Quote, unquote: just-food's week in words
Quotes of the week
Private label has grabbed the spotlight in the UK this week, with retailers Asda, Ocado and Sainsbury's all relaunching various aspects of their own-label ranges. In the US, ConAgra Foods said its retail customers continued to drive traffic through discounts, while General Mills, which said the US was "a mixed bag" for the business praised the performance of its international operations. Meanwhile, the war of words between North American c-store retailers Casey's General Stores and Couche-Tard may calm after Casey's slate of board nominees were reinstated as directors. Here's the best of what was said this week:
"When it comes to our food, we've taken a long, hard look at our products, done a lot of listening to customers, and invested a significant amount of time effort and money. No other retailer has moved so aggressively to seek not just the counsel but the consent of the very people who buy and eat their products" - Asda president and CEO Andy Clarke on the relaunch of the UK retailer's private-label range.
"We are sure that the new Bistro range will be very popular. We believe that many people are eating out less and less so there is a real opportunity for us to capitalise on this by offering restaurant quality food that can be easily prepared at home" -Sainsbury's group commercial director Mike Coupe on the relaunch of its Taste the Difference range.
"When customers came in and discovered they could switch without sacrificing quality, they became interested in private label. Once people began shopping private label, they went up to the mid-tier and to the top tier, so retailers also then expanded their premium ranges so they could exploit things like people dining in more." - Datamonitor analyst Malcolm Pinkerton on the spate of private-label revamps in the UK
"Our international business is off to a good start this year, and we're beginning to see improving consumer trends in some markets. We have tremendous potential in international markets, and we're on track to deliver mid-single-digit constant-currency sales growth in 2011" - General Mills CEO Ken Powell on the company's outlook.
"Customers are really driving foot traffic with aggressive discounting, sometimes extremely low prices for major brand names. This is not how we want to do business but sometimes your hand is forced just to stay in the game. A good example is our frozen business where there were more and deeper deals this summer than we've seen in the last two years" - ConAgra CEO Gary Rodkin said of the aggresive promotional landscape the company has been experiencing in the US.
"Given the competitive dynamics of the Australian grocery sector, we expected the ACCC would scrutinise this transaction closely" - Pick n Pay Chairman Gareth Ackerman on the scruitiny the sale of its Australian supermarket chain to Metcash is facing from the ACCC.
"We've already learned so much from Netto colleagues and I appreciate their hard work and commitment. I'm looking forward to continuing to work together to ensure we make the transition to Asda a success and putting into practice what we've learned. I continue to be excited at what we can achieve together" - Asda CFO Judith McKenna on getting the green light from the OFT to acquire discount retailer Netto.
"The research at this centre will provide exciting opportunities for innovation. It will allow us to offer consumers in India and beyond the choice of tasty, healthy, and nutritious products -" Nestle senior vice president Klaus Zimmermann on the Swiss food giant's new R&D centre for cut-price products in India.
"On behalf of Casey's board and management team, I would like to thank the company's shareholders for their overwhelming support. We appreciate the confidence that Casey's shareholders have placed in all of us, and we look forward to continuing to serve on their behalf" - Casey's CEO Robert Myers commenting on its incumbent board members being reelected.
"It is terrible news that the Warburtons bakery site may have to close, especially when there are so many local jobs involved. However, we have been interested in opening a site within Newport for a number of years and see this development as an opportunity to step in and keep the bakery up and running - saving jobs in the process" - Brace's spokesperson Scott Richardson on the Warburtons bakery that is set to close in Newport, Wales.
It seems one of the biggest M&A stories in the food industry in recent months is reaching the final chapter, with the news today (18 March) that General Mills is in exclusive talks to buy into French ...
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