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Against a backdrop of weak consumer confidence and falling prices, four of France's leading four retailers have, in two deals, decided to team up on purchasing. And the country's food manufacturers are not happy.
Carrefour's move to exit India underlines the ongoing challenges international retailers and food manufacturers face in the market where restrictions on foreign direct investment and a lack of infrastructure are curbing the development of modern retail. Katy Askew reports.
It is clear Carrefour has made some improvement under the stewardship of CEO Georges Plassat but more work needs to be done, writes Dean Best.
Carrefour's 2013 results came in above market expectations, with analysts praising the French retail giant's work in recent years, particularly in its domestic market. Signs of an improvement in Spain were also welcomed. However, there is concern Carrefour's management, part-way through a turnaround of the business, has some tough tasks ahead.
Since setting up their baby food business from their home in Northern Ireland in 2009, husband-and-wife founders of Heavenly Tasty Organics James Blair and Shauna McCarney-Blair have seen the firm go from strength to strength. Now the firm is about to launch its range of snack products in Asia. James Blair, operations director, tells John Shepherd about the firms latest expansion plans.
Ambitious dairy-free chocolate maker Moo Free aims to "dominate" the world market for dairy-free milk chocolate by expanding in new markets and increasing its exposure to the supermarket channel.
Carrefour has launched a line of own-label vegetarian products in France, with the retailer saying it is the first grocer in its domestic market to roll out a private-label range in the category.
French retail body, the La Fédération des Entreprises du Commerce et de la Distribution, has unveiled its own voluntary labelling scheme, which it is planning to test by the end of the year before a full roll-out in 2016.
Food manufacturers including Kellogg, Mars and PepsiCo have criticised the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil for failing to "address critical sustainability concerns" in the supply chain for the ingredient.
French retailers are lining up to show their support for the introduction of a national charter for responsible supplier relations.
Major suppliers operating in France will lose money from the two buying partnership deals announced by four of the country's largest grocers, a senior executive at dairy group Bongrain has said.
Two key themes were once again in evidence on our pages this week: the importance of securing the supply chain in a world where commodities are becoming more hotly contested and the task of leveraging areas of growth in developed and developing markets.
Carrefour's Greek franchisee Marinopoulos has announced its intention to acquire 42 stores of the Larisa Super Market chain.
France's Carrefour is reportedly in talks with Bharti Group over a potential joint venture in India.
Carrefour this morning (10 April) posted a mixed set of first-quarter sales that led to group revenue dropping almost 4%, although the decline met analyst expectations.
Indian political party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is expected to lead the country's next government, has said it plans to ban foreign supermarkets from entering its retail sector.
Spain-based discounter Dia has reportedly hired bankers to look at the potential sale of its operations in France.
Middle Eastern retailer Majid Al Futtaim has detailed an EGP16.5bn (US$2.36bn) five-year investment plan for Egypt, which will include the opening of 32 Carrefour outlets as well as three new shopping malls.
UK retailer Tesco has confirmed that it will invest GBP85m (US$132m) to establish a multi-brand retail joint venture with Trent Ltd, part of the Tata Group, in India.
Carrefour has sealed a deal to buy 128 stores in France from regional retailer Coop Alsace.
French retail giant Carrefour is reportedly looking at raising BRL5bn (US$2.1bn) through the sale of a stake in its Brazilian unit.
Sugar again grabbed the headlines after the World Health Organization revised its guidance on how much of the ingredient to consume. Elsewhere, a US retailer with over 2,400 stores could be created after Albertsons owner and private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management struck a deal that looks set to see it buy Safeway.
This week Unilever was gain rumoured to be looking to sell a food brand - this time Ragu pasta sauces. UK group Premier Foods announced a new refinancing package, while in the US, a mega-merger in the retail sector is on the cards, after Albertsons owner and private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management struck a deal to buy Safeway.
Lidi is to spend EUR180m in Spain this year on new stores, improving ranges in existing outlets and opening another warehouse in the country.
Carrefour, the world's second-largest retailer, today (5 March) reported higher 2013 profits as investment helped boost sales in France - with the company pledging to up spending this year.
Carrefour CEO Georges Plassat today (5 March) indicated the retailer will announce a decision on the future ownership of its business in Brazil next year.
Carrefour has admitted its moves into China's tier-two and tier-three cities have not paid off to the extent the retail giant hoped.
This week, we interviewed the boss of UK-based meat-free business Quorn Foods, which saw sales jump last year, helped by the horsemeat saga. We also spoke to the chair of the National Obesity Forum after its report warned forecasts on UK obesity rates may have under-estimated the problem. Elsewhere, Fonterra was caught up in another recall, Saputo received a boost in its bid to buy Australian dairy Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory and Hain Celestial swooped to acquire UK rice firm Tilda.
News that French retail giant Carrefour last month launched an online shopping portal in China, carrefour.cn, comes as further evidence of the growing importance of e-commerce in the market.
On Monday (30 December), India's foreign investment watchdog reportedly cleared Tesco's move to become the first overseas retailer to run multi-brand retail outlets. Industry watchers are now looking to see which other multinational could follow in the UK grocer's footsteps.
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