In-depth food features

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By giving our journalists the freedom to write about subjects in more depth, these longer reads offer a deeper look into the big issues the food industry is facing along with extra background coverage, statistics, and comment.

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Big Meat eyeing alternatives - the giants with stakes in plant-based and lab-grown 18 Oct 2018

Andy Coyne

The rise of plant-based products as an alternative to meat and the arrival of lab-created - or 'clean' - products as a potentially sustainable way of feeding the world are trends very much on the radar of the world's largest meat companies. Here we look at what those businesses are doing to make sure they are not missing out on alternative protein solutions.


What can buying pacts between retailers mean for food manufacturers? 15 Oct 2018

Simon Creasey

With Tesco and Carrefour seeking to become the latest major grocers in Europe to work together on purchasing, Simon Creasey looks at the impact these tie-ups can have on suppliers.


Big Food's stake in the future - in-house venture-capital funds  5 Oct 2018

Andy Coyne

Our guide to some of the main in-house venture capital funds operated by major food businesses. 


Hatching new ideas - Big Food's incubator and accelerator programmes 4 Oct 2018

Andy Coyne

Our guide to some of the main food sector incubators and accelerators operated by major food manufacturers.


How big packaged food companies can create a challenger brand playbook of their own 28 Aug 2018

Victor Martino

Acquiring challenger brands is one thing but how do big food businesses make a success of them when they are integrated into a very different corporate culture? Victor Martino reports.


How should small and mid-sized food companies build new international markets? 19 Jul 2018

Simon Creasey

Export markets can be enticing for small- and medium-sized businesses in the food industry but how best should companies with limited resources and already doing battle in competitive domestic markets go about expanding internationally? Simon Creasey speaks to those in the field to find out more.


How do food companies ensure cocoa supply meets future demand - sustainably? 13 Jul 2018

Ben Cooper

Ben Cooper looks at food companies' efforts to put their west African cocoa supply chains on a truly sustainable footing.


Can the food industry eliminate trans fats by 2023? 5 Jul 2018

Ben Cooper

The World Health Organization's REPLACE initiative aims to eliminate industrially-produced trans fats from the global food supply by 2023. Major food manufacturers have set the pace on trans fat elimination but the critical challenge for the WHO and the food industry is how to bring all food companies in all countries up to speed. Ben Cooper reports.


Should food majors develop subscription services? 20 Jun 2018

Simon Creasey

There are a growing number of fledgling companies developing subscription-box businesses across the consumer goods sector - but, so far, major food manufacturers have shied away from moving into the market. Simon Creasey weighs up why and whether we may see interest from food companies rise.


What are the prospects for insect-based food? 10 May 2018

Simon Creasey

Two major European retailers have started to stock edible, insect-based food, a sign a growing number of consumers are starting to accept the idea of eating the likes of crickets and mealworms. Simon Creasey looks at the scope of the market so far, consumer interest in the products and what the outlook for the sector could be.


How can food companies engage in the Global Goals agenda on water? 1 May 2018

Ben Cooper

Following just-food's in-depth look at how food companies are aligning sustainability objectives with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), Ben Cooper examines how food companies can engage in UN SDG 6, which aims to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030.


Why should food companies consider becoming B Corp? 5 Apr 2018

Ben Cooper

A B Corp business takes into account stakeholders in general, rather than holding as pre-eminent the return to its shareholders. The B Corp movement has grown substantially since its launch in the US in 2007 and now claims a foothold in some 150 countries. Food manufacturers, from the very small to just about as large as they come, have found themselves drawn to the B Corp ideals of sustainable business. Ben Cooper spoke with B Corp food companies and advocates for the B Corp movement in the US and the UK to find out more.


The growing consumer pull for sustainable food in the US 1 Mar 2018

Ben Cooper

In just-food's latest deep dive into the market pull for more sustainable food, Ben Cooper looks in-depth at the US market.


What could drive evolution of India's food sector? 12 Feb 2018

Mini Pant Zachariah

For a flavour of senior industry executives working in India see the country's food industry developing, Mini Pant Zachariah went to India Food Forum in Mumbai to hear from some of the leading lights in the sector.


How is Big Food using accelerators and incubators? 6 Feb 2018

Simon Creasey

As the food majors of North America and Europe broadly struggle to rejuvenate sales in the face of changing consumer habits, company strategists are looking at a range of ways to kick-start their sales. Some have turned to accelerators and incubators to, one, support fledgling businesses and, two, try to tap into the new trends shaping the industry - and how to innovate to meet them. Simon Creasey reports.


Food companies seek boost from revenue growth management 6 Dec 2017

Simon Creasey

In mature markets like North America and western Europe, packaged food manufacturers have in recent years found top-line growth hard to come by. Some have turned to revenue growth management - moves to optimise their prices, promotions and product range - to try to revitalise sales. Simon Creasey analyses the benefits and challenges of implementing the practices.


Why are food companies aligning with UN Sustainable Development Goals? 9 Nov 2017

Ben Cooper

Over the two years since the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) were launched, increasing numbers of food companies have sought to align their sustainability aims and objectives with the targets. Ben Cooper examines why and what benefits alignment could bring for the goals and for the companies themselves.


The potential for blockchain in the food industry 24 Oct 2017

Simon Creasey

Blockchain and how to harness the technology is one of the hot topics in boardrooms. A number of the world's largest food manufacturers and grocers are looking closely at the concept and its applications. Simon Creasey analyses the potential uses, benefits and challenges of using blockchain in the sector.


How sustainability is influencing M&A in the food industry 6 Oct 2017

Ben Cooper

Ben Cooper looks at how sustainability considerations are influencing food industry mergers and acquisitions.


What does Generation Z want from food? 25 Sep 2017

Simon Creasey

Move over Millennials. There's a new consumer cohort in town and food manufacturers should stay paying them more attention. Simon Creasey takes an in-depth look at what makes Generation Z tick, what shapes their buying habits and how food companies should respond.


How the food industry can help reverse climate change 25 Jul 2017

Katy Askew

Climate change is widely viewed as one of the biggest threats facing humanity. The impact of global warming can be seen across the world and it is already causing insecurity and uncertainty in food industry supply chains. As a significant CO2 emitter, the food industry is uniquely positioned to tackle the issue through innovation. Katy Askew looks at how food makers can help mitigate – and even reverse – global warming by using their supply chains to rejuvenate farmlands and forests.


Direct-to-consumer in the UK - analysing the problems and potential 17 Jul 2017

Simon Creasey

The continued rapid growth of grocery e-commerce in the UK, combined with the tough trading conditions in serving traditional, bricks-and-mortar retailers, is leading a number of food manufacturers to investigate whether selling directly to consumers could be an option worth pursuing. Simon Creasey weighs up the prospects for the fledgling channel.


Does sustainability sell in the UK? 13 Jul 2017

Ben Cooper

Consumer concern has long been an important reason for food companies to take sustainability seriously, not only for reasons of reputational protection but increasingly for the value strong sustainability credentials can bring to a brand. In the first of a series of articles looking at the market pull for more sustainable food, Ben Cooper looks at the relationship between consumers and food sustainability in the UK, and asks whether sustainability sells.


How to implement a zero-based budgeting strategy 11 Oct 2016

Katy Askew

The process of zero-based budgeting removes the budget's baseline and requires every cost to be justified. In contrast to other budgeting techniques, it encourages critical thinking of historic expenses. It can offer big savings - but the process can also be complex, convoluted, costly and there are no guaranteed economies. Execution is key. In just-food's final part of our special report on zero-based budgeting, we look at best-practice on the implementation of the strategy.


Is zero-based budgeting right for everyone? 10 Oct 2016

Katy Askew

Zero-based budgeting is essentially a cost-control mechanism. By re-setting each line of the budget at zero, it focuses attention on expenses and challenges existing costs. There are, however, contradictory views about whether the adoption of this method is supportive of revenue growth while its risks and limitations mean that it is not necessarily a good fit for everyone. Katy Askew reports. 


Why zero-based budgeting is shaking up the food sector 6 Oct 2016

Katy Askew

Zero-based budgeting is not a new concept. It was developed around five decades ago by Peter Pyhrr, an account manager at semiconductor firm Texas Instruments. After being taken up by US president Jimmy Carter in the 1970s, the method fell into obscurity. Recent years have seen it experience a revival in the food industry. In this series of articles, just-food examines zero-based budgeting and asks if it is a miracle diet for packaged food companies seeking a shapelier margin profile.


What are the risks and rewards of zero-based budgeting? 6 Oct 2016

Katy Askew

A growing body of food makers are adopting zero-based budgeting as a tool to reduce costs and improve resource allocation. The method has also proven popular with investors with a focus on return on invested capital. However, it is not a one-size-fits-all answer to the challenges facing CPG companies today. In the second part of our series examining zero-based budgeting, Katy Askew takes a look at the pros and cons associated with the method.


What are the prospects for the low-FODMAP diet? - analysis 4 Oct 2016

Simon Creasey

FODMAPs are a group of carbohydrates that has been linked to digestive issues, including irritable bowel syndrome. A diet in low in FODMAPs is said to ease symptoms and there are signs of a market taking root in Australia, parts of Europe and North America. In the main, it is smaller firms that are marketing low-FODMAP foods but some of the major names in the industry, including Nordic business Fazer Group and, notably Nestle, are showing interest and have recently launched products. Simon Creasey looks at developments so far and weighs up the prospects for the fledgling category.


Packaged food eyeing 3D printing but progress uneven - analysis 3 Oct 2016

Keith Nuthall

What impact could the 3D printing of food have on the sector? It's one of the most-discussed issues among product developers. While there are chefs experimenting with using 3D printing to customise dishes or add some automation to their kitchens, some of the food industry's packaged food giants are also looking closely at the technology. Mandy Kovacs, Poorna Rodrigo, Kitty So and Kathryn Wortley report.


Why companies cannot lose with employee engagement in sustainability 22 Sep 2016

Ben Cooper

Initiatives aimed at involving employees in sustainability aims are now commonplace in progressive food companies, and for good reason. Ben Cooper examines employee engagement in the food industry and explains how food manufacturers are reaping the multiple benefits of enthusing employees around food sustainability objectives.


How food companies are involving employees in sustainability - case studies 22 Sep 2016

Ben Cooper

Sustainability concerns pervade every aspect of a food company's operations so opportunities and approaches to engage employees in sustainability are immensely varied. Here, just-food looks at the different ways six global food manufacturers seek to engage their workforce in their sustainability aims.


Food companies can lead on workplace nutrition - analysis 28 Jul 2016

Ben Cooper

Improving the diet of employees can boost productivity, morale and staff retention, making workplace nutrition an increasing priority for any company. But, Ben Cooper writes, the nutritional value of workplace catering at a food company is likely to be more closely scrutinised than at other companies, while the food sector has a unique contribution to make in improving workplace nutrition at large.




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