September's top stories: Fourth chocolate type unveiled, Bunge to acquire 70% stake in IOI Loders Croklaan

Barry Callebaut unveiled fourth chocolate type Ruby, Bunge agreed to acquire 70% ownership stake in IOI Loders Croklaan (Loders) for $946m. Foodprocessing-technology.com wraps-up key headlines from September 2017.


Barry Callebaut unveils fourth chocolate type Ruby

Zurich-based manufacturer of chocolate and cocoa products Barry Callebaut Group unveiled a new chocolate type called Ruby, which is made from the Ruby cocoa bean.

The chocolate type has been produced 80 years after the launch of white chocolate as the third type, which followed dark and milk chocolate.

Ruby chocolate is claimed to offer a new taste experience, which is neither milky sweet nor bitter.


Bunge to acquire 70% stake in IOI Loders Croklaan for $946m

Global agribusiness and food company Bunge agreed to acquire a 70% ownership stake in IOI Loders Croklaan (Loders) from IOI Berhad (IOI) for $946m.

The deal was unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both Bunge and IOI. It is expected to complete in the next 12 months, subject to customary closing conditions and a majority approval of IOI shareholders.

IOI will retain a 30% ownership stake and customary protective rights upon completion of the transaction.


Nestlé USA to acquire plant-based food manufacturer Sweet Earth

Nestlé USA agreed to acquire plant-based foods manufacturer Sweet Earth.

With this acquisition, Nestlé USA will foray into the plant-based foods segment, which is expected to become a $5bn market by 2020.

Established by co-founders Kelly and Brian Swette in 2011, Sweet Earth offers frozen meals, burritos, breakfast sandwiches, and chilled plant-based burgers and proteins to more than 10,000 stores such as Whole Foods, Target, Kroger, and Walmart.


Pilgrim's Pride acquires prepared foods supplier Moy Park for $1.3bn

US-based food company Pilgrim's Pride (Pilgrim's) acquired poultry and prepared foods supplier Moy Park from Brazilian meat processing company JBS for approximately $1.3bn.

The decision to acquire Moy Park was approved by a Special Committee of Pilgrim's board of directors.

Lovette further noted that the acquisition of Moy Park will enable the company to explore new business opportunities by using its fully integrated poultry production platform, as well as its presence in prepared foods.


FrieslandCampina begins construction of new distribution centre in Netherlands

Dutch dairy cooperative FrieslandCampina started construction on a new distribution centre in Meppel, the Netherlands.

FrieslandCampina’s new distribution centre will be built in the Meppel Noord II industrial zone, covering an area of 31,000m² and offering storage space to accommodate 45,000 pallets.

It will be used to store and transfer dairy products coming from FrieslandCampina's production locations in Beilen and Meppel.


New report reveals almost 63% of UK people blame producers for food fraud

Almost 63% of people in the UK would blame producers for food fraud when compared with retailers, distributors and farmers, according to the National Farmers Union (NFU) Mutual Food Fraud Report 2017.

Coming at a time when the UK is preparing to exit the EU, the report shows that food confidence in the country has declined significantly due to fraud cases such as the horse meat scandal.

The new research by the food and drink manufacturing insurer also reveals that only 12% of people have confidence in the European food chain and just 7% in the global chain, fewer than one in every ten people.


Simmons to invest $300m for new chicken processing facility in Arkansas, US

Poultry producer Simmons Prepared Foods revealed plans to invest $300m to build a new chicken facility in Arkansas, US.

Located in Benton County between Decatur and Gentry, the new plant would help create nearly 1,500 jobs in the region and new contracts with local Arkansas farmers.

Simmons anticipates that production activities at its new facility will commence by 2019 and expects to bring total employment at the operation to more than 2,300 by 2022.


Food companies to standardise date labels worldwide by 2020

The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), a group of 400 consumer goods manufacturers from 70 countries, and Champions 12.3 have unanimously agreed for a Call to Action to standardise food date labels worldwide by 2020.

A group of consumer goods makers and retailers such as Tesco, Kellogg's, Walmart, Campbell Soup, Bimbo, Pick n Pay, Nestlé, Carrefour, and Unilever have supported the plan to simplify food date labels.

Streamlining date codes will help customers to reduce the amount of edible food thrown out by households, saving them money and reducing their environmental footprint.


Pagoda and AgroFresh to establish after-harvest fruit processing centre in China

Chinese fruit retail chain Pagoda signed a cooperative agreement with US-based AgroFresh to establish an after-harvest processing centre for fruit in China.

Both companies have agreed to invest in the project and jointly research a solution that will address the difficulties of processing fruit after harvest.

By establishing the new processing centre, both companies intend to minimise damage to fruit during transit and storage periods, as well as restore freshness and quality.


Unilever sells South Africa spreads business to Remgro

Unilever entered an agreement with South Africa-based investment group Remgro to sell its spreads business, valued at R7bn ($527.95m).

Remgro, which is part-owned by Johann Rupert, chairman of the luxury goods group Richemont, will, in exchange, sell its stake of 25.75% in Unilever South Africa Holdings (Unilever SA).

The deal also includes a cash consideration of R4.9bn ($369m), representing a total transaction value of R11.9bn ($897m).