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Quote, unquote: just-food's week in words

By just-food.com | 22 October 2010

Groupe Doux CEO Guy Odri

Groupe Doux CEO Guy Odri

Commodity costs may not be reaching the levels seen in 2007 but there are signs of growing pressure on food manufacturers. In this month's just-food interview, Groupe Doux CEO Guy Odri explained why the poultry giant is urging retailers to push through price increases. Elsewhere this week, Yakult failed in its attempt to get EU clearance for health claims, food ingredients maker Ajinomoto defended aspartame from the critics and Mars Inc explained it is planning to realign its chocolate business worldwide.

"I am not saying that I want to make money. It is just to reflect the commodity price increase onto the final product. We're not looking for more margin. Here we are just saying we have a price increase at the entrance and we want that price increase to be reflected on the final product" - Guy Odri (pictured), CEO of Europe's largest poultry processor Groupe Doux, explains why the French group is demanding price rises from retailers.

"We will focus all our efforts on the preparation and submission of new health claim dossiers. We also expect that the guidelines currently being drafted by EFSA .... will further clarify the scientific requirements for dossiers. With the benefit of this further guidance, the company anticipates a positive EFSA opinion in due course" - Japanese probiotic firm Yakult is confident it will get EU clearance for its health claim after regulators rejected its latest application this week.

"[The criticism] is not always justified. It's difficult to combat against that. We have all the data that everyone wants to look at. Already EFSA and the FDA have confidence. We know that some people, whatever we say, will think they are right" - Andre Vrillon, executive deputy president of Ajinomoto's European business, defends its key artificial ingredient aspartame against its critics.

"It is about grouping markets together so that we are more focused and looking at similarities with the consumer and where the competition is" - Alison Clarke, corporate affairs director of Mars UK, explains the company's decision to restructure its chocolate operations worldwide.

"We believe the health and wellness category in India is poised for an explosion" - Anuradha Narasimhan, category director for health and wellness at Indian food group Britannia Industries, predicts demand for healthier products in the country will boom.

"We are still not seeing a consumer rebound. Consumers are not trading up. Discounters are performing much, much stronger on a like-for-like basis" - Victoria Petrova, a retail analyst at Credit Suisse in Moscow, says consumer sentiment in Russia remains weak.

"We're at a pains to say that it's not a physical sustainable supply chain. It's a claim that you're supporting production, not that your products contain [sustainable palm oil]. At the end of the day, a volume of sustainable palm oil is being supported whether it comes physically - incurring additonal supply chain costs - or is being consumed by somebody else" - Bob Norman, general manager of AAK subsidiary Book & Claim, defends the GreenPalm sustainable palm oil scheme, which has faced accusations of greenwash.

"The first deal driver is the absolute size, finding synergies, technology which moves more and more automation, which means more volume in the same plant. The second naturally is new markets. That was a gift from this deal. Very very few customers are common to each other. That makes one plus one remains two" - PinguinLutosa CEO Herwig Dejonghe explains the merits of the Belgium-based group's move to acquire the frozen-vegetable business of French co-operative CECAB.

"Kellogg's new guidance range implies that weakness will persist longer than we - and consensus - originally anticipated" - Sanford Bernstein analyst Alexia Howard warns that the US food group's challenges in the cereal sector could last for a while yet.

"I am particularly excited by the opportunities to launch new products and develop the business internationally" - Jean-Pierre Caillavet, chairman of France's biggest own-label salty snacks group Snacks International welcomes private-equity investment from IK Investment Partners.

Sectors: Bakery, Commodities & ingredients, Confectionery, Dairy, Emerging markets, Fresh produce, Frozen, Meat & poultry, Mergers & acquisitions, Retail, Sustainability & the environment

Companies: Yakult, Ajinomoto, Groupe Doux, Mars Inc, PinguinLutosa, Kellogg

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