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Hostess buys cookie maker Voortman for $320M

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Dive Brief:

  • Hostess Brands will acquire Voortman, a manufacturer of premium, branded wafers and sugar-free and specialty cookies, from Swander Pace Capital for approximately $320 million. 
  • Hostess said in a presentation about the acquisition that the transaction, expected to close in January, adds the market leader for crème wafers and sugar-free cookies to Hostess’ portfolio. Voortman has had a compound annual growth rate of 5.1% at stores during the past three years — nearly three times the annual growth of the overall $8.4 billion cookie category.
  • “Voortman is a leading brand with a well-defined consumer position that complements and extends the growing Hostess portfolio into the growing cookie and better-for-you sweet snacking categories with meaningful runway for future growth,” Andy Callahan, Hostess’ president and CEO, said in a statement.

Dive Insight:

While Hostess’ iconic line of Twinkies, Ding Dongs and coffee cakes is at the company’s core, since its resurgence in 2016, the company has been bulking up its portfolio to attract consumers in adjacent areas where it didn’t have a major presence. 

Last year, the purchase of Big Texas and Cloverhill brands allowed Hostess to expand its breakfast product lineup with items like honey buns, danishes and cinnamon rolls.

This latest deal diversifies Hostess’ product mix and increases its focus in sweet baked goods and snacking by adding Voortman crème wafers and sugar-free cookies to the fold. While Hostess owns many of the nation’s favorite sweet baked goods, it has no cookies. And Voortman’s sugar-free cookie line allows Hostess to also be in the better-for-you dessert segment.

Hostess touted the financial benefits of the acquisition, including the long-term growth impacts. The Twinkie maker said it expected earnings per share to increase in the mid-single digits next year because of the deal, with double-digit increases thereafter. 

Under the watch of Callahan, who took the helm in May 2018, Hostess has undergone a series of major changes to place the company on firmer financial footing.

It sold in-store bakery maker Superior Cake Products to Sara Lee Frozen Bakery for $65 million. Historically, Hostess has succeeded in developing creative new variations on its mainstay, center-of-the-store brands, so it may have found it difficult to make a move to the premium and fast-growing in-store bakery channels.

The company also announced in August that it would move its corporate headquarters from Kansas City, Missouri to Kansas City, Kansas after receiving tax incentives and tax credits.

Hostess has shunned big deals in favor of smaller bolt-on acquisitions such as Voortman, though it was rumored to be among the interested buyers for Kellogg’s Keebler and Famous Amos brands — eventually sold to Ferrero for $1.3 billion. 

Hostess’ slow, methodical approach to adding smaller brands to the mix allows the company to carefully integrate products into its operations. The company is able to generate meaningful cost synergies and grow the brands by applying its product procurement, manufacturing, distribution and sales network expertise when it makes an acquisition — a point Hostess highlighted in the press release announcing the Voortman deal.​

If history is any indication, Hostess is likely to continue down the same path of adding smaller, well-known brands such as Voortman to the fold. This strategy will enable it to expand its reach into adjacent categories while keeping it squarely focused on snacking and the on-the-go consumer.



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EFSA opens comment period on Ochratoxin A health risks

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The European Food Safety Authority is seeking feedback on work examining the public health risks of Ochratoxin A in food.

Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a mycotoxin naturally produced by fungi such as the Penicillium and Aspergillus mold species. It is found in foods including grain products, preserved meats, fresh and dried fruits, and breast milk.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) previously assessed the topic in 2006. Experts concluded OTA accumulates in the kidney and is particularly toxic to the organ. EFSA set a tolerable weekly intake (TWI) of 120 nanograms per kilogram (ng/kg) of body weight.

The main contributors to OTA dietary exposure were cereal products, wine, beer, grape juice, brewed coffee, cocoa and cocoa products, and pork. Estimated exposure levels for average people varied between 15 and 20 ng/kg of body weight per week and for high consumers between 40 and 60 ng/kg of body weight per week.

Consultation on the draft opinion
More recent data suggests OTA may be genotoxic and carcinogenic. In such cases, EFSA experts calculate a margin of exposure (MOE) for consumers. The higher it is, the lower the level of concern for the public. The MOE is a ratio of the dose at which a small but measurable adverse effect is observed and level of exposure to the substance. The estimated MOE for OTA is below 10,000 across most consumer groups, suggesting a possible health concern.

EFSA’s Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM) launched a public comment period on the draft scientific opinion. Comments can be submitted until Jan. 24, 2020.

Maximum levels for Ochratoxin A are established at EU level for unprocessed cereals, dried vine fruits, a variety of coffee and coffee beans and wine and grape juice ranging from 0.5 to 10 µg/kg but it has recently been found at high levels in food for which no maximum levels are set.

OTA is rapidly absorbed and distributed but slowly eliminated and excreted leading to potential accumulation in the body.

A total of 72,350 measurements of concentrations of OTA in food, submitted within the last 10 years by 29 European countries and one industry association were used for assessing dietary exposures. Almost half of the data came from Germany and the Netherlands.

Possible health concerns
The highest mean concentrations of OTA were in the categories plant extract formula, flavorings or essences containing licorice extracts, and chili pepper. The top contributors to chronic dietary exposure were preserved meat, cheese, and grains, and grain-based products. Dried and fresh fruit such as grapes, figs, and dates were important in some of the toddlers and other children’s groups. Non-chocolate confectionary was a significant source of exposure in countries where licorice-based sweets are commonly consumed.

Calculated MOEs for non-neoplastic effects were above 200 in most dietary surveys for average and high consumers, so of low health concern. However, they were below 200 in the age groups of infants and toddlers and other children indicating a possible health concern for these groups.

Calculated MOEs for neoplastic effects in most of the surveys were below 10,000 and indicate a possible health concern for some consumer groups.

The CONTAM panel made six recommendations including more occurrence data on OTA in cheese paste versus cheese rind are needed as are more studies on the sequence of events at the carcinogenic target site in the kidney and reliable and representative investigations of levels in human breast milk.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)



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You simply can’t beat crispy, garlicky potatoes that are roasted to absolute per…

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You simply can’t beat crispy, garlicky potatoes that are roasted to absolute perfection! This just so happens to be one of the most popular recipe on our blog. So if you haven’t tried them yet, we suggest you add them to your menu this week! 😍 We’d love to hear if you give them a try! ⁠⠀
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For the recipe, go here: https://therealfoodrds.com/crispy-garlic-ranch-roasted-potatoes/ OR click the link in our bio @therealfoodrds⁠⠀
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Photo by: @playswellwithbutter⁠⠀
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#realfood #glutenfree #dairyfree #whole30 #potatoes #therealfoodrds #wholefoods #buzzfeed #feedfeed #dietitian #dietitianapporved #dietitiansofinstargram #sidedish #holidaycooking #paleo #glutenfree #grainfree



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