News Briefs


Ferrero Group Expands Ice Cream Reach With Well Enterprises Acquisition

well enterprises blue bunny

The Ferrero Group will acquire Wells Enterprises, owner of such brands as Blue Bunny, Blue Ribbon Classics, Bomb Pop and Halo Top. 

Ferrero counts such brands as Nutella, Kinder, Tic Tac and Ferrero Rocher in its portfolio, and the deal furthers its strategy to grow its presence within the ice cream category. 

Both are family-owned companies, and terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Wells will remain a stand-alone business with offices in Le Mars, Iowa, and production operations in Le Mars; Henderson, Nev.; and Dunkirk, New York. 

After the transaction closes, which is expected to complete in early 2023, CEO and chief engagement officer Mike Wells will serve as an adviser to support the transition “and maintain his active role in the Le Mars community,” according to a statement. Liam Killeen, currently president of Well, will be named CEO, and the rest of the existing leadership team will remain in place.

“We are a 100-year-old company focused on adapting for the next 100 years,” said Wells in a statement. “Ferrero is a likeminded company with a commitment to providing high-quality, premium sweet-packaged food products that bring joy to consumers around the world. This acquisition puts the business in the best possible hands, and I look forward to supporting the entire Wells team and Ferrero with the transition.”


Keurig Dr Pepper Taps PepsiCo Vet Karin Rotem-Wildeman As Chief R&D Officer

Karin Rotem-Wildeman

Keurig Dr Pepper will bring on Dr. Karin Rotem-Wildeman as its new chief R&D officer, where she’ll lead product development, packaging innovation, flavor technology, and associated R&D capabilities. 

Most recently chief scientific officer at LiveKindly Collective, Rotem-Wildman has more than two decades of leadership experience in product innovation and commercialization for both global food and beverage companies and start-ups. She also previously served as global head of R&D at Godiva Chocolatier and spent 18 years with PepsiCo in global R&D leadership roles across beverages and food, including as senior VP, beverage regional R&D. 

While at PepsiCo, Rotem-Wildeman led innovation into emerging white spaces and renovation in core categories, and she oversaw work in process development, strategy and portfolio management, and venture capital investment. 

She began her career in research engineering in the food service division of Nestlé.

Rotem-Wildeman will report to Bob Gamgort, KDP CEO and chairman, beginning Jan. 9, 2023, and succeeds the retiring David Thomas. 

"Karin is an accomplished R&D leader and CPG executive with a proven track record in concept-to-shelf innovation across multiple product categories,” said Gamgort. “I look forward to working with her as we continue to deliver against our vision to meet every beverage need."


Former L’Oréal Executive Paul Parikh Takes Up New Leadership Role at Patrick Ta Beauty

paul parikh patrick ta coo

Luxury cosmetics brand Patrick Ta has tapped a former LOréal CFO, Paul Parikh, as their new chief operating officer. 

Patrick Ta Beauty was founded in 2019 by makeup artist Patrick Ta, product specialist Rima Minasyan, and entrepreneur Avo Minasyan. In October 2022, Patrick Ta Beauty received a round of funding from private equity firm Stride Consumer Partners, allowing the brand to look ahead to the next phase of growth. As part of this plan, the company will bring on Paul Parikh as COO to oversee this stage of expansion.

“I'm thrilled to be joining this dynamic team to help usher in the next phase of growth for this highly differentiated and authentic artistry brand,” said Parikh.

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Parikh formerly worked as CFO of L'OréalOperations for North & South America, managing a roster of over 35 global brands, as well as occupying various other financial leadership roles during his four years with the company. Prior to joining Patrick Ta Beauty, Paul spent almost two years working as the CFO for luxury jewelry brand, Jared – part of the Signet Jewelry group. 

Parikh’s new appointment is effective immediately, with company co-founder Patrick Ta praising their new COO’s “unique skill-set” which they say will hopefully complement the brand’s “existing creative vision.” 


Eckes-Granini Group Completes First Phase of Supply Chain Digitization Project


European fruit juice company Eckes-Granini have completed the first stage of their plan to digitize and augment their global supply chain processes. 

The group have enlisted AI software platform provider o9 Solutions and professional services firm Genpact to oversee the plan and provide guidance throughout the project’s execution. 

Combining Genpact insights and o9 Solutions’ Enterprise Knowledge Graph technology, the teams have laid out a comprehensive digitalization strategy that aims to consolidate Eckes-Granini’s multisystem processes and siloed databases into more streamlined, knowledge-sharing ecosystems. 

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The first phase of implementation involves rolling out the Valorized Demand Planning process in Spain, Germany, Hungary, Austria, France, Finland, and Sweden. In this initial phase of the plan, supply chain, finance, sales and marketing have also integrated to use the same processes and tools. 

Ultimately, the brand hope to reduce supply chain costs, waste, and excess inventory as well as do away with repetitive processes, and improve operational efficiency for vendors, suppliers, and Eckes-Granini themselves. Becoming more sustainable as a brand is also a key consideration as the fruit juice and beverage company move through this initial phase of supply chain digitization and beyond. 

Commenting on the news, Eckes-Granini CIO Tobias Rudolf said that by digitizing supply chains, the company hopes to “gain transparency to make more meaningful decisions with our alliances and inventories across the value chains,” highlighting their aim to “become one of the most sustainable companies in the juice and fruit beverages sector.”


Fractal Launches New Company:

fractal launches

Artificial intelligence and advanced analytics provider Fractal has launched a new company dedicated to the retail and CPG industries. 

Known as, the new company seeks to provide an end-to-end AI platform, unifying demand planning, sales and distribution, inventory planning, and pricing and promotion. The tech strives to alleviate tight budgets in retail and consumer goods, and its test release has been shown to help businesses unlock nearly 10 percent top-line and bottom-line growth, according to the company. 

These users were also reportedly able to free 40 to 60 percent of their existing manual bandwidth so they could focus on more strategic initiatives, said Fractal. 

“The opportunity for AI to unlock efficiency and drive growth is massive,” said Pranay Agrawal, Fractal co-founder and CEO, in a statement. “At Fractal, we are constantly looking for ways to help consumer brands tap into new revenue and growth opportunities and is the next step on the journey.”


DTC Standout Adore Me Picked Up By Victoria’s Secret

adore me

Victoria’s Secret will acquire Adore Me, the digitally native lingerie and apparel brand. The deal is expected to accelerate the modernization of Victoria’s Secret e-commerce platform and improve consumer experiences. 

The tech-savvy Adore Me, which leverages natural language processing within its content creation, will also provide access to a complementary consumer base for the retailer.  

The deal includes an initial upfront $400 million cash payment, with a further cash consideration including both fixed and performance-based growth targets over a two-year period. It’s expected to close by the end of January 2023. 

Adore Me and its proprietary tech platform serve a reported 1.2 million-plus active customers, leveraging personalization algorithms and a subscription model that’s said to generate strong customer retention, all of which Victoria’s Secret hopes will complement its physical retail.  

“Adore Me is a technology-led, digital-first innovator in the intimates category that will help us bring differentiated experiences to Victoria’s Secret and PINK customers,” said Martin Waters, CEO, Victoria’s Secret & Co., in a statement. “This acquisition will be a significant accelerant as we pivot toward growth and modernize the foundation of our company with an entrepreneurial mindset that puts technology at the forefront of everything we do. In partnering with the incredible team at Adore Me, we will move to the future much faster.”