By: Dean Best
Dean Best's views on the industry's hot issues.
Size matters, right? Scale - and the economic benefits that come with it - provide a business with clout smaller competitors find hard to battle. However, could large food companies be losing some of the advantage gained from their size?
Strategically, Dairy Crest's deals with fellow UK dairy group Fayrefield Foods and New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra to serve the global infant formula market are astute moves. But the deals could also catch the eye of some of the world's larger dairy processors about Dairy Crest's new capabilities.
Cynics will scoff a company the size of Nestle can easily afford to become a "Living Wage" employer in the UK. And perhaps there would be an element of truth in that. But the fact the world's largest food maker is willing to invest in its staff should be applauded - and the hope is some of its closest competitors - companies with vast resources of their own - will follow.
After three profit warnings in a year, it is little wonder the performance of US food giant ConAgra Foods is under scrutiny.
The City has welcomed Premier Foods' moves to spin off parts of its businesses into joint ventures but it is still the performance of the UK group's core brands that moves its shares - and that concerns investors.
With the bidding war for Hillshire Brands intensifying, it is pertinent to point out just how correct Sara Lee's management - and those on Wall Street that supported the split - were about the shareholder benefits of separating the old business.
For the more patriotic sections of Australia's food industry, there is likely to be some dismay at the prospect of another local food company falling into overseas ownership. But the proposed sale of Goodman Fielder, one of the country's largest food manufacturers, looks to be the right move for its shareholders - and for the business as a whole.
After seeing the boom in yoghurt sales in the US chip away at demand for breakfast cereal, Kellogg has accepted it needs a piece of the action. And about time, too, writes Dean Best.
In the US, a market where volume sales have been and remain under pressure, it has been expected in certain quarters that boardrooms would increasingly run the rule over potential acquisitions. Hillshire Brands executives have moved again - this time with a major deal for Pinnacle Foods.
Morrisons today (1 May) gave the first significant details on its plan, announced in March, to lower prices across the store in a bid to stem and revitalise the UK grocer's falling sales.
Desperate for growth in a moribund trading environment, there are signs some food manufacturers operating in the US are using acquisitions to bolster their presence in more vibrant parts of the industry. Should others follow?
Tesco is reportedly looking at rolling out a food-to-go concept in London in its latest bid to try to find some growth in its domestic market. But, if the move happens, is it really wise to enter such a competitive space?
There is a growing consensus that a warming climate has an impact on food production - putting supply firmly at the debate over food security. But the demands of a growing global population are just as important to consider as industry, government and academia wrestle over how to solve the issue.
Arla Foods, The Irish Dairy Board and Fonterra have all in the last week announced investments - or hinted at expansion to come - with growing demand for dairy products in emerging markets in mind.
The 2013 results posted by Irish food group Glanbia stood out, both for the growth the company achieved last year and its optimism for its prospects this year and beyond.
- BRICs and beyond: Fonterra, Beingmate partnership
- On the money: Mengniu hones in on "star" brands
- just-food interview: Agropur CEO Robert Coallier
- Consuming issues: The hunger-obesity paradox
- Comment: Competition to rise on whey investments
- Valio lactose-free trucks stopped at Russia border
- UK firm Pasta Reale enters administration
- H1 profits down at dairy group FrieslandCampina
- Mondelez eyes snacks categories in India
- Fonterra, Beingmate launch infant formula JV