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

By Dean Best | 28 May 2012

The UK dairy sector was in the spotlight this week, with the proposed merger between Arla Foods and local co-op Milk Link and the annual loss reported by Dairy Crest. just-food interviewed senior executives from Arla and Milk Link to discuss the combination and reported on Dairy Crest's plans to increase returns from its troubled dairies business. Elsewhere, we reported on two sustainability events held in London, including the annual conference on the Round Table for Responsible Soy. And, further afield, Heinz revealed it was looking for more acquisitions in emerging markets while US rival General Mills secured a deal to buy Brazilian firm Yoki Alimentos.

Arla, Milk Link continues UK dairy consolidation
The combination of Danish-Swedish co-op Arla Foods and UK counterpart Milk Link is the latest deal in the country's dairy sector following Muller's takeover of Robert Wiseman Dairies earlier this year.

Dairies sour Dairy Crest results
A write-down at its dairies unit pushed the UK processor, which sells brands including Clover butter and Cathedral City cheese, into the red in last financial year. What could the next year hold for the business?

The challenge of sustainable soy
This week, industry executives met in London to discuss the progress of the Round Table for Responsible Soy, a scheme set up to encourage the sustainable production of the commodity. What challenges lie ahead?

Food thrives in mixed M&S results
Marks and Spencer has reported higher sales and margins from its food business in a set of mixed results that included a patchy performance from the UK retailer's general merchandise arm and a cut to the top end of its group sales forecast.

Comment: Consumers central to industry's sustainability drive
Stakeholders from campaign groups to industry representatives made it clear this week the food sector needs to improve its environmental credentials. However, as Dean Best writes, the sector needs to take consumers along with them, thoughts echoed by Marks and Spencer chief executive Marc Bolland yesterday (22 May).

On the money: Heinz seeks emerging market targets for growth
US ketchup maker Heinz has said it is "actively" looking for new opportunities to acquire companies in emerging markets after a "difficult" 2012, particularly in developed countries.

On the money: Campbell undertaking "review" of US soups business
Campbell Soup Co. has said it is reviewing all aspects of its US soup business and expects further execution adjustments after the division dragged on group profits in the first nine-months of the year.

UPDATE: FrieslandCampina regrets end to Imlek takeover talks
Dairy giant FrieslandCampina has said it "regrets" not being able to reach an agreement to buy Balkans processors Imlek and Mlekara Subotica.

Sectors: Baby food, Bakery, Canned food, Cereal, Chilled foods, Commodities & ingredients, Condiments, dressings & sauces, Confectionery, Dairy, Dried foods, Emerging markets, Financials, Fresh produce, Frozen, Ice cream, Meat & poultry, Mergers & acquisitions, Natural & organic, Private label, Retail, Seafood, Snacks, Sustainability & the environment, World foods

Companies: Milk Link, Dairy Crest, Arla Foods, Heinz, General Mills, Marks and Spencer, Muller, Robert Wiseman Dairies, FrieslandCampina, Campbell Soup Co.

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