getting fresh: Headline hunting
It was a busy news week, and it’s only halfway over. Anyway, I’d like to share some thoughts on a couple headlines that caught my eye during the past few days.
First, there was the Wall Street Journal interview (April 19) with Irene Rosenfeld, Kraft Foods’ ceo and the architect of the recent Cadbury acquisition. During the interview, Rosenfeld revealed that the Cadbury purchase was very much a strategic acquisition, particularly as it applies to the chocolate maker’s presence in emerging markets, as well as its strength in the United States regarding the convenience store channel.
Thus, one of the sweetest incentives behind completing the deal, in addition to becoming the largest confectionery concern in the world, involves piggybacking Kraft’s broad range of products onto Cadbury’s infrastructure strengths. I’m anxious to see how this works out for Kraft, but sense there was plenty of boardroom brainstorming to ensure the hostile takeover was worth the effort.
As Rosenfeld herself admits, “there’s a little bit of agitation out there [Cadbury] right now,” but Kraft has made a commitment to ensure “that there will be no mandatory [job] redundancies in U.K. manufacturing for the next two years in an effort to calm things down.”
Cadbury’s agitation is understandable. After all, the company had separated itself from its beverage business in order to totally focus on confectionery. It was poised to make a strong double-digit sales push, only to have someone else come in and take over the plan.
I wish Rosenfeld and Kraft nothing but the best in their enhanced role as the confectionery industry’s largest player. I also encourage Rosenfeld and her executive team to become involved in the industry; it’s a wonderful segment of the food universe that almost always brings smiles to participants.
One headline, however, that didn’t bring a smile to my face was the news that Milwaukee-based Quality Candy/Buddy Squirrel had asked the federal Bankruptcy Court to sell off its assets in May.
As reported by the Journal Sentinel on April 16, the renowned regional chocolate company had already filed for Chapter 11 protection in January, with debts totaling $3.4 million against assets pegged at $4.4 million, including real estate.
Quality Candy/Buddy Squirrel, which is owned by Margaret Gile, granddaughter of founders Joseph and Lottie Helminiak, dates back to 1916. The Journal Sentinel article quotes Jonathan Goodman, the attorney representing the company, as saying there are at least four prospective buyers.
I hope that’s the case, since no one would want to see as cherished a candy operation as Quality Candy/Buddy Squirrel abruptly end its legacy just about the time a recovery is beginning to take hold.
Which brings me to the final headline, the one involving first-quarter cocoa grinds. According to the latest data released by the National Confectioners Association, which was gleaned from the New York Coffee, Sugar & Cocoa Exchange, grindings for the first three months of 2010 are up 16%. Another sign of the recovery? Seasonal uptick? Capitalizing on a price drop? All of the above? Most likely, all of the above. But if so, those still are all good signs.
Bazooka embarks on cross-promotional partnership
New York-based Bazooka Candy Brands, maker of Bazooka brand gum, Ring Pop lollipops and Baby Bottle Pop candy, has announced a new cross-promotional partnership with two record labels: Razor & Tie and Go Entertainment. The multifaceted campaign will focus on the Baby Bottle Pop brand and feature Razor & Tie artist Mathias Anderle as well as Kicking Daisies from Go Entertainment.
Starting this month, national TV ads will star Anderle in his re-imagined version of popular Baby Bottle Pop jingle. At the same time, Bazooka will launch a revamped version of www.babybottlepop.com featuring music and free MP3 downloads from Anderle and Kicking Daisies. This latest roster of musicians comes on the heels of Bazooka’s successful Jonas Brothers and Clique Girlz campaigns.
“Bazooka Candy Brands’ dedication to up-and-coming musical talent makes them the perfect partner for our music label,” says Alyson Shapero, sr. v.p .of marketing & sales for Razor & Tie. “We’re thrilled to introduce young fans of Baby Bottle Pop to Mathias Anderle through this new TV spot and online campaign.”
Brian Murphy, president of Go Entertainment, adds, “Bazooka Candy Brands is a great partner for us to integrate with what we’re developing for Kicking Daisies. This is a company that really knows its consumer, and we’re glad that they are working with us to bring Kicking Daisies to a broader audience.”
Sixteen-year-old singer/songwriter Mathias Anderle also appeared in Nickelodeon’s recent TV movie “School Gyrls” and models for Wilhelmina’s Men’s Board, appearing in national print campaigns for Verizon and Nordstrom. Kicking Daisies is a band of 14- to 17-year-old virtuosos – Caitlin and Carly Kalafus, Duran Visek and Ben Spremulli – who will be featured on “Fearless Music,” to air nationally on FOX-TV; they also will perform at The Bamboozle 2010 festive on May 1.
Frito-Lay names ADM its Commodity Supplier of the Year
For the 11th time in the last 17 years, Archer Daniels Midland Co.’s North American Oils Group has been named 2009 Commodity Supplier of the Year by Frito-Lay North America. The award recognizes suppliers for their efforts in helping Frito-Lay enhance productivity as well as product quality, service, and research and technology.
“ADM’s portfolio of high-quality oils, combined with our customer service and reliable transportation network, have made ADM a premier supplier of food oils to a wide range of food manufacturers,” says Duane Holz, general manager, ADM North American Oils and Fats. “We are honored to receive this recognition from Frito-Lay and are committed to helping all of our customers find innovative solutions for great-tasting foods that meet the demands of today’s health-conscious consumers.”
ADM’s North American Oils Group offers canola, coconut, cottonseed, corn, palm, palm kernel, soybean and NuSun sunflower oils, which are used by manufacturers in food such as baked goods, margarines, salad dressings, canned foods, snacks and confections. ADM also offers oil blends to meet specific customer needs such as lowering trans-fat content, reducing saturated fat, increasing product stability and extending shelf life.
For more information, visit www.adm.com/oils.
Bachman makes new sales and purchasing appointments
The Bachman Co., Wyomissing, Pa., has named Christopher J. Rahey its new vice president of sales and promoted Lisa George to senior director of purchasing.
Previously, Rahey worked for Tasty Baking Co., headquartered in Philadelphia, Pa., as vice president of direct sales. He also has served as vice president of sales and marketing for Myer’s Bakeries and vice president of sales for George Weston, Limited.
In her career with Bachman, George has held various positions in the accounting and marketing departments from 1993 to 2000. From 2000 to 2006, she served as director of marketing and administration for Solar Innovations, Inc., Myerstown, Pa., In 2006, George returned to Bachman as director of purchasing, her most recent position.
For more information about The Bachman Co., visit www.bachmanfoods.com.
Walkers receives Queen's Award
Walkers Shortbread Limited of Aberlour, Scotland, has received the Queen's Award for Enterprise for International Trade for the fourth time. Previously, it received the Queen’s Award in 1985, 1988 and 1999. The third- and fourth-generation family company, established in 1898, is best-known for its pure butter shortbread, oatcakes and other Scottish specialties.
“We are delighted to have been honored once again in this way and the Award is a tribute to the efforts of our hundreds of incredible staff who have put so much effort into the company for so many years,” says Jim Walker, joint managing director. “Our export operations are integral to the whole company and every member of staff knows that they make a contribution to the company’s export success.”
Steve Dawson, president of Walkers Shortbread, Inc., based in Hauppauge, N.Y., adds, “This is a significant honor and it reflects the high regard in which this brand is held throughout the world. Americans clearly enjoy Walkers Shortbread as they tell us so every day in their letters and emails to us.”
Since 1999, exports at Walkers have continued to increase, and the company’s workforce has grown from approximately 500 to well over 1,000. Approximately 40% of Walkers’ products are exported to more than 80 far-reaching overseas markets. Walkers has become a flagship of Scottish foods and is the leading Scottish branded food in the U.S. export market. Sales have grown steadily over the years.
This year, Walkers will introduce new products both for export and home markets. Its products provide a nostalgic taste of home to millions of Scottish ex-pats overseas and by nationalities around the world. Walkers shortbread products are vegetarian and certified Kosher OUD.
For more information, visit www.walkersus.com.
sweet of the week: Natural Vines
New from Bend, Ore.-based American Licorice Co.: Natural Vines, a premium licorice for adult connoisseurs. Made with all-natural ingredients, the chewy product comes in two rich flavors: Strawberry and Black. The suggested retail price per 8-oz. bag is $3.49. Interested retailers can call David Sechrist at 1-303-690-8755.
For more information about American Licorice Co., visit www.americanlicorice.com.