Arla Foods CFO Natalie Knight

Arla Foods CFO Natalie Knight

This week, just-food spoke to Arla Foods CFO Natalie Knight in the wake of its full year results to find out how the dairy giant navigated a challenging year for the industry. Elsewhere, General Mills' start up fund 301 Inc. announced investment into cottage cheese manufacturer, Good Culture. Campbell Soup Co.'s baby food unit Plum Organics announced its debut in the infant formula industry. Here is the week in words.

"We don't make any comments on acquisitions or opportunities until they're very concrete [but] what I would say about that is I don't think that's being actively pursued at the moment. Our expectation is that that embargo is not going to be in place forever and we're certainly very well positioned to support the market when it does open back up" - Arla Foods CFO Natalie Knight is confident of the group's future in Russia despite it having lost share over the last year with the closure of the market.

"We are so excited to partner with CAVU and General Mills and look forward to making Good Culture a household name. Cottage cheese needs a comeback, and Good Culture is now well-poised to make that a reality" - Jesse Merrill, Good Culture co-founder and CEO, after the US cottage cheese maker secured investment from General Mills via 301 Inc., its fund that backs start-ups.

"Many parents think of formula as medicinal and clinical, but formula is food – cow's milk is the primary ingredient. As the leading organic baby food company, we're uniquely positioned to create a high-quality organic formula that parents, including us, can feel comfortable feeding their tiny ones" - Larissa Friesen, Plum Organics' infant formula lead, comments on the company's foray into the infant formula industry.

"Short-term it's a great deal but long-term it is an issue. If Morrisons becomes dependent on Amazon then they'll turn the screw. They'll not get any support from Amazon in terms of page rankings [on product searches] and they could end up having to pay to Amazon Media. They are really enabling Amazon's online business so this is a massive win for Amazon. In one fell swoop they have a big range of products they can offer" - While a tie-up between Amazon and Morissons could result in the latter cranking up its wholesaling ability, Daniel Lucht, director of Research Farm, warns that if volumes increase then Morrisons may have to be wary of the relationship.

"Although the organic growth rate remains the highest in the sector, the already high EBIT margin and the slower growth in North America do not leave much room for a positive earnings surprise" - Lindt & Sprungli says it is eyeing the position of "world's leading retailer of premium chocolate" by 2020 after posting sales and earnings growth in 2015. But Alain Oberhuber, MainFirst analyst, believes the company is somewhat "cautious" on 2016.

"With the support, resources and expertise of Sonoma Brands, we are confident that we will continue to be the leader in developing healthy, dang-worthy snacks" - Dang Foods founder Vincent Kitirattragarn says the company is "excited" to be the first brand to receive funding from venture fund Sonoma Brands.

"Whilst Van Geloven will operate as a standalone company within the McCain Group, this acquisition truly complements our strategy for growth within our European markets. Van Geloven's market leading brands and products offer us a fantastic opportunity to strengthen our overall appetiser and snack food market presence within the region" - McCain Foods CEO Dirk van de Put comments on the acquisition of a majority stake in Dutch frozen convenience snack maker Van Geloven from private equity firm Towerbrook.

"At Mondelez International, what's important to consumers is important to us. We're regularly taking a consumer pulse on ingredient and flavour preferences, and we're excited to launch a brand that delivers on a broad range of these interests. Best of all, it's a snack that you can feel good about. Good Thins is good on so many levels, we think it will naturally become a go-to for our consumers in any snacking situation" - comments Mondelez International's Danielle Brown, marketing director for Good Thins, a new snack brand from the snacks giant.

"The reporting persons continue to believe there are compelling business reasons to separate the issuer's Bob Evans Restaurants business segment and its highly-profitable BEF Foods business segment and that it is currently an ideal time to do so" - Sandell Asset Management once again urges Bob Evans Farms to offload its packaged foods unit.

"We know many consumers are seeking out grass-fed, locally and responsibly raised beef and we're excited to extend that offering underneath the Jack Link's protein snacks portfolio. Grass Run Farms has built a strong foundation of trust with its consumers and they can rest assured there will be no changes in how Grass Run Farms beef products are raised and produced" - Troy Link, president and CEO of Jack Link's, on the acquisition of Grass Run Farms meat snacks unit.