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December 18, 2012

The most-read comment from just-food in 2012

just-food does not shy away from commenting on the major developments and issues in the industry and this year its focus centred on issues from traffic-light labels to sustainability, on deals like Kellogg's takeover of Pringles and Arla Foods' latest venture in China.

By Dean Best

just-food does not shy away from commenting on the major developments and issues in the industry and this year its focus centred on issues from traffic-light labels to sustainability, on deals like Kellogg’s takeover of Pringles and Arla Foods’ latest venture in China.

Consuming issues – UK food makers unbowed on FOP labelling
The Food and Drink Federation (FDF), which represents UK food manufacturers, shows little sign of relinquishing its dogged support of a system based solely on percentage of guideline daily amounts (GDAs), wrote Ben Cooper in October.

Tesco’s new customer focus will put squeeze on rivals
In March, Katy Askew argued Tesco’s increased focus on the customer experience – and the resource that the retail colossus is able to put behind its rhetoric – will heighten the difficulties facing the retailer’s rivals in an already tough trading environment that has seen supermarket margins squeezed.

Best bits: General Mills reacts to power shift
General Mills, the US food group, made two announcements in May that, Dean Best wrote, underlined the macro-economic dynamics consumer packaged goods firms are battling. The company announced job cuts it says will make it more productive and free up resources to invest in the stagnant markets of the West – and further afield in the BRICs and beyond.

2012 trends emerge as UK retailers gear up for Christmas
What we will be planning to have for Christmas dinner is hardly likely to be foremost in most of our minds in July. However, that month, Katy Askew reflected on the festive ranges from three of the UK’s supermarkets – Tesco, Morrisons and Waitrose.

Comment: Pringles buy is bold move from Kellogg 
Kellogg’s acquisition of global snacks brand Pringles from Procter & Gamble was among the most notable deals of 2012 as it made the cereal giant a major player in snacks and boosted its business in emerging markets. However, as Dean Best wrote in February, Pringles faces a formidable competitor in PepsiCo – and one that is set to roll up its sleeves and spend heavily behind its core snacks portfolio after a bruising year from investors.

Sainsbury’s success points to position of strength
Sainsbury’s full-year profits came in ahead of City forecasts when they were published in May. Dean Best took a look at how the UK retailer believed it could withstand fresh competition and how its success in the downturn meant it was in a position of strength.

Comment: PepsiCo, Muller face US yoghurt fight
During the summer, PepsiCo and Müller revealed the products their venture was to launch into the US yoghurt sector. However, Greek yoghurt is almost single-handedly driving the growth of the yoghurt market in the US and Dean Best wrote the companies will face stiff competition from the likes of Chobani and Danone.

Sustainability Watch – Narrowing the Atlantic divide
It is often said European companies are ahead of their US counterparts in how they view corporate sustainability, with the latter too narrowly focused on environmental impacts under their immediate control and failing to see the bigger picture, just-food contributing editor Ben Cooper wrote this autumn. However, after attending the FMI/GMA Sustainability Summit in Washington in October, he found attitudes are changing.

Street talk: Suppliers, retailers need to think multi-channel
The impact of multi-channel retailing has been evident in many non-food sectors for years and, while it is in early days in the grocery industry, online sales of food are forecast for rapid growth. In his Street talk column in February, just-food columnist and SymphonyIRI vice president Rod Street outlined why consumers are turning to online – and why suppliers and retailers must be ready.

Best bits: The risks of Arla’s fresh push in China 
In June, European dairy giant Arla Foods announced a venture with Chinese peer Mengniu that it hoped would boost its multiply by five times in the emerging market by 2016. Dean Best said the deal remained risky for Arla. Food safety remains a problem in China and Mengniu had faced flak after admitting late last year some of its milk contained a cancer-causing chemical. For all Mengniu’s work to shore upp its supply chain, any scare or scandal could do Arla some serious damage.

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