Grocery Briefs: May 2016

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UNFI, Providence, RI, acquired Nor-Cal Produce, Inc., West Sacramento, CA, in a cash transaction of approximately $68.6 million. Nor-Cal is a family-owned and -operated distributor of conventional and organic produce in Northern California, with annual net sales for the 12 months ending February 29, 2016 totaling approximately $151 million. This acquisition highlights UNFI’s continued effort to expand further into the fresh marketplace. “We are excited to expand the breadth of our fresh perimeter product assortment and distribution network with the acquisition of Nor-Cal,” said Steven Spinner, UNFI’s president and CEO, in a news release.

Award-winning maker of chilled, ready-to-drink vegetable soups, Tio Gazpacho, New York City, NY, has closed a $1.25 million Series A funding round with 301 INC, a new business development unit of General Mills, as the lead investor. “We’re looking forward to the insights and experience that General Mills can offer to our brand and we believe our mission and their expertise will ultimately lead to unprecedented success for the Tio brand,” said Austin Allan, founder and CEO of Tio Gazpacho in a press statement. “Our partnership with 301 INC now opens the door for a larger audience to access our wholesome, organic, plant-based soups.”

Pulmuone Foods Co., Ltd., Fullerton, CA, has purchased all the assets of Vitasoy USA Inc., Ayer, MA, which included Nasoya, America’s number one tofu brand. This solidifies Pulmuone’s position as one of the world’s leading tofu companies. “Pulmuone now has a strong national platform and presence that will not only drive manufacturing and logistics synergies, but will also enable us to leverage a comprehensive sales and distribution infrastructure to further drive availability of our brands and products within the USA,” said H.Y. Lee, CEO of Pulmuone Foods Co. in a news release. “This expanded business scale within the USA market will also serve as a beachhead to drive development and growth of Pulmuone beyond the tofu category.”

Sesame King Tahini, Methuen, MA, has received Non-GMO Project verification for its Roasted and Light Roasted Tahini. Sesame King’s products are already free of additives, preservatives, peanuts, tree nuts, gluten and are kosher certified. “As a leading manufacturer of tahini, our never ending goal is to produce tahini products that taste great and provide consumers with a healthy food choice. Healthy is good. Healthy and tasty is fantastic,” said Emile D. Maroun, Jr., general manager of Sesame King Tahini in a news release.

Campbell Soup and Del Monte Foods have announced plans to transition to BPA-free packaging. Campbell introduced can linings made from acrylic and polyester materials in March 2016 and intends to complete its transition to BPA-free by mid-2017. Del Monte has been slowly making the switch to non-BPA since 2009. By October 2016, all fruit and tomato products, and nearly all vegetable products under the Del Monte brand will be converted to BPA-free.

Wilde, a line of slowly-baked, 95% lean meat bars with super fruits, vegetables and ancient grains, has achieved USDA Organic certification.

As part of National Nutrition Month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced in March the launch of Snack Shack, a new destination in the popular Whyville online community. Snack Shack provides children with a hands-on way, including two interactive games, to learn how to use and understand nutritional facts labels to compare snacks, make informed food choice and build healthy habits.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine May 2016