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

By Dean Best | 27 January 2012

The UK government this week launched a series of measures, drawn up with industry, to drive the food sector's growth overseas. The so-called export action plan came in the week that food and drink giant Princes announced a venture in Italy and UK confectioner Zetar opened its first sales office in Europe. Zetar's CEO outlined the company's Continental sales target to just-food and, in a further interview with a top executive, Spar International MD Dr Gordon Campbell told us about the symbol retailer's expansion plans in India.

"With surging world population growth and demand for western products, there are huge opportunities for our producers to tap into emerging markets" - UK agriculture minister Jim Paice says export markets can provide an avenue for growth for the country's food and drink manufacturers.

"This is a significant development for our group and an important step in our strategy for further international growth" - Ken Critchley, MD of UK food and drink group Princes, believes the company's new tomato processing venture in Italy will help drive its international business.

"I think we'll be disappointed if, after three years, we haven't achieved north of GBP5-10m extra sales" - Ian Blackburn, CEO of UK confectioner Zetar, sets out the company's target for European sales after it opened its first sales office on the Continent.

"Commodity inflation remains very high year-on-year and this continues to depress our already low operating margins. It is hard to forecast any improvement in this in the short term" - Finsbury Food Group chief executive John Duffy says raw-material prices will continue to affect profits and explains the UK cake maker will look to sales growth and efficiency to battle commodity costs.

"We are giving local councils the money, the power, the right expertise and information to build healthier communities. Every area of the country is different so councils will be able to decide what the most important public health concern is for them and spend the money appropriately" - UK Health Secretary Andrew Lansley explains why the country's government have given more responsibility over public health to local officials.

"We've never invested so much in Arla Foods Ingredients before, but we’re doing so now because the subsidiary is performing extremely well and its results are helping to fund strategic initiatives in other areas" - Arla Foods vice CEO Povl Krogsgaard explains why the dairy giant is upping its spending on its dairy ingredients arm.

"In India it's difficult to get sites for larger hypermarkets. Retail estate is expensive and they don't have the road infrastructure to build out of town" - Spar International MD Dr Gordon Campbell says the symbol retailer is looking at opening supermarkets in India.

"We cannot see how such a resignation can be considered anything but bad news for Ocado. That Mr Bracey has decided to leave Ocado, billed as the next big thing by some, speaks volumes" - Shore Capital analyst Clive Black reflects on the decision of Andrew Bracey to quit as CFO of UK online retailer Ocado.

"Consumer tastes are largely becoming more sophisticated and adventurous, two adjectives that absolutely no one associates with Twinkies" - Euromonitor analyst Chris Schmidt sums up US baker Hostess Brands' struggle to stay relevant in an evolving American bakery landscape.

"You have to include everybody. All of our functional areas have to participate. I believe that all employees are responsible for sustainability" - Brian Shuttleworth, HJ Heinz's director of operational risk and sustainability, says it is vital that all staff are involved in a company's CSR initiatives.

Sectors: Baby food, Canned food, Commodities & ingredients, Confectionery, Dairy, Emerging markets, Financials, Mergers & acquisitions, Multichannel, Retail, Snacks, Sustainability & the environment

Companies: Zetar, Princes, Spar International, Ocado, Arla Foods, Finsbury Food Group, Hostess Brands, Heinz

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