Business Briefs

Gonnella Frozen Products, a wholly owned subsidiary of Chicago-based Gonnella Baking Co., has broken ground on a new 100,000-sq.-ft. frozen dough facility and distribution center on a 17-acre site in Hazelton, Pa. The new plant will allow Gonnella to better serve its Northeast and mid-Atlantic customers, according to Food Tech Structures, the Hanover, Mass.-company that’s designing and building the facility. Gonnella also operates a frozen dough plant in Schaumburg, Ill., and fresh bakery operations in Chicago and Aurora, Ill.
Lion Capital LLP, a London-based investment firm, has agreed to purchase Kettle Foods, a $150-million snack company located in Salem, Ore. Kettle operates snack facilities in Salem and Norwich, UK, and produces potato chips, nuts, nut butters and tortilla products. No financial details on the deal were announced, except that Lion’s acquisition is subject to regulatory approval. Kettle also is building an $18 million, 53,000-sq.-ft. production and distribution facility in Beloit, Wis. The plant will employ 100 people when completed in the first part of 2007.
CM Packaging, Lake Zurich, Ill., a division of C.M. Products, Inc., has acquired Cadiz, Ky.-based Stone Plastics, Inc. Founded in 1981, Stone Plastics is ranked among the top 50 thermoformers of custom and stock products in North America, according to the company. It produces plastic packaging and containers primarily for the baking, fresh and frozen food, fresh-cut, and produce industries. The Cadiz plant employs about 100 people, manufactures its plastic products from PET, OPS, PS, PP, HIPS and PLA resins, and has more than 140,000 sq. ft. of production and warehouse space.
Horizon Milling G.P. , Wayzata, Minn., and The J. M. Smucker Co., Orville, Ohio, have reached a definitive agreement to sell the Canadian grain-based foodservice and industrial businesses owned by Smucker Foods of Canada Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of  The J. M. Smucker Co. Horizon Milling G.P., a leading U.S. flour miller, is owned by Cargill and CHS Inc. Cargill is an international provider of food, agricultural and risk management products and services, and CHS Inc. is a diversified company providing essential food, grain and energy resources to businesses and consumers. The transaction is expected to close by the end of September, subject to regulatory approval.
A new venture capital fund backed by London-based Tate & Lyle will be led by managing partners Simon Barnes and David Atkinson. The limited partnership fund will invest in startups and expansion stage companies that reflect Tate & Lyle’s drive for strategic growth through next-generation food ingredients, as well as innovations in industrial ingredients, bio-materials and bio-fuels. The fund will have $45 million committed by Tate & Lyle at closing. It will be highly targeted and is looking to back eight to 10 deals over several rounds of finance. Optimal investment sizes are businesses between $2 and $5 million. Barnes and Atkinson will make all investment decisions. Long-term fund strategy will be supported by a Tate & Lyle Advisory Board, giving the fund the ability to tap into Tate & Lyle’s expertise in the rapidly growing area of renewable ingredients.
California Pizza Kitchen, Los Angeles, has opened a CPK/ASAP casual restaurant in Chicago. The new CPK/ASAP is designed for on-the-go customers and features a menu with a specialized selection of items from its full-service restaurant. The casual dining chain will provide customers with a quick, convenient way to experience CPK’s creative California-style cuisine. In conjunction with the opening, CPK/ASAP launched a completely new breakfast menu, highlighted by a selection of hearth-baked breakfast pizzas, including Warm Apple Pie Pizza; Florentine Pizza; Applewood Smoked Bacon; and Italian Sausage Pizza topped with Mozzarella and Cheddar Cheeses.
McKee Foods Corp., maker of Little Debbie snack cakes, plans to invest more than $50 million in one of its Collegedale, Tenn., plants. The expansion will add at least 175 jobs, double the plant’s size and create room for new product development. The company is Hamilton County, Tenn.’s largest manufacturer, with more than 1,300 workers and annual sales in excess of $1 billion.
Clabber Girl, Terre Haute, Ind., is committed to maintaining the highest standards of food safety, above and beyond those mandated by current Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). The company has earned a Superior rating from the American Institute of Baking (AIB) for the past several years. In addition, Clabber Girl operates a 100% peanut-free facility, with its own on-site lab performing Veratox tests for peanut allergens on all incoming ingredients and products. Neogen Veratox allergen testing is used to determine if an ingredient or product has been contaminated with a peanut allergen. The company offers a complete description of this testing method at