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

By Michelle Russell | 23 July 2012

While the row over UK farmgate milk prices rumbled on this week, elsewhere first-half results hit the just-food news desk. Safeway sounded an upbeat note on the performance of its loyalty programme and the group's dominance in retail personalisation for consumers. Elsewhere, just-food spoke with Mizkan EuroAmericas president Craig Smith who spoke about the firm's plansfor the business long-term.

"We stand here as the first food retailer to have this kind of personalisation. I believe that others will follow, that others are trying to do this now. I believe we have a substantial lead" - Safeway Inc CEO Steve Burd explains the merits of its Just for U loyalty scheme.

"Trading has been quite difficult. We have fx headwinds, which isn't really a trading issue - its an earnings issue - the consumer is under pressure in several European markets, including the UK, and that has led to down trading to cheaper cuts of meat" - a spokesperson for Hilton explains the challenging conditions in its key markets.

"The hope is that we can build the UK organisation to a scale that is similar to North America and use the economies of scale to introduce new products to the consumers that haven't been done before" - Mizkan EuroAmericas president Craig Smith talks to just-food about the firm's plansfor the business long-term.

"We are a consolidator in the industry - we are the market leader and despite that we have lower earnings compared to last year, our absolute earnings are much higher than our comptitors" - Sligro Food Group CFO Huub van Rozendaal says the company is well-positioned to capitalise on consolidation opportunities as and when they are presented.

"Retailers are under pressure because their consumers are under pressure. Consumers are looking to keep the cost of their shopping down. So we are seeing some pressure on liquid milk prices" - Arthur Reeves, Dairy Crest external affairs director, says the company is facing strong pressure from UK retailers to keep liquid milk prices down as it vies with the other dairy processors for retail contracts.

"Analysts expecting us to go from GBP128m to GBP140 or even more and that is under-pinned by new contracted business, not just dependent on the success of our new launches" - Zetar CEO Ian Blackburn on the firm's ability to generate growth in the years ahead.

"Asda are now paying such a low price that their cost of production figure is 27.5 pence per litre. That is three pence per litre below the actual cost of production, according to Sainsbury's formula. This is just an insult" - Farmers for Action chairman David Handley said Asda's announcement it will increase the premium it pays to its farmers through the Arla Foods Milk Partnership highlights the low price that the retailer was - and is - paying.

"We continue to invest to grow our better for you portfolio, two thirds of our research and development budget has been channelled into producing healthier, great tasting snacks" - Adam Warner, senior brand manager for PepsiCo's Walkers brand in the UK, insists the company remains committed to developing healthier snacks after the recent launch of Walkers Deep Ridged.

"Retailers have [to date] been reluctant to introduce active packaging more widely either for cost reasons... or because fillers and packers found the investment costs too high," - Linpac Packaging on the increasingly demanding requirements from food manufacturers and their consumers on packaging

"The process is on track and we are also on track in the reduction of our share portfolio. There is no change in strategy there" - Orkla president and CEO Åge Korsvold says Orkla is pushing ahead with its consumer brands focus strategy and hints at M&A opportunities in the Nordic markets.

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: Mizkan, Asda, Safeway Inc, Zetar, PepsiCo, Sligro Food Group, Dairy Crest, Sainsbury’s, Arla Foods, Orkla

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