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FoodBev Weekly News Bulletin – 15/09/23

Smurfit Kappa and WestRock to merge Packaging companies Smurfit Kappa and WestRock have signed a transaction agreement to create a new global packaging giant, Smurfit WestRock. The companies confirmed the decision this week, following a previous announcement that they were in talks about a potential merger. Together, Smurfit Kappa and WestRock generated a combined 12 months adjusted annual revenue of approximately $34 billion as of the 30 June 2023. The merger is expected to make Smurfit WestRock the largest listed global packaging partner by revenue. Smurfit WestRock will be incorporated in Ireland with its global headquarters in Dublin, while its North and South American operations will be headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. It will employ a workforce of around 100,000 overall. Mars announces $1bn roadmap to cut emissions by 50% by 2030 Mars has released ‘The Mars Net Zero Roadmap’, an action plan for achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions across its full value chain by 2050. The roadmap includes a new target to cut emissions by 50% by 2030, from a 2015 baseline, with a pathway to net zero by 2050. The company – which peaked emissions in 2018 – has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 8% (2.6 million metric tons) against its 2015 baseline, while growing the business by 60% during that time. As part of the action plan, Mars says it will invest over $1bn in the next three years, whilst continuing to commit financial resources as needed until it achieves net zero. To achieve net zero, Mars plans to accelerate its focus on transitioning to 100% renewable energy, redesigning its supply chains to stop deforestation, scaling up initiatives in climate-smart agriculture, optimising recipes, improving and optimising logistics and embedding climate action in the business. Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs wins round in diversity dispute with Diageo – Bloomberg According to Bloomberg, Sean Combs has secured an early win in his legal battle against Diageo after claiming that the company was unwilling to provide equal treatment to its Black partners. The victory comes after Combs Wine and Spirits – the company responsible for the Ciroc Vodka and DeLeón Tequila brands – filed a lawsuit in New York’s Supreme Court against Diageo. On Thursday, Judge Joel M Cohen of the Supreme Court of New York for the County of New York denied Diageo’s request to dismiss the lawsuit and its motion to compel the case into arbitration. With Diageo’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit being denied, Combs can now initiate the process, as stated by his attorney John Hueston, of gathering evidence to substantiate his allegation that Diageo did not provide the same level of support to the Ciroc Vodka and DeLeón Tequila brands as it did for others. JM Smucker to acquire Hostess Brands in $5.6bn deal The JM Smucker Company has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Hostess Brands, the owner of Twinkies snack cakes, for approximately $5.6 billion. The acquisition includes Hostess’ net debt of around $900 million. The deal includes a range of sweet baked food brands from Hostess Brands, such as Donettes, Twinkies, CupCakes, DingDongs and Zingers among others. It also includes Hostess’ manufacturing and distribution facilities across the US. Approximately 3,000 employees will join JM Smucker as a result of this transaction. The acquisition is said to bolster the company’s existing portfolio by introducing Hostess Brands’ snacks and sweet baked goods innovations to JM Smucker’s current line-up of brands across the coffee, peanut butter, frozen handhelds, fruit spreads, dog snacks and cat food categories. In addition, JM Smucker said that the deal will strengthen its financial profile and provide shareholders “significant value by accelerating growth in convenient consumer occasions”. Product round-up And in this week's product round-up, coffee-flavoured whiskey brand Kentucky Coffee has entered the ready-to-drink category with the launch of its new Hard Cold Brew range, available in black, vanilla and mocha flavours. The mixed cocktails will be available in 12 oz cans at 5.9% ABV. Elsewhere in beverages, US-based organic fruit juice brand Uncle Matt’s Organic is adding a new functional fruit-based beverage, Superfruit Punch, to its portfolio. The antioxidant-boosted beverage features a blend of ‘superfruits’ including dark sweet cherries, blueberries and black elderberry. And in the UK, bagel brand New York Bakery has unveiled a limited-edition, market-first innovation, Cookies N'Cream bagels. The NPD combines the famous American flavour of cookies and cream with New York Bakery’s traditional bagel format, resulting in what the brand describes as a ‘global flavour first’ and the only of its kind on the market. Each bagel contains rich cocoa cookie pieces and a sweet vanilla undertone.


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