Müller's decision to bid for UK milk supplier Robert Wiseman Dairies was the first major M&A move of 2012 and sparked plenty of debate, with industry watchers arguing the German yoghurt maker will face challenges in a fiercely competitive industry. Strikes at Unilever, job cuts at Kraft Foods and US dairy processor Dean Foods and continued gloom over the prospects of retail giant Carrefour also attracted headlines this week.

Best bits: Muller faces challenges in UK milk sector 
Müller and Robert Wiseman Dairies are talking up the benefits of the German yoghurt maker's planned takeover of the UK milk supplier but profits in the sector have been under pressure in recent months. Dean Best looks at why Müller has made a bid for Wiseman and outlines that challenges that could await the company.

Eleven days of strikes begin at Unilever UK
Workers at Unilever sites throughout the UK are holding industrial action to protest at plans to change the company's pension scheme. Staff and unions argue the reforms are unnecessary; the consumer goods giant disagrees and vows to press ahead.

UPDATE: FRANCE: Analysts gloomy on Carrefour prospects
Analysts have issued a grim assessment of Carrefour's prospects after the retailer reported lower 2011 sales, confirmed its annual profits would slide and announced it would review its Planet hypermarket format.

US: Kraft to cut 1,600 jobs in North America
Kraft Foods is to cut around 1,600 jobs across North America as it prepares to split the business into two.

US: Dairy giant Dean Foods axes more jobs
US dairy processor Dean Foods has decided to cut more jobs as part of efforts to slash costs at the company.

UPDATE: UK: Weak trading overshadows Premier job cuts - analysts
Shares in Premier Foods plc jumped today (17 January) after the UK's largest food manufacturer provided an update on its "growth plans" - but analysts remained concerned about the company's recent trading.

SWITZ: Lindt sales fall in 2011
Swiss chocolatier Lindt & Sprüngli has seen sales drop in what it described as a "very challenging market environment", but reaffirmed its profit guidance.

EU/NETHERLANDS: EU refers Royaan, Ad van Geloven snacks merger to Dutch watchdog
The European Commission has referred the proposed merger between Dutch frozen snack makers Royaan and Ad Van Geloven to competition authorities in the Netherlands.

RUSSIA: Arla to start local cheese output with Molvest
Arla Foods is to produce cheese in Russia in the first time through a partnership with local cheese maker Molvest Group.

The just-food interview - Kikkoman chairman Yuzaburo Mogi
Japanese soy sauce maker Kikkoman claims to have been the first to produce the seasoning back in the 17th century. However, with growth hard to come by in a domestic market in the doldrums, Kikkoman has had to look overseas for growth. Julian Ryall met Kikkoman chairman Yuzaburo Mogi to find out how the company is adapting to meet demand in Japan and internationally.