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Perrigo gains approval for new store-brand infant formula offering

BY Michael Johnsen

ALLEGAN, Mich. — Perrigo on Tuesday announced it received Food and Drug Administration clearance to market and distribute infant formula that contains 100% partially hydrolyzed whey protein. The store-brand Comfort Care infant formula is designed for babies with fussiness or gas and will be sold as a nutritionally comparable version of Gerber Good Start gentle infant formula at leading retailers in 2012.

Sales of the national brand are estimated to be $55 million for the latest 52-weeks, as measured by SymphonyIRI Group.

"Our presence in the infant formula market is growing as we continue to offer high quality nutritional products like Comfort Care infant formula to parents that support healthy growth and development while meeting the same nutritional and safety standards as the national brand," Perrigo chairman and CEO Joseph Papa said.

The new store-brand Comfort Care infant formula contains prebiotics to support a baby’s natural immune system, DHA and ARA to support brain and eye development, and is easy to digest.

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Starbucks buys juice company, plans to roll out new concept

BY Katherine Field Boccaccio

SEATTLE — Starbucks announced Thursday plans to reinvent the $1.6 billion premium juice market with its all-cash purchase of San Bernardino, Calif.-based Evolution Fresh for $30 million.

The acquisition, which is part of a strategy to move beyond coffee into the health-and-wellness segment, gives Starbucks a path to open new health-and-wellness stores in the coming year, it said, although Starbucks has not yet revealed many stores it will open, their location or the name.

Starbucks said the new-concept stores will emphasize Evolution juice and carry wholesome, simple foods. A select number of existing Starbucks stores will be upgraded to carry Evolution products.

Evolution, started by the founder of Naked juice, makes fresh fruit and vegetable juices. Its products currently are sold at Whole Foods, Safeway, Costco, Trader Joe’s and other select retailers on the West Coast. Starbucks said it plans to broaden distribution of the juice into other supermarkets besides carrying them in Starbucks stores starting next year.

"The acquisition of Evolution Fresh supports our growth strategy to innovate with new products, enter new categories, and expand into new channels of distribution," Jeff Hansberry, president of channel development for Starbucks, said in a statement. "Not only are we able to tap into the $1.6 billion super-premium juice market, but the acquisition of Evolution Fresh marks an important milestone for us within the $50 billion health-and-wellness sector."

On a conference call, Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz said, "Even though this is a small acquisition in size, it is a significant and strategic decision for the company."

Evolution Fresh will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Starbucks.

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ConAgra to acquire National Pretzel

BY Allison Cerra

OMAHA, Neb. — ConAgra Foods is acquiring a private-label pretzel maker, the company announced.

ConAgra said its acquisition of Lancaster, Pa.-based National Pretzel includes three bakeries located in Lancaster, Pa., Hanover, Pa., and Visalia, Calif. Additionally, more than 700 National Pretzel employees are expected to join ConAgra when the transaction closes, ConAgra noted.

The acquisition is expected to close within 30 days. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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