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McCormick acquires RB’s food division

BY David Salazar

SPARKS, Md. — McCormick on Friday announced that it had completed its acquisition of Reckitt Benckiser’s food division, RB Foods. Among the brands that now come into McCormick’s portfolio are Frank’s Red Hot, French’s and Cattlemen’s, all of which McCormick said were a strategic git within its global branded flavor offerings.

"We are thrilled to acquire Frank's RedHot, French's and other iconic, market-leading brands, as we complete a transaction that has been at the top of our strategic list for over a decade and will generate significant shareholder value," McCormick chairman, president and CEO Lawrence Kurzius said. “McCormick is the perfect home for brands like Frank's RedHot and French's as their simple, clean ingredients make them liquid spice.”

The company announced the planned acquisition in July, financing the roughly $4.2 billion deal with a combination of new debt that included senior unsecured notes and pre-payable term loans, as well as equity.

“The addition of these highly complementary brands will allow McCormick to continue to take advantage of the growing trend toward spicy, flavorful eating with natural, high-quality ingredients and advances our vision to ‘Bring the Joy of Flavor to Life,’” Kurzius said. “The talented employees of RB Foods have built a great business, and we look forward to working with them to achieve continued success.”

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Target brings experienced hands to food, beverage departments

BY Marianne Wilson

MINNEAPOLIS — Target is bringing on talent from Walmart and General Mills to accelerate its food and beverage strategy.

Mark Kenny will join Target as VP divisional, meat and fresh prepared food where he will oversee the meat, seafood, deli, bakery and prepared food categories. Kenny joins Target from Walmart, where he most recently was the senior director of private brands, deli and bakery.

Liz Nordlie will join Target as VP product design and development for food and beverage. She will oversee the brand direction and product vision for owned brand food and beverage categories. With 27 years of brand building experience across 30 food and beverage businesses, Nordlie will lead and strengthen efforts underway with Target’s owned brand portfolio.

Nordlie joins Target from General Mills, where she spent 20 years in general management roles, building brands across cereal, snacks, meals, yogurt and baking core businesses, as well as natural and organics. Most recently, Nordlie was the president of General Mills baking division.

Nordlie and Kenny will join Target later this month.

“We have been making positive progress with our assortment, presentation and operations in food and beverage this year," Target EVP and chief merchandising officer Mark Tritton said. "With Jeff Burt’s leadership, and the investment we’re making to bring on two new seasoned executives, combined with our already talented team, I’m confident we’ll be able to go even further, faster, delivering both an experience and assortment that’s uniquely Target."

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Mars Food to acquire Tasty Bite parent company

BY David Salazar

BRUSSELS — Mars Food will be adding to its portfolio of ready-to-eat products with its acquisition of Preferred Brand International. The Stamford, Conn.-based company makes all-natural, ready-to-eat Indian and Asian food offerings that are primarily sold under the Tasty Bite brand.

Tasty Bite’s portfolio includes vegetarian offerings that include Indian and Asian entrees, spice and simmer meal kits, organic rice and lentils. The brand’s sales are primarily focused in North America, but manufactures products for sale at retailers in the United Kingdom and Australia, as well as through food service in India.

"Tasty Bite’s broad range of dinner time products, focused on Indian and Asian cuisines, makes it a natural complement to our existing portfolio,” Mars Food global president Fiona Dawson said. “Tasty Bite is a fast growing Indian/Asian dinner time brand. Upon closing of the acquisition of Tasty Bite, Mars Food will expand our all-natural vegetarian offerings in the US, and leverage Tasty Bite's strong product development pipeline, flavor expertise, and strategic sourcing of quality ingredients throughout our portfolio.”

Tasty Bite’s products are manufactured in Pune, India and are exported largely to the United States. It has a subsidiary currently listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange of India that Mars Food said would continue to be listed after the acquisition.

“We're thrilled to be joining the Mars Food family,” Tasty Bite CEO Ashok Vasudevan said. “The nearly quarter century of uninterrupted growth of Tasty Bite since its inception was powered by our deep commitment to sustainable practices and to the pursuit of consumer delight. Mars is one of the largest food companies in the world and a recognized leader and role model for corporate sustainability. Mars Foods' strong brand portfolio, global infrastructure, and shared values makes it well-positioned to take Tasty Bite to the next level.”

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