Kraft CEO and chairman Irene Rosenfeld is expecting the operating environment to remain challenging

Kraft CEO and chairman Irene Rosenfeld is expecting the operating environment to remain challenging

The focus returned to rising commodity costs again this week, as Flowers Foods, Kraft Foods and PepsiCo admitting that input pressure had impacted their results - and their financial forecasts for 2011. Meanwhile, Raisio's CEO told just-food about the company focus on developing its 'ecological snacking' business and the UK government revealed a report on the difficulties around green labelling. Here's the best of what was said this week:

"Looking ahead, we expect the operating environment to remain challenging, with significant input cost inflation and persistent consumer weakness in many markets" - Kraft chairman and CEO Irene Rosenfeld on the drivers behind the manufacturer cutting its earnings target for 2011

"In the long run we know that the pricing action we took was appropriate, and we know that some commodity costs are doubling while other input costs are also higher" - Flowers Foods CEO George Deese on the company's decision to raise prices in the fourth quarter.

"The consumer outlook remains especially challenging and employment remains high in most developed markets. We are prepared for what could be a highly competitive environment, particularly in the beverages department. This will largely be stepped up in emerging markets where we have seen very fast growth - PepsiCo CFO Hugh Johnston on the group's outlook for 2011.

"Snacking so far has been dominated by say [products containing] salt, sugar and fat, but we can provide a good taste, convenience, combined with healthiness and also being ecological. And we are the first company in the world that has been able to calculate and label a product with carbon footprint and water footprint. So this is part of the story, you need to be able to measure, not just say you are green, you need to be for real." - Raisio CEO Matti Rihko speaking about the company's plan to develop its 'ecological snacking' business.

"Any significant penetration of click-and-collect concepts will inevitably steal the convenience advantage currently held by smaller stores in the neighbourhood location" - Malcolm Pinkerton analyst at Datamonitor's retail arm, Verdict, on the future of convenience retail.

"One has to accept that there is little visibility at present on future political stability in Tunisia. The revolution has generated great expectations in the minds of ordinary Tunisians, particularly young people and meeting them is the major challenge facing the country's leaders in the months and years ahead. The same goes for Egypt, too." Jean-Luc Deher, international director of French dairy processor Candia, speaking about the challenge the company faces in Tunisia and Egypt.

"It's also a wake-up call to anyone who thinks labelling alone will save the planet, as many of the technical and practical challenges we found won't go away soon. It's a fact of life that simplifying different environmental impacts clearly in one label is tricky, and shoppers will always have plenty else on their mind when they're buying food"  - Dr Tom MacMillan, executive director of the Food Ethics Council, on the difficulties behind producing a single green label.

"Three Torreses and a Barton - that, at least, is what news of Laura Wade-Gery's appointment to the M&S board added to the value of the company, some GBP185m" - Matrix retail analyst Tom Gadsby on the appointment of Laura Wade-Gery to lead M&S' e-commerce operations.

A judgement call is supported by statistical analysis. If you look at how pure plays generally do, there is good statistical evidence that suggests pure play companies tend to do well. It is a function of management getting to sit really close the market, getting investors behind it that believe in the market and are willing to fund it. These are the things that lead to faster growth." - Sara Lee CEO Marcel Smits on the company's decision to split itself in two.

"This will enable us to leverage our collective, market leading experience in sourcing, sustainability, quality, category and consumer insight, where new ideas and best practice from our chilled teams can be shared with our frozen teams and visa versa," - Young's Seafood CEO Leendert den Hollander speaking about the newly-formed company's plans.