Mars launches 'What's Inside'

As part of its global initiative, Mars, Inc. has become the first confectionery company in the United States to voluntarily incorporate Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) nutrition labeling on all its chocolate, non-chocolate confectionery and other food products. The new labeling will call for packaging redesigns of all products to feature key nutritional information, such as calorie totals, in large type on the front of the package and calories, fat, sugar and sodium information on the back of the product. Market research conducted by Mars found the packaging style and design to be the most effective amongst consumers. 

The “What’s Inside” labeling will go into effect in December 2008 and begin appearing on Mars US chocolate, non-chocolate confectionery and other food products by the end of 2010.

“Our redesigned labels are the latest examples of Mars’ commitment to health and nutrition,” says Bob Gamgort, president of Mars North America. “By providing clear, concise and understandable information to consumers about what’s inside all of our products, we will help them to make informed decisions about the foods they eat.”

To further aid consumers with nutritional information, Mars has launched an educational Web site, www.marshealthyliving.com, which will feature tips for weight management and a caloric intake calculator, along with newsletters and advice on healthy living in the coming months.

“Many Americans struggle to make smart decisions when it concerns their diet; it often is difficult to eat thoughtfully and carefully,” says Dr. Arthur Frank, medical director, George Washington University Weight Management Program, Washington, D.C. “The more information consumers get, the easier it will be for them to make good choices. I think the Mars program is a wonderful first step in the direction of better labels, more information and better decisions.”

Wrigley names new president

Recently acquired by Mars, Inc., Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. named Dushan (Duke) Petrovich president of the company. An employee of Wrigley for more than 30 years, Petrovich will be responsible for the company's global strategy, operations and business performance, according to the company. Petrovich and chairman Bill Wrigley, Jr., who will work closely together, will report to president and ceo of Mars, Inc. Paul S. Michaels.

"Duke has played an important role in the transformation and ongoing growth of Wrigley throughout the years," says Bill Wrigley, Jr. "He has served on our Executive Leadership Team for more than ten years, and has proven himself to be a strong and visionary leader. Given his experience, combined with his ability to respect the company's heritage while remaining focused on our future, Duke is the right leader at the right time for our company."

"The combination of Duke's deep-seated understanding of Wrigley's operations, respect among the company's associates and financial expertise makes him the ideal person to connect Wrigley into the Mars organization and build future growth for the business," Michaels adds.

Former president and ceo of Wrigley, William D. Perez, will hold an advisory role within the company through the end of 2008.

Curwood celebrates 50th anniversary

Flexible packaging company Curwood, Inc., part of Bemis Company, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year as a provider of flexible and thermoformed packaging for the food, beverage and consumer products industries. Although the business began in a rented New London, Wis. garage, the Oshkosh, Wis.-based company now has locations throughout North America, South America, Asia and Europe.

“Our focus on innovation and material science has fueled Curwood’s growth and made us a leader in our markets,” says Jim Ransom, president of Curwood. “We’re proud to be able to serve our customers and help them grow with the latest packaging advances and next-generation technology. We would like to thank our customers for their confidence in Curwood as a partner.”

Bemis Company, which purchased Curwood in 1965, also celebrates an anniversary this year - its 150th.

Vincent Pilon, executive pastry chef at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, competing in the 2007 U.S. finals of the World Chocolate Masters competition.

Barry Callebaut announces World Chocolate Masters competitors

Chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut announced the five pastry chefs and chocolatiers chosen to compete in the U.S. finals of the World Chocolate Masters competition: Lionel Clement, chef chocolatier at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas; Regis Courivaud, executive chef and executive pastry chef at Le Monde restaurant in New York; Stephen Durfee, pastry chef instructor at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, Calif.; James Gallo, executive pastry chef at the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver; and Jove Hubbard, executive pastry chef at David Burke’s Primehouse at the James Hotel in Chicago.

Held at the French Culinary Institute in New York on Nov. 9, finalists were required to create a large chocolate showpiece conveying this year’s theme, “Haute Couture,” using chocolate brands Callebaut, Cacao Barry and Carma. Another mandatory rule for participants was to create a chocolate pastry, two types of pralines and a small chocolate showpiece using special ingredients found in their “mystery box.”

Professional judges assessed creations on presentation, taste and technical application. The judges included: Jacques Torres, chocolate executive officer of Jacques Torres Chocolates; Johnny Iuzzini, executive pastry chef of Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s restaurant Jean-Georges; Elizabeth Katz, corporate executive pastry chef for B.R. Guest Restaurants; Pascal Janvier, owner of the patisserie and chocolaterie Fleur de Cocoa in Los Gatos, Calif.; and Robert Bennett, executive pastry chef for AHB Foods/The Classic Cake in Cherry Hill, N.J.

The winner of the competition will be named “U.S. National Chocolate Master 2009” and will compete against representatives from 19 other countries at the World Chocolate Masters competition in Paris, Oct. 14-16, 2009 at the Salon Du Chocolat Professionnel.

OTA receives $750,000 grant

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) granted $750,000 to the Organic Trade Association (OTA) in partnership with Sustainable Strategies. The amount is meant to aid in Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC) funding over three years to better understand U.S. organic trade barriers.

Sustainable Strategies plans to conduct various GAP analyses of international markets for U.S. organic products to determine barriers in exporting U.S. organic products to certain international specialty markets.

In Sustainable Strategies’ and OTA’s project proposal to FAS, they stated that U.S. organic producers have an unfair trade disadvantage due to certifiers and producers in some foreign countries having full access to the U.S. market, while U.S. organic producers have little access to theirs.