Mexico’s Grupo Lala has emerged as the lead bidder for Stonyfield Farm Inc., the well-known U.S. maker of organic yogurt.
Talks are at an advanced stage and deal could come before the end of the month, according to people familiar with the matter. The price the big Latin American dairy company might pay couldn’t be learned, but another bidder offered $850 million. Negotiations could break down, and Grupo Lala could still be outbid by a rival suitor.
Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group, China’s largest dairy company, announced earlier this month plans to bid $850 million for Stonyfield, a subsidiary of France’s Danone SA based in Londonderry, N.H.
Grupo Lala, based in Mexico City, operates 21 production plants and 159 distributions centers in Mexico, the U.S. and central America. The company offers a range of milk, yogurt, cheese and other dairy products under two main brands, Lala and Nutri Leche. Its stock is listed in Mexico and the company has a market value approaching $5 billion.
Grupo Lala’s pursuit of Stonyfield comes at a time when the Mexican company and food producers more generally face increasing pressure to offer healthier foods as consumer tastes change. Grupo Lala generates a little more than 60% of its sales from traditional milk products, but the company’s faster-growing segment is the one that offers yogurt, cheese and cream. In the first quarter, sales from this business increased by almost 39% from the year-earlier period while revenue from the milk business rose by 11%. A deal would also help Grupo Lala achieve its stated goal of expanding further into the U.S.
Last year, Stonyfield generated annual revenue of $370 million. The maker of organic and Greek-style yogurt was founded in 1983 and is considered one of the pioneers in feeding consumers’ growing desire for simpler and more natural products.
Danone in March announced plans to sell Stonyfield to help it win regulatory approval for the proposed $10 billion purchase of organic-foods producer WhiteWave Foods Co.
By Ben Dummett
Cargill will appoint Brian Sikes as its president and chief executive officer on 1 January 2023. The soon-to-be CEO, currently holding the chief operating officer title, has worked at Cargill for 31 years. Dave MacLennan, who has served as Cargill’s CEO since 2013, will assume the role of executive chair of the company’s board of directors.
Comforting colors, feel-good flavors, and unique food and beverage experiences will resonate most with consumers in the new year, according to ADM’s latest Flavor and Color Outlook. ADM anticipates that 2023 will be the year of self-expression, and the company identified four trends that are sure to stand out.
Nestlé’s Nespresso brand will pilot home-compostable coffee capsules on the Nespresso Original system in France and Switzerland from spring 2023 before further launches in several other European countries within a year. The paper-based capsules are touted as a breakthrough in packaging technology after three years of R&D.