High Road Craft Brands, an ice cream producer based in Marietta, Ga., announced the hiring of Jasmine Mastroianna as executive vice president of sales and marketing. Mastroianna most recently led national sales and trade marketing efforts for Bantam Bagels up to and after its acquisition by T. Marzetti Co. She will be responsible for driving the company’s growth strategy across its brands (High Road, Ciao Bella Gelato and Helados La Neta) and channels (grocery, club and foodservice).

Additionally, after “a patient and methodical search for its top finance executive,” High Road announced the hiring of Danielle O’Connor as executive vice president, accounting and finance. O’Connor has 15 years’ experience in food manufacturing companies ranging from $10 million to $500 million in revenue. She has particular expertise in rapid growth environments, having facilitated major plant buildouts, enterprise resource planning system implementation, working capital strategy and overall financial systems design.


Good Culture, a cultured products company based in Irvine, Calif., said it appointed Becky Gretebeck chief operating officer. Prior to joining Good Culture, Becky held business development roles at Century Foods (now owned by Hormel), Organic Valley, Organic Valley Fresh and, most recently, Brookside Flavors.


Edwardsville, Ill.-based Prairie Farms Dairy Inc. said IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm, recognized the Prairie Farms brand as one of the fastest-growing medium brands — among all generations and income groups —  in its “Year-End 2020 Trends, 2021 Emerging Growth Pockets” report. Companies were ranked on dollars per 1,000 household percentage change versus a year ago (food and nonedible consumables) based on the IRI Shopper Loyalty database sample of 65 million households and 6 million static households.


G.S. Gelato & Desserts Inc. said it celebrated its 25th anniversary on Feb. 5. The Fort Walton Beach, Fla.-headquartered manufacturer of gelato, sorbetto, plant-based frozen desserts and soft-serve products plans on celebrating this company milestone all year long, sharing its memories and the evolution of the company during its incredible journey on its website, www.gsgelato.com, and social media platforms.


Sweet Grass Dairy, a Thomasville, Ga.-based cheesemaker and one of the largest southern artisan cheese brands, said it hosted a socially distanced ribbon cutting ceremony for its new Thomasvillle production facility with the Thomas County Chamber of Commerce, Thomasville National Bank, CCH Construction and architect Leon Lynn from Jinright, Ryan & Lynn. The new facility is 6,500 square feet larger than its original facility and can accommodate 86,000 pounds of milk in the new silo. 


The world’s largest Certified B Corporation (B Corp), White Plains, N.Y.- and Broomfield, Colo.-based Danone North America, said one of its trusted dairy partners, McCarty Family Farms, announced that is now a Certified B Corporation. As an innovative leader in the dairy farming community, McCarty Family Farms joins MVP Dairy, co-owned by the McCarty Family, as one of the few dairy farms in the world to achieve B Corp certification. To attain this accreditation, McCarty Family farms completed the thorough assessment process demonstrating high standards of transparency and accountability in environmental and social performance.


Powerful Nutrition and MMG Consumer Brands have come together and rebranded as Powerful Brands, “dedicated to bringing unique, bold and innovative consumer products to market.” Powerful Brands has a growing portfolio of health and wellness brands, including Powerful Nutrition (formerly Powerful Foods), offering high-protein foods, drinks and dietary supplements to fuel active lifestyles, as well as MMG's hemp-derived CBD brands: Karibo Beauty and mintedLeaf (found in food, drug and mass merchandise stores).

Powerful Nutrition launched in 2013 as a great-tasting, natural high-protein yogurt brand, later diversifying into Greek yogurt drinks, oatmeal, smoothies, protein bites and plant-based shakes, Miami-based Powerful Brands said.


Leaders of Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board (NDB) and the United Dairy Industry Association (UDIA) announced election results to lead national dairy checkoff strategies and programs to protect and grow sales.

“I’m honored to join fellow farmers and importers nationwide as we work together to create a successful future for the dairy industry,” said Marilyn Hershey, a farmer from Cochranville, Pa., who was re-elected chair of Rosemont, Ill.-based DMI. “The board and elected officers represent our partnership to fund, govern and lead the dairy checkoff program.”

DMI, which manages the national checkoff program, is co-funded by NDB and UDIA. In addition to Hershey, other DMI officers elected include Steve Maddox, Riverdale, Calif., vice chair; Skip Hardie, Groton, N.Y., secretary; and Deb Vander Koi, Worthington, Minn., treasurer.


DMI also said that applications are being accepted for college scholarships awarded by America’s dairy farmers and importers through NDB. Eleven scholarships worth $2,500 each will be awarded, as well as a $3,500 James H. Loper Jr. Memorial Scholarship to one outstanding recipient. NDB funds, in part, DMI, which manages the national dairy checkoff program.

Undergraduate students in their sophomore through senior year for the 2021-2022 academic school year and majoring in one of the following fields are eligible: communications/public relations, journalism, marketing, business, economics, nutrition, food science and agriculture education. Scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement, an interest in a career in a dairy-related discipline, and demonstrated leadership, initiative and integrity, DMI said. Candidates must complete an application form, submit an official transcript of all college courses, and write a short statement describing their career aspirations, dairy-related activities and work experiences.

Applications can be found at www.usdairy.com/about-us/dmi/scholarship. Completed applications must be received no later than May 7 at 11:59 p.m. CST. Questions about the program may be submitted to ndbscholarships@dairy.org.


Food Safety Net Services (FSNS), a San Antonio-based provider of food safety testing services, said its facility in Green Bay, Wis., moved to a new state-of-the-art laboratory in De Pere, Wis. This transition will allow FSNS to continue to grow as one of the food safety leaders in the region and expand operations throughout the Midwest.

The new facility will offer all of FSNS Green Bay’s previous testing platforms and allow for newer technology and automation implementation, the company said. Upgrades to the sample prep and sample analysis areas include processing hoods for sample prep of powders, pharmaceuticals and similar products, as well as a fully equipped chemistry laboratory. Customers in the region will benefit from an increased scope of testing, reduced turnaround times and the most advanced testing equipment available.


Synergy Flavors Inc., a Wauconda, Ill.-headquartered supplier of flavors, extracts and essences for the global food and beverage industry, announced the completion of a new primary school in Antanapizina, Madagascar. The new addition joins eight previously built facilities funded by the company in partnership with the Madagascar Development Fund (MDF).

Synergy Flavors and MDF expanded the scope of their partnership in 2020 to include clean water accessibility as an area of focus, in addition to ongoing education initiatives. The recent construction of a new well in Ambolomadinika, completed in 2020, marks the first clean-water initiative in which Synergy Flavors has joined MDF. Synergy Flavors said the growing partnership with MDF symbolizes its continued investment in the global community, contributing toward creating a more sustainable earth and encouraging balanced, healthy lifestyles for all.


Eriez, a specialist in separation technologies, said it completed a major expansion to its Wager Rd. facility, located in Erie, Pa., approximately 15 miles from the company’s world headquarters. The expanded space will support the company’s strategic growth initiatives for global research and development, aftermarket repair and testing, and recycling equipment technology.

The plant expansion adds 38,000 square feet to the existing building, bringing it to 148,000 square feet, Eriez said. It includes the addition of another manufacturing bay to the current plant to support the aforementioned initiatives.


Batory Foods, a Rosemont, Ill.-based sales and supply-chain-management solutions provider of commodity and specialty food ingredients, said it launched Batory Smartboards (BatorySmartboards.com), an “insight and inspiration” microsite for the food and beverage industry. The company said it created the site to offer training, provide innovative application ideas and foster collaboration among potential partners.


Knapp Inc., a specialist in warehouse logistics and automation based in Kennesaw, Ga., said it is separating its service and procurement roles into separate full-time positions within the company, effective April 1. Gernot Rupp will lead the procurement organization as senior vice president, procurement. Wes Goode will lead the customer service organization as vice president, customer service.


FoodChain ID, a Deerfield, Ill.-headquartered provider of technology-enabled food safety, quality and sustainability solutions, said it launched the FoodChain ID Academy. The academy offers self-directed, virtual on-demand training courses featuring a range of topics in food safety, auditing and risk assessment. The lead instructor is Gary Smith, vice president, food safety, FoodChain ID. For more information or to register for the academy, visit www.foodchainidacademy.com.


Tate & Lyle PLC, a London-based provider of food and beverage ingredients and solutions, said it completed the acquisition of an 85% shareholding in Chaodee Modified Starch Co. Ltd., a manufacturer of tapioca modified food starch located in Thailand.


GEA, Düsseldorf, Germany, said it was awarded an exclusive patent for its GEA Clean Purge system for food and dairy spray dryers. The patent covers the process of purging feed nozzles while swapping feed systems to ensure continuous feed product to the spray dryer. In practice, the patent grants GEA exclusivity to supply dairy and food spray dryers that can operate continuously at the highest level of safety and efficiency with feed line swaps.


Oils and fats specialist AAK, Malmö, Sweden, said it unveiled a new corporate purpose: Making Better Happen. It is the result of an inclusive process involving more than 1,000 AAK employees across the world. The company also launched a new visual brand identity that reflects the thinking behind the purpose.

“Our purpose — Making Better Happen — is all about the difference we want to make,” said Johan Westman, president and CEO. “We choose to be a purpose-driven business in the belief that long-term, sustainable growth goes hand-in-hand with making a positive impact. Central to AAK is a preference for the humbleness of ‘better’ in contrast to the boastfulness of ‘best’. Best breeds complacency, while better is a journey of continuous improvement. In fact, AAK truly believes that better has the potential to be more ambitious than best.”


The Hegelmann Group, an international transport and logistics company based in Bruchsal, Germany, said it launched its operation in North America as Hegelmann USA. Based in Chicago, the company started offering transport and logistics services in January 2021. An investment of around 10 million euros is planned within the first three years to kick-start the growth of the new U.S.-based subsidiary. The Hegelmann Group said it also plans to expand its reach in the future in additional parts of North America, as well as in Central America.


Food Safety Exchange (FSX), a Hannover, Germany-based food safety information and events platform for all involved in the food manufacturing industry, said it is broadening its strategic content base with a call for wide-ranging educational material and engagement from expert forward-thinkers. FSX is a collaborative resource, created and shared by industry experts, that has arranged educational events (confined to virtual events since the COVID-19 pandemic began) and brought together a pool of knowledge on a range of topics relevant to the food safety industry.

The FSX information platform includes an extensive library of resources that were downloaded some 4,000 times during 2020. Content is available in English, German, Spanish, French and Simplified Chinese. FSX is also active on social media channels, with LinkedIn and Twitter feeds highlighting the latest expert content that is available. In particular, FSX said it is looking to expand its range of live events and on-demand formats such as webinars and podcasts. To discuss expert contributions you may have to offer with FSX, send an email to info@foodsafetyexchange.com. All contributions are free of charge and include final approval by the contributor.


Mt. Washington, Ky.-headquartered MHS Holdings Inc., a provider of advanced material-handling automation solutions, engineering, equipment and software, said it is moving forward with plans to open a new manufacturing facility in Bowling Green, Ky., after the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority granted preliminary approval of a 10-year agreement that can provide up to $2.5 million in tax incentives. In turn, MHS plans to invest $7.6 million in the facility, which will create 200 new full-time jobs.