Freshline Foods launches new Juicing Kit line

Freshline Foods, one of Canada’s premier processors of fresh-cut, value-added fruits and vegetables, has launched its new Juicing Kit line to offer consumers an easy and convenient way to incorporate more nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables into their routine meal planning.Juice-Kit---Kale-Boost

“Consumers today are more focused on being healthy but also want quick and easy meal solutions that fit in with their busy lifestyle,” Noel Brigido, vice president of Freshline Foods, said in a press release. “Juicing has grown over the years, to the point where it has become a mainstream meal replacement for many consumers. Adding the convenience of ready-to-go solutions will further promote this into the future.

"Our Juicing Kits are packed with healthy, fresh, pre-cut and prewashed fruits and vegetables such as beets, kale, apples and carrots which are packaged in perfect ingredient combinations to provide the consumer with a satisfying experience," he said. "With the Juicing Kit, busy and on-the-go consumers can create their own nutritious juices and smoothies right at home, work or school.”

The first product to be launched is the Kale Boost kit, which is now available on grocery store shelves in North America. The Kale Boost kit includes fresh-cut kale, carrot, apples, celery, beets and ginger, and is packaged in a 12-ounce pouch. This is the first of a complete family of recipes that will be available in this line, which will also include certified organic offerings.

The high-graphics stand-up pouch also provides the retailer with a perfect merchandising vessel for the item. Being able to stand up freely on the shelf, the high color graphics draw in the consumer while still displaying the freshness of the products in the package.

The Juice Kit line is a continuation of Freshline Foods’ focus on delivering innovative fresh-cut products that provide consumers with more options to enjoy healthy fruits and vegetables.

The National Watermelon Association and Ross Chastain debut patriotic car at Daytona

A special red-white-and-blue paint scheme, with a touch of watermelon, will be featured on Ross Chastain’s car at the Subway Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway. NXS15 Watermelon Camaro-2D-V6A

The National Watermelon Association, in conjunction with Chastain’s season-long sponsors, Watermelon.org and Helena Chemical, want to show their support for America’s troops with a special patriotic paint scheme for the July 4th race.

“What goes together better than the Fourth of July and watermelons?” Chastain said in a press release. “I’ve been excited about this race all year, and I am so thankful that the NWA and JD Motorsports have helped make this car a reality. Growing up hearing my grandparents’ stories about serving overseas makes this so special to me, and watermelon farming is my family’s livelihood. So having both on the car is perfect.”

The JD Motorsports with Gary Keller team is proud to carry the colors of the American Flag on the No. 4 Chevrolet.

“We can’t thank the NWA enough for supporting us this weekend with the Stars and Stripes on the car,” team owner Johnny Davis said in the release. “Having had friends and family members that have served in the U.S. military, this means a lot to me. Plus, adding the watermelon to the car makes it that much better. This is one of my favorite paint schemes that we have had this year, and it is sure to stand out on the track.”

“When we had the opportunity to design a race car that would carry two of the most iconic symbols of Americana together, we jumped at it,” Bob Morrissey, president of the National Watermelon Association, added in the press release. “We will celebrate America and watermelon together on our country’s birthday. It will be a great ride and race. So go out and buy more watermelons and thank our military for their service that provides the freedom that we all enjoy.”

Merger of food giants goes cold

The Federal Trade Commission prevailed in its battle to prevent the merger of two foodservice giants after a federal judge on June 23 issued a preliminary injunction preventing Sysco from acquiring U.S. Foods.

The deal, originally announced in December 2013, which would have combined the two leading U.S. food distribution companies, “will substantially impair competition,” according to U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta.

The ruling, which followed two weeks of legal proceedings in May and included testimony from both executives and customers of the two companies, could mean the deal is off for good. A U.S. Foods executive said during court proceedings that the company would walk away from the deal if it was not approved by Judge Mehta, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In a statement, Bill Delaney, chief executive officer of Sysco, said the company was “profoundly disappointed.”

He added, “We will take a few days to closely review the court’s ruling and assess our legal and contractual obligations, including the merits of terminating the merger agreement.”

“We are ready for whatever comes next,” John Lederer, CEO of U.S. Foods, said in a written statement. “We have the talent, passion and financial foundation to take this company to the next level for our customers and for our employees.”

$29 billion Ahold-Delhaize merger goes through

Ahold and Delhaize agreed to a merger this morning, creating Ahold Delhaize, which is valued at roughly $29 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal. Dick Boer, chief executive officer of Royal Ahold, will become CEO of the combined company. Frans Muller, CEO of Delhaize Group, will become deputy CEO and chief integration officer. 

"We believe that the proposed merger of Ahold and Delhaize will create significant value for all our stakeholders," Muller said in a press release. "Supported by our talented and committed associates, Ahold Delhaize aims to increase relevance in its local communities by improving the value proposition for its customers through assortment innovation and merchandising, a better shopping experience both in stores and online, investments in value, and new store growth. We look forward to working closely with the Ahold team to implement a smooth integration process and realize the targeted synergies."

The merger will create a complementary base of more than 6,500 stores with 375,000 associates serving over 50 million customers per week in the United States and in Europe. Each of the companies does roughly 60 percent of its sales in the United States.

Mats Jansson, chairman of Delhaize Group, will become chairman of Ahold Delhaize. Jan Hommen, chairman of Royal Ahold, and Jacques de Vaucleroy, Delhaize group director, will become vice chairmen of Ahold Delhaize.

"The proposed merger with Delhaize is an exciting opportunity to create an even stronger and more innovative retail leader for our customers, associates and shareholders worldwide," Boer said in the release. "With extraordinary reach, diverse products and formats, and great people, we are bringing together two world-class organizations to deliver even more for the communities we serve. Our companies share common values, proud histories rooted in family entrepreneurship, and businesses that complement each other well. We look forward to working together to reach new levels of service and success."

The transaction will create significant value, with anticipated run-rate synergies of $560 million per year.

Both companies are highly cash generative, which will allow Ahold Delhaize to invest in future growth and depver attractive returns to shareholders.

At completion, Delhaize shareholders will receive 4.75 Ahold ordinary shares for each Delhaize ordinary share. Ahold shareholders will own roughly 61 percent of the combined company's equity and Delhaize shareholders will own roughly 39 percent of the combined company's equity.

The transaction is expected to be completed mid-2016, following regulatory clearances, associated consultation procedures and shareholder approval.

Ahold’s U.S. banners are Stop & Shop, Giant Food, Giant Food Stores, Martin’s Food Markets and Peapod. Delhaize operates more than 1,300 Food Lion and Hannaford stores on the East Coast.

The executive committee and board of directors of Delhaize as well as management and supervisory boards of Ahold unanimously supported and recommended the transaction.

Canada's Eat Well Plate supports CPMA’s Half Your Plate campaign

Rona Ambrose, Canada's minister of health, has announced new public education tools to encourage healthy eating for Canadians. These tools include the Eat Well Plate, a visual that suggests Canadians fill half of their plate with vegetables and fruits at every meal.halfji This aligns well with the Half Your Plate program launched by the Canadian Produce Marketing Association, The Heart & Stroke Foundation, the Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian Public Health Association in January 2015.

“We are thrilled that Health Canada has shown leadership on this issue,” Ron Lemaire, president of CPMA, said in a press release. “When we began researching this campaign, Canadians were unanimous in stating that serving sizes could be confusing and that the suggestion to fill half of their plate with vegetables and fruit at every meal and snack was clear and simple to understand and follow. This also translates well to the grocery store, where we suggest that half of their cart be filled with vegetables and fruit so that they have healthier options to choose from at home.”

The Half Your Plate program was developed to empower Canadians of all ages to eat more fruits and vegetables to improve their health while providing simple and practical ways to add a variety of produce to every meal and snack. The campaign includes a comprehensive website filled with quick meal ideas, information on how to select, store and prepare produce, fun easy recipes, and more. The Half Your Plate program is also featured in many Canadian retail stores, and the logo appears on produce packaging from industry partners.

In addition to the Eat Well Plate, Health Canada will also allow health claims on pre-packaged fruits and vegetables to make it easier to let Canadians know about the health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables.