2012: just-food's review of the year
Economic uncertainty prevailed and the industry battled commodity volatility and weak consumer confidence. Here, we took a look back at another challenging year for the sector.
There were, despite continued economic uncertainty in many Western markets and concerns over slowing growth in the East, signs that M&A activity rebounded in the food sector this year. However, a look at just-food's M&A coverage this year shows there have been few big-ticket, transformational deals.
Grocers undoubtedly felt the economic pressures in 2012 with discounters enjoying buoyant growth as a result of an increase in value-seeking consumers. Shoppers' focus on value led to rising online sales and further investment in the channel from the world's food retailers. However, the year was not just about expansion. Some of the world's largest grocers have scaled back overseas, with the trend towards internalisation slowing. Michelle Russell takes a look at the highs and lows for international retailers in 2012.
Volatility in global commodity markets remained a significant factor for the food industry during 2012. On the one hand, adverse weather conditions hit grain harvests causing prices to spike, while on the other, over-supply has meant cocoa and sugar prices have continued to fall. Katy Askew takes a look at some of the major developments on the commodities markets over the past 12 months.
From a sustainability standpoint, 2012 might be characterised as a year when the world went backwards - or at a pinch stayed still - but the food industry moved forward, writes Ben Cooper.
just-food's interviews with senior executives in the international food sector provide exclusive insight into how the leading lights in the industry deal with the challenges and embrace the opportunities in front of them. This year, the most-read interviews on just-food included one-on-ones with companies from General Mills and Heinz to Russian retail giant Magnit to the UK government minister responsible for food policy.
Looking behind the headlines is just-food's signature dish and this year we looked at the major stories in-depth, including the possible suitors for United Biscuits' salty snacks business; the work ahead for China's Bright Food after it bought Weetabix and the prospects for the two companies created by Kraft Foods' split in two.
just-food does not shy away from commenting on the major developments and issues in the industry and this year its focus centred on issues from traffic-light labels to sustainability, on deals like Kellogg's takeover of Pringles and Arla Foods' latest venture in China.
It's the time of the year when we look back at the 12 months just past to see what was getting you clicking on just-food. The ten most-read news stories of 2012 include UK grocers signing a code of conduct on promos and Tesco announcing it would put traffic-light labels on its food in the UK. Tesco's likely exit from the US also proved popular, as did a series of M&A stories, including major deals by Hain Celestial, R&R Ice Cream and Hershey.
- Analysis: Is Heinz, Kraft merger "a growth story"?
- McDonald's antibiotics move may be seminal moment
- M&A Watch: Who could be on 3G Capital's radar?
- Viewpoint: Faber-led Danone gets realistic
- The challenges awaiting ConAgra's new CEO
- UPDATE: Heinz, Kraft strike merger agreement
- Kraft "in buyout talks" with Heinz owner 3G
- Fatal explosion at French desserts firm Senagral
- Infographic: Heinz, Kraft unveil combined business
- Buffett: Kraft Heinz to withstand health focus