In the spotlight
Which manufacturers, retailers or issues are grabbing the headlines?
General Mills this week reported another quarter of falling sales, leading industry watchers to wonder if the US food giant will lessen its focus on its margin target but, more critically, whether the company can revitalise its top line. Hannah Abdulla reports.
Less than three days was all it took for Kraft-Heinz's GBP112bn (US$139.1bn) takeover approach to Unilever to become public, be rejected and subsequently be taken off the table. The attempt is likely to have some significant and far-reaching consequences for Unilever. Here, just-food takes a look at the impact the episode could have on the Dove-to-Knorr manufacturer.
It was Maple Leaf Foods' first major acquisition for over a decade and one very much in tune with one of the key trends in the North American marketplace. The Canada-based meat giant has become the latest in the sector to invest in the growing meat-free industry, snapping up US firm Lightlife Foods. Dean Best looks at the deal.
Danone focused much of its presentation at this week's Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference on its plans for the US. The French group generates around 13% of its sales in North America and believes there is ample room to grow. Danone also touched on its goals for 2020 and its cost-cutting drive and last week's move to "decouple" the group's aims to improve efficiency and increase sales. Here are the eight key takeaways from the event.
General Mills last week lowered its already weak forecast for its annual sales due to lower-tha-expected sales in US yogurt and soup. Unsurprisingly, then, the US food giant's efforts to reinvigorate its top line were the primary focus of its presentation at this week's Consumer Analyst Group of New York investor conference. Here are just-food's key takeaways from the event.
Kraft Heinz's takeover bid for Unilever came as something of a shock today – not least because of the seeming unlikely pairing of the 3G Capital-owned US group with the European food-to-personal care company. just-food asks whether the takeover offer should be taken at face value.
Announcing's Nestle 2016 results today (16 February) newly-installed CEO Mark Schneider revealed growth at the Swiss food giant came in below expectations. All eyes are now on Nestle's direction under Schneider, who joined the business at the start of this year. Will there be a greater focus on margin enhancement? Has Schneider totally abandoned the 'Nestle model' targeting 5-6% organic growth each year? Could large-scale acquisitions or disposals be on the cards? Katy Askew investigates.
Mead Johnson has been the subject of takeover talk ever since it was spun-off from pharma group Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2009. Today's (10 February) news that the board of the US infant formula business has backed a potential sale came as little surprise - but what has raised eyebrows is the seemingly unlikely source of interest, UK condom-to-cleaning product provider Reckitt Benckiser. Katy Askew looks at the potential deal.
Mondelez International has delivered a lacklustre set of 2016 numbers but the snacks giant, which has been buffered by a challenging operating environment, stressed it continues to improve adjusted operating margins. With the entrance of 3G Capital into the food sector, margins have become a key metric for a number of the major names in the industry but Mondelez's results left some wondering if a focus on margins can hamper top-line growth. Katy Askew reports.
A new year, re-heated M&A speculation. Takeover talk is again centred on US-based infant formula group Mead Johnson, often seen as a target since it was spun off by pharma group Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2009. In the past, the chatter has focused on whether Danone would buy the Enfamil maker. Now, Nestle is in the spotlight. However, as Dean Best reports, such a deal looks unlikely - and, at present, the prospect of other suitors coming in appears just as slim.
Acquisitions have enabled B&G Foods to rapidly scale up in recent years. The company has grown from sales of around US$600m in 2012 to a forecast of $1.6bn in 2017. Two large-scale deals have boosted B&G: Green Giant in 2015 and ACH Foods last year. However, B&G's underlying sales have not been strong. The group's smaller brands, which generate annual sales in the region of $500m, have struggled. Even Green Giant is a brand that has been in decline for years. At the ICR investor conference in Florida last week, CEO Bob Cantwell outlined how the company intends to continue to grow in 2017 and beyond.
General Mills disappointed the market this week (20 December) when the US group lowered its full-year revenue outlook on the back of a 7.1% drop in sales during its second quarter. The company's aggressive cost-cutting programmes enabled it to maintain its margin guidance but, Katy Askew asks, is the group's weak top line evidence management has cut spending in certain areas too deeply?
General Mills has announced plans to reorganise its business in a move the US company said would enable it to capitalise on its international presence. But will it address some of the fundamental issues limiting growth at the Cheerios-to-Yoplait maker? Katy Askew reports.
Dutch food group Wessanen has made another acquisition as it continues to focus on expansion in the European "sustainable" foods market. Wessanen is expanding its presence in Spain through the purchase of Biogran, a "leader" in the Spanish rice cake and cereals. Wessanen's management believes the deal will open the door for further growth in a promising market. Katy Askew reports.
Unilever this week held its annual investor day in Port Sunlight, the village built in the 1880s by one of the companies that were the forerunners of the consumer goods giant and now home to the research and development arm of the group's home and personal care business. However, Unilever's management used the occasion to give an update on the company as a whole, including on its plan to drive improvements in its profitability and on where it sees growth from food. Dean Best reports.
- General Mills sales woes continue - analysis
- Why personalisation will take-off in US food
- US food next wave on display at Winter Fancy Food
- Analysis: Chocolate sector's deforestation pledge
- Comment: Meal kits in US - don't believe the hype
- Kraft Heinz cuts jobs in US, Canada
- Mondelez set for union crosshairs next week
- Mondelez plays down impact of union action
- Brazil seeks to cool concerns over meat probe
- Recipe-kit firm HelloFresh launches into UK retail