Danones Riboud described how the fresh dairy category lacks shelf space in the US

Danone's Riboud described how the fresh dairy category lacks shelf space in the US

just-food attended the CAGE investment conference this week where a number of FMCG executives from companies including Heinz, Nestle, Unilever, Danone, and Kerry Group outlined their strategies. Meanwhile, the nuclear crisis in Japan continued and Marks and Spencer announced it will cross the channel again and re-enter Paris.

"We are also very willing to look at large ones but [those deals] would have to make a lot of sense." - Heinz CFO Art Winkleblack on the company's plans to grow its infant nutrition brands through bolt-on acquisitions.

"You have 100km of soup and two metres of fresh dairy" - Danone chairman and CEO Franck Riboud describes the opportunites available for the yoghurt manufacturer in the US.

"No, not at all. We are growing so fast. Last year, we had record growth for the company and the good thing is we have opportunities to redeploy people. If they are marketing people for example, we will reallocate them to other categories that we have." - Unilever CEO Paul Polman tells just-food that its plans to run its spreads business with 30% fewer people will not lead to job losses.

"It's going to be the heart and base of rural development and the heart and base of wealth creation worldwide." - Nestle CEO Paul Bulcke describes how food inflation will drive a renewed interest in agriculture.

"If an acquisition comes up of any size in the industry, we have to be there having a look at it. If it was the right thing to do, not just for Kerry but for the industry, we would participate no matter what the size was" - Kerry Group CFO Brian Meighan Meighan tells analysts that the Irish dairy could spend up to EUR1.5bn on acquisitions in 2011.

"The Japanese government is executing shipment limitation of the agriculture and livestock products in a part of the region. Therefore, the food that the consumer eats is safe" - Masashi Takizawa, agriculture and food division director of the Japanese trade body JETRO based in London emphasises the safety of Japanese food following the earthquake and nuclear disaster.

"I just finished an interview on the radio and the interviewer wanted to see the baskets of fresh food, and we showed her things like the shaker salads, some of the new ready meals, the range of salads and lunch points. She said none of this is available in any speciality retailer or shop" - Marks and Spencer CEO Marc Bolland on the retailer's ability to differentiate itself from the rest of the market following the announcement that it is re-entering France.

"We're not saying that it won't ever happen, but we have no immediate plans to go online" - The Co-operative Group CEO Peter Marks on the retailer's online grocery ambitions.

"People's hearts are often on the left while their pockets are on the right. As food prices go up people are going to be very concerned about how to get competitive food and they may be less concerned about how that food is produced" - UK MP Neil Parish, who sits on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, describes how consumers might be more willing to accept increased use of controversial technologies in food production.

"At the end of September-October, we will calculate the harvest. Only then can you make a decision to either extend or abolish the embargo on grain exports" - Russian agriculture minister Yelena Skrynnik on the country's plan to extend its export ban on grain until the autumn.