Editor's choice: the highlights on just-food last week

By Dean Best | 11 February 2013

One story has dominated the industry headlines last week - the deepening and widening horse meat contamination, which has now taken in household brand Findus and a supplier in France. Beyond the debate over food standards and the scrutiny of the supply chain, Dairy Crest admitted it was struggling to find suitable M&A targets, Marks and Spencer said its Simply Food ambitions could lead them beyond France and further into Europe, while Kellogg insisted it was seeing improvement in its business in the region.

European police probe as horse meat scandal widens
Police in Europe are investigating what has become a European issue, with a French supplier now under scrutiny following discovery of horse meat in Findus lasagnes in UK.

Comment: Horse meat scandal likely to widen
The horse meat contamination story has legs, wrote just-food deputy editor Katy Askew this week. As our understanding of the horse meat contamination scandal develops, the number of food products drawn in is likely to expand, raising some fundamental questions about the security of our food supply.

UK: Dairy Crest finds suitable M&A targets hard to find
UK firm Dairy Crest, which last year sold off its French business in a bid to fund acquisitions in its home market, today (7 February) hinted it was struggling to find worthy targets.

EUROPE: M&S explores Simply Food expansion
UK retailer Marks and Spencer is considering opening stand-alone Simply Food stores in western Europe.

S AFRICA: Competition watchdog to assess Nestle-Pfizer merger
South Africa's Competition Commission will recommend that the Competition Tribunal approve the South African leg of Nestle's global acquisition of Pfizer Nutrition, with a number of conditions, at a hearing tomorrow (6 February).

What the analysts say: Ocado losses narrow but jury out
UK online retailer Ocado reported smaller full-year losses this morning (7 February). And, with its second distribution centre looking set to open this month, the grocer seemed optimistic that it will be well-placed to take advantage of the interest in e-commerce that has come to mark the UK grocery sector. However, there were those in the City that remain decidedly unconvinced.

On the money: Innovation helped offset difficult UK cereal market - Kellogg
Kellogg admitted the UK cereal category continues to be competitive but added that a focus on innovation has driven improvements over the last year.

US: Kraft files Cracker Barrel lawsuit over trademark infringement
Kraft Foods Group has filed a lawsuit against Cracker Barrel Old Country Store (CBOCS) over the US restaurant chain's plans to sell branded products in mainstream retail stores.

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Sectors: Baby food, Cereal, Dairy, Financials, Food safety, Frozen, Meat & poultry, Multichannel, Natural & organic, Private label, Retail, Snacks

Companies: Dairy Crest, Findus, Kellogg, Nestle, Marks and Spencer, Pfizer, Ocado, Kraft Foods Group

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