Sara Langen

COMPANY NEWS
Barry Callebaut
plans to buy Brach’s Confections for a symbolic $1 and an agreement to assume $16 million of debt. Barry Callebaut also agreed to help Brach’s with its revamping, which is expected to cost up to $48 million over the next five years. Brach’s, based in Woodridge, Ill., is known for its butter-scotch-flavored candies and candy corn. Barry Callebaut is based in Zurich, Switzerland.

Chiquita Brands International Inc. sold its interest in Florida citrus joint venture The Packers of Indian River Ltd., to its joint venture partner in August. Based in Fort Pierce, Fla., the Packers of Indian River is a produce company that grows and packs grapefruit and other citrus products. The company’s assets include two packing houses and approximately 6,000 acres of groves. Chiquita is based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream Holdings Inc. completed the sale of its Dreamery and Whole Fruit Sorbet brands, and the assignment of its license for the Godiva Ice Cream brand to Integrated Brands Inc., a subsidiary of CoolBrands International, in July. In the same transaction, Dreyer’s Holdings also completed the sale of select distribution assets to Eskimo Pie Frozen Distribution Inc., a subsidiary of Integrated Brands. Dreyer’s is based in Oakland, Calif. CoolBrands is based in Markham, Ontario, Canada.

Frito-Lay introduced a new on-pack “Smart Snack” ribbon label on some of its snack products, including its Baked! brands, in August. The new labeling is an effort to give consumers more information to encourage healthier food choices. Baked! Lay’s potato crisps will be the first product to feature the new ribbon label highlighting some of the product’s nutrition information on the front of the bag—0 g trans fat, no cholesterol, and 1.5 g fat per serving. Products that feature the ribbon meet criteria developed by Kenneth Cooper, an expert on health, nutrition, and exercise, and founder of The Cooper Aerobics Center. The criteria include that the product contains 150 calories or fewer; less than 35% of calories from fat, usually 5 g or fewer; less than 7% of calories from saturated fat, usually 1 g or less; 0 g trans fats; and 240 mg sodium or fewer per 1 oz. serving. Frito-Lay had previously announced it was eliminating partially hydrogenated cooking oils from its Doritos, Tostitos, and Cheetos brands. With this switch, these brands, along with Lay’s and Ruffles potato chips, will be made with trans-fat-free oils. The company is headquartered in Purchase, N.Y.

Gardenburger Inc. received an offer in August from Pattico Inc., an entity recently formed by Gardenburger’s Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer Scott C. Wallace and certain other managers, to purchase all outstanding shares of Gardenburger’s common stock for $0.50 per share in cash in a going-private transaction. A special committee of independent directors appointed by Gardenburger’s board of directors to consider strategic alternatives available to the company will determine whether to approve the proposal and recommend it to the board for approval. The company is based in Portland, Ore.

The Hain Celestial Group and Cargill Health & Food Technologies plan to jointly develop new food and beverage product solutions for consumers to address a broad range of health concerns. By combining their expertise, the companies hope to focus on the development of the next generation of functional beverages serving health-conscious consumers. Both companies hope the collaboration will further accelerate growth in the functional foods and beverages categories. The Hain Celestial Group is based in Garden City, N.Y. Cargill is based in Minneapolis, Minn.

Hershey Foods Corp. sold a group of its gum brands to Farley’s & Sathers Candy Co. Inc. in August. Included in the transaction are Fruit Stripe chewing gum, Rain-Blo gum balls, and Super Bubble bubble gum trademarked brands. Hershey Foods Corp. is based in Hershey, Pa. Farley & Sathers Candy Co. is based in Round Lake, Minn.

JPMorgan Partners, the private equity arm of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., signed an agreement in August under which JPMP, in partnership with C. Dean Metropoulos, will acquire Pinnacle Foods Corp. from Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst Inc. and Pinnacle’s other shareholders. Based in Cherry Hill, N.J., Pinnacle manu JPMorgan Partners, the private equity arm of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., signed an agreement in August under which JPMP, in partnership with C. Dean Metropoulos, will acquire Pinnacle Foods Corp. from Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst Inc. and Pinnacle’s other shareholders. Based in Cherry Hill, N.J., Pinnacle manufactures and markets branded food products. It was formed by HMTF and C. Dean Metropoulos in 2001 to acquire Swanson frozen foods, Vlasic pickles and condiments, and Open Pit barbeque sauce from Vlasic Foods International.

Kraft Foods North America acquired the Back to Nature brand cereal and granola business from Organic Milling Inc., a privately held manufacturer of natural products, in September. Back to Nature cereal and granola products are sold in retail grocery and natural product stores across the U.S. Organic Milling, based in San Dimas, Calif., will produce Back to Nature cereals and granola for Kraft under a co-manufacturing agreement. Kraft is based in Northfield, Ill.

Owens Country Sausage is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. The company’s leadership has included three generations of the Owens family—founder C.B. Owens and his wife, Kate, their son Jerry, and grandson Stewart Owens, who is currently Chairman of the Board and CEO of Bob Evans Farms, parent company of Owens Country Sausage. The company also recently purchased a 52,777-sq-ft food production plant in Sulphur Springs, Tex., which will allow for an expansion of the company’s production of convenience foods. Owens Country Sausage is based in Richardson, Tex. 

Polymer products developer and marketer Landec Corp. announced in July that its food subsidiary Apio Inc. will sell its domestic commodity vegetable business to a group of Apio produce suppliers. The new entity will be named Apio Fresh LLC and will initially be located at Apio’s headquarters in Guadalupe, Calif. The parties have entered into a long-term supply agreement whereby Apio Fresh will supply produce for Apio’s value-added, fresh-cut specialty packaged business, as well as Apio’s Cal Ex Export business.

Presco Food Seasonings completed construction of a 20,000-sq-ft. addition to its Flemington, N.J., manufacturing facility in July. The addition will enable the company to better meet the increasing demands of its customers with greater warehousing and seasoning blend manufacturing capacity.

Silliker Inc., an international network of food testing laboratories, opened a new 20,000-sq-ft commercial food testing facility in Allentown, Pa. In order to provide better service, the laboratory features several innovations and key resources, including multi-use work-flow processes developed by Silliker. The implementation of robotic automation, in areas ranging from media preparation to testing systems, helps to assure consistent quality results and reduce the potential of cross-contamination. Work stations are designed to provide greater flexibility to meet sample volume increases, identify problems in process, and adapt to new testing technology. Silliker is based in Homewood, Ill. 

This year, Sunnyland Mills will produce its 200-millionth pound of specialty grain products since its inception in 1935. The 68-year-old company plans to roll out several new products this year in the U.S., including an Italian specialty grain called Grano (Italian for “grain”), a pearled durum wheat that can be used in place of pasta or rice in side dishes or included in soups, salads, pilafs, and main dish recipes. Grano tastes like pasta but is more nutritious because in processing only a small amount of the outer bran is removed. It is high in fiber, protein, and minerals for the same reason. Sunnyland Mills is a family-owned business located in Fresno, Calif., that produces premium quality bulgur wheat and other specialty grains.

PEOPLE NEWS
The American Culinary Federation (ACF) announced Ken Arnone, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; Derin Moore, Cumming, Ga.; and Daniel Scannell, Mendon, N.Y., are ACF’s newest Certified Master Chefs (CMCs). CMC is the highest and most demanding level of achievement of all ACF certification levels, granted only after the candidate has passed an intensive 10-day test of culinary skills and knowledge. The addition of these three CMCs brings the national total to 70 certified master chefs in the United States. 

Archer Daniels Midland Co. named Gregory W. Webb Vice President of Public Affairs. He will be responsible for relations with business and producer organizations, as well as dealing with various agribusiness issues. He has been with ADM since 1986, most recently as the company’s North American Trade Representative for Grain and Oilseeds. ADM is based in Decatur, Ill. 

Kemin Foods appointed Ron Thielenhaus Director of Operations. He will oversee manufacturing and distribution, as well as safety, engineering, and maintenance. He will also be responsible for procuring raw materials and other supplies for the company. He was previously a Plant Manager for Baxter Healthcare. The company also appointed Beth Thompson Global Regulatory Affairs Manager. She will be responsible for developing and implementing regulatory strategies for new and existing specialty ingredients for the vitamin and dietary supplement, food, and cosmetics and personal care industries. She was previously Manager of Quality Assurance and Regulatory Affairs for Novartis-Gerber Products Co. Kemin Foods is based in Des Moines, Iowa. 

The Portuguese government honored Harold Leviton, President and CEO of Leviton Manufacturing, in a rare and prestigious event at the Rhode Island State House in Providence in June. The Consul of Portugal Antonio Botelho de Sousa presented the Medal of Merit of the Portugese Communities to Leviton in recognition of the generosity and good will he has displayed toward the Portuguese community by providing jobs, education, and opportunities to generations of Portuguese employees. The Portuguese government awards the medal to individuals of Portuguese descent who support the customs, traditions, and well being of Portuguese individuals outside their native country. The presentation of the award to Leviton was unprecedented in that it was the first time the government has chosen to distinguish an individual of non-Portuguese descent with the medal. Leviton Manufacturing is based in Little Neck, N.Y. 

Shuster Laboratories named Michael Chubb Vice President of Sales in June. He will be responsible for strategic planning, business development, and implementation of sales programs for existing and new business clients. He was recently a global business-line strategist at SGS in Geneva, Switzerland, a world-wide verification, testing, and certification company. Shuster is based in Canton, Mass. 

Thermo Electron Corp. named David Champagne Director of Services, Informatics and Services. He will lead worldwide implementation, training, validation, and support services for the company’s suite of laboratory informatics solutions. He was previously Senior Vice President of Worldwide services at Lotus/IBM. Thermo Electron is based in Beverly, Mass. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration honored members of the National Conference of Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS) HACCP Committee Pilot Plant Evaluation Team with its Group Recognition Award at a ceremony in June. Team members included Randy Arbaugh, FDA; John Beers, Virginia Dept. of Agriculture; Richard Graham, State of Louisiana; John Rushing, North Carolina State University; Steve Sims, FDA; Allen Sayler, IDFA; and Bill Sveum, Kraft Foods. The award recognized the group’s exceptional teamwork across FDA organizations and stakeholders in evaluation of an NCIMS HACCP pilot as a voluntary alternative to assure the safety of Grade A milk products.

by SARA LANGEN
Assistant Editor