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FoodBev Weekly News Bulletin – 25/08/23


FoodBev Media’s Phoebe Fraser rounds up this week’s food and beverage news, including: Subway acquired by private equity firm Roark Fast food chain Subway has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Roark Capital, a private equity firm boasting $37 billion in managed assets. Some sources have revealed that the deal amounted to a substantial $9.55 billion in total value. This transaction signifies a huge milestone in Subway’s progression and evolution. It brings together the global footprint and brand strength of the chain, with Roark’s proficiency in restaurant operations and franchise frameworks. Roark’s primary focus is on investments within consumer and business service sectors, particularly in franchises and franchise-like models. The chain says it will continue to implement its strategy, prioritising sales expansion, improving menu offerings, modernising its eateries, enhancing the overall guest experience and furthering its global reach. Iceland chairman defies UK laws on infant formula sales UK supermarket Iceland Foods has announced plans to illegally accept food bank vouchers, loyalty points and gift cards for purchases of infant formula. Currently, UK laws prohibit retailers from promoting discounts and savings on infant formula. The latest news follows a public announcement from Iceland last week, informing consumers that it would be cutting the price of formula milk at Iceland and The Food Warehouse stores by over 20%, in response to rising prices of formula milk placing “unbearable pressure” on parents during the cost of living crisis. The decisions to defy regulations could see the supermarket facing an unlimited fine, Iceland’s executive chairman Richard Walker said, adding that the supermarket had already received complaints from local authorities including the Department of Health in response to its price reduction announcement. While the government legislation was introduced to encourage mothers to choose to breastfeed, Walker argued that the regulations affect many groups for whom breastfeeding is not an option, emphasising the importance of allowing people the right to choose and enabling fair access to affordable formula solutions. Heineken sells 100% shares in Russian business for €1 Heineken has announced the completion of the sale of its Russian operations to Arnest Group, expecting a total cumulative loss of $300 million. The Dutch beer giant announced its decision to exit its business in Russia in March last year, stating that its ownership of its Russian business was no longer “sustainable nor viable” within the current environment following the intensification of the war in Ukraine. This morning (25 August 2023) the company revealed that the transaction has received all of the required approvals, concluding the process that it initiated last year. The purchase price for the Heineken Russia business is €1 for 100 percent of the shares. Buyer Arnest Group owns a major can packaging business and is the largest Russian manufacturer of cosmetics, household goods and metal packaging for the fast-moving consumer goods sector. All remaining assets, including seven breweries in Russia, will transfer to the new owners. Arnest Group has taken responsibility for Heineken’s 1,800 employees in Russia, providing employment guarantees for the next three years. In addition to the Heineken brand, which was removed from Russia in 2022, production of its Amstel beer brand will be phased out within six months. Heineken says it will provide no brand support and will receive no proceeds, royalties or fees from Russia. Heineken said the transaction will have a “negligible impact” on diluted EPS, and Heineken’s full-year 2023 outlook is unchanged from the sale. Cargill and Bar Technologies’ wind-powered cargo ship sets sail A cargo ship fitted with Cargill and Bar Technologies’ new innovation has set sail. The Cargill chartered vessel is the first to be retrofitted with two WindWings – large wing sails measuring up to 37.5 metres in height that can be fitted to the deck of cargo ships. The wind-powered sails are designed to cut fuel consumption and, consequently, the carbon footprint of shipping. The WindWings are expected to generate average fuel savings of up to 30% on new build vessels, which could increase significantly if used in combination with alternative fuels. On an average global route, WindWings can save 1.5 tonnes of fuel per WindWing per day – with the possibility of saving more on trans-ocean routes. Mars launched two new low-sugar protein bars under its Snickers brand. Heinz unveiled its latest innovation, tomato ketchup-filled hash browns. Kellogg’s expanded its snacking portfolio in the Australian and New Zealand markets with the introduction of Chipotle Sour Cream and Cajun Spice-flavoured Pringles. Proper Snacks partnered with KFC to launch a new limited-edition popcorn chicken-flavoured popcorn, combining KFC’s blend of eleven herbs and spices with Proper Snack’s butterfly popcorn.

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