Blog: Dean BestOptimism in times of doom and gloom

Dean Best | 10 November 2008

Despite the current doom and gloom over the economy, there were notes of optimism among the food manufacturing fraternity last week. Associated British Foods posted a set of robust annual figures that highlighted that, while its burgeoning discount clothing retail unit Primark may be grabbing the headlines, the Patak's-to-Ryvita supplier has built a strong stable of grocery brands to underpin the growth of the business.

Another food giant eyeing a sweeter future is Tate & Lyle. 2007 may have once been described as an "annus horribilis" for the company by some in the investment community but the UK food and ingredients group seems to be slowly heading in the right direction. The company last week reported "sound" first-half results, with operating profit up 3% thanks largely to its US business.

And one US firm with its eye on the future last week was PepsiCo, with news of a US$1bn investment package for China and a shake up of the way it runs its soft drinks and snacks businesses in India. The strategy is a prudent one. PepsiCo's snacks businesses in markets like India and China are taking the pressure away from the company's more mature markets in North America and Europe, where growth is harder to come by. The emerging markets are a small part of PepsiCo's business now but there is no denying that the company is placing its chips on their potential in the years ahead.

Until next time...

Dean Best, Managing Editor


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