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Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation surpasses calorie reduction goal

BY Jason Owen

WASHINGTON — A group of 16 food and beverage suppliers, including PepsiCo, Kraft Foods and General Mills, has exceeded its goal of reducing trillions of calories from foods in the marketplace ahead of schedule, the group announced this week.

The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation announced that some of America’s leading food and beverage companies have exceeded their goal of reducing 1.5 trillion calories in the marketplace in the United States. This announcement comes three years after a 2010 commitment by the HWCF, and its 16 food and beverage corporate partners, to First Lady Michelle Obama’s Partnership for a Healthier America to reduce calories by 1.5 trillion by 2015.

“Our industry has an important role to play in helping people lead healthy lives and our actions are having a positive impact,” said Indra Nooyi, HWCF chair, and chairman and CEO of PepsiCo. “We see continued opportunities to give consumers the choices they’re looking for and to work collaboratively with the public and nonprofit sectors on initiatives that enable continued progress.”

Achievement of the marketplace calorie reduction was achieved by giving new low calorie choices and continued taste to the consumer, HWCF noted in its progress report.

“We continue to thank the First Lady for her leadership in calling for national action to end childhood obesity,” said Lisa Gable, president of the HWCF. “In 2010 we pledged that we would reduce calories in the marketplace and we have delivered on that promise.”

Gable was joined at today’s announcement at the Bipartisan Policy Center by former U.S. secretary of agriculture and BPC Senior Fellow Dan Glickman; Tracy Orleans, senior scientist at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; and Hank Cardello, senior fellow and director, Obesity Solutions Initiative at Hudson Institute and author of the report, Lower-Calorie Foods and Beverages Drive Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation Companies’ Sales Growth, also released today.

“Today we are seeing an example of what can happen when the public and private sectors join forces – you get results,” said Glickman. “The leading food and beverage companies in the country came together to form this first-of-its kind foundation because they knew they could make a difference, and they have."

Additionally, HWCF has reported annually to the Partnership for a Healthier America on the progress that has been made toward this pledge.

RWJF, the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, is supporting a rigorous, independent evaluation to determine whether HWCF has met its calorie-reduction goal. That evaluation will be released in the fall. Follow-up studies supported by RWJF also will evaluate subsequent effects on children’s diets.

“Today’s report from the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF) offers further indication that consumer demand is shifting toward healthier choices. We are pleased that HWCF’s participating companies are a key part of this transformation,” said Larry Soler, president and CEO of the PHA. “HWCF was one of the first organizations to sign on with PHA, which is committed to working with the private sector to help end the childhood obesity crisis within a generation. Our partners know that a commitment made is a commitment kept — it’s part of what makes them leaders and worthy of praise. So while HWCF’s numbers look positive, we look forward to the findings of the independent evaluation funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which is available in the fall.”

The HWCF participating companies include:

Bumble Bee Foods, LLC; Campbell Soup Company; ConAgra Foods; General Mills, Inc.; Kellogg Company; Kraft Foods, Inc.; Mars, Incorporated; McCormick & Company, Inc.; Nestlé USA; PepsiCo; Post Foods/Ralston Foods, LLC; Sara Lee Corporation; The Coca-Cola Company; The Hershey Company; The J.M. Smucker Company; and Unilever.


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Safeway appoints chief information officer

BY Jason Owen

PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway Inc. announced today Barry Libenson has joined the company as SVP and chief information officer. He succeeds David Ching, who retired from the role earlier this year after 19 years with the company. As CIO, Mr. Libenson will oversee Safeway’s extensive information technology business functions, and he will report directly to Safeway executive vice president Larree Renda. He will assume his responsibilities on July 1, 2013.

Mr. Libenson comes to Safeway from Land O’ Lakes, Inc., where he served since 2010 as senior vice president, CIO. During his tenure with Land O’ Lakes, Mr. Libenson and his team transformed the technology group to ensure IT was fully aligned and executing against the company’s long-term strategic direction. Prior to that, he was VP and CIO at Ingersoll Rand, Co. Ltd., with responsibility for defining and implementing that company’s global electronic and internet business strategies. Mr. Libenson joined Ingersoll-Rand as VP of e-Business in 2001. Prior to his tenure at Ingersoll-Rand, he served as an executive vice president at Surety.com, a data-integrity services company, and chief executive officer for Visix Software, a software publisher. He also held management positions with Phoenix Technologies and Oracle Corporation.

"We are pleased to have someone with Barry’s credentials join our executive team as we look to further ensure our IT organization is aligned with our key business strategies," said Ms. Renda. "His track record managing a complex set of technology functions across a diverse group of companies will be of significant value to the organization."

Mr. Libenson holds a Masters in Business Administration from Duke University and a Bachelor Degree in Computer Science from Colgate University. He has served on the University of North Carolina’s Graduate School of Computer Science IT Advisory Panel as well as Blumberg Capital’s CIO Council. Mr. Libenson also serves as Director of Tavant Technologies, a software firm with offices in California and Bangalore, India.


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Personal care sees solid growth

BY Antoinette Alexander

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Is the personal care market ripe for acquisitions? Global consulting and research firm Kline & Co. thinks so.

"Clearly, companies continue to emphasize growth agendas and make significant funding available — both strategic and financial sponsors — to realize such aspirations. Such an improving environment is increasingly attractive for mergers and acquisitions and a growing number of smaller, often privately held, cosmetic and toiletry companies are contemplating, developing and/or executing exits. As such, 2013 portends to offer even greater deal flow as many companies look to invest in new growth opportunities," stated Eric Vogelsberg, SVP at Kline’s M&A Advisory, in announcing the findings earlier this year.

While Procter & Gamble maintains its lead in the U.S. personal care market, and other major companies, such as L’Oréal, are enjoying solid growth, smaller companies are making strong headway, according to Kline.

Kline added that, within the presently fertile M&A climate, smaller companies are increasingly attractive acquisition prospects by larger, cashed-up and savvy players. For example, earlier this year, L’Oréal’s CEO Jean-Paul Agon announced that he was ready to make important acquisitions to maintain growth, and this has already been borne out by the recent acquisition of Interconsumer Products, one of Kenya’s largest manufacturers of personal care and beauty products.

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Jun-03-2013 05:33 am

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