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The best views and opinions in food industry publishing, all in one place, from food's monthly columnists and in-house experts.

The challenge of digital marketing and ROI

Digital media is becoming the marketing method of choice for FMCGs, Carl Carter of industry analysts IRI writes. But can manufacturers truly...

Consuming issues: Living by a (grocery) code

Codes governing the relationships between retailers and manufacturers have made headlines in the UK and Australia. However, recent headlines...

Viewpoint: Faber-led Danone gets realistic

At the Consumer Analyst Group of Europe conference in London, Danone's recently-appointed CEO Emmanuel Faber gave a presentation to the inve...

Comment: US legacy brands still have pulling power

Up-and-coming categories and companies are increasingly setting the pace in the US food sector. Demand for natural, healthy, fresh and susta...


Consuming issues: Why US Dietary Guidelines report deserves praise 24 Feb 2015

Ben Cooper

With a call for nutrient taxes and linking the impact of diet on the environment, the advisory committee's recommendations for the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans has been met with criticism by parts of the food industry. Ben Cooper argues the committee deserves praise.


Comment: Why "simple" and "real" will be industry buzzwords this year 23 Feb 2015

Hannah Abdulla

If there's one thing the industry is sure of, it's that consumer demand for cleaner, simpler food is on the rise in the US. This was underlined by the repeated mention of the topic through the course of the Consumer Analyst Group of New York event last week, Hannah Abdulla notes.


Editor's viewpoint: Upheaval in the US 16 Feb 2015

Dean Best

It was a bumper week of 2014 financial results, particularly from the US, but a flurry of announcements - including some surprise admissions - from across the pond on Thursday perhaps best served to underline the challenges facing mainstream food manufacturers in the country.


Comment: Prepare for emerging market e-commerce 9 Feb 2015

Katy Askew

Consumer goods conglomerate Hindustan Unilever is changing the operating model of its business-to-consumer direct sales arm in India, Hindustan Unilever Network, prompting speculation it is paving the way for an e-commerce debut in the country.


Comment: Implications of Tesco probe could be minimal... or very far reaching indeed 5 Feb 2015

Katy Askew

The Grocery Code Adjudicator launched a probe into Tesco's supplier payments today (5 February). Given Tesco has already taken moves to address issues in its supplier dealings, this investigation could appear to be more symbolic than consequential. However, with calls for regulation of supplier payments starting to mount in the UK, the attention it is sure to draw could nevertheless prove significant, Katy Askew suggests.


Comment: Manufacturers should tread carefully over extended payment terms 29 Jan 2015

Katy Askew

Food manufacturers are catching some flack for extending payment terms to their suppliers. The growing tension in the supply chain points to the pressure manufacturers are themselves facing in the current trading environment - and their need to free up cash flow in the balance sheet. But, in a charged political atmosphere, manufacturers should tread carefully, Katy Askew suggests.


Editor's viewpoint: Global factors hold sway over UK milk prices 23 Jan 2015

Dean Best

The price farmers are paid for milk has again made national headlines in the UK - and again it is the country's supermarket chains in the firing line. Even David Cameron has weighed in on the issue. But, UK farmers, like their counterparts around the world, are at the mercy of global factors.


Consuming issues: Why US dietary guidelines should consider environment 22 Jan 2015

Ben Cooper

The possibility environmental criteria might form the latest version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans has provoked intense debate in the US, with the meat industry in strong opposition. The guidelines will be updated this year and politics may mean green issues are not considered. Ben Cooper argues ultimately that must change.


Comment: New Zealand drought could hit dairy sector 16 Jan 2015

Katy Askew

The possibility New Zealand could be facing another year of drought conditions is a serious concern for the country's massive dairy industry - and one which has global implications.


Editor's viewpoint: Plant closures point to pressure at General Mills 9 Jan 2015

Dean Best

More General Mills plants look set to shut as the US food giant wrestles with falling domestic sales. The closures will help profitability but the company will likely have to turn again to M&A to get its top line growing again.


Briefing: 2015 preview: Shopper trends - Finding a path to growth in 2015 2 Jan 2015

Anne Lefranc, IRI European marketing director

In such a price-focused environment, manufacturers will need to find innovative ways to grow in 2015. Data, IRI's Anne Lefranc argues, will be central to these strategies.


Consuming issues: Why new laws on food labels can benefit business 12 Dec 2014

Ben Cooper

The new EU-wide food labelling regulations coming into effect tomorrow (13 December) represent the most extensive revision of food labelling regulations manufacturers across Europe will ever have had to cope with.


Editor's viewpoint: Why a sale of Unilever's spreads arm is unlikely to be imminent 8 Dec 2014

Dean Best

Unilever's move to internally spin off its spreads unit was seen by many company and industry watchers as a pre-cursor to a sale. However, an imminent sale in unlikely, with the business under-pressure and a paucity of suitors standing buy.


Comment: Ferrero's dilemma highlights the problem of red tape in India 3 Dec 2014

Katy Askew

Ferrero Group is purportedly re-thinking its investment plan in India due to difficulties with regulators in the country. The Indian market - with its massive population and still growing middle class - is a huge opportunity for FMCG manufacturers. But, as the Ferrero case shows, Indian regulations continue to discourage investment in local production - to the detriment of the country's economic outlook.


Comment: Russia's Danone, PepsiCo criticism points to more challenges 1 Dec 2014

Katy Askew

For US and European companies exporting products to Russia, the operating environment has been challenging to say the least. Recent comments from Moscow would suggest that the going could get tougher for multinationals who operate local subsidiaries in the country as well, Katy Askew suggests.


Editor's viewpoint: Why UK food firms must look to export 28 Nov 2014

Dean Best

Tough trading conditions in the UK can make it difficult for food companies to find the time and resources to build a presence overseas. However, Dean Best argues it is that market landscape that makes it imperative more companies look to exports for growth.


Shopper trends: How more promotions can mean higher prices for consumers 27 Nov 2014

Tim Eales, IRI

A focus throughout Europe on offering high volumes of products on promotion is not making the average shopping basket any cheaper, and consumers are not necessarily getting a good deal on price and are ending up paying more for their average shop, according to IRI's Tim Eales.


Comment: Mondelez digital strategy suffers blow with UK ruling 26 Nov 2014

Katy Askew

The UK's Advertising Standards Authority dealt Mondelez International a blow today (26 November) when it found the group's YouTube ads breach the country's advertising code. The ruling is significant for the snacks giant given the recent video-streaming drive it hopes will position it as a "digital pioneer". Mondelez is nevertheless wise to forge ahead in its bid to connect with consumers online, Katy Askew suggests.


Comment: Why Gardein is Pinnacle's ideal fodder 19 Nov 2014

Hannah Abdulla

Pinnacle Foods, owner of Wishbone dressings, has been shopping and has picked out a firm that is going to bulk out its presence in the frozen food aisle and win it brownie points with a heap of consumers.


Editor's viewpoint: Imminent Hostess Brands sale would be surprise 17 Nov 2014

Dean Best

The private-equity owners of Hostess Brands are, according to reports, mulling a sale, just a year after buying the US snacks business. There is speculation Apollo Global Management and C. Dean Metropoulos are planning for to sell Hostess early next year. However, that looks unlikely.


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