Unilever has announced that it is integrating its North American ice cream business into the company’s existing U.S. and Canadian operating units. Unilever says the strategic move enables the company to leverage the full resources and expertise of the combined organization and drive competitive advantage for its ice cream business in the United States and Canada. Specifics of the integration are a result of a comprehensive study that Unilever announced in August. As a result of the integration, Unilever will close its Green Bay, Wis., and Oakville, Ontario, offices and relocate the ice cream business to its U.S. headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., and to its Canadian headquarters in Toronto. The integration affects some 275 employees working in Green Bay and Oakville. Operations and jobs at the ice cream manufacturing plants are not affected. The Unilever-owned Ben & Jerry’s will continue to be run out of Vermont.
Bing Graffunder, chief executive officer of Fairmount Food Group LLC, announced last month the acquisition of Advantage International Foods Corp., a privately held importer and distributor of specialty cheese. Graffunder says the transaction significantly increases the portfolio of Fairmount, the United States’ largest importer and marketer of specialty and deli-style cheeses. Advantage Foods marks the sixth cheese industry acquisition for the Dallas-based investment firm and its equity sponsor, GTCR Golder Rauner LLC.
It’s time for dairy marketers and others affiliated with the dairy foods industry to submit entries to Washington, D.C.-based International Dairy Foods Association’s (IDFA) 2008 Achieving Excellence Awards, sponsored by Dairy Foods magazine. “These prestigious awards recognize the very best marketing efforts in the dairy industry,” says Connie Tipton, IDFA president and chief executive officer. “We always have great participation, and we look forward to highlighting the best and brightest efforts.” Entries received by November 30 are eligible for a discounted fee; the final deadline for all entries is December 14. Entry brochures and forms are being sent to industry marketers and are available online at www.idfa.org. Processors can submit entries in 60 award categories, from TV ads to packaging designs. All category winners are eligible to win the “Best Overall Award for Marketing Excellence,” the top prize for marketing and advertising in the dairy industry. Dairy Field’s longtime sponsorship of the contest transferred to Dairy Foods upon the acquisition of Dairy Field by BNP Media.
DCC Joins Wellness Conference
The Dairy Council of California (DCC) joined the 2007 School Wellness Conference to help public school officials determine ways to successfully implement federally mandated school-wellness policies created to improve the health and physical activity of children. In a presentation titled “Integrating Nutrition Education: Best Practices,” the council advised leaders in the California public school system on how nutrition education is an important component to local wellness policies. “Dairy Council aims to provide practical solutions and nutrition education resources to wellness policy leaders,” said Peggy Biltz, DCC chief executive officer. “Our nutrition education programs, which are free to California teachers, are research based, grade specific and address physical activity as well as the foundation of a healthy diet that includes milk and dairy foods. Many school districts across the state have already adopted Dairy Council programs as the nutrition education arm of their wellness policies.” Biltz says the conference was a tremendous opportunity to showcase Dairy Council programs and offer expertise, as many wellness policy leaders struggle to turn these policies into working solutions to poor health.