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Chiquita, Ireland's Fyffes merge to form top banana supplier

US-based Chiquita Brands and Ireland's Fyffes Plc said Monday that they are merging, a deal that would create the world's biggest banana supplier with annual revenue of $4.6 billion. In the stock-for-stock transaction Chiquita shareholders will own approximately 50.7 percent of the new company, named ChiquitaFyffes Plc, and Fyffes shareholders owning the remainder, the companies announced in a joint statement. The combined company will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange and based in Ireland. The Chiquita and Fyffes brands will also continue, the statement read.

ElBulli chef Adria unveils cooking 'laboratory'

Spanish star chef Ferran Adria unveiled plans on Tuesday to open a "cooking laboratory", museum and database of top recipes at his world-beating restaurant elBulli. Adria, whose eatery was crowned best in the world five times by Britain's Restaurant magazine before it closed in 2011, gave a preview of the "elBulli Foundation", which he said will open next year. For over two decades the Catalan chef, now 51, pushed the boundaries of cuisine, using hi-tech methods to take apart and rebuild foods in surprising ways.

Heinz announces preliminary deal for Leamington, Ont., tomato plant

LEAMINGTON, Ont. - A southwestern Ontario community expressed hope and relief Thursday as food giant Heinz announced a preliminary deal which would prevent the closure of a processing plant that has been a key part of the town's economy. After stating last November that it would be closing its 105-year-old factory in Leamington, Ont., Heinz said it was now in talks with Highbury Canco Corp. to allow the new Canadian company to acquire its facility and act as a co-packer.

Food and drink industry makes progress on development: Oxfam

By Emma Thomasson BERLIN (Reuters) - Many of the world's top food and drink companies are taking steps to improve their social and environmental impact on poor countries, although there is still much more to do, development group Oxfam said on Wednesday. Oxfam launched its "Behind the Brands" campaign a year ago to try to assess the real impact of food and drink companies on the countries where they source raw materials, especially given a proliferation of public commitments to sustainability.

Britain's banana price wars come at a cost to growers

When a banana flown half-way round the world costs half the price of a locally-grown apple, many in Britain wonder whether Latin American banana producers are getting a fair deal. The British love eating bananas. Like milk or bread, it is considered a shopping essential, a reason why consumers choose one shop over another and a battleground in the supermarket price wars.

Nelson Peltz revives campaign to split up PepsiCo

By Siddharth Cavale (Reuters) - Activist Investor Nelson Peltz renewed his crusade to convince PepsiCo Inc <PEP.N> to spin off its beverage business from its flourishing snacks division, less than a week after the company poured cold water on the idea. Shares of PepsiCo, whose snack brands include Lays, Cheetos and Doritos, rose as much as 2.3 percent on Thursday.

Danone reports profit slump after false health scare

French dairy food giant Danone reported on Thursday a 15.0-percent slump in net profits last year, blaming a false health scare, high milk prices and currency factors in some emerging markets. Net profit fell to 1.422 billion euros ($1.95 billion), although sales rose by 2.1 percent to 21.298 billion euros, and by 4.8 percent on a comparable basis. However, the current operating margin fell by 0.8 percentage points to 13.19 percent. In October, Danone has issued a profits warning.

German grocers push upmarket in cut-throat retail race

By Emma Thomasson BERLIN (Reuters) - The German grocery market, long dominated by discounters such as Aldi <ALDIEI.UL> and Lidl, is undergoing a makeover as shoppers demand more upmarket products like organic meat and exotic cheeses and retailers take tentative steps onto the web.

No appetite for big consumer goods? Try their suppliers

By Martinne Geller LONDON (Reuters) - As a slowdown in emerging markets takes the shine off shares in consumer goods makers like Nestle <NESN.VX>, Unilever <ULVR.L>, Danone <DANO.PA> and Procter & Gamble <PG.N>, hungry investors have been sampling more of the companies that supply them.

Kraft profit up on gain, cost savings

(Reuters) - Kraft Foods Group Inc <KRFT.O> on Thursday reported higher profit, helped by cost savings and a large benefit related to former employees. Kraft's stable of famous food brands includes Velveeta cheese, Jell-O desserts and Maxwell House coffee, said fourth-quarter net earnings rose to $931 million, or $1.54 per share, up from $90 million, or 15 cents per share, a year ago. Net revenue grew 2.3 percent in to $4.6 billion, due to volume gains that were partly offset by lower prices.
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