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

By Michelle Russell | 20 May 2013

just-food spoke with the Amys Kitchen founder this week

just-food spoke with the Amy's Kitchen founder this week

The week ended on a high note for Morrisons last week after it announced a venture to launch into the online channel with Ocado. The deal has again fuelled speculation that the deal could upset Ocado's current arrangement with Waitrose. Other deals this week included the acquisition of US baby food firm Happy Family by Danone. just-food also spoke with founder of Amy's Kitchen, Amy Berliner about the firm's growth plans.

"I am cast-iron clear that it has absolutely no bearing on the [Waitrose] agreement. I'm not in a position to make a joint statement but I can tell you this [Morrisons] agreement does not cause existing problems with the Waitrose agreement, definitively" - Ocado chief executive Tim Steiner insists the Morrisons deal would not affect Ocado's partnership with Waitrose.

"We're not being distracted by the gimmicks in the market. We've stuck to a very clear price agenda. The customer is looking for real price value rather than yo-yo pricing" - Asda CEO Andy Clarke hits out at the "gimmicky" and "unsustainable" promotions of its rivals.

"There's less risk, more certainty doing it with them. There's no black hole of costs. They've got the capability" - Morrisons CEO Dalton Philips said teaming up with Ocado was less risky than entering the online channel alone.

"Lifeway's expansion into the UK also positions the company to pursue additional distribution opportunities throughout Europe and as the global wallet share for natural foods continues to climb" - Lifeway Foods CEO Julie Smolyansky says its deal with UK retailer Harvey Nichols is an "exciting opportunity" for the company as it expands the brand internationally.

"We've been getting offers since we were three years old as a company. We still get offers all the time. They have kind of slowed as I think they have finally given up and got the message" - Amy's Kitchen founder Amy Berliner says the company has remained steadfast in its beliefs, even as suitors have shown interest in the business.

"The company's action demonstrates real leadership and commitment to the public health. We hope others in the food industry will exercise similar restraint" - FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine Michael Taylor applauds Wrigley's decision to withdraw its caffeine chewing gum over health concerns.

"This is a first step for Danone in the US baby food market, which we did not believe it was targeting" - Natixis analyst Pierre Tegner said Danone's acquisition of Happy Family is "good news" for the group in that it will "help rebalance Danone's profile".

"We retained the financial capacity to pursue additional M&A," Post Holdings CFO Rob Vitale says M&A is "central" to the company's moves to "build long-term value".

Neil Stern, a senior partner at US retail consultants MacmillanDoolittle, believes the chances of Wal-Mart hiring externally is "unlikely" given it has always appointed from within for CEO - and particularly given the company is performing "at a fairly strong level". This as the reports of a successor to Mike Duke rumble on.

"After conducting an extensive review of potential strategic alternatives, our board concluded that this all-cash transaction was the best path to maximizing value for our shareholders" - Overhill chairman and CEO James Rudis on its decision to sell to Bellisio Foods for US$80.9m.

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, Multichannel, Natural & organic, NPD & innovation, Private label, Retail, Seafood, Snacks, Sustainability & the environment, World foods

Companies: Ocado, Waitrose, Morrisons, Danone, Amy’s Kitchen, Asda, Wrigley, Lifeway Foods, Post Holdings

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