January 1, 2007
Canada-based CoolBrands International has sold its yogurt division for $45 million to Lily Acquisition LLC, an affiliate of Catterton Partners Management Co. CoolBrands spent about $59 million to acquire the Breyers yogurt brand, along with a manufacturing facility in North Lawrence, N.Y., from Kraft Foods in 2005. The sale is the latest move for the financially troubled maker of frozen novelties; last fall, co-founder Michael Serruya agreed to acquire all the indebtedness of the company’s senior lenders. CoolBrands has previously announced that it is exploring the sale of assets including its distribution channels, foodservice division and ice cream brands. CoolBrands has been struggling since losing its license to produce Weight Watchers frozen snacks to Wells’ Dairy in 2004.
Dallas-based Dean Foods Co. plans to build a $1 million distribution facility for its Reiter Dairy by fall 2007 and cease operations by February at its plant near Akron, Ohio, due to excess capacity in the region. The new state-of-the-art distribution facility will employ 45 drivers and up to 15 warehouse positions; Reiter’s existing sales staff will remain in place. Reiter-Akron is centrally located between a sister plant in Springfield, Ohio, and two others in Pennsylvania; about half of Akron’s volume will be transferred to the two Pennsylvania operations and the rest to Springfield. Most affected will be about 165 employees who do not have commercial driver’s licenses, which would qualify them for driver positions at the new distribution center. Founded in Akron in 1933, the Reiter brand has since grown to be the leading milk brand in Ohio.
A U.S. District Court judge has dismissed two lawsuits brought last year by the animal-rights group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) that challenged the Healthy Weight with Dairy marketing program. Defendants included the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), the National Dairy Council (NDC) and several individual companies. “This ruling is another sound defeat for PCRM, a group whose views on nutrition have been repeatedly denounced by reputable science and health organizations,” says Susan Ruland, IDFA vice president of communications.
Oakhurst Dairy, Portland, Maine, expected to have transitioned 130 delivery trucks — more than 90 percent of its fleet — to biodiesel fuel by the end of 2006. The announcement came last month during a ceremony in Portland with Maine Gov. John Baldacci. This switch makes the Oakhurst truck fleet the largest private biodiesel-fueled fleet in New England, and is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1,332 tons per year. Biodiesel is a cleaner-burning diesel fuel made from natural, renewable sources such as vegetable oils.
City officials in San Francisco ordered the immediate removal of cookie-scented strips from five bus shelters, one day after the new California Milk Processor Board campaign began. The move came amid public concern over potential allergic reactions to scented products. The promotion — based on the idea that a whiff of chocolate chip cookies would make people want a glass of milk — was the first use of scented outdoor advertising in the United States.
Carvel Corp., Rocky Hill, Conn., has opened its first store in the Middle East — in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia, at the Mall of Dhahran. “We are very excited that the Saudi Arabian market represents a significant development opportunity for Carvel,” says Abdul Majeed Alhokair, president of Food and Entertainment Group, Carvel’s franchise partner in Saudi Arabia. Alhokair’s organization plans to open 50 additional Carvel locations in Saudi Arabia by 2010, all planned for malls and shopping centers.$OMN_arttitle="News Wire";?> $OMN_artauthor="";?>