Latest food industry comment
The best views and opinions in food industry publishing, all in one place, from food's monthly columnists and in-house experts.
With a call for nutrient taxes and linking the impact of diet on the environment, the advisory committee's recommendations for the 2015 Diet...
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 underli...
It was a bumper week of 2014 financial results, particularly from the US, but a flurry of announcements - including some surprise admissions...
Consumer goods conglomerate Hindustan Unilever is changing the operating model of its business-to-consumer direct sales arm in India, Hindus...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It hardly even seems to count as news: the German discounters continue to make strides in the UK. The trend has been in evidence for years now, as a tight focus on price and improved ranging enable Aldi and Lidl to continue to win shoppers in their droves. This week's announcement that Aldi plans to invest heavily in the market should be viewed as a signal of intent. The Germans are coming - and their advance is likely to put even more pressure on pricing for food makers. Katy Askew reports.
Shares in Dairy Crest shot up today (6 November) after the UK dairy group announced a deal to sell its most problematic and under-pressure division - liquid milk. However, it may just be the City was not just reacting to the exit (dependent of course on competition officials approving the transaction) of Dairy Crest from a sector struggling to make money but the fact there could be takeover interest in the leaner company.
Yildiz Holding today (3 November) announced it had won the race to buy UK-based biscuit maker United Biscuits. In doing so, the privately-owned Turkish food group has moved once more to buy a major Western food brand.
The imminent sale of Chiquita Brands International, the US produce giant, shows how different investment horizons can manifest on a company's share roster - and decide a business's future.
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- Foodservice in the US - what the analysts say
- Why "simple" and "real" will be industry buzzwords
- UK organic industry's bullish outlook
- Sustainability Watch: The US packaging challenge
- UPDATE: Mondelez confirms Irish plant changes
- Saputo's Warrnambool to buy Lion's cheese arm
- WhiteWave launches "Australian-style" yoghurt
- Greenyard Foods, Univeg, Peatinvest mulling merger
- Thorntons sales, profits fall