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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.

Comment: Competition to rise on whey investments

Arla Foods is wise to invest in its whey protein production capacity. However, the company is far from alone in pursuing this strategy, with...

Consuming issues: The hunger-obesity paradox

It may seem cruelly ironic the UK faces what is frequently dubbed an "obesity epidemic" while hospital admissions for malnutrition have rise...

Comment: Holistic approach to obesity issue needed

The Institute of Economic Affairs, a UK think tank, raised an important issue yesterday (18 August) when it insisted a decline in physical a...

M&A Watch: Raisio should sell to private equity

Raisio, the Finland-based group behind brands including Benecol, Honey Monster cereals and Fox's confectionery, has, in recent years, tried...


Comment: Definitive action needed if poultry industry to win consumer confidence 6 Aug 2014

Katy Askew

The UK's Food Standards Agency has issued the results of its first set of quarterly campylobacter tests, part of a year-long study into the prevalence of the bacteria in the UK poultry supply. The results reveal that around three-fifths of chicken sold in UK supermarkets are contaminated with the bacteria and the regulator has conceded that more must be done to win over consumer trust. After a personal brush with the issue, having found offal in pre-packed supermarket chicken, Katy Askew would strongly concur.


Editor's viewpoint: Land of the minnows 4 Aug 2014

Dean Best

Size matters, right? Scale - and the economic benefits that come with it - provide a business with clout smaller competitors find hard to battle. However, could large food companies be losing some of the advantage gained from their size?


Shopper trends: The World Cup - a victory for retailers? 25 Jul 2014

Tim Eales, IRI

Now that the football World Cup has come and gone, Tim Eales, director of strategic insight at IRI, examines whether it provided a much-needed boost to UK retailers and food manufacturers, or if England’s early demise meant they lost out too.


Comment: Danone could be preparing strategic shake-up 24 Jul 2014

Katy Askew

The spotlight will turn on Danone's strategy to grow its sales and profits tomorrow (25 July) when the group reports its second-quarter results. With what looks set to be a disappointing first half in store, questions could well be asked about whether Danone is on the path to long-term sustainable growth, Katy Askew suggests.


Editor's viewpoint: Why whole sector should take heed of UK, China meat allegations 24 Jul 2014

Dean Best

The meat supply chain is in the spotlight this week, with allegations in the UK and China of poor and potentially unsafe practices at firms supplying retail and foodservice giants including Tesco and McDonald's. But the entire industry needs to pay attention: consumer interest in what they eat is at its highest-ever level.


Comment: ConAgra's TaiMei buy fails to address core problems 17 Jul 2014

Katy Askew

ConAgra Foods believes its latest acquisition - Chinese potato group TaiMei - will help further unlock the growth potential in its Lamb Weston unit. However, the move fails to address the issues dogging ConAgra's private-label and branded businesses and will do little to boost results in the near-term, Katy Askew suggests.


Consuming issues: No candy-coated arguments at sugar summit 14 Jul 2014

Ben Cooper

Last week, medical professionals, industry representatives, policy advisors and others gathered in London to discuss the health impacts of sugar consumption and what government and food companies can do to mitigate them. Ben Cooper was there.


Comment: Unilever's Slim-Fast sale evidence of declining diet category 11 Jul 2014

Katy Askew

Unilever announced late yesterday (10 July) that it has sold its Slim-Fast diet foods business as it trims the fat from its food portfolio. The news comes as further evidence of the overall decline in the weight management foods sector in markets like the US and UK, Katy Askew suggests.


Comment: Trade restrictions hitting Russian outlook 9 Jul 2014

Katy Askew

In a period of escalating international tensions, Russia is turning to the use of trade restrictions as a political weapon. This adds a layer of risk to food manufacturers exporting goods to the previously promising BRIC market and potentially has some profound consequences for the consumer outlook in the country, Katy Askew suggests.


Editor's viewpoint: Dairy Crest's appeal may grow after deals 3 Jul 2014

Dean Best

Strategically, Dairy Crest's deals with fellow UK dairy group Fayrefield Foods and New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra to serve the global infant formula market are astute moves. But the deals could also catch the eye of some of the world's larger dairy processors about Dairy Crest's new capabilities.


Comment: Kroger eyes two growing trends with Vitacost deal 2 Jul 2014

Dean Best

US retail giant Kroger, one of the largest traditional supermarket chains in the country, today (2 July) announced a deal that showed it has recognised two key macro trends in the grocery sector - and wants a piece of the action.


Shopper trends: Industry must rethink promo strategy 2 Jul 2014

Tim Eales, IRI

Across Europe, the level of promotions in grocery stores continued to increase in 2013 - but without boosting sales volumes. IRI's Tim Eales says the sector needs to review how they promote in order to drive sales.


Consuming issues: Oxfam as industry's "critical friend" 30 Jun 2014

Ben Cooper

Oxfam's latest analysis of the food industry's efforts on to tackle climate change demonstrates how the NGO can partner with industry at time but still play a role in handing out stinging criticism where necessary, Ben Cooper believes.


Editor's viewpoint: Nestle deserves praise for living wage 30 Jun 2014

Dean Best

Cynics will scoff a company the size of Nestle can easily afford to become a "Living Wage" employer in the UK. And perhaps there would be an element of truth in that. But the fact the world's largest food maker is willing to invest in its staff should be applauded - and the hope is some of its closest competitors - companies with vast resources of their own - will follow.


Editor's viewpoint: Big year ahead for ConAgra 27 Jun 2014

Dean Best

After a tough year, which included three profit warnings, ConAgra Foods and its management team face a very important 12 months. The US group's management believe it can improve the performance of both its consumer food and private-label arms but some industry watchers are less certain.


Editor's viewpoint: Domestic challenge for General Mills 26 Jun 2014

Dean Best

General Mills chief Ken Powell did his best yesterday (25 June) to be positive despite a surprise fall in sales in the US food giant's fourth quarter rounding off a challenging year for the company. Powell insisted General Mills had plenty of ways to revitalise its top line but the Cheerios and Yoplait owner faces another challenging year.


Comment: Sugar reduction pledge, not tax, could interest regulators 25 Jun 2014

Ben Cooper

A tax on sugar has again hit the headlines in recent days, with a call from campaign group Action on Sugar and, significantly, after a key expert on obesity said new policies should be looked at. However, Ben Cooper says evidence sin taxes work is sketchy, although he argues Action on Sugar's separate call for an industry pledge to lower sugar could interest regulators.


Editor's viewpoint: Questions mount for ConAgra 19 Jun 2014

Dean Best

After three profit warnings in a year, it is little wonder the performance of US food giant ConAgra Foods is under scrutiny.


Editor's viewpoint: Premier feeling the pressure 18 Jun 2014

Dean Best

The City has welcomed Premier Foods' moves to spin off parts of its businesses into joint ventures but it is still the performance of the UK group's core brands that moves its shares - and that concerns investors.


Comment: Increased competition could revitalise US frozen sector 18 Jun 2014

Katy Askew

Sales in the frozen aisle have been lacklustre in the US for some years. However, increased competitive activity from the likes of Nestle, ConAgra Foods and Tyson Foods could help rejuvenate the sector, Katy Askew suggests.


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