ICL acquiring Astaris
ICL (Israel Chemicals Ltd.) is in the process of acquiring Astaris, a leading U.S. phosphate producer. Astaris will be integrated into the ICL Performance Products division and combined with BK Giulini Corp., the North American marketing arm of the Food Phosphate Specialty Group.
This acquisition will significantly strengthen ICL’s presence in the international market and enable the new Entity to provide a complete, high-quality food phosphate range and further improved customer service.
“Current Astaris and BKGC customers will quickly discover that this development is highly beneficial and economically attractive for them,” says a company spokesperson.
“The new company will, like its predecessor, offer an outstanding product line and the best possible value for money. At the same time, the combined operation will be able to utilize state-of-the-art research, product development, and training facilities in the United States and Europe.”
Givaudan maintains sales
In the first half of 2005, Givaudan recorded sales of CHF 1,368 million. It maintained is sales in local currencies at the level of last year, despite the ongoing reduction of commodity ingredients in both divisions.
In Swiss Francs, this translates into a decline of 2.2 percent. The gross profit increased by one percent. Operating profit remained strong, at last year’s level, whereas net profit was slightly affected by higher net financial expenses. Cash flow and balance sheet remain solid, the company relays.
Flavor sales declined by 1.6 percent in local currencies and 3.8 percent in Swiss Francs against the previous year’s strong comparables. Sales were affected by the company’s strategy to rationalize low-margin flavor ingredients and by lower market prices for vanilla and citrus. Both Asia Pacific and Latin America had a good sales performance, whereas Europe and North America could not match last year’s strong performance, states a company news release. All regions grew during the second quarter, reversing the first quarter’s decline.
The gross profit margin improved from 48.3 percent in the first half of 2004 to 49.3 percent despite a trend of increasing raw material prices. This improvement is mainly the result of the margin improvement initiatives and consolidation of the flavor production sites in Europe.
Vegamine is reformulated
INNOVA®, one of the nation’s leading manufacturers of hydrolyzed vegetable/plant proteins for the food industry, has reformulated its top-selling Vegamine® product line (hydrolyzed vegetable/plant proteins) to be able to meet customers’ request for a non trans-fat label claim.
Vegamine, a savory flavor enhancer produced since the 1940s, is widely used throughout the food manufacturing industry and can be found in soups, sauces, gravies, seasonings, and more.
“With trans-fats being negatively linked to raising blood cholesterol levels and promoting heart disease, INNOVA is directly addressing the health concerns of Americans by modifying one of the most widely-used flavor enhancers in the industry,” says Brian Glickley, marketing manager, INNOVA. “This new formulation of Vegamine is very exciting news for INNOVA customers and the food industry.”
Vegamine’s new formulation has eliminated partially hydrogenated  soybean oil from its ingredient listing, allowing a zero percent trans-fat nutritional claim. All Vegamine label statements, specification and nutrition data sheets will immediately reflect a reduction in trans-fat. Vegamine continues to meet all Kosher and Halal requirements.

Focus on Sodium Nitrite
Patients with a wide array of medical conditions are now receiving sodium nitrite – a key ingredient in cured meats – as part of a study and the research is yielding dramatic results, scientists at the National Institute for Health (NIH) recently told major media outlets.
Sodium nitrite’s scientific promise in treating medical conditions ranging from preeclampsia to high blood pressure has been demonstrated in a wide array of studies in recent years, putting nitrite in a new and respected scientific light, relays a news release from the American Meat Institute (AMI).
In the latest news, NIH scientists say they have infused the anti-oxidant sodium nitrite into volunteers to assess its potential as a treatment for sickle-cell anemia, heart attacks, brain aneurysms, and other conditions caused by problems with low oxygen.