Tag Archive | "Drink"

Crown teams up with Ballygowan


ballygowan-launch-new-sparkling-fruit-drinkCrown has partnered with Irish drinks producer Ballygowan to produce packaging for its new Sparklingly Fruity range of water drinks.

The “refreshingly different” range, recently launched in Ireland, blends together lightly sparkling Ballygowan Water and carefully chosen fruit combinations. They are available in three flavours: raspberry and blackberry; apple, elderflower and lemon; and lemon and mint. Gently sweetened with stevia leaf extract, each can of Ballygowan Sparklingly Fruity is naturally low in calories and sugar.

The range features crisp, vivid images of delicious fruits depicting the individual beverage flavours. Providing a large printable surface area, the can serves as a 360° billboard for Ballygowan to convey its brand image and achieve maximum consumer impact – a unique feature of cans as a packaging format.

The beverage can is the ideal packaging format to enhance the striking look and feel of Ballygowan’s Sparklingly Fruity range, Crown said. Manufactured in Europe and 100% recyclable, the can helps reinforce the brand’s commitment to sustainable development.

“We are delighted with our successful partnership with Crown, which has resulted in a first-class and uniquely designed packaging solution which instantly appeals to consumers on the go,” said Sian Young, marketing manager for Ballygowan.

The Ballygowan Brand is owned and distributed by Britvic Ireland Ltd, Irelands number one soft drinks company. Dedicated exclusively to bottling Ballygowan Natural Still Water, the automatic bottling line operates at speeds of up to 600 bottles per minute. The capacity of this plant on one 8 hour shift is approximately 600,000 bottles of Ballygowan products. Approximately 40 million litres of natural water are distributed from the plant each year

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TeaTonics unveil re-branding as Yuyo


YuyoUK-based drinks company TeaTonics have unveiled plans to re-brand their products in order to showcase the uniqueness of their drinks. The new brand will be called Yuyo and will launch throughout the UK in April.

Co-founder Rosie Marteau said: “We really felt it was time to drop the word tea from our name and be braver about the uniqueness of our range, which is why we use yerba mate, a uniquely energising tea-like plant from South America which offers all the kick of coffee with more antioxidants than green tea.”

The new design uses six original artworks, hand-painted by German artist Olaf Hajek, each created to evoke the mood, sensation and flavour of drinking a Yuyo mate and inspired by vibrant South American street art and the continent’s rich botanical heritage.

Their updated range will consist of six blends including mate zing which is yerba mate with grapefruit, citrus peels, peppermint and rosehips plus mate mint which sees yerba mate with peppermint, lemon verbena and garden mint.

The ranges will be available in retail packs of 14 infusion bags with a recommended retail price pf £4.35.customers.

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Foodex 2016 to bring UK food and drink manufacturing sectors together


Foodex 2016, the UK’s premier trade event for the food and drink processing, packaging, ingredients and logistics industries, will return to the NEC Birmingham in April 2016. The show provides a business platform for professionals across full industry spectrum including bakery, beverage, dairy, fresh, ingredients, logistics, meat and seafood.

Run over three days (18–20 April 2016), the show will focus upon the buoyancy of the British food and drink manufacturing sector, discussing the trends that are shaping the industry, whilst showcasing the technologies allowing manufacturers to work more efficiently and productively.

Visitors can discover the latest new ingredients and super foods to make an impression on the industry as well as discovering how to improve traceability, consumer trust and transform productivity.

With more than 300 exhibitors expected at the 2016 show, the latest technologies and product launches from across the UK’s manufacturing industries will be on display. Returning for the 2016 show, exhibitors including Multivac UK, ULMA Packaging, Reiser UK and Handtmann will join a raft of new exhibitors to showcase the latest innovations.

Darren Turrell, Managing Director, EFAFLEX UK Limited, commented on his decision to exhibit at the show: “Foodex 2016 is a first for EFAFLEX. We feel that the show will provide EFAFLEX with an excellent opportunity for us to demonstrate the quality and operational benefits of our products, while directly engaging with the individual needs of users within this key market. We’re excited to be a part of this exhibition and look forward to April 2016.”

Features at this year’s show include The National Meat Products and The Premier Young Butcher competitions. The National Meat Products Competition, hosted by the National Federation of Meat & Food Traders (NFMFT), will be returning to the event for the sixth consecutive occasion.

Foodex 2The competition, the biggest and best yet, will comprise of 20 categories and will see for the first time the inclusion of charcuterie in addition to the standard favourites of sausages, bacon, burgers, ready meals and pies.

In addition, the Premier Young Butcher event will see talented 18 to 23-year-old apprentice butchers compete to produce and display the most innovative Ready to Eat, Stuffed Roast, Seam Butchery, Barbecue and Kitchen Ready products.

Meanwhile, the centre stage will host a comprehensive programme of demonstrations, interactive debates and seminars across all three days. Speakers at last year’s event included presentations from the likes of The Fabulous Baker Brothers, representatives from Campden BRI, Lord Rooker, former chairman of the Food Standards Agency, and representatives from the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink and the Institute of Food Science and Technology.

Aside from exploring the show floor and frequenting the lively debates, plenary sessions and interactive master classes, visitors can head to the Engage @ Foodex zone. This is an interactive visitor destination, highlighting all sectors of the industry and offering visitors and exhibitors the chance to meet, interact and relax whilst sourcing industry information.

Dan Dixon, Event Director, said: “Foodex 2016 represents an ideal environment for decision makers from across a wide range of industries to network with key figures in the food industry, all set against a backdrop of innovation and industry expertise.”

Foodex is co-located with Food & Drink Expo, National Convenience Show and Farm Shop & Deli Show.

To register for free, receiving entry to all co-located shows, visit:  www.foodex.co.uk

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UK Food and Drink Exports Top £12 Billion


UK food and non-alcoholic drink exports rose to over £12 billion (£12,152.4m) in 2011, exceeding expectations and confirming significant potential for overseas growth over the next decade. The previous year’s results (2010) proved a landmark for the industry when figures broke through the £10 billion barrier, but the 2011 results show performance is up by 11.4% on 2010. The £12 billion figure is good news for the food and drink manufacturing industry which has set itself the ambition to grow 20% by 2020.

Export growth has been fuelled by strong performance in new and emerging markets including Eastern Europe and the Far East. China entered the top 20 export destinations for the first time with a 55% increase on 2010, partly due to changing tastes and an increasingly westernised diet. South Korea increased by 37% and Hong Kong by 41%. Established non EU markets also performed well with exports to the US rising by 25% between 2010-2011. The non EU share of the £12 billion total was 23% compared to 77% for the EU.

The UK’s traditional EU customers also remained loyal, with Ireland remaining the top export destination closely followed by France and the Netherlands. Dutch interest in UK products increased with a 30% increase echoed by Belgium (29.9%) and Germany (15%).

Interesting percentage rises were recorded in many key product sectors. The highest percentage rises in food were seen in fish fillets (32%); beef (32%); milk and cream (20%); lamb (20%) and cheese (18%). Prepared foods (including prepared meat; sweet biscuits and soft drinks) all exhibited double digit growth and the export of chocolate, the UK’s biggest value added product, grew by 16%. Some sectors have reversed previous declines, including breakfast cereals as companies have broadened their export activity to non EU customers.

Exports are of key importance in the food and drink manufacturing industry’s drive for growth. The sector has proved resilient during the recession, bucking the general downward trend in manufacturing industries. An exports action plan was recently launched, a joint initiative between industry and Government to work together to increase export potential and remove barriers.

FDF director general Melanie Leech comments: “Whilst the domestic market is growing at a steady rate we are seeing very strong performance from food and drink exports. There remains considerable interest in British heritage brands and around our health and wellbeing innovation. Companies understand the importance of developing new markets, competing successfully in many cases against other experienced exporters in France, Germany and Spain.”

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International Buyers With Purchasing Power of €18 billion Attend Irish Food and Drink Event


The Irish food and drink industry’s ambitions for growth and expansion moved a further step forward today when over 520 food buyers from 28 countries across four continents, gathered at Dublin’s Convention Centre to attend Marketplace International 2012, a major one-day business development event organised by Bord Bia. Some 177 Irish food and drink companies, ranging in size and profile from small enterprises to multinationals, are meeting with targeted buyers during 4,500 pre-scheduled ‘speed-dating’ style meetings taking place throughout the day.

The trade buyers, with a collective buying power in excess of €18 billion, represent some of the world’s key retail and food service operators including Sainsburys, Selfridges, Tesco, Asda, Carrefour, Delhaize (Belgium), Mercadona (Spain) and Alcampo (Spain). Marketplace International 2012 is the largest buyer event Bord Bia has ever staged.

In addition to a strong representation of UK and European buyers, 14 representatives from leading Chinese retail and food service companies travelled to the event; while 17 buyers from the Middle East and 12 from Russia also attended.

The value of Irish food and drink exports increased by 12%, or €1 billion, in 2011 to reach an all-time high of €8.85 billion. It is estimated that volume growth accounted for 25% of the rise in food and drink exports. The strongest performing categories were dairy (€2.6 billion), meat (€2.59 billion), prepared foods (€1.5 billion) and seafood (€420 million). The value of exports outside of Europe grew by 20%, or €350 million, to reach almost €2.2 billion.

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Ireland’s Food and Drink Exports Reach Record Levels


The value of Irish food and drink exports increased by 12%, or Eur1 billion, in 2011 to reach an all-time high of Eur8.85 billion, according to Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board. For the first nine months of the year, food and drink exports increased at three times the rate of Ireland’s total merchandise exports. As a result the sector accounted for 25% of the rise in total export revenue. Over the last two years, the value of Irish food and drink exports has increased by Eur1.8 billion or 25%.

Michael Carey, chairman of Bord Bia, comments: “This is an excellent achievement and the industry is to be commended for its strong export performance, which affirms its positioning at the heart of the Irish economy. Global market conditions, reflected in strong commodity prices, remain favourable and exporters are voicing continued optimism about their business prospects for the year ahead. The industry is well on track to deliver on the ambitious targets of Food Harvest 2020.”

The 2011 export performance was boosted by global prices for major commodities, a positive supply/demand balance in some key categories, a tentative return to price inflation across most major European markets and reduced volatility in exchange rates. Agricultural commodity prices remain at record levels with the FAO food price index recording growth of 26% during the first 11 months of 2011. A number of key sectors – including dairy, beverages and pigmeat – also recorded higher output. Overall, it is estimated that volume growth accounted for 25% of the rise in food and drink exports. The strongest performing categories were dairy (Eur2.6 billion), meat (Eur2.59 billion), prepared foods (Eur1.5 billion) and seafood (Eur420 million).

“Among the notable developments during the year are the continued diversification by industry into new markets, with exports to Asia up by one-third, the exceptional performance of the beef industry in achieving an increase in market returns almost twice the European average, and the expansion intentions of producers that assures future growth,” says Aidan Cotter, chief executive of Bord Bia. “The meat and dairy sectors account for almost two-thirds of total food and drink exports, and indications that breeding herds are expanding, combined with the lifting of milk quotas from 2015, will underpin export growth into the future.”

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A Record Year For Scottish Food and Drink Exports


With overall food exports breaking the £1 billion mark for the first and whisky exports also at a record high, 2011 was a momentous year for Scotland’s food and drink industry. Combined food and drink exports reached an all-time high of £4.5 billion with whisky exports worth £3.45 billion.

The most popular food export from Scotland was fish and shellfish, worth £623 million. Scotch beef and lamb exports reached £100 million in 2011, for the first time since 1996. The top market for food and drink exports is France, followed by USA, Spain, Singapore and Germany.

“Despite a difficult economic environment in 2011, our food and drink sectors have exceeded all expectations and are now a huge success story,” comments Scottish Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead. “Exports are continuing to rise and we are committed to helping the industry deliver a 50 per cent increase in the value of exports by 2016. So it’s great news that there are a number of key growth markets – including China, South Africa and Poland – where exports of Scottish produce are seeing significant growth. Thanks to our quality ingredients, clean environment and passionate producers, Scotland is developing an enviable reputation for creating first-class products.”

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Ireland’s Food and Drink Exports to Approach €9 Billion in 2011


Irish food and drink exports in 2011 are expected to reach a record high of €8.9 billion, an increase of more than 12%, or almost €1 billion, on 2010 levels. This follows growth of €700 million in 2010 leaving Ireland’s food exports in 2011 some 25% ahead of 2009 levels. Meanwhile, against a backdrop of strong global demand and high prices, eight out of ten exporters surveyed by Bord Bia rate their prospects as improved or very improved compared with this time last year.

 

All major categories are expected to show growth this year, led by dairy and meat, which combined account for more than 60% of Ireland’s total food and drink exports. Strong global prices are driving export growth, with the FAO food price index 26% ahead of this time last year, however increased volumes of dairy products, pigmeat, whiskey, cider, confectionery, sauces/soups and mushrooms are also boosting revenues. It is estimated volume growth across these categories will account for up to 30% of the total.

 

“As world supplies struggle to keep pace with the growth in global demand, the outlook for food exporters for the remainder of the year and into 2012 remains positive,” points out Aidan Cotter, chief executive of Bord Bia.  “The latest surge in world food prices is further evidence that the era of cheap food is at an end, yet while forecasts point to a longer term upward trend, the conditions for volatility in prices remain in the form of weather-related events, fluctuating stock levels, exchange rates and market speculation.”

 

Figures for the first half of 2011 show some change in the market distribution of Irish food and drink exports. The UK remains the principal export destination, although its share of total exports fell from 44% to just over 40% compared to the same period last year. This reflects the fact that much of the growth in dairy and to a lesser extent prepared foods, beverages and beef has occurred outside of the UK market.

 

The proportion of exports going to other European markets jumped by two percentage points to 35% for the period as stronger dairy, beef, beverage and prepared food exports boosted trade. International markets accounted for 25%, driven in particular by stronger dairy exports.

 

While the consumer search for value continues apace, the initial signs of rising consumer prices have emerged acrossEuropeduring 2011. In July 2011, the consumer food price index for the euro area was almost 3% ahead of a year earlier while UK prices were 6% higher than a year earlier.

 

The ongoing volatility in exchange rates presents a challenge for Irish exporters. Current exchange rates leave the euro 9% stronger against the US dollar and 5% stronger against sterling than September 2010.

 

The Irish manufacturing sector has improved its competitiveness over recent years with Ireland’s Competitiveness Scorecard for 2011 published by Forfas showing a more productive and cost competitive industry. During the period April 2008 to February 2011, Ireland’s harmonised competitiveness index depreciated by more than 12% in real terms, which is helping the sector’s competitiveness on export markets.

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UK Food and Grocery Industry Recovers 115,000 Tonnes of Waste


Participants in a scheme run by ECR (Efficient Consumer Response) UK are well on the way to achieving targets set last autumn to prevent and recover waste in the FMCG supply chain in the UK. By thinking differently about waste when looking at products, packaging design, range and forecasting, consumer goods manufacturers and retailers have prevented 38,000 tonnes of waste from being created in the first place and redirected a further 115,000 tonnes away from landfill and sewer.

In total, 33 leading food and grocery companies announced last autumn they are voluntarily committing to prevent 75,000 tonnes of waste being created by the end of 2012. All signatories are IGD members and leading retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers or food service operators. They have signed up to the target to totally remove this volume of waste from their supply chains.

Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive of IGD.

The industry has made great strides in recovering waste, rather than disposing of it. To drive this progress even further the companies have pledged to meet an extra target. They have challenged themselves to divert a further 150,000 tonnes of waste from disposal, mainly from landfill and sewerage, to more productive outputs such as anaerobic digestion.

The food and drink manufacturers participating in the scheme include ABF, Bakkavor Group, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Dairy Crest, Gerber Juice Company, H J Heinz, Kraft Foods, Mars Chocolate UK, Molson Coors Brewing Company (UK), Muller Dairy (UK),

Nestle UK, Northern Foods, PepsiCo UK & Ireland, Robert Wiseman Dairies, Unilever UK, United Biscuits, VION Food UK and Warburtons.

“Food and grocery businesses are constantly striving to reduce waste from their operations and the majority of the supply chain’s product and packaging waste is now recycled or recovered, rather than disposed of,” points out Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive of IGD. “IGD has brought the industry together to draw up, commit to and deliver these challenging targets – and the industry is making great progress.”

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UK Food and Drink Exports Deliver Strong First Half Performance


UK exports of food and non-alcoholic drinks grew to more than £5b in the first half of 2010 – a rise of 4.3% on the same period in 2009 – and full-year sales to overseas markets are forecast to break the £10 b barrier for the first time, according to figures released by the Food and Drink Federation.

This first half growth has been characterised by an almost entirely flat EU export market but buoyant growth to non EU markets, which increased by 23.1% from £927.6m to £1.14b. All non-EU markets showed growth, but particularly strong markets included North America, up 34.9%, Asia up 34.6%, Latin America up 20.8% and the Middle East, up 20.0%. The fastest growing export market for UK food and drink is Hong Kong, which was up 49.3%.

Dairy proved to be the strongest sector, driven by a 15.2% growth in cheese exports.

Looking at the performance of individual sectors, dairy proved to be the strongest sector, showing growth of 21.3% to £464.3m, driven by a 15.2% growth in cheese exports, especially cheddar and blue cheeses. This in direct contrast with 2009, when dairy was the worst performing sector. Fish and seafood also performed well, growing 7.1% to £575.7m, including a 22.3% rise in fresh salmon export sales, which now account for 65% of fresh fish exports. Within the prepared foods sector, both sauces & condiments and jams & preserves performed well, growing by 10.6% to £98m and 9% to £16m respectively.

“I am delighted to see another strong export performance from UK food and drink manufacturers,” says Melanie Leech, director general of the Food and Drink Federation. “If these levels continue throughout 2010, we should see our sixth consecutive full year of growth and break the £10 billion mark for exports for the first time.”

The UK food and drink industry directly employs 440,000 people; generates £73b of turnover and value added of £21.6b; and accounts for 15% of total manufacturing output. The export figures further highlight the sector’s importance to the UK economy.

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Steady Volume and Sales Growth at Danone


French food and beverage giant Danone has reported an 11.2% increase in consolidated sales to Eur8.35b in the first half of 2010 and a 7% rise on a like-for-like basis. The like-for-like sales growth was driven by a 9.8% jump in volume and a 2.8% decline in value. Trading operating income increased by 2% on a like-for-like basis to Eur1.28b.

Danone’s trading operating margin was stable at 15.30% compared to the average margin in 2009. However, compared to the first half of 2009, the margin decreased by 74 bps on a like-for-like basis. The reduction mainly reflects the negative price effect of the Reset program, the effect of rising raw material prices and a difficult comparable basis. The impact of higher raw material prices in the first half of 2010 has been largely offset by Danone’s various cost savings initiatives, which are expected to generate up to Eur500m in the current financial year.

Danone assumes that the financial, economic and social crises will continue to weigh on consumption trends in Europe, while emerging markets are expected to keep developing well overall. Consequently, Danone will continue to focus on, and invest in, growth opportunities in key categories and geographies, on the strength of its competitive positions and on the development of its brands. Productivity gains as well as the growth of free cash flow will continue to be key priorities.

In line with this strategy, Danone recently entered into an agreement to acquire Medical Nutrition USA for approximately $62m in cash. Danone is also to merging its fresh dairy product businesses in the CIS area with those of Russian company Unimilk. The new entity will become the leader for dairy products in the CIS area as a whole, and particularly in Russia.

Outlook

For full year 2010, Danone is targeting like-for-like sales growth of at least 6%; a stable trading operating (EBIT) margin versus 2009 on a like-for-like basis; and an increase of the free cash flow from operations of at least 10% versus 2009 on a reported basis.

Franck Riboud, chairman and chief executive of Danone.

“Our results in the first half of this year confirm our strong start in 2010. We continue to invest in countries, products and brands with a strong potential: baby nutrition in Asia, dairy products in the US, in Brazil as well as in Russia where the Danone-Unimilk alliance provides us with significant long term growth opportunities. In the Waters and Medical Nutrition divisions we continue to identify new growth opportunities in emerging markets as well as new business models. We simultaneously continue to focus on productivity, which is critical in light of the volatile raw material prices,” says Franck Riboud, chairman and chief executive of Danone.

“Lastly, our cash-flow generation keeps increasing steadily.  Investments, productivity and cash flow are essential as they build the performance of today, but also the Danone of tomorrow, more global, more efficient, stronger, at the service of its mission and of value creation.”

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Innovation and Investment at Heart of UK Food and Drink Industry Success


An ongoing commitment to innovation and high-value production are key reasons why the UK’s food and drink industry has emerged from recession in better shape than many other manufacturing sectors, according to a new report commissioned by the Food and Drink Federation from the Institute for Manufacturing at the University of Cambridge. From May 2008 to May 2009, the production index for food and drink fell by only 1.9 compared to 13.1 for manufacturing overall – a clear indication of the industry’s resilience.

“As Government builds the strategy for economic recovery, this report provides a timely reminder of the important financial, strategic and social contribution of the UK’s biggest manufacturing sector,” points out Melanie Leech, director general of the Food and Drink Federation. “We have placed innovative research and development at the heart of our industry and continued to invest in our products, our factories and our people in a hugely challenging economic climate – and are now well-placed to capitalise on these strong foundations as the country emerges from recession. We are a high value added sector offering world-beating capabilities and a rich range of career choices. The Government can place us with confidence at the heart of its strategy for recovery.”

The UK food and drink industry invests more than £1.1b a year on R&D – a comparable level with the automotive sector. It has launched 1,500 new products each quarter since the beginning of 2008. As well as NPD, the UK food and drink industry has expended considerable resource in responding to consumer demands for products that are lower in salt, fat or energy.

UK food products are also in demand overseas – 2009 saw the 5th consecutive rise in food exports, growing in value by 4.4% to £9.65b in 2009, significantly outperforming other manufacturing sectors, which experienced an 11.8% slump in overseas sales.

The food industry has been one of the most resilient manufacturing sectors in terms of output during the recession.

Indeed, the food industry has been one of the most resilient manufacturing sectors in terms of output during the recession and FDF members are confident about increasing their investment in UK production facilities in the next three to five years.

Business expenditure by the food and drink industry also supports its increased commitment to investment. According to ONS time series figures, between Q1 2009 and Q1 2010, UK manufacturing business expenditure dropped by almost 25%. Within the same time frame, the food and drink industry increased its business investment by 7.2%, raising its percentage of total manufacturing business expenditure from 13% to 19%.

The report also shows that:

* 65% of UK food and drink manufacturers have more than 75% of their production in the UK . UK manufacturers also invest heavily in UK design and research work, with very similar percentages to UK production;

* Nearly 40% of UK food and drink manufacturers plan to increase investment in production and research and design over 3-5 years;

* 94% of employees in the UK food and drink sector are full-time;

* UK food and drink employees are paid well above the national average;

* Average tenure within the food and drink industry is 9 years;

* 20% of employees are graduates.

“The food and drink industry has weathered the recession best of all manufacturing sectors and appears to have continuing strength in R&D. The sector will be a bell weather for changes to come, as the industry addresses environmental and health issues, two areas intimately related to food production,” comments report author Finbarr Livesey, director at the IfM.

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Vandemoortele to Extend Margarines and Fats Business


Belgium-based Vandemoortele Group, which specialises in the production of frozen bakery products and margarines and fats, is acquiring the margarine and frying fats activities of Dutch company Van Dijk Food Products, part of the EFS Group, for an undisclosed sum.

Located in Zeewolde, the margarine and frying fats business of Van Dijk Food Products, achieved a turnover of about Eur138m in 2009 and employed 145 people. Van Dijk Food Products owns the well-known Diamant en Gouda’s Glorie brands and is also an important producer of margarines and frying fats under private labels for both retail and food service. Group Vandemoortele has 5000 employees and a turnover of Eur1.1b, of which Eur450m is generated by margarines and fats. The acquisition is subject to approval by the competition authorities.

Last year, Vandemoortele disposed of its Alpro soy products business to US-based Dean Foods for Eur325m.

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Austrian Dairy Merger


Austria’s largest and fourth biggest dairy groups, Berglandmilch and Tirol Milch respectively, are planning to merge. The deal is subject to agreement by the two companies’ 16,000 dairy farmer members and approval by the competition authority.

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Emmi Strengthens Position in Swiss Cheese


Emmi has consolidated its position within the Swiss cheese market following approval of its proposed acquisition of Fromalp by the competition authority. Fromalp, which specialises in the manufacture and distribution of typical Swiss cheese products, employed 150 people in 2009 and generated sales of approximately SFr100m (Eur70m), with exports accounting for 40%.

Emmi expects that the integration of the Fromalp business will increase efficiency and reduce costs. This will give Emmi greater financial leeway to strengthen its standing within the liberalised domestic cheese market and to boost its sales abroad.

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Aryzta Makes Strategic Acquisitions Worth $1.08b


Switzerland-based speciality bakery group Aryzta has made two strategic acquisitions to significantly strengthen its position in Europe, North America and in other international markets. Aryzta has acquired Fresh Start Bakeries (incorporating Pennant Food and Sweet Life) and Great Kitchens for $900m and $180m respectively.

Operating 29 specialist production facilities across the US, Canada, Germany, Poland, Sweden, Spain, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand along with joint ventures located in North America, Chile and Guatemala, .Fresh Start Bakeries is a global supplier of speciality bakery products with a leading position in the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) segment. Pennant Foods is a leading provider of speciality bakery products and solutions to the North American QSR, food service and retail in-store-bakery channels. Sweet Life is a leading innovator and manufacturer of sweet baked goods servicing the North American and Asian QSR channel.

Great Kitchens is a leading supplier of pizza and appetisers with a focus on the deli segment of the North American retail grocery channel. The combined revenue of the businesses being acquired is $1.03b, with associated EBITDA of $133m.

The acquisitions double Aryzta’s manufactured volumes and permit greater access to a broader customer base within the expanding QSR and retail segments. Moreover, they also provide Aryzta with a more balanced exposure to its core markets of North America and Europe, while extending its geographical footprint in rapidly expanding developing markets. Indeed, Aryzta is renaming its ‘food developing markets’ segment as ‘rest of the world’. This reporting segment will include territories across South America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

Meanwhile, greater diversification in terms of customer mix enhances the defensive characteristics of the Aryzta’s business model. “From a business perspective we will operate with a greater geographic footprint and with much better channel access to consumers. These acquisitions double our manufactured volumes with an additional 30 production locations in nine countries,” says Owen Killian, chief executive of Aryzta.

Following the transactions it is anticipated that Aryzta’s net debt/EBITDA ratio will be in the region of 3 times for the year ending 31st July 2010.

Created in 2008 by the merger of Dublin-based IAWS Group and Hiestand Holding of Switzerland, Aryzta has a primary listing on the SIX Swiss Stock Exchange and a secondary listing on the Irish Stock Exchange.In Europe Aryzta has a mixture of business to business and consumer brands, including Hiestand, Cuisine de France, Delice de France and Coup de Pates.

CAPTION:

Owen Killian, chief executive of Aryzta.

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Dairy Crest Reduces stake in Wexford Creamery


Dairy Crest has reduced its stake in its Irish dairy joint venture, Wexford Creamery, from 80% to 30%. Wexford Milk Producers, Dairy Crest’s partner in Wexford Creamery, has increased its stake from 20% to 70% after the approval of its farmer members for the transaction.

The deal is in line with Dairy Crest’s strategy of concentrating on developing its key brands and further reducing its exposure to volatile commodity markets. The UK dairy group will retain a minority stake in Wexford Creamery and will continue to provide a range of services to the creamery, including packing and distribution, and will also sell Wexford branded cheese in the UK for a transitional period.

Dairy Crest will use the cash proceeds from the transaction of around Eur9m to repay bank debt.

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Danone Bolsters US Medical Nutrition Business


Danone is acquiring Medical Nutrition USA for $ 62m in cash. MNI introduced the concept of liquid protein supplements for elderly people in the US long-term care market in 2003. The company’s flagship range of products now addresses protein supplementation and wound care support. MNI, which had revenue of $16m last year, will become part of Danone’s medical nutrition division. Danone’s North American medical nutrition business, Nutricia North America, had sales of $70m in 2009.

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Valio Opens New €40m Butter Plant in Finland


Finnish dairy group Valio has officially opened a new Eur40m butter facility at its plant at Seinajoki. According to Valio, the new 100,000 tons per annum production unit is the most modern of its type in the world.

Built in 1979, the Seinajoki plant produces all of Valio’s butter and spreads and also houses a powder plant. The recent investment programme in state-of-the-art production and packaging lines has raised capacity for butter and spreads as well as increasing the range and volume of other value-added dairy products. Meanwhile, Valio is constructing a new processed cheese plant in Russia.

CAPTION:

Pekka Laaksonen, chief executive of Valio.

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Carlsberg to Increase Stake in Chinese Brewer


Carlsberg is increasing its shareholding in Chongqing Brewery Co from 17.5% to 29.7%. The purchase price for the 12.25% stake in CBC is approximately RMB2.385b (DKr 2.1b) in total. With 15 breweries in China, CBC is market leader in the Chongqing province and operates in the surrounding provinces of Sichuan, Guizhou, Guangxi and Hunan and in the eastern Chinese provinces of Anhui, Zhejiang and Jiangsu. In 2009 CBC’s Chinese volumes were approximately 10m hectolitres.

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Private Equity Group Grabs Plum Baby


Darwin Private Equity has completed the acquisition of UK organic baby food business Plum Baby for £10m. Launched in 2006 by Susie Willis, Plum has pioneered the premium baby food sector in the UK and is on track to achieve retail turnover of £15m in 2010.

Its range of over 50 products, created with the ethos of ‘real food for babies, not just baby food’, is distributed in most major supermarkets and includes baby food puree pots, purees in pouches, baby cereals, fromage frais, baby biscuits and snacks.

The acquisition by Darwin comes at a critical point in the development of Plum as the business is transitioning from an early stage entrepreneurial operation into a professional consumer branded business. Darwin’s experience of growing UK consumer brands, working alongside talented entrepreneurs, will help the company continue this transition and transform it into a major player in the UK baby food market whilst at the same time retaining its entrepreneurial roots and flair for innovation.

Founder Susie Willis will remain in the business as creative director, while chief executive Patrick Cairns has decided to leave the business on completion of the deal. He will be replaced as chief executive by Paul Kaye, an experienced manager in the food sector having worked at Dairy Crest, Northern Foods, HJ Heinz UK and Mars (Masterfoods).

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R&R Ice Cream Increases Presence in Mainland Europe


R&R Ice Cream, with operations in the UK and Germany, is expanding its international business with the proposed acquisition of Rolland, the third largest ice cream manufacturer in France, for an undisclosed sum. Producing private label, branded and licensed products, Rolland produces about 65m litres of ice cream a year with roughly 25% exported to more than 20 countries.

The acquisition, if approved by the French competition authority, would create the second largest ice cream group in terms of supermarket sales in the UK, Germany and France. The combined business would have annual sales of over 500m litres of ice cream.

“This acquisition marks an important stage in our strategy to grow our company on mainland Europe. The ice cream manufacturing sector continues to consolidate. This period of consolidation within the industry will also result in further growth opportunities and I fully expect to be announcing more acquisitions soon,” explains James Lambert, chief executive of R&R Ice Cream.

R&R Ice Cream was created following the £180m acquisition of UK-based Richmond Ice Cream by US investment company Oaktree Capital in 2006 and its subsequent merger with Roncadin, the largest own label ice cream manufacturer in Germany.

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Sodiaal Closes in on Acquisition of Entremont Alliance


French dairy group Sodiaal has reached a preliminary agreement to acquire Entremont Alliance, its loss making rival. The deal would create the fourth largest dairy group in Europe with combined annual sales of more than Eur4b and processing over 5b litres of milk annually. Sodiaal owns French milk brand Candia and also has a joint stake in Yoplait, the international yoghurt brand.

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Raisio Launches Benecol Bread in Romania


Finnish food group Raisio has introduced Dobrogea Benecol, a cholesterol lowering bread, in the Romanian market. Launched by Raisio’s Romanian partner Doprogea Grup, Benecol bread is the first cholesterol-lowering foodstuff in Romania. Dobrogea Grup is a leading company in the milling and bakery industry in Romania and had net sales of Eur60m in 2009.

The launch will not only open a new market for cholesterol-lowering foods in Romania but will also increase the awareness and visibility of the Benecol brand in Eastern Europe. Raisio, with its local partners, is continuing to prepare new Benecol-based products for launch in new markets.

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Danone and Unimilk to Create Leading Dairy Business in Russia and the CIS


Global food giant Danone is to merge its fresh dairy products business in the CIS area with Unimilk, Russia’s second largest manufacturer of dairy products and baby food. Established in 2002, Unimilk operates 28 production plants in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus and has 14,000 employees. Unimilk’s sales in 2009 amounted to Eur1b (up 7% on 2008).

Spanning operations in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus, the merger covers all dairy products. It will make Danone-Unimilk the leader for dairy products in the CIS area as a whole, and particularly in Russia, where it will account for around 21% of the total market and hold strong positions in high-value, high growth segments.

The new entity will generate annual sales of approximately Eur1.5 billion and employ over 18,000 people. It will be chaired by Andrey Beskhmelnitsky, current chief executive of Unimilk, while Filip Kegels, current general manager of Danone Fresh Dairy Products in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, will take charge of operational management.

Highly Complementary

The two businesses are highly complementary: In terms of geographical presence, Danone operates mainly in western Russia, while Unimilk has a higher profile to the east. The product ranges are also complementary with Danone’s strength in the value-added health segment enhancing Unimilk’s strong positions and powerful brands in core markets.

The merger will allow Danone-Unimilk to benefit from significant sales and cost synergies, and to take advantage of strong growth momentum in the region’s dairy products market. Danone will control 57.5% interest in the new entity, while the current shareholders of Unimilk will hold 42.5%.

The transaction will be carried out principally through a contribution of assets, supplemented with a cash purchase of shares by Danone. Danone’s net financial debt will increase by Eur1.3b principally as the result of the value of the put options which will be granted to the current shareholders of Unimilk. These options will allow them to dispose part or all of their shares in the new entity, Danone being able to hold 100% of these shares in 2022. The operation will be accretive to Danone earnings per share starting in 2011.

“Almost 20 years after taking our first steps in Russia, Danone-Unimilk represents a strategic move for Danone in a region which is offering a promise of growth in the years ahead, and where we will be pursuing ambitious goals for the future,” says Franck Riboud, chairman and chief executive of Danone. “It is also an important new step in Danone’s drive to extend business into new geographical markets.”

The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals in the countries concerned. Closing is currently expected to take place towards the end of 2010.

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Cognac Fortifies Remy Cointreau


Helped by a strong performance from its cognac division, French drinks group Remy Cointreau has reported a 7.2% organic growth (2.2% on a published basis) in operating profit to Eur140m for the year ended March 31st 2010 on turnover of Eur807.8m, up by 12% organically (13.1% published). Group organic operating profit margin fell from 19.2% to 18.4%, primarily reflecting increased advertising and promotional investment.

Net profit from continuing operations was Eur86.0m after tax, reflecting a more favourable tax rate than in the previous year, which was affected by the non-tax deductible capital loss incurred on disposing of the group’s shares in the Maxxium distribution joint venture.

Within the cognac division, Remy Martin recorded a remarkable 28.2% growth in turnover to Eur405.7m, benefiting from significant price increases, distribution integration and an excellent performance by its premium cognacs, particularly in Asia which has become the brand’s leading export market. Current operating profit jumped by 37.8% to Eur105.9m, and the operating margin rose to 27.6% organically, from 25.7% the previous year, although there was a significant increase in advertising investment.

However, the champagne division, which is significantly export-oriented, was adversely affected by the international economic climate. Turnover declined by 23.7% and the division incurred a current operating loss of Eur4m as Remy Cointreau continued its deliberate policy of maintaining prices to the detriment of volume.

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Britvic Completes €237m French Acquisition


In line with its ambitions to expand internationally, UK-based Britvic has acquired Fruite, an independent French soft drinks producer with market leading positions in syrups and ambient juice with brands such as Teisseire and Moulin de Valdonne, Fruite and Pressade, for Eur237m.

The acquisition gives Britvic entry to the attractive Eur12.5b French soft drinks market and provides a platform for targeting other markets in mainland Europe. Britvic anticipates Eur10m of cost synergies by 2013 from a number of areas including procurement and supply-chain, along with a Eur7m contribution from revenue synergies through the marketing and launch of some of Britvic’s existing stills brands in France and beyond.

“With a portfolio of iconic, market-leading still brands and as France’s leading independent soft drinks company, Fruite is an excellent strategic fit for Britvic. The acquisition would extend our soft drinks focus into continental Europe, would drive our already strong portfolio into new markets and would enhance our GB offering,” explains Paul Moody, chief executive of Brtivic. “Our successful integration of Britvic Ireland gives us the confidence that we will deliver significant cost synergies and revenue upside, and therefore deliver material incremental value for our shareholders.”

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