In the spotlight

In the spotlight

Which manufacturers, retailers or issues are grabbing the headlines?



In the spotlight: What lies behind Ferrero's move for Thorntons? 23 Jun 2015

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.


In the spotlight: What the Vega buy means for WhiteWave Foods 18 Jun 2015

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.


In the spotlight: Are Nestle's latest moves in frozen enough to win over consumers? 5 Jun 2015

Nestle has announced two changes in the last week to try and boost sales of its frozen business in the US. Both moves play into rising consumer trends of healthier eating and convenience. But with Nestle's frozen business still reeling from the effects of a consumer shift towards fresh due to perceptions of it having greater goodness, are the moves enough to win consumers back? Hannah Abdulla explores.


In the spotlight: How the Applegate deal will benefit Hormel 29 May 2015

Hormel Foods swooped to acquire natural and organic meat processor Applegate Farms earlier this week in a US$775m deal. In financial terms, the deal does not bring much to the table. Industry experts, however, have reacted favourably due to the long-term growth prospects of the natural and organic meat category. Hannah Abdulla explores what the deal means for Hormel.


In the spotlight: Can national milk brand revitalise Dean Foods? 11 May 2015

Dean Foods this week announced it was bringing its 31 fluid milk brands under one label - DairyPure - and appears to be pushing the latest "hormone-free" trend in its marketing. But, after two quarters of falling profits, and fluid milk still unfavourable with US consumers, is the move enough to put it back on the road to recovery? Hannah Abdulla reports.


In the spotlight: Why ABF's George Weston is making bread better-for-you 1 May 2015

Associated British Foods this week announced the launch of a high-protein bread from its Australasian arm George Weston Foods. The company looks to be weighing up options to increase sales in the highly pressured bakery sector. Is its move into the better-for-you category in New Zealand one that will pay off? Hannah Abdulla explores.


In the spotlight: France's big step to uniform FOP labels 17 Apr 2015

France's new health bill, which subject to two further votes could be ratified later this year, includes provision for a voluntary colour-coded front-of-pack nutritional labelling scheme. The debate this has sparked, Ben Cooper writes, mirrors closely that seen in the UK, with food manufacturers sternly opposed to the use of colours.


In the spotlight: Aryzta's surprise investment in French retailer Picard 1 Apr 2015

Bakery giant Aryzta got the market speculating over its next move when, just a week ago, it announced plans to sell shares in Ireland-based agribusiness Origin Enterprises. But what has been the reaction to its planned investment in French frozen food retailer Picard?


In the spotlight: Green Giant talk underlines pressure at General Mills 16 Mar 2015

General Mills is reported to be considering putting its canned and frozen vegetable business Green Giant on the block. The US food group has refused to comment but, given its sales are under pressure and with US consumers turning away from more processed foods, it seems plausible the company would be weighing up a sale. Dean Best reports.


In the spotlight: Why Post is increasing its exposure to cereal 27 Jan 2015

Since it span off from Ralcorp Holdings three years ago, Post Holdings has followed an aggressive M&A strategy. Deal-making has focused on diversifying its portfolio to gain access to on-trend categories. Given this drive, perhaps yesterday's (26 January) announcement of Post's acquisition of MOM Brands - a move that will deepen its exposure to the struggling US cereal category - could seem a curious tactic. Katy Askew investigates.


In the spotlight: Hershey's Allan Candy buy lends international stability 8 Dec 2014

As The Hershey Co expands in international markets, attention has focused on high-growth opportunities such as China and Latin America. However, with macroeconomic factors weighing on its international performance this year, the company is wise to also pursue expansion in more stable overseas markets, such as Canada. While relatively small, last week's Allan Candy Co acquisition is a solid move from the US Reese's Pieces maker. Katy Askew reports.


In the spotlight: Can BRF deliver on its aggressive growth strategy? 20 Nov 2014

BRF, the Brazilian meat giant, is undergoing significant change. The company has initiated a massive behind-the-scenes restructuring drive to streamline its operations and build a structure that will deliver stable returns. BRF has now turned its attention to expansion, setting out an ambitious growth agenda. Can it deliver? Katy Askew investigates.


In the spotlight: Will Danone return to growth in fresh dairy? 17 Oct 2014

Danone has faced myriad issues at its fresh dairies business. The group has been squeezed by weak consumer sentiment in its largest markets, on the one hand, and rising input prices, on the other. Management believes that a focus on improving its mix in developed markets will boost its profit profile. All the while it has been positioning itself to drive the top line in emerging markets. But these efforts are yet to show themselves in the unit's results. Could Danone's fresh dairy business be preparing to turn a corner? Katy Askew reports.


In the spotlight: FrieslandCampina moves to shore up Europe prospects 3 Oct 2014

FrieslandCampina this week made two major announcements in Europe, with a plan to close a plant in Belgium but also deals to buy two Italian cheese firms. The Dutch dairy giant has, like many of its peers, struggled for growth in Europe and is busy looking to right-size its business in the region for the future.


In the spotlight: Fonterra's strategy to weather enduring dairy volatility 26 Sep 2014

After reporting a slump in Fonterra's annual profits this week, CEO Theo Spierings was at pains to tell the market the global dairy market will remain erratic. However, the head of the world's largest dairy exporter also outlined how the group plans to ride out changes in supply of and demand for milk.


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