Private label was the topic on the lips of Xavier Govare, CEO of Alfesca, Pierre-Olivier Beckers, Delhaize CEO, and Sara Lee's Brenda Barnes this week, while Sir Stuart Rose stole the limelight with the news that Marks and Spencer is to roll out branded products across the UK.

Elsewhere, at the EFFP's sixth annual conference, chief executive Sion Roberts informed attendees that a fall in food production will result in rising food prices, while Marc Bolland, CEO of Morrisons, told how local sourcing has lost its ground in the recession.

"We are seeing low consumer confidence and spending in France, Spain and in Britain, and consumers choosing private labels over national brands" - Xavier Govare, CEO of Alfesca.

"The hardest thing to avoid is doing crazy things in the market place... We will not do crazy things to drive that volume up" - Brenda Barnes (pictured), Sara Lee CEO.

"We have launched the first private label in Belgium with our three tier approach. Carrefour is launching its own range, but I can tell you we are very strong and consumers recognise that. This is part of our market share gain" - Delhaize CEO Pierre-Olivier Beckers.

"There's no doubt that competitive situations in Europe remain more challenging. But there's no reason why Europe should not grow and have margin expansion in line with the rest of the company" - Paul Polman, Unilever CEO.

"If you look at the Netherlands and you add it all up, it's quite logical to come to a conclusion of which those could be as there's only two neighbouring countries. But that's all been done by the journalists and not confirmed by us and we're not going to confirm it now" - spokesperson for Ahold.

"We continue to develop the business, and are extending the roll out of branded products. Not because we've run out of ideas in our own catalogue, but because our customer also wants to buy the particular brands they like, whether you have a thing about Tabasco or Bovril or Kit Kats" - Sir Stuart Rose, executive chairman of Marks and Spencer.

"The acquisition of Chocovic is an excellent, future-oriented opportunity for us: Chocovic will strengthen our position in Spain, it is a perfect complement to our existing offering, and we will use it especially as a platform to further build our Gourmet business" - Juergen Steinemann, CEO of Barry Callebaut.

"The evolution of food prices is a complicated picture but one that will shape the food chain's future dynamics. We've moved out of a period of over 20 years where food prices fell in real terms" - Sion Roberts, EFFP chief executive.

"I think local could play a role for certain products but not for all of them. Customers are not always interested in whether their produce is locally sourced. In our Scottish stores we have around 500 products but all are sourced from different suppliers" - Marc Bolland, CEO of Morrisons.

"It made money last year. It made more money this year. There is still some way to go, but we are getting to a level where shareholders would want us to be" - Associated British Foods chief executive George Weston.