Louis Dreyfus has finalised the acquisition of Chinese oilseed crushing business Sinarmas Natural Resources Foodstuff Technology and its plant in the port of Tianjin. The CEO said it was part of the strategy to focus on China and its growing domestic demand.
ADM has been going through several waves of restructuring – the latest announced last month – as it tries to cope with a changing and more competitive environment. Meanwhile ADM’s office in Germany is facing a routine audit which may force the company to pay higher taxes.
Bunge is having difficulty in selling its sugar trading unit with potential buyers finding the USD 75 million targeted value too high. Nordzucker and Wilmar have reportedly looked at the business. This lack of interest may make it harder for Bunge to sell its sugar milling segment, which could be valued at USD 1-2 billion.
Cargill will switch to a controlled-atmospheric stunning (CAS) system at its chicken processing facility in Ontario instead of electric stunning. The company explained this was part of the efforts to meet growing consumer concern for animal welfare and a more humane way of slaughtering animals, adding that the less stress the chicken experience the better the meat tastes.
Cargill is also helping McDonald’s find a way to feed chicken with insects and seaweed instead of soy, as part of the restaurant’s pledge to support forests. They found that chickens digest the insects better than vegetable protein which also makes them healthier.
The Parma Ham Consortium in Italy has denied allegations of poor animal welfare at several breeding farms after videos were made public by activists. The director of the organisation added that they were working on improving traceability and had put together guidelines with the Research Centre on Animal Production. A UK-based animal welfare organisation pointed out, however, that animal processing companies had the challenge of finding the right balance between taking care of animals but providing cheap meat.
Nestle has won the right to increase the groundwater extraction rate in Michigan from 250 gal per minute to 400 gal for its Ice Mountain Natural Spring Water plant which was recently expanded. The move angered environmentalists but the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality said it had reviewed the case carefully before granting the permit. Environmentalists argued that Nestle was able to get the water for free and only paid a USD 200 annual permit. In Brazil, meanwhile, Nestle decided to sell its water business – which includes the Sao Lourenço and Petropolis brands and three factories – to local company Grupo Edson Queiroz.
The soaring price of vanilla, which we mentioned in last week’s report, is leading to crop theft and deforestation in Madagascar – the world’s main vanilla producer. An investigation by The Guardian found that protected forest land was being cleared to plant vanilla as locals try to take advantage of the sky-high prices. The investigation also found that while vanilla prices have risen after a cyclone destroyed a big part of the crop last year, the price has also been inflated by speculators who are using vanilla sales to launder money made from logging and illegally exporting rosewood to China.
After much deliberation, a court in Los Angeles ruled that coffee sellers in California will have to put a cancer warning label on the coffee. The whole thing started after an organisation sued several coffee companies – including giant Starbuck – accusing them of not warning consumers about the presence of a chemical considered carcinogenic. Although the ruling only applies to California the label may eventually appear on a national level because it would cost too much to tailor packaging to one state only.
A report by NAFTA’s Commission for Environmental Cooperation found that food wastage in Canada is among the highest in the world. The estimated 396kg of food wasted per capita could cost as much as CAD 30 billion and create 21 million mt of greenhouse gas emissions. While a big part is lost before it reaches the consumer, people throw away around 170kg/year. The organisation called on consumers, as well as food industry stakeholders to intervene to reduce the waste.
In the UK, FareShare is asking people to sign a petition that would request the government to set up a GBP 15 million fund to help reduce waste by redistributing it to the hungry. The charity said this would help remove the burden from farmers and producers who currently have to bear the cost of moving the surplus around. An estimated 270,00mt of edible food is in surplus every year, out of which only 17,000mt is redistributed.
Report produced by ECRUU