Kerry Group to acquire Quest Food Ingredients
Kerry Group plc, Tralee, Ireland, has entered into an agreement to acquire Quest International’s Food Ingredients Div., which manufactures emulsifiers, proteins, lactose, hydrocolloids, yeasts, enzymes, and cultures. This division accounts for about 20% of Quest’s business.

As part of the $440-million acquisition agreement, the commercial and technical relationship between Quest and the Quest Flavors and Fragrances Div. will be maintained, with Quest continuing to supply ingredients to Quest Flavors. Quest plans to invest in the expansion of its flavor manufacturing sites and technical center in the Americas and in a new creative center in Shanghai, China.

Based in Naarden, Netherlands, Quest operates facilities in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Southeast Asia and serves the pharmaceutical, culinary, snack, bakery, dairy, and confectionery markets around the world.

Food safety leaders form food irradiation council
Scientists, educators, government officials, and suppliers of food irradiation equipment and services from around the world have formed the International Council on Food Irradiation (ICFI). The council’s primary mission is to gather and disseminate information—based on sound science—on the safety and benefits of food irradiation.

Food irradiation is the process of exposing food to electromagnetic energy known as ionizing radiation to achieve desirable objectives, such as inactivating insect pests or bacteria. According to the ICFI, within approved dosages, irradiation has been shown to kill at least 99.9% of common foodborne pathogens such as Escherichia coli 0157:H7, Salmonella (various species), and Listeria monocytogenes. More than 50 countries have approved irradiation for one or more food products.

For more information, visit

Super downsize of McDonald’s fries and drinks
Hold the fries. Oak Brook, Ill.–based McDonald’s Corp. in March began to phase out its super-size fries and soft drinks at its 13,000 U.S. restaurants and plans to completely eliminate them, except for promotions, by the end of 2004. In addition to the growing concerns about obesity, the company said it made the decision to discontinue offering the super-size fries and soft drinks as a way to streamline its core menu and its restaurant operations. McDonald’s debuted the super-size menu more than a decade ago.

New soybean promises healthier soy oil
Scientists at ARS have developed a new germplasm, or soybean genetic material, for cultivating new soybean lines that have higher levels of monounsaturated fats. Oil from the beans of the germplasm contains increased levels of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat stable enough for use in salad dressings or frying oils without treatment by hydrogenation. Commercial soy oils contain 7% polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)—liquid fats that break down over time or during frying and cause off-odors—whereas the germplasm’s oil contains 3%. The low PUFA levels mean that even without hydrogenation, the germplasm’s oil would be as stable as most hydrogenated oils, yet not oxidize as quickly as other soybean oils.

For more information, visit

Ball Corp., Broomfield, Colo., will begin construction on a $40-million can-packaging facility in Belgrade, Serbia, this year. The facility, which should open in 2005, will serve the growing demand for beverage cans in Southern Europe and North Africa. The company also announced future plans to build a beverage can-manufacturing plant in Cairo, Egypt.

BASF A.G. has acquired the FreshSeal® post-harvest treatment business, CPG Technologies, from Syracuse, N.Y.–based Agway Inc. The FreshSeal products are the only polymer-based fruit and vegetable coatings available in the industry, and they will become part of the BASF Human Nutrition product line. BASF is based in Ludwigshafen, Germany.

Bumble Bee Seafoods, LLC in February announced plans to combine with Connors Bros. Income Fund, creating the largest branded seafood company in North America. San Diego, Calif.–based Bumble Bee produces canned tuna, salmon, and specialty seafood products marketed under the Bumble Bee, Clover Leaf, and Orleans brands and is the only remaining producer of canned tuna in the continental United States. Connors, which is based in New Brunswick, Canada, is the largest producer of canned sardines in the world.

Cargill Animal Nutrition in March signed a purchase agreement for the assets of Burris Mill & Feed Inc. Based in Franklinton, La., Burris focuses on aquaculture, an industry in which Cargill Animal Nutrition wants to increase its presence. Cargill Animal Nutrition, a subsidiary of Minneapolis, Minn.–based Cargill Inc., already manufactures aquaculture products in Latin America, Asia, and some U.S. locations.

Flavor and stabilizer manufacturer David Michael & Co. and Balchem Encapsulates, a business segment of Balchem Corp., plan to manufacture and market microencapsulated flavors throughout North America. These flavors can be used in a number of applications, including bakery, dairy, tea, coffee, dry mixes, confections, meats, and nutraceuticals. David Michael is based in Philadelphia, Pa., and Balchem Corp. is based in New Hampton, N.Y.

Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream Inc., Oakland, Calif., has purchased Häagen-Dazs Shoppe Co. Inc.’s franchise business from General Mills Inc. Häagen-Dazs, based in Minneapolis, Minn., operates 236 franchised ice cream shops across the U.S.

Toronto, Canada–based Heinz Canada, a subsidiary of H.J. Heinz Co., recently purchased the Canadian assets of Unifine Richardson B.V. Based in St. Marys, Ontario, Canada, Unifine manufacturers and sells salad dressings, sauces, and dessert toppings to major Canadian foodservice customers. Heinz Canada expects to keep Unifine’s identity and its business model of quick response recipe development, flexible manufacturing, and culinary expertise.

IMC Global Inc., Lake Forest, Ill., and Cargill Inc., Minneapolis, Minn., have signed an agreement to combine IMC and Cargill Crop Nutrition to create a new, publicly traded fertilizer company. Fritz Corrigan, currently Cargill Executive Vice President, will leave Cargill to become Chief Executive and President of the new company. The name of the company, headquarters location, and other members of the management team will be determined in the future. The new company will operate facilities in the U.S. and Canada.

Interstate Bakeries Corp. has ended a two-year alliance between its operating unit, Interstate Brands West Corp., and Campbell Soup Co.’s business unit, Pepperidge Farm Inc. Under the alliance, Pepperidge Farm and Interstate Brands produced and distributed a limited line of variety breads under the Pepperidge Farm brand in Arizona, Utah, Idaho, and Montana and in parts of North Dakota and Wyoming. In February, Interstate Bakeries, which is based in Kansas City, Mo., discontinued the distribution of the breads in these areas. This decision will not affect the distribution and service of Pepperidge Farm cookies, crackers, stuffing, or croutons or Interstate Brands bread and cake products in these states.

Chicago, Ill.–based private equity firm, Willis Stein & Partners has signed an asset purchase agreement to acquire the assets of Chicago–based snack food manufacturer Jays Foods LLC. Jays in March filed for bankruptcy protection. Willis Stein said it plans to keep the Jays plant in Chicago open and help the company grow under an experienced management team led by food industry veteran Tim Healy, who has been named Chairman of Jays.

Monterey Pasta Co., Salinas, Calif., recently acquired an 80% interest in Seattle, Wash.–based CIBO Naturals LLC, a manufacturer of sauces and spreads, to help strengthen its position in the growing natural foods segment. The acquisition agreement provides for the purchase of the remaining 20% ownership after four years. Monterey Pasta produces fresh refrigerated pastas, sauces, soups, and pizzas.

Meat processor Smithfield Foods Inc., Smithfield, Va., recently acquired Norwich Food Co. Ltd. and Ridpath Pek and combined the two UK–based companies to form Smithfield Foods Ltd. The new division will provide retail and foodservice customers in the UK with a full line of fresh meats and processed chilled and canned meat products.

Tate & Lyle PLC has realigned its sucralose agreements with McNeil Nutritionals, a division of Fort Washington, Pa.–based McNeil PPC Inc. Under the agreement, London–based Tate & Lyle will become the sole manufacturer of and be responsible for the world-wide ingredient sales of Splenda® brand sucralose to food and beverage manufacturers. It will also supply sucralose to McNeil Nutritionals on an exclusive basis. McNeil Nutritionals will remain the owner of the Splenda brand and have commercial responsibility for the worldwide Splenda brand retail and foodservice business.

Springdale, Ark.–based Tyson Foods Inc. says it will appeal a decision by a federal jury in Montgomery, Ala., that awarded $1.28 billion to a group of cattle ranchers after ruling cattle prices had been unfairly manipulated by the company. The complaint had originally been brought against IBP (now known as Tyson Fresh Meats) in 1996 by a small group of cattle producers who alleged the company’s cattle buying practices allowed it to “manipulate and control cattle prices.” Unrelated to the jury’s verdict, Tyson plans to reduce the number of its employees by approximately 5%, or nearly 6,000, primarily through attrition. It will spend about $70 million this year to further automate some of its facilities.

In response to research results linking the consumption of trans fats to long-term health risks, especially cardiovascular disease, natural and organic foods retailer Wild Oats Markets Inc. recently removed all products containing hydrogenated oils from its 75 Wild Oats stores. The company, based in Boulder, Colo., operates more than 100 natural foods stores in 24 states and in Canada and has always offered products that do not contain hydrogenated oils. The Food and Drug Administration has given food manufacturers a 2006 deadline to label the amount of trans fats in their products.

David White has been named Senior Vice President of Global Supply Chain, at Campbell Soup Co., Camden, N.J., where he will manage engineering, manufacturing, procurement, logistics, and customer service for this division. He earned his B.S. degree in industrial engineering and M.S. degree in manufacturing engineering from the University of Massachusetts.

Cargill Inc., Minneapolis, Minn., recently hired Elaine Tecklenburg as New Products Manager of its North American sweeteners group. Prior to joining Cargill, she worked in product development at Mars Inc. and Firmenich.

Chiquita Brands International Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio, named Michel Loeb President of Chiquita Fresh Group–Europe. His responsibilities will include marketing the Chiquita brand and launching new value-added, fruit-based products in Europe.

Peter Comline in February joined D.D. Williamson’s global sales team as European Sales Manager. Comline, who has more than 30 years experience, previously managed Cerestar’s caramel color sales and was brewmaster at Bass Brewing. D.D. Williamson is based in Louisville, Ky.

Degussa Corp.’s Coatings and Colorants Business Unit recently reorganized its resins business line into two new business lines and appointed Christian Kather to head of BL Performance Resins and Thomas Wildt to head of BL Polyesters. Werner Freitag leads R&D, replacing Norbert Finke who transferred to Degussa’s corporate center in Duesseldorf, Germany. Degussa Corp., a subsidiary of Degussa, is located in Parsippany, N.J.

H.J. Heinz Co. recently announced that Neil Harrison, Executive Vice President and CEO, Heinz North America, has left the company to pursue other interests. He began working for the company, which is based in Pittsburgh, Pa., in 1997 as the leader of its U.S. frozen foods business.

Main Street Ingredients recently promoted Rudy Rott to Vice President of Operations. Prior to accepting this position, he served as Director of Manufacturing Operations at the company. Rott has 25 years of food industry experience including expertise in blending, agglomeration, plant operations, and sales and marketing. Main Street is located in La Crosse, Wis.

Robertet Flavors Inc. recently promoted Gary Link to Senior Key Accounts Executive, Diana Furey to Group Leader of Flavor Applications Laboratory, Laurie Angley to Group Leader of Flavor Development, and Sharon Rubin to Flavorist. Robertet is based in Piscataway, N.J.

Pedro Valle-Vega has joined Homewood, Ill.–based Silliker Inc. as Director of the Silliker-American Quality Lab in Mexico. Valle-Vega, who has 15 years of industry experience, is a professor of food toxicology at Facultad de Quimica, Unam, Mexico City, Mexico. Prior to joining Silliker, he was Quality Assurance Manager at Unilever.

J.M. Smucker Co., Orrville, Ohio, has elected Andrew G. Platt to the positions of Chief Information Officer and Vice President of Information Services. The company has also promoted Vincent C. Byrd to Senior Vice President of Consumer Market; Fred A. Duncan to Senior Vice President of Special Markets; Mark R. Belgya to Vice President and Treasurer; and M. Ann Harlan to Vice President of General Counsel and Secretary.

Symrise BmbH & Co. KG, Holzminden, Germany, has appointed Rainer K. Grimm as interim Chief Financial Officer. He replaces Karl-Heinz Barz who recently left the company for personal reasons.

New Products
Interstate Bakeries Corp. has introduced a new snack cake, Hostess Caramel Ho Hos®, that includes a layer of caramel in addition to the famous vanilla creme filling of Ho Hos. The product, a Swiss cake roll coated with chocolate icing, is available nationwide. Inter-state, the nation’s largest wholesale baking company, is based in Kansas City, Mo.

Keto Foods & Snacks recently launched the first ready-to-drink milk, Keto™ Milk, with only 1 g of carbohydrates per serving. The product, which is an alternative to cow’s milk and soy milk, contains 12 g of protein per serving and twice the calcium per serving of cow’s milk and no cholesterol. Packaged in shelf-stable cartons, the milk is much easier to digest because it has no lactose. Keto is located in Neptune, N.J.

CarbFriendly™ sandwiches are the latest addition to Market Fare Foods’ low-carbohydrate product line. Ideal for convenience stores, vending machines, and retail operations, the frozen heat-and-eat sandwiches are available in grilled chicken, cheeseburger, and turkey burger with Swiss cheese varieties. The company, located in Phoenix, Ariz., plans to release additional varieties.

Food marketer and distributor Modern Foods, Peru, Ind., recently introduced Dwight Yoakam’s Boom Boom Shrimp, hand-selected Pacific Ocean white shrimp lightly breaded with Buffalo wing-style seasoning. The pre-baked, tail-off shrimp are the first seafood item offered under the Dwight Yoakam’s Bakersfield Biscuit brand. The product is available nationwide at Wal-Mart Supercenters.

Vanilla Chai, a blend of black tea, exotic spices, and vanilla flavor, is the latest addition to R.C. Bigelow Inc.’s tea line, which consists of more than 50 varieties of flavored, traditional, green, iced, decaffeinated, and herbal teas. Each box of Bigelow® Vanilla Chai Tea contains 20 individually overwrapped tea bags. R.C. Bigelow is located in Fairfield, Conn.

Assistant Editor
[email protected]