On the money
Food companies discuss and dissect their latest results.
Premier Foods CEO Gavin Darby has predicted that 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.
After a challenging previous financial year, ConAgra Foods yesterday (18 September) reported on the first three months of its new fiscal period. Shares in the US food group rose as it reported underlying earnings that beat Wall Street forecasts and stuck to its expectations for annual earnings - notable after 12 months that included three profit warnings.
Shares in Hilton Food Group, the UK meat supplier, took a hit today (9 September) after the company issued a note of caution about its near-term outlook. However, in the main, City analysts believe in Hilton's fundamentals.
China's largest dairy manufacturer China Mengniu Dairy has shrugged off investor concerns over margin pressure, insisting its strategy to raise investment behind "star" and growth brands will improve the group's long-term profitability profile. Katy Askew reports.
Hain Celestial, the US natural and organic food group, has indicated it expects to drive continued organic growth in the coming year - even as it laps tough comparables - by expanding distribution and leveraging its innovation pipeline in the US and internationally.
Lindt & Sprungli, the upmarket Swiss chocolate group, today (19 August) underlined why it is a business seen as one of the better performers in the sector.
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