Blog: CAGNY clouds hang over the Sunshine State
Dean Best | 16 February 2009
In normal times, a trip to Florida would be something to savour. But, as we are constantly told, these are anything but normal times.
This week, hundreds of senior US food industry executives and analysts will head to the Sunshine State for what is likely to be a tense four-day conference discussing just what impact the recession is having on the sector.
The Consumer Analyst Group of New York (CAGNY) Conference is one of the biggest dates on the US food industry calendar. This year, from 17-20 February, top execs from food industry giants Kraft Foods, Unilever and PepsiCo (to name just a few) will flock to Florida to provide an update of how their businesses are navigating the downturn - and how they aim to withstand the recession.
The slump in consumer confidence and the rise of private label will be central to those discussions. Big brand-owners are, to varying degrees, suffering as cautious consumers look for value. Last week, French food group Danone issued its 2008 results and, while profits rose, there remains concern that own-label could sour the company's dairy business in 2009. Indeed, Danone's baby food business is seen as relatively secure during the downturn - if only because that sector is less exposed to private label.
In recent months, as commodity and energy costs have come down, there is likely to have been some relief among food manufacturers. However, many are still locked into commodity deals signed months ago when prices were sky-high and suppliers are facing increasing pressure from retailers nervous that price increases will lose them consumers.
Last week, there emerged news of a rare public spat between supplier and retailer when consumer goods giant Unilever saw Belgian retailer Delhaize pull hundreds of its products from shelves in a row over price. Both sides made claims and counter-claims over price and although Unilever said negotiations were continuing, the spat has shone a light on how the downturn has made the sometimes-strained relationship between supplier and retailer even more tense.
This week's forecast from the Sunshine State is likely to show some black clouds on the horizon.
Danone completed its US$12.5bn acquisition of WhiteWave Foods this week. The move will roughly double Danone's presence in North America, where WhiteWave is a top four dairy player. ...
Premier Foods plc revealed today (28 March) it has secured a deal with its pension scheme trustees that will see the UK food maker reduce its pension burden....
Hain Celestial, under the scrutiny of the investment community in recent months and facing some challenges in its domestic market, has announced another shuffling of its management pack....
FrieslandCampina, which today served up higher profits but lower sales for 2016, is ready to offload the last non-dairy business owned by the Dutch cooperative giant....
- Danone's Q1: four things to learn
- Who will buy Danone's Stonyfield business?
- Column: Why snacking is the new meal
- Interview: Sir Kensington's on sale to Unilever
- Nestle Q1 update: four things to learn
- Tyson shops Sara Lee bakery, Kettle and Van's
- Nestle to cut UK confectionery jobs
- PepsiCo affirms full-year target as Q1 hits mark
- Icelandic to sell Saucy Fish Co. owner Seachill
- Tyson to buy burger-to-entree firm AdvancePierre