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Scientists At Nestlé And King’s College London To Study How Genes Interact With Food

June 10, 2011: 10:38 AM EST
Nestlé announced that scientists from its research center in Switzerland will work with colleagues at King’s College London on a six-month project examining the interactions between genes and food ingredients, and how they can affect human health. Scientists will look at ways genes and their encoded proteins determine important bodily functions, including food metabolism, response to the environment and detoxification. Especially important is gaining knowledge of how changes to gene regulation from diet and exercise could impact human health. The partnership is the result of an Interchange Award given to King’s College by the United Kingdom’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).
" Nestlé partners with King’s College London on food and gene research", Press release, Nestlé, June 10, 2011, © Nestlé
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Market Report Shows Natural Product Retailers Enjoyed Strong Sales In 2010

June 10, 2011: 10:03 AM EST
There was strong growth in natural product sales in 2010 despite adverse economic conditions, according to the report Natural Foods Merchandiser 2010 Market Overview. Sales by natural product stores were up in all categories except nondairy beverage, reaching some $36 billion, or some 44% of the $81 billion natural product market last year. The report said core customers kept buying natural products and others returned to the market. Food and drink sales were up 7.7%, supplements were up 5.9% and personal care and other 6.1%. The Gourmet Guide section reported sales of specialty natural products up 15.6%. 
Jane Hoback and Anna Soref, "Natural retailers ring up healthy sales in 2010", Natural Foods Merchandiser, June 10, 2011, © Natural Foods Merchandiser, Penton Media
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DSM Closes Joint Venture Deal With Chinese Food Enzyme Producer

June 9, 2011: 12:11 PM EST
Dutch food and beverage ingredients company Royal DSM announced that it has closed a joint venture agreement with privately-held biotechnology company Yixing QianCheng Bio-Engineering Co Ltd for QianCheng’s food enzyme activities. The JV creates a new company DSM (Jiangsu) Biotechnology Co. Ltd. DSM says the global market for enzymes amounts to € 2 billion and is growing by 6-8 percent per year. The Chinese market for food enzymes is one of the world’s largest and is experiencing growth rates far above the global average. DSM is the majority shareholder in the joint venture with 85 percent of the shares. Yixing QianCheng Bio-Engineering Co Ltd will own the remaining 15 percent.
"DSM strengthens enzymes activities through joint venture", Press release, DSM, June 09, 2011, © DSM
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Unilever Purchases First Available Certificates For Sustainable Soy Issued By The RTRS

June 8, 2011: 12:38 PM EST
Unilever, an original member of the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS), purchased some of the first available certificates for soy grown using sustainable farming methods. Certificates bought by Unilever Brazil covers 5,000 tons of sustainable soy oil, which the company plans to use in manufacture of dressings and margarine products in North and South America. The company’s support for the RTRS sustainable soy certification program will help it achieve its environmental protection targets under its Sustainable Living Plan which aims to cut by half the impact of its manufacturing process on the environment, help 1 billion people act to enhance their health and well-being, and make its agricultural sourcing 100% sustainable.
Press Release, Unilever, "Unilever’s next step in sustainable sourcing of raw materials", Unilever, June 08, 2011, © Unilever
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Nestlé To Launch BabyNes Capsule System Outside Switzerland In 2012

June 7, 2011: 11:13 AM EST
Nestlé SA plans to roll out its BabyNes infant-formula capsule system next year after initially launching it in Switzerland in May. BabyNes took over six to develop, and it costs 249 Swiss francs. Nestlé would like it to emulate the success of Nespresso, the company's single-serve capsule coffee dispensing system. Nespresso's success encouraged companies, such as Sara Lee Corp. and Ethical Coffee Co., to manufacture capsules compatible with the system. Nestlé responded by taking both to court. BabyNes machines will include a chip to prevent use of non-Nestlé capsules, with the company denying anticompetitive behavior and claiming it merely wants to ensure hygiene and safety standards are maintained.
JOHN REVILL, "Nestlé to Take BabyNes Global ", The Wall Street Journal, June 07, 2011, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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DSM Opens Nutrition Innovation Facility In U.S.

June 6, 2011: 10:45 AM EST
Dutch life sciences and materials sciences company DSM announced it has opened a Nutrition Innovation Center in Parsippany, N.J.,  whose purpose is to designed to help manufacturers of food, beverage, dietary supplement and personal care products “find a competitive advantage faster than ever before.” The center houses a laboratory and fully equipped pilot plant and sensory analysis facilities that enable the company to optimize production processes, improve product quality, test new ingredients, and analyze and evaluate a wide range of products. The company said its specialists will collaborate with customers to offer applications expertise, product development assistance and scale-up bench top formulation.
"DSM opens new nutrition innovation center to accelerate customers’ speed to market", Press release, DSM, June 06, 2011, © DSM
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New Cargill Innovation Center In Brazil Will Serve Multiple Industries

June 6, 2011: 11:05 AM EST
Cargill announced it has opened a food technology Innovation Center in Campinas,  Brazil, that houses technical teams from various fields of knowledge whose mission is to develop innovative solutions, ingredients and applications in partnership with customers. The $12.6 million, 20,000 square meter center houses multiple laboratories to serve customers in the beverage, baking, confectionery, convenience foods and dairy categories. It also includes a flavor and aroma laboratory, and an industrial lab to develop applications for the paper, textile, corrugated and biopolymer market. The new facility will enable product sensorial analysis, prototype development, ingredient creation and evaluation, consumer testing, and food preparation and tasting in the culinary center, the company said.
"Cargill opens Latin America Innovation Center", Press release, Cargill, June 06, 2011, © Cargill
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Company Introduces Nondairy, Omega-3-Rich Flaxmilk

June 6, 2011: 11:27 AM EST
Flax USA has unveiled what it calls “the first and only all-natural, dairy-free milk product.” Made from cold-pressed flax oil, Flaxmilk is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and vitamins A, D and B1, and contains no cholesterol or trans fat. The company says scientific studies underpin its claim that “a daily glass of Flaxmilk is a simple and delicious way to help prevent heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes,” and is suitable for people who are on a gluten-free, lactose free, raw or vegan diet. The product is sold in original and vanilla flavors in ½ gallon containers. Flax USA also markets Golden Omega Flax Seed, a non GMO flax seed that is 100 percent natural. 
"Introducing Flaxmilk -- The First All Natural Non-Dairy Milk Product Made from Flax Oil", Press release, FlaxUSA, June 06, 2011, © FlaxUSA
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Waitrose Unveils New Line Of Nutritionally Balanced Foods

June 5, 2011: 11:41 AM EST
British food retailer Waitrose has introduced a line of nutritionally balanced foods, Waitrose LOVE Life, that will appear in stores beginning June 30. According to the company, the range of products is designed to complement the staple grocery items in essential Waitrose and the more “indulgent” products from Duchy, Heston and Menu From Waitrose ranges. The company said the new product line includes more wholefood ingredients and avoids saturated fats. The product launch will be supported with a quarterly magazine, recipe cards and a dedicated section on Waitrose.com where MyWaitrose members can share recipes and tips. The products were developed by Waitrose nutritionists and in-house chefs.
"Introducing Waitrose LOVE Life", Press release, Waitrose, June 05, 2011, © Waitrose
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Industry Observers Doubtful About Rumors Of P&G’s Plans To Acquire Unilever

June 3, 2011: 03:43 AM EST
Procter & Gamble plans to acquire its biggest rival Unilever, according to recent rumors reported by mainstream media and by online news sites. Industry analysts and merger and acquisition (M&A) experts, however, have expressed doubt and reservation over the rumored $38 billion deal, and have raised the question of whether or not it would be allowed. Analysts also doubt the rumored merger will benefit consumers and markets, asserting that financial factors would be the companies' main priorities. 
Shamni Pande , "P&G's Unilever bid may be full of pain", Mail Today, June 03, 2011, © MTNPL
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Cargill Acquires German Chocolate Company KVB

June 1, 2011: 07:55 PM EST
Cargill has acquired integrated German chocolate and cocoa company Schwartauer Werke Kakao Verarbeitung Berlin (KVB). The deal makes Cargill the biggest supplier of industrial chocolate in Germany, the largest chocolate market in Europe. KVB has two manufacturing plants in Berlin and will supplement Cargill's current cocoa and chocolate facilities in the country, adding 75,000 metric tonnes to Cargill's production capacity. The deal also adds 180 employees to Cargill's workforce.
Press Release, Cargill, "Cargill completes acquisition of German chocolate business", Cargill, June 01, 2011, © Cargill
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Gartner Report Lists Companies With Best Supply Chain Management Capabilities In 2011

June 1, 2011: 03:39 AM EST
Gartner's Supply Chain Top 25 report presents the leading companies in terms of supply chain management in 2011. The study also looks at the future directions for supply chain management. The Top 5 comprises regulars Apple, Dell, and Procter & Gamble as well as last year's new entrants Research In Motion and Amazon. New entrants this year included food companies Nestle and Kraft, as well as Starbucks. Gartner’s recommendations include developing supply chain processes to deal volatile conditions; ensuring the value chain vision is backed by strong and flexible execution; and gauging the success of the supply chain on the basis of the experiences of customers.
"The Gartner Supply Chain Top 25 for 2011", Gartner, June 01, 2011, © Gartner, Inc.
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Coca-Cola Company
Kraft Foods
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Solar Power For Nestlé Ice Cream Factory In Italy

June 1, 2011: 06:27 AM EST
Nestlé installed a solar power system at its ice cream factory in Ferentino, Italy, where the company manufactures Coppa del Nonno, a 60-year old ice cream brand unique to Italy. The solar power system was built with technical support from Solar Green Energy Company. It combines three kinds of solar power technology, and will provide all the energy requirements for the ice cream brand's production line, about 14% of the factory's total energy needs.
Nestlé, "Nestlé uses solar energy to power ice cream factory", Nestlé press release, June 01, 2011, © Nestlé
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Infant Formula Enriched With Prebiotics Benefits Babies’ Gut Microflora

June 1, 2011: 04:57 AM EST
Belgian researchers who conducted a clinical trial involving 110 infants found that daily feeding of a formula enriched with prebiotics resulted in an intestinal bacteria profile very similar to that found in breastfed babies. The infants in the trial were fed either 0.4 or 0.8 grams per deciliter of Beneo Orafti Synergy1 – a one-to-one blend of inulin and oligofructose – 0.8 grams per deciliter of a nine-to-one blend of galactooligosaccharides and oligofructose (GOS:FOS), or conventional formula. These infants were all compared against breastfed infants. The researchers found that infants in the prebiotics-fed groups had significantly higher bifidobacterium counts after two and four weeks and were “comparable with the breast-fed group.” Both the Orafti Synergy1 and GOS:FOS mixtures were well-tolerated by the infants as well.
G. Veereman-Wauters, et al. , "Physiological and Bifidogenic Effects of Prebiotic Supplements in Infant Formulae", Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition, June 01, 2011, © ESPGHAN and NASPGHAN
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Increasing Commodity Costs Put Pressure On Indian FMCG Margins

May 30, 2011: 01:31 AM EST
Rising costs of raw materials are forcing fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies in India to raise the prices of their products. Prices of most commodities remain high; most are still rising and tea prices in May were up over 13% on April, although the price of some edible oils were down in May. Some companies in India have already raised their prices, some more than once, and some will take further pricing action. Others are still considering raising prices, although fierce competition in the shampoo category has seen prices slip there.
Shailaja Sharma , "No respite; FMCG products will cost more and more", Daily News & Analysis, May 30, 2011, © Diligent Media Corporation Ltd.
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General Mills Acquires Majority Stake in Yoplait

May 26, 2011: 10:18 PM EST
General Mills signed deals with PAI partners and Sodiaal to purchase from the former a 51% majority stake in Yoplait S.A.S. and a 50% interest in the company that owns the Yoplait brands of yogurt. Sodiaal continues to own the remaining interests. General Mills expects the €810 million acquisition to close by the end of August. Yoplait is the second-largest brand in the $65 billion global yogurt market. It’s available in more than 70 countries and fiscal 2010 revenues were some €724 million. As well as direct operations in countries like the U.K. and France, there are also 26 franchisees that license Yoplait brands. General Mills will continue to market Yoplait in the U.S. and the deal will also bring to an end the current arbitration between General Mills and Yoplait over the U.S. license. 
Press Release, General Mills, "General Mills announces definitive agreements to acquire yogurt interests", General Mills, May 26, 2011, © General Mills
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Danone Adopts Ingeo Plant-Based Plastic Packaging For Its Activia Yogurt In Germany

May 26, 2011: 12:37 PM EST
Danone has changed the packaging of its Activia yogurt in Germany from oil-based plastic to Ingeo, a plastic derived from plants. A partnership between Danone and Ingeo manufacturer NatureWorks has resulted in the packaging switch, which will reduce the yogurt product's carbon footprint by 25% and use of fossil resources by 43%, based on a life cycle assessment conducted by the LCA Institute for Energy and Environmental Research. NatureWorks also estimates fossil energy savings will equal electricity used by 13,000 German homes monthly, while greenhouse gas reduction will be equal to that from not driving a motor vehicle 19 million kilometers.
"Danone Launches Sustainable Ingeo Activia Yogurt Cup in the German Market", Food Ingredients First, May 26, 2011, © CNS Media BV
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FDA Approves Atopic Dermatitis Health Claim For Infant Formulas Made From Hydrolyzed Whey

May 26, 2011: 10:56 AM EST
Nestlé subsidiary Gerber Products Company said the FDA has approved a qualified health claim for infant formulas made from 100 percent whey, which includes Gerber Good Start milk-based formulas. The FDA said that such partially hydrolyzed formulas may reduce the risk of developing atopic dermatitis in healthy infants from birth to four months whose family history includes allergies. The FDA acknowledged, however, that the relationship between the formulas and reduced risk of atopic dermatitis is “uncertain” due to a lack of scientific evidence. The hydrolyzed formulas are not to be used to feed infants who are allergic to milk or show milk allergy symptoms.
"FDA Grants First-Ever Qualified Health Claim in Infant Nutrition", Press release, Gerber, May 26, 2011, © PRNewswire
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Hindustan Unilever Partners With Banks And Telecom Companies To Reach Rural Consumers In India

May 25, 2011: 04:14 AM EST
Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) plans to develop a model for joint distribution deals with India's leading telecom companies, banks, and financial services companies to cover some 775 million consumers who live in the country's rural areas. HUL plans to base the planned model on its Project Shakti alternative distribution channel, introducing an outline called, "Gateway to Rural: Beyond FMCG." Also, HUL has begun a pilot project with the State Bank of India involving HUL's Shakti Ammas, or women who sell HUL consumer products in India's rural areas. India's banking policies requiring banks to expand their services to include rural depositors push banks to search for effective means to penetrate rural markets, which offer growth opportunities for banks, mobile telecoms companies, and FMCG companies.
Kala Vijayraghavan & Sagar Malviya, "Hindustan Unilever taps banks, telecom firms to reach rural India wider", Economic Times, May 25, 2011, © Times Internet Limited
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Nestlé To Acquire Gastrointestinal Test Maker Prometheus Labs

May 24, 2011: 08:43 AM EST
Nestlé SA announced it will acquire U.S. gastrointestinal diagnostics firm Prometheus Laboratories. The acquisition complements Nestlé’s goal of “pioneering science-based nutritional solutions to deliver improved personalized health care for medical conditions.” The sale price and other terms were not disclosed by the companies, though analysts estimate the deal to be worth $1.1 billion. Prometheus has 500 employees and expects annual sales of $250 million in 2012, according to Nestlé. The company makes gastrointestinal diagnostic products that help doctors diagnose conditions such as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
"Nestlé Health Science acquires leading US gastrointestinal diagnostics company", Press release, Nestlé, May 24, 2011, © Nestlé
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Emerging Markets To Contribute 70% Of Unilever's Total Revenue

May 24, 2011: 04:04 AM EST
Harish Manwani, Unilever chairman and president for Asia, Africa, and East and Central Europe, said, in a long and wide-ranging interview, that his company plans to increase emerging market share of Unilever’s total revenues from 53% to 70%. Unilever views developing and emerging (D&E) markets as mission critical for its future growth and plans to allocate more than 60% of research and development (R&D) and brand-development resources in D&E countries. India has emerged as one of the most important D&E markets for Unilever. At the same time, the country provides the company with a large pool of managerial talent, with some 140 Indian managers currently working in senior positions worldwide. Brazil is an equally important market at the moment, but Russia and China remain among the countries where the company is "relatively under-represented", although they are now the company’s fastest growing markets.  Aside from growing its business, Unilever also intends to cut its environmental footprint by half by ensuring that 100% of its raw materials, such as palm oil and tea, come from sustainable sources. Manwani also identifies innovation as key to continuous market development but also highlighted the need to strip out costs as far as possible in order to mitigate the impact of rising commodity prices. 
Chaitanya Kalbag, Suman Layak and Anusha Subramanian, "Interview with Harish Manwani, chairman, HUL", Business Today, May 24, 2011, © Living Media India Limited
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Unilever Partners With Engineering Firm To Support Manufacturing Worldwide

May 23, 2011: 04:51 AM EST
Unilever has partnered with Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. to support the development and management of Unilever's manufacturing facilities worldwide. From its headquarters in Singapore, the partnership - Unilever Engineering Services (UEnS) - will assist in Unilever's expansion plans by improving project delivery, cost management, speed to market, as well as operations and sustainability. Unilever's expansion plans will focus mainly on developing markets, which the company expects to account for 70–75% of its long-term growth. The partnership will also coordinate with Unilever's supply chain groups to support faster time to market and smaller environmental footprints for its manufacturing plants.
"Unilever drives efficiency in capital investment programme", Unilever, May 23, 2011, © Unilever
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Settlement Of New England Dairy Antitrust Suit Receives Preliminary Approval

May 20, 2011: 09:25 PM EST
A settlement of an antitrust suit involving dairy food producer Dean Foods – owner of the Garelick Farms, Borden and Horizon Organic milk brands – against New England dairy farmers was granted preliminary approval by a federal judge. The agreement stipulates that Dean Foods will pay the farmers $30 million to settle the suit, which focused on alleged price-tampering. Under the settlement, Dean Foods admitted no wrongdoing but agreed to pay dairy farmers in New England and New York up to $3,000 each. The revised settlement leaves out an earlier requirement that the company buy up to 20 percent of its milk from independent sources, rather than two large dairy cooperatives. The settlement will receive a more comprehensive review in July.
Craig Idlebrook, "Judge OKs $30M Dean Foods settlement in anti-trust suit", Vermont Journalism Trust, May 20, 2011, © Vermont Journalism Trust
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PT Unilever Indonesia To Invest €300–350 Million In Manufacturing And Distribution

May 20, 2011: 11:41 PM EST
PT Unilever Indonesia Tbk plans to invest €300–350 million in construction of new factories and expansion of the company's distribution networks in Indonesia. Unilever's Indonesian subsidiary currently owns and operates eight factories, three main distribution centers, and employs 6,000 sales attendants to assist customers at the country's leading shopping centers. Company sales grew 14% in the first quarter of 2011 and gross profit jumped 11.3%, while operating profit rose 1.6%.
"Unilever sets aside $427m for expansion ", The Jakarta Post, May 20, 2011, © The Jakarta Post - PT Bina Media Tenggara
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In China, Consumer Goods Companies Cut Costs With Smaller Packaging

May 20, 2011: 12:57 AM EST
Consumer goods manufacturers in China, including food companies, are launching products with smaller packaging to manage production costs. Smaller sizes also help companies to protect their bottom lines without running afoul of the National Development and Reform Commission's anti-inflation policies that encourage companies to maintain their prices. China's government, fearful of inflation's possible impact on economic growth and stability, are very sensitive of price increases and recently fined Unilever $300,000 for announcing future price increases in the media. Examples of smaller packaging moves include Cofco Coca-Cola Beverages Ltd.'s and Pepsi's release of 500-milliliter bottles and Master Kong's introduction of 450-milliliter juice bottles.
ALEX FRANGOS And LAURIE BURKITT , "The Incredible Shrinking Bottle", Wall Street Journal, May 20, 2011, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Modern Trade Accounts For 10% Of India's General Retail

May 20, 2011: 03:19 AM EST
Hindustan Unilever (HUL) estimates that the contribution of modern retail in India was 10% in 2010, from just 5% three years before. In the major cities, the share could be as high as 30%, and it highlights the changing consumer landscape in the country. Companies like HUL tend to gauge brand performance on their shares within modern retail, even if they continue to hold strong positions in general trade. HUL set up a dedicated modern trade account management team in 2003, one of the first FMCG companies in the country to do so.  The move to modern retail shopping is being seen also beyond the big metros, in the tier-2 and tier-3 towns. PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates the Indian retailing industry at some $350 billion, and should begin a new growth trajectory as household consumption rises and global retailers arrive to meet demand, encouraged by more liberal conditions for foreign companies seeking joint ventures with domestic companies.
Namrata Singh & Samidha Sharma , "Modern retail makes a big splash", Times of India, May 20, 2011, © Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.
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Savory Aromas Plus Mineral-Based Salt Replacers Cut Sodium Without Affecting Flavor

May 17, 2011: 08:53 AM EST
Scientists at Unilever’s Netherlands facilities have found that combining savory aromas with salt replacers like potassium chloride allows reduction of sodium content in foods by as much as 30 percent without affecting the flavor. They suggested that enhancement of potassium chloride with a savory aroma offers one solution to the problem of cutting sodium content in foods, but others are needed to meet World Health Organization guidelines. One application of the technology would be in instant bouillons, the scientists said.
Max Batenburg, et al. , "Saltiness Enhancement by Savory Aroma Compounds", Journal of Food Science, May 17, 2011, © Institute of Food Technologists
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DuPont Acquires Food Ingredients Company Danisco

May 16, 2011: 08:29 AM EST
DuPont announced that it had successfully completed its tender offer for the outstanding shares of Danish food ingredients company Danisco. The tender offer was completed through DuPont’s wholly owned subsidiary DuPont Denmark Holding ApS. As of May 13, Danisco shareholders had tendered approximately 92.2 percent of the outstanding shares to the DuPont subsidiary. DuPont said Danisco's specialty food ingredients businesses and Genencor's leading industrial enzymes complement DuPont's own nutrition and health and applied biosciences offerings. DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman said combining the R&D operations of the companies “will enable us to further respond to global megatrends and help provide for the food, energy and protection needs of a growing population."
"DuPont Successfully Completes Tender Offer for Danisco", Press release, Dupont, May 16, 2011, © DuPont
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Tesco Launches Microwave Meals That Whistle When Ready

May 16, 2011: 05:04 AM EST
Ready meals just got even easier. Tesco will launch in June 2011 a new range of chilled microwave ready-meal Indian curry dishes that whistle when cooked. You don’t have to pierce the lid before use or stir halfway through. Manufactured by S&R Foods under the East End brand, the meals use built-in pasteurization cooking process and will have a shelf life of 30 days without the need for preservatives. Based on a Swedish technology, the meal packs use a valve in the film lid to form a vacuum, sealing in "nutrients, textures, and flavors and keeping out bacteria. The makers of the technology claim a Michelin-starred chef is using it in Sweden.
LUKE SALKELD, "The REALLY convenient microwave meals: Curries that whistle when cooked (and they don't even need stirring or piercing beforehand)", Daily Mail, May 16, 2011, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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Aggressive ‘Brand Stewardship’ Behind Success Of Largest U.S. Companies

May 17, 2011: 12:52 AM EST
An analysis of U.S. consumer goods companies find that brand stewardship and brand portfolio strategy lie behind their enduring success, underscoring the multi-billion dollar valuations given to brands. Brand diversification is seen as a core success strategy along with the ability of companies to leverage brand strength in distribution and other fields. The list of companies studied includes  Procter & Gamble, which controls 48 ‘major brands’ including Gillette, Tide, and Pampers; Johnson & Johnson, with 35 major brands, including Band-Aid and Tylenol; PepsiCo, which owns 34, including Pepsi and Frito-Lay, and Mars, which owns 26, including M&M's, Snickers, and Orbit.
Douglas A. McIntyre, Charles B. Stockdale, Michael B. Sauter, "The American Companies With The Most Valuable Brands", 24/7 Wall Street, May 17, 2011, © 24/7 Wall St.
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Campbell Seeks To Revitalize Soup Sales In The United States

May 16, 2011: 10:13 AM EST
Campbell Soup Co. CEO Doug Conant in an interview discussed how his company seeks to improve sales of its soup products in the United States and may acquire overseas food companies to boost sales. For the first time in eight years, Campbell saw US soup sales decline despite expanding promotion efforts in 2011, even though it has 85% household penetration with an average of six units per household. The fall caused Campbell to lower its earnings forecast for the year. Conant believes a $100 million ad campaign, a revised marketing strategy and the launch of the Slow Kettle line of soups in summer 2011 will turn things around.
JOANN S. LUBLIN, " Campbell's Chief Stirs Plans to Heat Lukewarm Soup Sales", wsj online, May 16, 2011, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc
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Hindustan Unilever Plans To Directly Supply 3 Million Retailers In India

May 16, 2011: 01:47 AM EST
In the next five years, Hindustan Unilever (HUL) plans to double the number of retail stores that it supplies directly in India from today’s 1.5 million to approaching half of the six million to seven million retailers in the country. The move will expand further the company's already significant lead over its FMCG rivals that include Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, and Dabur. HUL will continue supplying the countless other stores via its wholesalers, but directly supplying retailers will help improve relations with the outlets, enhance display and stocking of HUL products, and gather direct market feedback. Sales of HUL products grew 13% in 2010-2011, with some 666 million Indians using at least one HUL brand. HUL's aggressive distribution and marketing will help it deal with the anticipated market expansion driven by the country's rural consumers.
Yassir A Pitalwalla, Meghna Maiti , "HUL to carpet-bomb India with products", mydigitalfc.com, May 16, 2011, © Financial Chronicle
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Heinz Tomato Ketchup Fails In U.K. Taste Test

May 15, 2011: 10:01 AM EST
Heinz tomato ketchup came up as second worst tasting in a ketchup taste-test conducted by Which?, a U.K.-based product-review firm. Test results showed that store ketchup brands from Sainsbury's, M&S, and Tesco were seen as the best tasting by most of the 130 shoppers recruited for the test. Shoppers described the taste of the Heinz ketchup, which accounts for 60% of ketchup sold in the country, as "artificial, bitter, and vinegary." Tasters had only good words for Sainsbury's ketchup, which they described as rich and fruity in taste.
"Red-faced: Heinz ketchup comes bottom in taste tests after being beaten by cut price supermarkets", Daily Mail, May 15, 2011, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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Are Functional Foods In Fact “Functional”?

May 14, 2011: 09:45 AM EST
Do functional foods really provide the health benefits their manufacturers promise? The New York Times explores the issue, asking whether the millions of dollars spent by millions of consumers on foods and beverages that claim to lower cholesterol, help the heart and the waistline, improve digestion, etc., really do any of that. Functional food sales hit $37.3 billion in the U.S. in 2009, a 32 percent increase from 2005. Federal regulators have begun to police the claims of big food producers. Multimillion-dollar settlements were reached with Wrigley and Dannon. The companies defend their claims, of course, but nutrition experts say functional foods are not about health, “they are,” as nutrition professor Marion Nestle says, “about marketing.”
Natasha Singer, "Foods With Benefits, or So They Say", New York Times, May 14, 2011, © The New York Times
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Mature Consumers Becoming Darlings Of Advertisers And Media Executives

May 13, 2011: 01:24 AM EST
Advertisers and media executives are expanding their marketing focus to include consumers who are 55 years old and up. Marketers have realized that mature consumers are ideal in terms of employment and spending capacity, with an unemployment rate of only 6.2% and a tendency to purchase items, like electronics and digital devices, not usually associated with older consumers. Also, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that consumers aged 45 to 54 and 55 to 64, with their median weekly earnings of $844 and $860, respectively, out-earn all the other age groups, and compares to just $454 for those 20 to 24 years old. Other signs of the trend include the increase in NBC's programs targeting mature viewers and the rise in advertising of "youth-biased" products, such as Jeep and Skechers, in the American Association of Retired Persons' AARP Magazine.
BILL CARTER and TANZINA VEGA, "In Shift, Ads Try to Entice Over-55 Set", The New York Times, May 13, 2011, © The New York Times Company
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Coca-Cola Ups Investment In Kenya As Part Of Africa Strategy

May 13, 2011: 09:51 AM EST
Bloomberg reports that Coca-Cola Co. is planning to take advantage of Kenya’s rising consumer spending power by spending $62 million through 2014 to raise production capacity in the country. The investment in expansion and upgrading of seven production facilities reflects the company’s $12 billion, 10-year growth strategy in Africa. The company hopes to double annual revenue on the continent to $200 billion by 2020, increase profit margins and double beverage servings. The company produces Coke, Fanta and Dasani bottled water in Kenya and plans new products in its fruit juice business.
Sarah McGregor, "Coca-Cola Plans to Spend $62 Million in Kenya to Boost Output", Bloomberg, May 13, 2011, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Campbell Touts Sustainability Progress And Plans For Next Decade

May 12, 2011: 11:20 AM EST
Nourishment of the Earth and of corporate neighbors, employees and consumers is the overall 10-year strategic plan of Campbell Soup Company, which announced progress on its sustainability goals. The company said it saved more than 4.5 million pounds in steel, plastic and paper packaging materials in 2010; transferred a PET beverage bottle supply to a Canadian supplier, eliminating 750 trucks from the road; and redesigned product packaging in Australia, reducing paperboard by 440,000 pounds. The company said it has eliminated nearly 29,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions at its manufacturing plants and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than four percent. It plans to cut the environmental footprint of its product portfolio in half over the next decade as well.
"Campbell Reports Progress on 2020 Sustainability and Citizenship Goals", Press release, Campbell Soup Company, May 12, 2011, © Campbell's
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General Mills Launches Informational Web Site For Gluten-Free Lifestyle

May 12, 2011: 07:41 AM EST
General Mills has made a available a Web page – GlutenFreely.com – providing information on living a gluten-free lifestyle. Besides information, the site offers more than 400 gluten-free products from a variety of manufacturers as well as resources such as recipes. The site has insights on how to navigate grocery stores and restaurants, and other tips and tricks. Dunveiled in support of National Celiac Awareness Month, the site was developed in partnership with the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research, the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, and General Mills Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition.
"GlutenFreely.com serves as one-stop shop for gluten-free community", Press release, General Mills, May 12, 2011, © General Mills
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Kraft Foods Extends Its Sustainability Goals Through 2015

May 12, 2011: 11:24 AM EST
Kraft Foods announced that it has broadened its sustainability goals for the next five years after making significant progress in achieving earlier targets in the areas of energy, carbon dioxide, water, waste and packaging. The company says it will now measure sustainability progress in transportation and agricultural commodities, and all of its European coffee brands are committed to sustainably sourcing 100 percent of their coffee by 2015. Among other goals, Kraft plans to increase sustainable sourcing of farm commodities by 25 percent, reduce energy use in factories by 15 percent, reduce energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in factories by 15 percent and eliminate 50,000 metric tons of packaging material – all by the end of 2015.
"Kraft Foods Expands Sustainability Goals to Build on Success", Press release, Kraft Foods, May 12, 2011, © Kraft Foods
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High Prices Are Here To Stay, General Mills CFO Says

May 12, 2011: 03:30 AM EST
General Mills Chief Financial Officer Don Mulligan sees rising supermarket prices for its breakfast cereals and other products as a sign that “the operating environment is improving,” MarketWatch reports. The company expects its costs to rise four to five percent over the long term; price increases will help offset the trend. According to MarketWatch, General Mills prices for some products that rose only in the low single digits last year are now up by mid-single digits. "We do see price realization coming through," Mulligan told a Goldman Sachs conference. "As inflation has returned, we have started to see pricing come through, which is good to see."
Paul Ziobro, "General Mills seeing higher prices sticking: CFO", MarketWatch, May 12, 2011, © MarketWatch, Inc.
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Amy's Kitchen Plans To Build Production Plant In South Carolina

May 11, 2011: 10:49 AM EST
Natural and organic frozen food manufacturer Amy's Kitchen plans to open a $63 million production plant in South Carolina, the company's first East Coast production facility.  The plant will start operating on January 1, 2012, at a former Sarah Lee location, and adds to Amy’s Kitchen’s existing facilities in California, Oregon and Corby, England.  The company expected to hire 700 employees at the plant over the next six years.
"Organic food producer plans $63M Greenville plant", The San Diego Union-Tribune, May 11, 2011, via The Associated Press, © The Associated Press
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Nestlé Middle East Launches Direct Sales And Distribution Unit In Saudi Arabia

May 11, 2011: 11:13 AM EST
Nestlé Middle East has launched Nestlé Saudi Arabia, the company's direct sales and distribution operations in the country. It is part of Nestlé's efforts to expand in Saudi Arabia's growing market of 28 million mostly young consumers. Nestlé has been in the country since 1955 and the expansion is made possible by the Saudi government's decision to allow international companies to establish and manage their distribution and sales operations, Nestlé's expansion includes partnerships with local universities and institutions to train future Saudi executives and staff.
Press Release, Nestlé, "Nestlé Middle East starts direct operations in Saudi Arabia", Nestlé, May 11, 2011, © Nestlé
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Kellogg Launches Gluten-Free Version Of Rice Krispies

May 11, 2011: 05:33 AM EST
Kellogg announced that it is launching a gluten-free variety of its Rice Krispies breakfast cereal for people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. The new product, which will be available in stores nationwide beginning in June, will be made from whole brown rice instead of barley malt, which is the source of gluten in the original Rice Krispies cereal. Kellogg said each serving of the gluten-free version contains 120 calories, less than a gram of sugar, a gram each of fat and fiber, three grams of protein and 190 milligrams of sodium. The cereal is fortified with several vitamins and minerals.
"Kellogg Brings a Family Favorite Back to the Table for Gluten-Sensitive People With Launch of Rice Krispies® Gluten Free Cereal", Press release, Kellogg, May 11, 2011, © Kellogg
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Royal DSM Acquires Spanish Supplier Of Natural Carotenoids

May 10, 2011: 02:16 PM EST
Materials sciences company Royal DSM has signed an agreement with Italy’s P&R Group to acquire Spanish natural carotenoid producer Vitatene S.A.U. Seven-year-old Vitatene produces a range of carotenoid products under the brand names Betanat and Lyconat derived from fermentation of the fungus Blakeslea trispora. DSM’s family of functional carotenoids include beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. Carotenoids are naturally occurring fat-soluble yellow, orange and red pigments synthesized by plants, algae and photosynthetic bacteria. Some carotenoids (such as beta-carotene) are a main dietary source of vitamin A. According to DSM, the acquisition was sparked by growing consumer demand for natural products.
"DSM to acquire Vitatene S.A.U. to expand position in natural carotenoids", Press release, Royal DSM, May 10, 2011, © Royal DSM
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Kraft Seeks To Expand Its BOCA Range Of Soy-Based Meat Alternative Products

May 10, 2011: 11:44 AM EST
Gary Berger, BOCA brand manager at Kraft Foods, said that U.S. retailers are re-locating meat alternatives in the store and giving them more shelf space as more consumers buy non-meat options and the category becomes increasingly mainstream. BOCA is looking to get new consumers to try non-meat products and is working with Weight Watchers to position the brand as a healthy weight management food option. BOCA is facing a growing number of competitors, but believes its healthy soy-based products will enable it to retain its leadership in the meat alternatives market. It defends the safety of its products but has introduced a non-GMO soy range to address concerns of consumers worried about GMO ingredients.
Elaine Watson, "Kraft: Weight-conscious consumer is key to growth in meat alternatives", NutraIngredients-USA, May 10, 2011, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Peter Pan Natural Spreads Avoid Problems Associated With Natural Peanut Butters

May 10, 2011: 10:57 AM EST
ConAgra Foods, Inc., has announced a new line of Peter Pan peanut butter spreads that are made with all-natural ingredients and contain no high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, trans fat or preservatives. According to the company, the three natural spreads (Creamy, Crunchy and Honey Roast Creamy) have conquered the problems encountered by other natural peanut butters. They are the same price as conventional Peter Pan varieties, are easy to stir and have no pooling of oil at the top of the jar. Market research has shown that natural varieties are driving growth in the peanut butter segment. Dollar sales for natural products rose 9.4 percent in 2010.
"Peter Pan Uncaps Simple Wonders with New Line of Natural Peanut Butter Spreads", Press release, ConAgra, May 10, 2011, © ConAgra
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Diet Fortified With Prebiotic Fiber Improves Bone Health

May 9, 2011: 04:38 AM EST
U.S. researchers examining the effects of different doses of the prebiotic fibers known as galactooligosaccharides (GOS) on bone health found in a rat study that GOS was associated with increased absorption of calcium and magnesium and, in turn, increased bone density. The rats were fed a normal diet enriched with two, four, six or eight percent GOS, or no GOS, for eight weeks. The GOS was found to decrease pH in the upper large intestine and increase bifidobacteria concentrations. As the dose of GOS increased, so did absorption of calcium. Absorption of magnesium also increased, but this was not dose-dependent. Analysis of bone density found increases at several skeletal sites. The researchers concluded that “GOS seem to have potential to contribute to improved peak bone mass and strength.”
Connie M. Weaver, et al., "Galactooligosaccharides Improve Mineral Absorption and Bone Properties in Growing Rats through Gut Fermentation", Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, May 09, 2011, © American Chemical Society
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Kraft Foods Launches Twitter Campaign For Jell-O Pudding

May 8, 2011: 05:48 AM EST
Kraft Foods plans to launch a Twitter-based marketing campaign for its Jell-O pudding brand. MDC Partners' CP&B designed the "Mood Monitor" social-media marketing campaign to send coupons to Twitter users who tweet messages that include ":(", the Twitterverse's symbol for a frown face, and requires users to reply with ":D", the symbol assigned by the marketer for "pudding face" – the smile brought on by eating pudding.  Kraft will only turn on the program when smiley faces on the U.S. section of Twitter fall below the 51% average. Kraft unveiled the campaign with a television commercial showing a father trying to hide his "pudding face."
E.J. Schultz, "Turning the Frown Upside Down: Kraft's Jell-O Plans Twitter Mood Monitor", AdAge, May 08, 2011, © Crain Communications
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Pfizer Targets Obesity Problem In Young Children With New Child Nutrition Products

May 6, 2011: 09:00 PM EST
Noting that 43 million children under age five were overweight in 2010, Pfizer has launched a new range of child nutrition products – infant and follow-on formulas, and “growing-up milk” – “developed to meet the changing nutritional and feeding needs of young children.” The GOLD range of products provides nutrients needed for health, growth and development in growing children, the company said. The GOLD range provides older infants and young children with 100 percent of the U.S. Daily Reference Intakes of vitamin A, iron, iodine and zinc, recommended levels of vitamin D, less protein to support healthier rates of growth, and the soluble fiber oligofructose to promote gut health.
"Pfizer Launches New Advanced GOLD Range of Early Child Nutrition Products", Press Release, Pfizer Nutrition, May 06, 2011, © Pfizer
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Nestlé India Raises Prices Of Chocolates And Noodles, Again

May 6, 2011: 04:49 AM EST
Nestlé India raised the prices of its KitKat chocolates and Maggi noodles, a move that analysts find unusual after the company had to undo a similar increase last year. Analysts believe Nestlé is discarding lower price points to maintain its margins, threatened by the sharp increase in input costs, and accepting the risk to volume growth. Nestle says it’s not surrendering volume. In contrast, competitor Cadbury has maintained lower prices for its chocolates, a strategy that analysts see as logical due to Cadbury's larger share of the chocolate market. Analysts believe the lack of any serious competition in all food categories will help Nestlé avoid significant volume declines, but competition in India will intensify over the next couple of years.
Ranju Sarkar, "Nestle: Once bitten, but not shy", Busines Standard, New Delhi , May 06, 2011, © Business Standard Ltd (BSL)
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