EC reviews Unilever-Sara Lee deal

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unilever-logoThe European Commission (EC) is reviewing consumer goods giant Unilever’s acquisition of the Personal Care and European Laundry business at Sara Lee.

Under the deal, Unilever will acquire more than 90 different brands from Sara Lee in 19 European countries.

These products include Radox, Brylcreem and Sanex.

However, the EC has said it needs “more time” to consider the full implications of the deal in terms of the competition aspect that could be affected by the takeover.

Unilever has said it “welcomes the opportunity to engage more fully with the commission’s competition authorities”.sara-lee

Recently, Unilever has announced it is increasing the marketing of a number of the food and beverage products in its range.

It is launching a new innovative sampling campaign for Lipton Fruit and Herb Infusions, which is geared towards women aged between 25 and 35.

In the run-up to the summer, it is also set to give a major advertising boost to its ice cream Cornetto.

Cornetto is left lagging behind its sister brand Magnum in terms of sales, which has persuaded Unilever to increase Cornetto marketing, Marketing Week reported.

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Kraft CEO unperturbed by Buffett stake cut

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cadbury-2The head of Kraft Foods said she was not concerned by top investor Warren Buffett’s decision to cut his stake in the U.S. food group after criticizing her acquisition of British chocolatier Cadbury.

The integration of Cadbury is on track and benefits from the $18.4 billion deal will become clear to shareholders, Chairman and Chief Executive Irene Rosenfeld told Reuters on Friday.

“I will say that for Mr Buffett as well as for all our shareholders, in the coming months we will continue to deliver against the targets we have laid for ourselves. These results will speak for themselves,” Rosenfeld said.

With a market value of $53 billion, Kraft, the maker of Oreo cookies and Philadelphia cream cheese, is the largest North American food maker and the world’s second biggest behind Nestle.

Kraft shares currently trade at about 12.5 times 2011 estimated earnings, below rivals such as Nestle’s 14.8 times, Hershey’s 17.4 times and General Mills’ 14.3 times.

Awaiting buffett’s congratulatory card

Buffett has said in the past that when a company made an acquisition he bought two greeting cards, a congratulatory card and a condolence card and waited five years to decide which card to send, Rosenfeld said.

“What I have said to him is that I am quite confident he will be sending me a congratulatory card and it will be in far less than five years,” she added.

Kraft bought Cadbury earlier this year after a hostile takeover battle that tested Rosenfeld’s leadership and created the world’s largest confectionery group.

The deal gives Kraft additional confectionery businesses which are growing faster than its core food and beverage brands like Maxwell House coffee and access to emerging markets like India.

Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway previously owned 9.4 percent of Kraft, making it the largest shareholder. But since the beginning of the year Berkshire has sold down its stake to 106.73 million shares, giving it 6.1 percent of the shares in issue as at the end of April, according to regulatory filings and Reuters data.

Buffett said Rosenfeld had paid too much for Cadbury and called the recent sale of Kraft’s frozen pizza business to Nestle “particularly dumb.”

But Kraft has set a goal for at least $675 million of annual cost synergies from the deal by the end of the third year.

“We are well on our way to deliver those,” she said, adding the integration was “progressing extremely well” .

Meanwhile the sale of Cadbury’s Polish and Romanian businesses, which Kraft must sell for competition reasons, is likely to happen in the next six months, and there are a number of interested buyers, she added.

Earlier this month Kraft posted higher than expected first-quarter revenues, helped by the Cadbury acquisition and growth in emerging countries, but forecast 2010 earnings per share that were below analyst estimates, raising concerns over how smoothly Cadbury can be integrated.

Jobs

The Cadbury deal also means that Kraft’s global workforce of 98,000 employees will join Cadbury’s 45,000.

Rosenfeld acknowledged there would be redundancies but said the group would not commit to a global figure as decisions would be made country by country and left to the local managers.

In Britain Kraft’s handling of the takeover drew criticism after it said in February it would shut Cadbury’s Somerdale confectionery plant in western England with the loss of 400 jobs.

This decision came despite Kraft suggesting during the takeover battle that it might be able to keep the factory open. Kraft has committed not to make any further manufacturing redundancies for the next two years in Britain.

Happy with current portfolio

In March, Kraft completed the $3.7 billion sale of its pizza business to Nestle to help fund the Cadbury deal.

Asked if Kraft could exit other businesses, Rosenfeld said: “I feel very good about the portfolio today. I am quite confident the targets we have laid out for growth both for the top and bottom-line we can deliver with the portfolio as we know it today.”

She said she would continue to look at opportunities over time to ensure all assets contributed to the group’s growth.

Apart from integrating Cadbury, Kraft, like other food companies, has to grapple with soft consumer spending, rising commodity prices and volatile currencies.

It expects commodity costs to rise by between 1 and 2 percent this year but Rosenfeld said these costs should be manageable within the group’s overall plan.

Kraft, which now makes 51 percent of revenue outside North America, was also closely watching the currency situation in Europe, notably the weak euro.

Asked about consumer trends for the second quarter, she said: “In the second quarter we will see many of the same trends as we saw in the first around the world.”

Rosenfeld was in Paris for the start of building an biscuit research and development center in Saclay, Paris, where Kraft is investing 15 million euros. Kraft spends over 1 percent of its global turnover on R&D.

Kraft, which bought the biscuit business of Danone in 2007, is the global leader in the $60 billion biscuit market.

Source: Reuters

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Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago

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Sweets and Snacks Expo in Chicago

As Sweets & Snacks Expo continues in Chicago, the National Confectioners Association (NCA) predicts the leading new products trends:

Chocolate-Covered Everything – Manufacturers look for more and more treats to cover with chocolate. While local gourmands may seek out chocolate-covered bacon and mushrooms at their hometown confectioners, mainstream America will look for more classic items such as the crunchy, salted centre of m&m’s Pretzel Chocolate Candies from Mars Chocolate North America. Chocolate-Covered Pumpkin Peeps from Just Born are available in both milk and dark chocolate.

Up in the Air – Snacking practically takes flight as these light or aerated confections hit the shelves. The 3 Musketeers Truffle Crisp Bar from Mars Chocolate North America is a truffle on a airy crisp layer of meringue enrobed in chocolate. From the Wonka brand of Nestle Confections & Snack Divisions comes Whipped Wingers, an aerated gummy in flavours like watermelon and pineapple. Skinny Mini’s, the lightweight vegetable and potato stick snacks from Cornfields are about 30 per cent lower in fat than similar snacks.

Real Good – Natural and wholesome ingredients have not gone unnoticed by the confectionery and snack industry. Honey as an ingredient and as a flavour harkens back to the origins of sweetened confections, but seems as fresh and new as any innovation with Honey Bean, a Jelly Belly jelly bean infused with wildflower honey and new Honey Lovers, colourful heart-shaped fruit chews made with real honey offered by Gimbal’s Fine Candies. Wholesome, simple ingredients make up Get Movin’ snack crackers by Partners, a Tasty Choice Company. Nutorious nut confections are available in five different varieties and are all natural, low sodium, and GMO-free, and contain no trans fats or preservatives. Vegan Chocolate Truffles from Native Gardens boast a medley of benefits and are dairy-free, gluten-free, low sugar, low calorie and handcrafted.

The Galloping Gourmet – Asher’s Chocolates proves that the combination of sweet and salty is as popular as ever with its Vanilla Caramels with Sea Salt. Jelly Belly toasts many flavours of cocktails with Jelly Belly Cocktail Classics – mojito, peach bellini and more. Double-filled truffles from Madelaine Chocolate, Duets, fill milk chocolate truffles with flavour pairings including peanut butter and caramel and milk truffle and white truffle. Candy maker Wonka has introduced a line of whimsical confections called Wonka Exceptionals that includes the Domed Dark Chocolate Bar, a bed of dark chocolate topped with milk chocolate medallions; the Chocolate Waterfall Bar with a blend of white and milk chocolates and the Scrumdiddlyumptious Bar, featuring pieces of toffee and peanuts.

Fresh-N-Fruity – Bursting on the scene with fresh and powerful flavours are candies and gums such as American Licorice Company’s Grapevines and Jolly Rancher Awesome Twosome Chews from The Hershey Company that combine two flavours with two unique textures in each bite-size piece featuring watermelon surrounded by green apple and cherry filled with orange. Wrigley has brought out Extra Fruit Sensations Sweet Tropical gum, as well as Starburst Summer Fun Fruits in kiwi-banana, lemon-limeade, cherry splash and watermelon; and Skittles Fizzl’d Fruits in flavours like wild cherry and melon berry. Straight out of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” comes Stride Shift from Cadbury North America – a flavour-changing gum that starts off tasting like citrus or melon and shifts into mint.

Dark and Dreamy – Dark chocolate has been increasing in popularity for years and new product introductions have played a big part in the expansion of the category. This year look for Kit Kat Dark from The Hershey Company and Necco’s new Clark Bar Dark. Cote d’Or is showcasing a Pistache Noir dark chocolate bar and Dark Chocolate Cherry Raisinets are made from whole dried cherries,drenched in Nestlé dark chocolate.

Source:  Confectionery Production

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Third millenary cakes world wide

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milano2015From Milano to the world. The big cultural show of the world to see and taste. The Widest panorama of the cultural modern DESSERT event ever realized in the world.

During the UNIVERSAL EXPOSITION in MILANO on 2015, Each Country will present the creations of the newest chocolate cakes, ice creams, wine aperitifs and cocktails 5% created by Pastry Chefs, Barmen and Sommeliers of their cities and branded with city’s name.

Springle it around in your towns and countries. Let your favourite Pastry Chefs and barmen and Sommeliers participate to this unique event.

THE FIRST desserts and cocktails Branded with city’s name

World wide cultural event The branded new chocolate cakes and cocktails of The world. The Pastry Chefs are requested to create The first chocolate cakes of the THIRD CENTURY.

Branded with city’s name This event will take place from now till the UNIVERSAL FAIR in MILANO on 2015. Each Country’s Pavillon will present their exclusive pastry Master’s creations , and the new cocktails .

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Antimicrobial extends shelf life of cakes by 30 per cent, says Kemin

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Kemin-Food-Ingredients-CP-logoA new antimicrobial, based on sorbic acid and potassium sorbate, will provide between 10 and 30 per cent more shelf life for muffins and cakes in comparison to existing offerings, due to the adoption of new development technology, claims Kemin.

K. Ganapathy, marketing manager for Kemin Food Technologies India, told  that bakery manufacturers do not have to make any modifications or invest in new equipment to use Amplifresh as, she explained, it is a readily dispersible paste for use in conventional cake and muffin processing.

“It is available in an easy-to-use paste form which can be directly added to the batter during the mixing stage,” he said.

The antimicrobial, said Kemin, is manufactured in a HACCP & ISO 9001:2008 certified facility in Gummidipoondi, near Chennai in India, which is a division of Kemin Food Technologies based in Des Moines, Iowa.

The company claims the antimicrobial will allow bakers to manage inventory more efficiently, reduce product waste, as well as address aftertaste challenges associated with conventional options.

A wide range of micro-organisms – bacteria, yeasts and moulds – can cause spoilage and food safety issues with baked products. However, the level of food poisoning associated with baked foods is low compared to many other types of food.

But, according to a recent review published in the journal Food Control, economic losses related to the presence of moulds in bread are estimated to be more than €200m per year in Europe.

Ganapathy said that existing antimicrobials have a tendancy to oxidize, which can undermine the original taste profile of the cakes and muffins upon storage. However, with the firm’s propriety manufacturing process behind Amplifresh, he claims “the active molecules are delivered with enhanced stability.”

The antimicrobial has been developed with the Indian cake market in mind but a company spokesperson said a plan to release in onto the European maket is currently under review.

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Study finds adding fibres to bake-off breads increases hardness

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The inclusion of resistant starch (RS) and fibre blend in bake-off bread formulation induces a reduction in the specific volume of the bread and an increase of hardness while pectin negatively impacted on crumb structure, according to research from Spain published in the Journal of Food Engineering.

The researchers examined the technological functionality of different fibres such as high methylated ester pectin, resistant starch and insoluble-soluble fibre blend in partially baked breads stored either under sub-zero or low temperatures, in order to assess their possible role as bread-making ingredients in bake-off technologies (BOT).

The researchers maintain that, in recent years, BOT or interrupted technologies are becoming a common practice for big bakeries, as they allow manufacturers to meet increasing consumer demand for convenience orientated products, and enable all day availability regarding baked goods.

The authors, based at the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology in Valencia, report considerable scientific research backing the beneficial role of dietary fibre in reduction of cardiovascular disease, certain forms of cancer and constipation, and they note, as a result, the increasing growth in fibre-enriched cereal based products.

And the researchers said they sought to determine the effect of various biopolymeric ingredients such as high methylated ester pectin, resistant starch, and insoluble-soluble fibre blends on specific volume, texture, crumb structure and crust flaking of bread obtained from the BOT process.

The study

The authors said breads were produced using formulations containing different fibres with conventional and partially baked bread processes evaluated.

They added that water levels were modified in the dough with added fibres to maintain the same consistency as the control dough. For conventional processes dough consistency was kept at 420 Brabender Units (BU) as measured by a Farinograph, and for partially baked bread process dough consistency was 580 BU.

In terms of method, doughs were prepared by mixing ingredients in a spiral mixer for nine minutes. After 10 min resting, dough was divided into 70 g pieces and hand moulded. Fermentation was carried out in a proofing cabinet at 35° C and 95 per cent relative humidity for one hour.

For the conventional process, continued the authors, complete baking was carried out in a deck oven at 23°C for 20 minutes with steam injection at the beginning of the baking. Partial baking was carried out at 170°C for 16 minutes, and then loaves were cooled down at 25°C for 30 minutes, with the temperature of the bread core around 30°C.

Partially baked bread was stored at two different temperatures (4°C or -18°C) until its full baking. Partially baked bread stored at 4°C was packed in polypropylene (PP) pouches after cooling, while partially baked loaves stored at -18°C were placed directly in a blaster freezer at -30°C till the bread core reached -18°C and then packed in PP.

For storage studies, said the authors, partially baked frozen loaves were stored at -18°C for three months in a horizontal freezer, whereas partially baked refrigerated loaves were stored at 4°C for 10 days. Full baking was carried out at 23°C for 12 minutes. Frozen samples were previously thawed at 25°C for 10 minutes.

Partially baked loaves stored at low temperature were referred as PB and partially baked loaves stored at sub-zero temperature were referred as PBF, they explained.

Technological parameters were evaluated during the storage period with samples taken after one, two and three months in PBF or after three, seven and 10 days in PB, said the authors.

Results

pectin_2

Pectin

The authors found that technological functionality of pectin was negatively affected by the BOT process.

The inclusion of resistant starch (RS) and fibre blend in the bread formulation induced a reduction in the specific volume of the bread and an increase of crumb hardness in conventional and BOT methods.

The researchers said that while pectin is a good breadmaking improver for the conventional breadmaking process, it seems pectin’s polymeric structure “is not strong enough to keep crumb structure when contractions after partial baking and cooling occur and final baking does not allow recovering volume.”

And they noted that par-baked bread is submitted to tensile stresses in response to the compression of gas phase during cooling, being very sensitive to stresses associated to final baking.

They authors explained that insoluble fibres prevent the free expansion of dough during fermentation, and also they can induce an early fixing of the structure due to their higher water content.

Source: Journal of Food Engineering

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Fazer considers expansion

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fazer-logoFinnish confectionery and bakery company Fazer is considering expanding in the Beltic region.

In Latvia, the company, which reported €24.6 million in consolidated sales last year, has a 23% market share. Fazer Maiznicas bakery is the second largest bread producer in Latvia.

CEO Karsten Slotte notes, “We will spend time this year mainly reinforcing the newly created business structure and current market position. This will be our launch pad for expansion in the region.”

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New campaign to introduce Cadbury Crunchie Rocks

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Cadbury's-CrunchieCadbury has launched Crunchie Rocks with an accompanying rock-themed media campaign.

The 145g share packs are already present in stores across the UK and are a combination of honeycomb pieces cornflakes tumbled in Cadbury milk chocolate.

The theme of the campaign encourages people to experience ‘that Friday Feeling’ – no matter what day of the week it is.

Kate Harding, trade communications manager at Cadbury UK says, “The launch of Cadbury Crunchie Rocks is a new addition to the Cadbury Bitesize portfolio, and an extension of the Crunchie brand.”

Also making a debut is a single 39g pack of CDM Caramel Nibbles and in June the company will be launching Wispa Duo. Both products will also be supported by media campaigns.

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New clean label starches target baked goods

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A new range of cold swelling starches are designed to deliver texture and stability to baked goods without the need to declare them on an ingredient label.

The flagship product in the range, developed by Ulrick & Short, is a starch derived from wheat, which can be declared on a product label as ‘wheat flour’.

“We’ve got the right level of proteins in there so you can call it a flour, but equally we’ve retained all the properties of starch,” explained Adrian Short of Ulrick & Short.

Friendly starch

The ingredients, part of the firm’s Synergie range, work like any other starch to deliver body, texture, stability and mouthfeel to a range of food products.

However, because they are ‘cold swelling’ they do not require heat in order to deliver their functionality. This in itself is not uncommon in starch ingredients, but Short said the ingredients are also “process-friendly” in that they do not require high-speed mixing or high water content.

“Many cold starches on the market require a lot of mixing as they get quite hungry for water, and this often results in lumping issues. The way we dry our starches means they are easily dispersed, so they can work just as well with varying water levels or mixing speeds,” Short told FoodNavigator.com.

The firm uses a combination of three drying methods: spray drying, extrusion and a process called ‘fluculation’, which is a gentle drying method on starch that has not been too finely milled.

Shelf-life extension

The company’s wheat-derived starch ingredient is particularly suited for breads and other bakery products made with wheat flour, as this would allow for a cleaner label, said Short. Usage levels would vary between 2-5 per cent.

As well as delivering desired texture and stability, the starch could also help extend shelf-life by up to 1.5 days on a loaf of bread, explained Short. Together with its clean label status, this results in a slight price premium over modified starches, but prices remain “very competitive” compared to other clean label products, he said.

Other cold-swelling starches in the range are derived from maize and tapioca, which can be declared on labels as ‘cornflour’ and ‘tapioca starch’ respectively. These ingredients can be used in applications such as dairy, condiments, dips and sweets.

The new range is being rolled out in the UK market.

Source:  Bakeryandsnacks

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New superfruit ingredient in the UK

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baobabFollowing EU Novel Foods approval, British food manufacturers and retailers can now obtain baobab, the exotic fruit from Southern Africa, as an ingredient for their products. Baobab has extremely high nutritional qualities including twice as much calcium as milk and more magnesium than spinach. The Organic Herb Trading Company (OHTC) has been appointed as the UK distributor for both the conventional and organic fruit pulp powder.

A number of products containing baobab are already starting to hit shelves across the UK. Early products include Baobar snack bars, Yozuna Fairtrade African Baobab Fruit Jam, Baobab and chocolate spread, Baobab and banana spread, Baobab lemonade and Baobab powder for use in home cooking.

The off white, powdery fruit pulp can be blended with anything though is better suited as an ingredient rather than eaten on its own. The fruit powder has a tangy taste described as ‘caramel pear with subtle tones of grapefruit’ and also acts as a flavour enhancer.

Baobab is supplied through a unique partnership between PhytoTrade Africa, the Southern African Natural Products Trade Association dedicated to helping low-income, rural communities by developing ethical and sustainable trade in natural products and Afriplex, a leading South African manufacturer of plant extracts.

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