Barry Callebaut to invest in new specialty chocolate factory in Ontario, Canada

The Barry Callebaut Group, the manufacturer of chocolate and cocoa products, has revealed plans to expand its North American presence by building a new specialty chocolate factory in Ontario, Canada. The new state-of-the-art factory is planned to have an initial annual production capacity of over 50,000 tonnes. Total investment volume over a period of ten years is projected to amount to USD 104 million. The factory is expected to be operational by 2024. It will focus on manufacturing sugar-free chocolate, as well as high protein and other specialty products, reflecting the market trends. According to IRI, the US market for specialty chocolate grew +5.9% in 2021 to USD 14.7 billion. Barry Callebaut expects to create over 200 new jobs to staff its new facility. The new factory in Ontario marks the group’s biggest capital investment ever in the Region and will be in addition to the 15 chocolate and cocoa processing factories Barry Callebaut currently has across the Americas Region. Two of these 15 factories are located in Canada: one in Chatham, Ontario, and one in St. Hyacinthe, Quebec, its largest facility in Region Americas. The investment in Ontario fits the group’s strategy to continuously nurture its global footprint, locating production close to its customers. Steve Woolley, president of the Region Americas of Barry Callebaut, said: “Consumers are searching for healthier and tasty solutions for the foods they love. ‘Free from’ foods like sugar-free or dairy-free are healthier options that also satisfy the indulgence they are craving. Through the addition of a sugar-free facility, Barry Callebaut is positioning itself to be the leader in ‘Better for You’ offerings for our customers, which include a wide range of low- and sugar-free solutions.”
Katie Curran, interim CEO, Invest in Canada, said: “Barry Callebaut’s new and continued commitment to Canada is an investment in the talent of Canadian workers, our access to global markets, and our welcoming business environment. Global investors will look at all corners of Canada for opportunities. Foreign direct investment brings jobs, stability and promise.”

CapVest snaps up Second Nature Brands

Funds managed by CapVest Partners LLP (CapVest), an international private equity investor, have closed the acquisition of Second Nature Brands, a Michigan-based creator of premium, nutritional and better for you snacks and treats, from a private equity fund affiliated with Palladium Equity Partners, LLC. With a heritage stretching over 140 years, the company is a leader in the fast-growing snacks and treats market, focussing on the nutritional and lifestyle needs of health-conscious consumers. The company’s brands comprise Kar’s Nuts, the #1 branded trail mix delivering better-for-you, on-the-go fuelling snacks, Second Nature Snacks, a pioneer in natural, non-GMO-verified premium snacks and trail mixes created for a healthy, on-the-go lifestyle, and Sanders, the leader in premium, small-batch, kettle-cooked sea salt caramels. Commenting on the transaction, Othmane Khelladi, partner, CapVest, said: “Second Nature Brands is a very exciting platform with ambitious plans to grow its presence in the highly attractive snacking and treats market. Through our ownership, we look forward to supporting Vic Mehren and his world-class team in accelerating growth through further investment in product innovation, category leadership and by scaling the existing platform through transformational acquisitions.” Commenting on behalf of Second Nature Brands, CEO Vic Mehren said: “Our partnership with Palladium has been extraordinarily successful and we thank them for their contributions to Second Nature Brands. With their support, and through the efforts of our great Second Nature Brands team members, Second Nature Brands has transformed into a leader within Snacks and Treats. We’re now thrilled to be partnering with CapVest for our next phase of growth. The CapVest team’s deep consumer food experience will be invaluable as we work to build on our Snacks and Treats platform organically, and inorganically with strategic acquisitions.”

BENEO invests €50 million in pulse-processing plant

BENEO, the manufacturers of functional ingredients, has announced a €50 million investment in a new pulse processing site in Offstein, Germany. The site will produce protein rich pulse ingredients for food and animal feed. It will focus initially on protein concentrate, starch rich flour and hulls from Faba bean, with the option to process other pulses in the future. The new production site further strengthens the company’s plant-based protein portfolio and enables BENEO to meet growing demand for plant-based food and feed ingredients. The plant-based protein trend is here to stay. It is predicted that by 2027, 75% of all protein demand will be vegetal, while products using these proteins are expected to reach 11% CAGR between 2020-2027. There is also growing popularity for pulses, with pea and Faba bean considered the rising star ingredients of new product launches worldwide, having achieved a CAGR of 20% between 2016-21. Work has already begun on constructing the plant and is expected to be completed within the second half of 2024, creating up to 25 jobs at the Offstein site. However, to ensure that food and feed customers can benefit as soon as possible from Faba bean ingredients, BENEO will process the raw ingredients in intermediate production facilities, until the new plant is fully operational. This means that first quantities of BENEO’s Faba bean ingredients will be available from the start of June 2022 onwards. BENEO’s Faba bean protein concentrate and starch rich flour will be used for protein enrichment and texture improvement in meat and dairy alternatives, as well as (gluten-free) bakery and cereals. Faba bean hulls and starch rich flour will be used in feed as a vegetal protein or fibre source for sustainable petfood, aquafeed and livestock nutrition. Christoph Boettger, member of the executive board at BENEO, said: “The recent investment by BENEO into a new pulse production site is only the starting point. We strongly believe in plant based ingredients and therefore see the new plant as an important first step in enlarging our protein offering moving forwards. This will enable us to produce a wider variety of sustainable plant-based protein ingredients over the coming years.”

Mondelēz International agrees to acquire Mexican confectionary company

Mondelēz International has entered into an agreement with Grupo Bimbo to acquire its confectionery business, Ricolino, for approximately $1.3 billion USD. Ricolino is a growing business with a leading confectionery position in Mexico. The acquisition will transform Mondelēz International’s business in the high-priority Mexico market to accelerate growth and scale in core snacking categories. With approximately $500 million USD in annual revenue, Ricolino employs close to 6,000 associates, has four manufacturing facilities and distributes its products to several channels, including traditional trade, supermarkets, convenience stores and others. Its iconic brands Ricolino®, Vero®, La Corona® and Coronado® are leaders in lollipops, marshmallows, chocolates, gummies and other confectionery products. The acquisition will double the size of Mondelēz Mexico’s business and provide an attractive entry point into the chocolate category, while expanding the company’s presence in snacking. It also provides significant opportunities for synergies and accelerated growth. For Grupo Bimbo, the baking company, this transaction will enable focus on its grain-based baking and snacks businesses. “This acquisition will provide a step change for our business in Mexico, an important growth market for us, more than tripling our routes to market and growing our position in core snacking categories,” said Dirk Van de Put, Chairman and CEO of Mondelēz International. “We are thrilled to welcome Ricolino’s talented people and amazing brands into the Mondelēz International family.” Many of Ricolino’s chocolate and candy brands have more than 50 years’ history in Mexico. Today, the company’s more than 2,100 direct store delivery routes reach 440,000 traditional trade outlets, providing significant scale and broad brand availability. “We ventured into the confectionery industry with the establishment of Ricolino in 1970; today, after 52 years of growth and progress, it is the industry leader in Mexico. We truly recognize the Ricolino family for this amazing accomplishment and are deeply thankful for their commitment and hard work. I’m confident that Mondelēz International will leverage these amazing brands to a much higher position,” said Daniel Servitje, Chairman and CEO of Grupo Bimbo. “I want to take the opportunity to thank all of our associates for their dedication and commitment. They have given their best and I feel very proud of them,” said Fernando Lerdo de Tejada S., President of Ricolino. The acquisition of Ricolino will build on Mondelēz International’s continued prioritization of fast-growing snacking segments in key geographies. In January 2022, Mondelēz International closed on its acquisition of Chipita S.A., the leader in the Central and Eastern European snack-size cakes and pastries category. This followed a year of growth in 2021 supported by the acquisition of Grenade, a leading UK performance nutrition company; Gourmet Food Holdings, a leading Australian food company in the attractive premium biscuit and cracker category; and Hu, a well-being snacking company in the United States. The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, will be funded through an issuance of debt and cash on hand and is expected to close in late Q3 or early Q4 2022.

World’s biggest brands to attend UK’s largest packaging event

Tesco, Quorn, Sainsbury’s, Next, and Primark are just some of the major names set to attend Packaging Innovations and Empack 2022, as the UK’s flagship packaging event reunites the industry at NEC Birmingham on 25 and 26 May. Brands attending will have the opportunity to discover new suppliers from across the sector, providing them with perfect platform to network and do business. Excitement for the first NEC show in over 18 months is clear with so many recognised names already signed up to attend, including supermarket giants Asda, Tesco, Waitrose, and Lidl; retail mainstays Next, FatFace, and Matalan; and drinks specialists Warner’s Distillery and Innocent Drinks. Many of the world’s leading beauty brands will be in attendance, including L’Oreal, Estee Lauder, Roja Parfums, No.7, and Avon, as will household brands like Unilever, DHL, and Clintons. Not only will attendees get to experience the latest packaging developments and technology from over 300 industry leading exhibitors, but they can also hear the latest insights from some of the world’s most forward thinking experts as part of the seminar programme. Across three stages, sessions will tackle common questions faced by packaging designers and technologists, as well as specific advice for the manufacturing, logistics and processing industry professionals. Renan Joel, divisional director for Easyfairs, says: “We are extremely excited to welcome our guests back to the NEC after a year and a half. With so many incredible brands already signed up to attend, alongside many hundreds of industry-leading exhibitors, it is shaping up to be a fantastic event. We cannot wait to see people do business face to face again, and this sentiment is clearly reflected by the sheer number of registrations we have already had. We can’t wait for May!” To register to attend Packaging Innovations and Empack NEC 2022, please visit the registration page. For any further information, please visit the Packaging Innovations and Empack NEC 2022 website or contact the show team on +44 (0)20 196 4300 or

The Ferrero Group to acquire FULFIL Nutrition

The Ferrero Group is to acquire FULFIL Nutrition, the high-quality, vitamin and protein bar company which has direct sales in UK as well as distributing to Ireland and other European and Asian Pacific markets. The Ferrero Group plans to maintain and further build FULFIL’s strong brand authenticity, while supporting the company and its distributors with innovation and expansion to new markets and category segments opportunities. As part of the transaction, The Ferrero Group will take over the brands’ portfolio, and plans to retain the management, the distributors and the employees of the business. This move will enable Ferrero to expand in this relevant better-for-you market segment, meeting the evolving needs and trends of consumers. The transaction, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the next months.

Emerging vegan businesses to get an investment boost from Seedrs and Vevolution

Seedrs, the private investment platform, and Vevolution, the global investment marketplace for plant-based and cell-ag fundraising opportunities, have revealed a new partnership to increase investment in plant-based and cell-based businesses. Both platforms have long supported Europe’s $1.3bn (and growing) vegan market. Seedrs previous successful campaigns include Allplants (£4.5m), The Vegan Kind (£600k), THIS (£4.4m). In 2021 alone, Vevolution facilitated partial or full funding into 25 startups including MeliBio, Evo Foods, Jellatech, Opalia, and more. This new partnership expands the investment opportunities open to startups in the plant-based and cell-based economy who are meeting the needs of increasingly socially conscientious consumers. As part of the new agreement, plant-based businesses will be able to use Vevolution’s network to source lead investors as well as have the opportunity to tap into Seedrs’ strong investment community for equity crowdfunding, allowing them to build a more diverse investor base as they grow. Kirsty Grant, Seedrs chief investment officer, said: “The vegan market is one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK and Europe, with appetite to invest in the sector remaining high. Teaming up with the Vevolution team means that entrepreneurs in the space have the ability to source their entire investment needs from investment and market experts.” Erik Amundson, Managing Director and co-founder of Vevolution, added: “It’s the perfect partnership. Often companies need the lead investment from Vevolution to get a crowdfunding campaign off the ground. We are dedicated to supporting the global movement for plant-powered positive change in the world. To do this we need to connect these exciting startups with smart money. By working in partnership with Seedrs we are broadening the access to investors from our network of angel investors and Seedrs community of retail investors that believe in the movement.”

Hartley’s make the Everyday Pudding category jelly-ous with exciting Jelly Sours NPD

Hartley’s is bolstering its offering in the Everyday Pudding category with the launch of a deliciously tart Jelly Sours range. Having already delivered £3.2m of growth to the category since 2017, Hartley’s is confident this launch will contribute towards its category vision growth aspirations of an extra £49m RSV sales over the next five years. Being the experts in all things wobbly, Hartley’s has created the new sub-range based on ongoing consumer trends toward sweet and sour flavour combinations that more ‘grown-up’ kids love. Each Hartley’s Jelly Sours pot (RRP: £0.65 per 125g pot) is made with real fruit juice, contains less than 100 calories and is HFSS compliant, making it a perfect everyday choice as a post-dinner pudding, lunchbox filler or afternoon snack. The range comes in the following fruity flavours:
  • Sour Strawberry
  • Sour Cherry
  • Sour Apple
Hain Daniels International Marketing & NPD Director, Ruth Snowdon Gough says: “Our new Hartley’s Jelly Sours range has been developed to bring something new and exciting to the category. We know our current range of flavours is much-loved by younger children, but we wanted to create a range that enables the brand to appeal to a wider audience. “We know older children are looking for more complex flavours that have ‘playground appeal’ and Sours does exactly that! Created in line with HFSS guidelines, each of the three jelly pots contain a different sour fruit flavour that we know consumers will love. Currently 12% of households are buying Hartley’s Jelly pots so the new launch is a real opportunity for growth, both for the Hartley’s brand and the wider category.” The range is available in Asda nationwide now and Tesco from May 2022.

i2r wins second prestigious Queen’s Award

Market leading aluminium foil tray manufacturer, i2r Packaging Solutions, has been awarded with a second Queen’s Award for Enterprise, this time for innovation. The company, who previously won their first award in 2020 for international trade, is one of only 226 organisations nationally to be recognised with a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2022. With an established reputation for innovation excellence, i2r achieved their award in recognition of their patent protected i2r Ultra™ smoothwall aluminium foil container, a stronger yet lighter tray used for packaging high quality ‘ready to cook’ convenience products including red meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, BBQ food and desserts. The multi-award winning design uses a new style of embossing to dramatically increase stress resistance, creating a reduction in weight, price point and environmental impact of the product. In its development, the design went through a protracted process using finite element analysis (FEA) predictive software and thereafter independent scientific testing and validation, including compression and tension tests conducted against the relevant ISO standard. In increasing the sustainability of its products by reducing the amount of material used through design optimisation, i2r is able to give commercial choice by presenting innovative and authentic products at a lower price point against comparable containers, thereby creating added-value for their customers’ brands. Jon West, i2r’s chief commercial officer, said: “We were delighted to receive our first Queen’s Award, but to be awarded a second is fabulous news and a huge honour. Reducing packaging by design and increasing awareness of recyclability is an essential element of our business ethos, so to have our innovation accomplishments formally recognised in this way is a triumph for the company.” Now in its 56th year, the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the most prestigious business awards in the country, with winning businesses able to use the esteemed Queen’s Awards’ Emblem for the next five years. Applications for Queen’s Awards for Enterprise 2023 open on the 1st May 2022. For more information, visit For more information on i2r, visit

UK’s flagship packaging event unveils new features to inspire the industry

Packaging Innovations and Empack 2022 will introduce two brand-new interactive features, The Big Debate and the Sustainability Tail, when it returns to Birmingham’s NEC on 25 and 26 May. The features are designed to address the challenges being faced by industry professionals at every point of the packaging journey, from conception to consumer. The Big Debate, the event’s headline feature, will take place across both days where it will seek to voice new perspectives on the Government’s latest packaging regulations affecting suppliers, manufacturers, and consumers. The expert panel will be made up of industry-leading names, including OPRL’s Executive Chair and Director, Jane Bevis; the UKRI’s Challenge Director of Smart Sustainable Plastics Packaging, Paul Davidson; and Head of Compliance at Clarity Environmental, Martin Trigg-Knight. Key challenges around reducing the industry’s carbon footprint will be addressed by the event’s brand-new Sustainability Trail. The guide will provide visitors with an ‘eco-roadmap’ of the most innovative ‘green’ products from the show floor. Only qualifying exhibitors that have been vetted by judges and fulfil a host of sustainable criteria will feature. Alongside the two brand-new features for 2022, the event will host an array of other exciting elements, taking visitor involvement and interaction to new levels, including The Innovation Showcase. Here, 12 new concepts will compete against each other to win the coveted prize of ‘Most Innovative Pack’, with the winner crowned via a public vote. The interactive element of the competition will be sure to excite the event’s thousands of visitors, as they will be able to get up close to some of the most cutting-edge solutions on the market. Alongside these interactive features, the event will host a new and improved seminar programme set across three stages, featuring a raft of the industry’s biggest and most inspiring experts, including speakers from Ocado, Nestlé, and HP. Sustainability will be the central focus of the Ecopack Stage where experts will explore ‘the win-win of sustainably designed packaging’ and Extended Producer Responsibility. In addition, the Ecopack Challenge will provide a stern test for innovators, as participants seek to create a novel and sustainable packaging solution. Meanwhile, the Innovation and Design Stage will discuss how to turn bespoke packaging into R&D Tax Credits, and welcome The Refills Forum, focusing on the key factors in delivering refillable and reusable packaging. Finally, the Empack Technology Stage will cover a range of forward-thinking topics, from packaging for e-fulfilment, and how to embrace digital technology changes within a business, through to using technology to maximise sustainability in a growing packaging market. Renan Joel, Easyfairs’ Divisional Director, says: “The interactive show features at Packaging Innovations and Empack are something our visitors look forward to year-on-year and are a key part of what sets us apart from other industry events. Our new features, the Sustainability Trail and The Big Debate, showcase our industry’s central pledge to reduce its environmental impact and how we can achieve this. “Meanwhile, our seminar programme contains a glittering array of industry names, poised to share their wisdom and know-how to our visitors across three stages. Every session will aim to educate and inspire our guests, as our panels and speakers tackle the challenges and developments affecting our industry right now. The packaging landscape is changing so quickly, and we are delighted to have such a broad range of sessions suited to every possible packaging need, from the design stage through to the shelf. We cannot wait to open the doors in May!” To register to attend Packaging Innovations and Empack NEC 2022, please visit the registration page. For any further information, please visit the Packaging Innovations and Empack NEC 2022 website or contact the show team on +44 (0)20 196 4300 or