JBS reopens meat plant in Australia

The group shut the factory in 2017, due to drought and poor market conditions.

Image credit: Ralf Liebhold // Shutterstock.com

Meat giant JBS today (6 February) re-opened a factory in Australia it closed six years ago.

The Brazil-based company said it is investing around AUD20m (US$13.8m) into reopening a processing facility in Cobram in the southern state of Victoria. The plant will employ 150 staff, with plans to increase to its workforce to 350, as JBS gradually upscales production.

The group closed the factory in 2017, due to drought and poor market conditions. However, JBS said the facility will serve the “growing demand“ for lamb, mutton and goat protein proteins in Australia and overseas.


The Cobram site will operate five days a week with a capacity to process up to 4,000 heads of livestock per day.

“Today’s changed market conditions and increasing demand for lamb products has allowed us to invest in this fit-for-purpose facility which will partner with local businesses and livestock producers to deliver Australian lamb, mutton and goat to domestic and international consumers,“ Sam McConnell, the chief operating officer of the company’s JBS Southern division, said.

The Southern unit is one of JBS’ two divisions in Australia, taking in operations in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania. Its Northern division also includes facilities in New South Wales but also in Queensland.

JBS has spent the last few months recruiting local Cobram workers for roles required at the facility.

Due to an ongoing labour shortage, JBS will be filling some roles via Australia’s federal government Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme to employ staff from the Pacific Islands.


An unspecified number of roles remain available at the facility.

JBS’ recent corporate initiatives in Australia have included the 2022 acquisition of local pork processor Rivalea. A year earlier, the group bought Australia-based seafood company Huon Aquaculture.

Ferrero scoops up US ice-cream firm Wells Enterprises

The Ferrero Rocher maker adds to its ice-cream assets in Europe.

Halo Top ice cream on sale in Grovetown, Georgia, USA, 28 May 2022

Ferrero , the confectionery giant behind Kinder and Nutella , has struck a deal to buy US ice-cream maker Wells Enterprises .

Financial terms were not disclosed by either privately-owned business.

Italy-based Ferrero is one of the world’s largest chocolate makers and already has ice-cream interests in Europe.


Executive chairman Giovanni Ferrero said: “This represents a win-win partnership, bringing together ice-cream experts and confectionery champions. Together, we have the power of one and are well placed to grow and compete in the ice-cream market.”

Wells Enterprises manufactures and sells ice cream under brands including Blue Bunny, Bomb Pop and Halo Top. The family-owned group bought Halo Top three years ago after the US brand shook up the category on both sides of the Atlantic with its low-calorie fare.

In a joint statement, the companies said Wells Enterprises will “remain a stand-alone business” after the sale to Ferrero, with offices in Le Mars in Iowa. The group will retain production operations in Le Mars, as well as in Henderson in Nevada and in Dunkirk in New York state.

CEO Mike Wells will serve as “an adviser to support the transition”. Liam Killeen, Wells Enterprises’ president, will become CEO when the deal closes.

Killeen said: “This is an exciting day that accelerates growth and ensures a bright future for our company and everyone associated with it.”


Mr. Wells added: “We are a 100-year-old company focused on adapting for the next 100 years,” said Mike Wells. “Ferrero is a like-minded company with a commitment to providing high-quality, premium sweet-packaged food products that bring joy to consumers around the world. This acquisition puts the business in the best possible hands.”

The sale is expected to be finalised in “early 2023”, the statement added.

In 2019, Ferrero acquired a controlling stake in Spain-based ice-cream manufacturer Ice Cream Factory Comaker (ICFC) for an undisclosed sum.

Two years earlier, the Ferrero Rocher brand owner announced a tie-up with Unilever that saw the world’s largest ice-cream maker manufacture a range of Kinder-branded products for markets in Europe.

Ferrero’s presence in the US has been built organically and via a series of acquisitions, notably the 2017 deal for local confectioner Fannie May, the 2018 move for Nestlé’s US confectionery business and the 2019 purchase of Kellogg’s cookies and fruit snacks assets.

In 2017, Ferrero also acquired US firm Ferrara Candy Co. via an affiliated company.

Shortcoming: Migration of Plasticizers

Bremen, September 2022 - A national testing campaign revealed such high levels of plasticizers in around a quarter of the foods containing oils in glass jars with PVC lid seals that they had to be objected to and withdrawn from sale. We are talking about the control campaign just concluded by the cantonal chemists of Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein, who regularly carry out such tests with the aim of raising awareness of the problems associated with plasticizers and effective self-regulation. This is because the plasticizers used in lid seals made of PVC can be absorbed by foods containing a high proportion of oil due to their chemical properties. These contaminants are considered avoidable and are therefore undesirable. Overall exposure to plasticizers must be kept as low as possible in line with the precautionary principle. For this reason, reduction measures must also be taken and maximum levels complied with for foodstuffs and their packaging, according to the food control authorities, who once again had to reject too many samples due to the use of unsuitable sealing materials and, in some cases, extensive contamination with plasticizers.
In Germany, too, such tests are regularly carried out by independent institutes and often produce similar results. The question that needs to be asked here is: In times of countless discussions about safe and environmentally-friendly packaging, how are such results still being achieved? After all, it’s not as if there are no alternatives.
The control campaign is not the only one to establish that there are definitely products whose lid seals are not made of PVC. These are uncritical in terms of plasticizer migration, available for both twist-off and press-on twist-off (P/T) closures, and in all the usual sizes on the market. Available from most closure manufacturers, they are extensively tested and qualified for all applications. These PVC-free sealing materials developed by Actega have been on the market for the past ten years under the brand name PROVALIN® and offer other benefits besides preventing migration of plasticizers into food.
When manufacturing PVC-free closures, liquid sealants containing PVC do not need to be dried in the drying ovens during closure production. This reduces energy consumption and avoids CO2 emissions. Closure manufacturer Pano can, for example, save around 500 tons of CO2 annually in the production of PVC-free lug caps. Following the strategy of "CO2 reduction before CO2 compensation", the company exclusively uses PROVALIN® sealing materials from Actega for the production of its PVC-free lug caps. The closure is very easy to recognize as a PVC-free closure because of the blue sealing ring.
Although the topic of plasticizer migration has been known for a long time and many major distributors and larger food manufacturers already rely on PVC-free lid seals for a range of products, the control campaign concluded that these alternatives are still underused.
Packaging should protect food, preserve it, present it in an appetizing way, and provide space for information and consumer recognition. But: environmentally-harmful manufacturing and disposal problems in the production of packaging materials should be minimized, and critical components that could transfer from them to food or other filling goods should be eliminated. Actega made this its maxim early on and has been focusing on PVC- and plasticizer-free sealants for beverage and food packaging for decades. A growing awareness of the need to be PVC-free has enabled the PROVALIN® family to grow to a large number of variants for all standard market applications. This also applies to the highly-sensitive area of baby food, where mainly press-on twist-off closures are used. Here, ACTGreen® PROVALIN® is the only PVC-free solution on offer. It is recognizable by the green ring in the seal.
Conclusion: Compliant instead of non-compliant. Complaints, non-compliance and withdrawal from sale are avoided by choosing a PVC-free lid seal. Thus creating sustainable added value with PROVALIN®.
Press contact: !Wir: Kommunikation und Unternehmensberatung GmbH, Dagmar Schumann, Carl-Cohn-Str. 77, 22297 Hamburg, +49 40 37417237, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
ACTEGA is a division of the internationally operating specialty chemicals group ALTANA. With production facilities in Europe, North and South America and China, ACTEGA develops, produces and distributes specialty coatings, inks, adhesives and sealing compounds with a focus on the packaging industry. Following the motto "Packed with Expertise", ACTEGA does not only offer technically sophisticated product solutions, but also meets the high safety standards of the food, beverages, pharmaceutical and toy industries. Whether for flexible and metal packaging, folding cartons or labels, products by ACTEGA provide packaging with a high-quality appearance and innovative functionalities.

UK grocery inflation drops for the first time in nearly two years

The dip of just 0.1% was the first time in 21 months that inflation has fallen.

UK grocery inflation dipped for the first time in 21 months in November, following a record high of 14.7% in October.

The dip – to 14.6% – is just 0.1 of a percentage point. It marks the first time since spring 2021 that UK grocery price inflation has declined, according to market research firm Kantar .

The company added that shoppers would have to pay an additional GBP£60 (US$72.99) to purchase the same basket of goods they did the same time last year.


December is predicted to be a record-breaking month for retailers, with holiday spending and higher prices contributing to a consumer splurge of GBP12bn over the course of the month. The football World Cup, however, has yet to have a significant impact on retail sales.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: “We haven’t seen a big World Cup effect – at least not yet. Take-home beer sales nudged up slightly in the last four weeks, covering the first week of the tournament, by 5% to GBP230 million, but mostly due to increased prices.

“Many people are taking the chance to enjoy a social pint while watching the games in bars and pubs, whereas last year we were in the middle of a COVID resurgence so consumers were limiting their movements and going out less. We’re likely to be marking the impact of that comparison with higher at-home volumes one year ago.  Crisp and snacks have fared better this winter, however, with sales up by 18%.”

Kanter noted the sale of retailers’ own label brands is up by 11.7% year-on-year, pointing to evidence of consumer trade-down.

Discount retailers LIDL and Aldi have benefitted from the tightening of consumers’ belts. Lidl’s year-on-year sales have risen by 22%, with Aldi up by 24.4%. With the exception of Waitrose and Morrisons , all other physical retailers have experienced year-on-year growth, however the highest of these outside the German discounters listed were Asda and Iceland, which both grew by 6.1%.


Grocery inflation has been rampant across both the UK and much of Europe, with many nations including Germany and Ireland posting record breaking figures in the last quarter.

Beyond Meat names Tyson’s Ramsey new COO

The US meat-alternatives supplier has also hired another Tyson Foods veteran to a new role of chief supply chain officer.

Beyond Burger and Beyond Beef available for purchase in a supermarket in Sacramento, California, USA, 2 August 2021
Beyond Burger and Beyond Beef available for purchase in a supermarket in Sacramento, California, USA, 2 August 2021 [Credit: Calimedia / Shutterstock.com]

Beyond Meat has recruited two Tyson Foods veterans to senior positions at the US meat-alternatives supplier, which has seen pressure on its domestic sales in recent months.

Doug Ramsey and Bernie Adcock, who have both worked at Tyson for 30 years, are joining Beyond Meat as COO and chief supply chain officer respectively.


Ramsey, whose recent roles at Tyson include president of the US meat giant’s poultry operations and president of its business with McDonald’s, replaces Sanjay Shah as COO. It was announced in September that Shah, a former Tesla and Amazon executive, had left Beyond Meat after less than two years in the job.

Adcock, most recently Tyson’s chief supply chain officer, joins Beyond Meat in the same position and takes what is a new role at the Beyond Burger maker.

Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat’s founder and CEO, said: “Doug and Bernie bring a proven track record of impressive operational excellence in the protein industry that our global partners, customers, and consumers expect and deserve.


“As we’ve made clear, we are investing today in tomorrow’s growth, whether by adding to our best-in-class management team or by building out operations around the world, to advance our vision of being the global protein company of the future.”

In October, Beyond Meat downgraded its expectations for third-quarter sales, citing the impact of the pandemic, problems with distributors and customer labour shortages.


The company’s third quarter, which ran to 2 October, ended up showing declining sales in the US, although international sales did grow.

Third-quarter revenues in the US fell 13.9% to $67.5m, with retail down 15.6% and foodservice minus 7.3%. Founder and CEO Ethan Brown said Beyond Meat faced challenges from an uptick in Covid-19, labour shortages and supply chain constraints, and “highly variable demand”.

Brown suggested at the time the decrease was down to a “pause” in consumer demand rather than any structural issue in the appetite for meat-free.

During a follow-up call with analysts, he said: “There’s no indication in my view that coming off of a record quarter of revenue in the second quarter to this quarter that there’s some fundamental change in the consumer mindset toward our products.

“I don’t think there’s any sector issue or any segment issue. We continue to see strong year-over-year growth in terms of overall annual revenue. And if you look at 2022 and the work we’re doing there, I think there’s tremendous excitement in our company about what’s coming.

“And so this is a bit of a kind of the pause. And had the pandemic and labour issues and supply chain stuff not interfered, I think this quarter would have been quite different.”

Earlier in November, Beyond Meat rival Maple Leaf Foods, the owner of the Lightlife and Field Roast Grain Meat Co. brands, pointed to “a marked slowdown” in the category in the US (citing pressure in the refrigerated segment) – and said it was putting its dedicated division under review.

Just Food opinion, November 2021: Beyond Meat sales add to alt-meat misgivings