In a tumultuous 2023, the impacts of conflict in Ukraine and Israel, business failures and M&A caught your eye.

Hershey plans to close Dot’s Pretzels factory in US

The most-read story on the site came in August when Hershey announced it would shut the facility in North Dakota. The chocolate giant acquired the pretzel company in 2021 alongside Pretzels Inc. in a deal worth $1.2bn.

Nestlé to walk away from ‘carbon neutral’ claims

In June, the world’s largest food maker, which in recent years has announced ‘carbon neutral’ targets for brands including KitKat and Nespresso coffee, said it would instead invest in cutting its greenhouse-gas emissions.

Tattooed Chef launches bankruptcy process after plant-based business fails to raise new funds

One of a number of unfortunate stories in the plant-based meat sector came in July when the loss-making Tattooed Chef said it would “market its assets and solicit competing bids from interested parties”.

Financially embattled The Very Good Food Company succumbs to receivership

In January, another embattled plant-based group, The Very Good Food Company, announced its CEO Parimal Rana had resigned, leaving the board of directors empty.

The Very Good Butchers brand
Credit: The Very Good Butchers brand

US snacks firm Hearthside Food Solutions implicated in US child labour probe

The co-manufacturer said in February it was “appalled” by the allegations which first came to light in a newspaper investigation.

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By GlobalData

Nestlé reopens Israel plant amid Hamas conflict

News Nestlé had reopened a plant in Israel it had temporarily closed due to the conflict with the Palestinian militant group Hamas caught your eye in October.

Cacique Foods ends operations at California dairy products plant

In September, US-based Hispanic products supplier Cacique Foods announced it had ended operations at its California dairy plant, with manufacturing to switch to another site in Texas.

Smithfield Foods to close 35 hog farm sites in the US

October saw US pork processor Smithfield Foods set out plans to close 35 hog farm sites in Missouri, laying off 92 employees in October.

Upward Farms throws in towel ten years after founding vertical-farming business

Another closely-watched sector this year has been vertical farming. In April, Upward Farms, a US vertical-farming business, announced the winding-up of its operations.

Upward Farms
Upward Farms microgreens

Health to remain stronger influence than price despite financial crisis, analysts predict

In February, analysts at GlobalData, Just Food’s parent company, forecast consumers were set to be more influenced by their personal health than cost-focused options when buying food in 2023.

UK supplier Orchard House Foods set to enter administration

The prepared fruit and juices supplier blamed “extremely challenging economic and trading conditions” for the move in January.

Mondelez to close Enjoy Life Foods factory in US

The US snacks giant announced in May the closure of the site in Jeffersonville, Indiana.

Skare Meat Packers ‘files for bankruptcy as staff told to stay home’

Skare Meat Packers reportedly applied for bankruptcy in February after a number of retailers halted orders from the Danish supplier due to a lack of traceability.

Nestlé pulls plug on plant-based Garden Gourmet, Wunda brands in UK, Ireland

More plant-based headlines, this time in March, when Nestlé said it would stop selling its Garden Gourmet meat-free and Wunda alt-dairy brands from retail in the UK and Ireland to focus on its “core” portfolio.

Nestlé plant-based brands, including Garden Gourmet
Nestlé plant-based brands, including Garden Gourmet Credit: @GardenGourmetUK / Facebook

Loscoe Chilled Foods confirmed as firm at centre of UK meat fraud probe

In the same month, UK meat business Loscoe Chilled Foods confirmed it was the company being investigated over allegations meat sourced in South America and Europe was mislabelled as British.

Nestlé invests in German meal replacement start-up YFood

March also saw Nestlé invest in YFood, a Germany-based supplier of meal replacement drinks.

PepsiCo, Mars added to Ukraine’s “sponsors of war” list

In September, Ukraine’s National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption (NACP) has updated its list to include both the Lay’s maker and Mars chocolate owner.

Huel ads banned by UK advertising body for “misleading” claims

The meal-replacement group had claimed replacing traditional meals with their shakes would save customers money but, in February, the UK advertising watchdog gave its verdict.

Huel bottle
Credit: Huel / X

General Mills, Kellogg, Post Holdings threaten legal action over “alarming” FDA healthy label proposals

In March, the companies wrote to the US government agency to argue its proposals to tighten rules on what can be labelled healthy would violate their first amendment right.

Scotbeef workers reportedly facing redundancy at UK plant

In April, privately-owned Scotbeef, was reported to be planning to lay off staff at one of its plants.

Ferrero to buy snack-bar factory in Germany

The same month, snacks giant Ferrero announced a deal to buy a snack-bar manufacturing facility in Germany from Laurens Spethmann Holding (LSH).

Saputo to build US cheese facility, close three

Canadian dairy major Saputo has been busy reshaping its production network this year and, in February, the company announced plans to shut three sites.

Nestlé to wind down Canada frozen meals, pizza business

And Nestlé rounds off this list with another appearance. In February, the company said it would exit two categories in Canada.