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

By Dean Best | 8 May 2012

Bright Food plans to boost Weetabixs international presence, notably in Asia

Bright Food plans to boost Weetabix's international presence, notably in Asia

Bright Food, the Chinese food group, this week at last planted its first flag in Europe with an investment in UK cereal firm Weetabix. Elsewhere in Europe, the CEO of Norway-based consumer goods company Orkla quit amid a disagreement with the company's board and German retailer Metro Group reported a quarterly loss. We also published our latest Sustainability Watch interview, which focused on US food giant General Mills. Click on the headlines for more.

Weetabix moves into Chinese control
State-backed Chinese group Bright Food has finally made an investment in Europe, with the acquisition of a 60% stake in Weetabix. The deal has potential benefits for both sides - but can Bright Food really develop a significant presence for the brand in China, where the breakfast cereal market is in its early days.

On the move: Orkla pledges to step up FMCG focus as CEO exits
Seven months ago, Orkla CEO Bjørn Wiggen announced the Norwegian conglomerate would focus on the FMCG sector, earning praise from analysts in the process. This week, Orkla stunned the market with news that Wiggen had decided to resign. Eyebrows were raised further yesterday when it emerged the boss of Orkla's FMCG unit would also leave the business. Industry watchers believe the departures will not mean a change in direction but could suggest Orkla's owners were frustrated with the slow progress of the company's new strategy. Michelle Russell reports. 

On the money: Morrisons keeps close eye on discounters
Morrisons CEO Dalton Philips has insisted the UK retailer will not chase unprofitable volume in a highly promotional market.

Comment: Retail giant Metro Group must focus on innovation

German retailer Metro Group is right to look beyond cost-cutting and focus on improving its like-for-like sales by driving innovation in its struggling retail formats if it is to turn its performance around.

Sustainability Watch - Jerry Lynch, General Mills
Why do companies invest in sustainability? To save the planet? Not really. Jerry Lynch, chief sustainability officer at General Mills, sees sustainability as an "innovation challenge", while uniting environmental and cost-saving strategies ensures that the sustainability mission addresses both environmental and economic aspirations.

US: Produce group Dole mulls spin offs
US produce giant Dole Food Co. is looking at potentially spinning off one or more of its businesses.

US: Imperial Sugar board backs sale to Louis Dreyfus Commodities
Commodities trading company Louis Dreyfus Commodities has made a recommended offer to acquire US sugar refiner Imperial Sugar in a deal valued at US$203m, including the assumption of debt.

US: Hain Celestial buys Irish soup firm Cully & Sully
US food company Hain Celestial has acquired Irish chilled soup manufacturer Cully & Sully as the company continues to expand its international business.

UK: Faccenda buys poultry rival Cranberry Foods
UK chicken processor Faccenda Group has acquired the UK's second-largest turkey producer, Cranberry Foods, for an undisclosed sum.

just-food's 2012 Confidence Survey
We asked, you, our international readership for your views on how you believed the year would pan out for your business and for the food sector - and the results made for fascinating reading.

Sectors: Baby food, Bakery, Canned food, Cereal, Chilled foods, Commodities & ingredients, Confectionery, Emerging markets, Financials, Fresh produce, Ice cream, Meat & poultry, Mergers & acquisitions, Natural & organic, Private label, Retail, Sustainability & the environment

Companies: Orkla, Weetabix, Bright Food, Metro Group, Morrisons, General Mills, Imperial Sugar, Hain Celestial, Dole Food Co.

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