Food Industry News

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Food Industry Invests in Food Waste Reduction, Making Clear Progress

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Great strides are clearly being made towards reduction in food waste – thanks to the industry’s investment in the venture. A new report released on 17 November, 2016 by the Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA) revealed that there is an increased amount of food donation and higher investment in food waste solutions.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the National Restaurant Association (NRA) reportedly carried out the research for FWRA, which was established in 2011. The report has highlighted the techniques used by manufacturing, retail/wholesale, and restaurant sectors in recycling and repurposing food waste. It has also pinpointed areas of investment and highlighted the common obstacles encountered in food donation and recycling.

The survey covered manufacturing, retail/wholesale, and restaurant sectors and the report has dedicated separate sections for each of the three industries. Apart from the 2016 survey results’ overall summary, there were notable findings from the food manufacturing sector, for instance,  97% of food waste generated is recycled by manufacturers, with 94% being recycled to either animal feed or fertilise soil.

In 2015, food banks received food donation from manufacturers to the tune of 156 million pounds in response to the survey. Manufacturing companies have invested heavily across the board.  Half of the respondents are investing in cutting food waste, disposal of food waste, food donation, as well as food sent for recycling to animal feed.


According to Meghan Stasz, Senior Director, Sustainability at GMA, the research indicates that the food industry is making effort to play its part in cutting food waste and getting food to the needy.  He further said that although much progress had been made, there was still more work to be done.  A number of areas of opportunity – which are all priorities for FWRA – have been identified in the report. These include waste measurement and tracking, internal analysis and investment, as well as partnering around sharing best practices.

FWRA is currently making effort to have a better understanding of the present state of food waste, and also show the way food waste collection and processing has evolved and advanced, and the report is part of it. This year’s research has one important finding, which is the difficulty when it comes to correct measurement and monitoring of food waste on all the food industry sectors.

Stasz was quoted saying: “There is a distinct need for improved tracking and measurement so companies will be able to better understand what types of food waste they are generating and where it is occurring”.   “This will enable them to tailor food waste reduction and diversion methods to their organizational needs; a win-win for the company, the industry and everyone in between,” he concluded.

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Good News for the UK and Ireland Youth As Nestlé Pledges To Create At Least 3,000 New Job Opportunities By 2020

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Nestle has reportedly made a pledge to offer not less than 3,000 new work opportunities for the youth in the United Kingdom as well as Ireland by the year 2020.

The pledge was said to be part of the wider Nestlé Needs YOUth promise to provide 35,000 job opportunities for the youth not only in Europe, but also in the US and the Middle East in the next four years. According to the manufacturer, this is based on the work opportunities it creates from 2014 totaling to over 2,000.

Nestlé UK & Ireland Chairman and CEO Fiona Kendrick was reported saying: “Nurturing young talent is one of our core beliefs and at the heart of what we do at Nestlé. We have been very privileged to have many young people join us, learn and build life-long careers with us.”

Kendrick happens to be the president of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) as well.

She said Nestlé continued to set a trend in helping lend support to, and nurture today’s young talent to become leaders of tomorrow – and that was important.

A Fantastic First Step

Kendrick further added: “Opportunities such as apprenticeships provide a fantastic first step on the employment ladder.”

The Nestlé Needs YOUth initiative was launched in 2013 and since then, it had created 2,000-plus job opportunities for young people under 30 years. According to Nestlé, this surpassed the initial 1,900 target.  On top of that, the company has reportedly engaged with 3,000-plus students via face-to-face workshops. It has also delivered more than 500 Readiness for Work events across UK.

Nestlé had increased the variety of chances available to the youth by introducing new internship and graduate roles in three important areas as a way of supporting its commitment. These were namely:  food manufacture and confectionery, the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship, and new IT apprenticeships scheme.

The company has reportedly made major changes to its Academy recruitment process which was realised via changes to competency-oriented methodology across all Nestlé’s programmes.  This was designed to ensure optimum diversity, allowing candidates, irrespective of their background, to actually progress through its Academy recruitment process.

200 Top Companies

The year 2014 saw Nestlé further spread its Nestlé Needs YOUth initiative wings in Europe in order to initiate the Alliance for YOUth project, with 200-plus top companies partnering in it. The partnership was meant to assist young people to make the necessary preparations to plunge into the professional world, and enhance their odds of finding a job in a tough job market.

On November 15, the Alliance for YOUth project made a commitment to offer 230,000 new job openings for young people in Europe between the year 2017 and 2020. The alliance alleged that beginning from 2014, it had already provided training and jobs for 115,000 young Europeans.

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Food manufacture Engineers’ pay “Engineered” 4% upwards since 2015

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Engineering graduates’ pay has climbed 4% higher since 2015. This includes those employed in the food and drink industry. It was revealed in a new report released by the manufacturers’ organisation, EEF.

According to the pay appraisal report, graduate engineers may expect to take home on average a sum of £28,000 annually as compared to £26,890 in 2015.  Since the average professional graduate salary earns £22,984 annually, it means that engineering graduates attract a 22% premium per year.

Professional engineers’ remuneration also increased by 2% year-on-year, resulting in an average salary of £32,699. As such, senior engineers can look forward to a £41,000 pay a year.

Also, a difference in pay of up to 10% was detected with regions determining it. The South East ranked highest, with professionals earning £40,000 annually on average as compared with their counterparts in the South West who earn £36,000 a year.

How Pay Differs

Apart from region, the report identified what brings about the difference in pay across categories of engineering roles and certain sets of skill.

Last year, senior research and development engineers had the highest premium attached to their skills, with a 28% increase in basic average earnings that saw them hit £37,109 per year.

According to Tim Thomas, EEF director of employment and skills policy, although the demand for engineering skills was high, there was short supply. It is therefore no wonder that engineering skills continue to command a higher premium and employers were actually willing to pay it.

Thomas said that since there is stiff competition to attract and retain experienced workers who are important to their business, companies’ first line of defence remains offering a handsome pay package.

Lucrative, Sustainable Careers

Thomas added: “It’s a key factor behind our sector’s reputation for offering well-paid, sustainable careers. But it also reinforces the need for employers to be fully aware of industry pay rates so that they can benchmark and position themselves accordingly.”

The EEF gathered data from over 240 companies (food and drink manufacturers included). It covered remuneration data for up to 6,000 managers and engineers all over UK this year.

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Cranswick Acquires Dunbia Ballymena’s Pork Business at an Undisclosed Price

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Meat firm Cranswick has acquired Dunbia’s Northern Ireland pork business for an amount that has not been disclosed, effectively increasing its pig processing capacity.

The company, which employs 360 carries out its operations in a purpose-built facility in County Antrim, Dunbia processes about 7,800 pigs every week.

Pork business sales amounted to £72.4M for the year to 29 March 2016.

Fundes from Cranswick’s current debt facilities will be used to fund the transaction, and the company is projected to be earning neutral in the current financial year. However, it is expected to be earnings enhancing come 2018.

Jack Dobson, who is Dunbia Executive Director, will stay on as a consultant in order to help with the acquisition process.

‘Bigger Say over the Supply Chain

According to Cranswick CEO Adam Couch, the purchase added more muscle to the company’s UK processing business, giving it bigger control over the supply chain.

Couch was quoted saying: “It ensures we can maintain the production and processing of high quality, UK farm-assured pigs, which is central to our customers’ requirements,”

According to Clive Black and Darren Shirley, who are both Shore Capital analysts, the acquisition signified “another sensible strategic move” by the firm in adding to its essential activities a complementary pig production area both North Yorkshire and Norfolk.

In the takeover announcement, only scanty financial details were provided. The company will release its interim results on November 29, when Black and Shirley expect better clarification.

No Change to forecasts

They were quoted saying: “In that respect we leave our sales, profit, cash flow and debt forecasts unchanged ahead of the interim results, though at this stage see the potential for a mid-single digit upgrade to FY2018 on earnings-per-share expectations, and the prospect of a modest net debt position at the 2017 financial year-end (current forecast £5.6M net cash).”

The activities of the firm, which include processing and supplying fresh pork, bacon, sausages, cooked meats, quality fresh and cooked poultry, as well as charcuterie and pastry products, are focused within the United Kungdom.

In the year to 31 March, 2016 Cranswick recorded sales to the tune of £1.07bn, and £58.7M pre-tax profit, and it sold The Sandwich Factory, its sandwich business to Greencore Group for £15M in July this year.

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Surprise at Sugar Factory as Two World War II 8lb Practice Bombs Are Found In a Load of Sugar Beet

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There was surprise at a sugar factory in Bury St Edmunds after strange-looking “sugar beets” were found at the factory. Unexploded bombs were delivered to the factory site in a load of sugar beet.

British Sugar factory in Suffolk called the Police to the scene at 12.10pm on Tuesday, November 15, who swung into action, later dispatching a bomb disposal squad to remove the bombs.

According to Mike Blowers, Factory Manager, a tiny piece of artillery was delivered in a sugar beet cargo. It was not immediately clear how this happened.

Military Ordinances

The unexploded ordinances were separated from the beet in the sugar factory’s stone removal system. They did not contain any explosives and they were handled accordingly by the Royal Logistics Corps Bomb Disposal Unit after being isolated.
However, no evacuations from the factory were necessary during the episode, and the Bomb Disposal and the Unit Police left the scene by 3.45pm.
A British Army Colchester Garrison’s spokesman was quoted saying: “On inspection they were found to be three solid shot shells and two 8lb practice bombs, which all contained no explosives and dated to the Second World War. The items were recovered for safe disposal.”

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Mice infestation attracts a £60k Fine to a Bakery

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Mice infestation attracts a £60k Fine to a Bakery . A Birmingham bakery has “earned” a £60,000 fine, thanks to mice infestation following detection of droppings in the entire building.

The Bakery which is located in Sarehole Road, Hall Green makes cakes for Druckers chain of Patisseries. Druckers Vienna Patisserie has 28 outlets across the country which includes in Birmingham Bullring, Manchester and Crawley.

Birmingham Magistrates Court heard how environmental health officers visited the bakery in June, 2015 and found the mouse droppings.Patisserie Holdings PLC which is Druckers’ parent company was consequently slapped with a £60,000 fine. The court also ordered it to pay additional £5,690 in costs. At an earlier hearing in September, the company was charged under the Food Hygiene and Safety Regulations 2013 and pleaded guilty to four offences.

A Patisserie Holdings spokesman was quoted saying that the firm had a “comprehensive and robust food safety management system” aimed at ensuring that high hygienic standards were always maintained at the bakery.

“Hygiene Deficit”

The Patisserie Holdings PLC spokesman expressed the company’s disappointment following the Birmingham City Council’s discovery of what he termed as “shortfall in hygiene” standards in the course of their inspection at that time.

The spokesman reportedly said: “In response to the inspection, Patisserie Holdings has implemented a number of improvements to ensure that the bakery continues to maintain the highest standards of food hygiene.”

The Birmingham City Council had something to say.

“People should be able to have confidence in the safety of the food served and cleanliness of any food business in Birmingham – regardless of whether it’s a factory, retailer or restaurant” said the Birmingham City Council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee chairperson, Councillor Barbara Dring.

Attain the Required Standards

Councillor Dring said the council wanted food companies in the city to flourish. Hence, the officers do work closely with food business premises to make sure that they attain the required standards to allow them to operate safely.

Meanwhile, another company was handed a £3,000 fine on November 9.This was after Potato processor Glenview Foods pleaded guilty to six food safety offences that included failure to appropriately clean its facility as well as conduct pest control.

This was after sandwich manufacturer Deli Sensi was prosecuted for offences related to food safety following the finding of rat droppings in the place where food was being processed.

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Greencore Swooop for Peacock Foods In £594 Million Deal

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Greencore has swooped early to buy Peacock Foods. The US food manufacturer has a strong position in the breakfast market in the US also a foot hold in Kids Ready means and Salads. – Very similar to the Greencore UK market.

“The acquisition of Peacock will transform our US business, strengthen our position in high growth categories, broaden our channel and customer exposure, and add significant scale to our operations,” said Greencore’s CEO, Patrick Coveney. “We believe Peacock’s success is built on the same fundamental strategy and values that drive Greencore, making products that consumers love, building deep,longstanding relationships with customers, investing in high quality manufacturing capacity, food safety capability and, most importantly, people. We are delighted to welcome the Peacock team into the Greencore Group.”

“We are thrilled to be joining the Greencore team at this important time in our growth,” said Tom Sampson, Peacock Foods CEO. “We have been particularly struck by the similarities in the way we run our business and our mutual long-term commitment to the US convenience food market. We are excited by the opportunity that we now have to leverage Greencore’s expertise in innovation and fresh food manufacturing, thereby bringing a broader set of capabilities to our customers.”

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Müller Milk & Ingredients Closing Its Chadwell Heath Factory in 18 Months

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Müller Milk & Ingredients has announced plans to close down its Chadwell Heath, North-East London factory, claiming that the facility is no longer economically viable. Consequently, the company wants to cut 389 jobs. However, it will invest £100M elsewhere.

On November 3, the company confirmed that it will embark on consultations with staff and unions over a period of 45 days starting from November 10.  The factory will be closing in 18 months. The firm stated that it will try to find other roles for employees affected by this move. It also promised to work with its dairy suppliers in order to “review their options” prior to the closure.

Müller Milk & Ingredients’ Managing Director, Andrew McInnes expressed regret over this move, adding that it was obvious that the facility was no longer economically viable.

Complete Refurbishment and Innovation

According to McInnes, the facility needs complete refurbishment and innovation, and committing the level of investment required in order to bring it to satisfactory and sustainable levels of performance is unjustifiable in an industry which has for many years struggled with a processing capacity that was excessive and inefficient.

However, McInnes said that the company’s distribution in South East England will not be affected by the planned closure.  He claimed that the company is determined to listen to the staff and will go into consultations with them with an open mind.

Müller Milk & Ingredients planned to invest £60M at its sites in Severnside, Foston, and Lincolnshire and the closure of its Chadwell Heath North-East London factory was unveiled as part of the dairy firm’s restricting project.  The investment, which was part of a £100M company-wide investment project, would reportedly create up to 180 new jobs. The company said it will also improve its Bridgwater, Droitwich, and Manchester dairy factories.

£60M to Be Invested at the Company’s Foston and Severnside Sites

McInnes said the company had already confirmed plans to upgrade its dairy at Bellshill and was pleased to confirm its proposed investment in the capabilities of its dairies located in Bridgwater, Droitwich, Foston, Severnside, and Manchester.

He said that enhancing operational efficiencies and capabilities at those sites will allow the firm to unlock new innovation to bring about changes in the milk and ingredients industry. This will in turn benefit many people including customers, consumers, farmers, and colleagues.

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2 Sisters ‘Jump’ £25M Higher In Profits

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Boparan Holdings, the parent company of 2 Sisters has released its fourth-quarter trading update that shows a 40% increase in profits to £25.3M.  The firm defied the uncertain market after the UK’s decision to leave the EU to achieve those results.

The company posted a 2.4% sales increase to £775M, and the owner of the firm, Ranjit Singh Boparan termed these results as “encouraging”.  Boparan claimed that the company’s Chilled division, which reported a sales increase of 7.3% performed especially well.

He said the company was pleased to report another encouraging performance that had sustained improvements in both sales and operating profit.

However, he conceded that the market is still very challenging and there are uncertainties surrounding the UK’s decision to exit the EU. The food manufacturing sector is still being greatly pressured by currency-driven inflation along with the volatile grocery market.

Huge £40M Contract

According to Boparan, with the Chilled division showing encouraging profit growth, the company’s strategic investments there places it in a strong position for its future.

He said the firm will continue to launch new products, and win new business also. This includes a huge contract to the tune of £40M for breaded fish as well as launces in traditional ready meals, plus soup categories. According to Boparan, this will be helpful in offsetting business which transfers to the company’s competitors in 2017.

The company’s Protein division’s sales also went up by 0.8% in the company’s fourth quarter as compared with the same period in 2015. A 3.2% increase in like-for-like sales to £91.1M was reported in the Branded division, while the operating profit rose 22.5% to £9.8M.

Although Boparan Holdings’ fourth–quarter report was positive, its full year results indicated that total sales dropped 0.3% this year to £3.13bn. But the company’s like-for-like operating profits increased 57.7% to £90.2M.

Making Good progress Plus Performances

A statement by Boparan Holdings said that the company’s ‘’good progress and performances’’ across its business is an indication that its devotion to customer partnerships, efficacy, innovation, as well as investment to increase profitable sales continues to pay off.

The statement further said that Boparan Holdings will remain in a good position to continue to deliver in its new financial year, in spite of the uncertainty caused by Brexit, persistent cost pressures, as well as the tough grocery market.

In the meantime, 2 Sisters announced that it planned a 350 job cut in South Wales during the first week of November. The company planned to close its St Merryn meat factory’s retail packaging department.  It claimed that that the environment was extremely difficult, meaning that the packaging operation was no longer sustainable.

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Sweet Factory Workers Plan a 4-day To Strike over Not-so-Sweet Remuneration and Working Conditions

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The GMB union gave notice of a planned four-day strike by confectionery maker Tangerine’s workers as from November 8, citing a pay rise dispute and poor working conditions as the reason behind it.

It claimed that the union members working at the company’s York factory were actually “frustrated and angry” about scheduled pay rises. According to the union, Tangerine offered – albeit “begrudgingly”- a 1% salary increase after consenting to hold a meeting with its representatives. However, the members rejected the offer totally.

The GMB organiser, Ben Kirkham said that the union has witnessed and endless list of attacks on its members including paid breaks as well as hand washing time, training money plus bonus payments pulled, pension contributions cut, and pension provider changed, to name a few. So, the strike is not just about turning down an entire 1% salary rise, but rather it was about the union members “rebuilding their terms and conditions”.

‘’Stingy Employer’’

Kirkham said that the GMB members feel that they have been pushed to the wall and the only option they have is to strike. He stressed that was the last resort for the union members. With Christmas just around the corner, they were saying ‘bah, humbug’ to this ‘’stingy employer’’ – Tangerine.

GMB warned that should the negotiations collapse after the planned strikes, what will follow will be continuous industrial action short of a strike throughout November. If nothing changes, then the union will take further action after November 30 – if necessary.

Eating Into Employees’ Terms & Conditions

Tangerine manufactures confectionery brands Butterkist, BlackJack, Flumps, Fruit Salad, and Refereshers, which were acquired by Blackstone Group, a U.S private equity company in 2011. The union claimed that the firm “returned this investment by eroding workers’ terms and conditions in favour of profit”.

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