Target brings experienced hands to food, beverage departments
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."
Mars Food to acquire Tasty Bite parent company
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.”
Hy-Vee issues statement regarding new Clean Honest Ingredients initiative
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Hy-Vee on Saturday published a statement to consumers following criticism of its a new private label branding initiative, Clean Honest Ingredients, from the Iowa Corn Growers Association for potentially mischaracterizing its corn syrup sweeteners.
"In recent days, we have been criticized for our newly announced Clean Honest Ingredients labeling. Like many other retailers — Target, Kroger, Walmart, H-E-B and Whole Foods — who have already launched 'clean' product lines, we also wanted to answer the call of our customers for simple, easy-to-read labels with fewer ingredients," noted Randy Edeker, chairman, CEO and president Hy-Vee.
"More and more customers are demanding simple, easier to read labels, fewer ingredients and greater transparency when it comes to product ingredient labeling," Hy-Vee stated in direct response to the initial criticism. "As a retailer with millions of customers with diverse needs, we feel it is our responsibility to provide varying choices so that they can make their own personal decisions when it comes to food purchase and consumption."
The new own brand labeling initiative, which will be featured on as many as 1,000 products, was launched earlier in August.
"It’s unfortunate that in our promotion of this new label, we characterized some ingredients in a way we never intended," Edeker wrote. "We take responsibility for how naturally-derived ingredients, like high fructose corn syrup, were positioned in our press release and on our website and product labels. It was never our intention to portray these naturally-derived ingredients as dishonest or unnatural."
Hy-Vee is reviewing the program and revising it to better characterize naturally-derived ingredients, Edeker said. "We are committed to providing you clean and transparent products," he shared in his letter to consumers. "We believe our Clean Honest label does just that and allows Hy-Vee to compete with many retailers throughout the nation that have already launched these labels. Thank you again for your continued support."