Sara Langen

Smucker to acquire product lines from P&G and IFF
The J.M. Smucker Co. announced in October that it reached an agreement with Procter & Gamble Co. to acquire the Jif peanut butter and Crisco cooking oils businesses in an all-stock transaction.

The Jif and Crisco brands and the associated assets will be spun off from P&G and immediately merged with Smucker. P&G shareholders will receive one share of new Smucker stock for every 50 P&G shares they hold in a tax-free transaction. Based on Smucker’s closing stock price of $25.89 on October 9, 2001, this represents a pre-tax equivalent cash price of $1 billion.

That same week, Smucker also announced that it plans to acquire formulated fruit and vegetable preparation businesses from International Flavors and Fragrances Inc. The deal involves IFF’s United States and Brazilian businesses, which have combined annual sales of $28 million. The products are sold primarily to bakeries and dairies for the manufacture of yogurt and baked goods.

Based in Orrville, Ohio, Smucker manufactures fruit spreads, ice cream toppings, health and natural foods beverages, and natural peanut butter in North America. Based in New York, N.Y., IFF manufactures flavors and fragrances used in a wide variety of consumer products including fragrances, toiletries, soaps, detergents, beverages, and food products. Based in Cincinnati, Ohio, P&G manufactures a variety of consumer products in a number of areas, including food and beverages.

Cargill enters talks to buy Cerestar
Cargill has entered into discussions with Montedison about acquiring Cerestar.

Based in Paris, France, Montedison has a 56% shareholding interest in Cerestar. Neither the principle nor the conditions of the contemplated sale have been agreed on at press time. Montedison reserves the right to terminate its discussions with Cargill at any time but is bound not to enter into discussions with a third party.

EC reviews safety of biotech crops
The European Commission has posted a comprehensive review of the results of EC-supported research into the safety of genetically modified organisms.

The publication summarizes the results of 81 projects. The research indicates that GM plants and GM-derived products so far developed and marketed have not shown any new risks to human health or the environment beyond the usual uncertainties of conventional plant breeding.

DMI seeks entries for food formulation contest
Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) is calling for entries for its fourth annual “Discoveries in Dairy Ingredients” college formulation contest.

Each year, DMI invites graduate and undergraduate college students to create imaginative food product formulations using any form of dry milk, dry buttermilk, whey, or whey derivatives such as whey proteins and isolates, cheese ingredients, or milkfat.

To enter, students must develop an innovative new product for any food category—from bakery and beverages to sauces and soups. Entries must include a product prototype and written report demonstrating the entrant’s practical knowledge of food formulating and HACCP procedures, as well as packaging and marketing for the product. All entries are due February 1, 2002.

The top prize is $5,000 for best overall product. Other awards include $3,000 each for either product marketability or creativity. Winning entries will be featured at the DMI exhibit at the 2002 IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo to be held in Anaheim, Calif., June 15–19. For more information, call 847-803-2000.

Kerry to purchase Hickory Specialties
Bob Evans Farms, Inc. announced the sale of its Hickory Specialties, Inc. subsidiary in October to Kerry Group plc, an international food products company based in Ireland, for an undisclosed amount of cash.

Bob Evans expected to report a one-time net gain on the transaction of approximately $3.0–3.5 million, or $0.08–0.10 per share, in its second fiscal quarter.

Hickory Specialties, which manufactures smoke flavorings, has production plants in Tennessee, Missouri, and Kentucky. Bob Evans is based in Columbus, Ohio.

Archer Daniels Midland Co. is restructuring its Food and Nutraceuticals Divisions in order to strengthen the company’s focus on value-added functional foods and ingredients. The company’s new Natural Health and Nutrition Division will include nutraceuticals, functional foods, and ingredients. Tony P. DeLio was named President of the new division. Based in Decatur, Ill., ADM processes agricultural products worldwide.

Bell Flavors and Fragrances, Inc. of Northbrook, Ill., announced the purchase of EIGSA (Empresa Industrializadora de Guadalajara, S.A. de C.V.) a flavor and fragrance manufacturer in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. The location will be named Bell Flavors & Fragrances de Mexico de S. de R.L. de C.V. EIGSA and Bell are both privately held flavor and fragrances manufacturers.

Bob Evans Farms Inc. introduced a new SnackWiches snack-on-the-go product, the Bob Evans Pizza Burrito. The new handheld microwavable sandwiches feature the company’s signature sausage, as well as cheese and pepperoni, and can be either frozen or refrigerated. Based in Columbus, Ohio, Bob Evans produces and distributed pork sausage and convenience food items under the Bob Evans and Owens brand names. Its subsidiary, Owens Country Sausage, Inc., also introduced a new line of regular and garlic mashed potatoes. Sold in the refrigerated foods section, the 24-oz products combine homestyle taste and microwave convenience. Based in Richardson, Tex., Owens produces and distributes pork sausage and homestyle convenience food items.

Bunge Ltd. of White Plains, N.Y., recently signed an agreement to acquire La Plata Cereal S.A., an Argentina-based agribusiness company, from Andre & Cie S.A., a Swiss agribusiness company, for $70 million in cash and assumed debt. The acquisition is expected to make Bunge the largest soy processor in Argentina. La Plata is primarily an export company, shipping grains and oilseed products to Europe and Asia. Bunge is an integrated, global agribusiness and food company operating in the farm-to-consumer food chain, with primary operations in North and South America and worldwide distribution capabilities.

Ecolab Inc. received FDA approval for its Inspexx 100 technology, an antimicrobial food treatment for pathogen reduction in poultry processing. It’s a patented peroxyacid chemistry that can be used throughout all stages of poultry processing to reduce microbial contamination on poultry carcasses, parts, and giblets. Based in St. Paul, Minn., Ecolab develops and markets cleaning, sanitizing, pest elimination, maintenance, and repair products and services for the hospitality, institutional, and industrial markets worldwide.

Kraft Foods Inc. recently completed a three-year, multi-million-dollar construction and renovation project at its 471,000-sq-ft Glenview, Ill., research and development center. The renovations include a new state-of-the-art pilot plant and packaging innovation laboratory for testing new products and packaging materials. Based in Northfield, Ill., Kraft produces a number of food brands, including Kraft cheeses, Maxwell House and Jacobs coffees, Nabisco cookies and crackers, Philadelphia cream cheese, Oscar Mayer meats, Post cereals, and Milka chocolates.

The National Center for Food Safety and Technology, Chicago, Ill., has added a new research unit that sterilizes food through high pressure combined with moderate temperatures. The center received the unit, the first manufactured by Flow International, in its role as the main research partner in a Dual Use Science and Technology consortium that includes the U.S. Army, Procter & Gamble, ConAgra, and Kraft Foods. The consortium will explore the potential of high-pressure sterilization for the production of combat rations and commercial foods.

Pernod Ricard, Paris, France, has signed an agreement to sell its soft drinks business to Cadbury-Schweppes for 700 million Euros. The business includes the Orangina, Pampryl, Yoo-Hoo, and other brands covering continental Europe, North America, and Australia. In a separate agreement, Pernod Ricard will take up an option to sell to Cadbury-Schweppes rights to its soft drink activities in all other countries for an additional 35 million Euros. Orangina-Pampryl is the second largest soft drinks producer in France, and the Orangina brand is present in numerous export markets. Yoo-Hoo is the leading chocolate drink in the US.

Praxair, Inc. of Danbury, Conn., announced the opening of a new 45,000-sqft food freezer equipment facility in Wooster, Ohio. The new facility allows customers to seek freezer designs at one operation. The facility also incorporates a parts inventory for repair and maintenance. Praxair produces, sells, and distributes atmospheric, process, and specialty gases, as well as gas- and equipment-related technologies, to the food and beverage industry.

Smithfield Foods Inc. has signed letters of intent to acquire Stadler’s Country Hams Inc. and RMH Foods Inc. Terms were not disclosed. Based in Elon College, N.C., Stadler’s produces country hams. Based in Morton, Ill., RMH Foods has Quick-n-Easy  brand pre-cooked pork and beef entrees. Based in Smithfield, Va., Smithfield is a major pork producer worldwide.

SureBeam Corp. was awarded a U.S. patent for its electronic pasteurization system for food. The process allows a single electron-beam machine to process continuously and simultaneously food products of various sizes and densities. Based in San Diego, Calif., SureBeam provides electronic pasteurization systems and services to the food industry.

Vita-Pakt Citrus Products Co., headquartered in Covina, Calif., acquired Alexander Kiwifruit Products Inc. of Lodi, Calif., in September. The kiwi products will complement the specialty citrus products the company supplies to the food and beverage industry worldwide.

Food scientists, industry professionals meet for soy symposium
Food scientists and members of the food industry met in Chicago, Ill., September 27 and 28, 2001, to discuss issues and strategies for planning the future of soy-based food industries at the 9th Annual Soy Symposium, sponsored by the United Soybean Board and the Soyfoods Association of North America.

Keynote speaker Diana Holman of WomanTrend kicked off the symposium with her address on the future of food as it relates to women and how soy can be a part of that future. Holman’s firm tracks women’s trends and behavior patterns. She talked about the key forces that drive women’s buying habits.

“For women, health is a central priority and it is a prism through which they view life,” she said.

This is a central focus for women because they’re caring for themselves, their families, and their pets, Holman said. Women’s concept of health is composed of more than just food and nutrition, however; it also encompasses beauty, spirituality, and fitness.

The “ease factor” is also very important to women, Holman said. Women want to know how they can take shortcuts that make it easy for them to live a healthy life. Developers and marketers of soy products need to keep all these concepts in mind when going after the women’s demographic, she said.

The keynote address was followed by a number of individual sessions on topics such as consumer confusion about fats and oils, the role of science in responsible promotion of soy, labeling, food safety, sensory soy issues, and marketing of soy.

The United Soybean Board took the opportunity to release the highlights of its annual survey of consumer attitudes toward soy at a news conference during the symposium. According to the survey results, nearly 90% of consumers are at least somewhat concerned about the nutritional content of the food they eat and 72% have made a change in their eating habits as a result of these concerns.

The study showed an increase in awareness of the heart health benefits of soy since the Food and Drug Administration’s 1999 approval of a cholesterol-lowering claim for soy protein. In 2001, 39% of consumers said they are aware of specific health benefits of soy. Of those, 42% are aware that soy may lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease, compared to 24% in 1999.

Another finding was that 97% of consumers are aware of soyfood products and many have tried them. More than 25% of all consumers use soy products once a week or more. The top soy-based products they’ve tried are tofu, soy veggie burgers, and soy milk.

The United Soybean Board is based in St. Louis, Mo. The Soyfoods Association of North America is based in Washington, D.C.

Assistant Editor