Best bits

By: Dean Best

Best bits

Dean Best's views on the industry's hot issues.

Best bits: Post faces work refuelling Nestle's PowerBar

5 February 2014

Post Holdings, the US food group best known for breakfast cereals, has broadened its business in the last 18 months. This week, Post continued its expansion in what it calls "active nutrition" with the acquisition of Nestle's sports nutrition business. However, Post has a challenge on its hands revitalising flagship brand PowerBar. Dean Best reports.

Best bits: Kellogg may have to be more radical

16 December 2013

The first significant impacts of Kellogg's plan to free up resources to boost its faltering business in mature markets (and invest in emerging economies) were revealed last week. However, the US food group may have to make bolder moves to shore up its long-term growth prospects.

Best bits: Little sign of challenges easing for Tesco

9 December 2013

This coming March, Philip Clarke will have been Tesco CEO for three years. It has been a challenging period and, at least in the short term, there is unlikely to be any let up.

Best bits: Nestle, Kellogg latest to reappraise businesses

11 November 2013

Food giants Nestle and Kellogg have become the latest companies to make structural changes to their businesses. Nestle has sold the bulk of its Jenny Craig assets and more disposals could follow, while Kellogg is to cut jobs and plough the savings into boosting growth.

Best bits: Adapt to - don't abandon - emerging markets

21 October 2013

Emerging market economies are cooling but markets like Brazil and China can still offer opportunities for growth. Adapting to a steadier pace of growth will be the name of the game, as Wal-Mart and Nestle highlighted last week.

Best bits: Home, overseas factors drive Bega bid for WCB

23 September 2013

Competition among processors for milk supply in Australia, price pressure from retailers and Bega Cheese's desire for greater scale to compete internationally are the key reasons for its move for local peer Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory.

Best bits: Morrisons calms City but tests lie ahead

16 September 2013

After recent criticism in the City, Morrisons last week sought to soothe any anxiety among investors. Even as it reported lower half-year sales and profits, the UK retailer in some ways succeeded - its share price jumped - but the country's fourth-largest grocer still faces challenges within its core business and with its newer ventures in the convenience and online channels.

Best bits: Delhaize CEO appointment, Smithfield takeover in spotlight

9 September 2013

The choice of Delhaize's new CEO failed to cheer the market last week as investors reacted coolly to the news. The potential takeover of Smithfield Foods, the world's largest pork processor, has also not won over all shareholders, with one claiming to have received rival interest.

Best bits: Another blow for NZ, the "Saudi Arabia of milk"

19 August 2013

New Zealand, dubbed in some quarters as the Saudi Arabia of milk, has suffered another knock to its reputation, with another recall - this time over nitrate levels in ingredients headed for China. After the botulism scare surrounding Fonterra, this is another below for the country's dairy sector.

Best bits: Tesco's face-saving plan for Chinese business

12 August 2013

Nine years ago, Tesco first entered China and high hopes for its business there. After losses and falling sales, it is set to become a minority partner in a venture with China Resources Enterprise, evidence, Dean Best writes, of the UK retailer's failure in the market.

Best bits: Fonterra scare could help China's domestic formula sector

5 August 2013

Safety concerns have again blighted the infant formula sector with Fonterra's recall of whey powder after fears over botulism. China has reacted, banning some imports from Fonterra and Dean Best writes the scare could prompt some consumers to question their belief foreign-made products are safer.

Best bits: PepsiCo, Unilever face calls for radical change

29 July 2013

PepsiCo and Unilever are facing suggestions from parts of the investment community they should embark on wholesale changes to boost growth. Dean Best looks at whether the companies will listen.

Best bits: Food security strategies need to focus on demand

22 July 2013

The issue of food security has grabbed the headlines in the UK in the last 24 hours, with a flurry of announcements and stories that will provoke debate not just here but around the world.

Best bits: Asia drives more Europe dairy consolidation

5 July 2013

The prospect of tapping growing demand for dairy in markets in Asia has driven another deal in Europe's dairy sector - this time a merger between two French processors, Sodiaal and 3A.

Best bits: UK, Australia highlight divisive nature of FOP label debate

24 June 2013

Front-of-pack nutrition labels. It is a divisive subject that can turn those on both sides of the debate a nice shade of red.

Best bits: Nestle China boss espouses benefits of thinking local

17 June 2013

To succeed in emerging markets, you have to think - and act - locally. That was the central message from just-food's interview with the boss of Nestle's business in Greater China, Roland Decorvet.

Best bits: Smithfield, McCormick keep China in the spotlight

3 June 2013

Investment is flowing into and from the world's emerging markets, as two transactions involving US firms Smithfield Foods and McCormick & Co. highlighted last week.

Best bits: Ella's Kitchen is Hain's most promising UK buy

10 May 2013

US manufacturer Hain Celestial has struck again across the pond. And its latest acquisition in the UK seems to be the one with most potential, writes Dean Best.

Best bits: Unilever likely to stick with spreads

1 May 2013

What will Unilever do with its spreads business? After that part of the company's portfolio was a factor in first-quarter sales that missed analyst expectations, the question has returned to the minds of some in the investment community. Dean Best thinks they will stick with the division.

Best bits: Emerging market operations under more scrutiny

23 April 2013

A decade ago, the conversation around emerging markets was purely about growth. Now, with the developing world accounting for a growing chunk of some businesses, and with some of the faster-growing economies cooling, there is more attention on company performance in the BRICs and beyond. As Nestle found out last week.

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