In the spotlight

In the spotlight

Which manufacturers, retailers or issues are grabbing the headlines?



Brexit – threat to UK food security or opportunity for renewal? 18 Oct 2017

Brexit has been said to constitute a clear and present danger to UK food security - but what does food security mean in this context and to what extent do any opportunities offset the threats? Ben Cooper reports.


Nestle 2017 Investor Day - 5 things to learn from CEO Mark Schneider's vision for food giant 29 Sep 2017

Nestle’s 2017 investor day had been much anticipated – and it did not disappoint. The event in London was the first of Nestle's annual investor gatherings to be led by CEO Mark Schneider, with the market keen to hear how the German saw the future for the world’s largest food maker. Dean Best gives you the top takeaways from the event.


Why did Post Holdings buy Bob Evans Farms? 25 Sep 2017

In the largest M&A deal in the US packaged food sector in 2017, on Tuesday (19 September) Post Holdings announced the acquisition of bacon, breakfast sausage and mac and cheese maker Bob Evans Farms. The transaction is the latest move by the deal-hungry Post, with the company, which some see as having a patchy record with its purchases, looking to inject some growth into its business, this time by targeting a business operating in more buoyant categories on the perimeter of US stores. Andy Coyne reports.


The rise - and potential - of certified transitional organic in US 19 Sep 2017

Sales of organic food in the US continue to be robust but a limit to the growth of the industry is the gap between demand and the supply of ingredients and raw products. just-food's US columnist, Victor Martino, says the growth of the US organic industry has prompted the sector to look at a new designation, the so-called "certified transitional" organic, which he argues can grow into a real segment in the category.


Why Moy Park sale will help placate JBS creditors 14 Sep 2017

Market reaction to JBS' sale of Northern Ireland-headquartered food group Moy Park to the US' Pilgrim's Pride for US$1.3bn has centred squarely on the Brazilian meat giant's need to pay down debts, Andy Coyne writes.


Murray Goulburn's FY results, outlook and strategic review - four things to learn 24 Aug 2017

Murray Goulburn has just closed what its CEO has called a "difficult" 12 months. In reality, it has been tough for the Australia-based dairy foods and ingredients group for longer than that. In April 2016, the Devondale brand owner announced a cut to the price it paid suppliers for milk, issued a profit warning and the departures of its CEO and CFO. Current chief Ari Mervis joined Murray Goulburn in February this year and has seen the supply of milk into the business continue to fall, denting sales. Under Mervis, Murray Goulburn has embarked on a strategic review and this week, the company, alongside its 2016/17 results and 2017/18 outlook, spoke at length about the reappraisal of its business. Dean Best reports.


Where do Trump and corporate America go from here? 21 Aug 2017

Following the disbanding this week of two Presidential business advisory committees, Ben Cooper looks at Donald Trump’s relationship with business and suggests these events cannot be viewed as a standard contretemps between an interest group and the White House. A serious rift has developed and, on past record, the President will not be the one extending the olive branch.


Plenty to ponder as Mondelez changes CEO 3 Aug 2017

One of the longest tenures at the top of a major food multinational is set to come to an end, with Irene Rosenfeld, the chairman and CEO of Mondelez International, set to leave the Cadbury and Oreo maker next March. Rosenfeld, who became the CEO of Mondelez forerunner Kraft Foods in 2006, will leave behind a very different business to the one at which she arrived 11 years ago. Dean Best reflects on her time at the helm and outlines what could lie ahead for her successor, the former Coca-Cola, Mars, Danone and McCain Foods executive Dirk Van de Put.


McCormick hot on Reckitt sauces deal despite fiery multiple 21 Jul 2017

McCormick & Co. this week emerged as the buyer of Reckitt Benckiser's food assets, which include French's mustard and Frank's RedHot sauce. The brands look a good fit with McCormick's own basket of sauces and spices but the US group has paid what appears to be a rich multiple for the assets and its shares cooled on Wednesday when the deal was announced. Can McCormick extract value? Dean Best reports.


General Mills' fiscal 2018 investor day - four things to learn 20 Jul 2017

General Mills is one of a clutch of US-centric businesses that have been under sales pressure for some time. In the 12 months to 28 May, the Yoplait maker's annual net sales fell 6% - the third successive year in which its top line contracted. Last week (12 July), the US food giant held its annual investor day to set out its plans for the new financial year, a chance for recently-installed CEO Jeff Harmening to outline how he believes the company can improve its performance. Here are the top takeaways from the event.


How PepsiCo is trying to meet shifting consumer, retail dynamics 13 Jul 2017

Significant changes are taking place in the way food manufacturers interact with their customers and consumers. Retail dynamics are evolving rapidly, with channel shifts, retailer consolidation and the ever growing importance of e-commerce shaking up the sector. Meanwhile, the consumer environment is developing at a faster pace than ever before. just-food looks at how PepsiCo is responding.


Activist grabs headlines but change was already on way at Nestle 29 Jun 2017

Activist investors putting pressure on food companies is not new, especially not in recent years, although Nestle's stature in the industry may have raised eyebrows as US investment fund Third Point made the world's largest food business the latest to feel the heat. However, there were already signs of change at Nestle under new CEO Mark Schneider, Dean Best argues.


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.


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