This week featured the surprise news that Morrisons acquired a stake in US online grocer Fresh Direct, while Greencore was outfoxed in its bid to acquire Northern. Meanwhile just-food attended the Westminster Food and Nutrition Forum. Here’s the best of what was said this week:
“It wasn’t a victim of the recession. It was a victim of the fact that commercially it had lost its way” – Quorn Foods CEO Kevin Brennan acknowledges that previous owners Premier Foods plc were unclear about how to push the meat-free brand.
“They all pitched to us about how they could move us online and the question we asked each and every one of them, is which of those you have worked with is profitable today? And you can imagine what their answer was, because we don’t believe that anyone is profitable in the UK online today” – Morrisons CEO Dalton Philips describes why the company acquired a 10% stake in US online grocer FreshDirect.
“It is the greatest diversification opportunity for a generation” – National Farmers Union deputy president Gwyn Jones on the opportunities for farmers to move into renewable energy production.
“We want a strategic R&D framework that addresses market failures, promotes the take-up of existing research, through targeted funding to build partnerships between researchers, learning institutions and companies”. – FDF director general Melanie Leech outlines some of the demands the body is making of the UK government.
“We understand that the information currently available is limited and we are working with the Food Standards Agency, food manufacturers, retailers and the packaging supply chain to gather more information” – Barbara Gallani, FDF director of food safety and science seeks further investigation into claims that recycled cardboard food packaging has been linked to cancer.
“Today Diamond does not have the scale to afford the infrastructure to develop in many of our markets” – Michael Mendes describes why the company is unlikely to push large-scale international growth in the short-term.
“Looking to the future, while we expect more difficult conditions for much of the year, we are confident of our plans. We have not yet seen inflation coming through at the levels reported and we remain committed to improving value for our customers in the year ahead” – John Lewis chairman Charlie Mayfield reveals the company’s prospects for the coming year.
“During the year we improved our price competitiveness, successfully managed our operating expenses, stepped up our growth in our newer operations and maintained our solid operating margin. We are on track to achieve our ambitious EUR500m annual gross cost savings target by the end of 2012” – Delhaize Group president and CEO Pierre-Olivier Beckers describes the company’s performance during 2010.
“They do have an opportunity to expand and I do think that they will consider bringing in the Heinz brand at some point. But they are very good at not pushing their brands into a market without first adapting it to suit local tastes” – Argus Research analyst Erin Ashley Smith on Heinz’s plans for Brazil.
“Lev has made an outstanding contribution to X5 and brought a strong focus on serving customers. During Lev’s tenure as CEO the company has grown more than fourfold in size. We wish him great success in his future endeavours” – X5 Retail Group chairman chairman Hervé Defforey on outgoing CEO Lev Khasis’ contribution to the business.