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

By Michelle Russell | 14 May 2012

Sainsbury's chief executive Justin King this week welcomed moves from its UK retail rivals to invest in product quality and service after the retailer reported an increase in annual underlying profits. Also in the UK, the Government announced plans to introduce an independent supermarket adjudicator, much to the dismay of retailers. Elsewhere, the MD of Murray Goulburn cited a fall in global milk prices for the Australian dairy processor decision to cut over 300 jobs, while Tyson Foods COO Jim Lochner commented on the impact the pink slime outcry has had on the US beef industry.

"If the conversation in this market place is to shift and people are arguing over the quality of what they sell or the quality of the service they deliver in store, then we are very happy that's the competitive picture. We believe we have real leadership and real strength on that dimension" - Sainsbury's chief executive Justin King insists the company is prepared to compete grounds other than its price-comparison initiative.

"I'm proud that now, having previously acquired Bekina soup factory in Beelitz (Brandenburg), we are now making further major inroads into the German market with this new acquisition. With this step, we can be very targeted in improving the positioning of our German operations and expanding them," said Hans Struik, owner and president of Struik Foods Europe" - Struik Foods Europe president Hans Struik on the purchase of Heinz's Sonnen Bassermann brand.

"The decision to split up the operational management as from 1 September 2012 will not influence the operation of the board of directors of which Jef Colruyt remains the chairman" - Colruyt explains its decision to split the operational management of the company

"While bakery supplies is a well-run business with excellent market positions, its value and prospects would be enhanced under different ownership" - CSM CEO Gerard Hoetmer believes all of the company's bakery business would be better off under new owners.

Commenting on the impact of the pink slime outcry, Tyson Foods COO Jim Lochner said the "unwarranted controversy... temporarily destroyed demand for ground beef, and beef in general, virtually overnight".

"These include better balance between Swedish, HKScan and "external" raw material, further sales price increases in the market and cost measures" - HKScan CEO Hannu Kottonen said the meat firm has "several actions" in the pipeline to boost profitability.

"The change programme embarked on by Murray Goulburn is even more critical given the recent significant decline in world market prices due to higher global milk supply" - Murray Goulburn MD Gary Helou points to a fall in global milk prices for the Australian milk processor's decision to cut over 300 jobs.

"We think we already have enough support to prevent the takeover going through at the current price and I think that they [management] know it" - ShareSoc director and Lees Foods shareholder David Stredder claims investors could block a takeover bid from the UK baker's management to buy the company.

"The questions focused on who would produce Yoplait yoghurts going forward, and who would support the other aspects of the business. In the end, the two companies were able to resolve these questions and reach an agreement for the future" - a spokesperson for Ultima Foods explains the dispute between Agropur and Agrifoods on the production of Yoplait.

"A lot of little pieces of red tape combine to make one big burden" - British Retail Consortium (BRC) director general Stephen Robertson reacts to UK government plans to introduce an independent supermarket adjudicator.

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

Companies: Colruyt, Sainsbury’s, Murray Goulburn, Tyson Foods, Heinz, HKScan, CSM, Yoplait, Lees Foods, Agropur

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