February's top stories: UK Government rejects sugar tax of 20%, Chobani rejects PepsiCo's bid

The UK Government has rejected plans to levy sugar tax of up to 20% as a measure to control obesity in the country, and Greek yogurt manufacturer Chobani has rejected PepsiCo's bid to purchase a majority stake. Foodprocessing-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from February 2016.


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UK Government rejects plans to levy sugar tax

The UK Government rejected plans to levy sugar tax of up to 20% as a measure to control obesity in the country.

However, the government intends to use the threat of a levy to compel the industry to reformulate their drinks to reduce sugar content that causes obesity and other health problems.

This strategy is expected to unveiled towards the end of the month, reported the Financial Times.

Sugar tax will be levied if proper measures are not taken by manufacturers to tackle the obesity crisis and produce healthier products.

Yogurt company Chobani rejects purchase offer from PepsiCo

Greek yogurt manufacturer Chobani rejected PepsiCo's bid to purchase a majority stake.

Established by Hamdi Ulukaya, Chobani appointed Goldman Sachs Group last year to look for a suitable partner who could invest in the company in exchange for a minority stake.

It intended to raise proceeds to bolster its production and distribution in other countries. The firm was looking for a strategic partnership so that it can work in categories such as dips.

Last year, it was approached by several investors, including PepsiCo.

Pilgrim's Pride plans $190m investment in chicken processing plants in US

JBS subsidiary Pilgrim's Pride announced plans to invest $190m to bolster efficiencies of its chicken processing plants across the US.

The plan is intended to bolster growth with core customers, as well as production of its Pierce Chicken brand.

The company plans to spend the capital in feed production, fresh chicken, and prepared foods, including case ready.

Nestlé Canada recalls Good Start 2 infant formula

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Nestlé recalled its Good Start 2 concentrated liquid infant formula due to a problem with the minerals in Canada.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) stated that though some infants who consumed products from four recalled batches of formula have fallen ill, it is not confirmed if they fell ill due to consuming these products.

Following consumer complaints, the product has been recalled across the country.

The CFIA stated: "Consumption of the affected product could lead to lower intake of some nutrients due to reduced bioavailability."

Emmi to acquire 60% stake in Bettinehoeve

Emmi will purchase a 60% stake in Netherlands-based goat's cheese manufacturer Bettinehoeve to strengthen its business in the growing market of goat's milk products.

The Swiss milk processor is expected to close the deal with Bettinehoeve by the end of the month.

Emmi expects to establish itself in the goat's milk product segment, which have high demand due to nutritional benefits.

Mars to remove artificial colours from food products

US-based company Mars announced it will stop using artificial colours in its food products.

The company aims to meet consumer demand for natural ingredients in food products. Although artificial colours do not affect human health or safety, customers prefer to avoid them.

Mars will make the change in a range of items, including gum, chocolate, food and drinks.

Under this shift, Mars will collaborate with its suppliers to find alternatives that will help the company to maintain the quality of its products, as well as retain vibrant colours.

EIB grants €40m loan to Puratos

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The European Investment Bank (EIB) has granted a seven-year loan of €40m to Puratos, which offers a wide range of bakery, patisserie and chocolate products.

Puratos intends to use the amount for its R&D programme in the areas of nutrition, food processing, shelf life extension and food ingredients.

R&D activities will specificially be carried out in the development of new fermentation-based products and nutritious functional ingredients for the bakery, patisserie and chocolate sectors.

Nestlé to acquire remaining stake in Osem for $840m

Nestlé will acquire the remaining 36.32% stake it does not own from Israel-based listed food company Osem for $840m.

Nestlé agreed with Osem's special committee of the board to purchase 40.2 million shares at a price of $21.02 (ILS82.50) per share.

Initially, Nestlé offered $20.3 (ILS80) per share in November. The transaction depends on approval of the minority shareholders of Osem.

Nestlé has invested in the Israeli company for more than 20 years. The Swiss food giant currently owns 63.7% in the firm.

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 roll-out 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 the use of any 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.

Arla Foods commits to boost quality of dairy production in Nigeria

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Arla has made a commitment to invest in Nigeria's dairy production and share knowledge to boost quality of raw milk production.

Steen Hadsbjerg, director of Arla's regional office in Sub Saharan Africa, signed a letter of intent to assist the local dairy sector in Nigeria.

Hadsbjerg said: "In order for Arla to have a long-term successful business in Nigeria, it is important that we engage in the development of the local dairy sector.

"The Nigerian Government looks very positively on the companies that commit to taking a local responsibility and help create a better balance between imported and locally produced dairy products in the market."