General Mills unveiled plans for a raft of new products last week as it seeks to improve sales across its business, particularly in the Yoplait owner’s yoghurt division. There was a major piece of consolidation in the French dairy sector this week, with dairy co-ops Sodiaal and 3A to merge. We discussed FrieslandCampina’s sustainability strategy with its CSR director, while we also interviewed the CEO of The Bart Ingredients Company about his moves to revitalise the UK firm.

On the money: General Mills looks to reverse declining share trends
General Mills aims to reverse the declining market share trends it has seen in the US over the past 12 months in key categories with its brands to be supported by a strong product development pipeline.

In the spotlight: Beijing regulates to improve infant forumla safety
The Chinese government has laid out a plan to improve safety standards in the high-profile infant formula sector through a combination of tougher regulation and consolidation. Nevertheless, the question of whether Chinese manufactures can convince consumers of the safety of their products remains. Katy Askew reports.

FRANCE: Dairy co-ops Sodiaal, 3A to merge
French dairy Sodiaal is to merge with counterpart 3A after the two groups’ boards approved the deal today (25 June).

Sustainability Watch – Frank van Ooijen, FrieslandCampina
Netherlands-based dairy cooperative FrieslandCampina recently published its CSR Report 2012. In this month’s Sustainability Watch, CSR director Frank van Ooijen speaks with Ben Cooper about how the cooperative structure helps advance the company’s ambitious sustainability strategy.

AUS: Supplier profits below international rivals – study
The profitability of food and grocery suppliers operating in Australia is “significantly below” international competitors, a report has claimed.

On the money: Metcash looks to “champion” brands, independent retail
Australian wholesaler Metcash will champion branded suppliers and “sustainable” independent retail businesses as the country’s largest retailers drive down prices through a focus on own label.

just the answer – The Bart Ingredients Co. CEO David Collard
UK herbs and spices business The Bart Ingredients Company has gone through something of an overhaul since ex-Kerry Group and Glisten executive David Collard took the helm two years ago. Dean Best met with Collard to discuss the relaunch of the Bart brand and the broadening of its portfolio amid what he called the most competitive trading conditions in 20 years.

Comment: Breakfast drinks are no silver bullet
As US manufacturers look to revitalise a cereal category and win back the growing number of “breakfast skippers”, they are increasingly focusing on convenient options such as breakfast drinks. However, could those preparing to compete in this burgeoning sub-sector be embarking on a rocky road? Katy Askew argues breakfast drinks do not necessarily represent a silver bullet as the industry looks to provide the US breakfast category with a much needed shot in the arm.

EU: Sugar quotas to end in 2017 after CAP deal
EU sugar quotas will end in 2017 as part of the reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy.

US: Aldi confirms Californian entry
Discount grocer Aldi has confirmed it is in the “initial stages” of expanding its US operations into California.