Top 10: Smucker makes business moves, CPG and grocery news

News of Smucker's $1.9 billion purchase of Rachael Ray-backed Ainsworth Pet Nutrition was the most-clicked story by food and beverage readers this week. Smucker is also considering divesting its US baking business, which includes such brands as Pillsbury, Hungry Jack and Martha White. Grocery stories also caught readers' attention, with news that Wegmans, H.E. Butt Grocery and Publix were ranked at the top of the latest Temkin Experience Ratings and news that Kroger plans to add 11,000 employees to its workforce.

Private-label products were also in the news, as Nielsen data showed that the items enjoyed dollar growth at over thrice the rate of branded products during the final quarter of 2017. "Any retailer that doesn't have a premium private-label brand is in danger going forward," says Matt Sargent of research firm Frank N. Magid Associates. In the CPG realm, news of Campbell's Soup restructuring, Hellman's entering the ketchup category and Hostess and Mars rolling out new products also made headlines.

Readers were also interested in the fact that a stuffed pasta called caramelle is gaining a foothold in New York restaurants such as Don Angie, Legacy Records and Osteria Morini. Inspired by the shape of a caramel wrapper, the pasta is often made with colorful or two-tone dough to play up the fun, candy-like look.

Here’s the full list of this week's 10 most popular food and beverage stories from SmartBrief:
1. Smucker makes $1.9B deal to buy pet food firm, eyes sale of baking business
2. Wegmans, H-E-B, Publix lead customer experience survey
3. Nielsen: Private-label products see 3 times the dollar growth of branded items
4. Campbell Soup restructures, names Mignini to COO role
5. Chefs get creative with candy-shaped caramelle pasta
6. Hellmann's enters ketchup category with new launch
7. Hostess, Mars roll out sweet new products
8. Kroger plans to hire 11,000 additional employees
9. General Mills exec: "Taste is king" in the cereal space
10. Walmart expanding use of pickup towers for online orders

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