleging that Petra’s Take It brand infringes Nestlé’s Singaporean trademark on the Kit Kat four-finger and two-finger shapes. Petra Foods intends to fight the case.

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Cocoa market awaits impact of ADM Cocoa sale

The Archer Daniels Midland Company is in discussions to sell its cocoa processing operations. We find out how potential industry consolidation could affect the cocoa supply.

The world’s third largest cocoa grinder ADM announced last month that it was in talks to sell its cocoa ingredients division – a business unit that saw profits nosedive 24% on last year.

Market well-covered, says ICCO

Laurent Pipitone, director of the economics and statistics division at the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO), said: “The concern is that cocoa processing is consolidated in just a few players.”

Barry Callebaut today finalized an $860m deal to acquire Singapore-based Petra Foods’ ingredients division, helping it overtake Cargill as the world’s largest cocoa grinder.

Asked how the potential sale of ADM Cocoa was affecting the cocoa market, Pipitone said: “So far the market is well covered. There is no problem with the capacity. There is enough for all demand.”

He said that even if a buyer came in for ADM Cocoa and cut cocoa processing operations, a small reduction would not impact the supply and demand balance as there has been a lot of investment in cocoa processing in recent years and demand for chocolate has stalled.

ADM has an annually grinding capacity of around 60,000 metric tons (MT) and accounts for 15% of global cocoa processing – third behind Barry Callebaut and Cargill.

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Morrisons expects suppliers to ‘absorb’ labelling costs

Morrisons’ suppliers will probably have to cover some of the huge costs of changing packaging labels on up to 10,000 food and drink items over the next 18 months, it has emerged.

The changes are necessary to comply with the new EU Food Information to Consumers Regulation (FIC), which are expected to come into effect in December 2014.

The FIC brings EU rules on general and nutrition labelling together into a single regulation to simplify and consolidate existing labelling legislation and applies in all Member States.

Once adopted into UK legislation, the FIC will be known as the Food Information Regulation (FIR), according to Stephen Pugh, head of food labelling at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Morrisons wants simultaneously to include the new Department of Health (DH) backed hybrid front-of-pack (FoP) nutrition labelling scheme, combining coloured traffic lights with reference intake data, Morrisons’ company nutritionist Sally Moore said.

Moore said the changes involved a massive amount of work and the fourth largest grocery multiple had decided to make the FIC and FoP changes together to reduce time and cost.

‘Two huge packaging initiatives’

“These results on pack will be subtle, but we will have to change every single one of our packs,” said Moore at a seminar on food policy labelling in London yesterday (July 2), organised by the Westminster Food & Nutrition Forum. “We have committed to these two huge packaging initiatives.

“This is also very much a burden on our suppliers. We have to talk to them about how the costs can be absorbed.”

To ensure changes are effectively managed, Morrisons would need to review its IT systems, Moore said.

The supermarket’s design teams would also be heavily involved in redesigning packs to accommodate the new information required and larger minimum font sizes specified under the regulations, she added.

The final plank of the changes would involve communicating the changes and what they would mean to Morrisons’ customers – both in-store and via its website – she said.

Making hybrid FoP nutrition labels clear to a “lay person” would be no simple task, said Moore. She challenged delegates to say how they would communicate what was effectively quite complex information in a simple yet understandable way “on a postcard”.

Reduce red labels

She said Morrisons would also take advantage of the changes to reformulate further its own-label products to reduce the number of red labels on food.

“Where ranges are red we will be working behind the scenes to change them to orange and green,” she said. “It’s a really powerful behind the scenes tool.”

However, how the supermarket would deal with labelling changes for the unpackaged food it sells under the FIR was still being worked out, she said. “This is a big work stream for us in how we present our information.”


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Options Indulgence | Shelf Review

Every month, Monica Lucas, president and research director of retail consultancy Pragma, takes a look at a recently-launched pack from the consumer’s point of view. This month: Options Indulgence


Options is a leading instant hot chocolate brand and the Options Indulgence range is an alternative featuring Belgian chocolate.
The packaging had previously used dark brown graphics emphasising the Belgian chocolate taste. The new packaging is aimed to “allow for the enhancement of taste credentials for the Options Indulgence range”.

Graphics 7/10

The previous dark colours did not convey healthiness well at all, and overemphasised the ‘chocolateness’, making it look a heavy thick drink.
The new lighter tones succeed in giving the brand a healthier look, more of an everyday drink and less of a special occasion indulgence.  The image of the lady relaxing in the Options ‘O’ further emphasises the relaxing nature of the drink. However, the greater use of gold also conveys a more premium product, and the colour accents serve well to differentiate the variants.

On shelf 6/10

The packaging does not stand out very strongly in this crowded market, and looks perhaps a little downmarket compared to brands like Green & Black, and similar to Galaxy Instant, although more sophisticated compared to its former incarnation.  Our concern is that it is in danger of being caught in the dangerous middle: between the market leader Cadburys, and more upmarket brands such as Whittard.

Overall 6/10

The new packaging succeeds in creating a wider appeal, and it emphasises its healthiness and everyday appeal, but we have a concern it neither appeals to those wanting a treat, who may prefer more upmarket brands, and those opting for the market leader.


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Provexis seeks to demerge Science in Sport and Fruitflow

UK firm Provexis has filed to demerge the Science in Sport (SiS) consumer sports brand it purchased for €10m in June 2011 from its Fruitflow tomato-based ingredients business, as it believes the separation will increase the market value and perception of SiS.

The move, if approved at a General Meeting in two weeks’ time, will see Provexis devote the bulk of resources to SiS and reduce its net assets by an estimated £7.1m (€8.28m).

“…the Board does not believe that the market fully appreciates the value of the Science in Sport Business while it is combined with the Fruitflow Business,” Provexis said in its demerger filing.

“Businesses with similar characteristics and revenue growth to the Science in Sport Business historically command a multiple of sales valuation, something which has not been recognised in the valuation of the Provexis Group since the acquisition of Science in Sport.”

The statement went on: “Furthermore it is the opinion of the Board that the two divisions are less likely to maximise their potential performance if they continue to be operated as part of one group.”

“The Board concluded unanimously that a demerger, in which Provexis Shareholders remain shareholders in both businesses, would be the best way of maximising shareholder value.”


Provexis said it would retain control of the Fruitflow tomato extract business that has an EU-approved blood circulation improving health claim, and with which it has a partnership with Dutch ingredients giant, Royal DSM.

But it said it would reduce its annual running costs in that business to (£250,000) €290,000 per year, with DSM taking over the bulk of the commercialisation work and Provexis focusing on,“protecting the intellectual property of Fruitflow and assisting DSM with scientific work”.

“The Board believe that these obligations can be met with a very small team comprising two part-time executives, together with two non-executive directors to oversee strategy and governance matters,” Provexis said in a statement.

“All other operational staff currently employed by the Provexis Group will become employees of the Science in Sport Group following completion of the Demerger.”

Provexis recorded a pre-tax loss of £4.6m (€5.37m) for the financial period ended march 2013 on £3.5m (€4.08m) revenue , compared to losses of £4.3m (€5m) in 2012 on revenue of £5.6m (€6.53m).

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Dairy Crest finds potential milk delivery buyer

Dairy Crest is consulting staff on plans to break up its milk delivery business in the north west of England and sell it off for £1.15M to Creamline Dairies.

In a statement, the company said the sale would further reduce its exposure to the ‘middle ground’ milk market.

Deliveries to residential and middle ground customers in the north west region had become less profitable following its closure of its Liverpool dairy last year, it stated.

Creamline aims to operate milk deliveries in the Manchester area, while Mortons Dairies will take over the Liverpool and Wirral business. Creamline and Mortons have existing longstanding milk delivery operations in these respective areas.

Seven depots

Dairy Crest would retain its freehold or long leasehold interests in five of the seven depots from which it operates the milk delivery business and said it would lease them to the new owners.

Should the transaction go ahead around 116 employees and 121 franchisees would transfer from Dairy Crest to the new owners.

Dairy Crest announced today (July 2) that it expects to complete the employee consultation later this month and the transaction itself shortly after that. It is unclear at this stage whether any jobs are under threat as a result of the move.

“The proposed sale is in line with our strategy to reduce our exposure to parts of the middle ground market which do not provide us with an appropriate financial return,” said Dairy Crest chief executive Mark Allen. “It would be another step on our journey towards restoring our dairies business to a 3% operating margin in the medium term.”

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UNICEF, WHO slam Danone over misleading Turkish infant formula campaign

UNICEF and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have slammed Danone for misleadingly claiming that they gave their backing to a Turkish marketing campaign for Aptamil and other infant formula products.

Over the weekend, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported that Danone had mislead mothers in Turkey with a marketing campaign that warned they might not be providing their babies with enough breast milk to meet nutritional needs.

The campaign suggested that infant formula be used to cover any shortfalls.

Danone argued that its advice to Turkish mothers was based on WHO guidance, and claimed that both WHO and UNICEF endorsed its campaign.

Both parties have, however, denied ever endorsing the French firm’s actions.

“UNICEF in principle will never support the use of infant formula for children under the age of six months,” a UNICEF representative told earlier today.

Also commenting, WHO representative, Dr João Breda, told that the organisation’s name and logo were being used on Danone-related websites without its permission.

“We have requested that Danone remove these references immediately,” he said.

“Does not reflect WHO recommendations”

According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism report, Danone’s Turkish infant nutrition business, Numil, began the campaign in 2010 after conducting research to measure the breast milk production of mothers of children aged six-months.

Those involved were found to produce an average of 290ml per day.


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