In the spotlight
Which manufacturers, retailers or issues are grabbing the headlines?
13 February 2014
After sales fell below the "Nestle Model" in 2013, the world's largest food maker intends to leverage its focus on health and wellness and a new drive that could see its stable of well-known brands adopt a more premium positioning to revitalise top-line growth.
7 February 2014
Hain Celestial has rapidly grown its business by expanding into new categories and markets through a series of acquisitions, notably in the UK. However, such rapid expansion has its challenges. Perhaps execution issues at Hain Daniels, the US group's UK-focused business, could be viewed as a warning to management that the group should be careful not to over-extend itself, Katy Askew suggests.
29 January 2014
Premier Foods plc announced earlier this week that it will establish its bread business as a standalone joint venture, in which US private equity firm Gores Group will hold a majority stake. The company clearly hopes that - in conjunction with its new partner - it will be able to rejuvenate its the struggling bakery unit. Nevertheless, a number of challenges lie ahead for the heavily indebted UK food major. Katy Askew reports.
14 January 2014
Hain Celestial believes its acquisition of UK-based Basmati rice firm Tilda will work to the benefit of both businesses. The US group has identified a number of areas where it intends to drive Tilda's growth. Hain also intends to capitalise on Tilda's international presence by feeding its existing product portfolio into markets such as India and the Middle East. Katy Askew reports.
15 November 2013
Sigma Alimentos, the food arm of Mexican conglomerate Alfa, has launched a bid to acquire Spanish meat processor Campofrio. While Mexico's largest meat processor has been active in M&A in Latin America and the US in recent years, the move would mark the group's first foray into Europe. Katy Askew reports.
7 November 2013
The UK's fourth largest supermarket, Morrisons, today (7 November) showed further signs that its sales are struggling amid tough competition in the marketplace. The grocer is continuing to make positive strides, but the questions over whether this is enough and whether Morrisons has its proposition right still linger. Michelle Russell reports.
17 October 2013
Wal-Mart Stores outlined its strategy for the coming fiscal year at its annual investment community meeting yesterday (16 October). The world's largest retailer raised its capital expenditure forecast in the US while scaling back its international investment plans. Significantly, the company said it would close under performing stores in Brazil and China and reduce store openings in Mexico and India - possibly reflecting concerns over the growth outlook in emerging markets. Katy Askew reports.
20 September 2013
Post Holdings, the US breakfast cereals group, has been on an M&A spree in the last 12 months. Number three in a stagnant market, Post has added gluten-free cereals and granola to its portfolio. Last month, it snapped up a protein shake and supplement firm. This week, Post moved into pasta. Michelle Russell digests Post's recent deal-making.
16 September 2013
Albertson's LLC has had a transformative year. The private-equity owned company is investing in trying to elevating its growth trajectory. A significant step in this direction was made when the group acquired the remaining Albertsons stores - and rights to the Albertsons name - from SuperValu, along with the Jewel-Osco, Acme, Shaw's and Star Market chains. Last week's acquisition of United Supermarkets builds on that foundation and comes as further evidence the firm, and its financial backers, are committed to driving growth through M&A. Katy Askew reports.
28 August 2013
After a month of headlines surrounding Fonterra's botulism recall it emerged today (28 August) that the company's whey protein concentrate was not, in fact, contaminated with a bacteria that can cause botulism. Facing stringent criticism at home, including an inquiry by the New Zealand government, this might seem like "good news" for the dairy giant. However, this fresh revelation is likely to lead to further questions over whether Fonterra's management overreacted to events - and why it took so long to get the all-clear. Katy Askew reports.
19 August 2013
Pinnacle Foods has had an eventful six months. Kicking off the year with the launch of an IPO, the US food group went on to report impressive first-quarter earnings. While first-half earnings dipped somewhat last week, the firm's deal to buy Unilever's Wish-Bone business could signal a positive year ahead for the frozen food to baking mix maker.
7 August 2013
International infant formula manufacturers are adjusting their business practices in China having been found guilty of price fixing. Multinational companies, which were the focus of an anti-trust investigation, say they have emerged from the probe with a "clearer understanding" of the regulatory framework in the country. However, some pundits suggest the probe must be viewed in the context of a wider government push to boost the domestic industry. Katy Askew reports.
31 July 2013
Last week saw the launch of the UK government's Agricultural Technologies Strategy which aims to foster investment in technology and innovation while bridging the gap between scientific research and food manufacture. Ben Cooper reports.
26 July 2013
Chinese regulators have launched an anti-trust investigation into the infant formula sector in the country and under pressure from the authorities, multinational formula manufacturers have implemented a series of price cuts. But will the move address the structural issues facing the category? Katy Askew investigates.
12 July 2013
US retail giant Kroger this week struck a deal to buy regional supermarket chain Harris Teeter in a deal worth US$2.44bn. Analysts believe the deal makes perfect sense, offering synergies and opportunities for Kroger to strengthen its position in the US retail scene. One analyst, however, believes Kroger may face competing bids before a deal is secured. Michelle Russell takes a look.
5 July 2013
UK-based consumer goods group PZ Cussons this week struck a surprise deal to buy Australian baby food business Rafferty's Garden. Analysts have suggested the acquisition is not a sign PZ Cussons plans a significant push into food and see the deal as one that can support its core home and personal care businesses in the region. Michelle Russell reports.
28 June 2013
The Chinese government has laid out a plan to improve safety standards in the high-profile infant formula sector through a combination of tougher regulation and consolidation. Nevertheless, the question of whether Chinese manufactures can convince consumers of the safety of their products remains. Katy Askew reports.
21 June 2013
Campbell Soup Co. has gone on quite the acquisition spree of late as it looks to rebalance its portfolio. From US chilled foods firm Bolthouse Farms, and organic baby food maker Plum, to this week's deal to acquire Kelsen, Campbell is trying to boost its presence in high-growth categories and high growth markets. At the same time, the firm is making continued progress in revitalising its core US operations. Katy Askew reports.
14 June 2013
Canada's second-largest grocer Sobeys has swooped to buy the local business of US supermarket giant Safeway. Sobeys has paid a full price for Safeway's Canadian arm but, writes Dean Best, the market was broadly positive and agreed with the company's optimism. For Safeway, however, the sale does leave some questions.
6 June 2013
PepsiCo and Muller this week opened their US yoghurt plant with much fanfare. Demand for yoghurt has increased in recent years, per capita consumption is relatively low and the companies believe they can benefit. However, the new facility has added to the already increasing capacity in the sector, which is now seeing only sales of Greek yoghurt grow and an intensification in promotional activity.