June's top stories: Danone-Michel et Augustin deal, Nestlé’s sodium plans

Michel et Augustin shareholders have entered negotiations to enable Danone to acquire a minority interest in the company, and Nestlé extended its collaboration with Chromocell Corporation to reduce sodium in foods. Foodprocessing-technology.com wraps up key headlines from June 2016.


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Danone plans to acquire minority stake in Michel et Augustin

Michel et Augustin shareholders entered exclusive negotiations to enable Danone to acquire a minority interest in the company.

This is the first project for Danone's new corporate venture capital unit, Danone Manifesto Ventures (DMV), which is based in New York, US.

Launched in 2004, France-based Michel et Augustin designs and markets a premium range of biscuits, dairy products, fresh desserts and beverages.

Nestlé and Chromocell extend collaboration to reduce sodium in foods

Switzerland-based food and beverage manufacturer Nestlé extended its collaboration with life sciences company Chromocell Corporation to reduce sodium in foods.

Nestlé will continue to offer funding to Chromocell to utilise its Chromovert Technology to identify natural compounds, which offer similar or equal taste to salt.

This collaboration builds on the identification of several compounds that enable sodium reduction.

Tyrrells to expand operations into Australia and Asia-Pacific

UK potato crisp producer Tyrrells announced plans to boost its brand in the Australian and Asia-Pacific markets, which comes just within a year of investing in snack foods maker Yarra Valley.

As part of this plan, it will open a facility near Melbourne, Victoria.

Victoria was chosen for the new facility as the state is the largest exporter of food products. Last year, this region made exports worth approximately A$12bn ($8.8bn).

DuPonts' Grindsted plant in Denmark to become carbon dioxide neutral by next year

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The DuPont Nutrition & Health facility in Grindsted, Denmark, is set to become carbon dioxide (CO2) neutral next year once the plant's large coal boiler is retrofitted to burn wood chips.

DuPont-Grindsted plant manager Martin K Madsen said: "To fire with wood chips instead of coal is a huge win for the environment.

"Not only will we remove 45,000t of carbon dioxide currently produced using non-renewable energy, but we will also increase the amount of 'waste' energy that we sell to the local district heating network."

A reduction in CO2 by 45,000t amounts to removing 20,000 average cars annually from the road.

The energy consumption at the emulsifier plant in Grindsted corresponds to heat consumption in a city that has a population of 10,000.

Probiotic ingredient producer Ganeden expands global footprint

US-based probiotic ingredient producer and distributor Ganeden is expanding its presence in the global market with new partnerships and product launches.

Ganeden's probiotic ingredient GanedenBC30 is used in more than 500 probiotic food and beverages.

As part of its global expansion plan, the Ohio-based company has recently signed contracts with companies operating in countries, including Bangladesh, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Molino Cañuelas Sacifia to acquire Cargill's wheat flour assets in Argentina

US-based agricultural product manufacturer Cargill signed an agreement to sell its wheat flour assets in Argentina to Molino Cañuelas Sacifia, a flour and baked goods producer.

Financial details were not divulged by the two companies.

The Argentinean company will acquire Cargill's mills in Buenos Aires, La Pampa, Santa Fe and Chaco, as well as the whole process from wheat growing to distribution.

EIB provides loan to FrieslandCampina for research and development

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The European Investment Bank (EIB) provided a €150m loan to dairy company FrieslandCampina, for conducting research and development activities in Europe.

This is EIB's first ever loan to a company in the Dutch agricultural sector.

FrieslandCampina was established in 1871 by nine farmers with the acquisition of a cheese factory in Wieringerwaard, the Netherlands.

The company expanded its operations through mergers, and it currently has operations spread across more than 100 countries.

University of Huddersfield to develop new ways to include blackcurrant by-product into food

Food scientists at the UK's University of Huddersfield are conducting a study that explores ways to introduce blackcurrant pomace into bread, muffins, biscuits and breakfast foods.

The pomace is a rich source of polyphenols and fibre.

Lucozade Ribena Suntory has provided samples of pomace, which is the by-product after the blackcurrants have been pressed for juice.

The university researchers, including Dr Vassilis Kontogiorgos, Professor Grant Campbell and Dr Katerina Alba, are conducting the research as part of the UK's contribution to a Europe-wide project, called Berrypom.

The aim of the research is to exploit the nutritional and economic value of pomace, which consists of skins, pulp, seeds and stems of berries.

General Mills and South Dakota university partner for oats variety development

General Mills opened an oat variety development laboratory at South Dakota State University (SDSU) campus in Brookings, US.

This lab will focus on boosting the sustainability and quality of oats in the country.

General Mills vice-president and chief science and technology development officer Jim Kirkwood said: "Our company has made a public commitment to source 100% of our oats by 2020 from growing regions that demonstrate continuous improvement against industry-based environmental metrics.

Arla launches protein cottage cheese in UK

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UK-based Arla Foods expanded its Arla Protein range with Arla Protein Cottage Cheese, in order to cater to the growing number of consumers seeking protein rich foods.

Launched 18 months ago, Arla Protein is valued at £5.2m, and the cheese contains 20g of protein a serving.

The Arla Protein range includes drinks and yogurt pots in several flavours.

Arla Protein brand manager Steph Barker said: "We're delighted to be building on the success of the Arla Protein range by taking it into the cheese category.

"Arla Protein Cottage Cheese, which is made with all naturally sourced ingredients, is a versatile ingredient that allows consumers to easily add protein to their diet."