Kraft Foods Group and Heinz are to merge creating what the companies say will be the third-largest food and beverage company in the US.
The deal was engineered by Heinz’s owners, the Brazilian investment firm 3G Capital, and billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.
Current Heinz shareholders will own 51% of the combined company with Kraft shareholders owning a 49% stake.
The combined company’s brands will include Kraft, Heinz, and Oscar Mayer.
Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway chief executive, said: “I am delighted to play a part in bringing these two winning companies and their iconic brands together.
“This is my kind of transaction, uniting two world-class organizations and delivering shareholder value. I’m excited by the opportunities for what this new combined organization will achieve.”
Alex Behring, chairman of Heinz and the managing partner at 3G Capital, said: “By bringing together these two iconic companies through this transaction, we are creating a strong platform for both US and international growth.”
3G and Berkshire Hathaway bought Heinz two years ago for $23 billion and took the company private in 2013.
Kraft shareholders will receive a special cash dividend of $16.50 per share as part of the deal.
A special dividend payment of approximately $10 billion is being funded by Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital.
Chocolate giant Hershey Inc has successfully blocked the import of Cadbury sweets because, it says, it creates “brand confusion” with Hershey’s products.
Cadbury chocolate varies around the world. In the UK, the first ingredient in a classic Dairy Milk bar is milk. In the United States, where Hershey has the license to make and sell all Cadbury products, the first ingredient is sugar.
Thousands of fans in small shops across the United States and on social media have been urging Hershey to allow them legal access to their favourite British chocolate. Some have even called for a Boston Tea Party-like protest with plots to throw “inferior” chocolates into the nearest body of water.
Soon the US recipe may be their only choice. Hershey sued LBB Imports, which used to be known as Lets Buy British Imports, for trademark infringement and dilution, arguing that Toffee Crisp’s orange packaging was too similar to Reese’s peanut butter cups and that Yorkie bars were too confusing to people looking for York Peppermint Patties.
Hershey has the rights in the United States to sell York, Cadbury, Kit Kat and Rolo trademarks as well as Maltesers. British Maltesers are out too.
The lawsuit was settled after LBB Imports agreed to stop importing the disputed products. LBB Imports President Nathan Dulley says he estimates that about $50 million worth of British chocolate is sold in the US each year – a Hershey’s Kiss sized drop in the grand scheme of American chocolate sales.
While Nathan Dulley says Hershey’s case has merit, he thinks it’s petty and that Pennsylvania-based Hershey should have allowed the small amount of imports for the niche expatriate market.
“We did attempt to make an agreement. Ultimately, these decisions do affect small businesses across the country,” Nathan Dulley says.
“At end of the day you’re talking about a $6 billion behemoth – both businesses should be able to coexist.”
Hershey executives have said they want to protect their intellectual property and that they’d asked LBB repeatedly to stop importing the disputed chocolates. They have not commented on the social media call #BoycottHershey or the online petitions, including one posted on the White House website.
More than 30,000 people have signed the online petitions in protest and on Twitter chocolate lovers are milking the spat to condemn what they feel are chemical-laden, inferior Hershey products.
“Shame on you Hershey. Give the people what they want! #boycotthershey Good ingredients trump crap every time,” read one tweet.
In stores across the US, shoppers are buying as much of the so-called proper chocolate they can afford or carry.
Kraft Foods Group has voluntarily recalled select cottage cheese products due to out-of-standard storage temperatures, the company announced on its website Saturday.
Approximately 1.2 million cases of affected product were shipped to customers across the US. The affected products were not distributed outside of the US.
The recall involvesselected Knudsen Cottage Cheese, Breakstone’s Cottage Cheese, Simply Kraft Cottage Cheese and Daily Chef Cottage Cheese products, according to the release.
It was not immediately clear if any illnesses have been reported.
Kraft Foods Group has voluntarily recalled select cottage cheese products due to out-of-standard storage temperatures
Affected products all have code dates from May 9, 2014 through July 23, 2014.
Consumers who purchased any of the voluntarily recalled cottage cheeses were asked not to eat the product and to return the item to the store where it was purchased.
The recalled products all came from a manufacturing facility in Tulare, Calif., which has since ceased production and distribution of the affected products while the company addresses the problem.
Consumers can find the code date on the bottom of the cup or the top of the package. Simply Kraft products with a plant code of 36-2158 on the cups or a “W” in the case code (e.g., “W 21 JUL 2014”) are not affected. Simply Kraft products subject to the recall are only those with a plant code of 06-245 on the bottom of the cup and case code date without any “W” (e.g., “21 JUL 2014”).
No other Knudsen, Breakstone’s, Simply Kraft or Daily Chef products are impacted by this recall.
The Tulare, California, manufacturing facility, where all of the affected products were produced, has ceased production and distribution of the affected products as the company works to address the problem.
Consumers who purchased any of these products should not eat them. They should return them to the store where purchased for an exchange or full refund. Consumers also can contact Kraft Foods Consumer Relations at 1-800-396-6307 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. (Eastern).
Starbucks has to pay $2.76 billion in damages and other costs to Kraft Foods in a dispute over packaged coffee, an independent US arbitrator has ruled.
Kraft began selling bags of Starbucks branded coffee in 1998 under a deal that was due to run until March 2014.
But Starbucks ended the contract in 2010, accusing Kraft of breaking the terms of their deal.
Kraft challenged that move by starting arbitration proceedings saying it had built a business worth $500 million a year.
Starbucks has to pay $2.76 billion in damages and other costs to Kraft Foods in a dispute over packaged coffee
On Tuesday the arbitrator ruled that Starbucks must pay $2.23 billion in damages plus $527 million in interest and legal costs.
Kraft Foods was spun off by Mondelez International last year and under an agreement between those two firms the payments from the case will go to Mondelez.
“We’re pleased that the arbitrator validated our position that Starbucks breached our successful and long-standing contractual relationship without proper compensation,” said Mondelez.
In a statement Starbucks said it “strongly disagreed” with the conclusions of the arbitrator.
“We believe Kraft did not deliver on its responsibilities to our brand under the agreement, the performance of the business suffered as a result, and that we had a right to terminate the agreement without payment to Kraft,” it said.
Kraft Foods has claimed its controversial Oreo breastfeeding baby advert was “never meant to go public”.
Kraft Foods said the provocative picture of a child clenching a chocolate cookie while suckling on a woman’s breast was only supposed to be used once.
The nipple-exposing promo was made by its Cheil Worldwide agency, it added, which was merely going to use it for an advertising forum.
It also denied widely the reported allegations that it had been was running in publications across South Korea.
The image, with the headline of “Milks Favourite Cookie”, has caused quite a storm, and seriously divided opinion, on online forums, blogs and Twitter.
One said: “There is a thin line between creative liberty and ethics. A complete fail for me.”
Another added her disgust by saying: “Simply not pleasant. Nor appealing. (Are you going to have a nice warm cup of mother’s milk with your cookie now?)”
Kraft Foods has claimed its controversial Oreo breastfeeding baby advert was “never meant to go public”
But others said they loved the picture. Thenikcreative posted on adsoftheworld.com: “Are you guys kidding? As an OREO fan I find this ad absolutely fantastic.
“The art direction is great – the look in the babies eyes is priceless … well done Cheil.”
And ashtrinjuljim said: “I’m a mother of 3 …I see nothing wrong with this ad…its natural for a mother to breast feed and if that’s the part u take offense to then Ur a prude plan and simple.
“The whole part about the baby holding the Oreo is cute and eye catching…..and as for those of u who think mothers breasts don’t look like the while breast feeding guess what some moms do! Get over yourself and Ur own insecurity….”
Some have suggested the “leak” of the advert could be part of Oreo’s 100th birthday promotional campaign which it officially celebrated last month.
A Kraft Foods spokesman said: “This ad was created by our agency for a one-time use at an advertising forum. It was never intended for public distribution or use with consumers.
“It has never run in Korea or any other markets.”
Born on March 6, 1912, the Oreo brand now fetches a staggering $1.5 billion in global revenues and is the world’s top selling cookie of the 21st Century.
A staple in households from New Jersey to Indonesia, the first ever Oreo was baked by the National Biscuit Co. bakery on West 15th Street in New York City.
The company sold its first batch of the creme-filled delights by weight in Hoboken, New Jersey, for $0.30/lb.
Inspired advertising campaigns right from the outset have ensured an enduring shelf life for the traditional cookie.
Oreo cookies 1951 advert
With slogans like “Oh-oh! Oreo” and “Milk’s favourite cookie”, along with collaborations with ice cream manufacturers and milk advertisers, the name Oreo is never far from one’s mind when it comes to the thought of tasty tea-time treats.
The decorative design of the cookie itself has changed only slightly since its inception when in the Fifties the Nabisco emblem was incorporated into the embossing.
Nowadays Oreos take 59 minutes to make and are covered in a pattern of 12 flowers, 12 dots and 12 dashes, and 90 ridges around the edge.
Sold in over 100 countries, the cookies are adored by children and adults alike from China to Chile where variations take into account local flavors and cultural tastes.
In Argentina, three layers of Oreo cookie and creme are covered in chocolate to make a traditional Argentine snack cake.
Oreo cookie celebrates its centenary in the US and four other countries, China, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Indonesia.
Flash mobs in seven US cities sang “Happy Birthday!” to the famous cookie: a white filling (or cream) sandwiched between two black biscuits.
The first Oreos were baked at the Nabisco factory in New York in 1912.
Oreo cookies are now sold around the world, bringing Kraft Foods – which owns Nabisco – $2 billion annually.
“It’s the best-selling cookie in the world,” said John Ghingo, senior director for Oreo Global at Kraft.
“The simple act of enjoying an Oreo cookie and glass of milk continues to speak to a universal, human truth: inside all of us… there’s a kid that deserves to be set free every once in a while,” John Ghingo said.
To mark the cookie’s centenary, Nabisco released a limited edition of "Birthday Cake" Oreo
John Ghingo added that the name Oreo remained mystery even today, but one theory suggested that the two uses of “O” in the word represented the cookies and the “re” in the middle stood for the cream.
To mark the milestone, Nabisco released a limited edition of “Birthday Cake” Oreo.
On Tuesday, celebrations were also held in China, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.