News Briefs


CGT Parent Company EnsembleIQ Recognized as a ‘Best Leadership Team’

EnsembleIQ Top Leadership banner

EnsembleIQ, parent company of CGT, was recently honored by workplace evaluation firm Comparably in its “Best Leadership Teams” category for driving positive culture change.

This honor is based on ratings voluntarily and anonymously submitted to Comparably by EnsembleIQ employees about the performance of the company leadership team. Those rated included direct managers and senior leaders, who all received “A” level grades during the past 12 months.

“The leadership team is approachable and open to new suggestions and ideas. They make themselves available to the team at-large and encourage / motivate us to perform our best,” posted one employee. Another stated, “Communication is excellent! I am asked to participate in any meeting or event that can help my growth and knowledge of the company.”

“This evaluation clearly illustrates that our team members value how company leaders have created a positive culture that encourages, supports, and celebrates the diversity of our employees,” said EnsembleIQ chief executive officer Jennifer Litterick said. 

“Prioritizing positive culture change has strengthened the core of our organization. Our leaders are providing a supportive, flexible, and development-driven environment for employees to innovate and drive growth by delivering actionable business intelligence and connections to retail, healthcare, and hospitality business professionals and solution providers,” she added.

[Read more: Creative Agency EIQ Brand Lab Wins 7 AVA Digital Awards]

Culture is an essential component of EnsembleIQ attracting top-tier talent. In addition to utilizing Comparably for cultural assessment, EnsembleIQ provides a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council with 35 people serving on three employee-driven task forces focused on Community, Cultural Competence, and Cultural Belonging. 

The company also provides two volunteer days per year and a platform to find in-person or remote volunteer opportunities that are individual or team based, monthly leadership training, a wellbeing program with a mental health focus, and a feedback culture where employees receive feedback every week. 

“Company culture is driven by the organization’s leadership team,” said Comparably CEO Jason Nazar. “Sentiments expressed by EnsembleIQ employees clearly illustrate they greatly appreciate the outstanding leadership that has driven positive change to provide a culture in which they thrive.”

EnsembleIQ previously was honored by Comparably as a Best Place to Work in Chicago, where the company is headquartered.


Pepsi Bottling Optimizing Manufacturing With New Efficiency-Focused Line

Pepsico bottles

Pepsi Bottling Ventures LLC (PBV), one of the nation’s largest independent bottlers, is investing $35 million in a new state-of-the-art bottling line.

Located in Winston-Salem, N.C., the 526,000-square-foot facility looks to improve efficiencies and optimize manufacturing operations by increasing production capacity for some of the bottler's largest brands like Aquafina, Lipton Tea, and PBV-owned brand Nature's Twist.

The new bottling line will produce millions of cases of beverages per year and will also focus on sustainability as it can manufacture bottles made from 100% recycled material. 

While Pepsi Bottling ventures first acquired the production facility in 2012, the company leased an additional 316,000 square feet of warehouse due to increased storage needs. Construction of the new bottling line is scheduled to begin in 2023 and should be up and running by the end of 2024.

PBV expects to add up to 10 new full-time jobs upon completion.

"This investment is a promise to our customers and consumers that we will continue to meet their beverage needs and demonstrates our long-term commitment to the region and the state of North Carolina," said Derek Hill, president and CEO of PBV. "We're excited about the opportunities that this new line will afford us as we focus on innovation and improving efficiencies. This investment allows us to continue operating at our best and ensures stable and well-paying jobs for years to come."

Matthew Bucherati, senior vice president of operations and supply chain at PBV, said staying connected to consumers’ needs is at the forefront of how PBV runs its operations.

"Running our operations responsibly and sustainably is paramount,” Bucherati added. “This new line incorporates the latest bottling technology, allowing us to keep up with demand while remaining good stewards in communities where we operate. I'm very proud of this investment and what we're able to deliver to our customers and consumers."  


NielsenIQ and GfK SE Merging, Doubling Down on Consumer Insight Tech

Shopping cart on top of consumer data

NielsenIQ and GfK SE plan to combine to provide a comprehensive view of shopper spending through total store visibility. 

CfK has a presence across 67 countries while NielsenIQ provides services in 90 countries — both companies are looking to expand both geographically and vertically. With the combined operations and tech base, the merger will allow the companies to bring new products to market faster and scale them to a broader set of markets and industries. 

The combined technology will provide a unified view of consumer purchasing behavior across channels and categories, allowing for real-time decision making. 

[Read more: Modern Approach to Revenue Growth Management]

“Over the past year, NielsenIQ has been investing both organically and inorganically in the most comprehensive coverage, advanced technologies, and predictive analytics to enable our clients to have a complete understanding of their consumers,” said Jim Peck, executive chairman and chief executive officer of NielsenIQ. 

“Combining our market-leading capabilities will allow us to further accelerate innovation that best serves our expanded client base and deliver significant value for all our stakeholders,” he added. “Together with GfK, we have the opportunity to influence the future of global retail and consumer measurement — one that is fast, nimble and connected.”

“GfK has successfully navigated a digital transformation to profitable and sustainable growth over the last years. Joining forces with NielsenIQ is now the logical next step for us and will support the next stage of our company’s development,” said Lars Nordmark, interim chief executive officer and chief financial officer of GfK. 

Nordmark added that the combination with NielsenIQ will accelerate the company’s journey into the next chapter of innovation. “This will allow us to tap into significant new growth opportunities.”

The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.


Eagle Foods Snags Two Brands From General Mills

Concept of acquisition with puzzle pieces

General Mills’ Helper and Suddenly Salad side businesses are now owned by Eagle Foods. The acquisition creates three diversified food platforms at Eagle Food: snacks, baking, and meals and sides. 

"Our investment in these two iconic brands signals an exciting and important next step in the continued growth of Eagle Foods," said Bernard Kreilmann, chief executive officer of Eagle Foods.

"We plan to drive growth in convenient meal solutions by investing in the category and brands, providing more tasty, easy-to-prepare, and affordable meal options for families."

"Eagle Foods has been successful in driving brand and category growth by investing in R&D, innovations, marketing, and strong supply chain efficiencies," Kreilmann added.

"As the leader in the sweetened condensed milk category, we consistently drive sales and share growth by bringing new households into the category. We expect to do more of the same with Helper and Suddenly Salad."


Moët Hennessy Expands Wine Portfolio With New Acquisition

2018 Insignia wine from Joseph Phelps Vineyards

Moët Hennessy, the luxury wines and spirits division of LVMH, has added on to its wine portfolio, acquiring Joseph Phelps Vineyards.

Following the closing, the entire Joseph Phelps collection of Napa Valley and Sonoma Coast wines will be available to Moët Hennessy consumers. The company plans to maintain Joseph Phelps’ legacy of quality, craftsmanship, entrepreneurship, and sustainability. 

Joseph Phelps Vineyards was founded in 1973 by its namesake and began producing Insignia — the red blend in the exclusive Bordeaux style of California — just a year later. Insignia is critically acclaimed, a four-time winner of the Robert Parker Wine Advocate's perfect 100-point scores for the 1991, 1997, 2002, and 2007 vintages.

Joseph Phelps Vineyards consists of 200 hectares of its own vines spread over eleven vineyards in the Napa Valley and 30 hectares spread over two vineyards in Sonoma Valley. 

[More acquisition news: Keurig Dr Pepper Expands RTD Portfolio With Atypique Addition]

Philippe Schaus, chairman and CEO of Moët Hennessy stated the company will continue the journey initiated by the founder of Joseph Phelps Vineyards, respecting his heritage and vision and supporting the brand’s growth with Moët Hennessy’s global distribution organization and unique experience with premium, family-owned brands. 

"We are delighted and very proud to welcome Joseph Phelps Vineyards to our portfolio of luxury wines and spirits,” Schaus added.

"Our father founded Joseph Phelps Vineyards in 1973 with a passion for innovation, an unwavering commitment to quality, and joie de vivre. Nearly 50 years later, we're proud to have grown from a 600-acre cattle ranch and early pioneer of the Napa Valley to a critically acclaimed and internationally known producer of iconic wines,” said The Phelps Family. “As we plan for the next 50 years, we believe that passing the care of this crown jewel of the Napa Valley and Sonoma Coast to Moët Hennessy will build on our family's legacy well into the future.”

“During our discussions with Moët Hennessy, it was abundantly clear that they value and embrace all of our brilliant and dedicated team members and, most importantly, are committed to ensuring that our founding mission and values remain at the heart of Joseph Phelps Vineyards," they added. 


Conagra’s New Automated Vegetable Processing Plant to Bolster Efforts, Strengthen Sustainability

Automation across the supply chain

Conagra Brands, Inc. is looking to increase efficiency across its supply chain, opening a new facility that will maximize automation and enhance food safety for vegetable processing. 

The new 245,000-square-foot processing plant is located in Waseca, Minnesota, and will process fresh vegetables to support its frozen meals business and Birds Eye brand. 

Conagra is using tech in this space to monitor plants’ nutrients, syncing real-time data with the facility’s production schedule to pick and process vegetables at peak ripeness. 

[Read more: ‘There Is No Hierarchy’: Inside Conagra Brands’ IT Integration Playbook]

This new processing plant replaces Waseca’s 92-year-old facility, expanding capacity by an estimated 20%. Annually, the company expects to process and produce more than 120 million points of cut and cob corn, 45 million pounds of peas, and more than 20 million pounds of rice. 

Additionally, the company is looking toward sustainable practices, sourcing its peas and corn — which will be processed in this facility — from a network of local growers who are helping in the climate change fight by implementing water saving strategies, supporting biodiversity, and improving soil health. 

Conagra anticipates the new facility will use approximately 25% less water per pound of product produced than the company's previous facility.

"The significant investment in our new facility in Waseca is indicative of the strong opportunity we see in our frozen foods business," said Sean Connolly, president and chief executive officer, Conagra Brands. "Conagra is committed to investing in innovation across the company, including our supply chain. We are also pleased to make the investment in Waseca where Birds Eye has a long history."

Ale Eboli, executive vice president and chief supply chain officer at Conagra Brands, said the company looked at every aspect of the facility to identify automation opportunities that could improve productivity and modernize food safety practices throughout its operations.

"The state-of-the-art design and uniquely designed equipment featured in the facility process fresh vegetables in the most efficient and responsible way possible," he added.