On the money
Food companies discuss and dissect their latest results.
Danone's fresh dairy sales struggled throughout 2014. Nevertheless, as the world's largest dairy manufacturer, the company believes it can lead the category back to growth in stagnant markets like Europe and the US. Katy Askew reports.
Kellogg appeared to be getting real yesterday and slashed long-term sales targets, following yet another set of disappointing numbers that suggested the road to recovery for its core cereal category could be a long one.
With its exposure to volatile currencies and growing instability in developing countries, PepsiCo saw macro-economic issues weigh on its top-line performance in 2014. Conditions are expected to remain challenging in 2015 but the group remains confident it can continue to manage its way through such headwinds in the year to come. Katy Askew reports.
Hain Celestial CEO Irwin Simon said today (3 February) the US group had never been so optimistic about its prospects, insisting the company's portfolio can benefit from consumer interest in what they eat.
"Snacking... and portable snacking is not just short term, this is really a trend and it's becoming a habit," Hershey CEO John Bilbrey said yesterday as the US company announced its full-year results and its move to buy meat jerky brand Krave.
Premier Foods CEO Gavin Darby has predicted the UK food group's brands will be the co-beneficiaries of a rebound at the country's largest supermarkets.
Unilever must respond faster to emerging consumer trends if it is to grow its food brands in a low-growth environment, CEO Paul Polman suggested today (20 January).
General Mills has reported market share growth across its three "priority" categories in the US - cereal, yoghurt and snacks - but sluggish sector sales trends and continuing under-performance from struggling areas of its portfolio continue to hit the group's US retail business.
Post Holdings has undergone significant change in the last two years through a spate of M&A. While there are questions about the outlook for some of the newly-acquired assets - and for its core cereal business - the US group this week expressed confidence about its outlook.
Over the last twelve months Irish food group Greencore outperformed the overall food market in UK, its largest market, on the back of its exposure to the faster-growth food-to-go segment and expansion in convenience channels.
Mondelez International's work on costs looks to be paying off with the snacks giant seeing its margins improve and lifting its forecast for annual earnings this week. The Cadbury owner is seeing some pressure on sales - particularly in Europe - after lifting prices to offset higher commodity costs but analysts are generally upbeat about the US group's prospects.
"There is no quick fix in this business," Kellogg CEO John Bryant conceded last week after reporting another challenging quarter for the US group's breakfast cereal business. However, with sales still under pressure, analysts are asking why Kellogg should be investing more in cereal than it is in snacks.
Nestle's sales for the first nine months of 2014 have missed analyst expectations and the investment community pointed to China as a key factor. However, the world's largest food manufacturer, while noting the short-term challenges it sees in the market, is upbeat about its prospects.
Frito-Lay, the North American snack business of PepsiCo, is responding to the slow erosion of its market share in a "disciplined" way, while also innovating to fend off competition from premium players,its management has insisted.
Diamond Foods expects to return to profitability in its new financial year, pointing to the benefit of an on-trend product portfolio in the US, improved walnut supply and reduced financial costs.
- Analysis: Is Heinz, Kraft merger "a growth story"?
- M&A Watch: Who could be on 3G Capital's radar?
- The challenges awaiting ConAgra's new CEO
- Viewpoint: Faber-led Danone gets realistic
- Focus: Can Mars gain share in Indian chocolate?
- UPDATE: Heinz, Kraft strike merger agreement
- Fatal explosion at French desserts firm Senagral
- Kraft "in buyout talks" with Heinz owner 3G
- Infographic: Heinz, Kraft unveil combined business
- Buffett: Kraft Heinz to withstand health focus