Former U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is the new president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council, Arlington, Va. Prior to his appointment as a Cabinet secretary, Vilsack served two terms as the governor of Iowa. He succeeds Tom Suber, who served as president of USDEC since its founding in 1995. Suber retired at the end of 2016.
Chris Roberts is the new head of all of the Land O’Lakes Dairy businesses, including the global powder organization. His title is Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Dairy Foods. It is a new position at Land O’Lakes Inc., Arden Hills, Minn. Roberts reports to Beth Ford, group executive vice president and chief operating officer for the Purina Animal Nutrition and U.S. Dairy Foods businesses. Previously, Roberts was the president of Cargill’s value-added proteins division.
Turkey Hill Dairy, a unit of The Kroger Co., created a consumer loyalty program and online destination called Turkey Hill Nation. Fans can win ice cream, iced tea and logoed items. See www.turkeyhillnation.com. A message board called “The Scoop” communicates brand news and offers a sneak peek at opportunities before they are publicized elsewhere.
The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy is accepting entries in its sixth annual U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards program. There are categories for dairy processors, dairy farmers and other dairy-allied businesses. Enter by March 3 at USDairy.com.
Dairy lobbies approved of new legislation in the U.S. Senate to enforce the proper labeling of imitation dairy products. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) introduced the Dairy Pride Act which would prompt the Food and Drug Administration to enforce existing labeling requirements and specify that foods labeled as “milk” and “cheese” have to come from dairy animals. The International Dairy Foods Association and the National Milk Producers Federation support the legislation.
Bega Cheese Ltd., Australia, bought most of Mondelez International’s grocery business in Australia and New Zealand and a manufacturing site in Port Melbourne for $344.68 million. The transaction adds Vegemite and other well-established grocery brands to Bega’s portfolio. Bega will receive a license to the Dairylea brand for use in Australia and New Zealand. The Philadelphia business was not included in the deal. Bega Cheese Group operates six manufacturing sites in Australia.