Anxiety grew this week that unusual weather in the US, UK and elsewhere could push up commodity prices. The row over milk prices in the UK continued, with farmers blockading retail and processor sites as anger remained over price cuts. And Metro Group, the German retail giant, announced cuts of its own, with 900 jobs to be lost as it looks to lower costs.

Concerns mount over commodity prices
Drought in the US, rain in the UK and adverse weather in Russia has led to anxiety that commodity prices could rise again.

UK milk row rumbles on
Troubles in the UK dairy industry continue as farmers warn of action if processors push through recently announced price cuts.

GERMANY: Metro to cut 900 jobs globally
German retailer Metro Group has confirmed it will make around 900 job cuts globally as part of a cost-cutting initiative unveiled in May.

US: Dole mulls packaged food disposal
Dole Food Co. has admitted it is considering selling its global packaged foods business and could complete the move by the end of the year.

UK: Mizkan eyes further M&A in UK condiments
Japanese food group Mizkan has said it wants to make further acquisitions in the UK condiments market followings its deal to buy Premier Food plc’s vinegar and sour pickles business last month.

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UK: Premium own-label sales slide – Kantar
UK premium own-label sales have shown a year-on-year decline while demand for value lines continue to grow, the latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel show.

On the money: Confectioner Zetar targets sales growth
UK confectioner and snack firm Zetar today (18 July) indicated it sees its sales increasing by 20% of the next three years on the back of NPD at home and expansion in Europe.

Talking tech: The rise of smarter packaging
Increasingly demanding requirements from food manufacturers and their consumers mean that packaging is becoming progressively ‘smarter’. Active or intelligent packaging is a sector which continues to grow in size, with expansion driven by new applications and innovation. Jonathan Thomas reports.

On the money: Safeway eyes long-term potential in loyalty programme
US retailer Safeway Inc has said it expects to double the users of its Just for U loyalty programme.

In the spotlight: Hilton eyes growth despite challenges
UK-based meat packer Hilton Food Group has once again indicated it plans to drive organic growth by expanding in new and existing markets. However, Hilton is facing a number of headwinds this year. Rising materials costs, a constrained consumer environment and currency exchange all look set to weigh on full-year profits.