2016: The year's biggest Food Processing Technology stories

Salt of the Earth is expanding its production, and Frutarom Industries has signed an investment contract with Algalo Industries. Foodprocessing-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from 2016.


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Salt of the Earth expands production capacity for reduced sodium solutions

Sustainable sea salt solutions provider Salt of the Earth announced plans to expand the production of its all-natural ‘Mediterranean Umami’ clean-label sodium-reduction ingredient.

Its $1m investment in production facilities is nearing completion.

The company made significant investments to increase the production of Mediterranean Umami (formerly Umamix), which recorded unprecedented sales growth in the first and second quarter of last year.

Salt of the Earth CEO Dovik Tal said: "The growing demand and increasing sales of our sodium-reduction solutions in the first half of 2016 pushed us to triple production and to hire senior food technologists."

Frutarom signs algae products investment contract

Flavours and speciality natural ingredients company Frutarom Industries signed an investment contract with Algalo Industries to gain exclusive marketing rights for algae products worldwide.

Biotechnologies start-up Israel-based Algalo Industries developed a method for the cultivation, harvesting and processing of a wide range of algae that produces active ingredients to be used in the dietary, food and clinical nutrition supplements, as well as cosmetics industries.

These algae include strong antioxidants, proteins, lipids and carotenoids that maintain cardio-vascular health, a strong immune system, and healthy skeletal and bone structure.

Olam acquires Amber Foods for $275m

Olam International purchased Amber Foods, which owns the wheat milling and pasta manufacturing assets of the BUA Group in Nigeria, for $275m.

The BUA Group is a diversified foods and infrastructure business group in Nigeria. Among the top five wheat millers in the country, it mills 3,760t of wheat and produces 700t of pasta a day.

The assets purchased comprise two wheat mills and a pasta manufacturing facility in Lagos, a non-operating mill in Kano in the northern part of Nigeria, and a wheat mill and pasta manufacturing plant, under construction, in Port Harcourt.

PureCircle to build new processing plant to double production

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Malaysian natural sweetener company PureCircle revealed plans to construct a new processing plant to increase the production capacity of stevia leaf extract.

The new plant will also have a line specifically for the Zeta family of ingredients. The Zeta ingredients contain steviol glycosides, such as Reb M, with the most sugar-like taste and allows for calorie reductions.

PureCircle chief commercial officer Jason Hecker said: "The demand for PureCircle's Zeta ingredients has grown exponentially. This plant will allow us to support the stevia industry in a way that is unmatched by other suppliers."

TreeHouse Foods completes acquisition of ConAgra Foods’ private brands for $2.7bn

US-based TreeHouse Foods acquired the private brands operations of ConAgra Foods for $2.7bn in cash.

TreeHouse funded the deal by closing its earlier announced offerings of $775m in total principal senior notes that were due in 2024 with a 6% annual interest rate and common stock issuance of 13.3 million shares for $65 a share, aggregating $862.5m in total proceeds.

The remaining amount was availed under the company's revolving credit facility. The purchase expands TreeHouse's presence in private label dry and refrigerated groceries, and will be known as TreeHouse private brands.

General Mills to roll-out organic cereals under Annie's brand to improve $2.3bn cereal unit

US-based food company General Mills unveiled plans to introduce three organic cereals under the Annie's brand, in an effort to improve its $2.3bn cereal business in the country.

These USDA-certified cereals are produced without using artificial flavours, synthetic colours or preservatives.

In a statement, General Mills said that the three Annie's branded cereals to be stocked at retail shelves include Frosted Oat Flakes, Berry Bunnies and Cocoa Bunnies.

Cadbury partners with Fairtrade

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Fairtrade and UK-based confectionary company Cadbury entered a global partnership called Cocoa Life programme, to secure the long-term future of cocoa farming communities.

The new global partnership will support the roll-out of Cocoa Life to Cadbury brands, driving greater scale and impact for cocoa farmers and their communities.

The new partnership will cover all Cadbury brands in key markets worldwide, and initially start in UK and Ireland this year. As part of the global roll-out, all Cadbury products will carry the Cocoa Life logo on the front of pack.

South Africa allows import of US meat products

The South African Government allowed the sale of US beef, pork and poultry products, ending a 15-year trade dispute. The trade dispute was resolved following months of discussion.

The first import of US poultry products received at the Port of Durban was cleared by Port Health Authorities.

With the shipment, imported frozen chicken legs became available before the 15 March deadline set by US President Obama.

JAB Beech to acquire Krispy Kreme Doughnuts

US-based Krispy Kreme Doughnuts was acquired by a unit of JAB Holding for approximately $1.35bn.

This deal marked the latest acquisition by JAB Holding. Recent purchases include single-serve coffee machine maker Keurig Green Mountain, which was bought in 2015 for $13.9bn.

JAB Holding offered $21 a share for the doughnut company. At the close of the deal, Krispy Kreme will continue to be independently operated from its current headquarters in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Krispy Kreme CEO Tony Thompson said: "JAB's experience and industry knowledge make them the ideal partner to help grow the iconic Krispy Kreme brand throughout the world."

Japan-based Nagatanien acquires Chaucer

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Japanese manufacturer and distributor of pre-mixed and instant food Nagatanien acquired specialist bread producer Chaucer. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

The acquisition is beneficial for both firms as they focus on health and wellness products, as well as natural ingredients.

The deal will provide a foundation to improve their strategic growth platform, where each company can take advantage from their existing relationships and their respective infrastructures.