This week, we have also seen UK retailer M&S play down reports of tension with its suppliers, Unilever announced the takeover of Russia's largest ice cream firm, and Japan Tobacco and Nissin Food scrap plans to merge amid claims of food poisoning. It was a good week, however, for PepsiCo as successful snacks sales drove up profits. Here are the top five stories on the site this week.

RUSSIA: Unilever to buy ice cream firm Inmarko
Unilever is to buy Russia's largest ice cream business Inmarko, the company announced this morning (4 February), in the latest bid to shake up its presence in the category. In recent months, the Anglo-Dutch conglomerate has revamped its ice cream business in North America and announced cuts to its business in France.

JAPAN: Dumpling scare ends frozen food deal
Japan Tobacco and Nissin Food Products Co. have ripped up plans to merge their frozen food businesses amid claims that ten Japanese have fallen ill after eating poisoned Chinese dumplings sold by the cigarette maker. Japanese police are investigating allegations of a link between the dumplings, imported from China by Japan Tobacco, and the illnesses, including that of a five-year-old who is said to have become critically ill after eating the products.

UK: M&S plays down supplier tension
Marks & Spencer has moved to play down reports in the UK that the retailer is demanding bigger price discounts from its suppliers. A report in the Daily Mail said today (5 February) that the retail giant, which is battling falling sales, has "enraged" food suppliers with its demands.

US: Global snacks sales cheer PepsiCo
International snack sales was the key driver for rising annual profits at US-based food and beverage giant PepsiCo. The cola-to-crisps maker booked a 10% rise in underlying annual profits for 2007 after seeing its revenues climb 12%.

Local retailers ready for multinational push
Emerging markets offer massive development potential for international retailers but recently published research from Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu underlines that major local operators are also well placed to capitalise. And, Ben Cooper writes, being local carries some significant advantages.