Hurricane Sandy hit eight eastern US states - and caused food makers to close facilities

Hurricane Sandy hit eight eastern US states - and caused food makers to close facilities

Hurricane Sandy, which swept across the eastern part of the US, dominated headlines worldwide this week - and its impact was felt on the food sector. Elsewhere, US bakery giant Hostess Brands warned it may have to close if workers strike, UK food group Premier Foods sold off another brand - Branston pickle - to Japan's Mizkan and the country's food industry made a wide-ranging pledge on palm oil. just-food's insight pages were busy, with an in-depth look (for subscribers only) at the debate on nutrient taxes and an interview with the executive that runs McCormick & Co's business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

US: Food makers close sites ahead of Hurricane Sandy arrival
US food manufacturers including PepsiCo, Mondelez International and Hershey have closed offices and factories as Hurricane Sandy moves closer to the country's eastern seaboard.

UK: Premier to sell Branston pickle to Mizkan
Premier Foods plc has offloaded another of its brands, this morning (30 October) announcing the sale of Branston pickle to Japanese group Mizkan.

Click here for an exclusive interview with Craig Smith, the head of Mizkan's business in Europe, for his plans for Branston.

And read here news of talks between Premier and Mizkan over a possible manufacturing or distribution deal in the US.

US: Strike could force Hostess to "wind down"
Struggling US bakery group Hostess Brands has warned it would be forced to liquidate the company if its unionised workforce takes strike action.

UK: Food industry makes palm oil pledge
UK food manufacturers have pledged to work towards using only "sustainable" palm oil in their products by 2015.

The just-food interview - Brice de Forsanz, McCormick VP of EMEA
McCormick & Co., the US-based spice firm, grew its Europe, Middle East and Africa sales by 3% in 2011 and - in the face of a deep economic crisis that has dented consumer spending across its key markets - the company plans to drive continued expansion in the region during the current fiscal year. This will be achieved through a focus on innovation, marketing and expansion in new emerging markets, regional chief Brice de Forsanz suggests in this month's just-food interview.

The nutrient taxes debate
Taxing foods according to their nutritional value to tackle diet-related health problems has been a topic of fierce debate over the past few years. The latest just-food management briefing for subscribers looks at this thorny issue in detail.

Click here for the Danish government's confirmation that it plans to scrap a fat tax introduced last year.

TURKEY: Barry Callebaut to build chocolate plant
Barry Callebaut is to build a chocolate plant in Turkey, a market it says has low per capita consumption of the product but where demand is growing quickly.

On the money: Bullish Hain looks to leverage health and wellness
US speciality food group Hain Celestial sounded a bullish note on the prospects for both its domestic and international businesses as it focuses on leveraging its health and wellness credentials.

MALAYSIA: Carrefour sells Malaysian operations to Aeon
French retail giant Carrefour has sold its Malaysian operations to Japanese giant Aeon.

FRANCE: Lidl plays down shift in positioning
Lidl has denied reports it is shedding its hard discounter role in France by selling more major brands.