In the spotlight

In the spotlight

Which manufacturers, retailers or issues are grabbing the headlines?

In the spotlight: General Mills turns to M&A to bolster US business 9 Sep 2014

The US accounts for the bulk of General Mills' business and, with its operations at home under pressure, the food giant has got out the chequebook to snap up local natural and organic food maker Annie's. But is it the right move? Dean Best investigates.

In the spotlight: What could be impact of Russia's embargo? 11 Aug 2014

In a tit-for-tat move, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a year-long ban on on food imports from countries participating in the imposition of sanctions on Russia. Confident the country can be self-sufficient, Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev have urged local producers to take advantage of the opportunity, and get their products on supermarket shelves. But are they up to the task? And what does this mean for global exporters to Russia? Hannah Abdulla reports.

In the spotlight: Progress but Campbell faces critical questions 23 Jul 2014

Campbell Soup Co., the US-based food group, is a business that has, in recent years, attempted to reshape its portfolio more towards faster-growing categories. And, with growth from its core operations still below the company's targets, the signs are it is ready to take more action. However, with further expansion comes choices, Dean Best writes.

In the spotlight: Lindt plays safe with Russell Stover buy 17 Jul 2014

Lindt & Sprungli's acquisition of US confectioner Russell Stover Candies has come as a surprise to analysts. It is the Swiss group's first purchase for 16 years and one in a developed, rather than emerging, market. However, Lindt believes it would be have been foolish to pass on the opportunity and expansion in developing markets is still on the cards. Hannah Abdulla finds out what prompted Lindt to dust off its chequebook.

In the spotlight: Why TreeHouse is well-placed after Flagstone deal 3 Jul 2014

Since the inception of TreeHouse Foods in 2005, the US private-label group has snapped up businesses supplying the centre of the store. Now, the company has used M&A to secure a foothold in the perimeter - with the potential for further deals.

In the spotlight: UK examining more radical levers to cut sugar intake 26 Jun 2014

The UK government's policy on high sugar foods has once again been placed front and centre as new research argues the advice for the recommended intake of added sugar should be halved. Government agency Public Health England has responded with a pledge to further probe measures to support sugar reduction, including tightened controls around advertising and promotions - as well as "fiscal levers" such as a sugar tax. Katy Askew reports.

In the spotlight: The Free From Food Expo 2014 10 Jun 2014

Free-from, once the preserve of the health food fanatic, is moving into the mainstream and growth in the sector is gathering steam. Here are some highlights from last week's Free From Food Expo.

In the spotlight: Tyson pays the piper to secure Hillshire 10 Jun 2014

Tyson Foods has won through in the bidding war to acquire Hillshire Brands with an improved US$63 per share offer for the for the Jimmy Dean maker. But, at 16.7x EBITDA, is the lofty price of US$8.55bn overly inflated? Katy Askew investigates.

In the spotlight: Nestle hopes to thaw Lean Cuisine sales chill 6 Jun 2014

Nestle has conceded that it is facing some significant challenges in the US frozen category. However, comments at the firm's investor day this week would seem to suggest that the world's largest food company has set out a roadmap for how to "fix" lacklustre brands such as Lean Cuisine. Katy Askew reports.

In the spotlight: Mizkan furthers global ambitions with Ragu, Bertolli buy 22 May 2014

Japanese condiments maker Mizkan Group has set out a clear growth agenda to grow overseas sales and globalise its operations in order to offset soft domestic consumption patterns. The company announced today (22 May) it has struck a deal to acquire the Ragu and Bertolli in North America from Unilever. While the move strengthens Mizkan's presence in North America, operating in the US pasta sauce category is not without its challenges. Katy Askew reports.

In the spotlight: Hillshire diversifies with Pinnacle deal 12 May 2014

Hillshire Brands has unveiled plans to acquire US peer Pinnacle Foods in a cash-and-shares deal worth US$6.6bn. The company argues the deal will bring operational benefits, competitive advantages and cross-selling opportunities. However, the high level of debt Hillshire will take on may raise some eyebrows. Katy Askew reports.

In the spotlight: Brussels organic plans cause concern 4 Apr 2014

Food retailers across the EU are facing additional administration to sell organic food products, because of reforms proposed last week by the European Commission, writes Keith Nuthall.

In the spotlight: Nestle looks to combine nutrition, premiumisation 13 Feb 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.

In the spotlight: Hain Celestial must be wary of over-extending 7 Feb 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.

In the spotlight: Premier Foods aims to bring home bread with Hovis JV 29 Jan 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.

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