Meat labels, mergers and moving up

Raw meat sold at grocers must carry a nutrition label with information including calories, calories from fat and the level of protein, cholesterol, saturated fat, sodium and iron, reports CNN/The Chart Blog. "It's the kind of information that consumers are asking for, and we just think it's about helping people make their own best choices by having the information that they need," said Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, the USDA's undersecretary for food safety ... General Mills Inc. pushes further into the U.S. snack food market by acquiring chip maker Food Should Taste Good, which makes sweet potato chips and tortilla chips in flavors like lime, olive and jalapeno, reports Reuters. The acquisition puts General Mills into the natural and organic segment of that market, and also puts General Mills into more direct competition with PepsiCo's Frito-Lay, Diamond Foods Inc, which owns Kettle chips, and Kellogg, which will soon own Pringles. Terms of the deal were not disclosed ... Danone and Mead Johnson received approval to jointly bid for Pfizer's infant nutrition unit, which is valued at $10 billion, putting them in competition with Nestlé in the next auction round in March, reports Food Business Review. Pfizer said that it has not made a decision on the infant-nutrition unit, and it is still in the process of exploring its options, which include a sale, spinoff or other transaction. The company expects to announce a decision on the process in 2012 and complete any transaction between July 2012 and July 2013 ... PepsiCo and German dairy company Theo Muller entered into a joint venture, called Wave Holdings, to establish $206 million yogurt facility in Batavia, N.Y. The facility will take two years to construct and employ 186 people, but the companies have not yet determined what brands and types of yogurt wiill be produced ... Jamba Juice acquired Talbott Teas in an effort to expand its position as a major health and wellness company, reports Drinks Business Review. Talbott Teas are certified free-trade and 100% natural with no artificial flavors, preservatives or colors, and  are available in 23 flavors ... The 104-year-old family-owned Ferrara Pan Candy is reportedly in talks with Farley's & Sathers Candy, which may acquire or merge with Ferrara, reports Crain's Chicago Business. The deal puts Salvatore Ferrara II in charge of Farley's & Sathers ... Hostess Brands Inc. retained Gregory F. Rayburn of Kobi Partners L.L.C. as its chief restructuring officer, subject to bankruptcy court approval. He will report to Brian Driscoll, president and CEO in managing Hostess' restructuring under Chapter 11 ... A bill in Connecticut would require labels for any food sold in the state with genetically engineered ingredients, reports The Hartford Courant. "Genetic modified ingredients are no different nutritionally and from a safety standpoint than other foods that do not have genetically modified ingredients," said GMA's Gregory J. Costa at a public hearing on the proposal ... Due to consumer preference for snacks over meals, H.J. Heinz is set to discontinue TGI Friday's frozen single-serve entrees and multi-serve meals, leading to nearly $60 million in lost sales in its next fiscal year. Instead, Heinz plans to invest in TGI Friday's frozen-snacks business, which includes potato skins and buffalo wings, in order to improve profits ... Founded in 1919 as the Campbell Cereal Co., and renamed in 1953 as the Malt-O-Meal Co., is undergoing another corporate name change, this time to MOM Brands. "Our new corporate identity is a better fit for the wide range of products that we now offer," said Chris Neugent, chairman and CEO of MOM Brands." ... Anthony "Tony" Simmons, previously executive vice president of McIlhenny Co., has been named President and COO. A great-great-grandson of Edmund McIlhenny, the creator of Tabasco brand pepper sauce, Simmons is a member of the fifth generation of the McIlhenny family involved in the production of Tabasco sauce and is the seventh family member to assume the presidency of the family owned and operated company. CEO Paul C.P. McIlhenny has been elected Chairman of the Board and will also maintain his role as CEO.