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

By Dean Best | 9 December 2013

Unilever CEO Paul Polman last week met analysts to explain how the consumer goods giant is changing its business amid slowing sales, moves that are set to include 2,000 jobs being cut. Meanwhile, Tesco CEO Philip Clarke reported the retailer's latest sales figures to the City - and they did not make for easy reading.

"The global economy has calibrated down about 1-1.5% and we probably should have done a better job seeing it coming" - Unilever CEO Paul Polman as he outlines plans to reduce costs in response to slowing sales - plans that look set to include a swathe of job cuts.

"The traditional big four retailers are feeling the pressure of the discounters and the niche players at the other end... We will succeed because we will become multichannel" - Tesco CEO Philip Clarke on the day the UK retailer reported another quarter of falling sales.

"The importance of e-commerce to CPG companies has not, in most cases, translated into a fully-developed strategy for capitalising on this channel" - Pat Conroy, vice chairman and consumer products sector leader at Deloitte, argues food companies are not ready to capture the opportunities online.

"We know from our customers and other stakeholders that there is a strong and rapidly growing demand for traceable, deforestation-free palm oil, and we intend to meet it as a core element of our growth strategy" - Wilmar International chairman and CEO Kuok Khoon Hong explains why the Asia agri giant has pledged to source palm oil sustainably.

"Our quarterly results show once again that Kroger is uniquely positioned to grow and win in the US food retail industry" - Kroger chairman and CEO David Dillon is upbeat after the US grocer's third-quarter results, which did include a fall in profits.

"This acquisition is transformational in terms of Mariano's expansion plans in the Chicago metropolitan area, allowing us to open 11 additional stores in 2014 in prime locations with great market demographics" - Robert Mariano, chairman, president and CEO of US retailer Roundy's, reflects on the company's purchase of a batch of stores in the Windy City from Safeway.

"The companies Doux and Soprat can resume their conquest of new markets" - French poultry processor Groupe Doux indicates the confidence it has for the future after exiting administration.

"I had planned to leave the company at the time control passed over to ADM. Given last week's unexpected developments, I feel it is in the best interests of GrainCorp, our people and customers that I move on now" - Alison Watkins explains why she has left Australian grain merchant GrainCorp to lead food and drink group Coca-Cola Amatil.

"We've tailored our new Jolly Rancher products for India to appeal, specifically, to local palates with bold, fruity flavours that are unlike any other candy available in the market" - Atul Razdan, general manager, marketing, sweets and refreshments, for Hershey India, outlines the new products the US confectioner is selling in the country.

"We firmly believe this proposal is the most cost-effective way for us to modernise and future proof our nut processing capability" - Mark Thorpe, MD for operations for KP Snacks and Intersnack UK, on why the German snack giant is closing a plant in the UK - and opening a new site.

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

Companies: Unilever, Tesco, Kroger, Hershey, Groupe Doux, Intersnack

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