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Focus: ConAgra own-label exit plan is about growth

Katy Askew | 1 Jul 2015

ConAgra Foods announced that it will sell off its loss-making private label business yesterday (30 June) in a move that, the company said, will help unlock value for its shareholders. But selling off private brands is about more than offloading an asset that is a challenging turnaround story. New CEO Sean Connolly insists it is about putting ConAgra back on the road to growth. Katy Askew reports.


M&A Watch - ConAgra should divest Commercial Foods

Stefan Kirk, M&A advisors Glenboden | 25 Jun 2015

The investment in ConAgra's shares by hedge fund Jana Partners has prompted speculation that the group will sell one of its divisions, in order to better realise shareholder value. While the emphasis seems to be so far on ConAgra's troubled Private brands business, Stefan Kirk of M&A advisory Glenboden believes that the Commercial foods unit should be the divestment priority.


Focus: Will ConAgra sell own-label unit?

Katy Askew | 22 Jun 2015

ConAgra Foods came under even more pressure to start delivering returns to shareholders last week when activist investor Jana Partners revealed it has taken a stake in the US food company. Shareholders have long grumbled about the seeming incompatibility between ConAgra's branded and private-label business, with shares in the under-performing US food maker at all time highs on the expectation that disposals must soon come. Are there more options open to ConAgra management than simply carving up the business? Katy Askew investigates.


Is change on sustainable palm oil too slow?

Ben Cooper | 17 Jun 2015

A group of major consumer goods companies and investors have publicly called on the Roundtable on Responsible Palm Oil (RSPO) to strengthen its standards following mounting criticism of the multi-stakeholder platform. This has left the RSPO pondering whether it can afford to continue to move at a pace that keeps less ambitious companies engaged or whether it should allow more progressive members to set the agenda, Ben Cooper reports.

Latest Interviews

just-food interview - Quorn Foods CEO - part two

Dean Best | 17 Jan 2014

Quorn Foods, the UK-based meat-free group, is enjoying a period of robust sales growth in the UK - but the business, owned by Exponent Private Equity, has international ambitions. In part two of the latest just-food interview, CEO Kevin Brennan discusses the company's overseas performance and prospects.


Q&A: ConAgra sales boss Knudsen on Ralcorp deal

Dean Best | 28 Nov 2012

ConAgra Foods will become the largest own-label firm in the US with an acquisition of Ralcorp Holdings but there are concerns over whether it can manage brands and private label. There are also questions over the potential private label has for further growth in the US. Doug Knudsen, president of sales at ConAgra, tells Dean Best why the company is upbeat about the deal, its ability to grow brands and own label and the private label sector.

Latest News

Food industry news of week: Nestle India, ConAgra

Dean Best | 31 Jul 2015

Nestle this week a change of leadership at its embattled unit India, which has been under the spotlight in recent weeks over the nationwide Maggi recall. Elsewhere, ConAgra Foods was reported to have started talks to sell its own-label unit, with Post Holdings and TreeHouse Foods said to be interested. Our interview pages included chats with the founder of US organic baby food firm - and Danone subsidiary - Happy Family, Chinese bakery business Dongguan Kam Tai Foods and UK gluten-free company Mrs Crimble's.


ConAgra to pull BPA from canned foods range

Dean Best | 30 Jul 2015

ConAgra Foods, the owner of brands including Chef Boyardee pasta and Rotel tomatoes, is removing bisphenol A from the lining of its food cans.


Post, TreeHouse "in talks over ConAgra own-label"

Dean Best | 29 Jul 2015

Post Holdings and TreeHouse Foods are reportedly among the potential suitors for ConAgra Foods' private-label arm.


Food industry news of week - ConAgra, JBS

Katy Askew | 3 Jul 2015

ConAgra said that it will sell its private brands business after reporting losses. We asked whether General Mills' plans to turn around US sales will work and took a detailed look at what Grexit would mean for the food industry in Greece. Here are this week's highlights on just-food.


ConAgra confirms private-label exit

Katy Askew | 30 Jun 2015

ConAgra Foods today (30 June) revealed it will sell its private-label business as the US group confirmed the unit's performance weighed on full-year sales and earnings.


News of the week – Ferrero & Thorntons

Katy Askew | 26 Jun 2015

This week has been bumper for food sector M&A. Ferrero announced that it is gobbling up UK chocolate maker Thorntons. JBS is taking control of Moy Park from heavily indebted Brazilian meat group Marfrig. Grupo Bimbo also announced it has purchased parts of Spanish baker Panrico. Meanwhile, in the world of retail, Delhaize and Ahold revealed plans to combine. Here is just-food's top news and insight coverage from this week.


ConAgra to engage with activist Jana

Katy Askew | 19 Jun 2015

ConAgra Foods said that it is “looking forward” to engaging with Jana Partners after the activist investment vehicle disclosed a 7.2% stake in the food group.


Food industry news of week: Hershey, Nestle

Dean Best | 19 Jun 2015

China continues to be an issue for Hershey, which today (19 June) cut its forecast for 2015 sales for the second time this year thanks to challenges in the market. Meanwhile, around 300 jobs are to go at the US confectionery giant as it tries to react quicker to changing market trends. Nestle, which has had its own issues in China, this week also indicated growth in parts of Africa had not been as rapid as it had hoped.


Food industry quotes of week: Arla, Premier Foods

Hannah Abdulla | 26 May 2015

This week, Arla Foods struck a notable deal in Egypt, with plans for a local venture with Juhayna Food Industries. Elsewhere, Unilever announced CFO Jean-Marc Huet would step down from his post and Thorntons said CEO Jonathan Hart had decided to leave the business. Premier Foods announced its annual results and CEO GavinDarby said the UK group would continue to focus on revamping its range.


ConAgra pumps US$50m in Waterloo plant

Hannah Abdulla | 21 May 2015

ConAgra Foods has announced a US$50m expansion at its Waterloo plant in Iowa.


ConAgra to close biscuit plant in US

Dean Best | 20 May 2015

ConAgra Foods is to shut a biscuit factory in the US state of Wisconsin amid falling demand.


ConAgra to pay fine to settle salmonella case

Hannah Abdulla | 20 May 2015

ConAgra Foods has agreed to pay US$11.2m to settle a case linked to a salmonella outbreak in 2007.


ConAgra acquires Blake's All Natural Foods

Katy Askew | 13 May 2015

ConAgra Foods has acquired US natural and organic frozen meal maker Blake's All Natural Foods for an undisclosed sum.


Heinz relaunches mustard in US push

Dean Best | 17 Apr 2015

Heinz has relaunched its mustard in the US in a bid to grab a slice of a category in which it is not among the top eight brands.


Food industry news of week: Kraft-Heinz, Senagral

Dean Best | 27 Mar 2015

One story dominated the headlines this week - the plans by Heinz and Kraft Foods Group to join forces and create the world's fifth-largest food and drinks group. Elsewhere, French co-ops Agrial and Eurial said their plans to combine their dairy businesses had been put on hold. There was also sad news from the French food sector with news of a fatal explosion at desserts firm Senagral.


ConAgra confirms another private-label charge

Dean Best | 26 Mar 2015

ConAgra Foods today (26 March) recorded another impairment charge on its private-label business, which continues to see sales under pressure.


Heinz, Kraft merger: Quote, unquote

Dean Best | 25 Mar 2015

US-based food giants Heinz and Kraft Foods Group are set to join forces, creating the number three food and drinks company in North America - and the fifth-largest worldwide. Here is a flavour of how the market reacted.


ConAgra cuts EPS forecast on PL woes, port dispute

Dean Best | 13 Feb 2015

ConAgra Foods has cut its forecast for annual underlying earnings, blaming continued weak profits from its private-label business and the impact of the labour dispute at ports on the US West Coast.


ConAgra names ex-Hillshire chief Sean Connolly CEO

Dean Best | 13 Feb 2015

Former Hillshire Brands chief executive Sean Connolly has been appointed the new CEO at ConAgra Foods.


Food industry news of week: Amira, Kellogg

Dean Best | 13 Feb 2015

Campbell Soup Co., ConAgra Foods and Kellogg all indicated they are finding the going tough in the US this week with cuts to financial forecasts. Away from the results, however, it was global rice supplier Amira Nature Foods that grabbed the headlines after being accused of corruption.


ConAgra ends RyKrisp production

Katy Askew | 30 Jan 2015

ConAgra Foods has confirmed that it will stop manufacturing RyKrisp crackers due to "low demand" for the product.


Food industry news of week: Bumble Bee, ConAgra

Dean Best | 22 Dec 2014

Days before Christmas came one of the more notable deals of recent months with Thai seafood giant Thai Union Frozen swooping for US group Bumble Bee Foods. In the US, ConAgra Foods wrote down the value of its own-label arm and Kraft Foods Group announced a new CEO. Elsewhere, Australian retailer Coles admitted payments it demanded from suppliers broke competition law and we interviewed the CEO of Groupe Doux, the French poultry group getting itself back on a firmer footing a year after emerging from administration.

Latest blogs

Ex-Nestle, Kraft execs join ConAgra board

Hannah Abdulla | 9 Jul 2015

ConAgra Foods has appointed former senior executives at Nestle and Kraft to its board, just three weeks after activist investor Jana Partners took a 7% stake in the US food group.


Nestle, ConAgra ditch "diet" for "wellness" in frozen food push

Hannah Abdulla | 21 Oct 2014

As the importance of health has grow in consumers' minds, frozen food has been left out in the cold. But two major manufacturers in the US are looking to heat up the sector by claiming frozen food means healthy.

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