just-food interviewed John Bason this week

just-food interviewed John Bason this week

This week had a couple of key interviews, with Associated British Foods' finance director John Bason speaking to just-food about commodity costs and restructuring in the group's grocery division, while we spoke to Gu founder James Averdieck about what the company has been doing since its sale to Noble Foods earlier this year. Meanwhile Ireland announced a series of austerity measures in the country which look set to impact the retail sector and Campbell Soup Co continued to post disappointing results. Here's the best of what was said this week:

"Discussions always remain tough with the major retailers but we've been here before. When you have an increase of 50% in the wheat price, you have to negotiate a price increase. Negotiations with the retailers are progressing well." - Associated British Foods finance director John Bason on rising commodity prices.

"In the old days it was more, 'what have we got, what can we launch in a couple of months time?' It's become a lot more disciplined and research-based, which I think is now appropriate. It's a bit more grown up" - Gu founder James Averdieck on how the company has changed since its acquisition by Noble Foods.

"I don't think anybody is saying things are wonderful by any means, this is an austere period. But the more detail people have, the more certainty they have, the more decisions they can make and the more opportunities that consumer sentiment will improve" - Food and Drink Industry Ireland director Paul Kelly on consumer sentiment in Ireland.

"Is the answer that we simply have to wait for the economy to turn [and] that soup is just innately going to struggle during a downturn?" - JPMorgan analyst Terry Bivens questioned Campbell CEO Doug Conant over the manufacturer's ongoing disappointing results.

"While Heinz is the most globally diversified US-based packaged food firm, we contend that the firm still maintains significant expansion potential, particularly in fast-growing emerging and developing markets" - Morningstar analyst Erin Swanson on Heinz's prospects in emerging markets.

"In considering this hypothetical application, the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP) has confirmed that meat and milk from cloned cattle and their offspring shows no substantial difference to conventionally produced meat and milk and therefore is unlikely to present a food safety risk" -  FSA chief scientist Andrew Wadge on the safety of cloned meat.

"Morrisons is one of the most financially conservative of companies with high degrees of capital discipline" - RBS analyst Justin Scarborough on rumours that Morrisons might be considering purchasing Ocado.

"Growth at any price is not viable" - Unilever CEO Paul Polman on the group's sustainability measures.

"In terms of raw-material inputs, we are going to take an action on Spam that will be effective at the beginning of the second quarter" - Hormel Foods CEO Jeff Ettinger on commodity prices.

"Rarely has any business been as synonymous with the hard work and values of one man. It was Bernard Matthews who grew and developed this company through his entrepreneurial spirit, and clear focus." - Bernard Matthews Farms CEO Noel Bartram on the death of the company's founder, Bernard Matthews.