In the spotlight

In the spotlight

Which manufacturers, retailers or issues are grabbing the headlines?



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 undertaken 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.


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.


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