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.
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