Sara Langen

INDUSTRY NEWS
Kraft Food Ingredients adds Nabisco Ingredients to portfolio

Kraft Food Ingredients Corp. recently added Nabisco Ingredients to its portfolio of quality ingredients.

Kraft and Nabisco came together through the acquisition of Nabisco, which was completed in late 2000. The expanded line of Kraft Food Ingredients products includes the registered A.1. Steak Sauces, Baker’s Coconut, Bull’s-Eye and Kraft Barbecue Sauces, Grey Poupon Mustards, Kraft Cheese & Cheese Powders, Kraft Mayonnaise, Kraft Savory Flavors, Nabisco Graham Cracker Meal, Oreo Base Cake & Pieces, Oscar Mayer Meats, Philadelphia Cream Cheese and Ritz & Premium Saltines Crackers.

Kraft Food Ingredients also announced the return of Kraft Dehydrated Marshmallow Bits and its Marshmallow & Caramel confections products, both also registered products. Kraft Food Ingredients, a unit of Kraft Foods, Inc., is headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., and supplies ingredient solutions to the food industry.

Two large dairy processors
Suiza Foods Corp. and Dean Foods Co. have decided to merge in a deal valued at $2.5 billion.

The two companies will form a national dairy and specialty foods company with $10 billion in revenue. The company will be named Dean Foods and will bring together the companies’ complementary operations, products, and distribution networks.

The agreement involves about $1.5 billion in stock and cash and the assumption of nearly $1 billion in debt. The new company will be headquartered in Dallas, Tex.

Suiza, based in Dallas, Tex., is a fluid dairy processor and distributor that produces a full line of company-branded and customer-branded products. It also owns about 43% of Consolidated Container Company, a manufacturer of rigid plastic containers. Dean Foods Co., based in Franklin Park, Ill., is also a dairy processor and distributor that produces a full line of branded and private-label products, including milk, ice cream, and extended-shelf-life products. Dean also produces pickles, dressings, and other foods. The merger requires regulatory approval.

Clos du Bois to use synthetic corks
Clos du Bois, U.S. producer of Sonoma County wines, will move forward this year with plans to bottle its entire line of Sonoma County “Classic” wines with a new synthetic bottle closure called Neocork®. Because of spoiled wine that results from bad corks, some wine producers are looking for alternative bottle closures that are safe and effective. The company, based in Geyserville, Calif., has tested synthetic corks for the past two years on more than seven million bottles of wine. Neocork Technologies®, based in California’s Napa Valley, produces the synthetic cork, which is said to look and feel like real cork. Other industry partners in the Neocork Technologies project include Kendall-Jackson, Beringer Wine Estates, Sebastiani, and Robert Mondavi Winery.

Stake Technology acquires First Light Foods
Stake Technology Ltd. has completed the acquisition of privately held First Light Foods, Inc. for $2.3 million in cash, notes, and securities.

Kim Jenkins, President of First Light, will join the board of Sunrich Foods Inc., a Stake subsidiary. The deal is expected to broaden Sunrich’s base of customers and add to the existing business in soybean sourcing and soymilk processing and packaging.

Stake, based in Norval, Ontario, Canada, operates Sunrich, an agritech company specializing in organic and non-GMO food ingredients. First Light, based in Minneapolis, Minn., produces soymilk products.

COMPANY NEWS
AMBI Inc. has changed its name to Nutrition 21, Inc. The new name underscores the company’s nutrition expertise and its science-based approach to the market. The company will continue to develop and market clinically substantiated essential trace minerals, ingredients, and consumer nutrition products. The Nasdaq symbol will change from AMBI to NXXI. Nutrition 21 is based in Purchase, N.Y.

Amcon Distributing Co. entered into an agreement to sell all of the distribution business and assets of its subsidiary Food For Health Co., Inc. (FFH) to Tree of Life, Inc. Based in Phoenix, Ariz., FFH is Amcon’s health and natural foods distribution business. Amcon, based in Omaha, Neb., distributes beverages, candy, tobacco, groceries, foodservice items, organic produce, natural products, frozen and chilled foods, and health and beauty care products. Tree of Life, headquartered in St. Augustine, Fla., distributes of natural and specialty foods.

Foster Farms will acquire the chicken operations of Zacky Farms, including its Fresnoarea plant, hatchery, feed mill, and 35 live production ranches and its Los Angeles distribution center. The deal will add 165 million lb to Foster’s current annual poultry production. Zacky’s fully integrated turkey operations, deli, and further-processed meat operations will remain under the ownership and management of the Zacky family. Based in Livingston, Calif., Foster produces a number of poultry products. Zacky is based in Central California and owns a large chicken and turkey business.

Grey House Publishing has acquired the Thomas Food Industry Register (TFIR) from Thomas Publishing Co. TFIR is a buying guide for the food industry, available in print, CD-ROM, and Internet versions. Grey House purchased TFIR’s database of 30,000 food industry suppliers and its classification of 6,000 product categories. Thomas is based in New York City, N.Y., and provides industrial product and service information via both print and electronic media. Based in Millerton, N.Y., Grey House specializes in publishing reference directories and databases for a number of fields, including the food and beverage industry.

Perten Instruments Inc. has opened a new office in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Perten Instruments Mexico will sell, support, and service all Perten equipment in Mexico and Central America. The new facility will house administrative offices, repair facilities, a training area, and an applications laboratory. The goal of the new office is to provide better, faster service and more focused expertise and knowledge for Perten’s core markets of grain, flour, and food. Based in Springfield, Ill., Perten provides tools for content measurement and quality control for the milling, grain, feed, and food industries.

Seltzer Chemicals Inc. is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. Founded in 1981 by Wayne Seltzer, the company distributes vitamins, amino acids, antioxidants, colors, and custom premixes to the pharmaceutical, nutritional supplement, food, personal care, and animal feed industries worldwide. Headquartered in Carlsbad, Calif., the company will soon expand its blending capabilities by opening a new 35,000-sq-ft facility dedicated to custom premixes.

SureBeam Corp. is building a new electronic pasteurizing service center in Chicago, Ill. The new facility is expected to have a processing capacity in excess of 250 million lb annually. Scheduled to be operational in the third quarter of 2001, the new center will process meat or other fresh and frozen food products and spices. The facility will be able to use high-volume e-beam and x-ray scanning systems simultaneously to accommodate differences in product size and shape. Headquartered in San Diego, Calif., SureBeam provides electronic pasteurization systems and services for the food industry.

by SARA LANGEN
Assistant Editor