Pinnacle Foods Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Canada-based Garden Protein International Inc., the rapidly-growing manufacturer of the plant-based protein brand gardein™, from Founder and President Yves Potvin and TSG Consumer Partners LLC, a leading strategic equity firm.
Gardein is an innovator in the fast growing plant-based protein segment, with a line of award-winning frozen products that serve as alternatives for traditional animal-based protein formats, such as chicken strips and tenders, ground beef and fish fillets. As one of the fastest-growing frozen health and wellness brands in the U.S., Gardein enjoys exceptional velocity trends across both traditional and non-traditional retailers, including the natural and organic channel.
Commenting on the announcement, Pinnacle Foods Chief Executive Officer Bob Gamgort stated, “The acquisition of Gardein is a key enabler to continue building Birds Eye into the leading health and wellness brand focused on helping Americans eat more vegetables. By bringing Gardein under the Birds Eye umbrella, we will accelerate growth through expanded distribution, marketing and innovation.”
“We believe that plant-based protein is at the tipping point of becoming mainstream, making Gardein an exciting new growth platform for the Birds Eye business. We congratulate Yves and the Gardein team for pioneering new territory in food and look forward to welcoming them to Pinnacle,” added Gamgort.
“We are proud of the business we built, and are very excited about partnering with Birds Eye and Pinnacle to realize Gardein’s full potential,” said Yves Potvin. “We look forward to working with Birds Eye to expand the reach of great-tasting, plant-based protein products for consumers.”
Gardein is expected to generate net sales approximating CAD$65 million in 2014. The acquisition, which includes a manufacturing facility in Vancouver, British Columbia, and nearly 250 employees, is expected to be completed immediately. The purchase price of CAD$175 million will be funded with available liquidity.
Pinnacle plans to invest significantly behind Gardein in 2015 to continue to expand the brand and leverage the complementary positioning of Gardein and Birds Eye in the marketplace. As such, Pinnacle expects the addition of Gardein to have a minimal, if any, positive impact on its earnings in 2015.
In connection with this transaction, Perella Weinberg Partners is serving as financial advisor to Pinnacle Foods, while Houlihan Lokey, Inc. is serving as financial advisor to Garden Protein International Inc.
Artisan Bistro’s new Beyond Breakfast line consists of artisan-crafted meals that blend the flavors of hearty breakfast favorites with organic, local and sustainable ingredients. With recipes touting cage-free egg whites, kale, black beans, asparagus and more, the new Beyond Breakfast entrées deliver satisfying meal options that can be enjoyed morning, noon or night. Artisan Bistro Beyond Breakfast entrées are gluten free and available in three vegetarian options and two varieties with all-natural turkey.
“Our brand fans count on Artisan Bistro for wholesome and delicious meal options, and many of them challenged us to create healthy breakfast meals that would allow them to get a protein-packed start to their busy days,” said Leo Griffin, Chief Executive Officer of Artisan Bistro Foods, Inc. “We started out by creating great breakfast meals, and found ourselves eating them for light lunches, dinner and snacks, hence the name ‘Beyond Breakfast.’ Like all of our frozen entrées, these new dishes remain true to our commitment to superior, sustainable, non-GMO and organic ingredients.”
All Artisan Bistro Beyond Breakfast meals are made with cage-free egg whites, are gluten free, contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients, and contain between 160 and 200 calories and between 9 and 15 grams of protein per serving. The entrées are available now at Whole Foods Markets, and will launch in natural food stores and grocers nationwide in January 2015, with a suggested retail price of $3.99. Varieties include:
Artisan Bistro’s entire cast of nutritionally-rich frozen meals includes delicious, non-GMO ingredients, like sustainably-caught salmon, free-range chicken, grass-feed beef, premium vegetables and a variety of whole grains and legumes, including quinoa, lentils and garbanzo beans. All dishes contain 70 percent or more organic ingredients and are gluten free to deliver wholesome, fresh and unique options for anyone seeking great-tasting alternatives to cooking or eating out. Artisan Bistro meals are available in natural food stores and grocers nationwide, including Whole Foods Market, Target, Safeway, Publix, Wegmans and Sprouts. For more information, visit www.theartisanbistro.com.
Hammond’s Candies has reinvented its classic, handcrafted caramel corns with new flavors and packaging. The company is introducing new Mango Habanero and Honey Peanut All-Natural Popcorn in new display-ready cartons that hold a dozen packages make it easy to grab a gourmet snack. Plus, new lower suggested retail prices of just $3.99-$4.99 makes them especially tempting.
“At Hammond’s, we’re always looking for ways to make it easy to enjoy candy,” said Andrew Schuman, Hammond’s CEO. “We create fun, imaginative and delicious flavors, package it beautifully and deliver it all at a great value.”
Mango Habanero – which combines sweet fruity flavor with a spicy punch — and Honey Peanut – a rich take on a classic — join Hammond’s line-up of All Natural Popcorn in flavors that include Chicago Style, Chocolate Caramel, Sweet Cinnamon Toast, Chocolate Caramel and Hammond’s own take on anything-but-standard Caramel Corn. Like all Hammond’s candies, they’re made with the best ingredients to exacting standards – perfectly popped kernels every time.
A Denver staple since 1920, Hammond’s is renowned for its beautiful, high quality and inventive candies that pay homage to tradition, but wake up taste buds with fun flavors and formulas. Hammond’s diverse selection of candies includes the classic Mitchell Sweet (caramel-wrapped marshmallows), award-winners such as the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Chocolate Bar and the company’s signature stunning, hand-pulled lollipops and candy canes. All are available in Hammond’s award-winning packaging that showcases the “specialness” of candy.
More information is available at www.hammondscandies.com, or by calling 1.800-CANDY.99 (1.800.226.3999).
Bissinger’s and The Caramel Room unveiled a new facility in a special chocolate ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening party on October 15, 2014. Over 300 guests looked on as Bissinger’s President and CEO Tim Fogerty and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay cut a specially-created chocolate ribbon to inaugurate Bissinger’s new corporate headquarters and showcase its 14,000 square-foot event space, The Caramel Room.
“We are so honored to be here carrying on Bissinger’s legacy. Originating in 17th century Paris, the company opened its St. Louis doors in 1925,” said Fogerty. “The increased capacity will allow us to keep up with demand and bring new jobs to St. Louis. The addition of private chocolate tours and special event space for parties, corporate meetings and receptions will make this a destination and major attraction for both local and out-of-town visitors.”
The ceremony was the culmination of a year of intense effort, and the renovation process took more than 250 people to complete. The project consolidated two facilities, bringing jobs from Bissinger’s Iowa City plant to St. Louis. Bissinger’s now employs approximately 100 people.
Constructed circa 1910, the historic property was once home to the Missouri Kansas Texas Railroad Depot. A $15 million renovation was undertaken to upgrade to industry standards while preserving much of its original architectural detail. The four-story building contains 220,000 square feet of office and manufacturing space and will now accommodate private chocolate tours. The top floor has a new 14,000 square-foot event space which can seat up to 350 people for dinner and features a 4,200 square-foot deck offering expansive views
Fogerty presented the Mayor with a special limited-release chocolate bar commemorating the 250th anniversary of St. Louis. The hand-painted art features famous pioneers and landmarks that have been instrumental in the fabric of St. Louis’ iconic past, present and future. Available in both 60% Dark Chocolate and White Mint, the 8-ounce bars can be purchased for a limited time online and in stores.
Green Valley Organics® is expanding its award-winning line with the introduction of the first real dairy, lactose-free cream cheese available in the U.S. market. Starting in November 2014, Green Valley Organics Cream Cheese will be available nationwide at a suggested retail price of $3.49 at Whole Foods Markets, with a wider availability in other natural food stores in early 2015.
Green Valley Organics Lactose Free Cream Cheese is made in a solar-powered creamery using a simple, carefully crafted recipe that delivers a superb flavor. With the perfect balance of sweet and tart, and a rich, creamy texture, the cream cheese is perfect for everyday use, as well as an ideal ingredient in cooking and baking. Like all Green Valley Organics products, the cream cheese is minimally-processed and made with milk from a local family farm, which is Certified Organic and Certified Humane®. All Green Valley Organics products are also certified kosher and gluten-free.
“Our customers have been asking for cream cheese since we first introduced Green Valley Organics in 2010,” says CEO & President Jennifer Bice, “When it comes to dairy, people want the ‘real deal,’ which is exactly what we make – it just also happens to be lactose free. We are delighted to serve the community of an estimated 30-50 million Americans who are lactose intolerant and to say ‘Yes, we now have an organic cream cheese that you and your family can enjoy.’”
Green Valley Organics Cream Cheese is made with only four ingredients – pure organic cream, sea salt, lactase enzyme and live, active cultures; it contains no additives and is free of milk powder, fillers, gum thickeners or other unnecessary ingredients. Flourish®, the company’s proprietary blend of 10 different probiotics, provides the live and active cultures in this delicious new cream cheese.
The quality and outstanding taste of all of Green Valley Organics products start with the milk, which comes from a certified organic family farm in the heart of Sonoma County, located north of San Francisco along the California coast. The Sonoma County climate, so similar to the Mediterranean with its warm summers and mild winters, offers lush, green winter pastures that are among the most diverse grasslands in the country. These pastures provide perfect nourishment for humanely raised dairy cows.
Counter Culture Coffee has announced its annual, limited-edition Holiday Coffee featuring harvests from Peru and Ethiopia with a smooth, approachable flavor profile of brown sugar, bittersweet chocolate, and pecan. The coffee is 85 percent Cenfrocafe from Jaén, Peru and 15 percent Idido Washed from Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia. Priced at $14.25/12-ounce box and available as of November 1 on Counter Culture’s website and at all retailers, the coffee is packaged in a sleek recycled paper box printed with linseed oil-based inks conceptualized by Counter Culture’s in-house design team.
This holiday season, Counter Culture will collect a nickel per pound of all coffees sold—including the 2014 Holiday Coffee—to fund forthcoming coffee-growing community betterment initiatives through its SEEDS program (Sustaining Environmental and Educational Development at Source). This holiday allocation reflects a significant increase from the penny per pound Counter Culture donates throughout the year to support improvement projects in coffee-producing communities around the world, including agricultural training and research programs, through SEEDS.
Counter Culture’s SEEDS program was created to structure and define the company’s monetary contributions to projects benefitting its coffee-producing partners and families, who may not be directly related with the coffee itself. Since 2011, SEEDS has supported 12 projects in eight countries and contributed more than $65,000 (not including sales from Holiday Coffee) to coffee-growing communities.
Counter Culture’s strong relationships with the farmers and communities who create their coffees epitomize its commitment to environmental, social, and fiscal sustainability. Under Coffee Buyer & Sustainability Manger Kim Elena Ionescu’s leadership, Counter Culture encourages all coffee growers to practice organic agriculture on their farms. The company supports farms and co-ops willing to pursue organic certification, which requires effort, money, and a full three years of transition time before the coffee can be labeled organic. Eighty-five percent of the coffee that Counter Culture purchases is certified organic, and the company is constantly working to increase that percentage.
Last year, a portion of Counter Culture’s Holiday Coffee proceeds helped to jumpstart the process required for organic certification for coffee producers from Burundi whose coffee the roaster has purchased for a number of years. Two years ago, the proceeds funded a two-day organic composting workshop in Ethiopia that was attended by 30 farmers from Haru, Idido, and Biloya villages.
Goya Foods, the largest Hispanic-owned food company in the United States, expands its West Coast headquarters with a new facility and distribution center in southern California in response to the increased consumer demand of Goya’s healthy and nutritious products.
As the only Hispanic food company to offer consumers an entire line of low sodium, organic, diet and sugar free products, the 250,000 square foot facility will boost Goya’s distribution capabilities of healthy and authentic Latin food and strengthen the company’s position and growth in the West. “Based on our current sales and the influence of Latin culture on the food industry, it’s an opportune time to expand in California, a marketable region that represents high-growth for Goya,” says Robert A. Unanue, who spearheaded the expansion of Goya California and whose great grandfather Don Prudencio founded Goya Foods in 1936. “The new California facility will allow us to accelerate our reach and secure our position in one of the top regions of the United States while simultaneously allowing us to focus on the expansion of our healthy product lines.”
The new facility will act as Goya’s west coast hub and service the surrounding states including Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Utah. The new center features a new warehouse management system, increased capacity for packing, freezing, and railroad transportation that strategically runs through the west coast and links to Goya’s new facility in Houston, Texas.
As part of Goya’s 2011 collaboration with First Lady Michelle Obama’s MyPlate / MiPlato campaign, Goya has focused on expanding its healthy product lines that feature a variety of over 40 low sodium and organic beans, organic rice, brown rice, quinoa, beans, vegetables, frozen vegetables and fruits, coconut water, diet beverages, as well as household staples like olive oil and low sodium condiments. “Goya’s new California facility is part of the company’s $300 million global expansion of four new state of the art manufacturing, production and distribution facilities in Texas, Georgia, and New Jersey, and will play a significant role in supporting our efforts to provide healthy products,” says Bob Unanue, President of Goya Foods. “Since our collaboration with First Lady Michelle Obama, we’ve printed over 336 million cans marked with the MyPlate logo. We’ve not only provided consumers with healthy options that have ‘good taste, are good for you and of good value,’ key elements that resonate with our popular tagline ‘If It’s Goya, It Has To Be Good,’ but we’ve provided the educational materials and aligned our overall communications in order to really make a difference in the well-being of our consumers.” Each of Goya’s new facilities will help reach new consumers and strengthen the Goya brand throughout the United States and internationally.
KeHE Distributors, a leading distributor of natural, specialty, and fresh products, will host its annual Summer Selling & Product Innovation Show in Orlando Feb 2-3, 2015. This rapidly growing show is completely sold out – four weeks prior to the posted deadline.
The show has a unique focus on the summer selling season, and a track record of attracting a large and growing number of retailers of all sizes. KeHE’s Summer Selling Show is the only food industry show to win a Top 50 award from the Trade Show News Network.
“It’s not a surprise our supplier and retailer partners are signing up to participate in record breaking time. The Connect:Show iPad ordering technology makes show floor transactions easy and fast for both retailers and suppliers. Accordingly, both groups have a fare more productive show experience than ever before,” says Mike Leone, Chief Commercial Officer, KeHE.
“Our retailer and suppler partners rely on our guidance regarding products that will perform well, during the upcoming summer selling season,” stated Brandon Barnholt, President and CEO of KeHE Distributors. “We believe it is critical that we make on-trend easy for them,” he continued.
The KeHE Summer Selling Show is a private, by invitation-only, industry event.
Fenugreen, a simple piece of paper infused with a mixture of organic spices and botanicals that inhibit bacterial and fungal growth and extend the life of quickly perishable produce, is featured in the week’s segment of “The Lempert Report Innovation Series,” a weekly video series featuring innovation in the food world that examines cutting-edge products that can help.
“This is brilliant,” says Phil Lempert, CEO and editor of “The Lempert Report.” “Fenugreen can revolutionize the food economy helping to keep produce fresh from the farm-to-the-retailer, and then into consumer’s homes. In addition, it can cut back on transportation, inventory and energy costs.”
According to a report by the National Resources Defense Council, Americans throw away nearly half of their food annually and 25 percent of the world’s harvest is lost to spoilage. However, Fenugreen FreshPaper is now used by farmers and families across the globe, and the company is establishing initiatives to benefit local food banks in the U.S. and small-scale farmers in the developing world.
FreshPaper sheets are recyclable, biodegradable, compostable, and made in the USA.
B’more Organic skyr smoothies are now widely available through its new strategic expansion into the Mid-Atlantic. Now offered in more than 100 new outlets in the region, including Whole Food Markets, Safeway supermarkets, and independent stores, B’more Organic smoothies are available in Banana, Mango Banana, Strawberry Banana, Vanilla and Caffe Latte flavors. The brand is now available in over 250 locations.
B’more Organic new store expansion includes:
• 34 additional Mid-Atlantic Whole Foods Markets in Northern Virginia, District of Columbia., Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati and parts of Kentucky.
• 50 Safeway supermarkets in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia
• 25 independent markets in Northern Virginia, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New York
Skyr is an Icelandic-style strained yogurt, similar to Greek yogurt, brought originally to North America by way of Nordic settlers with experience in food preservation. B’more Organic skyr smoothies are made from fat-free skim milk naturally loaded with protein and probiotics. B’More Organic is providing a protein-packed, gluten-free and fat-free creamy beverage, now available to the Mid-Atlantic region.