Supply Scan

News and trends from across the food supply chain.


"As the Ocean Spray cooperative moves to build its brand, we are seeking out alliances to reach consumers more broadly and powerfully than ever before," says Randy Papadellis, president and CEO of Ocean Spray.

"We're thrilled to re-establish our partnership with Pepsi and begin a fruitful, long-lived relationship with the world's premier beverage and snack company."

Integration of single-serve juices into the Pepsi system will begin in 2007.

Food Industry M&A Activity Continues To Decline

In 2005, 323 mergers and acquisitions were completed in the food industry—and an additional 75 were announced, but not completed, by the end of the year, according to Food Business Mergers & Acquisitions 2005, the annual listing from The Food Institute.

Activity was down 8 percent from 2004 and down a significant 49 percent from the 637 transactions recorded in 2000.

"Activity may have declined compared to previous years, but there were a number of significant transactions in several categories. Examination of certain deals in the confectioners, restaurants, retailers, food processors and foodservice distributors categories illustrates the use of acquisitions to not only strengthen a company's current operations, but also to mark their entrance into new areas of business," says Danielle Breuel, research and education director at the Elmwood Park, NJ-based trade association, which has been tracking food industry M&A activity for 25 years. "Meanwhile, divestitures enabled certain firms to exit underperforming areas."

Ryder Teams With Teletrac, Cingular To Create Smart Trucks

Ryder System Inc. has teamed up with Teletrac and Cingular Wireless to launch RydeSmart, an onboard telematics technology designed to improve vehicle uptime, driver efficiency, highway safety and cargo security, and real-time tracking of customer fleet operations.

Following an initial pilot underway in a limited geographic area, RydeSmart will be expanded to customers across North America through 2007. The pilot includes more than 5,000 vehicles assigned to customers in a range of industries, including food and beverage.

RydeSmart leverages Ryder's fleet of more than 160,000 vehicles with Teletrac's global positioning system (GPS), wireless data and micro-chip technologies, and Cingular's nationwide wireless coverage area of 13,000 cities and towns, and along 40,000 miles of major highways.

RydeSmart is a compact hardware and software unit that is installed into a truck and connected to the vehicle's computer and diagnostics systems. The unit continuously monitors the vehicle's location, mileage speed, performance and diagnostic data. That information is communicated every 15 minutes and on-demand, as necessary, via a secure connection with the Cingular network to fleet operators' desktops.

GPS also enables RydeSmart to help customers locate vehicles in case of emergency or to assign sudden pick-ups and deliveries.

LiftExchange Reduces Warehouse Equipment Costs

Food retailers, wholesalers, distributors and suppliers can reduce equipment costs and improve management efficiency through LiftExchange, a new program developed by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), North American Perishable Agricultural Receivers (NAPAR) and LiftExchange Group Inc.

The program covers the full range of equipment and supplies used in warehouse distribution, including lift trucks, pallet jacks, forks, tires, seats, lights, batteries and chargers, battery-handling equipment, propane tanks, shrink wrap and racking systems.

LiftExchange offers members substantial discounts from the leading suppliers of these products. There are no startup costs or participation fees for FMI and NAPAR members.

The program also complements FMI's highly regarded FoodFleetXchange buying program for commercial trucking "Most important, LiftExchange enables companies to assess their equipment needs and use based on accurate, real-time data and management reports," says Tim Hammonds, president and CEO of the Washington-based FMI. "Members can perform cost/benefit analyses on equipment that will save them thousands and, in some cases, millions of dollars."

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