A number of food multinationals last week reported first-half results. Highlights among them were Hershey’s belief the US confectionery sector was at a new, elevated level of growth, while Mead Johnson, the infant formula firm, cut its sales forecast on slower growth in China. Elsewhere, UK dairy companies shelved plans to cut the price they pay farmers for milk and the US drought caused fears for inflation next year.

On the money: US candy category at “new normal” – Hershey
Hershey president and CEO J.P. Bilbrey has claimed the US confectionery category has reached a “new normal” of growth after the company lifted its forecast for annual profits.

US: Mead Johnson cuts outlook on China slowdown
US infant formula group Mead Johnson has lowered its full-year sales outlook, citing a slowdown in Chinese demand.

On the money: Polman demands more from Unilever food
Unilever CEO Paul Polman today (26 July) called on the company’s food business to improve further after reporting an up-and-down first half of the year.

What the analysts say: Danone H1 results
Danone reported its half-year results today (27 July), just six weeks after it issued a profit warning for 2012. What did leading industry analysts make of the French food giant’s results?

US: 2013 inflation risk from drought – USDA
The worst drought in the US for 50 years could push up food prices into 2013, government officials have said.

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UK processors give ground on milk prices
There are signs the country’s dairy processors have relented on plans to cut milk prices on 1 August amid days of protests from farmers.

FRANCE: Poultry firm Doux receives “dozen” takeover bids
French poultry giant Groupe Doux, which is in administration, has attracted “around a dozen” takeover bids, just-food understands.

BRICs and beyond: South-South the new direction for Fairtrade
Having seen strong and resilient growth in established developed markets, the Fairtrade movement is increasingly turning its attention to ‘South-to-South’ trade. Ben Cooper reports.

The just-food interview – PepsiCo, Strauss JV Obela
PepsiCo and Strauss Group have taken their Sabra dips and spreads business outside North America for the first time. The companies have launched the Obela brand in Mexico and, in this month’s just-food interview, Michelle Russell catches up with Obela chief executive Giora Bar Dea to discuss the plans for the brand and its potential for international expansion.

CHINA: Cold chain “undermining food safety”
Weaknesses in China’s cold chain are undermining its already weak food safety standards, a senior industry executive has warned.