Bill Simon announces Wal-Marts healthy-eating initiative

Bill Simon announces Wal-Mart's healthy-eating initiative

Wal-Mart, as it often does, this week shook up the US grocery sector with its plans to make a swathe of its private-label products healthier. Elsewhere, speculation of changes within the food-ingredients space continued with Cargill named as a potential bidder for Tate & Lyle. And, a year since Kraft Foods succeeded in getting Cadbury's board to back its plans to buy the UK confectioner, the US group faced rumours that management at Green & Black's wanted to buy the organic chocolate business.

"No family should have to choose between food that is healthier for them and food they can afford" - Bill Simon, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores' US division, on the day the retail giant announced plans to make a swathe of its private-label products healthier.

"I hope this move emboldens the Food and Drug Administration and US Department of Agriculture, which should immediately pull the plug on partially hydrogenated oil and set reasonable limits on sodium levels in different categories of packaged foods" - Michael Jacobson, executive director for US consumer group Center for Science in the Public Interest, hopes Wal-Mart's move will act as a catalyst to strength government efforts on reformulation.

"A combination between Cargill and Tate would help to consolidate the still fragmented US HFCS market as well as providing complementary technologies in food science" - MF Global analyst Andy Ford believes Cargill could bid for UK food-ingredients group Tate & Lyle.

"Green & Black's is in good hands" - Michael Clarke, head of Kraft Foods' European business, insists the US food giant has no current plans to sell the organic chocolate brand.

"[Sales growth] was driven by double-digit growth in the US and UK so it's the ongoing Lindt revolution basically - producing premium chocolate to the Anglo-Saxon masses as it were - Kepler Capital Markets Jon Cox labels Lindt & Sprungli "a class act" after their 2010 sales were reported.

"We're very proud of the pizzas that we make and of our taste credentials. We believe our consumers want great tasting products and for that reason we are unable at this time to further reduce the levels of fat" - a spokesperson for Chicago Town and Ristorante owner Dr Oetker defends the company's pizzas in the face of criticism from UK consumer group Which?

"BSN is an excellent strategic fit with our Performance Nutrition business and adds strong brand and market positions that complement and extend our portfolio" - Glanbia MD John Moloney explains why the Irish group moved to buy US sports nutrition firm Bio-Engineered Supplements and Nutrition.

"It is a copy of the Raffaello chocolate. Any company can now go on the market and copy our product. There are no ways we can fight them" - Elena Limakova, senior lawyer for Ferrero's Ukraine business, slams a court ruling that allows Russian importer Landrin to sell lookalike praline Waferatto.

"With the US macroeconomic outlook improving and food inflation set to return, we believe the window of opportunity will likely start to close in 2011. As such we expect the company to act either by making acquisitions early in the year or returning cash" - Sanford Bernstein analyst Christopher Hogbin believes Dutch retail giant Ahold could use its financial firepower on M&A this year.

"It is important that Heinz has listened to its workforce and offered a fairer pay deal, one that acknowledges the contribution the workforce has made to the company's success" - Jennie Formby, national officer at UK union Unite, reflects on a pay deal with Heinz after a three-month dispute at the US food group's flagship UK plant.