In the spotlight
Which manufacturers, retailers or issues are grabbing the headlines?
Despite Hain Celestial lowering the top end of its forecasts for annual net sales and earnings yesterday (4 May), the US group earned praise from Wall Street for the steps it is taking to cut costs and zero-in on health and wellness trends in the US. On an investor call, Hain Celestial's management team talked at length about what it is taking to position itself for future growth. Hannah Abdulla reports.
Nestle and R&R Ice Cream have finalised plans to combine their ice cream businesses. The new joint venture brings a number of benefits and is likely to see an increased focus behind Nestle's ice cream brands. Katy Askew reports.
Yildiz Holding is restructuring its confectionery and biscuit businesses, uniting the likes of United Biscuits, Ülker and Godiva under a single umbrella subsidiary. The Turkish conglomerate has some ambitious growth targets for the new unit. Katy Askew takes a look at whether it can deliver.
Either side of Christmas, General Mills turned to M&A to try to inject some growth into its business. On 23 December, the company announced a move to buy Brazilian yoghurt maker Carolina to bolster its operations outside the US. Last week, General Mills swooped again, this time domestically, snapping up fledgling US meat snacks firm Epic Provisions, another sign of the attractiveness of protein, snacks and sustainability for food majors. However, the Cheerios maker will have to be judicious in the way it manages the new asset. Dean Best reports.
General Mills' latest numbers have put the US food giant under scrutiny once more. Last week, the company reported lacklustre second-quarter sales and cut its forecasts for annual sales and earnings. The group's domestic business, which has been under pressure for a number of years now, saw sales fall, leading industry watchers to ponder what lies ahead in 2016 and beyond for the company. Dean Best reports.
Nordic food group Orkla is expanding its presence in central Europe through the acquisition of Czech Republic-based Hamé. The deal offers cost and revenue synergies and expands Orkla's presence in categories that are complementary to its portfolio. It also feeds into Orkla's strategy of focusing on regional categories and markets where it can build scale but which have, on the whole, gone under the radar of multinational competitors. Katy Askew reports.
There has been more consolidation in the US food industry, with another big player largely focused on stagnant categories moving for a business in a growing area of the sector. Pinnacle Foods, the business behind the Birds Eye brand in the US, as well as products like Duncan Hines baking mixes and Wish-Bone salad dressings, has struck a deal to buy Boulder Brands - a business in gluten-free but one that has struggled in recent quarters. Dean Best reports.
ConAgra Foods CEO Sean Connolly, fresh from securing the sale of the US group's own-label business, has made another strategic move - splitting the business in two. A largely branded business, Conagra Brands, and a frozen potato products supplier, Lamb Weston, are set to be created. Dean Best analyses what could lie ahead for both companies.
Distribution synergies and access to a wider better-for-you portfolio are two of the reasons industry experts have backed the move from Synder's-Lance for fellow US snacks group Diamond Foods. However, with Diamond having had a challenging few years financially, is the US$1.91bn cash-and-shares deal all Snyder's-Lance has made it out to be? Hannah Abdulla reports.
Unilever is building on its push into branded ice cream retail with the acquisition of Italian gelato group Grom. And Unilever is not the only manufacturer working to expand its branded retail presence, particularly in "treat" or gifting categories. Katy Askew looks at the benefits branded retailing offers food manufacturers.
The speculation over Green Giant was this week confirmed with US group B&G Foods announcing it had struck a deal to buy the the canned and frozen vegetables business from General Mills. Green Giant's sales are under pressure but B&G believes it can reinvigorate the business. Hannah Abdulla reports.
Flowers Foods last week announced the acquisition of organic bread maker Dave's Killer Bread, a move which accelerates its growth in the organic bread space and extends its geographic reach in the US, two things it has had on its wish list for some time. Hannah Abdulla explores.
This Sunday, Greece will decide whether to accept a proposal from its creditors following the breakdown of negotiations over its EU1.6bn debt repayment with the International Monetary Fund. If voters reject the proposal, Greece risks exiting Eurozone. Concerns over what this will mean for the food industry are rife and food manufacturers have started taking measures to prepare for the worst.
Italian confectioner Ferrero has made a surprise move for UK chocolate maker and retailer Thorntons. One cannot ignore the fact Thorntons has had some challenges, not least in recent quarters with sales to UK multiples under pressure. What could be behind Ferrero's decision? Hannah Abdulla explores.
WhiteWave Foods' deal to buy of Canadian firm Vega last week will mean the US group adds plant-based nutritional powders and snack-bars to its range, products industry watchers expect to show promising growth in the near future. But low awareness among mainstream consumers of plant-based proteins could prove a challenge. Hannah Abdulla reports.
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