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The Ownership Saga Behind Hostess Twinkies

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Touch the Soil News #434 The saga of the “Hostess” twinkie rivets through almost 100 years of American food history. It reveals a world of turmoil, bankruptcy, takeovers and financial deal making. One must ask: Are the malfunctions of the industrial food chain a surface expression of an underlying “carnivorous” financial landscape? (Hostess Twinkies is a registered trademark of Hostess Brands) James A Dewar (1897-1985) invented the “Twinkie” in 1931 in Shiller Park, Illinois. He was an employee of the Continental Baking Company. In years past, estimates are that fans of twinkies were buying approximately 500 million twinkies a year (photo courtesy of Oak Park Historical Society). A Condensed Timeline…

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The Fastest Growing (Small) Food Companies in America (Part 1 of 2)

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Touch the Soil News #189 Thanks to research from Inc. 5000, we have some insights into the 10 fastest growing food companies and the trends they are setting. It’s a refreshing view in that smaller enterprises are entering the food chain. You don’t need to be a “farmer” per se to improve and diversify the food chain. Following are the first 5. logo courtesy of the Good Bean Company The Good Bean. This is a snack food company dedicated to developing and distributing healthy and innovative bean-based snacks. Their product line includes bean chips, chickpea snacks, and fruit and no-nut bars. The California company, while small, has had a 2,200…

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Can you Name the Largest Food Company in the World? (Part 1 of 2)

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Touch the Soil News # 145 Do you know who the world’s largest food company is? Many of us have not heard of this company because it is privately held and does not hit the news often. In fact, it is the largest privately held company in the United States. This does not mean that this company’s role in our food is as obscure as its name. It is a food behemoth that dominates all roads between the world’s farms and your dinner plate. The company’s vision is to be the global leader in nourishing people. Following are some facts of this company: This company has more descendants that are…

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News Roundup – Food-Chain News You Might Have Missed

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Touch the Soil News # 134 Kraft-Heinz Merger, Now a Reality The much publicized merger between Kraft Foods and Heinz is now completed according to a recent company press release. Together, the two companies form the third largest food and beverage company in North America and the fifth largest in the world. The Company’s immediate focus will be on integrating the two businesses, establishing a new organizational structure and delivering its 2015 financial objectives. Unfortunately for the employees, stockholders have high expectations, some of which will be funded by eliminating jobs. Estimated are 7,000 job cuts at Heinz and as yet an undetermined number at Kraft. Following is a short…

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Besides the Farmers, What Other Costs Are in Our Food Dollar?

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Touch the Soil News # 126 The USDA just released a corrected and updated estimate of where pieces of the food dollar go.  The USDA data on this report is always a couple of years behind, thus represented here by 2013 numbers. Info graphic #1 below shows how many pennies out of each dollar go to the respective pieces of the food chain. Farm Production, the actual money that goes into producing food, is 10.5 cents. For clarification, grocery stores fall under Retail Costs and restaurants fall under Food Services. When one studies Info graphic #1, the food chain has become so complex and expensive that it is no wonder…

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The World’s Largest Food “Manufacturing” Companies – Behind the Scenes (Part 2 of 2)

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In Part 1, we covered some background on the 10 largest food manufacturing companies plus behind-the-scenes information on the first five companies. In Part 2, we will look at the last five companies with #1 being the largest food manufacturing company in the world. Company #5 – Mondelez International Mondelez International split off from Kraft Foods in 2012, taking with it all the snack and candy brands such as Cadbury, Nabisco, Oreo, Trident gum, Wheat Thins, Ritz crackers, Sour Patch Kids and many others. Headquartered in East Hanover, New Jersey, the Company has annual revenues of $35.3 billion annually. It is the world’s largest snack food company. The CEO of…

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The World’s Largest Food “Manufacturing” Companies – Behind the Scenes (Part 1 of 2)

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Touch the Soil News # 119   The following information on the world’s 10 largest food manufacturing companies comes from Oxfam, USA Today and the annual reports of the respective companies. Globally, the food-chain industries (farming, processing, manufacturing and retailing) employ more than 1 billion people or a third of the global workforce. Yet, a relatively small number of companies wield an enormous amount of influence – hence the focus on the 10 largest food manufacturing companies. These 10 food manufacturing corporations employ less than 1.5 million people – less than two tenths of one percent of the total food-chain employment. Yet, the influence of these companies goes up and…

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