Kraft Foods sells Cadbury Romania business to Oryxa Capital

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Kraft Foods has signed an agreement to sell Cadbury’s Kandia-Excelent chocolate, soft cake and sugar confectionery business in Romania to Oryxa Capital, an international investment fund, for an undisclosed sum.

The sale includes the Kandia-Excelent brands (Rom, Magura, Kandia, Laura, Sugus and Silvana and others), related trademarks and the manufacturing facility in Bucharest. Approximately 530 Cadbury Romania employees work for Kandia-Excelent.

This sale follows the divesture of Cadbury’s E. Wedel business in Poland, which was announced on 28 June. Both these sales are subject to the Commission’s approval.

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Concerns in the cocoa market

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Cocoa prices have sparked allegations of manipulation in the London market.

Sixteen European cocoa industry participants have sent a letter of complaint to NYSE Liffe, the global derivatives business that runs futures and options markets in Amsterdam, Brussels, Lisbon, London and Paris, saying the extent of speculation on the London cocoa market could drive them towards using the US-based Intercontinental Exchange.

None of the largest cocoa trading companies, however, such as Cargill, ADM, Olam, Touton and Barry Callebaut, signed the letter.

“NYSE Liffe is aware of concerns being expressed by some customers about current conditions in the nearby delivery months of the cocoa futures contract,” the exchange says in a statement.

One signatory notes, “We believe that the London market has lost its capability to function as a hedging tool. There is a deep feeling of dissatisfaction because the London market is non-transparent.” As there is no transparency on what proportion of the positions held on the London market are from speculators, it is difficult to substantiate what their influence is on prices.

The London market is not regulated as heavily as the New York market, where the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission has been cracking down on speculation and already requires companies to give more information on their activities than Liffe does.

Dealers said they have been expecting Liffe to introduce a report showing fund positions in the market, but there is no timeline for when it would be launched.

The London cocoa market outperformed the US cocoa market in the first half of the year, which some dealers attribute to increased fund investment.

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Putting PUFAs into cereal products

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Researchers have been looking into adding polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) to boost the health properties of cereal products.

Cereal grains are a rich of both proteins and carbohydrates, but they contain low levels of fats, compared to most other seed crops. On average their fat content is less than 4 per cent of total calorific value.

PUFAs are seen as health-giving – especially the omega-3 and omega-6 ones – so there could be benefits in adding these to cereal products, and even balancing the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6.

Scientists are looking to make the PUFA´s in-situ, using microbial fermentation processes under controlled conditions. The use of solid state fermentation (SSF) to achieve this deliberately, using selected micro-organisms – chosen for their ability to develop specific PUFAs, – to grow on moist whole grains, could be a relatively inexpensive way of adding value to conventional food grains, by enhancing PUFA content.

Researchers at the Slovak University of Technology, Bratislava, have found that certain lower filamentous fungi were able to do this successfully, opening up the prospect of preparing “tailor made” cereal products with a desired fatty acid composition.

They have produced wheat grains with enhanced content of GLA (gamma linolenic acid), and incorporated this “wheat-GLA bioproduct” into flours for making bread rolls, other bakery products and pasta.

However, elevated levels of the GLA-wheat product (above 5 per cent or so of the flour blend) led to reductions in dough rise, darkening and reduced crispness in the crust, and a typical “fungal” flavour.

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Intersicop 2011 begins the reservation of its exhibition space

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The International Bakery, Pastry and Related Industries Show, INTERSICOP ‘11, which will be celebrating its ninth edition between March 24 and 28, 2011, at the Madrid Trade Fair Organization, has initiated its promotion and marketing.  In fact, the first awarding of exhibition spaces will begin in July, among the almost one hundred companies which have confirmed their participation to date at the trade fair organized by IFEMA.

Among the companies which have announced their presence at INTERSICOP ‘11, we should once again highlight the significant number of foreign firms, particularly from Portugal, France, Italy and Belgium, which are the leading countries customarily represented at the show.  Thus, INTERSICOP is once again reaffirming its important international scope and reinforcing its position as the leading commercial showcase for the Spanish bread- making and pastry industry and one of the top events in Europe.

The next INTERSICOP fair is an event which has sparked a great deal of expectation in the sector, for four years have transpired since its previous celebration.  Now it offers the perfect opportunity to present the latest innovations and the chance to exchange valuable knowledge and experience.  In summary, the trade fair will be indeed a truly important business opportunity for everyone involved.

There is a great deal of optimism in the sector thanks to the entrepreneurial associations’ commitment to INTERSICOP, for this will prove vital to the successful functioning of the trade show.  INTERSICOP will once again count on the support of the leading entrepreneurial groups in this area, such as CEOPAN, the Spanish Confederation of Bakery Organizations, and CEEAP, the Spanish Federation of Fine Pastry Entrepreneurs.

Furthermore, INTERSICOP has renewed its collaboration agreements with the associations representing the different sectors at the trade fair:  AMEC AFESPAN, the Spanish Association of Manufacturers and Exporters of Machinery, Ovens and Equipment for Bakeries, Pastry Shops and Similar; PROVEA, the Association of Product and Service Suppliers for the Professional Food Industry; and ASEMAC, Spanish Association of Frozen Dough Manufacturers.

These associations are encouraging their members to participate in this reference trade fair and to take an active part in the intensive agenda of professional seminars and meetings, which will be held within the framework of INTERSICOP ‘11, whose preparation is already well underway.  One of these encounters, customarily held at INTERSICOP, is the MMAPE Championship, for the Best Pastry Chef in Spain, promoted by CEEAP.

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Grupo Bimbo takes over Dulces Vero

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Latin American bakery giant Grupo Bimbo’s has acquired Mexican confectionery producer Dulces Vero, for an undisclosed sum.

Bimbo, which originated in Mexico and is now one of Latin America’s largest food companies, has shown determination to increasing its domestic market share. It made $1.1bn in Mexico in the first quarter of 2010 – a rise of 3.2% on last year, and half the company’s total net sales.

The company has completed a number of acquisitions in South America over the past three years including companies from Brazil, Argentina and Colombia – helping it to become one of the top five food companies globally.

Dulces Vero reported a turnover of $87m in 2009. It exports it lollipops and gummy sweets to over 20 countries worldwide and will folded into Grupo Bimbo’s its snack division, Barcel. Bimbo hopes the purchase will boost sales in the US Hispanic market.

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Launch of new method for analysis of cadmium in chocolate

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Thermo Fisher Scientific has announced a new method for simple and accurate analysis of cadmium in chocolate. The Thermo Scientific iCE 3500 atomic absorption spectrometer allows simple analysis of this trace element, while Thermo Scientific SOLAAR software enables easy method development.

Samples were analyzed following a simple digestion procedure, and matrix matched standards were used to accurately determine cadmium concentration. The Graphite Furnace TeleVision (GFTV) capability of the iCE 3500 also aids method development as sample deposition and sample drying can be viewed in real-time inside the cuvette.

Experimental results revealed that cadmium was accurately detected in all analyzed chocolate samples at concentration levels well below recommended limits for cadmium in foodstuffs.

The method is detailed in an application note entitled “The Analysis of Cadmium in Chocolate by Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectrometry,” which is available to download at www.thermoscientific.com/App-Note-43034.

Cadmium is a heavy metal used in a number of applications and the main chocolate ingredients such as milk, cocoa and fats are potential sources of cadmium. Chocolate samples should be therefore be analysed accurately to ensure consumer safety.

The provisional tolerable weekly intake (PTWI) of cadmium is seven ?g/kg body weight. The recommendation however, is to limit cadmium intake as much as possible because it offers no nutritional benefit. Typical maximum levels of cadmium in foodstuffs are currently between 0.05 and 0.2 mg/kg wet weight.

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Lantmännen Unibake continues its investments in the UK

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International bakery group Lantmännen Unibake has completed the takeover of UK’s leading supplier of sweet and savoury pastries and specialty breads, Bakehouse by acquiring the remaining shares in the company. To further consolidate its position in the UK market, Lantmännen Unibake is set to make a major investment in new UK production capacity.

In May 2009, Lantmännen Unibake became the majority shareholder in Bakehouse, UK’s leading supplier of sweet and savoury pastries and specialty breads. The acquisition continued Lantmännen Unibake’s massive investments in the UK market making it the company’s biggest market.

Today, Lantmännen Unibake announces that the company will purchase the remaining shares in Bakehouse.  This means that Bakehouse will be fully owned by Lantmännen Unibake, with the acquisition completed by July 2010.

“When we purchased the majority holding in Bakehouse last May, the vision was to expand the ownership to 100 percent as a natural next step. Our companies are a perfect match, and the potential looks immensely promising. Bakehouse is an absolute world class expert in in-store bakeries and tailored solutions for the retail and food service business. We now have the ideal set-up for providing our customers with the best service in the market meaning the world’s largest assortment combined with sales and marketing concepts”, comments Lantmännen Unibake CEO, Bent Pultz Larsen.

New UK bakery

After acquiring first Eurobuns in 2008 and now Bakehouse, a natural next step in Lantmännen Unibake’s ambitious growth strategy is to set up new production capacity in the UK.

“The UK is our biggest market, and the new bakery gives us a strong position with a complete production set-up. It will bring us even closer to our UK customers and put us in the best possible position to meet the growing demand we are experiencing in the UK,” says Bent Pultz Larsen.

When complete, the new bakery will house three state-of-the-art production lines. The exact location of the bakery is yet to be decided, but it is expected to be ready for operation by mid 2011.

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Lantmännen Unibake acquires Hungarian bakery

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Lantmännen Unibake, a global bread and baked foods supplier, has continued its global expansion by acquiring a fast-food bakery from Hungarian milling and baking group Elso Pesti. Financial terms of the transaction, which is expected to boost Lantmännen Unibake’s presence in Central Europe, were not disclosed.

“We believe that building on existing knowledge is essential for our future growth,” said Bent Pultz Larsen, chief executive officer of Lantmännen Unibake. “Therefore, we are proud to announce the acquisition of a new bakery in Hungary, a very important step in our expansion in the Central European region. We want to follow our international customers into the Central and Eastern European market and with production in Russia, Poland and now Hungary we have the best possible setup for matching our customers’ needs and demands for the future.”

The addition of the Hungarian bakery marks Lantmännen Unibake’s fifth major investment in the past two years. Earlier, the company acquired bakeries in Finland, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Owned by Swedish farmers through the Lantmännen group, Lantmännen Unibake operates 86 bakery lines in 26 bakeries in Hungary, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Poland, Belgium, Germany, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States. The company’s US site is in Lisle, Illinois.

The company’s brand portfolio consists of: Hatting, Schulstad, Schulstad Bake Off, Schulstad Royal Danish Pastry, Pastridor, Korvbrödsbagarn, Paaskebrod and Skoga.

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Grupo Bimbo accepting submissions for nutrition award

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Grupo Bimbo SAB de CV is accepting submissions for its bi-annual Grupo Bimbo Pan-American Nutrition Award 2010. The award, which includes US$56,000 to be distributed among named winners, recognizes the best research papers of the year in the fields of human nutrition and food science and technology.

Grupo Bimbo said the award is presented to two winners — a professional and a young scientist — in each of the four zones the company serves: the United States, Mexico, Central America and South America.

To qualify as a professional, individuals must have carried out unique, valuable research projects alone or as part of a team with at least five peer-reviewed publications in the past three years and have supervised postgraduates. They also must have taught and participated in activities promoting science.

Young scientists must have concluded a master’s degree a maximum of two years before publication date of the invitation for the award and must actively participate in scientific and/or technical research projects. They also must have at least one publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

The professional award carries a cash prize of US$5,000 for each zone, while the young scientist award has a cash prize of US$2,000.

An independent scientific jury from each geographical zone, composed of researchers and experts in human nutrition, food science and technology, will rate the submitted projects on several criteria, including:

• The quality, content, and congruence of the proposal in relation to the disciplines set forth by this invitation,

• Scientific quality (i.e. adequate methodology, congruence between results, scientific questions studied and interpretation), originality and innovation in the studied area,

• The impact on and benefits to human nutrition of the corresponding region,

• The impact on and benefits to the industrialization processes of food products, according to the resources and needs of the corresponding region, and

• Relevance and satisfactory extent of the objectives set.

Award submissions should be registered by 15 Oct. at the award web site premiopanamericano.grupobimbo.com.

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Spanish Senegal Ventura

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A group of Spanish investors hope to revolutionize the Senegal fresh bread market by setting up a bakery business in the African country.

Francisco Borrull, 36, from Alzira in Valencia, and his partners, Ramón García and Juan Iñigo aim to establish a network of 150 Baobab Foods outlets, after being attracted by a programme run by the Senegalese government and its youth employment agency to promote foreign investment in what are regarded as priority sectors, writes David Ing.

The trio plants to open a third of the shops (named after the country’s best known tree) in the capital Dakar, where around a quarter of the country’s 12 million population live, the next 50 in nearby cities and towns, and then spread out the rest of the west African country. It has been estimated the business will bring around 3,800 jobs to Senegal.

Borrull visited Senegal in October 2009 where he said he witnessed a demand for bakery goods not being satisfied, and even where bread was available it was often “lacking in quality”.

He added: “We found out about people not being able to eat bread every day, or sometimes spending up three hours in going to look for it.”

TV coverage

Interest in their project has already led the group to have a personal audience with the country’s prime minister and they have been feature on a Senegal prime time national TV news programme.

Since the French colonized the country in the late 19th century, the Senegalese have long been accustomed to the traditional baguette loaves but production quality suffers from the use of too many old ovens and frequent electricity cuts which mean much of the bread that comes out of them is not fully baked. Transport and hygiene are also major issues.

Borrull comented: “It is not uncommon to see bread wrapped up in a piece of paper picked up from the floor, or distribution carried out from horse-drawn carts.”

Alongside the development of the bakery chain, the company has plans to buy up land and grow its own wheat in line with an agricultural development initiative introduced by the country’s president, Abdoulaye Wade, two years ago to help the country become self-sufficient in food production.

Baobab Foods hopes to help illegal immigrants who have travelled to Spain from Senegal to return to the country by offering one in three of the jobs they create to workers being repatriated from Spain. The plan has already been discussed with the Senegalese consul in Valencia, who is supporting the move as many migrants are struggling to find work due to the tough economic climate in Spain.

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