M&A led the news agenda again this week, with Diamond Foods’ plans to acquire crisp brand Pringles, while Smithfield revealed plans to acquire a majority stake in Spanish meat business Campofrio. Meanwhile, M&S published better than expected results for its fourth quarter. Here’s the best of what was said this week.

“We feel that this is a business that has real potential to grow the top line… This brand is a thoroughbred… Procter and Gamble have crafted the design of this product and built a brand around this product in a way that we feel is marketable in more markets” – Diamond Foods chairman, president and CEO Michael Mendes on why it bought the Pringles brand.

“The acquisition of Campofrio would further Smithfield’s long term strategy of becoming a leading global consumer packaged meats company” – Smithfield president and CEO Larry Pope talks about the opportunity that its planned acquisition of Spanish meat group Campofrio will offer.

“We have not seen a negative impact after the budget. We have seen consumer confidence, is low, which is not great, but we believe that for the next year the customer will be in an even more difficult situation, as for us there will be in increase in commodity prices, but they will have less discretionary spend” – Marc Bolland describes how consumer confidence is affecting Marks and Spencer’s outlook.

“There is a climate of fear around the word nanotechnology” – Leatherhead microscopy consultant Kathy Groves on why the industry needs to educate consumers about the benefits of technology in food.

“We have a clear strategy for Russia to not just hold the number one but to accelerate away from the pack” – Zein Abdalla, the head of PepsiCo‘s European operations, outlines his ambitions for the market.

“We are not financial people. The idea is to develop the brand” – A Lactalis spokesperson describes why it has no intention to offload its shares in Italian dairy group Parmalat.

“We think this is important. We’ve had a strong sense in the last couple of years of a kind of creeping protectionism coming through in various parts of Europe” – Paul Skehan, director of the European Retail Round Table on the positive impact that a ban on Spanish planning curbs will have on the rest of the EU.

“It is an emotional decision and organic consumers have committed emotionally to the purchase. So, we think that while consumers might cut back on treats or indulgences, they are likely to continue to buy organic” – Soil Association trade director Finn Cottle reveals why she hopes organic food sales won’t be hit further by declining consumer confidence.

“I see myself as being very much an example of everything Woolworths stands for today, in terms of having a strong supermarket grounding but with a diversity of experience across our broader portfolio of businesses” – the new CEO designate of Australian grocer Woolworths Ltd Grant O’Brien on his ability to lead the country’s largest retailer.

Shore Capital is downgrading our 2011/12F due to the expectation of rising pig prices in the second half and the tougher retail trading environment” – Shore Capital analyst Darren Shirley expects a tough year ahead for meat processor Cranswick.