Industry News

VIKING MASEK has announced that a major expansion of its U.S. headquarters in Oostburg, Wisconsin is underway. The $4 million project broke ground in early November 2020 with expected completion in July 2021. The building expansion will add 24,000 sq.-ft. of warehouse/production space plus 9,000 sq.-ft. of office areas.

ALLIED ELECTRONICS & AUTOMATION completed an expansion of its North American distribution center in Fort Worth, Texas, which adds more than 200,000 sq.-ft. of space and a full complement of the latest digital order fulfillment center technology from global intelligent automation solutions provider KNAPP.

CAMFIL AIR POLLUTION CONTROL announced construction of a new manufacturing facility in Jonesboro, Ark. to replace its previous building that was destroyed by a tornado in March 2020. The new facility will be located at Craighead Technology Park. The target date for completion is early 2022.

Blueberry growers across America established a new coalition, the AMERICAN BLUEBERRY GROWERS ALLIANCE, to seek relief from rising imports that are harming their businesses.

KAESER COMPRESSORS INC. broke ground on a new 30,000-sq.-ft. facility expansion, primarily to serve employee welfare needs.

RABOBANK announced the recipients of its annual Rabobank North America Leadership Awards. The awards celebrate both large-scale food and agricultural corporations, and fast-growing emerging companies that are setting admirable examples of industry stewardship, sustainability and innovation across the region. This year’s winner is PEPSICO, a global food and beverage company headquartered in Purchase, N.Y. The 2020 Rabobank Award for Leadership in Sustainability was presented to GENERAL MILLS, a global packaged food company based in Minneapolis, for its bold regenerative agriculture projects, sustainable sourcing, reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and commitment to 100% renewable energy in operations by 2030. The 2020 Rabobank Award for Emerging Leadership in Innovation recipient is IMPERFECT FOODS, a San Francisco-based company with a mission to eliminate food waste and build a better food system for everyone by delivering “imperfect” produce and grocery items directly to consumers through its ecommerce platform.

The J.M. SMUCKER CO. has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its Natural Balance® premium pet food business to NEXUS CAPITAL MANAGEMENT LP in a cash transaction valued at approximately $50 million.

DOMINION ENERGY and SMITHFIELD FOODS INC. completed the first renewable natural gas (RNG) project through their joint venture, Align Renewable Natural Gas. Located in Milford in southwestern Utah, the project is now producing RNG from a network of 26 family farms that raise hogs under contract with Smithfield.

FDT GROUP announced that FUJI ELECTRIC has joined its organization as a corporate member.

RAWSON/INDUSTRIAL CONTROLS, an ERIKS company, has announced an agreement with EMERSON INDUSTRIAL AUTOMATION & CONTROLS (formerly GE Intelligent Platforms) to become an official channel partner in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas.

NESTLÉ agreed to sell its YINLU peanut milk and canned rice porridge businesses in China to FOOD WISE CO. LTD. The deal covers all of Yinlu’s operations, including its five factories in Fujian, Anhui, Hubei, Shandong and Sichuan.

AVEVA, provider of engineering and industrial software, launched AVEVA Teamwork, a fully integrated cloud-based application built specifically for industrial workers to facilitate continuous learning and improvement.

BERLIN PACKAGING acquired NEWPACK, a glass packaging company based in Savona, Italy.

AGROFRESH SOLUTIONS INC. announced that MONTAGUE, one of Australia’s largest fruit growers, will use FreshCloud Quality Inspection to drive a comprehensive transformation of its entire quality system and decision-making for the management of fresh produce.

BYD was recognized by ANHEUSER-BUSCH for its innovation in transportation for its 8TT battery-electric, heavy-duty trucks. Anheuser-Busch operates 25 BYD battery-electric trucks at four of its distribution facilities across California: Sylmar, Pomona, Carson and Oakland.

BÜHLER AG will be renewing the core systems of its corporate management and migrating its existing SAP R/3 ERP applications to the latest SAP technology, S/4HANA.

CONAGRA BRANDS announced the publication of its Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) metrics for fiscal year 2020. The disclosure details Conagra’s ongoing focus on environmental excellence, strong governance and safe operations.

ATS (AUTOMATION TOOLING SYSTEMS) INC. announced its intention to acquire CFT S.P.A., an established global supplier to the food and beverage equipment market.

MCCORMICK & COMPANY INC. has completed the purchase of the parent company of CHOLULA HOT SAUCE from L Catterton. McCormick first announced the agreement to acquire Cholula on November 24, 2020.

FANUC was named a top work place in Michigan by the Detroit Free Press for the ninth consecutive year. FANUC ranks 15 out of 30 companies in the large employer category in Michigan.

MODERN MEAT INC. announced a non-binding letter of intent with SPQR HOLDINGS PTY LTD. (a distributor and co-packer based in Adelaide, Australia) to launch its portfolio of 100% plant-based meat alternative products.

PERDUE FARMS, as part of its “Delivering Hope to Our Neighbors” hunger-relief initiative, has invested in a new “repack room” at the FOOD BANK OF DELAWARE in Newark to help provide additional protein and other nutritious food to Delawareans who face food insecurity, and reduce food waste.

TREEHOUSE FOODS completed the acquisition of the majority of EBRO’S RIVIANA FOODS U.S. branded pasta business for $242.5 million in cash.

HARPAK-ULMA launched a North American initiative to help the bakery and confectionery market improve flexibility and operational performance in response to COVID-19. The initiative will leverage ULMA’s global market segment presence—combined with smart, connected packaging platforms—to help bakery and confectionary producers do more and go faster under adverse and rapidly changing conditions.

NOVOLEX has acquired the business of B&H BAG COMPANY, a manufacturer of paper bags and other products.

PLANT & BEAN, a developer and manufacturer of high-quality, plant-based food products, will open Europe’s largest plant-based meat production facility in the UK. The new plant will enable efficient product manufacture and distribution across Europe, helping brands to meet fast-growing demand for plant-based meat.

INSIGNIA CAPITAL GROUP entered into a definitive agreement to sell TRUCO ENTERPRISES, a leading maker of tortilla chips, salsa and queso sold under the On The Border® brand, to UTZ BRANDS for a total purchase price of $480 million.

TATE & LYLE PLC, a global supplier of food and beverage ingredients and solutions, acquired SWEET GREEN FIELDS, a leading global stevia solutions business.

AFINIA LABEL has entered into a partnership with UNIFIED FLEX of Cambridge, Ont., Canada to sell the new Afinia Label FP 230 flexible packaging desktop printer system.

SAVOYE, supplier of high-speed storage and retrieval systems, signed a global partnership with SCOTT TECHNOLOGY LIMITED (New Zealand), a provider of automation and robotics solutions.

TRUFOOD, a snack food contract manufacturer, unveiled its new innovation center, “launchpad.” The opening of launchpad is reflective of the company’s growing position in the nutritional bar, chocolate molding and baked granola snacking segments.

UNIVAR SOLUTIONS INC., a global chemical and ingredient distributor and provider of value-added services, announced that EVERGRAIN INGREDIENTS LLC has selected Univar Solutions to distribute its portfolio of plant-based ingredients for food, beverage and nutraceutical products in the United States and Canada, as well as various countries in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

GRUBMARKET completed the acquisition of LEO’S APPLES INC, a supplier of a wide array of fresh fruits, with longstanding customer base in the metropolitan and suburban areas of the Mid-Atlantic and New England.

AGROS PRODUCE LLC has partnered with IFCO SYSTEMS to pack and transport Agros’ tomatoes to retail grocery customers in the United States and Canada.

KONICA MINOLTA, INC. announced that Konica Minolta Sensing Europe B.V., its wholly-owned subsidiary for the sensing business based in the Netherlands, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire SPECIM, Spectral Imaging Oy Ltd.

MEAT-TECH 3D LTD. signed an agreement to acquire 100% of the share capital of PEACE OF MEAT PV, a pioneering Belgian producer of cultured avian products.

MODERN MEAT INC. signed a co-packing agreement with REAL VISION FOODS LLC of California.

GUILIN LAYN NATURAL INGREDIENT CORP. LTD. has expanded its botanical extract portfolio through a majority acquisition of CHENGDU WAGOTT BIO-TECH CO. LTD., China’s largest exporter of green tea extract and leading producer of tea and resveratrol extracts.

PAPERTECH, a manufacturer of paperboard packaging products, has been acquired by MAY RIVER CAPITAL, a Midwest-based private equity firm focused on helping high-caliber industrial businesses grow and prosper.

The GLOBAL PREBIOTIC ASSOCIATION (GPA)—the worldwide resource for prebiotic education, insights and awareness building—announced the addition of five new members. ADM and AQUAMIN join GPA at the Member level, and ANDERSON ADVANCED INGREDIENTS, NEXT TRILLION SCIENCES and TRAVERSE SCIENCE, INC. join GPA as Associate Members. Based on the rising interest of academics, researchers and individuals, GPA has also launched a Professional membership option.

People News

STÄUBLI appointed GERALD VOGT as its new chief executive officer. Vogt, an experienced manager from within the company’s own ranks, takes over the management of the diversified and growing family owned company. The 50-year-old Franco-German engineer and business economist has been responsible for the global Robotics business as group division manager since mid-2016 and is already a member of Group Management.

FRISTAM PUMPS USA announced that HANNAH IHLENFELDT has joined the company as a bilingual applications engineer. She joins the company with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Physics from the University of Wisconsin - Platteville. She is bilingual in Spanish and has a background working in engineering prior to joining Fristam. In her new role, Ihlenfeldt will provide technical support and customer assistance to Fristam’s Latin American customers.

SHICK ESTEVE welcomed Lindsay Preisinger to the position of business development manager. She has experience in the packaging industry and will be connecting with all manufacturers in the food and beverage industries.

GODIVA, owned by YILDIZ HOLDING, named NURTAC ZIYAL AFRIDI as CEO. The announcement caps her two months serving as interim chief executive officer in which she and her leadership team developed a three-year strategy to seize new opportunities through GODIVA’s dynamic omnichannel structure. 

READING BAKERY SYSTEMS appointed ANDREW ROSENTHAL to general manager as Richard Starke has stepped down and retired from the position. Prior to joining RBS as a project manager in 2018, Rosenthal’s experience included serving as the design engineer for Vermeer Corporation in Pella, Iowa, as well as project engineer at Reading Truck Body LLC.

The DESIGN-BUILD INSTITUTE OF AMERICA named Water Design-Build Council Executive Director MARK ALPERT, PE as one of five industry leaders chosen for the 2020 Class of DBIA Fellows. Designated Design-Build Professional™ Fellow status is the highest level of DBIA certification and acknowledges the achievements of the nation’s most accomplished design-build professionals. For more than 40 years, Mark Alpert has been a pioneer in the development of collaborative project delivery for water and wastewater projects. 

STELLAR—a fully integrated firm focused on design, engineering, construction and mechanical services worldwide—promoted seven key leaders on its senior management team. BOB HEPP has been named division vice president of parts, service and compressors; CHRIS WILLIAMS, division vice president of mechanical services; JUSTIN BRIDEGAN, vice president of marketing; and STACEY KING, vice president of human resources. In the Commercial Division, JOE MARK, JOHN BOWLES and TIM JENKINS were all named vice presidents of operations. 

MASSMAN AUTOMATION DESIGNS LLC, a designer and manufacturer of packaging equipment, hired RAY MUSSON as regional sales manager of case packing and palletizing for the company’s Central and Central South regions. 

WESTROCK, a provider of differentiated paper and packaging solutions, announced that MARGARET HERNDON has joined the company as chief marketing officer. 

The VERY GOOD FOOD COMPANY INC. announced that veteran plant-based food production executive, ANA SILVA, has joined VGF as president. Silva has spent the past five years with Daiya Foods Inc., where she served as chief financial officer.  

SEABOARD CORPORATION hired PETER BROWN as its president and chief executive officer of its Pork Division, Seaboard Foods LLC. He succeeds the retired Darwin “Duke” Sand. 

AFRESH, an artificial intelligence–powered fresh food optimization platform for grocers, has raised $13 million in new funding. Afresh also welcomes grocery industry veteran JAMES MCCANN, CEO of Food Retail Ventures and former CEO of Ahold USA, as a new member of its Board of Directors. 

CHOBANI appointed CNN and Bloomberg Television correspondent CRISTINA ALESCI as its chief corporate affairs officer. Chobani also announced that veteran finance executive JODY MACEDONIO will serve as chief financial officer. 

CONAGRA BRANDS appointedMANNY CHIRICOto its board of directors, increasing the number to 11 members. Chirico is currently chairman and chief executive officer of PVH Corp., one of the world’s most admired fashion and lifestyle companies.

NAI, a designer and manufacturer of custom interconnect solutions that deliver power and signals to monitor data, connect people and keep equipment operating, announced the appointment of DELICE JAVALERA to fill the new position of director of operational excellence. In this new role, Javalera will be responsible for supplier quality and operations planning, and will also act as the primary operations interface with customers.

EGGLIFE FOODS appointed ANDY ARQUETTE, chief financial officer at Fairlife, LLC, to its board of directors.

FLOWERS FOODS, INC. announced that HEETH VARNEDOE, senior vice president of DSD Regions/Sales, has been promoted to chief transformation officer (CTO), a newly created role at the company. 

TRUFOOD hired RUSS ASARO, MARK HAAS and ROBERT KOWITT as directors of business development, reporting directly to Pete Tsudis, CEO of TruFood. 

MODERN MEAT INC. appointed CRAIG WALLACE to the advisory board and as head of global acquisitions to lead the Company’s expansion outside of North America. 

Material handling expert INTERROLL appointed ANDERS OTTE JØRGENSEN as the new managing director for Interroll Nordic A/S. 

POLYMER SOLUTIONS INTERNATIONALa global supplier of material handling products for the food & beverage, pharmaceutical, industrial and retail industries—announced that its own, Marge Eggie, has received the prestigious Kristin Safran Directors’ Award for 2020 from the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA). 

TREEHOUSE FOODS appointed two independent directors to its Board: JILL RAHMAN, an accomplished senior leader with deep consumer packaged goods strategy, marketing and operating experience; and ASHLEY BUCHANAN, an accomplished retail executive leader, with expertise in merchandising and private brands. 

GRUBMARKET, INC. announced that GENEVIEVE WANG, former chief strategy officer and VP of Product at Brightidea Inc., will join its management team as chief product officer.