Quote, unquote: just-food's week in words

By Dean Best | 29 July 2011

The week saw more of the major food manufacturers report their half-year results. Aside from their numbers, Danone faced questions on the performance of its business in Russia, while Hershey's new CEO was quizzed over its future in India. Meanwhile, Superquinn directors dropped their legal action against the Irish retailer's receivership and a group of UK politicians urged the Government to strengthen the powers of the proposed grocery watchdog. Click on the links for more.

"This now looks like a 2012 event at best. At worst, there is still the risk that this turns out to be another M&A disaster for Danone" - Sanford Bernstein analyst Andrew Wood ponders the future for Danone's Russian business Unimilk, which the French food giant was forced to defend this week.

"How we participate there could potentially look different but we feel very good about the potential of our businesses in India" - Hershey president and CEO John Bilbrey was coy about the future of the confectioner's venture in India with Godrej.

"With the support fund in place, we now believe that the receivership process is in the best interests of our suppliers, colleagues and the many other partners of Superquinn and are happy to support the process" - Directors in Superquinn, initially opposed to the Irish retailer's move into receivership, backed the process this week after prospective buyer Musgrave Group pledged to set up a fund to help suppliers.

"We disagree with the Government on the introduction of fines, however. We propose that fines be an available penalty from the start, not least so that the adjudicator's performance can be judged on the basis of a full package of remedies" UK Labour MP Adrian Bailey believes the proposed grocery watchdog should be able to fine retailers that treat suppliers unfairly.

"Given that that consumer is looking for value and the retailer wants to deliver value, cheese is one of the core categories that they will promote. Probably more than they should but that's their call" - First Milk commercial director Richard Hollingdale says UK retailers always look to use promotions in the cheese category to drive volumes.

"While the decision to close a plant and eliminate jobs is always painful, we must make better use of our assets given the challenges facing our industry from record-high feed costs and an oversupply of chicken" - Pilgrim's Pride president and CEO Bill Lovette explains the US poultry processor's decision to close a plant in Texas.

"We are continuing to gain market share at a faster rate than most public food retailers" - Whole Foods Market co-COO Walter Robb hails the US natural and organic retailer's recent trading performance.

"Emerging cities and markets will be our focus in the future" - Ed Chan, CEO of Wal-Mart Stores' operations in China, reveals the US retailer is looking at the country's lower-tier cities.

"You have to admire them for their long-term game. Its profits [from online] are hidden but if it was not successful in the UK then they'd not be doing it overseas" - David Smith, MD of global e-retailing industry association IMRG, praises Tesco's online business.

"We've got to be seen to be moving forward together as an industry" - Robin Dearden, environment, health and safety manager at Arla Foods' UK arm, believes the country's dairy processors need to work together to improve the sector's impact on the environment.

Sectors: Baby food, Bakery, Canned food, Cereal, Chilled foods, Commodities & ingredients, Condiments, dressings & sauces, Confectionery, Dairy, Dried foods, Emerging markets, Financials, Fresh produce, Frozen, Health & wellness, Ice cream, Meat & poultry, Multichannel, Natural & organic, NPD & innovation, Private label, Retail, Seafood, Snacks, Sustainability & the environment, World foods

Companies: Danone, Superquinn, Hershey, Musgrave Group, First Milk, Pilgrim’s Pride, Whole Foods Market, Wal-Mart Stores, Tesco, Arla Foods

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