PepsiCos Abdalla talked up Russia

PepsiCo's Abdalla talked up Russia

The leading lights in the food sector - and a smattering of industry analysts - headed to the warmth of Florida this week for the CAGNY investor conference. From emerging markets to plans for domestic growth, here are some of the best quotes from the week.

"The best is truly yet to come. We have built the largest food and beverage company from a multinational perspective, but we believe that really is just the beginning" - Zein Abdalla, CEO of PepsiCo Europe, is bullish about the company's international prospects.

"We are a young group, not like some of our competitors, we are young and our growth in developing markets is young" - Danone CFO Pierre-Andre Terisse reiterates the yoghurt maker's plan to expand in emerging markets.

"The Heinz brand in China is a very strong brand. We’re going to get everyone’s attention, we know that and we’re not going to back away from an opportunity that is significant" - Heinz boss Bill Johnson sets out the company's stall for China.

"In developed markets we've laid a strong foundation, but our businesses are still relatively young" - Chris O'Leary, the head of General Mills' international operations, sees significant potential for the food group in mature markets.

"The question has been asked: 'Is organic growth enough to be competitive for the long term?' We believe it is but it is not the only option" - Hershey boss Dave West stood by the US chocolate maker's international strategy - but admitted the company was looking for partners overseas.

"Our customers and consumers will see the biggest integrated programme of improvement that we ever undertaken" - Campbell Soup Co. president and CEO Doug Conant (pictured) emphasises the importance of the company's condensed soup push.

"Nobody can beat us from a value stand-point. We consider it impenetrable" - ConAgra Foods president and CEO Gary Rodkin insists the company can hold its position in a fiercely competitive market.

"We avoided chasing certain US competitors who are chasing unprofitable, unsustainable volumes" - Kraft Foods chairman and CEO Irene Rosenfeld says the company will focus on building its brands long term.

"Our expectation is that the environment in 2010 will be just as tough as in 2009, and we are prepared for that. We know that competition will be tougher and that consumers will be even more demanding" - Michael Polk, president of Unilever Americas, sets a cautious tone for the year ahead - but talked up the company's "unrivalled strength" in emerging markets.