The biggest story of the week came as it started – with the announcement of the proposed merger between banana giants Chiquita Brands International and Fyffes. Elsewhere, UK grocers Morrisons and The Co-operative Group grabbed the headlines – the former for its bid to revive sales and the latter for the resignation of its chief executive.

UPDATE: US/IRELAND: Chiquita, Fyffes outline benefits of scale
An extended geographic presence, a wider product portfolio and a broader supply base are among the benefits from the merger of Chiquita Brands International and Fyffes, the produce giants said today (10 March).

On the money: We can fight on price, insists Morrisons
Morrisons has set out its bid to win back consumers and reignite sales – and the UK’s fourth-largest grocer has insisted it could hold its own in an increasingly price-focused market.

Comment: Chobani wise to consider stake sale
Chobani is the leading US manufacturer in the lucrative, high-growth Greek yoghurt sector. But with rising competition from the larger dairy majors – and Chobani’s own growth aspirations globally – the company could well be wise to consider ways to secure a cash injection, Katy Askew suggests.

Editor’s Viewpoint – Anything but Co-operative
The sense of disarray swirling around The Co-operative Group intensified today (11 March) with the resignation of CEO Euan Sutherland, who took a swipe at the way the UK retailer was being run. Sutherland’s exit will add to the sorry headlines made by The Co-op in recent months but, more importantly, they will distract the company away from the work it needs to do to turn around parts of its business, including food retail.

The just-food interview part one: FrieslandCampina CFO Kees Gielen
2013 was favourable for FrieslandCampina as the Dutch dairy giant posted good underlying profit growth and sales. However, the company booked a EUR200m goodwill adjustment to make up for losses suffered as a result of the ongoing economic crisis in Europe, which hit its bottom line. While pleased with some movement forward, CFO Kees Gielen could not help but feel slightly anxious about the upcoming financial year, which he discussed in an exclusive interview with just-food’s Hannah Abdulla.

Focus: M&A “balances” baker Aryzta in North America
Switzerland-based bakery group Aryzta announced two acquisitions in North America yesterday (10 March) as it revealed sales in the region came under pressure during the first half of the year. The acquisitions bring Aryzta a number of benefits – not least rebalancing the group’s channel mix in the region. Katy Askew reports.

On the money: Marfrig eyes growth opportunities despite 2013 losses
Marfrig CEO Sergio Rial was upbeat about the progress he saw at the Brazil-based meat processor yesterday (11 March), insisting the company was “more stable” than in previous years despite falling into the red in 2013.

Interview: GULFOOD 2014: Nestle eyes tripling of Middle East sales
A young market which promises room to grow is a key attraction for multinationals in the Middle East, the head of Nestle’s Middle East operations told just-food at the Gulfood trade expo in Dubai.

Briefing: Global confectionery
From the heightened scrutiny on sugar and dealing with the intractable issue of child labour, to the two-speed market for chewing gum and the potential of developing economies, just-food looks at some of the hot issues in global confectionery.

CZECH: Ahold to buy Spar’s Czech stores
Ahold today (11 March) announced a deal to buy Spar International’s business in the Czech Republic.