In the spotlight

In the spotlight

Which manufacturers, retailers or issues are grabbing the headlines?



How could Amazon's Whole Foods takeover affect suppliers? 23 Jun 2017

It is the deal that has got the industry talking - Amazon's move to buy Whole Foods Market, hailed by some as a "game-changer" for the sector. just-food's US columnist Victor Martino, who six weeks ago floated the idea of Amazon's Jeff Bezos buying Whole Foods, weighs up how the e-commerce giant's move into physical retail and ownership of the US grocer could affect manufacturers.


Amazon's move for Whole Foods will focus minds 16 Jun 2017

"Every so often an event occurs that shakes the industry to its core. Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods is one of those." So said one US retail analyst today after the e-commerce giant announced a deal to buy the natural and organic grocer for US$13.7bn. The transaction stunned the sector, with analysts hailing it a game-changer. Amazon faces short-term challenges with Whole Foods but the acquisition looks set to give its ambitions in grocery - a sector it entered ten years ago - a boost and rival retailers and manufacturers will be sitting up and taking notice. Dean Best reports.


How Nestle's US confectionery review has divided analysts 16 Jun 2017

Confectionery, particularly chocolate, is one of Nestle's flagship businesses and has often been the subject of speculation among industry watchers and the investment community. For much of the last decade, talk centred on whether Nestle would look to build its position in confectionery through the acquisition of a company like Switzerland's Lindt & Sprungli but, in recent quarters, the chatter has switched to whether the KitKat maker would look to quit the sector. Nestle's announcement yesterday (15 June) of plans to review the future of its US confectionery business has sparked a debate among analysts covering the world's largest food group. Dean Best reports.


UK election result raises food sector hopes of better Brexit - column 9 Jun 2017

The result of the UK's General Election has stunned much of the country and many observers worldwide. The poll produced a hung parliament, with the Conservative Party, led by UK Prime Minister Theresa May, the largest in the House of Commons but without a majority of seats. May has embarked on talks with Democratic Unionist Party in a bid to form a minority government that can function with the working support of the Northern Ireland party. As Ben Cooper reports, the DUP's stance on Brexit, as well as the now improved standing of Labour, could lead to a softer Brexit that many food manufacturers would support.


Food policy almost invisible as UK election nears - analysis 31 May 2017

It's the economy, stupid. So goes the mantra for what drives voting choice and therefore electoral campaigning. But, to some, food policy should have been far higher up in the agenda in recent elections in a number of countries. That argument is being heard loud and clear in the UK as the country nears polling day on 8 June, not least with Brexit the key reason why Prime Minister Theresa May called the election. Ben Cooper analyses the food policy positions of the main competing parties and hears from industry and campaigners on why the issue should have far more prominence as the election nears.


India's new GST tax regime comes in for criticism - analysis 30 May 2017

India's pan-industry business association ASSOCHAM has hailed the central government's new GST regime, a move to standardise goods and services tax rates in the country, as the biggest economic achievement in the three years since Prime Minister Narenda Modi took office. However, as just-food reports, there is some concern about the new framework's potential impact on value-added products.


Yili leads Stonyfield chase but race not yet run - analysis 15 May 2017

Chinese dairy giant Yili has declared its interest in buying Stonyfield but just-food columnist Victor Martino contends there could be more twists and turns in the race for Danone's US organic dairy unit.


Post Holdings discusses rationale for Weetabix - five things to learn 20 Apr 2017

Post Holdings, the US food group, was this week announced as the new owner of Weetabix, the UK-based breakfast cereal business. The GBP1.4bn deal sees Post, one of the major cereal companies in the US, take on one of the leading players in the sector in the UK but one seeing muted growth in a challenging market – and a business seen to have hardly prospered under the ownership of China’s state-backed giant Bright Food. Post discussed its move with Wall Street analysts on Tuesday and Dean Best presents the key takeaways.


Uncertainty reigns but UK exporters facing Brexit pragmatically - column 30 Mar 2017

The UK has triggered Article 50 of the European Union’s Lisbon Treaty, so formally firing the starting gun on its departure from the 28-member bloc. Brexit is the most important political and economic event in the UK for a generation and has divided the country. A majority of the UK’s food sector wanted to stay in the EU and have significant concerns about the post-Brexit future. However, increasingly, businesses are acquiring a pragmatic view about the future – with some real anxieties remaining but a recognition opportunities could be seized – a stance heard last week at the IFE trade show in London. Dean Best reports.


General Mills sales woes continue - analysis 22 Mar 2017

General Mills this week reported another quarter of falling sales, leading industry watchers to wonder if the US food giant will lessen its focus on its margin target but, more critically, whether the company can revitalise its top line. Hannah Abdulla reports.


What next for Unilever after Kraft Heinz's approach? - analysis 2 Mar 2017

Less than three days was all it took for Kraft Heinz's GBP112bn (US$139.1bn) takeover approach to Unilever to become public, be rejected and subsequently taken off the table. The attempt is likely to have some significant and far-reaching consequences for Unilever. Here, just-food takes a look at the impact the episode could have on the Dove-to-Knorr manufacturer.


Maple Leaf Foods latest meat giant to get taste for meat-free - analysis 27 Feb 2017

It was Maple Leaf Foods' first major acquisition for over a decade and one very much in tune with one of the key trends in the North American marketplace. The Canada-based meat giant has become the latest in the sector to invest in the growing meat-free industry, snapping up US firm Lightlife Foods. Dean Best looks at the deal.


Danone looks for "strong, profitable" growth - 8 things to learn from CAGNY 2017  24 Feb 2017

Danone focused much of its presentation at this week's Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference on its plans for the US. The French group generates around 13% of its sales in North America and believes there is ample room to grow. Danone also touched on its goals for 2020 and its cost-cutting drive and last week's move to "decouple" the group's aims to improve efficiency and increase sales. Here are the eight key takeaways from the event. 


General Mills' plans to revive sales – 7 things to learn from CAGNY 23 Feb 2017

General Mills last week lowered its already weak forecast for its annual sales due to lower-tha-expected sales in US yogurt and soup. Unsurprisingly, then, the US food giant's efforts to reinvigorate its top line were the primary focus of its presentation at this week's Consumer Analyst Group of New York investor conference. Here are just-food's key takeaways from the event.


Does Kraft Heinz want to swallow Unilever whole? 17 Feb 2017

Kraft Heinz's takeover bid for Unilever came as something of a shock today – not least because of the seeming unlikely pairing of the 3G Capital-owned US group with the European food-to-personal care company. just-food asks whether the takeover offer should be taken at face value. 


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