2017 News Highlights from the Food Industry

As 2017 comes to an end, the food industry looks back on this year’s biggest news in the area of mergers, like Amazon’s entrance into the supermarket world by acquiring Whole Foods. Abasto, both in its bimonthly editions and on the Internet, presented its readers with the most outstanding news and current issues that concern Hispanic entrepreneurs in this industry.

With the following, we present a resume of the most relevant food industry news that Abasto covered during the 2017 year:

In our print publication at the beginning of the year, January/Februrary Edition, Abasto celebrated its 50 editions uniting Hispanic entrepreneurs, highlighting its work as an informative bridge between grocery producers, distributors and supermarkets nationwide.

Among other topics, our columnist Julio Ibáñez presented an accurate analysis on the expectations of the growth of trade in 2017, in which the use of technology to reach consumers would be highlighted.

Looking to enter the Hispanic market, Sysco presented their brand at the beginning of the year, “Sysco Pica y Salpica” and the Mexican salsas brand La Anita started distributing in the U.S. market, achieving positioning themselves in the main markets of the country throughout the year.

In the news world, Unilever announced earlier this year its rejection of the proposed merger by Kraft Heinz Co., shattering one of the largest acquisitions in the food industry, which was around $ 143 billion.

As Spring began, Abasto highlighted in its March/April edition the great expansion work carried out by the Padilla Group in the United States. In an interview with the company’s president, Victor Padilla, the businessman revealed how they have had great success distributing products like El Yucateco, La Morena and Don Victor.

On an international level, Abasto highlighted the holding of the ANTAD & Alimentaria Expo in the city of Guadalajara in Mexico, where around 1,500 exhibitors from more than 30 countries are present in the food industry. It’s one of the most important events on the continent attended by more than 44,000 visitors.

For their part, Panera announced their sale to the owners of Krispy Kreme for a value of $7.5 billion. The Boston based restaurant chain, employing more than 10,000 workers, stepped into the hands of the Luxembourg-based JAB conglomerate.

In April, Kroger announced Angel Colón as their Senior Director of Diversity. The Puerto Rican, a veteran in the food industry, became the first Hispanic to occupy the executive position in the giant supermarket chain.

As Summer approached, Abasto reported the news of Amazon’s Spanish website launch, an effort from the electronic giant to conquer the U.S. Hispanic consumer in their own language.

In Abasto’s print edition of May/June, the magazine highlighted the 25th Annual Tortilla Industry Convention (TIA in Spanish), which was held in Las Vegas at the beginning of May with the participation of 85 exhibitors and more than 600 visitors. The event was dedicated to the to the producers and distributors of tortillas, an industry with annual top sales of $ 13 billion.

Another news highlighted by Abasto was the announcement of the purchase of Unified Grocers by Supervalu, in a negotiation valued at approximately $ 375 million. Unified Groceres was one of the leading distribution companies on the West Coast targeting the ethnic product format.

Our columnist Ricardo Gaitán highlighted the importance of the seller and how he becomes the company outside the company.

In the middle of the year, the Germans began their invasion of the United States. The supermarket chain Lidl began the opening of its first stores on the East coast, with the aim of operating 100 supermarkets in 2018, offering products at low prices to compete against Aldi and Kroger in the food industry.

The news that shook the supermarket world was Amazon’s announcement about the purchase of the Whole Foods supermarket chain for $13, 700 million, an action by the electronic giant to dominate the retail food business, dominated by Walmart.

In the July/August edition, Abasto magazine presented a report on the true power of Hispanics in the United States and our columnist Julio Ibáñez wrote an analysis on the retail revolution and purchasing trends, influenced by the generation of ” millennials.”

In an interview with Joe Pérez, vice president of Goya Foods, and Meriterese Racanelli, dietitian and food scientist at Goya, the two representatives of the largest Hispanic food production company in the US unveiled the “Better for You” product line where they grouped more than 300 types of foods that stand out for their benefits for the health of the consumer.

At the end of the summer, news about mergers of Hispanic supermarkets and purchases of Latino food companies were highlighted:

Cardenas Markets and Mi Pueblo, two of the most important Hispanic supermarkets in California, decided to combine their companies to create one of the largest Hispanic supermarket chains in the country.

Teasdale Latin Foods acquired Rudy’s Tortillas, an independent supplier of high quality tortillas and chips in the food service field. Grupo Bimbo S.A.B. de C.V. bought East Balt Bakery, owned by One Equity Partners, for a value of $650 million.

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On it’s cover, Abasto’s September/October edition presented the inauguration of the modern production plant of Charras in Guanajuato with an investment of $ 181 million. Tostadas Charras new plant allowed the optimization of its production processes and the start of various lines of snacks and chips.

The official launch of the Latino Food Industry Association was held in Los Angeles, California to provide support to Hispanic retailers. The organization seeks to promote, support, educate and defend the thousands of Latino owners, employees and entrepreneurs who participate in each of the aspects of the country’s rapidly growing food industry.

Mother nature severely punished several regions of the southern United States, the Caribbean and Mexico, causing serious emergency situations for the population and affecting the distribution of food. Supermarket chains and companies that produce food and beverages reacted by giving support to the communities that were affected by the destructive passage of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and the earthquakes that occurred in Oaxaca and the Mexican capital.

In the business acquisition news, Cárdenas supermarkets bought Northgate Gonzalez Market seven stores of Los Altos Ranch in Arizona and in the beverage industry news, Topo Chico, a well-known Mexican mineral water brand, entered the big leagues by being bought by Coca Cola in a $220 million transaction.

As the end of the year approached, in its November/December edition, Abasto magazine published a report on the growth of spending by Hispanics during the Christmas season. Carlos Castro, owner of Todos Supermarket, gave an interview to Abasto about the challenges and success of an independent supermarket.

Also, Abasto spoke with the vice president of Public Affairs of the California Restaurant Association, Sharokina Shams, about the new trends that affect the future of restaurants in the US.

Supervalu took a new step in its expansion into multicultural markets with the acquisition of Associated Grocers of Florida, a transaction valued at approximately $ 180 million. For their part, Kroger Co. announced a new plan to redefine the shopper experience in their supermarkets and part of that plan was the potential sale of their 784 convenience stores.

In the growing trend of demand for organic products and healthy beverages, Nestlé announced the purchase of Chameleon Cold-Brew Coffee, the number one brand of cold organic coffee drinks in the US.

The increase in the demand for Hispanic foods led Goya Foods to initiate a massive expansion of the facilities of its North American Processing Center located in Brookshire, Texas.

Albertson’s supermarket chain also saw the growing purchasing power of Hispanics and decided to expand its investments in the Latino supermarket sector with the acquisition of a portion of the El Rancho Supermarket chain in Texas.

At the end of the year, Dollar General revealed its growth plans and announced new projects for 2,000 stores by 2018, after increasing its net sales by 11% in 2017.

As a Christmas gift for independent businesses and supermarkets and offering better business growth prospects in 2018, President Donald Trump signed the controversial tax reform bill after being approved by Congress.