Catching up is hard to do - Food and Beverage Industry News, August 24, 2012

Kraft Foods has agreed to sell a majority stake in its Back to Nature brand of natural-food products to U.S. private equity firm Brynwood Partners for an undisclosed amount. Kraft will hold a minority stake between 25 percent and 50 percent, and the brand will be held through a joint venture between Brynwood and Kraft. While Kraft will have board representation in the venture, Brynwood will manage every day operations. Completion is expected in October 2012 ...

FMC Corp. has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the business assets of Pectine Italia S.p.A., and Italian-based manufacturer of pectin for the food ingredients market. Closing is expected to be completed by years end. Pectine Italia's pectine is based primarily on peels from lemons grown near its plant in Milazzo, on the island of Sicily ...

Green Bay, Wisc.-based Tosca Limited, a U.S. based provider of reusable container pooling and logistics services to the food supply chain, has acquired the reusable plastic container division of Georgia-Pacific LLC. The acquisition expands the company's portfolio of products and services offered to customers in the produce, dairy, beverage and protein industries. The GP RPC management team and all current employees will join Tosca in conjunction with the transaction. All three of GP RPC's facilities located in Memphis, Tenn., Garland, Texas, and King City, Calif., will continue to operate as part of the Tosca organization ...

Pinnacle Foods Finance L.L.C.is consolidating its R&D efforts to the company's headquarters in Parsippany, reports Food Business News. The Birds Eye frozen products R&D team, which is currently based in Green Bay, Wis., is moving to Pinnacle's headquarters...

Paula Deen, chef, author and restaurateur, has partnered with Buffalo, N.Y.-based Nanco Group to create Paula Deen Foods. The new company will expand on existing Paula Deen's products that are sold in retailers throughout the U.S., and it will cover Paula Deen's traditional recipes as well as lighter versions. Paula Deen Foods plans to launch its initial products by September ...

Nestle SA named U.K. head Paul Grimwood as chairman and CEO of its U.S. operations, replacing Brad Alford, who is to retire in October after 32 years, reports Bloomberg. Grimwood led Nestle's U.K. and Ireland business since 2009 and prior to that ran the company's U.K. confectionery business for three years ...

Campbell Soup Co. announced that Irene Chang Britt officially takes over as President of Pepperidge Farm as Pat Callaghan steps down after more than 30 years with the company. Britt will be based at Pepperidge Farm's headquarters in Norwalk, Conn. and will report to Campbell's President and CEO Denise Morrison ...

NCA President Larry Graham has announced his plan to retire following the 2014 Sweets & Snacks Expo after 22 years as head of the National Confectioners Association. Graham, who has overseen significant changes in the association's structure, intends to be actively involved in the recruitment and transition process to ensure an organized change of leadership ...

Dennis (Denny) Belcastro was named vice president, government and industry affairs, at Hillshire Brands Co. ...

Brampton, Ontario-based Loblaw Cos. became the first Canadian retailer to roll out the Guiding Stars nutritional labeling program when it introduced the shelf tags at its Ontario stores on August 10. The program, developed under the auspices of Delhaize Group's Hannaford Bros. chain, rates foods throughout the store based on nutrient density and assigns them a rating of zero to three stars ...

Mars Inc. donated $5 million to the National Museum of American History to fund a gallery focused on American business and innovation, to be called the Mars Hall of American Business, reports The Tennesseean/The Associated Press. The 8,000-square-foot gallery will include John Deere's plow, Michael Dell's early computers and famous advertising campaigns ...

Protein-packed food is the latest health trend sweeping grocers, including whey-based protein powder and soy shaped into pasta, reports ABC News/The Associated Press. Health-conscious consumers are snatching up these items as they cut back on red meat -- a rich source of protein -- as prices increase and they become more concerned about their health. "People are getting smarter about foods in general," said Phil Lempert. "Longer term, I think you're going to see people starting to look at more vegetables and different combinations to create proteins like rice and beans." ...

Hebrew University in Jerusalem researchers report that the tomato has 7,000 more genes than a human, a fact that is stumping scientists who hope to understand the plant's secrets and transform its genes to make better tomato products in the future, reports The New York Times. The research, which took nine years to complete, sheds light on the plant's adaptive qualities and is helping scientists understand the tomato's cousins: the potato, tobacco plant, pepper and eggplant.

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