FoodBev Media’s Melissa Bradshaw rounds up this week’s food and beverage news, including:
AB InBev to cut hundreds of corporate roles in the US
Anheuser-Busch InBev, whose Bud Light sales have declined in the US, is set to make hundreds of corporate staff in the country redundant.
A company spokesperson told FoodBev that the changes to its corporate structure will “simplify and reduce layers within its organisation”, and that the layoffs would affect “less than 2% of its US employee population”.
The job cuts would not include frontline staff such as those working in breweries and warehouses. The company’s website says that it employs more than 19,000 employees across the US. 2% of that figure would total around 380 positions.
The company has faced backlash in the US since 1 April after it entered a minor partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney to promote the Bud Light brand. The sponsorship led to calls for a boycott of Bud Light from conservatives and a decline in Bud Light sales.
Wendel to sell Constantia Flexibles to One Rock Capital Partners’ affiliate
French investment company Wendel Group has signed an agreement to sell Constantia Flexibles to an affiliate of One Rock Capital Partners.
Based in Austria, Constantia is a manufacturer of flexible packaging for over 4,000 pharmaceutical, food and consumer goods customers. Wendel said that Constantia would be sold for a price that yields net proceeds of €1.097 billion.
Wendel said the transaction’s net proceeds exceeded Constantia’s valuation by €84 million according to Wendel’s net set value, published prior to the transaction announcement, as of 31 March this year. Additional proceeds generated by Constantia’s ongoing assets disposals will further bring the proceeds up to €1.12 billion.
The closing of the transaction is expected to take place during the second half of 2023, subject to the satisfaction of the contractual conditions precedents.
AG Barr CEO Roger White to step down after over 20 years
AG Barr has announced that its current CEO, Roger White, will be departing from the company within the next year.
White will resign as a director and retire from the business at a “mutually agreed date in the next 12 months”.
The owner of Boost Drinks said that it will commence the search for a successor immediately to “ensure a smooth leadership transition”.
White joined the soft drinks group over 21 years ago. Mark Allen, AG Barr’s chairman, said White was “one of the longest-serving CEOs in the UK public market”.
UK alcohol tax rises for higher ABV beverages
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt introduced a new alcohol duty system this week.
All alcoholic beverages in the UK will now be taxed in line with alcohol by volume, rather than the type of alcohol as was the case in the previous duty system.
Many alcoholic drinks will now cost more, however the rises mean that duty will lower on supermarket shelves for products such as bottles of pale ale, pre-mixed gin and tonic and prosecco.
Lower taxes will be enforced on low-alcohol products – those below 3.5% ABV in strength, and all drinks above 8.5% ABV will pay the same rate regardless of product type.
The government is also introducing ‘Small Producer Relief’, to replace and extend the previous Small Brewers Relief scheme, which was introduced to reduce rates of beer duty for small brewers.
The scheme allows small businesses that produce alcoholic products with an ABV of less than 8.5% to be eligible for reduced rates of alcohol duty on qualifying products. It is said to give small producers “the financial freedom to experiment with new types of drink and grow their business”.
In this week’s product round-up, Kraft Heinz has announced that its Lunchables snack brand is partnering with Fresh Del Monte Produce to offer a new fresh fruit product line. Lunchables with Fresh Fruit features the brand’s two best-selling Turkey and Ham Cracker Stacker varieties alongside Fresh Del Monte’s pineapple, clementines, grapes and apples.
Lactalis UK & Ireland aims to “reinvent” the cheeseburger with its latest new product, Seriously Cheese Burgers. The vegetarian ‘burgers’ feature a combination of Scottish cheddar and mozzarella – creating a melting cheese centre – coated in crispy breadcrumbs.
Mustard brand French’s has teamed up with Mars Wrigley to introduce a limited-edition mustard-flavoured Skittles product, said to combine a “tangy” mustard flavour with the sweet’s “iconic chewy texture”.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2023