Free-from has been a focus for just-food this week. The free-from sector is a bright spot in the otherwise flat developed markets of the US and western Europe and we brought you highlights on this up-and-coming category from this year's Free From Food Expo in Brussels. We also posed the question "where next?" and took the opportunity to delve into the challenges and opportunities presented by two promising emerging markets in the free-from space - Brazil and Russia. In other emerging market insight, our latest management briefing drilled down on the food sector in Vietnam.

Free From Food Expo 2014
Sales of free-from products are growing ahead of the conventional market in many countries, making the free-from space increasingly important as food firms seek out growth spots in otherwise stagnant categories. just-food attended this year's Free From Expo in Brussels. Here are some highlights from the event.

BRICs and beyond: Brazil a tough nut to crack for gluten-free foods
With its vast population and a growing middle class, Brazil offers huge opportunities for food manufacturers. But legislation requiring every food product sold in the country to be labelled to signal its gluten content poses significant difficulties for gluten-free firms. Is there a future for gluten-free specialists in Brazil? Hannah Abdulla explores.

RSPO: Palm oil partners ponder a challenging future
Members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) gathered in London last week to discuss immediate and long-term challenges facing this multi-stakeholder coalition as it seeks to accelerate progress and build a sustainable global palm oil supply chain for the long term. Ben Cooper reports.

In the spotlight: Tyson pays the piper to secure Hillshire
Tyson Foods has won through in the bidding war to acquire Hillshire Brands with an improved US$63 per share offer for the for the Jimmy Dean maker. But, at 16.7x EBITDA, is the lofty price of US$8.55bn overly inflated? Katy Askew investigates.

CHINA: Import ban on UK cheese lifted
Defra has announced China has lifted the ban it imposed on the import of British cheeses.

The rise of Vietnam
just-food delves into the the potential - and significant challenges - presented by this up-and-coming emerging market

US: Hershey in "multi-year" 3D printing initiative
US confectioner Hershey is working with 3D printing firm 3D Systems on a "multi-year initiative" to examine the potential uses of 3D printing in the confectionery sector.

CHINA: PE firms Yunfeng, CITIC acquire 60% in Yili
Private-equity firms Yunfeng Capital and CITIC Private Equity Funds Management have struck a deal with Inner Mongolia Yili Livestock Development Co. that will see the two pay at least CHY2bn (US$320m) for a 60% stake in the company.

UK: Unilever responds to frozen yoghurt demand with Snog minis
Unilever is extending its presence in the frozen yoghurt sector with the development of mini frozen yoghurt pots under the Snog brand.

Focus: Oxfam welcomes CocoaAction initiative as "positive signal"
As the 2nd World Cocoa Conference takes place this week in Amsterdam, a major subject of discussion will be the CocoaAction programme which was launched last month by 12 major cocoa and chocolate companies and was formally presented to the conference this morning (11 June).

BRICs and beyond: The long-term gluten-free opportunity in Russia
Gluten-free is currently a bright spot of strong growth in the largely stagnant developed markets of the US and western Europe. However, as the category matures it is becoming an increasingly crowded space. As such, many forward-looking gluten-free specialists have an eye on fresh markets that will offer the next phase of growth for the sector. Russia is one such market. Katy Askew reports.