Sainsbury’s swaps traditional plastic trays across beef mince range for vacuum-packed alternative
Sainsbury’s is swapping traditional, plastic tray packaging for a new vacuum-packed alternative across its beef mince range, saving 450 tonnes of plastic annually. The new packaging will result in a minimum 55% reduction in plastic per product. The beef mince products will be vacuum-packed for freshness by removing all oxygen which typically causes a product to eventually spoil. The new packaging will contain the same amount of beef mince, but is smaller in size, helping customers to use their freezer and fridge space more efficiently by taking up less space. The move is the latest in a string of changes made by the retailer in a bid to halve its use of own-brand plastic packaging by 2025. Sainsbury’s was the first UK supermarket to remove plastic bags for loose fruit, vegetables and bakery items from all stores, as well as the first to remove all black plastic from chilled ready meals in 2019. More recently, Sainsbury’s announced the removal of single-use plastic lids across its own-brand yoghurt, crème fraiche, sour cream, cream, cottage cheese, custard and dip pots, saving 71 million pieces of plastic per year. Whilst back in September, Sainsbury’s also made its own-brand coffee pod range fully recyclable. Claire Hughes, director of Product and Innovation at Sainsbury’s, says: “We know how environmentally conscious our customers are and we’re constantly looking for new ways to innovate to achieve our goals. We strive to be bold in the changes we are making, which is why we’re pleased to be the first UK retailer to vacuum pack all our beef mince range. “We know it’s important that we offer customers the same great value and quality products whilst also doing everything we can to reduce plastic packaging. This is the latest in a long line of changes we have pioneered in the space, and customers can expect much more to come from Sainsbury’s.”
HUL to sell Annapurna and Captain Cook brands
Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) has signed an agreement for the sale of its atta and salt business carried out under the brands ‘Annapurna’ and ‘Captain Cook’. The brands are being sold to Uma Global Foods and Uma Consumer Products, which are subsidiaries of Reactivate Brands International, a Singapore-headquartered company and an affiliate of CSAW. CSAW is focused on acquiring and scaling up food brands to promote affordable wellness. HUL’s decision to divest is in line with a stated intent of exiting non-core categories while continuing to drive its growth agenda in the packaged foods business of dressings, scratch cooking and soups. The deal envisages the transfer of trademarks, copyrights and other intellectual properties associated with India and several other geographies. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, and HUL will continue to manage the business until the completion of the transaction. Sanjiv Mehta, CEO & Managing Director of HUL, said: “Launched more than two decades ago, Annapurna and Captain Cook enjoy strong equity. Given our strategic priorities and portfolio choices, we believe it is in the business’s best interest to sell these brands to Reactivate Brands International, which is well-positioned to unlock their full potential.” Ashok Vasudevan, co-founder of Uma Global Foods, said: “We are delighted to bring Annapurna and Captain Cook into our portfolio. Both these brands have a long history of providing high-quality food products to Indian consumers. We are confident of scaling them up and expanding globally, leveraging founders’ experience. These brands fit well with our mission to promote affordable wellness.”
Tyson Foods to acquire Williams Sausage Company
Tyson Foods has signed an agreement to acquire Williams Sausage Company. Williams Sausage Company employs approximately 500 team members and provides fresh and fully cooked sausage, bacon, and sandwiches to retail and foodservice customers. “The addition of Williams Sausage Company aligns with our strategic intent of expanding our capacity to serve our customers,” said Stewart Glendinning, group president, Prepared Foods for Tyson Foods. “We also look forward to welcoming Williams’ dedicated team members to the Tyson Foods family.” “The Williams Family has been very blessed for the last 65 years by dedicated team members, great customers, and fantastic suppliers that have allowed us to build a quality food company,” said Williams Sausage Company president and CEO Roger Williams. “There are not many companies to which we could entrust what we have built, and we are very pleased that in Tyson Foods we have found that partner who understands the heritage and culture of our family business and will be able to take it to the next level. We believe this to be a very positive move for our family and our team members that will ensure the future of all stakeholders.” Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, and the transaction is still subject to approval by U.S. regulators.
Nulogy hails collaborative success of Packaging Innovations
Contract packing software specialist, Nulogy, celebrated the success of the Packaging Innovations show held at the NEC, with significant interest from its co-pack, 3PL and FMCG customers. Nulogy saw a large number of visitors to its stand, along with five of its customers, CEVA Logistics, Glowcroft, Kinaxia Logistics, Marsden Packaging and GXO who similarly enjoyed a very busy show. Collaboration was a core theme for visitors, and with the current headwinds faced by the wider economy, many businesses are now seeing the value provided by digitalisation. Josephine Coombe, Managing Director of Nulogy Europe said; “We are delighted with the success of Packaging Innovations in helping promote how organisations are leveraging our technology to enhance agility and responsiveness in their co-pack and value-added service operations. “Our customers can attest that the best contract packers run the best co-pack software with Nulogy! This year’s show was the perfect opportunity to continue partnerships and expand our reach.”
Linas Agro Group invests €32 million in instant foods plant
AB Kauno Grūdai, an AB Linas Agro Group subsidiary, plans to invest EUR 32 million in expanding its instant foods plant in Alytus. It is expected that the Group’s instant foodproduction will almost double. The new capacity is planned to be commissioned in the first quarter of 2024, with an additional 250 to 300 employees. In 2022, Kauno Grūdai produced and sold almost 255 million units of instant products. The planned capacity of the new production unit is 240 million units per year, including 120 million units of instant noodles and porridge in cups and 120 million units of instant noodles in packets. “At the end of July, we announced plans to launch an instant foods plant in Kaišiadorys after reconstructing the former slaughterhouse of the Kaišiadorys poultry farm, at an investment of EUR 6.5 million. However, we see that the market demand for instant foods is much higher, so we have decided to expand immediately, increasing the expected production capacity and investment size. This investment is one of the stages of implementing our strategy to expand our business related to food production and processing of agricultural raw materials,” said Mažvydas Šileika, chief financial officer of AB Linas Agro Group. AB Kauno Grūdai has two plants producing instant food – Kėdainiai and Alytus. The Kėdainiai plant, operating since 2011, annually produces and sells 105 million packets of instant noodles and 40 million cups of instant porridge. The plant in Alytus has been in operation since 2019 and currently makes around 120 million cups of instant noodles annually. A new plant of approximately 11,000 square meters will be built next to it. Kauno Grūdai will lease the land for the new plant from the State. “We are at 100% capacity, and the market for instant products is growing, so we need to make the most of the opportunities as soon as possible. We will be building a second plant next to the existing one, but twice as big – production in Alytus will triple. We chose Alytus because of better prospects, more convenient management, and work organization: a team of highly qualified specialists has been working here successfully for several years; we will not have to rebuild it in another city, and everything will be faster and more convenient,” Andrius Pranckevičius, deputy chairman of the Board of Linas Agro Group and the CEO of AB Kauno Grudai, explains the motives for the decision to move the investment to another city. More than 96% of the Group’s instant products are exported. The main export markets are the UK, the Scandinavian countries, and Southern and Western Europe.
The Oxford Artisan Distillery appoints Marcin Miller as chairman
The Oxford Artisan Distillery, the English Whisky producer leading the way on sustainable farming in spirits production, has appointed Marcin Miller as chairman. This is excellent news for the company which recently announced investment from Diageo accelerator Distill Ventures. Marcin is one of the original investors in the distillery and brings heavyweight spirits industry experience and a track record of building highly successful super premium brands. With a background in drinks publishing and PR, Marcin co-founded Number One Drinks company in 2006 to import and distribute Japan’s finest whiskies throughout Europe. Alice Lascelles commented in The Financial Times that “the distributor helped kick-start the trade in Japanese whisky.” He has also co-founded two other distilleries: The Kyoto Distillery in Japan (which entered a strategic partnership with Pernod Ricard in March 2020) and Oslo Håndverksdestilleri in Norway. Miller says: “I’m now focusing my time on purpose-led brands and projects so I’m thrilled to take up the Chairmanship of The Oxford Artisan Distillery. Working with heritage grains, the team at Oxford is leading the revolution in tackling sustainable farming whilst producing exquisite whiskies. With Distill Ventures as partners, we have ambitious and exciting growth plans in place.” The Oxford Artisan Distillery is seeking to improve farming practices in the category. It produces spirit using biodiverse populations of heritage grain, cultivated exclusively for the distillery using a technique known as Restorative Continuous Grain Cropping (R-CGC). This means the distillery’s farmers don’t use chemicals and grow the grain with just an understory of clover. This approach has a multitude of benefits: sequestering carbon; improving soil and river health; creating life-rafts for biodiversity and restoring eco-systems within arable fields. Furthermore, these types of grains were originally bred for their flavour in the production of beer and bread, meaning they lend themselves to producing spirit of exceptional taste and quality. David Smith, CEO, says: “I’m delighted Marcin Miller has agreed to become our chairman as we enter the exciting next phase of our journey. His experience and counsel will be invaluable as we introduce our proposition to a growing audience in the UK and abroad.” Marcin Miller is a Master of the Quaich; a Rectifier of the Gin Guild; a Liveryman of The Worshipful Company of Distillers; and a Kentucky Colonel.
Kite Packaging seek candidates for Management Apprenticeship Programme
Kite Packaging are seeking candidates leaving college or sixth form for their new Management Apprenticeship Programme set to commence in September 2023. The four year programme combines work-based learning with academic study at Sheffield Hallam University, leading to a BSc (Honours) Packaging Design and Technology. This includes attending the university a maximum of twenty-five days each year on day release with all travel expensed. Apprentices will benefit from exposure to all business functions with the opportunity to shape their own career based on which best suits their capabilities. Candidates can expect to work with the commercial and purchasing team, support account managers with customer projects and help the sales team generate and manage enquiries. They will also support warehouse operations and assist branch managers with administration and data management. Upon completion, successful candidates will progress into team leader and managerial positions. The packaging company is looking to appoint at least one apprentice for each of their ten locations in the UK, offering a basic starting salary of £20,000. This will increase in increments of £2,000 every twelve months, going up to £28,000 on completion of the programme. Successful candidates will gain a university qualification without having to pay any fees while they earn a salary. Applications are currently open and close on the 31st March 2023. To learn more about this job opportunity, please visit https://uk.indeed.com/viewjob?jk=2aeab87fbced85e4.
IFF to sell Flavor Specialty Ingredients business to Exponent
IFF has entered into an agreement to sell its Flavor Specialty Ingredients (FSI) business to Exponent, a UK-based private equity firm, for $220 million. FSI reports through IFF’s Scent division and is a manufacturer of synthetic and natural base aroma chemicals used in the flavor market. “Aligned with our strategy, we’re continuously evaluating our portfolio to identify opportunities to strengthen our financial profile,” said IFF CEO Frank Clyburn. “The sale of FSI will improve our capital structure while allowing us to focus on our core businesses to enhance growth and returns. “We appreciate the contributions of our FSI colleagues, who have shared our commitment to quality and customer service. We will work closely with Exponent to have a successful transition and look forward to FSI’s bright future.” IFF’s FSI is a manufacturer of specialty base aromas with a broad range of more than 1,000 aroma chemicals and natural extracts, which provide inputs primarily to the flavor market. FSI includes four dedicated manufacturing and distribution facilities at Teesside and Hartlepool, United Kingdom; Cincinnati, United States; and Pucheng, China, with additional points of distribution in Mexico, Brazil and Hong Kong. With approximately 340 employees, IFF’s FSI business serves more than 970 customers and generated more than $100 million in revenue over the last 12 months. IFF and Exponent expect to close the transaction by the end of Q3 2023, subject to customary closing conditions.
BrewDog set for major expansion into China after sealing joint venture with Budweiser China
BrewDog, the independent craft brewer, is set for major expansion in the world’s biggest beer market after sealing a joint venture partnership in China with Budweiser China, a brewer with leading positions in the premium and super-premium beer segments in China. The ‘BrewDog China’ joint venture will leverage Budweiser China’s extensive sales and distribution network in the world’s second biggest economy to take BrewDog’s biggest-selling brands such as Punk IPA, Hazy Jane and Elvis Juice across the country from March 2023. The long-term agreement will focus on expanding the BrewDog brand across Greater China and allows BrewDog to capitalise on rapid market growth in the country, which is now the world’s biggest producer and consumer of beer. Additionally, an affiliate of Budweiser China and BrewDog have partnered to expand BrewDog in South Korea, with options to collaborate in other Asian markets at a later date. The popularity of craft beer in China has surged over the past decade with production rising 10-fold to 6.5m hectolitres by 2020 as drinkers move beyond familiar lagers to seek out premium brands and superior taste. BrewDog’s famous beers will be locally produced by expert brewers in China in collaboration with BrewDog’s Global Brew Master and Head of Quality at Budweiser China’s Putian Craft Brewery in Fujian province. Local production also allows BrewDog to reduce significantly the CO2 output and logistics costs associated with importing beer from Europe, by brewing beer closer to its customers. The brewery, which opened in July 2022, was designed and built according to sustainability principles that align with BrewDog’s own corporate ethos. China currently accounts for less than 1% of BrewDog’s overall sales. Under the new partnership, BrewDog aims to achieve significant multiples of its existing Chinese volumes, leveraging Budweiser China’s highly sophisticated country-wide distribution network, making China a key market for BrewDog’s growing international business. The parties anticipate that the JV will be fully operational by the end of Q1 2023. Further details on this strategic partnership and commercial plan will be shared prior to launch. The deal marks BrewDog’s second joint venture in Asia following the announcement of its partnership in Japan with another brewer in September 2021. Sales in Japan have doubled since the deal was announced, in line with the highly ambitious growth plans for the country. Additionally, BrewDog China also plans to open several new hospitality venues in China by 2026, building on BrewDog’s sole Chinese bar in Shanghai and adding to its existing international network of more than 110 bars. James Watt, founder of BrewDog, said: “We are very excited about further expansion into China. This is a genuinely transformational partnership which is going to bring BrewDog to every corner of the world’s biggest beer market, from a truly bespoke craft brewery which will help ensure the quality of our beers. “By making beer closer to our customers, we’ll be giving them even fresher beer and doing it in a way which is better for the planet. Over the past few years we’ve established local production in the US, Germany and Australia. “Chinese drinkers love craft beer, but the sector is still very new. In Budweiser China, we have found a partner that shares our growth vision for BrewDog in China and is perfectly placed to support our rapid growth in the region. “We’ve always wanted to significantly grow our share in China – this new JV will enable us to do just that as we look to continue to grow our business globally.” Nicolas Morelli, Craft and Specialty Beer VP of Budweiser China, said: “Bud China is leading in craft beer across China and we continue to focus on premium and super premium beer offerings in the country. We are excited to add BrewDog to our craft beer portfolio to enrich Chinese beer lovers’ experience with more craft beer choices.”
Edible seed brand gobbled up
Somfolk Ltd, the new holding company jointly owned by Des Smith and Sara Pearson, has acquired Munchy Seeds, the Suffolk-based super seeds, snacks and toppings brand. Munchy Seeds was set up in 1999 by husband-and-wife team, Crispin and Lucinda Clay who built on the inspiration and provenance of the concept pioneered by Lucinda’s grandmother for savoury toasted seed recipes in her native New Zealand. Crispin Clay says: “It is time for us to hand on the baton as we are keen to relocate to New Zealand where we have family and a thriving vineyard to look after. We are thrilled to be passing on the business to Des and Sara who have a unique combination of skills to grow the business further and add some exciting and fresh ideas to the brand.” Sara Pearson says: “Des and I can see great growth potential in Munchy Seeds. The roasting, toasting and packing skills are well established and we now need to see how we can widen the appreciation of the nutritional value of incorporating seeds into your diet.” Somfolk also owns The Hug Pet Food Company, the UK’s first range of microwaveable ready meals for dogs and cats, which is launching into retail in January.