Sara Lee today (28 January) unveiled plans to split it’s business in two, ending speculation since last summer that the company may be sold. Chairman James Crown has described the move as “a logical step”. Elsewhere, Premier Foods plc sold its meat-free business to Exponent Private Equity. The company said the sale allows it to “focus more resources and management time” on its grocery and Hovis businesses. Here are some of the top quotes on just-food this week.

“These two pure-play companies will have their own distinct growth strategies within their respective core markets that will attract a more focused shareholder base” – Sara Lee outgoing chairman James Crown believes the move to split the business was “a logical step”.

“Having also recently completed the restructuring of our swaps portfolio, this deal represents another step along the road to achieving a capital structure which we believe will be more attractive to investors” – Premier Foods CEO Robert Schofield (pictured) believes the sale of its meat-free business will help reduce debt.

“I’d say the one question mark on that is the impact of increased pricing and whether that will impact our customers’ willingness to really go forward with a lot of the innovation as planned” –  Alan Wilson, McCormick’s chairman, president and CEO, warns that rising commodity costs could have an impact on the company’s innovation plans in the year ahead.

“We already know that from research – it comes up even if you don’t ask the question – because for the consumer, it’s a holy grail solution” – Tony Lucas, marketing director, Silver Spoon, believes there will be huge consumer interest in table-top sweetener Truvia.

“With three successive high profile departures in such a short space of time, there is a significant question mark over the near term financial outlook and longer term strategic direction of Goodman Fielder” – Deutsche Bank analyst Matthew Iser said CEO Peter Margin’s departure “raises concerns” for Goodman Fielder’s “outlook and strategy”.

“The scale of the proposed changes and the number of jobs threatened is a shock and will obviously be very distressing news for our members” – John Gorle, national officer for the Usdaw union, believes compulsory redundancies at Robert Wiseman Dairies could not be ruled out.

“Old players will have an advantage as they know consumer preferences” – Amid speculation of PepsiCo’s entry into India, Praveen Kulkarnii, the general manager at Parle, said current players in India’s biscuit market will have an advantage.

“Governments can help create the right framework, but they cannot match the energy and innovation of the market” – Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy calls for global governments to work with private companies to ensure that innovation in low-carbon growth is not hindered by red tape.

“The impact of these costs (which also includes those incurred on packaging and taxes and contributions related to its disposal)  cannot be borne solely by industrial groups and farmers if the food sector is not be damaged and jobs destroyed” – In a letter to France’s President Sarkozy, ANIA president Jean-René Buisson underlines that, in a context of world shortages, increases in commodity costs and energy are inevitable.

“Time, patience and a common sense approach to the difficulties and delays that may arise are required in order that we sustain no long term damage to Ivorian cocoa farming communities and the cocoa and chocolate industry” – Sabine Nafziger, secretary general of Caobisco, said it is working to “obtain further clarification” on the call for a ban on cocoa in Cote D’Ivoire.