The story of the week centred around China’s probe into the alleged fixing of infant formula prices in China, an investigation that has taken in the likes of Nestle and Danone. Elsewhere, consumer goods giant PZ Cussons has decided to move further into food with its acquisition of Australian baby food business Rafferty’s Garden. And our latest executive interviews included Australian free-from business Freedom Foods Group and UK baker Finsbury Food Group.

China probes infant formula prices
Multinationals including Nestle, Danone and Mead Johnson are under investigation over the price of infant formula in China, where foreign-made products are in demand and said to be sold at higher prices than in other markets.

In the spotlight: PZ Cussons’ Rafferty’s deal to boost core Asia presence
UK-based consumer goods group PZ Cussons this week struck a surprise deal to buy Australian baby food business Rafferty’s Garden. While Cussons has the bulk of its business in personal care, with its leading position in some key emerging markets together with Rafferty’s strong growth trajectory and export model, the deal could be a significant one, analysts suggest. Michelle Russell takes a closer look.

US: Cargill coy over “interest” in ADM cocoa business
US agribusiness giant Cargill has remained coy over reports it is exploring the possibility of buying Archer Daniels Midland’s cocoa business.

CHINA/FRANCE: Infant formula firm Biostime to invest in France’s Isigny Sainte Mere
Hong Kong-listed infant formula firm Biostime International Holdings is to invest in French dairy co-op Isigny Sainte Mere as the companies plan to set up a production facility in northern France.

AUS: Freedom Foods: Australia must keep “leading” gluten-free standard
Allowing products sold as gluten-free in Australia to contain more gluten would hurt the country’s reputation in the sector and could affect some consumers, the MD of Freedom Foods Group has said.

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Interview: Finsbury CEO eyes growth in bread
Earlier this year UK baker Finsbury Food Group offloaded its gluten-free bread business to venture partner Genius Foods. However, Finsbury, which makes cakes for brands under licence and for UK retailers, still sees potential in bread and today announced plans to significantly increase capacity. Michelle Russell spoke to CEO John Duffy.

SPAIN: Natra launches stevia-sweetened chocolate spread
Spanish chocolate and natraceuticals firm Natra has expanded its product line with the launch of a chocolate spread containing stevia.

MEXICO: Mondelez to invest in Mexico cookie facility
Mondelez International is to build the world’s largest cookie facility in Mexico, the country’s president has announced.

On the money: Ocado reaffirms international ambitions
UK online retailer Ocado has reaffirmed its interest in expanding internationally and said the platform it has developed in the UK offers “very exciting” opportunities overseas.

US: Campbell to close Pepperidge Farm bakery
Pepperidge Farm, the bakery business of Campbell Soup Co., has confirmed plans to close a bakery in South Carolina, with the loss of 115 jobs.