FPSA names new VP of engagement, business development


MCLEAN, VA. — The Food Production Solutions Association (FPSA) announced it has hired Allison Wachter as the new vice president of engagement and business development. Wachter will work alongside President and Chief Executive Officer Matthew R. Ott, who joined the association in late March.

As part of the association’s rebranding initiative, FPSA announced a name change from the Food Processing Suppliers Association to the Food Production Solutions Association during its annual Executive Exchange & Conference in Indian Wells, Calif., on March 27.

Wachter’s new role as vice president of engagement and business development will play a critical role in developing new offerings and resources for FPSA members as a part of the association’s rebrand. Wachter will also oversee membership, event and volunteer initiatives for FPSA.

“As we continue to evolve with a new name, brand and vision, Allison is arriving at an exciting time in the organization’s history,” Ott said.

Wachter added, “I am excited to work with the staff and the board of directors on improving our existing member benefits and developing new programs, services and events that help ensure continued success for FPSA and our member companies.”

Wachter joins FPSA with more than 20 years of association experience leading teams and development strategies to improve member engagement and increase revenue.

“We look forward to tapping into her many years of non-profit experience as we continue to improve engagement and collaboration amongst companies from across the food industry,” Ott said.

Read more about personnel changes throughout the industry.

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Q&A: Looking for opportunities beyond US borders

KANSAS CITY, MO. — While exports of US pet food declined 3% from $2.48 billion in 2022 to $2.41 billion in 2023, pet food manufacturers still consider exporting to be a solid market opportunity for their products. 

Canada continues to be the largest export market for US dog and cat food at a value of $1.20 billion in 2023, up 6.9% from $1.12 billion in 2022. China is the second-largest market with $257.60 million in 2023, and Mexico continues to grow as the third-largest market — up 16% from $177.93 in 2022 to $206.31 million in 2023.

Pet industry associations, such as the Pet Food Institute (PFI) and the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), are doing their part to help processors find new markets while also promoting US pet food products in these potential international markets. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Market Access Program (MAP), for example, provides funding to groups — including PFI and AFIA — that organize marketing campaigns promoting the safety, quality and nutritional efficacy of US pet food products in 17 targeted international markets. These countries currently include Brazil, China, Columbia, Costa Rica, Israel, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates. 

AFIA received $170,000 in federal funding through the (MAP) for fiscal 2024.

 “The US animal food industry has the potential to sustainably enhance the efficiency and quality of global animal nutrition practices and pet food diets. However, existing foreign regulatory and policy constraints hinder fair competition for these products in foreign markets,” said Constance Cullman, president and chief executive officer of the AFIA, in January. “We appreciate the opportunity to continue collaborating with the USDA to overcome these trade barriers and promote our products.”

Mallory Gaines, director of Market Access and Trade Policy at the American Feed Industry Association

Mallory Gaines, director of Market Access and Trade Policy at the American Feed Industry Association. 

| Source: American Feed Industry Association

As the director of Market Access and Trade Policy for the AFIA, Mallory Gaines is responsible for developing, implementing and communicating the AFIA’s trade policy goals and activities, and supporting the growth of trade-related policies that are in the best interests of expanding US exports. 

During the inaugural Pet Food Processing Exchange Oct. 7 to 8 in Kansas City, hosted by Pet Food Processing magazine and parent company Sosland Publishing, Gaines and other subject matter experts will share their knowledge on the growth and opportunities in this evolving industry. Leaders in areas such as product formulation, animal nutrition, data analysis, packaging, food safety and automation will take the stage to provide their perspectives on the formulation, production and safety of pet food.

On Oct. 7, Gaines will share her expertise about “Global Market Opportunities: Expansion Through Exporting.” With the remarkable surge in pet food sales worldwide, processors can learn how to capitalize on this growth and successfully navigate this potentially arduous process.

Speaking with Pet Food Processing magazine, Gaines discussed how new and emerging international markets are offering opportunities for pet food manufacturers to expand beyond US borders. 

 

Pet Food Processing: Why is there so much growth potential for US pet food processors to distribute abroad?

Gaines: As the middle class grows around the world, families are adopting more pets into their homes and are starting to prioritize better pet care. They see healthy pets who live longer, fuller lives as a benefit and are increasingly interested in providing them with complete diets. In many countries, pet food is still a luxury item but is becoming more attainable as economies and middle classes grow.

 

PFP: When it comes to international growth potential for the pet food market, which areas of the globe show the best opportunity?

Gaines: The AFIA supports market programs in Latin America and Asia, where there is growing interest in feeding complete and balanced pet food to companion animals.

 

PFP: If pet food processors want to expand their distribution internationally, where do they need to start the process?

Gaines: AFIA is here as a resource to the pet food industry to help processors get started with their international distribution journey. There are several tools that are easy to access to peek into a market — in fact, I’ll be sharing more information about what those tools are during my upcoming presentation at the Pet Food Processing Exchange.

 

PFP: What services does American Feed Industry Association offer to help processors learn about potential international markets?

Gaines: The AFIA serves as a liaison and can answer members’ questions about a market or help solve problems that limit their ability to export into that market. Through the MAP, the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) partners with US agricultural trade associations, cooperatives, state regional trade groups and small businesses to share the costs of overseas marketing and promotional activities that help build commercial export markets for US agricultural products and commodities. As a cooperator and implementer of the MAP funds, the AFIA also works to build awareness and interest for US pet food in global markets of interest of our members. 

 

PFP: How does AFIA’s MAP help processors explore exporting opportunities?

Gaines: The FAS’s MAP funds are a great resource. The AFIA can assess a market utilizing this funding to help build a marketing campaign, to support a product, such as pet food, or target setting up business-to-business relationships.

 

Attendees of Pet Food Processing Exchange can learn more about global opportunities for the pet food and treat industry during Gaines’ presentation during the event. Learn more and register for Pet Food Processing Exchange here.

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Cheez-Its head across ‘the pond’


CHICAGO — Kellanova will finally launch its Cheez-It crackers in the United Kingdom this summer across all route-to-market channels.

Made with a combination of wheat, corn, potatoes, and cheese and milk ingredients, the Cheez-It cracker recipe has been “tweaked” for European tastebuds, Kellanova shared.

The company also said its crackers are made with a proprietary baking method, allowing them to be extra thin and crispy and giving them curvy and crispy edges to deliver “the right balance of crispy texture and authentic cheesy taste in every bite.”

The first two Cheez-It flavors to be available in the UK are cheese and chilli, and double cheese, which will both be available in many sizes, including small individual packs and larger sharing bags.

Kellanova is investing €18 million (almost $23 million) in marketing for the UK launch starting in September. The marketing includes television commercials “bespoke for UK audiences,” radio, out of home, sampling, public relations and social media, the company said.

“When we became Kellanova back in October last year, we said we wanted to become a snacking powerhouse, and bringing our hero US Cheez-It brand to the UK is demonstrative of this ambition,” said Chris Silcock, managing director of Kellanova in UK and Ireland. “Great taste is the No. 1 category driver, and we believe by launching a large-scale NPD that delivers on taste, we can provide more choice to shoppers, help increase their repertoire, and drive overall category growth. That’s why we believe Cheez-It offers retailers of all shapes and sizes a compelling, differentiated product that will be backed by a heavyweight marketing plan. While this is a new product and brand here in the UK, the trade this side of the ‘pond’ can have confidence in Cheez-It — after all, it’s a billion-dollar brand in America.”

Cheez-It is the latest Kellanova brand to enter the UK market, joining the likes of Pringles, Rice Krispies Squares and Pop Tarts.

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Chobani formulates Super Milk to donate


NEW BERLIN, NY – Greek yogurt, oatmilk and creamer manufacturer Chobani formulated its first dairy milk, a lowfat and shelf-stable product that the company will donate to support people in need.

The company said it developed its new Chobani Super Milk, which has a nine-month shelf life and doesn’t have to be refrigerated until it is opened, to provide it to the American Red Cross, as well as local food banks and pantries.

Chobani shared that it plans to produce approximately 145,000 pounds of the milk, with the American Red Cross sending the product to areas dealing with natural disasters. Plus, the company will donate the milk to its partners in central New York and southern Idaho communities.

Chobani Super Milk contains 13 grams of protein, 9 grams of sugar, 7 grams of fiber and 400 mg of calcium per 8 oz serving – compared to the US Department of Agriculture’s data that shows regular lowfat milk has 8 grams of protein, 12 grams of sugar, 0 grams of fiber and 300 mg of calcium per 8 oz.

Hamdi Ulukaya, the company’s founder and chief executive officer, said Chobani decided to call the product Super Milk because it is a “high protein, high fiber, nutritious milk that is wholesome and shelf stable,” adding the company considered bringing the product to life to be “a true gift.”

“We are so proud to work with these inspiring organizations who are focused on delivering food to more people,” Ulukaya said. “We could not make this impact without the power of these partnerships, and it is an honor to work together.”

The need for high-quality dairy products during disaster relief, Chobani explained, led to the creation of the shelf-stable milk, which also addresses logistic and supply chain challenges. The company noted the milk also will further address food insecurity, and Chobani has donated more than 6.4 million pounds of food across the US since 2022.

Chobani said support from other companies – Tetra Pak, Dairy Farmers of America and IFF – provided ingredients and packaging that made the production of its Super Milk possible.

Cliff Holtz, president and CEO of the American Red Cross, said Chobani sent a truckload of Super Milk to New Mexico “in just a few days, helping power our relief efforts for those impacted by the wildfires.”

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Belgian pet parents concerned about pet food prices


BRUSSELS — Fifty-eight percent of Belgian households own one or more pets, according to recent data from the Belgian Petfood Association (BEPEFA)’s 2023-2024 Pet Population Survey. The study represents the association’s third annual pet report and was conducted by iVox in April 2024. 

Pet ownership in Belgium has increased 6% compared to 2021, according to the report. Additionally, 17% of households adopted a new pet in the past year, and for 31% of these households this represented their first endeavor in pet ownership. 

Breaking down the country’s pet population by type, the report found that cats are the more popular four-legged companion, as 32% of Belgians owned one or more cats. This is compared to 31% of Belgians who owned one or more dogs. 

Regarding pet nutrition, the report examined pet parents’ most important purchasing factors. Forty-nine percent reported price as the most important factor, a 4% decrease from BEPEFA’s 2022-2023 report; 45% reported life-stage specific products as the most important, which remained flat from last year; and 40% reported foods their pets enjoyed as the most important, a decrease of 1% from 2022-2023. 

Read more global pet food and treat news from outside North America. 

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AFIA Feed Industry Institute ends in success


ARLINGTON, VA. — The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) celebrated 73 graduates from its biennial Feed Industry Institute (FII) in Minneapolis on June 20. The graduates took part in a four-day educational program, learning about the animal feed, pet food and ingredient industries. 

“We are thrilled that FII returned to an in-person format this year, which allowed for more engaging and interactive sessions,” said Paul Davis, Ph.D., director of quality, animal food safety and education at AFIA. “The excitement of reconnecting face-to-face and the dynamic exchange of knowledge truly enhanced the overall experience, marking a successful and memorable event for all involved.” 

During the program, attendees learned from 24 experts from various areas of the animal nutrition industry. Topics included animal physiology; the role of proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals; types of ingredients and additives; processing and formulation; customer service and communications; and regulations. The FII also covered industry activities, like sourcing, logistics and grain trading. 

For example, attendees heard from Adam Fahrenholz, Ph.D., post-doctoral research scholar at North Carolina State University’s Prestage Department of Poultry Science during his session “Effects of Processing on quality and Efficiency.” Fahrenholz highlighted the importance of decisions throughout each stage of creating animal feed, from ingredient selection to processing methods, and how they can impact nutritional content, product quality and customer satisfaction. 

“Everything that we do in feed manufacturing will have an impact, and those impacts have to be considered,” he said. 

In addition to expert-led education, attendees also had the opportunity to network with industry colleagues. 

The AFIA’s FII ended with a graduation ceremony, during which attendees received a certificate of completion. 

The 2024 FII was sponsored by Bentonite Performance Minerals, LLC, Huvepharma, Inc., Bill Bar and Company, Inc., Datacor, Hutchinson Salt Company, Inc. and Olsson Frank Weeda Law. The next FII program is set for 2026. 

Read more news from associations and agencies in the pet food sector. 

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Ingredients, innovation and taste paramount for Alden’s Organic

There are some companies that make a point of looking beyond the boardroom and into the community, taking an active role in giving back. To that end, companies are increasingly thinking about long-term benefits to the community and environment while carrying out profitable strategies to increase market share. 

Consumers are showing increasingly more confidence in socially and environmentally responsible companies, too, and express an increased interest in product sourcing. More consumers are asking themselves, “How exactly are these ingredients being sourced?” A growing number of socially conscious consumers are avoiding products manufactured in conditions that are exploitive, not sustainable or otherwise unknown. And American’s appetite for eating fresh organic food is trending upward. For some, eating organic has become a way of life.

At the forefront of this movement is Eugene, Ore.-based Alden’s Organic Ice Cream, the environmentally conscious producer of organic ice cream and frozen desserts. 

As America’s best-selling organic ice cream, Alden’s Organic has a strong presence in various grocery and natural food stores across the United States, including partnerships with retailers such as Whole Foods and Sprouts.

“The roots of the company originally go back to the late 1930s,” said Eric Eddings, chief executive officer at Alden’s Organic. “But the Alden’s Organic brand and business really came to life in 2004. We are in a beautiful part of the country, where we currently operate our own manufacturing facility right here in Eugene. Something that we’re very proud of. At any given time, we have anywhere between 180 and 200 employees that help support our vision as a company.”

Eddings said Alden’s Organic has always been committed to supporting the organic community, specifically working closely with as many local providers as it can. “Most importantly, we are committed to our local farmers and the farming community,” he said. “This is something that is extremely near and dear to our hearts. We also consistently strive for excellence in sustainable practices, for the people and the planet, and sourcing our organic milk and cream from family-owned farms.” The company has a deep-rooted collaborative commitment to quality and safety, which Eddings said builds a strong sense of purpose and pride among its employees.

“We ‘go all in,’ we make things happen, we welcome everyone, we collaborate fully to achieve company success, and we share the good stuff,” he said. “And these are really the pillars of our culture that allow us to build on those practices.”

The responsible ice cream

All Alden’s Organic Ice Cream products are certified organic to United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Organic Program standards. This means that they are made using ingredients that were not produced using genetic engineering (GMOs), sewage sludge, ionizing radiation, or with the use of prohibited pesticides or fertilizers.

The company has used organic ingredients since it began making ice cream in 2004. With dairy, plant-based and gluten-free options, Alden’s Organic offers a full line of organic and non-GMO ice cream products in formats such as scrounds, ice cream sandwiches and bars.

Recently, Alden’s Organic introduced the newest addition to its family of better-for-you frozen desserts and novelties, launching Greek yogurt bars in six flavors.

Each flavor in the company’s Greek yogurt bar line features a twist — described as ribbons of real ingredients that are mixed into the dessert. The debut bars are Mango Twist, Chocolate Fudge Twist, Mint Fudge Twist, Espresso Twist, Salted Caramel Twist and Strawberry Twist.

“This product was so much fun to develop,” said Amber Everly, vice president of quality and technical services for Alden’s Organic. “We were tasked to come up with a smooth and creamy-textured Greek yogurt product, and we developed a beautiful one. It’s filled with probiotic cultures, certified USDA organic and has up to 3 grams of protein.”

Alden’s makes a variety of frozen Greek yogurt bars.

| Photo: Alden’s Organic Ice Cream

From concept to consumer

Alden’s Organic prides itself on being innovative and responsive to changing consumer dynamics, offering unique flavors, formats and sizes to cater to different dietary needs and flavor choices.

Taste, nutrition, sustainability and commitment to quality all play a role in consumer demand in the frozen dairy case. But Joelle Simmons, Alden’s Organic’s chief growth officer, said taste is paramount.

“We’ve done an extensive amount of talking to our consumer base over time and we know within this space that taste is paramount,” she said. “So we do everything we can to make that the driving force in what we do, and we know that it impacts that at-shelf purchasing decision. Is the product good? Does it have a great texture and flavor? For example, when buying strawberry ice cream, consumers want it to taste like strawberries, not something else. Alden’s Organic plays a pivotal role in setting the standard for what we call ‘true-to-flavor’ taste.”

Alden’s Organic also prides itself on having a wide variety of tasting selections.

“We know that variety is important to consumers, as they are often shopping for multiple people in the household and not everybody likes the same thing,” Simmons said. “We also know that consumers like to stay within a product brand group. Alden’s Organic answers the call with a variety of product solutions across different platforms, giving the consumer a lot of choices at the shelf, whether it is a special dietary need they are looking for or just a particular flavor.”

The ice cream industry is dynamic and constantly changing, Simmons added.

“For the last four to five years, the industry has been heavily weighted on novelties. In the past six to eight months, we have seen a shift in the resurgence of packaged ice cream. We pride ourselves in the fact that we can adapt with those changing consumer dynamics and offer consumers what their appetites are demanding,” she said. “Being a real pioneer in that organic ice cream space, we know that our solutions are innovative to the category. There is not a lot of participation in providing organic frozen desserts. So Alden’s Organic Ice Cream sits in a space where purchasing requirements by consumers is not just a trend, it is a lifestyle. And we are proud to be a part of that.”

Alden’s Organic keeps a finger on the pulse of its consumers constantly, and does not take a one-size-fits all approach with what their consumers demand.

“We have had an aggressive presence in social media, predominantly on Facebook and Instagram, for quite a few years now. This initiative is led by Kim Berry, our director of brands and customer experience. We’ve done a very good job of reaching consumers and users of the category,” Simmons said. “We pride ourselves in having an upward of 600,000 very active followers who are friends of our brand and interact with us on a regular basis.”

Simmons said the company “checks in” with its customers on an annualized basis, asking questions on topics such as what they are looking for in the marketplace, and whether the company is addressing those needs, and asking if there are any sizes, flavors or formats in which they are interested.

“We also keep ahead of trends by reading industry publications,” she said. “We also tap into our extensive vendor community that supplies us with raw ingredients. Sometimes even on the equipment side of things. Our vendors share with us trends they are seeing in their respective space, things that they see are trending or could be hot in the years to come.”

Simmons said the company also taps into its broker and retailer communities to see what is trending from their perspective.

“We don’t just examine what is trending in the frozen case, but also what’s happening across the store,” she said.

Simmons said the company’s latest launch, its Greek yogurt line of frozen products, came directly out of seeing what was happening in the yogurt category.

“We evaluate trends in other dairy categories — that’s very true to our brand,” she said. “We believe that organic is not a trend, it is a lifestyle. Organic is on the rise throughout the perimeter of grocery store and we want to bring that emphasis and that core consumer from the perimeter of the store to the frozen dessert aisle.”

Everly emphasized that Alden’s Organic gets a lot of great ideas from analyzing current trends, but also from its supplier base.

“We work closely and have long-tenured relationships with a lot of our vendors who are coming to us with their ideas and the ingredients they’re working with that are new and exciting to them,” she said. “Sometimes we will take those ideas and transition them to an organic solution for Alden’s Organic. We will even help some of our suppliers become organic certified.”

 

Alden's Organic Ice Cream leadership team executives dairy industry C suite

Alden’s Organic leadership team. From left, Doug Denney, chief financial officer, Amber Everly, vice president of quality and technical services, Eric Eddings, chief executive officer, Joelle Simmons, chief growth officer, Cade Swail, chief operating officer.

| Photo: Alden’s Organic Ice Cream

Processing integrity

There is a powerful sense of pride and belief in the products and manufacturing processes at Alden’s Organic. The company prioritizes the importance of food safety and quality, highlighting its adherence to certifications and standards such as GFSI, SQF, kosher, vegan and FDA guidance.

Everly said the company has improved its use of technology in the manufacturing process, specifically in transitioning to paperless quality checks and documentation.

“We have a strong culture of food safety and quality throughout the facility, and we empower our employees to ensure and maintain product integrity,” she said.

Eddings explained that Alden’s Organic likes to be cutting edge when it comes to technology and innovation.

“We embrace technological advancements, but also make sure to vet and validate those advancements before implementing them,” he said. “An example of this was our transition to paperless quality and regulatory documentation, which has improved efficiency and accessibility. We also collaborate closely with our suppliers and manufacturing partners, incorporating machinery from different countries to stay at the forefront of innovation.

“We strive to be at the forefront, embracing cutting-edge advancements while avoiding the risks associated with new technologies,” he said. “Our focus is on embracing innovation responsibly.”

Eddings said the electronic screen in Alden’s Organic production rooms in Eugene displays various information, such as line speeds, scorecards, startup time and dashboards.

“It provides real-time data that allows employees to monitor and track the production process,” he said. “The screen also shows green, yellow and red indicators to indicate performance levels, which helps motivate and inspire employees to improve their work.”

Everly also called attention to the fact that Alden’s Organic follows strict safety and quality standards. The company has written manuals that detail its safety process, quality process and standards. The operation also makes use of a training system that is fully engaged and scheduled.

“All of our food safety and quality checks and procedures are documented and verified. Additionally, we have embraced high standard certifications, such as USDA, organic certification, gluten-free certification, kosher certification, vegan certification, and operate under FDA guidance rules,” she said. “We also undergo regular audits to maintain these certifications.”

Alden’s Organic’s quality and safety standards have a significant impact on company employees and culture.

“We have a strong food safety and quality culture in our facility, where all departments prioritize food safety as the number one concern,” Everly said. “Employees are empowered to stop the production line if they have any concerns about safety or quality. This creates a culture of accountability and ensures that everyone is committed to maintaining high standards.”

Everly said the emphasis on quality and safety also fosters a sense of pride and purpose among employees, as they know they are producing a high-quality product that meets rigorous standards.

Alden's Organic Ice Cream Vanilla production dairy products frozen facility linePhoto: Alden’s Organic Ice Cream

Make things happen

Eddings thinks that company culture is crucial to the success of any organization, emphasizing the importance of embracing a playful and persistent approach in everything it does, from sourcing ingredients to training employees.

“Collaboration is a key aspect of our culture, and we strive to ‘make things happen’ by providing support and resources to our employees,” he said. “We also prioritize community involvement, whether it’s through initiatives, fundraisers or supporting local events.”

What’s more, from a production standpoint, adding a new product line takes collaboration, Everly said.

“It takes our team. But most importantly, it is our processes that allow us to take an idea, vet it out, validate it, produce it on benchtops, trial it on the production floor, and design the packaging. It all goes through a very rigorous commercialization process, where we are stopping and checking the product throughout each step in the process,” she said. “This process enables us to go to market quickly with a product that is going to be successful. But it comes with a wonderful team behind it, working collaboratively with R&D, production, marketing and sales.”

Eddings added that Alden’s Organic’s employees believe in thinking beyond themselves and collaborating to make a difference in the world.

“We actively participate in community initiatives and events, such as sponsoring local sports teams and hosting giveaways,” he said. “Overall, our approach is to be real, vulnerable and committed to doing the right thing.”

Alden’s Organic is dedicated to stewardship and community involvement in several ways, particularly when it comes to promoting conservation and reducing its environmental footprint.

“We participate in state activities related to environmental conservation and improvement, and we are involved in tree planting initiatives in our community and county,” Simmons said. “We also organize a 25,000 scoop ice cream giveaway on National Ice Cream Day in July, distributing ice cream through social media and our employees. Additionally, we communicate our environmental footprint and take steps to manage wastewater, promote recycling and reduce water usage. We believe in social and environmental responsibility, both individually and as a company.”

In Alden’s Organic’s 2024 strategic plan, the company added a fifth pillar of sustainability, which highlights its commitment to building actionable plans and making a difference in operations, Eddings said.

“Our future focus will continue to be on reducing our carbon footprint, increasing sustainability in our processes and collaborating closely with farmers on regenerative organics within their supply chain,” he said. “We aim to continue innovating our product line and staying at the forefront of technology while ensuring that our employees remain an integral part of the process.”

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Bel hires chief marketing and digital officer


PARIS – The Bel Group introduced Arjoon Bose as the international cheese, dairy and plant-based product manufacturer’s new chief marketing and digital officer.

Bel shared that Bose will be a part of the company’s growth leadership team, led by chief growth officer Béatrice de Noray. Additionally, Bose will serve as Bel’s global leader for the following teams: integrated marketing and communications, strategic insights, e-commerce, partnerships and licensing, and brand design.

The company said Bose’s responsibilities also include further elevating Bel’s “global brand equities,” noting its portfolio includes Babybel, The Laughing Cow, Kiri, Boursin, GoGo squeeZ and Nurishh. What’s more, the company said he will orchestrate its Marketing Centre of Excellence as part of Bel’s long-term strategy to become a leader in healthy snacking.

De Noray added that Bose will “play a key leadership role” within Bel’s global growth team, and she expects him to help elevate consumer engagement for the company’s international brands.

“His expertise and experience will play a pivotal role for our brands, for which he will drive our international agenda to deploy innovative marketing and digital strategies, contributing to our ambitious responsible growth model,” she said.

Bose’s professional experience includes numerous global marketing and brand building roles during his more than nine years at General Mills and a decade at L’Oréal.

Upon the announcement of his new role with Bel, Bose said he was honored to join a “mission-driven” company.

“I am excited to embark on this transformative journey of consumer centricity with our talented global teams committed with a vision to bringing our brands more purposefully into culture, supercharging creativity and connected commerce while always being at the service of our communities,” he said.

The company identified e-commerce as a “strategic priority” for Bel and said Bose will drive its development in that area, as well as play a key part in Bel’s plan to offer “brand experiences that answer both consumer and customer needs worldwide.”

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Danone projects further growth with ‘renew strategy’


PARIS — With the food industry at a “tipping point,” Danone SA will be leaning more toward science and innovation, operational discipline and proactive portfolio management in the 2025-28 period.

The Paris-based multinational, known for its yogurt, bottled water, dairy- and plant-based products, and specialized nutrition brands, expects to post like-for-like sales growth of 3% to 5% during that time and for recurring operating income growth to exceed net sales. Danone reported total 2023 sales of €27.619 billion ($29.84 billion), a 7% like-for-like increase and at the top end of its guidance for last year. 

At a June 20 investor day in Amsterdam, chief executive officer Antoine de Saint-Affrique described today’s Danone as being very different from the Danone of two years ago, and that its “renew strategy” will project the company into the future of health and nutrition where the role food plays in health will become more critical.

“We now have the right fundamentals in place to turn Danone into a truly science-based, consumer- and patient-centric company with an even stronger focus on our unique health-focused mission,” he said.

De Saint-Affrique plans to accomplish this by gradually shifting how Danone handles the protein and gut health categories, ramping up in its Away-from-Home and Medical Nutrition business models and expanding its footprint to become “a truly multichannel company.”

In his investor day presentation, de Saint-Affrique said health and nutrition are more intertwined than ever, and that changes in the ways consumers eat, age and live are structural tailwinds for Danone. He called the company’s “cutting-edge science” a unique asset that can bridge health and consumer goods across categories, giving the examples of gut and microbiome and the protein space. 

Danone has gone through a “radical transformation” in the past two years and is much stronger today than the company consumers used to know, de Saint-Affrique said. During the period, Danone went through a “deep and very public governance crisis” and a significant restructuring and was viewed by some as both underperforming and unreliable, he said.

“The fact is that, despite the quality of our assets, the company was simply not delivering and had accumulated a number of gaps,” de Saint-Affrique said. “Against this backdrop, we defined an ambitious plan to bring back Danone where it belonged.”

The CEO, named in May 2021 to the top job at Danone, previously led Barry Callebaut from 2015-21 and spent 15 years at Unilever before that. He reportedly took a balanced business approach at Barry Callebaut aimed at enhancing shareholder value over a model focused on growth at any cost, according to a story in the Financial Times published shortly after he was hired by Danone.

On de Saint-Affrique’s watch, Danone has, among other initiatives, partnered on precision fermentation, launched a line of dairy and dairy snacks, acquired a feeding tube company and may look for further acquisitions in the medical nutrition category. 

He noted at the investor day that the two-year “cultural reset” at Danone has been broad and deep, and included renewal of the board with a combination of industry knowledge and seniority complimented by expertise in health, nutrition and sustainability. In addition, half of the executive committee has been changed and includes talent from both inside and outside the company, he said.

“We are now running the ship with better visibility, with better control and also with better clarity on the role and contribution of each country and each function,” de Saint-Affrique said, adding that the result has been Danone becoming a more consumer-centric and much more competitive company.

“There is probably no better example of it than what we did in dairy, notably in North America and Europe,” he said. “We prioritized the platforms where we wanted to play, we clarified the swim lane of our brands and started to implement a renovated portfolio strategy, and it shows in the numbers.”

Danone’s fourth-quarter sales in North America slipped 2% but grew 1.3% in the first quarter of this year. On a Feb. 22 earnings call, de Saint-Affrique said North America volume/mix had shown resilience in the fourth quarter primarily due to coffee creamers and Greek yogurt.

Juergen Esser, Danone’s group deputy CEO for finance, technology and data, acknowledged in April more work was needed to enhance market share for its US plant-based business by price-correcting to increase competitiveness. US consumers have become more cost-conscious due to inflation, so the company also has had to navigate those choppy waters.

The latest results of the company’s efforts will be available with Danone’s next quarterly earnings report, which is scheduled to be released July 31.

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UK Pet Food calls on government to support pet food industry


LONDON — Ahead of the General Election in July in the United Kingdom, UK Pet Food, the association for the country’s pet food industry, shared its “manifesto,” detailing its priorities for UK policymakers. 

The manifesto outlines four specific priorities: developing safe and sustainable pet food, facilitating trade with the European Union and the rest of the world, ensuring animal welfare, and valuing the role pets play on the wellbeing of humans. 

According to UK Pet Food, 85% of pet food ingredients are sourced from the agriculture industry, most of which are byproducts from human food processing that have been converted into safe, quality ingredients. With this in mind, the association is urging greater awareness of pet food’s contribution to the circular economy and highlighting the need for government research into sustainable ingredients. 

“We must be part of the national food action plan with a focus on food security and sustainability whilst maintaining high standards across the supply chain,” it stated. “Government should actively champion research and provide support for the development of sustainable alternative proteins that meet the variety of dietary needs of pets as well as humans. Our members are already leading the way with the use of insect protein and cultivated meat.”

Regarding trade, UK Pet Food is imploring that the government improve the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement by removing trade impediments, like the “Not for EU” labeling. According to the association, the industry has experienced costly delays making it much more difficult to import and export pet food products. 

“Government must continue to speak up for animal welfare in trade deals,” UK Pet Food shared. “Trade policy represents a unique opportunity for the UK to positively influence animal welfare abroad and ensure its place as a world-leading force for higher welfare standards.”

In addition to these priorities, the association is also calling for the UK government to support UK farmers to help enhance animal welfare throughout the supply chain, and to recognize the benefits pet ownership provides humans and the pet food industry’s ultimate role in supporting those benefits.  

“UK Pet Food is the voice of the UK pet food industry. We represent over 100 dynamic pet food businesses with a mission to advance pet health through quality, sustainable nutrition,” the association shared. “This manifesto outlines our priorities and requests for policymakers to ensure affordable, safe and nourishing pet food is available for the nation’s 36 million pets in 17.2 million homes across the UK.”

Read more global pet food and treat news from outside North America.

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