The merger between Greencore and Northern Foods, the race to own Yoplait, reform of Europe’s farm policy and Unilever’s new push on sustainability all got people talking this week. Here is the best of who said what.

“We are creating an exciting new food company that in truth is not a merger of equals or the best of both but a better-than-both in terms of the outcomes we are seeking” – Greencore chief executive and soon-to-be Essenta Foods CEO Patrick Coveney (pictured) has a unique way of describing the Ireland-based food group’s merger with Northern Foods.

“Our position has not changed whatsoever in the light of today’s development. We are maintaining our stake in Yoplait at 50%” – Sodiaal tells just-food that it is standing firm as a shareholder of Yoplait on the day Lactalis bid for the yoghurt maker. A day later, Sodiaal and fellow Yoplait owner PAI Partners issued a statement formally turning down Lactalis’s offer.

“We have entered an era of scarcity. The market alone does not solve all the problems” – Paolo de Castro MEP, the Italian chair of the European Parliament’s agriculture committee, welcomed what he saw as a drift towards intervention in the new proposals to reform the CAP.

“We view the emerging markets as a target-rich base of consumers, which are likely to spend more and more of their income on branded packaged foods as they prosper” – Heinz boss Bill Johnson explains the ketchup giant’s decision to expand in markets like China, India and Indonesia.

“If you don’t buy into this, I respect you as a human being, but don’t put your money in our company” – Unilever CEO Paul Polman says he wants investors to back the company’s new push on sustainability.

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“In many instances, particularly in the baking business, we chose to protect profits over market share” – Tim Smucker, chairman and co-CEO of JM Smucker, says the US food group decided not to always take part in what he called the “unprecedented” price competition in the US oils and baking categories.

“We don’t look at stevia as a niche product; we look at it much bigger than that” – Sidd Purkaystha, technical director of stevia supplier PureCircle, insists the future is bright for the intense sweetener.

“EFSA now has 38 different workloads to deal with. Why so many? Couldn’t there be some simplification?” – Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle, executive director of the European Food Safety Authority, complains about the excessive number of EU regulations.

“I still have a number of exciting business initiatives to implement, a replacement to find and a hand over to complete all of which will take some time. Until then it’s business as usual” – Jerry Marwood, the head of Spar UK, the local arm of global symbol group Spar International, comments on his plans to leave the retailer.

“Our thorough review found that the proposed acquisition would have reduced the number of players competing to provide these services from two to one, effectively giving Metcash a monopoly on grocery wholesaling to independent supermarkets in New South Wales” – Graeme Samuel, chairman of Australian competition regulator the ACCC, explains the watchdog’s decision to block Metcash’s acquisition of the Franklins retail chain.