Danone will sell 14% of Japanese company Yakult, parting with a $1.9 billion stake in order to provide improved returns to shareholders. The deal will be finalized in March, after which Danone said it would discuss its plans for the proceeds.
Oreo is hoping to entice consumers with its new augmented reality game, "The Great Oreo Cookie Quest." As with "Pokemon Go," the game uses object recognition technology to lead players on a mobile scavenger hunt to collect points, which they can enter to win a trip to Africa or California.
TreeHouse Foods is undergoing a strategic review of its snacks unit, which includes right-sizing the distribution network and placing a stronger focus on large-scale strategic customers, said CEO Sam Reed. In addition, Reed said that the company has narrowed its CEO search to a handful of candidates and that the selection process is still moving along.
Unit sales in the hot cereal and oatmeal category rose 1.7% in 2017 versus the prior year, according to data from IRI. Brands such as Quaker Oats and Bob's Red Mill have launched innovations in the space to capitalize on a growing interest in healthy whole grains.
After bringing in more than $2 million in retail sales during its first year on the market, Celsius Heat is gaining nationwide distribution via 7-Eleven stores. The energy drink, which is enhanced with L-Citruline, comes in seven flavors, two of which will be available in the c-store chain.
PepsiCo has built its viral Uncle Drew video spot for Pepsi Max into a full-length feature film that's set to hit theaters in June. PepsiCo's Creators League studio partnered with Temple Hill Entertainment and Lionsgate's Summit Entertainment to get the "Uncle Drew" movie, which stars NBA player Kyrie Irving, into theaters.
IOI Loders Croklaan and Kerry Group have partnered with Wild Asia and Fortuna Palm Oil Mill to create a small-grower support program in Malaysia. The three-year program will help participants decrease fresh fruit bunch production costs and increase yields, according to Loders Croklaan Sustainability Director Ben Vreeburg.
Sweet Corner Bakeshop debuted Golden Nutella Hearts for Valentine's Day. Pictures and videos of the $45 heart-shaped chocolates painted with edible gold and filled with two pounds of Nutella proved popular with food influencers on social media.
The federal budget bill that was signed into law last week includes changes to the dairy section of the current farm bill, namely in the Margin Protection Program, which will help create a more secure safety net for dairy producers. "The enhancements to the Margin Protection Program, coupled with the expansion of additional risk management options, are coming at a crucial time for our producers," said Jim Mulhern, president of the National Milk Producers Federation.